The Art Of Self-Care: Why ‘Wellness Days’ Are Vital

Modern women are busier than ever before; it’s not unusual for a busy, working mother to have to juggle a multitude of vital roles such as domestic goddess, kiddie wrangler, peacekeeper, chef, sock finder and husband wrangler – all before she hits her desk for a full day’s work at 9am.

RELATED: Spring Clean: Top 6 Home-Office Beauty Essentials

And so burn-out can be swift; as women, we spend so much time looking after everyone else, we can so easily neglect our own self-care and well-being. When was the last time you took a mental-health day or “wellness day” for yourself?

Brisbane wellness advocate and hatha yoga instructor Heather Sartain, 55, (pictured) who’s just opened unisex boutique spa sanctuary, One Wybelenna, says as chief carers of the family, as is usually the case, women must regularly take time out for themselves. Heather’s interest in health and well-being extends back to her training as a registered nurse.

self-care, beauty, day spa

One Wybelenna, based at Brookfield in Brisbane’s inner-west, offers the most extensive selection of Ayurveda Aromatherapy products in Queensland. Set amid landscaped gardens, it’s an urban oasis just 12km from the CBD.

“It is so important to take care of ourselves so that we will have the energy and resources to care for others,” Heather says. “This self-care takes different forms for individual personalities and body types. Maybe it’s a gentle yoga class to help to clear the mind for some, while others would prefer to run, or play tennis with a group of friends, read a book or walk in nature.

“Whatever is your ‘timeout’ activity of choice, it is important to do something for yourself, no matter how small, each day. We must also eat healthy, wholesome foods to nourish our bodies. Eat live food; lots of plant foods and fresh foods, not dead, packaged and preservative laden foods.

“We must breathe, mindfully, deeply and frequently, not just the short shallow breaths that become so much a part of a busy life. And we must sleep well. Our bodies need rest to restore and rebalance. At One Wybelenna, we offer the perfect environment and treatments to assist our guests to relax and rejuvenate complementing their lifestyle choices.”

self-care, beauty, day spa

Heather, who practises yoga and meditation daily, says beauty treatments are also a great way for women (and men) to gain calm and zen in today’s crazy busy world.

“At One Wybelenna, our rituals incorporate the maintenance treatments in a serene environment, making the whole experience a sensory journey,” Heather says. “Massage should be acknowledged as being very important to our general well-being rather than an indulgence. The sense of touch is vital to life and helps reduce the levels of stress that build up physically and emotionally.”

Her favourite treatment is a 90 minute Custom Facial, which begins with a skin assessment and includes a back and neck massage. She also highly recommends a Subtle Energies Ayurveda Aromatherapy package of Blissful Marma Massage combined with the Mukha Chikitsa facial or the Germaine de Capuccini Crystal and Pearl Elixir. “Both of these rituals combine bodywork with facials and induce the deepest sense of wellbeing and rejuvenation,” Heather says.

And blokes aren’t forgotten – they can also treat themselves to the Amor for Men Facial. This treatment starts with a back, shoulder and neck massage and includes a 24-step Shiatsu Zen facial massage and detoxifying mask. One Wybelenna’s professional therapists also use Germaine de Capuccini skin care products.

self-care, beauty, day spa

The spa is open for bookings Tuesday-Saturday. Visit www.onewybelenna.com.

BodyBalance’s Transformative And Healing Superpower

Tired of the same repetitive yoga poses? Meet BodyBalance: one of Goodlife Health Clubs’ most popular Les Mills choreographed, exercise-to-music group fitness classes.

RELATED: Expand Your Knowledge With Yoga Teaching

This winning combo of yoga, tai chi and pilates doesn’t just work your core and build strength through your back; it focuses on the connection with our breath and movement and helps us find complete relaxation and acceptance in our current state of fitness.

As such, I can personally vouch for its amazing transformative and healing powers. I first discovered BodyBalance classes not long after my father died 12 years ago and I’ve been regularly practising it ever since. I find it immensely calming and nourishing, with the added bonuses that it’s a decent cardiovascular workout and builds flexibility and strength.

What’s more, you’ll feel your stress melt away while doing this health-enhancing mind and body workout, where the lights are dimmed, the mood is serene and the body is brought into a state of harmony and balance. And my absolute favourite bit? Classes conclude with a 10-minute relaxation exercise to send you away feeling like you’re floating on air. How often, in our busy world, do we actually get to just lie down and breathe? It’s so awesomely good for you!

