Are you just beginning your weight loss journey? If you haven’t already, check out part one before continuing with part 2. There are very important fundamentals in part 1 that you won’t want to miss! For part 2, we are going to discuss diet and nutrition.
Experts agree that weight loss is mainly achieved through diet, rather than through hours of intense exercise. While the exercise certainly does help, and has many health benefits all on its own, nutrition should be your main focus on your weight loss journey. Let’s discuss!
Have you heard about macronutrients? We’re going to break down the basics for you to help you learn more about this important aspect of nutrition. These are the three types of macronutrients.
Carbohydrates include starches, sugars, and fibers. Some examples of carbs are grains, starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, some dairy products, and fruits. Your body uses carbohydrates for energy or glycogen stores in your liver and muscles.
Fats are essential for hormone production, energy, and nutrient absorption. Fats include foods like butter, avocado, nuts, meats, some fish, and oils like olive oil. There is also a lot of discussion about “good fats” and “bad fats”, and fat needs differ from person to person.
Protein is important for the building and maintaining of muscle, hormones, and immune function. The most common sources of protein are chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, lentils, or powders/shakes.
Eat a combination of all three macronutrients
Eating a wide variety of foods has numerous health benefits. Making sure your diet consists of a mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, you will avoid diet fatigue and have reduced cravings.
Portion control is how we get down to the nitty gritty of nutrition and diet. Our bodies need food in order to stay alive and function properly. If you cut too many foods out of your diet, or are not eating enough to sustain yourself throughout the day, you will feel miserable. You might suffer from headaches, irritability, fatigue, mental fog, and intense cravings. If you eat too much, you may feel sluggish, sleepy, bloated, gassy, or have trouble sleeping at night.
The trick to weight loss is finding your body’s sweet spot. The goal is weight loss. The method is a calorie deficit through a sustainable nutrition plan – one that you are able to stick with long-term. A diet you end up quitting isn’t useful for anyone. Weight loss and then weight regain is also not useful.
Start small by cutting down your portion of bread or other starches, and increasing your portion of vegetables. Do you love having a sweet treat each afternoon? Opt for an apple or bowl of watermelon and see if that satisfies your sweet tooth. If not, try incorporating a small portion of your favorite treat into your everyday weight loss routine. You really can lose weight while eating your favorite foods!
Have you ever compared how you feel when you have a bowl of sugary cereal (about 350 calories) for breakfast versus a few scrambled eggs (about 240 calories)? You might be hungry within an hour of eating the cereal and then have to decide whether to spend the rest of the morning hungry or eat again. But after eating the protein and nutrient-rich eggs, you feel fuller for longer allowing you to stretch out your meals.
Patience is a virtue
One of the most important elements of your weight loss journey is patience. Gaining weight took a while. Losing weight will also take a while. Begin your journey with the patience you will need for success. Acknowledge that you will be on this journey for weeks, months, and maybe even years. Take the time to discover what healthy foods you like. Play around with different eating times, different macronutrient ratios for meals, and which time of day you like to move your body most. During this journey, you will realize what works for you personally, what does not, and you will fine tune your weight loss protocol. The more time you spend focused on achieving a healthy weight, healthy body, and healthy lifestyle, the better at it you will get. The results are worth it and you deserve it!