Eat More, Lose More: Settling The Fresh vs. Fast Food Debate

By far one of the most frequently asked Transform app questions we receive is, “How will I lose any weight if I’m eating this much food? It’s so much more than I’m used to!” Guys, I am so excited to finally be addressing this common misconception because it is something I battled with for so many years myself.

I get it, I was raised in the calorie deprivation era! BUT, the myth that less food = more weight loss is officially debunked. The days of 1300, 1400, and 1500 calorie diets are over—you don’t have to starve yourself to see the results you want! You know exactly the kind of diets I’m talking about—the ones that have you on poverty calories, cutting out more things than you care to remember. The extreme diets that have you begging for more. The diets that leave you tired, “hangry,” and, well—just plain depressed.

These diets are not only excruciating, but they are so unrealistic to sustain long-term. The second you finish a super low calorie diet, you’re ready to dive back into old habits because your body is craving that food for fuel. This is what leads to the infamous yo-yo dieting, and yo-yo dieting is a direct result of unrealistic, impractical starvation diets. If you have a track record for being a yo-yo dieter, have you ever considered that your “failure” might not be so much your lack of self-discipline but that unrealistic diet in the first place? It’s true!

Ladies and gentleman, I am here to tell you that the days of poverty calorie diets are officially over. It’s time to stop that nasty cycle right in its tracks! The Transform app uses a very specific formula based on your weight, height, age, activity level, and goals to calculate a calorie range that puts you in a slight calorie deficit. This deficit is realistic AND sustainable, and it gives you the fuel you need to live your life AND simultaneously help you achieve your goals. A win-win! It sustains not only a healthy physical change, but it also fuels a healthy mentality as you continue on your journey to a lifetime of good habits.

Still worried it’s too much food? How about a quick visual to see for yourself? You’re eating what you need to fuel your body and reach your goals, but you actually aren’t eating as much as you might think, so let’s break it down. In the graphics below, you’ll see what a day full of eating looks like in the Transform app compared to a day of eating out, and I think you’ll be surprised how quickly those eating out calories add up! You might FEEL like you’re eating a lot of food with the Transform menu, but in reality, you’re not. You’re simply eating more nutrient-dense, colorful, filling foods. More bang for your calorie buck!

High Carb Day (1800 calories, 5 meals):

Breakfast: Cinnamon French Toast (350 calories; 24g protein; 37g carbs; 12g fat)

Snack: Protein Shake & Banana (350 calories; 41g protein; 52g carbs; 1g fat)

Lunch: BBQ Chicken Salad (350 calories; 37g protein; 43g carbs; 4g fat)

Snack: Greek Yogurt Parfait (350 calories; 38g protein; 47g carbs; 1g fat)

Dinner: Cheesy Chicken & Green Beans (400 calories; 41g protein; 12g carbs; 20g fat)


Eating Out (2400 calories, 3 meals):

Breakfast: 1 cup Nature Valley’s Granola Cereal, 1 cup 2% milk, 1 banana (650 calories; 30g protein; 107g carbs; 14g fat)

Lunch: Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad Sandwich with Small Waffle Fry (800 calories; 31g protein; 90g carbs; 36g fat)

Dinner: Chili’s Santa Fe Chicken Crispers Salad (950 calories; 33g protein; 50g carbs; 69g fat)

This comparison is crazy, right?! And now are you convinced that you can eat more healthy food than you think AND still achieve your transformation goals? I hope so!

Happy healthy eating,

Heidi

Related reading:

Our Top 4 Transformation-Friendly Food Faves
Macro Tracking For the Win! All of Your Questions Answered
Can I Carb Cycle as a Vegetarian?
10 Tips to Crush those Cravings—For Good!
Transform App FAQ: HELP!!! I’ve been working my butt off, following my meal plan, and the scale’s not moving! What do I do?
Meal Prep Tips and Tricks You Need to Know
Junk Food Triggers: How to Wipe These Bad Boys Out for Good!

