My fiance just got herself a personal trainer. This personal trainer has about twenty years of experience, so there is a wealth of knowledge to mine from this guy. While hardly overweight, my fiance's goal is weight loss and becoming lean. Hence her personal trainer has drawn up a diet plan geared towards weight loss and toning. I took a look at the diet plan drawn up for her and gleaned the following:
#1: Eat five small meals per day instead of three bigger ones. Each meal should be little bigger than the size of your fist. You body digests and metabolises a smaller meal more efficiently. Less of the meal is stored as energy or gets converted to fat.
#2: Low carbs. Carbohydrates are essential for the person who wants to become buff and build muscle, but when burning fat and going for the toned look, carbohydrates need to be minimised. Too much pasta, starch and potato need to be curtailed. My fiance can only have one potato per week for instance.
#3: Trash bread. This is something I have heard repeatedly from every health and fitness fanatic, from bodybuilders to runners. Apparently the carbohydrate you get from bread isn't the same as the type you would derive from say, rice. Bread digests faster than other carbohydrates and just ends up in the bloodstream as sugar. Rice, or better yet Basmati or brown rice, is a better option.
#4: White meat rules. Fish and chicken should be the only meat you eat for the most part. Red meat is inferior on almost every count. White meat is leaner and has more protein. In case you didn't know, red meat includes pork, beef, lamb and basically any meat besides chicken and fish. However, red meat can be had once every two weeks, as the iron in red meat is very rich and good for the blood. Point #4 here of course assumes that you eat meat, so please bear with me if you're vegetarian or vegan.
#5: Grilled, not fried. Everything should be grilled or baked, everything. (If it isn't grilled or baked, then it must be raw.) Frying pans should be stored away in your cellar. If for whatever reason you have to use oil, only a few drops of olive oil (never sunflower or vegetable oil) is permitted.
#6: Lots of water, little dairy. Besides the odd yoghurt for breakfast and occasional cup of coffee, dairy is prohibited. You will get your precious Calcium from the other foodstuffs you eat.
#7: Egg whites, not the yolk. For a rich source of protein without the cholesterol, eat egg whites without the yolk. If you can stomach it, having it raw is the best option.
#8: Breakfast made simple. Oats, muesli, egg whites, fruits and water form a typical breakfast in a weight loss diet.
You will find that while these dietary rules and restrictions seem very draconian at first, the plus side is your diet becomes highly simplified with rice, chicken, tuna, grilled vegetables, oats, yoghurt, water and fruit making up the bulk of you consume. Cheese, french fries, steak and milk shakes are pushed to the wayside. This is not about eating the bare minimum and starving your body into shape; it's about eating healthy portions of the right types of food that will efficiently fuel your body without adverse side effects like fat build up.
My fiance quickly became accustomed to this diet and feels much better inside and out. The results come quickly and you should not look at this as some sacrifice. Rather you need to realise that the diet you currently eat is what's abnormal. Also important to note is the food in this weight loss diet is much quicker to prepare than a typical fried or cooked meal.
You can run on the treadmill all you like; if you don't eat properly you aren't going to make any real progress. Why not eat right if you're already investing the hours and sweat at the gym? The surprise you might find is that this diet not only provides visible results, but makes you feel more light and invigorated to the point where you will not miss that heavy steak with mushroom sauce and melted cheddar one bit. The taste you forego will be far outweighed by the healthier body and self image that becomes part of the new you.