When it comes to weight loss, there are many different opinions on the best method. Some people swear by cutting out either fat or carbs from their diet, while others promote the use of superfoods or supplements.

There are many weight-loss programs available, so how can we know which one might work best? Here are some suggestions to help with choosing a program.

Choosing a Weight Loss Meal Plan

Before you choose a low-calorie diet plan, you need to calculates how many calories you need to consume each day. This number can differ based on your size, weight and activity level. You will not lose weight if you are not in a calorie deficit, meaning you need to burn more calories then you consume.

If you want to lose weight, you might be limited to eating 1200 calories per day. However, if you’re very active, you might be able to eat more and still lose weight. This is because you would be burning more calories through exercise.

A man’s daily calorie intake should be 1,500 to 1,800, depending on size and activity level. The ideal number of calories may be higher if the person is active.

Your body’s metabolism will likely change as you lose weight, so you may need to readjust your calorie deficit.

Portion Size As an Alternative Method

You can control your calorie intake by using portion sizes rather than weighing and measuring everything. If you’re currently eating a certain amount and not gaining or losing weight, try reducing your portions slightly. If that doesn’t work, try reducing them even more.

Estimate Portion Sizes Using Your Hands

The following are all single serving sizes. Depending on your hunger, weight, activity level, and other factors, you may need more than one serving per meal.

  • Protein: 1 palm
  • Carbohydrates: 1 cupped hand
  • Fats: 1 thumb
  • Vegetables: 1 fist

Free Meal Plans for Weight Loss

This is a sample 7-day meal plan for weight loss. You can modify serving sizes and add snacks to suit your specific calorie needs. This is just a sample, and there may be meals that suit your dietary needs and preferences better.

  • Day 1: Granola, Greek yogurt, mixed berries; chicken breast, spring greens, apple, walnuts, honey mustard dressing, whole-grain roll; whole grain pasta, marinara sauce, extra-lean ground turkey, green beans
  • Day 2: Egg omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, grapefruit, toast; chili with beans, cornbread, side green salad; halibut, lemon, green beans, roasted potatoes
  • Day 3: Egg and ham breakfast burrito with cheese, spinach, and orange juice; whole wheat sandwich with tuna, Greek yogurt, mayo, arugula, and side green salad; sirloin steak, broccoli, baked sweet potato
  • Day 4: Almond flour waffles with peanut butter, banana, Greek yogurt; turkey noodle soup with vegetables, whole-grain roll, side green salad, apple; baked chicken parmesan, green beans, rice pilaf
  • Day 5: Oatmeal with flaxseed, egg white, berries, almond butter; sirloin steak salad with blue cheese, walnuts, strawberries, a cup of tomato soup; lean ground beef enchiladas with whole wheat tortilla, lettuce, tomato, hot peppers, broccoli
  • Day 6: Protein pancakes, mixed berries, cottage cheese; baked sweet potato filled with shredded chicken, chickpeas, tahini yogurt sauce, cucumber, and tomato salad; fish tacos with corn tortillas, cabbage slaw; side green salad
  • Day 7: Scrambled eggs, multi-grain toast, sauteed asparagus; a chicken salad made with Greek yogurt, mayo grapes, slivered almonds, apple on whole-wheat bread, side spinach salad; salmon, dill sauce, roasted potatoes, green beans

If you have a goal for how many calories you want to eat each day, you can pick a meal plan that will help you lose weight. Be aware that if you’re very active or have other health factors, these plans might not have enough calories for you. Talk to your doctor to make sure a low-calorie diet is a good choice for you.

For example, 1,200-calorie diets are usually only for inactive females; they would not be suitable for most males or active people of any gender. You should speak to your doctor before starting any new diet plan.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider

It is recommended you talk to your health care provider before starting any weight-loss program as they can advise you on a program that would be best suited for you, as well as how to exercise safely if you have any physical or medical challenges/pain that might make daily tasks difficult.

Let your health care provider know about any previous attempts you have made to lose weight. Be honest about any fad diets that have caught your attention. They may be able to recommend a weight-loss support group or registered dietitian to help you.

Think About Your Personal Needs

There is not a single diet or weight-loss plan that is right for everyone. Consider your own personal preferences, lifestyle, and weight-loss goals when choosing a plan. Find a plan that can be customized to fit your needs.

Before starting a weight-loss program, think about:

  • Diets you’ve tried. What did you like or dislike about them? Were you able to follow the diet? What worked or didn’t work? How did you feel physically and emotionally while on the diet?
  • Your preferences. Do you prefer to do a weight-loss program on your own, or do you want support from a group? If you like group support, do you prefer online support or in-person meetings?
  • Your budget. Some weight-loss programs require you to buy supplements or meals, visit weight-loss clinics, or attend support meetings. Does the cost fit your budget?
  • Other considerations. Do you have a health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or allergies? Do you have cultural, religious, or ethnic requirements or preferences for food?

