The Best Meal Plan For Female Weight Loss
Your Detailed Diet Plan For Immediate And Long Lasting Results
By: Zack Mathews, NASM - CPT, CES, & PES. PN-L1
The absolute best meal plan for weight loss as a female is one that helps you lose weight at a steady pace and is not overly restrictive or complicated.
If you’re looking for a female weight loss meal plan that is chicken and broccoli 3 times per day, you’re in the wrong place.
Sure you might get results in the short term, but who wants to eat that every single day!? No thanks.
Instead I want to teach you the best diet plan for female weight loss that multiple clients of mine have followed, such as Kassandra & Kimberly.
These gals are awesome and were able to lose weight without giving up the foods they love or restricting their calories to a dangerous point.
That’s what I’m going to teach you how to do today.
This guide will give you everything you need for a successful transformation including:
- The ideal macros for female weight loss
- The best eating schedule for a female losing weight
- How should a women eat to lose weight? Let’s build your meal plan!
- Foods a female should prioritize when focusing on fat loss
- Foods a female should avoid when trying to lose weight
- Frequently Asked Questions
Anytime you are working on a meal plan that is going to work specifically for you, the most important step is knowing roughly how many calories you should be consuming.
Weight loss is all about how many calories you consume versus how many calories your body burns. If you consume less than you burn, weight loss occurs. This is called being in a calorie deficit. If you eat more than you burn, you’ll gain weight. This is known as a calorie surplus.
Carb intake, hormones (for MOST people), or how many meals a day you eat have anything to do with weight loss.
Always remember, calories are king.
For your ideal meal plan for female weight loss, I want you to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 8 and 12.
There are so many fancy calculators out there to find how many calories you should consume, but I’ve found that anywhere between 8 - 12 will put you in a calorie deficit.
Now the question I know you are asking is what number should I choose.
I have a saying that I tell every one of my online and in person clients and I want you to remember this…
When you are focusing on losing weight with a goal of keeping the weight off for the rest of your life, you want to be eating as much as you can while still getting results.
This basically means you don’t want to be overly restrictive of your calories.
As the sayin’ goes, “the quicker you lose weight, the more likely you are to gain it back”
Ok, I don’t know if that’s a common saying, but it’s something I’ve found to be true.
If you’ve been looking for a diet plan for female weight loss and they are telling you to eat 1200 calories, get away from that plan.
I want you to take the higher number of the two and focus on hitting a range that is within 100 - 150 of that number.
For example, say you weigh 200 pounds and calculate 1600 (200 x 8) and 2400 (200 x 12). Start at the higher end and give yourself flexibility so roughly 2250 - 2400 calories.
That might seem like a lot of calories but most people GREATLY underestimate how many calories they are actually eating and will be able to lose weight at a number that may seem high.
The great thing about that number it that you can adjust it if you aren’t seeing results after 3 - 4 weeks.
Female Weight Loss Specifics For Protein, Carbs, & Fats
When it comes to weight loss, you don’t need to track all 3 of your macronutrients; protein, carbs, and fats.
I like to keep things simply with my clients so since fats and carbs don’t affect weight loss, don’t worry about tracking them.
The one thing that is important for a diet plan to lose weight for females is your protein consumption. Protein is going to help your body prioritize fat loss and not muscle loss, which is what you want.
Take your bodyweight and multiply it by 0.6. Try to eat at least that much protein, or more!
I’ve had clients getting close to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight because they enjoy protein rich foods and they’ve gotten amazing results.
The Best Meal Plan For Female Weight Loss Checkpoint #1
Before you go any further, stop here and make sure you have your calorie range and protein target.
If you’ve ever come across a meal plan that scheduled exact meals at certain times of the day, I hope you questioned their reasoning.
Study after study has shown that meal timing and meal frequency do not matter when you are losing weight.
If someone tells you that you need to eat breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day or someone else says you should skip breakfast because fasting is the key to weight loss, give them a big smack across the head.
For your ideal meal plan for female weight loss, eat on a schedule that works for YOU.
If you wake up starving, eat breakfast!
Are you always busy in the morning and don’t have time to eat, skip breakfast.
Seriously, there is no WRONG way to schedule your meals.
These are the two most common eating strategies that I build with my clients. If one of these works for you, go ahead and adopt it.
