As I write this article it is summer here in Spain and everybody I know is desperately trying to lose a few excess pounds and asking me constantly what foods help you lose weight? For years I struggled finding the right foods that help you lose weight and therefore I was constantly frustrated by the results I was seeing with my body. Once I realised it was my diet that was letting me down I then decided to overhaul my nutrition completely and start researching what were main types of foods I should be eating on a regular basis to not only manage weight but give me better energy and improve my overall well being. From this research and the subsequent years of eating this way the following list is what I consider the basic and best foods that help you lose weight and improve vitality and performance.
[When you have the right foods in your body not only do you lose weight but your energy levels will skyrocket. I went running on the beach the other week in Tarifa just up the coast from where I live. Can I just say that I didn´t look like these two when I finished. Also word or warning use a sport type sunblock on your face not the normal kind. I didn´t and got it all in my eyes, could hardly see for 2 hours and wasn´t looking my coolest on the beach]
Note - Remember, the more healthy food you have in the house the less likely you are to eat crap. This means being more disciplined when you go out shopping and making better choices. If you do have a certain food that you like as a treat then get it but don´t buy it in bulk and just have it the once or twice in the week when the urge is too strong to resist.
Here is a great article I read on how to prepare properly when going shopping
I have found that over time the more you restrict these choices and choose healthier options eventually your body starts to tell you it doesn´t want the junk anymore and you end up either not eating these treats at all or just very rarely.
What Food helps you lose weight? – My essential list.
What foods help you lose weight – Vegetables and fruits
So it goes without saying that as vegetables and fruits should be right up there at the top of your list if you want to lose weight and stay lean. I would say though that when it comes to the ultimate hard body food then vegetables are probably at the top of the pile. This is because they are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carotenoids, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids, fiber and other healthy stuff that is extremely beneficial to your body. From a weight loss perspective they are generally very low in calories so you can eat a lot of them and be confident that you won´t be gaining weight. Also apart from the root type vegetables they are low glycemic so help keep your blood sugar levels stable with slower releasing energy. My personal favorites are broccoli, spinach, peppers, cucumber, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus and cauliflower.
Fruits should also feature heavily in your foods that help you lose weight diet list because they are also full of healthy nutrients, minerals, fibre and other great things for your body. However as they are a simple carbohydrate they can increase blood sugar levels so if you are trying lose weight I would eat fruit with caution. If you are just maintaining body weight or trying to gain a little then by all means enjoy your fruit. I like all types of berries, cherries (all really high in antioxidants) apples, pears, nectarines, grapes, plums etc. Basically I love fruit and I can´t think of a one that I don´t like.
What foods help you lose weight – Proteins
On a recent post I talked about foods high in protein and touched on why protein can help you out when it comes to losing weight. There are many benefits with protein and weight loss that I won´t go into here but if you want to learn more about why this is so then is a good article to read Benefits of Protein
With that in mind in my opinion if you lead a healthy and active lifestyle and want to maintain or develop a lean firm body then it goes without saying that you need ample amounts of protein in your diet. The types I eat most are chicken breasts, fish including oily and white varieties, eggs (whites and with yolks) low fat cottage cheese, lean cut steak and a quality whey protein supplement. I include the protein supplement because I use them for convenience when I don’t have time and plus as a healthy snack they are one of the better options you can choose.
What foods help you lose weight – Carbohydrates
For me reducing grain based and other starchy carbohydrates in my diet has been the big breakthrough in helping me get lean and stay that way. For years I followed the high carb and low fat mantra which was fine when I was young and doing lots of exercise. However over the last few years as responsibilities appeared, time became more restricted and I was moving around a lot less this approach was not working for me anymore. I didn’t jump on the Atkins bandwagon but I did start to realise that I was eating to many carbs and much too many of the refined and processed varieties.
By restricting these types, being more careful about the starchy carbs I eat and replacing them all with more vegetables and fruits as my main source of carbohydrates I have found it much easier to lose weight and keep it off. That said I am not an anti –carber in fact I love carbs (just too much) and certainly think we shouldn’t eliminate them from our diets especially when looking to gain a little weight and muscle. Therefore the carbs I stick too when I need my fix are sweet potatoes, white potatoes, brown rice and quinoa. I do have to confess that the odd slice of bread does slip through the net but it a quick treat rather than a regular occurrence. If you are eating a lot of carbs in your diet and struggling to lose weight then I would definitely consider starting to look at the quality of the carb foods you are choosing and aim to reduce the amount you eat.
What foods help you lose weight – Healthy Fats
When it comes to foods that help you lose weight then healthy fats are right up there. I know that sounds weird that fat helps you lose fat but it is true. It took me ages to get my head round this after being anti-fat for so long but I must say I think reducing carbs and increasing healthy fats has been the turning point for me in terms of weight loss and health. Now there are tons of info out there about the benefits of healthy fats and how much you need in your diet and how they help with fat loss so I won’t get into that here. However If you do want to know more then this article gives a great overview. Why you need Omega 3 fats
The takeaway point from all this research is that you need more of these essential fatty acids in your diet if you want to look and feel good.
To get my dose I eat avocados ( love these )plenty of oily fish such as sardines, salmon and trout and use flaxseed oil olive oil and coconut oil. I also buy various nuts and seeds such as Walnuts, pecans, almonds sunflower, flax . Now although these are healthy fats they are still fat so too many of them can stop you losing weight (especially nuts which are very calorie dense) so to still get my essential fatty acid benefits without affecting my waistline I take Krill Oil which is a powerful omega 3 supplement that is packed full of antioxidants and other substances I can’t pronounce that are good for my health.
As I said these are what I believe to be the basic foods to help you lose weight you should be including in your diet on a regular basis. If you are already eating many of these foods but are struggling to lose weight you might need to find out how to structure your diet properly and put together healthy meal plans that are designed for you to help lose weight . If you think this is where you are going wrong then check out the diet solution program which shows you exactly how to eat healthy and lose weight the right way.
I hope my list gave you some ideas next time you are buying groceries and if you any more ideas on what foods help you lose weight I would love to hear your comments below.