Being fat in the world is a weird thing.
No, I won’t order you a low fat, soy, decaf latte with stevia.
Ever been on a diet, lost the weight and then put it back on? This has to do with conditioning; a type of learning that occurs, which dictates how we behave. If you want more control over your weight; learning about conditioning is better than any diet, you will ever try.
What is conditioning?
Conditioning is the basis of how we learn to behave. This includes our habits, which cause us to be the weight we are. Three types of conditioning have been identified; classical, operant and observational. Each plays a vital role in controlling weight gain and loss.
Learning via association. For example: have you ever been to movies and headed straight to the snack bar for some popcorn, even though you aren’t hungry? That’s classical conditioning at work. In many people’s minds, they associate a trip to the movies with popcorn or a snack, while they relax and enjoy a movie.
For people wanting more control over their weight, they need to be aware of conditioning which pre-exists for them, about food and exercise. As an example; if you consume your nightly meal on the lounge, in front of the TV (as many people do); each time you sit down to watch TV, there is a greater chance of you associating this activity, with eating. This is why it’s recommended that you find a designated place to eat; like at the dinner table. This reduces the likelihood of eating in front of the TV at night.
Some people also find that they eat when they experience different moods or physical states; such as being tired, anxious, confused or worried. Eating, is therefore, a coping mechanism. From past experience, food made them feel better and it becomes a viable solution, each time they experience this feeling. The only way to cease it, is to identify, acknowledge and change these types of associations.
Learning via consequences. For all behaviours, we are either rewarded or punished. Rewards encourage us to increase a behaviour, while punishment reduces it. These can be added or removed. For example; when we diet, we are usually rewarded with removal of weight. However, when we gain weight, we are punished by addition of weight.
Rewards and punishments, encourage which behaviours to choose. Sometimes the punishment of weight gain, isn’t enough to deter, increased weight gain. Perhaps the reward of consuming particular foods, overrides the compulsion to avoid the punishment of excessive weight gain.
Learning via observing others. For example; large people usually have large family members. Sure, genetics comes into play, but learning and adapting the habits of parents is much greater. Children are like sponges, absorbing a significant amount of knowledge from their role models. If their role models are healthy and active; they will likely, be so too.
By the time kids reach adulthood, they have learned a great deal from mere exposure. For example; if you take the kids shopping, be aware, they are learning what types of foods to put into the trolley. Even if it appears they aren’t really paying attention; repetition and exposure is teaching them. This is primarily where most habits begin.
Lastly, when you become fully aware of the roll food and exercise plays in your life, long term weight control can be achieved. Ask yourself these 6 vital questions and you will be well on your way.
- Why are you eating?
- When are you eating?
- Where are you eating?
- What are you eating?
- Who’s watching you eat?
- Exercise… pleasure, pain, chore or choice?
By Kim Chartres
YES, technology is draining Australians of the ‘good’ in their mornings according to new research that found almost two thirds of Australians (62 per cent) turn to their smartphone instead of their partner or kids when they first wake up, with just a miserable 15 per cent starting their day giving their partner a good morning kiss. Instead, 42 per cent check their phone for messages and emails first thing after waking; while one in six catch up on their social media profiles.
The Galaxy research commissioned by Uncle Tobys also found that only one in 10 Australians manage to find the time to sit down to breakfast with their family, while 55 per cent don’t even manage to get breakfast at all in the morning. Tech addicts are twice as likely to skip breakfast in favour of their smartphone, with half of Aussies (52 per cent) admitting their tech time means they run out of time for the most important meal of the day.
Checking and sending emails (27 per cent), browsing the internet (27 per cent) and posting, liking and commenting on social media (23 per cent) were the biggest culprits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research revealed that Gen Y (62 per cent) are the most likely to run out of time for breakfast because of their technology habits but half of Gen X-ers (50 per cent) and two in five Baby Boomers (41 per cent) are just as bad.
