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Important Factors To Consider For A Healthy and Balanced Diet

Factors To Consider For A Healthy and Balanced Diet

Choosing A Proper Diet For Yourself

As there are all sorts of diets to address different needs, you may be wondering which diet is right for you. In order to determine that, you will need to assess several factors ranging from your physical health to your weight loss expectations. To do a proper initial assessment, you will need to get some opinions from professionals on your current health status and what might be reasonable weight loss goals for you to achieve. For example, some people are severely overweight and can’t move well, let alone do strenuous exercise. Also, the additional weight can be bad for their heart health. So the main goal in this case would be to lose weight while making sure that there are no additional heart stressors as a result of the diet and exercise program to be followed.

Factors to Consider

Before choosing a proper diet, you should consider all the relevant factors in order to be able to achieve your goals such as:

  • Your body type (ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph).
  • Any signs of food intolerance or food sensitivity that can affect your health and weight.
  • Your family’s medical and genetic background.
  • Amount of nutrition you need for your age.
  • Whether it’s important to be toned and get skinnier.
  • Amount of weight you need to lose to be in your optimum weight range.
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your diet budget

You should also gather as much information as necessary on possible factors that might be aggravating your weight condition such as prescription medication, a sedentary occupation, or eating habits that are out of control. Take a good, honest look at yourself, and then when you have some idea about the factors that might be contributing to your weight gain, schedule an appointment for a physical exam with your doctor.

Your Initial Physical Exam At The Doctor’s Office

If you’ve already evaluated all the factors you think might be causing you to be overweight, then you can start your weight loss journey by visiting your doctor’s office. A thorough physical examination can also shed light on the possibility whether your weight problem is due to some medical issue.

Ideally, you should set up a physical exam before beginning any diet or fitness program. Have your teenagers checked out by a physician as well if they are constantly dieting or preoccupied with their weight as a first line of defense against eating disorders. Your doctor will probably want to learn about your lifestyle and eating habits so it’s important to evaluate those things before you meet with your doctor. After the initial exam, your doctor will be able to tell you whether the approach you are considering will be healthy and suggest an optimum weight range for you.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

One of the most important measurements you will want to find out is an estimate of your Body Mass Index value, which was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a measure of nutritional status in adults who are over 20 years old. The Body Mass Index doesn’t really tell you the percentage of body fat, but it shows you whether you are approaching a normal weight for people in your age and gender group.

Calculation of the Body Mass Index value

The BMI value is obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of his/her height. The Body Mass Index formula can be expressed in a variety of units as follows:

  • Body Mass Index for U.S. units of measurement
    BMI = 703.0704 X (WEIGHT in pounds / HEIGHT in inches2)
  • Body Mass Index for U.K. units of measurement
    BMI = 6.35 X (WEIGHT in stones / HEIGHT in meters2)
  • Body Mass Index for the metric system
    BMI = (WEIGHT in kilograms / HEIGHT in meters2)

You can also estimate your own BMI value using a software or an online calculator. Make sure that you take into account your gender and age when doing your own BMI calculations. However, you should preferably try to obtain an accurate estimate of your BMI from a health professional or fitness counselor when you first start.

Interpreting Body Mass Index values

Adults who are over 20 years old fall into one of the following categories of nutritional status according to their BMI values:

BMI Values Nutritional Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal weight
25.0 – 29.9 Pre-obesity
30.0 – 34.9 Obesity class I
35.0 – 39.9 Obesity class II
Above 40 Obesity class III

Using You will be able to see where you stand with respect to the average weight of people in your group. Your doctor will also take into account your age and gender as well as your body build and medical history when determining whether you really are overweight or not.

If you are considering a particular diet, be sure to ask your doctor if he or she feels you can implement it safely. Most doctors can give you dietary recommendations, which may or may not fit your lifestyle. However, it’s always up to you what diet you decide to follow and for how long, but you should always take your doctor’s recommendations into account. The purpose of the medical exam is to screen out any potentially risky health problems that can be aggravated by a new diet or fitness program, while providing you with an accurate baseline and realistic expectations for weight loss for your body type.

After getting your height, weight, and BMI measurements, you will want to go home and see if your scale is reflecting the same weight. By calibrating your scale according to the measurement taken at the doctor’s office, you can track your progress more accurately throughout your diet and fitness program.

Evaluating Your Goals For A Perfect Diet and Fitness Plan

Some of the important things you want to discuss with your doctor are your weight loss goals, fitness goals, nutritional needs and health considerations so that you can decide on a diet and fitness plan which is perfect for you.

