Eat This, Don’t Eat That to Lose Weight

I think most people who want to lose weight would love to know what to eat and what not to eat.

If we could find a reliable list of stuff to eat to lose weight, and we happened to like eating that stuff, weight loss would be so much easier.

"Eat this Food! Get this Body!

“Eat this Food! Get this Body!

If we can’t find the list of food to eat to lose weight, then we want a list of things to never eat to lose weight. If we aren’t going to miss any of the foods on the “never eat list,” weight loss would be so much easier.

"Don't eat this food to get rid of this body!"

“Don’t eat this food to get rid of this body!”

Aye! There’s the rub.

We like to eat the food that tastes the best to us, we don’t like to eat what tastes bad. We really don’t like having to give up foods that taste good, but we’re told they are what make us fat. That’s why weight loss isn’t easy.

I view weight loss and maintaining the loss as an education.

The educational piece is, “What must I learn to eat what I love, eat nutritiously to support good health, and balance it with my body’s energy needs to achieve and maintain a healthy weight?”

That takes a lot of learning.
Engage your brain!

Engage your brain!

Things that need to be learned include:
  • learning to love foods that provide a lot of nutrients for fewer calories, in particular vegetables and fruits.
  • learning to manage portions to achieve nutritional needs without exceeding calorie requirements, in particular proteins and grains.
  • learning to balance highly nutritious foods with occasional treats, specifically managing some sweets or the occasional salty, crunchy snack foods.
  • learning to balance physical activity while enjoying a healthful, satisfying diet.dreamstime_s_32148056

Yes, I learned those things at Weight Watchers.

It’s easier to just do what you’re told to do to get a desired result. The problem is many of us don’t want to do what we’re told. That’s why learning how to manage weight might be a better approach. Instead of blindly following some rules, we experiment and learn what works for our personal satisfaction and weight loss. When we learn, we gain skills that support our goals for a lifetime.

Clearly balance is an important part of managing weight. dreamstime_m_31918939I guess it’s not as important if you take a “eat this/never eat that approach.” By making certain foods forbidden a natural reduction in calories takes place making balancing unnecessary. The more forbidden foods on your list, the easier it is to maintain a reduced calorie intake and balance calories in and out.

That only works, however, if you don’t increase the consumption of the “okay” foods. If you replace the forbidden foods with more of the approved foods the calorie reduction doesn’t happen. The weight management results will fail.

Some people make that eat this/don’t eat that weight management style work. Some even make it work long term, although most of the people I know who did that rarely last more than 6 months. If it’s only sustainable for 6 months then it’s not going to be a lasting solution unless you’re okay with your weight going up when you off and down when you’re doing it.

I’m all for whatever works.
Never eat another Oreo? I don't think I can do that. I don't think I want to even try to do that!

Never eat another Oreo? I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I want to even try to do that!

I would resent giving up anything for the sake of weight management, or even good health. I can’t imagine going the rest of my life never eating anything I enjoy.

I don't want to say "bye-bye" to this forever, but I don't mind saying, "maybe later!"

I don’t want to say “bye-bye” to this forever, but I don’t mind saying, “maybe later!”

Some of the things I enjoy are not particularly nutritious and some things are labeled as “dangerous to my health.” I eat hotdogs, bacon, and cupcakes and pie.

No doubt, not everybody will agree with me. That’s fine, I won’t impose my “allegedly unhealthy food choices” on anybody else and I appreciate when people spare me the, “do you know how bad that is for you?” comments.

In general, I think I eat pretty well, in fact, better than a lot of folks!

  • I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.
  • I get high-quality protein from a variety of sources – both animal and plants.
  • I eat some healthy fats.
  • I enjoy low-fat and full fat dairy products.
  • I love whole grains and I love some refined grains.
  • I have some foods made with refined sugars.
  • Sometimes I have an alcoholic drink or two.
  • I eat milk chocolate with gusto. Dark chocolate is also good but I don’t choose it over milk chocolate because some people think it’s “good for me.” I don’t consider chocolate to be a “health food,” it’s a treat!
So, while you might want to “eat this and not that” to manage your weight, that’s not what you should do.

What here is okay and what has to go? It depends on who you ask!

I want to “eat this and this and this, and some of that, and sometimes some of this too!” So far it’s been helping me stay healthy and maintain the weight I loss more than 25 years ago!





Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.