And you certainly don’t have to be either a yoga nut and/or an athlete to enjoy the many and varied benefits of BodyBalance either – indeed it’s designed for people of all ages and fitness levels says Chikko Ford, Group Fitness Instructor at Goodlife Health Clubs.

Chikko (pictured), loved BodyBalance classes so much, he became a fully-qualified instructor a few months ago. Here, he gives us the low-down on BodyBalance’s substantial mind/body/spirit gains and why everyone can and should be doing the class.

BodyBalance’s Transformative And Healing Superpower

Is Body Balance a decent workout and why?

The only hurdles to overcome are those that BodyBalancers place upon themselves. As an instructor, it is my duty to coach and motivate to improve the current fitness levels of my participants by providing challenges in the workout. However, it is ultimately dependent on the individual’s limitations and fitness level to see how far they can take it. Improvements in your fitness level and flexibility are developed by attending regularly and being open to accepting the challenges in the workout – it’s pretty simple!

What are the main health benefits of Body Balance?

My approach to BodyBalance has always been finding a connection with your breath. It is the essence of anything we do and we gradually build from that. In BodyBalance we utilise the breath with each move to find how the poses should feel for your body. When this is done correctly, BodyBalancers are able to find optimum strength, length and are able to hold poses for long durations.

As an instructor, I enjoy doing BodyBalance because I find that I am less likely to injure myself as a result of instructing a number of high-impact programs during the week. BodyBalance gives me that time for myself and my body to reap the benefits of actively stretching from head-to-toe which has been proven to reduce tiredness, improve concentration and promote positive sleeping habits. I really feel great afterwards.

Can the class boost your fitness and flexibility the more you do it?

As mentioned by many instructors of mind and body programs, it is more about the journey and not the destination. Personally, I have improved my strength and flexibility by incorporating BodyBalance into my workout schedule.

health, fitness, BodyBalance classes

I always feel so calm and nourished after completing a BodyBalance class: why is this so?

This is exactly what the program was designed for. The music plays a massive part in BodyBalance – it really sets the mood. The poses and flow of the program from one track to another feels effortless and beautiful; it’s like your body telling a story that starts with your breath.

What are the best things about the class and why do you love it?

As an athlete, I am constantly struggling to find motivation to stretch and recover – I am very impatient when it comes to rest days! In a BodyBalance class, I am constantly trying to perfect my techniques and to correctly breathe into the poses to achieve optimum results. Personally, I enjoy the challenge of the standing strength and core tracks and I absolutely love the spinal twist tracks; they leave me feeling completely relaxed. However, many of my participants say that their favourite part is the relaxation/meditation track where they have time to indulge in the music and reconnect with their body and breath after all the effort they have put into the workout.

Does it suit all ages and fitness levels? 

Yes, my participants range from teenagers to the elderly with varying fitness levels. BodyBalance caters for all body types and abilities by offering a range of options with the poses. For example, one pose may suit one person while the optional pose may feel better for another. It is also safe for pregnant women and for those who have injuries. However, please contact your doctor prior to commencing any programs at the gym!

Mindful Meditation

Images via resolvefitness.com.au, alianzatex.com, grandnat.co.uk

How To Combat Emotional Eating This Winter

Mood rhymes with food and stressed is “desserts” spelled backwards, as the saying goes, but emotional eating is no joke; in fact, it’s a big problem for many of us.

RELATED: Do You Suffer From Orthorexia?

How often do you find yourself, when stressed, tired, upset and/or angry, reaching for that chocolate bar, slice of cake or packet of chips? I’m certainly guilty of this when feeling super anxious – add it in a bottle of wine and it’s a pity party for one!

There’s surely not a woman (or man) alive who hasn’t fallen prey to emotional/comfort eating. So, how do we stop eating our emotions? Are there practical ways we can actually fight the urge to eat our feelings this winter?

