Foods To Eat

So in the last post, we exposed 13 different food groups that in my opinion, should be OFF-LIMITS if you are serious about losing weight. We’re not here to claim that these foods are bad and should never be eaten. Most things are okay in moderation.

But when you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy, these foods can be like a “ball and chain”. And the reasons why include that they:

  1. are usually high in calories and low in nutrients.
  2. contain high levels of sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
  3. may also contain trans fat.
  4. are usually consumed too often and in large quantities.

For some of you, that list of foods to avoid may have turned your world upside down. But we’re not going to leave you there for long because in this post we’ll get it right and discuss the foods that you can and should be eating – for your health, wellness and longevity.

Clarification: When we talk about your “diet”, we are referring to your healthy nutrition and eating. This is not a “plan” that’s loaded with rules & restrictions. Or a “program” that you’re going on for 12 weeks for extreme weight loss, then off and back to your normal routine. This “diet” as we’ll sometimes refer to will become an ongoing, permanent part of your lifestyle. One you will hopefully look forward to and enjoy. Otherwise, it’s not going to last, which is one of the reasons that most traditional “diets” don’t work long-term.

According to Livestrong, nearly 65% of dieters return to their pre-diet weight within 3 years. Unfortunately, many will end up gaining back more than they initially lost. This trend has earned the terms “yo-yo dieting” and “rebound dieting”.

Our goal is to help you avoid an unhealthy yo-yo pattern. How? Well first by helping you determine your likes & dislikes, so your new healthy food choices are enjoyable. Think about it like you’re getting back to basics. In a nutshell, you want to focus on eating whole foods. Whole foods mainly include plant and animal-based foods. Plant-based such as vegetables, fruits & nuts. And animal-based such as poultry, fish, meat, and eggs.

3 Macronutrients 50-30-20And for good, balanced nutrition, each meal should include the 3 macronutrients. They are protein, carbohydrates and fat. In general, you should aim for approximately 50% of your daily calories from carbs, 30% from lean protein, and 20% from healthy fat. And while exceptions may apply, these ratios are a good benchmark for most of us to aim for.

So let’s take a closer look at the 3 macronutrients:

Protein is an important building block of muscles, bones, skin, and cartilage. And protein will keep you feeling full longer. You want to consume plenty of chicken, seafood and turkey. And include pork loin and lean red meat occasionally. Ditch the frier and go for grilled, broiled, baked or pan seared. Eggs, nuts, beans and seeds are other good sources of protein. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories.

Carbohydrates provide your body with its primary source of energy. And for the record, your body needs carbs. You should eat plenty of complex carbohydrates including green vegetables – cooked and raw, whole grains, starchy vegetables, and beans. And add a few servings of fresh fruit every day. Each gram of carbs contains 4 calories.

And the 3rd macronutrient is fat. So you ask, “If I’m trying to lose weight, why do I need fat? Shouldn’t I cut out all fat from my diet?” The answer is NO, your body needs fat in order to function. Without fat you will die. But we want to minimize our fat intake and try to keep it to healthy fats whenever possible. Like olives, olive oil, nuts & seeds, avocado, and peanut butter. Salmon and other cold water fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which make them a great source for healthy essential fat and protein. Healthy fats tend to be high in calories, so limit the size of your portions. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.

In addition to macronutrients, make sure to drink plenty of water (and not the flavored, sugary type). Women should aim for at least 2 to 3 liters per day, and men should aim for at least 3 to 4 liters per day. And those amounts don’t happen by accident. You need to deliberately spread your water intake throughout the day. So keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Each gram of water contains, say it, ZERO calories. Yes!

And healthy snacks will help you in between meals. Some of my favorites include raw veggies, nuts and fruit. You can add hummus, low-cal dip or salsa for some flavor. I like spicy mustard or Tabasco too. Or you can reach for an apple, a banana, a sliced raw pepper, and any other fruits or vegetables you prefer. A handful of nuts is another great snack – just keep it to a handful or two. You can also find some great ideas online. Click here for 20 snacks that burn fat.

Healthy nutsPrepare in advance and pack some healthy snacks for the day. Whether you’re at your desk or in the car, they’ll keep you on track and nourished in between meals. There’s nothing worse than waiting too long to eat, until you’re starving and ravenous. This will cause you to overeat or binge on high calorie, unhealthy snacks that you’ll later regret. Waiting too long to eat can also have a negative effect on your productivity at work and ability to think clearly. So reinforce your weight-loss goal and brain-power with a little preparation. It’ll go a long way.

