Reading Time: 16 minutes
Weight Loss Principles: The Science Behind Eating Right
When it comes to weight loss, it’s not the details that count, but the principles that after. Whether you rely on a well-known food diet guru or a medical nutrition representative from a scientific body, skilled nutrition experts will always agree that there are some basic principles of weight loss that apply across the board. These principles form the essence of a good diet plan when it comes to eating right. Permanent weight loss and optimal health cannot be had without following these principles. Bear in mind that when it comes to health and weight loss, there’s no single right way, but many. The principles of weight loss through diet, however, form the core of each of these ways.
While most nutritionists stress that successfully handling calories is all about eating less than one burns, the math is not so simple. Weight loss is not a straightforward event across time. Cutting calories does not always mean weight loss. For example, 100 calories of sweet corn syrup will have a different impact on your weight than 100 calories worth of steamed greens like kale or broccoli! The cardinal rule of weight loss is to abandon calorie dense foods that do not satiate you and go instead for low-calorie foods that satiate you.
Another crucial point is that the manner in which the body stores fat after consuming carbs is also important. When a meal is consumed, carbs enter the bloodstream as blood sugar. To keep blood glucose levels normal. the body needs to burn the glucose before the fat. Insulin which is secreted for this purpose prevents fat for the body to burn in the form of energy/fuel and creates adipocytes/fat/adipose cells for storing this. More weight gain and more fuel requirement propel you into a cycle of eating more. Insulin burns carbs so it becomes a cycle that is hard to break away from.
Controlling Emotional Eating
Eating is not simply to beat hunger. We use food in times of stress and anxiety as well. Worries, boredom or loneliness could also act as food triggers. Check the habit of emotional eating if you want to curb food intake and consequent weight gain. Look for healthy ways to keep your cool such as meditation, yoga or a hot batch. If you are losing out on energy, try substituting calorie dense foods with healthy snacks.
Sustained weight loss is only possible if you make healthy choices when it comes to life attitudes and food options. Use your motivation and will power to sustain you. Social support can also help which is why programs like weight buddy systems can help. Whether it is friends, a support network or a family member, you need all the encouragement you can get. Try tapping long term goals such as focusing on how eating right and weight loss can pave the way for a healthier, slimmer you.
Sleep Coupled with Diet Control Helps
Make sure that alongside eating right, you sleep well too. Remember that it is a lack of proper sleep or insomnia that whets your appetite so you need to ingest more food when you are tired. It can also prevent satiation, so avoid sleep deprivation and make sure you get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
Cutting Down on Sugar-Rich Foods and Carbs Works
More consumption of sugar-rich and refined carbs than healthy can prove to be very detrimental when it comes to watching your weight. Remember that sugar can lurk in the unlikeliest of places including pasta sauce, bread, and even low-fat margarine! All this sugar is nothing but piling on empty calories. Soft drinks are an even bigger culprit. These include sodas and energy drinks as well as the ever-popular coffee.
Consider that one soda can or a moderately sized shake contains as much as 12 teaspoon-full sugar. Diet soda is an even worse solution because it can cause sugar craving and exacerbate weight gain. Switch to water with juice or ice tea instead and watch those health benefits pile up. Sugar in any diet should be slowly lowered and refined carbohydrates such as white rice, any bread that is not whole wheat, or pasta should be given a wide berth. This is because these foods can cause a spike in blood sugar and add inches to your waistline.
Belly fat is also associated with insulin resistance and the spike in blood sugar levels. Calories found in sugar-rich and processed, or artificially flavored foods is likely to add further to this.
Don’t Think Low Fat, Go For Good Fat Instead
Nowadays, a fashionable diet plan talks incessantly about low fat or even no-fat snacks, milk products and packaged items. But one crucial factor is missing– that of a balanced diet. Low-fat meals have done nothing to lower obesity. Animal and dairy fats are being set aside for empty calories and refined carbs. Healthy fats are associated with a balanced meal and a healthy, trim body. These healthy fats increase the satiation and better the quality of the diet.
