Spiralizing for weight loss + Meal Plans

If you don’t know my story already, you can read it here. Here’s the gist: I lost over 30 pounds, and I did it on an #inspiralized diet.

That’s right, I spiralized my way to the body I wanted!

In today’s blog post, I’m going to dive more into the diet aspect of my journey, less the exercise and fitness part of it. I’m going to share more about what I ate, how I used spiralizing to stay on track, and I’m also launching our new spiralized meal plans!

First off, let me preface with the 3 principles that guided me throughout this journey and still do to this day:

Make it a lifestyle, not a diet.

While I did have a weight loss goal date in mind (I originally wanted to lose weight for the photoshoot for my first cookbook, Inspiralized), I didn’t view that “goal date” as an “end date.” I viewed that as the jumpstart to a healthy lifestyle. Once I reached my “goal weight,” my focus shifted, I set new goals, and I just kept continuing my healthy lifestyle I had built while achieving that initial weight loss goal.

Since it’s a lifestyle, life happens. I follow a strict 80/20 rule, where I eat real, whole foods 80% of the time and let myself indulge 20% of the time. And I indulge, my friends – I’ve been known to crush a package of Pepperidge Farms Montauk cookies.

Take a week – 5.6 days is 80% of your week, so have a healthy Sunday through Friday and then Friday evening through Saturday evening, you can treat yourself, if you’re feeling the need for a treat! Wake up on Sunday and commit to getting back on track. If you know you have plans on a Wednesday and want to indulge, let yourself enjoy Wednesday, but then keep Friday low-key (skip the wine with dinner and say no to dessert.)

Recovery is key.

I can’t stress this one enough. If you are having a bad morning, afternoon, or you find yourself munching out in front of the TV at night, be mindful. Stop yourself – never, ever say, “Well, I’ve already messed up this day, so whatever I’m going to start fresh tomorrow.” When you come to and realize what you’re eating, stop yourself, ask yourself do you really want to feel bloated and unhappy in the morning. Most likely, you’ll say no.

I always recommend drinking tons of water for the rest of the day – even if that’s right before bed. This helps flush out your system and help your body start to detox. Even if you save yourself 1 slice of pizza, that’s a savings of around 300 calories! That’s a LOT. Over a week, that’s 2,100 calories, which is almost 2.5 pounds a month of extra weight gain! See where I’m going with this? You’re NEVER “too far gone”.

The next day, try to make it your healthiest day. Don’t starve yourself – just drink a lot of water and eat very clean. That following day, you’ll wake up, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body recovers. Your body is designed to naturally detox – so let it!

Diet over exercise, every time

Once I stopped looking at exercise as a means to weight loss, I started losing weight.

Sure, if you want to see weight loss very quickly (which isn’t as maintainable long term), eat super clean and exercise for an hour a day, every day. Of course you’ll lose weight – and you’ll feel strong and amazing. However, that’s not maintainable for most of us – life happens, time gets away from us. All of a sudden, it’s 5pm on a Wednesday, you planned to workout, but your best friend just got a promotion and she wants to go out for drinks to celebrate. What now?

Well, first of all, let me tell you this: no flat tummy is going to make you happy like quality time spent with your best friend. So, spend time with your friend – live life! If you’re happy, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier, TRUST ME, I’VE BEEN THERE. I’ve been that terrible friend who cancels dinner because she doesn’t want to overeat.

How do you combat a missed workout? EAT HEALTHY. You can’t outrun a bad diet (you’ve heard that before, right?) However, you can make up for a missed workout with a healthy meal. Abs are made in the gym, but what’s the point of all that gym time, if you’re not revealing them in the kitchen?

What I’m trying to say is this: if you’re a busy person and can’t find the time to workout (I’ll let that excuse slide), don’t stress out. Don’t give up. Just eat healthy – simple as that. I used to guilt myself into going to the gym, because if I didn’t, I thought I wouldn’t see the weight loss progress I wanted. If I missed a workout, I’d eat poorly saying to myself, “I didn’t workout, so whatever!”

One day, during my weight loss journey, I couldn’t make a workout. So, I decided to eat a bit cleaner than usual – I skipped the 3pm snack, and I didn’t have dessert. I woke up the next day and saw that the scale was 0.5 pounds lighter. Ever since that day, I stopped beating myself up over missing workouts. I look at workouts as a means to get fit, feel good, tone, and have time for myself. I aim to workout 5 to 6 days a week, but if it’s 3 or 4, that’s okay – and I still maintain my healthy weight, because my diet steps up to the plate on those days.


It’s all mental.

Like running, I find health eating to be a complete mental challenge. If someone gave you the following two options, what would you choose?

  1. Eat clean: feel incredible, be confident, have energy, be happy.
  2. Eat unhealthy: feel lethargic, lack confidence, be unhappy.

