When I changed from manual labor to a desk job, two things had to change: my fondness for obscenities and my eating habits. At sea, one can eat 20,000 calories per day and lose weight as they do it. But when I brought my unhealthy diet to shore with me, I went from 170 lbs to 220 lbs within six months. It was obviously time to do something about my diet. After some research and advice from some good friends, I discovered these foods. They might not be as yummy as Twinkies, but then again, neither are love handles.
1. Almonds (no salt):
Almonds contain protein, calcium, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is a “good fat” that your body needs and can help regulate your cholesterol. Another benefit of Almonds is they are an appetite suppressant that will keep you from overindulging on all of the other junk in your cabinets. Replace potato chips and Doritos with Almonds and you can put a big positive where there was once a negative.
2. Coffee (black)
I used to dump three packets of sugar and milk into my coffee. When I worked on the boat, I had only seconds to get dressed and get out on deck before my watch started. So I learned to drink my coffee black so I could shave a few seconds off of my morning routine. As a side effect, I made it just a little healthier. Black coffee is negative calories. It takes more energy for your body to process coffee than the drink contains. Also, the caffeine boosts your metabolism. Everything in moderation and make sure you drink enough water.
Cranberries are a fruit that is low in sugar (good news diabetics) and is ripe with antioxidants. These scavenge up the free radicals in your blood, which in a nutshell means they keep the bad stuff from piling up in your fat tissue. You can get them either as a berry, a juice, or cranberry extract pills. As a side note, they help to maintain urinary tract health, especially for women.
4. Olive Oil
Huh? An oil that’s good for you? Yes. Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats. When used instead of Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil you can save yourself a good deal of bad fats and save yourself an hour on the treadmill. I personally think Olive Oil is a much better taste as well. Perhaps I spent too much time at sea and watch too much Popeye. Which brings me to my next food.
Spinach will help you burn fat by boosting your metabolism. It will also help lower your cholesterol and is an excellent source of Iron and Vitamin C. Spinach also contains insoluble fiber which gives you a full feeling and will help to clean out the intestines improving their function and also shedding some weight at the same time.
6. Skim Milk
Talk about an easy way to eliminate some fat from your diet. Why not trade in that whole milk for skim milk? I was raised on skim milk and now I can’t stand the taste of regular. It has calcium and protein which will aid in fat burning. The real benefit here comes from eliminating the calories you would otherwise take in from regular milk.
High in fiber and for some reason which I can’t understand, apples make you feel full. Keep some apples in your house to replace some fatty snacks that you would eat by the box before you feel full.
One of my favorite vegetables (in the raw form only) Carrots are a fat burner that contain fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins C, B1, and B2. I never could get used to cooked carrots, but then again, the raw ones are better for you anyway. Keep a bag of Baby Carrots in your fridge for both meals and snacks.
9. Cayenne Pepper
That burning feeling isn’t just coming from your stomach. Cayenne Pepper boosts your bodies thermogenic processes. It simply makes you hotter. That heat is coming from your energy stores i.e. your fat. If you have no taste for spicy food, then try Cayenne pills. This will eliminate the taste while you keep the benefit. Timing is everything of course. I once took three Cayenne Pepper pills before jogging three miles. To say my entire body felt like the surface of the sun would be an understatement.
None of these are a replacement for exercise. As usual, a consistent but modest exercise routine is key. But these foods will all help you to look better and have more energy to enjoy life. Since I began to workoutand watch what I eat, I find myself back down to a sensible 195 lbs. I could still stand to lose a few, but I feel much better about myself and I have the energy to get out of bed in the morning.