Even my GP says she has to fight the urge to comfort eat. And her best advice on how to do this is to get out of the kitchen; distract yourself with a task which involves using your hands; do something which makes you feel good, such as a pampering hair or face mask and/or painting your nails; and/or eat nutritious, regular meals to combat emotional eating and overeating.

emotional eating, comfort eatiing, nutritionist advice

Meanwhile, leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured) says emotional eating is, by definition, “periods of abnormal eating behaviour which have been triggered in response to a particular mood state such as sadness, loneliness or anger.”
In addition, she says sufferers find their emotional discomfort is then temporarily lessened once they eat; with super sweet or salty food the common modus operandi.

So, why is emotional eating bad for us? Obviously, the sweet relief, pardon the pun, is all too fleeting, but Susie says there are serious health risks at play too.

“Weight gain is a problem if excessive calories are consumed, but more importantly in the case of emotional eating the underlying emotional distress is not being identified and managed appropriately. Long-term depressed mood and distress, left unmanaged, can develop into significant health issues,” she says.

“And other dangers can include low mood and energy levels; fatigue, inability to concentrate; and long-term nutrient deficiencies and girls at risk of developing a clinical eating disorder.”

emotional eating, comfort eatiing, nutritionist advice

So, what’s a healthy food relationship? Susie’s top tips to stop comfort/emotional eating include:

  • Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Eating regular meals and snacks every 3-4 hours.
  • Not being obsessed with eating and food.
  • If you really do not want to eat it, do not keep it in the house.

What do you think? Do you eat to ease emotional pain and distress?

 Images via blog.aarp.org, blisstree.com

Sex Vs Exercise: Which One Is Better For You?

Few of life’s unanswered questions are as vitally important as this: Is sex better for you than exercise? Does it stimulate you more, mind/body and soul?

RELATED: Role Play The Secret To Mind-Blowing Sex

And, in the life of a super-busy woman, if you have to choose just one, which one should you pick? I know which one I’d prefer every time, circumstances permitting – sex. I’d much rather spend time getting busy with my beloved husband than being bossed around and worked to the bone by my ex-army commando PT and/or pounding the heinous treadmill at the gym. But what’s better for me?

So many questions… For answers, I turned to the good doctor, well the sex doc that is: Sydney sexologist, Dr Michelle Mars (pictured), who specialises in the sociology of sex gender and sexual well-being.

sexual fetishes, foot fetish, sexual obsessions

There’s good news and bad news, ladies: a red-hot, sweaty sex session will blow your hair back way more than an equally messy gym session – yay! But unfortunately, you’d better not give up the gym workouts and PT sessions just yet – sad face.

“We know sex can be great exercise, it gets our hearts racing, makes our knees go weak, leaves us with aching muscles, gives us that healthy glow and even occasions sudden cardiac death in some circumstances,” Dr Mars says.

“Great sex is going to stimulate you more and make you feel better than a gym session ever could. But does that mean we should forgo the gym for a shag? Probably not, but nonetheless I’d take the sex myself.

“Which is better for you? The units of exercise required to minimise the risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis and so have been measured in units per day or per week. But we haven’t subjected sexual activity to the rigours of evidence-based medicine so we don’t know which is healthier.”

is exercise better than sex

So, can you burn more calories during a good sex session than on the treadmill? “Sex that makes you weak at the knees is going to get your heart racing one way or another. If your knees are weak from a good shagging then you’ve probably worked harder and expended more energy than you would have done at the gym,” Dr Mars quips.

“Does an orgasm give you more benefits than a personal training session? It definitely stimulates your cardiovascular system and holds the potential for more pleasure and a meditative or even spiritual experience.

“Sexual meditation is a technique that can be learned – all the benefits of meditation combined with the pleasures of sex. How can that not be beneficial?”

However, ladies, if you find yourself actually preferring gym to sex, because it buys you some much-needed time to yourself, that’s normal and natural too, says Dr Mars. “We know that stress, weight gain and lack of exercise don’t enhance our sexual performance, and if we are stressed out, time-pressured and the kids are about to start banging on the door then the gym probably presents itself as an urban sanctuary,” she says.

“But if you have the space and time, and you can exercise at another moment in the day, then sex – even if you don’t at first feel like it – is an incredibly healthy way to start the day.”

health, sex, orgasms

However, if the sex gods aren’t playing along, and you do opt for the treadmill as an escape from your needy kids/husband/dog/goldfish – you can make it work for you, Dr Mars says. It’s all about exercising for sex; you can still make it count toward sexual satisfaction.