Dietitian Geraldine Georgeou says:
“Somehow we’ve let technology steal our good mornings – it’s shocking that so many Aussies would rather spend the first hours of their day on their phone rather than with their loved ones. That more than half of Australians are missing breakfast as a result of this technology takeover is a real worry, particularly because most of the time it’s quicker to prepare a healthy breakfast than type a text message.”
It’s not just time with our loved ones but it’s our health and wellbeing that are suffering, too. These finding come despite Aussies knowing better, with more than half of Australians suffering negative consequences as a result of skipping breakfast. The research found that missing the morning meal has implications for the rest of the day with as many as 57 per cent of Australians struggling after skipping breakfast. This includes low energy levels (39 per cent), tiredness (28 per cent), nausea (19 per cent), difficulty concentrating (17 per cent) or getting annoyed with colleagues or friends (16 per cent).
“Many Aussies think they’re being productive by getting a jump-start on their emails first thing in the morning, but it’s a case of one step forward and two steps back. As the day progresses they’ll find their productivity suffers as a result of having low energy levels and poor concentration associated with rushing out the door and skipping breakfast.
A quick bowl of Uncle Tobys cereal gives you the energy and nutrients you need to enjoy the rest of your day. Uncle Toby’s range of 4+ Star cereals offer a nutritious blend of whole grains, nuts and fruits to make it easy to have a good morning.”
Are you determined to get fit and trim this year, in manner of a superhero? Look no further than your fridge, girlfriend, for you’re going to need some superfoods.
Leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell says rather than spend your hard-earned on expensive detox programs to lose weight, it might be high time for a diet overhaul.
This means investing in your health the easy way: by focusing on nutrient-rich, low-calorie superfoods which make for super-healthy snacks. Susie, (pictured) who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, lists her favourite superfoods as: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli (or broccolini).
“Superfoods are foods that are chock-full of nutrition and, in a world where many of us do not burn as many calories as we would like to eat, in order to maximise our nutrition, targeting superfoods on a daily basis is a good way to help improve our overall nutritional intake,” she says.
And while overhauling your diet isn’t always inexpensive, as good-quality food can be relatively costly, especially if not in season, Susie advises we counter this by making smart choices. “Targeting a few key superfoods, in a budget-conscious way, is a good way to improve your daily nutritional intake,” she says.
“Adding in green tea, tinned salmon and frozen berries for example, won’t break the bank, but will instantly improve your intake of omega-3 fat and antioxidants.”
Let’s examine the goodness in Susie’s top picks: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli.
Berries: Any berries are great for you, and taste amazing, but Susie says blueberries in particular are packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre, while also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. You can enjoy them as a light snack in between meals; as a fibre boost to smoothies and juices; or as a sweet treat after dinner with a little Greek yoghurt and seeds or nuts. Yum! Another good option is strawberries.
Beetroot: This pretty purple-crimson veggie is of exceptional nutritional value; especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. Beetroots are also an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium. And, did you know? The greens should not be overlooked; they can be cooked up and enjoyed in the same way as spinach. Handy tip: If your hands become stained during preparation and cooking beetroot, rub some lemon juice over them to help remove the colour.
Salmon: This yummy superfood – or should that be superfish – is packed with healthy fats and high-quality protein, plus lots of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. Of all the different types of fish, salmon has received the most praise for being a nutritional marvel and is said to be perfect “brain food”. Above all, it is salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids content which makes it particularly nutritious – health experts advise us to eat such oily fish (tuna is another) at least three times a week. It also makes for a versatile dish. Sold!
Walnuts: These delicious, brain-shaped little pocket rockets are often called the King of Nuts for their health-boosting properties. Just ten walnuts provides a massive dose of long-chain polyunsaturated fats known to optimise the composition of the cell wall, which can allow our fat-burning hormones to work better. Cool! What’s more, they also contain cancer-fighting properties and boost both your heart and brain health. The unsalted, raw kind are obviously preferable.
Broccoli: Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a popular green veggie. And, it’s so nutritious, a slightly health-obsessed former personal trainer of mine used to advise me to eat it raw and often to ward off cold and flues. It’s said to lower cholesterol, particularly when steamed, and contain cancer-fighting properties and a wide range of phytochemicals which protect against many chronic diseases. Broccoli is also a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate and fibre. Broccolini, if you prefer, is also similarly nutritious and is smaller, milder and sweeter.
Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is out now. Visit www.shapeme.com.au or www.susieburrell.com.au.
Images, in order, via en.paperblog.com; supplied; www.livingfoodslifestyle.co.nz; and www.thankgodimnatural.com.
Did you know that the Dukan diet is just one of the most popular eating plans of 2014? French doctor Pierre Dukan formulated his self-titled diet in the mid-1970s which is based on four different stages to help people control their weight.
The four phases of the Dukan diet include attack, cruise, consolidation, and stabilisation which help dieters to easily achieve their target weight through the consumption of protein-rich foods. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
Here is everything you need to know about the Dukan diet, the effectiveness of it’s four phases, and how this can help you lose weight.
How does it work?
The Dukan diet revolves around 100 allowed foods, which are then broken down into four very different phases that we briefly touched upon earlier. Here is what they actually mean:
The first phase is called attack, and helps dieters to lose weight fast by boosting the rate of their metabolism. This means that the diet at this point consists of primarily protein-rich foods which are eaten at every single meal.
The second phase called cruise, focuses on introducing 28 specific veggies into the already protein-rich diet, but avoiding certain starchy or fatty vegetables such as potato or even avocado. The dieter will lose up to 1kg a week during this phase – that is if they stick to the strict list of approved vegetables.
The third phase called consolidation is one of the most important thus far, since it helps to avoid any further weight gain. Now is the best time to slowly reintroduce starchy foods such as bread and wheat, along with dairy and fruit.
Finally in the fourth and final phase called stabilisation, dieters are encouraged to eat whatever they want without gaining weight. However there are just a few rules that must be followed to ensure that this phase actually works. This means that protein and oats must be eaten once per day. Light physical activity is also encouraged to avoid further weight gain.
Similarities to the Paleolithic diet
The diet teaches you healthy eating habits by proving that the body doesn’t require copious amounts of starch, sugar and fat to sustain itself. Although some of the phases might be considered somewhat harsh and difficult to maintain, they can be applied to your own diet plan after finishing the program.
Dukan notes that there are similarities to the paleo diet, the most obvious of which is the emphasis of high-protein and high-fat foods in the first 2 phases. Fruits, dairy and grains are kept to a minimum since these are the foods which cause problems such as bloating.
Both the Paleo and Dukan diet are very much plant-based eating programs, but is also evident within the highly popular Atkins diet as well.
Image via Marie Claire
Would you ever restrict your diet to just 25% of your recommended daily intake, all in the name of losing a bit of weight? The 5:2 diet is causing a stir in the dieting world, since the outrageous guideline limits the average person to just 500 calories a day. We weigh up both the good and bad aspects of this eating plan, which has also been dubbed as the fast diet.
How to do the diet
The diet itself is pretty simple – five days of normal eating and two days of sticking to a strict calorie-quota. Most people compare this logic to having cheat days (over the weekend), which usually involves indulging in sweets, carbohydrates and even alcohol. Over the two days of calorie-controlled meals, this works out to be approximately 600 calories for men and 500 calories a day for women.
Does it work?
If you do follow the main principles of the diet, you could be dropping a dress size or two in just a few weeks. Since you’re only watching what you eat 2 days a week, it makes it quite easy to stick to – regardless of how long you wish to adapt this diet into your lifestyle. The diet was designed to create better eating habits, control fluctuating weight problems, and works around any special dietary requirements.
Fasting can’t be good for the body? Can it?
Creator of the 5:2 diet, Dr Michael Mosley suggests that intermittent fasting actually has a number of health and psychological benefits, one of which teaches the importance of self control. On the two days which require fasting, you really have to listen to your body and feed it only when it’s actually hungry. It also makes you realise how much you take food for granted the other five days of the week, and will eventually help to break any bad eating habits.
How do I start?
