One of the most common questions I get as a Sports Dietitian is, “What food should I avoid if I want to get lean and lose body fat?”. There is no shortage of lists out there telling you what you can and can’t eat as an athlete. It’s safe to say the weight loss space is more confusing than reassuring.
So what is the truth? What do you need to know?
In today’s blog post I’m going to answer the question: “Do you have to avoid certain foods to be able to lose weight effectively?”.
The reality is that many athletes want to stay leaner or they want to get lean, and that leads many of them to look into their diet as a way to find an answer.
In doing so, that leads to many of them thinking, “Hey what foods do I need to eat more of to be able to achieve this result?” as well as, “What foods do I have to completely avoid?”. It’s no surprise more and more athletes are reading lists that tell them what they can and can’t eat - a recipe for issues with food.
So what foods should you avoid if you want to lose weight effectively?
1. Foods You Don't Enjoy
In my opinion, if you're not enjoying your food then you should NOT have it. Unless you really need to have it for the sake of “nutrition adequacy” - for example, let's say you really hate vegetables but you know that vegetables are healthy for you. However, even then you can just eat the vegetables you DO enjoy - technically speaking.
2. Foods That Haven’t Been Cooked Properly
If you haven’t cooked your food properly then you definitely shouldn’t eat it. It won’t be good for your health nor be a good weight loss strategy. For all intent and purposes, poorly cooked food is “weight loss unfriendly” - just trying to keep you safe.
3. Foods That Fell On The Ground
The five-second rule is a myth. Yes, you could take the gamble but is it worth it? Probably not. Simple.
4. Foods That Belong To Others
Don't be that person that goes in the fridge and eats someone else's food. No one likes that person... don't be that person. If you’re trying to lose weight then don’t do this.
5. Foods You Don’t Feel Like Eating At The Time
This is similar to the first point but different. Maybe sometimes you enjoy chicken but other times you don't really feel like it. Well then, in that case, you don't need to eat it. If you’re trying to lose weight effectively then you’ll want to be sustainable - so don't eat the foods that you're not really feeling like eating.
There's my top five list of things that you have to avoid eating if you want to lose weight effectively. And in case you haven't got the idea already, I have tricked you. The truth is that there is no food you have to avoid completely if you want to lose weight.
You just need strategy, consistency, and a willingness to compromise because at the end of the day you may love chocolates - and you can lose weight on chocolate - but you can't be eating all the chocolate in the world and expecting the same results. There'll always have to be some compromise but as long as you're consistent and as long as you have a strategy (what I call strategic flexibility), you'll be okay.
In fact, I'm going to share one more thing that you have to avoid if you want to lose weight (and it’s not tongue in cheek I promise!). This one's really really important.
Foods that demonise certain foods and say you CAN’T eat them, should be disregarded. Unless you have a medical condition and seeing a dietitian who tells you foods to avoid, don’t blindly follow lists you see online. If you're an athlete who's just looking at what foods they should be eating and not eating - then just don’t (#trustmeimadietitian).
In reality, as long as you enjoy something there will always be a place for it in your diet. You don't have to completely avoid it. In fact, completely avoiding it may lead to something that's called “the rebound effect” - when you avoid certain foods and you end up binging on it later. We as humans will want what we tell ourselves we can NOT have.
If you want to lose weight then the reality is that as long as you're strategic with your nutrition, maintain your caloric control, balance out your macros, and stay overall consistent; then you'll be fine. Instead of having a list of foods you shouldn't be eating, find a way to have a flexible approach to nutrition that's still strategic.
Of course, if you want a Sports Dietitian to personally coach you and help you develop a strategic flexible plan that actually takes into consideration your preferences so you can still get results but without unnecessary restriction - then apply now.
I have a 90-day Macro Sherpa Program, which is designed for athletes who want to start embracing a flexible approach with nutrition and want to learn how to harness it. If you want help to get things started and get coaching and accountability, then reach out to me by CLICKING HERE TO APPLY NOW.
Questions? Then simply email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach Aleksa the Sports Dietitian
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Dietitian & Nutritionist. The aim of this blog is to provide value and spread quality evidence-based nutrition information to counter the BS floating around.