A 2004 study on weight-loss showed that only 31 percent successfully lost extra pounds and maintained their target body weight. Compared to unsuccessful dieters, people who succeeded in their weight loss program were more likely to do the following: weigh themselves daily; plan their meals; track calorie and fat intake; and exercise least 30 minutes per day. These people are said to be more dedicated than their counterparts who chose to eat fries, drink a lot of sodas, and exercise erratically.
Experts advise people who want to stay fit and lose weight that there no short cuts to losing and maintaining weight-it is a long and grueling process. People who really want to lose weight need to always watch what they eat and substitute the unhealthy and incomplete foods with healthy ones. Consuming the right amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is key to good nutrition. A lot of popular diets mistakenly tag carbohydrates and fat as the culprits behind those unwanted pounds. In truth, the body needs carbohydrates as fuel and fat is needed for hormone production. However, it is quite clear that overconsumption of carbohydrates promote weight gain. The excess carbohydrates are actually stored in the body as fat.
Carbohydrates are considered simple or complex based on chemical structure. Unwanted weight gain can be prevented by favoring complex carbohydrates and simple sugars over processed and simple carbohydrates that lack nutrients. Many nutritionists consider complex carbohydrates as “good carbs.” These carbs are are slowly digested and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vegetables, whole grain products (pasta and bread), and beans are good carbs that are slowly metabolized in the body due to the fiber content, and thus, do not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, simple carbohydrates are considered as “bad carbs.” These refined carbohydrates pass immediately from the stomach into the intestines. This process may lead to unwanted weight gain and may cause a rise in blood sugar levels. In addition, simple carbohydrates may leave individuals feeling of tired and hungry. These carbohydrates are mainly found in processed foods like sodas and cakes.
Protein should also be taken adequately to maintain good health. Too much or too little of it may have adverse effects on one’s health. This macro-nutrient is crucial because it is made up of amino acids, which is used by the body to repair the muscles and produce enzymes, hormones, and other tissues. Too little protein may result to tiredness and fatigue. This happens because many food sources contain protein are vital sources of iron and other minerals. Lack of iron can also lead to weakness.
On the other hand, too much protein may strain the liver and kidneys. Excess proteins will force the kidneys to work harder and remove nitrogen waste that comes from high-protein foods. This stress may lead to kidney and liver disorders. Too much protein also leads to osteoporosis or thinning of the bones.
Fat plays a major role to good health and it is untrue that all types of fat are harmful. Certain fats are harmful to health while others may actually help prevent heart disease and other illness. People need fat to absorb specific vitamins and minerals and maintain a healthy immune system. Fat is also essential for hormone production such as testosterone. In addition, women with body fats below 22% may lead irregular ovulation and menstruation.
According to research, unsaturated fat may actually help reduce bad cholesterol and protect against heart disease. This kind of fat is found in avocados, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Saturated fat, on the other hand, are mainly acquired from cheese, ice cream, milk, and animal products. Trans-fat are fats created through a process called hydrogenation which turns liquid oils into solids like margarine. Chips, crackers, cookies, and popcorns are some of the food with high trans-fat. Unsaturated fat, however, should be chosen over trans and saturated fat.
Of course, regular exercise and hysical activity contributes to overall physical and mental health. Studies show that regular physical activity has the potential to promote enhanced self-esteem and reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults with emotional disorders. People who partake in physical activities produce more endorphins, a substance in the body that acts as a natural pain-killer. Endorphins also helps induce relaxation and is responsible for producing “runner’s high.” Endorphins actually make people feel happy. Research show that people who exercise regularly have more energy and better self-esteem compared to their inactive counterparts.
People can improve their health and quality of life by working out and eating the right kinds of food properly. The key is to substitute bad food with good food; and to have a balance between work, leisure, rest, and exercise.