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There are multiple ways to achieve weight loss, and many ways can work, but what should actually matter to you is following a plan that gives you:
Healthy Weight Loss
A plan that you can stick to it
The first point shouldn’t need qualification (I hope), but the latter point might do, and it’s important, since just because someone else has had success with a particular diet (and recommended it to you) doesn’t necessarily mean you will have the same success with it as well.
This is because adherence is the main reason why a particular diet works. Of course, there are other factors, too, especially if it’s the long term results we’re after, but adherence is the overarching prerequisite for the success of any diet.
And whether or not you adhere to something (over the long term) depends on how well you get on with it. How agreeable is it? How easy is it? Indeed, how enjoyable is it?
Some types of diets will suit some types of people while other types of diets will suit other types of people.
And the types of weight loss diets can be generalized into two main camps:
Each has pros and cons, and which one is best is nearly always down to the individual doing it. This post will be recommending the unstructured route, but before that let’s first have a look at some pros and cons of the structured route:
A structured diet is one that consists of one, or all, of the following:
What to eat
What not to eat
How much to eat
When to eat
Structured diets are nearly always elimination style diets (they remove something), and they work for some people, but not others.
Here are some of the pros and cons:
They tell you exactly what you need to do.
This can make it a lot easier to follow in the beginning, especially when you feel like you want to start losing weight right away.
Similar to this is the fact that you don’t have spend a lot of time second guessing yourself. The thinking required on your part is kept to a minimum.
This may be the number one reason people go for these diets in the first place, as opposed to just switching to making healthier food choices. You know exactly what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, and sometimes even when you should be eating.
The result of this is “quick and easy diets to lose weight”, generally in a pretty fast timeframe as well, which makes them even more attractive to many (even though it shouldn’t and is potentially hazardous to health, for various reasons).
But if you want to lose weight fast and start seeing those pounds come off now, an elimination diet is an easy way to reduce weight without exercise.
Structured diets are almost always effective (after all, they are completely eliminating stuff from your intake), as long as you stick to the diet properly.
If you clicked some of the links above then you’ve noticed that the pros have arguments against them already, but here’s a few more of the less technical reasons.
Naturally, the main disadvantage of a structured diet is that it is restrictive. As mentioned above, they are elimination diets. That is, they eliminate certain foods or food groups from the ones you’re allowed.
Generally, you’re given a list of foods you can eat, but also a list (which is usually longer) of foods you can’t eat.
There’s a few negative consequences of this:
This can create a label for certain foods where suddenly they become ‘bad for you’, which isn’t a healthy (or accurate) way to view food.
They make you give up foods that you like. The result of which is that the diet can feel like a chore to do, especially over the long term.
It doesn’t educate you. As such, when you stop the diet (which in all probability you will because elimination diets are often a temporary thing) and start eating the foods you’ve been restricting again you put the weight right back on because you didn’t actually know what you were doing in the first place.
Continuing with that last point: while there’s a good chance you will see results pretty quickly with these diets, they likely won’t last.
Many people find that once they go back to their old way of eating then all the pounds come back on, they deal with binge cycles and yo-yo dieting.
This is why making a permanent lifestyle change is best if you want lasting results.
They can also damage your relationship with food.
Yes, we know, we have relationships with people, not food, but that misses the point.
When you label certain foods “bad”, suddenly everything you eat can become a test, where you figure out if you can eat it or you can’t eat it, along with the associated feelings of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Feelings of guilt and/or shame can be common if you’ve been bad.
This is not healthy, and there is really no need to think about food like this. We are talking about food, let’s not forget.
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Whether the pros or the cons win for any particular individual is an entirely subjective thing, so don’t worry about what your friend or family members are doing or recommending.
Your preference is what matters, and we recommend pursuing a normal diet plan for weight loss with your eye on optimal health.
When wanting to lose weight, you should be focusing on what you are eating, as this is the route to maintaining optimal health during it.
There’s two things to keep in mind here:
The nutrition of the food.
The caloric density of the food.
With the nutrition aspect there’s the macronutrients of protein, carbs and fats, and the micronutrients of vitamins and minerals.
