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You are what you eat...maybe


     Nutrition is a very simple subject made difficult by commercial diet plans and programs. We must understand that nutrition is made up of Macro & Micronutrients. The Macronutrients are called carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. These are necessary for proper human body function. Any diet or weight loss program that dictates the elimination of any of the macronutrients should always be discarded. These programs are not concerned with overall health and definitely do not look to the long term.
Some general nutrition information that can be used to help design your food choices are as follows:
1 pound of “fat” = 3500 calories 
1% of body fat = 2.5 pounds of fat 
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories 

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

Now that you have a basic understanding of nutrition, I hope that you don’t fall prey to the myths and false programs that run rampant today. One of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone looking to lose weight or manage their current weight is -
Beware the Guarantee!!

Programs that promise:

Lose twenty pounds in a week!

Drop excess fat off your waist without exercise!
Should be avoided at all cost.

We have heard statements like these so many times before. With every new diet

plan, diet pill, gimmick piece of equipment or wannabe fitness star we always hear of their guarantee. They promise you will reach your goals, lose some weight, lose some inches, get in shape, but only if you eat their foods, take their pills or follow their way of life. In all my years of fitness training (and I have a lot), I have never been able to dictate how a person’s body will change. The fact is, we cannot tell where and when you will lose weight. It is just not possible. There is something seriously wrong with these ten to twenty one day weight loss gimmicks. What are you giving up for these results? What is the sacrifice? What happens after the ten or twenty-one days? What do you do next? For drastic weight change in twenty-one days to occur, major caloric decrease is necessary. The human body was built to preserve life. It will not let itself fall below the critical line of caloric intake before it reverses gears and begins its self-preservation. It will store calories for future use. You essentially starve yourself. What is the critical line? Well that depends on the individual. Daily caloric needs differ from person to person and between men and women. It has to do with activity level, height, weight, sex and age. To calculate your daily caloric needs you need to know your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate: Amount of calories your body will burn at rest) & your activity lifestyle. Whether you are sedentary, active or moderately active will have an effect on the overall calculation.

To find your BMR you can use: 

EXAMPLE: A twenty-year old female weighing one hundred and ninety pounds, standing five feet three inches who is sedentary requires 2020.32 calories daily. In order to lose five pounds in twenty-one days, she would have to drop over eight hundred calories daily for twenty-one days straight. This is a combination of calorie restriction in foods and burning from exercise. The average training sessions will burn approximately four hundred to five hundred calories. She then has to reduce her caloric intake by three to four hundred calories. Doesn’t sound too difficult right? Let us not forget that we are talking about an over weight twenty year old who has never exercised before. She will have to be eased into routines and not have hell thrust upon her for a twenty-one day weight loss plan. So I ask again – What is the sacrifice to lose weight in such a short period of time? Other than the weight you will lose, because you will lose some weight? What has happened to your body on the inside? You can’t see the damage that crash diets and over strict exercise routines cause, but that doesn’t mean its not there. This country has become so fixated on losing weight, that we forget how to do it right. Fitness trainers have succumbed to the demands of extreme weight loss that they themselves have forgotten what is right anymore. Safety first. Always.

I decided to give you some simple tips that anyone can follow to help understand what exactly a weight loss or management program entails. 

Changing Eating Behaviors

Eating should be a pure experience. You should do nothing else well eating you should taste and enjoy every bite.
Always eat in the same place. Never eat when you're standing, in front of the TV, at the kitchen counter during cooking or lying in bed.
Follow an eating schedule. All meals and snacks should be preplanned at specific times. This way you don't have to think about what you're going to eat.
Never skip meals or snacks. Meal skipping may cause you to overeat at your next meal because your body will be hungry and your blood sugar will be low.
Know your cravings. If you want something creamy or sweet or salty don't talk yourself into something else, just eat it. if you don't go with your craving you just might end up eating more of something you didn't even want in the first place.
Try not to clean your plate. Always leave a little food on your plate after every meal and you will save tons of calories overtime.
Use smaller plates and bowls. This will help you to eat smaller portions of food.
Slow down your eating pace. Eating too fast limits the enjoyment of food. Remember it takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize that it is full.
Always eat your favorite foods first. This way you will stop eating if you are full.
Never take a second helping. Make one plate of food and after you are finished don't add anything else to your plate.
Store trigger foods out of sight. They will be too tempting to resist if they around all day.
Get rid of all your clothes that are too big. This way you will have nothing to wear if you start to gain weight.
Only eat when you are truly hungry. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you are just bored, stressed, tired, anxious, etc.

