I often get asked what my weight loss tips are and how I can manage to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. In fact, I never count calories or restrict myself from enjoying the foods I love. When I go out to a nice restaurant I order whatever my heart is craving. Some times its baked Branzino and other times its fried calamari. I also love sweets and have some type of dessert on an almost daily basis. Lately, I’ve been eating a handful of Oreo thins every evening although sometimes I crave a grapefruit for dessert.
While I do not fuss about my diet, there are reasons why I am able to lose weight without counting calories and keep them off. Below are my 7 best weight loss tips for living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
1. Ditch Processed Carbs
Right now the trend seems to be avoiding carbs all together like Keto, Atkins, and Whole30, but these diets are not right for everyone. I absolutely love carbs and they give me energy when I workout, make me feel satisfied when I eat, and add tons of fiber to my diet. The secret is not ditching carbs, it’s eating the right carbs.
My number one rule when eating carbohydrates is to look at the fiber content. Brown rice, in general, is actually very low in fiber. Instead, I eat Brown Rice Medley from Trader Joes which has 5g of fiber and 6g of protein, compared to regular brown rice which has 2g of fiber and 1g of protein. The amount of fiber makes a huge difference in how your body processes calories.
Stick to eating carbs such as Faro, Barley, Whole Wheat Couscous, Whole Wheat Pasta (only if it’s high in fiber like the one at Trader Joes), Trader Joes Brown Rice Medley, Legumes. On the other hand, you should avoid regular potatoes, corn, all white rice, and regular pasta. And remember, once you can eat like this throughout your day, it is ok to sometimes veer off the beaten path when you’re enjoying a nice meal out.
2. Eat more Green Vegetables with every meal
My second weight loss tip is to include more green vegetables in your diet. Most people do not eat nearly enough vegetables. I regularly keep organic Tuscan kale, broccoli, and frozen peas in my home and add them to every dish. Green vegetables are rich in nutrients, add more fiber to your diet and also help regulate your digestive system.
3. Cut Calories In Little Places ( they add up!)
One thing my mother ingrained in me as a child was always getting the low-fat versions in everything from milk to sour cream. I’ve learned to enjoy the foods I love by cutting the calories and finding better alternatives. In other words ” Eat this not that” and you’ll be shocked how many calories you can cut out of your everyday diet.
For example, next to my gym there is a Togo’s Sandwich Place and a Wendy’s. Occasionally when I’ve had a really busy day and I’m headed to the gym I have to grab a bite to eat (I cannot workout on an empty stomach). After looking at the calories in both menus I actually discovered that the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (my guilty pleasure) is actually fewer calories than the sandwiches I would have gotten at Togo’s. Never assume that a food item is low calorie. Do your due diligence and actually check. You may be surprised at what you find. If you often have to eat out for lunch, research the places around you so you have a few good options to choose from that won’t negatively impact your weight loss efforts.
Another example is in my cooking preparations. I never use heavy cream and instead create sauces by using 2% milk and cornstarch as a thickener. These changes can save you almost 500 calories! It is so important to be aware of what you are putting into your body. While Olive Oil is great, it’s also very high in calories so I never use more than 2 tbsp when cooking. I once had a recipe that called for 1/4 cup of olive oil which made each serving almost 700 calories. By only using 2tbsp of olive oil the recipe was brought down to 485 calories per serving. You do not need to count every little calorie, but you should be aware of and read nutritional labels.
4. Eat Smaller Portions, Slowly, and Stop Eating When You Are Satisfied (not full)
Americans particularly have been engraved in their eating behaviors to finish every morsel on their plate. While there might be “starving children in China”, we are far from starving and our portion sizes in this country are way too big. I tend to eat about every 2-3 hours. I even carry snacks in my car. What I never do is eat a giant meal or finish everything on my plate. Instead, I stop eating when I feel satisfied, not full.
My mom used to say I eat like a bird, but trust me I eat a lot. When I go to a restaurant I love to share and I always bring home leftovers. Once you begin forming this habit, you will quickly see the impact it can have on your health and waistline.
There is science behind why these eating habits work. When you eat slowly, you are giving your body time to understand when it is full so you eat less. Smaller portions also tend to give your body more energy when you feel less weighed down. This means your body has a better chance of burning the calories you just ate. After a heavy meal, you’ll notice you barely want to move. Also when you eat smaller meals and train yourself to stop eating when satisfied, your stomach will actually shrink. This, in turn, will make you feel satisfied without needing to eat as much.
5. Eat Dinner for Breakfast
The truth is, most breakfast foods aren’t that healthy and are full of refined carbs. It’s also best to eat your larger meals earlier in the day when you need the energy and will be moving around more, burning additional calories. Foods like cereal have little nutritional value, are usually full of sugar and do little to keep you satisfied. If you do love eggs, then try making omelets and frittatas that are loaded with a variety of veggies and a slice of whole-grain toast with lots of fiber.
I typically eat my first meal around 10am or 11am and eat dishes like pork Rojo with black beans and avocado, and lamb curry with chickpeas and whole wheat Couscous. I love sauces and foods that are full of flavor.
6. Don’t Eat 2-3 Hours Before Bed
This rule comes down to simple science. In more recent times it has been referred to as intermittent fasting, I term I really dislike. There is actually no fasting going on here and I do not believe in ever starving my body. This is more just a logical rule that you should not eat a heavy meal when you are about to go to sleep or your body is not active.
Why? Because you aren’t going to be burning those calories and if they just sit there, your body will process them into fat. Sugar and carbs that your body does not process will become fat. I have always enjoyed eating early dinners and typically eat around 5-6pm. If I feel hungry later I’ll just have a light snack.
7. Stop Drinking Your Calories
Things like fruit juice and soda are very high in both sugar and calories. They also don’t leave you feeling full or satisfied and are what I call empty calories. I also don’t drink smoothies or shakes. I always prefer to eat my food whether it be fruit or vegetables. Instead, I just drink water. I do however enjoy both red wine, champagne, and my morning Nespresso latte.
To put things into perspective, your average smoothie has the exact same calories, if not more, of the same number of calories you would find in a complete dinner. While some people may have a smoothie to take the place of a meal, most don’t. Smoothies are also full of sugar and have little to no fiber or natural protein. You are better off eating a meal. Smoothies, juices, and sodas are equivalent to dessert and I would much rather save those calories for real dessert which is probably why I can get away with eating it!
In summary, if I was to create my own diet based on my personal top weight loss tips and how I lose weight without counting calories, while still enjoying the foods I love, it would be as follow:
- Avoid unrefined carbs and only eat carbs high in fiber
- Don’t eat regular potatoes or corn, only sweet potatoes & yams
- Include more green vegetables in your diet (lettuce does not count unless it’s kale or spinach)
- Do not drink smoothies, juice, or soda (instead, eat your fruit and vegetables)
- Check your calories and opt for lower-calorie alternatives
- Purchase only low-fat options and never use heavy cream
- Eat a more hardy breakfast with protein, fiber, and vegetables
- Do not eat 2-3hrs before bed
- Eat smaller portions, immediately stop eating when you feel satisfied (not full), even if it means eating 2hrs later.
Try these weight loss tips for one month and I am positive you will see results! Remember, habits are always difficult to break and it takes about 7 days to begin forming a new habit. Once you start implementing them it will become like second nature and you can live a balanced lifestyle, still indulging in the foods you love, never counting calories, and never worrying about your weight. These “weight loss tips” are just habits I naturally do every day. When I am eating out at a restaurant, I order whatever I’m craving and still enjoy the breadbasket!
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