Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clean eating and me.

Recently I have taken on a new role as a Beachbody Coach which has forced me outside my shell. What is happening now is that more and more people are approaching me for fitness information. I have been involved in fitness and nutrition personally for over 20 years and have, on occasion, helped friends along the way. I have helped people who were always long time friends so the communication was simple. Receiving emails from someone I know little about for information was daunting at first but I have overcome that now. I notice a recurring theme to most of the questions I am getting and that is how do I eat to lose weight or stay lean. These questions make me dig deeper into myself and reflect on what has worked for me in the past.
I have been a clean eater long before it became the title of a cookbook. It started as a child peeling vegetables fresh from the garden and cooking meats culled from our own livestock. Growing up like this set the stage for my future nutrition and how I would feed my family. Over the years I have had many people comment that I am able to remain thin all while being a big eater. I personally feel that many people who are trying to lose weight are too restrictive with their calorie intake. I say this because I know many overweight people who eat 500 calories all day long yet they are still gaining weight. The body will respond to that type of restriction by slowing the metabolism and storing more body fat, not what you want when trying to lose weight.
How many calories are enough and how often should you eat, that is a good question and one many have tried to answer. Unfortunately, there is no magic number as it isn’t an exact science but you can get close. Using the Harris-Benedict principle, you can assess your basal metabolic rate using a mathmatical formula -- also known as your BMR. Click here for an automated calculator which shows not only how many calories to maintain but also to lose weight. If you are undereating and want to see for yourself don’t be scared away as you will put a little weight on at first while your body adjusts to the extra calories. This is due to the body running a slow metabolism if you have been undereating, your metabolism will speed up once your body discovers you will be eating more daily. Also, try to eat every three to four hours to keep the metabolism burning hot, the middle meal doesn’t have to be huge but should be both a carbohydrate and protein, of course when choosing foods always try for things with little additives and no hidden sugars or bad fats.
Not only is proper nutrition important but so is exercise and fitness. Cardiovascular exercise does a great job at burning calories and building a strong heart and lungs. I would also recommend weight training for building solid muscle and strengthening your bones and core. I exercise for about 30 minutes each day and feel great doing it. I will admit there are days that take a little more convincing than others to get moving but I know how good it makes me feel and that motivates me.
The other most asked question is in regards to night eating and how to avoid it. That really strikes a cord with me as it is something that I am always working on myself. The things I tend to crave at night are chocolate or something that crunches.
These are the things that work well for me:
• Drink water as food cravings can be brought on my dehydration.
• Brush and floss my teeth.
• Chew minty gum.
• Remind myself that to lose a pound I need to burn 3500 more calories a week than I consume. That is 500 calories a day so I ask myself is the piece of chocolate worth the disappointment on the scale.
• Go for a walk with the dog, not only am I not eating but instead I am moving and burning.
• Log my nutrition to see where I am for the day and if more food is needed to hit my goal.
• I have certain triggers that make me think of snack foods, I either avoid these triggers or slowly rewire my thinking to not eat while; watching TV or while on the computer.

Habits can be broken over time and you can relearn new and improved habits as well.  Good luck to you and let me know if I can help you be the person you desire to be.  I believe we all have the ability to be fit and healthy, all it takes is desire, ownership and dedication.

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