Foods to Avoid to Lose Weight

At Precision Vitamin, we don’t inform our purchasers precisely what to eat—or what not to eat.

In actual fact, we boldly say: “There are not any dangerous meals.”

Our stance tends to spark tons and plenty of questions, which is why we determined to take a deep dive into the entire “good meals vs. dangerous meals” debate.

On this article we’ll:

  • discover how good vs. dangerous considering can truly set individuals up to eat MORE of the “dangerous” meals
  • provide another approach to take into consideration sweets, chips, and different low-nutrient meals
  • present strategies we use to assist to liberate purchasers from the nice vs. dangerous mindset.

We’ll be trustworthy. The “no dangerous meals” philosophy might be actually scary, particularly for individuals who’ve spent years organizing meals into good and dangerous classes.

But it surely may also be equally transformative.

We’ve discovered that when our purchasers welcome the meals they love again into their lives—with out concern and with out guilt—they wrestle much less, get pleasure from consuming extra, and, lastly, are in a position to overcome obstacles that stand between them and their wholesome consuming targets.

Why the nice vs. dangerous strategy simply doesn’t work.

Many individuals divide meals into simply two classes.

Good meals: Greens, legumes, entire grains, fish, lean meat, and different minimally-processed, nutrient-dense meals.

Unhealthy meals: Sweets, chips, crackers, white bread, fries, and different highly-processed meals that provide little to no dietary worth.

And earlier than we clarify why we don’t kind meals into “good” and “dangerous” buckets, we would like to be very clear. The dietary variations between these two classes are fairly straightforward to spot.

Lots of the so-called “dangerous” meals, in excessive quantities, can increase the danger for quite a lot of illnesses.

They’re additionally extremely exhausting to resist. (The meals business actually has created low cost, simply accessible products that our taste buds and brains love.)

However are they dangerous?

We don’t use that terminology—for six main causes.

Purpose #1: One single meals doesn’t outline your whole weight-reduction plan.

Perhaps you’ve heard of an adolescent who ate simply 4 meals for many of his life: fries, chips, white bread, and processed pork.1

After which he went blind.

It’s a cautionary story, for certain, nevertheless it’s vital to preserve one factor in perspective: That teen is an outlier. Most individuals don’t eat simply 4 meals.

They eat a spread.

And the fries, chips, bread, and pork didn’t trigger the teenager’s blindness immediately.

They brought on it not directly—by crowding out meals wanted for good eye well being.

What really issues for good well being? Stability.

In different phrases, you don’t need your toaster pastries, spray cheese-like product, and crescent rolls to crowd out veggies, fruit, beans, nuts, recent meats, seafood, and different nutrient-dense entire meals.

In the event that they do, like the teenager we talked about, you run the danger of deficiency.

So the query is: Are you in stability?

We expertise large advantages (fats loss, improved well being) once we go from poor vitamin to common or above common.

However finally, we see diminishing returns.

As this chart exhibits, not solely are beneficial properties a lot tougher to see after 80 to 90 p.c of your weight-reduction plan consists of entire, minimally-processed meals, you additionally run the danger of consuming problems like orthorexia (an unhealthy obsession with wholesome consuming).

illustrated graph with health benefits on y-axis and percentage of nutrient dense foods on x-axis. Health benefits improve in a straight line and then starts to decline.

Is most (80 to 90 p.c) of what you eat nutrient-dense and minimally processed? (Suppose veggies, fruit, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, entire grains.) Then there’s doubtless room for much less nutritious meals.

Is most of what you eat highly-processed and nutrient-poor? (Suppose sweets and chips.) Think about small actions to make your weight-reduction plan just a bit bit higher. Slowly add extra nutrient-dense meals (veggies, fruit, fish, poultry, and so forth) to every meal. Use our “What Should I Eat?” infographic for steering.

Purpose #2: Nobody meals is dangerous for all individuals in all conditions.

