This weekend is Memorial Weekend in the US. For many of us, Memorial Day Weekend is the start to summer and with summer always comes talk of weight loss. I know how frustrating it can be to feel uncomfortable in shorts or a swimsuit…I spent the entire summer of 2006 in jeans despite the 100+ degree weather! If you are trying to lose a few lbs and tone up for summer, cut out these 5 foods to ramp up your weight loss!
- Nuts – don’t get me wrong, nuts are great, healthy even. The problem I see over and over again with nuts is portion control. It is VERY hard to control the intake of fats and calories when we are snacking on nuts. The actual serving size of almonds is about 1 ounce, the equivalent of a small handful or enough to fill a small shot glass = 164 calories, 14 grams fat. However, it is very rare when snacking on nuts to eat just a small 1 ounce handful. Nuts are easy to thoughtlessly munch and overeat. I’ve personally eaten almost an entire can of blue diamond almonds as a snack which is the equivalent of 6 servings = 984 calories, 84 grams of fat. That’s almost half your caloric intake for the day and waaaaay more than your daily fat requirements. Even if you only ate half the can it would = 500 cals, 42 grams fat. Way too much for a snack. I would stick to green juices, smoothies, or veggies and hummus.
- Dairy – anytime I am trying to lose weight quickly, I cut out all dairy: cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. Dairy is another high calorie, high fat food that can be difficult to portion control. It’s easy to get carried away with cheese & crackers or adding cheese to salads, eggs, or veggie dishes. Cutting out dairy from a salad or burrito bowl will typically reduce about 300 calories from the meal! I’m not a huge calorie counter but if you’re looking to lose weight quickly, calories are important to watch!
- Sugar – I’ve written an entire article on sugar and weight loss here. This includes all forms of sugar: sweets, honey, sweet cereals & granola, sugary drinks, candy, ice cream, desserts, and even sweet fruits. The only exception would be 70% or higher dark chocolate.
- Simple Carbs – Foods like white rice, bread, flour tortillas, bagels, pasta, white rice all turn into glucose in the system. They are lacking in minerals, feed candida, cause inflammation, and lead to further cravings. Substituting mineral rich ancient grains will make a huge difference. You still want to moderate your intake but things like quinoa, Ezekiel bread, and spelt pasta will help you achieve your wellness and weight loss goals much faster!
- Alcohol – Similar to your simple carbs, alcohol turns into sugar which then turns into acetate in the system and creates an imbalance which leads to candida overgrowth and an inability to properly break down and metabolize fats. From elle.com “When you drink alcohol, it’s broken down into acetate (basically vinegar), which the body will burn before any other calorie you’ve consumed or stored, including fat or even sugar. So if you drink and consume more calories than you need, you’re more likely to store the fat from the Cheez Whiz you ate and the sugar from the Coke you drank because your body is getting all its energy from the acetate in the beer you sucked down. Further, studies show that alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidation”— in other words, when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat that’s already there. Since eating fat is the most metabolically efficient way to put fat on your body—you actually use a small amount of calories when you turn excess carbs and protein into body fat, but excess fat slips right into your saddlebags, no costume change necessary—hypothetically speaking, following a high-fat, high-alcohol diet would be the easiest way to put on weight.” Moderation is key, a couple glasses of wine 1-2 nights a week is no big deal but if you are partying every weekend, it might be time to cut back.
You have a few options, you can either cut everything out cold turkey or you can just focus on a few items at a time, starting with your worst offenders. The rest of the diet should be focused on vegetables, lean proteins, and ancient grains. Even eliminating just a few of these will make a huge difference in the the way you look and feel!
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