“I eat pretty healthy, but I just can’t seem to lose any weight.” Sound familiar? It does to me--my patients say it to me all the time.
Most of my patients don’t eat like garbage all day, yet they struggle to drop a pound on a healthy diet. Which begs the question: What’s the difference eating for health and eating for fat loss?
What Makes a Fat Loss Diet Different
Like a healthy diet, a fat loss diet will include very few (if any) packaged foods, will be chock full of vegetables and fiber (thus loads of vitamins and minerals), high in good quality, lean protein and contain a managed amounts of fruit and high fiber starchy carbohydrates (such as sweet potato, pumpkin and whole grains).
THE DIFFERENCE: A fat loss diet needs to be healthy, but must also honor the hormone insulin – your fat-storing hormone.
The problem with many healthy diets is that they tend to be too high in natural sugars, whole grain carbohydrates and low fat dairy products like the ever popular health food, Greek yogurt. All of these foods have a high insulin response, thus they send a message to your body to store fat.
These foods aren't bad--not at all--but if you're not eating fast food and pizza every day but can't seem to lean up, try these fat loss diet upgrades to your healthy diet:
BREAKFAST: Trade your bowl of oatmeal for an organic egg and veggie scramble with a piece of fruit or with just ¼ to 1/3 cup oatmeal to manage the insulin response.
LUNCH: Avoid the sandwich on whole grain bread and have a salad with a serving of protein such as chicken, turkey or salmon.
DINNER: Don’t be fooled by whole grain or brown rice pasta. They're not unhealthy, certainly, but if you're trying to lose weight, these may still not be your best option. Upgrading from regular pasta to whole grain is like me giving you $5 when what you really need is $500; it helps sure, but not enough to give you much fat loss. Instead, have a 4oz serving of high quality, lean protein and plenty of veggies. Or, rather than a huge bowl of pasta, opt for just 1/3 to ½ cup whole grain pasta tossed with grilled chicken breast and lots of veggies again, to manage insulin.
Brooke Kalanick, N.D., LAc is a naturopathic doctor and a graduate of Bastyr University, and the co-author of Ultimate You: A 4-Phase Total Body Makeover for Women Who Want Maximum Results. Visit her at betterbydrbrooke.com.