Seven Surprising Ways You Are Destroying Your Diet

Losing weight is a constant challenge for many people. Sometimes it feels like you are making all the right choices but not seeing the results you want. Are you having trouble losing weight? You might be making one of these diet blasting mistakes.

Consuming Hidden Sugar

Sugar is a major factor in sabotaging your diet and weight loss goals. Take a look at your everyday food intake. If you are eating processed foods, you are probably consuming more sugar than you realize.

The next time you reach for something prepackaged in a box, jar or bottle, check the label. You may find hidden sources of sugar.

Here are some of the major offenders when it comes to added sugar.

  • Processed sauces like bottled BBQ sauce, steak sauce or pasta sauce can have more than 10 grams of sugar per tiny serving.
  • Canned fruits have lots of added sugar. Choose fresh fruits whenever possible.
  • Dried fruit sounds like a health food, but it can be saturated with sugar. In fact, dried fruit can contain as much sugar as candy. Even if sugar isn’t added, you are still consuming the natural sugar in the fruit in concentrated amounts.
  • Your flavored yogurt is probably packed with sugar. One serving of yogurt can easily have more sugar than a serving of ice cream. Try plain yogurt with fresh fruit instead.
  • A salad is a great choice for a healthy meal, but watch what you pour on top. Many commercial salad dressings contain a lot of sugar. You’ll have more control if you make your own.

Drinking Diet Soda

What could possibly be fattening about a food without any calories? Unfortunately, the faux sweeteners in diet soda can play nasty tricks on your body.

Many nutritionists believe that the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks can make your body crave more food, and one famous study found that rats consuming fake sweeteners took in more food calories than rats who didn’t eat the artificial stuff.

You may also be allowing yourself too many food calories because you know you aren’t drinking high calorie sodas. Consuming energy drinks carries the same risk, even if they are sugar free or diet.

Getting Too Little Sleep

When your body’s rhythm gets out of sync in one way, your entire system can get out whack. That’s why not getting enough sleep can cause excess stress, digestive issues and even make you more vulnerable to getting sick.

Lack of sleep can also change your metabolism, not allowing your body to burn calories as efficiently as it could. Combined with changes in your behavior, such as skipping gym time because you are tired or choosing comfort food because you are feeling stressed, missing sleep can seriously squash your weight loss goals.

Make sleep a priority by settling on a sleep schedule and sticking to it.

Neglecting Your Muscles

Is the way you exercise preventing you from losing as much weight as you would like?
Aerobic activity is great for boosting your heart pumping power and burning fat, but you’ll meet your weight loss goals more quickly if you include weight training in your fitness routine.

Lifting weights is about more than just creating bigger muscles. When your body gets stronger and more muscular, your metabolism increases dramatically. Your body will be burning more calories throughout the day, not just when you’re exercising.

Taking Medication

You may need to look no further than your medicine cabinet to determine the cause of your weight loss issues. Many popular prescription medications list weight gain as a potential side effect. Anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are often in this category as well as certain drugs used to treat epilepsy, high blood pressure and even seasonal allergies.

If you regularly take medications, research them online to discover possible side effects. You should also talk to your doctor, who may be able to substitute a different medication.


Does your job require you to sit at a desk all day? That’s a potential reason you are having trouble losing weight.

Even without intense activity, you burn more calories standing than you do sitting. One study at the University of Missouri concluded that sitting stops the flow of an enzyme that burns fat.

Consider swapping your traditional desk for one that requires standing. Many companies are offering this option to employees who find that they feel better and have more energy when they work standing up. You can also get a convertible desk that will allow you to sit part of the time and stand the rest.

If you don’t have the option of getting a standing desk, try to take frequent mini-breaks. Stand up and move your body. Take a short walk around the office if possible. This will help keep your blood circulating and your body ready to burn more fat and calories.

Starving Yourself

Yes, you can actually starve yourself fatter. When you cut your body off from food, you are sending it the signal to fatten up for leaner times. As a result, your metabolism will go down and you’ll burn fewer calories.

Instead of eating as little food as possible, try eating healthy snacks often during the day. This will keep your energy and your metabolism up. It will also stop you from binging when you can’t stand fasting anymore.

