Healthy foods that help you control your weight

5 min. reading
Healthy Life, Nutrition / 12 April, 2019

Communications

If we want to lose weight we have to realise that we need to change our eating habits and we often do not manage to do this, because we see weight loss as a temporary, demanding and sacrificial process.

In addition, many studies have shown that between 80% and 90% of people who try to lose weight do not achieve long-term results, many of them because they follow a diet which involves a very drastic reduction in calories (30% of their usual calorie intake), causing them to lose muscle tissue and slowing down their metabolism: leading to the dreaded “rebound effect”.

So, faced with this reality, we need to make a paradigm shift and focus on improving our relationship with food, changing our concept of “diet” as something boring, and finding ways to enjoy eating healthily without it becoming monotonous.

You do not have to eat less, you have to eat better

This is one of the main premises that we must take into account when starting a diet in order to lose weight: the quality of what we eat has a huge influence on the results we obtain. This means that we need to opt for those foods that provide us with important nutrients and that keep us full for longer to stop unnecessary “snacking” between meals. These foods include:

  • Vegetables: any and in all forms (salads, soups, stir-fries, etc.)
  • Fruits: any which are in season and local
  • Quality proteins: lean meats (chicken, turkey, rabbit, lean beef), white fish (hake, cod, turbot, etc.) oily fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies) pulses (chickpeas, lentils, beans, soya beans), whole milk products (yoghurt, milk, cheese) and eggs.
  • Complex carbohydrates: potatoes, sweet potatoes, and (wholegrain) rice, pasta and bread
  • Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil (the best option for cooking and dressing foods), coconut oil, unsalted nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) and avocado
  • Other foods: vegetable protein derivatives (tofu, seitan, textured soy) and seeds (sesame, flax, chia, sunflower, etc.)

Faced with this great variety of foods, the secret lies in how to combine them to prepare breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that fit our food preferences and that are also pleasing to our palate.

 How do we combine these quality foods in an attractive way?

When preparing dishes for main meals, we should consider basing them on the “healthy eating plate” recommended by the Harvard School of Public Health.

On this basis, we can prepare our lunches or dinners as one or two dishes (or as a lunch box), paying attention to the different food groups (referred to earlier) and their relative proportions. So, we must bear in mind that:

  • Vegetables and/or fruit should represent 50% of our intake.
  • Quality proteins should account for 25%.
  • Whole grains or carbohydrates should make up the remaining 25%.
  • We can also include healthy fats in our meals and drink water to accompany them.

Other top tips to help us enjoy eating

In addition to the food guidelines we have suggested so far, there are other very important aspects that should be taken into account to ensure more effective weight loss, which help us stick to dietary rules and learn good eating habits. Key among these factors are:

  • Motivation: in order to avoid frustration and maintain our will power, we should set short-term and achievable objectives. It is not only a question of weighing ourselves once a week, but also of keeping a diary to note down any small changes we make to our eating behaviour (for example, increasing vegetable intake, avoiding foods with sugar, etc.) so that we are aware of the improvements in our diet.
  • Planning and cooking: to make healthy meals we also need to improve our culinary skills. Preparing our own dishes or lunch boxes to take to work will make them healthier and avoid the consumption of highly processed foods. For this, it is important to start by making a shopping list that includes more products from markets and fewer from supermarkets, taking advantage of seasonal products so that, in addition to being more appetising, our food is also cheaper and more sustainable.
  • Stress management: eating slowly and in a pleasant environment promotes digestion and improves the feeling of fullness. Therefore, at lunch and dinner, we recommend avoiding the use of screens (computer, mobile, television, etc.) and giving ourselves enough time to be more aware of what we eat. It is also a good idea to keep busy doing things that stop us from thinking of food as a “solution” to our problems: from reading a book to taking a walk or doing yoga sessions can help us in that aspect.

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