I Lost 90 Pounds, But It Didn’t Make Me Happy

A lifetime of living as “the fat girl” left me with serious emotional scars that no diet could heal.

WW Is Capitalising From Teaching Young Girls How To Hate Their Bodies

The only weight young girls need to lose is the weight of a capitalist agenda that preys on the insecurity we teach them to have. 

Let’s Not Forget Mental Health When We’re Talking About Dieting

Should we be forced to sacrifice our mental health for physical?

14 Things I Believed In My 20s That Are No Longer True

It’s never been more obvious that with age comes wisdom…

Why Healthy People Are So Miserable

Turns out being skinny isn’t everything.

Weight Loss Tips For Yummy Mummies

Are you just starting out on your weight loss journey; or have you been trying without much success? Rhian Allen, founder of health and fitness website for mums healthymummy.com, gives her eight tips on what you can do to help start seeing results sooner – all based around healthy eating and exercise: 

Switch to wholegrain everything

At first, this might seem difficult and you might meet with some resistance from family members but you and they will get used to it. That means no more white flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice, all of these are available in wholemeal or wholegrain options. You could also try switching out things like pasta and rice for other options like cous cous or quinoa (you can even get wholemeal cous cous).

Reduce your added sugar intake

Added sugar is a sneaky one and you will find that it’s in so many foods. Instead of trying to cut it out completely it’s a good idea just to reduce it as much as possible. For example, you could switch a low fat strawberry yoghurt for some natural or Greek yoghurt with fresh berries added. Also, avoid keeping sugary foods in your house or make healthy alternatives with The Healthy Mummy’s low fat baking recipes.

Watch out for bad fats

While it’s important to consume good fats from sources such as fish, olive oil, avocado and nuts, it’s also key to reduce or avoid bad fats. Bad fats found in deep fried foods, commercial cakes, chips, chocolate bars, donuts, pastries etc. These are the fats that can hinder your weight loss, make you feel lethargic, and make it hard to keep your skin looking fresh. 

Get moving everyday

If you really want to crank up your results, add some exercise along with your good nutrition – you will see a big difference in your body and fitness levels. You could try a daily walk, a couple of segments from The Healthy Mummy Exercise DVD, a regular swimming session or fitness class, cycling, yoga or pilates. Basically anything that gets your heart pumping and helps you break a sweat is a good thing.

Reduce your alcohol consumption

Alcohol gives you additional calories in your day with no nutritional benefit whatsoever, so it’s an easy one to reduce your consumption to quickly reduce your total calorie intake. Keep alcohol for the weekends or special occasions.

Don’t skip meals and snacks

Your metabolism is responsible for helping you to lose weight, and it’s important that it’s fired up and kept busy throughout the day with healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals. We recommend 3 main meals and 2-3 healthy snacks per day in order to lose weight.

Cut down on bread

If you find that you are having two slices of toast at breakfast and a sandwich for lunch, you could end up eating almost 30 slices of bread per week. While we don’t suggest cutting bread out entirely, it’s a good idea to reduce your consumption if you are trying to lose pregnancy weight. Or replace traditional bread with wholegrain!

Keep healthy convenient foods on hand

Make life easy by keeping healthy convenient foods on hand so that you can easily pull a meal together. For instance eggs, tinned tomatoes, cous cous, bags of salad leaves, tinned chickpeas or kidney beans, tinned tuna, portions of frozen cooked brown rice that you can defrost in the microwave.

The Healthy Mummy’s next online 28 Day Winter Weight Loss Program starts soon, with sign up on June 1.

Can Food Diaries Encourage Eating Disorders?

Is keeping a food diary a key secret to weight-loss success? Or is it an unnecessary evil which shames participants and which can lead to an unhealthy food obsession and even exacerbate eating disorders?

RELATED: Why Lower-Carb Bread Is A Dieter’s Best Friend

A much-loved tool widely used by personal trainers, dietitians and GPs alike to aid their overweight clients, food diaries are said to be all about the power of the pen. By writing down everything you put in your mouth, and keeping track of dieting pitfalls, such as emotional eating, plus portion sizes, you’re holding yourself accountable, so the theory goes.

What’s more, various weight-loss studies have stated people who keep a food diary lose up to twice as much weight as those who don’t.

eating disorders, food diaries, food obsession

Me? I despise food diaries and find them unnecessarily militant and punitive. I’m already working out at the gym and with an ex-army commando PT up to a total of five times weekly; why do I need to write down everything I eat as well, in the manner of a naughty schoolgirl? My stubborn refusal to keep a food diary annoys my PT no end, but given we’re getting good results each month, I am sticking to my guns.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but l found that writing down everything I ate made me start to obsess about every single morsel I was consuming. Surely, that’s not healthy? I don’t want to turn into one of those godforsaken calorie counters who can’t enjoy their food!

Call me a hedonist, but I quite like eating and drinking! I enjoy nourishing my body and eating treats, from time-to-time. For all these reasons, I recently put down my pen and stopped my nightly food diary entries, which were both time-consuming and annoying. And while I can see that it’s a good weight-loss tool for some, it just ain’t for me.

Sunshine Coast freelance journalist and mum of two Penny Shipway, 33, concurs – she too feels weight-loss or food diaries promote unhealthy food obsessions. “I’ve dabbled in food diaries in the past and found that not only were they short-lived, they were uninspiring and laborious,” Mrs Shipway says. “I didn’t want to become too obsessed with food – food is something to be enjoyed and savoured not something to be overly scrutinised and stewed over.”

So, what do the experts say? Here’s a round-up of pros and cons from health and exercise professionals to help you decide if food diaries are for you.

eating disorders, food diaries, food obsession

The PT: Scott McKay from Jungle Fit, Caloundra, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, who’s also my long-suffering PT:

“Food diaries are good for client accountability and they help you identify your shortfalls and areas you need to work on,” Scott says.

The dietitian: Leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured):

“I let clients decide if they want to keep a food diary or not. This way, they are in charge and directing their intervention which is what self-determination theory suggests,” Susie says.

“But for individuals who are low in self-regulation, or need to be more mindful of their eating behaviours, food diaries can assist with this, if they too think it will be helpful.”

eating disorders, food diaries, food obsession

However, the busy dietitian warns that severely restricted eating strictly recorded in food diaries – in response to western society’s obsession with everything thin and beautiful – can have catastrophic, long-term effects on young women’s body image, self-esteem and the prevalence of eating disorders, particularly in the teenage population.

She also cautions against an increasingly common condition in teenage girls – orthorexia. “Orthorexia was first described by an American doctor in the late 1990s, who was seeing an increasing number of female patients who were exhibiting a number of eating disorder related symptoms, including eating only an extremely limited food variety, and maintaining an extremely low body weight without satisfying the criteria for a clinical eating disorder,” Susie says.

“These girls were obsessed with only consuming foods that were ‘pure’ and ‘healthy’, and as a result tended to consume only extremely low-calorie, unprocessed foods, which in turn kept their body weight extremely low.

“Unlike sufferers of a clinical eating disorder, these girls were not malnourished, as their diets were packed full of nutritious food choices, but in many cases their mood state was low either a result of a low food intake or a result of other stressors in their lives such as school issues caused by a clinical depression.

“I have seen four teenage girls who too have presented in private practice with such symptoms. All cases have been teenagers between the ages of 14-16, from middle-class family backgrounds attending good schools.

“All girls have been classified as ‘very intelligent’ but struggle socially with the pressures only teenage girls experience from peers: the lure of boys, the pressure to achieve at school and to look good.

“A trigger, either family distress or negative interaction at school appears to be a common link with all cases, leading to depressed mood and the desire to be in control of as many other variables in their life as they can, such as their food intake and the way they feel about their body.

“From a clinician’s perspective, this is a challenging situation. The girls are underweight, but not unhealthy and their eating patterns are disturbed, without being clinically disordered.

“Unfortunately, the powerful media images of health and beauty are unlikely to disappear entirely and hence the incidence of conditions such as orthorexia is likely to increase. The key for health professionals and families affected is to know how to manage it before it is too late.

“Is your diet too healthy? There is nothing wrong with healthy eating – whether your definition of ‘healthy’ includes eating low-sugar, low-fructose, vegan or ‘clean’ eating – but when diet and exercise habits negatively impact other areas of life, whether it be relationships, mood or being able to maintain a life outside of the lifestyle choice, this is when obsessively healthy eating becomes an issue.

“In these instances, such dietary restriction is only a hop, skip and jump away from a clinical eating disorder and proactive steps do need to be taken to create balance from a nutrient, exercise and general life perspective.”

eating disorders, food diaries, food obsession

The clinical psychologist, who wishes to remain anonymous:

“Food diaries can be really useful because they encourage people to be accurate about what they actually eat – if filled out honestly. It’s very easy to snack and say to yourself:  ‘That was only a couple of mouthfuls, it doesn’t count’ so you forget about it,” she says.

“But those squares of chocolate, childrens’ leftovers and tastes of dessert add up. If you write them down in your food diary, you’ll have a more accurate picture of what you are really eating, and it might come as quite a shock.

“Check back over the past week and see what you could have cut out without missing too much – nibbles that you eat absentmindedly when making making your childrens’ lunch, for example. So if you are going to keep a food diary, be thorough and honest and in those circumstances they can be very useful.

“On the other hand, there are problems inherent in keeping a food diary, especially if you have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. People who are obsessive will tend to put an unnecessary amount of thought into what they eat and it may become a source of stress, reducing your pleasure in eating. If you find that you are obsessing about food, and eating is becoming associated with negative emotions such as shame and guilt, a food diary may not be for you.”

What Is The 5:2 Diet?

The body image eExpert: Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation and national director of The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC):

“Food diaries are useful for those who are trying to manage their recovery process from an eating disorder,” Christine says. “They help in recording what is eaten, assist dietitians and other therapists make sure they have healthy food choices and portion sizes. I don’t believe they cause an eating disorder. We have to remember that it is not the food diary that is the problem; it is the reason for which it is being used.

“Food obsession is never good, however I don’t believe using a diary causes or exacerbates such an obsession – it exists anyway. At the Butterfly Foundation, we only support a clinically trained dietitian or therapist who recommends a food diary.”

What do you think? Are you for or against food diaries?

Images via She Know.com, Conversations At Intersections, NY Daily News and Pixabay.

Top 5 Dieting Myths Dispelled

Is your head swarming with conflicting healthy eating and nutritional advice from your GP, personal trainer, friendship circle and more? It can be very hard to ascertain what’s right and complete bunkum when it comes to food, glorious food.

RELATED: Kickstart A New You With A 30-Day Dietitian Plan

Never fear, dear reader: here, leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell, who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, sorts fact from fiction when it comes to what we should – and should not – be putting in our mouths as we embark on a healthier, happier 2015.

Myth 1: Is eating bread really the antichrist? What if I’m trying to lose weight?

It’s not the bread, but which type and what we have it with that’s the problem. For example, thick Turkish toast with butter, or massive sandwiches and large wraps which can be equivalent to four slices of regular bread. You can easily lose weight with two small slices of Burgen Soy-Lin or lower carb bread each day.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 2: Am I failing at life if, like celebrity Sarah Wilson, I can’t give up sugar?

The thing with Wilson’s “quitting sugar” campaign is that it is based on a random set of rules and beliefs which mean you don’t quit sugar at all, but rather restrict a number of key foods that reduce carbs and calories significantly. And severe restriction always leads to deprivation and binging. A more sustainable and healthy approach is to simply cut out processed foods.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 3: Celebrity chef Pete Evans has his own TV show advocating the paleo diet. Is this now the fastest and healthiest way to lose weight?

Any diet will work if people stick to it and a couple of issues with the paleo diet is the cutting out of key food groups which can mean some nutrient groups like calcium and our B group vitamins suffer and for most people it is very difficult to sustain. I would argue, based on research, that a Mediterranean approach with lots and lots of vegetables is the healthiest way to lose weight.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 4: My GP says I should eat three big meals a day and nothing more. Is this the best way to keep the weight off?

Healthy eating is about finding out whatever works best for you, but less snacking with three-to-four meals and nothing in between is a good way to control calories and reduce the intake of little extras through the day.

snacking, healthy, weight loss, protein

Myth 5: Are treat days a slippery slope to obesity? Are treats only for toddlers, not adults?

Have treat meals, not treat days! Treat meals can include one-to-two a week and one extra – not a binge! Treat meals don’t have to spell dieting disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can help you overcome weight-loss plateaus. And, most importantly, remember it is a cheat meal, not a cheat day or a binge!

The Ultimate Chocolate Muffin Dessert

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is packed full of info and advice on finding and keeping your motivation, getting psychologically ready to take control of your weight and more. Visit Visit www.shapeme.com.au.

Image via pixabay.com

Dieting Myths: Fact Vs Fiction

Have you ever received dodgy nutrition advice from a non-nutritionist? Say, from a well-meaning personal trainer, who should instead perhaps just stick to the gym? There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to food intake for optimum weight loss. Here, acclaimed Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell dispels some of these popular food dieting myths, separating fact from fiction for SHESAID readers.

Myth Bust No.1: You must avoid certain high-in-sugar fruits, such as bananas, citrus fruits and stone fruits, when trying to lose weight.

“While fruit does contain some sugar, no food in isolation will cause weight gain,” Susie says. “And consequently, including one to two pieces of fibre-rich fruit in your diet each day is no issue if the goal is weight loss. Some fruits, such as grapes and bananas (pictured below) have slightly more sugar than an apple or mandarin, but it is splitting hairs over a few extra grams that are not going to add any significant effect on weight loss results.”

Myth Bust No.2: Juices are better for you than actual fruit, when trying to shift those pesky kilos.

“I would argue no, for fruit juice in particular is a concentrated source of sugar,” Susie says. “For example, it takes three to four pieces of fruit to get a small volume of juice. Veggie juices are slightly different as vegetables generally have less sugar than fruits and hence can be made into a low-calorie drink which offers plenty of nutrients.”

Myth Bust No.3: Oats are too high in carbohydrates for breakfast for dieters.

“No, this is not true at all, oats are a nutritious wholegrain packed full of soluble fibre,” Susie says. “I encourage my clients to add 1 cup milk or Greek yoghurt to 2 tbsp of oats for a nutritionally balanced, low GI breakfast option.”

Myth Bust No.4: You must not eat carbs after 3pm if you’re trying to lose weight.

“Everyone needs carbs: controlled portions that link to your energy output. When it comes to the “no carbs after 3pm” myth, again it is the total amount of carbs consumed throughout the day that really counts to your waistline, rather than a specific time of day at which you mustn’t eat them.

Myth Bust No.5: All fat is bad for us.

“We actually all need 40-60g of the right mix of fats,” Susie says. “What is most important is getting the balance of fat right in our bodies. Moderate amounts of saturated fat from meats, chicken skin, full-fat dairy products, butter and takeaway foods should be consumed along with three to four servings of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats each day.

“Monounsaturated fat is found in foods such as avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts and cooking oils made from plants or seeds such as sunflower, canola, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fat (omega-6) is found in foods such as fish, tahini (sesame seed spread), margarine, linseed (flaxseed), sunflower and safflower oil, pine nuts and brazil nuts.”

 Visit www.susieburrell.com.au.

Both images via www.pixabay.com.

food myths, dieting, carbs, fruits, good fats

Is Bread Really Bad For You?

For those who are carb-conscious among us, the thought of including bread in our diet on a day-to-day basis is unheard of but, if your goal is weight control and if you consider that noodles, rice, quinoa and most wraps all have more carbs than a reduced carb bread such as Helga’s Lower Carb, maybe it is the carb choices you are making rather than an issue with bread itself. Leading dietician Susie Burrell says if you have been eliminating bread from your diet completely, there are some things to consider: 

1. Check your carbs 

A cup of cooked rice has 45g of total carbs, a cup of cooked quinoa 38g or a Lebanese Bread Wrap 60g. If you compare this to a couple of small slices of grain bread or a couple of slices of Helga’s Lower Carb bread, they only have 20g of total carbs. The moral of the story – check your total carbs!

2. Bread is filling 

You know the feeling, you have enjoyed yoghurt and fruit for breakfast and a tuna salad at lunch but come 3 or 4pm and you are starving. Simply adding 1-2 slices of filling, low GI, wholegrain bread to your breakfast or lunch or both and notice how much more satisfied you feel come late afternoon.

3. Get your good fats 

A nutritionally balanced food is not just about the carbs, proteins and fat – it is also about our essential nutrients – the vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium and good fats that help our bodies to be at their best every day. A single serve of dense wholegrain bread will give you all of these nutrients without you even realising it.

4. Get your carb/protein balance 

Getting a balance of carbs and proteins at each of your meals and snacks help to regulate blood glucose levels which in turn helps to manage hunger levels and hormone levels. Teaming a slice or two of wholegrain bread with your favourite protein rich toppings such as tuna or salmon, goats, cheese, nut spread or cheese not only achieves this balance but with meals or snacks that taste great.

5. Enjoy your toast again 

Reduced carb bread options means that you can finally enjoy your toast and coffee in the morning without the guilt! And who does not love a slice or two of hot toast with your favourite topping?

How To Beat Cravings And Post-Meal Snacking

When we snack between meals we disrupt our normal eating cycle, we put a lot of pressure on the digestive system to process the food quickly. This could lead to the development of digestive disorders and weight gain. Managing your weight does not have to be a tough task and it doesn’t mean you need to go hungry between meals. While some go completely cold turkey and wait for their body to stop craving a certain food altogether, this is not necessarily the best option. Here are five simple tips to satisfy your stomach throughout the day.

Eat more

If you feel yourself getting hungry between breakfast lunch and dinner, try consuming six small meals a day as opposed to three main meals. This will help increase energy levels and curb cravings.

Pack in the protein

Eating foods that are high in protein is a great way to feel full between meals and it will prevent you from reaching for that chocolate bar or packet of chips in the late afternoon. Try a calorie-controlled, high-protein snack, such as IsoWhey Protein Pops, for a treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth as well as hunger pains.

Mix it up

If you’ve got a sugar craving that just won’t ease, allow yourself to mix in a small amount of what you are craving along with a healthy option. For example try mixing a handful of unsalted almonds with chocolate chips – not only will you satisfy your cravings, you will also receive healthy nutrients from “good” foods.

Drink Up

Sometimes when our bodies are dehydrated, we are tricked into thinking that we are hungry. Keep a jug of water by your desk side and if you feel hungry drink a large glass of water first and wait for 10 minutes – this will keep your hydration levels up and if you still feel the need to snack, you’re more likely to eat less.

Veg out

Up to 85 per cent of us are failing to reach the recommended daily quota of five serves of vegetables a day. Try cutting up a mix of your favourite veggies and keep them chilled for a crisp snack on-the-go that’s not only low in fat but is a great source of nutrients.

Be sure to fill your body with nutrients and protein rather than filling your body with empty calories. As tempting as a sugary treat may be, it won’t satisfy your hunger pain and could lead to a dangerous binge! Listen to your body and always look to healthy alternatives to ensure healthy eating habits for life.

By celebrity nutritionist/chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin