The Most Important Step You Can Take to Lose Weight
I once had a chemistry instructor ask me a question and at the time I didn’t know the answer. Not uncommon for me in chemistry – ugh! At any rate, her question had nothing to do with classwork. She wanted to know what I thought was more important, diet or exercise. I said diet, but I said it based on instinct rather than any real knowledge. And as it turns out, I was right.
Why Your Diet Matters More
The Standard American Diet, or SAD, is packed with saboteurs. Every day foods literally make you gain weight. So, you might exercise an hour a day at the gym and really sweat it out and still gain weight. Why? Because of some ingredients and foods in your diet. Clean these foods out of your diet and the weight will start coming off.
It All Starts with Sugar
If there’s one thing that you can do to start losing weight, it is to significantly reduce (eliminate if possible) your sugar intake. This includes everything from good old fashioned white table sugar to the hidden sugars in our foods like fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, and any ingredient ending in OSE like dextrose. They’re all sweeteners, they’re all sugar.
It’s Not as Complicated as You Might Think
- Eat foods without labels
The simplest thing to do to start getting rid of the sugar in your diet is to only eat whole foods. Whole foods don’t come with labels to read. An apple doesn’t have an ingredient list. It’s just an apple. So, stop eating things that come in packages. That’s one way to make getting sugar out of your diet easy.
- Buy sugar free condiments.
Of course, you still want things like ketchup, salad dressing, spice mixes, and dairy products so there will be labels to read. You can make it easier on yourself by only purchasing products that say “primal” or “paleo” approved. That will mean there’s no added sugar. For dressings, spices, and condiments check out Tessamae’s and Primal Kitchen. Or make your own condiments. There are some truly amazing homemade ketchup and BBQ sauce recipes online.
- Embrace whole dairy.
If you can have dairy, you’re lucky. Now stop eating or drinking low fat stuff. It has added sugar. Seriously. Drink whole milk and cream and eat whole fat cheeses. Not the cheese that’s already grated in the bags, either. Some of those have added sugars and anti-caking agents.
- Watch your beverages.
Stop getting sweetened coffee drinks and stop drinking soda and juice. Water, reg coffee and tea, and the occasional glass of red wine are great.
- Ditch the baked goods.
Now, I love a good cookie or cupcake as much as the next person. I mean, I REALLY love them. But they have sugar in them, that’s why we like them so much. If you want to lose weight then you have to say no to baked goods, including bread. Bread sucks for many reasons. Sugar is one of them. Let it go.
Do you have to give up sugar entirely or forever? No. If you want to lose weight, you might give it up until you reach your desired body composition. But if the idea of giving it up entirely sounds awful, then maybe try a cheat meal approach. Give it up for all your meals except one meal on one day. For example, Friday dinner you might enjoy some BBQ ribs with store bought sauce and a cocktail and dessert. Then you go right back to your no sugar lifestyle Saturday morning.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about different approaches to giving up sugar, so you can find the best approach for your personality and goals.
Bottom line, if you want to lose weight, the first and best thing you can do for yourself is to give up sugar. You’ll not only lose weight, you’ll significantly improve your health and energy levels, and you’ll reduce your risk of chronic disease including cancer, Type II diabetes, heart disease, and more.