Oh mighty food – eating good is half of the job



Once my personal trainer told me that weight loss is a very easy formula, you burn more calories than you take in. Simple… So why is it so difficult to lose weight? There are bunch of books written on different theories and kick-ass diets.

Ok, I admit that I have tried couple of these diets but my problem was sticking to them long term. One of my success was the metabolic balance but going around with the list of things I can and can’t eat, measuring each gram of food I take in just made me tired. Also, I tend to stick to the diet during less stressful times and skip it during the stress phases.

There are many cool apps out there where you can record the food intake and it shows the number of calories consumed per meal.  If you belong to the group who says: “It can’t be that I gained weight again, I hardly ate something”, I really encourage you to try one of these apps (count calories apps) because weigh loss starts with the realisation. My personal favourite is MyFitnessPal free application. While I find really good to make myself aware how much I ate and how much I burned doing sport, I still have difficulty to find time to update it on a consistent basis.

Therefore I decided to put my energy into finding simple rules which I can stick to long term, basically changing my habits which influences my choices to strike a healthy 80/20 balance in a consistent way.

7 simple food rules to follow for sustainable weight control:

  1. Drinking, drinking, drinking but only water and tea – no additional sugar intake with drinks. Sorry to say but smoothies are also out, they just contain way to many calories. Smoothies should be integrated into the meal plans, replacing fruits or vegetables.
  2. Take a portion of fruit after every meal. I will come back to what it means a portion.
  3. Eat a meal 3 times a day, do not skip breakfast. After a long time finally I started taking my time in a morning to have breakfast. Even though I’m not very hungry in the mornings, it helps me to bridge the time until lunch. I feel much less hungry and makes it easier to take the right choice.
  4. Keep dinner slim, in case you have family try to eat in time and have a light lunch. During the years, I have noticed that my weight loss is directly linked to what and how much I ate for dinner. If I wanted to drop a few kilos before an important event, I started to cut back on my dinner. It really works…
  5. Portion control, in fact it should be at the first place of this list. This is the heart of every diet and weight loss effort. You might be eating healthy food, lots of fruits and vegetables but this might be a problem “a lot”. I had a same feeling before I started metabolic balance, this program really gave me a lesson about the power of portions. Without going into the details as this topic deserves a dedicated post, I would like to raise your awareness with the following comparison: 1 cup blueberries 11o kcal – 1 hour walking 195 kcal burned / 1 cup grapes 115 kcal – 1 hour moderate breast swimming 236 kcal burned / 1 apple 100 kcal – 1 hour aerobic 384 kcal burned. 
  6. Leave the bread aside, this is a bad habit of mine to take the complementary bread placed in front of my nose in the restaurants. I really do not need to fill my stomach with refined carbohydrates. In fact I stopped buying bread for home completely. I replace it with healthy options like oat, quinoa or bulgur. They keep me going the whole day.
  7. Cut back the sweets, this is personally one of the hardest rule to follow. I love sweets, I live in Switzerland where every corner a delicious treat is waiting for you. Therefore I do not keep any sweets at home, they would not be safe. Only exceptions are dark chocolates with over 70% cacao content. I also keep unsalted and unsweetened nuts like almond and walnuts, they do the trick when I crave for sweets. Lastly, keeping the 80/20 rule in mind, I allow myself time to time a small treat of my most loved one.

Try these simple rules for the next two weeks to change your eating habits and let us know how you feel. Share with all of us if you have a secret weapon against craving, we want to hear all!

Fruits & VegetablesAli Karimian on flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0