The great part about the 5:2 diet is that you can start almost straight away, since the first five days are all about normal or indulgent eating. Once it’s time to start restricting your calorie intake, it’s best to eat foods which will keep you alert and energised throughout the day. They should often include protein, fruits, vegetables and red meat which will also keep you fuller for longer. Incorporate some light exercise on the side such as jogging, swimming or even walking the dog which will keep your body looking and feeling it’s best.
Many dieticians such as Kate di Prima are against the practice of the 5:2 diet, since it will dramatically decrease the amount of calories you are subjected to for two entire days. Many people don’t actually understand how little 500 calories can be, especially if you’ve been indulging for the past five days. Meals are often extremely restricted and you will end up feeling tired, sluggish and weak during the two days of controlled portions.
A regular 500 calorie meal will usually consist of:
2 Rye Ryvitas
2 teaspoon Vegemite
Chicken, potato and leek soup
Sun-Maid mini box
Chicken tikka masala
Sweet and Salty Skinny popcorn
The 5:2 diet does offer amazing results in terms of weight loss, but only if you can stick to the strict calorie intake for 2 days of the week. Have you tried the 5:2 diet before? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image and Meal plan via Woman Magazine, Metro
Many years ago, I weighed 160 kg. That’s not a typo, that’s the actual number! I managed to drop half my body weight and to keep most of it off, for almost 2 decades. Now, your probably asking yourself, how, right? It was actually pretty easy. I changed my relationship with food. Instead of it being my enemy, it became a life long friend.
I concentrated on 4 basic things; water, eating often, low fat, high fibre food and exercise. That’s it. It’s not hard. The only thing is; it’s for life. Initially, you will need to monitor yourself. As time passes you’ll forget about the habits of the past and so will your body. If you have a bad day or week, it’s not going to go straight to your hips.
So, lets start with the water. When I began, I drank no less than 3-4 litres a day. Someone once asked were the weight disappeared to and I’m sure it literally went down the toilet! Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also captures fat on it’s way through your body.
Second, is eating regularly. To kick start your metabolism, you need to keep a constant flow of food coming in. If you don’t eat breakfast; start. If you can’t stomach food in the morning; grab a diet shake or milk based drink. You will be surprised, how starting the day with something in your stomach, will encourage you to be more hungry. Hunger isn’t your enemy; it’s your friend. It’s much harder to eat when you aren’t hungry, than when you are.
Now for the food. Low fat, high fibre foods are what you need. Remember the food pyramid? Following this, is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. If you love bread, cereal, rice and pastas; go for it! I swear, I lost my weight by living on carbs, fruit and veggies! Limit the amount of sugar, fat and salt in your diet and you can’t go wrong. The longer you do everything on the following list, the easier it will get. Remember, you need to aim at life long changes to lose the weight and keep it off. A fad diet isn’t going to cut it!
Here’s a few basic tips:
- Don’t ever shop on an empty stomach
- If you shouldn’t eat it; you shouldn’t buy it
- Get rid of everything which will temp you, from you home
- Designate a specific place to eat.
- Substitute everything high in sugar, fat and salt, to low varieties
- Buy and use non-stick cookware. You won’t need to add fats because the food won’t stick
- Use herbs, spices or powdered stock to flavour food instead of salt, fats or sugar
- Don’t keep treats for you or the family in your home
- If you want a treat, don’t deny yourself. Buy it, eat it, and enjoy it. Avoid guilt and move forward
Lastly, exercise is anything which gets you moving and keeps your heart rate up. If you hate exercise, (like I do!) find ways to make this happen in your everyday life. This can include housework, gardening, parking the car further from the shop front or school, take less shopping inside and make more trips or if you have stairs; use them. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something.
Image via supershape.com.au/Portals/228972/images/my%20images.jpg
By Kim Chartres
New mums are easy prey for diet charlatans; you’re under so much societal pressure to lose your baby weight in record time, you can also lose your mind a bit in the process and end up trying dangerous, energy-sucking, fad diets. Case in point: There’s been a lot of talk of late about no-carb/low-carb diets resulting in quick, dramatic weight loss thanks to one of the most photographed women in the world, Kim Kardashian, who recently credited this eating regime for her newly svelte post-baby figure on show at her wedding to the equally vacuous Kanye West.
