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- EAT MORE OFTEN TO WEIGH LESS
Notice, we said “eat more often,” not “eat more food.” That’s an important distinction because calories still count. You want to eat smaller meals, but more of them. This principle may sound counterintuitive, but it works brilliantly because it allows you to take optimal advantage of your body’s most significant calorie-burning mechanisms: the thermic effect of eating and your basal metabolism. Your basal metabolism, also called your resting metabolism, reflects the calories that your body burns just through the normal course of living, even when you are plopped in front of the TV set, sleeping, or stuck in traffic. It’s the total calories it takes to keep your heart pumping, your brain daydreaming, and your lungs bellowing, and it makes up as much as 80 percent of your daily calorie burn.
Digesting food takes energy, too, up to 30 percent of your calories depending upon what you consume. That’s because proteins require more energy to digest that do either fats or carbohydrates. If you think about it, the thermic effect of eating and your basal metabolism make up the vast majority of your body’s calorie-burning capabilities, while exercising, walking to the refrigerator, and moving the sofa incinerate relatively few calories by comparison. By eating smaller meals more often during the day—at least four and as many as six to eight—you keep both mechanisms revving high.
Skipping meals throttles down your metabolism, reducing the effectiveness of the resting/digesting calories burn. What’s more, a stomach that’s empty has an uncanny ability to make you ravenous, triggering your brain to send you hunting for the nearest food source—a box of Little Debbies?—or encourage you to overeat at lunch. Here’s what a six-meal eating schedule might look like.
2. EAT BREAKFAST EVERYDAY
After 8 to 12 hours without food, your body needs to refuel. Skip breakfast, and you may reduce your metabolic rate by up to 10 percent, says sports nutritionist Leslie Bonci, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Within a half-hour of waking up, have a breakfast of high-quality protein along with plenty of slow-digesting carbohydrates. Because your carbohydrate resources are low after an overnight fast, this is the time to refuel your tank. Plus, it’s best to eat the bulk of your carbs early in the day so you have plenty of time to burn them. Just be sure that your carbohydrates for breakfast your biggest meal of the day, making dinner your smallest main meal of the day. We Americans are culturally conditioned to eat a big dinner, but that works against us. Eating too much at supper time can ignite your appetite and trigger uncontrollable hunger later on, causing you to overeat late at night.
3. DRINK 12 CUPS OF WATER PER DAY (THIS IS UPTO YOUR BODY)
Does that sound like a lot? Not when you consider that the 12 cups include water you get from food and the other non-alcoholic liquids you consume during the day. Don’t bother counting. Better to simply get into a routine: Drink a glass of water when you wake up, have liquids with breakfast and a glass of water with each subsequent meal and snack, plus one in between meals, and make sure you drink before, during and after exercise. That kind of routine will keep you well-hydrated and deliver the benefits of this key to good health, which include:
WEIGHT LOSS: Water replaces high-calorie drinks, sugar sodas, and fruit juices, and fills you up. Often, thirst signals are mistaken for hunger pangs.
BETTER HEART HEALTH: A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology that people who drank at least five glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die of a heart attack than those who drank two or fewer.
A CLEAR HEAD: Headache and fatigue are often triggered by dehydration.
EXERCISE ENDURANCE AND PERFORMANCE: Studies show that losing just 1 to 2 percent of your body weight in sweat can significantly affect your energy levels, reaction time, and athletic performance.
4. AVIOD PROCESSED FOODS
Baked goods, microwave oven meals, canned pastas, cured meats, and other processed foods are full of salt and other flavor enhancers, chemical preservatives, and refined sugars such as highfructose corn syrup and refined flour, which can spike your blood sugar. Plus, they are typically very high in calories and may contain dangerous trans fats.
5. GET MORE FIBER AND PROTEIN
Foods high in fiber help usher cholesterol out of your body, and they slow down digestion, which keeps your blood sugar levels stable. Nutritionists recommend 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day, yet the average American is lucky if he gets half that amount. Fiber-rich foods are typically whole fruits, beans and legumes, vegetables and wholegrains. Also, try to have some protein with every meal and snack. “People need to understand that they must get adequate protein for bone health and muscle maintenance,” says Bonci, a sports nutritionist for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins, Pirates and the Universitys of Pittsburgh’s athletic department. Women need 60 to 70 grams a day; men need a minimum of 80 grams a day. “Protein promotes satiety and keeps blood glucose stable so you’ll feel more energetic during the day.”
6. CONTROL YOUR PORTIONS
This is your most effective way of reducing calories and losing weight because you control what you put into your mouth. Unfortunately, we tend to eat what we are given at restaurants and have a penchant for cleaning our plates. “People use forks with tines long enough to take out their tonsils,” says Bonci. “We use 16-ounce glasses for orange juice when a serving size a just 6 ounces, and pour our morning cereal into soup bowls. You can control portions just by using smaller plates and glasses.” Restaurants are the biggest violators of portion distortion. Thanks to super-sized entrees, we no longer understand what constitutes a proper serving size or realize how many calories foods contain. Consider the typical fast-food meal of a double cheeseburger, fries, large soda, and apple pie that packs upwards of 2,200 calories, roughly the amount of energy a 190-pound man would burn by running 15 miles. Knowing how many calories you need to eat each day can help improve your food awareness. To estimate how many calories, you need to consume in order to maintain your weight, you need to do a little math using a formula called the Harris Benedict Equation to assess your BMR or basal metabolic rate.
Your basal metabolism, as you know, is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day—the calories used for essential bodily functioning.
5 Reasons Most Diets Don’t Work
Almost every failed attempt can be traced back to a handful of mistake that sabotaged good intentions. Here they are. Don’t fall for these traps.
1.YOU STARVE YOURSELF
Puritanical sacrifice may make you feel better temporarily, but it won’t do anything for your weight-loss efforts. Cutting too many calories, especially the ones you get from protein, shifts your body into starvations mode, and it will conserve calories rather than burn them. Also, diets of food denial tend to make your body cannibalize muscle for fuel. That’s not what you want. In fact, it’s counterproductive. More muscle means a faster metabolism and less body fat. Make sure you’re getting at least 1,800 calories from a wide variety of foods and you’re not cutting out protein.
2. YOU EAT TOO FAST
The dash out the door in the morning with bagel in hand and the half-hour speed lunch don’t allow your brain any say in the matter of satiety. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for full-belly signals to reach the appetite center of your brain. If you speed-eat, you’ll still feel hungry even though you’ve eaten enough—and tend to head back for seconds or thirds. Try to slow things down. Develop the habit of putting your fork down between bites or taking a sip of water after you chew and swallow. Talk to your spouse at dinner—hey, there’s a concept! Anything you can do to prolong the meal will help you listen to your body’s messages that you are satisfied with what you’ve eaten.
3. YOU DON’T LIKE TO COOK
Eating healthy at restaurants is very difficult. So, if you’re not a fan of home cooking, you’ve got problems. Restaurant portions are always too large, and you have little control over the ingredients used. One study found that people consume 500 more calories per day when they eat at restaurants compared with when they prepare their own meals at home. And those calories add up. Learning to like cooking, and becoming adept with knives, measuring cups, and saucepans, will give you a huge advantage in your quest to get fit. So, belly up to the stove (that’s the large piece of equipment in your house underneath your popcorn maker, i.e., microwave oven).
5. YOU REWARD YOURSELF DISPROPORTIONATELY
A funny thing happens when you start exercising again and drop a few pounds. You feel pretty damn proud of yourself and believe you are worthy of a meat lover’s pizza reward with a pitcher of beer. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we humans tend to overestimate the number of calories we burn through exercise. Studies have shown that often people who start to exercise regularly will still gain weight because they scarf more calories than they burn off. The best way to keep from negating your workouts with overeating is to get religious about portion size and avoid high-calorie foods and drinks.
This Article is taken from Your Best Body at 40+
Written by Arshad. A
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