Making the switch from your routine diet to a healthier one is a lot easier than you think. In this chapter, you will learn more about how to plan meals in the Mediterranean diet.
Keep in mind that this is just a framework to work with. It is by no means a strict meal plan. You are better off following a meal plan that suits your needs so be sure to make one for yourself. It is very much possible to lose weight under the Mediterranean diet. For better results though, you want to consult your dietician for the best meal plan for this purpose. Remember that this diet calls for increased physical activity as well. You will need time to lie down, rest and relax too.
When making a meal plan, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Enjoy your food. – Remember that relishing every flavor of your food is part of the Mediterranean way of life. Beyond good nutrition, eating is a feast for the senses you must enjoy. It is not considered an inconvenient chore but an important part of life.
- Watch the servings. – In any diet, it is important for your calorie intake and activity level to breakeven. For weight loss, you want to consume fewer calories and move around more. Of course, this is easier said than done in today’s lifestyle. Again, it is important to ask for advice from a dietician or other nutrition expert. In this meal plan, it is up to you to adjust serving sizes to meet your needs.
- Drink plenty of water. – As much as possible, try to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Exercise, rest and relax – Apart from the diet itself, what you do in between meals is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. You should spend less time sitting down and more time moving and getting around. Go outdoors and find something to do to cover your exercise. Be sure to get enough rest and relaxation as well.
Planning Your Exercises
The American College of Sports Medicine recommended exercise of at least thirty minutes a day most days of the week. This applies for everyone regardless of age and fitness level. For losing weight, aerobic activity of up to sixty minutes a day and strength training are needed. It may sound too much, but it is possible to fulfill this requirement with an exercise plan in place. This plan is quite simple and does not require any special skills, bulky gym equipment or special instruction.
Keep in mind that this is just a guide. The plan calls for exercise for three times a day, but you can perform a version for everyday use. You have a free hand at adjusting the intensity level according to what suits you best. In terms of intensity though, be sure that you are working a sweat but not so hard to avoid straining your muscles.
- Perform gentle stretching of up to five minutes. To start your day, perform fifty jumping jacks or start with five first and work your way up to fifty.
- Get some fresh air and take a brisk walk for ten minutes during your coffee break.
- At lunch, take a brisk walk again for fifteen minutes. Climb up or down a flight of stairs before dinner.
- End the day with as many sit-ups and push-ups as you can add a few repetitions weekly. Finish off with some gentle stretching.
- This time, walk in place briskly for five minutes but not before some gentle stretching.
- Commute to work but get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. This should give you at least ten minutes.
- Walk around for fifteen minutes and eat a light lunch.
- For your coffee break, stair climbing would be nice.
- Finally, ride your bike around before dinner or do something else with equal intensity.
- Start the day with gentle stretching and continue with five minutes of dancing.
- Take a brisk walk for twenty minutes with a few coworkers if possible.
- Instead of taking coffee, take two minutes to jog in place then perform ten jumping jacks and twenty wall push-ups. After this regimen, you will not need coffee anymore.
- More brisk walking for fifteen minutes wait once you get home after a light dinner. Why not take the whole family with you?
- If you have dumbbells or heavy cans of food, use this as weights against your chest while doing some sit-ups.