Creating a personal diet plan – a guide by Amir Vahid

knightsbridge PT

Aim: To gain muscle and lose weight through an exercise programme and diet

During the seven years since I started working as a fitness trainer and nutrition advisor, the most common question from clients is regarding diet and how to achieve either weight gains or to slim down and tone.  I know that, for most of them, calorie counting is difficult or the necessary changes are significant from their normal shopping habits.

This article is to address this issue and to share some of my knowledge about helpful and easy to follow meal plans. I hope to help break down the issues and to provide help in creating and writing an easy diet program for yourself.

Why some diet plans may not work for you

You may hear of a calorie counting diet which focuses on the amount of calories you consume during the day. The problem with this type of diet is how complicated and time consuming it can become!  To monitor accurately, it is necessary to have nutrition calorie charts.  It can also become a major pre-occupation to always be thinking about what you are eating!

In my experience, as long as you eat well (see below) and work out regularly, you can achieve you goals and you don’t need to take the joy out of eating by counting calories constantly!

The key to losing fat and maintaining your muscles is having a small portion meals every few (say, three hours – although this varies according to the individual) to boost your metabolism. However, by limiting the amount of food you are eating you may lose some weight but you will also lose muscle.  Muscles are the best fat burner tissues in the body and by building more tissue, you will burn more fat.

If your goal is to gain muscle, then you should to increase your intake of proteins, ‘good’ fats and unrefined carbohydrates. Your meals should include approximately 40% complex carbohydrate and 35% protein and the rest should come from the ‘good’ fats such as: olives, avocados and coconut.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day!  

Let’s get started:

  1. Write down any personal food allergies or particular requirements in your diet.
  2. Find out lean protein, complex carbs and good fats sources (see below for examples).
  3. Learn your portion size: for three main meals try to have something more substantial than your snacks.
  4. Try to have enough fibre (vegetables) with your main meal, these are mostly low or zero calories and because of the fibre content it helps us to feel sated and full.
  5. Avoid having fruits at night.
  6. Be honest with yourself! Make a short term goal which is easier to achieve and once you have achieved this goal you will be able to make a longer-term and perhaps greater goal.

Here is a list of some good protein sources:

Greek yoghurt

Swiss cheese

Eggs

Milk (2% fat)

Soy milk

Steak 

Ground beef (high %age of lean meat better)

Chicken breast (boneless and skinless)

High-protein seafood – all types of fish

Dried lentils

Mixed nuts

Turkey  

List of Complex Carbs that can be eaten every day:

  • All-bran cereals • Apples • Artichokes • Asparagus • Bagels • Baked beans • Bananas • Beans • Broccoli • Brown bread • Brown rice • Brussel sprouts • Buckwheat • Buckwheat bread • Cabbage • Carrots • Cauliflower • Celery • Chickpeas • Corn • Cornmeal • Cucumbers • Dill pickles • Dried apricots • Eggplant • Granary bread • Grapefruits • High fibre breakfast cereals • Kidney beans • Lentils • Lettuce • Low fat yogurt • Macaroni • Corn • Muesli • Multi-grain bread • Oat bran bread • Oat bran cereal • Oatcakes • Oatmeal • Okra • Onions • Oranges • Other root vegetables • Pastas • Peas • Pinto beans • • Plums • Porridge oats • Potatoes • Prunes • Pumpernickel bread • Radishes • Ryvita crispbread • Shredded wheat • Skim milk • Soy milk • Soybeans • Spaghetti • Spinach • Split peas • Strawberries • Sweet potato • Tomatoes • Turnip greens • Watercress • Whole barley • Whole grain cereals • Whole grain flours • Whole meal bread • Whole meal spelt bread • Wild rice • Yam • Zucchini

List of good fats :

Natural peanut butter

Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans (preferably plain or lightly salted)

Fish oil (capsules)

Olive oil

Flax oil

Avocado

Flax meal

Wheat germ

Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds

So have a look and find your favourite carbs and fats and proteins and start making your own personalised diet with no hassle.

Good luck!

Amir

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