“There is a big muscle in humans called the psoas muscle (pronounced “so-az”). In beef, it’s the tenderloin and in humans it is also quite large, around 12 inches,” Dr Mars says. “The psoas muscle starts around the bottom of the spine and winds down and right around inserting into the top of the leg. It’s the source of a lot of back pain and keeping it strong and flexible is really important for good sex.

“If you can’t decide between sex and exercise, then put on some sexy music and have a little dance. Make a motion like you are hula hooping or hula dancing. You can also try moving your hips in a figure of 8. Make sure that your tail bone is tucked under and your bottom isn’t sticking out.”

So, there you have it, ladies. Sex and exercise perfectly complement each other, like wine and cheese. Both serve an important purpose, but if at the end of the day you only have time for one, grab your partner and have some fun – the naked kind!

Images via muffintoplessdotcom.wordpress.com, jameswinsoar.com and eatthecat.com

Do You Suffer From Orthorexia?

We all know the type: the super-thin girl who refuses to ever eat cake, pasta, and/or bread and who never raises a glass of alcohol to her lips.

RELATED: Can Food Diaries Encourage Eating Disorders?

This same poor lass will rigidly order the same salad for lunch and exercise for more than two hours daily, obsessively watching her weight and food intake.

This clean eating obsession, or orthorexia, is a proposed, new eating disorder that’s increasingly common in young women and teenage girls, says leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured). Yet, it’s still not medically recognised as a bona fide eating disorder, Susie says.

no carbs diets, low-carb diets, baby weight, post-baby weight loss, diets, fad diets

“The classification for clinical disorders is clearly defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) – the official manual used by the American Psychiatric Association to classify psychological disorders, but as for any scientific definitions, there are outliers, and this is the case with this increasingly commonly seen condition – orthorexia,” she says.

Sufferers are so obsessed with clean eating they will only consume foods which are “pure” and “healthy”, and subsequently favour extremely low-calorie, unprocessed foods, which in turn kept their body weight extremely low. And while they are not malnourished, young girls and women with orthorexia customarily suffer from anxiety, low moods and depression.

So, is there a cure? Orthorexia sufferers need a more balanced and nutritious diet, plus good therapy to help them to identify and manage their emotions, rather than using food and exercise as an escape from them, Susie says.

And Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation and national director of The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) concurs. “Orthorexia is a recognised illness and is being treated by eating disorders specialists in Australia,” Christine says. “However, it is not as yet officially recognised as a specific eating disorder.

“Anyone who obsessively manages the consumption of whole food groups is at risk of nutritional deprivation.” So, when does healthy eating go too far?

orthorexia, restrictive diets, health and nutrition

Top Warning Signs Of Orthorexia

  • You skip social occasions for fear of having to eat food you have not prepared.
  • Your skin is dull and your hair is falling out.
  • You have lost your period.
  • You feel constantly tired.
  • You have been experiencing recurrent injuries.
  • You will only eat a very limited range of foods, like fruit and vegetables, and are inordinately obsessed with these foods.
  • You never eat cake or enjoy an alcoholic drink.
  • You exercise for more than two hours a day.
  • People are constantly commenting that you look too thin.
  • You are still not happy with your body no matter what you eat or how much you exercise.
  • You feel guilty when not following strict rules about meals and, conversely, virtuous when eating “correctly”.
  • You experience social isolation in group-dining settings.
  • You avoid situations that might involve “processed” foods.

orthorexia, restrictive diets, health and nutrition

If you need help and support, phone the Butterfly Foundation National Supportline on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or visit their website.

Images via panosplatritis.com, healthology.com.au, howcast.com

Poppin’ Tags: The High Cost Of Shopping Addiction

Have you got a nasty habit of spend and remorse? Shopping addiction can pose a serious threat to relationships, financial security, your sanity and your health; and experts say it’s much more serious and widespread than you think.

RELATED: Are You Addicted To These Fatty Foods?

In my much younger years, I was guilty of some seriously reckless shopping, sometimes blowing all my savings on expensive heels, thereby neglecting my bills, mortgage and grocery needs in the process. And I was far from alone: if you have a fashion obsession, as many of my friends and I did in those days, acquiring the latest and greatest designer handbag can seem like a matter of life and death when you’re young and immature.

