Sharon Vining: In Search Of The Perfect Diet

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According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology the top New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to lose weight. So what is the next step?

Do your homework!

Losing “weight” is probably the wrong objective. Losing weight can be done one of three ways: the loss of fat, muscle or fluid. Losing fat while maintaining muscle mass would be a better objective. This can be tricky because the body will try to hold onto the fat by decrease the metabolism rate. Which is a bummer for anyone who has ever tried to lose weight.

Losing weight facts
1. It takes 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat.
2. Ten pounds of muscle will burn 3500 calories (one pound of fat).
3. The liver stores about 4 lbs of sugar and it is one of the first things to get used when on a diet. Reason a person can lose several pounds the first week.
4. Diet makes up 70 percent of a health regime. Sleep and exercise make up the other 30 percent.
5. By cutting out 100 calories a day and making no other changes in a year’s time a person will lose 12 pounds. Cutting out 300 calories a day a person will lose 36 pounds in a year.
6. Do not go it alone. People are more apt to stick with a diet or exercise program when they have a partner.

What to do next?
Decide how much fat you want to lose. Five pounds a month is a realist goal. The objective is to achieve fat weight loss, not fail and feel bad about yourself. So set a realist goal. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, plan on spending 10 months. Trying to do it too fast is unhealthy and I cannot say this enough, will just set you up for failure.

Facts about carbs, proteins and fats
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. This should be 60% of your daily calories. There are four calories per gram of carbohydrates. So a 1500 calorie healthy diet will have about 900 carb calories. Carbs are in fruits and vegetable, dairy products, grains and beans. Fiber is also considered a carb. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, fructose and fibers. Whole grains and beans have fiber, B vitamins and have a low glycemic level. Low glycemic levels mean they break down glucose slower and prevent spikes in blood sugar.

Couple things to avoid. Refined sugars have no nutrition value but do have calories, therefore, should be limited. Alcohol is kind of its own food group, but since it has sugar, therefore calories, should be done in moderation.

Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet. Protein builds and repairs tissues. Muscles, skin, hair and nails are all made of protein. This should be about 20% of your daily calories. Like carbs, there are four calories per gram of protein. A 1500 calorie healthy diet will have 300 protein calories, which is 75 grams. Milk, banana, strawberry, mango, yogurt and peanut butter are good sources of protein.

Personal note – I like protein drinks. It makes a nice meal replacement and is good for post-workout refueling. There are a variety of protein drinks on the market. Just be sure to read the label and check the fat content. I prefer Myoplex Lite. It has 25 grams of protein, tons of vitamins and it tastes good.
Fat is an important nutrient and is needed for survival. Fat has several functions. It makes up cell walls and is essential for transport and absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat should be no more than 20 % of your daily calories. Unlike carbs and protein, fat has nine calories per gram. On a 1500 calorie healthy diet will have 300 fat calories which is about 33 grams.

There are two kinds of fat, saturated and unsaturated. Avoid the saturated. Instead, choose unsaturated such as olive oil, eat leaner meats, fish and chicken.
Personal note – one day I went to dialysis to check on my patient. I noticed white streaks in the blood and asked the dialysis nurse what that was. She replied, “French fries”. Something you might want to think about next time you order fries with that burger.
So what is the perfect meal plan?

Below is a computer generated meal plan for a 200 lb, moderately active, 45 year old male.

4 oz egg whites
½ cup oats
1 cup skim milk
1 cup strawberries
AM Snack
1 medium peach
1 table spoon peanut butter
1 lean body shake

1 cup steamed vegetables
4 ounces lean meat
½ cup quinoa or rice or 2 slices whole wheat bread

PM Snack
1 table spoon peanut butter
1 lean body shake
1 cup steamed vegetables
4 ounces lean meat
½ cup quinoa or rice or 2 slices whole wheat or small potato or yam

Evening Snack
½ cup cottage cheese
4 ounces yogurt

What about vitamins?

Vitamins and supplements will never replace a healthy diet. If a person eats a healthy diet, vitamins are usually not necessary. The only thing vitamins do for a person on a healthy diet, is make really expensive urine.

Should I take a diet pill?

Before taking any diet pill or supplement, I would recommend discussing it with your family physician. I personally have researched a variety of over the counter diet pills and they simply do not work. Usually the only thing you are going to lose is your money. However, if you are just starting a diet regime and would like a diet pill to help you with the food cravings, I recommend Diethylpropion 75 mg ER. It is a very safe drug, it has been around since the 1950’s. There are tons of lecture and studies on the drug. It seems to be the drug of choice for quick weight loss centers. It is a prescription drug. So you have to see your doctor. I have taken the drug. My experience has been it makes me not interested in food. I do not get the jitteriness like some people, however, it must be taken early in the morning to keep from interfering with sleep. Finally, this drug should only be taken for two to three months at a time.

Final thoughts

Before starting any diet or exercise program consult your family doctor. Be wary of any quick weight loss schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I would like to thank Body Evolution in Pearland, Texas for their advice and assistance in writing this article.

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