Creating Your Own Diet

j02937021The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

It’s important to realize that no matter what anyone says body image means a lot and your appearance can make or break your ambitions in life. Yet we do not understand our bodies, especially when it comes to losing body fat.

Now I use the term diet, but what I really mean is LIFESTYLE adjustment, because that is what dieting is, a lifestyle adjustment. If a dieter stops dieting and allows excess calories to enter the bloodstream, those ever present and pesky fat cells will grab and take what is theirs. They have the desire to return to their higher ‘set point’. The bottom line is you can’t lose weight permanently by dieting temporarily.

To become lean and stay lean you must follow your lifestyle change day after day, month after month and year after year. The problem with most people, who want to lose weight, is they want to lose the maximum amount of body fat in the minimum amount of time or simply put by crash dieting. Crash dieting leads to starvation which when you stop ends up making you fatter then you were before you started to diet.

One of the other problems with crash dieting is they ingest insufficient amounts of fatty acids, as well as vitamins and trace minerals. Crash dieters will also sometimes use diuretics and laxatives. This ends up depleting them of potassium, which can have severe repercussions like cardiac problems. Crash dieters are also obsessive in their avoidance of salt, and salt is very important to your diet. Crash dieters also lower their carbohydrate

Intake, or cut it out completely. This can lead to a state known as ketosis.

When you create a state of ketosis, you will experience a noticeable loss in overall body weight (mostly water) and your appetite will become diminished. The body needs a minimum of 60 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis to operate. The nervous system for example depends entirely on carbohydrate energy in the form of glycogen. When glycogen is not available, the nervous system including the brain must go to an alternate source of energy. The alternate source is ketone bodies, which are unburned fragments of a longer chain of fat molecules.

The body needs carbs to burn fat and if the carbs are unavailable, fat in incompletely burned, creating ketone bodies. The body then begins to metabolize more and more amino acids (protein) to obtain the needed energy. This cannibalizing of your lean body tissue not only effects your skeletal muscle but other protein structures as well including your heart.

In a state of ketosis, you’ll also have severely reduced energy because the nervous system doesn’t function as well on ketone bodies as it does on glycogen. As well as less energy you’ll also become extremely irritable, have trouble sleeping and your attention span will shorten and you’ll become forgetful. Generally not a good state to be in.

How you think and feel about food will ultimately shape your eating style. You should try to understand that one of the most primitive desires when it comes to food is hunger. Hunger can be defined as a craving or urgent need for food, and inborn instinct, while appetite on the other hand is a learned response to food.

There are many learned responses to food like T.V. commercials and the smell of fresh baked goods, but there is only one signal that indicates hunger and that is the little pain you get in your empty stomach that tells you it’s time to eat.

Researchers now believe the cause of hunger is a certain chemical in the brain called NEUROPETIDE (NPY). In recent laboratory experiments animals that have NPY present in a critical area of their brain, will eat no matter how much it has already eaten or when it last eat. When NPY is not present in sufficient amounts, the animals simply will not eat. The discovery of NPY sheds new light on the complexities of obesity and eating disorders. Also when the animals where injected with NPY they chose to eat carbohydrates instead of fat or protein. This gives researchers some clue about what will best satisfy hunger (the hunger brought on by NPY) and that is carbohydrates like pasta, potatoes, breads and fruit. This carb fix will reduce NPY activity and satisfy your craving.

Now that your cravings are taken care of you should try to understand and become more aware of your eating behavior.

Ask yourself if you eat more when you’re bored, socially pressured, depressed, anxious, tired or angry. To avoid some of these eating pitfalls try some of these helpful tips; before eating anything ask yourself if you really want it learn to say ‘no’ do something to distract yourself go for a brisk walk do not think about what you’re giving up to lose weight but what you’re gaining do not let occasional setbacks weaken your commitment to lose weight.

You must take responsibility for your own behavior, because only you can help yourself lose weight. Most diets fail because they try for a low calorie intake or their weight loss goals are unrealistic. You cannot safely lose 30 pounds in 30 days and keep it off. The bottom line is you have to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight.

You should also know that your brain is a hungry tissue and although it only makes up two percent of your body weight it can use up to 30 percent of your daily calorie consumption. It also wants these calories in the form of carbohydrates, so hopefully you can see how important it is to have breakfast and never skip a meal, so that you don’t deprive your brain of an essential nutrient. It will also keep your brain process information more quickly and stop you from feeling like you’re in a fog. Another important brain nutrient is iron, which helps to carry oxygen to your tissues. A lack of iron could result in fatigue, memory loss, lack of motivation and poor concentration.

So how many calories do you need to consume? Well, one simple method says you take your body weight and multiply it by 10. This will give you the number of calories you need to maintain your present weight. For example a 170 lb. Male would need about 1,700 kcal a day while a 130 lb. female would need 1,300 kcal. a day. In my opinion this system is too simple and 1,300 kcal. a day is dangerously low.

Another method is to take the weight you want to be and for men multiply that figure by 21 and for women 18. Then depending on your activity level multiply by 25 percent. For example a 170 lb. male wants to be 160 lbs. so 160lbs. x 21 = 3,360 kcal. Now depending on his activity level 25% of 3,360 = 880kcal. Those kcal. will either be subtracted or added from his daily allowance. This method once again is too simple. It doesn’t take into account men and women are different and women need fewer kcal. then men because they have less muscle mass.

The amount of energy required to keep the body functioning is influenced not only by sex, but also by body composition, size and age. That’s why I like the formula in ‘GET FIT, STAY FIT’ the best. It takes all of these factors into account and gives you an easy to follow formula to figure out your daily calorie needs. Once you know what your daily calorie needs is, you can then begin to set up your daily meal plan.

Let’s say for example that figure is 1,800 kcal. per day.

Now divide that figure by the number of meals you will eat during the day, and remember smaller more frequent meals are better say between 4 and 6. Now the per meal calorie intake should be between 300 and 450 kcal. Get used to eating this amount and any calorie reduction should come from exercise during the first couple of weeks.

Larger people should stick to low impact aerobics like cycling or stepping. If you haven’t trained aerobically before you should start slowly and do not worry about your pace. Try to finish about 15 minutes of easy training four times a week and over the next one or two months work up to about 45 minutes a session, and be sure to train in your target training zone. (Target training zone is explained in greater detail in the book ‘Get Fit, Stay Fit)

When setting up your meal plan, another factor should be your food groups and how much of what. The American Heart association recommends that 30% of all calories should come from fat. This to me is to high and I feel it’s do to the fact almost 40% of fat is already consumed in most diets. So it’s easier to cut to 30%, but if you really want to get results a goal of 15% of total calories from fat is obtainable. The use of a food guide is very helpful in planning your daily calories and after a short time the numbers will become second nature. The book ‘GET FIT, STAT FIT’ also has an excellent comprehensive food guide.

You should also get used to reading food labels and understanding their contents, especially fat content. A food product may claim it contains only three grams of fat per serving. At first glance this looks appealing until you look further. A serving of this food contains 80kcal. If you do the math you’ll soon see that 33% of the servings calories are fat. If you are striving for 15% of your total daily calories from fat, you should try to avoid these foods.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !