Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dieting and Progress

I have been on a superfitnessandhealth kick since I started Boot Camp at the end of April. I feel like I have always been interested in nutrition (some of what I know, I chose to ignore) and less about fitness but I realized that the things that I DO know aren't rocket science and so I have decided to share some of my health and fitness tips with you. This is really motivated by Daniel, my Boot Camp Sergeant, and also a fellow Boot Camper's blog site, "Everyday Athlete" at right. Check it out.

As a form of credibility- I was measured yesterday and I lost 1% of my body fat since the beginning of June! I also lost 5 pounds, 1 1/4" in my waist, 1/4" in my arms, 3/4" in my legs and 1/4" in my chest. Also keep in mind that I have lost 30 pounds since 2003.... and I'm vegetarian, uhhh... pescatarian.

Nicole's Top 10 Tips for Eating RIGHT

1. EAT 5-6 SMALL MEALS (or "snacks") PER DAY. You should eat "just enough" food- don’t ever gorge yourself!! You should never feel full! I like to think of this overeating as "stretching your stomach out" so that you can eat more and more and more- while your body's metabolism stays the same.... YOU do the math! I still have issues with this- I was always taught to clean my plate which is SUCH a bad habit, especially as much as I have eaten out! When you eat less, your body processes food more efficiently because it has less to process AND your stomach shrinks to its natural size so that you are full on less food.

Here is a sample day*, approved by my Boot Camp Sergeant:
At wake up: drink a full glass of water- this helps to flush out toxins.
Breakfast: 1/4 C. uncooked oatmeal (cooked according to directions) and a serving of fruit.
Mid-Morning snack: a handful of almonds and a serving of fruit
Lunch: a large salad w/ 3-4 oz. of protein. Use a small amount of light dressing or vinegar/oil.
Afternoon snack: 3/4 C. cottage cheese and a serving of fruit
Dinner: 3/4 C. quinoa or brown rice with 3-4 oz. of protein and steamed or baked veggies.
After-dinner snack: an apple with some almond butter or a protein shake

*Anytime you workout, eat something EASILY DIGESTIBLE right away- like a (hard-boiled) egg and some fruit or a protein shake.

2. STAY AWAY FROM REFINED SUGAR AND ANYTHING WHITE (bread, rice, pasta.) Instead of oatmeal packets, eat regular steel-cut or Irish Quick-Cooking oatmeal- the only ingredient in your oatmeal should be OATS. Most foods that are processed have sugar (in some form) in them and companies disguise the ingredient "sugar" by calling it all kinds of different things: corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, glucose, dextrose, maltodextrin, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, sucrose (there are more than 100 different sucrose substances), high-fructose corn syrup, maltitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. Anything ending in "-itol" and "-ose" means SUGAR! I was appalled to learn that the government subsidizes corn and there was so much corn produced that farmers didn't know what to do with, so they "invented" corn syrup!! And now it's in everything!

If you really want to NOT have that afternoon "crash" at work, don't eat refined sugar!! (Natural sugars are ok, like the sugars in raw fruits, stevia and agave.) Your body comes down from your lunchtime sugar high and that is what causes the crash. Try strictly eating foods with low a Glycemic Index: http://www.glycemicindex.com/ Some people are more sensitive to GI than others.

As an alternative to pasta, a super fabulous product I have found is Shirataki noodles (I call them miracle noodles!): http://www.tofushirataki.com/
Look at this unbelievable Nutritional Info:
Calories: 20
TOTAL FAT - 0.5g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 0g
Protein - 1g

3. EAT A LOT OF FIBER. Keeps you regular! Eating fiber along with sugar (only if you must) helps your body process it!

4. DRINK A LOT OF WATER. You should drink AT LEAST half your weight (lbs.) in ounces of water each day. For example, let's say you weigh 150 lbs.- then you should drink MORE THAN 75 ounces of water daily. I believe the rule is half your weight in ounces + 10%, so 90 ounces. This is really hard to do if you don't drink a lot of water already. Hint: it's a lot easier if you exercise....

5. LOWER YOUR CARBS AND EAT MORE LEAN PROTEIN. In general, American eat waaaaay too many carbs. Think about all the regular things we eat and the carbs content: pizza, sandwiches, burgers, pasta... Zoiks! All we eat is carbs!! "Lean" protein is generally fish or chicken. A good rule to remember is, the less legs, the better- so fish, chicken, beef/pork, etc.....

6. CONQUER CRAVINGS, EAT MORE LEAN PROTEIN. This is a great site for eating good things instead: http://www.naturopathyworks.com/pages/cravings.php
I find that the days when I crave sweets are the days when I don't eat enough protein. And amazingly enough, once you ween yourself from sugar, you will find yourself NOT craving it! Not surprisingly, when I do eat sugar, I want more....

7. EAT MORE NATURAL FOODS- READ LABELS!! Processed food= bad! Generally, the fewer ingredients, the better. Apples:apples! If there's anything you can't pronounce or don't recognize on a label, it's probably bad for you in some way.

8. BALANCE CARBS, PROTEIN, FAT. 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fat. Yes, it is ok to eat fat! (And, usually products that are "fat free" or "low fat" have a LOT of sugar in them.) This does NOT mean that it is ok to eat french fries and ice cream everyday. (Refer to the Shirataki noodles nutritional info above.... MIRACLE NOODLES!!)

9. DON'T DEPRIVE YOURSELF. If you like pizza and ice cream, schedule a "cheat meal" once a week. I don't believe you should go without the things you love to eat, but don't be surprised if you follow these tips and crave all the "bad" things less and less!

10. TAKE A MULTI-VITAMIN. They can't give you perfect health, but they give you most of the vitamins and minerals that you need regardless of whether you're eating right or not. I like SuperNutrition's "Simply One Women One-per-Day" -no fillers and vegetarian. My beloved mother recommends Reliv.... (She would LOVE to talk to you about it if you want to contact me.)

This may all seem overwhelming, and it is. But we as Americans have gotten so far off track of what we SHOULD be eating that we don't even know what's what anymore. I will tell you that it took me about three years to get to this point where everything came together, makes sense and WORKS! I can't tell you how terrific I FEEL... EVERYday. I 'm not tired at work; I have so much energy and I WANT TO workout! Unbelievable!

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