When you find yourself unable to lose weight as effectively as you want to, take a look at your lifestyle. You might be making one or more of these common mistakes.

The good news is that a little bit of a change may be all you need to get back on track for weight loss success.


7 surprising ways you’re destroying your health :

  • As we get older, we realize the importance of the basics: daily exercise, a diet abundant with fruits and veggies, etc. But that’s not all we need to be in prime living condition. Consider this a wake-up call from your future self. Here are seven things you’re doing now that will ruin your health later.
  • Not getting enough physical touch

    Got hugs? If not, consider the positive effects of physical contact and affection: lowered heart rates, raised oxytocin levels, and heck — it feels good!

    Game plan: Get a full body massage. Pet your dog. Frequently hold your spouse’s and children’s hands. Hug your loved ones. Cuddle on the couch. Be intimate with your spouse.

  • Not stretching

    Flexibility isn’t just for yoga gurus. Stretching brings blood to your muscles and increases joint flexibility. And stretching warmed muscles a couple times a week may help ward off injury. Your future self wants you to remain active lifelong, and stretching may prevent injuries from repetitive activities such as typing, texting and even walking.

    Game plan: Since improper stretching can do more harm than good, talk to your health provider about how to incorporate stretching into your life.

  • Not forgiving

    You were wronged. You know it. God knows it. But not forgiving those who have offended you can be as hazardous to your health as a major stressful event.

    Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened to you is OK. Forgiveness says that you are letting go of any power that the hurt has in your life. “Future you” needs less stress — and so do you.

    Game plan: Decide to forgive one person today. Pray for him or her. Let go of resentment.

  • Not getting your 7+ hours

    Lack of sleep isn’t a sign of endurance. It isn’t an indicator of good genetics. Losing sleep because of family obligations isn’t a sign of love for your family. Not getting enough ZZZ’s is just not taking care of yourself. Future you wants you to know that the long-term effects of sleep deprivation aren’t pretty, including an impaired immune system, being more accident prone and weight gain (like any of us want any of that).

    Game plan: Determine when you need to get up in the morning and then go to bed at least 7-8 hours beforehand. And go ahead and take that nap!

  • Not connecting with others

    Emotional connection is a super-vitamin. It heals. It creates positive energy. And it is physiologically necessary. The connection found on your smart phone isn’t going to cut it. We’re talking in person, eye-to-eye contact. In fact, healthy connection decreases the overall pain we experience in our lives. The research is convincing; loving relationships really are the answer. For those of us who are starting to feel the creaks in our bodies, being with those who love us can help us age better.

    Game plan: To refuel, schedule time daily to spend time with loved ones.

  • Not scheduling preventive visits

    We’ve heard it before: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Though you may be consistent with your annual physicals and bi-annual dental exams, consider the extra ounce of prevention offered by specialized screenings. For most women, mammograms should begin by age 40. For men, prostate cancer exams should begin at age 50. And for all, colorectal cancer screenings should begin no later than age 50.

    Game plan: Talk to your health provider about your family’s health history. Ask your doctor about screenings for cardiovascular disease, bone mass measurements, diabetes and glaucoma. Don’t overlook symptoms of depression.

  • Not teasing your mind

    Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, playing a musical instrument, learning a language or picking up a new skill — these are things that can help challenge and maintain communication between the cells in your mind. Daily mind stimulation keeps your brain strong. Future you wants you to become a lifelong learner, bringing novelties to your synapses.


7 Surprising Ways You’re Destroying Your Teeth

You’d never go weeks without washing your hair or hitting the gym, but you might do things that neglect (or even actively screw up) your teeth every day. “Taking care of your teeth is about preventative maintenance,” says dentist Bill Kohn, vice president for dental science and policy of Delta Dental Plans Association and the former director of the CDC’s Division of Oral Health. Follow Kohn’s advice to nix these bad oral health habits and keep your pearly whites healthy.1. Not Visiting the Dentist
You brush, floss, and even use a special set of dental tools you bought at the drugstore to remove plaque. You might think you’ve got pristine teeth habits on lock, but that still doesn’t mean you can skip your yearly cleaning. “Think of your mouth as a machine,” says Kohn. “You’ve got to keep it running smoothly, so every once in a while, you have to ask a professional to take a look at it. It’s like taking your car in.” Make sure to schedule an appointment at least once a year.

