Author: Renu Puri
This blog intends to answer the million-dollar question - How can I lose weight while eating junk food?
Along with some great tips to lose weight while eating junk food, you will also learn about the importance of awareness and balance in weight loss, what is “healthy” and “unhealthy”, some stereotypically unhealthy foods that may help accelerate your weight loss, foods you thought were healthy but in reality are not, along with some examples to keep you motivated.
The most dreaded situation for any person trying to lose weight is the fear of letting go of scrumptious fast food. If you are like the majority of people who fantasized about a magic potion that could help them drop 20 kilos within a minute, you would relate to the rigid acceptance that comes with the commitment to losing weight. There is a huge misconception in the health and fitness space that you can only lose weight if you eat untasty, boiled, and bland food.
If you have ever googled “ How can I stay slim while eating junk food “, you are not alone. In fact, you are very much like my cousin Varun. Varun, a man with a big heart and an even bigger smile, likes to eat like a king but he also can be a debbie downer about his appearances at times. When he was young, his idol was Sherlock Holmes. To this day, he takes his admiration for Sherlock very seriously, to the point that his favorite detective activity is rummaging through google search pages for a solution to “How can I lose weight while eating junk food?”. Currently, he is at his 1378 article and the answer to this question is yet to be discovered.
The truth is, there is no straight answer to this riddle masked as a question but the closest answer is .. * drumrolls * partly yes, through little tweaks in your diet and lifestyle, it may be possible!
We live in a generation where food orders arrive before ambulances do. The ease of ordering your favorite delicacies can be done with one tap from your smartphone. The junk food options are unlimited, from burgers, pizzas, and drinks, to ice creams and cakes, you can order at ease from the comfort of your home. This is what makes this process of weight loss even more difficult. In no way are we trying to crucify the practice of ordering online. In fact, we love it ourselves. But the problem arises when you are not nutritionally aware as to what to order.
A huge part of being human is to acknowledge and appreciate the gift of taste. With taste, we link fond memories of our childhood, nostalgic celebrations, and pivotal moments that have a great impact on our mood. It is obvious that indulging in delicious food will always be a part of a wholesome human experience. Although some unhealthy foods are incredibly delicious, We believe that the human experience should be rich and fulfilling and not compromised and short.
Indians on average have a short life expectancy as opposed to western nations. “Why is that so?” You may wonder, It is primarily due to our lifestyle and dietary habits. With a rapid increase in unhealthy food options coupled with people glorifying fast food around the globe, the life expectancy gap is bound to increase. Even if one lives a long life, it is frustrating and painful to constantly live with a compromised state of health or see a loved one suffer in those circumstances.
Virgil, an ancient roman poet, quoted something very beautiful that you may hear our elders say a lot, “Health is wealth”. The crux of this powerful saying has to do with the fact that wealth is nothing if it can’t be enjoyed in a healthy body. We oftentimes take a lot of things for granted. A few years back, Steve Jobs, a revolutionary american creator, designer, and entrepreneur passed away because of cancer. Despite having all the wealth in the world, Cancer took the best of him.
You can have junk food once in a while but incorporating it into your daily routine can have disastrous effects on your health.
The key to life is balance - you must have control over food and not let the food control you. Consuming foods that are good for your body and let your body perform at its optimum level are very important for living a quality life. As essential as a healthy diet is to your body, it is also important that every once in a while, you treat yourself with something you like. So, don’t be afraid to grab that piece of cake or order that pizza (with extra cheese) when you feel you deserve it.
You may know of someone who used to consume tea or coffee with lots of sugar but now has reduced or eliminated it from their diet. C’mon, we all have that one bua ji in our family who consumes “green tea” for leisure and talks in calories. Yes, these bua ji’s are the ones who will never leave a chance to tell you the miracles that happened after they cut down on their sugar. Although at the moment, it may seem annoying and boastful, but it indeed works.
What really happens in such cases is that their sugar intake since the start was set to 2-3 spoons a cup, but upon cutting down about 2 spoons, they reduce their sugar intake to one spoon per cup. Initially, they would feel like the taste is missing or being compromised, but eventually, the person who consumed 2-3 spoons all their life would now find it difficult to consume more than 1 spoon in their cup. That happens because the baseline level of sweetness gets reset. The same theory also applies to junk food.
At niwi.ai, we encourage our clients to strive for mindfulness in eating, and a balance in their weekly nutrition while also enjoying corporate events, birthday celebrations, or even the wedding season.
We always encourage our readers and clients to ask questions. Surface knowledge of things can only take you so far. If you know the what, why, how, and when, especially with regard to health and nutrition, you would be able to achieve excellent results in the desired time frame.
With an array of snacks being branded as “healthy” on the shelves of grocery stores, sometimes we as consumers can get confused and misled. What truly is healthy and what isn't?
We get questions like “what foods are bad for me?”. Let us clear the air once and for all. Food isn't inherently good or bad, and it is not important to evaluate the nutritional benefit of each grain of rice every time you sit to eat.
If you perceive food as good or bad, you will cage yourself with emotions full of guilt and shame every time you eat the “bad” food.
What does the aftermath of consuming a particular “good or bad” food look like? Let’s say you’re munching on a bag of potato chips. Does it make you feel satiated? Does it make you feel sluggish? Do you feel bloated? In most cases, Potato chips do not satiate you and make you feel sluggish and bloated.
Say you replaced the potato chips with a fistful of foxnuts, ask yourself the same 3 questions again. We are sure your answer is going to be completely different.
