Are Salads Overrated For Weight Loss?

I have recently talked to a lot of people who are trying to lose weight, who have lost weight, and even a few non-pregnant ones who have gained weight. There are a few common factors among those who have succeeded at losing weight: exercise and consistent diet changes. Eating only salads is not on that list, but out of my own experience (25 lb. weight gain in college and 25 lb. weight loss afterward), they are not overrated, and here are a few reasons why I like them so much!

Why salads are a good component of your weight loss program:
1. They taste good (depending on your toppings).
2. There are a ton of varieties, so your tastebuds will not get bored.
3. They are full of vegetables, which are high in nutrients, water and fiber yet low in calories.
4. You can easily add protein to give a complete meal (nuts, eggs, cheese, meat, legumes, etc).
5. The salad dressing aisle is full of salad toppings for additional flavor and crunch.
6. You will always find new and tasty salad recipes on Food Network.
7. They are a perfect opportunity for olives, artichoke hearts, heart of palm, sunflower seeds, dried fruit or even cooked vegetables.

Downfalls of salads:
1. Too much salad dressing can add excessive amounts of fat and calories to your diet.
2. Not enough vegetables. Some salads have just a little lettuce and the other toppings are all high-calorie, such as crispy chicken, bacon, cheese, etc.
3. You may get hungry quickly, if it is a low-calorie salad.
4. They usually take longer to eat than a sandwich, which is difficult if you are on the run.
5. They must be eaten fresh for best results.
6. Beware of bugs. I once ate a salad and when it was almost done, I found a dead fly in it. I have even heard of people finding a moth or bigger insect among the salad leaves.
7. Iceberg lettuce is not very nutritious, compared to dark, green leafy options.

Guaranteed ways to lose weight:
1. Cut out all sodas and sugar-filled drinks. Replace with water.
2. Cut out all desserts.
3. Decrease all portion sizes.
4. Decrease or eliminate fried foods.
5. Exercise daily, including cardio and strength training (especially intervals and high-intensity training).
6. Eat breakfast early, and stop eating late at night.

The most important part of your weight loss program is to know your weak areas and take specific steps to change those bad habits. If not, you will be on a weight loss program your whole life. Your weaknesses are different from everyone else’s, so find what is most effective for you. It may mean eliminating all desserts or eating a salad a day or increasing gym time or joining Jenny Craig. I have yet to see a truly motivated weight-loss candidate that has not succeeded. True motivation requires ACTION!!!

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I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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