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Why 'Follow Your Dreams' May Be the Worst Advice You Ever Heard

"'Follow your dreams.' It's impossible to do without self-knowledge, what takes years. You discover your 'dream' (or sense of purpose) in the very act of walking the path, which is guided by equal parts choice and chance." Maria Popova's response to Tim Ferriss's question regarding the worst advice she ever heard in the book Tools of Titans.


What Are Your Dreams Really Based On


'Follow your dreams.' You've heard this advice probably as often as I did growing up. Certainly, the most common words of inspiration given to a youngster and seen in coffee table books and wall art. What does it really mean and how serious should we consider this advice? Do you know?

As a student of psychology for the last 20 years, I've learned one very important thing: Most people aren't aware of themselves (or the influences on how they think). I fell into this category for a long time, and it's taken much effort to recognize and understand the trends and patterns of me....including my dreams. I'd love to believe that my dreams were an inspirational inner voice that always had my best interest in mind and guided me with a knowledge and understanding beyond my being.

Unfortunately, and fortunately, they most likely were a result of environmental influences, interactions, emotional interpretations, and unconscious cues from my history. At times, my dreams reflected insecurities and fears that plagued my unconscious or a disorientated interpretation of the day’s events. Often, they reflected a film I watched that day or an emotion I recently experienced. While I recognized the symbolism of those dreams, I also understand how easily misleading they can be.

The Interpretation of Your Dreams


You may not be any different. Have you observed your physical, mental, and emotional self? Have you ever observed the trends and patterns of you? Have you identified the underlying influences on your behavior (i.e., fears and insecurities)? Have you ever examined the underlying influences on your dreams? If you're like most people, you will say "No." Would you follow any other prompt or cue like a dream with so many unanswered questions?

Don't forget that at times your dreams are also completely ridiculous and nonsensical. You may disregard those dreams, but it doesn't mean that you should follow your dream just because it possesses a sensible, relatable narrative that seems like the truth about your path. As Maria points out, we learn about our true selves and what's best for us by walking the path...interacting with people and the world. If you don't know what you want to do next, be curious instead of following your dreams initially. Find invigoration and direction through the collision of your being and experiences in different environments with different people and see how itself manifests later. Maybe at some point, you can consider the prompt of your dreams or your gut instinct. Be sure to truly understand yourself first, though.

You're a Leader Not a Follower


Also consider that the simple act of following infers that you are not leading. It is a serious unconscious nudge to wait for a sign to help you make lifelong personal and professional decisions without sound evidence why. Do you really want to only follow something that can be interpreted a million different ways? Let's be honest. Most of our interpretations aren't 100% accurate and often are self-serving depending on the influences (which isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to survival but should be recognized). Why not follow the mantra ‘Create the life you want’?

While I always love words of inspiration, you may want to reconsider how sound the advice might be. No path is as easy as following your dreams.

Personal Trainer Wisdom

No matter if you believe that your dreams are a result of your personal history or a spiritual push, you can’t argue with the importance of self-awareness. Whatever cue you receive, you should still examine the path you walked and the ground you stand on. Your assessment may just provide the direction you need.

Photo Credit:
Thefinancialdiet .com–Should you really follow your dreams?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
Why 'Follow Your Dreams' May Be the Worst Advice You Ever Heard
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

How to Minimize Your Stress at Work Right Now

It’s Wednesday and the end of the week is quickly approaching. For some of you, you’re eagerly eyeing the weekend. For the rest, your head is probably ready to spin off trying to complete your endless list of random personal and professional responsibilities. While I’d love to discuss the anxiety and frustration you’re going through with a mile long monologue, you really need a game plan instead. Here’s my no-nonsense approach to handling your anxiety and achieving your list today.

Organize your list based on priority


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Before you dive in to the nitty gritty of your list, you need to prioritize! If you’re like me, you justify cleaning your desk, answering 48 non-important emails, and brushing your teeth (again) to avoid what you need to do. Half the time the root of my anxiety stems from an unconscious shout (reminder) about the tasks I need to tackle. Are you listening to yourself??? Quit wasting time. Tackle the most time sensitive, important projects first.

Don’t add fuel to the fire


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Would you ever add fuel to a blazing campfire? Hopefully not…That fire is already blazing. Then, why would you drink more coffee or black tea when you’re already stressed and anxious? You’re just heightening an already unstable state and increasing your chances of less focus and productivity. Your creative ability could end up stunted as well (while you fly across the room). Create the mindset and physical comfort to patiently but aggressively check off your list. Save the caffeine for a time when you really need it.

Read your random text messages, social media streams, and personal emails for 3 minutes at the top of each hour (and no other time)


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Honestly, I’m already assuming you’re addicted to your habit of checking text messages, social media, and personal emails. Don’t deny it. In fact, you may be reading this article from your phone right now (I’m not judging). Have you calculated the number of minutes you spend on these distractions? I think it’s time. Starting now, record the time you spend in the next 24 hours. The tally will probably shock you. Although I don’t expect you to stop these indulgences, I think it’s time to set boundaries. You don’t have time to check Facebook every 15 minutes when you’re trying to finish a powerpoint presentation. You’re splitting your attention each time and siphoning off your creative juices with witty comments and emojis on random social media posts (not important). By the time you return to your work, you need to review and refocus (such a time waster). Set an alarm on your phone and then jump into your project fully. Give into your addiction when you’ve completed your homework like a good boy or girl or at least wait to the end of the hour.

Return to simple


Personal Trainer Wisdom: When life is complicated and stressful, what should you do? Simplify. Always simplify. It should be your first response. Are you taking on responsibilities that a colleague can manage? Pass it on. Are you scheduling unnecessary meetings while you have other pressing projects overhead? Reschedule them for next week. Remove the unnecessary and complicated and narrow your focus (a reoccurring theme here).

Rewrite your process(es)


Personal Trainer Wisdom: More times than not, most anxiety is a result of inefficiency in one of your personal and professional processes. When dealing with the less important stuff, create a mindless, predictable routine to minimize decision fatigue. I tend to wake up, eat, and go to bed at the same time each day. What daily requirements need more routine in your life? You want to minimize chaos in your life. Take control of these little processes too.

Photo Credit:
Gentisrecruitment.com - Is your head in the papers this week? Should you change your approach first before looking for a new job?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
How to Minimize Your Stress at Work Right Now
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

"7 Foods You Had No Idea Were Loaded With Sugar" Review

These foods may have more sugar than you think. I always tell my personal training clients in Chicago to think twice about these items before tossing them in the cart (Source: 7 Foods You Had No Idea Were Loaded With Sugar).

WHOLE-GRAIN BREAD


The danger with eating foods high in sugar stems from their effects on blood sugar, says Perlmutter. "Foods are rated in terms of how they elevate blood sugar by their glycemic index," he explains. "The higher the glycemic index, the higher the blood sugar elevation and the length of time the blood sugar will remain elevated." When those levels skyrocket, it can lead to health complications like heart disease and diabetes. So while it's still better to opt for the whole-grain version of bread over the white variety, you don't want to chow down on sandwich after sandwich—it clocks a 71 on the glycemic index, while a Snicker's candy bar, shockingly, has a lower rating of 51, according to the Harvard School of Medicine.

Related Reading: "4 Weird Reasons Why You're Gaining Weight" Review

BALSAMIC VINEGAR


"Creamy dressings often create a high sugar impact, but balsamic can contain just as much," says JJ Virgin, celebrity nutritionist and author of JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet. The reason: A lot of American-made balsamic vinegar is made with caramel coloring and cornstarch—two sugary substances—with the vinegar base being white wine vinegar. Why? The authentic, Italian versions require a 12- to 25-year aging process that negates the need for coloring and thickening additives, but not everyone wants to pay—or wait—for those products to be imported over. So if you're ordering a salad in a restaurant, Virgin advises against their version of balsamic. "Instead, ask for extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar for all the flavor without the sugar impact."

