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Nutritional Success = Healthy Balance

Fitness is like a cart with two wheels. If you only focus on the exercise wheel and forget the nutrition wheel you will become stuck and never reach your goals.

Nutrition plays a huge part of fitness goals, even more so than exercise. The food (vitamins, carbs, proteins, calcium, etc) that is consumed is our fuel for activity, both physical and mental, and is also the building blocks of new blood, new muscle tissue, and reinforcing our bone structure. The quality of nutrition plays a huge role in how your body is using that food.

The end result is that for every nutrient, protein or calorie you consume your body will automatically try to make the most of it (either by using it or storing it).

How to Eat for Success by Making the Most of your Diet

1. Eat Healthy Food Most of the Time

Aim to eat healthy food 90% to 95% of the time. Every calorie should be going toward a function within the body. Healthy fats from nuts, fish and avocado contribute to healthy hair, skin and nails. A shortage of fats, due to anorexia for example, can cause your hair to fall out. Healthy fats also help the body to absorb nutrients. Vegetables should be a variety of colours and fruits should be high in fiber (apples, pears, etc). Carbohydrates should come from whole grain sources. Aim for a variety and balance and to counteract any deficiencies. eg. If you are low on potassium eat more bananas, spinach, mushrooms, etc.

2. Eat When you are Hungry / Don't Eat when you are Not Hungry

Listen to your body and when you feel hungry. Eat when you are hungry. This prevents over eating. Don't be afraid of snacking, but aim for healthy snacks.
 
When the body thinks it's starving it holds onto fat and this makes it even harder to lose it. On the flip side, if you're feeling satiated, don't eat! Stop eating when you are not hungry anymore. Save the other half of your meal for lunch the next day - or as a snack for later!

3. Don't Drink Calories

If you are drinking soda pop every day the first thing you need to do is cut that out. Its basically just flavoured sugar water, and its not helping you.
 
Calories in liquid form really hurts your daily calorie requirements and soda pop offers nothing nutritionally. Just cutting out sugary drinks during a weight loss diet will help shed a few pounds really quickly. Drink tea, water, skim milk and juices.

4. Track Your Calories

People who track their calories in a journal or on a SmartPhone App are 3 times more likely to succeed at attaining their desired weight. Knowing how much you are consuming daily, learning how to break it up into meals and snacks is an essential key to weight loss and finding a healthy balance. Below is a sample caloric breakdown for a weight loss diet.
 
 Breakfast - 400-500 calories

Mid Morning Snack - 100 calories

Lunch - 500-600 calories

Afternoon Snack - 100 calories

Supper - 500-600 calories

Evening Snack - 100 calories

5. Carry Healthy Snacks on You

If you're one of those people who carries a backpack, purse or briefcase with you wherever you go pack some healthy snacks in there for later.
 
My favourite? Peanut butter granola bars (the kind with no chocolate  in them), although they do have some honey to help it stick together.
 
How To Make
 
Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine or butter
3 cups granola

Equipment
Spatula
Glass bowl
Medium sauce pan
Flat non-stick pan

Step 1      
Measure out ingredients and prepare containers. You can buy 12-oz. packages that measure out to exactly 3 cups.

Step 2
Combine peanut butter, honey and butter in a medium sauce pan. Heat to a simmer and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. It helps to dice the butter into smaller cubes before tossing in.

Step 3      
Turn off the stove and pour the hot mix into a glass bowl. Pour in the 3 cups of plain granola and stir until well mixed.

Step 4      
Spoon into a flat pan that is 8 x 8 inches or similar size, such as 6 x 10 inches, then flatten with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Step 5      
Use a sharp knife to cut the chilled peanut butter granola layer into 2 x 4-inch sections, approximately. This should yield 8 to 9 peanut butter granola bars.

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