Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guest blogger: Healthline.com. Choosing a Diet that is Right for You

Looking for the ideal diet? There is actually no "right answer" for everyone, and dieting has to be a very personalized matter. What works for the woman next door may not work for you and this is especially true where any dieting and weight loss are the focus.

So, let's begin to discuss a diet that is right for the "average working mom" by understanding calories. That's right; we said that dreaded word, but you need to know that calories are your friend and greatest ally in your efforts to lose weight.

How? Well, it is calories that make up the BMR or the basal metabolic rate. This is the number of calories you must eat every single day if you are to maintain your current weight, and without any activity. So, use the following formula to calculate how many calories you need every day:
655 + (4.3 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

Now, keep in mind that this figure is the calories you have to eat if you were to just lay in bed and eat all day. Even then you would not get all of those calories because your body uses around 10% of all calories consumed in the digestive process. Nice, right? You can knock ten percent of the calories "off the top" because your body negates them in order to use them.

Then there is the matter of exercise. When you exercise you burn "X" number of calories per hour, and will often continue to burn small amounts of calories in the hours afterward. So, do the math and figure out what your daily "workout" consumes from the BMR as well.

Now, where does that leave you? For example, if you discovered that you needed to eat around 1550 calories per day to remain your current weight, it would mean you needed to add 155 more calories to account for "thermic burn". If you then walk around three miles each day at a brisk pace it would mean that roughly 300 calories disappear too. This leaves you at around 1250 calories each day. So, you are already posed to lose weight if you remain in that area because you are coming in at a deficit.
Empty Calories versus Nutrition

Now, we need to take a new perspective on calories because you can't just eat any type of calories and still lose weight. For example, if you ate 1200 calories in potato chips, you wouldn't drop weight as easily as if you ate those same 1200 calories in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
This is because calories can be nutritious or they can be empty. Sugary snacks, fatty foods, and "junk foods" are all basically meaningless calories that provide you with poor sources of energy. Healthy foods are the way to go and will charge you up with vitamins and minerals while giving the caloric content you need.

Now we can begin to contemplate a diet that works for you on a personal level. For instance, you can look at the rather radical plans like Atkins or South Beach and remain very healthy because these reduce carbohydrates and emphasize whole foods such as vegetables and proteins. That may not work for you because you like your pasta and bread. This would mean that you could turn to a more relaxed approach to dieting and use an online plan or other program.

Keep in mind that your dieting and exercising plans have to work with your schedule, your energy needs, and your desire to make your daily eating plan something that "syncs" well with that of your family. 
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.