If losing fat and toning are your goals, you’ll need a good nutrition plan for women. Don’t panic! We’ve got some ideas that will get you on track.
If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight before, it’s most likely because your body didn’t respond to your diet or nutrition plan the way it did for other people.
Why didn’t it?
Every woman’s body is different and needs a different ratio of macronutrients (they provide calories and energy needed for growth, metabolism, and other bodily functions). What you need is a nutrition plan that works for your body to help it in your quest to lose fat and get toned.
A good nutrition plan doesn’t necessarily mean eating less food. It means switching to healthier foods that your body can more easily process and absorb to give you the nutrients you need to lose fat and get toned faster. While everyone’s nutrition plan should be tailored to their goals and body’s needs, a successful nutrition plan depends on a healthy mix of the three macronutrients: Carbs, protein, and fat.
What are Macronutrients?
All three of these play a vital role.
The Importance Of Carbs
Carbs are the macronutrient we need the most of. They are your body’s main source of fuel and should make up 45 to 65% of your calorie intake. Carbs are essential for your central nervous system, brain, kidneys and muscles (including your heart) to properly function. They also play an important role in digestive health and eliminating waste.
It’s important to learn everything you can about carbs.
Carbs are mainly found in starchy foods (grains and potatoes), fruits, veggies, and yogurt. It’s better to eat carbs with a lot of fiber, specifically fruits, veggies and whole grains. Foods like beans, nuts and seeds contain carbs but in lesser quantities.
The Importance of Protein
About 10 to 35% of your calories should come from protein. It is vital for growth, repairing tissue and building and preserving lean muscle. Protein also helps produce essential hormones and enzymes and gives us energy when carbs are unavailable.
You can also research the best tasting protein powder for variations.
As well, protein has essential amino acids that our body needs to function properly. Many of these essential amino acids come from plant sources of protein (nuts and legumes), but animal sources of protein (meat, fish, and poultry) contain all of the essential amino acids, so it’s important to include animal protein in your diet.
The Importance of Fat
Although you’re trying to lose fat with an easy diet, your body does need some fat to survive. Roughly 20 to 35% of your calories should come from fat.
We need fat for normal growth and development, as well as the absorption of vitamins A, D, K, E, and carotenoids. Fat cushions your organs and maintains cell membranes. It also provides your food with better taste, more stability, and smoother consistency.
There are even studies on the benefits of a high fat diet.
There are three main types of fat: Saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Saturated fat (found in meat, butter, lard, and cream) and trans fat (found in baked goods, fried foods, and margarine) have been linked to an increased risk for heart disease. These are the fats you want to avoid and replace with unsaturated fats (nuts, avocado, olive oil and canola oil) to help you lose weight and have a more toned body.
What You Eat Matters as Much as How Much You Eat(Quality Versus Quantity)
Keep in mind that what you eat matters as much as how much you eat. If you’re eating fats to build muscle, think about the kind of fat you’re consuming. A serving of meat may have the desired amount of fat for your goal, but an avocado could give you the same amount of fat along with an abundance of other vitamins and nutrients. A serving of rice and veggies might meet the same calorie quota as a carb heavy roll.
Take other factors into account when planning your meals. Think about more than calories and macronutrient count – vitamins and other nutrients are important for your health too. What follows are problems you could encounter when opting for less nutritious or lower quality food.
Chemical And Hormone Reactions
You could, in theory, lose weight by eating 1,500 calories of non-nutritious foods like baked goods or processed carbs every day. But that would hardly be beneficial to your health. Eating foods with too much sugar results in an overproduction of insulin, which hinders weight loss. Foods you eat can also trigger hormone reactions that directly impact your weight loss goals.
Fattening foods have a denser supply of calories. This means you can eat fewer of them and reach your calorie limit. Eating less food tells your metabolism to slow down to preserve energy. The key to maintaining a healthy metabolism is to eat several small meals throughout the day.
Eating a non-nutritious diet will not provide you with the health and energy you need to achieve your weight loss goals, which is the whole point!
Eating a variety of foods from all the food groups will give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function efficiently. This will allow you to feel great while on your journey to looking great.
Diet Plans for Women
Now let’s get into what a nutrition plan might actually look like! Someone who wants to lose fat will have a different nutrition plan from someone who wants to get toned. This is where calorie count and a unique mix of macronutrients plays an essential role. Let’s dive in.
Diet Plans for Women to Lose Fat
Losing fat involves having a caloric deficit. That means you want to be burning more calories than you consume. While a caloric deficit leads to weight loss, losing too many calories can cause your body to siphon energy from muscle tissue. This drains you of energy, making you feel weak and less motivated to achieve your weight loss goal.
Macronutrient Ratio: 10 to 30% Carb. 30 to 40% Fat. 40 to 50% Protein.
