November 29, 2011

How to Eat More Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

There seems to be more people overweight every day. This is despite tons of fad diets hitting the market every day and hundreds of prepackaged goods which promise to help you in losing weight. The simple fact of the matter is that weight loss is something that cannot be squeezed into a fad diet. There are no magic bullets. Even the zero-calorie foods like celery are just a nice way to introduce fewer calories into your diet. The best way is to exercise and eat more healthy foods to lose weight.

The question is what foods should you eat and how much of them should you eat? The answer to the question lies more in what you like to eat than in anything else. This may be shocking to the crowd which believes that all weight loss plans should seem like torture. In fact, if you are not ready to commit to something, you will not. This is as true for a weight loss regimen as anything else. If you are looking to eat healthy foods to lose weight, you should be able to choose foods that you enjoy eating so that you will commit.

Try different foods
One of the best ways to make sure that you are ready to commit to a healthy weight loss regimen is to try out different kinds of foods. You can try your way through different kinds of raw foods to discover which foods you enjoy the flavor of. Try them raw, roasted or even cooked with some extra virgin olive oil. There are many healthy foods to lose weight which will be delicious to your palate which you will actually look forward to eating. Many people are surprised by the meaty texture of roasted portabellas and other flavor complexities they never knew existed.

Cook with simplicity
Take a page out of the books of some of the finest chefs in the world and you will learn how to eat healthy foods to lose weight. Their advice is to start with the finest ingredients and cook them as simply as possible so that their natural flavors can come through. Chopping fresh garlic for a tomato sauce is not only good for the senses, it is also better for the heart than the garlic which is pre-chopped. The explosion of flavor will invite you back to the table.

Making healthy snacks
There are many people who are not aware of the simple method of eating snacks to lose weight. Snacking on healthy foods to lose weight is a concept which makes people’s heads spin. It works because you are keeping your metabolism fire burning all day long. By reducing the size of meals and adding in two snacks in between, you will notice that you are shedding weight at a prodigious rate. Best of all, this is a life change which you can maintain after you have achieved your target weight. This will help you to maintain that weight as well as give you more energy.

What to eat to lose weight?

caloriesIf you are trying to lose weight, choose food based on their weight-to-calorie ratio. You want to eat food that weighs a lot but has few calories and avoid food that is light in weight but hefty in calories.

Fruits and vegetables are the big winners in the heavy weight-low calorie department, according to Tufts University. They weigh a lot because of their fiber and water content and yet do not have many calories. For example, one cup of cantaloupe or ‘melon’ weighs 5.5 ounces but only has 56 calories. A cup of cooked spinach weighs six ounces but only has 42 calories.

Now, compare that to six cups of buttered popcorn that only weighs three ounces and contains 420 calories or, even worse, one ounce of potato chips that has 152 calories (if you ate four ounces, you would be inviting 608 calories to feel at home in your fat cells). That’s what I call “small but terrible”.

Most snack food doesn’t weigh much but sure have a lot of calories. This means you can eat a lot of them without feeling full and without realizing it take in many excess calories that you don’t need.

Most cookies weigh ½ ounce and contain 50 calories. Eat six cookies and you only have three ounces of weight but you’ve racked up 300 calories. 1.5 ounces of a chocolate bar contain 220 calories. A small croissant only weighs two ounces but has 230 calories.

According to the New Zealand University study, food that is light in weight but high in calories is probably the worse kind of food to eat if you are trying to lose weight. It’s sort of like ‘double jeopardy’ – you are still hungry but you have already eaten many calories.

Choose lower-fat choices of the same weight food. There can be a world of difference between the caloric consumption of two people eating the same weight and type of food. How is this possible? Easy, if you consider the way the food is cooked or prepared.

Here are some examples (all of them weigh 3.5 ounces). Boiled potatoes have 62 calories compared to french fried potatoes with 328 calories. Sardines in tomato sauce contain 127 calories while sardines in oil have 372. Tuna flakes in water have 95 calories while tuna flakes in oil have 309. You get the picture.

