Can You Lose Weight With Fast Foods?
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 With Fast Food, Seriously?
Back when I first tried losing weight, my mind swam with the visions of weight loss that countless articles and experts drill home: being healthy and having a normal weight means grinding your teeth and 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, I fell in a hole that took me months to recover from: I went for a popular diet I had found in a magazine, one based on eating salads in all forms and colors. I managed to stay on it 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 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 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 it’s the calories, I thought, then I could eat whatever and still lose weight.
Having nothing to lose I decided to go for it and calculate my daily calories while staying below the number that 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 mostly ate as before. This included the occasional pizza or hamburger, as long as the calorie bank account didn’t go above the magic number.
Still I wondered. Could things really be this simple? Years earlier I had watched Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me, where he eats nothing but McDonald’s fast food for a month. The man gained a tremendous amount of weight going through with that and 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.
For your body 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 having fast food on your palate, so be it. But 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 afterwards feel like there is still room that wants to be filled.
- Some fast food, like candy bars, mostly contain simple carbohydrates. These you digest faster than complex carbs and you may feel hungry again sooner.
- You shouldn’t eat one-sided, meaning 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, you can lose weight eating fast food. You may find, like me, that making some minor adjustments and controlling the amount of fast food you eat works best.
It’s You Who Counts
We’re all different, and I’m quite happy for the people who were able to switch their entire nutrition and end 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. Adjust your diet to your particular taste (quite literally), even if that means including fast food, and you too can succeed.
Pictures courtesy of “pointnshoot” and “bfishadow“.
The math of weight loss will work whatever we eat, so we agree on that. I wonder if the quality of fast food is better in Germany than here in the states. I would like to think it is 🙂
Thanks for holding us in that high regard, but I’m not sure 😉
However, one difference I did notice regarding food in the US when compared to the EU: portion sizes. When I order a “medium” pizza in the US it usually is the size that would be considered “large” around here.
Maybe this discprepancy in what is deemed “enough” in a way makes fast food in the US worse.
I agree with you & Dr. J on the math. I’m glad this worked for you & hopefully helps someone on their journey
Thank you, Joi! 🙂