Today, I am bringing you an article written by Adrienne of Healthline. They contacted me asking if they could compile an article to share with my readers and with the clean eating I’ve been doing since Lent started, I jumped on the opportunity. I am by no means an expert in health so I always worry about sharing my opinions or eating habits as I don’t have the experience or education to give that kind of advice. If you are on a path towards healthier eating, I hope that you will find this helpful and interesting.
Adrienne is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and fitness for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking about her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
Could it be that the days of crazy diets are over? Probably not, but thankfully we are seeing a lot more interest in healthy eating for weight loss as opposed to highly restrictive diets. Why the change? It likely has a lot to do with all the access we now have to healthy recipes that let us eat better without having to sacrifice taste and we can lose weight doing it.
Diets Still Don’t Work
Just because a person is able to lose weight on a diet doesn’t mean that diets work. Successful weight loss requires being able to keep the weight off and diets that restrict entire food groups or drastically cut down your calorie intake aren’t realistic to maintain. Studies have proven over and over again that not only do most dieters gain back the weight they lost, but the majority go on to gain even more so that they weigh more than they did even before starting the diet. And, as great as some diets claim to be, this sad truth applies to all kinds of diets. According to researchers at UCLA, dieters typically lose 5-10 percent of their starting body weight in the first 6 months of a diet and more than two-thirds regain even more weight than they lost within the first 4 or 5 years.
Healthy Eating for Weight Loss
Can you lose weight by just deciding to eat healthier food? The answer is yes—an even bigger yes if your current diet has been one filled with fattening, processed foods!
Eating healthy allows you to eat more while consuming less of the stuff that makes you gain weight. Healthy foods contain less fat and calories than processed foods, yet make you feel full faster. This is precisely why eating healthy is a better option for people wanting to get their weight in check: you can eat well and feel satisfied without taking in too many calories or fat.
The reason why healthier foods are able to make you feel full on less is that they contain more water, fiber giving them a low energy density. There are no empty calories that have you eating but getting nothing out of the food. Instead, healthier food choices fill you up and give you energy to put out. They also help boost your immune system thanks to being high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and can help you lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and more.
Eating Healthy and Yummy
The key to weight loss with healthy eating is to do what diets don’t let you: feel satisfied and eat in a way that’s possible to sustain forever, even long after the pounds have been dropped. You do this by following a balanced diet and taking the time to make food that you actually enjoy eating. You don’t often think of weight loss and delicious foods together, but it turns out that you really don’t need to eat a rabbit’s diet or live on rice cakes to lose weight thanks to healthy alternatives to all the foods you crave.
We are blessed to live in a world where we can get our hands on anything with just a few clicks. Fortunately for those of us who want to eat better and lose weight without feeling like we’re sacrificing all the stuff we love; recipes to make healthy versions of our favorite treats are also just a click away. The Mayo Clinic offers great advice by telling you to stick to low-energy-density foods that let you feel full on fewer calories, like fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains. Lean proteins will also help you feel full. They give a great example to show you the difference between high-energy-density foods, like those filled with fat and sugars, and low-energy-density foods that are healthier and cleaner options:
Raisins have a high energy density, with 1 cup of raisins containing about 434 calories, while grapes have a low energy density with only 104 calories per cup.
Imagine having to eat over 4 cups of raisins to get the same amount of calories as 1 cup! You wouldn’t because you would feel full long before getting to 4 cups. It’s a perfect example of how better choices leave you feeling full on less and why it’s better to eat healthy to lose weight.
Use these things to make lower-fat versions of your favorites using recipes easily found online and you still get to enjoy food without the weight or the inevitable guilt. Making the change to healthier eating will help you keep your weight in check while also lowering your risk of disease and keeping your immune system strong. Restrictive diets on the other hand, will make you fatter, weaken your immune system, and increase your risk of disease. The right choice is simple, no?
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- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011). Weight Loss Basics. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on February 27, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/weight-loss/basics/weightloss-basics/hlv-20049483
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011). Energy density and weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on February 27, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/weight-loss/art-20044318?pg=1
- Wolpert, Stuart. (2007). Dieting Does Not Work, UCLA Researchers Report. UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved on February 20, 2014, from http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832.aspx?RelNum=7832