We’ve all heard someone claim that we need to be avoiding certain foods in order to lose weight. I just did a quick google search and found pages upon pages of articles that have lists of anywhere from 5-50 foods to avoid in order to lose weight. I’m not sure exactly when people started creating these lists. I would like to believe that these lists are created by well intentioned people who truly believe their results came from eliminating specific foods and they are trying to help others achieve the same results. I have personally lost 115 lbs and I did not eliminate any specific foods. Eliminating foods is unnecessary at best and counterproductive at worst. So let’s dive into this.
First off I’ll start by saying that if you have a medical condition or food allergy that requires you to eliminate a food this does NOT apply to you. You should always follow the advice of your trusted physician over anyone on the internet regardless of how educated or credible they are.
At its core weight loss really comes down to basic math. Eat less than you burn and you will lose weight. Eat more than you burn and you will gain weight. Eat what you burn and, yep you guessed it, you will maintain your weight. Eating less than you burn is called being in a calorie deficit.
How can you achieve a calorie deficit? There’s a lot of ways to do that. What was successful for me and the majority of the clients I work with is simply following the 80/20 rule. So 80% of my daily food intake comes from healthy nutrient dense foods that fuel my body and 20% comes from food I enjoy. When I first met and started training with Ryan this is something we disagreed on. Maybe we still do, I’m not sure. He used to tell me to “just don’t eat the peanut butter cup” or “just don’t buy the ice cream you don’t need it”. Over time I got him to loosen up a little bit on this one because I showed him I could keep those things in my diet and get and keep results. You see, I had already learned from many failed attempts at different diets that restricting the things I enjoyed eating would only lead me to completely binge on anything I could get my hands on. Why is it that so many people recommend removing foods from your diet in order to lose weight? Honestly this usually stems from them in fact being in a caloric deficit. For example: I stopped eating white flour and lost weight or I stopped drinking fruit juice and lost weight. It’s not the removal of the actual flour or fruit juice that caused the weight loss. It is that by removing the flour and the fruit juice it puts them into a calorie deficit and that is what caused the weight loss. This goes for really any food or food group. People on a low carb diet did not lose weight because they stopped eating carbs. The removal of carbs from their diet put them into a calorie deficit and…..yup you guessed it….they lost weight. Generally in these scenarios when the food or food group that was eliminated is reintroduced they gain the weight back because it then puts them back into a calorie surplus. I honestly only know 2 people who have been able to sustain loss from elimination diets long term.
So the things I want you to take away from this are
There are foods that provide more nutrients
There are foods that are more filling and satisfying
There are foods that are calorically dense and provide little to no nutrients
There are foods that are calorically dense and do not fill you up or satisfy you.
Food does not have a moral value and there are no good and bad foods. Food is energy.
You don’t need to completely eliminate any food from your diet to be successful in weight loss.
For overall health you should get most of your calories from nutrient dense foods that fuel your body.
All food has a place in a balanced diet.
You’re playing the long game this time. It’s not about losing quickly. It’s about being healthy and staying healthy. So it has to be a way of eating you can live with forever.
If you’re struggling in your weight loss endeavors and repeatedly losing and gaining or having to do the same “diet” over and over. I encourage you to reach out. The coaches at Ryan Howard Coaching have years of experience helping people just like you learn the truth about nutrition and how it relates to weight loss. We would love to help you too.