How to Find the Best Food to Lose Weight: Start Using the CSSI Method
Want to lose weight? You have to start by investigating the foods in your diet.
This doesn’t mean reaching for the latest “super food” that will supposedly torch body fat. (If eating avocados were really the answer to weight-loss then nobody would be overweight anymore!)
Instead, evaluate the foods you choose each day. To make this a simple task, I recommend using The “CSSI Method” outlined in the handy-dandy infographic below:
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Infographic by makeyourbodywork.com
The CSSI Method Summary
Finding healthy foods that are good for anyone on a mission to lose weight is easy with the CSSI Method. In summary, ask yourself these 4 questions:
Question #1: Does the calorie count seem too high for this one food?
Question #2: Is a serving size really the amount I would eat OR will I likely end up eating much more than that?
Question #3: How much sugar is in this food?
Question #4: Is the ingredients list full of foods that I recognize as healthy choices?
Takeaway: The 4 elements of The CSSI Method are the most important ones to follow when investigating your food, especially if your goal is weight-loss.
Want to dive in a bit deeper? Keep reading…
Perfecting Your Weight-Loss Diet
The CSSI Method is your priority when evaluating foods in your grocery store, but there are other elements of a healthy diet you should consider:
1. Choose Whole Foods Over Processed (True Story)
I had a client who wanted to drop a few extra pounds. She was super-dedicated when it came to her exercise – She never missed a workout and she was probably the hardest-working of all my clients.
She never lost any weight.
We chatted a lot about nutrition a lot, but she just wasn’t ready to give up her convenience meals and favourite snacks. At least she wasn’t willing to change until…She got engaged!
My favourite clients are women who are about to get married. They are on a mission with a distinct deadline and they usually are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goal!
I recruited this client into my “10 in 4” Coaching Program and completely revamped her diet. She got rid of all her processed foods like cereal, bread, crackers, and of course mac and cheese (one of her fav’s). She replaced those with whole-food meals (i.e. meals consisting of foods that have been processed as little as possible).
Guess what happened next?
She lost 13lbs in 4 weeks and looked stunning in her wedding photos!
Takeaway: Processed foods are generally lower in quality and higher in calories than whole-food meals. Check out the Top 50 Healthy Food Blogs for loads of whole-food meal ideas that are perfect for a weight-loss diet.
2. Pack More Protein Into Your Meals
One recent study separated weight-loss participants into 2 groups:
- The “1x” group ate the recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein
- The “2x” group doubled the RDA for protein
After 31 days participants from both groups lost between 2.7-3.5lbs. But here’s the interesting part…
The weight lost by the “2x” group was 70% fat, while the “1x” group only lost 41.8% of their weight from fat! That’s a big difference!
Higher-protein foods are great for weight-loss because they will help you feel full for longer periods of time. Plus, protein helps build and maintain muscle – And more muscle = a faster metabolism.
Takeaway: Eating protein at every meal will help you feel full and will boost your metabolism.
3. Get Veggies Any Way You Can
Fresh, frozen, or canned? Does it really matter how you get your veggies?
Your body is really only concerned about one thing: Survival. It wants to be fed with the most nourishing food possible, and nothing comes close to vegetables.
Eating more vegetables will satisfy your body’s desire for nutrients. Then what happens? Hunger stops.
This is amazing for weight-loss! Feed your body fresh, high-nutrient food and your cravings for junky food (and for larger quantities of food) will start to disappear.
In contrast, when you eat low-quality foods your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs for survival so it asks for MORE food. You can imagine how this plays out, right?
Eat junk and your body craves more food. It gets more junk and still isn’t satisfied so it asks for more. The vicious cycle continues and the weight keeps piling on.
Takeaway: All calories are not created equal. Eating lots of vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned) is a requirement for sustainable weight-loss.
Healthy Food Red Herrings
A “red herring” is something misleading that distracts from the truth. When it comes to choosing the best foods for losing weight, there are plenty of red herrings to watch out for. Here are a few of the most common:
1. “Make Sure You Find Foods That Are Low In Fat”
Did you notice that the “CSSI Method” doesn’t say anything about fat? That’s because eating fat will not make you fat.
Dr. Mark Hyman does an excellent job describing why fat is not our biggest problem – Sugar is! (And as you recall, sugar just happens to be the second “S” in the “CSSI Method”!)
Did you get all that? Here’s a breakdown of Dr. Hyman’s message:
- Eating fat will NOT cause you to gain weight
- Eating too much sugar and processed carbs DOES lead to obesity
- When people cut fat out of their diet they tend to replace it with more sugar
Food companies that market low-fat foods as being “healthier” are making bogus claims. These foods are usually highly-processed and almost always contain a lot of sugar.
Takeaway: Fat is not something to be afraid of. In fact, eating healthy fats is good for your heart and for your waistline.
2. “Look For Foods Fortified With Vitamins”
Why is this a red herring? Aren’t vitamins good for you?
Yes, vitamins are great, but there is no reason to check food labels for vitamin content when you’re following the healthy-eating steps outlined above. Let’s look at an example:
This is the nutritional panel from a box of crackers. Someone could look at this and argue that these are healthy because they provide a dose of iron – Who doesn’t need more iron?
While this added iron looks good, it’s important to know that just 1 single mushroom has more iron than a serving of these crackers! And the crackers have 10x more calories!
Takeaway: Checking food labels for vitamins is a waste of time. Eat your veggies and you can be confident that you’re well-covered.
3. “Choose Foods That Have Fibre Listed On Their Label”
This is another red herring that is pretty sneaky. Fibre has been shown to help people lose weight, BUT many foods that are advertised as high-fibre violate other rules in the CSSI Method. Want an example?
As you can see from the image above, it doesn’t take much bread for the calories to start adding up (less than 1/2 a bagel = 100 calories!). Remember the “C” in the “CSSI Method” – We want to avoid high-calories foods.
And it’s not as if these servings of bread are packed with fibre either – They each have only 0.5-3g of fibre.
Now let’s take a look at just one vegetable that has WAY more fibre per calorie: Peas
Like peas, there are many veggies that pack tons of fat-busting fibre and at the same time have very few calories. This is why it’s unnecessary to check food labels for fibre – If you’re eating your veggies then fibre is irrelevant.
Takeaway: Don’t bother looking for fibre on your food labels. You’ll get more from the veggies you’re already eating.
Put It All Together
We just covered a lot of information about creating a diet that’s perfect for weight-loss. Let’s sum it up:
1. The “CSSI Method” is your foundation for reading food labels
2. Choose whole foods, not processed ones
3. Eat protein-rich foods at every meal
4. Veggies are your best friend – Eat more!
5. Don’t fear eating fat
6. Stop searching for vitamins and fibre on your food labels
Following these principles will help you find the best food to lose weight and to stay healthy. Now get out there and start practicing the “CSSI Method”!