Category Archives: Food
Dieting. Everyone I know is either on a diet right now or is planning to get on a diet on Monday, the 1st of the month or after/before the Holidays. You gotta eat all the candy before going on a best diet, right?
If you are a woman, there is a 99.9999% chance you have been on a diet. If you are a man, the chance is smaller but it is still there.
Our world is obsessed with new diets.
How many do you know? There are hundred of diets out there, and there are two things they have in common.
- Goal – help you lose weight by restricting your food choices
- Effect – short term results.
I am not trying to say that diets don’t work. Yes, they do work while you are ON THEM. But what happens when you go on vacation or have a camping trip or are simply tired of the restrictions? You “get off the wagon” and gain the weight back, and, in most cases, gain even a little more.
That is not the result you want to see, right? Our biggest dream is to eat all the pizza and never gain weight, but unfortunately there is NO diet like that.
I want to go over a few very popular diets and explain their pros and cons, so you can decide if any of them can be a good choice for you. And if you want my opinion on the BEST diet, then read till the end.
There are a ton of low-carb diets, and they are all similar in their rules: reduce your intake of carbohydrates. Some of them are called ketogenic diet which is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. In medicine it is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures (Wikipedia).
- Can help you lose weight quickly
- Usually doesn’t leave you feeling starving all the time because proteins and fats keep you fuller longer
- Can lower blood sugar levels (helpful for diabetics)
- Food is not expensive
- Adaptation period can last up to 3 weeks
- Requires additional food planning if you like to eat out
- Can cause side effects such as constipation, painful period cramps, increased cholesterol levels
- Requires additional supplementation to maintain vitamin/mineral levels in your body since you do not receive enough of them through your food
- Might leave you feeling fatigue due to lack of carbohydrates (which provide you with quick energy)
- Might prevent you from being able to participate in intense sports/fitness activities
- Causes intense cravings which are hard to resist if you are faced with foods you crave on a daily basis (for example, if your family still eats carbs while you are on a keto diet, it is very hard to say no to the foods you are so used to be eating)
- Hard to maintain for a long period of time
Diet is called low-fat if your fat intake is lower than 25% of your total daily food intake.
- Helps you maintain constant cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease (in some cases)
- Helps you maintain good energy levels due to higher intake of carbohydrates
- Might help you lose weight quickly by eliminating foods high in fats
- When you try to eat foods lower in fat, you might find yourself eating more processed foods. Fat is what makes foods taste better and in order to compensate for the lack of flavor people tend to increase their sugar and processed foods intake. Lots of low-fat or fat-free foods are high in sugar, starch and other additives which makes the foods taste better
- You can lose some important vitamins by lowering your fat intake, and fats are responsible for the health of your hair, nails, heart, brain, reproductive organs and more. Many women lose their periods when follow a low-fat diet
- Fats keep you stay fuller longer, and when you follow a low-fat diet, you might find yourself hungry more frequently throughout the day.
- Causes intense cravings for sugar (especially chocolate) , salt and fried foods
- Hard to maintain for a long period of time
CALCULATING POINTS (CALORIES OR MACRONUTRIENTS)
When on this type of a diet, you can choose any foods you like to eat as long as they fit into your personal daily point (calorie or macronutrient) amount.Each food has a certain amount of points (or can be broken down into calories or macronutrients) which add up by the end of each day.
- It creates a feeling of freedom – you can eat anything you like as long as it fits into your daily budget
- The adaptation period is very short
- Easy to track and count considering you have the necessary tools and are willing to allow some time to get used to counting.
- Helps you lose weight (as long as you burn more calories than you consume) on a weekly basis
- For some people the task of weighing, counting and tracking is time consuming and creates the opposite effect: effect of restriction rather than an effect of freedom due to the need of weighing/counting every food they consume throughout the day
- Due to the opportunity to choose any foods as long as they fit into the daily budget, people tend to choose desserts, alcohol, processed foods and other not-so-healthy foods, which causes vitamin/mineral deficiency in the body, may cause lack of energy, constipation, digestion problems and other side effects.
Now to the BEST diet in my opinion
I do not like restrictions – they simply don’t work for me. I cannot do low-fat or low-carb. I will not calculate points. However, calculating calories and macronutrients, in my opinion, is the best way to lose weight, and it has been proven many times.
Flexible dieting has become very popular in the past few years because of the simplicity and the freedom in food choices. When you know that you can have pizza pretty much any time you like, you won’t crave it like crazy.
When you want to share a pizza with your kids – you can. Just make sure you calculate the macros.
If you want to have a drink with a friend – go ahead. Just make sure you count the carbohydrate macros and remove them from your daily allowance.
But on a daily basis, make sure you get a lot of vegetables into your body because they provide you with necessary vitamins and minerals. Make sure you keep your proteins lean so you don’t have to remove peanut butter from your diet. Make sure you are careful with salad dressings because they can have more calories than your entire salad.