Of course, if we all had unlimited riches, ala Ms Kardashian, we too could hire a team of PTs, chefs and minders to yell: “Girlfriend! Put down that bread roll!” in order to assist us with our post-baby weight loss. But unfortunately, life for us mere mortals, exhausted from running around after kids, is a lot less glamorous and more difficult when it comes to managing your food intake. Here, acclaimed Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell and leading Brisbane nutritionist Jessica Cox separate fact from fiction when it comes to no-carb and low-carb diets.
Q: Are no-carb diets a dangerous fad or a handy weight-loss tool?
Susie: “The funny thing is that it is virtually impossible to do a no-carb diet – even low-carb diets will have 20-50g of carbs coming from dairy or vegetables. A no or limited carb diet will give initial results as the body depletes its stores of glucose in the muscle, but this initial 1-3kg loss will slow after 5-7 days as the metabolism also slows to cope with the limited fuels the muscle is getting. This is the reason that low-carb diets work initially, but also impact the metabolism so that long term, it becomes harder and harder to lose weight.”
Jessica: “In the wrong hands, it’s certainly a dangerous fad. No-carb diets should be used only under the guidance of a practitioner, especially if they are being followed long-term. I see many clients coming into my clinic who are run down and fatigued from following no-carb diets. Eliminating carbs altogether is following a ketogenic diet. It effectively forces your body to utilise fat stores for energy. Short-term, this can facilitate weight loss, however it also quickly leads to fatigue, sugar cravings and mood swings. Often, this means it can only be followed for so long before the cravings take hold and a person will go back to their own ‘normal eating’’, seeing the weight quickly come back on. Effectively, all that has happened is the metabolism has been tricked into weight loss, so when it has its perception of normality back it will plateau out again to what it deems ‘normal’. Additionally, no-carb (diets) may work first time around, but the second time people give it a shot the body often will not respond in the same way. The body learnt the first time that this isn’t a fun ride.”
Q: A lot of personal trainers are spruiking the no-carb diet. Is this a concern?
Susie: “In general, these diets are suggested by individuals who have no formal training in biochemistry, metabolism or nutrition and hence have no accountability for the damage they indirectly cause to a person’s metabolism long term.”
Jessica: “A major concern in my books. If you are advocating a no-carb diet to your clients without the foundations of a solid nutritional background, then you are just asking for trouble. Many PTs (not all, mind you, there are some great ones I know) use low or no-carb diets with their clients for weight-loss programs. I see it in my clinic a lot with clients who initially come to me. These trainers, along with unqualified ‘healthy gurus’ are fundamentally applying a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, which is not realistic. They are also not gathering a solid client case history, or again understanding the biochemical and physiological effects of how these diets may affect each individual. I exercise and know my way around a weight’s room at the gym, but I would never write out an exercise program for my clients or show them how to correctly do a dead lift. Giving advice, without the knowledge to back it up when it surrounds health, is just not on.”
Q: Why do we need carbs? Why don’t fat diets work?
Susie: “Carbs are the primary fuel for the muscle and they fuel the brain, hence we feel tired and low in mental energy when we do not consume them regularly, especially when we are busy and training (at the gym). There is no doubt that many of us do need to eat fewer carbs to compensate for our relatively inactive lifestyles, but this is very different to a no or low-carb approach.”
Jessica: “Fad diets are just that: a fad. They only last a short time because they are not maintainable as a healthy, long-term lifestyle change. No fad diet will give you long-term results. You need to find what works for your body, your health and your metabolism. Long-term health and weight loss comes from consistency and educating yourself on what works for you. Many people are deterred by this unfortunately, as we are such a ‘quick fix’ culture – we want results as of yesterday.”
Q: What is your preferred weight-loss approach for a busy mum trying to lose her baby weight?
