Amid a million diets, it leaves many people wondering: what does a balanced and healthy diet for weight loss look like? Is it better to eat high fat? Keto? Paleo?
While there are many different diets out there and it is true that some work better than others, there are a few staples to weight loss that rings true across the board!
If you have been wanting to lose weight for quite some time but are done with short-term and fad approaches, then this article is definitely for you.
Be prepared to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way while claiming back your energy like never before!
1. Know the Basics
I know you’ve heard the term before: calories in vs calories out.
While I don’t believe that is all there is to weight loss, it does play a part! If you are eating 3000 calories and burning only 2000 throughout the day, you will lose weight. But how exactly do calories work and how do they play into weight loss?
The first thing you need to know is this:
3,500 Calories = one pound of fat!
That means if you were to eat 500 calories less than you burn, you would lose roughly 1 pound a week. If you were to eat 1,000 calories less, you would burn 2 pounds of body fat a week.
Obviously, this isn’t all there is to it. If so, it would mean you could eat 1,500 calories of sugar and still lose weight, which is entirely untrue. However, it is important to understand!
A lot of people will eat healthily and think calories don’t matter. But that’s not the truth. If you are eating handfuls of nuts every day, you probably won’t lose weight very easily.
If you meet most people who say they eat healthily and don’t worry about calories, I can almost guarantee you that there are some secrets that they might not even know they are following that help them lose weight effortlessly. I’m about to show you some of those secrets in this article, but make sure you always remember this key.
Calories do matter, but the trick is to feed your body in a way that you feel satisfied off of fewer calories so that your body won’t trick you into craving more.
2. Understanding Macros
The number one thing I tell people when they want to lose weight is to understand what macros are and how they affect your body.
First, what are macros? “Macros” is short for the phrase macro-nutrients. Unlike micro-nutrients (which are the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function), macros are the building blocks your body needs. Each one has a different function.
Protein is probably one of the most essential for weight loss, for several reasons. First, it boosts your metabolism by 15-30%In addition to that, the more muscle you have, the higher your BMR (how many calories you burn at rest). Since protein is the direct “building block” for muscle, it can help you lose weight more long term.
In addition to those benefits, protein is digested slowly, which helps balance your blood sugar and reduce cravings throughout the day.
So yes, protein is extremely important! However, if you are vegan or vegetarian, don’t lose heart. There are still plenty of high-protein foods you can enjoy while on a meat-free diet.
Woah woah woah! Don’t go carb bashing just yet! As it turns out, carbs are an essential part of daily living! The problem, however, is that most people don’t know how to eat carbs while maintaining stable blood sugar.
More on that later. But for now, let me just state: carbs are not the bad guy.
Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, meaning they can actually improve your workouts and help you burn more calories overall.
In addition to that, carbohydrates contain fiber, which is essential for good digestion. And yes, fiber can help you lose weight as well by keeping you feel full throughout the day. Vegetables, which are comprised mostly of carbs, can contain many essential micronutrients that are necessary to lose weight long-term.
That being said, carbs are notoriously bashed for causing weight gain and that is true IF you are getting them from the wrong sources. However, carbs from the right sources can be extremely beneficial to weight loss.
Fats, much like carbs, can sometimes have a bit of a bad rap, although diets like keto and Atkins have slowly been changing that.
Fats are much higher in calorie density than any other macro, which means that a little bit can go a long way. Just four tablespoons of oil contain 480 calories, which is the same as 10 cups of watermelon! You can see how fats can easily get out of control on a weight loss diet. However, they also contain a lot of benefits, which means we shouldn’t cut them out entirely.
Much like carbs, the types of fats have a lot to do with the effect it will have on your body. However, don’t underestimate powerful healthy fats. Omega-3’s, for example, are powerful anti-inflammatories and have a range of other health benefits.
Fats are actually an essential part of hormone balance as well, which is key for most women on a weight loss plan.
These three Macronutrients are all essential. While you can easily cut out one of them for a while, cutting out any macronutrient long term can cause a lot of harm!
Know Your Right Balance!
Now that you know what each macro does and how it benefits you the most, the key is finding out what actually works the best for you!
For instance, some people tend to do better on fewer carbs while others thrive on more. However, as a general rule, when trying to lose weight it’s best to amp up your protein while slightly reducing both carbs and fats.
In other words, fill up on veggies, have healthy fats in moderation, and load up on carbs, like vegetables that have a low caloric density, which leads me to my next point.
3. Eat Foods at Low Caloric Density
I love this point! In fact, when I’m cutting out food, it is the rule of thumb that I live by. Why?