2. Forgoing Brushing and Flossing
Obviously you know not brushing and flossing regularly isn’t the greatest for your teeth. But you probably don’t realize just how damaging skipping those twice-a-day brushing and once-a-day flossing sessions can be. According to the 2014 Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, more than 30 percent of Americans don’t brush enough, and 23 percent have actually gone two or more days without brushing at all! When it comes to flossing, only 40 percent of people floss at least once a day, and 20 percent just don’t do it period. “Your mouth is full of bacteria all the time,” says Kohn. “When certain bacteria sit on your teeth for long enough, they start colonizing and produce acid that can break down your teeth. Brushing helps remove the plaque before the colonies can start to inflict damage, and flossing helps ensure you get what the brush can’t reach.”

3. Brushing Side to Side
It’s not like you can just stick a toothbrush in your mouth, move it around, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Proper brushing requires a certain technique, says Kohn. “One method we teach is using a soft-bristle toothbrush and brushing in small circles instead of side to side. Forceful side-to-side brushing combined with an abrasive toothpaste can damage the teeth.” Worth noting: Whitening toothpastes tend to be harsher than other varieties. Kohn also recommends making sure you brush along the gum line and the back of your teeth to loosen bacteria. Another big brushing mistake? Not doing it for long enough. “Two minutes is an arbitrary number, but the message is to brush until you completely get all sides of every single tooth,” says Kohn. “On average, it’ll take a couple of minutes.”

4. Picking a Non-Fluoride Toothpaste
Some toothpastes, especially natural ones, brand themselves as fluoride-free. The thing is, you need fluoride to achieve the healthiest teeth possible. “One of the main accomplishments of brushing your teeth is that it acts as a fluoride-delivery system and gets a concentrated amount of it to each tooth surface,” says Kohn. Fluoride is so essential because unless you remove absolutely every bit of plaque each day (something that’s very hard to do), fluoride can help replace the minerals worn away by bacteria-produced acid. “It can help repair the teeth even after bacteria has damaged them,” says Kohn.

5. Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Spend the extra minute searching for your scissors instead of opening a bag with your pearly whites. “Using your teeth to open bags, bite nails, and especially do things like open bottles is particularly damaging,” says Kohn. “Your teeth aren’t made for that kind of shearing action.” As an adult, your teeth’s edges have worn over the years. That makes it easier to injure the edge of a tooth if you accidentally catch it incorrectly on a hard surface.

6. Chewing Ice
…Or other super tough things like bones and fruit pits. “Teeth don’t have great fracture resistance to that kind of force,” says Kohn. “Especially with ice, part of it is the thermal aspect. You’re subjecting your teeth to big ranges of hot and cold, which tend to make things expand and contract very slightly. Even that can be enough to put little micro-cracks in your enamel.” You can get away with it for a while, but the little cracks in your teeth can build up and one day, a piece might just break off.

7. Nursing a Sugary Drink All Day
If you have a soda can hanging out on your desk all day, you’re putting your teeth at risk. “Unless it’s sugar-free, you’re instantly feeding your mouth’s bacteria sugar all day long,” says Kohn. You already know soda sans sugar isn’t the best thing for you, so take this as a suggestion to kick all forms of the bubbly stuff to the curb. “If you drink a sugared drink, be done with it, then brush your teeth,” says Kohn. “At the very least, rinse well with water to remove some of the sugar from your teeth.” This also applies to sugary and carb-filled snacks like chips and pretzels. “It takes 20 or so minutes for your teeth’s pH levels to return to normal after something junky,” says Kohn. If you’re constantly munching and sipping, you don’t give them a break from the onslaught of colonizing bacteria. Stash a travel brush and toothpaste in your desk drawer, and head to the bathroom when you can for a quick cleaning session after you have a particularly sweet snack.


7 everyday ways you are ruining your IQ

1. Tucking into a full English

Consuming large amounts of soggy saturated fats (bacon, buttery toast and fried eggs) hamper the brain’s dopamine function, a vital neurotransmitter responsible for motivation. Studies show that fatty diets impair cognitive flexibility, slow reaction times, damage memory and bring on feelings of depression in rats and other animals.

