Have you noticed there are over a million different diet books and weight loss programs on the market and yet the weight and obesity numbers keep climbing? I think one factor may be that as a society we’re use to making fitness and nutrition so complicated, all-or-none, and time consuming that it seems hopelessly impossible to take action. The pop-culture media uses diet & exercise trends like fashion fads: keeping everyone guessing and changing so frequently, that is seems too overwhelming to do anything at all.
SO let’s try to SIMPLIFY for SUCCESS…Over the next couple of blog writings I am going to layout some very easy steps and ideas you can put into action right away and regardless of whether you choose to do all or some of these suggestions, you WILL gain benefits in your health & wellness…
#1 Water – There is not a more important thing we put into our bodies; water plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function and every physiological, biochemical reaction from digestion and nutrient absorption, to circulation, temperature control, metabolism, and elimination. Water is called the ‘Universal Solvent’ because of its excellent ability to dissolve so many substances. This makes it possible for our cells to use all the valuable nutrients, minerals and chemicals in biological processes. And its “stickiness” or surface tension plays a part in the body’s ability to transport these materials all through ourselves and no less important in the ability to transport toxins and waste materials out. These fluids protect our organs, lubricate our joints, float our brain and bathe our tissues. Your body has a lot of important jobs to do and it needs water to do most of them. Just a 1% decrease in your body water can cause a 10% decrease in your productivity and mild dehydration can actually cause a drop in metabolism. Think of it like a hierarchy of tasks, your body will take care of the MOST vital processes first to keep you alive….and then only if water supply is adequate will it get to the lower priority activities…like fat burning, muscle building, focus and memory. “So HOW much is enough?” is a question that has been raging for ages. It is crystal clear that there are plenty of theories out there. Bottom-line is each day we must replace at least 2.4 liters of water. Although other beverages may contribute, these should not be the major portion of your fluid intake. These imposters can never do what clean fresh water does; the caffeine, sugar and/or artificial sweeteners and miscellaneous ingredients in these other beverages are just more work for your body to process through in order to glean a little H2O. Pure water is still your best bet because its calorie free, inexpensive and readily available.
The advice I find that makes the most sense is to aim for half your current body weight in ounces daily as your bare minimum starting point. So if you weigh 140 pounds you would start with 70 ounces of water daily. And a good rule of thumb is an extra 16-32 ounces for every hour of exercise. If you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) of colorless or light amber urine a day (please note that some supplements may cause brighter colored urine), your fluid intake is probably adequate.
#2 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS- EFA’s are polyunsaturated oils – the “good” fats. They are “essential” because our body does not manufacture them, and they must be obtained through our diet on a daily basis for optimal health and well-being. EFA’s produce beneficial hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins that affect the function of virtually every system in the body. The most important EFA’s are EPA and DHA (Omega-3’s). They are our “Look good-Feel Good” nutrients responsible for cell flexibility, nerve communications, mood support, and even weight control. Early signs of EFA deficiency: fatigue, poor memory, reproductive problems (men & women), heart problems, poor circulation, immune weakness, dry skin, eczema or hair loss, mood swings or depression. New research is showing that taking in approximately 2 grams/day of omega 3 fatty acids in a fish oil supplement activates enzymes responsible for burning fat and reduces insulin levels, which when combined with increased oxygen consumption during exercise causes a significant increase in metabolic rate and results in burning and losing more fat weight, than exercise alone.
The richest and most beneficial sources of Omega-3’s EPA & DHA are found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. For most people, taking a Fish Oil Supplement with EPA & DHA may be the most effective way to achieve proper EFA balance. Flaxseed is a plant derived Omega-3 yielding alpha linolenic acid or ALA. The human conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is somewhat slow and can be inhibited by various conditions. Research shows that only about 15% of ALA converts to EPA, and may not convert to DHA at all.
Please take note: You want to locate a high quality supplement, something that is free of mercury and other contaminants. Look for reputable companies that certify their products are free from heavy metals and pesticides. I typically recommend taking 1000 mg of fish oil twice a day. The fish oil you take should contain a 300/200 ratio of EPA/DHA.
The above two recommendations are VERY simple and should be VERY easy to INCORPORATE into whatever paced lifestyle you are leading… SO WHAT are “YOU WEIGHTING FOR”? GO fill that water bottle and PUT that “Fishing Pole” to work!
STAY TUNED for future Blogs in this SERIES with more SIMPLE STEPS for SUCCESS in NUTRITION & FITNESS!