Related Reading: "You Won't Believe What's in These Girl Scout Cookies!" Review

OATMEAL


Here's the good news: Not all oatmeal is on the too-much-sugar list. But those who rely on the take-along pouches (or have an aversion to waiting for a pot to boil) are most likely beginning their day with a serious blood sugar kick. "It seems like most everyone agrees that oatmeal is a good choice for breakfast," says Perlmutter. But in actuality, many instant packets contain 13 grams or more of the sweet stuff because of all the additional flavorings (think maple and brown sugar, apples and cinnamon). If you've got the time, opt for steel-cut oats for a higher dose of fiber. Otherwise, you can still choose the quick-cooking variety, just grab the plain packet and add a dollop of almond butter—which research shows can help stabilize blood sugar throughout the day—for flavor, protein, and healthy fats.

Related Reading: "The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants" Review

GLUTEN-FREE FOOD


Hyman refers to this group—the one with gluten-free cookies, cakes, and processed food—as junk food. "Just because it's gluten-free doesn't mean it's healthy," he says. "Gluten-free cakes and cookies are still cakes and cookies," which means they're made with sugar. In fact, most contain excess sugars and gum to make up for the missing ingredients, and those are even more difficult for the body to break down. When you're craving something sweet, but still want to follow a low- or gluten-free plan, Hyman suggests playing with natural fruit instead. Grilling or broiling stone fruit, like peaches and plums, will bring its natural sugars to the forefront, giving you that sweet bite sans sugar crash.

Related Reading:"50 Unhealthiest Foods On the Planet" Review

FRUIT JUICE


Bummer: One of the most popular breakfast drinks in America isn't doing wonders for your waist. "A 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 36 grams, or seven teaspoons, of sugar," says Perlmutter. "Almost all fruit juices are concentrated sources of sugar" because they strip the fiber out of the fruit when it's sent through a juicer. Now, it probably won't kill you if you sip a 4-oz. glass of juice in the a.m. (and you're still getting a dose of healthy veggies if you grab a green juice), but it is something you need to keep track of so you don't go overboard throughout the day. Because doing so—like drinking a glass at breakfast, a green juice after your workout, and a soda in the afternoon—can send sugar directly to the liver, says Hyman. "It turns off a fat storage machine, which can lead to dangerous belly fat. [These juices] also don't help you feel full, so you end up eating more all day and craving more sugar and carbs," propelling you into that sugar-cycle that's hard to break.

Related Reading: "11 Foods to Toss Out of Your Kitchen For Good" Review

YOGURT


Yes, even though Greek yogurt is a fabulous source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, not all varieties are created equal. Some contain naturally occurring sugars, while others—those with fruit on the bottom, dessert-like flavorings, or mix-in nuts, for example—have extra doses added. The American Heart Association recommends women only eat 30 grams of sugar a day, but some of these contain 24 grams or more per serving—meaning you could be downing your entire sugar quota at breakfast. But all this doesn't mean we want you skipping out on those healthy benefits we mentioned before. Just think simple—or plain—when it comes to yogurt, and forego the extra flavorings. If it's too tart for your taste, stir in fresh fruit for a natural hit of sweetness.

Related Reading: "The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants" Review

DIET FOODS


Many foods labeled as a "diet" product, like 100-calorie snacks and desserts, are anything but because of their fake sugar content, says Hyman. "We're surrounded by low-calorie, 'health-conscious foods' and diet soft drinks that contain sweeteners," he says. "As a result, the number of Americans who eat products that contain sugar-free sweeteners grew from 70 million in 1987 to 160 million in 2000. At the same time, obesity in the United States has doubled from 15 to 30 percent." That's because the sugar substitutes, such as aspartame, acesulfame, saccharin, and sucralose, confuse your body. Research shows that these non-calorie, sugar-like imitations increase appetite and interrupt the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, which causes a metabolic change that could lead to diabetes. "If you have a desire for something sweet, it's better to have real, naturally-occurring sugar than the imitation stuff in 'fake foods." In other words, grab that big bowl of fresh, delicious fruit and enjoy.

