The Beginner's Guide to Nutrition and Weight Management

The Beginner's Guide to Nutrition and Weight Management

Table of contents

  1. General Guidelines
  2. Simple strategies
  3. Psychology of eating- IMPORTANT
  4. 7-Day meal plan

General Guidelines

  1. Water, water, water.  I’m sure you know this, but anything else has to go: soda, diet soda, sweet teas, etc.  You can use electrolyte drinks or mixes, but make sure they are sugar-free. Hydration is key as it helps with energy, toxin flushing, and digestion.  A general rule to follow for water consumption is 40-50% of your body weight in ounces.  So, if you weigh 200 pounds then you would want to drink roughly 80-100 ounces.   Life is busy, and you don’t have to track your water consumption, but a good strategy is to drink out of the same water bottle every day and based on the size, have an idea of how many times you want to fill it up throughout the day.  

  1. Ultra-processed and sugary foods have to be kept to a minimum.  These consist of boxed, bagged, and (most) frozen food; crackers, chips, cookies, frozen pizzas, etc, etc.   Now, let’s be completely honest, it’s damn near impossible to completely cut these foods out of our diet because of the way our food system is set up, the fact that we still like to socialize and don’t want to be hippy d-bags who only eat celery at a party, and dammit because they taste so good and I still want to eat them.   Keeping them to a minimum in the casa and/or limiting your consumption to social settings or weekends is a good way to go.  The cravings can be bad especially at first, but the farther along you go, the easier it becomes.  Something to keep in mind: Usually the more ingredients in a food, the worse it is, so check the ingredient list if you’re unsure.  If it has a lot of ingredients, especially words you don’t know or can’t even pronounce, then it’s most likely not healthy.  

  1. Intermittent fasting.  This is a very simple concept: you have an eating window and fasting window.  During the fasting portion you only consume water and black coffee.  During your eating window, you would consume 3 moderate-sized meals or two meals and a healthy snack.  Let’s start with 12 hour fasts for the first week then move to 14 hour fasts from there.  Now, this is going to take some time to adjust to both mentally and physically, but after about 2 weeks your body adjusts and you should start to see and FEEL some results.  Also, I’m not expecting you to fast every day (unless you really want to), so let’s shoot for 5 days a week.

Above is a link to an article that explains the basics about IF


Simple Strategies

1.  Portion control- The portion size in America has grown exponentially in the last 30 years.  Try to keep your portions under control by only eating one helping at any given meal.  If you’re out to eat and you know your order is going to be huge, take half home for lunch the next day.  Also, make sure that the one helping you are having isn’t a heaping plateful.  After every meal you should feel satiated, but not bloated, gassy or sluggish.  Those are all signs that you ate too much.

 2.  Slow down your eating.  It takes roughly 20 min for your brain to catch up to your stomach in terms of being satiated.  The slower you eat, the more time you give your brain to realize that you are full.  If you are scarfing down your food at a fast rate, then you inevitably eat more than you need because your brain will tell you you’re still hungry while your stomach is actually full.

 3. Going along with point two, make sure you are thoroughly chewing your food.  This is a good strategy to help slow down your eating, and it also really helps with digestion.  The more your food is chewed, the easier it is on the stomach.

 4.  This kind of goes along with my point about processed foods, but try to keep this to a minimum.  Drinking too much alcohol adds empty calories to your daily intake, along with affecting your sleep and overall health.  I’m not telling you to give it up completely, but try to limit alcohol intake to 1-2 days a week.

 5.  Don’t beat yourself up for missing a day or falling off the wagon for a few days or even a week.  Shit happens.  We go on vacation, get sick or just get super busy, so there are going to be points where the diet suffers.  The point is to always go back to it.  Don’t let a lapse in diet frustrate you to the point that you end up quitting.  The past is the past and the only thing you can do at any given time is move forward, even if it seems a little difficult to get back into it. 



So, full disclosure, I’m not a psychologist (duh!).  But I can help you understand some things that will change the way you think of food and your relationship with it.  Ultimately, that’s what you have to realize: we’re not employing a diet, we’re putting you in a better relationship with food.  Certain things have been embedded in our psyche that determine how we interact with food.  Some are learned behaviors and some are innate habits that we must identify in order to override.  Above all, you have to remember that no matter how much strategy is implemented or awareness is raised, it still takes self-control and sacrifice.  There are going to be times where you have to force yourself to say no.  That being said, let’s get into some specific details:


-Boredom- This is a big one.  Become aware of when you eat, especially at night.  Human beings are prone to eat when they are bored, but once you become aware of this, it’s easier to control.  Once again, this is going to take self-control and time.  You know when you are truly hungry and when you are not.  Become hyper aware of the difference so you can fight the urge to eat blindly.  Also, understand that every time you feel a hunger pang doesn’t mean that you should reach for a piece of food. 


