If you are currently dieting, you are in good company. About 33 percent of women and 25 percent of men follow a diet at any given point during the year, according to the University of Colorado. While you may want to lose weight quickly, remember that fad diets often result in a quick regain of lost weight. However, cutting certain foods out of your diet when trying to lose weight may help speed your weight loss.
Weight Loss Rate
You may want to lose weight as quickly as possible, but the National Institutes of Health advises that a maximum weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is a safe rate. If you lose weight more quickly, you may struggle with maintaining a lower weight due to the fact that you may not have cemented new habits into your lifestyle. In addition to setting a reasonable weight-loss rate, eat no less than 1,500 healthy calories if you are a male, and 1,200 if you are a female.
Not all fats can slow your weight loss, and including small amounts of monounsaturated fats found in nuts, olive oils and some fish is good for your heart. A diet containing trans fats can make it difficult to lose weight and also negatively affects your health, because trans fats contribute to heart disease. Read nutrition labels, and avoid foods with either trans or saturated fats. In addition to contributing to weight gain and heart disease, 1 gram of fat has nine calories, unlike protein and carbohydrates, which each have four calories per gram.
Restaurant and Fast Foods
Eating high-calorie foods such as many restaurant meals, processed foods and frozen meals makes it difficult to lose weight. If you are trying to stay on a 1,200- to 1,500-calorie diet, eating an Italian restaurant entree can cost you over 1,400 calories, while a frozen pot pie contains over 520 calories. Many fast foods are designed to have a ratio of carbohydrates, fat, sugar and salt that encourages you to overeat, leading to weight gain. They're also typically low in fiber -- a nutrient that keeps you feeling full after your meal -- so you'll likely still have hunger pangs shortly after eating, even if you consumed a lot of calories.
Avoid sugary foods if you're looking to lose weight. Not only are they packed with calories -- a large slice of chocolate truffle cheese cake has over 1,600 calories, according to the Nutrition Action Health Letter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest -- but they won't keep you feeling full after your meal. Your body absorbs the sugar in sweet quickly, causing a rapid increase in your blood sugar levels, as well as a rapid drop shortly after. This blood sugar decrease leaves you hungry and irritable, so you're tempted to snack.
Foods high in sodium may cause you to retain water, and make losing weight more challenging. Although your body needs salt for nerve function, muscle contraction and fluid balance, excessive sodium can cause an increase in your blood pressure, which can result in heart failure, kidney diseases and other ailments. Limit your sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams if you have no blood pressure problems, and 1,500 milligrams a day if you suffer from high blood pressure. Avoid chips, pretzels, processed foods, Asian seasonings and canned foods, all of which are high in sodium.
Use an online food tracking system or software to monitor your caloric, fat and sodium intake. As you review your daily choices, note if you are consuming too many calories from fat and adjust your intake accordingly. If you find you're consistently losing more than 2 pounds weekly, increase your calorie intake slightly -- by 100-200 calories per day -- until you're in a safe weight loss range. While it might feel tempting to go for the fastest weight loss possible, you'll lose muscle that you need to keep the weight off.