28 Day Meal Plan

1. Eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, daily. If your protein intake is too low on a restricted-calorie diet, you’ll lose a lot of muscle in addition to any fat you’’re lucky enough to shed. A high protein intake will help you preserve lean mass during your dieting phase.

Choose lean high-quality proteins like egg whites, poultry, lean red meat and protein supplements. The diet provided here contains about 220-–250 grams of protein daily, fine for a male weighing 200-250 pounds. Up your protein only if you’’re heavier than 250 pounds, or you’re very hungry and need to add food during the day.

Juge suggests an additional protein shake for an easy quick fix. (If you’’re under 180 pounds, cut out 3 ounces of meat or chicken per day from the diet.)

2. Keep your carbohydrates low to moderate when trying to lose weight. ““On a low day you’’ll have closer to 100 grams of carbs,”” he says. ““A moderate day is about 150 grams of carbs.”

Juge prefers to rotate low and moderate days in order to keep energy high and provide a change of pace. Good, clean, fiber-rich carbs include oats, potatoes, rice and whole-grain bread.

3. Drink at least a gallon of water per day. It’’ll keep you hydrated and healthy. Water should be your primary beverage during dieting. Though many rely on diet sodas, Crystal Light and other low-calorie sweetened drinks, plain old water is really your best bet.

HOW TO STAY ON TRACK

Habits and cravings are the devil when it comes to dieting. “Fast food is so easy and there’’s a McDonald’’s on every corner. The hardest thing is to develop the new habit of preparing your meals and taking them with you.”” The first week is the most difficult, so prepare yourself for some challenges as you abandon your usual routine.

For example, you might usually go out for a sub sandwich or burger at lunch. You”’ll now have to bring your food with you and resist the temptation of spicing up your meal with the Doritos in the vending machine or your usual can of Coke. It can be a real mental battle to stick to your food plan.

When it comes to cravings, protein drinks and bars may also help cure your need for sugar, says Juge. He recommends mixing a flavored protein powder in a blender with as much ice as possible, so it’’ll taste more like a milkshake. Day Five’’s protein shake includes a cup of berries, which will also help with sugar cravings.

Once or twice per week, Juge adds, you can have a low-sugar high-protein bar. The newest varieties taste more like candy bars, with state-of-the-art sweetening techniques.

3 FAVORITE DIET FOODS

Egg Whites – “There’s no fat or cholesterol and they’re pure protein. They’re very easy to prepare – they take just a couple of minutes to make.”

Oatmeal – It’s low in sugar, high in fiber and provides sustained energy. Choose the old-fashioned variety if you have a few minutes to spare, and the one-minute oats if you’re in a rush. In a pinch, you can even rip open a packet of instant oatmeal (plain flavor only) — just add hot water and stir.

Green Veggies – They’re healthy and deliver many benefits, like fiber for improved digestion. They contain many valuable vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants for better health. Plus, they’re bulky and fill you up for just a few grams of carbs per cup of veggies.

(Quick tip: To quickly steam veggies, put an inch or two of water in a bowl, add veggies, cover bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes.)

Meal 1

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (dry amount) made with water
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 6 egg whites cooked with 1 yolk

Meal 2

  • 1 cup green vegetables
  • 8 oz. chicken breast

Meal 3

  • Tuna sandwich made with 6-oz. can tuna (in spring water), 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 1 Tbsp. fat-free mayo, 2 leaves romaine lettuce

Meal 4

  • Protein shake made w/ 40 g whey protein

Meal 5

  • Omelet made with 8 egg whites and 1 yolk, cooked with 1/2 cup broccoli, 2 mushrooms, fresh salsa

1,862 calories, 226 g protein, 149 g carbohydrate, 35 g fat, 23 g fiber

If you haven’t lost any weight after the first week, it may be time to troubleshoot. In addition to following an exercise program, Juge’s first line of defense is upping your cardio.

Instead of one cardio session per day, he recommends doing 45 minutes of cardio in the morning, on an empty stomach. Then add a second 30-minute session in the late afternoon or evening.

If that doesn’t stimulate weight loss, Juge’’s second line of defense is to cut carbs slightly. On lower days, drop to 60-–80 grams a day rather than 100. Eat this low-carb diet for two days, then insert one higher-carb day (150 grams).

Think of your nutritional plan as the anchor to stabilize all of your other efforts. Eating right will help you shed fat, increase your energy and definitely look the way you want to. Follow this get-lean plan faithfully, and you’ll be showing off your new, leaner body in less than a month.

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