Should You Avoid Fruit to Lose Weight?
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Fruit is good for you. Period. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.
So is that it then? Is that the end of the blog?
It could be. But with different goals come different strategies. Specifically, if your goal is to lose weight, the way you think about fruit can have a big impact on your results.
Not because fruit = sugar and sugar = bad (which is NOT true), but because having simple strategies in place — even with something like fruit… It just makes weight loss easier.
Carbs Are Delicious
If we want to have a conversation about fruit, we have to start by talking about carbs. Consider this your free plate of bread before the main course.
That’s appropriate, because when I think of carbs, that’s where my mind travels… straight to bread. When Megan bakes fresh bread of any kind, it’s all I can do to stop myself from devouring the entire loaf on my own.
For a lot of people, when they think of carbs, they think of “bad” foods like cake, muffins, or cinnamon rolls. The ironic thing is that many of those things aren’t specifically carb-heavy as much as they’re a combination of carbs AND fats.
In fact, you know what’s more strictly a carb than cake?
Broccoli (or any veggie).
My point is, carbs aren’t inherently bad. Even the “bad” stuff isn’t REALLY bad. Eating healthy and losing weight is more nuanced than a list of foods you can and can’t eat. And that’s good, because if losing weight meant I had to give up delicious carbs like pizza, I wouldn’t be interested.
The real question when it comes to carbs is how much you can have before it negatively affects your goals.
How Much Carbs is OK?
The exact amount of carbs you should be eating each day varies wildly from person to person based on your:
Speed of weight loss
Love of carbs
To put it into perspective as to how much it varies…
I sometimes eat as much as 11 cupped hands worth of carbs per day while Megan sometimes goes as low as 3. Keep in mind, my hands are bigger than hers, so I’m likely eating a full 4x the amount of carbs.
(Below is a picture in case you don’t know what I’m talking about. Our clients use this method to track how much they eat, which is way more convenient than counting calories. You can learn more about this in “Stop Counting Calories.”)
Depending on where you’re at in your weight loss journey, the number will vary for you, too (and we can help you figure it out). For now, just know that not only are carbs NOT bad for losing weight, it actually makes weight loss easier when you DO have some on a regular basis.
What Does This Have to Do With Fruit?
Almost all fruits are carbs. As far as carbs go, fruits tend to be one of the better choices because they’re full of lots of different nutrients your body needs.
Remember, it’s not about “good” or “bad” — it’s about knowing what’s a better choice for YOU in any particular situation. Sometimes it really is better to have a slice of cake because you’re at a party and want to participate and enjoy yourself.
Other times, when you’re bored at home and want a snack, it’ll serve your weight loss goals better to have a bowl of strawberries rather than a bag of chips. (Not to mention you’ll feel better and have more energy if you make a choice like that more often.)
Once you have a good idea of how many portions of carbs you can have each day, you can strategize how many of those portions will be fruit.
It can change from day to day, but here are 2 things to keep in mind:
1. Having fruit makes room for other carb-y treats.
For example, let’s say you know you can have 3-4 portions of carbs per day. There’s a big difference in overall calories (which is the ONLY thing that directly affects weight loss) based on whether those carbs come from spaghetti, rice, donuts, or blueberries.
The more often you choose fruit as 1 of your carbs for the day, the more it will balance out and allow you to eat other carbs like pasta or sugary treats without affecting your weight loss goals. You may even find that those 3-4 portions of carbs you’re allowed to have can be upped to 5 or 6.
Which brings us to the next point…
2. The more fruit you have, the more FOOD you can have.
For some people, if they know they can only have 3 portions of carbs each day, they’ll stop eating fruit just so they can have cookies every night.
There’s nothing wrong with doing that from time to time (chocolate chip cookies are my weakness 🍪🤤), but it can cause problems if you do it a lot because you’ll be getting MORE calories but eating LESS volume and, as a result, getting LESS full.
(E.g. Compare 1 cookie, which literally feels like eating nothing, to 1 apple, which is a decent little snack).
Of course, you may find that other carbs are even more filling than fruit (for me, that would be oatmeal or potatoes). So it’s not that you should have fruit all the time.
But as you can see, not only does it NOT make sense to avoid fruit for weight loss, it can be a useful strategy to intentionally eat MORE of it in some cases.
Keeping the Weight Off Once It’s Gone
Weight loss only makes sense if the strategies you use to lose the weight also help you keep it off once it’s gone.
There will be minor changes once weight loss is over (like being able to eat 8 portions of carbs instead of 3), but it can’t be drastically different (like going from 80% of those portions being high quality carbs such as fruit or whole grains to 80% of your portions being low quality carbs such as cake and ice cream).
Having solid, long-term strategies from the beginning is key.
Whatever you do, don’t waste your time on the stuff that won’t make a big difference.
For instance, aiming to get a better balance of high quality carbs like fruit into your diet is WAY more effective than if I were to just say something stupid like, “Blueberries are soooooooo good for you — they’re a super food — you should totally eat 4 ounces of them every morning!”
Work on things that will make the biggest difference and weight loss will become easier, it’ll make your life more enjoyable, and you’ll finally be able to keep the weight off once it’s gone.
If you want to know what will make the BIGGEST difference for weight loss as a mom, we have a free video guide you can watch now…
Fruits are carbs and carbs (including sugars) are NOT bad for weight loss. As far as carbs go, fruit is a great choice because it’s full of nutrients, it’s more filling than processed carbs like cookies, and it’s low in calories (and calories are the ONLY thing that truly affect weight loss).
That doesn’t mean fruit should ALWAYS be your carb source. What’s more important is to know how many carbs you need in the first place, then figure out how many of them should be a high quality carb (like fruit) in order to keep you full, nourished, and reaching your goals.
It’s easier to figure that out if you have help. Book a free, no pressure, 20 min. call with us to see if our coaching is a good fit for you.