Related Reading: "11 Diet Foods that Make You Fat" Review

The hidden sugar amounts in these food have affected the weight loss results for my personal trainer clients in Chicago. How does your grocery list affect your success?

Pictures Credit:
MSN.com-Is whole grain bread loaded with sugar?

More to Read:
While many foods are still healthy with proper portion control, you may want to avoid the following list: "50 Foods You Should Never Eat" Review.

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Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " 7 Foods You Had No Idea Were Loaded With Sugar " on MSN.com.
"7 Foods You Had No Idea Were Loaded With Sugar" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a Chicago personal trainer.
 
Transform your life with Michael's  self-help book   Redefine Yourself here !

Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!

 

"The 5 Worst States for Obesity and the 5 Best" Review

Can you the guess the best and worst states for obesity? How does your state rate? Check out these findings from the study "Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2015" (Source: 10 Trendy Health Foods That Can Threaten Your Waistline).

WORST #5: KANSAS


Over 34 percent of adults in Kansas reported being obese. That’s almost a 3 percent increase since 2014, and a 5 percent increase since 2011, according to the CDC. Those who are obese have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Health conditions associated with obesity include heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Related Reading: "6 Things You Can Do Every Day to Prevent Weight Gain" Review

WORST #4: MISSISSIPPI (TIE)


Mississippi tied with two other states for the second-place spot on our list. Since 2014, the rate increased by a tenth of a percent, from 35.5 to 35.6. Unfortunately, obesity isn’t Mississippi’s only issue. The America’s Health Rankings 2015 Annual Report named Mississippi the worst state for adolescent immunization, low birthrate, infant mortality rate, cardiovascular deaths and premature death. However, the state did get a nod for having the lowest disparity in health status between adults with a high school degree and adults without one.

Related Reading: "The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating" Review

WORST #3: WEST VIRGINIA (TIE)


Like Mississippi, 35.6 percent of West Virginia adults reported being obese. Though the prevalence of obesity is high in the Mountain State, at least West Virginians haven't taken to the bottle. The America’s Health Rankings report named West Virginia healthiest in the country when it comes to binge drinking.

Related Reading:"How to Fit Alcohol in Your diet Without Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals" Review

WORST #2: ALABAMA (TIE)


In Alabama, 35.6 percent of adults reported being obese in 2015. In their report from that year, the CDC also collected percentages based on race and ethnicity. Although non-Hispanic black adults had the highest obesity rates in the country at 38.1 percent, that number was down 10 percent from the rate the CDC provided for the years 2011-2014. Regionally, the North American South had the highest obesity rate in the country, at 31.2 percent.

Related Reading:"How Caffeine Could Prevent You From Losing Belly Fat" Review

WORST #1: LOUISIANA


More Louisiana adults reported being obese than any other state, topping our list at 36.2 percent. Louisiana has seen a steady increase in obese adults over the past few years, almost three percentage points up from 33.4 back in 2011. And people who struggle with obesity pay more for healthcare -- spending an average of $1,429 more on medical bills per year than those who are not obese. Read on for the five states with the lowest obesity rates and some CDC-recommended tips on how to prevent and manage obesity.

Related Reading: "The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants" Review

BEST #5: CALIFORNIA


The Golden State slid into our top five roundup, with 24.2 percent of adults reporting being obese. Healthy eating is a major factor when it comes to obesity prevention. According to the CDC, it can reduce the onset of heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. A healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains (at least half of which are whole grains), low-fat dairy products, proteins and oils. It also limits saturated and trans fats, sugar and sodium.

BEST #4: MONTANA


In Montana, 23.6 percent of adults reported being obese, making it our fourth best state for obesity. According to the State of Obesity, 2015 was the first year in the last decade that any state saw a statistically significant decrease in obesity rates. Montana was one of four states that experienced this drop; the other three were Minnesota, New York and Ohio. Knowing about caloric balance, or the number of calories you intake compared to the number of calories your body burns in a day, can also help you achieve weight loss.