Susie: “The best way for busy mums to take control of their weight is to prioritise their food intake before the kids: grab a protein-rich breakfast first thing, before they feed the kids (or they do not have it), such as a toasted sandwich or a smoothie. They should also stop the mindless munching of kids snacks and leftovers. Again, have lunch before or with the kids. And go light at night: grills, salads and soups. All of these approaches are sustainable and fuel food-eating habits and protect metabolism long-term. When it comes to diets, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and if it is not sustainable, it is not a good idea.”
Jessica: “It is always individualised. What are her needs? What is her day like? How is she digesting her food and is her metabolism optimal? Aside from this, it’s looking at making sure mums are nourishing their bodies with wholefoods in a balanced manner which reduces sugar cravings and bingeing on processed, sugary foods. It’s about eating in a way that energises you and thus allowing your body to feel like it can shift the weight.”
By Nicole Carrington-Sima
Looking for ways to power up your diet? We’ve got a few tips from leading dietitian Kate Di Prima on how to sneak superfoods into your diet to boost energy levels, improve your mood and metabolism. “You don’t need to overhaul your diet – just make some small changes. Once you start it’s easy to see how many opportunities there are to boost your nutrient intake throughout the day” Kate says.
Power-pack with spinach
It’s easy to get lost in superfood search mode, but Kate reminds us not to overlook the powerful health benefits of the tried and tested: Spinach. It’s packed with over 80 different nutrients and much easier to get your hands on than the latest magical berry from the Amazon – it has even made its way onto the permanent menu at Subway restaurants. Kate suggests adding spinach to an omelet, salad, wrap or sub if you’re on the go as an easy way to upsize your veggie intake and boost antioxidant levels.
Slam stress with strawberries
Starting the day with strawberries in your muesli or a handful for a mid-morning snack is great way to keep stress levels at bay. “When we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol, which can lead to excess weight gain around the stomach and other health problems,” Kate says. Red, yellow and green fruit and vegetables can help reduce the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream, plus vitamin C will help boost immunity, particularly going into the flu season.
Sneak in some seeds
While they may seem like one of the new kids on the block, chia seeds have actually been a part of Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Known as the richest source of omega-3 fats in any plant, these seeds pack a pint-sized punch of fibre, calcium and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. “The best way to add chia seeds to your diet is to sprinkle a teaspoon over muesli, porridge or your favourite breakfast cereal. They also go well in smoothies or salads, with quinoa or even to muffins and cakes,” Kate says.
Tuck into some turkey
Go for turkey the next time you’re at the deli and you might be surprised at how happy you’ll be with your choice. Kate explains that turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan which produces the cheerful chemical serotonin and also selenium, which can boost immunity and antioxidant levels. Turkey is a great source protein, low in fat, a source of nutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus as well as vitamin B6 and niacin – essential for energy production. Tip: Turkey skin can be high in fat, so steer clear. Also beware of overly processed lunch meats and opt for 100 per cent turkey breast.
High fat, but good for your health
Almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fats, associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. One study has found 20 potent antioxidant flavonoids in almonds, some of which are found in other well known, good-for-you foods like green tea and grapefruit. Don’t know your flavonoids from your carotenoids? Nevermind. Just know they’re really, really good for you. “Mix in some chopped almonds and dried fruit to plain yogurt or add to curries or salads, or stick to a handful size for a quick snack on the go,” Kate says. Your body will thank you for it – in more ways than one!
Jennifer Lawrence might be one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood right now, with a killer body to boot, but some people can’t stop talking about her weight.
“It was just the kind of s**t that actresses have to go through,” Lawrence tells the November issue of UK Harper’s Bazaar.
“Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight.”
Despite having an incredible body, people within the industry told the 23-year-old that she had to lose weight.
‘They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. They thought that because of the way my career had gone, it wouldn’t still hurt me.”
“If anybody even tries to whisper the word “diet”, I’m like, “You can go f*** yourself.””
And the Oscar winner is happy to admit one of her weaknesses: “It’s normally crisps. It’s not my performance that is motivating me. I want to get the on-set catering,” she joked.
Do you think we’ll ever see real-size women in Hollywood?