If you are male and suffer from obesity, you may find that a 2-step approach to losing weight is best.
First, change the type of food you eat, then reduce calories – as follows:
Step One: Change The Type Of Food You Eat
Your first step – which may last for 3-4 weeks – is to reduce your intake of high-fat and high-sugar foods, and replace them with healthier options which are lower in fat and higher in fiber. In addition, you should choose more whole grain carbs, and reduce your intake of sodium. Lastly, you should eat regularly throughout the day. No more skipping meals and snacks, or eating very little during the day. However, calorie counting is not important at this stage. What matters is that you change the type of food you consume, and eat regularly.
If you drink alcohol regularly, start reducing your intake now. There is no need to stop drinking completely, but limit your intake to no more than 2 glasses of beer or wine per day (heavy drinkers) or 1 glass per day (moderate drinkers).
By choosing healthier foods and avoiding long gaps between meals, you achieve a number of benefits. First, you reduce your “taste” for fatty, sugary and salty foods, all of which adversely affect your digestion and health. Second, you reduce cravings. Third, you improve your blood sugar levels. Fourth, you help to improve digestion. Fifth, you boost your energy levels. In addition, it is probable you will lose weight, although as stated this is not the main concern at this point.
Types Of Food To Eat (Or Avoid)
The aim is to reduce your intake of saturated, hydrogenated or trans-fats. To achieve this, please note the following:
- Limit yourself to three helpings of red meat per week.
- When eating red meat, remove all visible fat.
- Replace red meat with white or oily fish.
- Oily fish (eg. salmon, mackerel) is rich in healthy omega-3 essential fats.
- White fish (eg. cod, haddock) is rich in protein, low in fats.
- Replace full-fat cheese with reduced fat cheese.
- Use shredded cheese rather than slices.
- Switch to lower-fat dairy foods (eg. milk, yogurt)
- Use butter very sparingly.
- Do not add butter, mayo or sour cream to food.
- If you are a mayo-addict, switch to very-low-fat varieties.
- Instead, use salsa, chili sauce, lemon juice or other low-fat add-ons.
The aim is to reduce your intake of refined carbs, while increasing your intake of whole grains. Also, choose high-fiber options whenever possible. To achieve this, please note the following:
- Choose dense/chewy breads. The denser/chewier the bread, the better.
- Look for breads containing “wholewheat” or “wholegrain flour”.
- Eat brown or basmati rice, rather than “instant” or white varieties.
- Eat new potatoes, rather than mashed or baked.
- Regular pasta is fine. But do not overcook. Wholewheat pasta is better.
- Avoid egg-pasta.
- Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, or any 100% wholewheat cereal is fine.
- Best cereals include oats, traditional granola/muesli.
- Avoid all frosted, candied cereals.
- For more information, see GI Diet Advice
The aim is to reduce your intake of red-meat protein, while increasing your intake of fish and vegetable protein. To achieve this, please note the following:
- Eat at least one meat-free main meal each week. Two is better.
- Include soy beans, red kidney beans or lentils in your meat-free meal.
- Eat plenty of white fish, an excellent low-fat source of protein.
- Skinless chicken fillets are also good sources of protein.
- Egg whites contain more protein than egg yolks, but no cholesterol.
- Nuts and seeds are a useful source of vegetable protein.
Fruits and Vegetables
The aim is to eat a wide variety of fruit and veggies, the wider the better. These foods are rich in antioxidants and phyto-chemicals, which improve immunity and help combat serious disease. Please note the following:
- Ideally, vegetables should occupy half your dinner-plate.
- Fresh or frozen vegetables are better than canned.
- Eat regular helpings of leafy green vegetables (eg. spinach, kale, green cabbage).
- Eat regular helpings of colored vegetables (eg. peppers, carrots, tomatoes).
- Eat regular helpings of broccoli, onions and salad vegetables.
- Aim to eat at least two medium fruits a day.
- Citrus fruits (eg. oranges, grapefruits) are rich in vitamin C.
- Apples are rich in soluble fiber, helpful in reducing cholesterol.
- Eat whole fruits (inc. chopped) rather than drink fruit juice.
- The sugar in whole fruits is harmless due to its fiber wrapping.
Step Two: Control Your Calorie Intake
Once you have managed to increase your intake of healthier foods as outlined above, you may focus on weight reduction by following a specific calorie-controlled eating plan.