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‘I’m an Endocrinologist and This Is My Go-To Meal for Weight Loss’

‘I’m an Endocrinologist and This Is My Go-To Meal for Weight Loss’

Losing weight in a healthy, manageable way is never easy and, unfortunately, it gets even more difficult as we age—particularly for women. As you might imagine, this is partially due to hormonal changes. “Women lose estrogen as they age, and that makes it harder to lose weight,” explains Dr. Vidhya Illuri, MD, an endocrinologist at Complete Medicine.

Dr. Illuri says that for anyone who has a health goal of weight loss, diet plays a major role. There’s one meal in particular that she herself loves that falls right within the guidelines of how she tells her patients with this health goal to eat. Curious to see what it is? She shares it below, along with the common diet mistake she sees people making again and again.

Related: Want to Lose Weight? Here Are 16 Actually Doable Ways to Do It Quickly and Safely

The Common Diet Mistake Many People Make When They’re Trying to Lose Weight

Dr. Illuri says that the diet she recommends to the vast majority of her patients who are trying to lose weight is a whole foods, plant-based diet. “A whole foods, plant-based diet is a way of eating that includes whole grains, beans, lentils, legumes, fruit and lots of vegetables,” she says. She explains that meat isn’t taken off the table completely, but it isn’t the main focus of the meal and many meals don’t even include it at all.

The reason why she says this way of eating is recommended for weight loss is because it helps protect against insulin resistance, which is not only linked to weight gain but also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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There’s one diet mistake that Dr. Illuri says she sees many people make: cutting carbs. “We need carbs. They’re important for the body because they give us fuel,” she says. The key, she says, is to choose nutrient-rich complex carbs (like lentils, legumes and beans) instead of nutrient-void simple carbs (like white bread, chips, pastries and candy).

She explains that complex carbohydrates are digested slower and also keep insulin levels steady. Simple carbs, on the other hand, cause insulin levels to spike and then drop. This negatively affects energy and mood—and is linked to weight gain. She adds that another benefit of complex carbohydrates is that they are more satiating than simple carbs. That means you’ll stay full longer and won’t be peeking inside the fridge or pantry shortly after eating looking for another snack.

Related: Looking to Lose Weight? Get Started With These 40 Expert and Science-Backed Foods and Drinks

Easy Go-To Meals for Weight Loss, According to an Endocrinologist

With this in mind, Dr. Illuri has a meal that she likes to eat herself and recommends to people who want to lose weight: chili with lots of beans, vegetables and spices. “I love to top my chili off with corn,” she says, adding that this is a great dish to bring to a summer cookout. Need a recipe to follow? Here are four:

Another meal for weight loss Dr. Illuri recommends is quinoa and chickpea salad—another great cookout dish. The quinoa and chickpeas have protein and fiber, key nutrients for both providing the body with energy and keeping blood sugar levels steady. Below are a few quinoa and chickpea salad recipes to check out:

For cozy nights in, Dr. Illuri loves making lentil soup, another meal that she says can support healthy weight loss goals. Lentils are loaded with protein, fiber, potassium and folate. Eating them regularly has been linked to protecting against cardiovascular disease. Here are a few lentil soup recipes to consider:

It bears repeating that the key when it comes to diet and weight loss is to focus on eating nutrient-rich foods from whole food sources. Don’t deprive yourself of delicious carb-based foods like sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and black beans. Instead of living a life of restriction, find ways to add more nutrient-rich foods to your plate. That way, you’ll leave each meal both full and with your health goals on track.

Next up, find out what morning routine will lead to losing weight faster, according to weight loss experts.