18 July, 2008

Eating Right

Your eating and exercise habits determine whether you lose (or gain) body fat. They determine how many calories you take in and how many you use up. To lose body fat, you need to control the number of calories you eat from a balanced diet and increase the amount of calories you burn through exercise.
Research shows overwhelmingly that combining the proper diet with exercise is much more effective for losing body fat than dieting alone. Even the most nutritious low calorie diet without exercise will cause some of your losses to be from muscle. A pound of muscle has only 600 calories - or about 1/6 the calories in a pound of fat - and, therefore, can be lost much quicker than fat. Since a pound of fat has 3,500 calories, you should expect to lose no more than 1/2 to 1 percent body fat per month or 1-2 pounds of fat per week. If you lose any more than that, you're losing muscle too. You simply can't rush fat loss. You don't gain fat overnight, and you don't lose it that way either; but the losses you do get will be permanent. And with the accompanying changes that exercise will make to your body, the results can be remarkable.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program, especially if you have a history of health problems, haven't had a physical checkup recently, or are pregnant or lactating.

The Right Way to Diet
Jump to The Right Way to Exercise

Eating properly to lose body fat is easier and more enjoyable than you might think. Most people think of a diet as a temporary way of restricting food until they reach a certain weight goal. It's not. You don't need to go on a specific diet that forbids certain foods or tells you exactly what foods to eat each day. That's something people can stick with for a while; but when they inevitably go off that type of rigid diet, they tend to go back to their old eating habits and gain back weight they lost. You should never think of being on or off a diet.
Instead, you should make your own choices within the guidelines of a normal, healthy diet that you can enjoy and continue for life. Eating fewer high fat foods and more fruits, grains, and vegetables is not only the best diet to lose fat, but also for your lifetime.
To lose body fat, there are two things you should think about in deciding how and what to eat:
• Follow a balanced, healthy diet by eating some foods from each food group. Diets which eliminate certain food groups never last long because they don't provide the nutrition you need to stay healthy. The ideal diet should improve your health while you lose fat.
• Reduce the amount of calories or give up your favorite foods you choose. This doesn't mean you have to count calories or give up your favorite foods. It means choosing low calorie foods more often, without sacrificing the nutrients you need.
A diet based on these two principles - "balance" and "calories" - is the closest thing you can get to a "magic" diet for losing body fat. Eat a variety of foods and don't eat too much of anything.
So what's a healthy diet?
It's simply following basic dietary guidelines. At a time when we seem to be overwhelmed by what and what not to eat, it's best to look to the experts. The following guidelines represent the best way to reduce calories when trying to lose body fat:
• Eat a variety of foods
• Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
• Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, and grain products
• Use sugars in moderation
• Use salt (sodium) in moderation

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