Since your diet plays such a huge role in losing weight, we've enlisted the expertise of three nutritionists — certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, and Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition to tell us the weight-loss tips they share with their clients. Keep these in mind whether you're trying to shed 50 or five pounds.
Don't Live Without
Carb-free, sugar-free, gluten-free. People who go on super-restrictive diets for the sole purpose of getting slimmer may end up losing weight, but they're also going to be super unhappy. This isn't a lifestyle that can be sustained, and as soon as they can't take it anymore and go back to eating all those foods they missed out on, they end up gaining the weight back. That's why Leslie doesn't agree with cutting out entire food groups. She recommends aiming to eat a variety of healthy foods most of the time, and encourages a little indulging every day to satisfy your cravings. Limit the processed foods and refined sugars, and keep your carb intake to 40 percent of your daily calories and you'll start noticing a change.
Mushrooms on Your Pizza Doesn't Count
Leslie says the number one way to lose weight is to eat more veggies. Not only are they low in calories, but they are high in filling fiber, so eating them makes you eat fewer daily calories overall. They also contain tons of vitamins and minerals that give you energy and boost your immune system. Load up on the non-starchy veggies like kale, spinach, carrots, beets, broccoli, cucumbers, and salads. The easiest way to eat more veggies is to make a point to include them in every meal and snack, not just on your lunchtime pizza. Throw greens in your smoothies, mash beans in your overnight oats, snack on honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas, and swap out your pasta for carrot fettuccine.
Three's the Magic Number
Protein, fiber, and healthy fats are the keys you need to unlock your body's feeling of fullness. Protein keeps your energy levels going strong, and both fiber and healthy fats fill you up and keep you feeling full longer. Every meal you eat should include these three things, and every snack you eat, aim to have at least two.
Although protein, fiber, and healthy fats are essential, counting calories is also huge. Stephanie and Willow come up with basic formulas to make eating meals and snacks easier. Here's what to eat for breakfast, the breakdown of what to eat for lunch, also what to eat at dinner, and if you're a nosher, what to eat at snack time to lose weight.
Take a Few Hours to Do This on Sunday
Eating healthy doesn't just happen on its own, you have to make it happen, and that means planning out every bite. Knowing what you're going to eat for every meal and snack saves time, money, and most importantly, keeps you in charge of your calorie intake. On Sunday, take a few hours to plan out and prep your week's diet from breakfast, to snacks, to lunch, and dinner. Make and freeze a big batch of steel-cut oatmeal or smoothie freezer packs for breakfast. Ensure you eat a huge salad a day by making five mason jar salads. Do what you can to prep your week's worth of dinners by cutting up veggies you'll be using for soups or roasting, cooking up rice for burritos, marinating tofu for stir-fries, or making beans in the crockpot. Make some protein balls for post-workout snacks. The more you plan, the easier it is to stay on your healthy path.