Sunday, January 10, 2010

What I tell people just starting and looking for advice

When first starting out on the road to good health and  trying to figure out your nutrition it is helpful to log what you eat and drink. Counting calories is a great way to get a better idea about your daily intake.  I have always gone back to calorie counting whenever I needed to lose, for me this has been very successful.  There are a lot of free programs that are easy to use with easy to navigate menu's that do the job for you like and has indepth reporting is quick and easy to use with only a few windows to learn.  Sparkpeople has workout plans and videos plus has excellent learning tools & support groups that are very active.   Support groups are a very important during the process of changing habits and weight loss.   Sharing experiences with others working toward the same goal and helping each work through times of doubt can make a huge difference; you are not alone in your journey.

I can give you a few things to work on now but not being familiar with your eating style I can't be more specific. Sorry if that makes these tips seem random or don't apply.. So with that said here I go.. 

1. Soda, juice and alcohol go against weight loss due to the way your body processes the processed sugars and the signals sent to the brain. Both soda and alcohol interfere with metabolism, alcohol sugar interferes with nutrient absorption in the gut. Replace it with water, tea and a small amount of coffee (if needed). (a little lemon in the water is a nice change, many people swear by lukewarm lemon water first thing in the morning for weight loss)

2. Keep well hydrated. When our body is dehydrated the brain doesn't always send cravings to drink; signals will get mixed so instead the signal will be hunger.

3. Try to increase the amount of fiber in your diet; fiber fills you up and it also attaches itself to some fat grams that will then just pass through your system. Great for digestion..

4. Say no to processed foods whenever you can as they are not engineered with human health in mind. Processed foods are loaded with sugar, fat and salt; in various combinations for palatability and to increase sales for the company. Food company do research into human behavior for marketing and for creating food combos to entice increased usage of their product. 

5. With each meal (logging your foods makes this a breeze) try to get a good balance of macronutrients; carbohydrates, proteins and fats, when you do that your metabolism burns the best. I keep my macronutrients at 40/30/30 (percent); which works well for me and for many people, those percentages can be adjusted. This is where a computer tracker is helpful, there are apps for that too.

6. Carbohydrate sources are important as well. This topic has a lot of twists and turns, it can be confusing, I will touch on a few of many aspect on this topic.
  • I mentioned in tip one to eliminate processed sugar and alcohol carbs., I can't stress the importance of this enough.
  • Vegetable carbs, excluding white potatoes/corn, are free carbs in a sense that you can have as much as you want as they are low in calorie high in fiber. (raw or cooked but without dressing, sauces or dips)  Fresh vegetable tend to have a low calorie content with a lot of fiber.   If you must have dressing try: oil & vinegar, pinch of salt, pepper & herbs, this is better than you remember and will be fresh too.   (Use oil/vinegar dressing in moderation) 
  • Fruit is also a carbohydrate, eating the whole fruit is very important; processed fruit in the form of juice removes the healthy benefits only to leave the fruit sugar.  The recommended amount per person is 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit a day.  One half cup of dried fruit equals one cup of fresh.  The USDA includes juice in their pyramid but for weight loss I would not recommend it due to the high sugar content. 
  • Breads, crackers and flour products will also hamper weight loss and digestion so they should be limited.  Look at the labels and purchase breads with whole grains and few preservatives.  Remember, bread is made up of flour, water, sugar, fat, little salt, and yeast; if you can't pronounce it or understand it you shouldn't eat it.  Once you find a good wholesome bread you will wonder why you bothered to eat that gut binding processed stuff before. 

7.  I almost forgot fried foods, I always advise to avoid them all together.  The added oil, salt and sugar will not help you to reach your goal at all and certainly will not benefit your health..

These are a few good ways to adjust your intake to get the scale moving in the right direction.  I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with information but also wanted to be as helpful as possible. I certainly could go on with more detail, if you want to know more or have more questions feel free to ask.. Try not to think of it as a diet but instead a way to feed your body to get healthy into your future. I focused on nutrition with this post, exercise is important and if you are trully looking to get healthy and lose weight you should work towards at least 30 minutes of activity each day.  

1 comment:

Trainer T.s Fitness said...

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