Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Your Food Plan

Alright, get ready to take some notes, because this is what will make or break your health and fitness goals. Good nutrition is essential for good health. It ensures the body gets all the vital nutrients it needs to function. The four basic nutrients include: Water, Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.

Now, let's get something straightened out here- You NEED all of these. Going on a low carb or low fat diet is not going to help you any. You need to learn how to balance all of these important nutrients into your daily diet.

Water, as we already discussed is essential. I already told you, and I don't want to explain it again, you need water. So drink it. LOTS of it!

Carbohydrates or Carbs as you Atkins enthusiasts like to refer to them as, supply the body with energy so it can function properly. That being said, it doesn't really make sense to go on a low or no car diet does it? But, you must be wise in choosing your carbohydrates. Carbs are divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrated are sometimes referred to as simple sugars because they are composed mainly of sugars from fruits and from lactose (milk). Complex carbs include fiber and starches- ie. vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc..
Stay away from refined and processed foods such as sodas, sugary foods and such. Opt for whole grain foods whenever possible. Check the label! If whole wheat isn't the first ingredient on the list, then it is not 100% whole wheat! And STOP eating white bread!!! You are going to die a most certain death, and you will certainly not lose weight.

Protein is essential for growth and development. It is important in nearly every bodily function, so in other words- you need to eat it. Protein is broken down into amino acids by the body, which all serve their own individual and synergystic purpose. More on these later. Proteins include lean meats such as turkey, chicken, fish, roast beef, cheese, eggs, nuts, yogurt, tofu, beans, etc..

Fats. Erase anything and everything you have ever heard about eating fats. You need fats. You need them for a healthy heart and brain, and you certainly need them to lose weight. Understand though, that fats must be consumed in moderation. There are also different kinds of fats that you need to know to look for. One to be wary of is trans fats. Watch for these in nearly all processed or man made foods. They aren't necessarily required to be put on food labels, but keep in mind that they are out there. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, natural peanut butter, almost any unsalted nuts.

Now- to the diet plan. You will eat. And you will eat a lot. It may be more than what you are accustomed to eating on a daily basis, but rest assured that a constant supply of healthy foods will give your body the energy it needs and the ability to kick your metabolism into high gear.

You will eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. What?! You say..that's crazy talk! Forget the HUGE breakfast, HUGE lunch, and HUGE dinner routine you are used to. Smaller mini-meals spread throughout the day will spread your energy throughout the day as well, keeping you less likely to get hungry and binge on some junk food later. Makes sense right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kelp- the weight loss wonder!!!

I just recently bought a bottle of Kelp from a local health store. It's hard to believe that it has taken me this long to break down and buy a bottle, considering the numerous health benefits. Many people know of Kelp supplements for their Iodine content, which helps to regulate the thyroid gland. If your thyroid is not working properly(underactive), it can lead to weight gain, moodiness, cold hands and feet, tiredness all the time, etc.. This can be a pretty big contributor to why a lot of people gain weight. It is a great source of minerals and vitamins, especially B vitamins which are associated with energy and metabolism. It's good for brain health, hair loss, obesity, ulcers, and the list goes on.

Hypothyroidism is caused by an underproduction of thyroid hormones. The main purpose of thyroid hormone is to run the body's metabolism. This condition is more common than you may think. In fact, more than 5 million Americans suffer from it, and about 10% of all women have some degree of hypothyroidism. Symptoms include-
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Dry, rough pale skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance (can't tolerate the cold like those around you)
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido
Of course, if you suspect you have an underactive thyroid, it is recommended that you get tested by a physician to know for sure. For a quick self test, take your temperature immediately upon waking every morning for a week. Be sure to do it right away before you move around and be still and quiet, so you get an accurate reading. If your temperature is consistently below 97.6 degrees you may have thyroid issues. My temperature generally tends to be 94-95 degrees when I don't use natural supplements to help keep it in check.

Regardless of whether or not you have an actual thyroid problem, I would still recommend trying a Kelp supplement. It will help correct any mineral deficiencies in the body and ensure that your metabolism keeps running smoothly! They are usually pretty cheap, you can get them for about $3 at most health stores, so it's a pretty cheap "weight loss pill".

So as far as that magic pill that'll give you more energy and help you lose weight, Kelp would be up there in the rankings for effectiveness.

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