Weight loss and maintenance are common struggles for many people. When it comes to weight loss strategy, I don’t recommend calorie counting and daily weigh-ins. Instead, I like to focus on individuals and the types of foods in their diets.
Oftentimes, all you need to do is cut certain foods out of your diet and replace them with healthy choices; you’ll see results. For example, instead of eating potato chips for an afternoon snack try crunchy kale chips or raw vegetables with hummus. These nutritious choices are high in fibre and healthy carbs, which will keep you feeling full longer without all the added fat and calories.
Weight loss and maintenance are also dependent on an individual’s body chemistry. For example, you may have sensitivity to dairy and gluten, which can cause stubborn belly fat, as well as improper digestion and nutrient assimilation.
That being said, sometimes people continue to struggle with their weight even though they’re making healthy choices.
If this is the case, it may have less to do with your diet and more to do with bad habits. I’m not talking about smoking or nail biting. I’m talking about eating habits or behaviors that can set you back from reaching your weight loss or maintenance goals:
Filling up on protein and carbs first, then finishing with a few bites of salad will not help you lose weight. Always fill up on raw vegetables first. They’re low in calories, have a high water content and are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Rule of thumb: Half your plate should be filled with salad or raw/steamed vegetables; always eat them first.
But, I’ve Been Good All Day…
…I deserve to indulge at night. When it comes to weight loss and maintenance I’m all about balance. The mindset of “being good all day so it’s ok to indulge later” is NOT balanced. It promotes a “binge/purge” mentality, which is not healthy or sustainable and can result in a negative attitude towards food.
Rule of thumb: Stock your cupboards and workspace with healthy treats – such as dates, almonds, dark chocolate, healthy muffins or cookies – and have something when you feel like it. By allowing yourself to have a treat when you really want it instead of depriving yourself, you are less likely to overdo it in the future. What’s more, your body can digest healthy food more easily than processed junk and won’t store it as fat.
Nibbling while Cooking
Unless you’re snacking on raw vegetables while making a salad, avoid the temptation to snack while you cook. It may not seem like a lot, but one bite of pasta here and two bites of chicken there can add up. You can consume an extra 500 to 800 calories if you’re not careful!
Rule of Thumb: Avoid being ravenous while cooking and have a small pre-dinner snack to fill the gap. Half a cup of steamed organic edamame with sea salt, celery stalks with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter or a few cubes of white cheddar cheese with Mary’s Crackers should do the trick!
Healthy Food, but Too Much of It
Your weekly repertoire includes healthy meals such as wild salmon with quinoa, black bean enchiladas with avocado and whole-wheat vegetarian pasta. They’re all great choices, but healthy foods still have calories.
Rule of Thumb: When plating your healthy meals don’t forget about proper portion size: fill half the plate with raw or steamed veggies, add a palm-size serving of protein and a fist-size serving of carbs. It may not look like enough food because you’re used to larger portions, but eat slowly, chew properly and I promise you’ll feel satisfied, instead of stuffed after your meal.
Alcohol stimulates appetite and weakens willpower, which can result in mindless snacking and overeating.
“You Can’t Leave the Table until you’ve finished all the Food on your Plate”
I’m sure we all heard our parents say this when we were young because they wanted us to eat our vegetables and not waste food. The problem is that we were taught a bad eating habit: the need to finish our plates no matter how full we are can result in overeating and weight gain.
Rule of Thumb: eat slowly, and pay attention to your hunger. If you feel satisfied, stop eating and pack up the leftovers for lunch.
Identifying these habits annd behaviors is half the battle. Once you’ve figured out where you’re going wrong you can replace bad habits with healthy habits, and start living a healthy lifestyle.
Contact me to start living a healthy lifestyle today!