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Weight Loss Nutrition: How To Tweak Your Diet To Trim Your Waist

Updated on September 28, 2012

You Can Do It...

Looking to lose some weight by eating better? Well the good news is that you can do it! That's right, a better, healthier you is right around the corner. Following the simple rules explained here will get you well on your way to losing weight and looking great! My only advice in this first paragraph is to take what you're about to read seriously and dedicate yourself to the principles you learn (or maybe already new). Are you ready? Okay here we go.

Don't Buy the Fad Diets

First off, don't buy into the fad diets. The fact that they're fads should be reason enough. Fads come and go, but your resolve and dedication shouldn't. You need a new way of eating, not a diet plan that leaves you starving and wondering where your life went. We're in this for the long haul. The first thing you should be able to do is classify what you eat. Don't get worried, it's easy. The 3 primary sources of nutrition are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (carbs).

Your Proteins need to be lean, preferably chicken, fish, or eggs, although lean beef will work occasionally, just as long as red meat doesn't become an everyday occurrence. By far, the healthiest way to prepare your meats is grilling. Other methods, (especially frying) involve using too much fat and often breading. These cooking methods obviously detract from the healthiness of the meat. The good news is that through use of marinades, herbs, and spices, one can produce tasty, healthy sources of protein.

Fats are often thought of as only fattening and unhealthy. However, there are healthy fats and these are actually needed by the body in the right amounts. Your sources of fat should be oils (extra-virgin olive oil is great), and nuts, not to mention avocado, which is an excellent source of healthy fat. I love grilling and eating fish for the flavor, but also because fish provide omega-3 fatty acids, another healthy form of fat.

Carbohydrates need to come from natural, complex sources. By natural and complex I mean whole wheat breads and pastas, sweet potatoes, whole grain oats (oatmeal), and brown rice. Your onlysource of sugar, or simple carbs needs to come from things like honey and fruit; in other words, no processed starches or refined sugars. And even then, your intake of sugar (even though it's natural) needs to be highly regulated. I'll elaborate on that in a minute.


Meal Spacing

We've all heard the phrase "3 squares a day" referring to 3 medium to large sized meals per day. Up until now, eating 3 squares a day might have been accepted as good, healthy practice. But today that changes. At least for you (and anybody else reading this who wants to lose weight). The problem with consuming 3 or less meals per day is that it clumps the majority of your caloric intake for the day into 3 (or fewer) small windows. This results in what I call caloric overload, or consumption of too many calories than you need at a given time. Many of these calories are converted to energy, many of which go unused and then become stored as fat. So what's the solution? Well it's not necessarily eating fewer calories. Did that surprise you? Don't get me wrong, you'll probably be eating fewer calories by eating healthy than your friends who don't care about what they eat, but eating less is not the only answer. As a matter of fact, simply eating less can put your body in starvation mode, causing you to hold onto fat stores (the exact opposite effect that we want). No, the solution isn't starving yourself. It's a combination of eating healthy, and eating at the right times in the right amounts. A solid goal is to eat 5 meals a day, and think of the first and third as your largest meals, with the second and fourth as "snacks of substance". By snacks of substance I mean something that will help fill you up like yogurt or a whole wheat bagel. Your last meal should definitely have protein, but no carbs. You want to avoid carbs later in the day, due to their quick conversion to energy once consumed. Eating carbs before bed doesn't leave enough time or activity to burn off the energy. Then your body simply stores the left over energy as fat.

Shortcuts...?

Be wary of weight loss shortcuts. By shortcuts I mean anything that implies getting results without discipline, healthy eating habits, and time. This often comes in the form of a magic food or pill that burns fat and implies that you don't have to do anything but take that pill or eat that food to lose weight. It might be nice to think about attaining weight loss by such easy means, but that is not reality, it's just not. The truth is that there are weight loss supplements and foods that help raise the metabolic rate, but there is nothing that will do all the work for you. Anything or anyone that would lead you to believe that their product requires no discipline or effort on your part in order to make you slim is trying to get your money. People are always looking for the easiest way, the shortcuts. They want results in no time with little or no effort invested. Microwavable dinners might work that way, but not weight loss.

Calorie Counting...

Are you a calorie counter? Do you base your worth as a dieter on how many calories you eat in a 24-hour span? If you do, then don't skip this section. Calorie counting has its place; it's not a bad practice at all, but simply knowing how much to eat is a poor substitute for actually knowing how to eat. Let me explain. All calories are not equal. Carbs hold the potential to flood your body with energy, so if you're not going to be super active you need to watch the carbs. 1 gram of fat harbors 9 calories, while 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate contains just 4 calories. I would much rather you eat a higher percentage of carbs from a healthy, complex source than from cake. You might very well be able to eat cake and stay inside you caloric boundaries for the day, but you're defeating the entire purpose of the diet by doing so. I know of some people that starve themselves all day long, and then pig-out at dinner by saying "oh I've earned it, I havn't eaten all day". The point I'm trying to make is that you can stay under your 2000 calories for the day (or whatever your limit is) and still eat tremendously unhealthy.

Realistic Expectations

Too many people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to losing weight. The worst thing about unrealistic expectations is that it robs people of their motivation once they realize that they've been mislead to believe that weight loss is quick and easy. Don't be that person. Don't buy the lie that weight loss doesn't require dedication, just to give up once your fervor has dwindled. Let's lay the foundation for a successful experience. Here's some expectations to keep in mind while you're trying to lose weight. First, weight loss in fat will drop off about 1 to 2 pounds per week. So no becoming disheartened when you don't lose 10 pounds in the first week. Secondly, you will see some plateaus. That's right, everybody has times when it seems like you can't lose a pound to save your life. This is when exercise can be especially useful. Varying your workout routine can lead to heightened metabolic activity and could be exactly what you need to get back on track. Furthermore, significant weight loss takes time. Like months and even years. This is just one more reason to realize that weight loss doesn't come in a bottle, it's a lifestyle.

The Truth About Supplements

There's a lot of misinformation and misleading information out there when it comes to weight loss supplements. Supplements can be controversial, so take it from someone who simply wants to see you succeed and is not out to get your money: supplements are supplemental. They're meant to strengthen an already sturdy foundation of diet and exercise. No supplement will make or break your efforts, only you can do that. Having said that, if you're serious about losing weight, I would consult a physician you trust about weight loss pills and ask in detail about how they work. You're going to want something that either boosts metabolism or reduces hunger and increases fullness. But it needs to be safe, something that has been used and proven safe and successful, not by the models on television but by scientific research. I'm not going to recommend any type of weight loss pill (I'll let your doctor do that), but I will point you to some supplements that have helped a lot of people with their weight loss efforts.

Good Luck!

I hope this article will help you in your quest to lose weight. Remember that no other person or any supplement can determine your success or failure. To the right I've posted a couple supplements that could help you if you've got the right mentality to begin with; an attitude of discipline and hard work. Good Luck

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    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for the information. I needed it.

    • jclaffee profile image
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      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      AnnaCia- your absolutely welcome! Hope it helps!

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