The What NOT To Eat List

Welcome to Week 1 of our Weight-Loss Action Challenge.

Each week we’ll focus on taking action on a diet, exercise or mindset challenge.
Our goal is to improve our habits so we can become slimmer and healthier.

This week we’ll create a What NOT To Eat list.

My ‘What NOT To Eat’ List

I’m easily confused and overwhelmed, so I love pre-making entire categories of decisions, such as What NOT To Buy. It makes life easier!

So I have a list of foods I just don’t eat.

Not in a weird, Hollywood-diet kind of way. But because the foods on my list are both high-calorie-cost and low-reward, and therefore hard to justify if I want to be slim.

High-calorie-cost means high in calories.

Low-reward means I don’t absolutely love the food. I definitely eat foods I love, even if they’re calorific. Life is short! I don’t want to live on celery.

Here’s my What NOT To Eat List:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sauces
  • Gravy
  • Ice cream (except chocolate and sometimes vanilla)
  • Cake
  • White bread
  • White chocolate
  • Any chocolate that doesn’t taste great (I will literally spit it out. Daintily of course.)
  • Meat-lovers pizza
  • Thick-crust pizza
  • Full-fat milk
  • Fries that aren’t cooked extra crispy
  • Chips, CCs, etc (except my favorite flavors and brands)
  • Fatty duck, pork, crackling, etc
  • Most non-chocolate desserts
  • Potatoes (unless they’re deep-fried; yes I know!)
  • Cream.

These are not foods I hate. They’re simply expensive in calories, and I prefer to save my calories for the stuff I absolutely love.

Create Your ‘What NOT To Eat’ List

Now it’s your turn.

1. Write Your ‘What NOT To Eat’ List

Start by reviewing your usual diet and looking for foods that are both:

  • High-calorie-cost – it’s only the ‘naughty’ stuff we’re worried about here, and
  • Low reward – if you love it, don’t put it on your list. Concentrate on foods that aren’t worth wasting your precious calories on.

Remember: We don’t want to make ourselves miserable. And we do want to make it easy to stick to this new behavior.

2. Review Your List Every Day

Put your list somewhere you’ll see it every day this week.


  • On the fridge
  • In your diary
  • In your phone.

We want to change a habit so we need to give our behavior extra attention.

3. Check In Every Day

Review your progress every day this week to say how you’ve done in avoiding the foods on your list.

Each day this week you could:

  • Come back to this post and say how you’re doing – it’ll be motivation for you as well as encouragement for others
  • Write a note in your diary.

Also, on Friday I’ll do a follow-up post asking how you’ve gone. It will be a good way to review the week’s progress toward your new habit.

Check in

And we’re done!

Leave a comment below (or here if you’re reading this in an email or reader) to say you’ve done this week’s challenge.

If you like, share your list – I’d love to know what’s on it. I showed you mine!! 🙂

Michele Connolly

Michele Connolly helps people move from procrastination to action. She believes that taking action on your priorities makes you a happier person. Michele is the founder of Get Organized Wizard and creator of tools for business, home, and personal organization. Her programs are used by tens of thousands of people worldwide.

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  • For me, its more about not finishing anything that doesn’t taste good. I find myself so often finishing a meal that was mediocre or blazing through something that had no flavor. Instead of a list of can/can’ts.. which just sets off my “forbidden fruit syndrome” I need to focus on TASTING the food I do choose to eat and stop eating it once I can’t taste it anymore (a sign of hunger being satisfied.)

  • Instead of mayonnaise I use mustard for sandwiches and no cheese. Mustard has 0 calories! and because it is so tasty you don’t need to add the calories of the cheese. My real sin is with chocolate, at least I am used now to dark chocolate which is healthier than white or milk ones. Non-fat milk is good once you get used to the taste…

  • Checking in: I can’t think of very many things that are not worth eating to me, but here goes!
    White bread, sugary sodas (don’t trust aspartame, so that means mostly no sodas), pastries, doughnuts, pancakes, crackers that aren’t whole grain, whole milk or cream (gave up sugar in my coffee a long time ago, but just refuse to give up my Tbsp of 1/2 and 1/2 to lighten it!). I think I will follow Elizabeth’s lead and make an occasional list. I do partake in my favorites (fried chicken, homemade biscuits and sweet tea) on a rare occasion, and end up feeling guilty. I could happily limit that meal to once a month, which is probably more often than I actually eat it now, and eliminate the self-sabotaging guilt by planning ahead to have it. Thanks, guys!

