Do you feel stuck in your healthful pursuit of fat loss? Maybe you’re just getting started in your journey and don’t know where to begin? There are some small adjustments you can make to your daily diet that may make a big difference, either in getting you over the hump of stalled weight loss or moving you in the right direction to get started.
Eat More Protein
I know you’re probably tired of hearing it by now, but getting enough protein in your daily diet will make a huge difference in your body composition. You don’t need a body-builder’s intake of protein if you’re just trying to get in shape; about .6-.8 grams per pound of bodyweight should be from protein.
In the past several years I have been anywhere from 12% to 22% body fat, and I’ve noticed a definite correlation between my protein intake and my body fat percentage: the more protein I eat (within reason), the easier it is for me to lower my body fat, even with the exact same exercise routine.
Protein builds muscle, and therefore lights our metabolic furnace. Protein also helps us to feel full and stabilizes our blood sugar levels throughout the day. This can keep you from snacking on high-calorie foods and help fight cravings.
And despite what you might think, you don’t need to be eating a ton of meat to get in enough protein. Eggs, edamame, quinoa, and greek yogurt are just a few of my favorite high-protein foods.
Eat The Right Kinds Of Carbohydrates
You do not need to be on a low or no carbohydrate diet to lose weight. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. Just take a good look at the carbs you are eating: are they mostly breads, pastas, and cereals, even whole grain ones? You may need to cut back on these types of carbs while you are trying to lose fat.
Once you lower the amount of breads, pastas, and cereals you are eating daily and replace them with more fruits and veggies, you will likely see a big difference in your fat loss. These “good” carbs are not processed like the breads and pastas are, and therefore mesh with our bodies and metabolism more, creating more stable blood sugar levels.
Evaluate Your Sugar Consumption
First of all, how many grams of sugar are you eating everyday? Is it more than 50? 100? And second of all, where is all that sugar coming from?
If your sugar is coming mostly from fruit, you’re probably fine. However, if the majority of the sugar in your diet is coming from sweetening your food, this can be a big problem for fat loss.
The term “clean eating”, while an excellent concept, has almost become trendy, and lots of recipes are surfacing that use natural sweeteners like pure maple syrup or raw honey. Don’t assume that just because a type of sugar is healthier for your body than refined sugar that it will also help you lose weight.
If you’re going to indulge in a brownie or cookies every now and then, real sweeteners like raw honey are the way to go. But if you are regularly consuming sweets, any sweets, you will probably have some problems dropping fat.
Think about your daily sugar habit: can you go from a tablespoon of sugar in your coffee to a teaspoon? Can you sweeten your smoothie with banana instead of honey? Can you replace the daily cookies with a serving of fruit? Can you drink water instead of sweetened beverages?
Eat a Variety of Healthy Fats Daily
In your daily calorie intake, about 30% of your calorie consumption should be coming from a few varieties of healthy fats. Many people are still fat-phobic and do not get enough each day. Healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish, and seeds like flax or chia keep our bodies in balance and our metabolism optimized.
Fats are the most energy-dense macronutrient and therefore provide us with plenty of energy for our day and our exercise routine. Like protein, fats also are highly satiating, which means we feel full and satisfied after eating, and less likely to give in to cravings.
But if your diet isn’t varied in the different types of healthy fats, your system could be out of whack a bit. Try avocado at one meal, nuts at the next, and then switch that up the next day with a chia smoothie and some salmon for dinner. The more variety you can achieve, the better.