Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Little Nutrition

As summer is approaching many of us ladies are thinking about having to wear a swimsuit. Some of you may have already adopted a new "bikini diet" in hopes that you'll like what you see in the mirror when you take that plunge. So I ask you.... is it working?

If you answered no, you're not alone. "Dieting" doesn't work and there's a reason for it. Your "diet" is suppose to mean what you eat on a daily basis... not what you do to get into a new swim suit. So really, in order to have successful weight loss you need to make exercise and healthy eating a part of your daily routine.

Most people understand exercise. The hardest part is scheduling it into your daily routine. Once you do though, and youy stop making excuses to not go for your walk or to class, it's pretty easy to stick to it.

Food, on the other hand, is harder to address. Many of us eat for many different reasons, other than our body's need for fuel. We're eating because we're tired and trying to stay awake; we're eating because we're stressed &/or depressed; we're eating because we're bored; we're eating because we feel we deserve the pint of Ben & Jerry's as a reward for dealing with a teething child all day. Whatever the reason, it's not healthy.

So how do you fix that?

Step One - realize why you're eating. Start keeping a food diary of what you eat, when & where you eat it, how you felt at the time and how you felt afterwards. Notice what patterns start to emerge. Once you see the patterns surrounding the when, where & why of your eating you'll be able to start making healthier changes.

Step Two - Don't buy the things you know are "bad" for you to be eating. I personally will snack on chips and ice cream when I'm feeling stressed, tired, pressured, etc... so I just don't "allow" those foods in my house anymore.

Step Three - Get out and exercise!!! Get your body moving at Outdoor Family Fitness classes. The more (and faster) you move the more calories you'll burn and the better you'll feel. And when you're feeling good about yourself you don't gravitate towards unhealthy foods. You'll find yourself seeking fruits and vegetables instead of chips and ice cream.

And remember, losing weight is simple addition and subtraction. If you eat more calories than your body uses during the day, you'll gain weight. To lose weight, you have to use more calories than you eat.

Step Four - Actually sit down and enjoy your food. This will help keep you from over eating because you'll be more in-tune with the signal your body sends to say it's full.

Step Five - Rethink the common 3 large meals a day. Remember when you were pregnant and your doctor recommended that you eat 5-6 small meals a day with some protein in each meal? We should ALL east like this ALL the time! The average adult female requires approximately 1500 calories per day so each small meal should be around 300 calories. So what does 300 calories look like?

1 large orange 90 calories
1 serving Safeway's Pretzel Peanut Butter Nuggets 140 calories
1 String Cheese 80 calories
TOTAL 310 calories

1 Thomas' Plain Bagel 260 calories
1 tablespoon jam or honey 60 calories
TOTAL 320 calories

Half a plain Thomas' Bagel 130 calories
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter 190 calories
TOTAL 320 calories

1 cup low fat cottage cheese 100 calories
1/2 cup almonds (plain) 150 calories
1/2 a medium sized apple 36 calories
TOTAL 286 calories

1 medium apple 72 calories
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter 190 calories
Total 262 calories

This leads us to Step Six:
Start reading your labels and measuring your food so you truly know how many calories you are eating everyday. Only when you know the truth about what you're eating can you make the necessary healthy changes to reach your weight loss (or gain) goals.

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