I think we’d all pick option 1, right? You control the actual motion of putting food in your mouth. You’re not a baby, no one’s force feeding you! Remember that – you actually decide the foods you put in your mouth. It’s honestly as simple as that. Choose to put healthy foods in your mouth and treat your body like a temple!

Now, I realize this is all easier said than done, because when we’re presented with a piping hot slice of pizza at 1am or chocolate frosted cake for someone’s birthday in the office, it seems impossible to resist. Remember this: while it may be mentally impossible to resist, you have your next line of defense, because it’s not physically impossible to resist. You control what you eat – so just say no thank you. Make all of these healthy choices throughout your day/week, and it’ll lead to weight loss.

This also helps me: if in the moment, you really NEED that treat, just take it, take a bite and then set your plate down. You’ll still enjoy the social element of being part of the office birthday cake or the drunken pizza, but you won’t overdo it. You can always have a bite and what you’ll realize is that a bite is all you ever really need, so take it and enjoy what really matters: hanging out with your coworker, bonding with your friends, whatever.

My final point is this: never, ever, in a million years, feel GUILTY for refusing an unhealthy food. Let your friends tease you all they want (although you should probably consider getting new friends if they are that insensitive!), but you’re the one who’s going to wake up the next day looking good, feeling good, and being well-fueled and nourished to conquer your day.

How I started – The First Steps

I’m always asked, “How did you start? What were the first steps you took?”

Literally, I just committed to making healthy choices at every turn. That’s called a lifestyle change, not a diet program. I didn’t create this elaborate plan. I just took every moment literally as a choice. A choice for instant gratification or a choice towards a healthier me.

Remember what I said about 80/20? I committed to that. I don’t eat anything processed 80% of the time – I eat real, whole foods.

It was in the afternoon when I committed (that’s when I found out my cookbook photoshoot date.) After work, I cooked one of my spiralized recipes for dinner and when my husband asked me if I wanted some ice cream for dessert, I said no. It was so hard to sit there on the couch while he ate that delicious, creamy gelato, but I did it. I made one decision that night and kept making healthy decisions. I didn’t workout in the beginning, because I didn’t want to be extra hungry from the workouts, so I focused on my diet. I lost almost 5 pounds (mostly water weight) in that first 7-10 days, which proved my point: it’s all diet, and all I have to do is make the right decision most times.

My tips for those moments at night when you get a hankering for a sweet snack: have something healthy (a piece of dark chocolate, a banana with some almond butter, etc.) My favorite way to combat these cravings is to make a peppermint tea with steamed almond milk – the almond milk is a bit sweet when steamed, and the peppermint tea cleanses the pallet, giving you a fresh sensation. Try it!

Meal Planning and Spiralizing

After that first week, I made a fitness plan for myself, and I started meal planning.

In my meal plans, I ate something spiralized for 100% of my dinners and about 75% of my lunches. For breakfast, it was usually a smoothie, granola, avocado toast, oatmeal, or something quick like banana and almond butter.

Spiralizing is great for weight loss for a few reasons, but most importantly, you don’t feel like you’re eating diet food while eating #inspiralized. Sometimes when I look at some of these diet plan meals, it’s like steamed chicken and broccoli every night. The key to being successful with a healthy lifestyle is making sure you’re not falling victim to boredom.

Some of my favorite spiralized recipes to eat were:

Here’s an example of a typical weekday diet (you can also check out my What I Ate Today video series here):

Breakfast: Oatmeal with almond butter, mashed raspberries, and banana slices
Snack: Handful of raw mixed nuts and dried raisins (or chopped pitted dates)
Lunch: Pesto zucchini noodles with white beans and avocado
Snack: Kombucha or a green juice and rice cake with hummus or celery
Dinner: Turkey meatballs with sweet potato noodles and tomato-basil sauce
Dessert: Chocolate protein smoothie (banana, vegan chocolate protein powder, almond milk, blueberries, ice)

On days when I was on a recovery day and eating extra clean, I’d skip the dessert and the mid-afternoon snack.

Here’s an example of a typical fitness plan, now that I’m trying to tone and define, rather than lose weight:

Sunday: 45-minute spin class + 10 minutes of abs
Monday: 30 minute spin class + 15-30 minutes of lower body lifting and HIIT-style exercise
Tuesday: 4 mile run + 20 minutes of upper body lifting
Wednesday: 45-minute spin class + 10 minutes of abs
Thursday: 20 minute spin class + 30 minutes of lower body lifting and HIIT-style exercise
Friday: 45-minute spin class + 10 minutes of abs
Saturday: Rest day or a light workout

And that’s my story! Eating Inspiralized you’re always guaranteed to eat a lot of vegetables and you’ll never sacrifice flavor. You’ll eat real, whole ingredients, but feel like you’re at a restaurant eating a flavorful meal.