Eat Clean, Train Mean, Get Lean!I love it! This saying sums it up if you want to lose weight and get healthy. Take charge and be the best you can be. You have one body, one life, and an unknown amount of time on this earth to make the most of our lives. So eating right and exercising consistently become essential elements for your good health. And there’s no better time to start than NOW!

Ok, let’s get specific. What exactly should you be eating? Well that’s actually going to depend on your likes & dislikes. We all have different tastes. And our eating choices may also be influenced by religious or social views.

There’s an abundance of great recipes & ideas online. So this is where I’m going to suggest that you need to use your imagination (and Google) to find and develop meal plans that fit your tastes and lifestyle. It’s a great opportunity to experiment by creating a few of your own custom healthy creations.

One Size Fits AllThere’s no one size fits all. And so instead of listing specific foods you should eat like we did in the last post on foods to avoid, I’m going to suggest a few resources and ideas to give you guidance.

  1. MyFitnessPat at For a wealth of great recipes, quality health & fitness information, ideas and resources. And the MyFitnessPal app for your smartphone is a fantastic resource for easily tracking & monitoring your progress.
  1. Superfoods are packed with nutritional benefits because they contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. They’re also a source of antioxidants which help to prevent disease and protect us from cell damage. Here are a few sources to check out:
  1. Nutrient dense foods have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories. Look for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Food LabelLearn to read food labels so you can understand the nutritional value and content including calories, protein, carbs, fat, sodium, sugar, etc. Be aware that serving sizes are determined by the manufacturer. And serving sizes are sometimes selected so the food company can “fly under the radar”. For example, if a food has less than 0.5 grams of fat (trans, saturated or total) per serving, labels can round the number down to zero. So sizes are “tweaked” so the label can display NO FAT, 0 TRANS FATS… Sounds ridiculous but it’s true. So what you see is not always what you get.

  1. Research indicates that you need to eat breakfast every day. Some experts suggest that breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day, with lunch a little less, and dinner being your smallest meal. And assuming that you got seven to eight hours of sleep (which is also a must), your body and your mind need fuel when you wake up. And eating a healthy breakfast gives you a great start to your day.                                                                                                                                  Think about it this way. If you were going on a road trip, you would need a full tank of gas, right? And if you attempted this journey with an empty tank, it’s blatantly obvious that you’re not going to get very far. Unfortunately, the negative impact of skipping breakfast is not so obvious. Just know that you need to eat a good healthy breakfast every day, so develop the habit and just do it.
  1. And finally, always maintain good portion control. Despite what your mother told you, you don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Eat to 80% full and you’ll feel, and eventually look a lot better.

That’s my list and I’m sticking to it. What’s on your list. Leave a comment below.

Foods To Avoid – Just Say NO!

Let’s start with the premise that you need to lose 30 pounds and that’s your primary objective (or substitute your number). So I’ll go out on a limb here to make a point. You’ve developed some bad eating habits. The extra 30 didn’t just happen overnight or by accident. It took time to put it on, so it’s gonna take time to take it off.

Foods to avoid

But I’m not here to beat you up. I’ll assume that you are serious about losing this weight and will do just about anything within reason to make this happen. So take complete responsibility for your situation. Then let’s learn from the past.

Specifically, how poor choices compounded over time and got you to where you are today. And finally, let’s learn to use the the compound effect to your advantage.

How? By making small, incremental positive changes in your nutrition, that in time, will transform into amazing results.

There are a number of factors that contribute to a healthy, lean, and physically fit person. And in this post we’ll cover one of these factors by helping you discover the foods you need to avoid.

Foods to avoid

I find that far too many people have no idea what they should be eating for their good health. Equally as bad is someone who knows, but lacks the discipline.

In fact, in today’s busy world it’s much easier to make unhealthy eating choices than to take the time to prepare a healthier alternative, or to go out of your way to find one. So I guess in some ways, it boils down to how bad you want it.

To make a blanket statement that some foods are bad and you should never eat them would be foolish. Actually, you can eat just about anything you want if you do it in moderation. But if you’re 30 pounds overweight, and serious about losing it, I’m here to suggest that you will need to avoid certain foods.

Well actually, you need to STOP eating them until you get your weight under control. So consider them OFF LIMITS for now.

Foods to avoid

Please don’t mistake this as a restrictive diet. We are building a healthy lifestyle. It starts with awareness, choices, then action.

Your actions will begin to take shape in the form of healthy habits and disciplines that evolve into your long-term healthy lifestyle.

