Your 30-day weight loss plan!

Playing off your weight loss goal against the collateral metabolic damage of a caloric deficit? New research pinpoints a way to lose fat and keep lean body mass, despite eating below your energy needs (that means less chance of yo-yo and skinny-fat effects).

According to a new report published in The FASEB Journal, consuming twice the recommended daily allowance of protein during your slimming spree can prevent loss of muscle mass and promote fat loss. Don’t bother trying to trick it up with extra protein, though. Tripling the protein RDI netted no extra benefits.

How to play along at home:

Days 1-10: Consume enough calories to maintain your body weight to allow your metabolism to adapt to the new protein quotient – building in protein at twice the RDA of 0.66g per kilo of body weight (62 kg = 82 g of protein). If you don’t know your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), plug your stats into an online calculator.

Days 11-31: Create a shortfall of 7,000 calories per week while meeting the new protein quota. To ensure you obtain key nutrients, keep intake at or above 1,200 cals and bridge the gap with exercise.

NEXT: Are protein shakes key to weight loss?