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5 “Healthy” Foods that Actually Aren’t

5 “Healthy” Foods that Actually Aren’t

You exercise. You get enough sleep. You eat healthy.

So why aren’t you losing any weight?

The blame may be due, at least in part, to your diet. Especially if you are being unfairly duped by these five not-so-healthy health foods.

1. Granola

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Granola

    Surprising, right? Often regarded as the archetype of healthy breakfast food, granola can be a serious belt-buster. While it does have nutritional value (coming from nuts and seeds), these benefits are overshadowed by high calories, sugar, and fats. Its health is only further diminished when chocolate chips or yogurt are added. Additionally, pay attention to the tricky serving size: usually, it’s as little as ¼ a cup!

    This doesn’t mean that granola is evil. The key is to carefully read the ingredients and avoid mixes with corn syrup or other artificial additives. Keep your helpings small and don’t pair it with yogurt or milk.

    2. Frozen dinners

    fozen dinner

      Yes, they are convenient. And yes, some of them carry “lean” or “healthy” in their name. But oftentimes, these little guys are jam-packed full of sodium and sketchy preservatives to keep them edible for longer (yikes!). Since many are low in fat and calories, they leave you feeling unsatisfied and predispose you to eating more afterwards. Additionally, maintaining a diet that is extremely low in calories will affect your metabolism, which makes controlling your weight much more difficult.

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      In today’s busy world, however, I know frozen dinners seem like the only option. Fortunately, there are some great options (like black bean burgers or organic frozen meals). Take time to carefully read the ingredients, watch out for the sodium content, and choose options with lots of vegetables.

      3. Multigrain

      Cheerios

        Those tricky marketers are trying to fool the public into thinking that “multigrain” means “whole grain.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t. In fact, any manufacturer can stamp “multigrain” onto any product made with different kinds of grains—including refined or bleached ones. This extends to foods labeled “whole grain” as well: whole grain doesn’t necessarily mean 100% whole grain.

        Once again, check the ingredient list (see a pattern here?). Double check for 100% whole wheat, oats, etc. Avoid the words: refined, bleached, or enriched.

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        4. Smoothies

        smoothies

          I don’t mean the homemade, 100% fruit and veggie ones (although, choosing the wrong ingredients can negate health benefits and they are often unsatisfying). I’m talking about the premade, sugar bombs you find at places like Smoothie King. You think you are making a smart choice, but drinking your lunch isn’t the best idea. While the fruits and veggies found in these smoothies are healthy, they are disguised by sugar or fatty creams. Also, you still run into the problem of liquid meals simply not being as filling.

          If you are not ready to give up smoothies, opt for making your own. This is the best way to ensure that your drink isn’t weighed down by sugars. Use locally grown fruits and veggies; if you are looking for a creamier smoothie, use yogurt instead of cream or whole milk. Also, keep your portions small and augment your diet with actual food.

          5. Diet soda

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          diet drinks

            Diet soda isn’t good for you. This isn’t exactly a secret, but it still surprises people. What it lacks in calories it makes up for in artificial sweeteners that are shown to increase belly fat and mess with your metabolism. Also, they pretty much have no nutritional factor at all so you are drinking useless, empty calories. Not to mention the fact that certain studies link diet sodas to higher rates of depression.

            If you are addicted, start by making the switch to other carbonated drink options like club soda. Eventually, it’s wise to limit yourself to water or other drink options that actually offer some nutritional benefits.

            Remember…

            These are just five of the many food options out there pretending like they are healthy. Manufacturers know that consumers are leaning toward healthier foods and so they try to fool you with every trick in the book—“low fat,” “zero calorie,” etc. The important thing is to always, always, always read the ingredients. But remember: the occasional smoothie or diet coke is fine (we all have our cravings), just don’t make them a habit. Consume these foods in moderation, strive to make healthy choices otherwise, and no longer allow yourself be fooled by labels.

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            Last Updated on January 21, 2020

            The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

            The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

            Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

            your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

              Why You Need a Vision

              Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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              How to Create Your Life Vision

              Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

              What Do You Want?

              The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

              It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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              Some tips to guide you:

              • Remember to ask why you want certain things
              • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
              • Give yourself permission to dream.
              • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
              • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

              Some questions to start your exploration:

              • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
              • What would you like to have more of in your life?
              • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
              • What are your secret passions and dreams?
              • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
              • What do you want your relationships to be like?
              • What qualities would you like to develop?
              • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
              • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
              • What would you most like to accomplish?
              • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

              It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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              What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

              Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

              A few prompts to get you started:

              • What will you have accomplished already?
              • How will you feel about yourself?
              • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
              • What does your ideal day look like?
              • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
              • What would you be doing?
              • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
              • How are you dressed?
              • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
              • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
              • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

              It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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              Plan Backwards

              It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

              • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
              • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
              • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
              • What important actions would you have had to take?
              • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
              • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
              • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
              • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
              • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

              Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

              It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

              Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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