Commit to our four-week plan of healthy eating with regular exercise and you can soon make a difference to your figure.
Our plan, devised by a registered nutritionist, will help you lose weight at a steady rate of about 1lb to 2lb per week. The good news is, the more weight you have to lose, the faster the pounds will disappear.
Be sure to complete the recommended exercise too. It will help you build muscle tissue that will speed up your metabolism. A faster metabolism means you will burn more calories even when you’re not being active.
Weight loss plan basics
- The plan works out around 1400kcal per day: 300kcal for breakfast, 350kcal for lunch, 450kcal for dinner and 250kcal for snacks. But these figures are approximations that average out, because people’s ideas of what ‘small’ or ‘thinly spread’ is varies so much.
- Watch your portion sizes – stick to the recommendations. Little changes like using more oil than suggested, having extra meat or using standard margarine or whole-fat milk will add to your daily calorie count and mean weight loss is slower.
- Never skip breakfast.
- Keep hydrated: drink at least six to eight glasses of water each day.
- Dress your salads with fat-free salad dressings or a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Use low-sugar and low-salt products where you can.
- Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk in drinks.
- Try to use wholemeal breads, pasta and brown rice. There’s little difference calorie-wise, but wholemeal versions are higher in fibre so will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Try to vary the fruit and veg you have as much as possible so you get the widest range of vitamins.
- All these recipes are for one, but quantities can be easily doubled if you’re cooking for more
Margarine, butter and oil
- For frying use a spray olive oil or vegetable oil such as sunflower or olive.
- We haven’t included butter in the plan because it’s high in saturated fat.
- If you don’t like low-fat olive spread, save the calories and leave it out.
- If the recipe would be dry without, substitute one teaspoon of low-fat mayo.
- If you want to use standard margarine, be aware that this will add around 100kcal per day to your total per slice of bread (most calories in toast come from the butter not bread). Spread thinly and you can halve this amount.
Weight loss plan: mix and match breakfasts
Choose one each day. Try to have as much variety as possible.
Have each of these breakfasts with a small (110ml) glass of pure fruit juice. Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk for the cereal.
- 40g no-added sugar muesli with milk. Two tablespoons of low-fat natural yoghurt topped with a sliced banana.
- 40g low-sugar breakfast cereal (look for cereals ‘of which sugars’ is less than 2g per 100g) with milk. One slice of melon.
- Two Weetabix or Shredded Wheat, topped with four chopped dried apricots and four prunes with milk.
- Medium bowl of porridge made with milk, topped with a small pot of fruit in juice.
Have each of these breakfasts with a small (110ml) glass of pure fruit juice. For jam, use low-sugar jam or fruit spread.
0% fat Greek yoghurt is a great low-fat creamy choice for natural yoghurt.
- One slice of toast, spread with a little low-fat olive spread and jam. A small low-fat natural yoghurt topped with a tablespoon of chopped nuts and seeds and sweetened with a teaspoon of honey.
- Two slices of toast, spread with a little low-fat olive spread and jam.
- One slice of toast topped with a small tin of baked beans and a grilled tomato.
- An English muffin, split and toasted. Top with a poached egg, two rashers of lean grilled back bacon and a grilled tomato.
- Two slices of fruit loaf, toasted and spread with low-fat olive spread. A small low-fat natural yoghurt topped with a handful of berry fruits and a teaspoon of sunflower seeds.
Have each of these breakfasts with a small (110ml) glass of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
- Two slices of toast topped with a small tin of tomatoes and one poached egg.
- A tin of sardines in tomato sauce, sprinkled with a little Worcestershire sauce, grilled on two slices of toast and a grilled tomato. One piece of fruit
- English muffin toasted, split and topped with one scrambled egg and eight mushrooms boiled in a little water. (You can also spray the mushrooms with one-cal olive spray and grill or fry them in a non-stick pan.) One piece of fruit.
- Blend one banana, half a mango, 150ml milk and three tablespoons of low-fat natural yoghurt. Have with one slice of toast spread with a little low-fat olive spread.
Weight loss plan: lunches
You’ll find weekday recipes to make at home as a packed lunch. If you can’t make the weekday lunches suggested in the plan, buy any sandwich, wrap or filled pitta (preferably wholemeal) under 350kcal.
Weekend lunches might need a bit more preparation or cooking, but are still very easy.
If you are making sandwiches at home, use wholemeal bread and spread with either low-fat mayo or salad cream, low-fat olive spread or chutney before putting in your filling.
Pack your sandwiches with as much salad as you can, then fill with either:
- 75g lean meat or poultry
- 100g tinned fish
- 1 boiled egg
- 20g cheese or 30g low-fat cheese (grating makes it go further)
- low-fat cream cheese, lightly spread
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat coleslaw.
Fill a plastic box with a salad to eat with your sandwich. If you want to dress your salad, use a fat-free dressing or a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Weight loss plan: dinners
If you don’t have time to cook the evening meal, choose a ready meal under 450kcal, 20g fat and 2g salt – but limit these to two a week.
Try to cook some fresh vegetables or have a salad to accompany your ready meal.
You can swap your lunch and dinner meals at the weekend if you prefer to have your main meal at lunchtime.
If you don’t like the recipe for that day, you can choose any equivalent recipe from the plan. We’ve included some extra vegetarian choices at the end of the plan (week 4).
Weight loss plan: snacks
The plan is designed with two snacks per day: one in the morning between breakfast and lunch, and one in the evening between lunch and dinner.
It’s best not to skip these snacks to save the calories for bigger treats like alcohol, because you’re likely to end up hungry and then ditch your healthy eating habits.
Weight loss plan: treats
You can swap one snack each day for one of these special treats:
- 25g packet of Twiglets
- cereal bar (under 120kcal)
- two-finger KitKat
- two Jaffa Cakes
- 125ml pot low-fat rice pudding
- three squares of good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- small glass (125ml) red or white wine – no more than four each week.
Weight loss plan: exercise
If you’re accustomed to more exercise than our plan suggests, rev up your activity levels accordingly. You’ll need to push yourself slightly all the time to reap weight-loss benefits.
If you’re totally unused to exercise, just do what you can – for example take a ten minute walk each day. But as soon as you’re used to this, increase the time and intensity.
If you are on medication or have a medical condition, ask your doctor for advice before starting any exercise or diet plan.