It’s not easy to lose weight. And pretending otherwise makes the whole process even more difficult.
The reason it’s so hard is that losing weight, and then keeping the weight off, requires a holistic lifestyle shift – you have to change your habits and behaviors, as well as your attitude towards food and fitness.
According to Metro Times, there is not one magic solution, nor is there one singular thing you can do to lose weight. But, while finding the time to get in enough adequate exercise that will promote weight loss is difficult, it is much easier to adopt a shift in your diet.
There are some foods that are quite simply, extremely unhealthy, and are best to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight.
Likewise, there is quite a large number of foods that you should be consuming more of, if you are trying to lose weight – what we eat, and how much of it we eat matters deeply in the question of weight gain or loss.
Food should be looked at as fuel, regardless of your level of athleticism. If you fuel yourself with the right amount of high-quality stuff, you will be better off than if you don’t.
Here at the top 10 foods to avoid, as well as the top 10 foods to gravitate towards, if you are trying to lose weight.
The Ten Foods to Avoid
1. Sugary Drinks
Soda is one of the worst things you can put in your body. The average can of soda contains roughly 39 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of nearly 10 teaspoons. The recommended daily intake of sugar for men is 37 grams, and for women, it is only 25 grams.
But, besides the high levels of sugar, most sodas also contain a variety of artificial chemicals, including High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is one of the worst things you can put in your body. They also contain high levels of calories, but because these are liquid calories, your body doesn’t register them the same.
So, instead of you eating less solid food to compensate, you eat what you normally eat, which means all those calories and sugars are literally automatically excess – which is why soda is associated with weight gain and other health problems. (This also applies to bottled juice, lemonade, fruit punch, etc. etc.)
Yes, unsurprisingly these delicious, refined little bundles are absolutely loaded with sugars, calories, oils, and chemicals, and so really should not be a part of anybody’s diet. This is not just the case to straight-up candy like Kit Kats or Reese’s.
Other packaged bars, including many granola bars, are so loaded with sugars and calories and other bad stuff that they can make losing weight very difficult indeed.
If you need a sweet snack, grab a handful of raisins or a small chunk of dark chocolate, or better yet, a piece of fruit (which is high in naturally occurring sugars).
3. French Fried Potato
Although your Cheeseburger in Paradise would be amiss without a steaming pile of french-fried potato, your diet won’t thank you for it. Both French fries and potato chips are incredibly high in calories, but are not exceptionally filling – it is all too easy to eat way too many chips.
Studies have found that these beloved, crispy, golden fries are the worst food for weight gain – the link is well-established. Plus, fried potatoes (as well as roasted or baked for that matter) have been shown to contain traces of acrylamides, a cancer-causing substance.
So, if you’re craving a potato, just boil it. Finish it off with a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper and parmesan cheese to make it taste even better.
Specifically, with beer, alcohol provides high levels of calories. In moderate drinkers, alcohol doesn’t seem to have an effect on weight gain, but with heavy drinkers, it can be devastating.
Beer especially, which is high in both carbs and calories, with about 13 grams and 155 calories in one can. If you enjoy a beer, just do your best to make it a more occasional thing, and definitely limit yourself to one beer in a sitting.
And when you do drink, there are tons of low carb beers out there that might be worth trying – Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale, Corona Premier, Michelob Ultra are some examples of low carb, low-calorie options.
5. Cookies, Cakes, and Other Baked Goods
Like many other items on this list, the reasons this item made it are pretty clear – they are high in sugar, trans fats, and refined flour. And, because they likely won’t satisfy your hunger, you’ll end up eating much more than you should.
Like with anything here, if you need some sweetness, try some dark chocolate or fruit. (You can also melt the dark chocolate and drizzle it on your fruit if you want to go crazy).
6. Ice Cream
Yeah, this one is definitely unfortunate, but again, not really surprising. It is high in calories and sugar, and many brands are loaded with other artificial chemicals.
Don’t worry though, there is an easy way to substitute it. (You can, of course, modify this base recipe).
Pour several cups of your preferred frozen fruit into a blender. Add in a small scoop of plain Greek yogurt and a splash of milk (or almond milk). Add a light drizzle of honey, and if you want, a bit of cinnamon or cocoa powder.
Then blend until smooth, and pour the result into a dish. Take the dish, cover it with a lid (or tin foil) and place it in the freezer – boom, frozen yogurt.
7. Coffee (Unless It’s Black)
Coffee by itself can be relatively healthy, as it provides several biologically active substances, notably caffeine, which boosts your metabolic rates. But that’s only the case with black coffee.
If you take your morning cup with a healthy measure of creamer, sugar, or cream, the number of calories and sugars you are adding makes it much more difficult to lose weight.
