Fad diets come and go and come back again — and unfortunately, so do the extra pounds you are trying to banish for good. This yo-yo effect happens because although a severely restricted diet can jump-start a weight-loss plan, most are not sustainable for more than a few days or weeks.
Aside from getting really boring really fast, a diet of only tuna and eggs does not offer a full range of nutrition to support a healthy weight-loss program on its own. These foods are, however, excellent sources of protein, which your body needs to build muscle. Because it takes longer to digest than other nutrients, the protein in tuna and eggs can also help you feel full for longer after each meal or snack.
The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your eating habits and your relationship with food and get more exercise. Building a lean and nutritious meal plan around tuna and eggs can get you started on an effective plan to do just that.
Choose the Best Weight-Loss Plan
Losing weight gives you measurable health benefits, such as lowering high blood pressure, easing the strain on your joints and reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke and some kinds of cancer. All it takes to start seeing these benefits is to lose 10 percent of your total body weight. So if you weigh 160 pounds, a loss of just 16 pounds will have a profound effect on your health.
According to the health experts at Concordia University-Saint Paul, there are three major components to healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss:
Engage in Regular Exercise
Exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, bicycling or anything else that raises your heart rate for a sustained amount of time, helps burn calories and speed up your metabolism. Weight training builds muscle, which makes you stronger, and lean muscle tissue burns more calories when you are at rest, helping you keep that weight-loss train chugging right along.
A combination of cardio and strength workouts can help you burn calories while building lean muscle mass. Another benefit of daily exercise is that exercise releases endorphins — hormones that help regulate your mood. In addition, exercise gets your blood moving faster, and the increased oxygen to your brain helps you focus all day.
The fitness experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that you engage in 75 minutes of intense cardio or 150 minutes of moderate cardio every week. In addition, you should spend time weightlifting and doing other forms of strength training at least two days per week.
Eating meals that include protein, such as that found in tuna and eggs, provides you with the amino acids you need to build and maintain lean muscle tissue. This helps you burn more calories throughout the day, including when you are at rest.
Build a Better Meal Plan
Nutrition is another essential component in an effective weight-loss plan. According to WebMD, fish and eggs are two excellent sources of protein, but you cannot live on them alone for an extended period of time.
While tuna and eggs offer sound nutrition in the form of protein, you also need carbohydrates, fiber and essential fatty acids, and you need to take in enough calories to keep your metabolism from slowing down.
Weight-loss expert Jillian Reece at Tufts University suggests that women consume at least 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day and men, 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day. But counting calories is not enough. You must also be aware of the kinds of calories, because different foods evoke different responses from your body.
If you want to lose weight, make sure that the foods you choose to supplement your tuna and eggs are high in nutritional value and low in calories and fat. The fresher and less processed, the better.
Get Enough Rest
According to a report by WNDU, people who get fewer than five hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night may eat as many as 385 more calories per day. It only takes an extra 500 calories per day to put on 1 pound per week, so lack of sleep can definitely sabotage your weight-loss plan.
This may be because lack of sleep can affect the hormones that control hunger, you move less when you are tired or being overly tired can slow your metabolism. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Keep your room cooler than 68 degrees; turn off electronics well before bedtime and consider a bedtime snack. Protein is the best food to eat at night to lose weight, because it takes longer to digest than starchy foods.
Benefits of Eating Tuna for Weight Loss
Aside from being relatively low in calories and packed with protein, tuna is also very high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are necessary for a wide variety of functions. While your body needs them, you do not produce omega-3 fatty acids, so you have to get them through the foods you eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids lower your blood pressure, help reduce blood clots, keep your heartbeat regular and can hamper the development of artherosclerosis, explain the nutrition and wellness experts at the University of Illinois. They also help lower the low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, in your blood.
