If your obesity has gotten the better of you and you want to gain the upper hand, your battle to lose weight will include two main categories – diet and exercise. You cannot hope to gain satisfactory results by doing just one and ignoring the other. We’ve already covered exercise for obesity in a different post. Today, we’ll look at the various elements of diet for obese women.
Exercise is a crucial aspect of any weight loss plan. When it comes to fighting obesity, exercise is indispensible. However, some women can be so obese that exercise can cause them more harm than gain. They have to lose some weight simply so that they can begin exercising.
It’s a long, hard road to losing weight. There is no way that you will be able to sustain your weight loss for long without a healthy diet. But you need that healthy diet to even get to a point where you can say you’ve lost a significant amount of weight.
Learning how to eat healthy is something every obese woman has to contend with. Although we already know how to eat healthy – our mothers and teachers constantly told us how – we tend to be very careless of our health and not really incorporate those lessons into our lives. So most of us have to start from scratch and get our basics straight.
What to Eat
There are three simple rules for a regular diet and these rules do not change when planning a diet for obese women. The food you eat should fulfill the following criteria:
- Keep you full for longer periods of time so that you refrain from snacking or binging.
- Be bursting with nutrition so that your bodily systems can derive the resources they need to function optimally. A healthy body equals a healthy metabolism and will boost your weight loss efforts.
- Be savoury so as to satisfy your palate so that you do not feel that you are missing out by being on a ‘diet’. Many women fail in their diet plans because they eat bland, insipid foods and do not make an effort to learn about healthy but tasty food choices. Learning how to cook healthier meals yourself is one of the ways to get around this problem. It will not only help you overcome obesity but will also allow you to keep your weight off in the long run.
A diet for obese women is no different than a diet for regular weight loss. Really, when people talk about going on a ‘diet’ it’s a misnomer. What they are really doing when they go on a diet is quitting their unhealthy eating habits. That’s all! That’s not so intimidating, is it? So every time you think of your diet for losing weight, structure your thoughts in such a way that you see yourself taking a positive step towards health, strength and vitality rather than cutting yourself off from treats. Your mindset is just as important in your weight loss efforts and indeed will be your main challenge when it comes to sticking to your plans.
Fruits and Vegetables
You really can’t go wrong with these two food categories. They should constitute a large part of your diet in all meals of the day. Try eating raw as much as possible. Fruits should be eaten raw while veggies should be only slightly cooked since over-cooking literally kills the enzymes that make food nutritious. This, by the way, goes for all types of food. Eating raw will also go a long way in firing up your metabolism and detoxifying your system.
Something else you should keep in mind when it comes to cooking veggies is to use healthy cooking methods like steaming, boiling, grilling or baking. Deep frying is a surefire way to destroy all possible nutrition and to convert a healthy food into artery-clogging junk. Here’s another thing a lot of folks do with veggies which isn’t the most diet-friendly – adding cheese, noxious gravy or high-fat dips.
Mostly, these unhealthy ideas come up when food is lacking flavour. Learn how to make use of the thousands of spices available on the planet. Your local grocery store alone has about a hundred. Figure out how to use them to add flavour to your food so that you do not have to use too much oil when cooking or toss on a gob of cheese just to get your veggies down your throat.
Fish is considered a lean, healthy meat and is very high in nutrition. Chicken and turkey without the skin is another good meat choice for a diet. But again, the way that you cook your meat is just as important. Baking is best. Fish can be fried in a light layer of oil.
Nuts and Seeds
A lot of people on diets shy away from including nuts and seeds on the grounds that they contain mostly just fat. Yes, they do. But fat is not your enemy. The fat in nuts and seeds are the good kinds of fat which your skin, hair and organs need simply to function. Anyway, it’s not like you have to have a bowl of nuts and seeds every single day. An assorted handful for a snack is more than enough.
Grains, pulses and beans
Rice, lentils, oats, maize, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, chickpeas are all filling foods thanks to their carbohydrate content. Don’t run away from carbs – they are the main fuel your body needs to function. Plus, good carbs like the ones in whole grains can make you feel fuller for longer periods of time which means you are less likely to snack on rubbish. Pulses are an abundant source of protein. So great is the protein content in pulses that it rivals even red meat. What’s more, pulses are known to help reduce belly fat.
Dairy is not as essential to a balanced diet as you think. Everything you get from dairy you can get in better quality and quantity from other foods. However, if you are used to dairy products then you may as well learn smarter ways to keep it in your diet. Limit the butter and cheese to a bare minimum, eliminating them altogether if you can manage it. Yoghurt can make a good snack. If using milk, try to get the skimmed variety.
