Most of you have heard about how to eat for fat loss. But maybe you can’t figure out what to eat when it comes time for a meal. The next time you pick up a knife and fork here are a few questions to consider:
Q1. Are you eating too much food? When fat loss is your primary goal, you should plan on eating a little less than you normally would. Eat slower than usual - aim for 20 minutes. This gives your body a chance to recognize when it is full. You can also eat from a smaller plate than usual. You can leave a little on the plate, instead of finishing everything in front of you. Or you can stop at one serving instead of going back for seconds. Whatever strategy you use, make sure you’re decreasing your calories compared to what you might normally eat.
Q2. Are you eating enough protein? Your protein intake determines whether you’re going to lose body fat or lean muscle. (Obviously, we want to lose the first and keep the latter.) So, for this next meal, is there enough lean protein included? Men should eat about 2 palm-sized portions and women should eat about 1 palm-sized portion. You can choose from sources including: lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, lean game meats), lean vegetarian sources (tofu, tempeh, legumes), or powdered protein supplements. Whichever type you choose, make sure you’re eating more protein than what you might normally eat.
Q3. Are you eating too many sugars or starches? Too many starches and sugars in your diet can prevent fat loss (or even cause fat gain). So, for this next meal, are there too many starches, particularly processed ones like bread or pasta? Men should eat less than 1 fist-sized portion and women should eat less than 1 fist-sized portion. Also, the amount of sugar should be minimized. Starches in the diet include grains, pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, and other carb-dense foods. And added sugars can be found in pop/soda, fruit juices, salad dressings, desserts, sweet snacks, and more. If you are serious about losing fat, try eliminating sugars and starches for at least a few weeks and see how you do.
Q4. Are you eating enough vegetables? By replacing your grains with greens, you’ll still feel satisfied at the end of a meal while also increasing your intake of fiber and other important vitamins/minerals. So, for this next meal, are you eating enough vegetables? While most people think of salads when veggies are brought up, many other options are available. Baked, grilled, sautéed, or steamed veggies all count. Regardless of which veggies you choose, make sure you’re eating more than usual. You can't go wrong if you make half of every plate veggies!
Q5. Are you including enough healthy fats? A healthy mix of naturally occurring fats is important for fat loss. Choose from sources like olive oil, avocados, raw nuts (not roasted), raw seeds, and omega-3 rich fish oils. We now also know that saturated fat is vital for your brain and hormone function. Saturated fat is found in animal fats like eggs, dairy, meats as well as in coconut and palm oil. Whichever type you choose, make sure you’re adding healthy fats to your diet while replacing the unhealthy ones. You only need a small amount - 1 entire thumb for women and 2 thumbs if you're a man. No need to overthink, just get a bit from each source.
If you'd like to find out more about how you can eat for improved health or fat loss, send me a message to schedule your free consultation!
This article is inspired by Precision Nutrition Inc.