When you put it in your mouth you want an explosion of your senses, ultimately leading to a sense of satisfaction which will last until your next meal.
It's hardly surprising that many people are confused about food, especially with so much conflicting information out there... The reason there is so much conflicting information is simple.. Something that worked for one person could have a detrimental effect on another....
It is important to note that you have spent your entire life programming yourself to accept certain foods and adopting reward systems based on foodstuffs too... it will take time to change that 'program'.
'One (wo)mans food is another (wo)mans poison'.
ie, what works for you might not work for someone else.
right then, lets get going...
1. What shall I put in my mouth?
Now in brief the best foods to aid in weight loss are those that are slowly metabolised without stimulating the hunger senses shortly afterwards, in my personal experience as an experienced Personal Trainer and having worked with hundreds of clients over the years one of the main recurring focus points on foods to aid in weight control is strongly connected to the thermal dynamic of foods consumed, the theory is quite long winded so I will summarise it
The following examples are based on you eating 100 calories of the foodstuffs
Lean meat 80-85 of calories count
Carbohydrates 85-95 of calories count
Fats 95+ of the calories count.
So, as you can see above you can really strategize by focussing on lean sources of protein and still feel full for longer (Volume v's metabolism). However the story doesn't stop there, what we can also consider is the metabolism boosting foods to give your body an internal kick.
a. Brightly coloured fruits and veg
b. Acidic fruits (Limes, lemon, pectin in apples) turbo-charge the metabolism
c. Fibre while offering zero calories it does aid in efficient digestion and can also help control low density lipoproteins and triglyceride's (bad cholesterol)
d. Caffeine, Guarana and other heart raising stimulants
e. Eggs !!! the egg and nothing but the egg - i'm not yolking ! in extensive research spread over several decades, those consuming 1 egg a day have seen up to 18% faster weight loss, eggs encourage high density lipoproteins and help suppress LDL and Trigs, ie, they have significant health benefits and control cholesterol
f. Cheese / milk / yoghurt all contain CLA's (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) - natures fat burners! so a little of these super-foods each day aids in protein intake, EFA's (Essential fatty acids) and a whole raft of micro-nutrients too... win win win !!! (They also taste great)
While fats and oils are absolutely required by the body they can retard the metabolism, so use sparingly and use properly, for more information on this i will write a separate blog entry, ask your instructor about the best way for you to tackle this.
Alcohol WILL reverse all the hard work you put in as the body will prioritise the uptake of the alcohol, attempt to draw energy from it and at the sacrifice of the food consumed. Therefore AVOID alcohol when eating energy dense food .
Fatty food and booze you lose every time
2. It fills me too much! ... - Bloating bread
In short bread is not always responsible for that overfull bloated feeling....
There seems to be a trend of people believing that they have IBS with the catalyst being bread and wheat products in general, this to be blunt is simply not the case for most people.
But bread has won this label through a misunderstanding of the matter (and office gossip fuelled by fear-mongering media articles).
Most of the people who complain of wheat intolerance are in fact either intolerant to gluten (The protein within the wheat) or, and here is the shocker.. you are simply eating too much in general, that being your portion sizes are making you feel uncomfortable but it's easier to say it must be an intolerance than to admit to over eating.
Bread has many benefits, for example it offers a quick, ready and accessible source of carbohydrate and protein in an ideal ratio that the body readily accepts.
Each typical slice contains about 120 calories and 4 grams of protein (16 cals from protein).
If you're gluten and genuinely wheat intolerant (Determined by taking a test arranged by your GP) then you can still enjoy alternatives.
For some people, bread can be water retentive and therefore lead to weight increases, simply change the type of bread, go for linseed wholegrain, germ, and bran based breads, not only do many believe them to be tastier but your also adding the positive effects of the fibre and EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) to your diet.
3. A healthy portion...
This is always a tricky one to be honest as over your entire life you have become accustomed to the portion sizes provided or self served.
OK, the technical aspect of a portion size is approx 500-600 calories per meal, any-more is simply (generally) wasteful and the body will simply evacuate the excess.
OK, we don't see numbers when we plate up so how about some tips on practical portion control.
a. The ideal handful
Our hands are generally in proportion to our bodies, so what better system for your body than using your hands to deliver your bodies needs...
Meat - A good portion will fit in your palm
For rice - one handful
For cereal - two handfuls
For Pasta - Two handfuls
Much is trial and error with this technique but it dispenses with measuring everything, the portion on the plate might scare you a bit initially too... Once you have a firm grip on this, it quickly becomes intuitive.
b. Save some pleasure for later
Plate up and then remove half and store for later
If you're hungry after one hour then eat half of the amount you plated up, if hungry after 30 mins then eat the last bit.. - stops you snacking on convenience foods and over time encourages true portion sizes
c. A little and often
Eat small meals throughout the day (graze)! this keeps the metabolism at a higher sustained rate, therefore making the most of the thermal dynamics of the food taken in and enhancing weight management.
d. Head to toe
Consume the bulk of your calories before mid day then reduce the cals per meal through the rest of the day, your evening meal is now cereal and toast...
ie. if on a 2000 cal a day diet
Breakfast - 500 cals
snack - 200 cals
Lunch - 600 cals
Snack - 200 cals
Pre exercise snack - 200 cals
dinner - 300 cals
e. Guilt free and satisfyingly full
If you cant come to terms with real portion sizes then pack out your meals with raw fruit and veg, the digestion time is slower, the fibre makes you feel fuller and the calorie cost is low, you are also eating volume for a sense of eating satisfaction and maintaining a high thermic effect of the combined foods on your plate than if you ate a plate full of overly fatty food.
4. For energetic activity...
Higher energy foods can be taken 2 ways, energy dense foods such as nuts or fast energy release foods such as soft fruits etc...
Prior to exercising there is no harm in taking in a spike of energy, so this can be the perfect time to entertain your sweet tooth, to sustain the energy over a prolonged period of time simply add in glycemic loading inhibitors, its easier than it sounds.. simply balance sweet with savoury, so porridge and soft fruit, simple carbs with lean proteins... eggs (poached or boiled) on muffins etc... (complex with simple).
5. If you like it, don't deny it...
To give up what you like in your pursuit of a better you leads to an unhappy you ! so break out of that ridiculous state of affairs... we live once and why not reward ourselves?
There is a way to enjoy what you want to with negligible cost on your fitness and weight targets.
Eat your favourite snacks an hour or so either side of exercise or earlier in the day, your body is burning at a much higher rate so if you were going to have that treat anyway then this is the time to do it, I am absolutely not saying that you can eat more treats or start eating them, this is advice for those who already enjoy them and simply will not cut them out.
This is strategic eating for enjoyment of life.
Do consider portion sizes and do factor into your overall goals.
A little of what you fancy is good
Gorging until busting at the seams can only ever be a bad thing.
6. How about a quickie ?
NO !!!! never !!!! avoid at all costs, diets are false, they do not represent you your likes and dislikes, they force you to adapt to an eating regime of denial which can be completely alien to you and because of that people often fall off the diet plan, then to add to the insult of depriving yourself over several weeks you can also gain additional weight as a consequence!
To wrap up.
We do only live once and weight management is mostly as simple as energy in, energy out...
Depending on your goals you can eat less / more, workout more etc.
Basic advice for the exerciser
1. Consume more protein to encourage muscular development and to feel full for longer
2. Take in more vitamin C to help repair your connective tissues
3. Take a multi vitamin if required - many people hate their greens or don't eat enough fruit.
4. Do not fear food - it is your friend if you respect it.
5. Balance nutrition with physical activity
6. Reward appropriately and strategically