For weight loss, it’s beneficial to build your plate around the protein source. There’s several reasons for this, but top of the list is satiation—protein fills you up more and for longer than the other macronutients.
Protein is also essential for mediating bodily processes and building and maintaining tissue (among other things), so it’s important.
Vitamins and minerals are a-plenty in whole foods.
For the caloric density part, your best bet is to eat low calorie dense, satiating foods—and vegetables are the food item at the top of the list here, which also have the added benefit of piling on the vitamins and minerals.
Here are some tips for keeping that balance.
The first thing to learn is how to find the tight balance on your plate. This is going to vary a little depending on your own requirements and personal preference (as well as allergies and intolerances if you experience them).
Remember the macronutrients:
The simplest way to create a balanced meal is to make sure you have at least one protein source, one carb, and one fat.
And there are different ways to strike this balance, such as sectioning off your plate.
Sectioning your plate is simple and easy. Here are 3 ways.
This is a good way to ensure you get enough vegetables and fibre into your diet. You could, say, have half your plate as salad or vegetables, with the other half being split up into your protein and other food sources, such as the starchy carbs.
This is good when you want a little treat with your meal, without going overboard. To balance it out, have 80 percent “healthy” food, with 20 percent being your “treat”.
This is when 40% of your plate is fibre sources, 40% is protein sources, and 20% is starchy carb sources. The fat can be incidental (such as by way of the protein source) or as a condiment (such as olive oil on the fibre).
If you commit the nutrients to memory meal building becomes infinitely more simple. Find foods you enjoy for each as these can be your main staple and you can build around them.
Protein – Eggs, meat, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts, cheese/dairy, beans/legumes
Carbs – brown rice, potatoes, quinoa, oats, most vegetables
Fibre – Chia seeds, whole grains, brown rice, vegetables, fruits
Fats – olive oil, avocado, nuts, fatty fish (e.g. salmon)
Here are some easy food tips for weight loss. In fact, if you have a lot of weight to lose then they may be the most simple things you can do to lose weight fast.
But regardless of whether you have a lot of weight to lose or just some, they are simple ways to reduce weight and you should start incorporating them immediately.
The order of what you eat can change things, from how full you get and how quickly you get full, to how satiated you feel after your meal.
This might actually surprise you, but it’s true, and can be particularly beneficial for anyone who tends to overeat, eats mindlessly, or almost always goes for seconds or extra snacks after they’ve finished a meal.
If you find your appetite and overeating to be your biggest struggle then the ability to feel more full with each meal is a worthy pursuit.
So, for satiation, eat your protein first!
This is really easy to do and doesn’t change what you eat at all. All you need to do is eat a meal with a good protein source like chicken, fish, steak, or even vegetable proteins like beans or tofu, and eat that part of the meal first.
Don’t go around the plate eating a little of everything. Instead, eat all of your protein, THEN move on to everything else.
Once you’ve eaten your main protein source, you then eat the salad or veggies.
Along with the protein having already been consumed, this is going to inrease your satiation even more.
Your starchy carbs are going to be last. These are often the most sought after part of the meal and can cause you to overeat, but because we’ve filled up on the protein and fibre our satiation is well under way.
Some sources, such as sweet potatoes, have an extra bit of sweetness to them, helping to satisfy your sweetness, i.e. dessert, craving.
Things like potatoes and bread go here. There is nothing wrong with eating bread with dinner, but try to save it for last.
The next easy food tip for weight loss is mindful eating, and it works for losing weight. It’s a two-fold mecahnism:
It slows you down so your brain has more time to get the signal from your stomach that you’re full.
It makes you more aware of yourself so you can be more cognizant of your satiety signals in the first place.
Mindful eating can be difficult to get started with because you’ve become so used to a particular way of eating that you’re now trying to change. Basically, you have a habit, developed over the course of years, and it’s going to take more than just a few days to break it.
Be diligent and decide to make a specific effort to be mindful.
To give you more assistance, let’s craft a process that will help.