  • Here’s my list so far–I keep thinking of more to add! Deep Fried anything, Full fat Mayonnaise, Non-chocolate desserts, Non-dark chocolate, White bread, Potato chips—except salt and pepper, Pizza w/meat, Popcorn w/ butter , Seconds—ie, more than 1 serving of pasta, rice, etc! Anything left out on the table at work (unless it happens to be fruit or vegetables). The last I added in response to several ‘nibbles’ off a chocolate cookie as I walked past the table–over the course of the morning I am sure I ended up eating a whole cookie, even though I kept telling myself I was only eating a tiny bit.

  • These are things I needed to recommit to making lists and looking at them everyday. I’ve opened up a small notepad at my desk and began writing again. Everyday as I stay accountable here, I will read the list again. It’s one of those things that once you achieve your goals, you tend to slowly let get away from you. Last time, I never started any ediary or blog and eventually the journaling stopped. Here’s to the newly created list and recommitting to making writing a habit.

  • I have started my list cakes and biscuits are high on the list. I will be addeding to it for the rest of the week

  • I thought about this a great bit over the past week. My husband and I even had a few discussions over dinner about our health goals. I am such a picky eater that I’m not even sure where to start. Other than I really need to give up eating “crap” sweets, you know the over-processed, so not good for you, only mildly tastes good stuff. I have a really good bar of chocolate on the shelf that I will eat a square if I feel the sweet tooth calling. Pretty much giving up fried foods, surprisingly easier than I thought- except southern US pretty much deep fries everything. I eat pretty healthy stuff normally, my stress eating is HORRIFIC. So that fresh green salad with all the great veggies gets offset by the ice cream….Even though I only buy the ice cream I truly love, it really needs to stay out of the house- I eat it!

  • I’ve respected my what not to eat list so far. I’m thinking I need to add more to the list 🙂 And I’m thinking I need a ‘when’ not eat list (i.e. when I’m feeling stressed!) 🙂

  • I made my list and put in my notebook that I keep for health and fitness. I think I might make a post-it note and put it on my refrigerator.

  • I’ve been thinking about this all week, trying to make my list longer since I only have two things on it. But I’ve come to realize maybe that’s okay. I’m sure as time goes I’ll add more to the list, but for now all I have is: peanut butter candy (I’ve never been a big fan) and most potato chips (the main exception is any brand of salt and vinegar chips, but there are a very few others). I’ve been doing well with avoiding those two things this week; we had a luncheon at work and I completely passed on the potato chips! Yay!

  • Well I was down.5 lb this morning, but emotional eating has gotten me this evening. I know its the worse time of the day to strike. Well, I’m off to drink so water to wash away some calories and tomorrow’s another day.

  • What NOT to eat is so much easier for me, as I am such a picky eater. Anyway, here’s my starter list (I reserve the right to add a hundred more items as time goes on!):
    Anything with artificial ingredients, most of the time: MSG, colours, preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose, etc., flavour enhancers, etc. Partially or fully hydrogenated oils. Fatty meat. Shell-fish, high mercury fish, “unsustainable” fish, farmed fish. Extra butter/mayo/spreads on bread, toast or crackers. Full fat dairy – cheese, milk. EXCEPT occasional ice-cream and yogurt. Flavoured cream-cheese – too many artificial ingredients. Regular eggs – only eat organic, free-range eggs, Omega 3 a plus. Extra butter/mayo/spreads on bread, toast or crackers. Most store-bought salad dressings – too many additives. Anything made with (non-dairy) animal fat, or lard. Most canned goods – BPA-lined cans, (except Eden canned tomatoes). Sugar cereal, instant oatmeal. Store-bought pre-made pancake mixes etc. Non-organic GMO corn and corn ingredients. Non-whole grain bread, crackers, pastas, perogies etc. Most goods baked with white flour.
    Most cakes, most of the time. Cheap cookies, cheap chocolate, cheap ice-cream/frozen treats. Soda pop, fruit “beverage/cocktails”. Cheap/instant coffee, cheap tea, cheap hot chocolate mix. Almost any instant mix for anything. Anything not nutritious that I am not truly enjoying. When I’ve had enough – feeling full.

