Tag Archives: weight management

The Keto Diet – Everything You Need to Know

There’s been a lot of hype about the keto diet.  More and more people are going keto to manage their weight and overall health.

If you’re curious or wondering if this diet is for you, read on! I’m here to give you a quick low down on the KETO DIET!


 

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What is it?

The ketogenic diet or keto diet, is a strict low carb high fat diet. The idea is to put the body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic process where the body uses fat for fuel instead of glucose. This occurs when the body has drained all of its carbohydrate stores – during times of fasting, starvation or when carbohydrate intake is limited. The process involves the breakdown of fats in the liver to produce ketones.

Ketones are an alternative fuel,  which can continue to fuel the brain (the brain can only run on glucose or ketones) and the body.

Essentially, you become an efficient fat burning machine.


The benefits

The keto diet promotes FAT loss.  As mentioned, carbs are so limited that the body is forced to tap into its fat stores for fuel, leading to weight loss. Studies have found that it trumps the low fat diet [1]. Fat increases satiety and you are less likely to feel hungry in between meals.

Also, the low carb intake reduces the production of insulin. When you eat carbs, insulin is constantly being produced. Insulin prevents the breakdown of fats and encourages the conversion of glucose to fat. How-Weight-Loss-Works-02

The nature of this diet is also benefitial for people with Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or insulin resistance [2]. This is because fat does not impact insulin the same way as carbs and proteins [3]. Low carb intake helps with managing blood sugar levels. Also, weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity.

Less carbs = Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels751d33ec93eeac18f86f285f892e2314

The keto diet also seems to improve markers associated with other metabolic diseases [4]. Other health related benefits include neurological (Alzheimers, epilepsy, seizures) [5, 6], cancer [7], improves blood lipid profile and reduces inflammatory markers.
In terms of the keto diet for athletic performance, there is limited research. This diet is thought to be suitable for endurance based sports at submaximal effort (such as the marathon or ultramarathon) where high intensity sprints/bursts are not involved [8].
Then again, there are some high performing athletes that can thrive off a keto diet. It all boils down to their unique genetic make up, how well they can tolerate and adapt to the diet.

LOW carb, HIGH fat

There are different degrees of “low carb” within the keto diet.ketogenic-dietBut the standard protocol looks like the image above.

5% of carbs = 15-20g of carbohydrates a day!

1 small banana = 23g of carbs

Carbs are found in foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, noodles, legumes, fruits and some starchy vegetables (beetroot, parsnips, potatoes etc).


What to eat?keto-diet-picture

Vege

  • Non starchy vege (leafy greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, spinach, rocket, bok choy etc)

Protein

  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring etc)
  • Red meat (grass-fed beef, pork, lamb etc)
  • Turkey, chicken (free range)
  • Omega-3 eggs

Dairy

  • Unprocessed cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese etc)
  • Full fat milk (limited amounts as milk contains the sugar lactose)

Fats and oils

  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, flaxseeds, macadamias, walnuts etc)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • MCT oils
  • Grass-fed butter and cream
  • Grass-fed ghee

What to avoid/eliminate?

  • High sugar foods (Ice cream, cake, fruit juice, soda, sweets, some sauces and condiments, sweet breads, highly processed low-fat/diet products, foods with sugar alcohols etc)
  • Cereal/grain products (breads, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals etc)
  • Highly processed fats and oils (vegetable oil, margarine)
  • Highly processed foods (chips, biscuits, cookies etc)
  • Alcohol
  • Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, red beans etc)
  • Fruit (Most fruits except lower sugar fruits such as berries)
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots etc)

IMPORTANT NOTE:

This is NOT your GREEN LIGHT to load up on highly processed fatty foods and junk food.

It is about moving away from highly processed foods, vegetable oils, foods filled with trans fat and omega-6, and margarine. This practice should apply to EVERYONE, not just for people on a keto diet.


Bottom line:

  • The keto diet is scientifically sound and valid
  • It is pretty extreme and it is not for everyone
  • It is great for people wanting to lose weight or have a metabolic disease
  • Before you get into ANY diet, pls do your research + get help/advice from your doctor and dietitian
  • Thanks to our uniqueness, two people on the exact same diet can have very different results!
  • For any diet to work, you need to make it work for YOU
  • It needs to be sustainable and not get in the way of your life
  • Most importantly, you need to ENJOY eating and FOOD!
  • Find your sweet spot and happy balance!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

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 Up

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.

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.

Related image

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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.

Processed with Snapseed.

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!