Losing weight can be a challenge for anyone. The greater the amount of weight we have to lose, it seems, the worse our eating habits are, and the bigger our obstacles to weight loss become. One of the biggest obstacles in weight loss can be unhealthy food choices.
Choosing the wrong foods, on a daily basis, can be what is keeping your weight exactly where it is, or even worse making the scale move up. Unfortunately, there are many unhealthy food choices available today that are dressed up as healthy foods. Here we are going to discuss some of these “healthy” unhealthy food choices and how they could be limiting your weight loss.
Snack Foods and Junk Food
I know. I said healthy foods. However, many of us swap our current foods for prepackaged snacks and junk foods when we are dieting. These foods are full of unnatural fats, chemicals, and dyes. Another hidden mystery about these supposedly “healthy” snack foods and junk foods has come to be known as The SnackWell Effect. SnackWell were the first to come out with “diet cookies.”
What is the Snack-Well Effect?
To put it simply, when people buy low fat, low calorie “healthy” alternatives to their snack food and junk food they eat more of it. When someone buys a 100 calorie per serving ice cream, they are more likely to eat 2 or 3 servings than if they had just purchased the regular 150-calorie ice cream.
If you must keep snack food and junk food in the house then keep the real thing. Real chips, cookies, and ice cream will leave you more satisfied (because you feel like you indulged) and you are less likely to overeat them because you know they aren’t healthy.
The most important things when eating these foods is moderation and portion control.
When we think of a healthy snack, we think of fruit. Fruit is an amazing snack that is full of fiber, natural sugars, water, and a ton of vitamins and minerals. The problem with fruit is that it doesn’t stay in the car very long, and it can spoil easily. So many people simply switch to dried fruit as an alternative to the fresh thing, thinking that this will still give them all the benefits of the healthy fruit.
The problem is, ounce to ounce, dried fruit is chock full of sugar and much more calorie dense than its fresh counterpart. According to Popsugar:
A half a cup of grapes contains 32 calories and about 7.5 g of sugar.
Not too bad when you are looking to trim your waistline
A half cup of raisins contains 246 calories and 51 g of sugar.
These same nutritional differences can be seen when looking at all dried fruits. They instantly become sugary substitutes, and you might as well have a Snickers bar (250 calories and only 27 g sugar).
The whole time you’re snacking on dried fruit, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you are making a healthy food choice. However, when trying to reduce our body mass dried fruit should be one of the last things we reach for – grab the fresh thing instead.
The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Meet with a Dietician or Nutritionist and they are likely to ask you to do a dietary recall journal. The problem with these (your dietician knows this) is that we underreport what we eat.
The key to healthy eating habits comes from knowing what we are putting into our bodies. It is easy to say I had a half a cup of mashed potatoes when I have no earthly idea what a half cup of potatoes looks like.
One strategy to combat the habit of underreporting food intake is to keep a diet journal that uses weights and measurements. Using a small food scale and measuring cups you can accurately report how much food you are eating.
Whether you are dressing up your junk food, or over indulging on something, you thought would be healthy, our food choices are what can make or break our weight loss. Knowing what we eat and how much of it, is the key to successful weight loss. Start today by making smart, healthy choices and by being conscious of what you put into your body.