Breakfast: ¾ cup bran flakes, 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 banana
Snack: Apple with 2Tbsp almond butter
Lunch: Whole wheat pita, 3oz turkey, ½ red pepper, spinach, mustard
Snack: 1 cup sliced cucumber, 3Tbsp hummus
Dinner: Baked salmon, 1 cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup wild rice
Diet Plans for Women to Get Toned
Toning your muscles involves a caloric surplus. That means you should consume more calories than you burn. If you have too many extra calories, though, your body will store them as fat once it is done building muscle. The trick to toning your muscles is to build muscle mass without gaining too much fat while engaging in the best workout routine!
Macronutrient Ratio: 40 to 60% Carbs. 15 to 25% Fat. 25 to 35% Protein.
Breakfast: 1½ cups oatmeal, 2Tbsp peanut butter, 1 banana
Snack: Handful of almonds, ½ cup Greek yogurt
Lunch: Chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice
Snack: 1 glass milk, 1 banana
Dinner: 8oz lean ground beef, 1 cup green beans, whole grain roll, apple
Your Body Type When Crafting Your Nutrition Plan
It’s also important to take your body type into account when developing a nutrition plan. Knowing your body type will help you determine how well you tolerate macronutrients and allow you to better personalize your nutrition plan.
There are three main body types (ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph), although many people fall somewhere in between. If you happen to fall in between two body types, pick the one you relate to most. This will help you to establish a benchmark for your nutrition plan.
Characteristically slender with delicate bone structure and fast metabolisms, ectomorphs often have a hard time putting on mass. They require more carbs and calories but tend to get lean quickly. Ectomorphs should consume a higher percentage of carbs (30 to 60% of total calories) depending on whether the goal is to lose fat or get toned.
For losing fat, stay in the lower end of the range (30 to 40%) and maintain the higher end of the range (45 to 60%) for getting toned. About 25% of calories should come from protein and the rest from fat.
Mesomorphs typically have muscular, athletic bodies and tend to have an easier time losing fat or getting toned. They should consume a moderate level of carbs (20 to 50% of calories) depending on fitness goals.
For those looking to get toned, 40 to 50% of calories should come from carbs. For those trying to lose fat, 20 to 30% of calories should come from carbs. To maximize fat loss, you should increase protein and fat intake while decreasing carbs but no more than 40% of calories should come from fat.
Endomorphs are characteristically softer with round or pear-shaped bodies and slower metabolisms. They have an easier time putting on muscle but also have a greater tendency to put on fat. High carb intake will usually end up as fat in an endomorph, so their diet should consist of a lower carb intake to lose or maintain weight.
Depending on fitness goals, endomorphs should stick to the lower end of the carb range (10 to 40% of calories). For those trying to lose weight, 10 to 20% of calories should come from carbs and those looking to get toned should make carbs 30 to 40% of their calorie intake. Protein intake should make up 25 to 50% of calories and 15 to 40% should come from fat.
Staying On Track With Your Diet
Habits and cravings are tough to beat when you start a new diet even if it’s an easy diet plan. It can be a rough transition from eating fast food daily to learning how to prep healthy meals for the week.
The key is to mentally prepare and plan a cheat day once a week. If you feel food deprived during the week, concentrate on your upcoming cheat day and the fact that you can eat what you want that day (potato chips, beer, you name it). But keep in mind that it’s only one meal! It’s not an entire cheat day.
When it comes to curbing cravings, protein drinks and bars can help. Mixing flavored protein powder in a blender with ice and berries makes it taste more like a milkshake, which can help satisfy your sweet tooth.
Your cravings rear their ugly heads when you dine out, where it’s easy to stray from your nutrition plan. The key to sticking to your nutrition plan while dining out is to customize your order.
Restaurants are usually very accommodating, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
When It Comes To Meals, The More, The Merrier
Another way to stay on track is to eat more meals throughout the day. Restricting yourself from eating so much so that you’re constantly hungry isn’t good for your body and will leave more room for you to cave into unhealthy cravings.
As a general rule, eating three standard meals and one or two snacks is better for you—no matter your fitness goal. Eating every few hours will ensure you don’t feel hungry, which will prevent you from submitting to unhealthy cravings.
These nutrition plans should help you lose fat and get toned, but it’s up to you to listen to your body and determine how well your diet is working to achieve your goal. For best results, create your own unique nutrition plan. Remember: You and your body are different from everyone else. It only makes sense that your goals and nutrition plan are too.
You’ll have to tailor your nutrition plan based on your goals and budget. Eating healthy is not cheap, but making sacrifices elsewhere will be worth it in the end. Taking the time to plan and prepare your meals will give you better insight into what you’re actually eating and help you stay on track. Just keep in mind that calories aren’t the only things that matter. The quality of nutrition you consume is just as important as how many calories you consume.
By Laura Bayard