It all sounds so simple - just eat less calories and exercise more. But you have probably found that losing weight is anything but simple. And there is a reason for this. Losing weight is hard. We start building our eating habits at a very early age, and some experts believe that these habits are set by age five! Think back to what you wanted to eat at five, and you will better understand why we prefer dessert and dread eating our vegetables. But beyond overcoming our poor eating habits, there is a lot of bad information out there that can cripple you as you attempt to lose weight. If you want to learn how to lose a fat stomach, you need to not only eat fewer calories, you need to eat the right things. And more importantly, not eat the wrong things. Below are four foods that you should avoid at all costs if you want to lose a fat stomach.
Let's start with an obvious one. If you truly want to lose weight, you need to stay away from fast food. That Big Mac you just finished had 570 calories and 32 grams of fat. The large fries had another 500 calories and 25 grams of fat. And the large (32 oz.) chocolate shake? A cool and creamy 1,160 calories and 27 grams of fat. After that one meal you have eaten over your daily recommended calorie and fat levels. Even a southwest chicken salad with ranch dressing has 600 calories and 24 grams of fat. It does take planning ahead, but it is possible to cut out fast food. I very rarely eat fast food these days and it shows. This is the one thing that made the biggest impact on my own diet.
This seems strange, that in order to lose fat, I am telling you to stay away from fat free foods. There are several reasons for this. First, when fat is removed from something, sugar is added in its place. More sugar equals more calories, more carbs, and less weight loss. A second reason is that psychologically, when people see that something is fat free, they figure that they can eat as much as they want. I have many friends who gorge themselves on fat free desserts thinking that it won't impact their diets since it is fat free. Surprisingly, they never seem to lose weight. A final reason, is that when fat is removed, chemicals are often added. I prefer to eat foods the way that God made them, not how science can recreate them. I find myself feeling much healthier when I eat natural as opposed to processed foods. I know that this is unscientific, but I am much more likely to eat healthy if it makes me feel healthy and energized.
Another surprising food that will stop weight loss in its tracks is actually a drink - fruit juices. They seem healthy, especially those that claim to be 100% juice. The trouble with fruit juices is that it takes everything "bad" about a fruit (sugar, calories, and carbs) and strips out everything "good" about a fruit (fiber, feeling full). Juices are so bad for a diet because they are high (apple and orange juice have roughly 120 calories in 8 ounces compared to 100 calories in 8 ounces of Pepsi) in calories. Eat fruit instead and the fiber will not only help you to feel full (where juice will leave you craving further sweets), but will help to regulate healthy blood sugar levels.
This has been in the news recently, but it warrants repeating - stay away from high fructose corn syrup. Not only is it high in calories, research has found that consuming high fructose corn syrup causes your body to grow fat cells and contributes to the early onset of diabetes and heart disease. So not only will heeding this step help you to lose the stomach fat, it could help you to live longer as well!