For example this level, Precision Vitamin Grasp Coach Kate Solovieva typically brings up cola.

Many individuals see it as a nasty meals. As a result of it’s loaded with sugar and missing in nutritional vitamins and minerals.

However is cola dangerous in all conditions?

“Let’s say you’re visiting a rustic with no secure consuming water,” says Solovieva. “In that case, cola—with its air-tight seal—is a a lot better possibility than water.”

Or, perhaps you’re sixty sweaty miles right into a 100-mile bike race and your blood sugar is so low that you simply’re hallucinating flying pink elephants. In that case, the sugar and caffeine within the cola would possibly make the distinction between ending the race and a DNF.

Our particular person physiology and psychology additionally have an effect on what occurs once we eat particular meals.

Added sugar, for instance, impacts somebody with kind 2 diabetes in a different way than it impacts somebody whose cells are insulin delicate. And it could actually have an effect on the identical particular person in a different way relying on whether or not they’re sleep disadvantaged.

At PN, we speak so much about deep health—which describes a lot greater than our weight, ldl cholesterol stage, and blood sugar.

Deep well being consists of the place we dwell and the way we really feel and who we spend time with. It’s about each side of who we’re.

When you think about well being on this gentle, the precise meals turn into much less vital, and the general consuming sample and full context of somebody’s life turns into much more vital.

Illustration showing factors to consider when choosing foods such as who's eating, why they're eating and what's their goal.

Purpose #3: Demonizing sure meals could make them much more interesting.

Numerous individuals inform us that 100 p.c abstaining from “dangerous meals” is the one approach they will keep any smidgen of management round their consuming.

If they are saying “okay” to one “dangerous” meals, they fear they’ll open the floodgates to a weight-reduction plan swollen with cookies, brownies, chips, and fries—in addition to devoid of veggies and different entire meals.

Right here’s the factor:

There’s a refined distinction between demonizing a meals and merely abstaining from it as a result of you already know you have a tendency to overeat it. 

Once we demonize meals, we “moralize these meals—considering of ourselves as dangerous individuals for consuming them,” says Solovieva.

This paradoxically can enhance our need for the very meals we’re making an attempt not to eat. When researchers from Arizona State College confirmed dieters detrimental messages about unhealthy meals, the dieters skilled elevated cravings for these meals—and ate extra of them.2

It’s true that some individuals can prohibit sure “dangerous” meals for some time.

However, for lots of people, cravings finally overwhelm their means to prohibit. And after they eat one thing “dangerous”—they really feel responsible. In order that they eat much more—and will even cease making an attempt to attain their targets. This will create a vicious circle, because the graphic beneath exhibits.

Now, allow us to be clear: For some individuals, sure meals is probably not well worth the wrestle—at the least for now. They could determine that, in the event that they’re round sure meals, they’re going to overeat them. In order that they get them out of the home.

And that technique can work. In actual fact, we encourage our purchasers to do kitchen makeovers and take away meals they have an inclination to overeat.

But it surely’s not the identical factor as labeling a meals as “dangerous.”

Once we label meals “one thing I have a tendency to overeat” fairly than “dangerous,” we’re higher in a position to loosen up, stay versatile, and, doubtlessly, develop into somebody who can get pleasure from the identical meals, sparsely.

Purpose #4: Categorizing meals as “good” and “dangerous” can work—however often just for some time.

Having coached greater than 100,000 purchasers, we are able to say with confidence that “all or nothing” not often will get us “all.” 

As an alternative, it typically will get us nothing.

For instance, when somebody decides to cease consuming “dangerous” meals, often they struggle actually exhausting to keep true to their aim. They’re dedicated, they usually even could stick to avoiding an extended record of forbidden meals… for a bit.

However then one thing goes incorrect.

Perhaps they go to work and discover {that a} coworker left selfmade brownies on their desk.

Or each a part of their day goes sideways and, within the night, they discover themselves head down in a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough as they suppose “That is dangerous.”

