{Instant Diet Makeover} Client: WS Publishing Group

Stuck in a diet rut or believe you’re eating right but just aren’t losing weight? Instant Diet Makeover is a no-nonsense nutrition and diet book that uncovers the sneaky bad habits that prevent people from losing weight and staying healthy — whether they’re fooling themselves or just plain clueless. Open your eyes to the bad behaviors that sabotage health and weight loss!

Check out an excerpt from this title, below!

Emotional Eating: Work Food is Getting the Way of Weight Loss

The Misconception.

The workplace is one spot where there always seems to be a reason for food. A coworker’s birthday merits cake and ice cream; a promotion calls for happy hour; the holidays mean homemade fudge in the breakroom; Monday morning meetings incorporate bagels and cream cheese. Team-building and bonding often include group lunches, potlucks, or company picnics. The misconception is that in order to interact and connect with your coworkers, you must indulge in unhealthy food and large portions. Wrong. This attitude is keeping you from a doable diet!

What’s the point of exercising and eating right, only to be thwarted when Sheri from accounting brings in freshly baked cookies? Get rid of the notion that you are showing loyalty and camaraderie to Sheri and your other coworkers by eating cookies.

Also, as odd as it may sound, many people are afraid to be seen as “the healthy one” in a group. If you are concerned that coworkers will roll their eyes when everyone is ordering cheeseburgers and you ask for salmon, you have to remember that getting to your healthy weight requires daily choices that only you can make. Eating right is not always easy — or popular! — but you will be happier, healthier, more active, and live longer. Your coworkers wish they had your resolve and healthy attitude.

The Weight-Loss Makeover.

You can bond with your officemates and still stick to your diet plan; you just need to exercise a little willpower. When Sheri comes around with a plate of her homemade chocolate chip cookies and offers you one, politely decline, but with a compliment:
“Oh, no thank you, but they look wonderful. You are such a good cook!”

Now, there are some well-meaning people who won’t take no for an answer. If Sheri presses you further and you don’t feel comfortable turning her down, take the cookie, but immediately throw it away when she is gone. Don’t feel guilty! You should never eat something you know will undermine your weight loss simply to preserve someone else’s feelings.

The same goes for workplace celebrations or meetings. Stick to your guns. Ask for a small sliver of birthday cake and eat only a few bites. You don’t have to skip the office happy hour — just sip on one light beer or seltzer water with a squeeze of lemon. If you’re having a hard time passing up the mozzarella cheese sticks, order a small side salad to have something to snack on. If the office hosts a potluck, offer to bring a tasty, healthy dish like veggie chili or a Mediterranean salad, so in case no one else does you’ll have something to enjoy. And, if your client meeting includes a spread of muffins, bagels and fruit, load up on the fruit. Don’t indulge in a 400-calorie muffin just because everyone else at the conference table is. Remind yourself that what you eat does not make you part of the team — your friendly personality, attitude, and work performance do.

Buzzwords are Bad for You: Is “Low-Fat” Making You Fat?

The Misconception.

When grocery shopping, you scour the packaging of tasty snacks and foods, such as pretzels, granola bars, yogurt and muffins, for the magical words “low fat” and “fat free.” You perk up when a jug of apple juice displays that it is “naturally fat free” and applaud yourself for choosing the “reduced-fat” peanut butter. When you’re checking out, you grab a Three Musketeers bar — no need to give up chocolate, because this candy bar boasts 45 percent less fat than others. And Ranch dressing can still stay in your diet too, right? Just get the low-fat version. And yet, with a pantry full of these “diet and weight-loss” foods, why aren’t you losing weight? Why do you find yourself hungry and frustrated at the end of the day?

Your biggest mistake is in not reading the nutrition labels on these products carefully. If you were to take a closer look, you would see that these low-fat and fat-free items are packed with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring or coloring, and chemical preservatives.

Fat-free bakery products are still just desserts in disguise, packed with butter and sugar. Snacks like pretzels and fat-free cookies offer zero nutritional value. They’re nothing but empty calories masquerading as “diet-friendly.” A reduced-fat candy bar is still a candy bar! A Three Musketeers Bar, even with its airy nougat filling, still contains a diet-denting 260 calories and 40 grams of sugar. And as for reduced-fat peanut butter or salad dressing — check the labels more closely and you’ll see these creamy condiments contain more sugar and as many calories as the full-fat versions.

And when you see products like juice boasting that they are “naturally fat free,” you should laugh. While fruit doesn’t contain fat, most of these drinks contain very small amounts of actual fruit juice and are jam-packed with sugar. Apple juice is notoriously bad: one serving can contain nearly 30 grams of sugar, which is 10 percent of your total daily value of carbohydrates, as well. Again, empty calories in a tiny serving. And buyer beware of juices that brag to have “no sugar added.” Generally this means the product had plenty of sugar to begin with, such as cranberry juice blends, another sweet drink that will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

Glossing over nutrition labels is ignoring the reality of these products, but here’s the real kicker: Recent studies have shown that dieters may actually eat more of a low-fat food, which oftentimes have the same or more calories than the full-fat version.

