Most often when we are trying to lose weight we implement the “eat less, move more” strategy. We exercise and follow the latest fad or restrictive type diet when we get serious about weight loss. Ultimately this results in feelings of hunger, deprivation, and frustration.
Reducing calories and increasing calorie burn through increased physical activity is important. But, you’ll be glad to hear that eating less is not the only way. Thinking “eat less” can put you in a diet mentality and set you up for failure. What if I told you that actually eating MORE might make you even more successful in your weight loss efforts? Good news, right?
This concept of nutrient density has been well researched by nutritionist and food researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD., as an effective means to sustainable weight loss. By replacing calorie dense foods – foods with a high calorie count per serving because of their fat and sugar content- with nutrient dense foods – foods with a higher ratio of nutrients than calories per serving – you can lose weight while still feeling full and satisfied. You can eat larger portions, while eating less calories, and ultimately achieving weight loss that lasts. Focusing on thinking positively about the foods you need more of, and not on what you can’t or shouldn’t have, is a much better way to approach eating healthier and reaching your weight loss goals.
So, what do you need to eat more of you ask? Here is a simple list:
– Fruits, such as strawberries and other berries, melon, peaches, oranges, apples, and pears
– Non-starchy vegetables, like tomatoes, leafy greens, asparagus, carrots, celery, zucchini, and winter squash. Salsa is also a great way to get more veggies.
– Non-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt
– Combine fruits and non-starchy vegetables with appropriate portions of whole grains, like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta; lean proteins – fish, shrimp, turkey, tuna; beans and peas, and low-fat dairy.
Some calorie dense foods are good for us and should be included regularly, but in moderate portions, such as nuts, avocados, and salmon. These specific foods are higher in good-for-you fats. Fats are higher in calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein resulting in increased calorie density. Other calorie dense foods don’t have to be given up completely, but instead thoroughly enjoyed on occasion and in small portions.
Want to start incorporating these concepts into your life and reaping the weight loss benefits? Write down what you eat for the next few days and start to become aware of how many foods on the “eat more” list above you are getting. If you find there is room for improvement, make a list of 2 or 3 specific ways over the next week you can try to fit more in.
Stay tuned for more visuals and strategies that will help you achieve your health and weight loss goals. Need one-on-one help, contact me for help improving the way you eat by gradually incorporating healthy habits!