BEST #3: HAWAII


The Aloha State ranks third on our list, with 22.7 percent of adults reporting being obese. The America’s Health Rankings Annual Report named Hawaii the healthiest state in 2015, due to low rates of preventable hospitalizations, few poor mental health days and (you guessed it) a low prevalence of obesity. Hawaii has consistently ranked in the top six since the report's launch in 1990.

Related Reading:"How to Lose Weight Without Exercise"

BEST #2: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


While it isn’t a state, Washington, D.C.’s obesity rate definitely warrants mention, beating 49 states out at 22.1 percent. Interestingly, the percentage of non-Hispanic white adults who reported being obese in the country’s capitol was staggeringly low, at 9.9 percent. The second lowest percent of non-Hispanic white adults with obesity was found in Hawaii, where 17.9 percent had obesity.

BEST #1: COLORADO


Colorado had fewer obese adults than any other state (or U.S. capital), with only 20.2 percent of adults reporting being obese in 2015. It also had the smallest amount of adults who reported being physically inactive, according to the America’s Health Rankings report. That’s a pretty big deal considering that physical inactivity is responsible for one in 10 deaths every year. According to the CDC, maintaining a healthy lifestyle hugely contributes to obesity prevention. They recommend that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, which can include anything that gets your heart pumping. Simple activities such as walking, running, swimming and biking could drastically decrease your risk of developing obesity.

Related Reading:"12 Workout Myths That Just Need To Die" Review

How does knowing these stats influence your perspective of your local culture and experience with your personal trainer in Chicago? What are the weaknesses of this study? Is a self-reported study (like this) scientific enough to validate these conclusions?

Pictures Credit:
Livestrong.com-How does San Francisco rate for obesity? How does your state compare with the rest of the U.S.?

More to Read:
While many foods are still healthy with proper portion control, you may want to avoid the following list: "50 Foods You Should Never Eat".

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Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " The 5 Worst States for Obesity and the 5 Best " on Livestrong.com.
"The 5 Worst States for Obesity and the 5 Best" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 
Transform your life with Michael's  self-help book   Redefine Yourself here !

Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!

 

"21 Worthless Foods a Nutritionist Will Immediately Cut From Your Diet" Review

Whether losing weight or striving for optimal health, the foods on this list should be the first that you consider removing from your diet...whether you like it or not (from the article 21 Worthless Foods a Nutritionist Will Immediately Cut From Your Diet )!

Soda


The first on our list is perhaps the most obvious culprit, but despite numerous studies backing up the negative effects both diet and regular soda have on your body, our pros say it's shocking how much of it people drink. "This is not a benign food!" says Carissa Bealert, RD and co-owner of Evolution Fitness Orlando. "Artificial sweeteners and aspartame in diet soda in particular can mess with our body's regulatory system. Plus, soda doesn't nourish you. It doesn't give your body anything at all." In addition to excess calories, studies have linked soda to tooth decay, headaches, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and decreased bone health. And despite its name, diet soda is no better: researchers at the University of Texas found that in the course of a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater waist circumference than non-drinkers. To quit a soda habit, Bealert suggests overloading your glass with ice. The soda will be diluted, and you can steadily wean yourself off. If you still need a little extra something, Bealert suggests zero-calorie sparkling water with natural flavors. Read "4 Ways to Beat Your Diet Soda Addiction in One Week" for more suggestions.

Juice


You hit the local juice bar before work and think you're making a healthy choice by drinking your breakfast. But Keren Gilbert, RD and founder of Decision Nutrition, says it's not that simple. Even though you're consuming fruits and veggies, a lot of the good stuff is left behind in the juicing process. "When you juice something, you're taking all the vitamins and sugars and leaving out all of the fiber," she says. Fiber slows down sugar absorption in the body, so without it, sugar is absorbed too quickly. This means that your tummy could be grumbling in an hour—which totally defeats the purpose of a diet, says Gilbert.

