Conquering Obesity with Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition defines how you modify your eating habits in order to conquer obesity. I hesitate to use the word ‘diet’, because it gives the impression of seasonality. Usually, you go on a diet for a limited time, then you go off the diet afterwards. When you say ‘proper nutrition’ however, it implies the good health as your objective, and the lifetime commitment that goes with it. The following are pointers that work together to make proper nutrition an effective agent against obesity.
Be aware of your daily caloric requirement.
A popular formula to determine your daily caloric requirement is to multiply your weight by 15 calories per pound, if you are a moderately active person. You may adjust this by up to 15% higher if you are more physically active and by up to 15% lower if you tend to be more sedentary. So a 110 lb. moderately active person would need about 1650 calories per day to maintain that weight. Be aware that because of differences in each person’s metabolism, formulas pertaining to caloric requirements are only estimates, and not absolute figures.
If you are over your desired weight, use your target weight in the formula above and compute for 10% less as your daily caloric requirement during the weight loss stage. Thus, someone aiming for 110 lb would need only about 1485 calories per day. When you achieve your desired weight, re-compute your daily caloric allowance using the first formula given.
Follow an inverted pyramid to distribute your calorie intake during the day.
The inverted pyramid model allows you to take in calories in amounts that you can burn more efficiently as you go through your day. Breakfast should be your heaviest meal. You may take in as much as 40% of you daily caloric requirement in the morning, since you’ll need the energy to fuel your body through the rest of the day. You can then consume about 30% of your calorie allowance at lunchtime. Use 10% of your day’s calories as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to boost your metabolism during your longest gap between meals. That leaves the remaining 20% of your calories for the day to be taken in at dinner. Unless your schedule is unusual, you’ll need the least amount of calories in the evening when since activity is at a minimum.
Eat a healthy ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The standard ratio of daily food intake is about 60% from carbohydrates, 25% from fats and 15% from protein. These are generic estimates, so you may want to ask your doctor for a specific ratio suitable to your personal requirements.
Remember that carbohydrates and fats need not be ‘evil’. Carbohydrates are essential and can be more healthful when derived from whole grains, brown rice and unrefined sugar. Likewise, there are fats that are actually good for you, like the Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna and some other fatty fishes. Choosing unsaturated fat (canola and olive oils) over saturated fat (animal fat, lard) is another way of getting healthy benefits from your ratio of fat intake.
What you can avoid too much of is salt. Studies have shown that salt hinders the breakdown of body fat during weight-loss. It also retains excess water in the body and making you feel bloated.
Eat slowly and deliberately.
The best way to control meal portions is to eat slowly. Enjoy your food and the conversation that goes with it. It takes your brain 20 minutes to signal that you’re full, so eating hurriedly may cause you to consume more than you really needed. Make your meals a deliberate activity and not a subconscious accompaniment to watching television or reading the paper. Some mealtime distractions can make you consume more food that you originally intended.
Drink a lot of water.
The recommended daily water intake of at least eight glasses per day is a good gauge to start from. Actual daily requirements can vary from person to person and may depend on body weight and physical activity. Nevertheless it’s important to get enough water each day for good health, especially to hydrate yourself before and after exercise. Drinking up is also helpful in fighting obesity. Experience has shown that what some people think of as ‘hunger pangs’ between meals turn out to be signals of thirst satisfied by a full glass or water. Drinking before and during your meal can help you pace yourself until you get the signal from your brain that you’ve eaten enough.
Finish your last meal three hours before you sleep.
To make the most efficient use of your dinner calories, try to stop eating at least three hours before your usual bedtime. The three hours between eating and sleeping can help you utilize some of the calories you’ve imbibed late in the day. With your body on auto-pilot while you’re sleeping, you don’t need to store as much calories overnight. This tactic also helps you gain a hearty appetite for a big breakfast in the morning.
In order to maintain a sensible eating pattern for the long term, practice moderation. Special occasions will always be there. Allow yourself treats now and then, but plan these ahead so you can moderate the portions. Your daily caloric allowance may be maintained from the perspective of a sensible weekly average. This means that you can compensate for one day of indulgence with another day or two of stricter discipline on your food intake. With proper moderation, you can be both healthy and happy!