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6 Common Weight Loss Mistakes that Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

6 common weight loss mistakes that are sabotaging your weight loss efforts Have you been trying to lose weight but can’t figure out why you keep tipping the scale in the wrong direction? You might be falling into one of these 6 common weight loss mistakes that are preventing you from achieving your optimal weight levels.

6 Common Weight Loss Mistakes that Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

Weight Loss Mistake #1: Avoiding all “sugars”

In our complex food environment, you can’t say the word “sugar” and mean one thing anymore, it’s become more complex than that with the advent of refined processed foods. But all sugars have come under attack and some health professionals are recommending people steer clear of all “sugars”, including the nutrient-dense, whole-food sugars contained in fruits – this is a major weight loss mistake. When thinking about sugar, a distinction needs to be made between refined sugars and the sugars found in whole foods. Fruits are one of the healthiest foods we can eat: they are high in water and fiber, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, co-enzymes, phytonutrients. The water and fiber content in fruit allows the natural sugars to digest more slowly and also prevents over-consumption and best of all, it’s low in calories. Cutting out fruit as a food group could be doing you more harm than good. When it comes to “sugars” stay away from the processed kind and stick to whole-food sugars found in fruits and vegetables.

Weight Loss Mistake #2: Eating Too Much Salt

It’s a common nutritional myth that eating salt hydrates the body. It’s true when people say that water follows salt, but most people fail to acknowledge that when you eat salt it creates a elevated sodium ratio in your interstitial fluid (the fluid around your cells) and pull water from inside your cells to help dilute it. Eating salt literally dehydrates the body on a cellular level. Salt’s high sodium content is what keeps countless people holding on to excess water weight, and going out of your way to add “healthy” salts to your meals and beverages because of it’s mineral content is a definite weight loss mistake. I’ve watched my clients drop 15 pounds of excess water weight in only a month (myself included) after removing salt from the diet and not putting it back on (like most “lose 20 pounds in 20 days” weight loss gimmicks that cause more harm than good.) Cutting out salt was one of the best nutritional changes I’ve ever made. However, sodium is essential, that’s why I choose to get my sodium through whole foods like celery, tomatoes, cantaloupe and coconut water. If you want to know more about salt and how it might be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, download my free report here.

Weight Loss Mistake #3: Eating Too Late at Night

Some experts say that a calorie is a calorie and it doesn’t matter what time you eat it. I disagree. Digestion requires a lot of energy from the body. If you eat late at night or right before you go to bed, instead of getting the complete and total rest that you’re body needs, it’s focusing it’s energy on digestion. This usually leaves people feeling groggy in the morning. But it’s not as straight forward as merely breaking it down on an energetic level. As I write about extensively in my book “Unhooked: A Holistic Approach to Ending Your Struggle with Food” our relationship to food is complex and multidimensional. It’s the foods people tend to reach for in the evening after working hard all day that can compound the problem and lead to weight gain. People usually tend to opt for high-fat, high-calorie foods like chips and cookies, usually while mindless eating in front of the TV or computer. I recommend leaving at least 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime to prevent this weight loss mistake and reach for high fiber, nutrient dense snacks instead.

Weight Loss Mistake #4: Eating Too Many Foods Labeled “Low-Fat”

The “halo effect” is an interesting phenomenon and leads to another common weight loss mistake. A “health halo” is when we overestimate a foods nutritional value due to one narrowly defined health claim on the package. We forget that gluten-free chips and pizza are still chips and pizza and make ourselves feel better about eating whatever it is because it claims to be either low in fat, salt, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, rich in omega 3’s or whatever health claim we believe to be “healthy” at the time. The health halo leads most people to eat more than they otherwise would without the same claim on the package. According to a study conducted by Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” and head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, when people opt for low-fat snacks, they ended up eating an average of 90 calories more compared with people who simply ate regular snacks.

Weight Loss Mistake #5: You Believe Depriving Yourself Is The Only Way to Lose Weight

Calorie restriction to the point of deprivation can backfire – big time and can often be one of the more severe weight loss mistakes that people make. This is why most conventional diets don’t work and sets people up for wild fluctuations in eating behavior and ongoing deprivation can also lead to intense food cravings. I recommend eating a high-volume, low calorie diet that consists of fruits and vegetables. When it comes to fruits and veggies, you never have to feel deprived again. This dietary lifestyle feels abundant, delicious and nourishing – the complete opposite of depriving. Best of all, it’s a sustainable way to eat and live.

