[Download video or download audio]

In this lesson, we look at how to start creating a meal plan — from setting a calorie goal, to putting together a plan that will get you lean.

The key to the lean-out diet is the meal plan:

  1. Create a plan that will get you to your calorie goal, and stick to it for a week (or 3-4 days if that’s too boring).
  2. Eat the same meal plan every day for a week (with about 2 “free” meals where you can moderately eat any meal you want).
  3. Free meals: Two meals a week where you can eat whatever you want, but not pig out. Eat mindfully and moderately, but you give yourself a bit more freedom, savor it.
  4. The rest of the time, stick to the plan as well as you can (not necessarily perfect, but close as you can).

Start by creating a calorie goal (see screencast in the video). If you want to get leaner, you’ll want to reduce it by about 500 calories a day.

Next, go to cronometer.com … watch the screencast in the video for how to use it. In cronometer, enter the meals you want to eat, and see how close you come to your calorie goal (50 calories on either side of the goal is fine). You can also see how you do with nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals.

You can use the meals you normally like to eat … or try to eat more vegetables and whole foods.

I eat the same thing for two meals every day — like my usual “Buddha bowl” with grains, beans and greens with a little sauce on top, which I eat for lunch and dinner every day. I’ll allow myself to vary within that bowl.

Some of my favorite ideas for meal plans:

Try and adjust: Try to set up a meal plan, try it out for a week, adjust after a week or so.

Give yourself some space to indulge: a little dark chocolate, some fruit, a glass of red wine in the evenings, free meals a couple times a week where you let yourself indulge a bit.

Don’t forget to enter beverages: coffee with cream or a Starbucks latte, tea drinks with sugar, alcohol, soda.

For those who want to gain lean weight: I will share an article soon about this topic, so hold tight!

Please watch the video lesson, it has a screencast on how to set a calorie goal and use cronometer.com to set up a meal plan.


This week, try this:

You can expand on this exercise each week!