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A bit of my history: I'm 32 and for the last 12+ years suffered from many mental health issues, due to which my weight kept going up & down. I would feel good for a few months and hit the gym and lose weight, then suddenly depression & stress hits me, and I overeat and gain weight. It kept happening over and over till I sought professional help a few months ago, and thanks to the medication, I've never felt better before. I finally feel I got my life under my control. I now want to get into a good shape, so my confidence levels go up and I don't run into risk of any health issues, esp. diabetes, as it runs in my family.

The first natural step I did was google to see how many calories I need to consume to be in calorie deficit and what the macros breakdown should be. I then came up with a diet chart based on it but the problem is every article I read, every fitness influencer I follow, every gym bros' videos I watch, they all say different things. One person says do intermittent fasting, other person says eat 6 smaller meals, one says eat less carbs, other says carbs are fine if taken with protein. There are just so many contradictory statements, I just don't know what to follow. Maybe they are generalised statements to a particular set of target audience, so I thought I'll come here for a more personalised advice.

I'm 32 years old male, 178 cm tall and 80.5 kgs. My target weight is around 72 kgs. I have no intentions of building a muscular and sculpted body, just want to be lean, with a flat tummy, and a decent posture. Also, I'm a vegetarian and don't eat eggs either.

This is an example of a diet plan I'm currently following: My Diet Plan

Am I on the right diet plan for losing weight and building muscle? Is there anything really wrong that you can spot in this or am I on the right track? Should I be replacing anything here or should I be particular about the timing of eating certain foods, like before workout or every alternate day only, etc.

I also plan to replace the rice and pasta with quinoa, bread, noodles, sweet potatoes on a few days, so there's a bit of variety. Are they ok to consume?

My current workout schedule is: 1 hour of Yoga every morning 30 mins of weight training 30 mins of Zone 2 cardio

What do you all think? Any help and guidance will be truly appreciated. Thanks.

2 Answers 2

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  • 8kg weight loss sounds like a pretty realistic goal.
  • you should calculate your caloric maintenance and then calculate the deficit from there. This one is ok for a rough estimate of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), then you can figure out if you want a more aggressive deficit (~ 0.7kg/week, but no longer than 8-10 weeks) or less (~ 0.25kg/week)
  • Carbs are not the enemy, it's what the body uses more efficiently to convert to energy.
  • group most of your carbs around your workout time, for more energy to workout and help recovery after
  • when on a cut, most of your carbs should come from non starchy whole foods, so less pasta / bread / potato and more green beans / leaf vegetables / broccoli. That will keep you satiated throughout the day. Leave starches and sugars for your pre/post workout meals
  • try to get the majority of your protein from foods if you can, use protein powder sparingly - although I can see that might be harder since you're vegetarian. Maybe include soy beans?
  • high carbs on training days and low carb on off days, or everyday the same: doesn't seem to matter much, do whatever you can stick to better.
  • Varying food is fine, whatever helps sticking to your plan.
  • weight training is important to hold your lean mass: the more lean mass you have, the more calories you burn. You want to keep the most while you're losing fat, not lose both
  • cardio seems fine, just avoid weight training right after. You want to have energy to perform.

Most important thing for counting calories in your diet: be honest with yourself and try to be as precise as possible. Cooking oils also have calories, so if you use 1 tsp it should be accounted for. Same for condiments, sauces, that one square of chocolate, etc. It's where a lot of people in the "I'm on deficit but not losing weight" category fail.

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I agree with the comment above about not being scared of carbs. Whole grains like low-sugar granola, quinoa and brown rice will help you get the most fiber and be more healthy in the long run.

In terms of varying your protein, try nonfat plain greek yogurt (with a little bit of honey for taste), cottage cheese, beans, hummus and other sources of plant food.

Fruits and vegetables are low calorie so big salads and lots of veggies to snack on throughout the day are a good way to feel full and get the right nutrition.

I am a nutrition student so not fully trained but have tried something similar myself. Good luck!

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