We can probably all agree by now that super restrictive diets do not work. Denying yourself the odd indulgence now and again can work against you and lead to binge eating. However, having said that, there are definitely some foods you should avoid completely. If you are trying to lose weight, taking a pass on the following 8 items is essential. Doing so will allow you to combat cravings, avoid energy crashes and start to slim down the way you want.
1. Any Snack That Only Contains Carbs
If you eat a snack that contains only carbs, your body will convert it to simple sugars in your blood stream. This is not good. These sugars cause your body to produce extra insulin to absorb the sugar. The problem comes when your blood sugar comes back down. It will fall dramatically and leave you feeling the same energy drain and hunger pangs that prompted you to snack in the first place. This isn't to say that you should be skipping carbs completely. Try to make your snacks a combination of carbs, healthy fats and protein, which take longer to digest and will help you feel satisfied. Opt for a slice of bread with nut butter, or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, suggests Rachel Harvest, a registered dietitian affiliated with Tournesol Wellness in New York.
2. Frozen Meals
Frozen meals are full of sodium. They are loaded up in order to make the ingredients last longer in your freezer. Sodium can lead to water retention, which will make you feel bloated and heavy. It's a horrible way to feel! When you don't feel your best, you are less likely to make the choices that will lead you to your weight loss goals. Besides, frozen meals are designed to pack an entire meal's worth of calories into that tiny tray, so every bite you take is just loaded. Our brain is a tricky thing and while large portions convince your body that it is full, small portions do not. You will not feel satisfied by that tiny amount of food. You'll be reaching for something else in no time, which means your calorie consumption will be through the roof!
3. High-Fiber Snack Bars
Fiber is definitely an important part of a healthy meal plan. It will reduce your calorie consumption by making you feel full and it will keep your digestive system working like a charm. That said, it is not helpful for you to consume your daily total of fiber (25 grams worth) in a single snack bar while leaving it out of the rest of your diet. "Fiber intake has to be consistent throughout the day to stave off hunger, improve digestive health, and not cause stomach upset," says Harvest. Instead of grabbing a bar, try adding fruits or veggies to every snack and meal.
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4. "Low-Fat" Foods
These foods are NOT good if you are trying to lose weight. When fat is removed from food, the flavour goes right along with it. To correct this problem, manufacturers then load it up with sugar. As you know, added sugar is not only disastrous for your weight loss plans, it can be toxic to your health
It takes a lot of fruit to make one glass of juice. The problem is that you are getting all the calories from the fruit and missing all the fruit fibers that will make you feel full. Fructose, the natural sugar that makes fruit taste sweet, plays a terrible trick on your body and prevents it from recognizing when it is full. This can make you eat more and increase your insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.
6. Artificially Sweetened Drinks
"There are some people whose brains are wired in a way that artificial sweeteners induce or enhance cravings," says Dr. Charlie Seltzer, M.D., a weight-loss specialist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "If drinking a Diet Snapple leads you to the Ben & Jerry's, then you'd certainly be better off with water or water with lemon." If you must absolutely have the refreshing sensation of carbonation, try some sparkling water. The bubbles can actually help make your stomach feel full, which means you'll be less likely to overdo it at snack time!
7. Cereal Sold in a Value-Size Box
And not just big cereal boxes, but any food you buy in an oversized, bulk configuration. Studies have found that people eat 22% more when eating from larger packages. If you know there is more food available, you may be subconsciously allowing yourself to eat more. You should also be careful of food items you get on sale. If it costs less, you are likely to eat more. Obviously you don't have to spend more on your food to eat less of it. However, if you do buy items in large value packs, break it up into serving sizes instead of eating out of the package.
While it is possible to choose drink options that contain fewer calories, you will be hard pressed to find a way to include booze in your weight loss efforts. Alcohol provides you with no nutrients and lots and lots of empty calories. What's worse, drinking often dissolves your better judgement and you might find yourself making really bad decisions when it comes to food. Oh, but it gets worse. "When alcohol is present in your body, it's considered a toxin that your body wants to get rid of, and becomes you liver's top priority," says Dr. Caroline Cederquist, MD, creator of bistroMD. When your liver is working on clearing out the alcohol, it cannot burn fat efficiently. If you are really serious about weight loss, giving up alcohol or at least cutting down your consumption dramatically, is the only way to go.
How many of these 8 calorie traps can you remove from your daily routine?
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