If my weight gets up towards 200, I get get it back down fairly reliably by switching what I eat. I also exercise more regularly and try to not increase intensity too much or it’s not sustainable. The exercise part is easy. Do cardio. All cardio is good, cycling is best because it burns the most calories for the time invested and for the strain on your joints/tendons/ligaments.
When it comes to eating, my two main guides or Gary Taubes “Why we get fat and what to do about it” and of course Tim Ferris’s blog post “How to lose 20lbs of fat in 30 days without exercise“. Tim is pretty good at making extreme claims, so I don’t buy the no-exercise thing. But if you want a blog post that has a good basic low GI diet, Tim’s post is the way to go.
When I get into diet mode, there are a few foods that are just life savers because they’re filling and are low calorie or low GI or both. These are the foods that really help me out because they taste great and leave you feeling full while providing important micro-nutrients without the fat or high GI:
- Black beans. Fill up on these. Low GI and you can bulk prepare them.
- Brocolli. Love this stuff. Very filling, low calorie, and packed with awesome micronutrients. Can be a bit dry, so use a small amount of either avocado or olive oil, but be very careful because both are SUPER calorie dense.
- Brussel Sprouts. Same as brocolli.
- Tomatoes. Very low calorie but important source of Vitamin C, anti-oxidants and flavor.
- Mushrooms. Super low calorie and packed with Vitamin D. Don’t use oil. Use a hot pan, put the mushrooms in and then add a quarter cup of water and let it sizzle and saute them as if you had used oil. Keeps the calorie count super low and lets you cook them in a pan.
- Chicken Breast without skin. Very high in protein, very low in fat, so you get a lot of protein per calorie. The protein in the chicken breast makes you feel full long after your meal, especially if you kept the meal low GI. So this is a real life saver when you combine it with the foods above.
These 6 foods are the foundation of any diet I use these days. I’ve used MyFitnessPal to track calories and macro nutrients over time and learned that the above foods are a great way to feel full, have plenty of carbs and protein and maintain your energy level, while keeping the calorie count from getting out of control.