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The Top 3 Unhealthiest “Healthy” Meals

By | For Beginners | No Comments

These days, people are paying more attention than ever to what they eat, and grocery stores are responding. Produce departments have their own separate organic sections. Soup shelves are full of fat free, low sodium choices. Even discount stores like Walmart are getting in on the game, with things like organic milk and MCT oil for sale alongside the potato chips and soda.

Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to get on the healthy food bandwagon is actually selling healthy food. You’ve probably seen a lot of ads from everyday, mainstream food companies talking about how healthy their products are. They’re not lying. Usually, they’re just promoting benefits that aren’t all that great. For example, did you know that Oreos are vegan? Now, I love Oreos, but the fact that they’re vegan does not mean it’s a good idea to eat a whole sleeve every morning.

That was just an example, and it’s a pretty obvious one. But if you’re new to fitness, this kind of marketing can get frustrating. How are you supposed to know what’s healthy when everything is “low sodium” and “zero carb”?

Melle is here to help. I’m going to tell you about three common foods that seem healthy but are actually bad for you.

1) Frozen Dinners

You’ve just started your new fitness plan, and you’re going to need some frozen meals for work. Because you’re smart, you skip the Hungry Man meals and the ginormous lasagna trays and buy a Healthy Choice meal instead. Confident that you’ve made the right decision, you head for the checkout.

Not so fast. Healthy Choice and other similar frozen meals have plenty of vitamins and minerals. Some even have up to 22 grams of protein, which is pretty good. But they’re high in sodium. Most Healthy Choice meals have 500 mg or more of sodium, with some containing over 1000 mg. This can make you retain a lot of fluid, and gain water weight. A lot of these meals advertise that they’re low calorie — as little as 400 calories — but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Eating too few calories can cause your metabolism to stall, meaning you won’t lose weight. Healthy Choice meals also contain a lot of preservatives, which are unhealthy.

For a balanced, nutritious meal that has all the calories and protein you need, consider prepping your food at home ahead of time. You can control the portions, make sure it’s right for your diet, and save money at the same time.

2) Smoothies

Grocery stores are chock full of delicious smoothies. Many of these are organic and most of them have ingredients lists you can actually pronounce. Better yet, they’re full of fruit, and fruit is good for you. What’s not to love?

To start with, store-bought smoothies are usually sweetened. They may use high fructose corn syrup, or they may use natural fruit sugars. Either way, these smoothies tend to be high in carbs and low in protein. Unless you’re buying a vegetable smoothie, they also tend to be short on vegetables, which means you aren’t getting a full spectrum of nutrients. Yes, smoothies can be healthy — in moderation. I’d still avoid most store brands, though. They’re easy to abuse, and I’ve had more than one client set themselves back by drinking too many smoothies, relying too much on carbohydrates, and crashing their metabolism.

If you like the convenience of a smoothie, consider making your own at home. If you do, use low sugar fruits and large vegetable amount for a wider variety of vitamins and minerals, and avoid using any extra sweeteners. Add some protein powder, too. Not only will you be getting more protein this way, but the powder will also thicken your smoothie and add flavor.

3) Salad

Salad is kind of like pizza. Everyone likes it, because it can be whatever you want it to be. Take some greens, add some toppings, throw some dressing on it, and you have a salad. So don’t panic. I’m not saying salad isn’t healthy. I’m saying it can be unhealthy, if you’re using the wrong ingredients. The leafy greens you start with, lettuce, spinach, dandelion, etc. are all healthy. Go ahead and eat plenty of them!

When it comes to toppings, though, things can get dicey. For example, fruits are sweet, delicious, and rich in vitamins, but they’re also high in carbs. If you find yourself pouring half a bag of Craisins on your morning salad, you’re probably eating more carbs than protein, which is not good for weight loss or muscle gain. Another common mistake is using too many nuts. While nuts have a lot of protein, they are also high in fat and high in calories overall. Keep track of how many nuts you’re eating, using a measuring cup or food scale. Finally, make sure you’re using a light vinaigrette dressing or olive oil and vinegar. Creamier, fattier dressings are extremely high in calories.

I’ve written a lot about salads in the past. For an in-depth look at what I’ve learned about them, check out my post from last October, Good Salad Bad Salad.

A Few General Tips

When you’re buying any food, you want to make sure it’s right for your fitness plan. We’ve talked about some of the worst culprits already. Here are some tips for making sure everything you eat is just as healthy.