Weight Loss Goals

You may be tempted to lose weight as quickly as possible, but the best way to go about it would be through a gradual weight loss program. A gradual weight loss approach will give your body the time to adjust its metabolism and help ensure that the weight you lose will be of a more permanent nature. Losing weight too quickly, especially if the person is obese, can put a severe strain on the heart and other organs and may create unwanted health problems. So it is best to go slowly when attempting to lose weight. It’s not unreasonable to go on a diet with the expectation of losing about two pounds a week. However, if you are more ambitious than that, you should check with your physician as to whether you are healthy enough to attempt a more rapid weight loss program.

After you find out what your ideal weight should be, you don’t have to lose all that extra weight on one diet. You can choose to lose only a fraction of your overall weight and still have a significant impact on your health. If you can set realistic expectations and be honest with yourself, you will not be as discouraged when look in the mirror and don’t see a change in the beginning. If your body is showing an increase in muscle mass with a slight decrease in weight, then you are on the right track to improving your overall health. The more you stick with your diet plan, the more likely you will see a visible difference in your appearance after a while.

Fitness Goals

In the rush to lose weight, people often sign up for a gym membership right after the holidays. If you haven’t exercised very much before, the odds are that going to a gym won’t make much difference. Your fitness goals have to be compatible with your lifestyle and current fitness level. If you’ve led a sedentary life for years, you can’t expect to go to a gym and do an hour of aerobics class without feeling winded and dejected afterwards.

At the start, you should include exercise in your daily routine at a moderate level in order to lose weight. You may also consider other exercise options that don’t involve going to a a gym. For instance, you can schedule a walking workout for a total of 20 minutes every day which can get you on the road to aerobic fitness. If you want to increase muscle mass, then you will need to do resistance or weight training for best results.

To set realistic goals for fitness, you should also take your lifestyle into account. You may find that doing recreational dancing as a form of exercise works well with your personality and is fun too. This isn’t to say that you must enjoy exercising but if you can find some enjoyment in your daily physical routine, you are more likely to stick with it. Some people prefer to get fit through Yoga or Tai Chi, which at the beginner levels are less strenuous than aerobic exercises but can produce great results.

Depending on your needs and physical condition, fitness goals should include exercising three to five times a week for 20 to 60 minutes while reaching a target heart rate of 60 to 85 percent of your maximum intensity level (maximum heart rate). This will help increase your cardiovascular fitness over time. If you want to add muscle tone, you will need to add two days a week of weight training with 8 to 10 different exercises in strength training, each having three to ten repetitions. These should also be done at about 70 to 85 percent of your maximum intensity level. It is advised that you exercise within 55 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 to 30 minutes per session to get the best results from aerobic exercises.

Needless to say, you will have to start slowly and gradually build up intensity and endurance along the way. Try to set up a daily schedule and find a fitness partner, if you are unsure whether you’ll be able to keep to the schedule on your own. Having someone who can help motivate you on those days when you’d rather not exercise is a great way to keep to your fitness goals. The key point here is to keep moving while you are dieting to help your metabolism swing into action and drop those pounds faster.

Target heart rate

If you are a beginner, the American Heart Association recommends that you exercise with a target heart rate of 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. Target heart rate is usually defined as a percentage of your maximum safe heart rate which lies between 50 percent and 85 percent. Heart rate is simply the number of times your heart beats in one minute.

Maximum heart rate

Maximum heart rate shows the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system is capable of handling during exercise. It can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 170 which is the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.

Nutritional Needs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a diet of 2,000 calories per day which should be enough to meet all your calorie needs, if you aren’t eating pure junk. After consulting your doctor, he or she can tell you what the best caloric intake should be to meet your goals. He or she may suggest a 1,200-calorie a day diet. By reducing the number of calories, you will be able to lose weight but you may also be deprived of some of the nutrients your body needs. If you start feeling sluggish on your diet, you may need some vitamins or minerals that are necessary to provide the energy to continue your fitness plan. At that point, you may have to add nutritional supplements to your diet to get the nutrients that are missing.

If you are on a diet and also want to appear toned, you may have to increase certain nutritional substances in your diet. In that case, your diet has also to take these nutritional needs into account. For example, in order to build muscle, you will want to have some carbohydrates in your diet and increase protein intake significantly. To lose weight without too much exercise, however, some people just cut carbohydrates out as much as possible for a certain period of time.

Your nutritional needs will also be affected by your current state of health. If you are older, you may want to increase your calcium intake to help prevent osteoporosis. If you are pregnant, you don’t want to diet because lack of certain nutrients during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Always make sure you are getting the the right amount of nutrition when you are dieting.

