Weight loss begins in the kitchen when you stock it with fresh produce, lean protein and healthy snacks. Ban convenience foods loaded with empty calories, choose small plates to control portion sizes and up your water intake to reveal a thinner, healthier you in 10 days. Make over the foods in your kitchen and you’ll make over your whole body.
Throw It Out
Begin remodeling your kitchen into a waist-friendly zone by tossing out foods that have any of the following at the top of the ingredient list: high-fructose corn syrup, refined (enriched) white flour, and corn or soy oil. Also ditch foods with trans fats, which contribute to increased fat storage and high cholesterol.
Stock Up on Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
Build a weight loss plan that’s easy to follow by starting on a foundation of fresh fruits and vegetables. When fresh isn’t available, frozen is OK. Vegetables and fruits bolster your dieting efforts in that they’re loaded with filling fiber, water and micronutrients. Plus, they taste great. Don’t worry about the sugar in fruit. The body handles fruit sugar, or fructose, differently than it handles glucose or sucrose. Instead of spiking blood sugar, fructose ends up in your liver, where it is either used for energy or converted to fat. So, of course, you don’t want to overindulge in fruit or anything else while you’re trying to lose weight.
Prepare Lean Protein
Balance each meal with a serving of lean protein. From chicken and fish to beans and legumes, lean protein satiates hunger with fewer calories, according to a 2005 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Prepare these options ahead of time by baking a whole chicken and slicing it for salads throughout the week, or by preparing a lunch bowl of brown rice, black beans, corn, fresh salsa and cilantro and freezing it in individual containers.
Make Snacks Ahead
Convenience foods fill you with empty calories from refined flour, high fructose corn syrup, and corn and soy oils, all of which sabotage your weight loss goals. Nevertheless, these grab-and-go products answer a legitimate need for instant meals in a hectic world. Tackle the problem by preparing your own snacks ahead of time. Each should contain a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates to be most satiating and get you through to the next meal. Try a sliced apple with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, or a handful of almonds and a pear, or baby carrots with a hummus dip. Plan ahead, and you’ll save calories by eating whole foods.
Bring On the Water
Even if you’re hit over the head with stats about how important water is, sometimes it’s tough to remember to drink enough of the wet stuff. To help you remember, purchase a water bottle you’ll enjoy drinking from. Make hash marks on a note pad every time you refill it. Aim for at least 96 oz. of water daily to keep yourself adequately hydrated and ensure your body has what it needs for effective fat metabolism.
About this Author
Pamela Ellgen is an award-winning journalist and certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She graduated with a B.A. from Washington State University where she studied writing. Ellgen wrote for the Portland, Ore.-based newspaper, “The Asian Reporter,” for 10 years.