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Enjoy Your Diet!

Chocolate and other snacks can play an important role in your weight loss/maintenance program. Don’t deny yourself a few pleasures as you work to gain the figure you want. Enjoy yourself along the way. Just keep in mind these few tips from T.O.’s Finding Fitness: Making the Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection for Total Health.

May I Have Some Chocolate, Please?
This may come as a surprise, but the short answer is yes! A few handfuls of M&M’s or a small Snickers bar will not destroy your program.

In fact, chocolate and many other snacks can play an important role in your weight loss/maintenance program. Eating between meals not only can satisfy your cravings for chocolate or other sweets, it also helps maintain your metabolic level, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

Though an occasional piece of chocolate is fine, when planning snacks, fruits and vegetables are best. The composition of these foods — water, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates — makes the body work harder to digest them. Fruits and vegetables, with their natural enzymes, taken longer to digest. Though all fruits and vegetables are good, the following guidelines can help you plan your program.

Morning snack: The key to this snack is to provide the body with energy. A bowl of strawberries is a satisfying sweet treat. Strawberries provide fuel, keeping your energy high and your brain working as your body moves toward the afternoon. (For an extra treat, serve with a little bit of fat-free Cool Whip)

Afternoon snack: An apple in the middle of the day is an optimal fat-burning food. Apples, which are a wonderful combination of water and vitamins, hold water in the muscles and keep the body hydrates, which crucial since our bodies are 78 percent water.

Evening snack: The evening snack can be a wonderful opportunity to burn a bit more fat before retiring for the night. A serving of raw carrots, for example, contains one hundred calories but burns two hundred calories during digestion. You’re burning fat while you eat.

CAKES, COOKIES, AND CANDY TOO!
As I’ve said before, nothing is off limits. But for optimal fitness, remember that the more natural the food, the better.

When preparing your own snacks and desserts, use all-natural products. When purchasing ready-to-eat products, look for the following:

Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Coffee, Desserts
Stay away from products that contain white flour, fructose corn syrup, and simple sugars. Eating a processed food high in simple sugar, after an initial energy surge will leave you tired and dragging. This is an example of empty calories that do nothing for you.

Ice cream, Candy, Puddings, Gum
Look for products that are low in sugar or sugar-free and low in fat.

Syrups, Sweeteners, Natural Sugars
Again, natural products are best: honey, pure maple syrup, and, of course, fruit.

When thinking about any kind of dessert or snack, always consider timing. When is the best time to eat dessert? The earlier in the day, the better. Eat your last dessert or sweet snack at least two hours before you retire.

ONE LITTLE DRINK CAN’T HURT A THING, RIGHT?
Even alcohol can be part of a healthy fitness program. There are some facts, however, that are important to consider:

  • Alcohol breaks down into sugar
  • Alcohol inhibits the liver from breaking down fats
  • Two ounces or less of alcohol daily have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent
  • On the other hand, more than two ounces daily can double your risk of heart disease and each one-ounce drink of alcohol stays with you — one to two pounds of water can remain in your body for two to three days!

To control the effects of alcohol consumption on your diet, consider the following:

  • Vodka (with orange juice or lime) is low in sugar
  • Whiskey (with diet cola) is low in sugar
  • Scotch (with water) is low in sugar

As with desserts, the keys to adding alcohol to your healthy diet are common sense and moderation.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CALORIES
Counting calories has long been the mantra of American dieters. There is some validity to that; the equation, broken down into its simplest form, is this: calories in minus calories out equal the amount of weight lost or gained. However, counting calories is not enough.

For maximum fitness, the quality of calories you take in is more important than the quantity. Many foods are composed of empty calories — sodas, fried snacks, desserts made with refined sugar and white flour. They contain little nutritional value and may also be high in fat. Beware of these items, because they fill you with calories but provide little to your well-being and your body.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Growing up in Alexander City, Alabama, Terrell Owens dreamed of playing professional football like his idol, San Francisco 49ers superstar Jerry Rice. Unlike many contemporary football stars, Owens was a relatively unexceptional high school player, and received a starting position only in his senior year. Terrell has become one of the best receivers in the NFL and holds a slew of Hall of Fame-bound career records. Visit www.terrellowens.com.

After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in 1975, Buddy Primm began his career in the fitness industry at Cosmopolitan Health Spa and shortly thereafter performed in his first body building show at the age of twenty-four. In 1989, at thirty-eight, he competed in his final competition, placing fourth at the NPC Junior Mr. Georgia. He started the Personal Training Institute of Atlanta (PTI) and has been training high-level athletes ever since.

Courtney Parker is a writer specializing in self-help, inspiration, and creative fiction and nonfiction. As a celebrity ghostwriter, novelist and children’s book author, Courtney has written or collaborated with such bestselling authors as Terrell Owens, Nikki Turner, Victoria Christopher Murray, Olympic gold medalist Maurice Green, and Nancey Flowers, just to name a few. Currently, she works on the Emmy Award-winning television show Law & Order.

Together they are the authors of T.O.’s Finding Fitness: Making the Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection for Total Health (Copyright © 2008 by Terrell Owens Enterprises).

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