A Successful Weight Loss Project


Generally, the very first thing you should do when you’re starting a new project is to find out what exactly you’re going to be dealing with. If it were a trip, you’d study the country you were visiting; if you were waging a battle, you’d get to know your opponents. If you went ahead without being forewarned with as much information as you could manage to get, it’s not likely that you’d be very successful.

With that in mind, since the entire focus of this project is to become healthier, whether that might mean losing weight or gaining lean mass, we know that aside from embarking on a fitness program that meets our needs and goals, we also have to be aware of what we’re putting in our mouths and stomachs.

The Top Three

There are three major nutrients or macronutrients that provide the body with energy for physical activity, tissue growth and repair, metabolism and immunity, and these are Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fat. The other nutrients are water, vitamins, minerals and fiber or roughage.

Some health professionals don’t consider fiber to be a nutrient because the body cannot break down insoluble fiber, but we recognize it because it’s essential for good health.

Even if all the nutrients each have their own importance, they need to be balanced for optimal health. The most ideal ratio, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (in their Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005), is:

- 45–65% Carbohydrates
- 20–35% Fat
- 10–35% protein

Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, each gram of protein also 4 calories, but a gram of fat has 9 calories. If your doctor has decided that it’s in your best interest to lose weight, then reducing calories and exercising will have more of an impact than merely relying on the proper macronutrient ratio.

Carbohydrates

Many foods contain carbohydrates, and they are broken down by your digestive system into glucose or blood sugar and used for fuel for the cells, tissues and organs for example, your brain cells use twice the amount of energy used by other cells in your body. Some carbs get stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles as an immediate source of energy and what the body doesn’t use is stored as fat.

Carbohydrates are generally digestible or non-digestible. Starches and sugars can be digested and cellulose and other fibers cannot. The two major types of carbs are simple and complex.
Simple carbs are from refined sugars, such as table sugar, pastries, candy, milk and milk products and fruit. The main differences are that the fruit and milk contain more nutrients than candy and the pastries and contain less calories.

Complex carbohydrates include legumes and vegetables, cereals and grain products such as rice, crackers, bread and pasta. Grains that have been refined or processed like white rice and white flour contain less nutrients and fiber than unrefined grains which are rich in fiber and assist your digestive system in functioning optimally.

One significant side effect of fiber is that aside from giving you energy over a longer period of time, it also gives you the feeling of fullness, which is very helpful in avoiding overeating. If a bowl of oatmeal and a slice of cake contained the same amount of calories, the oatmeal would satisfy you and keep you feeling full longer than the slice of cake could.

Fiber has many other health benefits it lowers your risk for certain conditions like cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

Complex carbs take longer to break down in the body so they release energy gradually over a longer period of time rather than in one big burst like simple sugars do.

Source: Manila Bulletin
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