When it comes to weight loss, whatever the motivation, whether it be a holiday, office party, New Year’s resolution etc. the best way to approach it is planning a small weight loss each week / month over an extended period of time and creating a lifestyle change.
That’s not always possible, especially when that event is only 3 weeks away!
The principle behind weight loss is simple: you consume fewer calories than you use. On average, men require 2500 kcal per day and women need 1500 kcal per day.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
When aiming to lose 6 pounds in 3 weeks, it’s important to break this down and target 2 pounds per week.
The reasons behind this are simple – if the weight loss is greater than 2 pounds per week, you will be losing more muscle than fat.
As I mentioned earlier, consuming less than you use is the key, to lose 2 pounds per week you will need to consume 1000 kcal less than you require every day! Without exercise, that is an allowance of 1500 kcal for men and 500 kcal for women. This is a big challenge, and combining healthy eating and an increase in exercise will make this balance easier.
When looking at exercise it’s important to take on a programme which suits you, combining aerobic exercise and strength training will help increase calories used per day and also help tone your muscles. The resistance training and creating tone is important, using your muscle will stimulate protein to repair their fibres, this will help reduce the amount of muscle lost during the weight lose period.
There are a couple of examples later in this article, but here are
A few ground rules to help plan your meals
Start the day with something filling that will release its energy slowly. Great examples include porridge or perhaps an omelette. Try and include some colours e.g. blueberries in your porridge or peppers in your omelette. This will boost your vitamin intake and will help add flavour.
Lunch / Dinner
Try and get a quality portion of protein, such as grilled chicken or turkey which is low in fat. Alternatively go with a portion of fish like salmon or mackerel, offering quality protein along with those vital healthy fats and Omega’s. Combine it with salad, and be more adventurous that just iceberg lettuce. Make your salad colourful using various leaves, peppers, radish, and don’t be afraid to add a bit of raw vegetable like carrot or some fruit like some thin slices of orange.
Snacks are a great way to keep those cravings at bay and to prevent you from getting over hungry and therefore stop over eating at meal times. Try and go for homemade or “wholegrain, whole-wheat, or wholefoods” at this point to manage the calories. Good examples could include nuts and seeds, fruit, low fat Greek yoghurt or homemade flapjack / granola.
Example diet plan to lose 6 pounds in 3 weeks
The example diets below are broken down into Men and Women and in addition assume 500 kcal burned through exercise each day.
All average calorie intakes are calculated using the ONS 2011 census data for average age and weight for men and women. These data was used in the Mifflin et al. (1990) equation for total energy expenditure using Nutrition Professional Diet software.
Reference: Mifflin, M. D., St Joer, S. T., Hill, L.A., Scott, B. J., Daugherty, S.A. and Koh, Y.O. (1990). A new predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51, 241-247.
Office for National Statistics. 2011. Census data [Online]. [accessed on 17/03/14].