A report called “Can Low Fat Nutrition Labels Lead to Obesity,” published in the Journal of Marketing Research, offered a dose of reality as to why so many overweight people don’t lose a single pound from eating low-fat or fat-free foods. The study found that both normal-weight and overweight participants ate more when presented with a low-fat option of a nutrient-poor and calorie-rich snack food. Additionally, they found that overweight participants were more inclined than normal-weight people to overindulge. Why? The study contends that low-fat food labels increase consumption because they decrease guilt and give the false perception that you can eat more of the item. And it seemed that this was particularly true for overweight subjects.

In a portion of this study, participants were invited to a university open house and  two gallon-size bowls of M&Ms were set out, one labeled “New Colors of Regular M&M’s” and the other labeled “New ‘Low-Fat’ M&M’s” (although no such low-fat product currently exists). As expected, participants ate more M&M’s (28.4 percent more!) when they were labeled as low fat than when they were labeled as regular. Furthermore, overweight participants took 16 percent more M&M’s than normal-weight participants. While all participants increased their consumption, overweight subjects ate an average of 90 calories more of the candies labeled as “low fat.”

The Weight-Loss Makeover.

Naturally, not all low-fat and fat-free products are bad. Low-fat plain yogurt, for instance, can be a great substitute for high-fat sour cream or mayo in recipes, dips and on baked potatoes. And while not all low-fat cheeses are created equal (some are pretty tasteless), products like Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges are healthy and delicious as a spread, dip or melted into a sauce.

When you’re opting for the reduced-fat versions of spreads like peanut butter and jelly, look for the brands with less sugar and more natural ingredients. Natural peanut butter has heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and doesn’t include the hydrogenated oils, sweeteners and extra salt of other peanut butters. You’ll notice the label on natural peanut butter includes only two ingredients: peanuts and salt! Natural peanut butter is a great food for losing weight because it maintains blood-sugar levels and has fiber to keep you feeling full longer. Sugar-free or low-sugar fruit spreads are a great option for when you want something sweet, naturally fat-free and low-calorie. You’ll hardly notice the difference in taste between a low-sugar and regular jar of preserves, but you’ll be saving 50 calories and 12 grams of sugar per serving!

If you are able to include snacks in your diet plan, remember that people, especially overweight people, tend to eat more of a low-fat snack than a regular one. This is particularly true if the snack comes in a large bag or container where a serving isn’t as obvious. Watch out for bags of chips, trail mix, granola or candies that claim to be low-fat, because you’re in serious danger of overeating. Instead, manage your calorie and fat intake by choosing snacks like low-fat popcorn or crackers, prepackaged in 100-calorie pouches. You won’t be tempted to dive back in for more just because the label reads “low fat.”

In the end, low-fat and fat-free claims can be tricky and misleading and studies show they mess with your mind. Don’t fall for these buzzwords and assume these products are healthy or will help you lose weight. Losing weight is about reducing your calorie count, eating healthy portions, and stabilizing your blood-sugar levels, none of which can be accomplished with high-sugar items, even if they do have zero grams of fat. The very best way to be sure you’re getting the vitamins and nutrients you need without all the fat? Eat fresh, naturally low-fat and fat-free fruits, veggies and whole grains. The fewer ingredients the better and you can’t get more natural than chomping on a crisp apple or a handful of sugar snap peas.

Once you start including fresh produce and whole grains in your diet more often, a box of preservative-filled fat-free cookies will look out of place in your cupboards. And as you watch the pounds finally come off, you won’t crave the added sugar and empty carbohydrates in the slightest.

You’re Just Plain Clueless: Beware of Drive-By Snacking

The Misconception.

Food is often presented in a way that makes it seem casual, easy and friendly — a bowl of M&Ms on the secretary’s desk at work, kiosks of samples at Costco, or a tray of bite-size tasters at the coffee shop. Without thinking, you grab a handful of candy each time you walk to your desk. And by the time you leave the club store, you’ve eaten enough sample-size snacks to constitute an entire meal. However, when it comes time to tally your calories for the day, these drive-by snacking incidents are forgotten, leaving you to wonder why the weight isn’t coming off.

You have fooled yourself into believing that drive-by snacking — a few bites here, a few bites there — doesn’t constitute a full snack or meal. But consider this: Would you eat a jumbo-size bag of M&Ms in one sitting? No? Unfortunately, grabbing handfuls of M&Ms throughout your workday equates to the same thing. And you’re doing yourself a double disservice but pretending those calories don’t count.

The Weight-Loss Makeover.

By nature, drive-by snacking is mindless, which is why we let those calories slide when we take a mental tally of what we ate that day. Always eat consciously. If you like the samples at the store, be picky about the ones you try, don’t just grab every single one. And if you have five samples, leave one thing off your dinner plate to compensate. If you try a few samples of the new pastries at Starbucks, tell yourself that is your dessert quota for the day. And be sure to include all your drive-by snacking in your food diary. Hold yourself accountable. Not even a bite of a cookie should slip by!

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