  • Read the ingredients. Know how big a serving size is, how many calories are in a serving, and whether those calories are from fat, protein or carbs. Be careful of preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  • Eat plenty of protein. Almost every good diet will require you to take in more calories from protein than you do from carbohydrates. Remember, it’s not just about calories. It’s about the right kind of calories.
  • Watch out for salt. Your body needs salt, particularly when you’re sweating a lot. But most Americans get way too much of it. Too much salt in your diet can make you gain water weight and feel bloated. Drinking plenty of water will help your body to shed excess salt.

See you in the gym!

The Fundamentals

By | For Beginners | No Comments

Change is overwhelming, especially when you are new to fitness.  You have many old habits that don’t fit your new fitness lifestyle, but it’s okay.  Many people struggle with eating healthy and working out because they never learned how to create good habits.  A lot of people may assume that creating healthy habits is difficult, but it’s actually not. I am going to teach you a simple process to a permanent lifestyle change.  The process contains five simple steps that are sure to get you headed down the right fitness path towards your long-term goals and huge results.

 

Step 1:  It’s All About the Water!

The first and ONLY thing you want to change is your water intake. Start by drinking four (4) 20 oz bottles of water per day.  After two (2) weeks remove any juice and alcohol during the weekdays—if you are drinking it—and add one (1) more bottle of water. Two weeks later, once you feel you are handling this change consistently, only drink juice and alcohol on Saturdays and focus on getting in six (6) bottles of water per day! Now you are drinking about one gallon of water per day!  You can completely change your water habits in 30 days. Now that you’ve mastered your water intake, you can move to the next step.

 

Step 2: Sleep and Sleep Good!

You should try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night.  If you make sleep a priority, you can change this habit within weeks! Start out by getting at least 5 1/2 hours of sleep per night. After one to two weeks, start going to bed 30 minutes earlier.   You can make this simple change by turning off you TV and shutting your phone down 30 minutes earlier than usual. Now you’re getting six hours of sleep per night. In another week, start prepping your clothes and breakfast at night as well. This will allow you to sleep for an extra 30 minutes in the morning, which means you’re now getting 6 ½ hours of sleep per night!  Now that you’re well rested, you can move on to step three!

 

Step 3: Diet Means Eating Right—Not, Not Eating at All!

You should be eating breakfast every single day even when you don’t feel hungry. The earlier you start eating the sooner your metabolism starts working to initiate the fat burning process. You want to consume food within 30 minutes of waking up to successfully get your metabolism running properly. Start off by eating breakfast consistently for 4-5 days per week.

 

After achieving that goal, move up to eating breakfast consistently for seven days a week.  Once you’ve become acclimated to eating an early, daily breakfast, you are ready to add in a healthy snack between breakfast and lunch.  Try eating this snack 2 ½ to 3 hours after you’ve eaten your breakfast, and then eat lunch 2 ½ to 3 hours after your snack. Make sure you eat lunch consistently no matter how busy you get during the day. Do this consistently for a week, and then add in a second snack 2 /1 to 3 hours after lunch or right before the end of your workday. Lastly, eat dinner and repeat this process 5-6 days per week.  Now that you’ve created strong diet habits, you’re ready to exercise!

 

Step 4: Exercise—Learn to Love the Burn!

It’s important that you gradually ease yourself into a workout routine.  Start by working out three days per week for at least 30 minutes each day. Once you can do that consistently for a week, add in another day. You can also increase the amount of time you are training in the gym as well. Training 3-5 times per week is essential to making general lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy heart. I encourage you to take the time to learn your body type and to base the way you train on your genetic makeup. This will ensure that you get the most out of your workouts and maximize your results!   Now that you’re feeling the burn and loving it, you’re ready for the fifth and final step!

 

Step 5:  Managing Your Stress Levels!  

Mental health is just as important as your diet and physical health.  You must give your mind time to relax and unwind because it works nonstop all day every day.  But you must take time to stop. While at work, be sure you are utilizing your lunch and break times. If you have a day off, try not to do work on that day.  When you aren’t at work or in the gym, lounge around the house and take a load off. You can also play your favorite video game, read your favorite book, or play your favorite sport.  Whatever it is, be sure you’re allowing some time in your daily schedule for a mental break. If you can’t think of anything relaxing to do, discover a new hobby or go for a walk outside.  Learning something new is always fun and exciting, and the fresh air will always refresh and relax you. Managing your stress, and keeping it low, will not only assist you with reaching your goals, but it will also leave you feeling great!

 

Okay, now that you have the five fundamental steps to starting your fitness journey, you are ready to begin!  Remember to take it one step at a time and not to expect instant results. Reward yourself for your slow and steady progress and remember to stick to it!  I believe in you!

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