Avoid the “light weight-high calorie” way of dieting. I know many people who don’t want to eat regular sized meals because they think that if their stomach feels heavy, they are eating a lot of calories. Therefore, they think that by eating something light like crackers, they will lose weight.

What they don’t realize is that just because a food is light doesn’t automatically mean it contains few calories. One could easily eat nine crackers (420 calories) and still not feel full because nine crackers only weigh three ounces. Believe it or not but you could have a satisfying meal of ½ cup steamed rice, a cup of cooked spinach, a small piece of fish, and a cup of cantaloupe for less calories.

This complete meal would weigh a satisfying 18.5 ounces and only “cost” you 378 calories. By making the right food choices, you can cut down on unnecessary calories without starving yourself and feeling deprived.

You should also cut down somewhat on your carbs, but don’t cut them out completely! Because effective weight loss depends on exercise and activity, without some carbs in your diet, you won’t have the energy you’ll need to effectively burn off calories.

What you do need to do is begin with a “baseline diet” that dictates at least half of your calories come from vegetables, fruits, natural starches, and whole grains. The rest of your diet should consist of low-fat proteins like fish, chicken, and lean beef.

You need to balance out your carbs with your protein stay away from those carbs at night. Periodically, you want to take “carb-up” days to get your energy levels up.

When we talk about protein, many people wonder just how much is enough or how much is too much. In general, experts say you should eat 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight per meal.
That might seem like a ridiculously large amount of protein, but remember, we’re talking about LEAN proteins. Plus, eating protein speeds up your metabolism and accelerates weight loss.

This might be a good time to talk about portion sizes. As a general rule of thumb, you should never eat a serving that is larger than your clenched fist. The good news about this is that you’ll be able to eat enough to get full without overdoing it.
Cravings might be the worst part about weight loss. Let’s say you love chocolate chip cookies like I do. If you’re craving a chocolate chip cookie, denying that craving will only make it stronger.
Instead of not having the cookie, go ahead, just don’t overdo it. Simply have one instead of three. You can indulge in your favorite foods as long as you keep it within reason.
Most experts agree that the traditional three square meals a day shouldn’t be part of a healthy diet. In fact, you should eat more meals every day. Doesn’t that sound like great news?!

The idea here is that you overeat when you are overly hungry. To combat that hunger, you should eat more meals with smaller portions rather than fewer meals with larger portions.

For women, it is recommended you eat five meals a day and for men, you should eat six. Try to make these meals a minimum of 2 hours apart to insure you don’t get too hungry.

The benefits will reveal themselves. By doing this, you are accomplishing the following benefits:
• Faster metabolic rate
• Higher energy
• Less storage of body fat due to the smaller portions
• Reduced hunger and cravings
• Steadier blood sugar and insulin levels
• More calories available for muscle growth
• Better absorption and utilization of the nutrients in your food

But you need to make sure you eat the right kinds of foods.

What happens to food after we eat it?

When you eat food, the process of digestion breaks food down into it’s respective nutrients as we discussed before. Carbohydrates into monosaccharides (single units of sugars), protein into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. This process starts when you actually chew the food, the food then travels down into the stomach through the esophagus where it is liquified. When it reaches your small intestines, this is where the fun begins. Most of the digestion and absorption of the food occurs here in your small intestine. Digestive enzymes called lipase, amylase and protease act on fats, carbohydrates and protein to break them down into their nutrients for absorption. Once the food has been broken down into their simple units, they are then absorbed into the blood stream for further chemical changes to make other compounds that the body needs, or for use around the body. Water and small lipids (fats) cross the intestinal wall easily. Some nutrients such as water and fat soluble vitamins need a carrier to take them across the wall. Other nutrients such as proteins and glucose move across the wall and into the blood stream by themselves but use energy to do so.