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The Slim Down Meal Plan

Written by Muscle Food PT Steve Ahern

Exercise and nutrition are the pillars of a healthy lifestyle, and if your goal is to simply slim down then we’ve the meal plan for you.

Muscle Food PT: Steve Ahern

However, before we go any further, you must understand that there is a vast difference between “cutting” and “slimming.”

A cut is normally something you do after a period bulking in order to showcase those hard earned muscles. To slim down is to do just that… slim down a bit so you are fitter, healthier and stronger.

The following meal plan will help you overhaul your diet if your ambition is to stay healthy, have more energy and drop a few pounds from your frame, but will be unlikely to reduce your body fat to such a low percentage that you have visible abs without tensing.

Your Kitchen

Starting any meal plan can be tough, especially if you feel like you have to give up your favourite treats and snacks to achieve your dream body. The thing is, if you stock your kitchen with the right foods, including high protein snacks, you will be able to sail through your plan with not much heartache at all!

By having the following essentials, you’ll make your journey a lot easier:

  • Protein: Lean beef, Chicken Breast Fillets, Turkey, Eggs, Liquid Egg Whites, White Fish, Protein Powders
  • Carbs: Low GI and high GI carbs like Oats, Brown Rice, Sweet Potato, Whole-wheat Pasta
  • Fruit & Veg: Eat the rainbow! Tropical Fruits, Leafy Greens, Broccoli, Peppers, Beans and Legumes
  • Oils: think teaspoons instead of tablespoons to avoid too much fat in your diet: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado
  • Snacks: Nuts, Seeds, Protein Bars, Protein Cookies

The trick to slimming down is to not feel like you’re giving things up which is why protein bars and cookies with chocolate chips are great things to have handy.

The Golden Rules

1. Hydration is key

In order to slim down, you need to drink plenty of water and other non-caffeinated beverages, preferably 2l per day. Plus, avoiding sugary drinks will help flatten your waistline!

2. Regularly get your munch on

If you allow yourself to go hungry, you’ll be more likely to snack on unhealthy foods in order to get that quick fix feeling. By snacking at regular intervals you will keep your blood sugars under control and metabolism steady.

3. Protein it up

Protein is more satiating than carbs and fats making it an ideal go to macro at snack time. Plus it helps build and repair muscle tissue and encourages your body to release fat-burning hormones.

4. Strategic carbs

Carbs are not your enemy. In fact, they’re the body’s primary source of fuel but you’re best to eat your starchy carbs around your workout times for rapid energy release. Low GI carbs like whole grains and veggies will raise your blood sugars gradually and can be enjoyed throughout the day.

5. Cut the processed food

If it comes in a box, carton or pack of any kind you’d be best to steer clear. Processed foods are normally contain fewer nutrients than wholefoods and often have more calories too.

It's Time to Slim

Like any goal, slimming down is going to take time, patience and perseverance. You're not going to wake up after one day on plan with inches off your waistline. However, by getting your nutrition and exercise right you will have a much greater chance of success!

And don't forget to rest. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night, as this is when your body really gets to work building muscle and burning fat…

The Breakdown

You already know the important of protein, carbs and fats:

  • Protein build and repairs muscle
  • Carbs provide you with energy
  • Fat also provides energy and promotes fat loss by helping control insulin levels but only when you choose healthy fat options

Together, all three make up your daily calorie intake, but just how many calories should you be eating per day?

Simple! To lose any amount of weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, which means you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. By using the formula below, you will have a custom macro breakdown to suit your slimming down goals…


1. BMR

This is your basal metabolic rate, which is how many calories your body needs on a daily basis just to perform normal functions like breathing.

For Men
  • BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
For Women
  • BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weigh in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)

2. Now, adjust this to suit your activity level


  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (easy exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 4-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Extremely active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job): BMR x 1.9

3. Calculate a safe calorie deficit

Unlike a cut, you do not need to have such a drastic calorie deficit to achieve your goals, between 200 and 300 calories per day is usually enough for a change to take place.

As previously mentioned, it’s about what you eat that’s important – higher protein content, low GI carbs and plenty of healthy fats.

4. Protein

To slim, it is recommended you aim for 1.2-1.6 per kg of weight.

5. Fat:

Aim for 0.9 – 1.3g per lean body mass

6. Carbs

Use up the remaining calories with low GI carbs, except around your training times when starchy carbs are best for glycogen replenishment.

Note

Don’t just use any extra calories as an excuse to eat junk, aim for the classic 80-20% ratio whereby 80% of your foods come from clean sources to optimise not just your general health, but your gains too.

Example meal plan

There will be an element of trial and error when it comes to slimming down. What works for one person may not work for another, so this plan is merely an example of what to eat and when.

If you feel you're not slimming or your progress has plateaued, then simply adjust your macro breakdown.

Meal 1: Yoghurt and Oats

Meal 2: Banana Protein Smoothie

Meal 3: Chili Turkey

Meal 4: 30 Minutes Pre Workout

Meal 5: Intra workout (Optional)

Meal 6: Post Workout

Meal 7: Spicy Tomato Meatballs

Meal 8: Pre bed

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