Let’s say that you have finally made the decision to shed those dreaded pounds and break out your swimsuit for the summer, that’s perfect because as you probably well know, we all have the potential to develop amazing bodies. When speaking about diet, a common misconception amongst most people is a starvation diet. Those nasty and unhealthy 500 or 800 calorie liquid diets pop up and you just can’t help but consider it.
Don’t! Just don’t!
The last thing you want to do is starve yourself of nutrients, especially when putting your body through strenuous exercises like weight lifting and cardio!
With that being said, let’s go over the fundamental principles of weight loss and then a clean eating grocery list for insane weight loss and superb results! If you want to transform your body and health all at the same time, this post is for you!
How To Lose Weight And The Importance Of A Healthy Diet
In my teens, the only way I knew how to lose weight was to run. Forget about diet, I thought running was everything!
I was obviously so misinformed!
(Before we go on, if you know enough about weight loss and just want the clean eating grocery list, feel free to skip this part of the post and scroll down to check out the list)
Even though I ran and did sit-ups, I continued to devour trays of lasagne and big fat cheesy burgers regularly. At school, my lunch usually consisted of 3 to 4 slices of cheese or meatloaf sandwiches. When I got home, I’d eat a serving of rice and curry and late supper would be a repeat of rice and curry or lasagne and burgers.
I never lost a single kg! In fact, I just kept putting on weight!
It was only after finishing school did I learn the importance of diet and calories. Basic science explains that weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume per day. If for instance, your body burns 1800 calories in a day and you eat only 1500 calories, you’re in a caloric deficit.
When that caloric deficit adds up to 3500 calories, you lose a pound of weight! Pretty damn simple!
The problem is that exercise is not a very easy way of entering a caloric deficit especially if your diet contains large amounts of carbohydrates.
You may be wondering, why are carbohydrates bad? Well, they’re not really bad (depending on the kind of carbs you eat). They’re just high in calories. Meaning that a small serving of rice may contain anywhere between 200 to 400 calories.
I may be wrong but I don’t think anyone in the world just eats rice for a meal and feels awesome about it! That’s crazy. Rice is not particularly high in nutrients either. Worse than rice is bread, buns and rolls. These carbohydrate-rich foods tend to also consist of sugar!
Sugar is bad for weight loss, particularly fat loss. Here’s why – sugar causes insulin spikes within your body. For as long as you have a spike of insulin and loads of glucose in your blood, you’re not going to burn fat for energy. If anything, those fat burning hormones are going to be blocked or hindered in the presence of insulin.
It is highly recommended that you quit sugar asap!
All in all, processed white carbs are just terrible for people trying to lose weight.
Once I learned about this, I decided to reduce or eliminate some carbs from my diet and replace them with alternative sources of foods with low carbohydrate counts. But that’s not the end of this conversation.
Your body needs to be fueled efficiently or else it’s going to be a miserable experience. What you need is an abundance of vegetables. Why? It’s because vegetables are packed with antioxidants, nutrients and minerals. More importantly, vegetables are very low in calories which means that you can eat a ton and still be in a massive caloric deficit!
Awesome, we’re making some good progress!
Now, let’s talk about protein. Why do you need adequate to a good amount of protein per day? Let’s say that you not only change up your diet to a low processed carb and high vegetable rich diet but you also throw in exercise, are you going to lose a lot of weight?
The problem is that there is the possibility of losing muscle mass when in a caloric deficit and engaging in too much cardio. To prevent muscle loss, you need adequate amounts of protein. On average, you need about 0.7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Pretty simple, right?
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Before you run over to a fitness store and dish out a ton of money for muscle building protein powders, I want you to think about whether or not you eat any form of meat or fish per day. You can easily get the amount of protein needed to maintain and even build muscle by simply eating adequate amounts of chicken, eggs, meats, fish and so on.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, hemp seeds, lentils and pea protein powder are excellent options for you!
To sum it all up to this point – Your diet needs to consist of carbohydrates from natural sources like vegetables such as sweet potatoes, you need to eat a ton of vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals and you need protein to maintain muscle mass.
We can now talk about the last factor in nutrition and that is healthy fats. When most people hear the word fat, they have a meltdown. They stockpile their fridge with a bunch of low-fat products (which are actually high in sugar and calories that render it bad for weight loss anyway).
There are good fats and bad fats and you need to differentiate between the two.
All that greasy junk food you see all over the place contains bad fats. We know this! But, healthy fats, on the other hand, are often ignored.
They’re essential to good health and shouldn’t be avoided unless for medical reasons. Good examples of healthy fats are coconut oil, grass fed butter, nuts, seeds, and avocado!
Don’t overindulge in them though, eat a modest amount and you’ll be perfectly fine with this well-rounded diet.
A side note: if you have any health conditions like I did, you might want to consult a doctor well versed in nutrition who can advise and monitor your health on certain foods. I say this because when psoriatic arthritis was active in my body, I couldn’t eat nightshades without having a flare up. However, as time went on and I healed my gut, I’ve been able to reintroduce some nightshades in moderate amounts without issues. It all depends on your body and it’s ability to break down and absorb foods.
Do You Need To Count Calories?
Depending on your food choices, the answer varies.
If you’re eating predominantly vegetables and protein made with healthy fats like coconut oil, you don’t need to count calories. That becomes even more apparent when you barely consume any sugar, even from fruits!
If, however, you opt to keep carbs in your diet but you’ve substituted white carbs for healthy carbs like brown rice and quinoa, then you’ll most likely need to count calories. If you’re eating loads of fruits, cheeses, and nuts, then you should most definitely keep a track of your calories.
As long as you’re in a deficit at the end of the day, then everything will work smoothly.
Aim for roughly a 300 – 500 calorie deficit per day. This ensures that you don’t lose weight rapidly and cause any negative issues to your body!
Oh yeah, don’t forget that exercise counts towards calorie expenditure. Make a note of how many calories you approximately burned from exercise and then vary your calorie consumption from food accordingly.
In simpler terms, if you’ve already burned like 600 calories from exercise, then you don’t need to eat in a usual calorie deficit for that day.
The Clean Eating Grocery List
Finally, we’ve made it to the part of this post that you probably want to read the most. The reason I broke down the role of diet and exercise above is so that you are properly equipped with all the information needed for purchasing healthy foods that promote weight loss.
This grocery list, although it is designed around weight loss, places an emphasis on consuming healthy foods so that your body feels amazing and looks amazing each and every day.
Here’s my elaborate clean eating grocery list for weight loss and overall health. Feel free to print this image for your personal use and please share it with your friends and family!