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Fitness Thoughts for the Day

They say that you are what you eat.

Amazingly enough, it is true.

In other words, if you eat crap, your body will react to that and will work against you. If you eat clean, your body will work with you.

Yes, boys and girls, this is another post about health and fitness! So here we go again!

Today's topic is nutrition. Bear in mind, I am not talking about diets. I am talking about nutrition, which is the fuel on which your body runs.

Your body is like a car. If you provide good maintenance to your car, your car will last longer and look better than if you do not. If you put good gas in it, your car will run smoothly and your engine will last for many more years than it would otherwise. Yet, sometimes we pay more attention to the maintenance we give to our cars than the maintenance we give to our bodies.

(Of course, sometimes you get the lemon of the lot, and there's not much you can do about that, but even a lemon will work better with proper maintenance and fuel.)

A healthy regime is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise. You can get good results with one or the other, but unless you do both, you won't get optimal ones. And yes, that 10% may not seem like much, but it is just as important as the 90%.

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding nutrition and exercise is that if you are exercising, it's okay to eat anything and everything. After all, you are working out, and you will burn all those extra calories anyway, so eating crap is all right. Right?

Wrong.

When you are exercising, it is just as important to eat clean as when you are not. Possibly even more.

And what constitutes eating clean, you ask? Eating clean means eating fresh food as much as you possibly can, and avoid processed food as much as possible. Good examples of fresh foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, fish, grains, and basically stuff that you don't get out of a can. Okay, canned tuna is fine, some stuff in cans are okay, but I am just giving you an idea of what to expect. A bag of potato chips is not eating clean, no matter what the label says.

That doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself from everything you like. I allow myself one meal per week that is not in the plan, just because I can. And if I ate a piece of chocolate cake today, I will make sure that I will have a proper dinner and that I will be back on the wagon tomorrow.

In other words, if you had a bad meal, or missed a workout, don't beat yourself up. Simply get yourself back in track and continue doing your healthy thing. The key is not perfection. The key to success is consistency. Perfection is unnatainable. Consistency is not.

The topic of nutrition and exercise is very wide. For now, I will concentrate on one thing: Drinking water. The human body is made mostly of water. This is a known fact. Water makes our body function better and flush away the toxins. Ironically enough, if you have a water retention problem, that probably means that you are not drinking enough water.

"But," you say. "I can't drink straight water. I don't like the taste. Besides, I drink Diet Coke all day long, so that would be enough."

Wrong.

Caffeine, caffeinated drinks, sugared drinks, and even juice (from concentrate or not), are not really drinks that help you in your quest for hydrating your body. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Those glasses should be at least 8 oz each.

  • If you have a cup of coffee or a caffeinated drink, you should be drinking that same amount in water, in addition to your 8 glasses.

  • Drinks that contain sugar, such as juices, Gatorade, Propel, etc., will add to your caloric intake, which result in gaining weight if you are not cutting those calories elsewhere.

  • In the case of drinks like Gatorade, Propel, etc., use them when you need your electrolytes to be replenished, such as at Pennsic, running a marathon, etc., but not as your main source of everyday water.

  • Beware of labels that say "Contains natural juice." It's still a lot of sugar.

  • Diet drinks, especially caffeinated ones, do not substitute for real water. If you drink it, replenish the water like in the case of coffee.

  • Avoid alcohol. Yes, I know that this is tough. But alcohol spikes your insuline levels, and also dehydrates you. Keep it at a minimum if you can. And at a minimum I mean not drinking every day. And yes, I know that some people say that a drink a day will help your heart. To them I say, you can achieve the same results by eating right and exercising, so that's not an excuse.

    So my challenge for you, those who would like to take it, will be cutting down on sodas, sugared and caffeinated drinks for a week, and replace them with water. You don't even have to cut them completely. I allow myself a cup of coffee in the morning (black, sweetened with Splenda), and one Diet Coke per day. That's it. The rest is water. 8 glasses of them per day, 8 oz. each.

    Oh, and using Crystal Light sugar free packets for flavoring the water is okay for the challenge. My system is, I keep three bottles of water in the fridge at the office. I take one out, add Crystal Light (tastes great cold), drink it, refill it, put it in the fridge, and get another one. It works great.

    You can use that system, or develop your own. And you can tell us what works for you, and how do you feel after doing this for a week. And if you fall off the wagon, don't leave the challenge, just get back in track. Also, keeping track in a piece of paper or notebook on how much water are you drinking and how many other types of drinks you are having helps.

    Good luck, and good (water) drinking!

    And speaking of nutrition, my lunch is calling.

    Have a healthy day!

    EDIT: Clarification -- For those who read it before the edit, the challenge also entails drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, 8 oz. each. :-D
  • Tags:

    Comments

    ( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
    azpapillion
    Oct. 30th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
    And if you drink only water, no sodas and only have a cup of decaf coffee black (no sweetner) once or twice a week?

    What challenge do you have for that? :)
    melaniesuzanne
    Oct. 30th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
    Shhhhh. She might actually give us one!
    azpapillion
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
    And the problem with that?? :D
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
    Be afraid! Be very afraid! Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
    On the water department? None. But lots of kudos! :-D

    There will be other challenges though. Keep an eye on this spot! LOL
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
    I forgot. The challenge is also 8 glasses of water per day, 8 oz. each. I imagine you're already doing that. If not, that's the challenge. :-D
    isenglass
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
    I'm starting now. My water is sitting right beside me.
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
    Excellent! Welcome to the water-drinker's club! :-D

    Make notes on how you are feeling, and how you feel after a week of this. I will be issuing other challenges later!
    isenglass
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
    Notes, got it. Since today is already half over, I will start notes tomorrow. I was planning to start running again. I suppose that may affect the challenge results too. Hmmm...
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
    It may improve it. Water plus running, you're on girl!
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
    Yikes! The only thing I forgot to add, is that the water consumption should be at least 8 glasses of water per day too. I have made the change in the entry :-D
    greta_k
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
    I don't drink soda. Haven't for years (except maybe MAYBE once per year). Don't drink coffee. However, you will have to pry my moo juice out of my cold, dead hands. And then I'll just go find myself a cow, a bucket, and a stool upon which to sit.

