If you’re exercising regularly, eating healthfully and still not seeing results, then it’s time to look more closely at your diet.
One of the biggest obstacles that prevents people from dropping body fat is processed food. We all know that we should be avoiding processed foods, but sometimes it can be confusing.
And it might not be your fault...
It's really sneaky, the way more and more processed foods are being marketed as 'healthy', and even the health savvy are sometimes being fooled.
Take a walk through the local natural foods section or store and you’ll see nearly every form of junk food that you’d find at the supermarket – only with things like 'natural', ‘gluten free’, ‘organic’ and ‘zero trans fats’ on the packages.
Those are all great things– being natural, gluten free, organic and trans fats free. Fresh, organic veggies, fruits, beans and meats are too. But when those words are stamped on a package of snack foods like cookies, chips, etc., eating these is going to slow your results. Natural or not.
Here are the top 5 ‘healthy’ but processed foods that could be keeping you from attaining your goals:
✅ Healthy Cereal
Have you seen the cereal aisle in the natural foods section? Its shelves are lined with dozens of cereal boxes, all with bold health claims. There are gluten free cereals, cereals with no corn syrup, cereals with organic grains, cereals with whole grains and even cereals with added nutrients.
Those all sound healthy, right? Well, those cereals are technically not as harmful as the brightly colored cereals from the supermarket, but as far as your health and body fat are concerned, the two are almost the same.
Cereal is a dense source of calories, which means it’s almost impossible not to over consume when eating it. If your goal is to be lean, then cereal, even organic, gluten free cereal, should stay off your daily menu.
✅ Healthy Packaged Snacks
There are chips, crackers and even popcorn that are marketed as healthy. With branding like that, it’s no wonder people are getting confused and eating food that slow or stop their progress.
Chips and other crunchy, packaged ‘health’ food snacks are filled with carbohydrates and empty calories. Two things that you want to decrease when working towards your fitness goal. Plus, these snack items are habit forming, so you can tell yourself that it’s just a once-in-awhile treat, but it can soon become a daily occurrence.
Here’s the simple fact about packaged snack foods: No matter what benefits are broadcasted on the package, it’s an unnecessary food. Snacks of any kind (and especially not processed ones) are usually not needed when you're eating nutritious foods. (I'll share my thoughts about the "snack industry" in another blog.)
✅ Healthy Energy Bars
The energy bar aisle is a colorful, wonderland of beautifully packaged, seemingly healthful snacks. The bars contain nuts, fruits, protein and even goji berries. What’s not to love?
All that sugar, for starters. Manufacturers are clever enough to call sugar ‘evaporated cane juice’ or ‘natural cane sugar’ or even ‘rice syrup’ but that sugar reacts in your body just the same as any other sugar. If you don't burn it for energy, it will get stored as fat.
The next time that you reach for an energy bar, consider all of the calories and sugars. Look for bars that are low in sugars and high in protein, and if you’re eating it in between meals consider eating just half the bar.
✅ Healthy Bread
Have you ever spent time in the bread aisle, reading labels and trying to figure out which is the healthiest? It can be pretty confusing. There’s wheat, whole wheat, gluten free, and sprouted grain. How can you tell what’s the healthiest?
The unfortunate news, for all of us bread lovers, is that when it comes to losing inches, all bread is a problem. Healthier breads are filled with about as many calories and carbohydrates as wheat bread or sprouted grain bread.
Enjoy healthy bread occasionally if it fits your goals, but eating it often can be another source of empty calories. Your body will convert that healthy bread into fat quicker than you can say "Burpee".
✅ Healthy Trail Mix
Trail mix is a tricky one for healthy food shoppers. It’s made with nuts and seeds, which we know are healthy. It’s also often dotted with chocolate, dried fruits or other treats.
Nuts can belong in a fat loss diet, within certain parameters. For example, a small handful of raw almonds makes a wonderful in-between-meals snack. It’s filled with fiber, protein, good fat, vitamins and minerals.
A half a cup of trail mix, on the other hand, is packed with two or three times the calories, in addition to having added sweeteners. Not to mention, trail mix is hard to stop eating once you've started. Now, if you're hiking for hours and need food that's easy to transport and eat, trail mix works well. But for most of us that sit during the day, we don't need high calorie snacks. When working towards a fat loss goal, it’s best to stay away from even the healthiest looking trail mix.
Avoid purchasing packaged food items based on the claims and benefits printed on the labels. When you’re looking to transform your body, you'll want to choose what goes into your mouth. Packaged foods, even those from the health food section, can slow your results.
Want to speed your fitness results? I’d love to get you to your goals using my proven systems and mindset coaching.
Simply call or email me today to schedule a complimentary consultation so we can discuss your goals and how to reach and maintain them.