This is something that constantly comes up in conversation. “I’m trying to lose weight but my numbers haven’t budged”. If you have weight to lose you are probably searching for information everywhere and realizing all of it contradicts itself. The food industry is doing everything they can to confuse you into buying their addictive, processed, chemical laden foods and think that you are making healthy choices. I want to break it down, make it easy so you can stop obsessing over your image and weight and start loving yourself through your food choices.
In doing research on this, I was pretty furious when I saw a government website advocating processed low-fat cheese product as an alternative to natural cheddar cheese! Just…NO!
Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates are your three macronutrients and guess what? You need all three! The trick is to choose the right version of all of these, eating them at the right time of day and controlling your portions!
- It is impossible to burn body fat without carbohydrates! Stick to 100% Whole Wheat (not multigrain) and quit carbs after lunchtime. They are perfect for the morning and lunchtime meal because they provide energy that can get you going immediately. Choose whole fruits and eat the peels if possible! The outside and pulp of fruit contains the fiber slows sugar absorption and keeps your body from turning it directly into body fat. The fiber is completely stripped from fruit in juices so go with a smoothie over a fruit juice for the kiddos.
- Choose unsaturated fats, limit saturated fats and stay away from trans fats. Unsaturated fats like those in avocados, olive oil and almonds have been proven to lower bad cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. Saturated fat has been known to contribute to plaque buildup in arteries and heart disease. It’s most commonly found in animal based protein sources. You can have it in your diet but limit it as much as possible by choosing vegetarian protein sources when possible and choosing lean animal proteins.
- Choose plant based proteins for the most health benefits. Brown rice, quinoa, beans and seeds are great sources of protein that can be added to your daily diet easily. Protein helps your muscles mend, boosts your metabolism and acts as nature’s hunger suppressant. Eating protein at each meal is a surefire way keep from getting hunger pains throughout the day and allow you to stay satiated on less food and less calories.
Now that you understand which foods to eat and when to eat them here are your basic rules to stick to if you want to shed the lbs:
- Eat Lean Protein and Non-Starchy Vegetables at every meal- Lean proteins and vegetables will keep your body running in top shape, give you energy for the day without sugar crashes and pack your body with nutrients to fend off illness.
- Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks- Make your metabolism work all day! Pack yourself a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack for in between meals. I like fruit in the morning and hummus and veggies in the evening or maybe a healthy trail mixture of nuts. Keep an eye on the portion sizes!
- Exercise- You are not likely to lose weight with exercise alone but adding it to a healthy diet can help you speed up your progress substantially. I like strength exercises that get my heart rate up at the same time. Elevating your heart rate daily is important for heart health but breaking your muscles down through strength training will burn you more body fat. You are burning calories long after you finish your workout! That sore feeling is your body building back lean muscle (with the help of your lean protein) and burning calories in the process. On top of that lean muscle burns more calories on a daily basis than fat, so the stronger you get, the more fat you will burn! Win Win!
- Drink nothing but water- Drinking your calories is such a waste. It’s hard enough to hit your daily water allotment for the day without adding in sugary beverages that derail your weight loss goal anyway. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces in water everyday! So if you weigh 200lbs you should be drinking 100oz of water daily. Your body relies on water for everything it does. You will struggle with weight loss without it.
- Eat all of your carbs before lunch- Carbs are important as part of your diet, but they do the best when you have time to immediately burn them off. Use them as fuel in the morning and afternoon to get through the day and wind down the rest of the day with just lean protein and veggies. If you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a little dessert fruit is still the best option.
Post-baby I lost almost 40 pounds using these principles! It is absolutely the only healthy way to lose weight without compromising the overall health of your body.
Try not to obsess over your weight. If you make these healthy lifestyle changes the pounds will come off and you will feel amazing. Make this journey about treating yourself with kindness. It’s incredibly important that we teach our children that we do this because we love our bodies and not because we hate them.