If you were wondering how you became overweight in the first place, a good place to start would be your diet. If you can say, hand on heart that you only eat healthy, fresh and wholesome foods, then maybe you should look at other areas of your life, such as getting little or no exercise to burn off the calories you are consuming.
But if you suspect that some of the things you are eating or drinking might be a contributory factor, then this guide to which food groups to avoid to lose weight might help.
This category of food is the biggest problem for many people, especially those who lead busy lives and have little or no time to spend on preparing and cooking wholesome meals made from fresh ingredients. It's way too easy to buy a load of ready meals from the supermarket freezer section or chilled shelves and store them in your fridge or freezer at home so that all you have to do is take them out, microwave and eat.
Sure, it's easy, quick and convenient, but are you aware what these meals are doing to your body?
Most processed foods contain:
- High levels of sodium. Too much salt is notorious for producing hypertension leading to strokes
- Many additives such as artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives that would make your hair stand on end if you read up on what each one does
- Sugars disguised as corn syrup, sucrose, fructose and many other names
- Flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) which has a bad press for causing a number of health problems including some cancers
- They high in saturated fats and many contain trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oil)
- They are low in nutrients because most are destroyed in the processing
- They contain little or no dietary fiber, which is essential for colon health
Essentially, processed foods are designed to fill you up and taste okay, but they do little for your health and because of all the bad ingredients in them, lead to weight gain. You can avoid these foods by shopping smart and keeping things simple. Read the labels on the packaging and if they contain a jumble of names and "E" numbers that you have no idea what they are, then put them back on the shelf!
Make it your mission to learn what all the additives are and what the "E" numbers stand for and what they each do to your health. When you are educated in this knowledge, you will be far more cautious of what you are putting in your body.
This category includes pizza, hamburgers, fries, hot dogs and the like. They are all generally high in trans fats, sugars, salt and all manner of unhealthy additives and low in nutrients and fiber. It is far easier to avoid these foods by simply staying out of fast food restaurants or ordering take outs. They do as much if not more damage to your body as the processed foods found in supermarkets and will definitely lead to weight gain if they make up a large proportion of your overall diet. Avoid at all costs!
Sweets, Cakes, Candy and Cookies
All the bad things are those that taste the best, which is infuriating as it is frustrating to anyone who is watching their weight and their health. But sweet things like cakes, pastries, candy, cookies and puddings are all laden with refined sugar, made from refined white flour (more on that, later), contain saturated fats and often artificial additives and preservatives that are not helping you any. Avoid them at all costs and if you should slip up, make sure you only eat a small piece and don't feel that just because you ate one cookie you might as well finish off the rest!
If you eat one, put the rest away for another day or better still, share them out so everyone gets one and when they're all gone, do not buy any more! Same goes for all the other sweet things that are so tempting and tough to avoid. If you don't have them in the house, you can't eat them!
Bread and Pasta
Most bread and pasta is made from refined white flour and this is a huge cause of weight gain in people and often they don't even realize it. The flour itself is a big problem because it devoid of nutrients and fiber and only offers empty calories in the form of high GI (Glycemic Index) carbohydrates. The reason these should be avoided are explained in a separate article.
Suffice it to say, eating too much of products made from refined white flour slows down your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories while boosting blood sugar levels which are regulated by insulin in a process that transforms the excess sugars into visceral fat which is stored mainly in the belly area. Belly fat is a real problem and one that needs to be avoided.
Drinking soda is something many people do without giving it a second thought. However, you really should think twice before cracking open the can and taking a drink. Regular soda contains high levels of sugar plus a ton of artificial additives that add up to a visit to the obesity clinic if you don't stop.
Diet soda is just as bad, because the artificial sweetener, aspartame, fires receptors in the brain that make you feel hungry and crave high calorie snacks such as potato chips, etc. either way, you are going to gain weight drinking soda, so swap the can for a bottle of chilled water and you will be doing yourself, your body and health more good than you can imagine!
It doesn't take very much effort to avoid a lot of the foods and drinks that are causing weight gain in adults and children alike. It needs some self discipline and common sense to avoid the danger foods and steer yourself towards the healthier options of which there are many.
Break those old habits and learn new ones when it comes to food and you will not only avoid obesity and all the problems that come with it and head for weight loss and a healthier, longer and more fulfilling life.