-Emotion- Boredom kind of segues into emotions only because boredom is an emotion.  But there are other underlying emotions such as fear, anxiety, and anger that can lead people to eat uncontrollably.  Make sure to be mindful of your state of mind when you are eating or craving food.  Satiating your appetite has a similar effect to doing certain drugs in that it releases dopamine in your brain.  It’s like you’re literally getting high by eating, which is why there seems to be a loss of control.  Once again, self-recognition is going to be paramount here, or having a check-in buddy to help you stay diligent can be a useful resource as well.


Portions/clean plates- Over the last 40 years the average meal portion has grown exponentially, and our bedside manner has gone by the wayside as well.  What I mean by that is many of us don’t have a traditional mealtime where you sit and discuss your day and take your time eating.  Food is inhaled in front of a TV.  The main problem with this is two fold: 1. Eating fast usually leads to overeating because your stomach fills up quicker than your mind recognizes.  If you eat too fast, your stomach will be full, but it will take your brain several minutes to reach the same conclusion.  Therefore, you end up eating too much and feeling overfull, bloated or gassy after. 

We’ve been trained since we were little to finish everything on our plate.  An empty plate is a happy plate!  This notion is problematic because we often have too much on our plate to begin with.  As a society, we are consuming too many calories with most meals.  So, start small with each meal and take your time.  You’ll be amazed to see the difference in your hunger level when you eat smaller portions and take a longer time to eat in general.           


 7 Day Meal Plan


Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt topped with mixed berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds.
  • Snack: Carrot sticks with hummus.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a vinaigrette dressing.
  • Snack: Apple slices with almond butter.
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with steamed broccoli and quinoa.

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal topped with sliced bananas, almonds, and a drizzle of honey.
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries.
  • Lunch: Whole wheat wrap filled with turkey, avocado, spinach, and mustard.
  • Snack: Celery sticks with peanut butter.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried Chicken with mixed vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas) served with brown rice.

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes, served with whole grain toast.
  • Snack: Handful of mixed nuts.
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad with chickpeas, diced bell peppers, cucumber, feta cheese, and a lemon-tahini dressing.
  • Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple chunks.
  • Dinner: Grilled shrimp skewers with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed green beans.

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie made with spinach, banana, almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder.
  • Snack: Cherry tomatoes with mozzarella cheese.
  • Lunch: Lentil soup with a side of mixed green salad.
  • Snack: Sliced cucumbers with tzatziki sauce.
  • Dinner: Baked chicken breast with roasted Brussels sprouts and quinoa.

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain toast with mashed avocado and a poached egg on top.
  • Snack: Orange slices.
  • Lunch: Whole wheat pasta salad with grilled vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, onions) and a light vinaigrette dressing.
  • Snack: Edamame beans.
  • Dinner: Baked cod with asparagus and wild rice.

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats made with rolled oats, almond milk, Greek yogurt, and mixed berries.
  • Snack: Sliced bell peppers with hummus.
  • Lunch: Turkey and avocado wrap with spinach, tomato, and mustard.
  • Snack: Pear slices with a handful of almonds.
  • Dinner: Grilled steak with roasted sweet potato wedges and steamed broccoli.

Day 7:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain pancakes topped with fresh fruit and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
  • Snack: Hard-boiled egg.
  • Lunch: Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
  • Snack: Air-popped popcorn.
  • Dinner: Baked tofu with sautéed kale and quinoa pilaf.


*This is a sample of a 7-day meal plan with different meals for each day.  You don’t have to switch up the meals as often as every day.  If you find a combination of foods/meals that you like and work for you, go ahead and eat them multiple times a week.

**Also, make sure to pay attention to your macronutrients.  You want to make sure you are getting 1.0g of protein per pound of bodyweight.  For ex., if you weight 100 pounds, you want to take in 100g of protein a day, at minimum.  You may need to alter the above meal plan slightly depending on your goals, training regimen and size.



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