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Do Calories Matter? – Part 1

Hey Hey Hey!

How have you guys been?

Can you believe that we are halfway through the month of MAY?!


I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for following/reading my blog. Especially to those that have been around since I started blogging!

To me, the numbers don’t matter. As long as I am able to make a small difference/influence somewhere, ALL my effort is worth it.

I will try to blog more often, so do subscribe to my blog to receive the LATEST (and the greatest. Baahahhahhaha! #jokes) stuff in your mailbox! *The subscription tab is on the top right corner*


Quick life update:

DONE with clinical placement! YASSSSS!IMG_2513

I’m currently on community placement (Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics) with my classmate, Tegan. So far, we’ve been creating content for eNews, tip sheets and updating the food database.

During our first 2 weeks, we worked on a presentation – “The Calorie Controversy” – for our supervisor to present at FILEX 2017 (An educational conference by the world’s leading health and fitness experts!).

Let’s just say we found some pretty compelling stuff. I will be sharing glimpses of what we found. 😉


It will be a series of several blog posts under the title “Do Calories Matter?”

Counting calories? Calories in = Calories out?Image result for counting calories

For this post, we will look at what a calorie is.


Before we even begin talking about whether or not calories matter, WHAT exactly is a calorie? What does the body use energy for?

Calorie and Joule

A calorie is the amount of energy that is needed to raise the temp of 1 Kg of water by 1 degree at room temp.

Joule is the SI unit of energy. It is the work that is needed to move 1 Kg of an object with a force of 1 Newton by 1 metre in the direction of the force.

Fun fact: The zettajoule (ZJ) is equal to one sextillion (1021) joules. A yottajoule (YJ) is equal to one septillion (1024) joules. Just thought that sounded pretty cool.

Ok, enough of the JOULE. I’m a calorie person. Here’s the conversion:

1 kcal = 4.182 kJ

*Both units commonly used to represent ENERGY in food*

How do we know how much energy is in food?

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By using the bomb calorimeter. Food is basically torched and the heat produced represents the energy content.

Food provides energy and nutrients. But where does it all go?

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Our bodies need energy to do all of the above (image).

Basal metabolic rate: Energy needed to keep you alive at REST *Note that this is a huge chunk of your daily energy expenditure (60-75%!)*

Thermic effect of food: Energy needed to digest food

NEAT: Movement that is not exercise: fidgeting, cooking, going to the car etc

Activity: Physical activity: Running, swimming etc

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What is it in food that provides energy?

Carbohydrate 1g = 4 kcal

Protein 1g = 4 kcal

Fat 1g = 9 kcal

Alcohol 1g = 7 kcal

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How much energy or how many calories do we need?

That depends. Everyone is different. You can work it out here. But there are many things that can influence this (genetics, weight, height, body composition, health, hormones etc). Even activity levels are highly variable. We cannot truly be sure how much we really need. But of course, it gives you a rough estimate.


Now we know what a calorie is and what our bodies use the energy for!

The burning question is: Do calories REALLY matter?

Stay tuned for WHY weight gain is not simply calories in > calories out or why weight loss is not just calories in < calories out!

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Human Nature – Product Review

Helloooooooo!

Ok, I’m just going to jump straight in.

In this post, we’re going to deviate from the usual nutrition and fitness stuff. But trust me, this is just as important (if not more, lol) – PERSONAL HYGIENE! *Something that I am SO passionate about (or maybe borderline obsessed)*

As much as I love being drenched in sweat, I like to keep my skin/hair super clean and healthy. I am THE BIGGEST CLEAN FREAK you will EVER MEET… EVER! Pretty sure I’m the all time champ for this (HAHHAHAHAHA!).

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ANYWAY, the kind people at Human Nature gave me a chance to pick ANY 5 items from their wide range of products. It took me a GOOD week to DECIDE what I want. #toughlife #spoiltforchoice


Here are the 5 items I chose and my personal (honest) review:

1. 100% Natural Clarifying Shampoo
100% Natural Clarifying Shampoo

 

As mentioned, I SWEAT …… A LOT (all day every day. From working out that is). PLUS, I have A LOT of hair!

The first thing I thought of was SHAMPOO!