Opt for Fiber Rich Fruits and Veggies
Less food does not mean more weight loss, even if you are cutting calories. High fiber foods, however, can help. These take more time to digest and they also increase the level of satiation. This is ideal for losing weight. Whole fruits can be had across a profusion of colors from strawberries to apples, nectarines, oranges, berries, and plums. Leafy green salads and green vegetables of different kinds can make a welcome addition to your diet. For example, consider edible legumes like black beans, split peas, lentils, pinto beans, and chickpeas. Whole grains are another great way to increase the fiber in your diet.
Eat the veggies raw or steamed, not fried or overcooked. Add different kinds of nuts and cheese products and healthy salads and dressings for better results. Low sugar cereals can be made nutritious through the addition of anthocyanin-rich, polyphenol imbued blueberries. Use veggies like tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers for snacking on. Try carrots and celery.
Tune into What You Eat
In a fast-moving existence, eating fast and consuming junk food is becoming a way of life with many people. To eat much more than you need is one of the things you should avoid. Rather than eating mindlessly, pay attention to what you are eating. Avoid distractions and concentrate on the food instead. This will ensure that your portions are right. Another trick is to stop eating just before you feel satiated because the brain signals a full stomach after some delay only.
Take Charge of Food Habits
How much is eaten is important and the kind of foods that are easily available become part of your diet. Cooking meals is a good way out. Packaged and restaurant portions are high in sugar, fat, and calories rather than food cooked. Save yourself from fat and carbs and serve smaller portions.
Eat Early, Eat Right
Another principle of using diet for weight loss is to eat few calories at dinner than breakfast. This can control your metabolic rate and optimize weight loss. Eating a good breakfast ensures you feel less hungry throughout the day and you can cut down on the calories, by burning more of these.
Drink Your Way to Good Health
Water is an essential element of the body. Remember that thirst can be mistaken for hunger as well. By drinking water, cut down on empty calories.
Balance is the Key
From the cabbage soup to the popcorn diet, unbalanced eating can have severe repercussions on your health and the nutritional value of the food that you eat. Instead, you need a diet that is balanced yet healthy. Gaining a balanced diet does not mean you stock up on animal products, fried foods or processed foods. Popular diets that don’t encourage fresh, natural foods are a waste of your time and effort, when it comes to weight loss.
Time Your Food Right
The right timing is as important as what we eat. Optimization of body composition is only possible when energy intake and energy expenditure are balanced. Calories are used optimally when they are eaten at a time there is a strong demand for them. For instance, mornings are the period when there is a huge demand for calories. These calories are also more likely to be used for energy than stored as fat. Those who skip breakfast are more likely to be prone to obesity. Smaller meals is a better way to coordinate food intake with energy needs.
Paying attention and heeding what you eat is a good way to reduce calorific intake. National Weight Control Registry which has listed individuals with a weight- loss of over 65 pounds stable over 6 years states sell monitoring to be the most critical part of the diet. Counting calories and fat grams may actually be good for your weight loss plan. Weighing yourself is also a powerful motivator to eat right.
Forbidden Foods? Selective Restriction Works
Most weight loss programs have a list of forbidden foods. No weight loss can succeed without avoiding certain kinds of food– these are bad fats, found in processed and animal foods and bad carbs in sweets and processed items. But don’t take food restriction to a point where you feel deprived and eat an unbalanced meal. Soft restrictions can work, though.
Consider Caloric Density
The concept of energy density or calorie density refers to calories per unit in a given food. Foods packed with calories are a strict no-no. These include refined, sugar-rich and processed food items. Research has shown that caloric density is critical for losing weight.
Healthy Eating Habits Are a Must
Healthy eating is not like a flu shot, that once taken grant immunity for life. You have to be consistent and wholesome in your eating habits, to maintain healthy body weight and have a trim waistline. You need to make sure you are ready for change and set your goals. Commit to a healthy diet, eat mindfully and track your progress.
Some of the important steps to take to ensure healthy eating habits are:
- Don’t skip meals, eat regularly.
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies
- Stay active
- Drink water
- Eat fiber-rich foods
- Read food labels and ingredient information
- Avoid alcohol and calorie dense foods
- Stick to small portions, rather than giant servings
- Use healthy food snacks as substitutes for comfort foods.
