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Why is it important to eat to lose weight ?

Why is it important to eat to lose weight ?

Whether you want to lose weight, improve your health overall, or do both, you’ve likely scrutinized your calorie intake. Calories give you the energy you need to function properly. While keeping track of calories helps when you want to lose or maintain weight, you also need to make sure that you’re getting enough calories from the food you eat each day.

Don’t Let Your Daily Calorie Intake Get Too Low

Did you know ? A too big calorie deficit can slow down your metabolism.

You may be tempted to cut down on your daily calories when you want to lose weight. However, not only is cutting down your calories significantly unhealthy, but it also can stop you from losing weight in the end. Understanding your overall metabolism is key to understanding the importance of calories.

When your calorie intake is too low, you may not get all the nutrients your body needs. Additionally, your body’s natural response to a decrease in food can lead to your body’s metabolism slowing so that your body can conserve energy. In the long run, this slowing metabolism can lead to weight gain.

Combining exercise with calorie control when you want to lose weight is important. You can continue to eat enough calories for your body while staying on a path to weight loss. You need a calorie deficit to lose weight, and the calories you burn when you’re exercising can help you reach that goal.

So, in the race for losing weight, which is more effective ; Eating better or exercising more ?

Contrary to what a lot of people think, it’s much more important for you to watch what you eat than it is to exercise when you’re trying to lose weight. It’s much easier to eat fewer calories than it is to burn them off as you exercise. Not only that, but if you try to exercise more, your body will likely respond by telling you that you need more calories. That extra hunger that results will make it more difficult for you to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, focus primarily on eating better.

Nutrition tips

If nutrition is so important for weight loss, the more help you get, the better you’ll do. Try these tips:

  • Keep a food journal. It’s hard to know how much you’re eating unless you’re keeping track of what you put into your mouth. Write down what you eat — and be truthful.
  • Choose whole foods over processed foods. Whole foods tend to be healthier.
  • Load up your plate with plants. At least half your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. The more you eat, the better you’ll do. It’s pretty hard to fit in too many vegetables.
  • Plan ahead. Make a meal plan. Prepare foods and snacks ahead of time. Bring food with you when you’re commuting or traveling so you won’t end up in the drive-through.
  • Skip fad diets in favour of long-term success and health. Choose a healthy lifestyle you can maintain long-term. It might take a little longer to see the kind of success you want, but your success will be lasting.
  • Get help from a registered dietitian/ nutritionist. A dietitian/ nutritionist is a provider who can work with you to plan meals, get ideas for healthy eating habits, and provide accountability to help you stay on track.

Eating More than Three Times a Day

There does appear to be an inverse association between weight and eating frequency. That is, the heavier a person is, the less often they eat. In fact, research suggests that people of normal weight and formerly obese people who have maintained their weight loss eat about four times per day, compared with obese people. Here are some potential benefits and disadvantages to eating more than three times per day.

Benefits include:

A decrease in hunger and an increase in fullness, which can potentially prevent overeating. In fact, when people become very hungry the risk increases that they will choose unhealthy high-calorie foods, such as pizza and soda. This can lead to eating too much at one sitting.

More opportunities to consume healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Potential disadvantages include:

Choosing snacks that do not leave us satisfied, which can lead to overeating later in the day.

More mindless eating. Unhealthy food options are everywhere to tempt us. We learn to respond to cues, such as food availability, rather than hunger and fullness. This can lead to overeating. Eating three meals a day can help us resist tempting foods and overeating. This helps promote weight loss.

You are what you eat

What we put into our bodies makes a difference and the benefits of eating a healthy diet are as numerous as the benefits of exercise: It decreases your risk for chronic disease, helps with weight control, assists in stress management, decreases the effects of aging and improves your skin and brain health. Sound familiar? The benefits of good nutrition are the same as exercise, making the two together a powerful recipe for good health!

When it comes to weight loss, what you eat matters. It’s clear that you need to restrict calories in your diet to lose weight, but not all calories are created equal. Calories from sugar promote fat storage and hunger. Ever try to satisfy your hunger with a candy bar, only to be hungry again a short time later and eat more? Calories from fat and protein help you feel full longer.

One way to approach healthy nutrition is to follow the Mediterranean diet, proven to promote good health. The Mediterranean diet emphasis food from plant sources (fruits and vegetables), breads, whole gains, low- and non-fat dairy, fish and poultry, nuts, seeds and olive oil, while avoiding processed foods. If you follow a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet you’ll be eating more low-calorie-dense foods.

Finally, diet and exercises are both important for long-term weight loss and your overall health. Find ways to include daily activity and healthier food choices in your life. For the best success, start slow and increase gradually; squeeze in one 10-minute walk and have an apple with lunch.

References :

1. [Last accessed on Dec 2012]. Available from: http://who.int/mediacenter/factsheets/fs311/en .

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