Losing weight, sure it can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. Believe me, I have been there and you can do it! Eating right the majority of the time, yes, I did say majority of the time because, let’s face it, we’re human and we’re going to “slip up” or have fun on a girls night out. There is no room for guilt. As long as you are focused on the big picture, you can have a slip up or two as long as you get right back to your routine.
And the routine? That includes getting plenty of the right types of exercise throughout the day. Yes, THROUGHOUT the day. You see, most people think that hitting the gym in the morning is all they need. They are wrong. You need exercise throughout the day, even if that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator up or down a couple of floors and going on a brisk walk after dinner. Healthy food choices and exercise are the two biggest ingredients to a successful weight loss recipe. It is as important to know what you should not be eating as it is to know what you should be eating. Here’s my list of the top 10 foods you should avoid.
- Sugar: Sugar is nothing but empty calories with no nutritional value. It has been compared to being as addictive as heroin. You need to avoid processed sugar at all costs. Think of it as poison.
- Soda: Again, just empty calories with no nutritional value. Sodas also contribute to tooth decay, and higher dental bills. So, just stop it with the soda already! It is costing you more in dental/medical bills, putting extra pounds on yourself and damaging your body. In a recent case study, when soda was removed from the diet, fat around the midsection was reduced at a much faster rate.
- Starchy vegetables: Potatoes are an excellent example of a starchy vegetable. I know you love them, but your body treats potatoes just as it does sugar. And that’s bad. They cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar, and are harder for your body to process. Potatoes and other starchy vegetables keep the body in an elevated insulin state, making it that much harder to lose weight. They also make you feel sluggish too. There are better choices, especially asparagus.
- White bread: Most of the nutrients have been bleached out of the bread during the processing, and it has a high level of carbohydrates. This is not a good combination. If you must eat bread, go for wheat instead, however, look for “gluten free” options as gluten causes many health issues.
- Fried foods: Most fried foods contain partially hydrogenated oil. Our bodies are unable to process the oils and it gets stored as fat. It is also highly damaging to your cells and leaves you vulnerable to disease and illness.
- Fruit juice: A lot of the so-called “fruit juice” on the market today contains high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity. Only drink 100% pure juice that does not contain high fructose corn syrup, or any “fructose” as food manufacturers are calling HFCS different things to hide it. But be mindful of the high sugar content.
- Caffeine: Caffeine causes dehydration and can increase your appetite. Both things you want to avoid when you are trying to lose fat, especially in your mid-section.
- Margarine: It contains hydrogenated oil, and is not a natural food, you want to avoid all unnatural foods. It has been said that margarine is one ingredient away from plastic.
- White flour: Most of the nutrients are removed when flour is processed to the point it becomes white flour. In fact, foods made with white flour have very little, if any, nutritional value. Avoid it just like you would white bread.
- High glycemic fruits: These include watermelon, bananas, citrus fruits, raisins, and pineapple. These fruits are too high in sugar to be healthy for you when you are trying to lose weight.
Be sure and read nutrition labels and check for partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. Stay away from those and other empty calorie foods.
Reading labels is actually easy, but you have probably never been taught how or what to look for. See the graphic on the right for a quick lesson on what to look for so you can spot good food and bad food quickly.
Make sure you start at the top and look at the servings per container. Some cookies that you think are “on the edge” actually have FOUR servings, so when you eat the whole thing, you have to times the numbers by 4, which would put them through the roof. Food manufacturers do this on purpose to make you think it is better than it really is. Don’t be fooled.
Calories are important. Make sure you always look at the number of calories and realize that they are not entirely accurate, as testing shows that usually they are 20% less than actual. Make sure the numbers in purple match … you don’t want too much of the bad stuff, but you also need enough of the good stuff. One of the most important lines is fiber, the more fiber the better, especially if there is any sugar, as fiber will wrap around the sugar and it won’t be as damaging to your body. This is why an apple is so good for you even though it is high in sugar, as it is also high in fiber.
Be smart with your food choices and if you need help along the way, we highly recommend the Medifast Diet and Diets to Go.