What Should I Eat to Lose Weight?

healthy food to eat to lose weight

As trainers, we get inundated by questions about nutrition. But none more popular than, “What should I eat to lose weight?” Everyone is looking for the magic bullet diet secret, and we hate to be the ones to tell you, but it doesn’t exist. The truth is, there’s not a blanket prescription diet that everyone can eat and lose weight as a result. But we can help to point you in the right direction.

Nutrition Starts With Your Relationship With Food

Developing a healthy relationship with food is the most critical part of starting any new eating routine. First, you need to create a relationship with food where you see it as positive. Food is fuel for your body and something it needs, craves, and deserves. So when you fuel your body, you want to come at it from a place of love, not restriction, hurt, or shame.

Focus on Food Quality

When you think about what you’re eating, the best thing you can do is return to the hunter/gatherer mindset. You want to eat foods that can be grown, picked, or gathered. And look for those that can be shot or caught.

Steer clear of heavily processed foods in nicely designed packages intended to grab your eye but not provide valuable nutrition. Likewise, avoid buying food-like items that have ingredients you can’t read or understand. As you clean up your diet, you’ll find that you naturally begin to crave these better-for-you foods. And that’s a vicious cycle you want to find yourself in.

Don’t Cut Calories Too Much

Many people mistakenly believe that they need to limit calories to lose weight. But the truth is, when your calorie intake is reduced, your calorie expenditure is also reduced.

Thinking about your body as a car, if you don’t put enough fuel in, it’s going to stall out and eventually stop. When your gas gets low, you may look to reserve fuel by turning off certain features like your AC or radio. Your body acts in the same way. If there’s not enough fuel, your body will shut down certain systems until it’s refilled. And when you’re looking to perform at your highest level every day, you don’t have time for those kinds of system failures.

Watch Your Macros

When you’ve transitioned to a diet of mainly unprocessed, cleaner foods and are getting the right amount of fuel, then (and only then) is the time to assess your macros. That means looking at how much protein, carbs, and fat you’re eating.

Unfortunately, there’s not a perfect formula for how many of each macro you should be eating. So keep in mind that you may need to experiment with different amounts to see what it takes to feel your best. Some people thrive on a higher carbohydrate diet while others need more fat or protein. Listen to your body and see what works for you.

The balance of how many of each macronutrient you’re getting will play into how your body burns food. It also has an impact on how you feel and how effective your workouts will be.

Get Professional Guidance

Those educated in nutrition, like nutritionists, functional medicine practitioners, and personal trainers, can help guide you in making healthy, sustainable changes to promote weight loss. But the most critical thing to understand is that everything that goes into your mouth is a choice. So receiving guidance can only go as far as the plate, but what actually goes in is entirely up to you.

The Last Word About What to Eat to Lose Weight

As you transition into new stages of weight loss, your nutrition will also need to adapt. What you ate to lose the first 20 pounds may not be the same fuel you need for the next 20. Remember that weight loss and fitness is a lifelong journey. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, especially if you feel like you’re out of your depth.

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