With obesity rates soaring, many people are looking for ways to drop a few pounds.
Medical experts generally recommend against trying fad diets that promise to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. Rather, they suggest that you change your eating habits and make a healthy diet a mainstay in your life.
The most important way of introducing a healthier diet into your life is to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and to be aware of the nutritional content of the food that you choose. And of course coupling exercise with eating better is sure to get the pounds off.
But no matter which way you choose to shed the fat, there are five seemingly innocent foods that can ruin your plans to have a slender, sleeker physique.
No. 5: 100-calorie snack packs
There are numerous 100-calorie cookies, crackers, bars and snacks to grab in the grocery store.
For many people, the snacks appear to be a good choice -- after all, the packages boldly and clearly say, "100 Calories." So many people think, "Wow, a tasty treat with minimal calories."
But while tossing the already prepared snacks in your grocery cart may help you control calories, the snacks may not necessarily be the best choice for nutritional intake.
In fact, preparing more nutritious snacks in small plastic bags is a better idea. A few healthier snacks would include almonds, celery or carrots. Grabbing any fruit would also be a good choice.
But if the 100-calorie pack of Oreo cookies continues to attract you, be sure not to make it a daily thing. And while eating proportioned and prepackaged snacks may derail your diet plans, so can drinking soda ...
No. 4: Soda
Don't even think about grabbing a soda -- diet or not -- if you want your weight loss plans to be successful.
Soda is one of those things that only provide empty calories. This means that there is no nutritional value of drinking a soda, so why even reach for one?
Instead drink plenty of water. Water makes up about 70 percent of your body weight. Water is also the most important nutrient for the body.
If it's tough for you to drink water, try dumping a flavored pack of Crystal Light, Wyler's or Special K into a bottle or glass of water to make it more of a healthy flavored drink.
If you don't have any on hand, add a slice of lemon. Not only will the lemon add a little flavor, it will help you burn about 70 more calories. It will also help flush toxins out the body.
No. 3: Salad dressing
Whenever someone tries to lose weight, salads are usually first on the list.
While salads are good for dieting -- well, actually, they are great -- be careful about the salad dressing you pick and how much you use. Be sure to measure it.
Don't just grab the bottle and begin pouring, because chances are that you will pour on too much. Use a tablespoon to spread the dressing and only use two tablespoons.
If this doesn't sound like enough, try putting your dressing in a separate container and dip sparingly. While cream-based dressings, such as ranch or blue cheese, may be more appealing, find a vinaigrette that is tasty.
And if you really want to be creative, whip up your very own dressing using olive oil and a low-fat recipe.
While salads may be part of your new health regiment when you set out to lose weight, be sure to watch your sodium intake ...
No. 2: Sodium
A lot of people do not realize that sodium or salt intake will decrease the chances of shedding pounds.
As you drop items in your cart at the grocery store, be sure to pay attention to the sodium on the nutritional value content label. If you really want your weight loss tactics to be effective, reduce your sodium intake to about 1,000 milligrams.
Sodium is a necessary nutrient, but too much of it will cause you to retain water.
Another way to avoid higher levels of sodium is to avoid processed foods, which are typically loaded with sodium. Also avoid salted nuts, chips and snacks. Instead of using seasoning salts that contain massive amounts of sodium, use herbs, peppers and vegetables to season your food.
But even if you decrease the amount of sodium, don't go crazy with smoothies ...
No. 1: Smoothies
There's a huge craze going on right now and it may just be packing on the pounds and you don't even know it. Smoothies can be healthy and tasty, but if not made with the correct ingredients can pack on the pounds.
When making or buying a smoothie be sure that it isn't made with some sort of pre-made concoction that will add calories. The best smoothies are made with fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat milk and yogurt.
If you use any additive such as fat burner or protein, pay close attention to the nutritional value. Be sure to check out the sugar grams so that your smoothie is truly a healthy addition to your diet.
And be sure to get a nutritional content chart when ordering from smoothie bars and fast-food restaurants to be sure that the smoothie is a good choice. You also may want to consider getting the smallest size because of course it would have the fewest calories.
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