So you think you are eating clean but you still aren’t seeing fat loss results? Then see if you are committing any of these nutrition slip ups and including foods that make you gain weight.
6 Foods That Make You Gain Weight
#1 Protein and Meal Replacement Bars
You’re still not eating this junk, are you?
And don’t give me the crap about only using some “all natural” brand. Read the label. That “natural” bar has more unpronounceables than a spelling bee. And the last time I checked there are no protein bar trees.
But it’s convenient?
And if you’re taking protein shakes make sure to do your research and check out the best supplements for muscle growth. Try an apple and some almonds for a snack instead – it transports just as well, requires the same amount of preparation, and you can pronounce all of the ingredients. Speaking of almonds. . .
#2 Too Many Nuts
I’m a fan of raw nuts for snacks, especially with a piece of fruit. But you have to watch the quantity if you are trying to get lean. Keep the quantity down to the size of the center of your palm per serving. That’s only about 6 – 8 raw almonds for most people. If you are eating nuts by the fistful, you are thwarting your weight loss efforts.
A glass of orange juice is great for breakfast, right?
Well if you aren’t losing belly fat like you want, consider mixing the fruit juice. That juice is going to give you the exact insulin response that you are trying to avoid for optimum fat loss. If you really can’t live without it, try cutting it with water.
#4 Cheat Days
Yes, plenty of experts recommend a weekly “cheat day” or “cheat meal” as part of your fat loss regimen. I’m not one of them. However, if you are someone with self-control you can check out how to keep your metabolism going with cheat meals. It’s not that cheat days can’t be effective – they absolutely can be effective for many people. It’s just that I’m not one of those people. I tend to be a black and white type of guy – either I’m eating clean or I’m not.
A well-intended cheat meal of one small slice of pizza miraculously turns into half of the pizza relocating to my stomach. So know your own personality and how it relates to regulation of your cheat meals. If you can’t handle the diversion from the plan – don’t do it!
I have used a small serving of chocolate milk as a post-workout meal with success for myself and with clients. Notice I said small. As in half a pint small. If you are using milk as a post workout meal and you are not happy with your fat loss results, be sure to check your quantity. Also, when it comes down to shedding those final five pounds I usually eliminate ALL dairy including the post workout chocolate milk.
What is the truth about milk?
You will have to decide it’s right for you. At that point, a small handful of baby carrots and a small can of tuna replaces the milk. Notice how many times I said “small”. . .
#6 Portion Control
I firmly believe you cannot eat too many of most vegetables when on a fat loss quest. Spinach, broccoli, celery, green beans. . . eat them with reckless abandon. But I have seen certain fruits hinder fat loss when eaten in high quantities. These include bananas, pineapple, cantaloupe, and other melons. Also, check the quantity of your protein source if you are not losing fat like you want to – keep those chicken and steak servings down to the size & thickness of your palm and you should be good to go.
As I often say, what it really comes down to is testing and tracking. You have to keep a food journal, track your results weekly, and make your adjustments along the way. But if you are not losing fat and you think you are eating clean, be sure to consider one of the above as an adjustment to be made.
What are some adjustments to your diet that have helped you lose fat that seemed counter-intuitive? Let me know in the comments below.
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I definitely have the same sort of experience when it comes to cheat days. But living without pizza for the rest of my life isn’t exactly something I want to do either lol.
Nice article Vic. For me cheat days do not work either. If I cheat one meal, it turns into a cheat day then a cheat weekend.
I find that the longer I stay the course and eat clean, the cravings for a cheat day go way down. I am human though and to be honest a glass of red wine and some pizza may be in order on June 1!
Doing this years 30/31 day challenge a month earlier than last year. June is good BBQ weather in the UK.
As simple as it sounds, the key is dropping sugar/carb based foods.
Water + Coffee, Chicken & Veg. Done.
Reading this article made me realise how happy I am that I started trying to put on muscle and eat loads on monday after two months of dieting! 🙂
Ok, I have a confession to make: My goal is to increase my muscle mass, but I do need to lose some (ok, more than “some”) on the belly and waist. I’m 40, 5’8″, 195 lbs.
Portion control works, in my case. The problem is, in many diet science sources I’ve looked (web sites), there is not much PRECISE information about portions of carbs. “Palm of my hand”, “half a pint”, “6 or 8 almonds”: these are precise data.
Is my fist a good measure for, say, the amount of potatoes, or pasta, or rice, sweet potatoes, etc.? I’d like to know what Vic thinks about that.
And I personnally think portion control also applies to vegetables. Maybe that’s just me, but it would probably be a good thing to avoid a bloating effect.
If you are going to eat the carbohydrate sources you mentioned, then the size of your fist should be the maximum serving. When in doubt, eat less.
Ahhhh, cheat days! I love me a cheat day…lol but you’re right, they can drift into cheat weekends and you end up putting back on what you lost in the week.
But as Mike says, we’re only human and the world cup looms……….hmmmm, cheat month anyone? lol
England v USA – 12th June!! Whoo hooo!!
All the best Vic
Love it. I’m a fan of nuts too and I know that’s a problem area for me. I could eat a cup of cashews if I’m not careful. Now I always measure the nuts and stick them in little baggies so I know exactly how much I’m eating.
I’m the same Cassandra – I love the crunch and taste of nuts but definitely have been trying to cut down because they are such a calorie dense food and the Omega balance isn’t always what it is cracked up to be!
I keep a big tin and its so easy to stick my hand in – so I too am going to start splitting off smaller portions…
I hate to see bars up there. I eat those things like they’re going out of style. I do think that the Jay Robb bars are fairly natural. But you are right, it’s hard to be an Apple and some nuts.
Interesting you mentioned cheat meals, as so many diets have them included. I guess that could be to make them more appealing to the public. I’ve never heard of a bodybuilder having cheat meals before his competition.
i have a question for you. i just had a boby mapping and a personal tailored meal plan made for me. apparently i was not eating enough calories, so now i am aiming for about 1500 a day. i am also a semi-vegetarian so the plan has me eating a lot of nuts for protein (i dont do tofu) and to reach my daily calorie goal. Now you are saying eating too many will thwart my fat loss. I am conflicted on what I should do here. Thoughts?
The only way you will know for sure is to test and track. That means recording all of your training and food intake, doing a weekly weigh-in, and evaluating your progress. If you are losing weight at a rate you are happy with while consuming the larger quantity of nuts, then no problem. But if your weight loss efforts are not productive, reducing the nut intake is what I would recommend trying.
Great point about the nuts! They really add up. I love the simple carbs in post-workout chocolate milk, but you are right, it needs to be a small serving.
I have found eggs a massive help to me. I eat them regularly including the “fatty” yolk because not only do they provide me with high quality protein but I find that more than any other food they help to keep me full till lunchtime when eaten for breakfast. This is in contrast to various whole wheat breakfast cereals which leave me hungry by mid morning.
Portion control all the way. Also – a small or no dinner is the easiest way to cut calories.
Yes – you get hungry for a bit, but then you go to bed and fall asleep and in the morning you are already leaner.
I completely agree with portion control. I can’t believe that so many people seem to over look this one.
I actually can do cheat meals. I used to do cheat days…..but it became too much. Now I just have 1 or 2 cheat meals on the weekends.