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Health & Fitness: Nourishing Your Core

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By Kim Duke

NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

In my last article, I stressed being more core conscious while building a stronger core and overall body.  But, consistent exercise is only part of the successful core-training equation: you must combine training with healthy nutrition to achieve a strong and healthy body.

For best results, it is vital to fuel properly.  The old saying that you are what you eat applies quite literally to your physique.

Here are some tips I have found are very helpful to my clients as they transition their food choices.

#1-Eat! Don’t skip meals; otherwise you’ll become too hungry, eat too fast, and ultimately eat too much.

#2-Do not skip carbs.  Carbohydrates can be simple, complex or fibrous.  Simple carbs such as fruit are broken down quickly by the body and provide short bursts of energy.  Complex carbs like oatmeal are slower to break down and fibrous carbs like broccoli and asparagus aid digestion and provide fiber, which assist in removal of waste from the body.

#3- Avoid inflammatory foods.

Inflammation triggers belly fat storage and is an underlying factor in many disease states. Avoid refined carbohydrates, foods rich in saturated fats and trans fats, and highly processed foods. All of these foods can promote inflammation.

#4-Protein.

Consume at least one gram of protein per pound of your body weight from lean sources (think lean beef, white-meat poultry, fish, eggs).

#5- Eat more produces. Fresh vegetables and fruits are key to good nutrition. They’re loaded with filling fiber and packed full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They’re also low in calories.

#6- Eat at least one good source of healthy fat every day.

Monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids help to fight both belly fat and inflammation. These fats are essential to maintaining a desirable body weight as well as preventing disease.  Good fats are found in olives and avocados.  Omega-3s can be found in walnuts, flax seeds, and salmon to name a few.

#7- Stay hydrated. Hydration helps keep your energy level up, fills you up to help you reduce your portions at meals and snacks, and helps your metabolism function at its peak. So drink up!

#8- Stay active.

Even if you don’t have a regular exercise routine, get a pedometer and make sure you get in a minimum of 10,000 steps every single day.

Eating the appropriate foods every day is important to maintaining your flat belly for good. So, in addition to following my flat-belly principles in the preceding section, you also need to try to incorporate the following foods daily:

• Green tea: This powerful fat fighter tastes great and is loaded with antioxidants, which help fight disease and inflammation. Aim for 1 or 2 cups per day.

• Hot and spicy seasonings: Seasonings like cayenne pepper help to boost metabolism, helping you burn more calories and make weight maintenance even easier.

Maintaining your weight loss is all about balance.  I tell my clients to follow the 80/20 rule. Focus 80 percent of the time on eating healthy, belly-friendly foods that shrink the waistline and fight inflammation. Then 20 percent of the time, you have room to veer off track a bit. This 20 percent is your splurge. You may choose to have one day a week where you have a splurge meal, or you may opt for a small snack twice a week where you don’t exactly make the healthiest choice.

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