It seems that every time you pick up a newspaper, read a magazine or watch the news that someone is reporting a new dietary discovery. “Eat this for good heart health,” “Avoid this to keep from having cancer,” they say. Often the news is conflicting. It’s all, but impossible to know which reports to believe and which to file away as a fad at best or detrimental to your health at worst.
The truth about nutrition doesn’t lie in the latest health reports. The best way to live a healthy lifestyle is to follow the tried and true tenets of eating fresh, unprocessed foods, eating a variety of foods as illustrated by the nutrition pyramid and following your nutrition plan for the long term (years, not weeks.)
What is the nutrition pyramid?
The nutritional pyramid was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992 and illustrates the different types of food that Americans should include in their diets and the relative quantities of each type of food. The latest version of the pyramid, adopted in 2011, lists the basic food groups as meat and beans, milk and milk products, vegetables, fruits and grains.
Nutritional Tips for a healthy lifestyle
Eating a healthy diet requires a little research and a little practice to determine what works well for you and your family. Below are just a few tips to get you started:
- Limit starches and sugars. Starches and sugars are at the center of most Americans’ diets. However, too much pasta, potatoes, sweets and sodas can wreck havoc with your health. These foods are converted into glucose in your body, one of the energies that fuels the body. However, too much glucose can cause those troublesome mood swings and energy surges and valleys.
- Add fiber. Fiber, found in whole grain products, dark-green vegetables, beans and other fruits and vegetables, is essential for good digestive health.
- Stay the course. A good healthy diet requires that you follow your good eating habits for the long-term, not for just a few weeks or months. The key is to find the mix of foods your family can live with happily and stay the course.
- Be a locavore. Buying locally-grown and locally-raised fruits, vegetables and meats not only supports the local economy, but also keeps preservatives, additives and other non-nutritious elements out of your food. Buying local is also friendly to the environment since your food doesn’t have to be trucked hundreds of miles to get to your grocery store.
- Vary your proteins. Too much of any one type of protein isn’t healthy, particularly red meat. Better to alternate between beef, chicken, egg dishes and fish and seafood. Try to include a couple of vegetarian dishes (with proteins from beans, cheese and/or eggs) in your menu each week.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes practice and a commitment to success. However, with a little practice, virtually anyone can reap the rewards of eating well.
Burning fat is the ultimate goal of any weight lost program.. It gathers in your thighs, in beer bellies and stomach areas. One pound of fat is about 3555 calories and each person burns calories at a different rate. So, losing fat and weight is a two prong approach, spanning diet and exercise.
The first part of losing weight is eliminating your stores of fat by depriving your body of unnecessary fat in your diet. This means eating healthy with fresh foods, skipping heavily processed food with added fats and sugars. For coffee drinkers, this includes reducing the amount of sugars you put in your coffee. The following are some ways you can reduce the amount of fat in your diet:
- Decrease the amount of sugar you put in foods
- Eat vegetables at every meal
- Intake more protein-chicken, beans, etc—so you don’t feel hungry.
- Take your lunch to the office so that you can control what you put in the food
- Substitute ingredients in family favorites for a lower calorie version, such as putting applesauce in cakes to make it moist instead of butter
- Keep carbs for days you exercise.
- Try to eat every two to three hours to help keep energy up
- Count calories.
- Calculate the calories it took to maintain your weight and reduce your intake by 500 calories at least per day.
- Substitute spaghetti squash for pasta
- Drink water instead of sugary sodas, juices and sports drinks.
- Don’t’ eliminate all fats in your diet as your body needs them. Instead, aim to consume low amounts of healthy ones.
- An example of a healthy low fat breakfast is eggs and a cup of fruit. Dinner might be seasoned chicken with pureed cauliflower and carrots.
The second part of the fat burning equation is to move your muscles with exercise. This can be a variety of workouts that you do on a daily basis. Ideally, you should vary the workouts each day, such as rotating cardio with strength training.
- Keep a log of your workouts
- Count the calories you burn through exercise. Use this as motivation to exercise.
- Don’t expect your body to show your weight lost overnight. Give it some time. It may take a few weeks to see a visible reduction.
- If you require immediate results, get out a tape measure before you start to exercise and measure your waist, chest, thighs and arms. After two weeks of following both a healthy diet and exercising, then remeasure.
Combining the two will yield the strongest and fastest results in fat burning. Eating right gives your body the fuel it needs to let go your stores of fat. Burning fat is ultimately up to you. You can do it.
Hiring a personal trainer can be a help in staying the course with a nutrition and/or exercise program. With a personal trainer, not only are you accountable to someone to follow the plan, but a trainer can offer additional services, such as working out a weight loss or strength training program that’s geared to your individual needs and lifestyle.
Weight loss programs with a personal trainer
A personal trainer can be a big asset when you are trying to shed your unhealthy eating habits and embark on a new, healthy way of living. Just a few of the benefits of working with a personal trainer for weight loss include:
- Assessing your weight and BMI. The first thing a personal trainer will do is determine your current weight and body mass index (BMI.) Only when you know where you are right now can you work out a plan to improve your weight and lifestyle.?
- Setting goals. Once you and your trainer have determined your weight and body mass index, you can set goals together and work out how you’re going to achieve your desired weight. A trainer will keep you from setting unrealistic goals, but also keep you on task if you reach a discouraging plateau.
- Offer a tailored nutritional plan. With a personal trainer, you don’t have to adapt your lifestyle into a pre-set weight loss plan. Your trainer will create a plan that takes into account your schedule, your cooking skills and your family setting, thus improving your likelihood of success.
- Help you over hurdles. Anyone who has ever tried a weight loss plan can tell you that there are times when staying on the plan seems next to impossible. Maybe it’s a special event or maybe a life event gets in the way. A personal trainer will help to keep you on track even when it’s difficult.
Strength training with a personal trainer
Strength training can help your muscles stay toned and improve your overall health. With such a program, you won’t end up looking like a body builder, but you’ll retain your muscle mass, even as you age. Strength training is especially important for those over 50, as it helps to ward off loss of bone density and osteoporosis. Such training also promotes good heart health and good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Strength training is different from the more common aerobic exercises. Such training involves providing resistance to the muscles to encourage muscle contraction. This can be done through working with weight machines and free weights or via activities like the javelin throw, shot put or discus throw. When you work with a personal trainer, he or she sets up the program, increases the reps as you gain more strength and keeps track of your progress.
Working with a personal trainer is like having a partner in your success. Not only will he help keep you committed to your self-improvement campagin, but he will help you set a course for a healthier lifestyle to keep you fit for years to come.