Another benefit of tuna, according to the healthy-eating enthusiasts at Whole Foods, is that tuna contains a type of selenium, called selenoneine, that is an antioxidant. Antioxidants scour the free radicals from your cells, which helps you avoid certain types of cancers; this can also slow the visible signs of aging.
In tuna, selenoneine also binds with mercury. This not only helps protect the fish from the toxic effects of mercury, but it may also protect you, although tuna is not known as a high-mercury fish.
Tuna is available canned in water or oil, as well as sealed in a vacuum pouch. Oil-packed tuna is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, while water-packed tuna is a bit lower in calories. Vacuum-packed tuna has a stronger flavor and can be more expensive.
One 4-ounce serving of baked tuna contains only 147 calories and is very low on the glycemic index, making it an excellent choice for a diet incorporating tuna for weight loss.
Benefits of Adding Eggs to Your Diet
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and they also contain lutein and xeoxanthin, which are important for eye heath, advise the experts at Colorado State University. Eggs are rich in choline as well, which is essential to the healthy functioning of your nervous system and brain.
While eggs do contain some dietary cholesterol, this does not have as much of an effect on your blood cholesterol levels as was previously believed. Having eggs in the morning can help you stay full for longer after breakfast, which can reduce the total number of calories you take in during the day.
Most of the protein in eggs is in the whites, which also have less fat. The whites also contain vitamins B6 and B12, copper, iron and zinc. Egg yolks are rich in vitamins A, D, E and K. They also contain lecithin, which helps them emulsify with oil when you are making mayonnaise or hollandaise.
Eggs contain all nine amino acids, making them a complete protein. They are inexpensive and versatile as well as being nutritious. One medium boiled egg, according to nutritionist Jo Lewon at BBC Good Food, contains 84 calories, 8.3 grams of protein, 5.7 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat.
Depending on how the chickens have been fed, some eggs also contain omega-3 fatty acids. An egg diet that contains tuna as well is heart healthy, as long as you remember to supplement the eggs and tuna with other healthy foods and watch your calorie count.
How to Create a Nutritious Tuna and Egg Diet
A high-protein diet can cause problems for people with compromised kidney function, and it can cause problems, such as constipation, if it is not designed to include enough fiber, caution the heath experts at the Mayo Clinic.
When planning your tuna and egg diet, be sure to include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as nuts, beans, legumes and whole grains, because you need the fiber to ensure efficient elimination. Fruits and vegetables also contain vitamins, such as vitamin C, which tuna and eggs do not provide.
Make sure that your egg cooking methods do not add saturated fat or trans fats. Use heart-healthy oils such as olive or canola, and opt for boiling, baking or poaching eggs rather than frying them in butter or margarine. A little bit of olive oil cooking spray should keep scrambled eggs and omelets from sticking without adding too many calories.
Fresh or frozen tuna is best, and it can be baked, broiled, grilled or pan fried in a light slick of olive oil. If you can find and afford sushi-grade tuna, you do not have to cook it all the way through. Simply sear it well on both sides and serve it over a bed of cool mixed greens with a light sesame dressing. Or slice it into a salad or onto a bed of mixed whole grains.
If you prefer your tuna cooked through, give it five minutes per side for every inch of thickness. Thoroughly drain canned tuna, and try making tuna salad with plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Add chopped walnuts for crunch, and serve your tuna salad inside a hollowed-out tomato. You can make and serve egg salad this way too.
- Concordia University-Saint Paul: The Science of Weight Loss
- University of Colorado-Colorado Springs: Meal Planning
- University of Illinois: Is There a Catch in Eating Tuna?
- Whole Foods: What's New and Beneficial About Tuna
- Colorado State University: Enjoy the Health Benefits of Eggs!
- BBC Good Food: The Health Benefits of Eggs
- Mayo Clinic: Are High Protein Diets Safe for Weight Loss?
- WebMD: High-Protein Diet for Weight Loss
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition
- WNDU: Studies Say Less Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain
- Tufts University: Is Calorie Counting Dead?