Food acts as fuel to our body, it helps us function and thrive throughout the day. Foods are not good or bad. A better way to put this would be that foods can be classified to be healthy or unhealthy and their implications on your health.
Instead of munching on those crispy, fried to perfection McDonalds’ fries that are some of the most high cholesterol foods, you can curb your craving by having baked potatoes.
Potatoes usually have a bad reputation and are mostly overlooked for healthier options in the health and fitness communities. But did you know that a medium-sized baked potato only has about 180 calories? Yes, that's right! So if you love potatoes, you could settle for a baked potato instead of unhealthy fried potato dishes once every few weeks. Add some chaat masala and lemon to the potato for lip smacking taste.
This may come as a shocker to many. Yes, you can have chocolate and still lose weight fast. Our minds are wired in a way that lets us perceive chocolates and diets as recipes for disaster. After all, chocolates and sweets are the first things that are eliminated from your diet once you stick to a weight loss regime. However, for a diet to be sustainable, you can not refrain from consuming things you like. Any diet that plans to restrict you from certain types of foods will not be a long-lasting one.
Dark chocolate is a great substitute for milk chocolate and has a plethora of benefits. First and foremost, dark chocolate controls the excess production of ghrelin and controls your craving, keeping you full for longer. Since it is derived from plant-based nutrients, it helps reduce blood sugar levels and is vegan friendly too. Dark chocolate is also great for reducing inflammation. In fact, dark chocolate is used in a lot of anti-inflammatory diets.
Whole wheat pasta is a great food to eat for weight loss as it has decent amounts of fiber and nutrients as compared to other kinds of pasta. There are much fewer carbs in whole wheat pasta so you can indulge in a plate full of pasta without feeling guilty.
lt also helps you feel satiated due to the amount of fibers present. Who would have thought pasta could be one such unhealthy food that could also aid in your weight loss journey?
I personally know a lot of people that can not watch a movie without munching on popcorn. It has become such a staple in our movie experience that we do not pay heed to the calorific or nutritional value.
Popcorn is healthy, not movie theatre popcorn, just regular popcorn - without the excess salt and butter. Air-popped popcorn is a great source of fiber. It satiates your hunger so you’re unlikely to overindulge.
Nuts are extremely healthy if eaten in moderation. They are fully packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Nuts are great snack options if you have decided to go on a weight loss journey. In fact, since they keep you satiated, Nuts can help you avoid overindulgence. Just make sure that you take the right serving size, approximately 30-40 gm of nuts every day.
If you are wondering, 30-40 grams is a fistful of nuts. Nuts are heart-healthy foods and can help you live a longer, healthier life. Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pistachios, Pecans, etc are some nuts that you could munch as alternatives to unhealthy snacks.
Smoothies have been promoted by influencers to be the best solution to weight loss. Outside every gym, you will see a picture of a model with 6-pack abs holding a smoothie in her hand. These smoothies claim to help you get rid of your belly fat in no time.
Don’t get us wrong, in no way are we saying that smoothies are bad, but oftentimes people can put anything in the blender and call it a healthy drink. This can result in you consuming hundreds of calories per serving, oblivious to the fact that what you think is slimming you down, is actually making you gain weight. Such consumption must be made only after an evaluation with a registered dietician.
Soups and salads are a great source of losing weight but the problem comes when people start adding unhealthy materials to make it taste better. Examples: Heavy cream in soups, excess salt to balance out the taste, calorie-dense salad dressings, etc.
There is a rapidly emerging market for fat-free foods and snacks worth billions. Although some “ready-to-eat” snacks offer great nutritive value, the majority of products in that segment are misleading. Healthy snacks are being sold to millions of people worldwide as alternatives to fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. However, only a few are aware that most of the products in these segments are a sham - They are advertised to be “fat-free” but are filled with sugar and other processed foods.
There are many benefits to granola. In fact, it is very popular in the fitness space. However, a lot of Granola bars are advertised to people as “healthy meal replacements”. What they fail to understand is that these sticky and clumped bars are coated with sugar syrup and artificial sweeteners to make them taste better.
Many fizzy drinks in the market are labelled as “zero sugar”. These drinks are targeted towards folks who want to lose weight and control their sugar but also want to enjoy the beverage. People are misled to feel that since there is no sugar, it’s great for their health. On the contrary, they use artificial sweeteners that are greatly criticized by the masses. There have been several concerns raised in recent times with regards to the health implications of these sweeteners, especially Aspartame.
One 8-year observational study by PubMed Central found that people who drank more than 21 artificially sweetened beverages per week almost doubled their risk of being overweight and obese, compared with people who didn’t consume these kinds of drinks
There are many levels to losing weight. It would be unfair to say yes you can lose weight while eating junk food but not give any proper explanations. In our opinion, weight loss has got a lot to do with discipline, moderation, and awareness. Surface information about nutrition is not enough, you need to dive deeper to see what foods are good for your health and how much quantity you need to consume for them to not cause weight gain. Discipline is another virtue that is very important. It is alright to eat unhealthy foods once in a while but if it happens too often due to lack of discipline, your weight loss journey is bound to take a hit.
Seeking professional guidance could really help you navigate through these obstacles. A registered dietitian can offer flexible eating plans and suggest tasty options with regards to your taste buds. If you can’t resist street food, nutritionists can include healthy chaat options in your diet, or if you love Chinese food, they can suggest some great additions. All in all, professional guidance and programs can help you reach your weight loss goal in a quick, sustainable, and efficient way.
Ready for a health revolution? Join us on our mission to transform the nutrition landscape!
At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of clients transform their lives and feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely more confident in how they look and feel, by improving their relationship with food!