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Weight loss tips

Updated on December 15, 2010

Food should be one of life’s greatest pleasures.  You don’t have to kill yourself with crazy diets to lose weight.  Just be wise when you eat, follow the advice of nutritionists and become a healthy and slim happy eater.

Most fad diets are doomed to failure because you cannot -and shouldn’t- stick to them long term and your body needs quality nutrients to keep fit and looking good.  This is why I have gathered here the advice I have heard through the years from different nutritionists who reckon that instead of dieting we should aim for a change in the way we eat.  We should aim to eat healthier for life.    

Our bodies need a balanced diet to provide all the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fibre and fats to maintain our health.  Healthy eating will make you look better as a regular intake of all the necessary nutrients will improve the appearance of your skin.  It should also give you more energy and take away the sluggish feeling caused by eating too much junk food.  

Healthy eating for losing weight does not mean eliminating your treats from the menu, or eating boring things.  Healthy eating to lose weight means being aware of the food you are eating and following a few simple guidelines.  

1.- Never go too hungry

If you starve yourself all day trying to lose weight, your body will try to catch up later and usually you’ll end up eating too much.  

Snacking on healthy foods like fruits and nuts can help to keep you slim.  Nutritionists agree that eating most of your food in two or three meals a day results in high peaks of blood sugar levels which triggers the body into secreting insulin to bring down blood sugar levels but which convert sugar into fat.  If you eat more frequently, you avoid these peaks, secrete less insulin and create less fat.  

2.- Eat Proteins

Protein is an important nutrient that builds muscles and bones and provides energy. Eat proteins with each meal as protein helps with weight control because it makes you feel full and satisfied from your meals and stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, which makes you more alert during the day and thus able to burn more calories.

The healthiest proteins are the leanest. The best protein choices are fish, shellfish, skinless chicken or turkey, low-fat dairy, and eggs. The best red meats are the leanest cuts. Other healthy and vegetarian options are beans, legumes (lentils and peanut butter), and soy foods such as tofu or soymilk.

3.- Cut down on salt

People on low fat diets tend to buy a lot of low fat protein that’s high in salt, like tuna in brine, ham and smoked fish. If you follow a low fat diet, try to switch to non salty proteins like eggs, fresh fish and lean meat. You will notice that you lose more weight because your body holds on to less fluid when you consume less salt.

4.- Have a liquid lunch

There are plenty of liquid based foods like soups –hot and cold- milkshakes, fruit juices and smoothies. Introducing a liquid meal into your diet can make you feel more sated than a drier diet. You can have a full liquid meal or just a starter. For example, if you snack on a cup of soup half and hour before lunch you will eat less at lunch time because you will feel more full up.

5 .- Eat fruit instead of sugar

Think of fruit as an alternative to sugar. To get the most sugar out of your fruit always eat it ripe and at room temperature. You can eat fruit as a dessert, as a fruit juice for drinking as a sweet snack or you can make desserts using only fruits as sweeteners. For example, I like a banana yogurt for dessert which I make mashing one banana and mixing it with a pot of unsweetened yogurt.

For a hot dessert you can cut some fruit –like apples and peaches- in chunks place in a baking tray and cover with oatmeal and chopped nuts. Drizzle with some fresh apple juice and bake until golden brown. The sugar from the juice caramelizes and makes a tasty fruity and luxurious dessert.

6.- Eat Berries

Berries are brilliant. The purple, red and blue ones are anti ageing as they get their colour from antioxidants. This mops up free radicals and strengthens the walls of small blood vessels, which means that they are an excellent prevention to avoid unsightly thread veins.

If you don’t like eating them make yourself a fruit juice or a smoothie for a healthy snack or to replace one of your meals.

For a nutritious and energizing meal replacement you might want to try the Berry Punch. You will need to mix freshly squeezed orange juice with pureed raspberries, pureed blackberries, pureed strawberries, pureed banana and soda water.

Another nutritious option is a Berry Smoothie made with 1 apple, 5 strawberries, 10 raspberries and 10 blackberries. Juice the apple and mix with in a blender with the berries.

7 .- Drink more water

Most people struggle to drink water. Why?  Because they do not feel thirsty and water is not easily available. Try to start the day by putting a bottle of water and a glass on your desk. You will be amazed how much more you drink without even noticing it.

Up your intake of water gradually. It is a fact that when you are very dehydrated, you think you are hungry, when in fact you are thirsty. The specialists recommend 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day BUT this depends on your activity during the day, the temperature –you will need more during a hot summer day than during an afternoon reading at home at a comfortable temperature. Make sure you drink what your body needs, too little and you will be dehydrated, too much water and you can become hyponatremic which means intoxicated by an excessive consumption of water.

8 .- Jazz up your salads

Seduce your senses, we eat first with our eyes and nose before the food reaches our mouth. Make your salads look colourful and smell nice they will be more appealing. Instead of just eating a boring lettuce and tomato salad cut in pieces and salted, make a tasty dressing. Use extra virgin oil, herbs, balsamic vinegar, mustard and pepper.

Jazz up your salad adding other tasty items such as watercress to add spice, steamed broccolis or avocados for texture, red and green peppers for vibrant colour and perfume. Like in sex, variety is the key. Hunger pangs strike after a meal if you haven’t enjoyed enough textures and flavours. So introduce crunchiness and spice with healthy foods .

If you are only eating a salad for lunch, fortify your salad with cubed tofu, prawns or add beans-all three sources of protein that are still relatively low in calories.

9.- Be adventurous

Introduce more nutrients to your diet, try new foods. When you go abroad try the local cuisine, taste the local fruits and vegetables, that way you will develop a taste for different foods and flavours. If you don’t go abroad, but you eat in restaurants quite often, try new dishes instead of sticking to the same ones every time. Experiment to discover.

Make healthy eating a treat rather than a chore by seeing food as something to be enjoyed. Make healthy meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and turn them into a social and sensual event by eating outdoors if it is hot or indoors by the chimney during winter, display your food beautifully, share your treats with friends and lovers …


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