I often get asked the best way to lose weight.
Nine times out of ten, the person will also state in that very same sentence, that they heard they should cut out gluten, stop eating dairy, go on a juice fast or start a carb free diet.
And I can’t blame them. The internet has made a wealth of nutrition and health information readily available at the click of a button. Facebook pages set up dedicated to the ‘Paleo Diet’, Pinterest boards on ‘How to detox on lemon juice for 7 weeks’ and a google search for ‘Healthy Weight Loss Tips’ reveals a host of different websites claiming that they can help you to get a 6 pack by banishing dairy, or get supermodel arms by turning up your nose at gluten. It is very difficult to find amongst all of those messages, realistic and credible nutrition information.
Understandably, in becoming motivated to lose weight, many people take the restrictive approach. “I will stop eating chocolate, I will eat no ice cream for 1 week, I will not eat any bread or pasta.” Woah, stop right there! Now that is a big list on negative words – stop, no, not and a whole lot of negative and restrictive thoughts all floating around in the head that would boggle even the person with the strongest will power in the world.
When I tell people that I am a Nutritionist they are often shocked and bewildered at the fact that I don’t automatically tell them what food to cut out. You see, ultimate health, nutrition and wellness is highly dependent upon the foods that we eat. Food is our medicine, and every piece of food we put in our mouth has the potential to provide us with fuel, nutrition and nourishment. Vitamin B gives us energy, Vitamin C boosts our immune system, protein builds muscle and helps wounds to heal and omega 3 oils make our brain happy. The moment you remove a food group from your daily diet you then lose all the nutrients that food group provides. For example, dairy free diets are currently popular though dairy contains calcium, vitamin B, potassium and protein as well as many other vitamins and minerals, with new research is showing that dairy foods can in fact assist weight loss – but that’s for another time. ( I myself am dairy intolerant and I know just how hard it can be to eliminate foods from the diet).
My approach is simple, and it doesn’t involve restriction or cutting out things from the diet. Instead of concentrating on which foods to cut out of your diet, focus on which foods you could ADD to your diet. A more realistic process, with achievable goals and the results are long term.
So let’s do this, the healthier way! Not only is it healthier but it is more realistic, more achievable and the results are more long term.
Step 1: Add fruit and Vegetables
Set yourself the goal of eating 2 pieces of fruit, and 5 serves of vegetables each day.
Why fruit and vegetables?
- It’s starting at the basics, building a good foundation for healthy eating. Forget the expensive macca powders, spirulina and weight loss tea’s. That can be down the track. Master this 2 and 5 and you build a strong base for healthy eating for life.
- High in fibre which make you feel full
- Low in calories
- Low GI (except watermelon)
- Portable and cheap
- Unprocessed, no nasties added
- Contrary to popular sensationlist books and websites, fruit is NOT the evil of the world and WILL NOT make you fat.
How does it work?
Well, when it’s 3pm and you are tired at work, craving chocolate, a biscuit, anything that will give you that energy to get through the rest of the day. You realise, you haven’t had any fruit yet today, and your goal is to have 2, so you realise you better get cracking! Instead of that chocolate that was sitting in the cupboard, you reach for a banana, or a bowl of delicious berries. You’ve ADDED nutrients to your diet such as antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals and at the same time, saved up to 440 kilojoules right there.
When you are making your stir fry dinner, you calculate that with the ingredients you are using, you will only be having 4 serves of vegetables and you need 5. So you go to the fridge and find a delicious red capsicum. It wasn’t in the recipe, but you need to get to the 5 serves, so you add it in to the stir fry and find that it made the stir fry extra delicious and was beautifully presented with the bright red colour. You have added more substance to a stir fry and filled up on extra vegetables and come 9pm when you normally crave a biscuit or a bowl of icecream, you find you are full, content and nourished and don’t even feel like dessert.
Fruit and vegetables contain fibre which protect against cancer, keepthe bowel regular and reduce blood sugar levels and cholesterol. They contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals for everything from energy to clear skin and shiny hair. The antioxidants in fruit and vegetables help to protect the cells of our body against damage. Have you ever wondered why that friend of yours who eats lots of fruit and vegetables, always has the lovely skin? That’s because the antioxidants in the fruit and vegetables actually go to every cell and stop them from being damaged. So on the outside, the skin cells are healthy, happy and glowing. Just imagine what those antioxidants are doing to our insides! Our heart, lungs etc!
So how can I do it?
A serve of vegetables = half a cup of cooked vegetables, one medium potato or one cup of salad vegetables
- Schedule in a piece of fruit for both morning and afternoon tea.
- Add fruit to your breakfast – berries on your muelsi, pears on your cereal?
- Pre-chop fruit to make a fruit salad and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Have for dessert with a dollop of yoghurt instead of munching on chocolate or icecream.
- Freeze fruits such as berries, mango and banana and throw into a delicious morning smoothie.
- Add as many vegetables as you can to your lunch by eating a salad, or packing a sandwich, wrap or crackers with vegetables such as rocket, tomato, baked sweet potato, sprouts.
Try this for 1 week, and once you have achieved it 7 days in a row you are ready to move on to Step 2.