Dieting. Do people still use that word? As a Registered Dietitian and maybe just a human who loves to eat, it makes me cringe. The philosophy of cutting foods out to lose weight, sure it makes sense, but what happens when you add those foods back in? The answer is a given, the weight comes back. Instead of thinking about what not to eat, why don’t we start thinking about what we should be eating. Period. As moms especially, we need all the fuel to keep us going through tantrum thirty, middle of the night wake ups, and of course our sweaty SLAM mornings.
Studies show that under eating can slow your metabolism, decrease your muscle mass, and then there’s the obvious—leave you just plain hungry. Many people struggling to lose weight are often so focused on the numbers and the caloric intake that their body is starving—so much so that it holds on to those extra pounds. If you eat more of the good stuff, you may just surprise yourself and reach your goals.
The Good Stuff
- Protein is always getting attention and rightfully so. Your body has to work harder to digest protein, thus it expends more energy aka calorie burn. It gives life to your muscles and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Well that’s fine and dandy, we live in a world where it’s hard to meet our protein needs. Quick breakfast foods and snacks for the mom on the go lifestyle aren’t usually bursting with protein. So how can you add in more?
Try doubling your size of your protein foods. Instead of one egg, have two. Instead of two slices of turkey, have four.
Ensure all of your snacks have protein in some capacity. A banana after SLAM, okay add in a string cheese. Carrots for an afternoon pick me up?—add in some hummus.
A protein supplement is not always necessary but can be useful if you’re really struggling to meet your needs. Do some “shopping” and see what may work well for you right now.
- Water is your best friend. Typically, thirst can present as hunger and lead to overeating of the not so good stuff. Studies have even shown a significant increase in metabolism from proper H2O intake.
If you struggle to get enough, find a water bottle that you enjoy drinking out of: some people prefer straws and are able to drink more water with one. When you wake up in the morning, drink a cup of water right away and have a glass right after dinner as well (not to mention, all throughout the day).
- Legumes and beans are so hot right now. They are filled with protein and other awesome nutrients that increase metabolism, plus they offer a plant-based approach to protein intake and they provide good amounts of fiber to keep your gut and your butt (okay I couldn’t resist) feeling good.
Black beans and chickpeas are two easygoing beans that often provide a lot of fun textures and soak up the flavors of your dishes, so adding them in to your staples list would be wise.
- Green tea has been considered a metabolism booster for some time. While I am not a green tea drinker, I have read studies of its success with weight loss in diabetics. It is filled with special antioxidants that are believed to be the reason for this magic so if you’re into tea, drink up. If not, coffee is also an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. Just try to keep your cup of Joe to the morning hours so you can get some good Zzzzs since that’s just as essential for fat loss and muscle building.
- Whole grains are probably my favorite on this list: brown rice I’m looking at you. Whole grains are filled with fiber and a decent amount of protein. Talk about some good fuel. They get a bad rap in so many circles, but choosing a good quality grain is truly imperative in providing nutrients to your body that will sustain you and promote weight loss if warranted. Try adding oatmeal with peanut butter to your morning, and use quinoa and brown rice in your dinner rotations. Your body will thank you.
Other foods that have been shown to increase metabolism are healthy fats such as avocados and coconut oil, chile peppers, and apple cider vinegar. So there you have it, stop undereating and instead start focusing on getting in the good stuff. And while fruits and veggies didn’t make this list, they’re a no brainer on what you should be stuffing your face with. If you’re reading this and I made you hungry, you’re welcome. Go eat the good stuff mama!