You are ready to take a positive step and have decided to give your health a priority. Now What?????
Are we spoilt for choices…so many options in fitness. Where do we start? If you look for suggestions and guides you will find innumerable number of diet do’s and dont’s for weight loss and many fitness options. Confusing isn’t it?
To begin we need to understand the simple fitness equation. What is the fitness equation? Lo behold!!!!! it is as simple as intake versus expenditure or input vs output. By input I mean everything you eat and drink in one day. Output is the expenditure of calories in a day.
Depending on your fitness goal, you will fall under one of three categories
Output > Input => Weight loss.
Input > Output => Weight gain.
Output = Input => Maintenance.
Sounds simple but do we know how many calories we need in a day? Most products you buy off the shelf is based on a 2000 cal diet. A lot of us may not need 2000 calories a day. Let’s focus on how much you need. Take your weight in pounds (1kg = 2.2 lbs) and multiply by 10. For eg: An adult who is 60kg or 132 lbs has a basic need of approx 1320 calories. This is your basic metabolic need, in order for your heart, lung, blood circulation, kidney function, digestion, brain etc to function efficiently. This is the basic need for a sedentary person laying in bed all day. If you have some activity may be doing basic things you will need about 20% more than this. If you have an active life and work out out 3-4 days a week your need will be about 50% more. If you are working out 5-7 days a week your need will be approx 70% more than the basic metabolic need. Now you know how many calories to consume based on your activity level.
This is the base of the fitness equation. Diet and exercise go hand in hand in a 60% to 40% ratio. Let’s talk about the daily diet in this post. I will cover the fitness part in the next post.
How many fad diets have you seen or heard about. Do you really need to go on a fad diet that may work for a short time? Not really. If your calorie intake and activity level is balanced you will be fine BUT remember as you age the metabolic requirement decreases as the muscle mass decrease, hence the calorie intake should reduce while you maintain activity level. A better way is to be involved in regular cardiovascular activity both aerobic and anaerobic, and keep the basic metabolic need high.
Keep it simple. Incorporate all the essentials in your diet, carbohydrates, proteins and fats with vitamins from fruits and vegetables and lots of water. You need them all in your daily diet. What are the things you can easily eliminate from your diet. What are the usuals culprits that mess up your healthy diet? Yes it is the soda, canned or bottled juices, milk shakes etc that replace your water intake.
I had a client who said that she had a healthy diet and from what i heard It sounded perfect. She also worked out 5-6 days a week but had not seen much improvement in weight loss which was her goal. One day she mentioned that she loves her coffee milk shake. I asked how the milk shake was made. She said whole fat milk, with ice cream and a milk shake powder. Wooooow thats a whopping 500+ cal shake right there. She still enjoys her milk shake but with low fat milk, sugar and coffee powder. Not as rich, but she cut out over 350 calories. This over one month is a decrease of 1.5kgs or 3.3lbs.
Let’s talk about bottled juices, soda or cola. A 200ml soda can has over 10 teaspoons of sugar and has caffeine. Take a glass of water add 10 spoons of sugar and try to drink it. Will you be able to drink it? I doubt it. Is soda a thirst quencher or keeps you going back for more. This is the caffeine calling you back for another sip. Caffeine is a diuretic, which removes water from your system, so the more soda you drink the more thirsty you get. Worse still, you pack on the calories without giving a second thought. 150 calories of just sugar. What you may not know is the cola that comes out of the fountains are packed with a lot more sugar with no mention of the calorie count. Check out http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?225603-NEWSNIGHT-Paxman-shows-Coca-Cola-boss-how-much-sugar-is-in-a-supersize-cup-Coke
Some people have asked me if they have to reduce their carb intake. Yes, only if you have a very high carb diet and not taking your protein,fats, fruits and vegetables. Balance it out. Your daily intake should have 55-60% calories from carbs, 15-20% from protein and 25-30% from fats. In a 1600 calorie diet carbs should be about 900-960 calories ( approx 225 – 240 grams). Proteins about 240-320 calories (60-80 gms) and fats of 400-480 calories ( 45-54).
Whatever your diet, at the end of the day if you can stick to your individual calorie need and balance your carbs, proteins and fats, with lots of water you will be fine. If you consume more than you expend it will be stored as fat. If you expend more than you consume you will lose weight else you will be in a steady state.
It may seem hard to do at first but as you become aware and write your food diary for a week, you will know exactly what to add or remove in your diet. Some times, I agree it is hard especially when you may have parties and the diet gets thrown out the window. Don’t worry, enjoy the party, be conscious of what you put on your plate and budget your diet. For example if you know you will be having desserts and fried foods over the weekend, avoid them both during the week and enjoy them in small portions over the weekend.
Last but not the
least, I have been talking about lots of water. Water is essential for all functions in our body. Hence a must in the daily diet. For every cup of coffee/tea that you intake, one liter of water is needed to flush it out. This is because tea and coffee are diuretics and to make up for the dehydration caused due to it, you need one liter of water
per cup. Apart from this you need to drink atleast 1-2 liters more for healthy digestion, kidney function and healthy skin. So 3-4 liters a day is what constitutes “lots of water”.
In my next post I will share my thoughts on fitness and activities that you can easily incorporate in your life. Feel free to comment and if you want me to answer any specific questions please ask.
Before I close, a little information on me. I am Jyothika Dwarakanath an ACE ( American council on exercise) personal trainer and group fitness trainer. I am licensed and coach Zumba fitness, Zumba toning, Aqua zumba, Zumba kids and body sculpting & toning. I have not been a fitness coach all my professional life. But I have had an interesting journey on my way here. I look forward to sharing it with you soon.
Keep Fit Keep Smiling