Eat more vegetables, especially leafy greens
A diet high in vegetables is good for your health and, as it turns out, can help you lose weight. That’s because vegetables are low in calories but high in volume, meaning that you can eat a lot of them without consuming too many calories.
Vegetables are also rich in fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer and control your weight.
In one study, people who followed a diet rich with low-calorie-density foods—including fruits, vegetables, and broth-based soups—lost about 23 pounds over 12 weeks compared to those on a lower-fiber, higher-fat diet.
The most successful weight loss plans strive for a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables. Aim to eat more veggies than fruit at every meal.
Some of the best options include:
- Leafy greens – Arugula and spinach are great options but so are broccoli rabe (also known as rapini), kale, and Swiss chard. These greens pack the most nutritional punch per calorie than any other food—a half cup cooked provides more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin A needs plus nearly half your vitamin C requirement with only 25 calories. In addition to boosting flavor without adding calories, leafy greens add bulk to dishes like stir-fries or salads so you can fill up on fiber for very few calories!
Eat more whole foods, and take out all the processed junk
You should really try to eat more whole foods, and take out all the processed junk. Whole foods are unprocessed, fresh foods. So you’ll want to avoid things like chips, soda, and candy. You’ll also want to avoid fast food and packaged items like frozen dinners or microwaveable meals as often as possible. In addition, it’s a good idea to reduce your intake of processed meats like deli meat, hot dogs, or sausage—these tend to be high in sodium and saturated fat.
Good examples of whole foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, and meat that hasn’t been processed or cooked with added fat or salt—like the kind you buy at the deli counter or in a drive-thru window
Protein is a building block for your body and also helps you feel full for a longer time
If you’re looking to lose weight and are interested in a diet that will keep you full for longer, consider increasing the amount of protein in your diet. Protein is an important building block for your body and also helps you feel full for a longer time. Protein can also help build muscle mass, which may help improve metabolic health.
Some good sources of protein include fish (especially tuna or salmon), eggs, beans and legumes, yogurt, nuts and seeds, and low-fat or lean meats like chicken or turkey breast.
Carbohydrates provide energy, but not all carbs are the same.
Carbohydrates are a form of energy for your body and can be found in many foods. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs, such as refined sugars and white bread, tend to be high in calories but low in nutrients, while complex carbs that come from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Simple carbs can provide quick energy but they also contribute to a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash that can leave you feeling hungry again very soon after eating. When choosing carbs for weight loss it is much more effective to focus on the complex versions which will help keep your blood sugar stable and you fuller longer.
Fruits, beans, and vegetables are all healthy sources of carbohydrates
Fruits, beans, and vegetables are all healthy sources of carbohydrates, which give you long-lasting energy. When choosing carbs for weight loss, it’s important to select foods that have a low glycaemic index (GI) score. This index indicates how fast an individual carbohydrate affects your blood sugar levels. Carbs with a lower GI will be absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream than those with a higher GI score.
Slowly absorbed carbs will keep you feeling full for longer, meaning you are less likely to snack on foods that are high in fat or sugar later in the day. Eating plenty of slow-release carbs can also reduce your cravings for unhealthy snacks.
Dairy products can be full of fat, so choose wisely
Dairy products are an important source of calcium, which is essential for developing strong bones. To avoid fat, we often choose low-fat or non-fat dairy options. While this can be a good way to get calcium without consuming too many calories, there are some things to consider when choosing dairy.
- Low-fat and non-fat varieties of milk and yogurt tend to have more sugar in them than their full-fat counterparts. If you’re choosing these versions mostly because they’re lower in fat, you might want to reconsider.
- Full-fat dairy foods can fit into a healthy diet! Some studies show that full-fat dairy may actually be better for us than low-fat versions. Just be careful about how much of it you are eating—while full-fat dairy can be part of a healthy diet, it’s still calorie-dense and high in saturated fats (which may increase bad cholesterol).
- If you don’t tolerate lactose well or if you simply don’t like the taste of milk or yogurt, there are other ways to get calcium: canned fish with bones (sardines), leafy green vegetables (collards), dried beans (white beans), nuts and seeds (sesame seeds) and calcium-enriched juices/cereals/soymilk are all good choices!
Track your food and exercise in a journal for a few weeks to see where your problems are
Tracking can help you identify the areas where you are going wrong. If your journal shows that you eat very little until dinnertime, then have an enormous dinner (and dessert!), you will see that this pattern is probably causing much of your weight gain.
Tracking can also help you identify areas where you’re doing well—for example if your journal shows that most days, you eat a large breakfast and lunch but only a small dinner, then it’s likely that this pattern is helping keep your weight in check. Regardless of whether tracking reveals problems or successes, it’s an important tool for anyone trying to lose weight.
If what I’m saying sounds like common sense to you, then good! You’re on the right track—pun definitely intended!
Focus on the positive aspects of your eating habits rather than dwelling on what you’re doing wrong
While it’s important to be aware of the things you’re doing wrong when it comes to your dietary habits, instead of focusing on your mistakes, think about what you’re already doing right. For example, if you’ve been eating a lot of fast food lately, but are usually pretty good at preparing balanced meals at home, congratulate yourself for that and strive to do better next time when fast food sounds appealing.
Keeping track of your progress will help keep your weight loss goals on track. Write down everything that you eat in a day in a food diary. At the end of each week look back over these entries and give yourself points for every healthy item you ate during the week. If you drank soda during any meal or snack subtract points from this total. Check out our food diary template to get started!
Keeping up with an exercise journal can also help motivate you toward achieving your goals. A study showed that people who recorded their daily exercise were more likely to meet their weekly goals than those who did not keep a record (1). In other words, writing it down works!
If you’re dealing with emotional eating issues, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, focus on finding healthier ways to deal with stress and anxiety
If you’ve been dealing with emotional eating issues in the past, don’t beat yourself up about it. Whatever happened has already happened, so there’s no point in dwelling on it. Instead, focus on finding healthier ways to deal with stress and anxiety in the future.
You can do this by identifying any unhealthy coping methods that you have and coming up with a plan to replace them with healthier ones. Experts say that one of the most effective ways to do this is to use a daily mood chart to track how you’re feeling throughout the day and note any negative feelings that may lead you towards using food as a way of dealing with your emotions.
Once you have identified these triggers, write down what you did or thought immediately before your mood changed so that you can identify any patterns or common themes—for example, maybe all of your triggers involve being around other people who are eating or when you’re bored at work and end up scrolling through social media looking at pictures of food.
Once you’ve pinpointed what situations trigger your cravings for food as a source of comfort and how exactly they make you feel (usually guilty afterward), then write down some alternatives along with an action plan for how to implement them into your life so that they become part of your daily routine instead.
Change just one thing at a time to make things easier
It’s not necessary to change everything overnight. Instead, make one small change at a time, and once it sticks (meaning you’ve incorporated it into your daily routine without much effort), add another. For example, try adding one new fruit or vegetable every week. Or stop drinking soda and add two glasses of water instead. Once that becomes a no-brainer, switch out your breakfast cereal for oatmeal or whole-grain toast. With each small success comes more confidence in your ability to improve your eating habits—and more motivation to keep going until you reach your goal.
When you lose weight, you gain happiness and health!
Losing weight has tons of benefits. It can help improve your happiness and health. When you lose weight, you gain self-confidence and also lower your risk of disease!