There are a lot of weight loss eating programs and systems out there, most of which require you to abandon your former care-free ways of eating for a more precise and calculated method of dining.
Eating for weight loss can require a lot of advance planning, log tracking, careful counting and food measuring. And while the thought of this often motivates Type A personalities to hop aboard and immediately make room for their beloved food scales in their handbags, Type Bs in the house are often left running panicked and wide-eyed towards the nearest ice cream store with their hands over their ears.
Luckily, while careful eating is crucial for weight loss, there are ways to make it simple and math-free for those of us who don’t have the time nor inclination to dig into all of the dietary details. That’s why a lot of women appreciate the Clean Plate Plan, an eating method that allows you to eye ball your way through eating by using a 6 inch plate as a tool to guide you through portion control and correct macro-nutrient balance.
Portion Control and Macronutrient Balance for Weight Loss
Eating the right balance of macronutrients will help you calibrate your body’s internal chemistry, hormone levels and blood glucose. This gears your body up to burn fat, feel energized, experience mental clarity, and benefit from a strong body and immune system.
The 3 major macronutrients that your body needs for its basic functions are protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. The ideal macronutrient ratio that you should aim to create in every meal is 40% lean protein, 50% complex low-glycemic carbohydrates and 10% healthy fats.
Complete protein contains the building blocks for body tissues, organs and muscles, and is essential for proper hormone regulation, enzyme synthesis and immune function. Eating protein helps to encourage steady blood sugar and fat burning, while also helping with appetite control. Aim to eat about 0.8 – 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight. Ideal sources of lean protein include lean poultry, steak, fish, low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt, eggs, etc. A high-quality protein powder is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough protein in your daily diet without adding additional fat, and is one of the best weight loss supplements for women.
Carbohydrates are the body’s go-to fuel source. They are also necessary for proper brain function, mental clarity, positive mood balance and healthy sleep patterns. However, it’s important to make sure that you are choosing the right types of carbohydrates for women’s weight loss and good health. Refined, simple carbohydrates (think sugary foods, foods made from refined flour, etc.) can trigger the release of insulin hormone, food cravings, fat storage, depressed immunity, mood swings, and spiking and crashing energy levels. On the other hand, complex, low-glycemic and nutrient-dense carbohydrates (think whole vegetables and fruits, high-fiber whole grains, etc.) help to encourage a slower release of insulin, appetite control, weight management, strong immunity, positive moods and more sustained energy levels.
Fats are also essential to your body. They are crucial for normal growth, development and healing, and they protect your cells, organs, skin, eyes, nails and hair. Healthy fats help to keep your immune system strong and can protect you from cardiovascular problems. Fats help to regulate your hormones, your moods, your digestive system, your appetite and – contrary to popular belief – a percentage of fat in your daily diet is essential for effective weight loss. Aim to consume raw, unsaturated and unrefined sources of fat, like extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, fish oil, etc. Saturated fats, like coconut oil, butter and animal fat, are also important to consume, but in small, limited amounts. Fats to avoid completely are trans-fats, which are fats that have been chemically altered through hydrogenation or high heating, such as margarines, shortenings, fried foods, packaged baked goods, chips and crackers, etc.
The Clean Plate Eating Plan
Understanding how to create a well-balanced diet, comprised of the right foods in the right amounts and ratios, is essential to get you on your way to a beautiful, healthy and happy body. The Clean Plate Eating Plan helps to make this balancing act simple by providing you with a consistent map to follow along with each meal.
The first step of the Clean Plate Plan is to familiarizing yourself with the healthiest food options that represent each macronutrient.
The second thing you need to follow the Plate Plan is…..a plate! Purchase several white or blue plates that are 6 inches in diameter. Then, using a compass, divide each 6inch plate into 3 equal sections, and mark these with a non-toxic food-safe marker or paint that won’t wash off.
Fill the first 3rd of the plate with a lean protein. This will approximate a 4 ounce serving. Healthy lean protein choices include turkey, chicken, steak, cold water fish, cottage cheese, eggs, unsweetened yogurt, etc. Opt for grilling, baking, pouching or boiling preparation methods, and avoid deep fried preparations. Use seasoning for flavor rather than sauces.
Fill the second 3rd of the plate with a serving of high fiber whole grains (such as wild or brown rice, rolled oats, whole spelt or whole wheat pasta, etc.) or pseudograins (such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.) or a starchy vegetable or legume (such as sweet potato, squash, beans, string beans, peas, parsnips, beets, etc.). This serving should not exceed ½ – ¾ of a cup.
Fill the third 3rd of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bell peppers, asparagus, celery, carrots, tomatoes, sprouts, etc. This is the section that you can heap on, and feel free to eat more of these if you still feel hungry at the end of the meal (which you probably won’t).
Then, topping any of the 3 filled sections of the plate, add about 2 tablespoons of a healthy fat. This can be olive oil, flax oil, avocado, olives, raw nuts and/or seeds, etc.
You can also add an unlimited amount of herbs, seasonings, lemon juice, lime juice or vinegars for additional flavor.
Create a plate like this 5 times a day, eaten about 3 hours apart. This will help you feel full, satisfied and energized all day long while helping to eliminate hunger, cravings and unhealthy snacking.
Combined with a regular exercise program and a high quality weight loss supplement, the Clean Plate Eating Plan can help you lose weight and get healthy with minimum hassle or math involved.