Why You Can Eat Junk Food And Still Lose Weight Despite What You’ve Been Told

Why You Can Eat Junk Food And Still Lose Weight Despite What You've Been Told

The greatest myth that permeates the weight loss industry today is: you can’t lose weight eating junk food.

We’ve heard that sugar is bad, fat is bad, and that a calorie isn’t a calorie.

I’ve even had a nutritionist explain to me that too much protein is bad for your diet. (Seriously, shoot me already).

Most of us abide by the rule of eliminating all junk foods from our diet in order to lose weight. We’re afraid that one piece of junk food is going to ruin our chances of shifting fat.

It’s no surprise why 99% of people are confused, insecure and emotionally messed up on the topics of weight loss, muscle and health.

After all,

it would seem that every doctor, nutritionist, bodybuilder, coach, fitness enthusiast and specialist, you name it, has a claim to the secret of physical success.

Despite how much information is out there, the only thing certain by today’s standards is that we are more messed fucked up on topics related to health more then ever.

And the reason comes down to this:

Most (so-called) experts in the areas of weight loss and health stick with their one size fits all approach because it makes them money. 

They preach about stuff that is so outdated, that to change it, would mean having to deal with the negative feedback from those who paid money to hear/follow it in the first place.

I have a hunch that most authors, public figures and celebrities know you can lose weight eating junk food. I don’t believe for one second that anyone has the perfect diet. Regardless of how much they preach about it, slip-ups, overeating, and bad choices are for everyone.

For example, Mark Sisson (author of  The Primal Blueprint) is an educated man with a successful blog. There is no doubt that he knows the importance of calories.

But Mark, along with authors such as Loran Cordain, Robert Lustig, Gary TaubesNora Gedgaudas, etc, all avoid the importance of calories.

And whilst I respect these people for their passion, their work is biassed and contradicting at it’s best.

During the course of my 10-year journey in the areas of weight loss and health, I’ve been screwed up by tons of information found in mainstream diet books,  magazines, and blogs.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to escape some old beliefs and gain new insights into nutrition for the body. What I’ve come to learn is that you can lose weight eating junk food, and I’ve got the results to prove it.

Challenging Old Beliefs

I’ve been a culprit of taking a stronghold approach towards information. In the past,  I didn’t want my beliefs challenged because I’d poured hours into learning and practicing it.

I was worried what people might think of me if everything I’d told them turned out to be pseudo-science-bullshit. After all, 10 books and 40-hours of reading later, you wouldn’t want to say it was a waste of time.

For years, I would tell people that calories don’t matter, and that weight loss is all about eating the right foods. (”You gotta eat the right stuff so you’re body becomes a fat burning machine, man!”)

I remember Lyle Mcdonald trolling my Facebook because I had written articles about things I hadn’t fully researched.


I would tell people you cant lose weight eating junk food because it fucks with your hormones, hindering all your fat loss efforts *cringe*.

I’ve told people that carbs make you fat, calories don’t matter, and that certain foods are like acids to the body (PH Miracle? Fu*k that).

I’m so glad I got out of my one size fits all approach and began challenging my beliefs. Some of the reasons I decided to change were:

  1. If Lyle Mcdonald was trolling my FB page, it probably means I’m coming off as a fucking joke.
  2. I put on 21- pounds of fat eating a low-carb/Paleo diet (Calories don’t matter, right?).
  3. Screwing people up with pissy-half-arsed-information is not what I’m about.

Getting Fat On Paleo/Primal Dieting

When I was 21, training five days a week, eating all the so-called correct foods – vegetables, meats, nuts, etc, I’d managed to gain 1 and a half stone in 6 months (21 pounds).

I would rationalize for some time that I was just bulking. After all, five days a week in the gym was surely giving me gains, right? I’d learned that you can’t get fat if you avoid carbs.

Unfortunately, on average I’d be lucky to gain a 1 pound of muscle per month, especially having been a gym enthusiast for a while. An increase of 21 pounds of muscle in 6-months is impossible (unless your using Testosterone Enanthate).

Gaining fat had nothing to do with my food choices, my genetics or hormones. It did, however, have everything to do with the amount of calories in my diet.

Why Calories Matter

The calories in versus calories out rule get’s a bad response because people don’t understand it correctly.

Calories do matter, and that’s a fact.

Nobody is so fucking special to survive on a deserted island without food. Your body will waste away because you have no energy coming in. 

I remembered someone saying ”Weight loss isn’t about numbers; it’s about biology”.

But calories are taught in biology class and textbooks. So I didn’t understand their point.

Unless they were trying to say that it’s not about numbers (calories), it’s whether our biology allows us to shift fat by activating certain hormones in the body.

Hmm, I’m sure people in Auschwitz had this problem back in world word 2. Damn there were some fatties in that camp complaining about their hormones not letting them lose weight.

(Sorry, but I’m just trying to make a valid point that weight loss has to occur when there is little energy coming in)

I’ll never forget having my Netflix night ruined by a documentary called, Fed Up. Watching the faces of Lustig and Gary Taubes as they preach about why calories don’t count, had me ready to stick my fist through the TV screen.

Lustig uses an analogy to demonstrate why 180 calories of almonds, and 180 calories of Coke aren’t the same thing. But all I have to that is:

If I blend them both together and guzzle it down, it will still be 180 fucking calories. I’m not gonna just piss them out.

If I haven’t made my point clear about calories yet allow me to break it down:

  1. When it comes to weight gain – fat weight gain – we must exceed our daily caloric intake.These calories can come from cake, nuts, turkey breast, cottage cheese, fries, you name it, the body doesn’t care GIVE A SHIT.
  2. If you exceed more calories than you need, you will gain weight. Whether it’s fat weight or muscle weight will depend on certain factors revolving your lifestyle – exercise habits, working lifestyle, being a lazy ass etc.

