Having a salad is often a persons attempt at having a healthy meal. I mean…the majority of ingredients are usually vegetables (unless you are eating a “salad fat” approach to dieting) so it’s hard not to assume it’s healthy. I think having a salad is a great start to making healthy choices but you should know that salads are not always as healthy as their persona implies. Below you will find five reasons why salads could be making you “salad fat”.
- Bacon bits, chopped up whole yolk eggs,
- Croutons and other crunchy things
- Iceberg lettuce
Need I say more?
You might be thinking…ok I get the dressing part, I get the cheese part, I get the bacon & egg part…but HOLD UP…I do not understand how croutons and iceberg lettuce translate into me being “salad fat”! Looking at the nutritional value of iceberg lettuce and croutons and combining it with simple human psychology can give you a hint. First, neither croutons or iceberg lettuce have much to offer in terms of nutritious value or fiber content so they don’t satiate you and they do very little to fuel your cells. Second, and this is where the psychology comes in…if you assume what you’ve eaten earlier in the day was healthy you are more likely to “cheat” a little with meals later in the day. Not to mention that since you are still hungry because of the low nutrient and fiber content in your iceberg lettuce salad, guess what types of food choices you are more likely to make later in the day? You guessed it! You are more likely to overeat and make unhealthy choices if you’ve had a “healthy salad” that barely supplied your stomach or your nutrient starved cells with what they need to feel satisfied.
Don’t believe me? Check out this Caesar salad breakdown…
1. Iceberg lettuce
- Upside: low cal
- Downside: low nutrient value, low fiber content, not filling, no taste
2. Parmesan cheese
- Upside: tasty
- Downside: saturated fat & salt content
- Upside: crunchy
- Downside: very little nutritional value as a carbohydrate, often disregarded as calories even when entire salad is covered with them
4. Anchovies (for those who eat them)
- Upside: great source of omega-3, some protein
- Downside: very salty and only semi-appetizing
- Upside: healthwise- none, but it does add taste to iceberg
- Downside: high in saturated fat & usually made with trans fats which are very bad for you
As you can see, what seems like a healthy option – caesar salad, can be sort of a trick. With its low % of protein, low quality carbohydrates, and high salt and saturated fat content what seems like a delicious salad is more like a saturated fat delivery system! This can also be true of other types of salads when generous amounts of cheese, dressing & things like bacon bits are used on them.
If iceberg lettuce and croutons are all that is available, try to improve the overall profile of the salad (caesar or any other) by adding a chicken breast, using 1/2 the dressing, using vinegar and oil or balsamic as a substitute for cream based dressing, and avoiding croutons. This doesn’t make it a perfect meal but it improves the overall profile tremendously.
Do you ever wonder why you can’t stay away from junk food? I mean…what is it that makes it so irresistible? It’s definitely not the nutritional value I can tell you that. In fact, the more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel lethargic and unmotivated. Even though most of us know what the ramifications of junk food overload are, we still eat the stuff! WHY? What is the allure with these foods and how do you get it under control?
First, there is something you need to know. Junk food is addictive. When I say addictive I mean that we can develop “dependency-like” behaviors towards food based on how their chemical make up impacts the receptors and hormonal responses in the brain and body.
The main content in most junk food can be divided into three main groups: salt, sugar and fat which can all be “addictive” especially when artificial versions of these are used in the right combinations. In addition to these three main ingredients, food additives such as preservatives, food coloring, and artificial flavorings can also have negative influences on your health.
It’s hard to describe exactly how thrilling it is to have the words “Perfect Client” associated with your name on Jes’ blog. Of course, it’s probably only for as long as it takes her to get back from vacation. Oh well, into each life a little rain must fall.
But on to the real topic of this post: my nutrition, which in the past has been far from perfect but has now attained a pretty reasonable level. Here’s my story in a nutshell:
- Eleven years ago, I thought an improved diet meant getting a frosty with my Wendy’s triple cheese burger and biggie fries instead of a coke product. After all, a frosty had dairy, which had to be better for you than the pure chemicals found in coke products.
- Then I had to have emergency surgery for an infected gall bladder and literally took years getting through all the consequences.
- During that time, I started working out intensively with an aim to lose some of my 220 lbs. I made some progress.
- Feeling stalled in weight loss, I turned to the Atkins diet. It worked. Jes tends to eschew Atkins, but if you think Wendy’s frosty drinks are a step toward better nutrition, you have to count Atkins as a much better step in the right direction.
- Atkins worked. I lost a lot of weight and did well for two years.
- Eventually, I found myself at then Gold’s Gym, now Arbor Fit, training with Jes. When I announced my decision to get back on the Atkins’ bandwagon after having been off for a while, well you can imagine the reaction. She actually told me I would not be allowed to train with her. While I thought that was over blown, she seemed so ernest that I decided to pay her some mind.
- And, I’m glad I did! Jes turned me on to On Target Living, founded by her mentor, Chris Johnson. That was a revelation. I enjoined Chris in an extended email exchange the end result of which was him sending me the book he advertises on his site … for free! He probably just wanted to stop the constant email stream (I get a lot of things that way).
- The book is great, and I still use it. I actually eat vegetables and salads now and no longer view Wendy’s frosty drinks as a nutritional step forward.
- Recently Jes turned me on to Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong site, a great place to track nutrition. The nice thing about this site is that, instead of tedious food logs, you just start to type what you ate, and you usually find a good match, with seemingly accurate macronutrient information. Easy, which is critical.
My current approach is to follow on-target principles with Lance Armstrong tracking. It seems to be working. I’m maintaining a good weight.
In the last three years, Jes has been a great resource in all of this, offering all sorts of good ideas, so much so that I finally convinced my wife to take the plunge with her. I’m extremely satisfied. Yes, as you might guess, we butt heads, but Jes’ analyses and knowledge are spot on. She’s the best trainer I’ve known.
Learning how to lose 100 pounds isn’t the same as dieting to lose 10 or 20 pounds, it’s actually a very different journey. Yes weight loss is the common denominator between these two goals but the numerator (10 vs. 100) requires solving these two equations in very different ways.
If you want to lose 100 pounds or more, you’ll have to be prepared for a long term journey that involves lifestyle change, psychological challenge, patience and perseverance. Most likely you’ll have to overcome injuries, self-esteem issues, & you’ll work twice as hard as you thought you’d have to for twice as long. (sounds appealing right?)
One way to gain an understanding of what it really takes to lose 100 pounds is by talking with people who have already conquered this challenge. I personally haven’t faced the challenge of losing 100 pounds, but I have a friend who has. In looking at this picture it may be hard to imagine that my friend Lloyd figured out (on his own) how to lose 100 pounds, but he did.
In the following series of videos, I interviewed Lloyd asking questions about his 100 pound weight loss journey. Each of the videos goes over a slightly different aspect of how he found success. In this first video, Lloyd describes how he found something that motivated him to make a change. (sound good, video not that good, I am amateur)
Videos 2, & 3 describe what Lloyd did to get started and how he stayed motivated. In the 4th video, I asked a friend and client of mine, Becca Cheezum, to ask Lloyd some questions about how he handled the ups and downs of losing and gaining some back while on his journey.
Now that you know what it’s going to take to lose 100 pounds or more, you can get started creating your own fitness exercise program, map out your journey and then get started ASAP! Getting started is half the battle!