The most simple way of explaining it is that I enjoy food! Having a healthy diet for weight loss doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. I don’t like feeling like I’m walking around on an empty stomach all day. Another pro is that low-calorie foods tend to be full of nutrients, which make me feel amazing!
The easiest approach is to sub a few things out of your favorite meals. If you like pasta, for instance, try using veggie noodles as a base instead! You will very likely cut the calories of that meal in half while still eating the same portion size!
Go back to my reference of fat: 4 tablespoons of oil has the same amount of calories as 10 cups of watermelon. But which one will help you feel more full?
Adding more low-caloric dense foods, like vegetables, will help you feel full and satiated while still helping you get to the results you want!
4. Master Blood Sugar Balance
If you really want to become a fat-burning machine, it means mastering your blood sugar!
What is blood sugar? Blood sugar is the main source of energy (or sugar) found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and it is essential at certain levels.
However, spikes in blood sugar can cause a huge problem! Foods that are absorbed quickly will cause blood sugar spikes and trigger an insulin response. This response will trick your body into storing more body fat and will create a sudden “drop” in blood sugar making you feel tired and hungry.
Think of a time when you were a little kid and overdid it on the sugar! For a while, you had a surge of energy and felt unstoppable. But soon after, you felt tired, lethargic, and emotional. You just wanted more sugar!
The same thing happens in our adult bodies when we have sugar, white bread, or other high glycemic foods.
To keep it simple, it’s best to avoid sweeteners, white flour, white rice (any white food really), and other high glycemic foods entirely. Instead, get the majority of your carbs from vegetables and whole grains (like quinoa, brown rice, or whole oats).
To become a powerhouse, make sure you add plenty of protein and moderate amounts of fats to each meal. Since these foods are digested slowly, they will release a steady stream of glucose and keep you feeling good until lunch. Just using these techniques alone will create a healthy diet for weight loss that you can easily follow!
I always tell my clients that this is the number one staple for any type of weight loss. If you have cravings, I can almost guarantee you that this is a primary reason why!
5. Let Water Do the Heavy Lifting
Did you know that if you were to follow a diet high in protein while balancing blood sugar and drinking tons of water, you would most likely lose weight naturally? It’s as simple as that, and it’s key to a healthy diet for weight loss.
Water can help do a lot of the heavy lifting for us by reducing cravings and boosting our metabolism. However, where most people struggle is remembering to drink water throughout the day. After all, we all know it’s good for us. Why don’t we do it then?
For those reasons, instead of telling you to drink more water (you already know that) I’m going to share some of my secrets on how!
Find a Good Electrolyte Mix
Electrolytes are essential minerals in our body, such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, etc. When we drink plenty of water or workout, our body can get easily depleted of the electrolytes we need and making us feel thirstier.
I can’t speak for everyone on this, but I can say that for myself when I’ve depleted my electrolytes, drinking water feels unappealing. Adding electrolytes is a quick and easy fix that makes water feel more quenching.
My trick is to add some electrolytes to my water bottle before I leave for the day. That leaves me craving water MORE, and it makes water more satisfying. Of course, this naturally leads to me drinking more water throughout the day.
One key is to make sure you find one without sugar. There are plenty of good brands out there that sweeten theirs with Stevia or are even entirely unsweetened. My favorite type comes in a bottle and is unsweetened.
Find a Large Water Bottle With a Straw
If it’s easy to access, we’re more likely to have it! This principle comes into play when we try and keep the candy trays off of our desks. However, the reverse also comes into play with things we should have!
Keeping a large water bottle nearby with a straw will make it easy to sip throughout the day without keeping you from your work. My favorite ones are about a gallon in size, making it easier for me to sip without even realizing it!
Step up Your Water Game
I’ll be honest, I don’t really like to sweeten my water because it tends to make me crave more sugar. For this reason, I recommend using simple water flavors to give your water a boost.
If you have a good cold bottle of water with some electrolyte drops and cucumber, you probably won’t want to stop sipping away. You can even make flavored water with berries, lemon, mint, and plenty of other great additives!
I’ve found that staying away from sweeteners entirely has made my fitness progress way more successful.
If you absolutely HAVE to, I recommend using only water flavors that have stevia and monk fruit in it. Sugar and most artificial sweeteners will most likely send you down the wrong path with your nutrition.
6. Eat Frequently
Starvation diets don’t work. They will leave you hungrier at the end of the day and will only slow down your progress.
Make eating healthy meals a priority! That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow the 6 small meals rule of thumb, but it does mean that you should be careful not to eat skimpily throughout the day only to binge at night
7. Lastly, Track Your Progress
Wait, isn’t this an article about a healthy diet for weight loss? Absolutely! But one thing to remember is that psychology plays a huge roll in reaching your goals!
