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5 simple numbers for healthy eating

You could read 100 health magazines, subscribe to an additional 100 fitness newsletters from various fitness pros, and within all of those articles and newsletters find 150-175 different diets, nutrition recommendations or perfect meal plans you should follow in order to loose weight and be healthy.

Rule 1: Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of WATER every day and add another 16-20 ounces for every hour of exercise you do.
Photo by elitatt via Flickr

Some are seemingly easy to follow and some would take a few months to figure out the rules. That’s not to say some of those diet plans aren’t beneficial or can’t work. The problem is how do you know which one will be the most effective?

These five numbers are a way to simplify this whole healthy eating process by allowing your feeding plan to be flexible, but easy enough to track and work with daily. You can put your food together however you want, but in order to hit these five simple numbers, you are going to have to put together healthy options. If you pack your feeding plan with junk food, it won’t work. If you pick your favorite healthy foods, your calories should be in a good range, and more than likely you are going to get most of your micronutrients as well.

Rule 1: Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of WATER every day and add another 16-20 ounces for every hour of exercise you do.

Rule 2: Eat 0.6--0.8 grams of LEAN PROTEIN for every pound you weigh. (200 lb person needs 120-160 grams)

Rule 3: Kept consumption of REFINED SUGAR to less than 20 grams per day.

Rule 4: Eat at least 25 grams of FIBER from food every day.

Rule 5: Eat HEALTHY FATS every day; 35-50 grams per day if you weigh less than 150 pounds, 50-75 grams per day if you are over 150 pounds.

Bonus Rule: Decrease your STARCHY CARBS throughout the day.

Why these rules? In order to hit all of these simple numbers every day, you will have to make healthy food choices. You won’t be able to eat processed junk food and soda while staying under 20g of refined sugar. You can’t eat 25g of fiber without adding healthy veggies and beans. So the rules and numbers are simple, and it allows you put the food you enjoy together however you like without having to follow any fad diet meal plans.

  1. The human body is about 60 percent water. Mental clarity, alertness, digestion, skin and recovery are just a few of the many functions that are increased when we are properly hydrated. However, more importantly, in terms of healthy eating, proper hydration can play a key role in how much we eat. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls our cravings for food and water when we are hungry and/or thirsty; however, the signal feels the same to us. So, if we are dehydrated, we can misinterpret our body’s signal to drink as hunger and actually eat more. Staying properly hydrated can save hundreds of calories per day in over-eating.
  2. Lean protein is important to get at every meal because it helps us feel full longer, so we eat less. It also breaks down into amino acids, which repair all tissues in our body. Most tissue repair helps our body function properly, which is good, but repairing muscle tissue after our workouts helps to increase our metabolism by building muscle, which burns more calories at rest. FIND LEAN PROTEIN IN: Chicken, turkey, ocean caught fish, lean cuts of red meat, beans, legumes, soy, dairy.
  3. Refined sugars are nothing but trouble for our bodies. Not only do they cause addictive cravings for more sugar, they also break down and enter the blood stream rapidly, increasing insulin levels, blood sugar levels and in turn stored fat. Stick to natural carbs from fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. When paired with proteins and healthy fats, carbs break down much slower giving a steady release into our blood stream normalizing insulin levels. AVOID REFINED SUGARS IN: Dessert foods, crackers, processed packaged foods, sodas and other sugary drinks.
  4. Fiber is essential for proper digestion and intestinal health. Found in vegetables, beans and legumes, eating at least 25g per day from nutritious foods will help maintain a healthy digestive system, as well as necessitate the consumption of healthy foods that also provide an array of vitamins and minerals. FIND FIBER IN: Leafy green veggies, beans, legumes, whole grains.
  5. Eat Healthy Fats – While fat has gotten a bad rap over the years, it is an essential macronutrient for our health. Not only does it help us feel full longer, it helps cushion vital organs in our body, it transports and stores fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, keeps our heart healthy, and provides essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t produce. FIND HEALTHY FATS IN: Flax seeds, almonds, avocado, olive oil, salmon and eggs.

Bonus – Carbs are the simplest form of fuel for our body. They break down easily and provide a quick form of energy. However, toward the end of the day, when we become less active and start to slow down, our bodies no longer need those quick, easy forms of energy. So what happens? They get stored as fat. Instead of letting this happen, eat all of your starchy carbs (whole grains, brown rice, oats, whole grain tortillas, fruits, etc.) during the beginning of your day and only eat healthy veggies as carbs for dinner and during late snacks.

Following these 5 simple numbers in your every day feeding plan will help you feel more energized in no time. And before you know it, the physique you have been hoping for will be in sight.

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