Best foods for weight loss you ask?
Well, we have an answer for you.
One of the biggest problems facing people who decide to lose weight is they don’t know what they should eat.
There’s so much information out there and so many different diets claiming to have the best foods for weight loss.
It gets super confusing.
Fortunately for you, we’re going to break down what the best foods for weight loss are if you’re serious about losing weight.
First, let’s chat about what you are eating right now.
Part of the reason you don’t know what to eat is that most of you aren’t eating the right things right now. You aren’t eating the things your bodies were made to digest.
And it’s not your fault.
You’re most likely eating lots of highly processed foods that are high in sugars and unhealthy fats.
But it is possible to escape this trap.
To understand how, let’s dig a little deeper into the typical North American diet.
We eat lots of pre-packaged foods that have long shelf lives; things like breads, packaged deli-meats, prepackaged dinners, and hyper-palatable take-out that’s engineered to hit your sweet tooth and make you crave more.
These foods are typically high in three things:
2. Unhealthy processed fats
These foods are also typically low in:
1. Colourful vegetables and fruits
2. High quality protein
3. High-fibre, unprocessed carbohydrates
4. Healthy fats
Wanna know the funny thing?
The best foods for weight loss are literally those four things you need to eat.
I’ll expand more on that later.
First, let’s have a quick chat about what most people turn to when they want to lose weight: fad diets…
Fad Diets: Healthy or Not?
People are drawn to “fad” diets and have been for the past hundred years. Fad diets usually make extreme claims and have specific formulas for how they need to be followed. A quick google search gave me The 10 Most Popular Fad Diets of All Time. These are what most people typically turn to when they look for best foods for weight loss.
1. The South Beach Diet
This diet encourages high-fibre foods that have a low glycemic index reading. It also calls for unsaturated fats and lean protein
2. Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers uses a point system to reduce the calories people take in and takes advantage of a world-wide community to provide accountability to those who use the system
3. The Mediterranean Diet
This diet encourages lots of healthy fats, unprocessed carbohydrates, increasing protein through fish consumption and decreasing other consumption of other animal proteins
4. The Zone Diet
This is a low carbohydrate diet that provides calorie control by using “blocks” of macronutrients that the user is allowed based on his/her weight. It encourages a higher intake of protein and healthy fats
5. The Atkins Diet
This is an extremely low carbohydrate diet that suggests drastically increasing consumption of vegetables, protein, and fats
6. The Paleo Diet
This diet claims that we should only eat foods that our bodies evolved to eat. Processed foods produced after the agricultural revolution are a no-go. On the Paleo diet, you won’t eat dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, or anything processed
This diet focuses on foods with very high water and micronutrient content but very low in calorie density (read: lots of fruits and vegetables).
8. The Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet eschews any level of food processing, including cooking. All foods are to be eaten in their raw form.
This is a commercial product of drinks and meal replacements designed to limit total calories
10. The Macrobiotic Diet
This loose category of a “diet” encourages people to eat local and eat in moderation and also to decrease consumption of animals
Now, I’ve distilled these diets down some very bare-bones generalizations. All of these diets have different methods and idiosyncrasies and each of them claims to have the best foods for weight loss.
What I’m trying to show you by simplifying all these fad diets is that, at their core, they mostly encourage the same things.
They all emphasize:
• Improving your awareness of what you are eating on a daily basis
• Eating more high quality, unprocessed foods
• Getting enough protein and healthy fats
• Eating lots of vegetables
• Decreasing unnecessary sugar
• Controlling portions or eating in moderation
By looking at what all these fad diets have in common, we can build a recipe for health and fat-loss success without doing anything too crazy.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to it!
A few Simple Rules to Follow
In order to lose weight, consider these principles your commandments:
1. Be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth and do it slowly. Most of us have little awareness of the food we eat. We eat “on the go” all the time. We inhale our food. We aren’t mindful about the things we put in our bodies. By slowing down our eating and paying attention to what we eat, we start to notice patterns (sometimes disturbing ones) that tell us why we’re overweight. Once you identify them, you can conquer them. Till then, you’ll be a slave to them.
