Weight management is a topic that often gets bundled up with complex diets, trendy fads, and conflicting advice. But at the end of the day, there is no magic bullet. The truth is less sexy; it’s about making certain simple, healthier choices around food and physical activity that you can sustain long-term. Let’s explore three fundamental aspects of eating for better weight management that anyone can embrace: increasing fiber intake, being mindful of portion sizes, and eating more whole foods. Let’s dive in!
Fiber is often an overlooked hero in the world of nutrition. It’s a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. When it comes to weight management, fiber can be your best friend.
Portion control is a key aspect of weight management. It’s not just about what you eat but how much of it you consume.
Here are some strategies to help you master portion control.
Use smaller plates: Studies show that people tend to eat less when they use smaller plates.
Practice the Brook Healthy Plate method: Remember how to build a healthy plate from last week? It really works! Divide your plate into sections: half for vegetables, a quarter for protein, and a quarter for carbohydrates.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly, savor your food, and stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
Avoid mindless eating: Eating in front of the TV or computer can lead to overeating. Try to eat at a designated table without distractions.
In week 5, we introduced the idea of whole foods compared to highly processed foods. Here’s a refresher – a whole food generally means a food that is close to or in its natural state. Some examples are things like fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, unprocessed meat and seafood, raw nuts and seeds, fresh beans and legumes.
Minimally processed food are foods that are changed from their natural state, but in a small enough way that it can still be easily traced back to original form. Your great grandmother would most likely be able to recognize or make this food. These are foods like extra virgin olive oil, whole grain pasta & bread, nut & seed butters, traditional yogurt & kefir, butter, canned beans or tomatoes, and frozen fruits or vegetables.
Ultra-processed foods are foods that have gone through many processing steps from the original ingredients, and usually will contain additives like sugar or preservatives. These foods tend to be more shelf-stable than minimally processed or whole foods due to these additives. Food like macaroni & cheese, packaged cookies & crackers, soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, canned soups, frozen pizza, and chicken nuggets fall into the ultra-processed category.
Remember, highly processed foods are engineered to make us crave them! It can take 30 days before your taste buds start to adjust to different foods. Stick with it and we promise that those whole foods will start tasting more and more delicious.
It’s tempting when trying to lose weight to reach for ultra-processed bars, meal replacements, or snacks, but these won’t help you in the long run. Diet foods also tend to be full of things we don’t need (like preservatives or flavor enhancers) and lack the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that whole foods provide.
While some people may find short-term success with meal replacements due to calorie restriction, it’s important to remember that sustainable weight management is about making lasting, positive changes to your overall diet and lifestyle.
as of September 2023. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Masters degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University.
Always be sure to reach out to your healthcare team when making changes to your diet or lifestyle. There are certain conditions and medications that need to be considered.