The University of Montreal study found that high-fat feeding can cause “impairments in the functioning of the brain circuitry profoundly implicated in mood disorders, drug addiction, and overeating.” As with drugs such as heroin, the more saturated fat you eat, the more you crave it but the greater portions you need to get that same good feeling.

2. Juggling too many balls at once

Earl Miller, an expert on divided attention and a neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology says: “The brain is not wired to multitask. When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly and every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.” It means we use up glucose (brain fuel) faster, exhausting and discombobulating our minds more quickly. “Multitasking prevents deep, creative thought as we switch back and forth, backtracking, constantly starting from scratch each time. As a result, thoughts are less new and more superficial,” says Miller.

Just spotting an email mid-task is enough to reduce your IQ by 10 points as your mind wanders from the job. Multitasking, Miller adds, is the reason that speaking on the phone while driving is so dangerous: our limited cognitive capacity to multi-task means we are never fully focussed on either job. Juggling multiple plates floods the brain with cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenalin (the fight or flight hormone), which also prevents clear thought.

3. Just Googling it

Having unlimited information available 24/7 at the jab of a button, both at home and on the move, is both a blessing and a neurological curse. Being able to Google addresses, phone numbers, recipes, names, events, even what your friends have been up to recently, means we no longer rely on memory.The brain’s hippocampus deals with new memories. While Googling doesn’t necessarily affect it per se, it does affect the technique we use to store memories inside it. For example, research by Columbia University showed we are now more likely to recall where we save information rather than the information itself, and Microsoft says our attention spans have suffered, falling from an average of 12 seconds 15 years ago to eight now.

4. Having your fruit and eating it

A 2012 UCLA study on rats showed that too much fructose – a simple sugar found in fruits, honey and vegetables – effectively slowed the brain by affecting insulin’s ability to help brain cells convert sugar into energy for thought.

But eating omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil, mackerel, herring and trout) counteracted this mental disruption by protecting against damage to the synapses, the chemical pathways in the brain. Dr Sarah Brewer, a medical nutritionist, warns of the damage sweet things can do to your grey matter: “Brain cells need glucose to function but too much in a short time will cause a sugar rush and make you feel over-wired.”

5. Those reality TV binges

We may not have conclusive proof but our long-held suspicion that reality TV is rotting our brains may well be correct. An Austrian study by psychologist Markus Appel showed 81 participants a fake reality-like screenplay based around what a football hooligan got up to during a day, then asked them to take a general knowledge test.Those who had seen the reality show beforehand fared worse then those who had not. Appel blamed media priming – the idea that what we watch, see and listen to influences our behaviour – and claimed it extended to cognitive performance too. In short, you are what you watch. “What you’ve been thinking about recently or seeing recently (is) at a higher level in your consciousness, so your brain is kind of predisposed in that direction,” is how another psychologist, Joanne Cantor, put it.

6. Jet lag and other night-time disruptions

We all know jet lag makes you foggy-headed for a day or so after landing, but in fact its dulling effects can last for weeks. Studies on hamsters found that regular disruption to our internal circadian rhythm – our day-night pattern – halved the normal rate of new neuron birth in the hippocampus (the area of the brain dealing with memory processing) and the effects were still noticeable a month after the last “disruption”.

The hamsters’ learning ability plummeted too. Professor Lance Kriegsfeld from the University of California at Berkeley said of the findings at the time: “What this says is that, whether you are a flight attendant, medical resident, or rotating shift worker, repeated disruption of circadian rhythms is likely going to have a long-term impact on your cognitive behavior and function.”

7. Walking and chewing gum

Not too long ago we thought chewing gum was a Good Thing, neurologically speaking. Neuroscientist Earl Miller said: “Chewing your gum is a physical exercise that increases the flow of blood to the brain, boosting cognitive function by giving it extra energy.”

But a recent experiment poured cold water on the theory: the act of chewing distracted participants from short memory tasks such as learning the order of items on a list. Dr Sarah Brewer says: “When people chew gum for hours it may cause a problem with distraction. As soon as the flavour goes I’d recommend taking it out.”


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