Fried food


Duh! Even though we all know fried foods are a healthy diet's arch-nemesis, fries (sweet potato or not—sorry!), chicken fingers, and onion rings are the default side dish to meals everywhere. Elisa Zied, RD, and founder of Zied Health Communications, says portion sizes of these artery-clogging items at restaurants and sports venues can be twice or three times the amount, equaling a diet disaster. "If you're going to have fried food, share it," she says. "Or order the smallest size possible, and keep it to once in a while at best." Even better, Zied says, is making healthier versions of familiar foods at home, such as baked fresh-cut fries with a drizzle of olive oil. Just for fun, check out "50 Unhealthiest Foods On the Planet" Review for other foods to avoid.

Fat-free dressing


Bealert says going fat-free (dressings are just one example) is one of the biggest misconceptions she sees in clients who want to lose weight. In fact, not all fats are bad for you. "Good" fats keep you full and help you absorb more nutrients from food. They're also beneficial for your heart: monounsaturated fatty acids (found in nuts, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil) can lower cholesterol levels and your risk of getting heart disease, while polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as corn and soybean oils) are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Another downside to low-fat diets: When you take out fat, you replace it with artificial sugars and other additives to pump up the flavor, Bealert says. When it comes to salad dressing, she recommends making homemade vinaigrette with honey mustard, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar instead of purchasing a low fat bottled variety.

Alcohol


Serious about losing weight and getting healthy? Then you'll have to ditch that daily glass of wine. Bealert suggest having no more than two drinks a week, or even fewer if you can. In addition to the added liquid calories, drinking can easily pull you off track from your diet goals. "The more you drink, the more likely you're going to have an unhealthy snack," she says. "And you probably won't want to start the next morning with egg whites and oatmeal." A Texas Tech University study found that alcohol makes women's brains more sensitive to the smell of food, which explains why it's so difficult to turn down that late-night pizza after you've had a few drinks. Sometimes this is all it takes to lose focus, and before you know it, you've completely ditched a new healthy eating plan. Still need help incorporating alcohol while focused on weight loss? Skim "How to Fit Alcohol in Your diet Without Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals".

Cheese


Yes, cheese contains bone-building calcium—and there are low-fat versions—but our pros say the bad can easily outweigh the good when portions get out of hand, which is very easily done. "Almost universally, everyone over-portions cheese," says Gilbert. "It's not that you can't have it every once in a while, but people put it in eggs, on salads, sandwiches, everywhere." Cheese is typically high in saturated fat, and for many people dairy can be difficult to digest, causing bloating. Gilbert suggests cutting out dairy completely for one week, testing the waters to see how your stomach reacts, then choosing one dish to add back an appropriate amount of cheese.

Red meat


New research from the World Health Organization found red meat to be a potential carcinogen linked to colorectal, prostate, and pancreatic cancer. That's probably more than enough to kick a cheeseburger habit, but the immediate risk to your heart health solidifies this as a red-flag food. Gilbert says it only takes one or two servings of red meat a week to take you over the limit on saturated fat. The better choices are fish and lean meats like turkey or chicken. Boost flavor and keep turkey burgers juicy by choosing a 93% lean ground meat and adding onions, peppers, and spinach to the patties.

Processed meats


The same WHO report also found a link between cancer and processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and sausages. Processed meats that have been cured, salted, smoked, or preserved are known carcinogens and can increase your risk for colon cancer in particular. If you struggle with the idea of giving up bacon completely, Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, recommends saving it for an occasional treat. "Have a few strips of bacon at Sunday brunch or a few slices of pepperoni pizza on Friday night—but not both, and none during the week," she told Health in an earlier interview.