If you really want to get to where you want to be, it means keeping yourself motivated! Set a goal for yourself that excited and motivated.
What is the one thing that excites you? What would change if you reached your goal? How is not being at your goal affecting your life?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself and always remember before starting on your journey.
Keep track of where you are but in moderation. The best way is to track your body fat percentage once a week. This will keep you from getting discouraged and will show you how much body fat you are losing, even if you might be gaining some good weight from muscle.
I’m excited for your journey to health! Making a decision to live a healthier lifestyle is a pivotal part of most people’s lives. I can promise you that you won’t regret it!
More Tips for Weight Loss
This pandemic has forced many of us to be in our own homes for an indeterminate amount of time. And needless to say, many of us have been feeling the effects of self-isolation and quarantine for a while.
That said, one thing that can take us from that edge is board games. Board games have evolved a lot since we were little and have given rise to a wide variety of classics that have been released in the past decade or two. For this list, we are looking at some of the best board games for adults that avoid some of the classics and introduce new and exciting board games to try out.
Qualifications For Best Board Games
Before hopping into the best board games we have to offer, here are the measures that we’ve taken when putting together this list. With these things in mind, you’ll be sure to be entertained with these board games.
- Length – How long does it take to play through the game? Some games tend to lose their excitement after a while and drag on. These board games don’t for various reasons.
- Engagement – The level of interaction that you have with other players and on the board is important. Makes the game fun, entertaining, and exciting to play no matter how long it takes to play through a round.
- Complexity – From the rules down to the number of pieces, you want to ensure the complexity of the game isn’t too overwhelming. We’ve picked out games that have a learning curve, but not so much that it takes a long time to get the hang of it.
- Rules – The rules should be written clearly and have a small amount of them. You want to be hopping into the game and not be forced to remember too many rules or constantly check the rule book for reference.
- Players involved – Every person has a different living situation in quarantine. Some have a family, while others may be isolated on their own or with one other person. You want board games to be versatile and still playable whether there is only yourself or you have three or more other people with you.
1. Best Board Games Overall: Azul
The first on our list of best board games for adults is Azul. It’s a relatively new board game and involves tile laying. The idea with Azul is you are racing with other players to decorate the wall of a fictional Portugeuse Palace. This game strikes a balance between strategy and planning your moves to being efficient.
Even if it doesn’t sound that exciting at first, getting into the game you’ll find the strategy of this game to be complex enough that you can play it several times over. The mark of a great board game for sure.
2. Best Board Games For Strategy: Splendor
If you want more strategy involved in your game, we recommend trying out Splendor. It’s a highly rated strategy game amongst the board game community where each player is working towards building a jewelry empire. You do this through developing mines, collecting gems, and eventually opening up a storefront to sell these gems.
The goal of the game is to have the most successful business in the end. To get there you’ll need to compete with other players over resources as well as infrastructure.
The rules are straightforward making it easy to pick up, but there are many strategies you can go with this game. On top of that, its the type of game where your decisions can impact the course of the game in future turns.
3. Best Game For Cooperation: Pandemic
Much on the nose with this game – but great to play regardless – is Pandemic. This cooperative game pushes you to join intellectual forces with other players to stop the spread of diseases.
In order to do this, each player takes on a role and collaborates to devise new treatment strategies. Going to different cities across the globe, you’ll collect cards that’ll help in treating outbreaks in certain hotspots.
Overall, it’s a strategy based game as players have to plan out their moves carefully and are restricted in what they can do based on their role.
4. Best Board Games With Trading: Catan
Most circles call this game Settlers Of Catan, this is a classic game that is a delight to play with not much pressure. The premise of the game is to expand territory on settlements, roads, and cities. How you do this is through using resources like wood, stone and brick.
How you get these resources is based on what areas you have roads or buildings. But more often than not, you’ll find yourself short on the resources that you need. This is where trading is involved where you are able to trade resources with other players.
The rule book for this game can seem intimidating, however, it’s straightforward as you can tell. This game brings trading resources and interacting with other people in a unique way.
5. Best Board Games For Larger Groups: 7 Wonders
Whether you have a small or a large group, 7 Wonders is a solid game to try out. Most on this list are a four player game at maximum, 7 Wonders can have up to 7 players at a time. For this game, the length of the game is divided into three “ages”. During each age, you’ll be collecting cards that’ll help you build one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Each of these wonders will either have immediate or latent benefits to them.
The goal overall is to have your civilization reign supreme. That said, there is no issue with taking a page from Catan and trading resources with players right next to you. You can even sell off your resources or even share insider knowledge and research if you like. The game is very easy to understand and games can last about 30 minutes making it a nice quick game regardless of player count.
