There has been a dramatic shift in recent times around the most effective methods to lose weight and keep it off for good. Those last five words hold the key to this shift. Anyone can starve themselves skinny, but we now realise that this is neither healthy, pleasurable, nor sustainable in the long term.
Long vilified as a culprit in weight gain, experts are now realising that fat found naturally in foods can form an integral part of a healthy weight loss program. With this in mind, let’s look at how we can eat smarter rather than less, to create a sustainable, lifelong weight loss and attain a healthy body free from excess fat.
Low carb / high protein diets are being identified as the optimal way to lose weight and keep it off. There are some delicious low carb treats, which when combined with a strategic weight loss program can provide a delicious menu where you won’t feel deprived, making it easy to maintain in the long term.
As any professional body builder can attest, protein intake is a great way to build muscle. In turn, muscle growth improves metabolism and increases fat burning.
Long term view
Weight loss shouldn’t be a sprint but a marathon. In other words, implementing a diet for yourself which is strict and difficult to maintain can see you falling at the first hurdle.
Setting yourself a reasonable goal to lose one to two pounds per week can prevent your metabolism from slowing down which in turn slows weight loss.
No matter whether you are seeking to lose weight or not, healthy fats should be a regular component of your diet. They will keep you from feeling hungry and boost your metabolism. So what are good fats and what are bad ones?
Monounsaturated fats are the healthiest fats available and can be found in a wide range of foods. The best sources include:
- Walnuts (and other nuts including pistachios and almonds)
- Ground flaxseed
- Olives and olive oil
- Oily fish such as tuna and salmon
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Avoid trans fats which can clog the arteries and raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels whilst lowering good (HDL) cholesterol levels. It also contributes to type 2 diabetes. If you are unsure which foods contain trans fats, a guide can be found here.
It is common for people to panic at the first rumblings of hunger. We are taught that food is a necessity for life and we will die within a short time without it. This is completely false and can lead people to panic eat. Relax. Understand the difference between true hunger and things like:
- Sugar craving
With the rise in the consumption of processed foods, we often hear the term ‘food addiction’. The fact is that no-one ever became addicted to celery. A more correct term would be ‘junk food addiction’ which can be likened to drug, alcohol or any other addiction where the pleasure centre of the brain is stimulated to bring feelings of euphoria or comfort.
As with any other addiction it can be broken by abstaining from the source. Just as the alcoholic is one drink away from binging, so too the food addict is one chip or biscuit away from a return to former eating habits.
By maintaining a diet in only containing pure, unprocessed foods, the addiction cycle can be broken for good, allowing you to make healthful choices in your diet without nagging cravings or feeling deprived.
Understanding this difference can give you a vitality and lightness, never before experienced. Eat only when you are truly hungry and consume protein and low carb shakes for satiety, fruit and vegetables for vitamins and trace minerals and you will be well on your way to achieving your long term weight loss goals.