The Best Meal Plan For Female Weight Loss Checkpoint #2
Write out your ideal meal schedule. Life events will happen such as kid’s birthdays, dinner with friends, or a date with your partner, but keeping to this schedule the majority of the time will help you stay consistent.
Do NOT move onto the next section unless you know how many calories and protein you should be eating AND your ideal meal schedule.
Another one of my favorite things to tell clients when they ask about meal plans is from an ancient Chinese philosopher that said “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eat for the rest of his life”
Rather than giving you a specific meal plan telling you when and what to eat, I’m going to give you options so you can build a plan that works for you.
Female Weight Loss Breakfast
If you’ve chosen meal timing option A, you’re going to want to start your day with a high protein, filling breakfast.
No more quick bowls of sugary cereal. Having a meal that has protein and fiber will keep you satisfied and not craving a mid morning snack 2 hours later.
From the list above, choose two options that sound good to you and write them down. Feel free to make any swaps to vegetables or fruits to make them more enjoyable to you.
If you want more breakfast options, check out my article for 9 awesome weight loss breakfast ideas.
Female Weight Loss Lunch
Moving right along, we’ve arrived at lunch. Some of you will be starting meal #2 while others will be having their first meal of the day depending on what option you chose.
As you can see from the list above, we are loading up on more protein and vegetables. That’s the hack for weight loss my friends.
Protein is the macronutrient that will keep you the most full so it’s important to consume an adequate amount on your weight loss journey.
Similar to your breakfast options, I want you to pick 2 meals that sound realistic for you to cook and eat.
Female Weight Loss Dinner
When building a meal plan for female weight loss, please don’t skip dinner or go light on your servings.
I’ve seen it time and time again with clients that eat too small of a dinner or skip it altogether. An hour or two creeps by and they are eating ice cream on the couch while binging their favorite show on Netflix.
You don’t want to fall into the trap of skipping meals because it’s more likely you’ll overindulge on something else later in the day.
The dinner options are very similar in calories to your lunch meals. If you are on meal timing option B and notice you are extremely hungry by the time dinner comes, feel free to increase serving sizes to fill you up.
6 oz of meat can become 8.
1 cup of vegetables can become 2. etc. etc.
It’s time to move onto snacks. But before you do, I hope you’ve written down your 2 go to dinner meals!
Female Weight Loss Snacks
To wrap up your diet plan for female fat loss, we can’t forget snacks!
You want to be smart with your snacks because these can be the difference between being in a calorie deficit or being in a calorie surplus.
A snack should be a food item that fills you up and keeps you satisfied until your next meal, not a sugary or salty treat that you’ll have trouble putting down.
I love a bag of chips just as much as the next person, maybe more, but you want to eat snacks that will nourish your body and keep you going in the right direction.
There’s a time and place for sugary and salty snacks so they shouldn’t be removed from your diet completely, but do your best to stay consistent with snacks that align with your goals.
Pick 3 - 4 snacks that you want to add into your female meal plan for weight loss.
Sample Diet Plan To Lose Weight For A Female
Let me show you what a plan might looks like based on the two eating frequencies I mentioned above.
Option A: This hypothetical person loves having something at night while they watch tv so they are going to save their snack for after dinner.
Breakfast - Egg scramble: 3 eggs with 2 egg whites, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms and onions, 1 serving cheddar cheese, 1 piece of whole grain toast.
Lunch - Burrito bowl: 6 oz ground turkey, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/4 avocado, a bunch of lettuce, sour cream and salsa on top.
Dinner - Simple steak dinner: 6 oz top sirloin steak, 1 cup cauliflower rice, 2 cups broccoli.
After dinner snack: half bag light popcorn and 2 pieces of dark chocolate.
Option B: This hypothetical person is busy in the morning and skips breakfast.
Mid morning snack 1 - Protein shake.
Lunch: Stir fry: 6 oz chicken, 3 cups veggies, olive oil, soy sauce, sriracha.
Afternoon snack - 1 cup cottage cheese and an apple.
Dinner - fish tacos: 6 oz fish, 1 cup black beans, 1/2 avocado, 3 corn tortillas, salsa.
The Best Meal Plan For Female Weight Loss Checkpoint #3
Before you move on, plan out 2 perfect days of eating based on your preferred meal timing. As you can see you are building meals that are healthy AND will fill you up. There will be no silly crash diets like a 600 calorie a day plan or eliminating all the foods you love.