6. Best Board Game For Long Games: Ticket To Ride
Another classic and one of the best board games for adults out there is Ticket To Ride. This is a game that is brought up many times amongst board game users. Part of that reason may be due to the fact it has similarities to the older board game Monopoly.
The only difference with Ticket To Ride is you’re building a railway system instead with way more tension in it. The goal is to collect the most points through placing a like-colored set of train cards on the board and connecting them to cities, building longer routes and building the longest continuous railway system by the end.
Whether you are new to board games or a veteran, this is one of the best ones to try it out. The rule book is slim with only four pages long and two of them are illustrations. You can even get Amazon Alexa to both teach and play along with you.
7. Best Board Games For Short Games: Dominion
Card-drawing board games are often the kind of games that go by quickly and one that comes to mind is Dominion. It’s medieval-themed where you start with 10 copper and estate cards. The goal of the game is amassing the most victory and treasure cards as you can which in turn allows you to buy even more valuable expensive cards.
During the game, there are many cards that interact with another and with other players. For example, there are cards that allow you to look at other players’ hands and make various decisions, for better or worse.
The game is similar to the story of a man who starts off with something small and benign and traded his way to something massive and expensive.
8. Best Card-Based Game: Boss Monster
While this isn’t exactly a board game, it is card based and is a lot of fun. It plays out similarly to dungeon crawlers where wizards, warriors, clerics, and rogues go into dungeons to slay the boss at the end. The only difference is that you are playing the boss now and need to stop the heroes from getting to you.
How you do this is by setting up your rooms with traps that deal damage to the heroes as they travel to each floor. You’ve also got spells to enhance your traps. This is on top of building your dungeon up in a way that the heroes would want to go there.
There is a lot of strategy and planning involved with this game, however it’s one of the most straightforward games with plenty of replayability. Each game is going to be different than the last.
9. Best Board Games For Sleuths: Codenames
For small or large groups, codenames is a fun game where you divide yourself into two teams. From those teams, you’ll elect a “spymaster” who will then provide word clues to assist their team in identifying a secret word associated with that team. The secret words are based on seemingly random words provided from this game.
The catch with this game is that your clues can only be one word long, requiring the teams to think quickly and the spymaster to think strategically about the code words to get people to guess the proper code word.
10. Best Board Games For Two: Sequence
While there are certainly other board games that incorporate cards in them, Sequence is one to use them both in a unique way. In this game, players take turns putting down a card followed by a chip on the corresponding spot. The objective of this game is to have five chips, or sequences, in a row. Another way to describe the game is this is a larger and sophisticated version of Tic-Tac-Toe.
It’s good for two people, but considering the size of the board, you can get others involved too. The more players involved can add more layers of strategy and competition to it.
11. Best Board Games Solo: Geode Puzzles
While this isn’t a board game either, puzzles can be a lot of fun to do if you have spare time. While you can pick up any kind of puzzle, one that is nice for adults is geode puzzles.
Depending on the type of geode puzzles you get, some of them will have more unique and intricate pieces compared to traditional puzzle pieces. Furthermore, geode puzzles require more concentration and thought to them since they have specific patterns to them. It adds a layer of challenge to them since traditional pieces you can refer to the box art or where everything is placed.
12. Best Board Games For Adults Who Love Nature: Wingspan
For those looking for a birds-eye view of nature, Wingspan is a great game with hours of entertainment. The art direction with this board game is especially unique while the gameplay provides hours of entertainment.
In the game, you are responsible for fostering a mini-ecosystem and building out a chain of wildlife preserves across four habitats. How you do this is by allocating food tokens found in bird feeder dice towers and eggs through unique playing cards. Each species has its own needs and special abilities so you’ll need to manage all of that while reaching your goal.
13. Best Board Games For Adults Who Want Something Different: The Mind
A game that takes about 15 minutes to play but is incredibly interesting is The Mind. It’s similar to the card game Kent, but adds another level to it. In it, you’re playing cards from your hand in order (Ace, two, three, four…).
The catch with this game though is that players aren’t allowed to say anything about what is in their hand and you are forced to come up with your own non-verbal language in order to communicate with one another.
As simplistic of a game as it is, it’s a completely different one since it involves no talking at all and forces you to meld your minds together to complete this task.
Board games used to be simplistic in nature with games like Mouse Trap, Scrabble, Monopoly, and many others. Since those times, board games have expanded to more fun and exciting games that can provide hours of entertainment. There are hundreds out there, but we recommend looking at some of these best board games for adults to try out and enjoy.