Losing weight is a lot simpler than most people think. You just need to follow a simple formula: consume fewer calories than your body needs daily. That’s it. That’s how simple losing weight is. You follow that formula, and excess fat on your frame will start to melt off.
Think of your body as a biological car. When the car gets more fuel than it needs, the excess is stored as fat reserves. These fat deposits are then tapped for energy on days the car doesn’t get as much fuel as it needs. Put too much fuel in the car regularly, and the reserves will increase significantly.
Losing weight is about forcing your body to tap into its fat reserves regularly, so it uses them up. There are two ways to go about doing this: diet and exercise. Dieting simply means restricting the things you eat to meet a specific fitness goal. For this article, that goal is losing weight, so dieting for us will be watching how many calories we consume so we have a calorie deficit daily. Consume fewer calories than your body needs daily, and you’ll lose weight.
Exercise is just as important when it comes to losing weight; it uses up energy, making it easier for you to reach a caloric deficit. For example, let’s say you need to consume no more than 2,000 calories daily to reach a caloric deficit, but exercises like high-intensity interval training and martial arts classes can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour spent in the gym. That means you’d be able to consume up to 3,000 calories on days you train, making your diet less restrictive.
Exercising can also speed up your metabolism, so your body burns more calories. For example, intense exercises like weightlifting lead to increased calorie burn long after your workout sessions. Exercising protects you against a myriad of health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It also helps to maintain muscle mass as you lose weight. The Health Promotion Board recommends getting 75 minutes of intense exercise or 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise per week.
The best approach to losing weight is combining dieting with exercise. This way, your body burns more calories while your diets are less restrictive.
Speed Up Your Weight-Loss Journey By Complementing Your Workouts With These 18 Food Combos
Ready to learn about some foods that can speed up your weight loss journey? Let’s jump right into our list:
1) Chicken And Cayenne Pepper
Chicken breasts should be a significant part of your weight loss diet if you’re a meat eater. A single breast gives you 27 grams of protein, giving your body all it needs to repair your sore muscles after your workouts. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or fats, so you also get to enjoy that full feeling for longer periods.
You can make the chicken with cayenne pepper or make a sauce you dip the chicken in as you eat. Cayenne pepper contains ingredients that keep hunger pangs away and boosts calorie burn. You can add some brown rice to the meal.
2) Dark Green Salad With Avocado
Salads made from dark greens like kale or spinach are high in nutrients and low in calories, but salads sometimes don’t give you that full feeling. Add some avocado to the salad to make it more filling. Avocados increase your body’s ability to absorb antioxidants found in leafy greens that boost the immune system, and it contains healthy fats that keep you feeling full for longer.
Unlike most fruits, avocados aren’t high in carbs. Instead, they are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and water, which makes them incredibly filling. Avocados are perfect for any salad since their fat content increases how much carotenoid antioxidants your body absorbs from greens. Some studies show that it can increase carotenoid absorption by up to 16 times. They also help to absorb other fat-soluble nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamins.
3) Vegetable And Beans Soup
This meal works well for lunch or dinner. The liquid fills up your stomach, leaving less space for higher-calorie foods. People who start with soup before moving on to their main course consume 20 percent fewer calories. Adding beans to the soup adds fiber and protein and makes the soup even more filling.
4) Eggs, Peppers, And Black Beans
Eggs are another food that should be a significant part of your diet if you want to lose weight. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition states that people who eat eggs for breakfast eat less for the rest of the day than those who eat other foods for breakfast. Add black beans to add more protein and fiber to the meal and peppers to boost your metabolism and curb your appetite.
5) Oatmeal With Walnuts
Oatmeal is rich in fiber and doesn’t take long to make. Fiber slows down digestion and takes up space in your stomach since your body can’t break it down. Oatmeal is an excellent fiber source; adding walnuts adds more fiber to the meal and some protein and healthy fats.
6) Sweet Potatoes And Salmon
The omega-3 fats in oily fish like salmon are excellent for your brain, heart, and waistline. Fish is also a rich source of protein, with a small three-ounce serving containing about 17 grams of protein. Bake or grill your fish and add some sweet potatoes to make the meal more filling. Sweet potatoes are low in calories and rich in fiber.
7) Green Tea With Lemon
Here’s a refreshing drink that can help to curb hunger pangs. It’s a low-calorie beverage with antioxidants like catechins that help burn fat and calories. Some studies show that drinking four cups of green tea daily lowers blood pressure and weight. Adding lemon to the drink provides vitamin C, which increases your ability to absorb nutrients.
8) Steak And Broccoli
This healthy meal will give you the energy you need to go to the gym and work hard. Beef is a rich source of iron, which helps to create and maintain red blood cells. Red blood cells take oxygen to your organs, giving you more energy for your workouts. Iron deficiencies typically lead to people feeling chronically fatigued.
