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What should I eat to lose weight?

If you are overweight, then healthy weight loss is about getting help to change your eating habits and behaviours. And while you may have heard that the best way to lose weight is to count calories, research shows that you should actually focus more on eating a high-quality diet, which in turn helps you eat less.

Steph Gregory
Steph Gregory
Health mentor
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What should I eat to lose weight?

If you are overweight, then healthy weight loss is about getting help to change your eating habits and behaviours. And while you may have heard that the best way to lose weight is to count calories, research shows that you should actually focus more on eating a high-quality diet, which in turn helps you eat less. 

When eating, it’s important to eat a good portion that leaves you feeling full and satisfied, and the opportunity to vary your food so you enjoy variety. And it has to taste good to you.

If you want to lose weight, having meals of chicken, rice and broccoli every night for dinner is not the way to go. Achieving lasting weight loss doesn’t mean you can’t have tasty food, it’s important to focus on lifestyle changes and not just jump onto the newest diet trend. If you limit your diet to food that you don’t think tastes good or is just plain boring, your new lifestyle won’t last long. At Embla, there are no foods that are forbidden and no ways of cooking your food that are not allowed. If you forbid yourself to eat certain foods that you like, you’re likely to just want them more and be constantly thinking about those foods, purely because you’ve told yourself you can’t have them.

If you have a sweet tooth, it’s more than okay to allow yourself to eat chocolate, cake or drink fizzy drinks, if these are what you enjoy. It’s about focusing on the quantities, which is why working with Embla we help to focus on being mindful with your eating, so you can enjoy a balance.

In with protein, fats and vegetables

The majority of your meals should be focused on 3 nutrient categories: protein, fat and vegetables. Getting this trio into your daily intake and boosting your meals and snacks helps to ensure your blood sugar levels are stable, improves your body's combustion of energy and keeps you feeling satisfied after your meal. And these are a crucial part of losing weight.

For women, your main meals should consist of 150-170g of a protein source (around ⅓ of your plate), 10-15g of fat and 100-300g of vegetables (around ½ your plate). For men, your main meals should consist of 225-265g of a protein source (again being around ⅓ of your plate), 10-15g of fat and 100-300g of vegetables (around ½ your plate). This is just an average, as each person is unique, the amount of protein may differ from person to person.

Protein is your key source to satiety, fat to boost your energy and vegetables for fibre (gut and bowel health), energy and daily vitamins. 

We often find that members have lost the ability to fill full and satisfied, but eating this way can help to discover what fullness means.

At first, it can be helpful to weigh out the different food groups, it gives you a good idea of what those portions really mean, but once you are used to eating to this method, it becomes easier to know how much you should be adding to your plate and what keeps you feeling full.

Continue reading to find an overview of good sources of protein, fats and vegetables.

Can I eat carbohydrates if I want to lose weight?

Although you shouldn’t restrict yourself from eating anything when aiming to lose weight, there are some areas you should be more mindful of your portion sizes and the types of food you consume. As a starting point, you should aim to swap out ‘white’ carbohydrate sources (eg. bread, rice, pasta etc.) for wholemeal/wholegrain options. The wholegrain options have a higher fibre content, meaning the energy is released slower and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Making small changes, such as swapping your white carbohydrates for wholegrain carbohydrates and being mindful of your portion being around ¼ of your plate can see fairly quick changes in the way your clothes fit.

How many meals should I eat?

Skipping meals is not a healthy way to balance your diet, especially when you’re wanting to lose weight. Having 3 main meals a day means your body gets a constant supply of energy and can function to the best of its ability, without the worry of starvation or having to store fat if it doesn’t get enough energy.
Prioritising your breakfast, lunch and dinner means you help stabilise your blood sugar levels, and are less likely to have energy drops which lead you to seek out unhealthier food choices, such as chocolate or crisps. 

You should also think about having 2-3 high protein snacks throughout the day too, it can help to boost energy between meals, and reduce the risk of you being over-hungry and over-eating at meal times.

Some snack ideas could be: 2-3 dates stuffed with peanut butter, 30g of unsalted nuts or a boiled egg and cucumber slices.

Bring on the greens

If you’re wanting to lose weight, and keep yourself feeling full and still eat your normal portions - so increasing your vegetable intake will help to increase your vitamin and fibre too, but also keep you feeling satisfied. Especially with your snacks, adding in some veg is a great idea!

 There are some vegetables that are higher in fibre, eg. carrots, broccoli, kale, beetroot and dark leafy greens. 

Having a good portion of vegetables with each meal and snack helps to reduce blood sugar spikes and also keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range - plus key to your weight loss journey.

Root vegetables are also healthy, but are slightly higher in energy, so we recommend having them 2-3 times a week.

Fruit is also a great addition to your daily intake, we recommend having 3 pieces of fruit a day, or around 300g.

Food suggestions for losing weight

If you eat a high-quality diet, naturally you’ll eat less. High quality means you base your diet on wholefoods, that are less processed and more in their natural state. For example; whole grains, vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, chicken, fish and nuts. 

These can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned in water/own juice.

A high-quality diet contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein, all of which work to stabilise your blood sugar levels and keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

Here are a few ideas of foods you might like to have in your daily diet:
  • Natural/greek yoghurt
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Chickpeas
  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Edamame Beans
  • Red/Green Lentils
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Legumes
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Steph Gregory
Steph Gregory
Health mentor
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