Nutrition tips for 2024 from Elected Councillor Dean Hill

Everybody wants to eat healthier. Everybody wants to get healthier.

Everybody wants to have energy, strength, vitality and a healthy body weight.

The path to those goals is filled with confusion, however.

Dean Hill, Six Nations’ youngest elected councillor and personal trainer, is helping the community get healthier with his tips from years of trial and error and experience playing sports and learning the ins and outs of fitness and nutrition.

Now a personal trainer, Hill says it’s no secret that nutrition plays a huge role in weight management.

Of course, he says, exercise plays a role, but some people can live a sedentary lifestyle and still maintain a healthy weight if they pay attention to their eating habits, although he doesn’t encourage it.

Hill spoke with the Two Row Times for a teaser on nutrition tips this week and would like readers to stay tuned for more in-depth education and tips on healthier eating and weight management for next week.

The most basic formula for weight loss is calories in, versus calories out. Taking in more calories than you burn results in weight gain.

Reducing your caloric intake by roughly 500 calories a day, or 3,500 calories a week, can result in a weight loss of one pound.

But there’s so much more to it than that, says Hill.

Age, muscle mass, hormones, and how much your diet is made up of protein, carbs and fat (macros) also play a role in weight loss.

Hill’s number one tip is first eliminating one or two things from your diet before embarking on a whole new lifestyle, which will overwhelm you and make you quit before you even see results.

Eliminating or reducing sugar is one of Hill’s biggest tips for starting out.

Just reducing it by cutting out soda and replacing it with water can make a big difference, he says.

You can also reduce the amount of sugar you put in your daily coffee, as well as condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce, which contain large amounts of sugar.

“Too many changes at once can be overwhelming,” he said.

Also, he suggests trying to add in different foods slowly.

Protein-rich foods are one tried and true method for satiating hunger and aiding in weight loss and weight management.

Whether it’s a protein shake, or more chicken, fish, beef and eggs, he says people need to eat more protein to feel full.

A diet heavy in carbs and low in protein will result in weight gain.

Just add a few new foods and focus on adding more protein to the diet, he says.

It can be as simple as having a bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce but ensuring instead of 75 percent pasta and 25 percent meat, your bowl is 50/50 –  half meat and half pasta, which means more protein, and therefore, feeling full faster, with a lower carbohydrate intake.

“Protein is the best way to fill up,” he said.

Carbohydrates not burned turn into fat but protein goes to build our muscles and literally makes up every soft tissue in our body, including the heart, brain, lungs and major organs.

Nutrition is one of the three major components of weight loss.

The other two are resistance (strength) training and cardiovascular exercises, says Hill.

Consistently paying attention to all three can yield results within three months, he says.

But there is more to the story. Hill acknowledges the role mental health and emotional “comfort” eating plays in weight gain, as well as expense and inability to access affordable, nutritious foods.

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