Your friend warned you about Fiber, but you wanted to think it was going somewhere. Then, before you know it, you’ve blocked Fiber’s number and deleted all It's nostalgic messages. There’s nothing cute about feeling bloated, I get it; I too am just a girl that never does her business. But the reality is, fiber is the key to cracking the code of weight loss. On the dietary scale, I’d argue that fiber and water hold top spot for weight loss results. Whether you're going to be fighting the Freshman 15 with fiber or the 10 pounds you put on to keep you warm this winter, both battles can be won with this healthy diet change. And here’s more good news — the bloating and uncomfortable fullness you feel when upping your fruit, veggie and bean intake? It doesn’t last. It doesn’t have to be an overnight change; just take it slow, and you can avoid those awkward side effects. 

The pillars of your weight loss goal, fiber and water, are the very two substances that are removed during the processing of food. In case you’re in denial, here's what this means: those pop tarts you had for breakfast? No fiber, no water. The danish with cream cheese filling? Fresh out of both fiber and water! The baked potato chips you picked up at the food court because, hello, they’re baked? There’s still no fiber or water in that bag. The act of processing a food removes these two key champs and hinders your weight loss goals. There’s no way around it; you’ve been told as a kid, a teen, and you’re being told right now: eat your fruits and vegetables. It really is that simple. 

juice, citrus, lemon, sweet, lime, grapefruit
Christin Urso

How To Be a Fiber Eating Machine

1. Start The Day Right

Each morning begin the day with (at least) a liter of water. After rehydrating, snack on a bowl of fruit. Berries, melon or oranges are a great pre-breakfast for their detoxifying properties and, of course, their fiber content.

berry, pasture, blueberry, sweet, bilberry, blackberry
Jocelyn Hsu

2. Choose Fruits And Veggies For Mid-Day Snacks 

Chop up some carrots and celery and toss them in your bag to hold you over during your busy day; add in a serving of hummus for a protein and fiber packed dip! Other great options: apples and bananas with natural peanut butter, citrus fruits to pack in some vitamin C during the winter season, cubed watermelon to help rehydrate your body and wake you up during that mid-day slump, or even a smoothie to-go that is packed full of all the fruits and veggies you wouldn’t normally be eating. Pro-tip: You won’t taste the greens in your green smoothie, so go ahead and make a habit of throwing a couple handfuls of spinach into the blender.

P.S. Don’t forget to finish off your water bottle once again and refill it for the rest of the day. 

vegetable, parsley, corn, rice, pepper, legume, cereal, lentil
Katherine Baker

3. Swap Animal-Based Protein For Plant-Based Protein

There’s a long list of reasons to incorporate more plant-based protein into one’s diet, and for the sake of glorifying a fiber-filled diet, their vitamin, mineral, water, and fiber content is an excellent reason to give this swap a try. Instead of chicken breast on your salad, try your favorite type of bean or green peas. Instead of tuna or chicken salad on your whole-grain bread, mash chickpeas and mix with chopped celery, dill relish, salt, pepper, and some egg-free mayo (Just Mayo is under $4 at Walmart and Vegenaise is another healthier option) or mashed avocado. Throw in lentils when making vegetable soup instead of beef, scrambled tofu in place of scrambled eggs, or try nut butter topped with bananas or strawberries on your bagel instead of cream cheese. Have fun with it! There’s a World Wide Web full of plant-based and fiber-filled recipes. 

vegetable, pasture, carrot
Christin Urso

Falling In Love With Fiber

As you upgrade your diet, you’re going to notice more than just changes in your waistline. You’re going to experience an increase in your energy levels. A perk of eating high fiber foods is that they are typically also plant-based, which means you digest these foods much quicker than you digest meat, dairy or eggs (sometimes 1-2 days quicker) and thus your digestive system can take a much needed break. You’re now supplying your body with energy that was once used to digest your heavy, low fiber lunch. Now you can put that energy toward attending a workout class, going for a jog, or preparing more healthy snacks so you can maintain this new lifestyle. You’re going to mega-boost your immune system. Eating more fiber means eating more fruits and vegetables, which are packed full of vitamins to help fight off the (all too) common cold. Your skin will be glowing. Not only does consuming water-rich foods keep you fuller without packing on the calories, it also helps to keep you hydrated and will leave your complexion looking 10/10. So whether it's victoriously fighting the freshman 15 with fiber, or simply living your best life with glowing skin and a rocking immune system, keep doing what you're doing; fiber is a friend, not a foe.