The human body is a never ending series of impressive feats. When we take a moment to stop and think of all the functions and feats our bodies make possible every single day, it can be amazing to know that purely organic elements can all come together and make things happen.
Regardless of any individual challenges, ailments or problems a person faces, the uber-vast majority of the body itself functions absolutely perfectly, keeping us alive, aware and living life. This doesn't mean that the body cannot have flaws or be improved; in fact, there is much that can be done to better both physical and mental health.
Whether you are a few pounds overweight, suffering from obesity or are just merely out-of-shape, the goal to get in shape and achieve that ideal body is a dream many people share. The task of getting from point A to point B, however, is more difficult than merely willing things into existence.
Because what you eat truly matters in the fight for a better body, we've put together a series of recommendations on how to pick the right foods to make it happen. Whether you're exercising heavily or just want to be more mindful of what you eat, you'll be on the right path with the following suggestions.
Determine Your Caloric Intake
Before you can make any substantial changes in your diet, lose weight or merely know what to change, you'll need to take a caloric inventory of your daily eating habits. For the most part, we tend to eat roughly the same number of calories per day and this basic measurement – in conjunction with exercise regimens – determines whether we gain weight, lose weight or stay the same.
It is recommended that you carefully measure your caloric intake each day for one week to get a more exact idea of your base eating habits. During this time, it is important to merely measure – not police – what you are eating. This will help to give an accurate measurement of how many calories you have been consuming and these numbers will factor in heavily to calculating what must be done to get your ideal body.
Depending on your current level of activity, most people will need to consume anywhere from 1600 to 2500 calories per day in order to maintain a healthy body weight. This number will be on the lower end for females and those with less physically active daily lives, and on the upper end for males and those who exercise or exert lots of energy throughout the day. Nobody should consume fewer than 1200 calories per day.
For those seeking to gain or lose weight, a good rule of thumb is that you'll need to consume or eliminate 500 calories per day over the course of one week in order to gain or lose one pound. For example, a person consuming 3000 calories per day who cuts back to 2000 calories can expect to lose two pounds per week in the short-term.
Examine Current Food Choices
In order to know what your body needs to be in ideal shape, you'll need to know what it is currently lacking. For most people, it isn't just a problem of consuming too many calories. We also tend to not consume enough vital food choices that provide us with minerals, vitamins and essential acids.
The most basic way to re-evaluate your food regimen is to break your diet down into the three main energy types: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each of these groups provides the body with vital energy, but we often do not get them in the right proportions.
On average, the ideal balance is around 50% carbs, 25% fat and 25% protein. Some people will opt for different ratios depending on their ideal body goals; for example, those seeking to build lean mass may up their protein intake at the expense of carbs (to calculate your current lean body mass, use this LBM calculator).
Consider Health Conditions
Depending on your current state of health, you may have one or more dietary restrictions or requirements that will affect your ability to eat select foods. A majority of people have some condition or another that impacts intake of select food.
If you are diabetic, then you'll have to make a number of considerations regarding carbs and sugar. For those with high blood pressure or other cardiac conditions, avoiding salt at all costs is the pathway toward an ideal body. Select medications may impact which foods you can or cannot eat, so be mindful of these interactions and respect your doctor's advice.
Find the Foods You Love
Eating right to get that ideal body may seem like a chore, but it doesn't have to be. Most people have preferred foods and ways of eating; any dietary change can feel like a disruption, making it more difficult to follow through. If you carefully select a well-balanced variety of foods to eat that you enjoy, however, it's a lot easier.
With an understanding of how many calories you should eat and how much protein, fat and carbohydrates, you can begin building a daily dietary regimen that incorporates many of the foods you love. Many people make this process simple by keeping at least one identical meal every day. While we all get tired of eating the same foods constantly, this dietary choice can help streamline cooking and/or preparation.
In order to get in shape and obtain that ideal body, there's a good chance that your day-to-day diet will have to change. Since most of us aren't born with the perfect body, find the right balance of foods – along with exercise – to make it happen.
In order to pursue the right approach to eating, you'll first need to determine how much you're eating and whether or not you need to eat more/less. From there, you can begin assessing what combination of fats, proteins and carbs are necessary. Finally, be sure to take inventory of any medical conditions that may affect your diet.
With these criteria covered and considered, you'll be able to begin a fresh new diet that'll give you the foundation for that ideal body you want to see.