If your diet means that you eat less because you skip salads, fruit and fish, it won’t just be ineffective in weight loss-it could also rob your body of important nutrients. To be successful and healthy in your quest to slim down, it’s important that you cut out the foods that encourage weight gain.
1. Fast Food
So, what foods make you gain weight? Fast food is one of the primary culprits; in part because it’s so ubiquitous in America. It’s the epitome of easy. Running late on the way to the office? Pick up a breakfast sandwich. Too tired to make dinner? Order pizza.
Unfortunately, fast food is also frequently high in fat, calories, salt, sugar, and processed ingredients. Plus, it isn’t all that filling, so you can make it through a couple of burgers or tacos before you begin to feel full. It is possible to eat a startling number of calories at a fast food joint.
Try replacing fast food with real, home-prepared food. It takes more time, but the result is almost always much healthier. And if it’s pizza or burgers or breakfast sandwiches that you’re craving-try making your own. Your recipe is likely to be more satisfying and less caloric, and you’ll know exactly which ingredients have gone into it.
2. Pre-prepared Food
Many of the same issues that result in the consumption of burgers and pizza foods also make pre-prepared meals problematic. Food loses some its flavor in the package and preparation process–no matter the process. To disguise this loss, food companies will often load the food with extra salt, fat and sugar to compensate.
Of course, in today’s world it takes an awfully dedicated person to completely remove pre-prepared food from her diet. Instead, just try to keep a balance in your diet. Try to make as many of your meals from scratch as possible; when you need to rely on pre-prepared foods for a meal: buy a bagged salad to go with it. This allows for pre-prepared food to work for you by providing a fresh vegetable without much work.
If you eat the salad first, the fiber and water in it will help you to fill up a little bit, which can help you to avoid overeating on the other pre-prepared food, which is likely high in calories. Plus, you’ll get the nutrients from the salad, which much pre-prepared food lacks.
While technically a drink, soda definitely deserves mention in any discussion of the foods that results in weight gain. When a lot of us get thirsty, we reach for soda instead of water. When we’re at the movies or at dinner, we order a large soda without thinking about it. While this may not seem like a big deal, it has the potential to add a lot of sugar—and a lot of calories—to your diet.
If you can get in the habit of substituting water for soda, you may well find that makes a big difference in your weight-loss efforts. If you find yourself missing flavor, try infusing your water with some fruit, vegetables or herbs. A bit of lemon can make a glass of water more exciting without adding a lot of calories.
Alternately, you can drink juice that has been mixed with equal parts water. This will be more caloric than infused water, but it will still be less calorie-dense than soda, and it will have some nutrients in it as an added benefit.
Everyone needs a treat now and then. It’s fine to splurge occasionally and to enjoy the things that sound delicious. The main problem comes when we start mistaking treats for food–always better in theory after all. For example, if you occasionally want to enjoy a doughnut, there’s probably no real long-term harm to that. But if you adopt a habit of picking up a doughnut for breakfast on the way to work, that can become problematic quickly. When it comes to fast-food burgers, pastries, desserts, sodas, and other foods high in sugar, fat, or other glaringly undesirable ingredients, recognize that they are treats best enjoyed for special occasions; Enjoy them when you have them at your disposal; but don’t trick yourself into thinking they are food, and don’t let them become part of your usual routine.
Try to base your diet on healthy, unprocessed foods. Eat plenty of fresh, nutritious produce, and get a healthy amount of lean protein. Then, you can enjoy treats as an occasional, delicious surprise.