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A Get Healthy and Fit Plan
by Mary Howard RN

Recently people have asked me if I could recommend a dietary plan that works. I have been working on a diet plan and would like to share it with you. Before you try any new exercise or diet plan, please see your own health care professional, especially if you have special diet needs.

Try these three things to get your body in shape:

1. Start the day with a high protein, low or no carbohydrate meal. For instance, an omelet with cheese and lunch meat (no toast on the side), or a soft boiled egg. (Not necessarily a big breakfast just a protein breakfast.)

Start the day with a protein meal because when you eat Carbohydrates your body is in a glucose (Insulin) dominant phase, causing fat storage. When you are in a natural fasting state (like in the morning) or when you eat Proteins and fats, without carbohydrates, it keeps your body in the Glycogen dominant phase. During a glycogen dominant phase your body burns fat. If you eat a carbohydrate too early in the morning after fasting during the night it throws you into a Glucose dominant phase. Your body will say, "hey, my host is starving me, I better store some fat."

2. Either before breakfast or within an hour of breakfast engage in an exercise routine that raises your heart rate. It could be as simple as running around the house, sit-ups, or jumping jacks - anything to get your metabolism going.

Exercising in the morning, while in the Glycogen dominant phase, causes your body to burn fat instead of muscle.

3. No eating at least three (3) hours before bed. If you feel the need to snack at bedtime make it a protein snack like lunch meat or nuts.

Eating Carbohydrates before bedtime causes your body to have decreased production of the hormone that rebuilds your muscles during sleep.

Two or three hours after breakfast resume eating balanced meals and snacks. Some healthy examples of balanced food are as follows:

1. Try to eat lots of green and raw vegetables and fruit.

2. Fiber is a big helper to the digestive system and for burning carbohydrate calories.

3. Try to eat whole grain breads and cereals.

4. Avoid refined sugar as much as possible.

Generally eat anything you want, just try to make healthy choices. For some of you, that means avoiding fat. For others it means watching carbohydrate intake. Eat generous portions of high protein foods, especially if you are trying build muscle and lose weight.

On a Low Carbohydrate diet try to keep carbohydrate grams around 60 grams a day. Remember to subtract your fiber grams from your total carbohydrate count because fiber digests as carbohydrates.

On a low fat diet try to keep Fat grams to 30% of total calorie intake.

The best trick with either diet plan is not to mix your carbohydrates and Fats/Protein foods. Wait 3 hours to change from one food group to another.

Try out the above exercise and diet plan and let me know how it works for you. My email: gardenrn@sendfree.com

Some other dietary/exercise concepts I would like to share with you:

Water is important to cleanse your system and nourish your cells. Often hunger is actually mistaken for thirst. Water before a meal is a good filler to help take the edge of your hunger.

A Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement is a good way to start your day off on the right foot. If your diet is lacking in nutrients one day or another it will help pick up the slack. Often diets high in Protein can deplete Potassium stores. Keeping your vitamins and minerals in balance will give you energy and help you build muscle better.

Exercising Large muscle groups is the key to help build muscle and burning fat. The best type of exercise is resistance exercises. Those involve pushing against a machine, elastic straps or lifting weights. Doing what you can with what you have at least for starters is better than not exercising. For example, sit-ups and push-ups are resistance exercises because you are using your own body weight.

Once your body adjusts to decreased carbohydrate intake the old calorie counting rules don't apply. You simply won't feel like eating as much. Avoid refined foods, like sugar and white flour, as much as possible. It all comes back to the basics. By using moderation in type and amounts of foods and by eating foods in their natural state, the way they were made from the earth you will feel better, work harder with less effort and look better in the process.

The NutriCounter looks like it would be a great tool for keeping track of and counting grams of Protein and carbohydrates eaten each day.

Mary Howard is Registered Nurse, mother of two, and enjoys natural gardening. More or her articles are posted on the Homegrown web site. Feel Free to contact her at: gardenrn@sendfree.com http://members.tripod.com/homegrownmo

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