Obesity is becoming a global concern. The basic of losing weight is simple; consume less calories than you burn. Consuming more calories than we need leads to overweight. Although some foods indicate being "LOW FAT," "LOW CARBS," or "SUGAR FREE," this does not mean we can eat unlimited servings. These products still have calories despite being rated as “low.” It is imperative we modify our eating habits controlling what and how much we eat, and not food controlling our lives.
Reportedly, the Mediterranean diet, a combination of lots of vegetables, grains, fruits, olive oil, and wine is one of the most balanced meals to help avoid obesity. Many researches indicate that people following a Mediterranean diet have lower disease risks and less obesity problems.
On the other hand, many research studies have indicated that wine taken in moderation is beneficial for our health. The secret is to drink in moderation. One glass of wine with our meals is fine; just be aware that a glass of wine approximately has 100 calories. You still can follow this diet even if not drinking wine. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet is even consistent with the new diet recommendations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January 2005. You may check the site at www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines
Ideally, eat at regular intervals, every 3-4 hours. Why? It helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. Skipping meals will not help you lose weight in the long term. Your goal is to keep that unwanted fat away, right? Hence, do not skip breakfast and add a cup of green tea to speed up your metabolism.
One advice, do not follow rigid diets or extreme low carbs. Yes, I know, I know … there are low carb meals and low fat labels almost everywhere! Again, remember that low carbs and low fat DO NOT mean zero calories. Read food labels to know how many calories you are actually consuming. Me, reading labels? Yes, I am not kidding. Trust me, this habit will help you keep the weight off and enjoy a healthier figure, as you will be in control of how much you eat -- not food controlling you.
Furthermore, most of these quick weight loss diets and products offer only temporary weight loss. They fail in the long term because you lose lean muscle mass and body water. Surprise comes when you resume eating normal, as you tend to gain that weight back, if not add even more. The reason is that those quick diets or extreme low carb diets can slow down your metabolism.
Therefore, the best way to achieve your weight loss goal without starving is to follow a balanced menu checking your calories intake, and exercise at least 3 times a week to lose body fat. Personally, I prefer a high protein and moderate carbs, as our bodies need carbs to function properly. I can proudly say that I lost 80 pounds of unwanted fat and have kept the weight off for 3 years without starving, but eating a combined balanced meal. If I did that, so can you! The bottom line is to keep the weight off, that unwanted fat, which is so hard to get rid of, and not just have the illusion of losing weight when in reality we are losing mostly water with crash diets.
So, you might be asking, then what can I eat? Again, you can eat a balanced meal. We should eat at least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables a day to keep a healthy figure. Remember our ancestors, our mothers, and grandmothers telling us, "Finish your vegetables!" Well, guess what? They were right! Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and are low in calories, unlike processed food. I love vegetables, especially tomatoes with fresh basil.
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day will help your metabolism too.
Avoid cooking with lard or with heavy cooking oils, as they are high in calories and saturated fat. Excess of saturated fats is associated with colon cancer and atherosclerosis among other diseases. A better oil for cooking is mono unsaturated Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Contrary to saturated fat, unsaturated fat is associated with longevity and lower risk of disease, olive oil is a good example.
In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed olive oil products to make the claim: “Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that about two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.”
Reduce portion sizes and eat more fresh foods than processed foods. If you enjoy meat, try leaner cuts and trim off any fat.
If you enjoy chicken, eliminate the skin and trim off any fat too. Chicken is a good source of protein and very low in carbs.
If you are vegetarian, have soy-based products for protein consumption. For example, meatless hamburgers, falafel, soy-based bacon, soy-based sausages, etc...
Ideally go for low fat dairy products and you will still have all the nutrients with the exception of fat.
Consume yogurt, but make sure it contains "live cultures," such as Acidophillus, thermophillus, L. Bulgaricus and lactobacillus; these bacteria boost the immune system, helping restore good bacteria to our digestive system to combat bad bacteria. As highlighted by Scientist T. Charles John Bhaskar, those unique living microorganisms are responsible for many of the health and nutritional benefits of yogurt, such as helping to digest food and prevent stomach infections, plus it is a good source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B 12.
For those social parties, let me give you some emergency party measures. Be alert to those fancy goodies at parties. They might look small but sometimes are full of saturated fat and empty calories. For example, hidden fat foods include chips, sausages, pork pie, salami, and those innocent dips. Instead, have a small plate with vegetables, fruits, or just one of those tempting snacks.
Sure, you might be tempted to grasp those sugary or salty heavy calories munchies, but think…”do I really need those empty calories and extra fat?” Most of those snacks are starchy carbs and refined carbs, which are usually high in calories and their high glycemic value increases blood sugar levels. Most of those sugars will convert into fat deposits if our bodies don’t burn those extra calories..
The bottom line is that we can eat almost everything, as long as we eat in moderation without consuming more calories than we actually burn. Diet should not be a burdening experience but a healthy pleasant experience without deprivation. It is up to us to make the decision to either keep increasing weight by over eating, or defeating overweight by learning how to eat healthy and not use food as an excuse to fill any emotional need.
Now, let me go and grasp my warm cup of green tea to speed up my metabolism. Until next time, have an enjoyable way to keep a healthy figure. Your commitment is also my commitment, “Official! Overweight? NO MORE!” We can do it!
Anna “Overweight? NO MORE!” lost over 80 pounds from 230 pounds and has kept the weight off for 3 years. She believes that every person can achieve a healthier figure with determination, eating healthy, and exercising. I did it, so can you! www.officialoverweightnomore.com