Working fat into fitness

Dietician offers advice on using fats, carbs in healthy diet

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter



Don’t be afraid of calories, carbs and fat, says registered dietician Alison Ozgur.

Focus instead on the amount and type.

Ozgur, who works at Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, gears her practice toward those who exercise.

“Their calorie needs are different from someone who is sedentary or high-end Olympic athletes,” Ozgur said.

She works with her clients to be sure they eat enough calories to be able to exercise, but not so many to interfere with losing weight. That’s an individualized calculation.

To lose a pound of fat a week, you have to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day. But don’t take it too far.

“Some people cut back and don’t have energy,” Ozgur said.

She will share nutrition guidelines in a presentation Wednesday, including how to decipher food labels and what to make of diet fads, but here are a few tips.

• Eat healthy fats.

“Most people are fat-phobic,” Ozgur said. Limit saturated fats and trans fats, which are found in animal products and processed foods, but include healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats by eating olive oil, avocados, fish, nuts and seeds.

If you go

• What: “Lose Weight and Turn Back the Clock” presentation by Alison Ozgur, registered dietician.

• When: 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday.

• Where: Northwest Personal Training, 1011 Broadway, Vancouver.

• Cost: Free, but call to reserve a spot.

• Information: 360-574-7292.

• Don’t be afraid of carbs.

“You have to have carbs to exercise,” Ozgur said. They provide energy. She recommends eating simple carbohydrates with protein about 30 minutes before exercising.

“You want quick-acting carbs with a high glycemic index that go right into the blood stream,” Ozgur said. A bagel with string cheese would work, she said.

• Get your antioxidants.

Antioxidants slow damage to cells caused by oxidation. Ozgur encourages clients to get their antioxidants from foods, not supplements. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources. Vitamin D, however, can be difficult to get from food alone.

“Supplementation might be necessary,” she said.

• Eat real food.

Ozgur’s meal plan

The ideal meal plan for a person who exercises depends on many factors, but Alison Ozgur, a registered dietitian and runner, shared how she eats on a typical day. First you should know about her workouts: She does an hour of strength training twice a week, two cardio group classes a week, and one run of 6 to 8 miles once a week. She also undertakes a monthly fitness challenge offered by Northwest Personal Training, which leads hiking, half-marathon, rock climbing and other excursions.

• Name: Alison Ozgur.

• Age: 38.

• Height: 5 feet, 6 inches.

• Weight: 125 pounds.

• Breakfast: Two flax-seed waffles with Earth Balance spread, handful of walnuts, banana and some pineapple chunks, coffee with coconut-milk creamer.

• Morning snack: protein shake (either homemade or Mix 1 brand) or a bowl of cereal.

• Lunch: Almond butter and pure fruit jelly sandwich, bowl of mixed fruit (pineapple, grapes, strawberries).

• Afternoon snack: Chai tea latte.

• Dinner: Homemade stir fry with fresh vegetables, shrimp and brown rice; French baguette with a little olive oil for dipping.

• Evening snack (on occasion): Air-popped popcorn or dark-chocolate-covered almonds.

Ozgur discourages highly processed and refined food. She quotes Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food”: Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

• Everything in moderation.

Ozgur said because she’s a dietician, people assume she never eats anything high in calories or fat.

“I’m not opposed to having something like a piece of pecan pie,” she said. Putting food off limits can be more damaging than just eating a little of it, she said, because it can lead to bingeing.