49 Responses

  1. Hey Heidi. Idk what I should do. I am 19, 4’11. And I weight 113 lbs. In clothes I seem skinny. Friends have noted that I have soccer calfs. But I still have belly, and back fat. I don’t know if my problem is to lose weight, or tone my body and gain mussle mass. I dont have money for a gym membership but I am saving to buy weights, (approx 120 lbs in total weight lifting kit). I used to train taekwondo but quit because I couldn’t afford the monthly payments and college tuition. I practice some kicks and poomsae from time to time. Not as regularly as I would like tho. I dont know how to find a balance between college, work and training. So most of my time is sendetary. Is something I defiantly want to change. I dont eat bad foods, I mostly eat at home, or I occasionally eat fast food when I’m with friends. I drink mostly water. My diet isn’t the healthiest since I’m not consistent, but is not bad since I dont eat high fat and process food every day.

    So I would like your help on what I should do? Is my problem to lose the belly, back fat. Or to sculpt my body and lift?

    1. Hi Gabby: Thank you for your comment, and it sounds like you’re doing great! Here are some posts you can use to help you achieve your goals. First up, some nutrition tips: https://heidipowell.net/2713 and https://heidipowell.net/10990. And this link will direct you to all of the workouts on Heidi’s blog, and most require no equipment! https://heidipowell.net/category/blog/workouts/. One thing to remember: You really can’t spot reduce – any extra fat will leave your body in its own unique way. 🙁 So follow a sound nutrition program, incorporate both cardio and whole body strength training into your program, and you’ll be able to achieve the results you’re looking for! You can do this!

  2. How does the eating program in the Transform App address the needs of those with carb sensitivity/intolerance or salt sensitivity/fluid retention?

    1. Hi Tonya: Thank you for your comment! With these types of things, it would be best to discuss the nutrition program with your healthcare team and then follow any modifications they might recommend. Your first week is free, so this would give you time to check out the program and make sure it will work for you. There are several filters for different types of food within the program, including one for gluten, and we have almost 300 meals (and we’re adding more every month), so hopefully you could find enough to fit your needs. I hope this helps. 🙂

  3. Love the post, I understand the comparison but on the fast food side I feel smarter choices could of been made to even the keal. Like grilled vs friend and a grilled wrap vs the chicken salad sandwich. Skil the fries and do fruit or a side salad.
    I am 3lbs from my goal weight Thanks to your carb cycling and working out. Been a struggle thanks to my dysfunctional thyroid. But I’m on the home stretch now. Adore you and your family you are my ab’s idol ?

    1. Hi Sarah: Thank you for your comment! 🙂 Yes, it is possible to eat healthy while eating out. The purpose of this post was to compare the “usual” eating out food that many people would choose vs the calories from eating healthy, nutritious and volume-packed foods. And congratulations on getting so close to your goal weight – you got this!

  4. Hi! From Norway but been following you and Chris for a long time and really appreciate what you are doing! I have lost about 60 kilo on my own through diet and found a great love for the gym, specially weights :-). I have another 15 kilo to lose, but been maintaining for a year now, trying different approaches and finding one that is doable for life… What gets me – and I feel this is not adressed enough – yes, you can have a dougnut or a piece of cake etc, but if you are like me, it is a massive trigger…almost like saying to an alcoholic, you can have one glass of wine…. I find that if I stay away from sugar all my cravings stop, I am much happier and content and I have natural hunger/apetite. As soon as I start introducing sugar into my diet I find I am in control to begin with but it soon spirals out of control. I have tried and failed at this so many times, thinking I am in control and then food take over. I think that I have to realise that I am sugar addict and need to stay away. It sucks, cos I would very much like to have a more balanced diet and enjoy the odd cake etc. But it comes with a too high of a prize. Life now is completely different to before, and I am never going back! So just thinking that there are more people out there like me, and that eating that one doughnut opens up for so much more…

    1. I have the exact same problem. It would be so great if you guys could address that issue here as well. Because for some of us balance is not an option when it comes to trigger foods.

      Would just love to hear what to do.

    2. Hi Katrine: Chris and Heidi are firm believers in doing what works best for YOU and YOUR body. If donuts or other foods cause you to overeat, then definitely skip them and go for alternatives that won’t have this effect on you. Do what’s best for you! 🙂

    3. Hi Vibecke: Thank you for your post, and Chris and Heidi are firm believers in doing what works best for you. If a donut will start a sugar binge, then definitely stay away from donuts. And congratulations on losing 60kg, you are doing awesome!!!

