Are you a fitness enthusiast looking to shed a few pounds and tone up for the summer? Or do you find yourself frustrated with all the food temptations that lurk around the office while you’re trying to lose weight? Wherever you are in your health journey, these nutrition tips are tried and true and sure to get you on the right track.
1. Keep Food Log. Knowing what and how much you put in your body is key to successful weight loss. This step is often needed to become mindful and understand your food choices. Whether you prefer old school pen to paper style food logs or a techie app like MyFitnessPal, be sure to take notice of the times you are eating. Meal timing is a great way to get to know your eating style. It’s recommended to eat a balance of carbs, protein, vegetables and fats every 4 hours to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and prevent overeating and fat storage. Space portions and calories out during the day so that all meals are about the same size.
2. Space Out Protein. Eat 3-4 ounces protein every 4 hours. Protein is essential for maintaining lean muscle mass during weight loss as well as helping to burn body fat. Don’t over do it though, the body only needs about 3-4 ounces every 4 hours. An example of what that would look like is below.
8AM BREAKFAST 2 eggs with Canadian bacon, avocado and a bowl of fresh fruit
12PM LUNCH fresh salad with lots of veggies, deli turkey meat, nuts and balsamic dressing
4PM SNACK green smoothie made with Greek yogurt and milk
8PM DINNER grilled fish, broccoli and brown rice
3. Hydrate. Staying hydrated is not only important for bodily functions and organs to perform optimally, but also to prevent hunger due to dehydration. Staying adequately hydrated keeps the body satisfied for longer, so don’t forget to drink up. Have a glass of water before your meal and during your meal can also help you slow down to savor the food and you might find that you eat less. Most active people should aim to consume about a gallon of water per day.
4. Eat half plate veggies. Filling up on the greens is a great strategy for weight loss. These foods are low calorie and nutrient dense. So they fill you up for less calories. This is a great trick especially if you are use to larger portions, eat more of the veggies than meat and starch. An easy strategy for accomplishing this is to always have a salad and a cooked veggie with your meals.
5. Balance Carbs. While carbs are essential we have to be strategic in how we eat them. It’s best to include a carb at every meal and snack, but when trying to lose weight we have to watch portion size. Choosing the right type of carb is also key– start to wean yourself off of the processed carbs and choose only whole natural carbs like brown rice, 100% whole grain breads and pastas, potatoes, beans, corn, peas and fresh fruit. Also keep in mind that milk contains carbohydrates so I often count milk as a carb as well. Lots of foods contain carbs so they can add up fast. Keep portions to about the size of your fist at each meal.
These are many of the tips that work for the clients I work with for nutrition counseling. However, it’s important to make sure that portions are in check or you won’t see weight loss. Working with a registered dietitian can help with honing in on what portion size you need to get to the results you want.