When people first start a diet, they often make the mistake of thinking they need to eat less. They begin restricting calories and start feeling deprived, weak, and hungry. But this is not sustainable or healthy! Maintaining a healthy weight is not about eating less; it’s about eating right. In fact, it’s about eating more whole foods. This means foods without additives, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives; foods without vegetable or canola oil, soy, or added sugar.
When you consume the right foods, you hardly need to count calories, measure food, or restrict how much you eat. Let me ask you this: Do you think that 100 calories of carrots and 100 calories of chips nourish your body in the same way? Do they satisfy you the same way? It's easy to overeat potato chips—or other items with zero nutritional value that don't give your body what it really wants or needs—but much harder to overindulge in apples or fresh vegetables.
Yes, you can snack your way to weight loss.
This may seem counterintuitive, but there’s solid logic behind this trick. The most common times for cravings are midmorning, midafternoon, and late at night. Rather than look at these cravings as negative, respond to them by eating. Your body is secreting more ghrelin, telling you to "EAT!" The key, though, is not to eat just anything. Make smart food choices. Here’s the short list of top-notch snacking solutions:
- Nuts: A handful of nuts will give your body a dose of oleic acid, a healthy form of fat that can quickly decrease cravings.
- Avocados: Getting in a daily avocado is the perfect way to introduce healthy fats and a whole medley of other nutrients.
- Grapefruit: This is the perfect way to say farewell to hunger. Researchers have found that grapefruit helps with weight loss, perhaps by reducing insulin levels.
You also may try an apple with almond butter (no sugar added, please), carrots with hummus, hard-boiled eggs, or plain yogurt with berries. Keep in mind that there isn’t one food that's going to change everything for you—it’s a matter of eating a combination of good foods, exercising your body, and maintaining a positive mindset.
Load up your plate with nourishing, nutrient-dense foods.
Load up your plate with a variety of colorful veggies, grains and beans, lean protein, and healthy fats. Here are some of my favorite recommendations for clients who are looking to achieve their ideal weight:
Greens are an excellent tool for weight loss as they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Leafy greens are also the most nutrient-dense of all foods!
Onions, along with leeks, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions, make up the allium family of vegetables, which have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects.
4. Beans and whole grains.
Beans and whole grains provide dietary fiber, a nutrient that helps you feel full after your meal, promotes digestive regularity, and helps control blood sugar. Adding beans to your diet also boosts your intake of iron compared with a meal that contains grains alone.
5. Sweet potatoes.
6. Healthy proteins.
Protein is used in every single cell in our body and helps build muscle mass, prevent weight gain, and reduce appetite. It also aids in digestion, balancing hormones, and boosting mood. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids—a great source of protein—high in vitamin B, loaded with selenium, and may benefit weight control.
Avocados, they are one of the healthiest fruits in existence! And yep, they are actually a fruit. They are rich in monounsaturated fats, which raises good cholesterol and lowers the bad. They are a true superfood and packed with vitamin E, which helps prevent free radical damage and boosts immunity. They also have higher amounts of protein and healthy fats than other fruits.
8. Coconut oil.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are easy for your body to digest and not readily stored by the body as fat. These fatty acids also improve brain and memory function.
9. Olive oil.
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is great for your health, containing high levels of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. It's a staple food in the famous Mediterranean diet and is great for your brain health.
10. Nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds are super healthy and an important addition to any health-conscious diet plan. They are good for your overall health as they contain protein, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many other minerals and antioxidants. In addition, they contain a high amount of monounsaturated fats—the same fats found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy, and some of them are also great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Purchasing raw nuts is recommended, as commercial roasting depletes nutrients and typically adds inflammatory oils like canola and soybean, neither of which you should consume. If you want roasted and salted nuts, roast them on your own with spices and seasoning.
And finally, ditch the packaged, processed, sugar-laden prepared foods. Even flavored water has additives that aren’t really flavors; they’re chemicals! Instead, chop up some fruit and add it to your water, and load up on the foods that are found naturally on this earth. Remember: You don’t have to eat less; you just have to eat right, and the rest will follow.