What are the Different Meal Plans for Weight Loss?

M. J. Memon
M. J. Memon
Replacing sodas with water is commonly part of a weight loss plan.
Replacing sodas with water is commonly part of a weight loss plan.

There are many different meal plans for weight loss. Most of the plans fall into at least one of three categories: calorie restricted, food restricted, and food required. Using a meal plan can make it easier to lose pounds by taking much of the guesswork out of deciding what to eat. Each category of meal plan has both advantages and disadvantages.

Counting calories can lead to weight loss.
Counting calories can lead to weight loss.

Calorie restricted meal plans limit how many calories can be eaten daily. They use a formula to determine the maximum number of calories a dieter can eat per day and still lose weight. The most basic type of this meal plan causes weight loss by cutting a small amount of calories every day through ingredient or food substitution.

Common approaches in calorie restricted meal plans include drinking water instead of sugared drinks and eliminating high-calorie salad dressing. Since a pound is 3,500 calories, a dieter who managed to eat 50 fewer calories per day would lose around five pounds a year. If the dieter ate 100 calories fewer, he or she would double the weight loss.

Certain high-protein foods, such as tuna, may help dieters lose weight.
Certain high-protein foods, such as tuna, may help dieters lose weight.

Food restricted meal plans for weight loss limit the types and amounts of foods that can be eaten. Some plans entirely forbid certain classes of foods, such as all foods made with sugar. This approach may be best for dieters who find they cannot control their consumption of these foods. Others permit forbidden foods to be eaten once a week or after the dieter has gone through a transition period of eating only approved foods.

Food restriction may lead to weight loss.
Food restriction may lead to weight loss.

Food required meal plans for weight loss often force the dieter to eat certain foods every day. Many such plans are based on the premise that certain foods can cause weight loss. For example, one plan requires a certain amount of grapefruit pulp or juice before each meal. The grapefruit is believed to stabilize insulin levels, which affects fat storage and retention.

Some dieters participate and join large diet programs that actually create individualized eating plans or send prepackaged meals to their homes.
Some dieters participate and join large diet programs that actually create individualized eating plans or send prepackaged meals to their homes.

This type of meal plan generally works best when the user is given a variety of required foods to consume. This helps prevent boredom. Many food required plans have the dieter eat large amounts of protein or fresh produce, which can be very expensive.

The sheer number of meal plans for weight loss can make choosing one difficult. Many people also find it difficult to adhere to a single eating style over the long term. Adherence is also extremely difficult if the plan is expensive, highly restrictive, monotonous, or very low calorie. The ideal meal plan for weight loss will depend on the preferences and needs of the person using the plan.

Discussion Comments

summing
Has anyone tried using a service that prepares all of your meals for you? I have heard a lot of advertisements lately offering this service. They cook you three squares a day and deliver them to your home. The meals are supposed to be healthy and nutritionally balanced.

I like this approach because I need to lose some weight and eat better but I hate to cook. I end up eating a lot of prepackaged food or going our to eat and these are never healthy choices. If I could have three healthy meals appear on my door step every morning that would be a huge help.

backdraft

Having those numbers about the calories really helps to put things in to perspective. I have struggled with my weight for years and it has been really hard for me to stick to a diet.

I think this is mostly because I try and bite off more than I can chew (bad pun I know). I try to drastically reduce my calorie intake and I fail immediately. But if I tried to eat just 50 or 100 less calories every day that would be manageable and the results would add up over time.

whiteplane

I think the most important thing is just to have some kind of weight loss plan and to stick with it. People get into trouble with their diets when they start to deviate. They will do everything they need to and then get a late night ice cream craving or decide to order a bacon double cheese burger and then they go off the rails.

There are remarkably detailed diet plans available online that will tell you exactly what to eat and drink throughout the day. Your entire eating schedule is planned out for you. For many people having this kind of structure is a huge help.

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    • Replacing sodas with water is commonly part of a weight loss plan.
      By: goodluz
      Replacing sodas with water is commonly part of a weight loss plan.
    • Counting calories can lead to weight loss.
      By: Mark Hayes
      Counting calories can lead to weight loss.
    • Certain high-protein foods, such as tuna, may help dieters lose weight.
      By: Kondor83
      Certain high-protein foods, such as tuna, may help dieters lose weight.
    • Food restriction may lead to weight loss.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Food restriction may lead to weight loss.
    • Some dieters participate and join large diet programs that actually create individualized eating plans or send prepackaged meals to their homes.
      By: Lsantilli
      Some dieters participate and join large diet programs that actually create individualized eating plans or send prepackaged meals to their homes.