The second I applied this shampoo, I KNEW that it was “100% Natural”. Why? Because it didn’t lather as well as the ones I usually use. And when I read the label, I saw that it did not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). The typical product on the shelves would usually have these 2 chemicals to give it that nice foamy soapy feel! I actually learned this from my bestie ex-colleague, Sylvia, while working at the plastic surgery clinic (I usually don’t care about these things! But hey, I remembered!).
I actually LOVE that soapy feel but it is actually very bad for your skin and the environment.
In terms of how this product actually feels on your hair, it is somewhere between the very foamy shampoos and the squeaky kind you get at hotels.  Not the best feeling but at least I know that my hair is washed with the good stuff. 😉
I recommend pairing this product with a conditioner.
2. 100% Natural COFFEE Body Scrub
[SALE] Coffee Body Scrub

 

I think we ALL KNOW WHY I CHOSE THIS.

Yep – COFFEE! I didn’t really care what it was, I chose it when I saw COFFEE (Hello coffee addict. HELP!). No regrets though!

My skin tends to be VERY dry and rough, especially in Australia. I LOVE using this with my loofah to scrub away the dead skin, leaving it OH-SO-SMOOTH! And, THAT smell. #nuffsaid

3. Balancing Facial Wash

Balancing Facial Wash
You know how people can get very personal with the brand/type of facial wash that they use?
Yeah, I’m not one of them (lol). I really couldn’t care what I wash my face with (I know I should!). I’m blessed with facial skin that behaves (it doesn’t go into crazy break outs).
And that’s why I chose this facial wash (cos I’m open to explore and it is something that I use every day).
It smells good and it feels nice. I just wished it came in a GIANT bottle!
4. Deodorising Foot Spray
Deodorizing Footspray

 

This was next on my list. Simply because I DO NOT WEAR SOCKS with my lifestyle/going out shoes #dontjudge. I only wear socks with my running shoes.

This stuff definitely works for me! It has sugarcane alcohol to remove the odor.

The best part is that it doesn’t leave that “after spray feel”. It dries really well.

5. Perfect Glow Mineral Blush – Sun kissed

Perfect Glow Mineral Blush

Ok finally, we’re at the 5th product! PHEW!

This is another one of my daily essentials (surprise surprise… NOT!). This lil gem is easy to carry in your bag, apply and gives that perfect after glow! WHOOOP!

I definitely chose the right colour for my skin. 😉


I know that skin/body care is a very personal thing. But if you are keen and open to explore other products, then check them out here!

Much love

xoxo

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7 Ways to BOOST Your METABOLISM!

Following from the previous post on plateaus, we know that our unique METABOLISM plays a big role.

Does your metabolism need a BOOST?Photo 24-04-2017, 11 43 23 am

Check out what you need to do (or not do):

1. Lean Machine

A lean and mean MUSCLE machine that is. Yep, muscles NEED A LOT OF FOOD! Having more muscle mass means that your body is burning more calories… EVEN AT REST! How good is that?!IMG_3066

1 Kg of muscle burns about 10 kcal/day (1). So, if you gain 1 Kg of muscle, you burn an additional 3650 kcal/year.

2. Eat WHOLE foods

When it comes to eating, QUALITY matters! Besides eating a “well balanced” meal of protein, fat and carbs, pay attention to the QUALITY!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Highly processed/packaged foods can really wreck your metabolism! Foods that have added refined sugar can send your insulin levels through the roof. Insulin is one of the hormones that signals your body to store fat, especially around the waist.

The safest option? STICK TO WHOLE FOODS! Fresh is BEST!

3. Eat ENOUGH for YOU

Your metabolism drops when you don’t eat enough! The resting energy expenditure (REE) is what your body burns at rest.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Your body is always looking out for you. When you’re not eating enough, it senses “danger” and tries to hold on to whatever reserves it has as your body does not know when is the next time that you will eat.

Under eating leads to energy imbalances and changes to hormone levels (leptin and tyroxine) (2). Essentially, when these hormones decrease, your body stores fat and REE decreases.

4. Get MOVING

Any form of physical activity increases your daily energy expenditure. The more active you are, the more energy you burn!Photo 15-04-2017, 11 25 20 am

5. HIIT

It is good to have 1-2 days of high intensity activity – the kind that leaves you huffing and puffing! This can also increase energy expenditure even after you’re done (3).Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Ticking all the right boxes with my Garmin FR 235!

6. Sleep

We all LOVE SLEEPING BUT most of the time we fail to prioritise it. We get caught up with social media/work/life and end up skimping on sleep.

 

sleep and weight

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Your body NEEDS to rest. Your hormones go haywire when you don’t have enough sleep! In the long term, it could affect your metabolism and lead to weight gain.

 

sleep and weight gain

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Also, you’re less likely to be physically active the next day when you’re tired! This means less daily energy expenditure!

