THE LINK BETWEEN WEIGHT AND FOOD CHOICE
When you think of typical "weight gain foods", you probably tend to think of fatty and sugary foods. And while these certainly will lead to you piling on the pounds if eaten in excess, it is worth also noting a broader issue - that one of the main reasons for weight gain is actually eating foods that are hard for the body to process (and by process, we mean break down and use for fuel).
Food is fuel
Your body is very clever; it gives you hunger signals when it needs more fuel. We have deliberately used the word 'fuel' here, because it is not enough just to eat any old food to power your body.
Some foods provide what are basically just empty calories. The fact is, eating the wrong foods fails to provide your body with the broad spectrum of nutrients that it requires, and they can even actively drain your body of nutrients, placing it under more strain. As a result, you feel the urge to continue eating, because your body is telling you that it still needs additional vitamins and minerals.
What's more, if your body systems (such as your liver and digestive system) are continually under strain because of trying to metabolise unhealthy foods and not receiving the correct balance of nutrients to function properly, it makes it harder for those systems to focus on any other tasks. For example, burning fat. These kind of non-essential processes are pushed aside, further hindering your weight loss efforts.
So try to minimise any foods that are hard to digest, contain high levels of artificial substances (such as colourings, flavourings, additives and preservatives etc) and add to your toxic load. Such foods include, for instance, processed foods, ready meals, foods high in saturated fat, dairy, sugary foods and red meat - all foods that also tend to be highest in calories.
Instead, opt for natural whole foods, such as grains, seeds, fruit, vegetables, green leafy plants and lean protein. Not only are these types of food easier to digest (not least because of the natural digestive enzymes they contain), their nutrients are in a form that the body can easily recognise and use. What's more, they tend to be low in saturated fat, low in calories, yet high in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients (such as phytochemicals and healthy fats) - all of which will only serve to support your weight loss efforts. That's right, healthy fats (omega fatty acids) can actually help you to lose weight! So never cut out fat altogether.
Weight loss support
There are so many weight loss products on the market, and so many claims for these products, that it can be confusing for slimmers looking for a little extra support. While a balanced diet and sensible exercise regimen are always going to be your keys to long-term weight loss success, sometimes (particularly in the early stages of a weight loss program), it can be helpful to get that little extra "push" in the right direction.
But, as tempting as they might sound, forget “fad diets” and “quick fix” schemes - they never work! There are no short cuts. The answer is not to eat less of the same foods, to have a ridiculously restricted diet or to pop a pill; the answer is to consume a wide variety of healthier foods, to eat a balanced diet and to take regular exercise. Optimum nutrition will almost always naturally result in the ideal weight and body shape for you, with little effort (except perhaps some will power while your body adjusts to the new regime).
Having said that, certain natural and high quality health foods and supplements can play a positive role in your weight loss success, if they are used appropriately and sensibly. For example, many slimmers find that supplements can help to ensure that their bodies receive a high level and broad spectrum of nutrients, without the calories, during periods of reduced food intake or dietary adjustments. This is particularly useful for those trying to shed weight, because it is often the case that once your body gets the nutrients it needs, cravings disappear.
Similarly, supplements that contain quality dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates can help to keep blood sugar levels stable, leaving you feeling fuller for longer and helping to keep hunger pangs at bay.
Natural is best
Supplements sourced from whole foods or food extracts (food form supplements) are also preferable, because the body can recognise the ingredients. This makes them easier for the body to process, absorb and utilise. Synthetic and “man-made” substances (regularly used in low quality health supplements) are more difficult for the body to assimilate and, in many cases, are simply eliminated from the body without having any real benefit - a complete waste of money!
The most important thing to keep in mind is that natural ingredients work best for the body - whether you are looking at foods or supplements. So, when shaping your weight loss meal plan, remember these key points. It's not about cutting down drastically on calories, starving yourself and avoiding all your favourite foods. In fact, healthy weight loss usually involves the complete opposite. Yes, you may have to reduce your calories a little, but if you are eating a balanced diet, you certainly should never go hungry and you don't have to permanently forego your "treats".
The bottom line is, by having a steady stream of nutrients, your body (and therefore your body processes, like your metabolism) will keep running efficiently - the perfect recipe for natural weight loss!