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ARS_copper_rich_foodsIt sounds so simple, but a lot of people do not consider healthy eating as a method of losing weight.  Instead, they try to eat less or flat out starve themselves, and neither of those methods is effective nor sustainable.  By mindlessly eating less, most people are depriving their bodies of essential nutrients and healthier food options that they could eat to feel full rather than go hungry soon after each meal.  Moreover, human evolution have resulted in our bodies naturally storing energy as fat whenever food is available to be used during periods of starvation.  Thus, if you are depriving yourself of food, then your body will be more inclined to store fat and thereby make it even more difficult than before to lose the excess weight.

It may seem a bit counter-intuitive that eating will actually help you lose weight, but the key is HEALTHY eating.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating plan incorporates the following:

Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs: Protein is an important factor during your weight-loss process for several reasons.  Protein is digested slowly, and it also activates satiety hormones, which will decrease hunger and post-meals cravings.  Eating 1 ounce of chicken, for example, will leave you feeling fuller than eating 1 ounce of chocolate brownie.  Additionally, protein needs are higher during the active weight-loss phase to minimize lean tissue breakdown.  A bonus is that your body does not store protein the way it stores fat and carbohydrates, so excess protein intake will just be filtered out by your body.

Emphasizes vegetables and fruits: Vegetables contain important nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Plus, they contain few calories and carbohydrates.  That is why the American Diabetes Association recommends that you eat at least 2-3 servings of vegetables per day.  Eating a leafy green salad, for instance, will fill you up due to the volume, but due to the lower carbohydrate content, your body will not convert and store it as fat.  In contrast, eating 2-3 servings of potato chips will not fill you up, yet the consumed amount will be converted and stored as fat.  Fruits are healthy for their natural sugar content.  However, many fruits contain easily digestible sugars that will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.  So, be selective when picking your fruits, and read this article to learn more about your fruits options.

Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt, and added sugars: Fat is essential for the proper functioning of the body, and some fats are needed to help with satiety.  However, fat provides more than twice the calories as protein or carbohydrates, and not all fats are created equal.  Most likely, you are already consuming enough fats from other food sources, such as meats, milks, and nuts.  High amounts of salt and added sugars are also not only preventing you from losing weight but they can also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and other medical conditions.  Check out these articles on sweetened beverages and real food.

Stays within your daily calorie needs: Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories that your body burns at rest each day.  Your BMR increases as you add muscle mass and decreases when muscle is lost.  If you consume more calories than your BMR, then your body will store the excess calories as fat, whereas if you eat less than your BMR, then your body will start to burn your body fat for energy.  If you eat the equal number of calories as your BMR, then your weight should stay the same and not fluctuate.  When trying to lose weight, you will have to create a deficit in calories to see results.  However, it is dangerous if you decrease your calories-intake to an extremely low amount.  In order to stay within a safe and healthy range, check in with a medical provider regularly throughout your weight-loss journey to ensure that you are not causing more harm than good for your body.

 

So, healthy eating is not about starving or extremely lowering the amounts of all the foods you consume.  Rather it is being more selective and conscious about what you are feeding your body.  You can still enjoy all of your meals and even in-between snacks while losing weight.  For healthy eating recipes, check out Greenlite’s recipe page.

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