2. Eat high-quality, unprocessed foods. The more packaged a product is, the more likely it is not to have the nutrients you need. This means you may have to learn to cook a little better or find a good meal delivery service if you’re really too busy.
3. The bulk of your diet (~90%+) should be made up of these foods:
• High quality protein like lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy, vegetable sources like legumes, beans, tofu, and sometimes protein supplements
• Colourful vegetables and fruits having a variety in the colour of vegetables you eat ensures you get all the nutrients your body needs to lose fat and be healthy. Prepare them how you like.
• Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and healthy oils like olive or coconut oil. These help you burn fat, feel full, and even improve your skin and brain health. There’s only one small caveat: fats contain more than twice the calories of carbohydrates and proteins. You absolutely need them but you don’t need a lot.
• High fibre, low-processed carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole and sprouted grain breads, ad tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes
4. Stop eating when you feel 80% full. Since you’re becoming aware of the food you eat and you’re slowing down the speed at which you eat, you can begin to stop yourself before you feel stuffed. This one’s tough to master but once you figure it out, it’s liberating.
That’s really it. It’s nothing groundbreaking. The key is not so much in knowing what to do but in executing it.
Day after day till you engrain it as habit.
And How Much Should You Eat?
Now that we’ve nailed down what foods you should be focusing on for fat loss, let’s talk a bit about how much you should be eating.
The most basic tenet of fat loss is this: Eat less energy than you expend.
No matter how you twist it, this must happen in order for you to lose weight. The best rule of thumb we’ve found is Precision Nutrition’s Calorie Control Guide (and don’t worry, it doesn’t involve actually counting calories). This is a great place to start and for most people, when combined with the above 4 habits, this will get you to your goals.
Everyone is a little bit different, though, so you’ll have to make some adjustments based on how you look, feel, and perform. That’s part of the fun, really. As you get better at this, you’ll become more in tune with your body and instinctively, you’ll know when you’ve eaten enough and when you’re actually hungry.
Be patient. The results are worth it.
Start with One Habit
Depending on how you’re eating right now, it might take a while to implement those four habits. That’s totally normal. You’re changing your behaviour, after all, and behaviour change takes time.
It won’t happen overnight.
The best way to start changing the food you eat and the way you eat is to pick one of those four habits up there and start working on it. Practice it until it’s second nature. That might take you a week or it might take a couple of months. That’s the nature of habit change. Once you’ve adopted one habit, move onto the next and attack it with the same vigour as you did the first.
It’s not sexy and it won’t sell tabloid magazines at the grocery checkout but it works. You just have to commit for the long haul. You have to ask yourself “Am I committing to improving the rest of my life or am I just trying this out for the next few weeks until another fad diet comes around?”
By now, I’m sure you’re thinking “well that’s great and all but just tell me exactly what to eat!”
Well fortunately, we’ve put together a fairly exhaustive grocery list of all of the best foods for weight loss. Check it out!
Grocery Shopping Guide: The Best Foods For Weight Loss
To make grocery shopping for fat-loss easy, follow this simple rule:
Shop the perimeter.
About 90% of the best foods for weight loss can be found on the outer aisles of the grocery store. This is where you find fresh and frozen vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy, and many whole grain products. On the other hand, most of the centre aisles usually carry highly processed packaged goods with lots of sugars and unhealthy fats. Best to leave those temptations where they lie and just avoid them.
Below is a starter list of foods you can craft your grocery lists with. By all means, experiment and see which ones you like the most. There are about a hundred and one ways to prepare any of these foods so eventually you’ll settle on some favourites.
Protein Dense Foods
Omega 3 Eggs
Beef (top and eye of round steak is leanest)
Extra Lean Ground Beef
Chicken and turkey (white meat has more protein than dark)
Some sausages (be mindful of excessive fat content on some of these)
Jerkies (beef, turkey, or other)
Nuts (be mindful. These are also a fat source)
Protein supplements (powders, smoothies, bars)
– Slightly less dense sources of protein include:
Beans (all types)
Oats (large flake or steel cut)
Whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Onions (all colours)
Squash of all types
Bell Peppers (all colours)
Tomatoes of all colours
Did we leave anything off this list? Do you have your own suggestions for what the best foods for weight loss are? Let us know in the comments below.