Top 12 Healthy Eating Guidelines for Weight Loss
Yes, many of us tend to drop the ball when it comes to following healthy eating guidelines. I firmly believe nutrition is where many of us sabotage our weight loss efforts.
I’m guilty…I’ve been known to steal a couple of my sons animal crackers or sneak a few bites of his Mac & Cheese. Then there are those of us that are so busy getting our kids ready in the morning that we forget to eat breakfast…I know who you are!!!
Without a doubt this can be the trickiest and most frustrating part…even for me.
Yes, I know the basic healthy eating guidelines, but I’m not a dietitian or even a nutritionist.
Luckily, I have two very good friends back home who are registered dietitians. Thankfully, they let me pick their brains and bounce ideas off of them on a regular basis.
Combine these top 10 healthy eating guidelines with kick butt cardio and strength training and you will be well on your way to not only fitting back into your "skinny jeans" but also to being a healthier, more energetic, more confident you!
Bonus: Healthy eating habits tend to rub off on our kids!
Nutrition and Weight Loss Musts!
- EAT BREAKFAST!
Know how many calories you should be consuming is a key to healthy eating
- This is the number one healthy eating guideline for a reason. Skipping this meal can throw your body into starvation mode. It’s true, breakfast kicks starts your metabolism so you will burn the maximum amount of calories.
- Women who skip breakfast are over 4 times more likely to be obese than those who do.
- Research shows that breakfast increases Leptin output…a hormone that suppresses appetite which leads to fewer calories consumed throughout the day.
- Prevents fatigue and irritability...so important when your one year old has climbed up on the kitchen table for the 10th time...or is that just my child!?
- Always eat within one hour of waking up. Make sure protein is on the menu. Try cottage cheese topped with sliced fresh strawberries or tomatoes, yogurt with granola sprinkled on top, or a high fiber cereal and a hard boiled egg.
- Beat breakfast boredom with these recipes and ideas
Eat every 3-4 hours…3 meals and 1-2/snacks a day…THIS IS KEY!
- The St. Mifflin Jeor Formula is the gold standard for calculating your recommended daily caloric intake in the dietitian world…use it!
- Losing weight is “simple” (haha)…eat fewer calories than you burn
- 1 lb of fat = 3500 calories
- 500 cal deficit = 1 lb lose per week…1-2 lbs per week is the safest and most effective
- Eat too little, you run the risk of slowing down your metabolism
- Eat too much, fail to create enough of a calorie deficient to see real weight loss results
For healthy eating, NEVER, ever drop below 1200 calories a day!
- Again, allowing too much time to elapse between meals puts your body in starvation mode, setting yourself up for fat storage.
- Keeps your metabolism revved up. Since your body is confident you will feed it again, it uses the food for fuel instead of storing it.
- This healthy eating guideline also keeps your insulin levels from spiking and dipping...it stays stable. Driving up insulin levels interfers with the fat burning process. Plummeting insulin levels leaves you feeling famished, which leads to over eating.
- Keeps your hunger hormone, grehlin, at bay and your leptin hormone, which signals when you've had enough, in working order. When leptin is out of whack you never get the signal that your are full/satisfies so you run the risk of over eating.
- Less likely to feel deprived and, therefore, less likely to make unhealthy, diet sabotaging choices.
- Side note...you might complain that you just aren't hungry that often. That's the point! When you reach the point of extreme hunger that is a sign that your insulin levels have plummeted, which is what we are trying to avoid.
- Caution: You still must only consume the amount of calories you need
Need a plan...read more!
- One the go? Prepackaged snack ideas
Form meals and snacks around protein and fiber
- Ignore this healthy eating guideline and you run the risk of slowing down your metabolism…as a result, your body will use your hard earned muscle for energy instead of fat
- It takes about 1200 calories for normal physiological functions (breathing, etc)
- You also run the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Don't Eat Before Bed...especially carbs (that includes fruit guys!)
- Consuming carbs without the company of protein sends those blood sugar levels skyrocketing and soon plummeting, promoting fat storage.
