Tag Archives: fit life

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, hunger levels, 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

What Your Fitness Regime Should Look Like

Hello!

We’re well into the THIRD month of the year. Where did time go?!

How is everyone doing?

I hope this post has helped you shape your fitness/physical/health/nutrition goals for 2017! What are they? DO SHARE!


Before we dive head in, we need to know the BASICS! Whatever your goals (running PBs, strength gains, yoga, cross fit, OCRs etc), we cannot run away from the fundamentals of fitness.

A well balanced fitness routine should have these components:

CARDIO

*my favourite component*

Your HEART is a vital organ. It beats to keep you alive. There are a million reasons why we need to preserve its function and strengthen it.

Even if you are not training for a run or a marathon, you cannot neglect this component. A strong heart pumps a greater volume of blood with each beat – more efficient (this means that your heart does not have to work as hard). For example, a strong heart may take 1 beat to pump X volume of blood whereas a weaker heart may take 4 beats to pump the same volume (this is not exactly how it works. I’m just SUPER simplying it. But you get the point)!

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Photo: Nathaniel Kelly

I know I’m getting stronger when my Garmin FR 235 reports a lower heart rate (compared to prev) at the same pace. 🙂

Why is that important?

EVERYTHING you do involves your heart. You are more able to walk, clean the house, run for the bus (that’s me), climb stairs (without huffing and puffing) etc with ease. It makes daily activities seem less of a chore. PLUS, it keeps many chronic/heart diseases at bay.

*For your heart to become stronger, you need to add a little stress. Only then, will it adapt.*

What to do: 30-60 minutes of running, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, boxing etc as long as you’re moving throughout! You can even throw in a few sprints to keep things interesting. Cleaning the house counts too (haha! :P). This should be done on most days (if not all) of the week!

Strength Training

Just like our heart, our muscles and joints need to be stressed too. With the right amount of stress, we are able to build/maintain lean muscle mass and strengthen our tendons, ligaments and bones. Again, these will help you with your day to day activities that involve lifting/carrying/pushing/pulling heavy objects.

IMG_3066Strenght training is important for everyone. Muscles help to increase the body’s metabolism (hello MORE FOOD. #jokes) as they need a lot of “food” for growth and maintanence. For older adults, you’ll tend to accumulate more fat and lose muscle mass more easily. You need a good amount of lean muscle mass to maintain metabolism and with stronger muscles and bones, you can prevent falls and broken bones!

What to do: You can start off with body weight exercises (decline push ups, squats, lunges etc) before adding weights. As you become stronger, you will need to add external loads to continue to GROW!

Stability and Mobility

This is the core of movement. We need to be able to MOVE within our full range of movement and maintain stability when we need to. If you lack this component, throwing in cardio and strength training will cause MORE problems such as lower back pain and unwanted injuries.

From the bottom up, our joints are arranged such that it is alternating between stable and mobile:

Foot – Stable

Ankle – Mobile

Knee – Stable

Hips – Mobile

Lumbar (Lower Back) – Stable

Thorax – Mobile

Scapula – Stable

Neck – Mobile

The lack of stability and mobility in any of the joints will affect your ability to move about comfortably. Even getting out of bed would be a chore!

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What to do: STRETCH every other day! Tight muscles hinder mobility! You can do it either when you wake up, post workout, while watching tv or just before bed! A little goes a long way. If you are pressed for time, hit the neck, chest, hips, hamstrings, glutes, calves and lower back. You can also do some balancing workouts to improve stability across your joints.

I always stretch for about 1 hour after my workouts while I’m reading articles/on social media. For me, it is a great way to CHILL! And then I plank for 2 mins front, left and right side!


With this in mind, I hope that you will be able to choose a program (or programs) that will cover all of the above.

With a well rounded fitness routine, you are more likely to maximise results while staying injury free! Go for the ones that YOU ENJOY and COMMIT to them. Everyone starts off as an amateur, not being “fit” or “good” enough (exactly WHY you shld get started, NOW!) is not an excuse!

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Believe in yourself. Have a little confidence. 🙂

HAVE FUN!

MAYHEM – First few weeks in Sydney!

Exactly how I would describe my first few weeks back in Sydney.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


Week 1 & 2

I arrived on Sunday morning (29th January) after travelling through the night for 8 hours. Safe to say that I did not get much shut-eye. My aunt came to pick me up from the airport and we were off to an extended family CNY lunch.

