4 Ways to Decode the Science behind Weight Loss Plan

Weight Loss Plan

This article will focus on factors which influence required Weight Loss Plan in the long-term.

The Objective of this article is to provide you tips to lose weight.


Set your Goal for Weight Loss that is realistic and can be achieved by you.

  1. Set a target Weight for Weight Loss.
  2. Planned exercise for targeted Weight.
  3. Maintain Calorie levels.
  4. Understand Food Labelling and healthy behavioral modification.

Objective 1:  Set a target Weight for Weight Loss

 Follow six tips that will work for you to reach your target weight (explained in the following para). Think of the time when you had put on extra weight. Then the time, you weighed lowest as an adult.

Make a Note: of the feelings of dejection or happiness, you had on mentioned above both occasions at your physical appearance.

According to a set point theory, your body tends to maintain an optimal weight range even if you don’t indulge in dieting and high-intensity exercise.
This optimal weight range is genetically programmed to maintain a certain amount of body fat which in turn keep your weight stable.

Therefore, Make a Note: of your stable weight when not at any diet plan.

‘Set-point’ can be regulated with a well-balanced diet, restricted calorie, and increased physical activity. Optimal set point helps in weight loss.

Did you go through any medical issues because of excess weight? I probably did due to an underactive thyroid. Now, I have fixed it. You can do it as well.

Good News: Over-eating and physical inactivity are not to be blamed now for your gaining weight.

  1. Take a notebook or diary. Write down your weight as labelling highest and lowest.
  2. Do a little bit of journaling. Write down your thoughts, resolutions, comments of friends and family. These all work as a fuel to motivate you to reach your target weight.
  3. Calculate your Ideal Body Weight (IBW). Height and weight are ideal parameters for nutritional assessment as established in various studies. For instance, Hamwi method for Ideal Body Weight: If Sara’s height is 5 feet 3 inches and her weight is 65 kg. Overweight (BMI= kg/m2)   (a) Estimate IBW for height: For 5 feet ‘3 inch =100lbs+5×3 (5lb for each inch)=115lbs= 52Kg.                                                                                     (b) For IBW, estimate calories required for an obese individual of sedentary activtiy=52×(20 or 25)= 1170 Kcal on an average.
  4. Body Mass Index (BMI):

    Most accurate method of calculating the weight of an adult ( studies proves that BMI is stature independent measure of weight, good correlation with fat mass). Both IBW and BMI are used clinically.

Remember: Do not set high goals and do not get sad by weight plateau. These may occur due to water accumulation as fat gets lost.

5. Time Frame to Follow:

The Desirable rate of Weight Loss is 500 g – 1 pound per week. As explained below:

1 g of pure fat=9 Kcal and is equivalent to a storehouse of 7.7 Kcal. Therefore, 500 g (1/2kg) of body fat sums up to, 500×7.7= 3850 Kcal.

So, for the desired weight loss of about 500g per week=3850/7=550 Kcal per day.

For Overweight, 500 kcal is reduced from daily intake of an individual that is, < 20% above IBW.

For Obese, 750-1000 kcal is reduced from daily intake of an individual that is, >20% above IBW.

6. Monitor Your Weight:

One of the parameters to check the progress of weight loss plan is monitoring weight.

The best time to weigh yourself is before drinking or eating anything and with minimal clothes on. Fluctuation in weight may arise due to fluid shift and loss of fat from day-to-day.

The notebook or diary you maintain to write the weight in the duration of weight loss is enough. But, there are certain apps and websites as well to keep a record of your daily weight.

For instance, myFitnessPal, Fitbit, weight tracker, Bluetooth digital weighing scale with a smartphone app, and Body composition analyzer are easily available online.

Note: A study conducted by the American Heart Association suggests daily weighing aids in weight loss. People who weigh six to seven times a day are more self-aware of their changing behaviors than those who weigh only once a week in a weight loss plan.

Their findings focus on the technique of self-awareness to maintain weight effectively.

Objective 2 : A planned Exercise for targeted Weight 

Key to Weight Loss Program:  1. Calorie or energy balance. 2. Exercise

Calories In (food)=Calories Out (exercise), weight remains the same but, Calories In (healthy eating plan) < Calories Out (planned exercise)=Negative Energy Balance is the requirement for effective weight loss.

A Planned Exercise Program should be based on following factors:

(a) Duration and (b) Intensity

In addition to fitness, experts suggest, exercise is a proven therapeutic tool to minimize the risk of metabolic syndromes such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

(a) Requirement/ Duration of Daily Physical Activity as per hhs.gov:

For continuum health benefits, an adult must indulge in 150 to 300 minutes (2 and a 1/2 hours to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

During vigorous-intensity you must do 75 to 150 minutes (1 hr 15 min to 2 hr 30 min) of aerobic exercise.

For children and adolescents from 6 to 17 years, 60 minutes (1 hr) of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise 3 days of the week is recommended.

Click here to read more: Pre-requisites for Exercise: Safety First

 Safety Tips before you Hit the Gym or Outdoor Exercise:

  1. Start with a warm-up and stretching routines.
  2. Stay hydrated, drink about 6 ounces of water a day, it is an important part of the vigorous-intensity exercise.
  3. Buy a good pair of shoes that are comfortable during the exercise.
  4. Consult the doctor before you take up weight training.
  5. Look for the weather conditions before you move out for exercise.

Objective 3  Maintain Calorie Levels 

Food is the basis of our life and provides our body with macronutrients and micronutrients with water. It involves digestion, absorption, and metabolism of food for optimal health of an individual.