Health Considerations

If you are dieting because you have a specific medical condition or health problem that must be treated with a specialized diet, then you want to be clear about your health goals from the very beginning. If your aim is to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet because your family has a history of diabetes, then you will want to go on a diet that contains foods that are low on the Glycemic Index. If you are dieting because you have a gluten intolerance, then you have to be very careful about the foods you eat which contain gluten. (Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains). If you are dieting to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body, your doctor may suggest a diet that the American Heart Association recommends.

In these cases, the measurements you are interested in are not body weight but blood sugar or cholesterol levels. You will need to have these monitored regularly to be able to tell how well you are meeting your health goals when dieting.

Picking A Diet To Complement Your Lifestyle

By now you should have realized that not all diets are great for everyone. However, there should be a diet out there that is perfect for you. If you pick a diet that complements your lifestyle, you can be more assured of achieving your goals. This doesn’t mean that, if you hate exercise, you should not pick a diet that includes a fitness plan. It just means that you have to get creative about coming up with types of exercise you can tolerate and slowly build up momentum from there.

If you have a particularly hectic lifestyle, it would be unreasonable to expect that you can devout three days to a gym workout per week. Similarly, if you are never at home, you may not be able to follow a diet plan that requires you to cook your own meals. However, many diet and fitness plans now take into account the fact that today’s consumers have very little spare time. That’s why gyms sometimes offer on-site daycare for busy mothers and diet plans that come with prepackaged meals. It’s all a question of how well these things fit into your daily routine. If your occupation takes the majority of your day and requires you to be sedentary, you may end up having to improvise on an exercise routine that you can do while seated at your desk.

Add some variety to your diet and fitness plans. Don’t eat the same foods all the time. Try to pick a variety of exercise routines so that if you don’t want to do a certain type of exercise one day, you can do a different type of exercise and still keep moving. Boredom is one reason many people end up quitting diet or exercise plans. If you keep yourself motivated and interested in the diet and fitness plans you are following, you are not likely to quit.

When you are cooking for your family, don’t just cook one set of meals for yourself and another set for your family. You need a diet that the entire family can follow without feeling deprived. If you are eating celery while everyone else is eating steak, all this leads to is resentment and a loss of will power. Stay positive and make the program a family health issue. So it’s very important to consider your lifestyle when picking a diet and fitness plan.

The Diet Budget

Obviously, customized diet programs like Weight Watchers or South Beach Diet can be more expensive than do-it-yourself approaches. If you need the additional support that customized diet programs can provide, you have to understand the financial aspects of those diet programs.

Customized diet programs that supply diet foods can cost you much more than the ones without diet foods. So, if you are going to get on a popular diet plan, you have to put a little extra money aside. If you are unsure what the cost of a week’s worth of diet menu is, you can research it online or ask the program managers.

Keep in mind that all these diets with prepackaged foods can be tweaked to some extent to lessen the overall cost by replacing certain foods such as lobster with other types of less expensive seafood. If the money is a big concern for you, then you need to be very clear about the cost of the diet program you select before applying for it.

Clearing Out and Re-stocking The Pantry

After you’ve decided on a diet plan, you need to clear out all the food in your pantry and refrigerator that does not comply with your diet. The last thing you want in your home is some leftover snacks tempting you to bust your diet. If your diet allows for a free day, consider getting rid of your stash of snacks and buying them on your free day and only in the amount that you are allowed to consume.

When dieting, you will want to go week by week and plan your daily menus in advance. If you are on a diet program like the Atkins Diet, they have guidelines for weekly menus. When you go grocery shopping, make sure that you buy what you need for your diet so that you are covered for all your meals for the week. Put your meal plan somewhere in the kitchen so you can easily see what you are supposed to be eating each day. Remember to pack your meals for the next day when you have to go to work. Try to stock up the pantry with sufficient food for the week so that you won’t be tempted to eat out.

Try to organize your kitchen so that when you are looking for an approved snack or drink, you can easily find them. If you don’t have time to cook everyday, consider doing batch meals and storing them in the refrigerator in containers divided into appropriate portion sizes. If you are using Weight Watchers or The South Beach Diet, you can buy prepackaged meals from the grocery store that are ready to eat. This can save you a lot of time and effort in preparation.

“The Ultimate Guide To Healthy Dieting”

  1. What Type Of Diet Should You Choose For Your Body Type To Lose Weight?
  2. Factors To Consider For A Healthy and Balanced Diet
  3. How To Develop Good Habits When You Are On A Diet
  4. The Best Methods To Measure Your Body Fat Percentage
  5. Keeping Track Of Your Diet and Fitness Progress
  6. Strategies To Help You Stay On Your Diet Plan
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