Or they’re driving for hours to go to relations, pull right into a relaxation cease, and all they discover to eat: the stuff on their forbidden meals record.

Rigidity—good or dangerous, all or nothing—is the enemy of consistency. 

However on the flipside, flexibility helps you keep extra constant. That’s as a result of it permits you to lean into all of the options accessible to you.

Flexibility additionally frees individuals to use inner steering—fairly than another person’s exterior guidelines—to determine what meals to eat, when to eat them, and why.

So, for instance, fairly than avoiding sugar simply because a well being website informed them to cease consuming it, somebody would possibly think about:

  • Am I hungry?
  • Am I burdened?
  • Is that this meals price it to me?
  • What else have I eaten at present?
  • What would permit me to really get pleasure from this meals—with out going overboard?

That inner steering would possibly permit that particular person with the brownie to say, “You recognize, I actually like brownies, however I’m going to save this till after lunch, once I’m not as hungry, so I can eat it slowly and really savor it.”

Or that one who is head down within the gallon of ice cream to say, “Okay, so this was in all probability extra ice cream than my physique actually wanted. True. No getting round that. How can I keep away from feeling this triggered sooner or later? And are there different methods I can consolation myself that don’t contain raiding the freezer?”

And for that particular person on the relaxation cease, flexibility permits them to scan their decisions and go for the most effective meal for them at that second.

Purpose #5: It’s actually okay—and utterly regular—to eat for pleasure.

Meals serves many functions far past simply flooding somebody’s physique with vitamins and energy.

Some meals aren’t essentially loaded with vitamins, however they:

  • Style wonderful.
  • Join us with mates and households.
  • Create a way of belonging.
  • Make celebrations worthwhile.

In different phrases, food isn’t just fuel. It’s additionally love and tradition and pleasure—and a complete lot extra.

When you concentrate on meals on this approach, all the things—even your grandma’s particular black forest cake—can have a function and a spot.

Relatively than an inventory of meals you’ll be able to or can’t eat, you as an alternative have decisions. You’ve gotten meals you select to eat for vitality, for pleasure, for well being, and lots of different vital causes.

Purpose #6: Once we obsess over “dangerous meals,” we rob ourselves of the flexibility to evolve.

Rigidly abstaining can train us to get actually good at… abstaining.

And if you happen to’re okay with abstaining from an extended record of meals for the remainder of your life, there’s nothing incorrect with that strategy.

However if you happen to’re not okay with a life sentence of no cookies, no brownies, no cake, no bread, and no pasta, then you could be blissful to study that there’s another strategy. It entails getting interested in why you wrestle to average your consumption of sure meals.

Think about:

What leads to feeling out-of-control?

What triggers the “I would like this” and the “I can’t cease consuming this” ideas?

When is it doable to eat this meals in average quantities (if ever)? When isn’t it?

The purpose: Relatively than zeroing in on “dangerous meals,” search for the underlying causes (known as triggers) that lead you to wrestle.

A set off generally is a:

  • Feeling. We’d eat extra once we’re burdened, lonely, or bored. Meals fills the void.
  • Time of day. We all the time have a cookie at 11 am, or a soda at Three pm. It’s simply a part of our routine.
  • Social setting. Hey, everybody else is having beer and rooster wings, so would possibly as properly be a part of the blissful hour!
  • Place. For some purpose, a darkish movie show or our dad and mom’ kitchen would possibly make us need to munch.
  • Thought sample. Pondering “I deserve this” or “Life is simply too exhausting to chew kale” would possibly steer us towards the drive-thru window.

To uncover triggers, we frequently ask our purchasers to preserve a meals journal—writing down all the things they eat and drink for per week or two. Once they discover themselves craving or feeling uncontrolled, we ask them to jot down the solutions to questions like:

  • What am I feeling?
  • What time is it?
  • Who am I with?
  • The place am I?
  • What ideas am I having?

They strategy it with a “suggestions not failure” mentality.

