Natural Weight Loss Made Easy
If you’re like I used to be, you have likely struggled to release excess weight for a while. And, also like me, you’ve probably tried several diets and strategies that haven’t worked.
I know how frustrating this can be and how confusing it is to make sense of all the conflicting nutritional information.
I put this guide together so you can learn how and why specific foods and drinks help you lose weight naturally. This information is not about the latest fad diet; it’s about adding nutrient-dense foods that are proven to aid in weight loss and improve overall health.
While some of this may be new to you, with a little bit of practice, you will find it easy to add these ingredients into your diet daily. In the end, I’m going to share one simple recipe you can make in under five minutes that incorporates all of these foods! How’s that for healthy eating on the go?!
I’m excited to share this information with you, so let’s dig in!
Why Green Tea Helps With Weight Loss
When you consume green tea, it increases thermogenesis (the rate your body burns calories.) By increasing thermogenesis, you can do the same level of activity but burn more calories throughout the day.
In one study, participants were given green tea daily but made no other changes to their food or exercise. At the end of 90 days, participants lost an average of 2.64 pounds, ¾ inch from their waistline, and reduced their body mass index.
In another 12-week study, participants were placed on a diet where they were provided three prepared meals per day. Half of the group consumed green tea, and the other half did not. Those in the green tea group lost significantly more weight—24 pounds—over the 12 weeks.
Aside from weight loss, there are many health benefits to drinking green tea, including preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, and overall heart health.
Selecting Green Tea
Selecting green tea can be confusing because there are several different forms, including matcha, tea bags, and tea leaves. Your best option is to use matcha, a more concentrated, powdered form of green tea. You’ll also want to be sure to choose matcha with caffeine, as studies show that green tea containing caffeine is more effective at supporting weight loss.
One cup of green tea with matcha powder has the same nutritional value as drinking 10 cups of regular brewed tea!
Preparing Green Tea
If you’re using matcha green tea powder, add one teaspoon of the matcha powder to a teacup. Then pour hot water that is just under a boil into the tea cup. (You never want to use boiling water when making green tea.) Stir and enjoy. If you would like to sweeten it, add five drops of stevia or a bit of raw honey. Drink the tea immediately, as it will get bitter if it sits for a while.
Why Coconut Oil Helps with Weight Loss
When you think about weight loss, you might think you should minimize fat consumption. This type of thinking may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Instead, think about consuming healthy types of fat. One beneficial fat for weight loss is coconut oil.
Consuming coconut oil is very different from consuming other types of fat because it reacts differently in your body. Most dietary fats contain long-chain fatty acids, but coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized in a unique way.
When you consume MCTs in coconut oil, they move from the digestive tract to the liver. Since the MCTs in coconut oil are “thermogenic,” they require a higher amount of energy to digest and metabolize. They help boost your metabolism and provide an additional energy boost throughout the day.
Since the body processes MCTs in this way, they increase energy expenditure (compared with other types of fats). When energy is used at higher levels, fat loss occurs.
Researchers at the University of Geneva found that when 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil is consumed each day, energy expenditure increases by about 120 calories.
Tips for Buying Coconut Oil
Since coconut oil is becoming more popular, you can find it at most grocery stores. Not all coconut oil is created equal, so you’ll want to be selective about the type you purchase.
When you are shopping, you will see two main categories of coconut oil: refined and unrefined. The refined coconut oil will not have the coconut taste, but it has been altered from its original form.
For the best health benefits, purchase unrefined coconut oil. Since it is unprocessed, it contains more antioxidants and polyphenols, which help combat free-radical activity within the body. Look for labels with words such as “virgin” or “extra-virgin” to ensure that you are buying unrefined coconut oil.
How to Use Coconut Oil
You can start using coconut oil, where you might usually use canola oil or butter. For example, if you use a recipe that calls for 3 tablespoons of canola oil, try using 3 coconut oil instead.
Here are a few ideas of how I like to incorporate coconut oil into my diet:
- Stir fry vegetables in coconut oil
- Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into a smoothie
- Spread coconut oil on your toast instead of butter
- Use coconut oil as a butter substitute in baking
- Fry eggs in coconut oil
- Make popcorn with coconut oil
How Flax Seeds Help with Weight Loss
Flax seeds are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, essential elements of a healthy diet. Fiber is beneficial for weight loss in a few ways.
First, it helps you feel full for longer, which allows you to consume less food.
Second, the fiber content in flax seeds helps control your blood sugar levels. Maintaining lower blood sugar levels supports weight loss. When your blood sugar levels are high, your body is more likely to store fat.
Flaxseeds also contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which boost metabolism and weight loss. And like fiber, the healthy fats found in flax seeds are beneficial because they slow down digestion and help keep you satiated.
Tips for Buying Flax Seed
There are two types of flax seeds: russet brown and golden yellow. Both kinds of flax are similar in nutritional value and health benefits, so choose either one.
