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Central California Life Magazine

You need to eat to lose

Apr 20, 2015 09:27PM ● By Cen Cali Life Magazine

You need to eat to lose

by Rhonda Murphy as told to Abigail Martin

As springtime rolls around, lighter and fresher foods are available at the supermarkets. Take this opportunity to enhance your diet with plenty of nutrient-rich food and, more importantly, protein.

One of the biggest misconceptions about diet among people trying to lose weight is that they have to eat less to lose pounds. This is not the case.

In fact, the older we get, the slower our metabolism runs. To keep it burning calories and fat throughout the day, we must keep it fueled with foods that allow it to do so.

The rule of thumb to follow: Eat a handful of healthy foods every three hours.

It is also important to feed your body the proper foods that keep it energized. Think about food as gas for your car – to keep it running, you must keep its tank fueled. If you use the wrong kind of fuel, you will damage your engine. Eat the foods that keep you going, now and in the long run. Stay away from bad fats and processed sugars; they will turn to stubborn fat that is very hard to get rid of.

The best food to keep your muscles strong, lean and toned is protein. Protein is dense, so it sustains your body longer. The top three proteins to consume are eggs, fish and poultry, in that order. All other meats should be consumed sparingly because they have a higher fat content.

To successfully lose fat, you should be eating one gram of protein per one pound of lean body mass. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds and your body fat percentage is 20 percent, 20 pounds of your weight are from fat and the other 80 pounds are lean body mass. Therefore, you should eat about 80 to 90 grams of protein per day.

Incorporating extra protein is not hard to do. Hard-boiled eggs, a bag of jerky or a can of tuna are all easily accessible and can be eaten as snacks or on the go.

In addition to increasing your protein intake, replace chips, crackers and candies with vegetables, fruits and nuts. Again, this is easier to do than you think. Throw some celery and peanut butter, an orange and a cucumber in your lunch bag. Make your own trail mix by combining almonds and raisins in a baggy instead of consuming store-bought mix that contains chocolate.

Keep your carbohydrates to those found naturally. Oatmeal, yams, potatoes and rice are all better than processed breads. You can prepare five baked potatoes on Sunday night for your week ahead as they are easy to reheat.

Additionally, three of the most nutrient-rich foods you can add to your meals are almonds, spinach and kale. Almonds are easy to store and snack on at any time. Replace iceberg lettuce with spinach and kale when possible.

The most important thing to remember: Eat more good food, more often. You cannot starve to lose weight.