The purpose isn’t to catch them doing one thing incorrect. It’s to assist them assess what’s actually occurring.

As soon as we perceive why our purchasers are reaching for these meals, we’re better-equipped to recommend actions that actually assist them transfer in the direction of a more healthy relationship with all meals.

One Man’s Evolution Away From Unhealthy Foods

Dominic Matteo grew up studying bodybuilding magazines. For many of his life, he considered veggies, rooster breast, egg whites, candy potatoes, oats, and some different meals as “good.”

All different meals? Unhealthy.

These distinctions didn’t trouble him when he wasn’t making an attempt to shed fats.

However as soon as he began making an attempt to prohibit his consumption, the label “dangerous” functioned like a tractor beam that drew him straight to the ice cream.

“That’s once I was like, ‘Oh, it is a downside,’” he says.

For a number of months, he utterly abstained from all sweets. He simply didn’t eat sugar—in any respect.

However he knew that wasn’t a sustainable—or satisfying—approach to dwell.

After making use of Precision Vitamin methods, nevertheless, Matteo began to view his record of dangerous meals in a different way. Relatively than seeing ice cream as “dangerous,” he considered it as “a meals I get pleasure from, however slows my progress.”

That new label allowed him to think about how and beneath what situations he would coexist with this candy deal with.

“Now, if I do eat it, it will likely be beneath sure situations that I can really feel blissful about,” he says.

For instance, he loves to bask in ice cream from outlets that make it recent that day. However lower-quality ice cream isn’t price it for him.

At this time, Matteo is greater than 100 kilos lighter and, as a Precision Vitamin Grasp Coach, he’s serving to others to comply with in his footsteps.

“If there are not any good or dangerous meals, how can anybody ever know what to eat—and what to restrict?”

We hear this so much.

That’s as a result of some individuals assume that “no dangerous meals” is synonymous with “all meals are good so eat no matter you need.”

However that’s not what we’re saying in any respect.

We’re, nevertheless, saying this: Relatively than sorting meals into simply two buckets—good and dangerous—it’s often extra useful for most individuals to see meals as a continuum of eat more, eat some, and eat less.

This would possibly, at first, merely sound like one other approach to kind meals into classes.

But it surely’s not.

Not like lists of dangerous meals, which have a tendency to be universally inflexible, a continuum “permits all the things to be contextual and customized,” explains Precision Vitamin Grasp Coach Dominic Matteo.

“If my aim is muscle achieve, my continuum will look totally different than if my aim is fats loss,” Matteo says.

As soon as individuals outline that continuum for themselves, we then work with them to discover methods to embrace extra “eat extra” meals and fewer “eat much less” meals, aiming to make every meal just a bit bit higher.

For instance, earlier than Matteo turned a Precision Vitamin Grasp Coach, he was a consumer who wished to lose fats. That is how “just a bit bit higher” regarded like for him for a selected quick meals lunch.

Illustration showing how to make a typical fast food meal healthier.

He finally ended up in an identical place that some forbidden meals lists could have despatched him, however he did it in small steps, and in a approach that was finally extra sustainable.

What’s extra, it didn’t imply he might by no means have a double bacon cheeseburger once more. Typically he does, however he enjoys it—on his phrases.

“My consumer believes in dangerous meals—as in the event that they have been a faith. Assist!”

Saying, “there are not any dangerous meals” often leads to a clean stare.

So, faux you don’t know the solutions, says Kate Solovieva.

Assume a poker face, and ask questions that appear apparent.

What follows is a dialog Solovieva had with a consumer about this very subject.

Consumer: Unhealthy meals are my downside. I would like to reduce them out. I simply can’t eat them.

Coach: So, are you able to inform me just a little bit extra. If you speak about reducing out the dangerous meals, what does that seem like?

Consumer: Taking sugar out of my weight-reduction plan.

Coach: So if you say sugar, what are a few of the issues you might be considering of?

Consumer: Cookies. Pastries. Chocolate—chocolate is my weak point.