If I had to estimate my daily caloric intake in the beginning, it ranged from 1,200 calories a day to 1,600 calories a day, depending on how active I was. In three months, I lost about 25 to 30 pounds and now, I have maintained a 30-35 pound weight loss since.

If nothing else, just remember this…

… everyone has to start somewhere. This was me, on the left, on day one! The girl on the right is someone I never thought I could become, but I took every day by day and eventually, I achieved the body and lifestyle I dreamed of. You can too!

Buy the Inspiralizer

Amazon INspiralizer

Inspiralized Meal plans

I challenge you to eat Inspiralized for a week and see how you feel! To launch the year, I’ve created weekly meal plans (Vegan and Gluten-Free) that will take the guesswork out of lunch and dinner for the week. I encourage you to follow along with me – these are the types of weekly meal plans I made for myself when I was trying to lose weight – they’re full of vegetables, lean proteins, and you’ll feel like you’re eating something completely different every day.

Join me and thousands of others over on the Inspiralized Facebook Community and motivate one another to keep on track of the meal plan – share images of your food, ask questions, troubleshoot recipes, and get excited about eating #inspiralized! Meaghan and I moderate this community, so you’ll see us check in everyday!

Click the below images to learn more about the meal plans and purchase:

Spiralizer Meal Plans

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Comments

  1. I so needed this. I just got engaged on Christmas Eve, want a short engagement, and want to lose about 30lbs. This plan seems totally doable for my lifestyle. I’ve lost weight before, but want to go about it a different way this time. I already have a spiralizer, now it’s time to use it more!

  2. What exactly comes with the meal plans? Thanks!

  3. Loved your blog (and love your spiralizer), but try and change the photos around (or the wording) in your last set of photos. The girl on the LEFT is you on Day One. The girl on the right doesn’t need any more weight loss!!! Kudos for losing 30 lbs. I’m trying to get the same amount off – back to where I was when I first arrived in America 20 years ago, before the big portions and loads of sugar!

  4. I am very excited to have the meal plans, complete with the shopping list……….always a pain. This is terrific! I have bought week 1 of Paleo, Gluten Free and Vegan. Will multiple weeks be available?

  5. This is exactly what I needed to read today, Ali. After a tough few months with some personal family issues, coupled with a bit of traveling, I definitely hopped off of the clean eating / exercise wagon, turning to some less – than – nutrient dense foods as my comfort; my weight has definitely ballooned a bit as a result. While most people might wait until January 1st to start, I’d say there is no day like the present. You really are a health inspiration to me, truly, and have been for quite a few years now. I fully intend to use this post as that inspiration I need to get back on track and get back to the “me” that I like the most.

    Thank you, ALWAYS. :-)

  6. Thank you so much for this update – I know this makes sence but I needed to see it written down to really understand it! You look fabulous Xxx

  7. I bought an Inspiralizer when I went to USA! Last year. I use it a little, not too much, because not everbody likes vegetables the way I do, but the problem is that we cannot buy the Inspiralizer here, so when I want others to try your recepies they cannot do it here. Have you considered to export the Inspiralized and translate your books in Spanish? I live in Argentina, forgot to tell you!

  8. In January of this year, I committed to the same journey of healthy eating that you did. I admit that I’m not perfect with working out as frequently as I need to, but overall I do really well with the foods I consume. Your cookbook had changed mine and my husband’s lives! Year to date, I’ve lost 19 lbs and he’s lost 20. While I would love to lose just a little bit more, I’m just going to continue with the same lifestyle that has been adapted in our home and be happy that I feel great about myself now and know that the number on the scale doesn’t matter beyond that! Thank you for being my inspiration!

  9. Great post, your story is such an inspiration. You are to Spiralized what Robin Arzon is to Peleton. Thanks for keeping it real and motivating all of us.

  10. This is awesome, thanks for sharing! I have been following you for years. Time for me to join in and get healthy too!

  11. I was reading this blog post and just nodding along. I am just staring off in my weight loss journey but I am learning similarly as you did. You can’t out exercise poor eating habits. Just can’t do it. You have accomplished something very wonderful and I hope to follow in your footsteps.

  12. I am a nurse, and anything to eat healthy. However there are veggy’s (alot in fact) that I don’t like. Look any where and you too will know America has become BIGGER. Our foods are crammed packed with GMO’s, antibiotics, and growth hormones, AND we are what we actually eat. I am inspiralized with my recent purchase along with both cookbooks. With each dish I prepare the veggy’s I didn’t like now taste delicious!!! Someone recently said to me, “One day at a time, One piece at a time, but pick up a new piece every day”. I feel the inspiralizer is one of those important pieces that helps with a very important change.