Beef is also a rich source of protein, giving your muscles the building blocks they need to repair themselves after workouts. Add some broccoli to your steak to add vitamin C, which improves your body’s ability to absorb iron. A cup of broccoli contains more vitamin C than you need daily.
9) Ground Beef And Mushrooms
Yes, you can enjoy burgers while dieting to lose weight. The trick is to swap half of the meat you’d use to make one with mushrooms. That way, the burger doesn’t lose any flavor. Mushrooms also help to maintain your blood sugar levels, which helps to fight off hunger cravings. You can add whole-grain bread and cheese to complete your meal. That adds more fiber and protein to the meal, meaning you feel fuller for longer.
10) Yogurt And Raspberries
Here’s a healthy snack for those times you’re craving something sweet. It’s a great source of vitamin D and calcium, which are believed to help with fat burn. Look for calcium-fortified yogurt, which can contain up to 40 percent of your daily calorie need. Adding raspberries to the meal adds fiber, which fills you up and increases the sweetness.
11) Apple And Pistachios
This is another healthy snack that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s loaded with fiber, healthy fats, and protein to curb hunger cravings. Pistachios are low-calorie nuts, with about 50 containing only 160 calories. You also have to do a little work to get to the nut, preventing you from munching on them thoughtlessly. The sweetness of the apple will satisfy your sugar cravings, and it comes with 4 grams of fiber to keep your stomach full.
12) Cauliflower With Olive Oil
Cauliflower is a low-calorie food that’s also low on the glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t raise your blood sugar significantly. Some studies show that foods low on the glycemic index tend to promote more weight loss than starchier foods. Chop up some cauliflower and drizzle some olive oil on it before putting it in the oven to make it more flavorful. The fats from the olive oil will make you feel fuller after the meal.
13) Dark Chocolate With Almonds
Trying to eliminate sweet foods from your diet only increases the odds of you going back to unhealthy eating habits. Your diet should never feel like a punishment or some ordeal you have to power through, so add some sweets like dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and it promotes heart health. Pair it with almonds or some other nut you like to add protein and fiber to the snack.
14) Whole-Wheat Tortilla And Fish
Here’s a flavorful dish that won’t make you feel like you’re on a diet. Fish tacos are a simple dish to make, and it’s rich in protein. Whole-wheat tortillas are low-calorie and rich in fiber, making the meal more filling. Add some salsa to increase the flavor and add some vitamins and antioxidants to the meal.
You can substitute the fish for ground beef mixed with mushrooms or chicken if that’s more to your taste.
15) Beans And Salad
Legumes like black beans, kidney beans, and lentils can be beneficial for weight loss. These foods are rich in fiber and proteins. They fill your stomach and give your muscles the proteins they need to rebuild after workouts.
The downside of eating beans is the potential for bloating and gas, but preparing them correctly helps to alleviate these side effects. A simple trick you can use to avoid excess gas after consuming beans is to soak your beans in water for a few hours before cooking.
Add a salad to your beans to make the meal even more filling, and infuse some vitamins and antioxidants.
16) Leafy Greens With Lean Meat
You can combine leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, and kale with any lean meat of your choice to create a healthy meal.
These greens have several characteristics that make them excellent for maintaining or losing weight. For example, leafy greens are rich in fiber, making you feel full for longer periods. They also contain compounds called thylakoids that help manage your appetite.
People who are on medication like blood thinners should consult with a healthcare professional to determine how much green vegetables are safe for them to consume. The vitamin K in these vegetables can interfere with some medication.
17) Fruit Baskets
A doctor has probably told you to eat more fruits at some point in your life. These are rich sources of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They also contain healthy sugars, so use them to fight sugar cravings.
Most fruits have a low energy density, so the sugars in them are slowly processed by your body, preventing them from significantly raising your blood sugar levels. However, you might have to watch your fruit consumption if you’re on a low-calorie diet due to their sugar content.
You can add fruits to your meals, make smoothies with them, or top healthy desserts like yogurt with them.
18) Whole Greek Yogurt With Fruit
Greek yogurt contains twice as much protein compared to regular yogurt and has probiotic bacteria that help with digestion. Look for terms like active or live vultures when purchasing Greek yogurt. Healthy gut bacteria help to protect against leptin resistance – a primary hormonal driver for obesity.
Go for the whole-fat variety since that’s linked to a reduced risk of obesity and diabetes. Avoid flavored yogurt as much as possible since it often contains added sugar or other fillers. Instead, add your favorite fruit to increase the flavor profile. You can also blend both ingredients to make a smoothie.
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