Coach: So… you actually get pleasure from chocolate?

Consumer: I do.

Coach: Assist me perceive. What’s it that you simply get pleasure from?

Consumer: I don’t know if it’s the push of consuming the chocolate bar itself. Or perhaps it’s the truth that I don’t have it on a regular basis. I don’t know. There’s one thing about chocolate.

Coach: So, in some methods, it makes you’re feeling tremendous good. And it clearly provides you pleasure. What makes you label it as dangerous?

Consumer: It’s the high-calorie depend and the quantity—the portion.

Coach: So the excessive variety of energy makes it dangerous? Are you able to clarify?

Consumer: Nicely, for me, it leads to weight achieve.

Coach: So what I’m listening to is that it’s not the chocolate that’s dangerous. It’s the burden achieve that’s dangerous. Is that proper?

Consumer: Just about. Precisely.

Coach: So I’m interested in one thing you stated. You like chocolate. You get pleasure from it. You just like the style of it. Once I requested why it’s dangerous, you informed me in regards to the energy and the parts. Are you able to inform me extra?

Consumer: Nicely, I can’t simply have one or two squares. Ideally I shouldn’t have any greater than 5 squares—half a bar. However I don’t have that management. The second I style it, I’ve to have increasingly and extra.

Coach: So what occurs if you don’t have chocolate in any respect?

Consumer: I’ve gone months with out it. And it’s nice! However then I find yourself consuming it—like on an important day. After which I binge. After which all the things goes downhill. So I’m higher off not having it in any respect.

Coach: What do you suppose would occur if you happen to had just a little bit… on a regular basis? Like on function.

Consumer: I don’t know…I don’t suppose I’ve that management. Ought to I strive that?

Coach: I don’t know. Do you have to?

Consumer: (Sounding tentative) Certain, perhaps I can strive that?

Coach: Nicely, what I’m listening to is that you simply get pleasure from it. And it sounds just like the bingeing conduct is occurring since you don’t have it daily. So perhaps you’ll be able to do that as an experiment. Perhaps you see what occurs if, each single day, you’ve got this factor that you simply get pleasure from. And if you eat it, if you need extra, you’ll be able to simply remind your self you can have extra—tomorrow. Are you with me?

Consumer: Sure.

Coach: It’s a scary experiment. However if you happen to determine to give it a shot, let me know, okay?

Consumer: Okay, I’ll. I’m kinda nervous about it, however I’ll strive it.

After which the dialog can go on to outline the experiment: How a lot chocolate? What time of day? How will you eat it?

And it doesn’t matter what the consumer finally does—whether or not the consumer tries the suggestion or not—“you’re ready for them to come again to you with out feeling judged,” Solovieva says.

“Isn’t it simply simpler to not eat sure meals?”

For some individuals in some conditions at sure factors of their journey: sure.

However this want to abstain doesn’t have to be a everlasting state of affairs. As soon as they develop a variety of habits, many individuals can shift from abstaining from sure meals to moderating them.

That’s why we like to ask our purchasers to think about two questions in regards to the meals they consider as dangerous:

What does this meals do—for you?

What would you like it to do?

For instance, perhaps, proper now, sure meals make you’re feeling uncontrolled since you wrestle to cease consuming them when you begin. However you’d like them to merely turn into meals you get pleasure from sparsely.

What are the entire doable methods of going from level A (uncontrolled) to level B (one thing I get pleasure from sparsely)?

There are dozens of different prospects that we didn’t even record on the chart above. You would possibly strive one. You would possibly strive a number of. You would possibly strive all of them.

The purpose: You could discover that liberating your self from the nice vs. dangerous mindset frees you to see extra prospects than ever earlier than.

And, alongside the way in which, you may additionally uncover that this broader, extra versatile mindset permits you not solely to get pleasure from each meal a heck of much more—but in addition to attain your targets extra rapidly.


Click on right here to view the data sources referenced on this article.

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