Most diet “specialists” will tell you that to lose weight you will have to stop eating fast food. Wrong, you can lose weight eating fast foods. It doesn’t even have to be unhealthy.
Lose Weight On Fast Food, Seriously?
Back when I first tried to lose weight, my mind was filled with the same visions of weight loss that countless articles and experts tirelessly drill home: being healthy and having a normal weight means grinding your teeth and basically eat food you hate. The idea was, it seemed to me, that if the food you ate was enjoyable, you are doing something wrong.
Which is exactly why, when I made my first diet attempt, fell in a hole that took me months to recover from: I went for a popular diet I had found in a magazine, that was based on eating salads in all forms and colors. I managed to stay on that diet for three days, but on the fourth, when attempting to eat yet another salad, I threw and then gave up.
As I believed that the many weight loss coaches and their above ideas of “healthy eating” were right, it seemed that I simply wasn’t cut out for losing weight, simply because I couldn’t get that stuff down. What was I to do, the guy that loved tuna pizza, nachos with cheese sauce and cookies? Was I too weak-willed to join the ranks of the healthy and fit?
Only months later, after having stubbornly decided that I wanted to see the matter of me losing weight through and learning that the formula is calories in vs. calories out, I had a glimmer of hope. If that was true, I thought, then I could basically eat whatever and still lose weight.
Having nothing to lose I decided to go for it and simply calculate my daily calories while staying below the number that supposedly was necessary to keep my weight steady. I made some adjustments (low-fat milk for whole milk, fat-reduced cheese for normal cheese etc.), but basically ate as before, including the occasional pizza or hamburger, only making sure that the calorie bank account didn’t go above the magic number.
But could things really be this simple? Years earlier I had watched Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me, where he goes and eats nothing but McDonald’s fast food for a month. The man gained a tremendous amount of weight from going through with that, and now I was to prove him wrong?
You Can Eat Fast Food…
And yet it worked. Within four months I went from 196 lbs to 163 lbs – a loss of about 2 lbs per week. I didn’t develop any deficiencies, I didn’t become ill or experience any other side effects.
Spurlock didn’t gain weight and fell into ill health because he ate at McDonald’s, it happened because he ate loads and loads of calories. His message may have been that McDonald’s employees encourage you to buy more, which means you eat more, but ultimately he could have gained the same amount of weight from eating whole grains, tofu and organic meat.
Where your body and weight loss or gain is concerned, it doesn’t make any difference where the calories come from.
…But Watch The Calories
If the only way for you to go through with a diet is by leaving a place for fast food in your palate, so be it. You only really have to be aware of three things:
- Fast food usually is very calorie-dense. A Big Mac comes with more than 500 kcal and takes up much less room in your stomach than, say, 500 kcal in lettuce. You eat a Big Mac and after finishing feel like there is still room that wants to be filled.
- Some fast food, like candy bars, mostly contain simple carbohydrates. These are digested faster than complex carbs and you may feel hungry again sooner.
- You shouldn’t eat one-sided, meaning that it wouldn’t be a good idea to get most of your calories from one food, no matter if that is bananas, chocolate, burgers or whatever. This would likely end in you developing deficiencies.
If you can steer around these cliffs and still keep the calories you eat per day below those you burn, then you losing weight eating fast food is possible. You may find, like me, that a combination of making some minor adjustments and controlling the amount of fast food you eat works best.
It’s You Who Counts
We all are different, and I’m quite happy for the people who were able to switch their entire nutrition to something completely different and ended up lighter and healthier than before. I couldn’t do that and maybe you can’t either. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t lose weight. You just have to adjust any attempt to your particular taste (quite literally), even if that means including fast food.