Without a doubt, diet is the most important component to weight loss success. It is also the source of the most confusion.
With the latest celebrity diet fads constantly gleaming from bookstore shelves and glossy magazines, it’s no wonder you are confused about how to eat for fat loss. If you are feeling unsure of where to start, refer to this Beginner’s Guide To Fat Loss Nutrition to get you headed in the right direction.
Eat real food.
Real food grew from the ground or had a heart beat at one time. If you set it out on the counter, it will spoil in a relatively short time. If it has an ingredient list, there will be no more than a few items listed and you will be able to pronounce and recognize all of the ingredients. Real food likely does not come in a box or wrapper. So what is “real food”? Vegetables and fruits, meat, eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds are all real food. Some items such as bread, pasta, and dairy are subject to debate and best consumed in limited quantities if you decided to leave them in your diet. But the biggest culprits of weight gain – cookies, crackers, chips, and soda are clearly not real food and should be avoided completely.
Watch your portion sizes.
Calorie counting can be an effective way to monitor your food intake, but it is also tedious. A simpler way to control how much you eat, it to monitor your portion sizes with simple to use guidelines. A serving of meat or fish should be about the size and thickness of your palm. A serving of pasta or rice should be no more than the size of your clenched fist, and ideally smaller. A serving of nuts should fit in the center of your palm without overlapping (about 6 – 8 almonds as an example). Keep fruit to one piece per serving. And nearly all vegetables can be eaten without concern for serving size – eat as many vegetables as you like!
Pay attention to your body’s signals.
Do not worry about having to eat every 2 – 3 hours to “keep your metabolism up”. Just eat when you are hungry. But the trick is to recognize when your body actually needs fuel instead of wanting to eat out of boredom or for emotional reasons. A simple trick is to drink a large glass of water when you feel like you are hungry – this can stave off hunger for as much as an hour. Also pay attention to your energy level, attention span, and if you feel irritable or cranky as signs for actual need for fuel. But when you are truly hungry, eat!
Plan for success.
So now you know to eat real food in appropriate portions when you are hungry. Eating for fat loss really is that simple. But the key to success, is planning how you will execute that simple formula. First, plan your meals for the week. Actually write out what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks. Next, write a grocery list based on your meal plan and go shopping. When you get home from grocery shopping, precook your meals for the week or at least the next few days. By having healthy meals prepared ahead of time, you greatly reduce the chances of hitting the drive-thru or calling for pizza delivery when you get home from work and feel too tired to cook.
The basics of fat loss nutrition are not complicated. Eat real food, watch your portion sizes, eat when you are hungry, and plan ahead for fat loss nutrition success.