Fitfam! Stage 1, nutrition

Staying fit is a great bonus to life and can lead you to be a happy and healthier person. By staying fit and healthy you not only look and feel better, but you decrease your chance of medical problems such as diabetes, heart attacks, high cholesterol and hypertension. There are many helpful strategies to keep fit and stay healthy that, with dedication and ambition, can be done.

Getting into the habit of eating well and working out consistently is hard enough. Staying healthy and fit is even harder. Until you get into a good rhythm and form healthy habits, it can be challenging to figure out how to stay at your physical best without obsessing over it. Here are easy habits you can start forming today to help you stay healthy and fit for the long-term.

We are what we eat

All the foods we eat are processed in some way, but foods that undergo chemical processing, which means they are made from ingredients that aren’t real, thus making them high in sugar and low in the nutrients we actually need to fuel our bodies and keep us healthy, should be avoided.

As a general rule, try to limit the number of pre-packaged, non-perishable food items you buy, foods such as chips, granola bars and frozen meals. Purchasing perishable items, such as yogurt, bread and fresh produce, is a sign that what you’re buying more closely resembles foods your body can easily digest and use for fuel.

Get rid of any junk food

It is one of the most important components of a fit lifestyle. Many people ignore it, but if you exercise and eat a lot of junk food you will not get any fitter. This is because the junk food turns to fat almost immediately. Junk foods contain little to no nutrition and are high in sodium and sugar. Because of this, your body sugar levels drop after consumption and you end up feeling fatigued with a major lack of energy.

Foods to avoid are:

High in sugar: Donuts, cakes, cookies, pudding, cereals, canned and dried fruits, and sodas.

High in fat: Processed meats, butter, hydrogenated oil (coconut and palm kernel), shortening, cheese and animal fats. Please note: although cheese is high in fat, it is also high in protein which is a great nutrient for the body. Aged and less processed cheeses are the best solution.

High in cholesterol: Egg yolk, fried foods and mayonnaise.

Avoid anything containing: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and Monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Eat healthy

Maintaining a balanced diet can be difficult to do if you do not have the time to cook for yourself every day. But, it is easy to find healthy solutions in restaurants and take-outs as well. You will find that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can increase energy and productivity, boost your metabolism and make you a happier person because you will be consuming the nutrients and vitamins your body needs.

Foods to eat are:

Fresh fruits and vegetables: Melons, bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, onions, broccoli and corn, etc. (Please note: These fruits and veggies should be fresh, not canned. You can sauté vegetables in extra virgin olive oil for better taste). If you make a salad, the more colorful the better!

Organic meats: Fish, poultry and beef for protein. Instead of frying the meats, try to bake them with extra virgin olive oil or lemon juice with herbs.

Grains: Whole wheat toast, oatmeal and pastas.

Foods high in protein: Tofu, soy beans, egg whites, nuts, cottage cheese and quinoa.

Foods high in fiber: Cooked lentils, black beans, green peas, pears, raspberries and oat bran.

Understand the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are carbohydrates made of one or two molecules of sugar that have very little nutritional value. Complex carbohydrates are made from a string of sugars but are very rich in fibers and contain healthy vitamins and minerals.

Examples of simple carbohydrates: Sugars, syrups, jams and candy.

Examples of complex carbohydrates: Whole grain foods and vegetables.

Know when to eat

It is really important to avoid skipping meals. A lot of people might think that you will lose weight by skipping a meal, but that is very inaccurate. In fact, skipping meals decreases the speed of your metabolism and can result in losing nutrition your body needs.

Drink a lot of water

The human body is made of about 65-70% of water, and you need to keep replenishing it. Your body sweats a lot of that water so you need to put it back in.

The amount of water you should drink relies on how much you weigh. To calculate how much water you should be drinking, take your weight and multiply it by 67% (2/3). So, for instance, if you weigh 130 lbs. you should be drinking about 87 ounces of water per day.

If you are exercising, you will need to increase your amount of water intake to replenish what you are sweating out.

 By; Umaru Maryam Hadejia 

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