Congratulations, you are sliding into home base in the third and final report of Explaining the Diet Principles.
8. Reduce your intake of salt.
Your body needs sodium to help it to retain fluids. If you are in an environment where hydration is an issue, then your body will begin to conserve your sodium levels. Low sodium levels may make it hard for you to exercise as sodium influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Hence, when you are dehydrated, your muscles will ache and become stiff.
More often than not, we have an excess amount of sodium in our bodies. This extra sodium is excreted through our urine. When the kidneys can’t flush it out, it stays in the bloodstream and causes the heart to work harder.
Most Americans eat way too much salt. Most of us have heard of the link between high sodium intake and high blood pressure, which presents risk for stroke and heart disease. But the high salt diet has also been linked to cancer, osteoporosis, and even cataracts.
Check nutritional labels to keep sodium intake low. Most of the sodium that is in our diet comes from processed foods. Amazingly, the average American consumes about twenty times as much salt as the body needs!
To lower your salt intake, eat fresh foods as much as possible and avoid processed foods. Instead of using salt, season your food with spices and lemon juice.
9. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol is calorie-rich and slows metabolism. It’s true that red wine, taken in moderate amounts, has a protective effect on your heart (as do red grapes and grape juice), so if you are more concerned with your heart than your weight, a glass of red wine per day is fine.
Avoid hard alcohol, excessive drinking is especially damaging to the female body. Because our bodies contain more fat and less water, we metabolize alcohol much slower than men.
Brain damage, liver disease, pancreatic disease and breast cancer have all been associated with drinking too much alcohol.
10. Drink plenty of water.
Eight glasses per day is the goal. Water is great for you; it flushes toxins from the body and helps fill you up without calories. It provides great benefits for the heart.
If you don’t like to drink water or find it boring and tasteless, unsweetened tea is of course a healthy substitute. A squeeze of lemon to your water or to your tea, will add flavor without additional calories, too. Lemon is an alkalizing food, and thus could help you avoid acid reflux.
It is important, especially when you exercise to keep your body well hydrated. Drinking water while exercising helps to regulate the body’s temperature through the sweat glands. As we sweat our body cools down. By keeping ourselves properly hydrated, we keep this vital process working at its best.
You can usually tell if you have been drinking enough water by the color of your urine. Unless you are taking vitamins that are high in iron, your urine should be lightly colored. Iron tends to make the urine darker. When you are properly hydrated, the water leaving your body in the way of urine should be almost clear.
Drinking enough water each day will improve the function of your kidneys, too. By aiding in digestion, and speeding up the way your body processes food, an ample amount of water will actually speed up the metabolism, making weight loss easier and longer lasting.
Water stimulates the circulation of blood and regulates your skin’s natural balance. It helps to revitalize, detoxify and oxygenate the skin. Drinking plenty of water will help replace the moisture that your face loses through free radicals and other forms of stress in our everyday lives.
If you get your liquids from water and tea instead of soda and fruit juice, you’ll be cutting hundreds of unnecessary calories out of your diet per day.
11. Take a good multivitamin.
A good multi-vitamin covers us for the days when we don’t get proper nutrition. As much as possible, I prefer getting my vitamins and nutrients from healthy, great tasting foods. A vitamin supplement, whether your diet is balanced or not, can add a significant advantage to your way of life.
Women can benefit from taking a good multi-vitamin with iron, particularly those of childbearing age who are slightly anemic. Having a low red blood count will cause you to become anemic. This condition sometimes occurs during the menstrual cycle when iron levels may dip lower. By taking a multi-vitamin supplement with iron, you can raise your red blood count and the added iron may help you feel more energized.
Many women find vitamin E supplements helpful in easing the discomfort of tender breasts. Women who take 400 IU (international units) per day, report significant relief from breast discomfort without the side effects of irritability, bloating and oily skin.
If you are over the age of thirty-five, you need to take extra calcium every day. Women, aged 35 need 1,000 mg of calcium every day until menopause. 1,500 mg per day is needed after menopause. Women who take estrogen after menopause only need 1,000 mg per day because of the effects of estrogen on their bodies they will not require the extra calcium.
Be careful, though, as excessive amounts of vitamins should not be taken. Overdoses of vitamins A, D, E, and K can be dangerous. Disease may result if the vitamins are absorbed in the body’s fat and accumulated in large amounts.
12. Counting calories … for those who must.
Although the Fitness4her diet does not require that you count every calorie, many people feel the need to keep a tab on the calories that they consume each day.
Our bodies require calories each day in order to thrive. 3500 calories of unused energy equals one pound of fat stored in the body. This means for every pound you want to lose, you will need to create a deficit of 3500 calories.
However, many other factors figure in, besides just reducing your caloric intake. The amount of exercise and its effects on your body play a major part in weight reduction.
Remember, your daily intake should not fall below 1200 calories, unless under a doctor’s supervision. When you lose weight too fast, you cause your metabolism to slow down as your body begins to protect its resources. Once you return to a regular diet, your weight will escalate and this is what causes the dreaded yo-yo weight loss/gain syndrome.
By participating fully in the Fitness4Her Diet and 30 Minutes To A New You Exercise Program, it will be easy to reduce your caloric intake and shed those unwanted pounds without going hungry. Best of all it takes only 30 minutes a day. Leaving you extra time for all of those other important things in your schedule.
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~ Karen Ficarelli
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