When people first start out with a “fat loss diet’, they are totally unaware of just how calorie dense typical food options that they’re used to eating really are. Which is one of the biggest diet mistakes around. Plus, is one of the main reasons why many who “eat clean” or “work hard” are still not losing stubborn fat. So, we’re going to showcase what 200 calories looks like in the most commonly reported “problem” foods (e.g. 200 calories of rice or pasta) so that you can see just how easy it is to overeat with these foods. We’ll then show you what 200 calories looks like with much better options (i.e. volume-dense foods) so that you can see just how much more food you could be eating and calories you could be saving with the right fat loss foods.
We’ll start off by looking at the most common problem protein sources that were reported from clients who were not losing fat. We have ground beef, pork chop, bacon, and fattier steak cuts (e.g. New York Strip). These are packed with a ton of additional fat and hence bring up their calorie counts quite a bit. For 200 calories, you’re not getting much at all and are easy to overeat. Some better options would be to sub the ground beef for extra lean ground turkey, sub the pork chop for chicken breast, sub the bacon for turkey bacon, and just be mindful of how many calories fattier cuts of steak can quickly add up to. Some other excellent leaner protein options are egg whites and even shrimp.
Next are carbs. Some of the most problematic snacks we found with clients who were not losing fat were oreos, potato chips, and high calorie cereals. When used in moderation these foods are fine, but there is no way you’re stopping at 200 calories, which just goes to show you how quickly the calories can add up without you being aware of it. Not to mention that the impact these foods will have on your hunger will be minimal. Better volume-dense food options include strawberries, carrots, puffed wheats, and plain air-popped popcorn.
Additional potentially problematic carb sources include pasta and rice. These food sources aren’t “bad” at all, but they are very easy to unknowingly overeat. I mean me being half Filipino I grew up eating rice pretty much every day, and whenever I’d have it, there’s no way I’d willingly be stopping at 200 calories worth of rice. A better option would thus be cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
Lastly, we have fats. Now all fats in general, even “healthy” sources will be very dense in calories. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid them since we do need a minimum amount of fat for our body’s to properly function. But, it does mean that you need to be more mindful of your portions whenever you eat them because of how easy they are to overeat. Chances are you’re eating way more than what you thought was just a serving of peanut butter or a serving of nuts. Which is why for these foods, it’s important to not only get yourself familiar with their serving sizes but actually spend the time to weigh out these foods when you consume them just to ensure you’re not overeating.
One more problematic fat worth mentioning is salad dressings. Oil based dressings don’t provide much at all for 200 calories. In fact, many of you likely use twice or even triple this amount whenever you have a salad. Which turns what you thought was a low calorie meal into the equivalent of a couple slices of pizza. Instead, either again measure these dressings when you use them, or one of the possible ‘food swaps’ you could do is opt for salad dressing options with lower calories.
Hopefully, you can see just how much more food you’re able to eat and how much easier it would be to suppress hunger and adhere to your diet by simply making smarter food choices. You can also see just how easy it is to essentially sabotage all the progress you may have made dieting throughout the week by making the diet mistake of letting loose on the weekends and unknowingly consuming thousands of additional calories from these more calorie dense foods. So, consider these swaps but more importantly just be mindful of your portions with certain foods. There are no real “good” or “bad” foods, just smarter food options depending on what your goal is.
And for those looking for a complete, all in one step by step program that shows you exactly what to eat and how to train week after week to transform your body in the most efficient way possible, then take the analysis quiz to discover which science-based program would be best for you and where your body is currently at below:
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