When you shop for flax seeds, you will find them in whole form or pre-ground. Always purchase whole flax seeds because the ground seeds turn rancid quickly. You can then easily grind them at home using a coffee grinder or a high-speed blender, such as a BlendTec or a VitaMix.
Your digestive system cannot break down flax seeds in their whole form. To gain nutritional benefits from flax seeds, always use ground seeds.
I like to grind enough flax seeds for a week and store the ground seeds in an airtight container in the fridge. The unused whole seeds should be stored in the freezer after the bag is opened to keep them fresh.
How to Include Flax Seeds in Your Diet.
- Add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds to a smoothie
- Sprinkle ground flax on a bowl of oatmeal in the morning
- Stir ground flax into granola
- Stir a spoonful of ground flax into a bowl of yogurt
- Mix ground flax into meatballs or meatloaf
Though it sounds too simple to be true, drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day can help you release excess weight.
How water helps with weight loss
- When you are well hydrated, your organs can perform more optimally. When the organs are well-hydrated, metabolism speeds up, which means you’ll burn calories quickly. Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism.
- Natural waste is produced in your body from everyday functions like breathing and digesting food. Getting rid of these toxins can be helpful for weight loss because toxins are stored in fat cells. Water is a great way to flush toxins out of your body.
- When you are dehydrated, the blood volume in your body is reduced. Decreased blood volume levels result in lower energy levels, making it challenging to stay active.
- You’ll naturally drink fewer high-calorie, sugary drinks by drinking more water.
Did you know that 75% of the American population is chronically dehydrated? And in 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger. By simply drinking more water, you may notice that you become less hungry.
We’ve all been there, it’s midnight, and you get hungry for a snack. It’s so tempting to go for that midnight snack! But, one glass of water ended midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters participating in a University of Washington study.
Brenda Davy, Ph.D., completed a research study at Virginia Tech and found that drinking water before meals can help you lose weight and keep it off. In her research, the subjects who drank water before meals lost 4 pounds more than those who did not drink water before meals.
To supercharge your weight loss, drink cold water instead of room temperature water. Cold water causes thermogenesis, which increases energy expenditure and helps you burn fat faster. Researchers found that metabolism is boosted within 10 minutes of drinking cold water. Those benefits can remain for at least 30 or 40 minutes.
How Much Water Do You Need Each Day?
A simple rule of thumb is to calculate your water intake based on your weight. Divide your total weight in half and drink that number in ounces each day.
So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water per day. This number will likely increase if you are in a hot environment or have higher physical activity levels. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women usually need to drink more water.
You can monitor your water intake based on the color of your urine. If your urine is bright yellow, you need to drink more water. If it is a pale yellow color, you are probably getting enough. Keep in mind that other factors can impact your urine colors, such as certain supplements, vitamins, and medications.
Making Your Water Tasty
Suppose you are someone that doesn’t like drinking water. In that case, you might consider adding other ingredients. You can flavor your water with lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, mint leaves, strawberry slices, or pineapple chunks. My favorite is brewing passionfruit tea.
If you want it a little sweeter, you can add a bit of liquid stevia, a tasty, non-calorie herbal sweetener. Stevia is very sweet, so 6-8 drops are usually enough to sweeten one glass of water or tea.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
How Dark Leafy Greens Help With Weight Loss
Leafy green vegetables are one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Eating foods with high nutrient levels will keep you satiated longer and reduce cravings because your body is receiving the nutrition it needs.
Leafy greens are low in calories. They’re a great source of fiber, which digests slowly and keeps your stomach feeling full for longer.
The fiber in leafy green vegetables also helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugar in check will make it easier to lose fat and prevent weight gain.
Choosing Dark Leafy Greens
The best way to choose your leafy greens is by looking at the color of the vegetable: the darker, the better. Darker vegetables have higher levels of antioxidants and more nutrients. They’ll keep you feeling full for a more extended period.
If you want to supercharge your weight loss, start adding collard greens, cabbage, kale, and bok choy to your diet. These dark, leafy greens are also cruciferous vegetables, so they pack a powerful nutritional boost. They’re heartier and contain more fiber than other greens.
How to Prepare Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
One of the easiest ways to get greens in your diet daily is to add them to a fruit smoothie. Adding greens to your smoothie may sound unappealing, but when you add raw greens such as spinach or chard, you really can’t taste them.
Cooking greens is quick and easy. Sauté some garlic and onion with coconut oil, add your washed greens to the pan and stir fry until they’re tender. Add soy sauce, gluten-free tamari, or sprinkle with sea salt.
If you find the collard greens or kale to taste bitter, you can blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes before sautéing them. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add your greens to the pot, let them cook for two minutes, drain in a colander, and then sauté in a pan with coconut oil.
Almond Chai Smoothie
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- ½ tsp matcha green tea powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup ice
- 1 dropper of liquid stevia
- Mix the hot water with the matcha green tea powder in a small bowl and pour into a blender.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend.
- Drink and enjoy knowing you're treating your body with great care while also having a yummy treat!