The principles of the The PlusMinus Eating Plan:
You don't have to weigh anything or count any calories.
You simply start off by eating like you did the previous week (your "old" eating pattern). During the weeks that follow, you make two changes per week: you add a certain type of food to your existing eating plan (the "plus" part) and you also eliminate a certain type of food (the "minus" part).
Because it's so simple, you can focus more on your exercise programme, and the dieting part doesn't turn into an obsession.
The pluses and minuses of every week are carried over to the next week and it all becomes part of your new eating pattern.
All food groups on the minus list goes onto your Sunday list. That means that after the week in which you had to cut out a specific food, you can eat a single portion of the food once more, preferably on a Sunday. Sundays should become your "free" days, during which you can eat ice cream, or pizza, or whatever you feel like, to convince your body that you're not in the desert.
A portion is roughly the size of your fist, the palm of your hand (vegetables, fruit, rice, potato pasta etc.), that which you can hold in your hand (such as nuts), a matchbox (for cheese or meat) or a teaspoon (oil and butter).
Here is your The PlusMinus Eating Plan:
Eat everything you would normally eat.
Minus: Cut out all cake, biscuits, puddings, tarts, chocolates, sweets, muffins and scones, any other baked foods and ice cream for this week.
Plus: Eat at least two portions of fruit per day. If you're already eating more than two portions of fruit per day, don't decrease this amount. Fruit that will keep your energy levels high for the longest period of time are soft fruits (apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots) and especially citrus fruits. Eat fruit any time during the day. We recommend that you eat fruit mid-morning and mid-afternoon as small snacks between meals.
Minus: Avoid all pies (even vegetable or spinach pies), all foods with dough and all pizzas.
Plus: Eat breakfast and six meals altogether per day. You have to eat breakfast before 9 am, and it has to include something of the following: fat-free yoghurt, fruit/fruit juice, muesli or a bran-rich breakfast cereal or porridge such as oats. You should eat something every 2-3 hours. Aim to eat six times per day, namely three meals per day and three snacks: a mid-morning, mid-afternoon and evening snack. You should also not eat for 45 minutes before or after doing exercise, but you must eat something that contains both protein and carbohydrates within an hour of exercising.
Minus: Avoid all foods fried in oil – this includes fish and chips fried in oil, deep-fried calamari, and meat or vegetables fried in oil. Dangerous, cancer-causing trans-fatty acids are found in oil that has been heated and in all foods that are deep fried in oil. So, no KFC chicken or McDonalds burgers. If you're grilling your chicken or red meat over the coals or in the oven, it's not on the minus list. If you absolutely have to cook with oil, don't use more than three teaspoons of olive or canola oil per day.
Plus: Eat 3-5 portions of vegetables per day. All vegetables are acceptable. Half of your lunch and supper should consist of vegetables. Eat your vegetables raw or cooked, but not fried in oil or fat.
Minus: Trim off all fat from meat, and remove the skin from the chicken (even before you cook it) and don't add any extra butter or fat to the meat. Avoid all meat with visible fat such as sausage or salami.
Plus: Eat five (all men as well as women who exercise five or more times per week should eat six) portions (matchbox-size) of protein per day. It's very important to eat the right kinds of protein and to cook it correctly in order to prevent consuming too much fat. Choose five portions from the following: lean red meat (beef, game, ostrich, but be careful of mutton, as it contains lots of fat), chicken breasts, fish (especially tuna, mackerel or sardines), lean ham, egg, low-fat cheese such as Mozarella or Lichten Blanc, low-fat cottage cheese, beans or lentils.
Minus: Switch from full-cream dairy products to low-fat or fat-free products such as skim milk or fat-free yoghurt. Limit thick, creamy sauces to one teaspoon per day. All full-cream cheeses are taboo, as they're just as fattening as chocolate.
Plus: Don't cut out milk. Studies have shown that calcium in dairy products actually promote weight loss. Listen to your body's thirst signal and drink water or tea when you're thirsty. Don't drink cold drinks.
Minus: Switch from carbohydrates that give you instant, but not long-lasting energy, to carbohydrates that will make you feel fuller for longer, and that will keep your energy levels high. Avoid all refined carbohydrates and starches (e.g. white bread and pasta that isn't made with durum wheat). If it's not wholewheat, it's taboo.
Plus: Eat at least five portions of carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) per day (six for men and for people who exercise five or six times per week). Choose wholewheat and bran-rich breakfast cereals, digestive biscuits, wholewheat brown or rye bread, barley, rye, wheat, oats, oat bran, low-fat dairy or low-GI fruits such as sultanas, raisin bread, beans, lentils, soya beans, crushed wheat, whole green mealies, pasta and noodles made from durum wheat, sweet potatoes, long-grain brown or wild rice.
Make sure that each of your three main meals includes a wholewheat carbohydrate.
Minus: Limit your intake of fats and oils to 15g (3 teaspoons) per day. Avoid all animal fats, coconut palm kernel oil (this means that you should avoid Cremora coffee creamer) and hard margarine. Be careful of the following foods as they contain lots of hidden fat: beef fillet, T-bone steak, mince, sausage, pork sausages, pork, mutton, chicken with skin, deep-fried foods, processed meats such as polony, Vienna sausages, salami, bacon, full-cream and medium fat cheeses. (If you've eaten a matchbox-sized block of Emmenthaler cheese, you've eaten your maximum fat intake for the day!)
Other foods that contain loads of fat include rusks, scones, cappuccino with cream, croissants, cakes and pastries, tinned soup, small biscuits, mayonnaise, muffins, pies, patés en spreads, creamy sauces, salad dressing, savoury biscuits, toffees, chocolates, ice cream, nougat, quiches, savoury tarts. (One slice of quiche contains 30g of fat – just as much as as an ice cream on a stick or a meat pie).
Plus: If you use oil, use varieties that contain more omega-3 fatty acids or mono-unsaturated fats. Rather use flaxseed, canola, or olive oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in sardines, salmon, trout, galjoen, yellowtail and linseed oil. Almonds, peanuts, avocados and olives are good examples of foods rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
Minus: Limit your intake of red meat to three portions per week (red meat contains hidden, saturated fats).
Plus: Eat fish at least two to four times per week – especially sardines, tuna, trout, yellowtail, mackerel or salmon.
Minus: Avoid Brazilian nuts.
Plus: Eat a handful of nuts per week (but no more than that!). Go for almonds, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts, as well as peanuts and peanut butter - these contain healthy fats. But limit your intake - nuts can pile on the pounds.
Minus: Fine-tune your vegetable intake. Butternut, squash and pumpkin are packed with carbohydrates and should be counted as such.
Plus: Include more asparagus, cabbage, celery, tomato, artichokes, spinach, mushrooms, onions, cucumber, green pepper and broccoli in your diet. Eat a portion of legumes at least four times per week (e.g. green beans, baked and dried beans, beans in tomato sauce and lentils). Legumes will sustain your energy levels.
Minus: Don't drink more than four cups of coffee per day, and don't drink coffee after 4 pm. Don't drink more than two glasses of wine per week. Coffee and alcohol can dehydrate you and too much wine can pile on the pounds.
Plus: Drink water when you're thirsty. Artificially sweetened cold drinks are okay, but water is still your best bet.
Week 12, 13, 14…
Carry on in this manner.