Living a healthier life and having a BMI in the ‘healthy’ range has become much more important to people in recent times. However, if you are serious about losing weight you need to know what foods are the most effective. What we eat plays a much more significant role in weight gain/loss than exercising does. Knowing what to put into your body can make it seem far less daunting when it comes to deciding and planning what to eat.
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It might shock you to discover that one of the most important factors in losing weight is not actually what you eat at all, but water! Upping your water intake is an amazingly effective (and simple) way to increase the speed at which your body burns fat as it speeds up your metabolism. Some of the best foods for losing weight are even notable in that they tend to contain large amounts of water.
What you must keep in mind however, is that the idea of there being a ‘low-fat food’ is purely a marketing ploy. While low-fat food may very well be low in fat, this is more than made up for by the much higher sugar content than in the normal product. Reducing and monitoring portion size has been proven to be a much more effective weight loss method.
Studies have shown that having an egg in the morning can help you lose weight. Eggs are filled with nutrients, high in protein, contain healthy fats and quickly leave you feeling full despite being light on calories. Contrary to popular belief, egg consumption does not correlate to higher cholesterol levels and or increase the risk of heart attacks. Recent studies have shown that those superstitions are just not true, and eggs are among the best foods you can eat if you want to lose weight.
Green leafed vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards and swiss chards are particularly effective at helping people lose weight. These vegetables are all high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, while being low in calories and carbohydrates. Serving some kale with your meal can fill up your plate, and your stomach, while keeping your calorie count down.
Common vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts are just like those leafy greens mentioned above, in that they are low in calories but are high in fiber and vitamins. They also contain some cancer fighting nutrients. Furthermore, they all contain respectable amounts of protein, which makes them great aides when it comes to losing weight.
Despite the many accusations being thrown around these days about the risks associated with regular meat consumption, the fact remains that protein is very effective at promoting weight loss as it positively affects our metabolism. However, if you want to swear off meat, then you can easily substitute meat for other protein rich foods, or supplements. What you put into your body is your choice after all.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and other root vegetables are also excellent considerations when planning your meals healthily. Root vegetables contain many nutrients including potassium, an essential nutrient that helps regulate our blood pressure. Boiling potatoes also releases their starch which has many amazing benefits and has been shown to speed up our body’s fat burning process.
Beans and legumes such as lentils, black beans and kidney beans are very high in protein and fiber and also contain starch, which makes them great helping you lose weight.
As mentioned earlier, water is key to weight loss as it reduces the energy density of meals and reduces our caloric intake. While it is obviously not possible with many popular foods, turning your meal into a soup by adding water, or stock, allows you to enjoy the same tastes and ingredients while reducing the calories.
Cottage cheese is high in protein, low in calories, has very few carbohydrates and contains some natural and healthy fats. Dairy products are also high in calcium which is another important nutrient that helps the fat burning process.
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and, unlike most fruits, are low in sugar and carbs. They are particularly high in oleic acid which is also found in olive oil. Despite being high in fat, avocados also contain lots of water which makes them a delicious energy light food. Avocados are also full of nutrients and fiber.
Apple Cider Vinegar is famous for making you feel full faster, thus helping you reduce your portion size. It also helps prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels after a meal, which prevents you from getting that sluggish mid-afternoon crash we are all familiar with. It’s very versatile and can be used effectively in a number of ways such as in a dressing or vinaigrette. Some people even dilute it in water and drink it. If drunk with a meal high in carbohydrates it is a great way of reducing your total calorific intake.
Studies have shown that people who regularly eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner. Despite being high in fat, nuts are not inherently fattening. They are an excellent snack as they contain protein, fiber and healthy fats such as Omega3 which improves your metabolism aiding you on your weight loss quest. However, if you are someone who tends to binge-eat nuts, you are better off avoiding them.
Consuming whole grains such as oats, brown rice and quinoa is not exactly idealistic if you are on a low carb diet as these grains tend to be high in carbs. However, these are healthier alternatives to other forms of carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice. Oats improve your metabolism as they are rich in beta-glucans and soluble fibers. Brown rice (and even white rice) also contain starch which, as mentioned earlier, speeds up your metabolism as well.
Chilis and other spicy foods help us to reduce our appetites through their active ingredient capsaicin, the chemical that creates the ‘burning’ sensation we all know and love (or hate). Some studies have shown that consuming spicy foods if you are not used to them can increase your body’s fat burning capabilities. If you have built up a tolerance to spice however, it may not be such an effective method.
Grapefruits tend to be highlighted on their own as being very beneficial towards weight loss. Grapefruits are very high in water and reduce insulin resistance which lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While there is little-to-no scientific proof of their ability to aid in weight loss, they are a great addition to any meal as they expand in the stomach to help you feel full after eating less. While being high in carbohydrates, chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber and are among the best sources of fiber worldwide.
While its high fat content means adding it on top of a meal is not an ideal method for losing weight, using it as a substitute for vegetable oil or butter when cooking can be an effective addition to your routine.
Olive Oil is well known as being very healthy source of natural fats and is a much healthier cooking ingredient than common oils such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil.
Despite the tempting name, low-fat yoghurt is full of natural and unnatural sugars which your body converts into fat. However, yoghurt does contain many kinds of bacteria that are beneficial to your gastrointestinal health.
Fish- & Seafood in general contain significant amounts of iodine, which is essential in maintaining healthy thyroid function, a vital cog in our body’s metabolism. The Fish is also high in essential fatty acids such as Omega3. Just like green leaves such as kale and spinach, fish is also very high in protein, healthy fats and other great nutrients, and can leave you feeling full after less calories. Salmon is one of the greatest options when choosing a fish based diet for weight loss (or muscle gaining!).
Just like other forms of seafood, tuna is very high in protein and low in calories and non-essential fats. Tuna gets a special mention as it is an extremely popular choice among bodybuilders and models for the reasons mentioned above.
The choices we make when dieting and losing weight should never be about starving ourselves, rather we should choose the healthier options instead. Starving yourself does not work. Making informed dietary decisions does. Portion control is also a very effective method as we ‘eat with our eyes’ and feel full based on what we perceive to be an adequate amount of food. Reducing the physical size of your plate by 10% can lead to you feeling full after eating 15-20% food.
Exercise must also not be forgotten as it is an incredibly important factor when trying to boost your metabolism and convert fat and calories into energy and muscle. You don’t have commit to going to the gym 7 days a week, but instead choose to walk instead of drive, take the stairs instead of the lift and when sitting at a desk all day, stand up and pace around every once in a while. It all adds up. Most importantly though, be patient. Results are never immediate, no matter what marketers and their products may tell you to try to convince you.
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This post was last modified on September 16, 2018, 10:29 am