5 Foods That Were Key to My Fat Loss

A few posts ago, I tipped my hand that I have lost 20 pounds since March by changing my understanding of metabolism and using the power of story to keep me focused. Both of those posts are coming up, but before then, I first want to share the 5 foods that helped me lose weight the most.

The foods below are not magical. With the exception of coffee, in normal times I would consume a normal amount. But this wasn’t a normal period. It was a period where fat loss was the primary goal. All other goals were secondary.

I see higher than normal consumption of these foods as a means to an end. They are designed to get me to an ideal weight. Being at that ideal weight will have the greatest benefit to my health – even if the foods I chose are less than optimal. An optimal food might be more nutritious, but may not be the best tool for fat loss. Got it?

#1 Potato

The potato has the highest satiety of any food. I consume 12-15 pounds of cold boiled potatoes with salt every week. This graphic from Precision Nutrition visually explains the case.


From the article Here’s why you’re always hungry.

A pound of cold boiled potatoes is only 350 calories. Knock out several meals a week in this manner and you’ll start dropping weight. But more importantly, you will drop weight without experiencing hunger. See my post The Potato Diet is a Calorie Savings Account for more convincing.

#2 Celery

One of the biggest things holding me back from losing weight was that my eating window was too long. I’d eat something between 6 am and 7 am for my first meal and between 8 pm and 9 pm. I needed to reduce my eating window.

Because I MUST HAVE food before sleep, I shortened my eating window by pushing breakfast back a few hours. To deal with the hunger I began eating celery with salt. Celery has negative calories, meaning it requires more calories to digest than are actually in the food. The fiber in the celery steps on the hunger – a little. Not a lot, but enough to reduce the amount of willpower it took to delay my first meal.

I used this trick for the first month or so and it really helped. My eating window which used to be 15-16 hours is now 10-12. Celery helped me do this a manner that reduced my hunger.

#3 Sardines

Even though I know I need to increase protein to reduce hunger to lose weight, this is something I have failed at for years. Protein needs to be more convenient. Sardines are as easy as opening a can. A can of sardines in water is just 90 calories and 17 grams of protein. When I eat 2 or 3 cans, my hunger is crushed for hours.

There is a debate on if sardines are healthy for a few reasons (location, heavy metals, and denatured protein). Besides avoiding the ones from China, I’m not concerned at this time. My primary goal is to hit my ideal weight. Once I’m there and I have maintained that weight for a significant period, I may look deeper into the sardine debate.

#4 Eggs

Dirt cheap pockets of protein. I eat 4 soft boiled eggs at a time. Yolks and all. Several times per week. Easy to prepare and almost no cleanup. And before someone asks, I often eat the cheapest eggs, which I refer to as ghetto eggs. I promise to explain my decision to buy the ghetto eggs over the fancy eggs in a future post.

#5 Coffee

I have a range of coffee that I can consume and still feel good. When I push the upper boundary of that limit I get extra energy which helps me deal with fewer calories. I also get a zero calorie flavor signal, which helps my mood.

The problem is when I go for weeks or months at this upper boundary I start to feel worse. I get tired more easily and want even more coffee. But adding more coffee never helps. The only way forward is to cut back, but cutting back always leads to an increase in appetite.

Whereas the potato only helps, coffee cuts both ways. What I do know from past experience is that I need to get my coffee levels down before October comes. When Seattle goes into the dreary rainy season, I’ll need my coffee to maintain sanity.


Other Key Foods?

Do you have any foods that you have found help you lose weight?


Add yours

  1. Negative calorie foods don’t exist, wikipedia says (ehm) if celery is 6 calories, then digestion of it is only 0.5 calorie.

    Proteins have the highest thermic effect but even then we are talking 20%.

    Btw we have pretty cool protein food here. Olomoucké tvarůžky. They are sold as 5 cheese rings. Small package. 100g has 129 kcal, 28g protein, 2,6g carbs, 0,5g fat. Very tasty. But they are smelly. So you better stay home or brush your teeth:))

  2. @Onrej – Thanks for clearing that up.

    Maybe the act of removing celery from the frig, cleaning it, chopping it, and chewing it **might** burn more than 6 calories?

  3. seantheaussie

    Aug 11, 2017 — 6:18 pm

    I diet one day at a time. I have lost 6cm/2.4″ off my belly so far. For that one day I only allow myself unlimited amounts of a distasteful food. So far it has been tinned salmon or tinned tuna. This gives me weight loss with no hunger and leaves me concluding that, for me at least, hunger pains and feeling hungry are largely psychosomatic

  4. Btw regarding some real life observation my fater uses some commercial ketogenic diet (Mahoney diet), basically high protein, lots of veggies, very low carbs. He got from 127 kg to about 113 kg so far. Let’s see what happens next, apparently further phases aren’t as keto-strict.

    Approximately how often do you do your single day diets? Twice a week?

  6. Is there a reason for boiling the potatoes vs other cooking methods?

  7. @Norlee – No fat needed. You could also steam or pressure cook.

  8. seantheaussie

    Aug 13, 2017 — 7:37 pm

    @jim I do once a week, as I have a convenient day to do it. I know the 5/2 diet is wildly popular in Britain with a highly restricted diet 2 days a week and eating normally 5 days a week. I tried 3 days a week and my body went to “starvation mode”, stopping me losing any fat at all despite the fact my overall calorie intake was way down.

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