Food Traps – 3 “Diet” Foods To Avoid

Have you ever heard the saying “No good deed goes unpunished?”  Sometimes trying to eat healthy can be like navigating a land mine of good vs. bad food, only to find out what we thought was a good choice turns out to be, well, crap. If you are making the effort to eat better in an attempt to get healthy and or lose weight, beware of these three traps that can sabotage the best efforts. The reason I chose these three is because I have been punished by these so called good deeds.

Low-fat Foods

Food labeling can be very deceptive when it comes to food geared for weight loss. Low-fat foods are one of the products to be careful about. Just because the food says “low fat,” does not mean the food is low calorie. In fact, they contain the same or more calories than there “full fat” counterparts. Fat = flavor, so when fat is left out, other stuff is added in (like sugar and names of ingredients we can’t pronounce). Be sure to check the label and see how many calories are typically in the product. Most people associate low-fat foods with lower calories, so they tend to eat more. My advice – if it says low fat, DO NOT Buy it.

Smoothies

Normally, smoothies are associated with healthy eating. If we make them at home, they can include skim milk, fruit, some hidden veggies maybe, and or yogurt, so they are considered a great, healthy food. Some commercial smoothies, however, have many hidden calories from extra sugar. Smoothies bought at your local smoothie shop may also be made with ice cream, so you end up ballooning sugar, fat, and calorie content. Most of the time, the fruit in store-bought smoothies is mostly fruit juice, which eliminates the fiber that is found in the skin of most fruits. My advice – makes your smoothies at home. If you buy a smoothie make sure it is designated a treat and not a healthy snack!

Diet Soda

I must admit, I drink diet soda, but way less than what I used to drink.  It is tricky because it has no calories, so it is almost considered a non-food, a non-issue for weight loss.  But here is the thing. Your body will do whatever it must to maintain its delicate internal acid/alkaline balance (pH balance). Your blood alkalinity level (pH) must be in the range 7.360 – 7.370 ALL THE TIME or you will die! When you drink acidic liquids (like diet soda), you throw off this pH balance. So, to save your life, one of the first things your body will do is to park away the acids somewhere where they can’t damage your body. Where do you think is the best place to park poisonous acids? FAT CELLS! So while you’re enjoying your diet soda, you’re actually making yourself create and fill up more fat cells!!! The more acidic your drink, the more you will aggravate this situation. Just to compare, pure water is neutral and soda (regular and sugar free) is 50,000 times more acidic.

Choosing healthy food can be confusing, especially with some ingenious marketing and shiny packaging. Read on to learn about three danger foods to avoid. There are many more than these three danger foods out there, so take the time to read labels so that your good deeds lead to good health!

Spring Time Resolution – Tips to Re-Start your Exercise Routine

 Spring time. The best time of the year. Warmer weather, flowers in bloom, spring time fashion, etc.; but for some there is a lot of anxiety that comes with spring – wearing skirts and shorts, going sleeveless, and bathing suits right around the corner. 

 If you started your new year with a resolution to get fit, eat healthy, or lose weight, and you either fell off the wagon or haven’t reached your goals yet, now is your second chance.fitness nutrition weight loss resolution get fit eat healthy

 We have all been there, probably several times. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym or done any type of exercise. There are all sorts of reasons; good, bad, or ugly. Now, the question is: how do you start again?

I know that you work hard to create good habits, and once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just do it. You go to the gym, you run three days a week, you play tennis every other day, you take a kick boxing class every Tuesday, etc… there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. I think it can be harder to get started exercising again, than simply getting started for the first time.

 As disappointed as you may feel for losing focus on your health and letting your exercise routine slip, what’s done is done.  You know I am always talking about the choices we make, and this is no different.  Make the choice to get started again. You know you can do it because you have done it before.

 Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off. Choose the ones that you like and make the most sense, and then choose a few that don’t. You may be surprised at how well some of these tips work.

1. Acknowledge Showing Up – 90% of making a change is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, endurance, strength, etc. later. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to exercise every day (even just for 10 minutes) for one month. Yes, I am serious. Yes, even on Sunday! This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go. Just go! Non-negotiable!

2. Make it Fun – Okay, so working our is never the same kind of fun as say, going to a party or spending time with your family, but If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, or whatever exercise activity you are doing, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. There is an endless range of activities, exercises, classes, and programs that can suit your tastes. Start trying them and see what is best for your fun.

 

3. Realistic Scheduling – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. My best time is at 5:00 am. I have tried later in the day, but something always comes up, either real or imagined. Only you can decide when is best for you. Just be realistic about it.

 

4. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise. But even more than the social aspect, you are now accountable to someone else.  It is a lot harder to make an excuse or miss a workout when your friend is counting on you to show up.

5. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster. Becoming stronger and faster is a great motivator for getting stronger and faster!

6. Habits First, Equipment Later – Expensive equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first; only afterwards should you worry about having a bunch of equipment. Furthermore, some of the most effective exercises require no equipment at all.

7. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, you probably know why.  If not, figure out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.

8. Start Small – This may sound a little counter intuitive, but work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Ease your body and mind into your exercise routine, and after a few weeks you will want to start challenging yourself by doing more, especially if you use trick #5

Spring time. The best time of the year. Get up, get out, get moving. You can do it.

Summer Time / Diet Time

The beginning of summer is almost like January 1st in the “dieting world”. Many people have not followed through as much as they wanted to on their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, eat healthy, get fit, etc. Then here comes summer. Bathing suits, beach vacations, water parks, class reunions, and the list goes on of events where we want to look great. The last thing any of us wants is a diet “do-over.” Yet there are diet mistakes that can send you backward, and ruin your hard work and success at losing weight and getting fit. Here are a few tips to keep you on track to looking great in that new swimsuit!

1. Anxiety over indulgences. If you are out with friends and get talked into dessert, don’t beat yourself up. Even if you did enjoy your indulgence, put it in perspective — it’s just one mistake compared to all your good diet choices yesterday, today, and the ones you’ll make tomorrow.

2. Not exercising enough. Even if you could achieve your diet goals by calorie counting alone, you would be way more successful (and healthier) if you were physically active. The number one barrier to exercise is time. National recommendations are at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. But, figure out what works into your time schedule and get creative. You can mix it up into three 10-minute segments per day or two 15-minute segments, etc. Just make sure you do some kind of physical activity every single day.

3. Thinking of your diet as a diet. There is diet fatigue if you go on a diet. Most people can stay on a diet about three months and then they are done with it because they can’t stand it. Instead, focus on making healthy lifestyle and diet choices that you can live with for a long time.

4. Denying yourself your favorite foods. Be it chocolate or bacon, totally banning a favorite “unhealthy” food from your diet sets you up for unnecessary temptation. Instead, use your calorie-counting skills to build in a small indulgence now and again. If you are really having a craving, it is usually satisfied after a few bites. There is nothing wrong with eating half (or even whole) chocolate bar every once and awhile, as long as you account for the calories, and make sure it is your very favorite kind of chocolate bar. The other day my husband brought home a slice of red velvet cake left over from a work party. I looked at this cake, and thought I would try one bite. It was THE BEST cake I have ever eaten, and I know cake. This was something that I could not and would not pass up. After dinner, I ate the rest of it and enjoyed every bite. Normally, I would feel a little guilty, but this cake was worth every calorie.

5. Putting too much “weight” on the scale. Putting all of your feelings of success on the numbers on the scale can be a diet disaster. The numbers don’t lie, but sometimes they can be misleading due to a lot of different factors. Aim to only weigh yourself once a week and track other short-term health goals, such as eating more veggies, exercising daily, or drinking water instead of soda, that will give you a more accurate sense of accomplishment.

6. Letting one mistake start you on a downward spiral. People can completely go back to square one when they make one mistake. The remedy? If you make a mistake, admit it, forgive yourself, and get back on track right away. (See tip #1)

7. Overeating away from home. Eating out poses a special challenge when calorie counting because restaurant portions are overgenerous; your best bet is to ask for a to-go box and put half your order away before you start eating. If you skim the menu quickly and look for healthy terms like grilled, steamed, etc, you can skip over all the tempting descriptions of many of the menu items and make good choices when you are ordering.

8. Not reading labels. The most important number you need to pay attention to is the serving size. It’s easy to eat too much if you aren’t aware of how many servings are in a bottle or box and you consume the whole package, thinking it’s a single serving.

9. Eating too fast. If you eat quickly, your brain won’t get the message that you are full in time. This is one of my biggest issues. I eat really fast. I have been trying to slow it down and it really does make a big difference. I put the fork down between each bite and take a sip of water.

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