Based on your goals, activity level, and desired time frame, you should start at no more than 0 calories for day one of your regimen, and then adjust down over the course of the first week until you reach 0 daily calories (a 0% reduction in calories from where you start). This should allow some time for you to adjust.
SUGGESTED DAILY DIETARY REGIMEN:
50% LEAN PROTEIN
Week one: 0 protein calories per day, divided by 5 meals = 0 protein calories per meal (0 protein grams per meal)
Each day after week one: 0 protein calories per day, divided by 5 meals = 0 protein calories per meal (0 protein grams per meal) *Each protein gram contains 4 calories
40% HEALTHY FAT
Week one: 0 fat calories per day, divided by 3 meals = 0 fat calories per meal (0 fat grams per meal)
Each day after week one: 0 fat calories per day, divided by 3 meals = 0 fat calories per meal (0 fat grams per meal) *Each fat gram contains 9 calories
10% COMPLEX CARBS
Week one: 0 carb calories per day, divided by 2 meals = 0 carb calories per meal (0 carb grams per meal)
After week one: 0 carb calories per day, divided by 2 meals = 0 carb calories per meal (0 carb grams per meal) *Each carb gram contains 4 calories
Meal 1, 3 and 5: protein and fat only.
Meal 2 and 4: protein and carbs only.
- Protein (pick one per meal for each meal): lean chicken, lean beef, salmon, or egg whites. Note that beef and salmon each contain more fat than chicken, and those fat calories will have to be counted in the meal. Same if you choose to add egg yolks, just be sure not to add more than one yolk per 4 egg whites. *Note: some people feel that they can not eat solid protein sources for all 5 meals, and instead opt for a low- or no-carb protein drink for meals 2 and 4. If this is what you choose, be sure that any additional non-protein calories contained in the drink mix are kept to a minimum and counted along with all the other calories (very important).
- Fat (pick one per meal for meals 1, 3 and 5. You can mix these up per meal: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, unsalted butter, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher), cheese. There are others you can find with a quick Google search for "best healthy fat sources".
- Carbohydrates (pick one per meal for meal 2 and 4): rolled oats or long-grain brown rice. Really, there's no need to go beyond these two choices right now. Absolutely no processed or refined sources, such as sugar and bread.
You can add as many fibrous vegetables as you want to the above, since they are low in calories and can help with hunger pangs.
WHEN DO I EAT?
Meals will be split into 5 per day, and restricted to a window of 8 hours (starting within 30 minutes of waking). Each meal spaced out by 2 hours. In other words:
Meal 1: within 30 minutes of waking
Meal 2: two hours after meal 1
Meal 3: two hours after meal 2
Meal 4: two hours after meal 3
Meal 5: two hours after meal 4
Then fast for 16 hours (intermittent fasting). Repeat.
* Calorie-sourcing is far more important than calorie-counting (although that's important, also): This means making sure your macronutrients (another word for protein, carbs and fat) are dialed in first. For weight loss, as described above, the idea is to comprise your calories of 40%-50% lean protein, with 30%-40% healthy fats (monounsaturated, medium-chain triglycerides and omega-3 fatty acids), and 10%-20% complex carbs (oats, long-grain rice, barley, and similar "slow" carbs. No "white carbs", like white rice or potatoes, and absolutely nothing overly processed, like bread, or refined, like sugar. In other words, no monosaccharides).
* Intermittent fasting can be very helpful: This involves restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, and then refraining from eating for 16 hours in between. If you ever get hungry, you can snack on veggies, like carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc. In fact, it is recommend to have veggies around at all times, since they're low in calories and can satisfy hunger pangs.
* Pair your protein and fat; isolate your carbs: aim for 5 meals per day, with 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) consisting of only protein and fat, and the other 2 being small meals of protein and carbs, spaced out evenly between each main meal. This is detailed in 'Macronurtient Sources' section above.
* Don't drink calories: aside from the occasional cheat drink, calories should not be consumed in liquid form. The reason for this is you're not only adding total calories to your diet, in general, but these liquid calories are an 'instantized' form, meaning it requires almost no digestive effort to break down the calorie source and introduce it to your bloodstream, which can adversely affect blood sugar and insulin levels.
* Meal prep: You can either cook everything for the following day at one time, and then refrigerate/freeze until needed, or you can cook/prepare a couple servings at a time, eating one for that meal and saving the other for later. To help you cook less, try cold plates, such as sliced lean deli meats, olives, and veggies for some meals.
* VERY IMPORTANT: Stay hydrated: Even if you aren't doing an official ketogenic diet plan, you can still experience symptoms similar to what's known as "keto flu" during restricted carb intake if you don't stay hydrated. And hydration is essential, in any event. So, be sure to drink lots of calorie-free fluids and get enough electrolytes, especially during the first week. Many people find that a cup of bouillon 1-2 times per day can help. Even a pinch of Himalayan pink salt in water with some lemon juice is great (this is what we personally prefer).
* Winners cheat: Pick one day of the week to splurge and eat whatever you'd like. This is actually good for your metabolism, and your soul.