The internet is plagued with fad diets promising fast weight loss results with minimal effort. While some diets may lead to rapid weight loss, it is often water, not fat lost. Furthermore, in the time spent adhering to some of these outlandish fad diets, the body has been starved and deprived of essential nutrients and, consequently, its metabolism has slowed. The fact of the matter is, the body must have a well balanced diet in order to perform optimally. Additionally, a well-balanced die (especially when paired with regular exercise) will speed the body’s metabolism.
Mediterranean Diet Principles
The Mediterranean Diet was inspired by the dietary patterns of Italy, Spain, and Greece and emphasizes fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grain and healthy fats. Usually most people associate the Mediterranean Diet with tomatoes, olive oil, fish, etc when considering the Mediterranean Diet. In actuality, adhering to the principles of the Mediterranean Diet is very simple.
Load up on fruits and veggies – the more the better.
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.The antioxidants prevent various diseases, vitamins provide the body with the nutrients necessary to perform its normal functions efficiently, and fiber will provide the feeling of feeling full longer and serves as a natural cleanse. Be sure to consume a healthy mix of dark green leafy vegetables and colorful vegetables as well.
Switch to whole grain.
Despite what many people say, the body needs carbohydrates (in moderation). Carbs provide prolonged sources of energy for the body. But some carbs are better than others. Whole grains are less processed or refined than white rice, bread, and pasta and they retain the nutritional value lost in the refinement process. Whole grains are also high in fiber.
Substitute bad fats for good fats.
A mistake many people make in their diets is cutting out fat all together. However, totally removing fat from one’s diet is counterproductive to weight loss and health goals. The body needs fats to operate properly. Fats are needed in the composition of each cell’s membrane. Additionally abstaining from fats will increase the likelihood of binging on fats, which will definitely be a speed bump on your weight loss journey. So instead of having no fats, eat healthy unsaturated fats such as is in nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature whereas saturated fats are solid at room temperature. A good tip is to try cooking more with olive oil and snacking on nuts for a quick pick me up.
Limit or replace the dairy.
You don’t have to give up dairy totally. Instead of drinking whole milk, try switching to 2%, 1%, or skim. Better yet, switch to silk as an alternative. Silk is derived from soybeans. The soybean is legume and is extremely good for the body. All beans are legumes and are full of fiber, protein and omega-3s. Omega-3s support heart and brain health, reducing risk of such diseases as dementia and heart disease.
Cut out the processed meats and eat more fish and chicken.
Highly processed foods are not healthy! Bacon and hotdogs are no no’s! Instead opt for lean and healthy meats. Fish, for example is very high in omega-3s and is great for you. Chicken breast is a great source of protein. Red meat is not totally off the table. However it should be limited to a few times a month and be 95% lean.
You’ll notice that calories, a crucial factor in weight loss, have not yet been discussed. This is because the concept behind weight loss is very simple: calories burned>calories consumed. Even when eating the most unhealthy foods, weight loss is possible, provided more calories have been burned than consumed. But the reason many find it difficult to lose weight and keep it off is because of the foods eaten and not eaten. The foods suggested in the Mediterranean Diet provide the body with essential nutrients that allow it to function optimally and provides the energy needed to do the other major factor in health and weight loss – exercise.