There is nothing confusing about getting fat. We simply have to overeat. So whatever foods you label as junk food, they don’t make you fat no more than a chicken breast with a lump side of broccoli.

The only difference is it’s hard to overeat on chicken and broccoli (you’d need a shit load of broccoli). So whether your eating foods with good nutritional value, or eating foods with nothing to offer. The calorie rule still applies, which means you can lose weight eating junk food.

I’m not an extremist in the areas of nutritional science, looking for concrete evidence to fully support every belief I have about nutrition, but I am a guy who talks based on experience. I’m interested in my physical results.

I’ve been obese. I’ve lost weight. I’ve gained weight. I’ve lost weight, again. Now I have a balance in my life which allows me to inspire others by example. But I couldn’t of achieved this balance without some help.

So I have to thank,  Lyle Mcdonald, Alan Aragon, and  Armi Legge, just to name a few, for spending years studying this stuff and putting it out there for free.

Eating Habits And Self-Control

Foods are built up of micro and macro nutrients, none of which have a personal vendetta on your fat cells. Nearly all types of food serve our body on some level.

Even a box of cookies and ice-cream has something nutritional to offer – Armi Legge explains this better here 

The problem for most people is that they eat too much junk food because they find it difficult to control themselves. It’s not an issue everyone has; most of it is learned behaviour and faulty thinking. Which by the way, can be improved.

Back when I was obese, I had issues with overeating and felt out of control. Today I have a problem with under eating. Since changing my diet, it turns out my choice of foods are lower in calories than I thought.

On training days I throw in extra protein shakes and eat some cake so that I maintain my weight and prevent my metabolism going to shit.

I know many people will have a hard time accepting that losing weight is about calories, but It’s the truth. I’ve got the experience and results to prove it (my thighs don’t lie, bitches).

Nathan Hewitt at 300 pounds, to weighing 150 pounds. Using heavy weights as a way of the getting best fat loss results possible.

Today I have no problems with my eating habits. I know what I’m doing. I understand calories. I understand macronutrients.

I know some people will want to believe they have food addictions and eating diseases, and therefor can’t lose weight eating junk food. However, I don’t accept eating diseases and addictions for these 4 reasons:

  1. Certain foods have anchors where we link a lot of pleasure and good feelings towards them, but these anchors can be replaced.
  2. Feelings are flexible, we can find ways to feel good and meet all our emotional needs without using food.
  3. Binge eating is based on our actions where in some moment we make a decision to act. We aren’t magnetically pulled towards bingeing.
  4. Overall we can change our thinking, create new habits, and be someone completely different from before. I’ve done it, and I’m not special.

In the past, I used to feel like food controlled my life. There were foods I thought I was addicted to. For example, peanut butter was a staple food in my diet, and I would eat my way through 3-4 jars weekly.

I tried so hard to give it up  and exclude it from my diet, but that just made me want it more. Until one day, I made a decision that it was no longer pleasurable to me.

By going to work on my thought processes and seeing my behavior with a new perspective, I was able to change my associations to foods.

Now I can enjoy what were once trigger foods just like any other foods. I can’t even imagine binging on peanut butter like before.

New Attitude, New Rules, And Self Responsibility

By changing my attitude towards food and finding new information, I’m now able to enjoy a style of eating that makes me happy.

It’s not Paleo, Pegan, Vegetarian, Vegan or whatever else is out there. I simply eat whatever I want, whilst having a few rules.

Some of these rules include:

  • Eat a high protein diet with plenty of fiber, and save calorie room for junk.
  • Take vital supplements – Vitamin D, Fish Oils, Vitamin K, Creatine.
  • Truly give a shit about myself

If you were to ask me what It would take to get obese again, I would tell you I’d have to stop giving a shit and eat unconsciously.

I would tell you I’d have to stop caring about my life, my values, and my goals. I’d have to become somebody different to who I am now.

Being obese wasn’t my problem in the past, it was the person inside. I was not mentally and emotionally educated to be someone worthy of a healthier lifestyle.

You can’t lose weight with the same eating habits that put the weight there. I had to change my attitude, set some new rules and take responsibility.

I speak from experience. You can disagree with me. But I’m a changed man because I have a changed perspective.

I don’t need to cut out junk foods to be happy with my life and maintain a healthy weight. It’s all about being able to track my calorie intake and respect my body enough to stay in control.

How Can I Lose Weight Eating Junk Food?

I’m not proposing people should eat like shit and maintain bad eating habits. We have to change our eating habits in order to lose weight, it just doesn’t mean we have to avoid every piece of junk food in sight, we just need to be flexible in our dieting.

If you want to be a healthier weight it can be done by applying these 5 principles:

  1. Set a goal for your body that excites you to achieve it.
  2. Workout out you calorie intake and macronutrients.
  3. Find an exercise you enjoy and make it a habit.
  4. Educate your mind mentally and emotionally, and learn self-control (read books).
  5. Make all the above a lifestyle, not just a temporary involvement.

These rules are pretty simple, and you can find them anywhere. I talk about them more in depth in my books and previous articles, of which you can find at this website.

For now, I hope you got the message on why calories matter, and that you can lose weight eating junk food.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Nathan Hewitt

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References & Resources 

Lyle Mcdonald, How estimate calorie intake – article

Lyle Mcdonald, The importance of calories – article 

Armi Legge, Why clean eating is a myth – article 

Alan Aragon – Blog

Myfitnesspal, calorie tracking application

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