No loss this week, but considering that I was on the road most of the week, no gain was good.
I still need to start planning for these on-the-road work weeks with my eating and exercising. I ate the right foods most of the time, just not in the right amounts.
Eating right (part 1 of 4) - healthy or the right foods:
We have heard that we need to eat healthy or eat the right foods; that we should stay away from some foods. But what does that mean.
Tons of diets and plans have been written about the right things to eat: low fat, no carb, balanced, not balanced, no sugar, nothing processed, all natural, etc.
When we use a little common sense, what most of us already know is to keep it simple. Eat a reasonably balanced meal that will provide the total nutrition your body needs. One expert pointed out that our bodies are made up of more than 75 trillion cells and that these cells are constantly growing, dying and re-growing. Because of this, we need to provide the proper nutrition so that this process works best.
Now almost all foods provide calories that we need to burn to keep our engines going, but many foods provide empty calories. For example, sugar from a sugar pack provides energy, but little else. The body's cells need much more to do the job they need to do. We need proteins, carbohydrates, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and water.
The right foods include:
Protein: Poultry, lean beef, fish and seafood, eggs, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, protein powder and more. These foods offer the nine essential amino acids that the body needs to build muscles and a whole lot of other good stuff. The list of protein-rich foods is large, so use variety, which will help improve your nutrition intake even more, and you won't get bored.
Carbohydrates: Let's focus on the good list - potatoes, brown rice, pasta, fruits, whole-grain breads, wraps and pitas. There are lots of good carbs, and I just try to stay away from sugars and processed items.
Essential fats: Yes, your body needs fats. The problem is that we get too much of the wrong ones and not enough good ones. Research tells us that 95 percent of Americans are deficient in the good fats, and we see this in dry skin, depressed metabolism, mood disorders, decreased energy, dizziness and more. Two essential fats are omega 6 and omega 3, which can be found in vegetable oils, fish oils and dark green vegetables, which is why I now eat lots of broccoli and spinach. Fats we need to stay away from are saturated and trans fats, which can be found in fast foods, junk foods and margarines, so read labels when you can.
Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins are produced naturally in plants and animals. A few of the main functions are to help enzymes with reactions, including improving metabolism, protein burning and the proper usage of other nutrients. Minerals are not produced by plants or animals, but are found in them. They are essential for nerve cell communications, muscle operations and energy production, plus building blocks for body tissues, like bones. Minerals can be found in red meat (iron), milk (calcium) and bananas (potassium), to name a few.
Water: We talked about this last week.
Hopefully, you have a better idea of "healthy" or "right" foods that you need to include in your daily diet. It is not that difficult, even if we try to make it that way. Many of the things our bodies need are produced by nature. Good and healthy foods cost a bit more than processed foods that may come in a box. But being unhealthy, overweight and out of shape costs a whole lot more in other ways.
Think about what you put in your mouth, and if it is not good for you, either don't consume it or limit your intake. Eating right will take some retraining, but aren't you worth it. Next week we will talk about consuming the right amounts of these foods. There is a simple way of measuring that I found works for me.
Also, one more week remains in the United Way "Biggest Loser" competition. Good luck for the home stretch and keep up the good work. Go to www.unitedwaynow.org for results.
GARY WALTERS writes a weekly column in the Neighbors section regarding his progress in the Kinship Wellness Challenge. To learn more go to www.brainerddispatch.com and then to the KINSHIP CHALLENGE link or www.kinshippartners.org.
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