Successfully losing weight obviously depends on your diet and exercise habits. Less calories in than out may be at the core of it, but what we know from research is that it’s more complicated than that. In order to succeed, you need to have a good strategy because in the end, it’s not about the diet quantity, it’s about the diet quality.
Not all calories are equal
One study revealed that people who eat lots of fruits, veggies, or whole but healthy foods while avoiding processed and sugary foods lost more weight than people who watched their calorie intake but still consumed processed and sugary foods.
Calories that come from whole food sourced tend to be digested more slowly, which means longer lasting energy and less cravings. This also helps to minimise health risks for lifestyle related diseases such as impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes.
Ditching old ideas
The idea of following a low fat diet has been popular in former years, since fat has more calories than protein or carbohydrate. It was thought that by cutting down on fat that calories would be reduced, and therefore weight loss would ensure.
This has been found not to be the case, with overweight/obesity rates climbing even higher since the health sector began promoting low fat diets. Today we know that fat is in fact a valuable part of our diet, and choosing to include moderate amount of good fat is good for heart health as well as helping us to feel fuller.
Choosing sources of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish etc. can and should be included in a healthy eating plan. You may still wish to choose to limit saturated fat such as butter and fatty processed meat, and choose reduced fat options for some dairy products.
Higher quality produce
Choosing produce that is as fresh as possible, brightly coloured, organic (if your budget allows), or free range are a few ways to improve the quality of your diet. If you can grow any of your own produce, that’s as fresh as you can get! Even if it’s just a small bunch of herbs on the windowsill, or some rocket to add to salads.
Having smaller portions of higher quality meat, chicken, or fish is another good strategy. Most of us overestimate how much we actually need in terms of protein portions, a small 100-150g piece of meat is about right. This can help keep your budget in check!
Cook from scratch
Preparing your meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, herbs, and flavours means you know exactly what has gone into your meals. Avoid highly processed ingredients that are often packed full of sugar and sodium. It’s also far more affordable cooking at home as compared to frequently eating out or ordering takeaway.
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