Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Commit 2 Fit - Life Challenge Five


So excited to share week FIVE with you today! We are going to be adding Omega-3 fats to our diet. Yes! we get to eat FAT... of course there is always a catch right?

Why are we going to eat fats?


Omega-3 fats are essential for an overwhelming number of physical processes - there are way too many to list! One of them does include weight management. Very important for shedding body fat you need to make sure you are getting good healthy fats.

How much Omega-3 fats do I add?
  • 1,000 mg per day minimum

Before we go into too many details I think we should review dietary fats 101. Just to make sure we are all understanding the difference between good fats and bad fats.

  • Saturated fats - we don't want these in our diets in high quantities
    • The higher the saturated fats in our diet the higher the risk for cardiovascular disease
    • This is the type of fat that comes from animals - cheese, milk, butter, beef
    • We are going to decrease your intake of saturated fats - is it okay to have cheese and milk once a week. And not a problem to have beef once a week. It is not recommended to have these fats on a daily basis. You are not going to lose a point for doing that, but for overall good health and results I would keep it to a minimum.
  • Trans fats - these are processed, fats that have been manipulated through chemical processes
    • Includes hydrogenated shortening - this is in A LOT of packaged processed foods
    • We are not going to have any TRANS-FATS
  • Healthy fats - vegetables and fist
    • Omega 6 & 3 fats
    • We are going to concentrate on increasing these good fats
What are Omega 6 & 3 fats?
Omega 6 - high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids are mainly found in vegetable sources and are essential for health.
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
Omega 3 - high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids are mainly found in fatty  cold water fish
  • Salmon
  • Albacore
  • Halibut
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
As a society in the last couple of years, we have been educated very well on saturated fats and how we want to decrease our intake of these. Naturally we have gravitated towards Omega 6 fats - like using olive oil in our foods. However we are still very low as a society on Omega 3, we are not eating enough fish or flaxseed oil - so that is what we are going to concentrate on for the rest of the challenge (and your lifetime!)

When the body is in short supply of these essential acids, a myriad of problems can arise including fatigue, immune weakness, gastrointestinal disorders, heart and circulatory problems, reduced growth rate and more. I am anxious to hear from any of you that suffer from any of the auto-immune diseases such as Lupus or Fibromyalgia. Because it has been documented that those that suffer from these have a large deficiency in Omegas.

So one thing that I want to point out to you is the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. This is important! In our bodies our health is optimized by a 1:1 ratio or 2:1 ratio. Meaning we need equal amounts of Omega 6 to Omega 3  - this is optimal. However let's take a look at some numbers from Japan


As a society Japan tends to be really healthy. They do not have the issues of obesity, nor the diabetes problems that the US has. As you can see the US has an unbalanced ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 and we really need to balance this out by adding Omega 3.

So what do we need to do? ADD OMEGA 3 FATS!

Choose from the following Omega 3 healthy fats for your POINT (min of 1000mg)
  • Walnuts - 1/4 cup
  • Flaxseed oil (1 TBSP) this is a good choice for those of you that do not like fish! Needs to be refrigerated. I buy mine at Trader Joes
  • Flaxseeds ground (2 TBSP on your oatmeal or in your cereal)
  • Fatty fish (4 oz)
    • salmon, halibut, herring, albacore
  • Egg yolks with Omega 3 (2) these come in a package, just be sure it contains Omega 3
  • Supplements - easy way! (1000mg - Advocare has OmegaPlex)
Trans fats - just want to review again to make sure we all know what they are when you are reading labels. You do NOT earn any points for eating Trans fats!
  • Fried foods
  • Hydrogenated fats
    • processed foods like crackers, processed peanut butter (solid at room temp), coffee creamers
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Pastries, muffins, cakes, pies
  • processed cheese
  • most chips

The above label is an example of looking for those bad fats. Just because it doesn't have color or frosting on it doesn't mean that it's good for you! :)

And just a reminder - we are going to limit the amount of saturated fats.


Make it happen
  1. Start by throwing out foods that contain trans-fats that are in your home right now. Go through the cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, pantry and any other place you keep food. Donate to your local food bank!
  2. Grocery shop for the a few different Omega 3 fat sources of your choice
  3. If you take Omega supplements, you can count your pills as your Omega 3 serving.
  4. Suggestions for getting your Omega-3 fats:

    1. add flaxseed oil to your shake or add ground flaxseed
    2. use flaxseed oil on your salads and cooked vegetables
    3. add walnuts to your salads or eat a handful as part of a meal
    4. salmon filets are available at most grocery stores

I am hoping that through this challenge we are all learning some really good life habits. Even though we are not implementing them at 100% we know what we should be doing and there is a goal in sight. I believe as adults we owe this to the younger generation - to be aware of how to take care of ourselves. We are the examples - it breaks my heart when I see young kids battling Type 2 diabetes! If we don't start changing our eating habits and becoming 'label lookers' our children are going to pay a huge price.

Here is an analogy that I would like to share with you... it's like your body is a house, you keep it well maintained on the outside. You have wonderful trees, plant beautiful flowers every year, groomed lawn, etc. Everybody that walks by thinks it looks fabulous! But you never clean the inside - the toilets are dirty, there are dirty dishes everywhere, litter box isn't cleaned out, etc. You are going to eventually have some kind of health risk right? Viruses, ecoli, bad bacteria, and ultimately some serious problems. We have to take care of our insides as well as the outside for good overall health!

This week is going to be a great new week - be sure to get your week four points into me. I am going to post the stats up to week three once I hear from some of you.

Please share some meal ideas that you are having - especially if you are eating out. Enjoy life!

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