If you really need a little sweetness in your coffee, stir in a spoonful of honey – it makes for a more subtle, earthy flavor, without being unhealthy or overly sweet.
This is further proof that you, unfortunately, can’t eat anything ‘fun’ when trying to lose weight. Most pizzas are going to be high in refined flour and unhealthy oils that promote weight gain.
However, if you need your ‘za, you can always try making it homemade, which is both fun and healthy. There are tons of recipes out there, and it’s really not that difficult to make, just maybe avoid throwing the dough – contrary to popular belief, you will probably drop it.
9. White Bread
White bread is one of the unhealthiest loaves of bread out there – it is loaded with refined flour, oils, and sugar.
This is an easy one to substitute, however – you can pick up a loaf of whole wheat bread, or any variety of seeded loaves of bread – Dave’s Killer Bread is a good option here.
10. Processed Food
Added sugar is the worst thing you can put in your body when trying to lose weight. Do your best to avoid processed foods, as just about all of them include added sugar.
If you stick to whole foods, fruits and vegetables, and homemade ‘sweeter stuff,’ you can be sure to avoid these added sugars.
While these are the best things to avoid when trying to lose weight, the sword is double-sided. It is also important to fill that hunger-gap with foods that are good for overall health and weight loss.
Ten Foods You Should Eat
Nuts often get a bad rap, as they are seen as being high in fat. However, the reality is that nuts are high in ‘good’ fat, and so make a great snack. They are loaded with protein and fiber as well, and so through they be but little, they are filling.
They are also known to improve metabolic rates and promote fat loss making it one of the best natural fat burners. Nuts are also great for promoting overall health.
2. Greens, Especially the Leafy Kind
Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach, Collards, Chards, etc.) are generally viewed as being super healthy, as they are low in calories and carbs, but are high in nutrients, minerals, and fiber.
Their high levels of antioxidants, plus all these nutrients, have been shown to promote weight loss. Plus, you can eat a large quantity of them, which allows you to better satiate your hunger so that you don’t reach for that after-dinner cookie.
3. Fatty Fish (Salmon)
Salmon is a great way to get high levels of omega 3s and protein – you’ll get filled up and you’ll get plenty of health benefits along the way. The fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation, which helps fight obesity levels.
Additionally, salmon provides a good amount of iodine, which helps your thyroid work – the thyroid controls your metabolism, as long as that is working, your metabolism will be too.
Despite the decades-long debate over whether eggs are healthy or not, the latest result holds that they are.
In terms of the cholesterol question, if you are already diagnosed with high cholesterol, avoid the yolks. Otherwise, you have no egg-related restrictions. They are high in protein and healthy fat, and so fill you up. Further, research has found that increasing your protein intake lowers your overall cravings by a significant figure (60%).
If you eat a big omelet for breakfast, you’ll likely eat less later on, and eating less overall is the main way to lose the pounds.
5. Chicken (breast) or Lean Meat
Foods that are high in protein are the best foods to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, as they will fill you up better than anything else. Lean meats and chicken breast are both great options in this area.
Beans, beans the magical fat-loss inducing fruit. The beans that make this list are lentils, black beans, and kidney beans. Again, because they are so high in protein and fiber, they reduce overall cravings – you’ll wind up eating less food.
Plus, beans are overall, incredibly healthy.
Soup is one of my favorite meals, especially during the winter. And because it has a low energy density and is high in water (and so is quite filling) it should be one of your favorites too.
Again, the name of the game is eating healthier food that fills you up – you eat less food overall, but still get more than enough protein, nutrients, and antioxidants. Soup will definitely help you out here.
These little green fruits are loaded with carbs, yes, but also tons of healthy fats. (Cooking with avocado oil is a great way to get exposure to these fats – plus avocado oil has a higher smoking point, so less smoke is a plus too).
This fruit is a great way to increase antioxidant absorption, while also getting nutrients and minerals, (and eat less junk).
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
It is also shown to reduce blood-sugar levels. (It is best used in salad dressings, but if you’re bold enough, you can add it to any meal).
10. Spicy Food
Spicy food, notably chili peppers and Jalapenos, are high in capsaicin. Capsaicin is where the spice comes from, but it is also shown to promote fat burning and reduce appetite. If you don’t do spicy food, you can always get a capsaicin supplement.
Fortunately, there are far, far more healthy foods you should be eating, than there are unhealthy foods you should be avoiding. This 10-item list of the foods to eat when losing weight is heavily cut-down, which is more good news for you.
There is more healthy stuff out there than there is junk food, you just have to look for it. And while following this list can’t guarantee anything, your chances of losing weight, especially if you combine this ‘diet’ with exercise, increase immensely.
Now, there’s nothing else to do but start.