Although I am a big believer in eating foods that you love, providing they are high quality and you savour every mouthful, I also believe that the best things to eat to lose weight are natural unprocessed foods that your body can easily digest and that also provide some kind of nutritional value.
Before I go into what foods I personally believe are better for us, weight loss or not, I think it is important to emphasise that deprivation isn't the way to go. Eating tiny amounts and ending up permanently hungry will slow down your metabolism as your body goes into 'famine' mode and the only weight loss you will see is water and muscle tissue. To keep your metabolism burning efficiently, you should be listening to your body, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied - no deprivation required!
So what are the best things to eat to lose weight? Here are my top 5 personal recommendations based on personal experience and research and remember - it's always best to consult your doctor before following any dietary advice:
1. Eat natural where possible...
I don't think I am the only one to conclude that highly processed foods, especially processed carbohydrates are a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic that we see. Always choose natural foods over highly processed foods where possible - simply because your body knows what to do with natural food and can use it efficiently and easily. Processed foods that are full of additives and chemicals can play havoc with your blood sugar and insulin levels and be hard to process, depleting the body of nutrients.
2. Select good quality protein...
Good quality protein should make up a good percentage of your diet and is definitely one of the best things to eat to lose weight. Not only is it filling and satisfying, it also helps to build muscle and keeps your metabolism burning efficiently. Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, cheese and Greek yoghurt are just some of my favourites. There are plenty of high protein alternatives for vegetarians. I'm not a big fan of soya (unless it has been naturally fermented) as scientists are still not sure it is good for us and to date I am also not convinced.
3. Get your fill of fruit and vegetables...
Vegetables are full of nutrients and one of the best things to eat to lose weight as they are filling and versatile. Salads for lunch with some good quality protein, side dishes to go with your evening meal or stir frys - there are plenty of options. Starchy vegetables however are a different story - they quickly convert to sugar in the body so still enjoy them but in very small portions or occasionally. Include some fruit but beware of overloading on sugar, causing insulin spikes. Berries are the best choice and full of antioxidants. Add to Greek yoghurt for a great dessert or blend with good quality protein powder for a delicious breakfast smoothie. Delicious!
4. Fill up on fiber
As well as being filling and keeping hunger at bay, fiber has other numerous health benefits such as keeping our digestive system in good running order and our bowel movements regular. Fiber is also reported to reduce the risk of many illnesses including heart disease, high cholesterol levels, colitis and colon cancer as well as helping to regulate blood sugar. Good sources of fiber are whole fruits, beans, oats, lentils, whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
5. Get your good fats...
The diet industry has really turned people off of fats over the years, which isn’t great since some good fats are essential for our health. These include things like avocado, olive and nut oils and oily fish. It's good practice to ensure you include some good fat daily to make sure you get enough.
So I hope that has helped you understand some of the best things to eat to lose weight. It is important to remember though that food is just part of the story. Just because something is good for you it doesn't mean that you should over-stuff yourself. It is important to listen to your body and tune into you hunger and satisfaction signals for long term success and my finally, to avoid feeling deprived, I like to follow the 80/20 rule - eat natural wholesome foods 80% of the time and allow yourself to indulge a little for the other 20%! Enjoy...
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