Can I Eat Junk Food in a Calorie Deficit?

junk food

You may be wondering if you are able to eat what you consider junk food while in a calorie deficit. I want to elaborate on this as I feel it is important to discuss.

Many individuals are reluctant to start trying to lose weight because they feel they will have to neglect themselves and they will not be able to eat the foods they like. Many things you consider “junk food” are actually not terribly bad for you, in moderation.

I truly do believe that if you dive into this thinking that you will not be able to enjoy any of the foods you are eating, you more than likely are not going to stick to your new lifestyle change.

What do you consider junk food?

I feel the term junk food is used too often to describe foods that in reality are not that bad. I believe that there are many alternatives out there than some of the foods we love to eat, but that doesn’t mean we are NEVER able to enjoy them. We need to start focusing on making a lifestyle change a positive thing.

Let’s take a nice burger from McDonalds for example. I am a sucker for a nice burger and fries from McDonald’s. It is one of my favorite foods to eat and the taste never gets any less desirable. Many would consider McDonalds to be “junk food”, so for someone looking to lose weight, they may feel like they will NEVER be able to enjoy a big juicy burger. This is not the case.

junk food in a calorie deficit

While a burger and fries from McDonalds is undeniably high in sodium and saturated fat, this does not mean that we will never be able to enjoy this. We must learn to eat smart and in moderation. We are not going to be eating McDonalds every single day of our life, but if we calculate the calories from the food we want into our daily amount, we can enjoy the foods we eat.

Eat smarter, not harder

When you go about your day and are counting your calories, you will need to be consciously aware of everything you eat as every calorie consumed should be tracked.

If you want to have a burger for lunch one day, this will be okay. As long we we are calculating the amount of calories we are consuming and we are within the range set, it will be A ok.

You may want a donut for a snack in the break room at work, this is fine as well. A piece of birthday cake at your little girl’s birthday party? Yep that’s fine too. Just make sure you are ACCOUNTING for it and you are staying in your calorie range for the day to make sure you are maintaining a calorie deficit, and you will STILL lose weight.

We must remember, I am speaking strictly in the sense of calories. I am NOT saying this is for everyone. If you have a health condition such as congestive heart failure (CHF) or coronary artery disease, or any other medical condition and your medical provider has instructed you to stay away from certain foods such as foods high in sodium or fats, please follow their advice. This is only for individuals who are questioning if having a cupcake will cause them to throw their whole calorie deficit off course.

If you need more information on how to calculate a calorie deficit to lose weight, click on the image below to find out.

junk food fries, calorie deficit

Alternatives to junk food in your calorie deficit

After you start trying to lose weight by calculating your calorie deficit, you may feel like the “junk food” you have been eating before may be too calorie rich for you. As we said before, there is nothing saying you can’t enjoy these foods, but you may find that the amount of calories in these types of foods are higher in calories which means you will burn through your daily allotment faster.

It is fun to try new things, and it may be wise to start swapping these foods out for alternatives. Let’s take a cheeseburger for example. One way to swap out a cheeseburger for a different option without feeling like you are neglecting yourself, is to replace the meat.

You can opt for a different type of sandwich made with a leaner meat patty, such as a fish or chicken sandwich. If this is an un-breaded piece of meat, this will save even more calories. With you saving these calories, you will burn through your calories less quickly.

Maybe you like to enjoy milkshakes often. I have a great recipe for a fruit smoothie that I have been using for years, and it is under 200 calories and tastes AMAZING. You can try the recipe by clicking here. This is a great option. Many milkshakes have tons of calories in them (upwards of 1000 calories.) By swapping out for this smoothie, you will be saving calories but drinking a healthy smoothie packed full of healthy ingredients.

Your mindset

The most important thing to take into consideration, is the mindset you have toward food. If you go through every day feeling restricted and miserable, this new lifestyle change is not going to last.

You need to start to think of food in a positive light, instead of in a negative light. Enjoy a snack once in awhile, it is not going to hinder your progress as long as you calculate it, and you are aware of the calorie contents within the food you choose. Do not restrict yourself and do not start forcing yourself to eat foods that you do not like, just because they are “healthy” and you feel like they will get you from point A to point B faster.

As I said in my other post, just track your calories in a calorie calculator, and if you are not sure how many calories a food you are eating has, simply find a close estimate and round up a bit. It is not recommended to round down as this will likely be inaccurate. It is always better to overestimate a little.

Are you excited to get started?