If you only associate protein with gaining muscle, then you're not alone - but protein is so much more than that! Your body actually burns calories simply by digesting and absorbing the protein you eat, so simply by eating a high-protein diet, you may burn effectively 80-100 more calories per day.
In addition to this, protein is very filling, and you likely won't have to eat as much of it to stay full and this can lower your calorie intake quite significantly.
"Whole foods" simply refers to plants that have been processed and refined as little as possible, or are still in their natural state.
Cooking and eating whole foods has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to eat healthier and lose weight. By eating a majority whole foods diet, you essentially eliminate excess fats, sugar, salt and other processed junk. Plus, most whole foods and whole-food meals are very filling, so you won't need as much food to feel full.
If going completely whole-foods & plant-based straight away seems like too much for you, try simply avoiding as much processed "junk" foods as possible, whilst adding in a few more leafy greens and whole veggies.
This means cutting out the burgers, fries, milkshakes, chips, sodas and so on. You'll often find that by simply cutting out some junk food, you cut out a lot of excess calories and start to lose weight naturally.
Healthy eating and weight loss becomes a lot more difficult when you're surrounded by temptation. If you've got a sweet tooth that you just can't kick, try to create healthy alternatives to those sweet (or savoury) unhealthy snacks that you usually would keep around the house.
For example, if you've got a thing for Snickers bars - replace them with a healthy homemade version using dates and peanuts.
Sugar has been linked to all sorts of health problems, including diabetes, obesity and cancer. Processed sugar in particular is burnt very quickly and easily by the body, and any excess sugar is simply converted into fat, which makes it harder to lose weight. Reducing sugar can therefore aid in natural weight loss, and improve your health too.
Water does a lot for us humans, and one of the benefits of drinking water (other than staying alive of course) is that it boosts our metabolisms, essentially meaning that we can burn more energy throughout the day and therefore lose weight faster. It's also an essential ingredient for a healthier life and a well-balanced diet, so make sure you're getting your eight cups a day!
Coffee can be an awesome weight loss and wellness aid, so long as it's consumed in healthy amounts. It's all too normal to drink too much coffee, and load it will sweetener and milk.
Fresh coffee with no added junk however, can help boost your metabolism, provide a little extra energy when you need it and even prevent overeating. As such, a cup of coffee or two a day can help you lose weight in a healthy, natural way.
Intermittent fasting is a practice where you cycle between periods of fasting. Of course, we all tend to go extended periods without eating when we sleep, but intermittent fasting pushes that a bit, so that we spend longer and longer fasting, with slightly shorter "eating" periods.
Many people are fans of intermittent fasting for the digestive benefits it can provide, as well as sometimes increased energy and mental clarity in the morning time. Intermittent fasting can help you to lose weight naturally by helping to reduce your overall calorie intake (without having to worry about how many calories you're eating during your non-fasting periods) as well as increasing your metabolism.
Green tea is known to have many beneficial properties, one of them being that it can boost your metabolism, leading to increased fat burning and natural weight loss. It's also a more gentle source of caffeine if you're not keen on coffee, and is loaded with antioxidants.
If you've found that you've hit somewhat of a "plateau" with your weight loss journey, an excellent way to keep burning those extra calories is to switch up your exercise routine. Sometimes, if you stick to eating and working out in the exact same way all the time, your body will simply adapt and you may find that your weight loss slows down.
By switching it up, either by incorporating new moves or trying a different type of exercise such as swimming or climbing - you can break through the plateau and continue to progress.
This one goes without saying, but fruits and veggies are key to a healthy lifestyle and very important if you want to start losing weight in a natural, healthy way.
If you're struggling to adjust to a healthy diet or don't want to change your diet radically straight away, try to simply increase the amount of fruit and veggies you're eating on a day to day basis and you'll likely see an improvement in your health pretty quickly.
Obsessive calorie counting can lead to bad habits and an unhealthy mindset when it comes to weight loss and wellness. However, this doesn't mean that all calorie counting is bad.
Calculating the amount of calories you're consuming throughout the day, and what nutrients you're receiving from those calories can help you to gain a better understanding of your food intake, and adjust accordingly if need be.
For example, you may notice that you consume a lot of high-calorie foods at dinner time, and it's preventing you from losing weight, so you might want to consider swapping dessert for a healthier alternative.
Our brains often unconsciously associate finishing a meal with being full, so by reducing your portion sizes you can effectively trick your brain into eating a little less.
If you are finding that you often feel bloated or over-full at the end of a meal, then this is a sign you need to reduce your portion sizes anyway. By doing this you may be able to reduce the number of excess calories you are taking in and lose weight faster.
Many studies have shown that low-carb diets are effective for losing weight naturally. Of course, cutting out carbs completely isn't recommended, nor is it realistic, but it is possible to reduce the amount of carbs you are taking in by tracking your macronutrients.
The three main macronutrients are: protein, carbohydrates and fat. By adjusting your macronutrient levels (i.e: increasing your protein or fat intake and reducing your carb intake) you can meet your caloric and nutritional needs whilst still losing weight.
Not everyone has time to spend hours in the gym every day, or go for a 5k run every morning, but even if you can't find the time to workout every day, you can still get active daily in smaller ways.
Simple switches like biking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a short at-home workout in the evening all make a difference!
Studies have shown that if we are distracted when we eat, for example if we're watching television, driving, having an argument or scrolling through social media, we pay a lot less attention to what we're eating, how we're eating it and what's going on in our bodies.
This can lead to your brain receiving mixed signals and you feeling less full. By removing distractions and learning to eat mindfully, you can connect with your food and your body, and this may help to reduce feelings of hunger and cravings for sugar.
There are lot's of different forms of oils and fats out there for our consumption, some of them, such as refined sunflower and corn oils, are generally considered to be not-so-good for the human body. However, there is a healthier alternative: coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are metabolised slightly differently to other fats and may boost your metabolism slightly, rather than slowing it down. Plus, coconut oil is generally lower in calories and less refined than other oils, which makes it a better option for those seeking to lose weight.
More and more research looking into the role of our gut and gut bacteria in our overall health and wellbeing is showing that the health of our digestive system is vital for the health of the rest of our body.
Generally speaking, a whole-foods diet high in fresh vegetables, good fats and not too much sugar or refined carbs is ideal for cultivating good gut bacteria within the body. However, you can also supplement your diet with probiotics to introduce some more good bacteria into your diet.
These "good bacteria" can improve your digestive health, heart health and even your mental health. Plus, because of their impact on the digestive system, they can also aid weight loss!
Getting enough sleep is very important, whether you're looking to lose weight or not - studies have shown that people who are chronically sleep-deprived are over 50% more likely to become obese. Lack of sleep slows the metabolism down, disrupts your hormone balance and can lead to difficulty regulating willpower, meaning you'll be more likely to snack on unhealthy treats.
Fibre is an excellent ally to have when looking to lose weight. Fibre-rich foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, delay stomach emptying and help you to maintain a healthy digestive system by feeding good gut bacteria.