There are many reasons why you might want to loss weight. If you have been significantly overweight or obese for a long time, then you might have concerns about what the extra weight could be doing to your health. Obesity increases your risk of many health problems, including diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease, and some types of cancer. If you have recently gained a bit of weight, then you might just want to loss some weight to fit back into your old jeans. Whatever your reason for wanting to loss weight, there are some important strategies that you should know about.
Choose lean proteins instead of fatty ones. Protein is important for organ function and building muscle. Select lean cuts of beef or extra-lean ground beef when you’re eating red meat. Remove skin from chicken before cooking.
- Skip the fatty deli meats like bologna and salami. Choose lean turkey or roast beef as a replacement.
- Vegetarians can get plenty of protein from soy, nuts, beans and seeds. Lentils, legumes, and beans are excellent sources of fiber and protein.
- Eat low-fat dairy for a source of protein, including low-fat cheeses and nonfat yogurt.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruit helps to satisfy your sweet tooth thanks to its natural sugars, while fresh vegetables help your stomach fill up more quickly. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber to help you feel full quickly. Try some of these tips to introduce more fruit and vegetables into your diet:
- Eat what is in season and eat fruit and vegetables for snacks or, for dessert. When you eat apples in the fall, for instance, or cherries in late summer, it might as well be an indulgent dessert. Cut up celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower and dip them in a light salad dressing or hummus.
- Use vegetables as a main dish. For example, make a stir-fry or a hearty salad and add just a few ounces of cooked chicken, salmon or almonds.
Eat more whole grains and cut simple carbs. Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, sweet potato, and brown rice are all excellent sources of energy and sources of nutrition. Combined with the right combination of proteins and vegetables, whole grains are perfect all-around nutrition.
- Simple carbs are things like white bread, processed flour, and white sugar. This gives you energy quickly but then comes with a crash. It turns into fat very quickly.
- Substitute whole wheat flour or oat flour into pancakes or baked goods. You might need to add additional leavening ingredients, like baking powder or yeast. Put barley in your soup instead of rice or try a pilaf with barley, wild rice or brown rice.
- Eat only naturally-occurring carbohydrates instead of processed carbohydrates. Avoid processed foods, like white bread, semolina pasta or crackers, or processed sweets like candy bars or sugary vegetables.
Try a formal diet plan. If you like the idea of following a more specific diet and putting the planning into someone else’s hands, try following a new diet and exercise:
- Follow a paleo diet and eat grass-produced meat, fish, and seafood, fresh fruits, and vegetables, eggs, seeds and nuts, just like paleo-humans did. Eat nothing prepackaged or processed.
- Try sticking to raw foods. The Raw Food Diet requires 75 percent of your dietary intake to be uncooked. Most people eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
- Join a commercial diet plan. If you prefer to eat whatever you want and to meet weekly with other people who are losing weight, then try Weight Watchers. If you prefer prepared meals so that you don’t have to cook, try Jenny Craig or NutriSystem.
Cut the salt from your diet. Eating more sodium causes your body to retain water, which can cause you to feel bloated and gain more weight. The good news is that you’ll sweat that weight out very quickly, so an easy way of cutting some pounds is to eat less sodium in your diet.
- Instead of salt, try spicing your meals with chili flakes, fresh salsa, or cajun spices and seasonings.
- Unsalted foods will taste much saltier eventually if you cut salt out for a while and let your taste-buds re-acclimate.
Don’t skip meals. Lots of people think skipping a meal will help to loss weight, but people who have lost weight tend to maintain their weight loss better when they eat three meals and two snacks every day. This indicates that eating three meals and two snacks may be a healthy eating pattern for weight loss.
- Make sure that you don’t get hungry by eating small portions throughout the day at regular intervals. Between your meals, eat a 150-calorie snack to keep your metabolism burning and to stave off hunger. Be sure that you don’t eat a fattening snack such as sweets or crisps. When you’re hungry, your body conserves calories and slows down your metabolic processes.
Avoid sweetened drinks. Drinks that are sweetened, whether artificially or naturally, will have little nutritional value and add lots of empty calories to your diet. Do not drink fruit juice or other sweetened drinks. Even natural sugars will increase your daily calorie intake and prevent weight loss. If you chose to drink juice, do not exceed 4 oz per day (1/2 cup). Instead of drinking sweetened beverages throughout your day, drink unsweetened, calorie-free beverages. Some beverages to avoid include:
- Sweet tea
- Kool Aid
- Fruit punch
- Sports drinks
- Sweet coffee drinks
- Alcoholic drinks