Weight Loss Mistake #6: You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

Feeling healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is about more than just what you do or don’t eat. How much you weight is directly related to how active you are, how effectively you manage stress and how much sleep you get. Many people are surprised when I tell them that lack of sleep is directly related to weight gain, which makes this a weight loss mistake that tends to slip under the radar. I know fatigue is one of my biggest mindless eating triggers that prompts me to reach for food as a “pick-me-up” when I’m feeling tired. The average sleep deprived person eats an average of 500 extra calories a day. If you’re not sleeping enough and you’re struggling with your weight – you’re probably fighting an uphill battle. If you want to lose weight, make it a priority to get more high-quality sleep and sleep in until you can wake up feeling refreshed – without stimulants like coffee to get you going in the morning.

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn

Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire

Raw Gluten-Free Pie Crust in Under 5 Minutes

Raw Gluten-Free Pie Crust in Under 5 Minutes

One of the great things about the raw food diet is that it’s 100% gluten-free. I love to enjoy raw treats on occasion – without having to worry about gluten. When it comes to raw food desserts, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think to make your own gluten-free treats at home. Since I started eating clean, I realized that I could always  improve the quality of what I eat. Just because it’s dessert, doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy! This raw, gluten-free pie crust is a perfect example. Today, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to opt out of traditional ingredients like flour and dairy and make a gluten-free pie crust with less than 5 ingredients – in less than 5 minutes.

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7 Things Your Food Cravings are Trying to Tell You

7 THINGS YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS ARE TRYING TO TELL YOU Food cravings are like the scary monster that hides in your closet. They’re hard to get a good look at because most of the time, you’re either resisting them or running like hell in the other direction. They also leave you with a sense of uneasiness because you’re never really sure when they will jump out and strike next. Food cravings can hijack your willpower, sabotage your judgment and interfere with your health goals, all in the blink of an eye.

They can even take over your rational brain and cause you to unintentionally lapse into mindless eating – sounds like the scary monster most of us fear the most! Being struck by food cravings can oftentimes feel overwhelming and can wreak havoc on daily living. But what you might not know is that this big bad scary monster is simply trying to talk to you. Facing your food cravings rather than avoiding them is a good place to start. If you’re willing to face your fears and listen to what they have to say, they may have the key to help you drop your struggle with food cravings for good.

7 Things Your Food Cravings are Trying to Tell You

1. It’s time to ditch the refined and packaged foods

When was the last time you had an intense craving for apples? How about bananas or figs? Most often, the foods we crave are processed junk foods that all tend to have one thing in common: they’re high in sugar, fat and salt. Not only are real foods not refined, but they’re also not naturally high in all three of these ingredients in the same bite. But food manufactures found out that they could combine refined sugar, fat and salt to find a perfect “bliss point” that literally rewires your brain to want and crave these fabricated foods – and prompt you to keep eating them despite being full. Getting unhooked from food cravings means returning to a whole foods lifestyle where real, fresh, organic foods predominate. [Read more...]

Gluten-free Raw Falafel Recipe – That Even Your Family Will Love

Gluten Free Raw Falafel Recipe

It’s not always easy to repeatedly come up with new recipe and meal ideas, day in and day out to keep your family happy – and more importantly – healthy.  Try making this raw falafel, gluten-free recipe for (or better yet - with) your family for a fun, nutritious and delicious raw food meal.

Raw Food Kitchen Equipment

For this raw falafel recipe, you’ll need a food processor and a dehydrator. I use and recommend the 14-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, but if this is too big to suite your needs and you’re looking for something smaller, consider the 7-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, it’s a smaller and more affordable model. As for dehydrators, if you don’t yet have one, I recommend the 9-tray Excalibur - I’ve had mine for years and it’s still working great.  Owning a good quality food processor and dehydrator are two of the top 4 raw food kitchen tools I recommend stocking your kitchen with.  [Read more...]

5 Plant-Based Homemade Facial Remedies for Radiant Skin

Learn how to make your skin glow and shine with these all-natural homemade and plant-based remedies. For many, clear and young-looking skin is the Holy Grail – and people are willing to spend their hard earned money for the promise of radiantly looking skin. The good news is you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive skin creams to get amazing looking skin – and I believe that it’s better if you don’t. Homemade facial remedies can be just as, if not more effective for common skin troubles. Many of the expensive store-bought skin creams are chock full of chemicals – exactly what your body is trying to get rid of, ironically enough, through your skin.

Over the years, I’ve had many people comment on how clear my skin looks, and people always ask me what I use. I love to tell them: I rarely use anything; I never use soap on my face and the only topical skin treatments I use are all-natural homemade facial remedies that involve 100% plants. My general rule for skin care is that if I wouldn’t eat it – I won’t put it on my skin. [Read more...]

