The Weight Loss Diet That ISN’T A Diet
The phrase “weight loss diet” is loaded with meaning for most of us. We associate it with words like “yo yo dieting”, “fad diets”, and “failure”. What many of us overlook is the fact that sensible, natural eating habits can also constitute a weight loss diet. One that’s a lot easier to stick to and bears results that last longer.
So let’s explore an eating plan that is doable and can result in significant weight loss – a diet that isn’t really a diet so much as a natural way to eat sensibly.
Here are the food categories you need to get familiar with as part of this healthy weight loss diet that we’re going to call “The Un-Diet”: It consists of a smart balance of carbs, proteins, fruits and veggies, dairy, and fats.
The Weight Loss Diet Un-Diet
As you know, carbs are an important source of nutrients and energy. They are also a valuable part of any weight loss diet… in moderation.
When trying to lose weight, keep your carb intake under strict control. Why? Because your body loves to burn carbs, not fat. So if you keep it supplied with carbs, it will only burn carbs instead of drawing on your body’s stored fat for energy. And you will lose weight more slowly.
Research shows that it takes up to four times longer to lose one pound on a high carb diet than it does on a restricted carb diet.
It’s also better to eat carbs earlier in the day because that’s when your metabolism is at its most active, burning up more calories. Do you enjoy a big evening meal? Then scrimp on carbs during the day and save them for that one big meal. But don’t do it every day as that will slow down your weight loss progress overall.
Ever notice all the contradictions about protein’s roll in a weight loss diet? Some diet plans promote a high protein intake while others ignore it. What’s the real story?
Protein is vital to your health and cannot be eliminated without serious consequences. Too little protein means your body starts using up muscle tissue for fuel, which slows down your metabolism and a sluggish metabolism makes weight loss even more difficult.
But too much protein can also impede your efforts to lose weight because your body will convert it into fat. And excess protein can cause health problems like kidney damage and decreased absorption of calcium.
This is why a balanced intake of protein is necessary for a health weight loss diet. How much and how often you eat it are also important factors. Your body can’t store protein, so it needs a constant supply throughout the day. So eating a protein-rich food every three or four hours will keep you in balance.
Eating Protein The Right Way
Saving up your daily protein allotment so you can indulge in a 16 ounce steak for dinner doesn’t work because it forces the body to go a long time without any protein and then suddenly it gets much more than it needs. That causes it to burn muscle during the lean times, and later convert all that extra meat protein into fat… two unwanted side effects that will derail even the best weight loss diet.
Here are some tips:
• Eat small protein portions every 3 to 4 hours each day.
• Eat only one protein serving four times a day, don’t double them up in one meal.
• Don’t skip a protein meal; and don’t eat a large protein meal.
• Choose proteins from a low fat or no fat food source.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruit may be sweet and loaded with fruit sugar, but it’s the good kind of sugar that can take the place of other sweets in your weight loss diet. The fiber and water content make it a healthy snack that appeases your sugar cravings. And it has been shown to help reduce obesity, high blood pressure, and cancer. So bring on the fructose!
With the exception of starchy vegetables, you really can’t overdose on veggies – low in calories, lots of fiber and nutrients, they should be part of every lunch, dinner and snack.
Beware restaurant vegetables drowning in butter or rich salad dressings. Instead, try them steamed or raw with herbs and spices for flavoring. Treat yourself to veggies with low cal dips and sauces (such as plain yogurt, soya sauce, hummus etc).
One of the reasons that dairy products like whole milk, cheese, sour cream and whipped cream taste so good is their high fat content. They contain carbohydrates, protein and lots of fat.
So for this weight loss diet, we recommend skim milk or low fat milk and dairy products. Cut down on the amount of cheese and cream products you consume or substitute with soy alternatives and yogurts.
We love fatty foods because the fat in them tends to stay in the mouth longer, prolonging the happy sensation of eating even when the food has been swallowed. For this reason, we gravitate towards fatty foods and they are largely responsible for today’s high rates of obesity.
How much fat is acceptable? If you’re on a weight loss diet, you should aim for about 20 grams of fat a day. That’s about the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Not very much, right? Here are some tips on how to restrict your fat intake.
Six Ways to Reduce Your Fat Calories:
• Eliminate the highest fat foods that you feel you could live without (eg: the breakfast donut).
• Substitute low fat or non fat versions of foods you can’t live without (the mayo on your sandwich).
• Eat only in moderation the remaining fats that you can’t do without (the cream in your coffee).
• Eat fruits, veggies and low fat protein snacks instead of fatty snacks.
• Instead of frying food, trying grilling, steaming or baking.
• Actively shop for low fat or fat free products in the supermarket.
The good news: Once you start eating less fat, your brain will start ratcheting down your fat cravings. And you will find your desire for greasy, fattening foods will diminish greatly.
Finally, for those who are significantly overweight or obese and for whom ordinary diets alone don’t work, there is an FDA-approved medication available. When used along with a healthy weight loss diet and an active life, products like Xenical can be beneficial.