I’ve gotten so many questions and requests regarding “how to lose weight,” so I decided to write a full blog post all about it! I focus more on creating a sustainable healthy diet and lifestyle over the long term. I want you to know that you don’t have to follow the latest diet trends and drive yourself crazy. Just stick to these principles below as best as you can and you’ll see improvements in your weight and health!
1. A Lower-Carb Diet!
Simple. Eat more fat, protein and fiber-loaded foods rather than carb-heavy/starchy/sugary foods. Just trim your portion size of the carb and mainly eat whole grain carbs! There’s plenty of research that indicates that a high-protein breakfast is linked with reduced cravings during the day and also less late-night snacking! So, if you’re the kind who gets a coffee and croissant/giant muffin on the go and skimps on breakfast, change that! Switch over to eggs, Greek yogurt, nut butters, avocados, smoked turkey/salmon, etc and get off the cereal! It’s not just about how many calories you consume vs. how many calories you burn, it’s more about the TYPE of calories. The type of calories (ex: soda vs. broccoli) you consume affect your hormones in a way that they either promote disease and weight gain or promote health and fitness.
2. Cut out processed foods and sugary drinks!
Take out those donuts, cookies, chocolates, chips, cakes, as well as those fancy frappucinos, sodas, fruit juices, etc. Allow yourself 1-2 times out of the week where you treat yourself to these things, so that you don’t feel deprived and enjoy yourself. One tip I can give you around this is to be INTENTIONAL about it. Don’t just have it because it’s right there, it’s convenient or your friend/co-worker is having it. Be intentional and go for it when you REALLY want it. Remember, many granola/energy bars/flavored yogurts which are marketed as “health foods” are actually pretty high in added sugar. Instead, for snacks go with a mix of nuts/seeds, fruit with almond/peanut butter, veggies with hummus/guacamole, etc. Also, for drinks, water is your best friend! Have some lightly flavored/infused water with some lemon/lime/orange etc if you don’t enjoy drinking plain water.
3. Consume LOTS of vegetables!
Eat those salads and roasted/sauteed veggies. 4-5 servings of veggies and at most 2-3 servings of fruits is recommended. Fruits do contain natural sugars, so we don’t want to rely on them too much. I’ve posted a sample picture at the beginning of this post of what an ideal plate looks like. Try to follow that most of the time. Its OK if sometimes you have more carbs and less vegetables. What you do most of the time is what matters! Here’s a visual of what 4-5 veggie servings in a day looks like. This is not to intimidate you. It’s to encourage you and help you come close to this inshaAllah (God-Willing). Make it your own by using your ethnic foods!
4. Exercise at-least 30 mins every day or 45 mins every other day.
You won’t get the results you’re looking for if you don’t exercise consistently. If you can’t go the gym, you can just dance it out. Make it yours!
5. Try your best to get a good night’s sleep.
There’s research showing that we crave more comfort foods when we’re sleep-deprived. Hormones that increase our appetite go up and we end up eating bigger portions of food at meals. On top of that, sleep reduces our insulin-sensitivity which makes our body more likely to store fat. Stick to a schedule for sleep and food!
Here are some weight-loss friendly foods:
- Coconut oil- Don’t add it on top of the other oils you already use in your cooking, rather replace some of the oils you use with coconut oil. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are quickly converted into energy and are less likely to be stored as fat!
- Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies- You can eat a big volume of these since they’re so low in calories and carbs. Try broccoli and cauliflower roasted!
- Apple cider vinegar- it appears that ACV can help promote weight loss by improving blood sugar and insulin responses especially after a higher-carb meal. Use it in your salad dressings. You can also have a glass of water mixed with 1 tbsp of ACV 20 minutes before your meal to help with digestion.
Here’s a 1 day sample meal plan for weight loss or really for anyone trying to eat a heathier diet and up their nutrition.
1 Day Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast: Open-faced egg sandwich – Top 1 slice whole grain toast with ¼-1/2 mashed avocado and 2 scrambled eggs! Add some berries on the side.
Lunch: Whole grain wrap with turkey/chicken/fish/beans with lettuce and about ½ cup chopped vegetables (like onion, tomato, olives, cucumber) and 3-4 tbsp hummus. On the side, have some carrot and cucumber/celery sticks.
Snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: ½ cup rice or medium size whole grain roti (flat bread), baked/grilled chicken or fish (palm-sized is good), 1 cup cooked/roasted vegetables (ex: broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, eggplant, okra etc.) or 2 cups chopped salad. (Having yogurt or “raita” with your chicken and vegetables is also good since it ups the protein content!)
Post dinner treat: (If craving!) 2 Stuffed Dates. Take the pit out of dates and stuff them with some almond/peanut butter butter and pinch sea salt. Freeze. You can eat this right out of the freezer.
So, I hope you now have a clearer picture of what a “weight loss” diet looks like. Above and beyond the weight loss benefits, if you want to prevent chronic disease, stick to these factors and you will enjoy better health, strength and energy inshaAllah (God-willing).
Of course, these are all general guidelines. Every person is different and what works for one, won’t always work for the other. If you need a more personalized diet plan for yourself and need some coaching to reach your health goals, I’ll be starting my 1 on 1 coaching sessions very soon! Stay tuned.