Losing pounds while building muscle is no small feat. These common fitness goals are difficult enough on their own, but trying to achieve them simultaneously can be overwhelming. Doing so requires discipline, perseverance, consistency, and hard work. However, you can exercise with the discipline of a monk and the consistency of clockwork, do hours of cardio and lift all the weights in the gym, but if your eating habits and nutrition they are not marked, you are doing all that for nothing. The good news is that developing healthy eating habits to fuel your fitness and weight loss goals It’s not as complicated as you think. Today, we are here to share some solid eating habits to lose weight and gain muscle. If you’re intrigued, keep reading.
Most importantly, establishing good eating habits doesn’t mean you have to obsessively count calories, stress over every morsel of food, or completely change the way you eat. They also don’t mean cutting out comfort foods and sacrificing all your favorite foods. Instead, they focus more on learning to eat intuitively and adjusting your diet over time until you begin to enjoy and crave healthy whole foods that help you burn fat and lose weight while building lean muscle.
If you’re looking for expert tips and advice to help kick start your weight loss and muscle building journey, we’ve got you covered. We spoke with registered dietitians who share some fantastic science-backed eating habits to help you lose weight and gain muscle. Read on for the best ways to improve your eating habits so you can stop chasing unattainable goals and make your fitness dreams come true.
It sounds counterintuitive, but eating more can actually help you reach your weight loss goals. Oh, and don’t skip meals like breakfast! “Believe it or not, frequently eating smaller portions can help with weight loss. This is because your body is in balance and is constantly receiving nutrients to stay in balance,” she says. Bianca Garcia, RDNregistered dietitian nutritionist with Health Channel. “Skipping meals can cause you to gain weight. By the time you do eat, you are often so hungry that you may end up eating more than you should.”
Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help you lose weight and build lean muscle by increasing your body’s fat-burning potential. Try to eat small, nutritionally balanced meals that contain carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats every three hours or so. Protein in particular promotes weight loss and is essential for muscle protein synthesis, according to research. If you don’t eat enough, your body can go into starvation mode, making it difficult to lose weight and gain muscle. Starvation mode causes your body to conserve calories, store fat, and burn muscle for energy instead of fat.
Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDNNutrition Director of Pritikin Longevity Center + SpaHe says Eat this, not that!“cooking at home It’s a great way to reduce the number of meals you eat out or order in. That way, you’re less tempted to order unhealthy foods. When you cook at home, you not only save money, but you also control what’s in your food and know exactly what you’re eating.”
Multiple studies have found that “higher frequency of cooking and eating at home is associated with healthier diet quality, fewer calories consumed, and greater weight loss,” according to a analysis published in the nutrition diary. Another pro tip for cooking at home is to make sauces from scratch. Instead of using store-bought products or fast food sauces loaded with added sugarssodium and calorie-dense oils, make your sauces at home with a base made from cashew, tahini, avocado or any other healthy whole food.
If you had to select one general health nutrient that was the king (or queen) of all other nutrients, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better competitor than fiber. In addition to making you feel full and improving digestion, fiber plays a vital role in weight loss, according to research published in the Nutrition Magazine. According to WebMD, fiber slows down digestion and increases blood sugar. This helps reduce cravings and prevent overeating.
Although fiber does not directly affect muscle growth, eat high-fiber foods improves your overall health and performance, allowing you to exercise longer and harder to burn fat and gain muscle. “Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain foods. A high fiber intake can help limit the body’s absorption of sugar and fat. This, in turn, can reduce the calories the body absorbs.” says Garcia.
One of the most powerful eating habits you can develop for any health or fitness goal is to eliminate or limit ultra-processed foods in your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health According to the NIH, “ultra-processed foods” include ingredients found primarily in industrial food manufacturing, including high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers, and flavoring agents. These foods are major contributors to weight gain and may increase your risk of chronic disease.
“Avoid anything packaged with a long list of ingredients, including sugar, processed vegetable seed oils, processed grains, chemicals, and additives,” advises Gomer. “These foods cause inflammation and weight gain. In addition, the food industry deliberately creates combinations of salt, sugar and fat that become addictive, but cannot provide satiation.”
To lose weight and gain muscle, eat foods full of plant-based protein. The best sources include legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk), quinoa, seitan, nuts, and seeds.
“When broken down into amino acids, protein becomes the building blocks of tissue growth, such as muscle,” Garcia explains. “Most people think that meat and poultry are the best sources of protein, but unfortunately, they also come with cholesterol that can cause cardiovascular problems. Plant-based proteins are natural, clean, and a healthy source of vitamins and minerals”.