The road to skinny is paved with far more than good intentions. That's because many carbs and secret sugars are hiding roadside… as if billboards blaring glorious pastry photography isn’t bad enough for one's will to win the diet wars. Thing is, the deck is stacked against us just like that tempting stack of chocolate chip pancakes.
How's it stacked? There are secret saboteurs to the skinny lifestyle.
Many lie within the ranks of allegedly healthy things. That's because hidden culprits are everywhere. Luckily, we've got the lowdown on a few along with some tasty and healthier alternatives. Truth is, there are smart choices out there that often sit right next to their sneaky salt, sugar, fat prone sisters. You just gotta recognize their value and stay woke to their nourishing goodness.
It's not just healthy seeming foods that can sabotage your skinny. Sometimes life just isn’t fair and you gotta get majorly educated to avoid these perils.
1) Dried Fruit
Turns out when you drain all the water out fruit you don’t just make it less juicy and thus chewier. Dried fruit packs a pungent punch of concentrated sugar and calories.
For example, let's take apples - popular both fresh and dried. According to the USDA Food database dried apple has about 450 calories for each 100 grams or 3.5 ounces. The same amount of raw apple has only about 93 calories. Simply extracting the water from fruit multiplies calorie count. This example's increase is also without the sugar many companies also add to dried fruit. That adds even more calories. So, if you're going to eat dried fruit at least get the no-sugar-added version and watch your portions.
Ounce for ounce dried fruit is also much more expensive and likely to lead to tooth decay because it gets stuck in your choppers so easily. There's also a chance of overeating dried fruit and then suffering a gas attack later when the fruit expands from rehydration during the digestive process. So, that effort to smooth one's belly can actually have the opposite effect… with toots to boot.
Another seemingly healthy option, many smoothies harbor high sugar, calorie, and fat content. Let's take a popular example that we’ve all seen in a variety of store fridges where they appear to be a smart beverage choice.
Naked juice smoothies are popular and some would say tasty but the protein one has 400 calories, 53 grams of sugar, and 61 carbs. But honestly this is nothing when you compare it to smoothies at your local tasty shoppe.
For instance, The Mocha Mojo smoothie at jamba Juice packs in a whopping 680 calories in the smallest size. Their chocolate and peanut butter smoothies also deliver an enormous calorie count. In fact, in cases like these that hug calories load comes from the added sugar of a smoothie made with sweet treat frozen yogurt rather than plain natural yogurt.
Look, we get it. The chocolate and mocha ones are the yummy ones. Boo hoo. But just make sure you keep your eyes wide open and drink them knowing they're in the tasty treat category and not the healthiest choice on the menu. If you seek an actual healthy smoothie, find one with plain yogurt (no sugar added) and real, whole fruit. The natural sweetness of the fruit is more than enough to make smoothies a tastetacular sensation. No, it won’t taste like a liquid Snicker bar but it also won’t set you on the diabetes fast track.
Yes, nuts are natural, nourishing, and even fit in to the Plant-based and Paleo diet trends. But can you eat them in small enough doses?
Let's go through some examples. For example, the delicious cashew. Let's say you go for the healthiest possible version, raw and unfettered by oil and sugar. That means not even roasted, baby. If you want to keep it low on calories and fat stick to a quarter cup or so of raw, buck naked cashews. That adds up to 150 calories and 12 grams of fat. So, a quarter cup of cashews is about 15-18.
Stick to that and you can keep nuts in your life without worry. Other nuts average out to about the same numbers. Raw almonds come in at 160 calories and 14 grams of fat at that same quarter cup.
Every diet works for some people. It wouldn't be published if it had zero results. But that doesn’t mean diet plans are the best path to weight loss.
Sure, it worked for somebody but for how long? And are they your physical/lifestyle clone? Probably not. What works for one may not for another.
There's a reason diets come and go like the tides. It's because most diets are not made for lifelong practice. Temporary measures reap temporary results. But we have these bodies and this yearning for both ice cream and skinny jeans our whole life long.
The Harvard School of Public Health looked at studies from a variety of diets to compose a set of overall guidelines using the learning. What they found overall was that the strongest evidence to date shows that calories matter but focusing on food quality is equally important.
That means fewer foods out of packages and more that grow out of the ground. It's that simple.
If you lived in Japan and ate the sushi there it might be a different story. But here in the United States some sushi places add sauces, frying, and sugar to sushi.
