I eat pretty well most of the time and am reasonably good at sticking to my good protein and good carbs diet but like most people I could happily lose a few extra pounds (well 4lb would be nice and whilst another 14lb would be great I’m not convinced I would look better that much thinner!). Anyway, whilst we all strive to be healthier and want to have foods that help us to lose weight, there is just so much out there that confuses; what do we eat? what is good for us? is protein good or bad? why do people think carbs are bad?
If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I am not a fan of grain and that I try to eliminate processed carbs (bread, wheat, cereal, rice, pasta) from my diet and I have posted in the past on Gluten Free and also on the basic Principle of Nutrition so I thought it was time to look at what good foods and especially good foods for weight loss.
So what’s the difference between eating healthily and eating specifically for fat loss?
Eating healthily usually means eating a good variety of foods that together combine to provide a balance of vitamins, minerals, essential fat content, fibre etc and provide an overall great nutrient profile but….that doesn’t necessarily mean they will help you lose fat and, unless you are already at 15-20% body fat most people could happily lose a few percentage points, me included! Foods that provide this type of profile includes things such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and high fat dairy foods but these foods, eaten normally (which means in anything other than very small quantities) will not be a great fat loss strategy for most people.
If you want to eat foods like these and hope to get fab weight/fat loss results, the only way to get any results is to control your portion size which for most people is a) difficult and b) doesn’t work.
In order to lose fat – as opposed to just making the numbers on the scale go down – it takes more than just dropping calories, it’s about what we eat as much as how much we eat. If we eat properly, and by that I mean eating for fat loss, cravings are diminished, we will feel fuller for longer, blood sugar levels become more stable and importantly there is a straightforward reduction in the amount of food eaten. Dropping calories, restricting or fad diets increases cravings and hunger pangs, energy levels often spike up and down and its so easy to get into a very low-calorie diet that simply reduces the amount of calories your body burns by lowering your metabolic rate.
Eating for fat loss simply means eating more of the right things more often and making such you eat plenty of lean protein, vegetables and low sugar fruit so, if you make sure your meals are based around these foods you will see a real improvement in weight but specifically in fat loss;
Salmon or Sardines – high in protein and good essential fats and a relatively low mercury source. Can be eaten for any meal, salmon is versatile enough to be eaten raw or cooked and is easy and quick to prepare. Buy salmon by the side or a whole salmon and cut your own fillets, a much cheaper and better way to purchase than pre-packaged fillets from the supermarket. Buy wild where and when you can.
Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)– relatively low in sugar and we all know by now they are a great source of antioxidants. Makes a great snack but add to other things to change the flavour or colour such as smoothies.
Beef – grass-fed organic where and when you can, high in protein, good fats and packed full of nutritional elements. For very low-fat try buffalo.
Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, etc) – eat a good variety of non starchy vegetables everyday and these ones are particularly good for us and provide a range of nutrients including high fibre and dark green leafy veg is great for helping with iron deficiency.
Eggs – for me these are a fabulous self-contained little meal! If you are trying to really lose a few pounds you could reduce the amount of yolks you consume but as an overall principle an egg is pretty good with the yolks being one of the most nutritious foods available and the white a perfect source of protein. And no, please, please don’t believe that eggs raise cholesterol and that cholesterol will cause heart disease – that is a very outdated view and modern nutrition discounted that several years go!
Greens (lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, dandelions, etc) – virtually no calories, full of nutrition and makes a great salad or wilted with a protein source makes a fantastically balanced meal.
Water based-veggies (celery, cucumbers, etc) – almost nil calories, limited nutritional value but you can eat loads without affecting your overall calorie intake.
Apples– who doesn’t love an apple? Satisfies a sweet craving, full of water and soluble fibre and a fantastic source of nutrition. Best of all portable – a snack on the go you can eat anywhere!
Boneless skinless chicken breast – low-fat, filling and, I think, the most popular source of protein available. Go for good quality and watch it hasn’t been pumped full of sodium. Can be eaten hot or cold, takes on other flavours really easily and can be cooked incredibly quickly. Versatile, easy to use and most children will eat it – a family favourite!
Cocoa powder – all chocoholics will be pleased to see this here! But to be honest good quality, high cocoa content cocoa powder has virtually no calories, great fibre content and has nutritional elements that help to increase energy levels, take the edge of hunger and reduce cravings. It’s also been seen to lower blood pressure and has a similar effect to aspirin on blood thinning and helps to balances blood sugar. BUT – we are talking about unsweetened cocoa powder NOT chocolate bars and there is a huge difference! Drink it with hot water and take the edge off any PMT cravings!
I hope that has given you some great ideas on eating for fat loss, let me know what you think?
Not by any means a comprehensive list but its a start for more great information like this try Metabolic Effect Blog.