Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Understand these simple nutrition principles to help achieve and maintain your ideal weight.

Most people approach nutrition and dieting with unbelievable will power and determination. But unfortunately, will power will only last so long then biology and physiology takes over. Here’s an analogy – Try holding your breath under water for as long as you can. No matter how much you want to stay underwater, eventually biology kicks in and you have to come up for air. The same holds true with dieting. If you’re eating in a manner that stimulates your appetite, eventually, you are going to give in to the cravings regardless of how bad you don’t want to. So by understanding and adhering to the following nutrition tips you will approach nutrition and fat loss in a more educated fashion. You are going to outsmart your system!

Do you remember this physics principle? Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; only transformed from one form to another. So energy coming into our bodies through food or drink must be transformed into another form of energy – either the energy to produce movement or stored energy (body fat) for later use.

Consider the following Weight Loss/Gain/Maintenance Equation:

Weight Lost: Calories In < Calories Out
Weight Gained: Calories In > Calories Out
Weight Maintained: Calories In = Calories Out

You can’t change this equation. But it’s important to understand all the variables that control each part of the equation.

What Controls Calories In?
Eating and Drinking provides you with calories in. You’ve probably heard that a calorie is a calorie. And although this is true, some calories that you consume can actually stimulate your appetite causing you to eat more. Or some foods are so dense in calories but provide such little volume that when you eat them, even though you’ve consumed a great deal of calories, you’re still hungry. And some food make you tired and less likely to want to move your body and less able to perform at your best. If your goal is fat loss or weight management, the best foods to eat are nutrient-rich foods that are lower in calories, fill you up and suppress your appetite. If your goal is to improve your energy levels and perform at your best, the best foods to eat are also nutrient-rich foods.

What Controls Calories Out?
You either expend calories by using them, storing them for later use or excreting them as waste

We use calories through:
*BMR: Basal Resting Metabolism – the amount of calories we expend at rest just to exist as human beings. BMR can be raised (This is what we want): eating, exercise, muscle mass (1lb of muscle expends 40 calories/day. BMR can also be lowered (This is what we don’t want): skipping meals, starving, resting
*NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis - Spontaneous Activity
*Excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC) – The extra energy we burn after a workout is done
*Food Thermogenesis – The energy expended to digest food; the cost of digesting foods differ

The bad news is that it’s a lot easier to put the calories in than it is to take the calories out. Think of it this way. How long does it take to burn 1000 calories? About 90 minutes of exercise or 10 miles of running! How long does it take to consume 1000 calories? In about 5-10 minutes! So nutrition is at least half the battle in terms of losing body fat or maintaining your ideal physique.

There is no trick to eating well. It is the stuff we have all heard before. Drink lots of water. Consume your required intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grain products. Minimize fat, alcohol and sugar intake. But there seems to be a gap between knowing what to do and actually adhering to these simple guidelines. There is no special grapefruit, cabbage, Low-protein or High-protein diet or pill that will get you the results you want quickly. And knowledge alone is not power! We all know what we have to do! It is finding the motivation and inspiration to make and adhere to very small changes in our nutrition plan that will facilitate success. Finding the motivation to stick to a healthy nutrition plan day-in-day-out is all it takes. Here's the good news - you don't have to starve yourself and you don't have to limit your diet to carrots and broccoli.

With nutrition, the very small changes to your eating habits will often bring about big differences. The new habits just need to be consistent on a long-term basis. Perhaps start with one area at a time. Once you have that habit mastered, tackle the next nutrition goal. One step at a time and soon your diet will provide you with all the nutrients necessary to achieve optimum health.

Over my next series of blogs, I'm going to provide you with some easy nutrition tips and guide you through designing your own nutrition program. It is necessary for you to design a program that you realistically believe that you could follow for a life-time. Remember, I do not believe in any quick fixes. We're talking about a life-long effort.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

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