It really doesn’t have to be hard. Eat the foods you enjoy, have fun with family and friends, go out but don’t go crazy. Food is food, and its purpose is to fuel our bodies with the energy we need to keep up with our lives, to stay active, to play with kids, to walk the dog. And energy comes from all kinds of foods, so eat them all.
It is worth mentioning that it is very hard to track EVERY SINGLE gram of food, so don’t be too stressed out if you are over or under on one (or all) of your macros. As long as you keep seeing consistent weight loss progress, you are doing an amazing job.
P.S. If you need help calculating your calorie/macronutrient intake, I can help you with that. Stop by the studio any time or email me at email@example.com, and we can get that done for you in no time!
You decided it’s time to lose a few pounds – good for you, friend!
You figured out your exercise schedule, got your calories calculated and you are ready to go!
But if you are anything like me and have a few kids, a job and a ton of responsibilities, it is not always easy to eat according to the goals you set for yourself. We run from one errand to another, and when it’s time to pick up the kids from school, that fast food place on the way home looks TOO good. Of course, last time you ate was probably 6 hours ago, and by now you are about to eat the entire Taco Bell.
To avoid situations like that, you need to be prepared. Have some non-perishable snacks in your car and quick bites you can grab from the fridge on the way out.
Lots of people say mealprep is BORING. Well, that depends on HOW you do it. There is a number of ways you can prep yourself and your family for a week ahead, let me show you a couple of them.
My favorite way to mealprep is to make big batches of foods so I can mix and match them during the week. We are a family of six, so a couple of chicken breasts just won’t cut it.
So my plan is usually simple:
- Go grocery shopping and search for sales. Chicken breast on sale – great, thighs on sale – great too! It is always smarter to see the grocery deals first (I am sure you get weekly ads from your local grocery stores, or you can always look them up online) rather than making a menu before seeing the sales. This can save you a ton of money, as well as the time.
- Come home and organize the food on the counter, decide what gets to cook first, what goes second and what can be cooked at the same time. For example, you can roast 2-3 types of vegetables in the oven at the same time. While the vegetables are roasting you can pan sear fish, cook a couple of side dishes such as noodles, grains etc or a sauce for your pasta.
- I always make 2-3 different types of protein, for example, on the picture above you can see grilled shrimp, marinated salmon (lemon juice and salt) and grilled chicken. Having a variety helps to avoid “food boredom”. You do not feel like you are eating the same thing every day. All you need to do is to learn how to mix and match your proteins. Just think about this, with the same chicken you can make wraps, tacos, salads, sandwiches, lunch bowls and even more. Spice your dishes up with sauces, herbs, dressings, and your food will never be boring
- Make some quick snacks – boiled eggs, protein balls, pre-cut veggies, and don’t forget to buy some mixed nuts, cheese sticks, crackers or rice cakes – they make for an easy snack that will help you feel good until your planned meal. Protein powder and protein bars are a great add-ons to your daily menu although they are absolutely not necessary for your weight loss journey
- I always have fun with my food. I try different combinations, I use herbs and spices that I have never seen before. I go to Asian or Mexican stores and buy bottled sauces that I never used before so it is always a surprise. I smell and touch fresh foods at stores – my nose always tells me whether I am going to like it or not. So don’t be scared to try new foods – chances are they might become regulars on your table.
That was my favorite way to mealprep – it is definitely the best way to meal prep for families especially with kids. You can put 4-5 things on the table and let your kids choose what they want. Trust me, they WILL eat something from the variety you offered and you don’t need to cook separate meals for those picky creatures of yours. One example of a regular dinner at my house:
Roasted cauliflower with broccoli
Fresh veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers
I would put some roasted and fresh vegetables on my plate and one serving of salad. My 6 yo would eat the salad, noodles and chicken. My 3 yo would pick roasted veggies, noodles and chicken. My 1 yo would try a little bit of everything (which is my goal – to get her used to all the foods and different flavors). And my husband will eat all of the above. Simple, quick, and all it takes is 2-3 hours of your time in the kitchen on a weekend.
There is another way to mealprep, and in my opinion it works best for single people and couples (and if you have to take lunches to work). If you follow this strategy, you would cook complete meals, not just a bunch of separate ingredients, and then pack them in one serving containers so it’s easy for you to just grab a Tupperware container from a fridge and take it to work. No hassle at all.
You can still prep a bigger batch of protein, vegetables and grains and divide them between a few containers – as long as you always have a meal in the fridge, you are good to go.
The reason this way doesn’t work for me is that for 6 of us I would need to prep about 18 container per day and 90 container for weekdays… but who has that much fridge space? So I stick to big batches.
Do you have a favorite way to prep food for a week ahead? Leave a comment below;-)
Have a great day!