At the heart of a healthy diet are certain factors you need to take into account. Firstly, eating the right amount of calories for how active you are is important. Balance the energy consumed with the energy used. If you consume too much food or drink liquid calories, you will definitely put on more weight. Eating a wide range of foods ensures you get the balanced diet your body needs to receive all the nutrients it requires. It is recommended men consume around 10,500 kilojoules worth of energy or 2,500 calories in a single day. Women, on the other hand, need 8400 kilojoules of energy from 2000 calories in a single day. Unfortunately, most individuals are eating more calories than their bodies need. So what is the key to healthy eating? Let's find out!
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Veggies
It is recommended that the body needs at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. This is easier said than accomplished for many people. That's because people assume artificially made fruit juices come into this category when these are actually liquid calories. Vegetable juice, unsweetened 100 percent fruit juice and smoothies can count as only a single portion of the 5 portions needed in a day. For example, a single glass of smoothie and 2 glasses of fruit juice add up to a single portion.
Consume More Oily Fish
Fish is an excellent source of protein. It contains many minerals and vitamins. The aim should be to eat at least 2 portions of fish in a single week. This includes one single portion of oily fish per week at least. Oily fish includes omega-3 fatty acids which help to ward off heart disease.
Oily fish: These include trout, salmon, mackerel, herring, pilchards and sardines.
Non-oily fish: These include hake, skate, tuna, cod, coley, plaice and haddock.
If one regularly eats plenty of fish, the aim should be to choose a variety as wide as possible. Choose from frozen, canned and fresh fish. Do remember that canned and smoked fish can be higher in salt.
Cut Down on Saturated Fats and Sugar
One needs some fat in the diet, but it is important to heed the amount and type of fats consumed. There are two main types of fats namely unsaturated and saturated fats. Excessive saturated fats can increase blood cholesterol levels and lead to the development of heart disease. Average males should have no more than 30 gms of saturated fat in a single day. An average woman should eat no more than 20 gm of saturated fat in a single day, and children should have lesser amounts than adults.
Saturated fats are found in a vast number of food items like hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, cream, butter, pieces, lard, and sausages. Cut down on saturated fat ingested and choose foods rich in unsaturated fats instead such as avocados, oily fish and vegetable oils. When it comes to a healthier choice, using a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread rather than ghee, butter or lard. When having meat, choose lean cut meat and trim off the fat.
Regularly consuming foods and beverages high in sugar increases the risk of tooth decaying and obesity. Sugary food items and alcoholic drinks are the worst culprits. These are high in energy measured in kilojoules or calories. If food is consumed too often, it leads to weight gain and tooth decay, especially if individuals eat between meals.
Many packaged foods and drinks contain a huge amount of free sugars. Free sugars are added to other foods or drinks and found naturally in syrup, honey, and nonsweetened fruit juice. So, cut down on fizzy sugar drinks, alcoholic beverages, sugary breakfast cereals, biscuits, pastries, and cakes. These foods are high in added sugar. This is the type of sugar one needs to cut down on, rather than sugars found in milk or fruit.
In such a situation, food labels can help. It is essential to use these to check how much sugar the food contains. Close to 22.5 grams of total sugars per 100 grams mean foods are high in sugar. Around 5g of total sugar or less per 100 gms means the food is low in sugar.
Eat Less Salt
No more than 6 gms a day for adults is prescribed. Eating excessive salt raises blood pressure. Those with high blood pressure are more likely to develop a stroke or a heart disease. Even if salt is not added to the food, one may be eating too much as well. About 3/4th of the salt eaten is added to the food purchased such as breakfast cereals, bread, sauces, and soups. Using food labels can help in cutting down. More than 1.5 gms of salt per 100 gm means the food is rich in salt. Adults and kids above 11 should consume only up to 6 gm of salt about a teaspoonful per day. Younger children should consume even less salt.
Consume a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced, healthy diet plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy weight. This is an important part of overall good health. Being obese or overweight can lead to health conditions like type 2 diabetes, specific cancers, heart disease as well as stroke. Being underweight also impacts health. Most adults need to lose weight and need to eat fewer calories. If one needs to lose weight, aim to at less and be more active. Eating a balanced, healthy diet helps. One also needs to cut down on foods high in saturated sugar and fat. Plenty of fruits and veggies also must be consumed. Remember that alcohol is high in calories, so cutting down on this controls the weight.
