Before you even set foot at the gym, nutrition should be the focus of your weight loss plan. Yes, excercising is a big part of losing weight, but if you are not eating the right foods, all those hours of exercise will be a waste of valuable time. What you need to do in order to prevent the wasting of all that precious time is to know what the best foods are that will assist you with your weight loss . Check the best foods to eat for weight loss.
This article will touch on what steps you should follow to have the best meal plan for you. I will be including lists of the best foods to eat for weight loss. It should make setting a meal plan much easier and less stressful. Let’s face it, life tends to deal us enough stress, so deciding what we “should eat” shouldn’t add to it. I compiled these lists to give you an idea of acceptable foods from each food group, but it does not mean that you are limited to ONLY these foods. The foods listed should however be the foundation you begin creating your meal plan with.
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Counting Your Macros
The first and most important rule to loosing weight is that you need to be in caloric deficit. This means you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns off on a daily basis. This sounds like it should be obvious to everyone, but the reality is that most people can’t seem to get this right. Most peoples first choice to achieve a caloric deficit is to skip meals or go into a crazy amount of hours of fasting. This can be very unhealthy in the long run.
As always, I recommend that you make a visit to your doctor first. While getting a physical, mention that you are planning on starting a new diet plan because you have this “X” amount of weight you want to lose. If they offer to find you a nutritionist and your insurance covers it, take advantage of it. But if you decide to do this on your own check out this article on how to calculate your macros.
What are Macros
Macros is short for macronutrients. Macronutrients are what make up the calorie content of the foods we consume on a daily basis. The 3 categories for the macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats. The correct combination of these macros will help you create the much needed energy that your body requires to burn off the extra weight.
Calculations aren’t everyones favorite thing to do, but here are a few things to remember and it should make it a little easier.
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
The advantage of counting your macros is that it will give you a better idea of exactly what foods you are eating. Maybe you are eating way too much protein and you need to add more carbohydrates. Your body will tell you if you need to make an adjustment! Sometimes you have to avoid certain food groups, but if you are keeping track of the foods on your own you will find out that eating some of your favorite foods can be done without feeling guilty for “blowing your diet.” Given that your favorite “unhealthy foods” are eaten in moderation, it may be perfectly fine to kill that craving. Completely depriving yourself of a favorite food tends to cause many people to feel like a failure and that is not what we want to happen.
This approach should not be a headache! It will take a little time to get use to, but after awhile it become second nature and you will only occasionally have to figure out a new foods macronutrient value. You may have to do some trial and error with this approach, just don’t over think this process. You also don’t have to be exact. If that extra bite of a carb puts you 2 calories over your ideal goal, it won’t be the end of the world. Just try to keep your numbers close to what you need to lose weight.
Another important factor to consider is whether or not you have to follow a strict diet to help control any kind of medical conditions. Always keep your own well-being a priority and adjust as needed!
Protein is essential for building muscle mass and in the repair of muscle tissue. If you eat too much protein on a high protein diet, over time you may gain weight. The excess will be stored as fat in the body while the surplus of amino acids are excreted.
The rule of thumb for protein is to eat 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight for weight loss. The best protein sources are lean meats, fish, poultry, legumes, vegetables and grains. Here is a list of some of the best protein sources:
- Chicken ( a staple of most diet plans because it is one of the leanest means available)
- Steak ( always look for the leanest cuts)
- Ground Beef (90 % or leaner)
- Pork Loin
- Salmon ( all different kinds )
- Tuna ( fresh is preferred, but if it is canned, make sure it is in water. )
- Cottage Cheese
- Swiss Cheese
- Canadian Bacon
- Beef Jerky
- Peanut butter
- Extra Virgin Oil
Carbs are the sugars, fibers and starches found in a wide array of healthy and unhealthy foods. Carbs are usually presented as the enemy in trendy diets, but they are a basic food group that is necessary for creating energy. They contain oxygen and hydrogen at the same ratio as water ( 2:1 ) and are broken down to release energy in the body.
You actually need carbs to function properly and to keep your energy levels at an optimum level.They should not be seen as the enemy. Your simple carbs contain one or two sugars, such as fructose (found in fruits) and lactose ( found in milk products ).
Your complex carbs contain 3 sugars or more, they are referred to as starchy foods like beans, peas and even corn. Then there are foods that are made with processed and refined sugars. These are considered empty carbs and are the ones that when consumed in high amounts can lead to weight gain.
The bad carbs are what you find in cookies, cupcakes, pasta, cereal, beer and other processes foods. The list below are the good carbohydrates you should use for a better quality in your meals.
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- All your leafy greens ( Kale, spinach, lettuce)
- Brussels sprouts
- Chia seeds
- Dark Chocolate
Don’t run away from fats! All fats are not created equal. Not all fats will make you gain weight. Fats are actually your body’s way of reserving energy, and they provide essential fatty acids to your body. Food manufacturers create both saturated and trans fats. When oil is hardened by a process called hydrogenation, it is usually to increase the shelf life of processed foods such as crackers, chips, and cookies. These are the health damaging trans fats you have to avoid!
Body fat/adipose tissue is essential for survival. Your body will store fat for when you are not able to get more food to your body. You have the good fats that come from plant base sources like nuts, seed and vegetables oils, and can also be found in fish. The bad fats are your trans saturated fats and can be found in high processed foods like bologna, sausage or any other animal based products.
I hope this list of the best foods to eat for weight loss can guide you in to making smart meal choices. Most dietitians use a 21-day plan for most weight loss plans. This is because they know that 21 days is the average time that it takes for someone to create new eating habits.
As you can see from the lists above, making a simple meal plan does not have to be overly complicated. Another piece of advise I can give you is to pick up a cook book with recipes. A lot of cookbooks contain the full amount of calories and breakdowns for your macros. This will make it easy for your to keep track of every meal.
Another key for some people is to always write down everything you eat for the first few weeks. Once you find the right combination of foods that works for you, the rest will be easy to do. Little by little you will be able to add more and more recipes.
Also try to avoid drinking high in sugar and eating fried foods, which can be a difficult task for a lot of us. Am i saying to never eat them? Absolutely not. However, i am saying to try to moderate how often and how much of them that you eat. By not completely depriving yourself of that treat and just limiting the amount of times per week that you eat it, and making sure to control the portion you indulge in, you are more likely to stick to your meal plan longer. Remember that you don’t have to eat it all at the same time either. You can eat some and then take the rest home and eat it at a later time. Losing weight is all about patience and being able to have self-control to avoid over eating.