One thing that can be extremely jarring yet educational for you is to try and gain more self awareness for a few moments.
Try to notice how you feel before you begin to eat. Remember that it isn’t a race, and that if you eat more slowly you’ll enjoy your food and feel more satisfied.
You might be surprised that you don’t really pay much attention to some meals, and that eating is just a formality to begin or end the day with.
So start chewing your food and tasting it. It’ll slow you down and help you make better food choices because, after all, higher quality healthy foods almost always taste good.
Eating while engaged with tech can lead to eating out of control and you might end up finishing an entire bag of snacks that were meant to last for a week.
It’s easier to control how much food you are eating if you are less distracted.
Make no mistake, eating that whole big bag of crisps is a HUGE deal. Your weight loss efforts are completely ruined by such distracted eating habits.
For a lot of people, the scariest thing about changing their eating habits is often the fear that they will have to endure days of feeling hungry and unsatisfied after meager meals.
This isn’t true because, remember, the first point above is that we’re looking to satisfy nutrition; every vegetable, fruit and protein source on the entire planet is open to you, you just have to incorporate that into the second point, that of the caloric density.
Low calorie dense, satiating food is your winning ticket.
However, this isn’t to imply that you will never feel a pang of hunger, or that you might need some additional tips as you move forward (we’re under-feeding in relation to what you’re used to, after all).
Here’s some tips that will assist:
Soups can be hearty and enjoyable. Look online for some recipes that incorporate rich, blended vegetable pastes, savory seasonings, literal medleys of vegetables, and many ideas that can include your favorite meats.
Soups like these will not only fill you up, but will probably make you feel like skipping the breads and other foods completely, which further lowers the caloric density of your meal.
These are fibrous, healthy, and filling, so are excellent choices for snacks.
They provide a decent amount of fibre as well, which will aid with your digestion and motility.
Thick cruciferous vegetables are definitely your friend when it comes to those dinner time meals. They’re filling and good for you.
Broccoli, for instance, can be cooked and flavored in a variety of ways that make it a relatively versatile vegetable.
As the most underestimated of foods, beans are extremely tasty with basic seasoning, and they can be very filling, and with some added vegetables they can become an entire meal.
Even foods that once came from grains have had much of the actual components of what made that food a grain in the first place removed.
And this is extremely common, so care to watch for it.
Fibre is nutritious and filling. You want it in your meals and snacks.
This is just extra calories, and it’s often accompanied by additional fat as well, which just increases the calories even more at an even smaller portion size.
Condiments are terrible for this and can easily ruin your fat loss aspirations on their own.
Ideally, you should not eat any trans fats.
There’s literally nothing good about them from a health perspective, and are actually detrimental to health.
It is being phased out, but it still exists, so watch out for it.
Trans fat is also known as partially hydrogenated oil, and it is this that will likely be in the ingredients list, not trans fat.
Due to a focus on healthy weight loss and balanced nutrition, you are going to stop ‘dieting and restricting’, and stop with the all-or-nothing mentality completely.
There is no need to swing wildly in any one direction and you can, and should, have balance.
Here’s the thing. There are no “bad” foods (trans fat notwithstanding). There are no “good” foods. There is only food.
Some foods have more or different benefits than other types of food, such as the vitamin and mineral content, the satiation levels, etc., but this doesn’t make any particular food good or bad, it just makes it different.
Many lifetime dieters don’t think like this. They have an all or nothing mentality where they become convinced of the benefits of some new craze and jump into it with zeal and an almost tribal mentality.
Off they go into one direction for a while before doing a complete about-turn and going all the way in the other direction. Hell, I’ve known people to be born again vegans, only to drop it and go full carnivore when that became the lastest craze.
These people don’t know what they’re doing, and I say that with a somewhat sad heart and the best of intentions. But it’s ridiculous. And foolish. Just learn about food and you’ll be forever done with the fads.
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If this post has fueled your interest and you want to know more about achieving healthy weight loss, as well as having a largely complete healthy habits weight loss program, coupled with simple ways to reduce weight incorporating an easy and normal diet plan for weight loss, consider the book.
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