  13. I’m a committed spiralizer, have been for 8 months or so and results are phenomenal. Not only to weight but hair, skin, everything. Great to have this reinforcement and encouragement today in this post – a nutritionally sound and well balanced approach to a great lifestyle – Minus the bloat!

  14. This is so inspiring! You look amazing! I’ve made some big life changes over the last year as well and have seen great results, but this was a great kick in the pants to get going fresh again NOW (not January!). One of my favorite sayings is “A year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.” I love your cookbook and I’m inspired to spiralize even more this year. Happy New Year!

  15. I’ve lost over 40 lbs since March and being Inspiralized has been part of that journey. I bought the Inspiralizer (the best on the market!) and both cookbooks. I even bought two as gifts. One for my sister and one for a dear friend. It’s so much fun to use in the kitchen. I, however, like many others have gotten off track during the holidays. This article has been a wonderful reminder on how to get back on track and be kind to yourself at the same time. I’m going to print it out and put it in my purse to read and remind myself of these pearls of wisdom. I have a long way to go but I’ll get there. You are wise beyond your years, Ali, for figuring this all out while you are still so young! For me, better late than never. :)

  16. Thank you! This is wonderful information. I noticed that you haven’t included eggs in your meal plans. Are eggs considered “clean eating”.

  17. I’d like to know what is included in the meal plans. It sounds like there are shopping lists. If that’s so, that’s a great help. Is there somewhere where we can look to find out what the meal plans include?
    Thanks – – – Happy New Year!

  18. Love the post! Thank you for being so honest! I was wondering how do you balance going out to dinner? What do you usually order? I also notice you eat vegan often. Do you try to eat most meals vegan? Or add in meals with meat? Just curious! Thank you! As always, love your posts!

  19. wow i just loved the idea…….its awesome…..gotta try…….

  20. Been following you for a few years and just downloaded your app with recipes! Thanks for the inspo!

  21. Bought the gluten free meal plan and spent today prepping some of it. Made the burrito bowl recipe which I thought I’d like the least and loved it. Used sausage instead of chicken because I wanted to make the chicken squash pasta recipe from the other day and forgot to buy chicken for it so using what I bought for the burritos. I have a kuhn Rikon pressure cooker and decided to try the burrito recipe in it instead of the slow cooker. Seemed to work fine. Took about 10 minutes – saluted the sausage first and added the other ingredients and cooked at high pressure 4 minutes, let it sit to release a few minutes and then used quick release. Having the fish recipe for supper. Looks good. Thanks.

  22. Forgot to mention that I found nutritional yeast used in the chicken squash pasta recipe at the Atlantic superstore (I live in Nova Scotia Canada) by Bob’s Red mill – large flake nutritional yeast — from Milwaukee Oregon – a 226 g bag. Then I discovered it in the local bulk barn with the bins of spices and could have bought a small amount to try. This is used in the chicken squash pasta recipe and people were having a hard time finding it. Hope this helps.

  23. Wow Ali, you look fantastic! Congratulations on your success!

  24. I loved this from your post:
    “Well, first of all, let me tell you this: no flat tummy is going to make you happy like quality time spent with your best friend. So, spend time with your friend – live life! … I’ve been that terrible friend who cancels dinner because she doesn’t want to overeat.”

    My sister bought me the Inspiralizer for my September birthday. I’ve since bought 2 more for friends.

    Yesterday, I ate Celeriac for the first time in my life. It was a good base for your beef stroganoff (without mushrooms … mushrooms, Ick!).

  25. I just bought the gluten free meal plan for a week and spent a little over two hours in the kitchen last night prepping for the entire week and I just want to thank you for making this super easy to accomplish. I feel very confident that I am going to succeed in making this lifestyle change and am so excited to begin this new chapter of my life. thank you so much!

  26. Can you explain the process of how you make the peppermint tea?? :)

  27. I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank you. I’m been struggling with all the things you mentioned in this blog post and it great to know that I’m not alone in my logic/thinking and to see where someone has been able and can articulate how they moved passed it all. Thank you for this post. I love the 80/20 rule and the overall message to be kind to yourself.

  28. Great insight, thanks

Trackbacks

  1. […] shrimp over zucchini noodle pasta or this zucchini noodle pad thai). See my friend Ali’s weight loss journey through spiralizing. It’s so […]

  2. […] you all know by now that I follow a strict 80/20 rule, so although you won’t find sugar in our home, if it’s the 20% time of my rule, I will […]

  3. […] Maffucci, who runs the blog Inspiralized (which I turn to for plant-based meal ideas), suggests eating clean Sunday through Friday afternoon, with Friday night and Saturday as the 20% for fun eats and […]

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