Weight Loss Journey Part 2: Switching Foods

When I wrote about my basic diet tips a few weeks ago, I suggested sticking with the foods you already eat. The reason for that was because it becomes a little easier to adjust to the changes simply because you’re still within your comfort zone.

However, as you proceed down this path, you’re going to have to change what you’re eating. The reason is very simple. After a while, you just aren’t going to get enough food eating some stuff.

That means it’s going to be time to adjust your eating.

Now, I’m not going to tell you to never eat any particular food unless, of course, you’re allergic or something. In that case, don’t eat it.

Otherwise, though, feel free to eat any food you want.

That said, you’re probably going to want to eat more of what people think of as “clean” foods. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about here, the stuff like chicken breasts, brown rice, tons of veggies, things like that.

So here I’m going to share some of my thoughts on that kind of eating.


When it comes to protein, I’m going to admit, I’ve ruled almost nothing in my eating just now.

The lone exception is pork chops.

You see, pork chops are tasty as hell, but they’re high in fat and calories. To put it in perspective, pork chops are about 55.25 calories per ounce with 5.75 grams of protein per ounce.

By contrast, a boneless, skinless chicken breast is 47.14 calories per ouch with almost 9 grams of protein per ounce.

In other words, you get more food and more protein for the same amount of calories. When you’re only eating, say, 1200 calories per day (just an example), you want as much food for those calories as you can get.

The pork chop is perfectly acceptable if you just want a pork chop, but there are going to be times when you don’t want to deny yourself.

Another option, one that may surprise a lot of people, is ground beef. I get the 93 percent lean ground beef which has 43 calories and almost 6 grams of protein per ounce. Not too shabby, is it?

By shaping up your protein, you can clean up your diet to a significant degree, you can maximize your food while minimizing your calories. With protein especially.


It’s easy to think of vegetables as “free food,” but even here you may want to be careful with your choices. For example, a cup of green beans is about 32 calories while a cup of La Seur’s early peas is 120 calories for the same volume.

If you’re cutting it close on calories, you may want to rethink your choice of vegetables. If you’ve only got 50 calories available in your allotment for the day, you probably don’t want to blow another 70 calories for a different vegetable.

Yet there are still a whole lot of options available while still remaining low.

For example, I like the Birds Eye Steamfresh broccoli which is 33 calories per cup. I also like their “Asian Medley” which is broccoli, carrots, snow peas, and baby corn. The whole bag is about 2.5 cups and is a total of 140 calories. I’ll generally do that without any starches on the plate, though, as it’s a whole lot of food.

Honestly, just a little planning will tell you that almost any vegetable you want to name will probably be good to go. If you want to minimize your calories, though, I’d say to stay away from legumes as those tend to be a little higher in calories than others, though they’re also great for adding protein to your diet if that’s what you need.


I’m going to be honest, I don’t eat all that much in the way of starches these days. While I eat a couple of pieces of gluten-free toast (I have IBS related food issues that require this of me), I don’t eat much else. About the only exception is the occasional cup of white rice.

While brown rice is often preferred, there’s not a huge differential when you look at the labels between brown and white rice. Further, while many argue that brown rice is healthier, I tend to look at the amount of white rice most Asian cultures eat on a daily basis while having low incidents of obesity and heart disease, I’m not convinced it makes that big of a difference.

The truth is that when it comes to starches, you’re going to find these to be the higher calorie choices when you’re planning your food.

Now, that’s not to say they’re not useful. They’re great sources for carbohydrates (which aren’t the enemy, necessarily), for example. They’re also a good way to make sure you’re getting enough calories (more on that in a bit).

But if you’re having trouble getting your calories low enough, particularly in the later stages of a weight loss effort, this is a place you can make an easy cut.

Now, obviously, this is simplistic. I mean, it’s a blog post. It’s not going to be a complete guide to clean eating. That’s almost impossible.

Further, it doesn’t cover another important factor, and that’s planning. I’ve found it’s very difficult to meet all my daily requirements without prior planning. It does help that I don’t really suffer from appetite fatigue all that often, thus can eat basically the same foods for days or weeks on end.

But when something changes, I need to plan ahead in order to make sure I don’t completely screw everything up dietarily.

If you’re someone who needs variety in their food, someone like my wife, then you need to plan your food fairly carefully. It’s OK to plan on 4 ounces of ground beef and you actually get 4.16 ounces or something, but you don’t want to plan on 93 percent lean ground beef and end up eating a pepperoni pizza instead.

Of course, if that happens, it’s not the end of the world. Take a step back and punt. If you’re in a caloric deficit most of the time, you’ll balance out any excess calories. Couple that with the training you’re doing (you are training, right?) and you’ll be fine.

The key, though, is to not let those days happen all that often.

Yet this and the previous post should give you a halfway decent foundation to build upon as you start trying to cut weight. Will it take you the rest of the way? Damned if I know. I’m still working on it, but this is the stuff I’ve had to change as I progressed so I’m pretty sure you will to.

This isn’t an easy path, but nothing worth doing is ever easy, and believe me, this is worth it.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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