Losing weight can be a very hard thing for a lot of people.
Food is very good. People like to eat. I like to eat. I'm sure you like to eat.
If you're like me, then you probably think about the next meal as soon as you finish your present one.
Like most people that enjoy food, I hate the term "diet."
The term "diet" is thrown around on a daily basis. The media is always talking about the next big fad diet. Most of which, tell you what foods you should and should not eat.
These kind of diets just create a bunch of negativity and poor relationships with food. Not to mention that most of these diets do not work or only provide short term solutions.
So rather than sit here and tell you what foods you should be eating and what foods you shouldn't be eating, I am going to offer four pieces of advice. Four things that I consider to be crucial to not only losing weight, but also keeping the weight off.
1) Limit Liquid Calories
When you are trying to control your caloric intake, it is important to be mindful of what you are drinking and how much you are drinking. Soda, fruit drinks, and other drinks containing a lot of sugar are extremely detrimental to weight loss efforts.
Liquid calories can add up faster than food calories.
For example, if someone were to drink just a 20 oz Coke, 8 oz orange juice, and 12 oz of sweet tea in one day, that would be 475 calories and 122 grams of sugar from drinks alone. That is as much sugar as eating a little over 5 Hersey bars.
I guarantee that a majority of America drinks more liquid calories than this in a typical day. This example is the low end of the spectrum. Sugar and calories are found in the majority of drinks you consume - think sports drinks, juices, additives to coffee, alcohol, soda, etc.
So how would you go about making a change in limiting liquid calories?
Slowly and consistently replace a caloric filled beverage with water. I said slowly and consistently because caffeine (found in soda, tea, and coffee) and sugar are both addictive substances and completely eliminating them from the start is most likely to fail and cause a relapsive behavior.
Work toward reducing your liquid calories and you will be amazed at how much faster you are able to lose weight.
2) Eat Protein Every Meal
Protein has the greatest thermogenic effect of all macronutrients. This means that your body will burn more calories digesting protein than it will digesting carbohydrates or fats. Quite a bit more actually.
When you eat protein, about 25-30% of the calories that you just consumed of protein, will be burned off just from digesting it. For example, if you ate 100 calories worth of protein (25g) then 25-30 calories will burned just by your body digesting it.
If that's doesn't encourage you to eat more protein, then this will.
Carbohydrates and fats only have about a 5% thermogenic effect. This means that for every 100 calories of carbs or fats that you ingest, only about 5 calories are being burned from digestion compared to protein's 25-30 calories.
The last thing I want to mention about protein is that protein takes longer to digest than carbs or fats, which will help you feel full longer.
If you want to learn more about protein or how much protein you should be consuming, read this.
3) Eat Every Few Hours
One of the worst things you can do is go for prolonged periods of time without eating. This is just setting you up to overeat and consume more calories later. When you go prolonged periods of time without eating your blood glucose levels drop and you become tired, lethargic, as well as leaving you feeling like you could "eat a horse."
To keep yourself from overeating you have to keep your blood glucose levels in check. The best way to do this is to eat something every 2-3 hours. It does not have to be a lot - a piece of string cheese and an apple would suffice.
The key is to just eat something every few hours to stave off the extreme hunger - that extreme hunger is what kills diets.
4) 80/20 Rule
I live by this rule.
You can not completely eliminate foods that you love. You can not eat perfectly for weeks, months, and years on end. Striving for perfection in a diet for long periods of times leads to an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you love ice cream and can not live without ice cream, then why not eat ice cream?
Depriving yourself constantly is what leads to failure for most people.
So what do I recommend?
Live by the 80/20 rule.
Eat nutritionally dense foods for 80% of your calories and the other 20% of the calories, eat the foods that you love.
For instance, if you are allotted 1800 calories a day in order to lose weight, then 1440 of those calories should come from healthy and nutritionally dense foods. The other 360 calories for the day? Eat whatever you want. You love ice cream? Eat a cup. You love chocolate chip cookies? Eat two. You love french fries? Eat 360 calories worth.
What I am saying is that if you love certain foods, then there is no reason why you can not have them. You just have to eat them in smaller/moderate amounts and they have to fit your caloric needs for the day.
The 80/20 approach to dieting, will help keep you motivated, satisfied, and on track.
It is a lifestyle, not a "diet."
Till next time,