7. STRESS

We are ALL stressed out at some point in our lives. Work, school, sports, food, security, money, love, friendship… LIFE!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

When you’re stress, the body thinks you’re in “danger“. The hormone cortisol comes out to play. When you’re constantly stressed, cortisol hangs around. Overtime, it can lead to insulin resistance and fat being stored around your waist (4). Again, it will mess with your metabolism!


What can we learn from this?Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

EAT right. Sleep well. MOVE. Chill

Make these simple steps a HABIT. That way, you wouldn’t even have to THINK about it. It becomes second nature.

If you feel stuck, GET HELP! A personal trainer, a dietitian, a friend, Google etc.

GET UP and MOVE!

Time to BOOST your metabolism!

Contact me if you need any help.

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Hit a Plateau? Here’s WHY!

Do these sound familiar?

-Working out but not seeing any changes?

-Not getting anything out of your fitness regime?

-Not losing/gaining weight?

-Bored?

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If they do, you’ve probably hit a fitness plateau.

First off, YOU are NOT alone! We all struggle to find that ultimate BALANCE – eating well + training right to reap the max benefits.

I’ve hit a few plateaus throughout my fitness journey. But I also remember the times where I’ve seen significant changes. Those happened when there were drastic changes in my nutrition and workouts.

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Stress and shock will force your body to change. Remember the changes you saw when you first started working out? You probably saw HUGE changes in the first 3 months. That’s because you went from sedentary to active, the kind of shock that your body was not accustomed to. And then something amazing (or not) happened, ADAPTATION. Your body adapted to the stress (and your new lifestyle) and the only way to continue to see change is to WORK HARDER (new stress)!

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Aside from doing the “physical work”, your body is like a MACHINE that needs the RIGHT FUEL. There is SO much information out there about workouts and foods to eat.

BUT in order for any of those information to make sense to your body, you need to know YOU.


 Let’s talk metabolism

Metabolism is basically ALL of the chemical processes that goes on in your body to keep you alive.

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Anabolism – making stuff (cells, tissue, muscle etc)

Catabolism – breaking stuff (for energy)

Putting it into VERY simple terms, these two processes ultimately affect your fitness, physique and weight.

Understanding YOUR OWN body will help you beat plateaus. We need to tune into our own body ques.IMG_0897

The tricky bit is that we all have VERY DIFFERENT metabolic rates. Our health state (disease, illness, stress), sex, age, height and genes affect our metabolism. Environmental factors play a significant role too. Major ones would be nutrition and physical activity.

By making better lifestyle choices and changing a few bits here and there, you CAN workout and eat smart to achieve your ultimate GOALS.


Here are a few things to look out for:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Estimated Energy Requirement (EER)

The BMR is an estimate of the energy that you need in a day to maintain bodily functions (breathing, heart beat, body temp etc) while at rest. It is usually based on gender, age, weight and height.

With the BMR, you can now calculate your EER which adds in the activity element.

You can do all of that here.

Macro Breakdown

KNOW the macros in your food. They play a role in metabolism!

Macronutrients are the carbs, protein and fat in food. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) is 45-65% Carb, 20-35% Fat and 15-25% Protein of your total daily energy intake. However, you can alter these values based on your personal preference (low carb, high protein etc), performance goals etc.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProtein + Healthy Fat + Carbs

Work out what you eat in a day. It can be a lil tedious but it is worthwhile if you’ve hit a plateau. You can always take the stress out of nutrition and get a dietitian to work it ALL out for you, including EXACTLY what you should eat. 😉

Body Composition

It is good to get a sense of your body composition – percentage of body fat and muscle mass. Most fitness centres or the doctors would provide this service.

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Muscle weighs more than fat. You could be within the normal weight range for height but you could be carrying excess fat. Similarly, you may be on the heavier side of the weight spectrum but have more lean muscle mass.

This could be the reason you’re not seeing changes on the scale (if you’ve been working out and eating well). Try not to rely on the scale. Go by how you feel, look and how your clothes fit!

Change Your Routine

Following a strict routine may very well be the cause of your plateau. Mix it up and throw in new elements (new workouts, new foods etc). This will give your body a nice surprise and kick start your metabolism!

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Record Keeping

Sometimes, life can get to us and we can be UNAWARE of what we are doing or eating.

I AM ALL ABOUT RECORD KEEPING. I keep an e-record of my workouts, nutrition, emotions, work, finance and sleep. I find that it keeps me accountable of my actions, how I spend my time/money and helps with awareness and reflection.

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It can be overwhelming and I don’t expect you to go from zero to hero! Start with something small, like workouts and nutrition for 1 week. You can make it as brief or as detailed as you please.