A good diet is essential to meet the daily nutritional requirements of an individual and store nutrients in the body in the emergency condition like stress and strain.

An effective meal planning depends on factors like food habits, food availability and grocery shopping.

There is no single food or superfood that can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy to nourish us.

According to 2015-2020 US Dietary Guidelines, a food combination across all the food groups while paying attention to calorie limits forms the healthy food pattern.

The Food Groups Comprise of: 

Macronutrients: A food group that includes foods rich in carbohydrate, protein, and fat required in large quantity in one’s diet.

Carbohydrate foods also are known as energy giving foods includes cereals and their products, starchy root and tubers, and sugar.

Foods rich in protein are of animal origin such as milk and milk products, fish, chicken, eggs, and poultry of good quality also known as bodybuilding foods.

Whereas, fats like nuts and oilseeds are energy dense foods that add palatability to the diet.

  • Eat 8-10 servings of whole-grains daily
  • 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
  • 4-5 servings of nuts and seeds per week
  • 2-3 servings of low-fat milk daily

Related: Include Healthy Fats in your Diet

Micronutrients: These are protective foods needed in a small amount and forms the major part of nutrients to regulate functions of the body. These include vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins are required for energy production, immune function and other processes. Likewise, minerals regulate fluid balance and bone function and so on. All vegetables (except starches, tubers) and fruits fall in this group.

RDA or Recommended Dietary Allowances: A dietary intake level sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of all (97-98%) healthy individual at a specific life stage and gender group.

 Sample Menu for Healthy Weight Loss (7 days): Low in simple carbs, salt, and sugar, High in Fiber from complex or good carbs, low to moderate on healthy fats.


  • Breakfast: Oats Upma with vegetables and nuts
  • Mid-morning: Plain Green tea (without milk and sugar)
  • Lunch: 1 whole fruit (Apple/ Kiwi/ Berries)
  • Evening snack: Guacamole with Garlic whole bread (1 in no).
  • Dinner: Pulses with Quinoa salad


  • Breakfast: Oats pancake with mint and parsley puree and sprinkled flaxseeds
  • Mid-morning: Infused water ( Ing. cucumber, ginger, lemon, mint)
  • Lunch: Vegetable brown rice with grilled carrots, broccoli and curry sauce
  • Evening snack: Mixed Fruit salad
  • Dinner: Paneer Corn Wrap (cottage cheese) made from skim milk
  • Breakfast: Baked beans with egg white omelet (2 in no.)
  • Mid-morning: 1 whole fruit (Apple/ Kiwi/ Papaya)
  • Lunch: Steamed idli with coconut chutney
  • Evening snack: Quinoa chips and plain green tea
  • Dinner: Baked Brussels sprouts with pickled and charred cucumber


  • Breakfast: Indian Vegetable Quinoa pilaf with egg whites (1 in no.)
  • Mid-morning: Baked apple with muesli toppings
  • Lunch: guacamole with kidney bean curry with bell peppers
  • Evening snack: A handful of nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts)
  • Dinner: Roasted Vegetables with roasted tuna fish/ lentils and plain yogurt


  • Breakfast: Vegetable Poha (rice flakes with peanuts and cottage cheese) in olive oil
  • Mid-morning: Detox Green tea
  • Lunch: Pumpkin Ravioli with pineapple salsa
  • Evening snack: Healthy Salad Salsa ( sprouted mung beans, lime juice, spring onions, bell pepper, flax seeds, tomato, parsley)
  • Dinner: Vegetable jalfrezi, mint sauce with Bajra (millet) chapatis (1)


  • Breakfast: Boiled egg (2) with charred broccoli salad ( sprinkled with sunflower seeds and olive oil).
  • Mid-morning: Barley water/ Fenugreek infused water
  • Lunch: Pan seared salmon with parsley vinaigrette
  • Evening snack: Apple stew without sugar
  • Dinner: Oats peas dosa with Quinoa sprouts


  • Breakfast: Fruit and nuts steel-cut oatmeal porridge with no sugar (1 bowl)
  • Mid-morning: Infused water ( apple and pomegranate)
  • Lunch: Whole roasted cauliflower (1 medium), almond paste, lemon zest with roasted chickpeas (rinsed and dried) around 40 grams, olive oil.
  • Evening snack: Cucumber salad with soy sauce, tahini sauce, lentil sprouts, and olive oil
  • Dinner: Asian Quinoa salad with pan-seared salmon and fennel

* The above recipes are my personal choice. You can add or subtract foods of your choice, seasonal availability, and personal nutritionist recommendation.

* In case of lactose intolerance have plain or greek yogurt, soy milk/ almond milk. In Celiac disease eat quinoa, a gluten-free healthy substitute for wheat.

Objective 4 Understand Food label and Healthy Behavioral Modification

Studies show that people get motivated when changes are made in their home food environment.

An individual can be motivated to eat healthy food by not limiting but giving plenty of choices.

Self-awareness or self-control during weight loss goals is correlated to increase in activity in the prefrontal region of the brain. Success in weight loss largely depends on behavioral modifications.

Self-control overcomes the activity of leptin and ghrelin, hormones that lead to over-eating.

Always consult your physician and nutritionist before you take up any specific diet plan, exercise plan or supplements that suit your physiology.

Related: 6 Health behavior modifications to go for healthy food

Note: Diet low in simple carbohydrate with high fiber diet from good carbohydrate has proven health effects in weight loss, cardiovascular health.

Reviewed by-

Zoomi Singh

Dietician, PhD (Nutritional Sciences)

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