Saturday, July 30, 2016

How Eating More Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

Having trouble meeting your weight-loss goals? You might need to add these foods to your diet.

Conventional wisdom says that if you’re trying to lose weight, it makes sense to eat less in order to cut calories, leading to a calorie deficit that helps the pounds drop off. (Of course, exercise is part of the equation, too.) But there’s a flip side to this argument: Sometimes eating more is the key to reaching your goals. You might be thinking, Yeah, eating more can help bring about weight loss, money grows on trees, and making out with a frog is the best way to find true love. But it’s true, and you don’t have to take my word for it. Let registered dietitians show you the way.

Adding more quality food into your diet can be a more natural, enjoyable, and effective way to lose weight than simply trying to reduce your calorie intake overall. 
Abby Langer, R.D. and owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto, explains that many people fall into a trap of completely overhauling their diet by cutting out everything they like and going all-in on healthier foods. Unfortunately, that method is basically setting people up to fail.

That’s why Langer describes herself as a “pencil” dietitian—meaning she has people add a ton of healthy foods to their diet—instead of an “eraser” one who advocates removing every single food that gives you joy all in one fell swoop. 

“People typically associate healthy eating with dieting or restriction—of sugars, fats, cheese pizza, whatever it may be,” Langer tells SELF. “I find that when people are cognizant of a food restriction in their lives, they tend to crave it. Restricting an entire food group may do more damage to your physical and emotional health than including it,” she explains. I’ve put this thinking to work for me and it has completely changed my eating habits for the better. (As if that weren’t enough, Chrissy Teigen is on board with this anti-diet mindset, too.) 

“What I try to do with people is add beautiful, whole, quality foods to their lives. People naturally respond positively to things being added to their diets,” Langer explains. When you’re loading up on delicious, healthy foods but not forbidding yourself from indulging, you’re avoiding the kind of deprivation that leads to yo-yo dieting.

“Eating enough is key for preventing binges. When you let yourself get too hungry, the moment you get your hands on something, it’s hard to control yourself,” Abbey Sharp, R.D., a blogger at Abbey’s Kitchen who dropped weight once she started eating more, tells SELF. 

Another pro: Wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy with actual fat in it, and whole grains are all jam-packed with nutrients.
“I find people are afraid of gaining weight [when they add more healthy food into their diets], but what it creates a situation where they’re so much more physically and emotionally satisfied with what they’re eating that they lose weight,” says Langer.  Of course, you should still keep how many calories you need for weight loss in mind. But since you’d usually have to eat a lot more healthy foods to get close to the calories in unhealthy ones, this lifestyle can mean you get to eat more but still lose weight. 

Sharp agrees. “Nutrient-dense foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats are much more satiating than a quick little candy or treat with refined sugar,” she explains. When you build your diet mostly around nutritious foods, “you end up eating less overall because you’re so much more satisfied throughout the day,” she says. 

Then if you want to treat yourself to something you love, as long as you’re being mindful, you’re way less likely to go overboard.

If you’re eating too few calories to begin with, adding foods to your diet might be the only way to meet your weight-loss goals. 
“People associate calories in with calories out and think the more they cut, the more they lose,” says Sharp. “It doesn’t always work that way—bodies are so complicated!” Going on a super low-calorie diet can backfire in a frustrating way and lead to weight-loss plateaus. “[Your body] knows what’s going on when you cut calories too drastically. It may seem like a significantly low-calorie diet is working at first, but soon your body will catch on and reduce calorie output to deal with the reduced calorie input,” says Sharp.

Although it doesn’t happen overnight, too much time on a super low-calorie diet can slow down your metabolism, so then you have to eat even less to lose weight, and you wind up in this awful, unnecessary cycle. Eating enough calories helps reassure your body that it has sufficient food so your metabolism can chug along smoothly, promoting weight loss to the best of its abilities. 

With that in mind, go forth and stock your kitchen with healthy foods that add a ton of diversity to your meals. Make sure to grab a few treats for those moments you’ve just got to indulge, too.

self.com

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