What Should I Be Eating to Lose Weight?

Selection of healthy, protein-rich foods


Lose weight by filling your diet with lean proteins, fruits, veggies and whole grains

Do a quick search online and you'll find endless ways to drop those extra pounds, many promising fast results. But while you might lose weight initially by cutting all white food from your diet or drinking only fresh juice for 10 days, you may have a tough time keeping it off. To lose the weight long-term, create an eating plan you can follow for the rest of your life so you'll only have to lose the weight once. That being said, you may have more success filling your diet with weight-loss friendly foods such as lean protein, fruits, veggies and whole grains.

The Mathematics of Weight Loss

Weight loss is a simple mathematical formula. If you want to lose weight, your calories in must be smaller than your calories out. Fad diets work because they force you to cut calories, often in extremes, by eliminating foods or whole food groups. But you don't have to go that far. Cutting 250 calories from your diet everyday can lead to a 1/2-pound weekly weight loss. This can be as simple as trading in your caramel-blended coffee drink, 420 calories per 16-ounce serving, for a cup of coffee with a splash of milk, which has fewer than 100 calories per 16-ounce serving. That may be all you need to do to start your weight loss journey.

While you may be eager to lose the weight, the key to successful calorie management for weight loss is to not cut too much. Most health care professionals agree that you should not lose more than 2 pounds a week. Fast weight loss may cause you to lose more calorie-burning muscle than you want, zap your energy and leave you feeling hungry. Depending on size and activity, most adults can safely lose weight eating 1,200 to 1,800 calories a day.

The Power of Protein

If most diets leave you so famished you find yourself binging on your kid's fruit snacks late at night, you may be skimping on protein. This macronutrient offers a number of benefits for weight loss, including hunger control, management of cravings and promotion of fat loss. Protein keeps the hangry monster away by increasing satiety hormones and decreasing hunger hormones. As an added bonus, the improved hunger control from protein also makes cutting calories a little easier. Cravings and late-night snacking can wreck havoc on your weight loss. But upping your daily protein intake to about 25 percent of your daily calories or 95 grams on a 1,500-calorie diet, may help quash these diet saboteurs, according to a 2011 study published in Obesity. A side effect of any weight loss diet is muscle loss, but getting enough protein may help you lose more fat weight than muscle weight.

Good sources of protein for your weight loss diet include poultry, seafood, lean read meat, Greek yogurt, eggs, soy foods, beans and nuts. To get the most benefits, include a source of protein at every meal and snack.

Filling up With Fiber

Protein may be your best friend when you're trying to lose weight, but that doesn't mean you can't be friends with carbs. Not all carbs are the best choices when it comes to weight loss, however. Instead of sugary drinks, cake, cookies and potato chips, add carbs rich in nutrients and fiber such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your weight loss plan. Like protein, the fiber in these foods also aids in hunger control. Choosing the more nutrient-rich carbs also boosts energy and overall health.