By Gretchen Powell
I’ve touched on some of the specific things I’ve done to achieve my 60-pound weight loss in the past, but have yet to really dive into the nitty-gritty of all the changes I’ve made to my life as a former couch potato. So today I’ve got five of my favorite tips for losing weight in a healthy way. Some of these may seem like common sense, but maybe there’s at least one idea in here that might be new to you!
1. Sub whole wheat for white.
This one’s kind of a no-brainer, let’s be honest. Eat whole grains! White breads and pastas simply cannot compare nutritionally to the brown stuff. “But Gretchen!” you say. “A slice of whole wheat bread has the same amount of calories as a slice of white bread!” Well, technically, you’re right. But while you may not be saving on calories by making the switch, you are still getting more nutritional bang for your buck, which means more fiber to help you stay full longer. And staying satiated for longer periods of time means you’re less likely to fill up on other unnecessary foods. Just remember: Multi-grain is not the same thing as whole grain. Go whole or go home.
2. Embrace green.
Kermit the Frog may believe it’s not easy being green, but at least it’s easy to get your greens. Spinach, romaine, arugula, collard, chard, kale, turnip greens… I even hear good things about dandelion greens and they will literally be right in your backyard this summer! Put greens in salads, steam ‘em, stir-fry ‘em, toss ‘em in a smoothie, let them wilt under a plate of hot pasta, the possibilities go on and on.
3. Eat breakfast.
When I was in the midst of my weight gain, I would never, ever eat breakfast. After all, I’d think, I’m not hungry right when I wake up! Why force myself to ingest calories if I’m not even hungry for it? Well, because eating breakfast rocks. It kick starts your metabolism that went to sleep when, uh, you went to sleep. (Why do you think it’s called break-fast?) And as long as you’re eating a balanced breakfast (alas, I’m not talking Pop Tarts here) it will keep you satiated throughout the morning and make you less likely to binge on “bad” foods later in the day. A balanced breakfast should include both fiber and protein. Think eggs, cottage cheese, oats, or whole grain cereal.
4. Fat is your friend.
So you’ve been told your entire life that fat is the enemy. Fat is why you’re fat. Well, let me just debunk that myth for you. Fat is integral to being able to feel full and satisfied after a meal! Always utilize common sense and portioning, but don’t hesitate to embrace nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, nut butters, etc. When it comes to losing weight, my body responds much, much better to a diet higher in healthy fats than one high in sugar, which is usually what you get if you’re eating lots of stuff labeled “fat-free” or “low-fat.”
5. Eat less sugar.
Sugar is delicious, there’s no two ways about it. And sugar is in everything. Now, a little sugar here and there is perfectly fine, but foods that are high in sugar come at a price. Sugar is your body’s first source of fuel. So let’s say you have a job where you sit on your glutes for eight or more hours a day and you don’t necessarily lead a super active lifestyle outside of that. Well, your body doesn’t exactly have a need for all that fuel. So what happens? The sugar gets stored away for the day that you are in dire need of it – you know, when you’re stranded on a deserted island or pioneering across the country in a covered wagon. But until that day comes, all that fuel is just going into storage. As fat. The kind of fat that sits on your thighs and arms and around that oh-how-I-wish-it-were-even-a-2-pack midsection. Simply pay attention to the grams of sugar in your foods, and adjust your diet accordingly.
Armed with these seemingly simple tips, I bet you’ll find that making adjustments to even out the health of your lifestyle is easier than you ever thought!
Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.