Flavored coffee drinks


Pumpkin spice lattes may only be available for a limited time, but that doesn't negate the excess liquid calories you consume if you drink these indulgent lattes on a regular basis. Whether it's the limited availability or a 4-oclock slump, Bealert says people rationalize decadent drinks like this, and those calories can really add up. Instead of ordering a calorie-rich flavored drink, opt for black coffee or coffee with a splash of milk. Or combat your afternoon fatigue with a brisk 10-minute walk. Not ready to make this change? At least cut out these coffee drinks: "20 Coffee Drinks with More Sugar Than a Can of Coke" Review

Gluten-free foods


Adhering to a gluten-free diet is vital for people suffering from a gluten-intolerance or Celiac disease, but going gluten-free isn't necessarily a way to lose weight or eat healthier. Lynch says many gluten-free foods and recipes use tapioca flour as a binder substitute, but this ingredient provides little or no nutrition—not to mention that gluten-free cookies, muffins, pretzels, and the like are still junk food. Instead of focusing on gluten-free labels, aim for well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, nuts, lean proteins, and—yes—whole grains. A great source of fiber, whole grains can help regulate blood sugar, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce colon cancer risk, and aid digestion, so there are plenty of reasons to continue to enjoy them as part of a healthy diet.

Ice cream and frozen yogurt


As delicious as that pint of Ben & Jerry's in your freezer is, it's loaded with sugar and calories. Indulge in your craving too often and you're looking at increased blood sugar levels, weight gain over time, inflammation throughout the body, and a rise in LDL (bad) cholesterol, says Lynch.

Flavored instant oatmeal


While convenient, those individual packets of oatmeal are filled with 15 to 20 grams of unnecessary sugar, says Gilbert. These artificial sweeteners trigger cravings, because once blood sugar levels plummet after an hour, you'll be hungry again. Gilbert says you're better off with rolled oats (which cook very quickly, too) with real fruit, or overnight oats.

Granola


Granola is easily mistaken for a health food, but if you've ever used it to top your yogurt, you know how difficult it can be to stick to an appropriate portion of this crunchy snack (most experts recommend no more than 2/3 a cup per serving). Therein lies the problem, says Zied: "Granola is high in fat and calories and often provides a good dose of added sugar." For a healthier alternative that doesn't wreck your waistline, she suggests cutting back on the amount of granola, going low-fat, and mixing it with one to two tablespoons of chopped nuts to add protein.

Soy sauce


Douse your sushi in soy sauce, and the next thing you know you're feeling stuffed, bloated and uncomfortable. That's all thanks to its astronomically high levels of sodium. "Sodium holds on to water, which can translate to water retention and weight gain," says Gilbert. "Plus, it's really bad for blood pressure." Ask for low-sodium soy sauce instead, and use just a dash. As for other high-sodium sauces—we're looking at you, sweet and sour—Gilbert says to ask for it on the side in order to better control the amount you consume.

Dried fruit


Consider this: a fresh apricot is roughly the size of a golf ball, so you likely wouldn't eat five in one sitting. On the other hand, it's not difficult to imagine mindlessly snacking on five or more (much smaller) dried apricots. That serving-size misperception adds up to lots of sugar and calories, no matter what kind of dried fruit you choose. "Two spoonfuls of dried fruit have health benefits," says Bealert. "It's when you don't control portions—that's the problem."

Protein bars


There's a time and place for a generous helping of protein—after a sweaty, strenuous workout, for example. However, many people simply don't need the massive amounts of protein in many of the bars that line supermarket checkout aisles. "Thirty grams of protein is too much for most people at one time for a snack," says Bealert. Where all that protein comes from is another cause for concern. Bealert says that many of the ingredients in these bars are unrecognizable, may not come from whole foods, and often contain lots of sugar. Check out this list for more protein options: 36 Ways to Fulfill Your Protein Needs While Losing Weight

What other foods should you immediately cut from your diet?

Picture Credit:
Westend61 and health.com-Is your favorite food on this list?

More to Read:
Even with the right foods you should still be careful. The number one reason: Portion control. Check out this list to see which foods you should eat with a leash: 10 Trendy Health Foods That Can Threaten Your Waistline

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Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " 21 Worthless Foods a Nutritionist Will Immediately Cut From Your Diet " on Health.com.
"21 Worthless Foods a Nutritionist Will Immediately Cut From Your Diet" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!