Weight loss can be an uphill struggle for some people. If you’re one of those and find that even calorie counting and watching what you eat don’t work, these diet changes may just be what you’re looking for.
While we all know the old maxim ‘calories in versus calories out’, most of us know that sticking to deprivation diets gets harder over time. So you may lose significant amounts of weight only to find yourself piling it back on. The following diet changes are for the long-term and will help you feel satiated while losing weight.
This may sound difficult, but it’s one of the single most important changes you can make to boost weight loss. Cutting refined carbs will absolutely help you lose fat much faster than on a traditional diet.
It’s all to do with the way our body stores fat. When you ingest too much sugar from carbs, your body releases insulin. Insulin also stores fat. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin is released and the more fat is stored. When insulin in your body declines, you can’t store fat in the usual way. Instead, your body starts burning it for fuel.
Lowering insulin levels also helps your kidneys work better. Their primary function is to get rid of excess sodium and water in the body. Too much sodium in the system leads to storage of excess water, which in turn makes you look bloated. When you first embark on a low carb diet you will find that you lose a significant amount of weight quite quickly. This is what people call ‘water weight’ and is important to get the process of fat burning going.
While you must eliminate refined carbohydrates, you must still eat complex carbs. These are found in vegetables and sweet potatoes as opposed to pasta, rice and bread. You need to eat up to around 50g of complex carbs every day, and you can get these from broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and cabbage.
Lean protein in the form of oily fish, eggs, lamb, beef, chicken and turkey must also be part of your diet. If you don’t eat meat, look for alternative protein sources such as yoghurt and tofu. Healthy fats must also form part of your diet. These are from peanut oil, olive oil, fish and avocado. Don’t go overboard on them but have enough to help you feel full. They do not contribute to health issues such as high cholesterol or heart problems.
Deprivation diets do not work. Chances are, if you’re someone who struggles to lose weight, you have done your share of yo-yo dieting. This is where you lose a significant amount of weight while counting calories or restricting. However, as soon as you start eating normally again the weight piles on, sometimes with even more on top.
To decrease your chances of falling off the wagon, incorporate a regular cheat meal. You could do this up to twice a week as long as you don’t overindulge. Simply allow yourself one thing that you’ve been craving, such as some toast or chocolate. And then stop. This will not affect your overall weight loss and will help to keep you on track while avoiding the damaging feeling of deprivation. Remember you’re in this for the long haul.
If you eat a high protein, low carb diet with plenty of healthy fats you shouldn’t need to calorie count. You will naturally fall into a rhythm of feeling full but losing the excess weight. But if old habits die hard and you feel the need to record what you’re eating, that’s absolutely fine.
Use one of the thousands of apps on the market or go with paper and pen. Feeling accountable and in control is important for many people to lose weight, particularly if this new diet is very different from what they’re used to. Ideally as you settle in to eating healthily and to fuel your body rather than please your taste buds, the need to record calories will reduce.
Most people are slightly dehydrated and unaware of the health benefits of drinking enough water. The body needs to be sufficiently hydrated at all times to function properly and to help you feel well. Up your water intake on a daily basis and this will also help to flush excess sodium out of your body and reduce bloating. You should also find your skin is clearer and you can think more clearly. There are no downsides to hydrating well!