People used to view dieting as cutting calories. This concept seemed easy enough: eat fewer calories than you burn and the weight will simply fall off. However, the truth is that cutting calories too quickly and aggressively may cause the body’s metabolic rate (the speed of calorie burn) to slow down.
When you restrict calories and for too long, your body is tricked into thinking it’s starving. Therefore, the body’s normal functions are slowed to conserve energy. Meanwhile, you become irritable, lethargic and absolutely starving. You will initially lose weight, but severely depriving your body of the calories and nutrients it needs is an unhealthy long-term solution.
In actual fact, what is most important is the types of food you consume; research indicates that this may have a greater effect on your weight than depriving your body of calories. It is about being smart with your calories, ensuring that you prioritise fibre and fluid rich foods such as vegetables and fruit, teamed with lower calorie protein rich foods such as chicken, fish, lean meat and yogurt.
If you are eating adequate amounts of these foods, then there should be limited space in your diet to include refined grains (with added sugars and fast) and processed snack foods. Ensuring you eat 3 times a day and include a snack as needed, will help to control your appetite as you are managing your portions naturally. Once your hunger is under control you are less likely to consume more than your body requires.
You rarely hear about people overeating slices of grilled chicken with a delicious homemade vinaigrette and salads made up of fresh vegetables. You are generally unable to eat too much salad and meat to cause weight gain, as it fills your belly before it adds to your waist line. Making these foods a priority in large quantities will prevent you from bingeing out on that packet of chips or block of chocolate. So instead of cutting back on your evening meal, ramp up those portions and it will be easier to stop at one row and keep that waist line in check.
You don’t have to consume less to lose weight. What is more important is that you are choosing the right stuff! If you are eating less but what you are eating is of a poor quality and laden with saturated fats, you will only see the kilos increase. But if you focus on eating the right foods; not less food, you should start to see those scales decrease.
Enjoy a balanced diet full of natural foods, simple food and see a change in your waistline – you won’t regret it.