THE BEST NUTRITION PLAN TO LOSE THE LAST 5kg

THE BEST NUTRITION PLAN TO LOSE THE LAST 5kg

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You know the old saying: Abs are made in the kitchen. And that’s pretty much true; whether your goal is a rippling six-pack or just a lighter, leaner version of yourself, you need to have a thorough, focused nutrition plan.

Most trainers and nutritionists know that getting your abs to show will benefit more from a dialed-in diet than any amount of crunches, planks, or an abs wheel. And when trying to only 5kg, paying attention to all of the mindless calories that tend to get snuck in during the day are where you need to focus your attention.

Here’s a practical nutrition plan to help you focus your nutrition and lose the last 5kg.
Step 1: Refine Your Diet

“It’s best to examine the little things in your eating routine that are contributing extra non-nutrient-rich calories,” says Molly Morgan, R.D., C.D.N., C.S.S.D., owner of Creative Nutrition Solutions and author of The Skinny Rules. “For example: condiments on sandwiches—mayo, ketchup, relish—extra sugar in coffee or tea, bites and surreptitious tastes of food, etc. While these may seem trivial, small amounts of extra calories can pile up in a hurry and keep you from meeting your weight goals.”

To fine-tune your diet, figure out where the mindless calories are sneaking in, says Morgan. “One chocolate kiss from a candy dish is around 22 calories. A couple of pieces of hard candy can hit up to 30 calories. Make an effort to examine these extra bites. Determine which are worth counting toward your daily calorie intake, and which need to be cut out,” she says. “The message isn’t that you can’t ever have these things; rather, make sure you’re mindful of the calories.”

Also take a hard look at all of the empty calories that come from alcohol. Even “lighter” drink options deliver empty calories, says Morgan—one can of hard seltzer has about 110 calories, a vodka-soda has about 100 calories, and light beer will run you 90 to 110 calories. You can still drink (a little!), but routine drinking could keep you from meeting your goals.

You also need to be sure that you’ve taken the time to make restful and restorative sleep a priority. If you’re sleeping less than seven to nine hours per night, your risk of being obese and developing diabetes can increase, studies have shown.

Step 2: Count the Macronutrients you Consume Every Day

Once you have a handle on blocking all of those little sneaky calories that can plague your weight-loss efforts, make sure you figure how many calories you need to start losing weight.

To figure out the ideal calorie levels for a man who wants to get lean, multiply your bodyweight by 12. If you weigh 180lbs, you’d get 2,160. Then round up to 2,200 calories for simplicity.

Alternatively, Morgan says, you can also eat 500 fewer calories per day from your diet and/or burn up 500 calories from exercise. In theory, a 500-calorie deficit each day will result in about a pound’s worth of calories (about 3,500) of weight loss per week. “I wouldn’t recommend [eating] less than 1,200 calories per day,” says Morgan, “as it isn’t realistic or a long-term healthy eating routine.”

Oh, by the way: While counting macronutrients—fat, protein, and carbs—may be a pain in the ass, you’ll need to do it if you’re serious about leaning out. “It’s really easy to be eating clean yet overdoing it with too many calories,” says Morgan. “For example, one avocado—a super-nutrient-rich food, and definitely something that can be part of a clean eating routine—has about 320 calories. Without keeping an eye on how many calories you’re eating per day, it could easily get out of hand.”

Step 3: Develop Smart Strategies for When You Get Hungry

Surviving the deprivation that comes with cutting back on your normal diet can be tough. One way to help keep your sanity is by substituting fatty or calorie-dense foods with healthier and lighter alternatives—they’ll keep you feeling full, but without the calorie payload.

For instance: Instead of chowing down on almonds, which run about 22 calories per serving, Morgan suggests snacking on shelled pistachios. Plus, cracking open pistachio shells means they take longer to eat, and end up being more satiating.

“Another trick: Instead of hogging on a handful of whole-grain tortilla chips and salsa, snack on air-popped popcorn,” Morgan suggests. “Three cups of air-popped popcorn have only 90 calories, and feel like a decent volume of food to snack.” And drop traditional yogurt for Greek or Skyr yogurt—these both have double the protein compared to traditional yogurt, she says.

And don’t forget the dieter’s ultimate sanity-saving strategy: cheat meals! Healthy and clean eating is all about balance. It’s not that you can’t ever have pizza or chicken wings again, says Morgan. “But, as with any food, keeping the portions in check is important. For example, instead of having six chicken wings, opt for three chicken wings and add a salad to go with the meal. Or instead of having a burger and fries, opt for either the burger or the fries and get a salad on the side or a side of roasted veggies.”

Most of all, for that last push to make your weight-loss goal, be patient. “The last pounds are always the most difficult to get off and instead of instituting some big changes, simply examining all of the little picky ways that extras are coming in can get you over the hump,” Morgan says. And if you need help and keep missing your weight-loss target, there’s no shame in talking to a professional trainer or nutritionist. Working with a registered dietitian who can review your goals and adjust your plan. (To find a dietitian, visit: eatright.org.)

Sample Three-day Meal Plan

This plan provides an average of 1,400 calories a day with 45% carbs, 23% protein, and 32% fat. Adjust amounts to match your gender, activity level, weight, and height to cut 500 calories from your current diet. Remember to drink mostly water throughout the day to keep up hydration.

DAY 1

Breakfast

  • Coffee with ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 large eggs scrambled with 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup berries

Lunch

  • 4 oz lean protein of choice (fish, shrimp, chicken)
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts roasted with 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium pear with 1 Tbsp peanut butter

Dinner

  • 4 oz chicken sautéed with 1 cup of peppers and onions in 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup salsa and 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt

Extras

  • 8 fl oz of kombucha tea
  • 8–16 fl oz of unsweetened green tea
  • 1 oz (about 50) pistachios

DAY 2

Breakfast

  • Coffee with ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 slice whole grain bread with 1 Tbsp peanut butter and 1 sliced banana

Lunch

  • 1 cup spinach with 3 oz baked chicken breast, ½ cup chickpeas, and 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • For dressing, toss with 1 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Dinner

  • 1 cup brown rice with ½ cup green peas
  • 4 oz sautéed shrimp with garlic in 2 tsp olive oil

Extras

  • 8 fl oz of kombucha tea
  • 8–16 oz of unsweetened green tea
  • 1 pear with 1 oz cheese

DAY 3

Breakfast

  • Coffee with ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt with ½ cup berries and ¼ cup whole grain granola

Lunch

  • 2 cups zucchini noodles with ½ cup bruschetta, 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, and 1 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 1 medium apple

Dinner

  • 2 cups leafy greens with 1 cup chopped veggies
  • For dressing, toss with 1 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 5 oz baked salmon
  • 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups sautéed veggies in 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 glass of wine or beer

Extras

  • 8 fl oz of kombucha tea
  • 8–16 oz of unsweetened green tea

BY ADAM BIBLE