These days, I still love shopping with a passion, but I’ve mostly learnt to control the habit, rather than allow it to have power over me. For far from being glamorous and fun, a shopping addiction can become a dangerous obsession.

At least one in 20 Americans has a shopping addiction, according to the American Psychiatric Association. But “oniomania”, the technical term for obsessive compulsive shopping, is not recognised as a legitimate mental disorder in Australia. This is despite recent claims up to one in 12 Australian shoppers are sufferers of the disorder, according to the Australian Psychological Society. So, what characterises oniomania?

A compulsive shopper gets the same rush or ‘high’ from making purchases as a drug addict gets from using, medical experts believe. And, as with other addictions, once the brain associates shopping with this ecstasy, the compulsive shopper tries to re-create it again and again. Compulsive shopping is also said to be triggered by a person’s low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, loneliness or anger.

shopping addiction, retail therapy, compulsive shopping

Dr Edwina Luck, senior lecturer at Queensland University of Technology’s Business School (pictured), who’s researched shopping addiction, says it’s powerful, pervasive and a huge problem for both young men and women. And top online shopping sites such as eBay; Gumtree; strawberry.net.com; www.net-a-porter.com; and www.shopbop.com are only exacerbating Gen Y and X-ers’ compulsive spending habits, she says.

“With eBay, there have been cases of people who are addicted and every night they have to go online. Many people are obsessed with bidding – it’s like the thrill of the chase,” Dr Luck says. “The thing with online shopping is, it’s more insidious because the effects are not immediate.

“You have to wait for your purchase and with shopping from the US and the UK, it’s somewhat slow, and so often what happens – especially if do you have an addiction – is that you forget what you’ve purchased and so you keep shopping.

“So you’ve got this disappointment first of all, because you’re waiting for your product to arrive, then you’ve got this euphoria when they do arrive and you think ‘Oh my goodness me, I’ve forgotten I even purchased that!’

“A lot of people drink alcohol while online shopping, especially in the winter months, and you do spend hours on it and actually forget about reality – it’s called the effects of flow – and you actually lose time while you’re online searching for all these supposed bargains and you often overspend.

“Then there’s that feeling of depression when you go to your bank account and see your credit card statement. But because the euphoric feeling of purchasing and receiving outweighs the stresses of looking at the debt, what happens is that psychological happiness feeling is addictive and so we go to shop more.”

And new research shows both men and women are equally addicted to online shopping, but women are far more likely to admit they’ve got a problem, Dr Luck says. “It’s a vicious cycle – it’s a very depressing situation to get yourself into,” she explains.

“Shopping addiction is a conditioned response. Some of us go to the gym, have a glass of wine or read a book, while others compulsively shop. You have to unlearn those negative, self-destructive behaviours and perhaps learn new behaviours.

“You can do this yourself – admitting you have a problem is the first step. Counselling is the next step, if you can’t.”



And the huge growth of mobile phone apps can also significantly worsen people’s shopping addictions, Dr Luck says. In addition, new technologies targeting individual shoppers while in-store, via Bluetooth, such as Apple’s iBeacon – which has been trialed in US retailer, Macy’s – may soon be on their way to Australia, thereby further aggravating the problem. “This technology lessons the purchase cycle because it wants you to purchase immediately to get the deal, such as gift-with-purchase, or a two-for-one gimmick,” Dr Luck says.

“If you have a shopping addiction it would be very dangerous because you’d be seduced by the deal and not even think twice about it.” But does a bout of compulsive shopping have to necessarily signal an emotional void and/or negative behaviours, or could it just come down to a simple passion for fashion, homewares or even collectables?

Sunshine Coast wedding musician Marty Sima, AKA ‘my husband’, normally hates shopping of any kind, but readily admits to recently losing his mind over eBay auctions for a rare retro arcade machine from the eighties. “It’s not just about buying the item, it’s about getting it at a bargain price and beating others to it,” he says. “It was a real buzz when I got it – I felt euphoric.

“I really enjoyed buying it online because I could put a bid on it at any time of the day or night and I could do it while at home with my family.

“I could see how online shopping could become extremely dangerous for your bank balance if you became addicted to the high.”

Fall 2014 accessory trends

Meanwhile, Noosa’s Jennifer Porter, a shopping aficionado with a penchant for expensive designer sunglasses, scoffs at suggestions it’s bad for you. “Everyone has a spendthrift in them,” Ms Porter says. “Anyone who says they don’t love shopping is a liar!

