Achieving Balance in Your Diet

         I have a saying that I firmly believe, ” I know just enough about  ______________ to get us both in trouble.”  That’s how I feel about nutrition!  I have really wanted to take my blog from being about my random thoughts and experiences to teaching you guys and helping you learn something (besides learning from my mistakes.)  So to help me move in that direction my lovely , wonderful and extremely smart nutritionist has written a guest blogging piece to share with you guys today. (Thank you Rebecca!)

            Trying to achieve balance in our everyday life can be a hard task. Daily we strive to juggle a career, family, friends, training and the sudden curve ball. Too often, health takes second place and we skip meals, cut exercise short, and grab dinner out of a window. The cycle of unbalanced dietary choices leave us overweight, undernourished, and exhausted. To maximize life we must maximize nutrition by achieving balance.

            A balanced diet consists of consuming appropriate amount of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals from food and beverage to maintain a healthy weight. An essential part is to maintain ample dietary carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates are the body’s energy source. Protein will not do nor will fat. Misconceptions of carbohydrates’ benefits have lead to high-starch, cereal-based, carbohydrate-rich diets all day every day. This lifestyle results in a rise in the scale along with fatigue and anxiety!

            Are you a self-proclaimed carboholic?  Make an effort to limit one carbohydrate source in proper portion on your plate at a time. Substitute excess carbohydrate choices with lean meat, low fat dairy, fresh vegetables, and heart healthy fats. Research illustrates that when carbohydrates are eaten beyond storage capacity we have two (2) hours to burn extra energy aerobically or it will be stored as adipose tissue (fat). Before you reach for the second helping of rice or unnecessary dinner roll ask yourself; Am I going to aerobically exercise this off in the next two hours? No, then do I want to make room on my thighs to store it?

             Achieving balance with macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) is the first step. Next, focus on a balance in the timing of meals and snacks to help shed those extra pounds and increase energy. Remove the mind set “I am too busy to eat healthy” or “balanced eating takes too much effort” and acquire basic knowledge on how the body metabolizes, utilizes and stores nutrients and consequently achieve weight loss goals regardless how unbalanced the rest of your life may be.

              Everyone has heard the mantra, eat small meals throughout the day, but why? Research suggests that smaller meals more frequently make the body more efficient at burning calories. Smaller meals help lower blood cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and decrease binge eating. Likewise, it prevents long stretches of starvation which will murder an active metabolism.

               Recommendations suggest eat 4-5 times a day with 3 meals and 1-2 snacks every 2 ½ to 4 hours. Ideally, eat the most before doing the most. “Catch Up” eating, happens when long periods of time pass without food and large portions are consumed in a ravenous manor. The body can only handle so much at one serving without storing excess as fat not matter the source (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats).

               Achieving balance is an individual goal that must fit an individual’s lifestyle. Never assume that just because certain methods work for someone else, it will also work for you. Find the balance that fits your everyday life.

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Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and a Licensed Dietitian in the state of Mississippi.

She graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi receiving both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Rebecca designed, implemented and analyzed research: Measuring Hydration in Non-elite Half Marathon Runners On Race Day. She presented her findings at a graduate symposium, March 2009 and was selected top paper from the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems.

She continues her education in Sports Nutrition while gaining hours towards becoming a “Certified Sports Dietitian”

 

 

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