    The cows are mooing in quiet terror. . .
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
    Excellent! The only clarification is that it is necessary for my challenge not only not to drink sodas, but to quit highly caloric drinks and replace them with water. Also to drink 8 glasses of water, 8 oz. each per day. :-D

    lanamarie_ren
    Oct. 30th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
    It's funny to see this on my friends list, because I started trying to do this last week. I was drinking WAY too much soda, so I am trying to cut to 2 per day (one morning, one with dinner). I have my huge red waterbottle on my desk beside me!
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
    Excellent! Way to go!
    shadowsong
    Oct. 30th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
    I usually drink about 200 calories worth of chai in the morning, and then everything else is water. I don't like most juices and sodas, but strong black tea with chai masala and a generous scoop of sweetened condensed milk is something that I'll never give up.

    I do need to be a bit more consistent with my water drinking, though - i have maybe half of my water over 10 hours of the day, and the rest of it in the evening, by which time i'm feeling dehydrated. Must remember to refill nalgene during the day.
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
    You don't need to give up your 200 cal morning Chai, but you would want to deduct those calories from some other food during the day, making an exchange. :-)

    But drink your water girl! It does the body good!
    salviati
    Oct. 30th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
    I'm not trying to start something here, ;-) but I thought you might find it interesting that there was an article in Cooking Light a couple of months ago that says the whole 8-glasses-of-water-a-day thing might be something of a myth. It's been a while since I've read it, but the gist of it was saying that we get a good amount of fluid from food and other beverages, and that caffeine isn't as dehydrating as once thought (at least in the amounts that most of us drink). Yes, water is a great thing and by all means drink it. But the advice was to let thirst be your guide and you don't need to force yourself to drink 64 oz. per day if it isn't necessary.

    That said, since I've been back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon, I've cut back my soda consumption (which is usually caffeine-free and diet anyway) and have had more plain water. (WW only requires 6 glasses per day, and half of that can be any non-caffeine, non-alcoholic drink.) I know myself and know that I get bored with plain water after a while, so I do throw in Crystal Light every now and then, and I try to drink the plain water with meals, which for some reason helps me drink it consistently.
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
    Yeah, I read the same article. But I have noticed that I can keep my energy levels and weight control much better when I drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.

    But I would not issue a challenge with 10 glasses of water, unless folks want to go into bodybuilding. Ten glasses is hard to achieve. Eight is much more realistic on a routine basis. And I also love Crystal Light!
    baronessadriana
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
    Can I start on Monday?

    My company's annual beach retreat is this weekend and I would hate to miss out on the company provided gin & tonic's & margaritas.

    Currently, I have one cup of coffee with milk & Splenda, one diet coke a day, and a glass of milk with dinner. Now, I need to up my water consumption and consider replacing the milk with water. Though the milk is 1% and provides a good source of calcium, so I will have to think on that.
    ladyhelwynn
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
    I wouldn't replace the milk. The milk is a good source of protein and calcium.

    I love me some cow juice. :)
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
    You shouldn't need to replace the milk. Instead, check the milk's caloric intake and exchange it for something else that you would normally eat during the day and that has little or no nutritional value. That would be a healthy trade of calories.

    Also, try your coffee black and keep the Splenda, and see if you like it. Suppress the Diet Coke instead of the milk.

    You should be doing okay, just make sure that you drink your 8 glasses of water a day.

    And starting on Monday is okay. The whole point is to see the effects of increasing your water intake, while reducing the drinking of other liquids that do not add anything to your diet.
    ladyhelwynn
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
    I've slacked off a bit on my water drinking so this is a good excuse to get back in the habit.

    I generally try to go for the 6 - 8 8oz servings of water per day. You are right, it definitely makes a difference. The things I have found that have made the biggest difference in how I feel is 1) drinking plenty of water, 2) taking my multiple vitamin daily and 3) moderate excercise.

    This is a good time to kick myself in the butt and get back into some of my better habits. Thanks! ;)
    belfebe
    Oct. 30th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
    Any time!
    reasdream
    Oct. 31st, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
    I've not paid that much attention, but given that I fill up my 24oz camelback at least 3 times a day, I think I get the 64ozs at least during the work week.

    It's one of the reasons I like using pint glasses for drinking water - you can drink more without having to get up and refill the glass as often.

    (fwiw, I am trying to improve my veg intake)
    belfebe
    Oct. 31st, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
    Excellent!
    jaine_parr
    Oct. 31st, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
    I haven't had caffeine in years. My morning usually starts with 8 oz. milk and I have 32 oz. of water by the time I finish my workout. 64 oz. of water in one day? Not a problem. Propel has 10 calories per serving. I get more calories than that through my Omega-3s each morning.
    belfebe
    Oct. 31st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
    I know. You're one of the people who are on track. Plus your workout totally rocks and you needs go in the route of keeping weight on and not lose it. LOL.

    You are a source of inspiration for my own workouts. :-)

    Edited at 2008-10-31 03:38 pm (UTC)
    ( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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