Friday, February 17, 2012

FITNESS: A Misconception of GIGANTIC Proportions

Samantha Salis
In America, we like BIG. We like big deals. We like 'big butts'. We like big rocks (diamonds). Unfortunately for us, with this go big or go home mentality, we have grown to love big portions. This has become disastrous for the help of Ameircans. Europeans make fun of the "whale sitings" in America, canadians make sure people know they are not a part of the United States for fear of being associated with such undisciplined, large and in charge people. We have become the world's cocktail party joke. 
We are in a recession, so  value deals—more food for your buck---are hotter than ever. These large portions 'bestowed' upon us at competitively cheap rates? They are far from beneficial...

Imagine this:  your body is like a car, a nice car. Let’s say--- a Porsche, or a Ferrari. The car needs a specifically cleaner, higher-quality fuel to make the engine (your body) run best. Putting extra fuel into that engine, once it is full, is not going to make it run better. It only needs a fixed amount of it, any extra fuel only pouring out-- wasted.   
Bigger isn’t always better. Let’s start by looking at your everyday, average dinner. The plate from which you 
should eat your dinner (protein, sides, etc.) is not the plate most use. Plate sizes have grown to be too big, just as Americans have. The amount of food that your body needs to run best can fit onto a salad plate (and no, I do not mean that you can stack your food upwards!). 
We live in a culture of diet crazes. The popular Atkins diet, emphasizing high protein and low carbohydrate intake, has convinced many of us that in our own diets, the more protein, the better. Yes, protein is necessary for our ‘engines’ to run at top speed. But, we have to remember: one serving of protein, as in that piece of steak you eat at dinner, is only 3-4 ounces. This is equivalent to the size of your clenched fist (unless, of course, you have very large hands). It is crucial to remember that if you eat too much protein in a day, without adequate exercise, it will simply turn to fat. Excess protein in the body, unless worked into muscle, is stored as fat. So, when your friends decide to skip the gym and make protein shakes instead, flexing their muscles at you like they're already growing? You're allowed to laugh. Or, nicely encourage them to go to the gym.  
You may be thinking-“But the amount of food you are advising is so small! There has to be more food that can fit on that salad plate of mine!” I am not trying to starve anyone here. I am simply advising you to be selective when deciding to fill your plate with. Whole grains take a longer time for our body to metabolize than bleached, white grains; as a result, this makes our ‘engines’ work harder, keeping us fuller longer.

Still not enough food you say? Well all good relationships are about compromise, so my dear readers, ill compromise just for you: I offer you an exception to the rule. Green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cucumber, etc.) you are allowed to have almost an unlimited amount!!! Emphasis on green---starchy vegetables such as corn DO NOT COUNT. These green vegetables offer us so many vitamins that our body 
craves. Many people tend to eat what they are craving, like those tantalizing sweets that bring us instant gratification by triggering the “happy” neurotransmitters in our brain. But this is all a sham, as we have discussed in my previous article (Unleashed:Temptation [Before You Can Think Twice]); we all know this is no lasting satisfaction. Your mind has been fooled by these fake triggers into thinking it will be, though. So I say, take a deep breath and start to listen to the demands of your body as a whole, rather than just your mind and your cravings. It has a voice too---and I’m pretty sure it has a lot to say. 

The Woman Behind the Fitness Section:
Samantha Salis is a Psychology Major and Political Economy Minor at UC Berkeley. She is a dedicated young woman, ambitious and sharp as a whip. Our dear Samantha tutors high schoolers and works at a Psychology lab at UC Berkeley. Even with this busy schedule, Ms. Salis creates the time to divulge to us her passion about the fitness and health of women, and is (fortunately for us) very well informed on these topics. Enjoy!

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