  • I’m lactose intolerant so it makes it easier for me to NOT EAT cream, full-cream milk, etc. Also on the list are donuts, pastries and heavy doughy things. Have tried to stick to dark, expensive chocolate in the past, but sometimes ANY chocolate will do!

  • I love that I can still have my favorite chocolate – skip the thick crust pizza, skip chocolate cake only the favorites.

  • my list….. fried food, cheap wine, buy a good bottle and enjoy one glass at a time, white bread, baked veggies, spray with canola and cook on silicone paper instead, full fat milk, sweet biscuits with a cuppa, have started drinking earl grey tea as I don’t feel like a biscuit with it, garlic bread, creamy sauces on pasta have tomato based instead although don’t each much pasta these days. and if I do want a biscuit or chocolate have a small piece and eat it slowly.

  • I wrote the list yesterday, but to be honest had already eaten chocolate(I am completely chalking it up to some PMS) before the list was written. Today, I am adhering to said list and posting the actual list:
    What NOT to eat:
    White Bread
    Chips(including those blasted Doritos).
    Chocolate(unless I’ve motivated myself to get up and find some Lindtz).
    Pizza (unless its thin crust with green peppers. onions, and mushrooms).
    Cereal(unless its Fiber One 80 Calorie).
    gravies and sauces.
    fried foods
    potatoes(unless sweet pot. or yams)
    ice cream

  • Made a short list that I am sure will grow as I realize with regret that I ate something I didn’t REALLY enjoy. Fast food fries, store bought desserts, non-chocolate candy (except SKittles!), non-diet sodas and appetizers before a salad.

  • I have written my what not to eat list but I have to say, I like the what you can have list better so I am doing both. my list is at my computer as that is where I go first thing in the morning.
    I mostly eat pretty healthy and most of my issues are not moving enough due to injuries and not sleeping due to pain. we all know that makes you go for carbs and I do find that at 2am when I am roaming the house, raisin toast tastes good. my list of what not to have is fries from my husbands plate when we go out, shop brought cakes, my own are healthy fruit and low fat, gravies unless low fat, cheese and crackers, cut back on wine ( pain killer, not good), some of my pain drugs that make me gain weight, pizza ( rare treat anyway), chocolate unless its really good and only small amounts, husbands stash of licorace and peanuts. I am pretty good when I don’t have temptation.

  • Here’s a start to my list. Pizza (except gluten free thin crust), candy bars, potatoes (except roasted), deep fried foods, whipped cream, bread – any kind, most crackers, pasta (except small amounts of gluten free), cookies (really difficult one for me), cakes, ham salad sandwich spread (especially homemade!). I know there are more that need to be added, just can’t think of them because my brain is stuck on ham salad!

  • Ok, MC, I made 2 lists. What NOT to eat: mayo, cream, sauces, brown or white gravy, non chocolate cake or desserts, white bread, low fiber wheat bread, thick crust pizza, whole milk (whole soy milk), full fat cheese (except on my thin crust, light cheese pizza), fries that aren’t cooked crispy. My occasional to eat list: ice cream (DQ blizzard once/mo. in the summer), chocolate cake & desserts that I really, really want (again, once/ mo.), crispy cooked french fries (once/mo.), AND Boudin, cracklins, pork stew & rice/gravy (once every 3 mo. when I go to Mamou, LA to visit family). Since I just discovered that I am highly sensitive to wheat & rice, it is a great deterrent to eating often or large servings.

  • Still working on my list. Here’s what I have so far: Any chocolate that I don’t really enjoy (yes, I spit out too – and have bitten tentatively into many pieces of boxed chocolates that I ended up discarding!), soft drinks, white chocolate, fudge, most hard candies.

  • Ok, let’s get started! My list includes Potato Chips…a huge diet buster for me. Another is cakes and pastries. I like these but can live without them!

  • I made my list. What’s not to eat: white bread, white chocolate, pizza that I didn’t make myself, fries that I haven’t made myself, cakes that I haven’t made myself.
    I like Elizabeth’s list. So I am making one occasion list too:)
    Occasional list: gravy on my turkey at Christmas time, ice cream low fat, mayo on the occasional Club sandwich.

  • I like the idea of the ‘unless clause’ 🙂 I will have to think on that. I also added to my list sugary cereals.

  • Sweet biscuits are pretty high on my NOT to eat list- I can’t stop at one! Also white bread, full-fat dairy, big servings of meals, and low-quality chocolate. I’m sure I will think of more things to add to my list through the week!

  • My list is made, keeping it in plain sight, and I am going to refer to it often. I already made big booboo’s before reading this… so from this point forward… think twice before eating no no’s!

  • I am checking in, and I think I will hang my do not eat list on the wall next to my bed.

  • I’m going to make my list tonight at work.

  • My groups what not to eat list:
    Pastries — high sugar content.
    French Fries unless baked.
    White bread — eat wheat bread instead.
    Full Milk — drink fat free or 1%.
    Chips because their high in salt.
    Fatty meat unless you cut the fatty areas off.
    Possum meat is real greasy and bad for your health.
    Potatoes unless their baked.
    Meat Lovers Pizza as red meat isn’t good for you.
    Mayonnaise if you use lite mayonnaise.
    Chocolate should be in moderation.

    Look at the nutritional labels of foods you are thinking about buying to see it’s nutritional values. If it’s bad for you DO NOT PURCHASE.

  • So yesterday I stuck to it. I had a few extra calories after dinner with a Corona – but it was cold and soooo worth it. Reward = down a pound and a half. I don’t care if its water weight. My original goal weight is two pounds away.

  • I made my list of what not to eat, lucky for me I prefer savoury things so the cake and chocolate type things don’t bother me too much, though I did add a clause that a small piece of cake at a birthday party is ok, but no cake when coffeeing with friends and chocolate once a month! Noodles and chips are a favourite but they’re on the list!

  • What do you do when it’s a texture thing? I can’t eat fat-free anything (mayo, ranch) because it’s just slime to me, but cannot eat dry bread or sandwiches. I like mustard, but can’t tolerate the amount I’d have to put on to substitute the real purpose of the mayo. And my hubby can’t handle the texture of vegetables. ANY vegetables. He literally gags.

  • Additional information added to this post:
    My groups what not to eat list:
    Bacon is high in salt; eat turkey bacon instead.
    Pastries — high sugar content.
    French Fries unless baked.
    White bread — eat wheat bread instead.
    Whole Milk — drink fat free, skim, soy or 1%.
    Chips because their high in salt and calories.
    Fatty meat or meat on the bone unless you cut the fatty areas off — bake only.
    Possum meat is real greasy and bad for your health.
    Potatoes unless their baked.
    Meat Lovers Pizza as red meat isn’t good for you.
    Mayonnaise if you use lite mayonnaise.
    Mustard is made from mustard seed, which has no preservatives, is good for you.
    Chocolate should be in moderation.
    Hot Dogs are very high in salt.

    Look at the nutritional labels of foods you are thinking about buying to see it’s nutritional values. If it’s bad for you DO NOT PURCHASE.

    We suggest an interactive workbook be made to record your answers or recommend using a blank book/blank journal to record your answers.

  • I only concentrate on WHAT TO eat! And to see a list with what not to eat doesn´t work for me. I don´t want to have the no goes in my house, not in my fridge not on a list. I collect photos with tasty salads, colorful fruits, nice bodies, workouts I want to do and put them in different places to remember me… I watch documentaries (Omnivores dilemma, fast food nation, food inc) they help me to keep away from the old false friends.