Losing weight is almost always an uphill battle. You’re struggling to fight your habitual lifestyle while going against every natural cue your body is giving you. Losing weight is simple, it just isn’t easy. Engineering a healthy diet and sticking to it long term is your key to successful weight-loss.

Losing weight is about calories-in versus calories-out, and therefore you want to cut out as many unnecessary calories from your diet as possible. Stick with whole foods and get rid of the junk, your body will thank you!

1) Soda

Pepsi Cola Soda

Soda, pop, soft drinks, whatever you call them, they are absolutely loaded with sugars and provide zero nutritional value. A single can of soda can have up to 45 grams of sugar which is almost 200 calories. In addition to that, your brain won’t register it as food and as a result you will still be hungry for more.

2) White Rice

White rice is made by processing brown rice and stripping away its husk. Unfortunately, this process also removes the majority of the rice’s nutrients and fiber. White rice is therefore a lot easier to digest and serves more as a quick insulin spike rather than a filling and nutritious carbohydrate. Instead go with brown rice which takes a lot longer to digest and still offers plenty of nutrients and fiber to your body.

3) Alcohol

Cut Alcohol Out of Your Diet

If you are serious about losing weight you must cut out alcohol, or at a minimum, drastically reduce your consumption. An average 12-ounce beer is about 150 calories, and an average night of drinking will set you back at least 5 beers. That is 750 calories just from beer. Vodka, whiskey, and tequila are just as bad with around 100 calories per shot. Do yourself a favor and curb the booze for a while.

4) Fruit Juice

Everyone’s heard the myth that fruit juices are the healthiest drinks available. Unfortunately, this is a complete lie. They are loaded with sugars, sometimes even more so than a can of soda. Fruit’s biggest benefit comes from fiber, but a glass of juice offers none of that. Many juices are even made from extract which offers very little nutrients but contains a lot of sugar.

5) Granola

Cut Granola Out of Your Diet

With its whole grains and oats, granola looks like it would be the perfect complex carbohydrate for your diet, but a closer look will tell otherwise. These desirable granola clusters are chock-full of honey and sugars to keep them sticking together. A single serving of granola is ½ a cup but offers nowhere near as much substance as ½ a cup of rolled oats would. You will be hungry a lot faster and crave even more sugar during the rest of your day.

6) Sugary Cereal

Breakfast cereal is made from processed grains, a ton of sugar, and a very small amount of fortified nutrients. Serving sizes are often small and not filling, making it easy to overeat and ingest a lot more calories than you expected. In addition, the simple carbohydrates in cereal are easily digested. Instead make yourself a bowl of rolled oats or find a fiber-rich cereal with a low sugar content.

7) Dried Fruit

Variety of Dried Fruits

Fruit is great because of its substance and nutrients. You most likely won’t eat a couple of whole mangoes in one sitting, but dried fruit is completely different. By drying out the fruit it loses its water substance. As a result, you can mindlessly eat 5 whole mangoes and consume 5 times the amount of sugar. This will spike your blood sugar levels and then crash them right back down, resulting in cravings for even more sugar.

8) Salad Dressings

Ordering a salad instead of a burger is a great way to lose weight, but a salad can go easily go from healthy to horrible. Casually sprinkling salad dressing all over your salad can actually give your salad more calories than a burger. These dressings are loaded with fats and sugars and won’t make you feel any fuller. Instead, try a store-bought or homemade vinaigrette to lightly drizzle over your salad.

9) Pasta

Cut Pasta Out of Your Diet

Just like white rice, regular and refined pasta had most its nutrients and fiber stripped away. When you factor in the sauce and other toppings, you’re looking at very calorie dense food that won’t keep you full for very long. However, if you do really want to eat pasta, go for a protein enriched or whole grain variety. These will still be very calorie dense, but will at least keep you full for quite a while.

10) French Fries & Potato Chips

It’s simple, anything fried in unhealthy, processed oil should stay out of your diet. Fries and potato chips are some of the most unhealthy snacks imaginable. Not only are potatoes simple carbs, but these snacks are usually fried in mass produced and processed vegetable oils. Simply cut it out entirely. If you are craving potatoes or fries, buy sweet potatoes and instead of frying them, bake them in the oven yourself.

11) Candy

Cut Candy Out of Your Diet

Candy bars, chocolate, candy pieces, they’re all pure sugar. The calories are through the roof and none of them offer any nutritional value. Simply cut it out completely. If you’re craving sugar or something sweet, buy fruit. Kiwis, oranges, and strawberries are all great options to quickly satisfy your cravings for sugar.

In the end, losing weight is about energy balance. As long as your body burns more calories than it consumes, you will lose weight. Therefore, cutting out junk food and unnecessary or empty calories is the easiest way to start losing weight quickly.

What foods did you cut out of your diet to lose weight? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re done losing weight and are ready to start packing on serious muscle, check out my post on the Most Effective Muscle Building Foods. Adding these 8 foods to your diet will surely bring the gains!