Confused, frustrated, no idea where to start when it comes to eating for weight loss?
If I have to give one piece of advice when talking about losing weight and nutrition it would be…keep it simple.
Just stick with the basics and keep everything as simple as possible.
The more you try to complicate dieting with hacks, strategies and details the more you set yourself up for failure.
Don’t get me wrong details do matter, but people seem to worry about these before they have actually got a solid foundation in place that is already helping them get results.
As you have probably heard (and are bored of hearing) being consistent is one of the main keys to weight loss success.
To stay consistent you need a plan that is easy to understand and follow and in my experience those sort of plans are very often very simple in their structure.
So with that in mind I have put together a simple list of nutrition tips that if you follow and combine with a solid exercise plan you will see some weight loss results in the next 30 days.
Tip 1 – Reduce Calorie intake
First we need to create a calorie deficit that forces your body to use its fat stores for energy but that is not too extreme to send it into a starvation type state where your metabolic rate is slowed down.
Along with that we need enough calories to help maintain your muscle mass and give you energy to complete your workouts and stop you from burning out too quickly.
There are many formulas that help you calculate what your daily calories should be, but to keep it simple just use this guideline
Men – Aim for between 1800-2500 calories per day
Women – Aim for 1400-1800 per days.
If you are not losing weight then reduce your calorie intake by 10% and track the results over a week. Likewise if your lacking in energy and motivation and not losing weight then add some extra calories to your diet.
Rule 2 – Keep reward Meals to no more then 2 per week. For the next 30 days I would try and limit your reward meals to just one per week but no more than two. When you do do indulge in a reward meal be sure to keep normal sized and don´t allow it to be a trigger for more “not ideal” food choices.
Rule 3 Eat real, whole, natural food at every meal
Yes I know you have heard this all before but do you actually follow this advice consistently? Do 90% of your meals consist of natural protein sources, complex carbs, and high quality fruits vegetables and nuts?
I bet they don’t.
Try this out for the next 30 days and be amazed at the results
If you want to know the best 100 natural foods to eat for losing weight then get them here as part of our 7 day fitness plan.
Rule 4 – Stay Away from Processed Foods
If we are sticking with rule 3 then we shouldn´t need to worry about eating processed foods. However, I just want to hammer home why you need to eliminate most of these types of foods at least for the next 4 weeks.
When I talk about processed or fast foods I don´t just mean those bought in fast food joints, but also many food choices that come in a box, tin or jar from the supermarket.
Many of these products are not only very calorific but contain high levels of sugar, salt and fats with chemicals, additives, and preservatives that are unlikely to be good for your body.
Remember we want real foods as much as possible
Rule 5 – Manage Your Carbs
Along with creating a substantial energy deficit if we want optimal results over the next 30 days then we need to control the insulin levels in our bodies which means cutting down and managing our carbohydrate/sugar intake.
Controlling Insulin is important if you want to lose fat.
Insulin by its nature is a storage hormone and secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels (glucose). The role of Insulin is to then deal with the elevated blood sugar by converting the excess glucose into glycogen and takes it from the blood stream into the liver, muscles, fat cells and other cells in the body.
Our liver and muscles can between 350-500g of glycogen at any one time so if we exceed this amount which is pretty easy to do and don’t burn enough off through exercise and our metabolism then this excess glycogen will be converted into triglycerides in the liver and then stored in fat cells for later use.
So how many carbs do we need?
In the theme of keeping it simple I recommend starting with a 40% of calories from natural carb sources if your are doing regular exercise (more than 2 hours per week)
If you are trying to lose weight without doing exercise or just doing light exercise such as walking I would reduce that down to 25%
Rule 6– Eat adequate levels of protein
If you want to lose fat quickly then in my opinion you have to eat higher than normal levels of protein. I have tried variety nutrient ratios when trying to lose fat and the one I have found to be the most effective for most people is medium to high protein intake.
The normal recommended amount is between 0.6 and 0.8 per pound of bodyweight but for the next 30 days I would start with 1.0 g per pound of bodyweight.
So for example if you weigh 120 pounds that means 120g of protein per day. This is about 40% daily calories.
If you want to know the best sources of proteins to eat you can find them all in our free 7 day fitness plan that you can download here
A note about protein supplements
Protein powders are acceptable to use over the next 30 days if needed.
The reason for this is that they help you consume high levels of protein without having to feel that you are eating all the time which is a welcome relief for a lot of people who are not big on protein foods. They are also convenient to eat when our schedule is busy and we have not had much time to plan or sit down for food.
Here is my recommended protein powder brand.
However I want to state they are not essential and I would recommend having no more than two a day.
Wherever possible always get your protein calories from real foods.
Rule 7– Don´t Go Low Fat
Many people still associate losing weight with going low fat. But this is not the case and generally I recommend people increase their level of fat.
For many years fat was seen as the enemy when it came to losing weight and many diets were based around a low fat approach. The problem with this was having no distinction between good or bad fats.
Bad fats such as Trans fats that are found in many processed food products should be avoided at all costs not only for losing weight but for health reasons as well.
Consuming large amounts of these fats will not only inflate your waistline but the cells in your body will have a much harder time trying to function properly as these fats become part of your cell membranes. When cells are not able to operate at full capacity this can lead to degenerative diseases developing.
Likewise saturated fats found in meats and dairy products should also be limited when trying to lose weight and not eaten excessively on a regular basis.
However fats considered to be healthy should be included in our daily diet for both optimal weight and health management.
Healthy fats are vital for controlling hormone production and creating balance in the body. Having a body in a balanced state will ensure your muscle building and fat burning processes are working at a high level meaning you build more muscle and burn more fat!
