Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, Weight-Watchers, Cabbage Soup, 4-day, Grapefruit, The Morning Banana… the list goes on and on. Chances are that you, or someone you know, has tried at least one of these diets without success. So perhaps its time to rethink how we “diet.” Instead of depriving ourselves to lose weight, maybe we should focus instead on ways to incorporate more nutritious foods into our day so we feel fuller and healthier than ever.
I’d like to propose a new “diet plan” that emphasizes eating more healthy foods, more often, and in greater amounts as a way to drop some of those extra pounds. This may seem counter-intuitive due to our current diet confusion, but its true! It is possible to eat better without deprivation and if you aren’t sure where to start, consider these six simple principles:
Five Simple Ways You Can Eat More, But Weigh Less
Principle #1: Stop Skipping Breakfast
It’s 8 am and your alarm clock rings. Within 30 minutes you are showered, dressed and sprinting out the door. Sure, it’s slightly impressive you can get ready for your day with such speed, but failing to stop for a quick breakfast can hurt your chances of losing weight more than you might think. Dieters often make the big mistake of eliminating breakfast when they are trying to cut out extra calories because they are the least hungry when they first wake up. However, skipping breakfast is counterproductive to weightloss, because in addition to not waking up your metabolism, according to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese. A recent study also determined that participants who skipped breakfast were more likely to seek out high-calorie foods later in the day.
Principle #2: Fill up on Fruits and Veggies
Most fruits and veggies are low in calories and high in protein, fiber, and beneficial nutrients. The more you fill your plate with fruit and vegetables, the less likely you are to load up on carbs and high fat options, it’s as simple as that! Try using the USDA MyPlate as a guide for filling your plate (approximately half your plate should be fruit and vegetables).
Principle #3. Take advantage of ’More is Less’
Here is an example:
- A McDonald’s Big Mac is 563 calories, and 33 grams of fat.
- 3 oz of a Roasted Chicken Breast, a medium-sized baked potato, a 1/2 cup of green peas, 8 oz of 1% milk, and 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce. And Grand total is…….. 546 calories and only 5 grams of fat.
Avoiding fast food and instead cooking at home not only leaves you feeling full and satisfied, but also significantly reduces calorie and fat intake. In the example above, the Big Mac alone was more calories and fat than the entire home-cooked meal. However, with an added Medium-fries and Medium coke, the McDonalds meal would have been over double the amount of calories as the home-cooked meal. Cooking at home gives you the most control over what you are putting into your body, and it’s the healthy dieter’s best weapon against the frequent consumption of high-calorie meals.
Principle #4. Attack Hunger with Snacks
Smart snacking is definitely one of the best ways to speed up your metabolism, while also locking out hunger attacks that come knocking late in the day. Choose a low-calorie snack and pair it with some fiber and protein to keep hunger at bay.
Some options could be:
- Celery with 2 Tbsp of Natural Peanut butter
- Low-fat Greek yogurt with a small handful of granola
- Carrots with Hummus Dip.
Principle #5 Eat your Calories! (Don’t drink them)
Slurping high calorie beverages on a consistent basis is the quickest way to sabotage your weight loss efforts. Try swapping unsweetened tea for a blended coffee drink or natural fruit infused water for a regular soda. Reaching for a piece of fruit, instead of chugging down fruit juice, will also cut down on calories and added sugar, plus it increases the fiber intake in your diet which is proven to help with healthy digestion and weight loss.
Now that you have a basis for eating more as a way to drop pounds, why don’t you give it a shot! Don’t feel intimidated if you feel like you are eating too much or too often. Instead, keep reminding yourself that you are filling your body with healthy nutrients as a way eliminate the cravings for empty calories and high-fat foods.
What are some diets that you have tried? Were they successful? Why do you think this is?