    4. I am just like you! Once I start I can’t stop :(. I’ve recently avoided all refined sugar from my diet and feel so much better. Although I have been having one treat meal weekly and it’s been going well so far. I think the fact that I eat strictly clean throughout the week definitely helps. Good luck!

  5. I’m on the physique part of the app. One week left. But it’s been putting me on 1250 calories a day. I know it’s based on age, height etc. But I’m so hungry and I have brain fog. I’ve done their program from their book since November. But I don’t get why the app has my calories so low. I want to buy the next 3 months for maintenance but I don’t want to be at such low calories. And suggestions? (I started this app in march. I was 128 at that time and I’m 5’3- I’ve lost 6 pounds – which is fine. My body composition is great thanks to the app- but I need more food! Lol.

    1. Hi Sofie: Thank you for your post! 🙂 Here are a few things you can do: 1. Make sure you’re drinking all of your water, which can help. 2. Eat more slowly, and that can help. 3. Choose a less aggressive level in the app, for example, try the maintain level. 4. Try a different program for a bit – as long as you don’t hit “Restart Current Program,” all of your info and progress will be saved. Please let me know if none of these options work, and we’ll go from there!

  6. Hi Heidi.
    I just joined the transform app. I have a question. Are you calculating net carbs? I have been doing keto for a while and joined to help lose two pounds and shed tummy (what is left) and learn how to maintain

    1. Hi Mary Jo: Welcome to Transform! We calculate by total carbs, which makes things much easier! You can do this!

  7. Hi Heidi, I read the book and want to download the transform app. The only thing I am wondering is the app the same concept of the book like low carb day eat Protein, Carb, Veg for bfast and rest of meals eat Protein, Fat, Veg? Is it based on the carb cycle like turbo cycle? Thank you

    1. Hi Dina: The app uses 7 different carb cycles, and so you’ll follow one of those carb cycles as you progress on your transformation journey. As far as how the meals are laid out, they follow the same combo of macros for breakfast, high carb, and low carb as in “Extreme Transformation,” and we have almost 300 meals for you to choose from! The amazing thing about the app is that your nutrition and workout programs are totally customized to you and your goals, and it will change based on how you’re progressing. It’s awesome!

  8. Heidi – thank you so much for this comparison. I’m just approaching the end of my first week of the easy cycle. One thing I’ve struggled with is the quantity of food, as well as trying to accommodate the timing as I work in a corporate environment. I experienced headaches until day 3 and have been fatigued so exercise has been difficult. However, I’m pleased with how it’s going. I’ve lost all desire for sweets and chips much sooner than I anticipated. I am now starting to get hungry every three hours.
    Do I eat until I’m full or do I eat all the food even if it feels like I cannot take another bite?
    Thank you

    1. Hi JJ: Welcome to Transform! Eat until you’re full, and as you progress in the program, you should be able to continue to eat more at each meal until you can eat all of your meals. You got this!

  9. now i have 55 and 1.72 and i’m feeling so good at this weight but i hate my saddlebag and don’t know what exercises to do.i’ve tried skater lunges, lunges with weights, bridges etc but they are still there….if u could answear to me i would appreciate….

    1. Hi Lucia: It sounds like you’re definitely on the right track to achieve your goals, and congratulations on losing 10kg! That’s awesome! Unfortunately, you really can’t spot reduce, any extra fat will leave your body in its own unique way. 🙁 However, if you’re working out regularly with both cardio and strength training and following a healthy diet, those problem areas will eventually get better! You might be interested in checking out Chris and Heidi’s new app, and it offers you a completely customized nutrition and exercise program so it takes all of the guess work out of what you need to do! You can learn more about their app here: http://thetransformapp.com. You can do this!

  10. Hi Heidi! i’m from Romania and i have a question for you if u can answear to me. i lost over 10 kg only by changing my diet and doing a little bit of exercises at home but beside of that i’m not ok with my body. i’m pear shaped and i don’t know how to get rid of saddlebags if u know what i refere to.please help me ony by telling my which exercises are the best. thank you

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