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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Make smarter food choices for weight loss

Before you change your diet you need to think about what you eat that could be a cause of your weight gain. For me it was pretty easy to identify; I used to buy my breakfast from a local coffee chain and it would regularly consist of some sort of breakfast sandwich or a bacon croissant on a Friday morning (two if I had been out the night before!). Lunch would be anything convenient, snacks would always be unhealthy, drinks would usually be fizzy and the amounts would always be pretty big.

Identifying the problem is the easy part; you probably already know what you could change to make a difference. The harder part is knowing how to change it, knowing what to change it to and knowing what foods you can eat that will actually help you to lose weight.

The first thing I changed was to eat my breakfast at home. This way I knew exactly what I was eating and how much I was eating. Breakfast is now a bowl of porridge or a bowl of cereal with oats. The aim is to eat something that provides a slow release of energy. You don't want to be getting hungry a couple of hours later, instead you want to boost your metabolism but stay full for longer. In looking for a suitable cereal I have avoided those with lots of sugars and have tried to keep it as natural as possible. If I have ever not been able to eat breakfast at home, I tend to eat a banana or an apple on my way to work. The idea is to get your metabolism working as soon as possible and the only way to do this is by eating something.

Lunch is no longer about convenience, it is about a healthy balance of the right types of food. Preparing your own lunch in the office can help with this. If you work near a supermarket this is easy, if not, prepare food at home. The idea behind lunch for me is to get a good level of protein mixed with a good amount of fresh vegetables. I don't use salad dressings though as they can contain a lot of calories. If you are going to buy your lunch or eat in a restaurant (with clients for example) just be smart about your choices and think about portion control.

The key with dinner is to eat freshly ingredients, take advantage of having a kitchen to actually cook in. When choosing meat make sure it is lean and will provide a good amount of protein with little amount of fat. Fish is also an excellent source of protein. Vegetables are an excellent addition to your diet if you are looking to lose weight but make sure you also prepare them healthily. Steaming veg is a great way to ensuring they keep their health benefits, roasting veg is a good second option. Here is a list of veg I tend to rotate throughout my meals;

  • Broccoli 
  • Leeks
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn (on the cob)
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes (much better for you than normal potatoes)

Snacks; snacking is actually an important part of losing weight. Ideally you want to be eating 5-6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. With that in mind, make sure you use smart portion control with your breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can get the most benefit of eating healthy snacks in between meals. The important thing to achieve is eating the right type of snacks; nuts are great as they are also very good for you. They are high in fats (although they are good fats) so eat them in moderation. In particular I tend to snack on;

  • Almonds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Walnuts
Fruit is also a good snack although they are high in fructose so again I have moderated the amount of fruit I eat; in particular I tend to eat;

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
Get Fit 4 Good does not have doctors on staff, and the advice found on this blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. 

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