Physical activities can help in maintaining weight loss or healthy weights. After this, one needs to reward oneself with a treat high in energy.
Drinking plenty of fluids helps in preventing dehydration. Close to 6-8 glasses need to be consumed each day. In addition to this, we get fluid from the food eaten. All nonalcoholic drinks are important, but water and lower fat milk are healthy choices. Avoiding sugary soft and fizzy carbonated beverages high in calories and added sugar is also bad for the teeth. Each unsweetened smoothie or fruit juice is high in free sugar. The combined total of drinks from vegetable juice, smoothies, and fruit juice should not be more than 150 ml in a single day. This is a small glass. For example, 150 ml smoothie and 150 ml of orange juice in a single day mean the recommendation is exceeded by over 150 ml. In the event the weather is warm, more fluids may be needed.
Don't Miss Breakfast
Some individuals skip breakfast, as it helps them to lose weight. Research, however, shows that individuals who eat breakfast every day are less likely to be overweight. Breakfast has a positive impact on children's mental performance and increases concentration across the morning. A healthy breakfast is critical for a balanced diet and provides minerals and vitamins needed for excellent health.
Try the Mediterranean Diet
Opt for grilled meats, plenty of fresh vegetables and wine that is good for your heart. All heart-healthy minerals, fats and antioxidants in Mediterranean food items like feta, olive oil and hummus can lower the disease risk for cardiac issues.
Move Past Marketing
The marketing and advertising apart, what is more, important is to always read the label. The more ingredients there are, the less likely it is your food will be chemical-free. Checking the label is also the right way to find unnecessary ingredients in supposedly healthy food. After all, does bread need sugar in it?
Eat Whole Grain Foods
Unprocessed foods offer the most benefits. Processing takes out nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants. A lot of processed foods also come with extra sugar and sodium. When shopping for food, be on the lookout for something healthier and has been minimally processed.
Eat Crunchy Foods
Snacks that offer a crunchy bite like celery, apples, nuts and snap peas keep you involved in the chewing process. The more one chews, the slower one eats and the more time a body can take to register fullness.
Be Mindful While Eating
When one sits down to a meal, every bite needs to be savored. This is more so because the first bites are enjoyed the most. Toning down of taste buds post the first few bites involves mindful eating. Additionally, it takes the brain about 20 minutes to register a feeling of fullness. If you're gulping down huge morsels, you can get up being totally stuffed.
Don't Skip Meals
Eating consistently and regularly at meals keeps the metabolism running at total speed, preventing dips in energy and keep focused and alert. This can also prevent you from overeating.
Don't Avoid Carbs
Without the energy one gets from items like carbs, blood sugar levels will dip making individuals feel fatigued and sluggish. If one lets oneself go hungry, appetite inducing hormones like ghrelin will work havoc in the body.
Eat Healthy Snacks
If you are prone to snacking in between meals, it is essential to have healthy snacks at hand when hunger strikes. Energy boasting nibbles like fresh fruit or a stick of celery can keep you going while keeping food chemical-free and nutritious.
Choose Real Fruit Over Fruit Flavors
Seeing flavor on a label means the food contains chemicals instead of natural flavoring. Watch out for artificial fruit juices and health drinks which may contain tons of sugar. For healthier beverages, it is important to stick to plain H20 or lemonade and iced teas. All smoothies are not essentially healthy. If a smoothie comprises only fruits and fruit juices, it is not a healthy meal! Smoothies need to also have veggies in addition to fruits and high fiber, high protein ingredients like chia seeds and almond milk. Plenty of smoothies tend to pack in sugar. You need to be alert on this score.
Choose Non Processed Meats
Processed meats like nuggets, sausage, strips or slices could be a way to down sugar and preservatives instead of healthy nutrients. Instead, opt for healthy snacks like non-processed lean cuts. You can also get the protein from wasabi chickpeas or beans.
Cook More Often At Home
Opt for home cooked meals where you prepare the dishes yourself, because that way, you can be sure which ingredients are going into it and make a conscious decision about what to eat. This way, a weekly meal plan can help you to consume healthy food items.