Portion Distortion
It can sometimes be difficult to estimate proper portion sizes. Here are some visuals that can help you eat less and lose weight!
Handful = 1-2 oz. Example: 1 oz. Nuts = 1 handful
Fist = 1 cup Example: Two servings of past or oatmeal
Palm = 3 oz. Example: a cooked serving of meat (not including your fingers)
Thumb = 1 oz. Example: a piece of cheese
1 Fruit serving = 1/2 cup canned or 1 medium fruit (about size of tennis ball)
1 meat, poultry or fish serving = 3 oz. (about size of a deck of cards)
1 Grain = 1 slice bread, presliced (about the size of a cassette tape) or 1/2 cup pasta (about the size of an adult woman’s palm stacked 1” high)
1 Dairy Serving = 8 ounces (the size of a container of individual yogurt)
1 vegetable serving = 1/2 cup cooked or canned vegetables (about 1/2 size of a baseball)
1 Fat serving = 1 teaspoon (about size of 4 stacked dimes)

Fabulous Fiber Facts & All About Water

Benefits of Fiber:
  • - High Fiber foods play a major role in your weight management program because they fill you up with little or no calories. Fiber expands in your stomach and gives you a greater sense of fullness. You can eat larger portions for fewer calories.
    - Fiber helps to prevent gastrointestinal disorders such as diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and constipation.
    - The recommended daily fiber intake for adults is 35 grams per day.
    - Eating plenty of fiber containing foods promotes proper bowel function.
    - Diets rich in fiber can help lower blood pressure, because the diet naturally becomes lower in fat and calories.
    - Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and improves blood sugar control in diabetes.

  • Ways to increase fiber:
  • -  Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • -  Choose high-fiber foods like berries, citrus fruits, oatmeal, beans, dark green vegetables, and wholegrain bread and cereal.
  • -  Keep bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer. Add to soups, sauces, casseroles and pasta dishes.
  • -  Serve fish, chicken, or lean meat over a “bed” of grilled zucchini, sauteed spinach, or sliced onions.
  • -  Snack on air-popped popcorn and dry roasted nuts and seeds.

     Planning what you need to eat before you exercise can help you maintain a high energy level during your workout. however this does not mean you should exercise on a full stomach because this can lead to both cramping and nausea. you should allow one to four hours for digestion depending on what and how much you have eaten.
If you work out first thing in the morning. You should eat something easily digestible 20 or 30 minutes before you exercise like a piece of fruit or yogurt or shake.
If you're working out later on in the day you should have a carbohydrate rich foods at least one hour before you workout such as whole wheat bread or crackers oatmeal fruit or energy bar These carbohydrates will be stored in your muscles as glycogen which will be used for fuel during your workout.

     Try not to consume simple carbohydrates before your workout such as honey candy or sugary drinks. They will not provide you with enough energy to get through your workout. Avoid any foods that contain a lot of fat because they are slow to digest and will only slow you down and make you feel sluggish during your workout.
Stay away from fast food hot dogs cookies cake ice cream french fries, chips and candy bars because they are all high in fat and will remain in the stomach for a long time.

Understanding nutrition labels
What do all these product label claims mean?
Low calorie- less than 40 calories per serving
Low-cholesterol- less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving
Reduced fat- 25% less fat than the usual product
Good source of- provide at least 10% of the daily value of a particular vitamin or nutrients per serving
Calorie free- less than 5 calories per serving
Fat free/sugar free- less than half a gram of fat or sugar per serving
High in- provides 20% or more of the daily value of the specified nutrient per serving

High fiber- 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

For more assistance with choosing foods or creating recipes and plans go here

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