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Remove These Six Foods from Your Diet Plan ASAP

Remove These Six Foods from Your Diet Plan ASAP

As you go about your diet plan, one thing that’s very important is that you take a look at all the foods you’re eating and make sure that they stack up with your nutritional requirements. One big mistake that some people make as they go about a diet program is failing to take into account the nutrients in their food and how this food is going to influence how they feel and function; instead, they simply focus on the total calorie level and it if matches their needs for the day, that food is as good as eaten.

While calories will dictate whether or not you lose weight, you also need to carefully assess the influence the food will have on how you feel, because if you feel miserable on your meal plan or are hungry all day long, chances are you won’t be sticking with that diet as you should. Let’s walk you through six of the top foods that you may be eating right now that need to get the boot from your diet plan.

1. Granola Bars/Energy Bars

The first of the foods on the list to get the boot is granola or energy bars. While these may seem like a wise quick snack option in times of need, don’t be fooled: most are loaded with sugars, are high in simple carbs, and incredibly low in protein. This is not a good combination as far as your diet plan goes. Furthermore, these foods will often only make you hungrier after you eat them and will not serve as a complete meal or snack, so virtually, all they’re doing is destroying your progress.

Sure, they may only be 100-150 calories, but you’d really be better off eating a 250 calorie snack that had some protein in it.

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2. Convenient Frozen Dinner Meals

The second of the foods to get the boot from your diet plan is any frozen dinner meals you might be consuming.

Here again, these may be calorie controlled, but they are typically lacking in dietary fiber, protein, and may not provide much in the way of nutrients either. They also often contain pasta, which is a processed source of carb and just not ideal. Additionally, the sodium content in these meals can be through the roof, which will only increase the amount of water you retain.

Forgo frozen dinner meals entirely. If you need to eat on the go, start cooking up larger batches of food yourself when you prepare your meals and then freezing the leftovers for later use. This is a far smarter way to do things and will give you the nourishment that you need.

3. Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is yet another item that many people are consuming on a day-to-day basis that is not going to work in their favor in terms of getting lean and healthy and staying that way.

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This one often fools people because it is made with real fruit, so they think that it must be healthy. The problem with fruit juice, however, is that it’s incredibly calorie dense, so you’ll be taking in far more calories than if you would have just had a piece of real fruit and in addition to that, it’s also lacking in dietary fiber.

This is not a good combination as far as results are concerned—just have a piece of real fruit and a glass of water if you’re thirsty.

4. “Whole Grain” Cereal

If you regularly start your day with whole grain cereal, you’re being fooled. Take a look at the ingredients in that cereal and more often than not, sugar will be among the first listed. Many whole grain cereals go in disguise because the marketers behind them want you to think they’re healthy and trick you into eating them regularly.

Don’t be so gullible. Read the nutritional information so that you can see for yourself how these stack up. If they aren’t providing you with a good dose of fiber per serving and have fewer than 3-4 grams of sugar per serving as well, they are not a food to put into your body.

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5. Fruit-Flavored Yogurt

Fruit-flavored yogurt is the next thing to consider removing. While there are a few variations that will be okay, for the most part, fruit flavored yogurt is code word for sugar-infused yogurt. Once again, read the label here to see just how much sugar is in that small tub of yogurt you are having as a snack. Most easily contain 10 grams or more. If this is the case, reconsider that yogurt entirely.

You’d be far better off opting for Greek yogurt instead, which hardly contains any sugar and is the smarter and healthier option to get your dairy in.

6. Baked Goods

Whether it’s whole wheat bread, whole wheat bagels, or some other baked food that you are eating, these too need to be removed from your program plan.

The main issue with baked goods is that even if they don’t contain all that much sugar because you’re choosing wisely, they still contain wheat, which is very processed. This is going to set off a number of reactions in the body where your insulin level shoots way up, which will only cause hunger to set in shortly after.

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While there is some dietary fiber in whole wheat bread, it often isn’t enough to offset this chain of events. Instead, focus on whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and barley—these are the carbohydrate sources that you want to eat because absolutely no processing has gone into them.

So there you have the main foods that you should reconsider having in your diet plan if they are present. Think twice about adding them and you will be all the better because of it.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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