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Don’t Let The Health Halo Fool You!

How was your weekend?

Our week has been pretty hectic between Christmas, driving and all the fun that goes along with that.

But we had a great Christmas and now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

I’ve eaten my fill of food and been a little lazy with my workouts and now it’s time to get back to work.

Before we get into any of the 10 minute fat loss workouts I have planned for this week I want to ask you a couple things…

When you go to restaurants do you order salads because you think they’re “healthy”?

Do you eat the vegetable tray at parties, but douse every bite in creamy dressing or eat a whole grain bagel at work?

Do you buy foods labeled “lite”, or “healthy”, or “less fat” and think that they’re going to help you lose that jiggle around your middle?

Just because something says “healthy”, or makes you think “healthy” doesn’t make it so.

I just read an interesting article that was reported on by the New York Times about something called the “health halo”.

What that basically means is that the presence of supposedly healthy foods within a meal makes the consumer judge the entire meal as being healthy.

For instance, the article pointed out that when New Yorkers were shown an Applebee’s Oriental Chicken salad and 20-ounce Pepsi they overestimated the total number of calories by 100 (they thought it had 1,011, when it has 930).

However, when they were shown the same meal that included a couple of “trans fat free” crackers, the people thought the meal had only 800 calories, when in actuality the crackers INCREASED the total number of calories by 100 to jump it to over 1,000.

The reasoning was that there’s been such a panic about trans fats over the past year or two that people automatically thought those crackers must be “healthy” and when included with a salad, that must make it even “healthier”.

The same can be said about labels showing “low fat”, or “25% fewer calories”.

That doesn’t mean those foods are healthy, or good for you if you want to lose fat and get in better shape.

There have actually been studies showing that people drastically underestimate the number of calories and serving sizes in foods with that type of label.

All this means is that you have to be diligent and think before you eat.

Just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’ll help you lose fat.

Just because it’s “trans fat free” doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

Just because it says “lite”, or “fat free” doesn’t mean it’ll help you lose weight.

You have to pick the package up, turn it around and look at the food label and ingredients list.

Pay attention to the serving sizes and number of servings per package.

Look at the ingredients and if there’s something you can’t pronounce near the top of the list, put it back and walk away.

If it starts with anything “refined”, “processed”, or whatever new word they’re using, put it away.

If it’s bread and it says “wheat”, it’s probably just white bread that’s been dyed white.  Look at the ingredients and make sure it says something about whole grain and nothing about refined or processed wheat flour.

More and more restaurants are beginning to put the nutritional breakdown on their menus.  Read them and do the math.

If the meal has 1,000 calories, DON’T EAT IT!

Most drinks, unless they’re water, are loaded with calories…don’t order them and if you do, don’t forget to include that in your total calorie intake.

I could literally go on and on with all this, but my point is to pay attention.

Don’t let the “halo effect” take you out and stall your fat loss plans.

Have a great day!

Ed Scow, The Fit Dad

P.S. – That all important holiday is coming up where every single person living on the planet earth (and maybe Mars?) decides that this year is going to be different and that they’re finally going to lose a little weight and get in better shape.  Why wait until Thursday?  Start today and leave the health clubs out of the decision by doing your workouts from home.  Check out my 10 minute fat loss workouts at and get started today!

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