When it comes to losing weight, it sometimes feels like the internet is a Wild West of information, making it particularly hard to figure out what to believe. From juice cleanses, to zero-carb diets, to fasting, there is a whole lot information out there on how and what to eat if you want to lose weight.
The problem with a lot of diets however is that they are simply not sustainable and while you may lose weight quickly to begin with, many people eventually gain back the weight they initially lose as they find that sticking to their diet long-term is not possible. In fact, according to Live Strong, almost 65 percent of dieters will gain back the weight they lose within three years and unsustainable, crash diets are largely to blame for this.
If you want to lose weight and actually keep it off, the secret is to simply adopt an eating plan that is sustainable,healthy and balanced. According to Auckland-based health expert, naturopath and medical herbalist at Oomph Health, Lisa Fitzgibbon, eating simple, balanced meals is always best.
“I recommend basing meals around protein,” she says. “We should then add veggies and some type of fat such as olive oil, avocado, or butter.” Foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, legumes and tofu are all good sources of protein and you should generally aim to have a palm sized serving of your chosen protein on your plate.
Once you have your protein sorted, filling the rest of your plate with salad and vegetables is a great way to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients you need, all well keeping your calorie count down. While it may seem strange to add fat into your meals, adding a small thumb sized serving of ‘good’ fat helps to create a perfectly balanced meal that your body will love.
Fitzgibbon also recommends paying close attention to how much you are eating, as overeating can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated, not to mention cause you to consume excess calories that your body doesn’t need.
“It’s important that we only eat until we’re approximately 80 percent full,” she says. “To do this, we should eat slowly, chew well, and stop eating as soon as we no longer feel hungry. Alternatively, we shouldn’t put so much food on our plate to begin with.”
Throughout the day make sure that you are also drinking plenty of water. “It’s also important that we drink adequate amounts of filtered water per day to increase our muscle mass (to burn fat at rest), and to help clear away the toxins in our stored fat as we start to lose it,” she says.
To keep yourself motivated, it’s also a good idea to allow yourself a treat every once in a while and go easy on yourself if you slip up and eat something a little but naughty. “Life was meant to be enjoyed. We enjoy life more when we are feeling healthy, but also when we’re not feeling deprived,” Fitzgibbon concludes.
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a naturopath and medical herbalist based in Grey Lynn in Auckland. For more information visit her website.