BLOG NUTRITION, FOOD
August 27, 2015
What a Maintenance Meal Plan Actually Looks Like
We often get this question: “So, what changes with my diet when I reach my goal weight?” Answers to such a question will undoubtedly change from person to person. That being said there are a few things that ‘maintainers’ share in common. These few things can give you the structure and specificity you need to feel successful in transitioning to this phase.
So get a pen and paper and take notes. Here are the 5 keys to a successful weight maintenance meal plan:
90% of the time, your food is stage 1-7. 10% of the time, it’s the ‘fun foods’*
10% = 2 meals OR 10% daily calories. Ex: 1 meal out at a restaurant and 1 meal with friends OR 150 calories per day from a 1500 calorie meal plan
Mindful eating practices guide your portions. Eat when hungry, stop when full. Plan accordingly for this as needed (i.e. get a box to take foods to-go, share entrees with someone, etc.)
Weekly weights dictate your calories. If you still lose weight after your first week of 90/10, add 100-200 calories per day. Reweigh in 1 week. Repeat as needed until maintaining within target range. Conversely if weight is up, reduce calorie average by 100-200 per day OR remove 10% fun foods for the upcoming week. Repeat as needed until maintaining within target range.
Monitor weekly progress and have a very specific reset plan in place from the beginning. Imagine for a minute seeing your red light number on the scale and not having a plan of action. Scary feeling, isn’t it? Know exactly what stage you will follow, how many times you will exercise that week, who you will reach out to for support and the like.
Exercise plans can change. If you begin endurance training or greatly increase the intensity of your workouts or anything that feels like it may warrant a nutritional change, you are probably right. Reach out to your dietitian for a specific plan given the type of exercise you see yourself doing for life!
*Fun foods: adj., aka ‘cheat foods’, ‘off plan foods’. Refined, high-fat, high-sugar foods and alcohol. Ex: desserts, white grains, margaritas.