I’m sure you’ve noticed a theme with the sample meals I provided above.
You want foods that are mainly unprocessed, are nutrient dense, and have lots of volume to keep you full.
You can always substitute out certain items for others that you enjoy. Prioritize these and you’ll be in a good spot:
- Protein: Meats, fish, and poultry - lean ground beef, lean steak, beef jerky, ground turkey, turkey breast, chicken breast, pork chop, salmon, white fish, shrimp
- Protein: Dairy - milk, cottage cheese, greek yogurt
- Protein: Other - tofu, eggs, egg whites, edamame, protein powder, protein bars
- Carbohydrates: whole grain wraps, whole grain bread, oatmeal, beans, lentils, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, ret potatoes, russet potatoes, white rice, brown rice, quinoa
- Veggies: zucchini, tomatoes, all colored peppers, asparagus, onions, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, celery, carrots, green beens, peas, mushrooms
- Fruits: bananas, grapes, apples, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, peaches, pears, cantaloupe, watermelon
- Fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, ghee
You should know that no foods should ever be off limit when designing your meal plan. Restricting certain foods increases the chance that you’ll eventually binge and consume them.
Instead, eat everything in moderation and don’t feel guilty when you do.
At a party and have a slice of pizza? That’s totally fine. Get right back on track with your meal plan you made in the prior section the next day.
Want to go out with your girlfriends for wine night? Do it! Don’t be that person that avoids social setting because you have to stick to a specific meal plan.
Instead of saying foods to avoid, I am going to give you the foods you want to MINIMIZE:
- Fried foods - I think this one goes without saying. The calories will add up from these types of foods and most of the time they are cooked in less than ideal oils and have trans fat in them. That’s a double no no.
- Alcohol - Another given I would imagine. Alcohol will negatively affect your hormones and will also impact your sleep, which will make it harder to lose fat. When you do drink, try and keep it to 1 - 2 drinks. Learn more about alcohol and weight loss.
- Packaged and boxed goods - these are going to be items that are usually high in sugar and salt like Oreos, fruit juices, chips, doughnuts, etc.
- Sugary desserts - Not only do desserts have a lot of sugar in there, but they are usually always high in fat too.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a common question I get from females looking for a meal plan that targets fat loss. Unfortunately you can’t pick and choose where your body loses fat so there are no foods that will specifically target belly fat.
The best thing you can do is be consistent with your meal plan and the weight will eventually come off in the areas you want.
Losing weight is always determined by being in a calorie deficit, which means you don’t HAVE to exercise to lose weight.
I personally recommend that you do exercise to not only help aid your weight loss journey, but also to help you build muscle, get stronger, improve your heart health, and improve your mood.
A mix of lifting weights, doing cardio, walking, and stretching is going to make you an all around healthy individual.
A while back I wrote an article for a specific body type called skinny fat, where you want to lose weight, but also don’t have much muscle. It included a generic weight lifting program that will apply to anyone wanting to get stronger and build muscle. If you want to check it out, you can find the workouts here. Click down to “your 4 week program” on the table of contents to view the workout.
I’ve heard it time and time again. “My boyfriend barely does anything and drops 10 pounds while I can barely lose a pound”
Heard or said that one before too?!
Here’s the two main reasons why:
- Men typically have more muscle on their body that females. That muscle requires a lot of calories to maintain so they can eat more. If they want to lose weight and cut back on their eating, the weight usually comes off quicker because they have a bigger cushion for their calorie deficit than females.
- They weigh more than females so they have more to lose. When losing weight, you should look at percentage of total body weight lost, not the total number of pounds. For example, a female that weights 200 pounds and loses 20 pounds actually lost more weight than a male that weights 400 pounds and lost 35 pounds.
We briefly touched on how many calories and protein you should be eating to lose weight. If you want a more in depth guide, along with a video of how to use an app to track your calories, I recommend checking out my article The Macros For Weight Loss Definitive Guide.
The Best Meal Plan For Female Weight Loss Recap
I hope you found this article helpful!
You should now know how many calories and grams of protein you should be eating each day, have a meal plan with two days of eating based on your timing preference, and what foods you should consume and what foods you should minimize.
Remember that you don’t have to be perfect with your weight loss meal plan.
Consistently eating like this 80 - 90% of the time and having flexibility with your diet 10 - 20% of the time will still get you results and allow you to still enjoy your life.