Eating to Lose Fat:
How do we eat if we want to lose weight, or more specifically lose fat? In some ways the answer is very simple: however you want – as long as you’re in a calorie deficit. Yes that’s right. As we have covered in a previous blog article (which you can find here) the most important thing for losing weight is that you are burning more calories than you are taking in.
That is still absolutely true and no matter how good you think your food choices are or how “clean” you are eating you will not lose weight if you don’t create a calorie deficit. Even if all you eat is chicken and broccoli (how depressing). So if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d recommend checking out our blog article about how to work out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight/fat, which you can find by clicking here. Then onto our article about how much of those calories should come from Protein, which you can find by clicking here.
Done that? Good. So if it’s that simple, why do we need to really think about what food we eat when trying to lose weight/fat? Firstly because we want to be healthy (most of the time) which means choosing some foods that give us vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients that help us to keep healthy and our bodies and immune systems strong. If we use up all of our daily calories on chocolate, we won’t be getting much Vitamin C (or any others for that matter). The advice on this is fairly simple, aim to include lots of fruits and veggies in your diet. A couple of pieces of fruit per day and 2 to 4 portions of Veg is easy, affordable and packed with healthy benefits.
Another huge factor in why the food we choose when dieting is so important is consistency. Results will only come if you are consistent and when it comes to Fat/Weight loss that consistency needs to be maintained over weeks not just a couple of days. So a lemon water cleanse might seem like a good idea when you start (it’s not) there’s no way you’ll keep it up because other than being tired, hungry and unsatisfied all the time, no food eventually leads to death (or so I’m told by medical professionals). On the flip side if you choose to spend your daily calorie allowance on foods you know you enjoy and you’re happy to eat daily for 6 weeks plus then you have a much higher chance of being consistent and succeeding.
The danger comes when we start to choose very calorie dense foods every day (think foods that have a lot of calories per 100g like chocolate or Peanut Butter). Those foods aren’t “bad” but they won’t leave you feeling very full or satisfied if that’s all you eat. For example 200g of chicken breast has approx 280 calories compared to 200g of Peanut Butter which has around 1200 calories(!!!!)
This is where the term “Flexible Dieting” comes in and is a life saver. The idea is that you get 80% of your daily calories from foods that fill you up but don’t contain many calories (like fruits, veg, protein and fibre rich foods) and then we can get the other 20% of our calories from higher calorie foods that we enjoy and crave (ahem ice cream ahem). This balance should mean that we feel full and satisfied after we eat, we are getting our vitamins and minerals and that we are enjoying food. Pretty good right? Yep
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Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.