Losing weight is a relatively simple proposition: In order to shed pounds, you merely have to expend more calories than you consume. When you try to keep track of all those calories, though, things start to get complicated. Most people live such busy lives that it’s difficult for them to keep accurate lists of the foods they eat during the course of a day. It’s also difficult to estimate the precise number of calories in the foods they eat. That’s why a diet that is formulated around a weight loss meal plan can be so convenient. When you adhere to a diet plan, you’ll know in advance how many calories, grams of protein and grams of fat you’ll be consuming.
The Science of Weight Loss
The number of calories a healthy person expends throughout the day depends up that person’s sex, age and level of activity. The baseline calorie expenditure for a moderately active woman is approximately 2,200 calories per day while the baseline expenditure for a moderately active man is approximately 2,500 calories a day. Since a pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories, you should be able to lose between one and two pounds a week simply by decreasing your daily intake by 500 calories a day. The most effective diet plans aim to help you do that in a safe fashion.
People tend to underestimate the number of calories they consume throughout the day, however. While they may be conscientious about jotting down that sandwich they ate for lunch, they often forget to record the doughnut they picked up absentmindedly during their break.
Additionally, weight loss does not proceed in a linear fashion. When you decrease the amount of calories you consume, your metabolism compensates by becoming more efficient so that it burn fewer calories. Your body tries to conserve its fat stores by burning its muscle mass. The net result is that your weight loss slows down. This state is known as “adaptive thermogenesis.”
The Benefits of Meal Plans
One of the benefits of meal plans offered through professional weight loss programs is that they are typically formulated by professional nutritionists and dieticians. These experts understand how to help compensate for the effects of adaptive thermogenesis so that you can continue losing weight at a safe, moderate pace without jeopardizing your health until you reach your weight goal.
A healthy eating plan will emphasize lean proteins as well as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and processed sugars will be kept to a minimum. Portion sizes will be reduced so that the person who wants to lose weight will learn to recognize what constitutes a healthy portion just by looking at the amount of food on his or her plate.
Many healthy eating plans also include supplements that contain vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that may be lacking when a diet is restricted. Often these supplements will contain amino acids. Your body is only able to produce 10 of the essential amino acids it needs to sustain its own processes; the other 10 amino acids must come from your diet.
Amino acids are the essential building blocks in proteins. Proteins comprise approximately 20 percent of the structures in your body, and they are also responsible for functions that sustain life such as healing, cellular transport, and nutrient storage.
Supplements that complement healthy eating plans typically contain some or all of the following amino acids:
• Glutamine: Glutamine helps your gastrointestinal system function efficiently and also plays an important role in boosting your immune system.
• Beta-Alanine: Beta-Alanine is known to enhance athletic performance by helping the body build lean muscle mass.
• Histidine: Histidine is implicated in a wide range of metabolic processes.
• Leucine: Scientific studies have demonstrated that leucine also stimulates the growth of lean muscle. This amino acid helps regulate blood sugar levels and is essential to the production of growth hormone.