We are what we eat- this age-old adage is reflected in the fact that 80%of the weight we gain can be attributed solely to our eating habits and only 20% is caused by external factors and medical conditions.
However, amidst a hectic lifestyle, we seldom find the time to devour a healthy home-cooked meal and consequently fall prey to the readily available and unhealthy processed and fast food options. It is this dangerous combination of a demanding lifestyle and the convenience and availability of unhealthy food items that has caused nearly 40% of people in the world to be classified as overweight.
Another factor that contributes to obesity is the preconceived notion that weight loss can only be achieved by going on stringent diet plans where you are required to eliminate entire food groups from your diet.
This is not only false but is also humanly impossible as the elimination of specific food groups leads to the deficiency of key nutrients in the body causing these diet plans to become unsustainable and detrimental in the long run.
Therefore, if you wish to shed pounds and avoid putting them back on, you need to make major adjustments in your diet by completely banning unhealthy foods and replacing them with equally filling and delectable items.
Such foods will not only keep you energized and satiated but will also do wonders for your health, allowing you to reduce weight at a healthy, sustainable pace. The 7 major adjustments that go a long way in facilitating weight loss include;
#1. Trim Down Refined Carbs And Sugars
Less amount of sugar intake is popularly associated with a smaller waistline and so the first thing most people focus on while attempting to lose weight is to trim down their consumption of sugary foods.
They do so by omitting typical items such as sweetened beverages, processed foods like muffins, doughnuts and other desserts from their diets. This drastically reduces the overall calorie intake by limiting the amount of fructose (known to cause belly fat) one consumes.
However, it won’t be enough if you are looking to shed a considerable amount of weight. The reason for this is that most of us usually consume more refined carbs and sugars than what is required by our bodies in the form of processed foods. These food items also include those labeled as “low-fat” such as margarine, pasta sauce, bread and canned veggies and soups. Here are some considerations to help you avoid access sugars and refined carbs:
- Go for products that are low in sugar content and give preference to frozen or fresh ingredients over canned goods.
- Avoid soft drinks like energy drinks, sodas, coffee-based beverages and milkshakes that are packed with sugar. Also, refrain from drinking diet sodas as they trigger cravings that consequently lead to weight gain. If you feel like having a sweet beverage, try unsweetened iced tea or carbonated water that has a small quantity of fruit juice in it.
#2. Focus On Healthy Fat Rather Than No Fat At All
Over the past few years, people have begun switching to low-fat products in an attempt to shed pounds. Such a trend has been backed by statements by prominent organizations such as the American Heart Association that uphold the fact that consuming saturated fat in any way can contribute to heart disease.
While, this is true, it paints only part of the picture because the term “fat” encompasses both unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats as well as healthy fats that are essential for your body and even contribute to weight loss!
This is due to the fact that healthy monounsaturated fats help you absorb vitamins A, D and E that are crucial for the optimum functioning of the nervous system, increase good HDL cholesterol, reduce bad LDL cholesterol, prevent belly fat and protect your arteries from the buildup of plaque. Therefore, dietitians recommend that 25-30% of your daily calories should come from fat.
The key here is to know which fats to go for and which ones to avoid. For instance, you should definitely consume monounsaturated fats that can be found in cashews, almonds, peanuts, avocados, peanut butter, sesame seeds and olive and canola oil.
You should also go for polyunsaturated fats that reduce LDL levels and contain omega-3 fatty acids that help improve brain function and strengthen the immune system. You can find polyunsaturated fats in salmon, herring, mackerel, walnuts, tofu, flaxseed and canola oil.
#3. Make Vegetables A Vital Part Of Your Diet
Eating less isn’t the ideal way to lose weight because it leads to lower energy levels and causes craving, eventually becoming too difficult to sustain. So, instead of starving yourself, try to focus on eating vegetables that are packed with essential nutrients and fiber that will fill you up without adding those undesired,extra calories.
You will be amazed to see how your overall food intake will be reduced because you wouldn’t feel the urge to indulge in untimely cravings. Moreover, try to incorporate beans such as black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils and split peas to salads, soups and entrees as they are excellent sources of nourishment. Also, whole grains such as high-fiber cereal, multigrain bread and brown rice are choices for weight loss.
#4. Start Your Day With Breakfast
Breakfast is quite rightly known as the most important meal of the day because it sets the pace of your metabolism and can, therefore, be used to facilitate weight loss. On the other hand, if you skip breakfast, your body will assume that it is starving causing it to conserve energy by slowing down the metabolic rate and increasing its insulin response.
Therefore, the moment you eat something your blood sugar will spike causing you to feel hungry shortly after. This way you work up a major appetite and end up eating more throughout the day. So, come up with a few go-to breakfast items that you can have even if you’re in a rush or go for weight loss supplements which will give you plenty of nourishment and will help you shed weight as well.
#5. Consume Plenty Of Water
Water is essential in maintaining bodily functions, however, when used right, it is capable of brilliantly complementing your weight loss efforts. To use water to your maximum advantage, have 2 cups of water 30 minutes prior to your meals as this will boost your metabolism allowing you to digest food quickly. Moreover, you will feel relatively fuller when you take your first bite and thus consume less amount of food at the end of the day.
#6. Avoid Heavy Dinners
Most of us have a habit of enjoying a hearty dinner after a long and tiring day. While this fits perfectly within our lifestyles, the very opposite stands true when it comes to your body. The reason for this is that our metabolic rate reduces when we sleep causing us to pack on pounds.
Therefore, have your heaviest meals early on in the day and only go for low-fat, low-carb and low-calorie food items at night. By doing so, you will be able to lose more weight as well as enjoy a good night’s sleep.
#7. Eat Fruits When You Crave Sugar
We all inevitably feel an urge to have something sweet every now and then. In such instances,it is a great idea to opt for fruits as they will not only satisfy your cravings but will also greatly help with weight loss at the same time. You can go for a variety of fruits but the ones that have been found to facilitate weight loss the most include watermelon, apple, guava, pear, banana, orange and tomato.
These dietary adjustments will help you lose weight in an enjoyable and sustainable manner.
ABOUT AlyciaGordan: AlyciaGordan is a freelance writer. She loves to read and write article related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates and you can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia