Tuesday, 28 December 2010

28th December 2010

A Balanced diet.

         Australia just lost another wicket, now 169 for 6, still over 240 behind with 2 days left and England another innings if they want it. I might pop to the bookies and put a fiver on England to win...

         The reason fad diets and diet pills don't work is because they all involve cutting out some part of the balanced diet we all need to stay healthy. There are 6 parts to a healthy diet;
1. Carbohydrates. This is where we get most of our energy, and comes in a few forms. Starch, in potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and cereals are turned into glucose in the digetive system to be absorbed by the body tissue as a form of energy. Sucrose is found in sugar and sweets as well as fruits and is turned into glucose by the digestive system also. (Sucrose molecules are too big to enter the bloodstream) These collectively are known as complex carbs and simple carbs, and a mixture of these in a meal mean we get a steady stream of glucose energy instead of it getting dumped into the system all in one go.
2. Protein. This is necessary for muscle growth and repair. Proteins are large molecules so they are turned into amino acids by the digestive system. Protein shakes are powdered amino acids that go straight into the system.
3 Fats. Fats are necessary as they contain some sources of nutrition not contained in Carbs, whilst also containing some necessary vitamins not found elsewhere. Fat is stored in the body to be used later, and insulate us from the cold whilst cushioning the internal organs. Good fats are polyunsaturates and monounsaturates, and help transport vitamins around the body, whilst essential fatty acids help the immune system. Fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds, amongst others, carry vital omega 3, 6 and 9. All good.
4. Fibre. Fibre is essential for the digestive system but is not absorbed by the body. Some fibres attract fat molecules such as bad cholesterol and carry them away through the digestive system. Imagine a toilet brush through a car exhaust...
5. Vitamins. Are essential in only small quantities but are many, and have munerous jobs. Immune system, healthy skin, bones eyes, reproductive system, and many transporting and repair jobs. Can all be obtained from a balanced diet, you shouldn't have to take vitamin tablets unless you are in serious heavy duty training, or pregnant.
6. Minerals. Iron, sodium, Calcium, amongst others, are all essential for normal bodily function, and are all found in a balanced diet.

         So, a balanced diet, avoiding saturated fats, taking enough water, and getting a decent amount of exercise. Cutting out ready made meals may be a little more expensive, and you may say you're too busy to exercise, but if you are determined to be fit and healthy, you can make the time. Half an hours brisk walk every day is more than enough. (Do it instead of watching eastenders, it'll help your mind and sanity too!) A good breakfast, mixed carbs and proteins to keep you going through the morning, and 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day. A big lunch stretches the stomach and gives you a energy rush, but unfortunately gives energy dips throughout the afternoon and makes you want to snack.
        A glass of water or cup of tea before eating, and eat slowly. The body doesn't register being full until twenty or thirty minutes after it is, so you keep on eating and go too far. Stop halfway through a meal for 5 minutes so the body can catch up.
       Do correct portions, which means don't count as much as you fit on the plate as a portion. If it says a portion is 100g then it is 100g. Be honest with yourself.
       Don't eat 3 hours before going to bed. Food in the stomach when you sleep is converted to fat.
       If you are serious, mark everything down in a diary, portions, calories, fat. Try to keep to 40%-50% Carbs, 25%-30% protein, 20%-30% fat with at least 25g of fibre. Not essential, but it helps to keep roughly to this.
      Cut down on salt, caffeine and alcohol.

       One other thing. If you are cutting down on the calories by over 500 a day (ladies 1200, men 2000) then you will lose weight quicker. Unfortunately, the body has a defense system that is like a starvation mode. This is a primeval instinct from the body which was when the hunters caught a nice fresh wooly mammoth, there was plenty to eat. When it was gone the body was starved and after a few days, the body learns to depend on what it has... nothing. It cuts down bodily functions so it only burns what calories it takes in until it gets back to normal feeding again. I tried this, and in extreme cases the extremities are cut off, cold white hands and feet as the blood flow is restricted, increased lethargy, reduced efficiency, physically as well as mentally, and weight stops dropping so you are essentially defeating the object of dieting. If this happens, it can be off putting and soon send you back to the old ways. 
       So, for reduced calorie diets, 3 or four days on the reduced calories, 1 day on ABOVE calories, say 2500 women, 3500 for men to fool the body in thinking it's getting a good feed, one day normal calories then back on the reduced. Lose weight slowly and steadily and it's more likely to stay off.

3 tablespoons of porridge in a bowl, half fill with semi skimmed milk. Microwave for 2, to 2 and a half minutes. (Porridge is one of natures finest cholesterol reducers)
Chop in any 2 portions of fruit. Banana, kiwi, apple, pear etc.
Microwave for 1 minute.
sprinkle in some currants/raisins, and stir in a spoonful of honey for taste.
half a scoop of protein powder (my favourite is banana flavour) and stir in.
30 seconds in the microwave.
Sprinkle on a mix of nuts and seeds. I have sunflower, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds and crushed nuts ready prepared in a container, which I sprinkle on anything, salads, soups, stews cereals etc.
For a variation, add any of your favourite ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, lemon zest, bottled flavourings such as almond or strawberry, or a sprinkle of hot chocolate powder.

Large mug of tea. (Optional)

A mixed breakfast of 600 calories that'll keep you going all morning. Microwave times are dependant, so don't send any caked overflowing microwaves to me for cleaning...

       Sorry it's been a large post this morning, but as christmas is over I needed to get it all down for my own benefit as well, to skim away those few pounds I've put on. I think I've covered most of it. If I can think of anything else then I can always add it later. Thanks for the messages and e-mails, it's good to know my efforts are appreciated.

   Now, 5 miles walk to Hull Cuty v Reading.


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