Body Transformation Series, Part 2 of 7
If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert telling you a certain food is good, you’ll find others saying exactly the opposite. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about having more energy, improving your outlook, feeling great and stabilizing your mood. We tend to think of “healthy eating” as some sort of deprivation or consequence of choosing to be fit over having a good time. But the truth is, developing an understanding of simple nutrition is actually quite easy. It’s the implementation part that is hard. As we work longer hours, we have less time to select and prepare food, leading to an increased reliance on fast food, ordering in and eating out – a loss of control over the of quantity and quality of the food we eat, including its preparation. Consequently, we eat more calories, sugar, salt, saturated and hydrogenated fat, running the risk of being shortchanged in other areas of nutrition. The convergence of these realities makes sound nutrition more important than ever. Understanding the pleasures and benefits of a healthy diet offers much satisfaction and even greater rewards, particularly if you are working towards a total body transformation. Caloric intake Caloric intake is simply the number of calories an individual consumes on a daily basis. To lose weight, you have to reduce the number of calories you consume below your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). The average RMR of an individual engaged in normal, daily activity (walking around the office, chores around the house, getting the mail, etc.) ranges from 1800-3000 kcal a day. Much depends, of course, on the amount of physical activity you get, gender, age, body size, height, lifestyle and overall general health, and it’s different for everyone. According to the U.S Department of Health, the average adult male requires about 2,700 calories a day to maintain his weight, while the average female needs only 2,200 calories. Just to stay alive, we obviously need far less, but our bodies will function poorly if we consume too few. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to consume too few calories, especially if you expect results from training. Your body must be properly nourished. To lose 1 pound, or 0.5kg per week, you will need to shave 500 calories from your daily menu. Try to lower your caloric intake gradually, and not less than 1,000 calories per day below RMR. Use the chart below to find your RMR. Estimated RMR RMR = 10 * weight (kg) + 6.25 * height (cm) – 5 * age(y) + 5 (man) RMR = 10 * weight (kg) + 6.25 * height (cm) – 5 * age(y) – 161 (woman) Think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients. Food Choice If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert telling you a certain food is good, you’ll find others saying exactly the opposite. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about having more energy, improving your outlook, feeling great and stabilizing your mood. You can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty, varied and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body using these easy tips to transform daily eating habits. Ask yourself these 3 humble questions and the answers will guide you into your next snack or meal. 1) Am I even hungry? It is the first question you should ask yourself before putting anything into your mouth. If you aren’t hungry but are feeling like its time to eat, you may be thirsty. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices. 2) Is it the best option? Given an option between chips and a diet soda or fresh fruit, string cheese and water, what would be the best choice? When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing trans-fats with healthy fats (switching fried chicken for grilled fish) will make a positive difference. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients. 3) How much will I need to satisfy my hunger? When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, or split a dish with a friend. Visual cues can help with portion sizes–a serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards. Enjoy ½ a cup of potato, rice, or pasta – it’s about the size of a light bulb. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy green vegetables or fresh fruit.
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