Struggling to lose weight and keep it off? Our weight loss tips below can help you succeed in your quest for a slimmer waistline, and a healthier lifestyle.
- Add fiber to your diet
Fiber, found in plant-based foods is a type of carbohydrate that our body cannot digest. It travels undigested through our digestive system and out. It helps maintain our guts clean, eases bowel movements, and lowers cholesterol. There are two types of fiber found in food, soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel like sticky material. It includes plant pectin and gums. This gel like material slows down digestion and the absorption of some nutrients. The slowdown of nutrients, such as carbs, helps control blood sugar levels- helpful for those with diabetes or prediabetes. The slowdown of nutrients also helps promote satiety, which can reduce the incident of overeating. Soluble fiber also has the ability to bind with cholesterol that helps lower your cholesterol level. Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It is the tough material around whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It speeds up bowel movement, adds bulk and it attracts water, which adds moisture. Insoluble fiber helps soften your stool and makes it easier to pass preventing constipation, straining, and hemorrhoids. Eating a combination of both types of fiber is beneficial for good digestion health, can aid in weight loss, and weight maintenance. The recommended daily amount for fiber varies between gender– 25g for women, 38g for men, or 14g per every 1000 calories. Always aim to reach your fiber through natural foods sources rather than supplements. Try eating a bowl of oatmeal with chia or flaxseed, and some berries (1 cup of blackberries has about 8g!) for a high fiber breakfast. Note that in order to avoid side effects like bloating and constipation and to allow your body to adjust increase your fiber gradually and drink enough water.
- Drink plenty of water
Your body needs water! We cannot store water but are continuously losing it through our sweat, urine, and stool. If we do not replace those loses we can become dehydrated which can affect our body’s function. Our body is continuously undergoing different chemical reactions in our cells to keep us alive. These reactions need water to continue doing its job properly, lack of drinking and replacing water can make our body function less efficient including our metabolism! Water requirements vary based on age, gender, activity level, and medical conditions. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should be consuming about 11.5 Cups of water and men 15.5 Cups per day. Try carrying a reusable water bottle with you at all times and make a goal to fill it up a couple times a day to meet your requirement and ensure your body’s metabolism keeps working efficiently.
- Practice mindful eating
Have you ever been distracted working on your phone and eating then you look down at your plate shocked that you finished your meal? You are not alone! We are constantly on the go trying to multitasking and perhaps eating mindlessly. Your stomach sends a signal to your brain to let it know that it is satisfied. However, it takes a couple minutes for that stomach- brain connection to happen, for that reason it is important to slow down. Try to set meal times where you can sit down, take a break, enjoy your meal slowly, and listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues this will prevent you from overeating and gaining weight.
- Have food essentials available
If we look at MyPlate guidelines, we can see how they divide food into five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. In order for a meal to be complete, it must include at least three of the five food groups. We can simplify our meal planning by stocking food essentials of those five groups. For fruits and vegetables, head to the frozen aisle and buy your favorite of each. Pick your preferred fruits to add to smoothies or oatmeal. Buy a variation of vegetables that you can easily steam and add to meals as well. Frozen fruit and vegetables are just as good as fresh fruit (if not better!) since they are frozen right at their peak. For grains, try to stick to whole grains and choose a variety such as brown rice, Farro, quinoa, oats, bread, and cereal. In terms of protein, you can save money by buying value packs or family packs then separate them in Ziploc baggies. That way you can always defrost just the portion you need and you will know if it is time to restock. You can also buy frozen edamame, which is a plant-based protein, and add to meals. Lastly, for dairy stock up on Greek yogurt, milk of your choice, and low fat cheese. Having these essentials available will make creating balanced meals and snacks a much simpler task. Remember eating balanced meals promotes satiety and decreases over snacking.
- Make a plan
‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’ To lose weight and keep it off you have to make a plan! Meal planning is a habit most of us do not practice but the more you do it the more natural it becomes. It may sound tedious at first but I guarantee you that if you plan your meals either a week, day, or even the morning in advance you will be prepared and following your plan will be so much easier. With a plan set to follow, you will not have to worry about what to eat last minute that could resort to ordering takeout, having a calorie dense snack, or skipping meals which is all we want to avoid in order to lose weight. If you need help making a plan or do not know where to begin, our weight loss clinic can help! Feel free to call our office to meet with our Registered San Diego Dietitian at (619) 382-3315.