Other important functions that dietary fats play in a healthy body are aiding vitamin and mineral utilization, enzyme regulation, energy, etc.
Also the extra healthy fat you consume will help you feel full and more satisfied than carbohydrates because fats metabolize more slowly so the energy they release lasts much longer keeping your cravings at bay.
Good fats are the ones found in eggs, (preferably organic) certain nuts and seeds, fish sources such as salmon, oils (e.g. olive and coconut) and one of my favorite foods avocados.
These are known as omega 3 fats and eating an adequate supply of these types of fats is vitally important to your overall health. Fats are one of the main components in all of the cell membranes throughout your entire body. By eating plenty of healthy natural fats you allow all the processes in your cells to continue working correctly.
However,even though these fats are good for us they can be very calorific (especially nuts) so for the next 30 days I recommend keeping them about 20% of daily calories.
Rule 8: Eat meals on a regular basis.
The key here is picking a meal routine that works for your schedule. However, in the theme of keeping it simple I recommend 3 main meals and 1 or 2 snacks every day depending on your schedule.
Rule 9 – If you don´t do breakfast or have time in the morning use a blended meal.
Ideally you should start your day with a breakfast of natural foods that is a blend of protein, fats and carbs.
In the real world this does not always happen as many people say that they don´t like to eat at breakfast,have the time or struggle to know what to eat. If this sounds like you then think about having a blended meal.
Having a blended meal is a fast and easy start to the day that can be packed with lots of nutrients. Here is a popular one to use. Just stick all the ingredients in a blender and away you go.
- 1 banana
- Handful of Raspberries
- Handful of Strawberries
- Handful of baby spinach – you won´t taste this I promise
- 2 cups almond/organic milk
- 10 walnuts
- 1 tbspn Cashew butter
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
If you have a busy schedule then blended meals like this could be a good tool to use over the next 4 weeks although they are not necessary.
Rule 10 – No liquid Calories
This rule is very simple. You should simply give up all liquid calories (no soda, no juice, no adding sugar to your coffee or tea) and avoid drinks that contain chemicals and this means diet sodas as well.
Stick to water, tea, and coffee (no more than 2 cups per day). This is an area people don´t equate with the daily calorie intake but can account for enough hidden calories to hinder results.
Rule 11- Limit Alcohol to 4 drinks per week.
I would say if possible cut out all alcohol for the next 30 days.
If you can’t do this then you have to limit it as much as possible until you hit your target weight.
Booze is not only high in empty calories but causes water loss, dehydration and the loss of important minerals. It also slows the body down and stops it from performing optimally which hinders fat loss.
Having a drink can often lead to poor food choices and overeating at meal times. Plus if you overdo it you will feel tired and de-motivated and less likely to stick with the exercise and diet plan the following days.
As a rule of thumb avoid as much as possible and have no more than 4 small beers or 4 small glasses of wine per week.
Rule 12– Drink Lots of water
There is some debate about water consumption but in my opinion if you want to feel and look your and see quick dramatic results then drinking enough water is important.
As a general rule, men should consume 120 ounces of water daily, and women should consume 80 ounces.
However if you are working out with high intensity (which you should be) then make sure to compensate for this fluid loss.
A good rule I learned is the following:
Drink 12 ounces of water two hours prior to a workout, and another 12 ounces 30 minutes before you begin.
Drink 4 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes during your workout
After the workout consume an additional 12 ounces within 30 minutes of the end of your workout.
These are not exact numbers for everybody but the takeaway point is too drink water regularly throughout the day so you feel refreshed and not dehydrated.
Rule 13- Mind your salt
Eating salt is important and should be included in your diet but having too much salt/sodium and can raise blood pressure and slow down the metabolic process.
When you eat too much sodium it deposits under the skin and draws in water giving you a soft and bloated looking body.
If your eating a diet that is completely natural and you are preparing most of your own meals you should have no need to monitor salt intake unless of course you are using excessive amounts to flavor your foods.
As an alternative to using salt use instead: garlic, lemon, olive oil, vinegar (all types), pepper (all types), Use the following fresh and dried spices as well: basil, cayenne, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, curry, dill, garlic powder, ginger, lemon, lime, mint, onion powder, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme.
If you suffer badly with water retention and want to prevent it, drink more water then include the following diuretic veggies in your diet.
Spinach, lettuce, all greens (mustard, collard, beet, dandelion), parsley, arugula, watercress, asparagus, and cucumber.
Rule 14 – Eat on smaller plates so that you eat smaller portions
You may have heard of this one before but it you haven´t tried it now is the time to do it. Research shows that we will eat fewer calories if we use smaller plates.
On the other hand, larger plates lead to eating more.
So use this tactic at home and definitely when you have a reward meal or snack.
If you have to eat out during the next 4 weeks got to high quality restaurants that serve smaller portions of food.
Rule 15 – Eat slowly
This is tough one but very effective. Research shows that it takes 15-20 minutes for our brains to register that we are full. So if you eat slower then have a break before rushing for more you should realise that you don´t actually need it.
One tip to help you eat slowly is to force yourself to chew your food at least 10 times before you swallow. You might think that isn’t very much, but when you try this, you’ll quickly realize that most people only chew their food 1-2 times – if that!
Eating slowly will help you cut back on calories consumed.
There you have 15 simple nutrition tips that I believe if you follow consistently will help you lose weight in the next 30 days.
Although you may have heard many of them before do not underestimate how effective they are if you apply and stick with them.
Just following them for a few days here and there will not cut it.
You must set up your plan and then resolve to commit to it for the next 30 days so that every week is exactly the same.
Only then will you be able to see how keeping it simple is the best way to start any fat loss program.
Have you got any simple nutrition tips you want to share? Have you a question?
Please leave a comment below.
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