- Snacking on unhealthy munchies (chips, candy, donuts, cookies) will give you a boost and then send you crashing down. Why…your blood sugar levels shoot up and just as quickly, drop. This will leave you hungry, irritable, and tired
- Makes you feel full longer
- Fiber: fresh fruits, veggies, whole wheat products
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate…Drink 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water per day
- Your cortisol levels don't dip after evening eating. Cortisol is your fat stoarage hormone and is guilty of causing the belly bulge as we have more cortisol receptors in our stomach...aka Muffin top.
- Your body isn't as efficient at processing glucose (found in carbs) as well in the P.M. as it is in the A.M. As a result, those extra late night calories turn straight to fat
- Your body releases a surge of a growth hormone about one hour after shut eye. However, insulin, which is release after a night time eating, interferes with this process. What's the big deal? This growth hormone is responsible for burning fat!This healthy eating guideline ensures your reap the benefits of that fat burning hormone.
- Play it safe...build dinner around a lean protein and non-starchy carbs. In other words, lay off noodles, potatoes, rice, corn, fruit, etc in the P.M.
Keep a food journal…no more mindless munching
- We all know this, but ignore it because we don’t understand how it helps us drop pounds
- It will send you running to the bathroom the first couple of days, but it works...I’ve tried it
- More on water and weight loss
Replace white with whole grains/wheat
- Try this healthy eating guideline for just a week…You’ll be surprised how fast the calories add up
- Teaches portion sizes
- Helps identify eating patterns that are sabotaging your quest for your “skinny jeans”
- Keep track of when (the time), what, how much (amount and calories), how you felt before and after (starving, satisfied, stuffed) and keep a running total of your calories
More on journaling
Replace full fat dairy with low fat
- Whole grains contain fiber that will help fill you up and leave you more satisfied
- Also, whole wheat has a lower glycemic index…huh…in other words, they’re easier for our body to handle and are digested slower
- Those with higher glycemic index (white products) send our blood sugar sky rocketing. This is more than our pancreas can handle. As a result, the sugar is more readily stored as fat. Over time, this can contribute to heart disease and with our pancreas in over drive, it can lead to diabetes.
- A good rule of thumb is "Make sure half of your grains are whole” says Amber M. Wilson RD, LD (Registered Dietitian)
- Caution: must read “100% Whole Wheat”…don’t be faked out by “enriched whole wheat”
Remember, these healthy eating guidelines should become a lifestyle…not a diet!
- Less calories, same amount of calcium
- Trade 2% milk for skim
- Swap regular sour cream for fat free
- Ditch regular yogurt for light
- It’s not about rapid weight loss that causes yo-yo dieting and ends with frustration and disappointment
- These healthy eating guidelines will help build a happier, healthier more confident you...but you have to commit to it.
- It’s about getting back into those jeans that make you feel AWESOME! (that’s what I call “skinny jeans”)
- The best way to put it…healthy eating is a marathon, not a sprint!
- Oh, Oh…I forgot to mention another healthy eating guideline and weight loss must…
WATCH YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE!!!!!
- 12oz beer has 146 calories (empty calories)
- 5oz glass of red wine has 125 calories - Who are we kidding? We fill it to the brim and guzzle down at least 8oz three times over. Yes, red wine has antioxidants that protect against heart disease. However, you only need 1 - 4 oz glass, not 3 - 8 oz glasses…nice try.
- And, studies show that alcohol my increase triglycerides or bad blood lipids which can cause weight gain due to all the empty calories that alcohol contains
- Not to mention, fruits, veggies, and exercise has the same heart healthy benefits!
- Oh, you don’t even want to know how many calories are in a Margarita!
- Bottom line: MODERATION...Drink Like a Fit Chick!
Other Interesting Pages!
Shake it up with Shakeology
Healthy Shopping List
Your weight loss eating plan
Exercise vs. Diet
6 Ingredients or Less!
Beat Breakfast Boredom Recipes
Easy Healthy Snack Recipes
Snack Attack...healthy prepackaged options
Water and Weight loss
Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Alcohol...Drink Like a Fit Chick!
Accelerate Your Results...Online Personal Training and Nutrition
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Caffeine and Pregnancy
Leave Healthy Eating Guidelines for Real Moms Real Fit home page