You may know, I don't generally hand out 'DO NOT EAT' lists to my clients. I feel like that usually sets us up for feeling deprived at least, or it sets us up for a full on binge fest and self-loathing spiral at worst.
However, it is hard to argue that some foods (and beverages) just do not fit in very well with a weight loss plan. (Just ask my client, 'Carol', down below.)
So today I am bringing you a list of the worst foods for weight loss... with this caveat: if you know that making something off-limits will set you up for failure, then by God do not make these foods 'off limits'.
The fact is, some of us do great with full abstinence, and some of us fair better when we just give ourselves limitations (e.g. I'll only eat this on a Sunday, or I'll only eat a half portion, or I'll only eat it when I go out to eat).
It seems redundant, but it's one of weight loss's biggest foes. Sugar found in baked goods, refined carbs, candies, sauces, dips, dressings, and the like are empty calories that serve no purpose but to take up residence on your tush.
It spikes insulin which is like your annoying aunt telling you never to throw anything away because you might need it one day, as she continues to bring you more presents that you don't want or need. Except instead of dealing with some extra notebooks and a skirt from 1982, you're dealing with stubborn belly fat that doesn't want to leave.
Finally, it's as addictive as cocaine!! Which means you aren't just going to have a small amount on occasion and be done. You're going to turn to it for comfort when you're sad, for celebration when you're good, for entertainment when you're bored, and you're going to eat way more than you ever intended. Am I right or am I right?
p.s. I know I sound like a broken record, but fruit and WHOLE grains do not count.
First we need a definition of what 'processed food' actually means. Processed means it has been manipulated, altered, added to, or produced in a factory.
And the problem with processed foods is their net calories.
Think of it this way: the more processed a food is (the further from its original source it is), the less work your body has to do to process it. Which means you're burning fewer calories and retaining more calories as it goes through the digestion process.
These foods also tend to have less fiber and water in them which means you can eat more without feeling full.
So. Many. Problems.
First, most fried food is battered up with refined white flour (see sugar section and processed food section above).
Next, it basically is a sponge for the fat it's cooked in, which means it is bubbling up into one big calorie bomb. (For reference: there are 4 calories/gram of carbs and protein, and 9 calories/gram of fat)
Finally, more often than not fried foods are being cooked in oils that contain high inflammatory trans fats which play mind games with your hunger and satiety hormones leaving them dazed and confused, leaving you more likely to overeat.
Are you sick of hearing me bash alcohol yet?
Sorry to be a party pooper, but alcohol is nothing but a combination of empty calories and regret.
Not only are you getting hit with the sugar, and processed food whammies from above, you also are dealing with the extra sugar and calories from the mixers, dehydration, an increase in appetite, a lowering of both inhibitions and testosterone (and important hormone in weight loss)...
PLUS, your body will prioritize burning calories from alcohol over burning your body fat every time. So if you're having a night cap most days of the week, that's most days of the week that your fat burning furnace is getting turned off and your fat storage is getting turned on.
Carol came to me with the hopes of building a rocking bod for her wedding.
As the first few months of her training commenced, I was impressed with the intensity she brought to her workouts. She never would stop, never would slow down, she was a freaking machine!
Which is why it surprised me that we weren't seeing the drop in inches I was expecting. But after some poking and prodding, I realized her social life and desire to make those around her comfortable, were getting in the way of her results.
She had a tough time saying no to alcohol during social situations and dealt with stress by treating herself with food.
Then I asked her, "How will you feel if you make it to your wedding day, don't have the body you pictured, and look back wishing you had fully committed?"
It apparently was the exact question she needed to hear.
Because from that point on she remained extremely disciplined with her diet, eating almost entirely Whole30, and dramatically limiting her alcohol. Through it she found her voice; she gave herself permission to start saying no to others and yes to herself. And she learned to set boundaries when she needed to to ultimately crush her goals and get back to her college weight.
Here is a snippet from a beautiful email she sent me a few months back:
"Working out with you truly became a lifestyle change for me. Even though I initially started working out with you for my wedding, at some point it wasn't even about trying to look good in my wedding dress anymore (but that was a great benefit). I just felt so freaking good, despite being in a terrible situation at work, the stress of planning a wedding, and the challenges of integrating my single girl life with a fiance/husband. I realized how important being in good physical shape was to my overall well being, and the low-grade depression that I thought was just normal lifted. Every time I had a bad day, received bad news or was just generally in a crappy mood and did not feel like showing up for my workout (or doing my independent cardio) or felt like binging on comfort food, I showed up to workout or resisted the cravings, because I learned from you that laying on the couch or stuffing my face with junk will not make me feel nearly as good as I would feel if I got up and moved my body and nourished myself with functional foods. If there was something on my mind, you let me talk it out. And through talking it out, you gently coaxed me to think about solutions that were doable and goals that were attainable. Sometimes, working out was like a therapy session."
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