Every year, a great number of people make weight loss their New Year’s resolution. There is no question that for some people weight loss is a challenge. Too many fad diets are promising quick weight loss, but they are neither sustainable nor healthy. They are often very restrictive and remove an entire food group from the diet, commonly carbohydrates. The problem is that too restrictive a meal plan increases craving, a feeling of guilt and failure with each minor lapse, even eating even a piece of bread or, perish the thought, a slice of pizza. Eventually, people quit this diet and regain all the lost weight plus more. I see this scenario play out often in my dietary practice.
So why not try a diet that is healthy and sustainable? While I agree that we don’t need simple carbohydrates or highly processed foods in our diet, we can focus on a diet that includes complex carbs, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
One effective strategy to promote weight loss is by adding more fiber in the diet. Fiber makes you feel fuller and because our body cannot break it down, it does not give you any calories. Fiber exists only in plant-based foods and it is a crucial nutrient to keep our gut healthy. There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble fibers, and you need both in the diet. The insoluble fiber helps with digestion by increasing stool bulk and it can be found in whole wheats, flaxseeds, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol, control blood sugars and increase the good bacteria in the gut. It can be found in oats, beans, barley, oranges, berries, apples, chia seeds and psyllium husk.
The recommendation is 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men. Most Americans eat less than 10-15 grams of fiber a day. Fiber from whole foods is better than fiber supplements as they offer more vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and it has a more satiating effect. If you are considering increasing your fiber intake, talk to a dietitian and do it gradually as it can cause more bloating and gas if added too quickly.
Also, as part of any healthy weight management plan, do not forget to include physical activity in your daily life. Talk with our personal trainer or exercise specialist. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day can help you keep the weight off that you lose.
Learn more about how The Alaska Club can help you get back to a fitness routine, or get started for the first time. Your good health has never been more important!