Summer Body Shape-Up Community Challenge: Substitutions and Meal Plan Tips for Success

Congratulations on starting the Summer Body Shape-Up Community Challenge. Here's an explanation of your 4-week meal plan, how it will help you lose weight and some tips on how to have the most success and substitutions that can be made in the meal plan.

How the Plan Works
There’s an emphasis on nuts/nut butters in this plan. Incorporating nuts and nut butter can help you lose weight because the (healthy!) fat and fiber content of nuts is very filling. As a result, you won’t be as hungry and lose more body fat (Healthy fats are required in metabolizing fats). Ironically, with the onset of low-fat diets, nuts have been scorned which is a shame as they can really help shed stubborn weight. Nuts have one of the highest 'satiety values' of all foods. In other words after eating them you'll want to eat less overall. Furthermore, eating nuts and nut butters may slightly raise your resting metabolic rate meaning you’ll be burning more calories, even when you’re not working out.

Tips for Success

1. Measure accurately: the first week, measure everything, from the tbsp of peanut butter to the 5-ounce chicken breast. Note: 1 tbsp is a level tbsp. (Probably a lot less than you think.)
2. Drink water, but not more than you need (In other words don’t overload yourself in water--it doesn’t help.)
3. Don’t skip meals, ever.
4. Substitutions within categories (as outlined) are allowed. However, try to follow the program– some days are notably lower in carbs and there’s a method to the madness.
5. If you work out only moderately or less than 4 days a week--skip the afternoon snack on non-workout days, and reduced lean protein at lunch by 1-2 oz. (NOTE: BY 1-2oz not TO 1-2 oz)
6. If you workout 1or more hours a day for 6 or more days per week, add a snack.
7. If you are post-menopausal, skip the afternoon snack and reduce lunch and dinner protein portions by 1 to 2 ounces.
8. Nursing moms: Double the mid-morning snack.
9. Everyone: Take a multivitamin, 2 flaxseed oil caps and two Rolaids a day (for calcium and magnesium).
10. If you’re pregnant: you’re supposed to gain weight. Stop by again in nine months!
11. Men on this plan should eat no less than 1800 calories so they should increase their portions at breakfast and lunch.
12. You may always have a coffee with your pre-workout snack--with sweetener and a little skim milk is fine.
13. Don’t “taste” little things here and there on the program. They add up and you won’t get the results you’re after. This is only four weeks.
14. Most vegetables are unlimited on this plan. Exceptions are starchy veggies like potatoes and corn.
15. Depending on how much you have to lose and how active you are,you can lose up to 2 lbs of fat per week on this plan. That’s a lot. 8 lbs is 32 sticks of butter. Picture that in your mind’s eye. It’s far more impressive than losing 12 lbs of water on a fad diet plan.

Average Nutrition info:
Average day
Calories: 1511
Protein: 149 grams
Fat: 49 grams
Carbohydrate: 130 grams
Fiber: 38 grams

One serving equals:
½ cup uncooked 5 min oatmeal
¼ cup uncooked steel cut oatmeal
1 whole grain English muffin
6 to 8 fiber crackers
1 100% whole wheat tortilla or “roll-up”

If you are gluten intolerant, replace oatmeal with Quinoa (or make sure your oatmeal is gluten free). Use gluten free bread/wraps instead of English muffins and look for types with 100-140 calories a serving.

You may replace any fish ounce for ounce (i.e.: salmon) for any other fish (tilapia, cod, etc.) However, bear in mind salmon has the most Omega-3s (which are “good for you fats”).

You may replace chicken breast, turkey breast, 4% lean beef for one another. Keep portion size the same number of ounces as the food listed on the plan.
Vegetarians can replace tofu, tempeh, egg whites for any fish or meat.

Vegans can replace egg whites with tofu/tempeh.


One serving equals:
1 cup 0% cottage cheese
1 cup 0% Greek yogurt
½ container farmer cheese
4 ounces of reduced fat Feta

1 cup skim milk = 8 ounce non-fat yogurt such as Dannon Light & Fit

Lactose intolerant people can use Lactaid and try to follow the plan--dairy products aid enormously in weight loss. If allergic to lactose, replace dairy servings with either 3 to 4 ounces of lean protein or 1 serving nuts, or equivalent ounces of rice or lite almond milk.

Eat dry roasted or raw only. One serving equals:
12 almonds
18 peanuts
25 pistachios
10 cashews
8 walnuts halves
1 tbsp either peanut or almond butter (All natural peanut butter only)

If allergic to nuts, replace one serving of nuts with one serving of dairy--or try soy nuts/soynut butter.

Vegetables may be substituted freely.


One serving equals:
1/2 of a small banana
½  of a cup berries
half of a large apple/pear/grapefruit
1 small orange/peach
1 plum/nectarine
1/2 cup melon/watermelon.

No tropical fruits such as mango or pineapple because they are higher in sugar. Bananas are okay.

Condiments to use freely

Herbs, garlic, onion, tomato paste (tomato sauce), no sugar added ketchup, powdered mixes such as Knorr’s pesto or alfredo sauce mix (unreconstituted: powder only) mustard (not honey mustard), balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg all spices/herbs

Condiments to use in moderation
Salt, lite teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce,non fat mayo, sugar-free/fat-free Jell-O pudding (chocolate/pistachio/cheesecake or any other flavor), Crystal Light, fat free dressings (use equal portions mixed with balsamic vinegar), skim milk in coffee/tea, 10 calorie Jell-O cups, sweeteners (Equal/Splenda/Xylitol)


16-ounce caffeinated coffee maximum daily. You can drink up to two more coffees, but they must be decaf with skim milk/sweetener only. If you drink your coffee with a lot of milk, eliminate one dairy serving if you have more than one a day.

Drink green tea all day. There are no limits. Same with decaf tea in general.

Water/seltzer is the best option, but you may also have one diet soda (caffeine-free) and 16 ounces of Crystal Light (or equivalent)

In moderation: sugar-free gum and sugar-free candies are ok.

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