Once you have the food ready, you don't have to finish every bite. We are conditioned to think it is important to consume everything on our plate. But overeating is not a good idea, especially when you can simply pack the leftovers into the fridge for another day. Plan for leftovers and you'll be able to turn one meal into many.
Eat a Balanced Meal
While extreme diets work on other premises, what we actually need is to consume a balanced diet with the right combination of fat, carbs, protein, fibers, minerals, and vitamins in the diet to sustain a healthy body. One does not need to eliminate certain food categories from the diet but select the healthiest choices from each category.
Protein, for example, offers the energy you need to be active. It also supports mood and cognitive functions. Excessive protein harms individuals with kidney diseases but frequent research indicates many healthy benefits of more high-quality protein as folks age. Eating plant-based protein can also provide all the essential protein required.
Fat is another essential ingredient of meals, provided it is good fat. Bad fats wreck the diet and raise chances of certain diseases. Good fats protect the brain and heart. Healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids are vital for emotional and physical health. Including more healthy fat in the diet improves the mood, boosts well-being and even trims the waistline.
Fiber-rich foods are also a critical part of the diet. Eating foods high in dietary fibers like grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, and beans can help in maintaining regularity and lowering the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It also boosts skin quality and weight loss.
Calcium is another essential nutrient to include in the diet. Not getting adequate calcium can contribute to insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Regardless of the age or gender, it is vital to include calcium-rich items in the diet. Further, those foods that deplete calcium need to be limited and one needs to get adequate magnesium and vitamins to enable calcium absorption.
Further, carbs are the main source of energy building in the body. Most energy comes from complex carbs that are unrefined such as veggies, fruits, and whole grains rather than sugars and refined carbs. Cutting back on white bread, starches, sugar, and pastries can induce rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, fluctuations in energy and mood and build up of fat, especially around the waistline.
Eat Smaller Portions
Serving sizes have been on the rise recently. While dining out, choose small starts, split a dish with a fellow diner and don't supersize orders. Visual cues can also help with portion sizes. Servings of fish, meat or chicken can be big or small. So does the rice or pasta. By serving meals on smaller plates or in bowls, it's way better for your health. To induce a feeling of satiation, add leafy greens and round off meals with fruits.
Control Impulsive/Emotional Eating
Humans don't always just eat to satisfy hunger. Individuals also turn to food to relieve stress and cope with unpleasant emotions. But learning healthier ways to cope with emotions and stress is far more effective. Further, you also regain control over the food consumed.
Eat Smaller Meals
Besides eating breakfast, it is also essential to eat smaller meals across the day. A healthy breakfast jumpstarts the metabolic rate while eating small and keeping meals healthy to retain strong energy levels up all day.
Avoid Bingeing Late at Night
Trying to eat dinner faster and then going without food for 14 to 16 hours until breakfast the next day. Eating when you are the most active and providing your digestive system a long break helps in weight regulation.
Eat Nutrient Rich Foods
Fruits and veggies are low in calories and nutrient-heavy. They are packed with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Focusing on eating the recommended amount of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and it will fill you up. Further, it means cutting down on unhealthy foods. A serving is a cup of raw fruit or veggies and small apples or bananas. Most need to double the amount currently eaten.
To increase intake, antioxidant-rich berries can be a good choice. So can sweet fruits like oranges, mangos, grapes, mangoes, and pineapples for dessert. Swap rice or pasta for salads and instead of eating processed foods, snack on carrots, snow peas or cherry tomatoes and spicy hummus or peanut butter.
Add Color to Food
Brighter, deeper colored veggies contain a higher concentration of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. These can vary the flavor and make meals visually enticing. Adding color using sundried or fresh tomatoes, glazed beets or carrots and roasted red cabbage wedges or yellow squash can make food nutritious and exciting at the same time. Liven up salads by branching out beyond lettuce, using kale, spinach, mustard greens, and Chinese cabbage. Try drizzling the salads with olive oil or add chickpeas and goat cheese.
Eating healthy and following diet principles can yield rich dividends and offer the best health outcomes. Stay healthy and remember that food plays a vital role in the nutrition your body receives and the strength it has to remain active. So eat right and make your diet plan perfect. Remember, you are what you eat and healthy eating paves the way for meeting all your health goals.