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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 September 18, 2020

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

            1. Exercise Daily

            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

            The basic nutritional advice includes:

            • Eat unprocessed foods
            • Eat more veggies
            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

              5. Watch Out for Travel

              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

              6. Start Slow

              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

              Final Thoughts

              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

              More Tips on Getting in Shape

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

              Reference

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