I remember back in college when my roommates and I were trying to lose weight and we made a pact to do it together. We had one very strict rule: If you were going to eat or drink something, you must first ask permission from another roommate. It worked to some extent, especially since there were no cell phones, so if you were out of touch, you were out of luck-no eating!
I guess I dropped a few pounds, but the part I remember most was feeling tired, anxious, dragging and still fat. You see, in addition to asking permission from my roommates to eat, I mistakenly believed that eating low-fat food was the best way to stay healthy and lose weight. My fat intake was kept to 30 grams per day.
I can still remember going to a burger place with my boyfriend (now my husband) and watching him thoroughly enjoy a cheeseburger. I was miserable! I was mad that I couldn’t enjoy the same because, otherwise, I would gain weight! I was really mad! Over food!
Starving myself of the fat was draining me, physically and mentally. It wasn’t just the decrease in calories either because I didn’t necessarily feel hungry, but my meals didn’t fully satisfy me either. Bagels, pasta, rice and instant oatmeal were staple foods that filled me, at least for a while, and were low fat.
Today, that burger would easily fit into my meal plan without negative consequence. I’d leave the bun out of the equation, eat the burger (best choice would be grass-fed beef) with some healthy toppings, a side salad or vegetable and feel full and satisfied.
Healthy fats are an important and essential part of your diet. They provide essential fatty acids, like omega 3’s (which help reduce cellular level inflammation,) keep our skin soft, deliver vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids, and are a great source of energizing fuel.
If low-fat muffins are a staple in your diet, it’s time to ditch the muffin, not the fat. By replacing a low-fat muffins, bagels with low-fat cream cheese and cereal with a meal that has a healthy fat, lean protein and an un-refined, full of fiber food (like vegetables or berries) you will lose fat faster, feel more satisfied and have more energy!
- Avoid low-fat foods. They are usually amped up with sugar and/or sodium to make up for the loss of taste that fat gives to food.
- Stick with healthy fats like avocado, walnuts, fatty fish, krill oil supplements, flaxseed and chia seeds.
- Avoid any trans-fat or hydrogenated fats. These are the most detrimental to your health.
- Monitor the amount you eat. If little is good, it doesn’t mean more is better.
- Make lateral shifts in your diet. For example, instead of cheese on your grass-fed burger, put some avocado on it or a crunchy cucumber slice for something completely different.
- Add resistance training and high-intensity interval training to your workout. Long bouts of steady-state cardio can actually cause you to maintain your body fat.