Look for a Safe, Effective Weight-Loss Program

Losing weight too quickly can be harmful to your health and hard to maintain over time. A more sustainable approach is to lose 0.5-2 pounds per week.

If you want to lose weight quickly, it is safe to do so as long as you do it correctly. For example, you could go on a very low calorie diet with medical supervision, or you could start with a brief quick-start phase of a healthy eating plan.

You cannot lose weight successfully without making long-term changes to your lifestyle – what you eat, how much you exercise, and your behavior. Of these, changing your behavior is the most important and will have the biggest impact on your success.

Be sure to pick a plan you can live with. Look for these features:


A flexible eating plan includes a variety of foods from the different food groups. These food groups are vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds.

A plan that includes occasional treats is more sustainable than one that strictly forbids them. Sticking to foods that are available at your local grocery store and that you actually enjoy eating will make it easier to stick to your plan long-term. However, you should limit your intake of alcohol, sugary drinks, and high-sugar sweets, as the calories in those items don’t provide enough nutrients.


Your diet plan should be nutritious and calorie-rich. Avoid problems by not eating excess amounts of certain foods, severely cutting calories, or omitting entire food groups. A safe and healthy diet does not require large dosages of vitamins or supplements.


Your weight loss plan should consist of foods you actually like, and would want to eat for the long term. If you do not enjoy the foods on the plan, or if the plan itself is too restrictive or gets boring, you will most likely not stick to it. Consequently, long term weight loss is unlikely.


In order to lose weight, you should exercise and eat fewer calories. Exercise not only boosts weight loss, but has many other health benefits, such as preventing muscle mass loss. Exercise is also essential in maintaining weight loss.

Evaluate Weight-Loss Plans

Before starting a weight-loss plan, spend some time researching it and learning as much as you can about it. Ask these questions first:

What’s involved?

The plan should be flexible to your needs, not require expensive foods or supplements, have some form of support, and provide tools for long term success.

What’s behind the diet?

There is research to support the weight-loss approach taken by clinics. The staff at these clinics are typically experienced and certified in weight-loss and management. They often coordinate with patients’ regular providers to ensure the best possible care.

What are the risks?

Is the weight-loss program safe for you to participate in, especially if you have a health condition or take medications that could potentially interact with the program in a negative way?

What are the results?

What you can expect in terms of weight loss from a program should be clear, based on whether it promises quick or significant weight loss, as well as whether before and after photos look real. Another important factor is whether the program helps you keep the weight off long term.

Tips for Meal Planning

Here are a few tips to make meal prepping easier: 1. Choose simple recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or time to prepare. 2. Make a list of the ingredients you need for each recipe and buy them in advance. 3. Dedicate a few hours on the weekend to cook several meals at once. 4. Store the cooked meals in the fridge or freezer so you have them ready to eat during the week. You can find weight-loss success by following a few simple strategies. Meal prepping ahead of time will make it easier for you to eat healthfully and lose weight. Here are a few tips to make meal prepping easier: 1. Choose simple recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or time to prepare. 2. Make a list of the ingredients you need for each recipe and buy them in advance. 3. Dedicate a few hours on the weekend to cook several meals at once. 4. Store the cooked meals in the fridge or freezer so you have them ready to eat during the week.

Schedule Time to Plan

To lose weight faster, schedule 30 minutes each week to plan your meals and create a shopping list. This is also the best time to schedule your workouts.

Shop and Cook

After you’ve planned your meals, you can go shopping to make sure you have all the ingredients you need. Many people do this right after they plan their meals so they have everything they need for a week of healthy eating. Once you have all your food, you can organize your refrigerator so that all the diet-friendly foods are easily accessible.

Post Your Plan

Creating a healthy weight loss plan is a good first step, but it won’t help if you don’t look at it regularly. Put your plan in a place where you see it every day to remind yourself of your goals and help you make healthy choices throughout the day.

Prep Foods in Advance

After dinner, lay out the foods you’ll need for breakfast the next morning. Then, pack your lunch and snacks for the next day. Finally, prepare any ingredients you’ll need for the next night’s healthy dinner.

The Keys to Weight-Loss Success

Taking the time to plan meals in advance will help ensure success in reaching weight loss goals. Though it may take some time to get used to, once a system is in place it will be easier to stick to. Enjoy the process of getting organized and reaching goals.

You cannot successfully lose weight if you do not make permanent changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find an approach to weight loss that you can stick with for the long term. If you go off of your diet and return to your old habits, you will likely regain the weight you lost.

Any diet that causes you to feel deprived or hungry is likely to fail, as you will eventually give up. Most weight-loss diets also do not promote healthy lifestyle changes that can be maintained permanently, so even if you do lose weight, the pounds are likely to come back when you stop dieting.

It is important to be mindful of your weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight long-term.


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About Rhoda ...

Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

Elegant Eating is based on the science of protein leverage and follows the unique R.E.M.A.P approach to successful aging.

Learn More About Elegant Eating and How to Get Started

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