Starting on a weight loss journey can be a challenge but knowing which foods to avoid is a step in the right direction. Losing weight is all about the food we eat and balancing that out with physical activity. While it’s essential to focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods, it’s equally important to be mindful of what to avoid. Certain foods can hinder your progress and make it challenging to shed those extra pounds. These are a few foods to avoid when you want to lose weight and take a step closer to your goals. This is based on what I learned throughout my journey, and I’m sure it will help you too!
Foods to avoid when you want to lose weight.
While it’s safe to enjoy all foods in moderation, over-consuming these foods will slow down the weight loss process. I know it can be tough as most of these are foods we love to enjoy. But there are so many alternative options available that love your body as much as you love them.
You don’t have to say goodbye for good. Just be more mindful when you do decide to indulge. I know I sure do from time to time. Having one unhealthy meal won’t make you gain weight, but having one healthy meal won’t make you lose either.
1. Processed Snacks.
These snacks, ranging from chips to crackers, are not only addictive but are also typically loaded with unhealthy fats, excessive salt, and empty calories. Their low nutritional value often fails to provide the satiety needed to curb cravings, leading to over consumption. I know, there’s nothing better than snacking on something when you’re on the go or watching a movie. Try replacing these snacks with healthier versions that are low-calorie, high-volume foods. This way you can still enjoy a snack in abundance, just in a healthier way.
2. Fried Foods.
It’s amazing how quickly our bodies can get used to certain foods. When I started cutting fried foods out of my diet, I started feeling really good. Now, when I do eat fried foods, especially when they are on the greasier side, I become extremely sick. It just goes to show that our bodies don’t like the foods we’ve been feeding it. Excessive oil absorption during frying not only contributes to increased calorie intake but also poses potential health risks.
Fried foods are also typically high in unhealthy trans fats and calories. Try choosing alternative cooking methods such as baking, grilling, or steaming that can be a healthier approach, allowing you to savor the flavors without compromising your weight loss goals.
3. Refined Foods.
I’m a sucker for freshly baked bread and, I do still have white bread from time to time. But having refined foods on a daily basis can be really harmful and will just set you back on your weight loss journey. These foods have gone through extensive processing, stripping most nutrients and fiber. Most of these foods might be higher in calories and lack the fiber to keep you satisfied which ultimately leads to overeating. Refined foods can also lead to quick spikes in blood sugar levels ultimately triggering hunger.
Try adding whole grains into your diet such as quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat products to ensure you stay satisfied for longer.
4. Processed Meats.
Not only can processed meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats, slow down the weight loss process, but studies have shown that they can cause bloating and other digestion problems. Processed meats are high in unhealthy fats and sodium. Try adding lean protein sources such as poultry, fish, or plant-based alternatives that can be a healthier choice, providing necessary nutrients without the drawbacks associated with processed meats.
You knew this one was going to be in here somewhere! While enjoying a drink can be a part of socializing, it’s essential to be mindful of the impact of alcohol on weight loss. My number one rule throughout my journey has been to never drink my calories. If you do want to indulge in a drink or two, make sure to choose a lower-calorie option and keep it simple. Empty calories are bad calories.
6. Take Out.
Not only is fast food notorious for being high in calories, unhealthy fats and sodium, but you never really know what goes into your meal. If you are tracking your meals with an app like MyFitnessPal, not knowing what and how much goes into your meal can make it difficult to stay on track. Frequently relying on fast food can lead to weight gain as well as other health issues down the line.
7. Sugary Treats.
I’m not going to lie, this is a tough one for me. Even now. I have a major sweet tooth and love indulging in the sweeter side of life. Sugary treats are high in calories, low in nutritional value and often lead to intensified cravings. This being said, there are healthier yet still sweet options available. Healthy alternatives have come a long way and we can easily indulge in sweet treats without all the added guilt and calories.
8. Sweetened Drinks.
One of the big culprits sabotaging weight loss efforts is sugary beverages. Sodas, energy drinks, and even some seemingly innocent fruit juices are loaded with added sugars. These drinks add empty calories to your diet without providing the necessary nutrients, leading to weight gain. Water is your best friend and can be extremely versatile if you let it be. Add fruits, veggies or even flavorings into your water to spice things up and make it a refreshing drink.
9. High-Calorie Coffee Drinks.
This one goes out to all the Starbies lovers out there. Your morning coffee can become a hidden source of excess calories when loaded with sugar, syrups, and whipped cream. Try going for simpler coffee options, such as black coffee or those with minimal and healthier sweeteners, can be a small but impactful change to help you cut down on unnecessary calorie intake and keep your weight loss goals on track. Starbucks has some really great low-calorie options too.
10. Salad Dressings.
We all know the drill, when you start your weight loss journey, salads are soon to follow. Salads are a great, refreshing way to get in all the nutrients you need to stay satisfied. But there’s a catch – salad dressings. They seem so innocent but in fact they are loaded with hidden sugars, unhealthy fats, and excess calories. Creamy dressings, in particular, tend to be high in saturated fats and calories. Try adding lighter alternatives like vinaigrette’s made with olive oil or yogurt-based dressings. Making your own dressings at home allows you to control the ingredients and portion sizes, ensuring that you don’t unwittingly sabotage your weight loss efforts with a seemingly innocent salad topping.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional for a touch of sweetness)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
11. Full Cream Dairy Products.
If it’s possible to have an addiction to cheese, then I’m sure I’m a cheeseaholic. Full cream products, such as whole milk, cheese, and full-fat yogurt, are higher in saturated fats, which can contribute to increased calorie intake. While moderate consumption of dairy can be part of a balanced diet, try using their low-fat or fat-free counterparts can be a more weight-conscious choice. These alternatives provide the same essential nutrients like calcium and protein without the excess calories from saturated fats.
Successfully achieving weight loss involves not only incorporating nutritious foods into your diet but also avoiding those that slow down your progress. By being mindful of your food choices and opting for whole, nutrient-dense options, you can support your weight loss journey and create the best possible outcome.
Remember, moderation is key, and making sustainable lifestyle changes will contribute to long-term success. It takes time to work on the body you want, be patient.
Your Wellness Warrior!