If you’re wondering “how long does it take to notice weight loss,” the answer is time. And, healthy, sustainable weight loss relies on a few key principles: diet, exercise, stress management, sleep, and social support. Like the foundational pillars supporting a building, each principle bolsters the others. Additionally, each pillar must be formed independently, focusing on the healthiest practices for long-term weight loss.
Diet—one of the five pillars—has long been heralded as the pinnacle of learning how to start a weight loss journey.
But how do you know what are the best foods for weight loss? What does a weight loss diet and weight loss program look like? Are there certain things you should eat to jumpstart your metabolism and are they suitable when trying to learn how to break a weight loss plateau? Are carbohydrates forbidden for dieters?
Navigating the aisles of the grocery store (and navigating the varied myths about nutrition) can be intimidating. We’ve outlined some of the key components to making healthy choices when you shop, including choosing foods that:
Provide balanced nutrition
Stabilize your appetite
Keep you healthy
First, it should be noted that there aren’t any magic weight loss foods.
However, focusing on clean, healthy eating will help you lose weight and keep it off. Certain foods do contribute to weight loss because of their nutrient content and the effects they have on your body.
The key to weight loss and body fat loss isn’t one food, though.
It’s a balanced diet that leaves you feeling satisfied, keeps you healthy, and most importantly, is sustainable. Proper diets include everything your body needs to function at an optimal level.
Carbohydrates – No, carbohydrates don’t cause weight gain any more than other foods. Carbohydrates get a bad rap because many people overindulge in low fiber, nutrient-deficient carbohydrates. These refined grains and sugary snacks don’t fill you up to satiety, leading you to overeat when you feel hungry again shortly after. Carbohydrates that are high in soluble fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans give your body the energy it needs to perform essential functions.
Fiber – Dietary fiber is actually a type of carbohydrate. It gets its own category because your body cannot digest it. Instead, it passes through your body, helping your body digest food as it goes. It can also help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Fats – While you may think eliminating fat from your diet will help result in fat loss, this isn’t the case. In order to meet a weight loss goal, you don’t want to consume a lot of unhealthy fats from processed foods. Instead, focusing on plant-based foods with healthy fat like avocados, nuts, seeds, and minimally processed oils can help you lose weight. Small amounts of these fats help you absorb necessary vitamins. They also make you feel full for longer so that you don’t overeat. However, keep in mind that these foods typically have high calorie density. Finally, moderate amounts of fats in your diet prevent your blood sugar level from crashing and causing you to crave unhealthy foods.
Protein – Protein is the building material for your cells and muscles. It helps your body repair damage to cells and makes new ones. Proteins are made of a chain of amino acids. Your body makes some amino acids on its own but others can only be supplied by the food you consume. If you’re not consuming enough protein, your body won’t have the essential amino acids it needs to function properly.
Vitamins – Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients. Your body doesn’t need large amounts of them. However, without them, your body won’t function properly and you risk serious illness. There are many vitamins your body needs daily to keep everything running smoothly. These include vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, among others.
Minerals – Like vitamins, minerals are required daily in small amounts to keep your body running. There are many minerals you need to get from your food, including iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and others.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be tough to make sure you’re getting enough of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to function unless you are being selective about the foods you’re eating.
Here are some top foods for weight loss that will keep you nourished and help you reach your goals. We’ve divided them by the nutritional benefits they provide to help you better understand why they’re important and how they promote weight loss.
Protein is a weight loss star. Not only does it keep you feeling full longer but it also helps you build muscle. Protein works to suppress the hormone ghrelin, which can trigger your appetite. It also provides the building blocks for muscle.
Muscle is what keeps your metabolism going. If you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, you’ll lose muscle. Then, your metabolism will slow down, causing you to stop making progress toward your weight loss goals.
Focusing on lean, healthy sources of proteins will keep your body running optimally. Some excellent choices include:
Eggs – Eggs are a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They can help you feel full longer than many lower protein breakfast choices and are easy to prepare.
2. Salmon – Salmon is one of the healthiest fish you can consume. It is high in lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and necessary vitamins and minerals. For all the benefits you get, it’s relatively low in calories. Sustainably sourced canned tuna is another great option.
3. Beans – Beans are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and high in both protein and fiber. They’re also a great protein source if you’re looking to cut down on meat consumption as part of your weight loss plan.
4.Nuts – Nuts have a bad reputation for dieters because they are high in calories. However, don’t let this scare you away from these nutrient-dense gems. Just a small handful of almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, or other nuts will give you protein and vitamins without going overboard on calorie intake.
5. Greek Yogurt – This is another protein-rich food that will leave you feeling satisfied long after you finish eating. It’s important to note that you should opt for plain yogurt and top it with fresh fruit instead of picking the flavored varieties that are high in sugar.
Fiber can be found in many healthy food choices. High fiber foods keep you feeling full longer so that you’ll eat less. They also control your blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. Finally, a diet high in fiber aids in digestion and promotes healthy bowels.
There are many easy to prepare foods that are high in fiber, including:
6. Lentils – These tiny legumes are nutritional powerhouses. They have a lot of fiber to keep you full and are high in protein.
7. Oatmeal – It’s hard to find an easier meal to make than a hearty bowl of oatmeal. It’s packed with fiber and good carbohydrates.
8 .Quinoa – This pseudo-grain is high in fiber and protein. You can add it to soups, salads, and other veggie-packed dishes to help keep you full for longer.
9. Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts are all members of the same high-fiber cruciferous vegetable family. They’re packed with fiber and other vitamins.
10. Sweet Potatoes – Not only are sweet potatoes delicious and versatile but they’re also a good source of fiber.
We’ve discussed how healthy carbohydrates provide energy, fiber makes you feel full and aids in digestion, and vitamins and minerals are essential to good health. The easiest way to meet all these needs and lose body weight is to focus on eating colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables.
You may have been told to eat the rainbow and now you know why—the more color you pack into your daily diet, the more nutritious benefits you receive. Not only does this aid your weight loss efforts but it also promotes better overall health.
Some of our top picks to promote a healthy weight are:
11. Berries – Berries of any color are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and are low in calories.
12. Citrus Fruits – Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are low in calories and contain many necessary vitamins and minerals.
13. Leafy Greens – Lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula, chard—you can’t go wrong with any of these leafy green options. They’re all high in essential vitamins and minerals and very low in calories.
14. Bananas – Bananas are high in potassium and fiber. They’re also easy to carry with you for a quick snack.
15. Avocados – Even though avocados are higher in calories than some other foods on this list, an avocado contains many healthy fats to keep you full longer.
16. Mushrooms – Mushrooms contain high levels of Vitamin D, along with some protein and fiber. They’re also low in calories.
17. Tomatoes – Tomatoes reduce inflammation and help your body release bloat causing water retention.
18. Pears – Pears have high water content and are high in fiber. They make a great snack or you can add them to salads for a sweet crunch.
19. Apples – Like pears, apples are high in fiber and low in calories.
20. Squash – Butternut, kabocha, acorn, and other winter squash varieties are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and low in calories.
Still feeling a bit overwhelmed? It can be difficult to ensure all of your nutritional needs are being met while trying to lose weight. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this alone. Many people need assistance developing a healthy, sustainable weight loss plan, and that’s why we’re here to help.
The experts at Found can help put together a plan that’s right for you. With options including prescription medication, an app, and a supportive online community, we give you everything you need to successfully lose weight.
Take our quiz today to see if Found is right for you.