What Should I Eat to Lose Weight? How to Get Started
Okay, so you are committed to losing weight and keeping it off. You know you need to eat right, and you are ready to do it. But then you run into a problem. What does “eat right” even mean?
Eating right when controlling your weight means balancing calories while getting in protein and other nutrients that keep you full and healthy. With a little practice and some guidance, you can get in the habit of eating right and staying in control of the scale.
Schedule Your Meals and Snacks
When it comes to weight loss, it pays to have a plan. You (and your nutritionist, if you have one) can decide whether you should aim for three more substantial meals without snacks, or 3 smaller meals with 1 to 3 snacks throughout the day. Figure out when and what you will eat, and you have a better chance of staying on track.
Build Healthy Meals
If you are a weight loss surgery patient or you like to feel full, protein is likely to be the centerpiece of most of your meals. Go lean (think chicken breast, cottage cheese, eggs, beans, and tuna) rather than fatty (think hot dogs, ribs, and salami).
Then fill out most of the rest of your plate with vegetables. They are low in calories but high in filling fiber and tons of nutrients. Add a small portion of a whole grain or other healthy starch such as sweet potato, and choose healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil when you use fats. These are a few examples.
Salmon with asparagus and brown rice
Omelet with low-fat feta cheese, spinach, and mushrooms
Baked tomatoes stuffed with lean ground turkey and barley
You can find more easy meal ideas at The BariatricPal Store
Choose Filling and Nutritious Snacks
Some nutritionists suggest choosing smaller meals and adding snacks to your day. If you choose well, they can keep hunger down so you are not tempted to overeat at your next meal. Keep calories under control, and include a filling nutrient such as protein or fiber (or both) at every snack. These are some high-nutrient snacks to consider.
- Nuts or peanuts
- Peanut or nut butter with apples or raw veggies
- Veggies and hummus
- Fruit and cottage cheese
- Yogurt and oats
You can find more easy snack ideas at The BariatricPal Store.
Snacks can be even more convenient and portable than meals. You can stock up protein bars, protein snacks such as chips, pretzels, and cookies, and non-perishables such as nuts and peanuts. Store them in your purse, pantry, desk drawer, or gym bag. If you’re too busy to eat, you can always opt for protein shakes.
Take Help When You Can Get It
Sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with the ideas you need to put together a few days or a week’s worth of meals and snacks. The BariatricPal Store has some inspiration in our meal planning section, with suggested daily and weekly menus of calorie-controlled, high-protein meals and snacks.
- Liquid Diet to help you get a quick start on weight loss or for your pre-op or post-op weight loss surgery diet.
- Pureed Foods Diet to help you transition from a liquid diet to a solid foods diet.
- Solid Foods Weight Loss Diet to help you lose weight while getting in your protein every day.
- Maintenance Diet to help you keep off the weight you fought so hard to lose.
- Back-on-Track Diet to help you fight regain or break through a plateau if you have slipped a little in your eating habits.
All of the motivation in the world will not be enough to let you lose weight and stay nourished if you do not know what to eat. You will be far better off if you are able to plan the right kinds of meals and snacks. With a bit of guidance and helpers such as instant meals and protein snacks, you can be sure of having the tools you need to control your weight.
- Alex Brecher