Should we be forced to sacrifice our mental health for physical?
“This is not a diet. It is a lifestyle.”
It’s never been more obvious that with age comes wisdom…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Perhaps you’ve seldom heard of intermittent fasting, and cringed at the very idea of denying your body vitamins and nutrients all for the sake of losing weight. Intermittent fasting actually has a variety of health benefits, and won’t have you feeling famished at the end of the day.
If you have ever wanted to try this for yourself, below you will find a quick guide on how intermittent fasting actually works, and why it’s more than just another fad-diet.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t described as a diet, it’s actually more of a long-term eating pattern which helps to regulate problems such as diabetes, chronic indigestion and even stomach disorders. Quite often, the scary part of this eating plan is the word ‘fasting’ since it makes people think that a significant weight loss means that you’re required to starve yourself – which is far from the truth.
The eating patterns rely on small on and off periods (feasting and fasting) which have been instilled to actually boost your metabolism, and control bad eating habits. Designed by author and journalist Dr. Michael Mosley, the eating plan which also operates under the name of the 5:2 diet, is a good fit for people who have suffered years of over-eating, and want to create a structure in terms of food consumption.
How does it work?
Based on cycles of feast and famine, intermittent fasting actually helps to control urges of snacking since your body is properly nourished at almost every time of the day. The period of feast is designed to make you appreciate healthy, wholesome food, and thus will diminish any chances of binge eating. If you’re constantly snacking throughout the entire day, your body forgets to stop and repair, which can often create chaos and frantic eating around 3:30pm, where the body typically craves something sweet.
Calorie restriction helps to create a balanced diet, and is a much more appealing strategy than starving yourself for that perfect summer body. This basically means you can feast some days, but on others you should stick to a diet which is healthy, preferably home-cooked, and preservative free.
Creator Dr. Michael Mosley suggest that you can eat normally for five days, but stick to a healthy diet for two (these can be any days of the week). On these fasting days, cut your food down to 1/4 of your normal calories which normally means around 600 calories for men, and around 500 calories for women.
Would you incorporate the foundation of intermittent fasting into your diet?
Image via iStock
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.”
Both images via www.pixabay.com.
Winter is not a time when most people think about trying to lose weight. If anything, they usually put on a few extra kilos during the winter months. According to Australian nutrition expert and creator of the Snack Attack Weight Loss Program, Robert Jarmyn, the winter months are, however, possibly the best time to try to shed a few excess kilos.
Mr Jarmyn explains that “despite misconstrued rationales that our body goes into a fat storage mode during the winter months because of our ancestral hunter gatherer heritage, the real reasons we put on weight during winter are more correlated to increased carbohydrate consumption and lower activity levels”.
Studies into the causes of winter weight gain have found that the reason why we eat more carbohydrates during the winter months is closely linked to a psychophysiological factor. As the days become shorter our body produces less serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in influencing our moods. With less serotonin floating around our body we tend to seek foods containing sugar because sugar has a drug-like effect on the pleasure centre of our brain that makes us feel happy.
The problem is that sugar is highly addictive. The more we eat the more dramatic our mood swings. This in turn leads to eating even more to achieve the same emotional high. With all that excess sugar floating around our body combined with the effects of less activity during the cold damp winter months, our body is programed to store away the excess sugar as fat through a process known as glycogenesis.
Mr Jarmyn says “starting a weight loss program in winter makes a lot of sense. Firstly because you can avoid packing on the extra kilos during the winter months and secondly because you will have already put in the hard yards before summer arrives so will have much less work to do to shed the final bit of weight to be comfortable hitting the beach.”
With that in mind he has put together a list of tips to help beat the winter blues and get in shape for summer:
1. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables in preference to starchy carbohydrates. Whilst both of these still contain some sugar and carbohydrates because they are also excellent sources of fibre and phytonutrients you will feel fuller and more satisfied. Try eating vegetables like carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato and cauliflower in the form of soup. The increased water content will help you feel full and assist in the break down of food.
2. Increase your protein intake. Protein takes longer to break down into energy than simple carbohydrates such as pasta or rice and will therefore keep you going for longer and make your metabolism work faster. If you combine meat and vegetables into hearty stews (without potatoes) it will not only help keep you warm during the cold winter months but will also give you the energy to keep you going for hours.
3. Ignore low-fat labels. If you are eating a lot of dairy food don’t be fooled by ‘low fat’ claims. Most low fat foods contain more sugar than the conventional varieties and will usually cost you more. No only that, recent studies conducted in Scandinavia reported that bioactive substances in milk fat may alter our metabolism in a way that helps us utilise the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies.
4. Walk for 30 minutes per day. The American Council on Exercise found that during low-intensity exercise (such as walking) the body gets roughly 60 percent of its fuel from fat. Compare that to high-intensity workouts where fat only provides around 35 percent of the calories burned and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that slogging it out in the gym is not going to make you lose weight. Another positive about walking is that exercise also produces endorphins. Endorphins are great mood boosters and can help make up for the lack of serotonin being produced from shorter daylight hours. Whilst it is not always desirable to do in the depths of winter, if you really want to lose weight, walking for 30 minutes per day will make a significant difference to your waistline.
5. Stock up on B-group vitamins and amino acids. The metabolism of energy from fat requires a ready supply of biotin, thiamin and l-carnitine. Whilst these nutrients can be found in a wide variety of foods they are not stored within your body. In order to release the energy from your natural fat stores and kick start your metabolism, make sure your keep your levels of these nutrients topped up regularly.
6. Drink green tea and green coffee. Antioxidants fight free radicals that wear you down and can also boost your weight loss effort. A recent study conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that the anti-oxidants found in green tea (known as catchetins), inhibit an enzyme called pancreatic lipase (PL), which is secreted into the intestine to aid the digestion of dietary fat. In addition to reducing fat intake, green tea has also been shown to increase thermogenesis (fat metabolism). Similarly, green coffee bean extract has been shown in several clinical studies to reduce the uptake of carbohydrates and balance blood sugar levels. Celebrities like J-lo, Katy Perry and Demi Moore have been reported as using green coffee to get in shape for red carpet events.
7. Get some sun. Whenever the opportunity presents make sure you get out into the sun. Not only does serotonin act as a mood-boosting brain chemical it is also partly responsible for feelings of fullness. Even a heavy dose of artificial light, especially in the morning, may help suppress food cravings and the urge to overeat.
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?
A new weight loss program promises to help participants lose the weight and keep it off with 6 scientifically proven bricks that build a successful total lifestyle change. The W8less 40-Day Challenge focuses on bringing the body back to a state of balance in order to achieve your weight and health goals. Sydney naturopath Kate Troup developed the web-based program which revolutionises the way you view food, lifestyle and weight loss.
The 6 bricks of the W8less Foundation:
Week 1 – Real food: Change your eating habits to a more natural, wholefood diet with the elimination of sugar, grains and alcohol. For the next 40 days, your diet consists of vegetables, good fats and proteins.
Week 2 – Movement: Sitting is harmful to health so movement is as important as structured exercise. Strategies on increasing movement in your daily routine will be introduced.
Week 3 – Stress: This is the underlying cause of most chronic health problems and for many people’s poor food choices. Change your response to stress with strategies to deal with tough situations.
Week 4 – Sun: A focus on how important sunlight is and how to safely get enough.
Week 5 – Sleep: The concept of sleep hygiene is introduced with strategies on how to improve your night’s sleep.
Week 6 – Connection: The key to maintaining social and physical connections for health and happiness through smiling, hugging, gratitude, connection with people, the planet and the universe.
Check out facebook.com/w8less40daychallenge for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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