Snacking is not a bad thing if you eat healthy, low-fat snacks like a handful of nuts and seeds, plain yoghurt with chopped up fruits, or a sandwich made with whole-wheat bread, veggies and a low-fat spread. There are innumerable low-fat, healthy snack options which will satisfy your taste buds as well as give you the boost of energy you need to keep you going through the day. Snacking also works psychologically – many people feel deprived when they go on a diet and snacking can help to change that way of thinking.
Don’t forget water
Drink at least two litres of water a day. Water boosts metabolism by flushing out the sludge and toxins from your system. Water doesn’t have a single calorie and yet it can fill you up and prevent you from binging. See for yourself. Have a glass of water about half an hour before your meal and you will notice that you do not eat as much.
Refined or processed foods are definitely out. These are full of empty calories, low on nutrition and full of toxic chemicals that the food industry will not tell you about. The chemicals get you addicted to bad eating habits, which is what keeps you buying the same junk over and over even though you know it’s bad for you. Don’t get taken in by this marketing gimmick. Junk the junk food altogether.
- Try saying no to the bakery products too. Take a vacation from the fancy breads, dinner rolls, biscuits and cakes until you have your obesity under reasonable control. A treat once in awhile is OK, but if you know that you will spiral into a binge if you eat a cookie then just steer clear of that cookie.
- Avoid deep-fried anything. Choose stir-fried options instead.
- Soft drinks should also be avoided on any weight loss plan. They bring nothing but sugar to the table and the satisfaction derived from them does not last too long.
- The same goes for alcohol. It only brings calories, providing no nutritional content altogether. If you must drink, cut it down to one unit of alcohol a week.
When to Eat
It’s not easy to come up with one definite answer for this one. After all, we are not all the same and each person will have different needs. You may already know that there are several schools of thought about the times of day to plan your meals. However, the very fact that there are so many leads to more confusion than clarity. There are some common factors in all these differing ideas though. Here are some of ground rules that you can work into your diet for weight loss.
- You really should try getting something to eat in the morning. All nutritionists and weight loss experts agree that not having breakfast leads to larger meals as the day progresses. You do not have to have an all-out buffet-type breakfast. Just make sure you get something into your system besides your tea or coffee like a bowl of fruit or oatmeal.
- Do not eat at least two to three hours before bed time. As you near your regular sleeping time, your body automatically starts to slow down its systems and anything you eat will not be metabolised properly so it will get stored as fat.
- During the day, try to eat small meals every two to three hours. Don’t let there be more than a four-hour gap between meals. Too long a gap and you will tend to overeat the next time you are around food. Another reason to eat so often is to boost your metabolism. Every time you eat, your body begins the process of digestion and this in itself burns calories but it also keeps your digestive system working efficiently provided you are eating small, healthy meals. The more efficient your digestive system, the better your metabolism and the more calories you will burn.
Many diet advocates are always talking about moderation in that it is not what you eat but how much you eat. Learn about what constitutes a healthy food portion for you. Because we are all so different and have varying calorie and nutritional needs, it is not possible to have a one-portion-fits-all thing going. When in doubt, use the balled fist principle. The size of your balled-up fist is the approximate amount of food you should be putting on your plate every two to three hours.
At the start of your diet plan, it’s a good idea to invest in a food scale to help you measure out the food portions suggested by a nutritionist. It will also help if you keep a food journal detailing how much you eat and whether it was satisfying. The body is a complex organism and you have to customize your portion sizes depending on your system rather relying completely on what a nutritionist or diet book has to say.
Give yourself a break
For most people, a too-rigid diet plan spells early doom. Do your best to stick to your diet as much as you possibly can but if you do happen to indulge in something that you know is bad for you don’t go beating yourself up about it. However, remember to practice portion control whenever you can. Instead of binging on a tub of ice cream, settle for two scoops. Rather than devouring a full box of pizza, try to keep it to just one or two slices. If you do happen to eat that whole box anyway, don’t quit your diet plan altogether. Just get back to it from your next meal onwards. Cheating a little once in awhile is OK. Being very rigid will make you claustrophobic and you’ll be trashing your diet in rebellion.
Conventional wisdom says that you should see your doctor before starting out on a diet plan. However, your general practitioner or your family doctor took just one or two classes on nutrition during his/her medical school studies so you cannot really expect them to have all the answers. If you want to really get down to business and learn about the kind of nutrition you need to lose weight, consult with a nutritionist as well as your doctor.