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11 Dieting Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

11 Dieting Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

We all know of dieting as a tedious process. The process of actually motivating yourself and finally convincing yourself that this is finally it, you’re going to start. That is in fact the simple part. The hard part is, of course, getting it right and creating the perfect formula for your dieting efforts. Unfortunately, it is that same formula you are following for your diet that might be sabotaging your results. Dieting is a sea filled with many dos and don’ts but we’ll reveal how the ideas you think might be helping you, are in fact, hurting you.

1. Starting a Diet

Dieting can be a great start to a healthier body, but there are also repercussions with diets that many are unaware of. The one problem you can face with dieting is the aftereffect it brings with binge eating.

The problem with dieting is that you restrict yourself of vital nutrients, micro-nutrients, and healthy fats – this void then creates an imbalance in your body’s chemical processes and hormonal balance, which in turn will lead to post-dieting binge eating. You’ll soon find unhealthy food cravings after coming out of a diet regimen.

2. Reducing Your Calorie Intake is a No-no

Lowering your metabolic weight means your dependency on food becomes lower. This drop will cause a spike in weight, specifically when you return to your normal food intake. You’ll find that once you’re back to your regular eating habits, packing up those pounds will come even faster than before. By reducing calories, your body, to compensate, will start storing away fat, a key for reserving its energy.

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3. Spending Too Much Time on the Scale

The infamous daily scale step in hopes of miraculously shedding a few pounds consumes you. Carefully gauging where the needle sits time and time again can be stressful and misleading. Here’s the thing — muscle has a much greater density, therefore it takes up less volume than an equal mass of fat and this is deceiving. You might be losing your fat from your dieting efforts, but if you are also weight training or exercising, then you might in fact hover around the same weight, maybe even increase in pounds. Not to worry, though because muscle weighs more than fat so this weight might be deceiving to the eyes.

4. Relying on Diet Pills

Usually regarded as the shortcut in dieting, diet pills are known to create dependency and in some cases extreme addiction. You may think that this seems unlikely, but the truth is that diet pills can create ongoing psychological and physiological problems. Some of the more common side effects that come with diet pills are: include insomnia, restlessness, headaches, diarrhea, and dry mouth. Due to their chemical make-up, there is a chance that intestinal problems, diarrhea and cramps can also occur after taking pills, which promise to block carbs or fat. These bad effects perpetuate a dependent cycle. Let alone that over the counter diet pills are unregulated.

5. Not Incorporating Fat into Your Diet

By now you we all know fat is known as a three-letter enemy towards dieting or better known as the “F” word. Unfortunately it has the worst credibility as a compound. But new data has emerged on its great benefits, well, the good fat that is. Fat is a great contributor to making our skin soft, providing essential fatty acids, acting as a energizing fuel source, and mainly acts as a source to help you absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, which are essential for your nervous system. What you should look for are Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats. These types of fats raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol and protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries.

In addition to providing essential omega-3 fatty acids — which boost brain function and may help strengthen your immune system and improve your mood — and omega-6 fatty acids, which in small amounts can keep skin and eyes healthy. At 9 calories per gram, any type of fat — good or bad — packs more than twice the calories of carbohydrate and protein. But the key here is moderation.

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6. Thinking Whole Wheat is a Healthier Choice

Here’s one that does not get talked about often… whole wheat. The bark against whole wheat is the misconception of it being favorably healthy. We all know that refined grains like white bread is digested fairly quick, due to this quick digestion, it basically causes a spike in blood sugar. Although, whole wheat is considered as a healthy alternative with its high fiber content, the problem is that it is usually mixed well in with fine flour, which unfortunately leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar as well.

To measure how quickly food would elevate blood sugar science uses the glycemic index as the gold standard. According to a Harvard study research found that on average, whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 71, consequently it falls nearly identical to white bread.

7. Lacking in Your Precious Sleep

Sleep is very important and when it involves keep off extra pounds, there’s no exception. When you are catching up on night’s sleep, you affect your body’s production of leptin (a hormone responsible for notifying your body when it is full).

In addition, levels of the hormone Ghrelin are increased when you are sleep deprived. The problem with this is that the increase in Ghrelin secretion can be held responsible for overeating. Therefore getting a night’s rest is imperative, let alone the energy levels you’ll begin to feel when you are all caught up. By tweaking your sleeping habits, you might be a

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Sleep affects levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin, which helps your body realize it’s full, and ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Not getting adequate sleep lowers levels of leptin while raising levels of ghrelin, which can cause overeating when you’re sleep-deprived. A recent study found that women who didn’t sleep enough ate an average of 300 more calories than those who got adequate sleep. And, since exercise helps you sleep, revamping your sleeping habits can be the start of a beneficial cycle.

8. Choosing Salads as a Healthier Alternative.

Most of us go with the option of having a salad for lunch, as it is a healthy alternative. This is all great and if eaten with the right ingredients could be greatly beneficial, but the issue lies in what bad choices we make in the decision making of a salad.

For example, adding dressing to your salad using consist of two tablespoons, which could easily exceed 200 calories. There are also disadvantages in adding dried fruits, which conceal sugars.

9. Eating Too Much of the Good Stuff.

It is possible to overdo and overeat on the good stuff. Just because something is healthy does not mean that you can eat excessive amounts of it. For example, nuts contain beneficial good fats, which are heart healthy; the problem with consuming too much is that these fats will creep up on you. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, versus carbohydrates and protein, which are only 4 calories per gram.

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The key is balance and moderation. Spreading your selections of foods with the color spectrum is a great approach. Avoiding portion size will factor in weight gain so no matter how you look at it, if you consume more calories than you burn will cause you to store fat.

10. Missing Out on Breakfast.

Let’s go on the record and say that the breakfast we are referring to do not include your typical dishes, which include, bacon, waffles, pancakes, or anything unhealthy for that matter that is usually associate with a typical breakfast – but rather a delicious and delectable nutrient-dense meal. Well then, if that is the case, you are missing out on a lot. Eating earlier in the day will keep you from starving later in the day. Among other things, when you skip breakfast

11. Not All Fruits are Created Equal.

Fruits are a great for dieting, they really are. The food pyramid recommends us having 2-4 servings of fruits per day. Fruits also provide great nourishment, including essential vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, without carefully understanding fruits, they might be working against you. The reason? Excessive consumption. The cause? Sugar.

Here’s the thing, most fruits are rated low on the glycemic index (which is a good thing), but those that are high, will cause a spike in blood sugar and eventually cause hunger hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance. Fruits like apples and oranges have a low glycemic, whereas bananas, watermelons and pineapples are high in the glycemic index.

Slowly but surely you will find the balance for your body and find what actually does work. But informing yourself with facts is a body’s best friend to concrete weight loss.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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