Column by Kent Pegg
With warmer weather approaching, now might be a good time to think about your nutrition plan and the role it plays in your life.
Daily, I address this issue with people who are looking to change the way they eat and who want to develop a nutrition plan that helps them achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Proper nutrition, combined with an exercise program consisting of muscle strengthening, cardiovascular endurance training, and increased flexibility, will help you reach your goals and enjoy a better life.
For the most part, your calories come from three sources: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Each gram of protein or carbohydrate you consume provides you with four calories, while each gram of fat you consume provides you with nine calories.
Whether you get your calories from proteins, carbohydrates, or fats, your body utilizes the derived energy to fuel its activities.
If presented with an excess of any of these three calorie providers, it rearranges them and stores them, mostly as fat.
When this storage exceeds the requirements of your physical activity you gain weight as fat.
When you develop your nutrition plan, remember that “diets” are short-term modifications to your nutrition plan that are meant to achieve certain results.
The overall goal is to establish a plan that will become a part of your health and fitness regime for the rest of your life.
To lose weight you’ll need to address your food intake. Start by reducing your calorie intake by about ten percent.
Once you’ve accustomed yourself to this level of intake continue to reduce in 10 percent increments until you’re taking in approximately 1,500 calories per day.
Also, try to reduce the amount of fat and sugar in your diet, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables to ensure you get adequate vitamin and mineral intake. Eat smaller portions of food more often.
You’ll be surprised the difference eating five smaller meals per day rather than three large meals will make.
Incorporate two basic principles when making your daily food choices: moderation and variety.
Moderation simply means not consuming any of the calorie providers in excess.
A balanced intake where 40-50 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates and 25-30 percent of your calories come from both proteins and fats provides the moderation that works for most people and is sustainable for most lifestyles.
Variety in the foods you eat is important for several reasons. It prevents you from getting bored with your nutrition plan, it helps ensure that all the necessary mineral and vitamin requirements are met on a regular basis, and it prevents you from consuming too much of any food which may contain hidden contaminants or harmful substances.
Increasing your physical activity is a vital component in successfully reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
Burn calories and fat by walking, riding your bike, or working out on cardiovascular equipment at the gym.
And don’t forget to strength train as well.
Aside from increasing your bone density and making you stronger, this will help you preserve your lean muscle mass and maintain a healthy metabolism.
Remember that muscle helps burn calories so the more muscle the better.
So start today and develop a plan for lifelong nutrition and exercise that works for you.
Remember that the choices you make today will impact your health and happiness for the rest of your life.
- The average American adult drinks 45 gallons of soft drinks every year. That’s enough calories to equal about 20 pounds of body fat!
- Did you know that it takes more than 200 apples to equal the amount of vitamin C present in a third of a pound of broccoli?
- If you are 25 pounds overweight, you have nearly 5,000 extra miles of blood vessels through which your heart must pump blood.
Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. If you have questions about the information in this column, contact him at 662-5232.