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15 Reasons Why You’re not Losing Weight

15 Reasons Why You’re not Losing Weight

A Good Story

When it comes to marketing and selling products, the food companies have never let the facts get in the way of a good story. A lot of the information we find on the front of food packaging is not so much information, as it is a somewhat misleading and deceptive sales pitch.

For example, the reduced-fat peanut butter we find on our supermarket shelves has less fat when we compare it to the regular product, but it is by no means a low-fat product. It’s still a high-fat, high-salt, high-calorie product that should be avoided. It’s still complete crap. Complete crap with slightly less fat than it’s full-fat brother. So instead of having 52 grams of fat per 100 grams, the new reduced-fat option has about 43 grams of fat per 100 grams (and a little extra sugar). Amazingly, some people will actually eat twice as much of the reduced-fat version because it’s healthier. Not.

Oh well.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Even foods which are genuinely healthy can lead to an unhealthy you and me if we consume too much of them. If we eat only healthy fresh, whole foods but consistently consume twice what our body needs (in terms of our energy requirements), we’ll get fat. If we’re fat, we’re at greater health risk. Simple. Obviously, what types of food we eat is an issue, but for many of us, how much we eat is the biggest issue. Not only are we the sit-down generation but we are also the over-eating generation. We have an incredible ‘skill’ for putting food in our mouth that our body doesn’t need. Our want over-rides our need and the net result is… obesity.

Here’s a few common food options that trip plenty of people up:

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1. Seeds and Nuts. Yep, healthy. Except of course when you’re eating a bucket of cashews before lunch. Nuts are a quality natural food, but they are also very high in fat (good fat) and calories. When it comes to eating nuts, weigh or count what you’re putting in your mouth. Freestyle (unconscious) eating of nuts ain’t a great strategy when it comes to creating and maintaining your best body. Unless of course, you wanna weigh four hundred pounds soon. Most nuts are more than fifty percent fat.

2. Fruit Juice. Not all juice is juice. Some fruit juices are in fact fruit ‘drinks’ with as little as five percent fruit juice in them. Read those labels carefully. When you do find the real deal, consume it in moderation. Lots of calories and lots of sugar mean that we don’t want to be using fruit juice as our sole means of hydration. They have this thing now called water. Apparently it’s great. Interestingly, a glass of fruit juice has about the same amount of sugar and calories as a glass of soft drink (soda). A healthier type of sugar (fructose) of course, but sugar nonetheless.

3. Fruit Smoothies. The term ‘healthy smoothie’ can be an oxymoron with some smoothies (from well-known outlets here in Oz) having as many as 600 calories and 70 grams (14 teaspoons) of sugar. Wanna get fat? Throw down a couple of those bad boys each day.

4. Dried fruit. We take out the water, we leave the sugar and the calories and we’re left with dried fruit. A very energy-dense food. Fresh fruit is a much (much, much) better option. Compare 100 grams of fresh apricot (40 calories) with 100 grams of dried apricot (over 250 calories). Same weight, very different calories. If you’re going to eat dried fruit, do it sparingly.

5. Muffins. Somehow (not sure why), some people consider a muffin to be a healthy snack. Let’s be clear… it’s not healthy; it’s cake. It’s (typically) white flour, sugar, egg and some form of fat. Parents who (constantly) feed their kids muffins are irresponsible and pushing their offspring towards obesity.

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6. Salads. Just the word ‘salad’ wreaks of health, vitality and goodness, doesn’t it? If only it were true. As a rule, the only salad you wanna eat is the one you make yourself with fresh ingredients and little or no dressing. Not all, but many salads that you buy when eating out are laced with high-fat dressings and high-sugar sauces. A Caesar salad can easily contain 50-60 grams of fat (the same as two Big Macs).

7. Muesli bars. The majority are high fat, high-sugar, high-calorie crap. Avoid them.

8. Toasted muesli. Like raw muesli but more calories, more fat and not as good for you. Go the raw option.

9. Sports drinks. A.K.A coloured water with sugar. Unless you’re an athlete who needs to replenish your depleted glycogen stores because you’ve just completed a massive training session, drink some water instead.

10. Protein bars. Some are okay but not many. Most are high in preservatives, interesting chemicals, calories and fat. Some are laced with artificial sweeteners and who knows what the long-term consequences of those will be. Many protein bars have a similar calorie and fat content to a Mars bar (of comparative weight). Read the labels and choose wisely if you must have one, but keep in mind that you can find protein in better places. Apparently there’s a new high-protein product on the market; they call it the ‘egg’. If you get a chance, check one out.

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11. Cereal. In Australia, the vast majority of supermarket cereals are high-sugar, processed crap. Most of the popular cereals (in terms of sales) live somewhere in the twenty to thirty five percent sugar range. Great for the dentists, not so good for our kids. Or you. Look on the back of the pack and as a rule, the less ingredients, the better. My preferred cereals? Oats, raw muesli, Oat Brits, Vita Brits (or similar), unprocessed bran. The more natural and unprocessed, the better. My daily breakfast? Three Oat Brits (no I’m not sponsored), fifty grams of raw Muesli, thirty grams of unprocessed bran, skim milk. Or porridge (oats) and fresh fruit.

12. Flavoured rice cakes. Some people live on these things. I have to admit that I am partial to the odd flavoured rice cake. Unfortunately they have about as much nutritional value as eating your toenails. There’s a thought. Very processed and very high in sodium (salt).

13. Low-fat ice-cream. As with many other low-fat products, the lack of fat is usually compensated for with additional sugar. Won’t kill you but keep it to a minimum.

14. Low-fat frozen dinners. Apart from the fact that they’re tiny, expensive and taste like cardboard (in my opinion), they’re also jammed with preservatives and sodium. Apart from that, they’re fantastic.

15. Vegetarian meals. Some people assume that if a meal is vegetarian, it’s automatically healthy. Erroneous assumption. Some vegetarian meals are fantastic. Some are high in fat. Some are healthy. Some are not. Some vegetarian meals contain plenty of oil and other high fat ingredients like coconut milk. By the way, one cup of coconut milk contains fifty seven grams(!!!) of fat – more than most of us should consume in an entire day. Don’t avoid vegetarian food but know what you’re putting in your mouth.

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The Last Bit

So grasshoppers, as is often the way with the human experience, things are not always as they seem. All I wanted to do today was to open the door on this subject and to stimulate and provoke you to be more aware and more considered when it comes to the choices you make regarding your (and possibly your family’s) nutrition. I have just scraped the surface but I would encourage you to investigate and read further. If you do nothing else, begin to read the nutritional information labels on the products you intend to buy.

Keep in mind that with many healthy products, we’re buying a concept more than we are a reality.

Ciao x

More by this author

Craig Harper

Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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