“It’s all about the experience. Of course, it’s lovely to get home and open your package too – it’s like Christmas!

“I love that ‘just bought’ feeling. You walk out with a package wrapped in beautiful tissue paper.

“You’re flying! Fashion and shopping are also forms of self-expression.”

Ms Porter, a successful businesswoman and founder of leading global retail marketing company, 5P, is fully aware of how she’s being tempted and drawn in to the retail journey dictated by marketers. “There’s a whole science to shopper marketing,” she says. “The music and smells are important –all your senses are ignited. The marketers create this sensory environment to tempt you – it’s all about making you feel good and engaged enough to shop until you drop.”

The avid shopper happily admits she’s addicted to the high of regularly purchasing new accessories, but never regrets the experience. “I never ever have buyer’s remorse because it’s a guilt-free drug,” she says. “I have three kids and a business, and I’m so busy I rarely get 10 minutes to myself all day, so I online shop. It’s true escapism!

“I equate it to men’s obsession with football. This is women’s holy grail.

“In the past, people once used to congregate at churches every Sunday morning. Now, that place is the shopping mall.” Hallelujah!

Shopping Addiction Fast Facts 

Compulsive shopping warning signs can include:

  • Financial ruin: You can’t pay your credit card bills.
  • Relationship stress: Are you taking your bad debts out on your partner?
  • Depression: If you can’t curb it, can’t control it and can’t afford shopping.
  • Escapism: Using the shopping spree as a way to avoid reality.
  • Compulsive lying: Hiding purchases and being dishonest about it with your partner.

What do you think? Are you addicted to your favourite shopping app or online retailer?

Can You Give Up All Earthly Pleasures For A Meditation Course?

Imagine taking a vow of silence, cutting off all contact from your loved ones and the outside world, giving up grog and only eating vegetarian meals – all for the duration of a 10-day, live-in meditation course, in the name of personal enlightenment?

RELATED: Common Myths About Meditation

Personally, I’d struggle on all fronts – particularly with not being able to see my husband and two toddlers for that long – but for countless others, this is nirvana. For in the eternal quest for peace of mind and happiness, people are flocking to a residential meditation centre in regional South-East Queensland, set in landscaped gardens within 60 acres of bushland.

And once there, thousands of meditation students will, each year, willingly take a vow of “noble silence” for the duration of a 10-day adult course which caters for up to 70 people.

Participants must also eschew all modern luxuries, such as the use of technology, including all electronic devices. Eek!

Following the age-old technique of Vipassana meditation one of India’s most ancient practices hailing back to the time of Buddha more than 2500 years ago Dhamma Rasmi is located at Pomona, Queensland, about two hours north of Brisbane.

This Vipassana meditation centre is hugely popular with both men and women and even offers 20-day courses for “old students”. About 40 courses in total are run annually, including one-to-two day classes for teenagers and children, and pregnant women are welcome at the adult courses.

meditation, meditation retreat, mindfulness

So, why on earth would you do it? The benefits of such a 10-day meditation course are said to include:

  • It’s a practical way to achieve peace of mind and boost your happiness and productivity.
  • A 10-day residential course with a qualified teacher gives students the opportunity to be “free from distractions”, according to the course terminology. This apparently helps you tap into your reality within.
  • This technique is said to help participants “come out of suffering”.
  • The course is non-sectarian and so suitable to all people, regardless of religion, gender, race or nationality.
  • It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, and “dissolves mental impurity”, resulting in a balanced, uncluttered mind full of love and compassion.

mindfulness, Buddhism, appreciation

And a word of warning, dear reader: this residential meditation course is a serious undertaking and not for the faint-hearted.

Before you apply, you’re encouraged to “read and accept the code of discipline”, including what is expected of you, lest you get chucked out. And note well: all journalistic attempts were made to interview a course convenor or teacher for this story, but all such requests were declined. Apparently, publicity is neither sought nor welcomed, hmph.

For more information, visit www.rasmi.dhamma.org or www.dhamma.org.au.

Images, in order, via www.dailymail.co.uk and www.popscreen.com.

Top 5 Weightloss Superfoods You Need Right Now

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.

RELATED: Make 2015 A Fresh Start

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.

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

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.

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

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!

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

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.