We all know that to keep fit and healthy both now and for in our later years, we need to eat well, stay active and manage our stress levels. But what about if you need to shed a few extra pounds; what do you eat then? Firstly, it’s important to not get hung up about the number on the scales. If you have a lot of weight to lose then by all means monitor your weight to ensure it’s generally heading in the right direction but for the average person just looking to shape up a bit, your weight will take care of itself if you eat well and exercise regularly. The number on the scales can also be misleading if you have a higher amount of muscle mass, and the daily fluctuations in the numbers (which are totally normal) can make people feel unnecessarily demoralised.
Anyhow, in terms of nutrition, here are my top 7 tips to help you eat for weight loss.
1. Eat foods as unprocessed as possible – this will automatically reduce your intake of unhealthy carbs such as chocolate, cake and biscuits. Instead have a go at making your own using more natural ingredients (do remember though that unrefined sweeteners such as maple syrup are still sugar so it’s not a free licence to eat unlimited portions!)
2. Eat fat to lose fat – yes you heard correctly. Fat will keep you feeling full and satisfied and will therefore help stop you from snacking on unhealthy options. It needs to be the good, heart friendly fats though – olives and olive oil, oily fish, nuts and avocado are all great sources.
3. Avoid artificially low fat products – fat is flavour so when it’s removed from a food, it is replaced with sugar to make it tasty. Too much sugar will lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff.
4. Eat regularly – schedule in a mid morning and mid afternoon snack to stop your blood sugar levels dropping too much. If you allow yourself to become overly hungry, you won’t be able to stop yourself from caving in to the Mars bar you spotted in the kitchen cupboard!
5. Eat enough protein – protein also helps to keep you feeling full so aside from the muscle building / toning benefits, it’s important to include a portion of protein at every meal. Good sources are nuts and nut butter, meat and eggs.
6. Drink enough water – we often confuse thirst for hunger so if you think you’re hungry, drink a small glass of water first. Wait 20 minutes and if you’re still hungry, then have something to eat.
7. Portion control at mealtimes – if you’re 5’4″, you don’t need to consistently match the dinner plate size of your 6’3″ partner unless you’re doing very heavy training! Control your portion size, and eat slowly; it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full so if you’re still hungry 20 minutes after finishing your meal, then have a little more. Don’t wolf down a massive plate and then feel stuffed and uncomfortable for the rest of the day!
So there you have my top tips; don’t forget though that exercise also plays a massive factor so try implementing the above advice, move a little more and any excess weight will take care of itself 😊