We want results and we want them fast! Sometimes you can get them fast, but at what cost? Sometimes, it is a marathon, because we did not get to a point where we were not happy with our weight overnight either. We look at diet after diet, and sometimes people lose a lot of weight! I am happy for anyone successfully losing weight in their journey. Unfortunately, we rarely see the dark side. Nobody wants to show you a person six months after their rapid weight loss from their respective diet. Unfortunately, many people tend to gain the weight right back, because their plan was not sustainable for a long period of time. Most diets leave you feeling miserable and deprived. I am not bashing diets as a whole, as they can be a great tool to help you be conscious of what you are eating, but unless you are in a competition or reaching a certain weight because you have to, you need to first start out with the overlooked basics in what to get rid of in your nutrition plan.
1.) Cut out all the obvious foods.
Most people know the obvious culprits of weight gain already. Pastries, refined flour, white bread, bagels, pasta, added sugar, fast food, highly processed food, pretty much anything at Cheesecake Factory, soda, cheap oils, trans fats, low quality cuts of beef (70/30 hamburger meat as an example), and yes, sorry to say the PSL as well! (Click here for my healthy, high-protein PSL recipe)
2.) Cut out all of the not-so-obvious foods
This is where it gets tricky and somewhat controversial. Companies love marketing some of these items as a healthy start to your day or a healthy snack.
Pretty much every cereal is bad for you. Some have lots of added sugars. If it does not, then it may taste like cardboard. Even some of the cardboard-like cereals still pack a lot of calories. Who above the age of eight actually only eats one serving of cereal?
Sometimes you will pair your cereal with orange juice. Most of the good fiber is gone, and you are practically drinking a cup of sugar, even though it may not be through added sugars. I quit drinking it five years ago, and it was not easy. It was one of my favorite drinks. Instead, either just eat a regular orange, or drink water over an orange slice or two. My advice would be to ditch all juice in general. Juices contain lots of empty calories, and some have just as many calories as sodas do.
Granola is another food that the commercials tell you is healthy, but often has lots of added sugar and/or corn syrup.
Most bread should be cut out. Most bread has added sugars and cheap soy products baked in. The only breads I eat now are Ezekiel or Alvarado Street sprouted grain breads, since the glycemic index is low, and there are not a ton of ingredients that go into making those breads. Even so, stick to your serving size.
Fat-Free or Low-Fat products should be carefully watched. This was a tough one for me when I was losing weight. I ate fat free dressings and Baked Lays potato chips. You know what made them taste great anyways? If you guessed sugar, you are correct! They surely were not calorie free.
Organic and Natural baked goods from stores like Whole Foods can still be bad for you. Sure, they are better than putting a science experiment into your body, just because the sugar and oil is organic, does not mean the calories go away. You are not going to lose the fat you want to lose if you are consuming Whole Foods pizzas or cupcakes.
3.) Fill up on lean protein, complex carbs, good fats, and green veggies
Now, what you consume and how much you consume will be based on your goals, types of foods that you actually like, adjust activity level, size, gender, age, and allergies. That is where it can get tricky. All the diets and contradictory information between experts and everyday people confuses many people trying to reach their goals. Half the time, we do not know what to believe. That is where proper nutrition consulting and planning are so important. One of our clients, Andy was doing pretty well with his workout plan, and he was seeing some results. However, he needed his nutrition fine tuned. He signed up with our nutrition program, received a consultation and a meal plan. That helped him lose 50 pounds along with his workout plan.
Andy’s plan was different than my plan for weight loss. We like different foods in some cases, have different goals, and I have a more physical job. I needed more calories in my plan than he did. His plan involved a larger daily calorie deficit than mine did since I had less weight to lose. Similarities included putting foods in that I actually like. I do not feel a desire for a bunch of cheat meals, because I enjoy what I eat. For example, some plans may include food like cottage cheese, which can be healthy, but I cannot stand it. I would not stick to the plan if I had to eat it for any of my snacks. I sing the praises of kale, but we will not force anyone to eat it if they hate it.
Those are some basic rules to go by. Not the only rules by any means, but they are a great starting point on your road to long term success.