It's a good call in some hoods because they need to suit the typical American palate in places with less adventurous residents. But their financial gain can result in your poundage gain.
There are lots of ways to avoid these detrimental kinds of sushi. Don’t go to the cheesy chains where the sauces are so abundantly drizzled that you can barely see what's in the rolls. No matter how delish, those sauces are not your friend.
Avoid the "crunchy" or tempura because that means deep-fat-fried and leads to big fat thighs. Stick to sashimi and eschew the soy sauce—it’s more authentically Japanese to eat it plain anyway.
6) Daily Calorie Claims
Many of us have seen the popular claim that the "average woman" needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain and about 1,500 to lose a pound a week. The "average man", on the other hand, needs about 2,500 to maintain and 2,000 to lose a pound a week.
News like this sounds pretty doable, but the cold hard facts are that it's unlikely these numbers are accurate for your particular body.
Sure, it may be true for the "average woman" but how are they defining that? There are many factors that influence metabolism and weight loss including age, height, current weight, activity level, fat percentage, and several others.
So, that average number isn't helping us "get real" about how many calories they should actually inhale on the daily to get down to size.
7) Breakfast Blunders
Contrary to the oldest cliché in nutrition town, breakfast is most certainly not the most important meal of the day.
In fact, five recent studies worldwide have come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter if you eat breakfast. It can actually make you overeat if you're in a necessity mindset about a big breakfast.
Why eat breakfast calories without really wanting or needing them? That's the definition of excess. Sounds like common sense right?
How refreshing in the diet universe… a sensible suggestion. So, if you wake up ravenous, of course go ahead and have that banana. But otherwise there's absolutely no harm in waiting until you're hungry.
8) Energy Drinks/Bars
Candy bar or energy bar… what's the diff? Very little in some cases, but if you read the ingredient list carefully, some are actually fantastic sources of energy.
One criticism of these better bars is that they contain the same nutrition as a banana or boiled egg. But bars are so much more expensive.
Sure, bars cost more but have you ever tried to eat a banana or boiled egg after hauling them around all day in your backpack? Let's just say it's not a swipe right look.
So, what's the difference between healthy bars and the candy kind. Look at the sugar content.
Although it will give you energy, sugar surges of energy only last about half an hour to an hour. But carbohydrates provide long lasting energy and no crash afterward. Carbs get a bad rap but they are key to endurance energy.
Check if your bar has recognizable ingredients like dates and nuts rather than slatherings and gatherings of sugary stuff.
Moving your muscles helps process the fats and sugars you eat. So, when you spend most of your day immobile, the release of these molecules is lessened.
Unfortunately, that also means sitting puts your bottom at greater risk of widening, according to research. Sitting a lot on the daily also increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, even if you exercise.
One study also found, unsurprisingly, that men who spent more time sitting than usual, gained more weight around the middle. Not only is this most dangerous place to store fat… it's also an eyesore.
Stop trying to make Dad bods a trend and take a walk instead, brah!
Nothing warms like the inviting wonder of soup, right?
But soup out in the world or out of a often contains loads of cream, salt, oil, and even sugar, in spades.
So you might want to avoid this cold weather friend unless you or Grandma made it. Here's why,
Restaurants use lots of salt and fatty bases like cream, butter, and even melted cheddar for the well-known bowls of cheddar broccoli.
So avoid the cheddars, chowders, and bisques when eating out. Another little-known bloater at restaurants is the Chinese restaurant staple hot and sour soup, that's because of the extraordinary salt content, averaging about 900 mg per cup. In other words, your fingers may start swelling before you hit the parking lot.
But it's not just eating out that makes soup troublesome. Canned soups pack in the sodium and fat too. Check a few labels and see for yourself.
The recommended sodium intake is less than 2.300 mg daily but the average American eats 1,000 milligrams and then some more than that every day. That means bloat, baby!
So make your own soups at home and help deflate your waistline.
Here's What You Can Do
That concludes our 10 saboteurs to skinny! Now you can see that making small changes can make a world of difference in your body beautiful.
Move a bit more!
Get real when it comes to food choices!
Read nutrition labels!
If they seem too tiny, take a picture with your cellphone and then tweak it bigger so you can see the real deal.
These small changes and the occasional nosh on a whole apple can help you find an eating habit that nourishes your body and gets you on a healthier, more slender path.