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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 July 10, 2020

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

            Boundaries are limits

            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
            • When do you feel disrespected?
            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
            • When do you want to be alone?
            • How much space do you need?

            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

            Sample language:

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            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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            Final Thoughts

            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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