Raw Strawberry Jam Recipe with Figs

Raw Strawberry Jam Recipe - With Figs

Love strawberry jam but don’t want all the processed sugars and preservatives that store-bought jams come with? Making your own Raw Strawberry Jam is so quick, easy and versatile you’ll never want or need to buy processed jam again.

I’m always having fun creating new raw food recipes that include local, organic produce. Summer is the best time to pick up organic strawberries for a great price so I’ve been having fun with an old favorite recipe that always brings a smile to my face. Today, I’m going to show you how to make a low-fat Raw Strawberry Jam in under 5 minutes and with less than 5 ingredients.

Raw Food Kitchen Essentials

For this raw food recipe, you’ll need a food processor. I use and recommend a 14-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, but if you’re only making small bathes of food for you and your family then you might want to go with the 7-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, a similar model, but smaller and more affordable . Having a good-quality food processor is one of the top 4 raw food kitchen tools I recommend stocking your kitchen with.

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15 Tips to Get Back on Track When You’ve Fallen off the Wagon – The Dietary Wagon That Is.


Fallen off the wagon? Here’s my top 15 tips to help you get back on track when you feel like you’re stuck in a food rut. 

I normally advise people away from all-or-nothing diet mentality. I usually say that it’s not about being “on or off” the proverbial wagon but rather finding a balanced lifestyle approach that is sustainable, not too rigid, nourishing and aligns with the long-term vision of your health goals. Thinking in terms of “on” or “off”, especially when confining yourself to a dietary box (when you call yourself “raw” for example, and then eat something that’s not raw, it can induce feelings of guilt and shame) and can cause extreme swings in eating behavior.

This past week, however, I got reacquainted with “off the wagon”, while the proverbial wagon continued in the direction of my health goals – without me on it. This experience gave me a renewed recollection of what it’s like to be feeling great and then take a sharp left turn, off the dietary path that aligns with my goals and values, towards foods that make me downright unhappy. (The irony is that in the moment, these “hyperpalatable” foods are what we think we want because we have some unconscious belief eating them will make us happy.) Yes, it has indeed been many years since I’ve experienced “off the wagon”, and it’s amazing how easily it can be to get “hooked” all over again – especially for those of us who are familiar with food addiction and habitual patterns of chronic overeating.

But rather than getting down on myself, freaking out and turning to more food to make me feel better (like my old self would have done), I used what I’ve learned in the past 10 years to get “unhooked” and “back on that wagon” ASAP – because I now know (and I used this as an opportunity to remind myself once again) that struggling with food is not a place I want to be.  After all, I am human and I never claim to be perfect – and in fact, embracing my imperfections is actually one of the top tips that helped me get back on track and get a grip before I let myself spiral down that familiar slippery slop any further.

15 Tips to Get back on Track When You’ve Fallen off the Dietary Wagon

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Top 7 Health Benefits of Turmeric

Top 7 Health Benefits of TurmericAs the saying goes: “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” and when it comes to the health benefits of turmeric, it’s certainly a potent medicine!

The health benefits of turmeric, a member of the ginger family, cannot be understated. This potent medicinal herb tops my charts of most beneficial and far-reaching plant medicinals – a must have for any herbal first aid kit or any long-term medical plan!

If you’re a lover of Asian or Indian Cuisine then you might already be familiar with turmeric, a common spice used in these colorful and delicious culinary traditions.

It’s one of the main ingredients in Curry powder; a flavorful spice blend with more to offer than simply a musky taste and beautiful shade of yellowish orange. Turmeric is widely grown in South East Asia and India, and lucky for me, in Pacific Islands including Hawaii where we call it olena. A couple of months ago I planted my first bunch of turmeric and I can’t wait to harvest it!

This potent spice has caught the attention of western researchers only fairly recently despite having a long reputation as a natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments in many traditional cultures. Now people are calling turmeric a ‘super-food’, ‘the spice of life’ and natures ‘ultimate healing herb’. It’s also becoming widely recognized as ‘one of natures best skin foods’.

Why does turmeric have so many health benefits? Most research keeps pointing back to one of the main active ingredients in turmeric called curcumin, a curcuminoid responsible for the yellow pigment color of turmeric. Curcumin has been identified as the agent responsible for most of the biological activity of turmeric, which according to Dr. Mercola has been shown to influence over 700 genes. This is yet another reason to eat all the colors of the rainbow! Read More: [Read more...]

Disclaimer: Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits of any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This also applies to recommended lifestyle changes, mentioned with the intention to help you achieve better health. This site is for informational and educational purposes only, readers are advised to take full responsibility for their actions and consult with a health care practitioner before making changes to diet or lifestyle.
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