You see these kinds of headlines all the time:
The Number One Food You Should be Eating to Lose Weight!
Eat This Food and Lose Weight!
I’m always drawn to these articles. Not because I’m looking to lose weight, but because I’m curious about what they’ll say is the magic bullet for weight loss. It’s often super foods, or something like Green Coffee Bean Extract or Raspberry Ketones– supplements that I have a really hard time believing actually cause sustainable weight loss.
So if powders, pills and super foods aren’t the answer, what should you be eating to lose weight?
Well, I have an idea of where you can start…But the hard truth is that I don’t know.
Because the hard truth is that only YOU know.
I know, I know: that’s not helpful at all. So, in order to make this post helpful, I’m going to tell you where you should start.
5 Tips For Where To Start When Eating For Better Health And Weight Loss
What to eat to lose weight? Here is what you must be doing to lose weight effectively.
Keep A Food Journal
When you’re working toward better health and weight loss, it’s important to know what you’re putting into your body– and I don’t mean how many calories you’re eating. I mean the actual foods that you’re using to fuel your body. If you don’t have a baseline for what you’re eating, you don’t really know where to make changes.
Use a food journal to record how hungry you are before you eat, and how satisfied or full you are after you eat. Use your food journal to record any physical or emotional sensations you notice after eating. It could be that you’ll eventually see some patterns that will help you fine tune your food routine. Keeping track of hunger and satisfaction is also a great way to get in tune with your inner body cues.
Eat More Carbs From Fruits And Vegetables
Crowd out the processed carbohydrates you eat with more fruits and veggies. Whole foods are more nutrient dense than processed foods– and whole food carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than processed carbs like bread and pasta. With any type of food, a good rule of thumb is: the darker in color, the more nutrient dense. Kale is more nutrient dense than iceberg lettuce, and red meat is more nutrient dense than chicken breast. When working toward weight loss and optimum health, it’s important to make the most nutrient dense choice you can.
Eat More Protein From Whole Food Sources
When working toward better health and weight loss, it’s important to EAT your food– rather than drink your food. Eating involves chewing, and chewing is one of the key things that primes your body for digestion– AND to know when its full. Eating your protein means choosing more nutrient dense sources of protein– chicken, beef, turkey, pork– rather than processed sources like protein bars and protein powders. Yes, I think that even your post workout mean should be actual food in most cases.
Chewing your food helps get you in tune with your inner body cues, which is the most important part of eating for better health and for weight loss.
Don’t Be Afraid Of High Quality, Healthy Fats
High quality fats are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. AND they are an integral part of eating for health and for weight loss. Fats are what help you feel satisfied and they help you absorb the nutrition from your food. It’s important to include healthy fats at all of your meals– this means a little olive oil or avocado on your salads, some nut butter on that banana and eating various fattier cuts of meat.
Drink More Water And Less Alcohol
When working toward better health and weight loss, it’s important to make sure that you’re hydrated. This means drinking more water. It’s also important, however, to make sure that you have a good balance of electrolytes– so if your pee is clear, add some sea salt, honey or lemon juice to your water to make sure you’re not depleting yourself. It’s also important to make sure that you’re drinking water AROUND meals instead of with them. Drinking water with meals can interfere with digestive juices and drinking water with meals is often used in lieu of chewing your food really well…as in chewing twice and taking a big gulp of water to wash your food down.
When working toward weight loss, alcohol should be considered a food rather than a drink. A food that interferes with how your body processes other foods. Sometimes thinking of it that way changes how you may feel about it.
Listen To Your Body
Remember that time I said that I didn’t know what YOU should be eating to lose weight? It’s true. I don’t. Only you do. So make sure to listen to your body and be aware of what it’s telling you. Listening to your inner body cues is the only way you’re going to know if something is working for you or not– so stay aware of your energy levels, your hunger, your satisfaction with meals and your cravings. All of these pieces will help you figure out what the best way of eating is for YOU.
Eating for better health and weight loss is definitely hard. And it takes a lot of work.