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By Kathy Emiko

“For some people, the “E” in EATING stands for ENJOYMENT, while for others, it stands for EVIL; an enemy instead of a valued friend. Whatever the E means to you, remember that you are not just what you eat, but what you absorb and eliminate.

Diets designed to reduce weight work by restricting the intake of calories derived from the three main food constituents: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Simpler than Calorie Counting is the system of Carbohydrate Grams which concentrates on limiting carbohydrate-containing foods, of which most people eat too much anyway.

Every person requires a certain number of calories to provide the energy he or she needs each day (depending on his or her daily activities). This amount varies according to SEX, AGE, MODE OF LIFE and CURRENT WEIGHT.
If you are not trying to lose weight and you are not an active woman i.e. your job requires sitting most of the time or just a little movement round your office or your home, surrounded by maids and the only exercise you do is to pick up your remote control or work on the computer, you require an average of 1,800 calories each day from healthy foods.

If you are an active woman not trying to lose weight; you exercise everyday (burn up to 500 to 1,000 calories or walk 3kms every day of the week), then you need 2,200 calories from healthy foods.

If already overweight and you want to get rid of the extras, you need a calorie intake of 1,200 to 1,500 (depending on how much weight you need to lose combined with exercise); make sure the calories come from healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, complex unrefined carbohydrates and lots of water – not diet drinks.

Men require an average of 2,800 to 3,000 calories, which shows that even in nutrition, women are the weaker sex. A woman who decides to eat the way a man does, will in no time look older and fatter in no time.

Men have a higher rate of metabolism than women. Men who are not active or very active (i.e. men who are not often engaged in physically straining tasks such as bricklayers, drillers, mechanics, builders, truck pushers, gardeners etc) but consume high energy foods like them will have pot belly, body pains, and fat-related diseases to show for it.

Remember, you are what you eat! If a person’s input of calorie exactly matches his or her energy output, weight remains constant. It is when calorie intake is greater than energy output that weight increases, and this is something everyone should avoid.

Yet, not every person who eats and drinks more than he or she needs becomes fat. It appears, therefore, that some people possess a fundamental physiological mechanism which enables their body to dissipate surplus calories instead of turning them into fat. In the case of people who are overweight, however, it is necessary to reduce calorie intake to below energy output to get rid of the surplus, therefore forcing the body to use its own reserves of stored fat.

When you are on a slimming diet, you are, in fact, consuming fewer calories or carbohydrate grams than you needs each day. This may not be easy to keep up with; people who are overweight have usually got themselves into the habit of eating more food than they need (particularly, calorie-rich, starch and sugar containing foods) in addition to a sedentary habit which they find difficult to break.

In reducing diet, it is the foods that are higher in refined carbohydrate that must be cut; remember that any excess is stored as fat – be it from carbohydrate, protein or fat.  Therefore, if you don’t need or use it, it is stored as fat.

If you plan to go on a weight-reducing diet, you undoubtedly have several questions racing through your mind. Questions like: should I try a crash diet? When should I weigh myself? Can exercise or cutting down on fizzy drinks help me? Will I be able to stick to my diet without much ‘cheating’?
To clear this confusion or answer these questions, you need to learn more about calorie and nutritional values; which food provides the necessary vitamins and minerals. Find out what your body’s particular requirements are. With this information, you can determine your eating habit accordingly. For new eating patterns to become a good habit, don’t attempt to change them too suddenly. Critically consider the change you need to make first and the change will come more easily.

You can do this by decreasing the size of all portions, leaving a little of everything on your plate and eliminating some foods in your diet. As you see the pounds disappearing, you will find it easier to maintain your new diet pattern.


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