Rushed back to my aunt’s place to repack my bag to move to my friend’s place (Ming). THANK GOD she was staying just 10 minutes away from my 1st placement site. That takes away the transport-planning stress.

God’s timing is PERFECT! They just got the place a week before I arrived. I moved in BEFORE she did. I guess I “warmed” up her room for her.

IMG_1427So GRATEFUL to have this gem in my life. 🙂 Always looking out for me and worrying about me not having a BED/TABLE/CHAIR etc. I thank God for YOU! I would have been homeless and lost for the first 2 weeks in Sydney! Thanks for your awesome room! LOVE YOU!

IMG_4594Also, Woolies was right next to us (THANK GOD!). I went to grab food to survive the week. Came back, made some food, set aside my clothes for the next day and it was time for bed. I WAS COMPLETELY SMASHED by the end of the day.

FullSizeRenderWoke up extra early the next day to test the transport system (CANNOT BE LATE ON THE FIRST DAY!). It was all good, taking only 10 mins by bus.

First week of placement went really well! Everyone is SO NICE. I have 3 very lovely supervisors. Very excited for the upcoming weeks!IMG_4669The Nutrition and Dietetics department sure knows how to throw a party!


 

It was a lot for me to swallow in just one week. Leaving home on the first day of Chinese new year + Packing and moving + New suburb + New place + First day of placement + Getting used to regular working hours + Stress from placement + Transport system + Exploring my surroundings + Shopping and cooking + Cleaning + Working out… and just trying to get back to a normal routine and life. I am a person that lives on a routine. I like to have it all in my head (at least). It has been a challenging week of just trying to adjust to what I have.

At the same time, I was frantically looking for a place to stay! I spent HOURS and 3 out of 6 precious Gbs of data that I had just looking/msg-ing/email-ing practically every place I could find.

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Hannah Banana! <3 Much needed catch up sesh! Again, so thankful to have her in my life. We spent the day walking, shopping, eating and pouring our hearts out! Just what we needed. 🙂

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetRunning the stress away!


Background story:

I have 5 placement sites this semester. They are all over the place. To me, TIME is very precious. I’d rather move 5 times than to spend my days in the bus/train travelling for a total of 3 hours. And so, the house hunt quest continues!


FINALLY, at the end of week 1, I found a new temporary home for placement sites 1 and 2. There’s a twist to the story. Minutes after we had settled and arranged everything, the landlord had to cut my stay short by 2 weeks (due to something he claimed was a “long story”). I was at the mall and tears literally rolled down my face. I was just TOO STRESSED OUT! GAH!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMoved out of Ming’s place after 2 weeks and into my new home for the next 4 weeks!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAs of today, I still have no idea where I’m staying for those 2 weeks. That’s a worry for another day. HAAAAA! Currently living out of my suitcase.

Snapshots of my life:

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetTake time out for yourself, clear your mind, focus, pray and just CHILL. #doyou

IMG_5776This is dinner… most of the time. Along with some veges, meat and fruit.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCheers to 1 dollar pineapples!

IMG_5510And 2.50 mangoes! SUMMER FRUITS! YUMMMMM!

IMG_4601Lunch.

IMG_5795OD-ed on sushi rolls. I’ve been having this every single day! SO GOOD!

IMG_5540Conducted a small group education session for the Drug and Alcohol group on FIBRE AND HEALTHY POO!

IMG_5515Got them to make all the different types of poo from play dough! SO FUN!

IMG_5541They were very cooperative when it came to making the poo and the reading of food labels. Phew!

IMG_5666Our nutrition booth for Australia’s Healthy Weight Week! It was such a good time getting ppl to play the “guess how many tsp of sugar is in this drink” game, filling out quizzes and giving simple education on healthy eating and exercise! #wellbeing #healthylife #lifestyle


3 weeks down! I cannot THANK GOD enough for seeing me through this time. Indeed, I am NOTHING without Him. Feeling very blessed and realized how much I have taken “convenience” for granted. Just grateful to live another day!

Everyone goes through tough times. Social media can be deceiving. Ppl seem to think I have it easy but you don’t know what goes on BTS.

The next time you face a tough period, don’t ask God “WHY ME”, instead ask “Show me YOUR will and YOUR power”.

 

Side note: I’ve been in the gastro/oncology wards and it has made me realize that HEALTH is WEALTH. Appreciate what you have and the body that you are living in. CHEERS!