Who knows, you might SURPRISE (or not) yourself at the end of the first week. And you probably would be able to spot what you need to change.

I have a food journal template. Drop me an email or leave a comment if you want one!


Perspective

Plateaus are not ALL bad.

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Lil reminder to REST!

Let’s look at it as a time to rest, reflect, change, and continue to challenge and push ourselves towards our goals!

IMG_5353Stay strong, I am here for you!

All the best!

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Nutrient Rich vs Energy Rich

When reading food labels, calorie content is usually the first thing that we look at. Yes, calories in food are important if we’re trying to lose weight. The weight loss equation is simple (or is it?) –

energy in < energy out

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Technically speaking, ANY diet that creates an energy deficit will result in weight loss**. You can eat Maccas all day errrrday AND still lose weight if you are burning more than you consume. *I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD DO THAT! LOL!*

**This is a very generalised statement which does not consider long term sustainability, health effects, metabolism and hormone levels. ALL of which WILL affect your weight… eventually**

BUT! (there’s always a BUT :P)

There are also other important things that we should look at, ie: NUTRIENT content and the overall QUALITY of the diet.


High in Nutrients

We should aim to eat foods that are high in NUTRIENTS. Whole fresh foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meat, legumes, whole grains, dairy, nuts and seeds are all rich in many different nutrients that are SUPER good for you. Nuts and seeds may be HIGH in energy (calories) but they provide the body with healthy fats and a unique mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

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I love munching on fruits and vegetables. They are rich in fiber and water content, making you feel fuller for longer. This means that you are less likely to reach for sugar loaded snacks.

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What you eat also affects your hormones. And that could affect how your body stores fat, mood and the development of chronic diseases. It is NOT as simple as simply looking at “calories”.


High in Energy

It is difficult to grasp WHAT exactly is “energy rich”. A simple concept would be to look at the caloric density. This takes into account the weight of the food. When comparing between foods, those that are higher in energy per 100g are considered more energy dense.

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This image PERFECTLY depicts HIGH energy nutrient POOR foods vs LOW energy nutrient RICH foods.

Let’s say the total energy you need in a day is 1600Kcal. You can eat either the left or the right AND still lose weight. But of course, the right would provide SO MUCH MORE nutrients and you can eat A LOT more in terms of amount. On the left, you’re basically consuming empty calories and would probably need another meal to feel full! Also, what you eat can affect your hormones and how you feel.

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Empty Calories

We’ve all heard of the term “empty calories”. What does this actually mean?

Empty calories refer to a food offering ENERGY with LITTLE to ZERO nutrient value.

Examples: fried foods (chips, fries), sugary drinks and foods (chocs, lollies, jelly), alcohol, high fat foods (cakes, muffins, baked goods, biscuits, ice cream, processed meats) etc.

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Not only are these foods nutrient poor, they are also usually highly processed. This could lead to inflammation and are usually associated with chronic diseases (heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, obesity).


Ultimate Balance

We all need ENERGY and NUTRIENTS to survive. Energy fuels the body and nutrients provide the body with the materials needed to maintain and regulate body processes.

We are all at different stages of life (childhood, youth, adults, elderly, sick, pregnant, athlete etc), plus the fact that we are all genetically unique, we have very different  nutrient requirements.

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The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013

There is NO one-size fits all. To ensure that we are meeting the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for nutrients, aim to eat a wide variety of foods from the 5 food groups:

-Fruits: Vit C, potassium, vit A, fibre, folate, antioxidants etc

-Vegetables: Fibre, Vit A, C, potassium, iron, magnesium etc

-Grains: Carbs, protein, vit B1, iron, folate, fibre, iodine etc

-Lean meats and alternatives, legumes, nuts and seeds: Protein, iron, zinc, phosphate, copper, vitB12, vit E, omega 3 etc

-Dairy products: Milk, yoghurt, cheese: Protein, calcium, magnesium, vitB12, vit D, niacin, ribo, fats, potassium etc

Just remember, WHOLE FOODS over PROCESSED FOODS. And of course, a little treat here and there WILL NOT HURT! As long as you’re eating well MOST of the time. :)IMG_2705


The NEXT time you decide to try a new “diet”, think of these points:

-Am I cutting out FOOD GROUPS?

-Am I getting ALL of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function OPTIMALLY?

-Do I feel better?

-Will it provide enough ENERGY, PROTEIN and FATS?

-Will it be sustainable? What is the point if it isn’t?

-Will I be HAPPY?


  I hope you’re a little more informed and EMPOWERED to make YOUR own decisions about WHAT to EAT!

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Love Ya’ll! <3