Meal Plan
Here are a few things I want you to keep in mind when planning your meals:

-Please do not be afraid of carbs or healthy fats!  I know low carb diets have been a fad lately, but getting high quality carbohydrates are crucial for maintaining energy levels, brain function, and muscle tone.  Healthy fats are required for maintaining normal hormone levels.  Your brain is predominantly composed of fat.  Keeping healthy levels of good fats in your diet has been shown to act as an anti-depressant and elevate mood.

-All your food will be measured cooked, except for oats and rice because they hold so much water so you will measure those uncooked.  Keep in mind that oats and rice usually double in size when cooked, so ¼ cup of oats and rice usually equal ½ cup cooked.

-Consistency is crucial on this program.  Remind yourself of your commitment to stick to the ten days, the commitment you gave to yourself, and the commitment you gave to me.  Your results will be dependent on compliance and sticking to the plan.

Supplements
Supplements are not required on this program, but I do recommend them.  I keep my supplementation very basic and suggestion having three things that you use daily:
-Multivitamin
-Fish Oil
-Protein Powder
I prefer using MRM brand supplements because they use high quality ingredients and do not use any artificial sweeteners.  You can use my code NATALIE at checkout when you order from their site www.mrm-usa.com for a 40% discount on your entire purchase if you would like.

The Meal Plan
We are going to eat the majority of our healthy fats in the morning and the majority of our complex carbs in the evening and after your workout.  This might be totally different from any other program you have ever done before, but I am asking you to trust me here.  Studies show that weight loss is less about when you eat your carbs during the day and more about the total amount of carbs you are getting in the day.  Keeping the meals that include carbs at night has really helped me keep my cravings in check at night time.  I also prefer eating this way because then I can eat the same carbs as my family when we sit down for dinner.  If you work out in the early morning, you will still have your carbs right after your workout.  In this program you are going to have four meals each day and on days you work out you will also have an additional pre/post workout meal (counts as your fifth meal).  The main breakdown of your meals will look like this:

Meal 1:
-Protein: 1 serving
-Healthy Fats: 1 serving
-Veggies: unlimited
-Fruit: 1 serving

Meal 2:
-Protein: 1 serving
-Healthy Fats: 1 serving
-Veggies: unlimited

Meal 3:
-Healthy Carbs: 1.5 servings
-Protein: 1 serving
-Veggies: unlimited

Meal 4:
-Healthy Carbs: 1 serving
-Protein: 1 serving
-Veggies: unlimited

Pre/Post Workout:
Pre workout:
-Protein: 1 serving
-Healthy fats: ½ serving
Post Workout:
-Healthy carbs: 1 serving
*Try to eat your pre workout meal 30-60 minutes before your workout, and your post workout meal 30-60 minutes after your workout.

Nutrition Guidelines (click for a larger view)

Meal Plan

The beauty of this program is that you do not have to stick to a rigid, set meal plan that I give you.  You can mix and match from any of the foods listed on the grocery list. If you do not like one of the foods I have listed, then switch it out for a food that you do like!  There are so many options on this grocery list that you should not feel deprived.  The main thing I want you to focus on is sticking with the portion sizes listed and use the guide above to help you structure your meals.

As a member, you have access to all of my favorite recipes.  These are all meals you can use on your program, and are also meals that I eat every week too.  You do not have to use these meals, I am just sharing with you some ideas that work well for me and that our entire family enjoys.

Unlimited Veggies. If you are still hungry, you can add as many vegetables as you would like into your plan, or slightly increase your protein portions.

For most portion sizes you will go by the portion size listed on the container.  Most lean proteins will be 4oz for one serving (for women) and most fish servings will be 6oz for one serving.  For any fruit and meats you are unsure of the portion size use www.nutritiondata.self.com to look up the serving size.  You can also use the easy portion size guide I explain here.

I have intentionally not written a strict meal plan for the entire 12 week program, because I think it’s important to teach you the basics of structuring your meals in a way that allows you to create foods and recipes you love and enjoy using healthy ingredients.  However, I also know it’s helpful to have a visual guide to follow until you get the hang of structuring your meals yourself.  If you prefer having a meal plan to follow, here is a meal plan following the same structure I have listed above.  You can use this as a guide for 10-days and then after the 10 days is up, use the same structure to create meals that work best for you and your schedule.

If your day ends up getting crazy and you miss a meal, don’t stress too much about it, just simply double up your portion sizes in the next meal.  The program is written this way for a reason, and meal timing is a consideration, but ultimately at the end of the day your total food intake (calories) is what will make the most difference for you.  My hope here is that by giving you a lot of flexibility with the way you structure your meals that you will learn the foods you like and the foods you don’t like, and learn to use this format as a lifestyle that you can maintain forever, even after this 12 week program is over.  Once I stopped living my life by a series of 12-week trainers and just learned that this was the way I lived my life, my results became much more consistent.

Counting Calories
I personally do not particularly enjoy tracking my calories.  Although it most definitely works to keep track of calories, carbs, protein, and fat, I find that it points me in the direction of the extreme ‘all or nothing’ mindset, which almost always causes me to crash and burn.  With this being said, I do like to track my meals for the day a couple times a week just to make sure I am in the calorie range I want to be.  I like using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone or computer.  If you choose to track your food, I suggest starting with approximately 12-13 times your current body weight and roughly 40/30/30 (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat).  See how your body responds to these calories.  If you start to see changes after two weeks and you aren’t starving then you probably are at a good number.  If you are really hungry at the end of each day, then slowly bump up your calories each week by around 75-100 calories per day until you feel satisfied.  There is not a perfect formula that will work the same for everyone.  You will need to learn to listen to your body and adjust based on how you are feeling and looking.

Free Meal / Date Night
In this program, I want you to plan one meal per week where you have a mental break from keeping track of your meals and you really enjoy yourself.  Enjoy a glass of wine or two, order some sushi or go out for a family pizza night, have some dessert or frozen yogurt, really enjoy this meal.  I want you to look forward to your date night/free meal each week and enjoy that time with family or friends guilt-free.  If you can plan your date night/free meal on a training day that is great but do not sweat it if you can’t.  This is not a time to go crazy and eat every single thing in sight, but a time to enjoy a nice meal with your family and friends and just relax.   I look forward to this meal every week!  It makes me feel more balanced with my eating program, stops me from feeling so strict with myself, and has helped me step away from the ‘all or nothing’ mentality.

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