If you have a few extra pounds to lose, then this article is for you! Just to be clear – NOT everyone needs to lose weight. This article is all about HEALTHY weight loss for those who feel they really need it for health concerns :)
Common Mistake #1: “Low Calorie Food”
When you see something that’s fat-free or sugar-free, like those 100-calorie packs of Oreos or Cheez-its, run! *Kidding, but not really*.
TBH I used to DIE for those types of snacks and I would eat them all the time (A.K.A. too much)! When you see a sweet snack that’s sugar-free, you probably think it’s too good to be true. And *sadly* that’s because it IS. The alternative to using sugar in candy bars or cookies, is fake, chemically-altered “sugar”. And there are SO many different types that can be used (like Sucralose, for example). Even though it can be “classified” as sugar-free, doesn’t mean your body isn’t going to have the same response that it normally would have to real sugar. Fake sugars still can trigger an insulin response in your body / glucose in your blood, so you’re still going to get that effect or even something worse, because it’s chemically altered. This is why I always say I would rather eat a banana or piece of fruit that has natural sugar along with vitamins and fiber.
Even worse: fat-free foods might not even be “fat-free.” Companies will do this messed-up process of taking fat molecules and breaking them up into two or three different parts. When they do this, they can technically call the food fat-free because it’s not considered a fat molecule if it’s separated. HOWEVER, when you eat the food item, those molecules will end up forming back together into whatever compound they were originally and form a fat inside your body. I know, EW! By the way, this is not meant to scare you at all! When you eat clean, whole foods that are naturally fat-free, then you are FINE.
Moral of the story: if there’s a doughnut with frosting and sprinkles that’s fat-free and sugar-free, you’ve got to think that something had to happen for it to get that way. And if it had to be manipulated THAT much, then it’s just not good for you.
Also – I’m sure any of you who want to lose weight want a long-term benefit. You don’t want to lose it now and feel crappy later, right? Eating these sugar-free and fat-free foods (A.K.A. chemicals) could be doing your body damage in the long-run. If your body is full of toxins or your arteries are clogged, or even if there is a lot of junk in your system, nothing’s going to function as it should. You may end up storing extra fat rather than shedding pounds or even becoming constipated. Bottom line: it can be dangerous to see what issues these chemicals bring down the line, so to be your healthiest self, I HIGHLY recommend staying away :)
Common Mistake #2: Food Deprivation
We all know someone who approaches weight loss by eating 1 banana for breakfast, egg whites for lunch, and a sweet potato for dinner. Okay, sure, those are clean foods! But I promise you, you will not be able to do that your whole life.
If you can’t do something sustainably for 3-6 months, then you shouldn’t do it at all! That’s me assuming you want to see results longer than that ;) Here’s an example I love to use to illustrate this: A main reason a lot of people want to lose extra pounds is to feel happy and feel good, but if you’re eating a super deprived diet, you will honestly feel miserable every single day. Doesn’t that kind of contradict the whole point of wanting to be happy in the first place?!
I’ve also been there, so I’m talking from personal experience. When I tried to lose my love handles I was eating the same four (FOUR) foods and I honestly lasted less than 2-weeks. I was like “I just don’t care, I’m done!”
Common Mistake #3: Starving Yourself
I encourage you guys to look up what happens when you starve yourself. If you think, “Okay, I’m just not going to eat a lot and I’ll go into a strict calorie deficit. I can do it!” you may be disappointed. Here’s the thing: when you do this your body goes into starvation mode. It’s literally like “I need to survive!” So it’s going to hold on to any of the fat that you have in your body so you don’t die (since your body doesn’t know when food is going to come next). Your body is constantly trying to find ways intrinsically to make the best of every situation, which is SO cool.
I actually had a close friend who was eating so little (basically nothing), so she could lose an extra 40 pounds, and despite her efforts the scale didn’t move. This is simply because her body was in starvation mode!
Now, onto a more positive note … let’s get into the healthy alternative that is *QUEEN* of them all for long-term, sustained benefits!
Clean Eating & Exercise
Point blank: clean eating and exercise have to become a lifestyle! For anyone who is truly healthy, exercise and clean eating are just a natural part of their daily life and have become the way they live :)
Find a way to move your body that makes you feel good and you love to do. And choose foods that are simple. I’m talking about one ingredient on the label: like a carrot, quinoa, lentils, barley, mushrooms, the list is endless! Just learn to eat clean, whole foods. Even if you’re not plant-based, you could get wild fish and broil it plain! Learn to love the taste of food itself in its whole state (in its NATURAL form)!
And definitely chill with the sauces :) If you are eating out really really just try to ask for everything plain and steamed. Keyword: *minimal*. Even if they can do it without butter or oil, that’s so much better because those heavy sauces are REALLY going to get you.
I know that it can obviously get boring just eating things completely plain, so here’s a list of my favorite additions to add flavor without compromising your goals:
- Salsa & pico de gallo (the BEST trick for flavor and extra antioxidants)
- Lemon & lime
- Little bit of sea salt (not too much–not tryna hold onto water either!)
- Vinegar (apple cider vinegar & white wine vinegar are my FAVS)
- Tons of spices… like a lot (paprika, cumin, oregano, the list goes on and these are all medicinal which will help to detox the body)
If you DO buy sauce, here are my favorite clean brands to go for:
- Siete Foods (their buffalo sauce is SO good and has no sugar)
- Primal Kitchen
- If buying a different brand, look at the ingredients to make sure there are no extra oils like canola oil, or even tons of olive oil. A little bit goes a long way so I would try to find one that’s super clean (your body will thank you later!)
Keep it simple, keep it clean! You CAN train your taste buds guys and it will be super easy in no time. I used to be the salt QUEEN. I grew up eating it because my mom loves it, and when I went to college I literally would put salt on my apples, on my fruit, on basically everything. But training your taste buds IS possible! I even like foods now that I used to hate simply because I trained myself to like them (there are still foods I hate, of course, but any little bit is better than nothing)!