Weight loss
It helps to have a plan

Usually in March, the New Year’s motivation to lose weight has been abandoned.  However, spring is approaching, and with it comes the body revealing clothes.  I have found that it’s often the approach of spring that best motivates my clients to make some changes to their daily patterns.  Perhaps the terror of baring their winter body carries more weight than the desire to undo the indiscretions from the holidays.  Or maybe it is like any deadline: the closer you are to actually having to reveal your body again, the more pressure to actually do the work!

Below are three balanced plans that include protein, carbs and healthy fats, broken up into 1,250, 1,600 and 2,000 calories menus.  With eight weeks to go until the warm weather arrives, you will feel better about your body if you start now.

Basic guidelines
For most people, going below 1,200 calories for longer than two weeks will negatively affect your metabolism in a way that makes it difficult to keep the weight off.  For this reason, I recommend not going below that.  In my work, I identify what metabolic type a client is and that is how I determine the ratio of protein, carbs and fat.  If you don’t know your metabolic type then the general guideline would be to eat a mixture of equal amounts of lean proteins and plant-based carbohydrates, avoid refined carbohydrates made from flours (gluten-free or not!) and sugars, and add a healthy fat to every meal.  In addition, choosing to eat fresh, real, whole foods in their natural form is a governing principle I build into all my eating plans.

1,250 calorie plan

Breakfast:  1 egg and 4 ounces of egg whites omelet cooked using a 7 second spray of coconut oil and adding 6 ounces of mixed, low-starch vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, mushrooms and onions seasoned with a sprinkle of rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper.  Add 3 chopped sundried tomatoes.  Serve over 4 ounces of polenta (sold in pre-cooked rolls so you just have to slice and microwave or pan heat).  Total calories: 340

Lunch:  8 ounces of Imagine Split Pea soup (comes in a juice box-type container so can be used for multiple servings without fuss) with 6 ounces of pre-cooked shrimp without tails added to the soup and 8 ounces of Cascadia Farms frozen vegetables.  Heat all together in a microwave and for the last 30 seconds add ½ ounce of shredded cheddar cheese to melt over the top.  Total calories: 350

Snack at 4pm: Apple with 1 string cheese (full fat).  Total calories: 210

Dinner:  10 ounces of wilted spinach and mixed steamed low starch vegetables cooked in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil with 3 chicken tenders  cut up and put into a ziploc bag with cinnamon, cumin, garlic and salt and bake (like shake and bake), then mix into the vegetables on the stove until cooked.  Total calories: 350

1,600 calorie plan
Breakfast:  Smoothie made with 8 ounces of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 banana, 1 handful of frozen berries, 1 handful of spinach, 1 cut up red pepper, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, 1 scoop of Plant Fusion protein powder.  Total calories: 450

Lunch: 1 5-ounce baked potato stuffed with 6 ounces of 97% lean beef chili (sauté on stove and add chili powder, cumin, 4 ounces of salsa).  Eat with 8 ounces of steamed mixed low starch vegetables with 2 tablespoos of Bolthouse Farms yogurt salad dressing.  Total calories: 460

Snack at 4pm:  6 oz of plain, Greek yogurt with 1 handful of berries (can use Truvia for additional sweetness) and 1/3 ounce of chopped nuts.  Total calories: 200

Dinner:  2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs broiled with sprinkle of garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper with 10 ounces of low starch veggies simmered with 2 tablespoons of Kitchen’s of India simmer sauce (available in the international aisle).  Total calories: 500

2,000 calorie plan
Breakfast:  2 Vann’s gluten-free blueberry waffles, 1 cup of full fat cottage cheese split over the top of each, half-ounce of chopped pecans sprinkled over the top.  Total calories: 480

Lunch: 180 calorie wrap with a handful of baby spinach, a handful of shredded carrots, 2 tablespoons of Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressing, 6 slices of Applegate Farms deli meat of your choice, 2 ounces of guacamole or sliced avocado.  Total calories: 590

Snack at 4pm:  Bilinski chicken sausage cut into rounds and mixed into 1 cup of black rice.  Total calories: 300

Dinner:  8 ounces of pork loin seasoned with dry spices of your choice mixed with finely chopped pecans (2 ounces total)  and cooked in a casserole dish with carrots, zucchini, onion, peppers, turnips and 2 ounces of dried cranberries  (14 ounces vegetables for your serving).  Total calories: 620

The above meals are templates you can use to develop similar meals while staying within the targeted calorie range.  Be sure to include lean proteins seasoned with spices with low starch plant-based carbs and a single serving of  healthy fat in all meals.  This way you will not only be practicing healthy habits that will lead to weight loss, but you will be eating tasty and nurturing foods so there is no need to fall off your plan even when you hit your weight goal.

Judy Torel is a USAT certified coach, has a Master’s degree as a psychotherapist/life coach, is a certified metabolic nutrition coach, 200 RYT yoga instructor, and ACSM certified fitness specialist. She is an ultra-distance runner and 6 time Ironman competitor. She can be reached at and her office is located at 116 Everett Road, Albany.


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