How to eat to lose weight
In my weight loss and fitness journey, I've researched many nutrition plans, read hundreds of articles, and "subscribed" to one weight loss viewpoint or another.
When it's all said and done, my conclusion is that a balanced nutritional profile, in the form of what I like to call "real food" (whole, natural, unprocessed food), is most important.
To some, this is common sense. But to the vast majority, the thought of eating actual food (think lean meat, veggies, fruits, and natural starches) instead of quick, cheap processed foods is blasphemy. And unfortunately, the modern-day message of incredibly easy and painless weight loss, while still enjoying junk foods on (insert so-called miracle diet here) keeps us stuck in a perpetual downward cycle of: some weight loss, plateau, anger, loss of will (i.e. giving up), binging on sugary and fatty comfort foods, gaining weight back, and buying into the next trending diet.
As smart, health-conscious consumers, we of course want to avoid this like the plague!
When it comes down to the facts, natural, whole foods are the way to go for gradual weight loss, proper bodily function, peace of mind, and overall long-term health and wellness. But, this just doesn't sell as well as "lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks with (insert fad diet here)" or "shrink your waist in less than a month with this juice cleanse", etc.
If only things were so simple, and companies/marketers would actually state the truth. In other words, "lose 10 pounds of water and muscle weight with this extreme plan, look and feel terrible during the process, and gain it all back when the diet restrictions cause you to binge on junk."
To clarify my experience here, I freely can state this because I've been in the thick of it, trying a wide variety of diets over the years (some extreme, some not so much).
In regards to some of the more well known ones which I've personally tested: the high-carb, low-fat government and "expert" recommended diets didn't work for me (food choice was likely a factor), extremely low calorie diets (around 1000 a day; although some recommend 500...not for me!) sapped out all my energy and I quickly rebounded, and after some time on a ketogenic (close to zero carb) diet, I noticed that my figure was more trim, but also less muscular.
It turned out that, caught up in the dogma of either fatphobia, carbophobia, or caloriephobia, I found myself losing out in one way or another.
After years of this, I recently arrived (since about November 2010) at my nutritional stance of a whole foods-based, anti-inflammatory diet, that is full of natural lean meat/fish for healthy, satiating fats and protein, 100% natural starches to fuel workouts, many vegetables and some fruit.
This nutrition plan has helped me lose and keep off over 55 pounds and, to this day, keeps me both physically and mentally charged. It gives me the healthiest of foods, in the correct quantities, to boost the body and mind.
Most importantly, this means you will regain proper functioning of your body -- that is, you will not starve at different periods of the day, have to fight through cravings, have sugar highs and crashes, have irregular bowel movements, deal with mood swings, or have no energy during the day/at the gym, and you WILL lose fat and put on muscle (instead of losing your hard earned muscle on an extreme diet plan.)
In closing, eating natural, "real food" is my preferred and recommended way to eat, not just for weight loss, but for an ailment-free life, personal longevity, and much more.
As a concession, I will say that most of us will not be able to stick to a natural, whole foods diet 100% of the time (generally at very inconvenient times or at social gatherings). But, as long as we give it our all, we will at a bare minimum reach 85-90% compliance. This level of nutritional compliance is stellar compared to that of most people these days. Additionally, if at least 18 of 21 meals (about 85% compliance, if eating 3x a day) are natural and healthy, you will more than reap the results you desire.
The main link behind this all is an avoidance of sugary and flour-laden foods, unhealthy fats and oils, and other processed junk. The obesity epidemic is a relatively recent issue that has only worsened with easily available junk food and sedentary lifestyles.
People have lived for thousands of years, though, on natural foods that also happen to be very delicious -- I never heard anyone complain about eating a grass-fed steak and oven-roasted broccoli (Ok, to be politically correct, I never heard a beef-eater complain...), because it tastes outstanding!
Get back to the basics, and watch your weight loss, fitness, and overall health skyrocket!
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