As Jim Rohn used to say, “What’s easy to to is easy not to do”. The choice is all yours.

If you can’t completely eliminate sugar, salt, and refined white flour from your diet, try to restrict foods where they are present or how much you use. And that goes for artificial sweeteners too.

They are harmful to your weight loss initiative. They’re unhealthy and should be avoided. At least whenever it’s possible.

Also, don’t be deceived by artificial sweeteners. Use them sparingly if you need to.

And please understand that every time food is touched (or processed), the nutritional value declines. This makes it less healthy and desirable.

Foods to avoid

So here’s my list of 13 foods to STOP eating (in no specific order):

  1. Fast food joints: That’s right. Mickey D’s, BK, DD’s, and all the others. How ’bout this? If there’s a “drive-thru”, drive by and don’t look back. Keep going until you find a healthy meal somewhere else.
  2. Fried and battered foods: Yes, french fries are off limits. So is fried chicken. Anything fried counts, so stay away.
  3. Processed foods and snacks: Potato chips, pretzels, and the whole gamut of low nutrient snacks. How about cold cuts, pepperoni and other processed meats? Yep! If it wasn’t living at some point – like on land, in the sea, or in the ground, you’ve gotta question it. If it’s in a bag, bag it! And be careful of granola & protein bars. They’re sometimes full of sugar and calories disguised as a healthy snack.
  4. Restaurants: Most of the food prepared in restaurants contains higher than normal unhealthy fats and extra calories. So try to cut back on the number of times you eat out. When you do go out, ask for healthier alternatives. Like grilled or broiled instead of fried, steamed veggies instead of fries, and water instead of soda. And skip the dessert. Your waistline and wallet will ultimately appreciate it.Foods to avoid
  5. All-you-can-eat buffets: Step away from the buffet. Even if you’re not overweight, all you can eat buffets are one of the worst things you can do to your body.
  6. Sodas and other sugary drinks: Anything from colas, sweetened teas, flavored waters, juices, smoothies, etc. Stick with pure H2O.
  7. Candy: Do I need to list ’em out here? Didn’t think so.
  8. Creamy soups, sauces, dishes and dressings: Cream of broccoli or whatever soup including New England clam chowder. Creamy & cheesy sauces. How ’bout BBQ sauce? Sorry Memphis & Dallas, we’ll have to take a rain check. And chicken pot pie is another dish to avoid. Add to that all salad dressings. Get ’em on the side and only use a fraction of what they give you.
  9. Baked goods and desserts: Cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries. Sorry mom (you’re still the world’s best baker). No doughnuts either. And while we’re at it, let’s add ice cream to the list.Foods to avoid
  10. Bar food: Appetizers and things like nachos, fried calamari, burgers, wings, and sliders are only a tip of the iceberg. Safe to say, anything on the bar menu is probably off-limits.
  11. Alcohol: That’s right, you don’t need these empty calories when you’re trying to lose weight. And a few cocktails will usually negatively impact your healthy eating plans in a number of ways. So cut it out altogether or keep it to a minimum.
  12. Pizza, pasta, bagels and bread: Derivatives of refined white flour have virtually no dietary fiber or nutrient value. And if that wasn’t enough, studies indicate that there are a number of other detrimental consequences from eating these foods. No, this isn’t another “carb-bashing” diet. If you must have your pasta & bread, then go w/the healthier whole wheat or whole grain version, and do so in moderation.
  13. Bacon: Nooooooooooo! For obvious reasons, bacon appeared in multiple categories, so it got it’s own.Foods to avoid

WOW, that’s quite a list. And I bet you’re thinking “If I can’t eat all that stuff, then what can I actually eat?” Don’t worry. We’ll cover that in our next post where we discuss the foods that you should eat.

An interesting thing happens when you begin to avoid the foods on this list. You’ll start to feel better, look better, and you will lose weight. You may even discover that your cravings start to fade.

Too restrictive you say. Too bad I say. Too harsh? Sorry. You can either stay with the current plan or get serious. I hope this helps you take the first step. Developing healthy habits and disciplines will enable you to get your weight under control. And doing so will lead to improved health, wellness and longevity.

Here’s another viewpoint from Dr. Michael Roizen in his new book “This Is Your Do-Over“. In it, he suggests avoiding the 5 food felons.

  1. Saturated fat.
  2. Trans fat.
  3. Simple sugars.
  4. Added syrups.
  5. Simple carbohydrates.

How can I help you?

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.