These are the first things I talk about with my weight loss patients. If these aren’t followed first, then any additional fancy weight loss techniques are not going to work, or won’t be sustained. In fact, most of my patients find they don’t need to move to more advanced methods as these tips already work so well!
This is an excerpt from a patient handout that I use ALL the time. These tips also support energy, digestion, and hormonal balance.
1. Eat regular meals containing whole, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods
- Eating a meal or a snack every few hours helps to keep our blood sugars stable. Grazing, however, can cause issues for proper digestion as the gut is most active about 90 minutes after meals but gets inhibited if we are continually eating which can lead to fermentation and gas & bloating.
- Prepackaged/processed foods usually have low nutritional value and are high in sugar and salt, so you want to keep them to a minimum. Snack choices are usually bad for this so think of whole food replacement for your snacks such as whole fruit, nuts and seeds, veggies and hummus, etc.
2. Choose low glycemic load foods
- These are foods that don’t spike our blood sugar like high glycemic load foods do. You may have heard of glycemic index, but not glycemic load. Glycemic load is different from glycemic index in that it takes into account the amount of carbs that a food contains and is a better indicator of how that food will affect our blood sugar.
- Glycemic index/load is one of the most important diet "rules" for diabetics.
- Examples of low GL foods: all-bran, apples, carrots, chickpeas, kidney beans
- Examples of high GL foods: russet potatoes, corn flakes, spaghetti, white rice
3. Choose complex carbohydrates over simple…but it’s more than that
- Complex carbs get absorbed slower than simple carbs, and have more fibre and nutrients.
- Examples of better complex carbohydrates: vegetables, whole grains (quinoa, brown or wild rice, oats, whole grain wheat), legumes.
- Examples of simple carbohydrates: sugar (glucose, table sugar, honey, maple syrup), lactose (milk sugar), fruit juice, pop
- While the following foods are technically considered complex carbs, they are highly refined, making them act like simple sugars in the body: white or brown bread, pastries, pasta, white rice.
4. Include protein and fat with each meal
- Getting enough protein ensures that we don’t lose muscle while losing weight. Protein and fat slow glucose absorption, therefore decreasing blood sugar fluctuations which cause sugar cravings. Limit excessive animal saturated fats which promote inflammation, eliminate trans fats as found in margarine and deep fried foods, and focus on olive oil, coconut oil, and omega-3 fats found in flax, chia and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, non-GMO soy, salmon, anchovies, and fish oil.
- On average, we require 0.8-1g of protein per kg (or 2.2 lbs) of body weight per day. More if you are quite active.
- At least 25% of our calories should come from fat. Don't be afraid to replace some carbohydrates with fat!
5. Get enough fibre
- Fiber makes us feel full, and regulates our bowel movements and our blood sugars. It also removes bad cholesterol from the body.
- We need about 35-50g of fibre per day.
- Healthy sources of fiber: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Remember to drink more water when increasing fiber.
6. Keep hydrated...with water!
- Dehydration often masks as hunger. When cravings arise, try drinking a large glass of water, or make some tea, and then see if you are still hungry.
- Avoid pop, alcohol, and juice as these are very sneaky sources of calories and sugar.
7. Manage emotional eating
- Recognize when you are triggered to eat for reasons other than hunger such as boredom, stress, cravings, etc.
- Perform a kitchen purge so that you do not have easy access to unhealthy foods. See my post on How to Do a Kitchen Detox.
- Remind yourself of your priority to get healthy.
Need additional support?
My first program, Dr. Annie’s 30 Day Clean-Eating Fat Loss Challenge, is launching this month and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Subscribe to my newsletter if you have not already and watch for more information in upcoming emails!
Sept. 12 2017 update: The program has now launched! See the Programs page for more information and to register.