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The Real Deal Diet

 

It is after the holidays and we have made the New Year’s resolution to lose the weight and get back into the gym. We are all swayed by the fabulous gym discounts around this time of year, and we make a promise to ourselves to take advantage of it. However, we run into the problem of losing weight and keeping it off. Fad diets may work for some people, but they are temporary and will more than likely make us gain the weight back. We have to find a diet that is tailored to our personality, yet at the same time contains a healthy approach.

High-protein diets, low-fat diets, no-carb diets, all-vegetable diets — with all the focus on diets how do you figure out what’s healthy and what isn’t? Whatever the reason may be for dieting, we need to make sure it’s done healthily. A healthy diet should contain all the main food groups: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and dairy. Each food group is essential for the production of energy. Without it, there could be some serious consequences.

Protein is considered to be the building block of life because it helps the body to build and maintain itself. It also aids in building muscle, which is a usual goal for someone who is losing weight. The recommended intake for protein is 2-3 servings a day.

Fats can have a misconception because they can contribute to weight gain due to the saturated and trans fats. However, there are healthy fats, which are needed for energy and in the absorption of vitamins. A diet low in saturated and trans fat is beneficial because fats will lead to cholesterol and possible heart problems. We should consume foods that contain the unsaturated fat as well as fatty acids. Dairy is also a great source of protein; some dairy products do have the good fats. Today, more dairy products contain probiotics, which help digestion.

Carbohydrates are essential because not only do they provide energy, but also they contain a vast amount of vitamins and minerals. Complex carbohydrates are best because of the fiber, vitamins and protein within it. They also do not turn directly into sugar once digested, where simple carbohydrates do. Also, a diet higher in fruits and vegetables will stray us away from wanting to eat foods higher in sugar and calories.

How can we make this work? It’s all about portion control. The more we eat, the more likely we are to gain. A good way to start learning about portions is to follow the serving size, which is recommended on the nutrition labels. Everyday objects can be used to help visualize a serving size. A regular piece of fruit is equivalent to the size of a baseball, and a person should be getting two to three servings of fruit a day. As for carbohydrates, a ½ cup of pasta is similar to the size of the palm of your hand, and it is appropriate to have six to11 servings a day. For meat, the normal serving size is three ounces, which is the size of a fist. A daily intake of meat is also two to three servings. Lastly, a ½ cup of vegetables is the same size as a light bulb. So as a population, we are definitely overeating. During meals, it is helpful to follow the MyPlate standards, which show portions of each food group on a plate.

Not only is it important to eat healthy, but also it is essential that we get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. During the first 20 minutes of any exercise, the body will only burn carbohydrates. After the 20 minutes, the body will use fat as energy for the duration of the exercise.  When exercise is more fun, we will enjoy working out for longer periods of time or work out more throughout the week. UREC offers all types of classes, and they are excellent calorie burners.

During the entire weight loss process, recording what we eat and the amount we exercise will motivate us to stay with it. Having a food and exercise diary will help you see the entire picture of eating and exercise. It will let you improve your daily diet.

There also needs to be personal accountability for the amount that is consumed. This is where it is important not to cheat and pretend we had the healthier portion. By cheating on diet entries, we are really cheating ourselves. Use simple paper and pen or download a calorie counter app.

Remember, a fad diet is only temporary and will limit the body from receiving essential nutrients. A healthy diet will allow us to have more control over what we eat and we can also sneak in our favorite foods at times too. So, take advantage of UREC and the salad bar at D-Hall.

 

1.     USDA. Super Tracker. Choose MyPlate.gov. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. Accessed January 7, 2013.

2.     Krassue. Keeping Food Diary Doubles Weight Loss. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Fitness/story?id=5327486&page=1#.UOtpPRyyM20. Accessed January 7, 2013.

3.     Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Serving Sizes: Approximations to common items. http://web.mit.edu/athletics/sportsmedicine/wcrservings.html. Accessed January 7, 2013. 

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