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How to Lose Weight: Guidelines for Dieting

Want to lose a few pounds or get into shape? Prioritizing health and fitness is a fairly common goal these days. There are numerous diets designed to help people lose weight. Whether you want to improve your overall health or shed a few pounds, reaching your ideal weight might be easier than you think.

If you're not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. With the sheer number of diets and programs available, it’s understandable to have questions like which plan is healthier or which diet really works. Get ready to sink your teeth into the information from this article to find the best weight loss diet for you.

What’s a Diet?

Let's begin by defining the term diet, which is frequently used to refer to a weight-loss eating plan. A diet is any eating pattern that can be altered to gain or lose weight.

Keep in mind: We all have a daily diet that we modify to achieve our desired results. Taking this into consideration, we can identify the best foods for weight loss.

What Foods Should You Eat to Lose Weight?

Deprivation and restriction aren’t the answer to losing weight in a healthy way. You can reach your ideal weight by modifying your daily diet rather than eliminating certain foods completely. Choosing the right foods and portions will help you achieve your goal more effectively.

Fruit  

Fruit contains dozens of vitamins, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates, water, and other nutrients. They should be an integral part of your diet when it comes to losing weight.

Losing weight requires reducing your daily calorie intake. Fruit can help you do just that! Though they might have a higher calorie count, their physical volume and nutrients they contain help satisfy feelings of being hungry and aid in digestion.

Keep in mind: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day. This prevents diseases and nutritional deficiencies in the short and long term while increasing fiber intake, which promotes weight loss.

The following table shows a list of fruits that are good for weight loss:

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Keep in mind: Fruits should be eaten whole, because their skins contain many essential nutrients. When you press fruits to extract just the juice, their high sugar content is incorporated, which is detrimental to your health.

Vegetables

Vegetables make up a large part of a smart diet loss plan because they’re low in calories and help with weight control. Depending on the vegetable, its carbohydrate content may be lower than that of a fruit’s. Vegetables belong to the group of complex carbohydrates, and eating them promotes better nutrient absorption and leaves you satisfied.

Vegetables come in different shapes and sizes. They’re high in vitamins and fiber and packed with minerals. Vegetables can be prepared in a variety of ways, so you'll never be bored! Vegetables are low in fat and calories which are important for losing weight in a healthy way.

Eating vegetables raw is the best way to consume them, as cooking removes a lot of their nutrients. In some cases however, cooking certain vegetables helps enhance or activate their nutritional benefits. 

Keep in mind: 50% of every plate you eat should comprise fruits and vegetables. Keep an eye on portion control. Remember that to lose weight, you have to burn fewer calories than you consume.

Tubers, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and turnips, are also vegetables. This group has a high carbohydrate content, so include them in your diet sparingly.

The following table shows the best vegetables for losing weight safely:

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Legumes

Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are another healthy food option. They’re high in protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients. Their fat content tends to be pretty low, and eating them can even help lower cholesterol levels.

Legumes are a traditional staple of Latin American, Asian, and African diets and are sometimes used in lieu of dairy and meat. They lower blood sugar levels and help fight obesity, making them ideal for diabetics and people looking to lose weight.

Keep in mind:  Your plate should contain 150-200 grams of cooked legumes, which is the equivalent of 60-80 grams of raw legumes. Try to consume 2 to 4 servings each week and in combination with leafy green vegetables. Their high protein and fiber content ensures that you’ll feel satisfied and have less of an appetite.

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) evaluates and demonstrates the relationship between legume consumption and fat loss. It concludes that including legumes in a diet is a great weight loss strategy.

The following table lists the best legumes for weight loss:

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Protein

Proteins give your body energy required to fuel its cells. They’re also necessary to help different organs and tissues function while regulating and maintaining their structure.

Proteins are found in almost everything we eat (legumes, grains, dairy products, meats, etc.). They’re essential components of your meal and should never be overlooked.

Some foods contain more protein than others. Keep in mind that no food is made entirely of protein. When calculating how much protein you should eat, consider the following:

  • White meats offer 1/4 effective protein compared to their total weight.
  • Red meats offer 1/3 of effective protein compared to their total weight.

Keep in mind:  According to Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended value for adults to avoid protein deficiencies is 0.8 grams per kilogram. If you weigh 80 kg (about 176 lbs), your daily protein requirement is 64 grams. To lose weight, choose low-fat proteins and make sure you don’t exceed your daily requirement. Otherwise, those calories will only contribute to weight gain. 

The daily protein requirement increases for older people. They can consume up to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you exercise regularly, your daily requirement could be between 1.1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

The following table shows the most common sources of protein:

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"In case you are overweight, it is best to see a dietitian before adjusting your daily protein requirement, to avoid exceeding the estimate." 

- Kristi Wempen, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.

Grains

Grains (sometimes referred to as cereals) are a food group that comprise fruit and grain producing plants. Cereals are high in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They’re an important part of many people's diets and are an excellent option for weight loss or maintenance. Their fiber content helps you feel full and satisfied. 

According to Mayo Clinic, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommend that at least half of your grain intake be made of whole grains. Refined grains are also recommended, but the former is the better diet option.

Keep in mind: You can find grains in foods like bread and tortillas. You can also buy them separately to prepare other dishes. Grains are typically high in calories. Their fiber, protein, and carbohydrates make them an essential food to keep you fueled throughout the day. Consume them sparingly, as directed by your doctor.

Below is a table with some of the best cereals for weight loss.

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Dairy and vegetable derivatives

Cheese, yogurt, and milk are examples of products derived from dairy or containing lactose (a type of sugar found in milk). Their protein content helps with weight loss. This is because your diet won’t be negatively impacted by choosing low-fat products.

Dairy is commonly used in diets to both gain and lose weight. Animal milks have been the subject of numerous studies, with negative results for human health. In fact, some studies have suggested links between different cancers and animal milk consumption.

Keep in mind: If you want to include dairy in your diet, choose products like yogurt or cheese that are low in fat, high in protein, and low in lactose.

Lactose-free vegetable derivatives can be an excellent alternative for weight loss. Some examples are almond, coconut, oat, and soy milks or cheeses. Due to their high protein and low fat content, these derivatives are a better weight loss option.

The following table shows some of the dairy and vegetable derivatives that you can add to your diet.

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Healthy Fats

There are two types of fats, colloquially known as "good" fats (unsaturated fats), and "bad" fats (saturated and trans fats). Your body needs healthy fats to function, as they provide many benefits. They’re mostly found in vegetable oils, but are also found in fish, nuts, seeds, and some fruits. Here is a list of some healthy fat sources:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Salmon
  • Albacore tuna
  • Sardines
  • Certain seeds

Keep in mind: Learn to recognize healthy or unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and incorporate them into your diet correctly. Try to avoid anything in excess; even if fats are healthy, you shouldn’t over consume them. You and your health specialist will be able to devise an appropriate dietary program.

“Fat provides the structural component to many cell membranes which are essential for cellular development and carrying various messages through our body quickly via hormones.” 

- McKel, Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN. Video.

Foods to Avoid

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Foods to Avoid

Just as you should include a variety of healthy foods in your diet, you should also avoid consuming some that only interfere with your weight loss plan and overall health.

Sugars

This term encompasses the different types of sugars, such as sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (simple sugar), galactose and lactose (sugars in milk), and others.

A certain percentage of calories is present in all sugars. However, it’s the added sugar that contains the most calories and is the most harmful to your health. Soft drinks, desserts, and energy drinks are the most common sources of this type of sugar in the United States.

According to Mayo Clinic, added sugar contributes to poor nutrition, health problems, and weight gain due to how easy it is to consume the extra calories in those foods.

Keep in mind: You should ideally eliminate or drastically reduce your consumption of added sugars while trying to lose weight and improve your lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic also recommends these sugar-reduction strategies listed here.

Saturated and trans fats

There’s a group of "bad" fats, also known as saturated and trans fats, which are usually found in most industrialized or processed food products. They’re extremely harmful to your health and should be avoided when trying to lose weight.

Here is a table showing where these fats are most commonly found:

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Keep in mind: Reduce your consumption of "bad" fats to lose weight and improve your health! The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests limiting trans fat consumption to 1% of total caloric intake, or less than 2.2 grams per day in a 2,000 calorie diet. The DGA also recommends that saturated fats account for less than 10% of your daily caloric intake, or less than 22 grams in a 2,000 calorie diet.

Pastries

This category includes all pastries made with various types of flour. These include: rolls, donuts, pies, and other baked goods.

Keep in mind: If you want to lose weight, you should remove pastries from your diet. If you love pastries, make them yourself using natural and healthy ingredients. For example, you can make muffins with whole grains like oatmeal, sweetening fruits like bananas, dairy like Greek yogurt, and other healthy alternatives.

How Do I Combine Foods?

When putting together your daily diet it’s necessary to know how to combine foods. This way you’ll reap benefits for your health and ensure a better functioning metabolism. To help you with this, check out our article, The secret of a good diet: How to combine foods?

How Do I Cook For Weight Loss?

When cooking, it’s common to use unhealthy oils or fats and cooking methods that aren't conducive to weight loss. 

Keep in mind: To obtain the most nutrients, we recommend the following:

  • Try to cook with healthier oils (extra virgin olive oil, coconut, canola, etc.)
  • Use as little oil as possible
  • Don’t let the oil smoke when cooking
  • Use healthier cooking methods (steaming, baking, etc.)
  • Don’t overcook foods or let your ingredients burn

How Many Calories Should I Consume to Lose Weight?

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Daily caloric intake is the secret to efficient and healthy weight loss. Consume less than your body burns in order to enter a caloric deficit.

Keep in mind:  Because everyone's metabolism is different, daily food requirements will differ depending on the situation. Therefore, it’s best to consult with a specialist to determine how many daily calories you should consume, and then establish a limit aimed at weight loss.

What Should I Eat Weekly to Lose Weight?

There's no one-size-fits all menu for weight loss. Everyone has a unique metabolism and set of goals.

To create the best menu for you, consult a specialist who will evaluate your body, goals, metabolism, and lifestyle, and then develop the best menu and program accordingly.

Other Tips for Losing Weight

Here are some healthy habits to include in your daily routine: 

  • Drink water: Drinking enough water is essential for metabolic functioning. It promotes fat metabolization and increases energy expenditure, both of which are important in fat loss.
  • Healthy foods first: The most important aspect of the diet is healthy eating. Our advice is to start with healthy foods and only then consume less healthy items if you’re still hungry.
  • Physical activity: Avoiding sedentary behavior (little to no physical activity) is critical. Get up and get moving! This will promote fat loss and heart health. Weight training is extremely effective for weight loss.
  • Organization: Don't forget to plan your day and meals ahead of time. Don't wait until the last minute to prepare something to eat. Get enough rest and organize your daily activities as well.
  • Don’t skip meals: It’s critical that you never skip meals or go hungry. Doing so will only make you feel weak and more hungry, making you more likely to overeat the next time you do have a meal.
  • Start your day early: Waking up early allows your body to work properly and ingest the right amount of nutrients throughout the day.

Losing Weight Means Eating Healthy!

All of the information in this article shows that you don't have to stop eating altogether or take "miracle pills" to lose weight. This could result in a slew of imbalances, illness, or other health conditions.

You can achieve your desired weight with solid nutritional knowledge, a diet change, and organized daily routine, and, of course, the advice of a specialist. Always remember that SABEResPODER!