Tag Archives: well being

5 Tips to Help You Through the Holiday Feasts

December is my favourite time of the year – holiday season! A time to rest, relax, reflect, spend time with loved ones and EAT!

Do you get anxious around the holiday feastings? Are you worried that it will ruin your fitness goals?

Read on for a few tips!

Before we dive into it, I just want to say that it is COMPLETELY ok to relax over this season. If keeping up with your goals is stressing you out, DROP IT! A few days off is not going to ruin your progress (unless days turn into weeks). Having said that, you should not adopt the ALL OR NOTHING approach, thinking that you should go all out till 2018 since you’ve “broken” the rules.

Here are a few things that you can do to have the best of both worlds!

  1. Avoid skipping meals – I know it can be tempting to skip meals because you want to save your calories for the main feast! But this trick can work AGAINST you! You might feel overly hungry and end up binging on ALL the FOOD! A tip is to eat when you’re hungry and focus on having foods that are higher in protein and fibre to help keep you fuller for longer. Also, remember to stay hydrated!
  2. Pick your treats and meals – Look at everything that is provided and be picky about what you want/feel like eating! That way, you can enjoy your meal AND dessert.
  3. Unstructured physical activity – You will probably be too busy running around, getting things done and spending time with your family to fit in a proper structured workout. IF you happen to find the time to do so without much stress, then by all means, GO AHEAD! But if you don’t, something is always better than nothing! Stay active and walk when you can. Running errands, shopping and cleaning up the house all counts! Killing two birds with one stone – WIN!
  4. Go easy on the liquid calories – It is SO easy to drink energy dense drinks that do not fill you up. And these drinks can really push you above and beyond your daily energy requirements. Drink water instead! If you HAVE to have a flavoured drink, opt for diet/light options. As for alcohol, go for high quality ones. Drink in moderation and responsibly!
  5. Focus on your loved ones – The holiday season is about spending time with your loved ones. Focus less on the food and more on creating unforgettable memories.

If ALL else fails, it is NOT the end of the world. You don’t have to fixate, stress or get overly obssessed with what to eat or have already eaten. One meal is not going to make a huge difference.

The next day is a new opportunity to make BETTER choices! Pick yourself up and don’t give up! It is a life long journey.

Happy holidays!

xx

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

Sitting – The New Smoking?

We all know that physical activity is important for general health. The typical guideline for physical activity (in a week):

150-300 minutes of MODERATE intensity (power walking, walking, house chores etc)

OR

75-150 minutes of VIGOROUS intensity (running, cycling, swimming, rowing etc)

OR

A combination of both

PLUS

at least 2 days of strength trainingIMG_5105


To the already-active individual, hitting the recommended hours in this guideline would be a piece of cake! I know many people who can complete it in 2 days (myself included)!

BUT! (there’s always a but)IMG_6701

If you are sitting (sedentary) for most of the time when you are NOT being active, you’re not much better off than the physically inactive person.

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If you workout for 60 minutes or more but spend the rest of the day seated (work/school/etc), then congratulations! You’re an Active-Couch Potato! Sounds cute but the effects are not that cute. In fact, it can be life threatening. Active-couch potato-ing has been associated with unwanted metabolic biomarkers (decrease in insulin sensitivity) [1].


What is “sitting”?

Sitting (or sedentary behaviour) includes behaviours that do not use much energy (less than 1.5 metabolic equivalents) during the hours that you are awake [2].

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Examples: Driving/commuting for long hours, seated at a desk for work/school, watching tv, meal times, chilling by the beach etc

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Technology has both improved and worsen the situation. On one end of the spectrum, there are many available trackers/step counters/health apps/fitness apps etc that can encourage movement. And on the other end, it contributes to more SITTING! From online shopping to food delivery. Heh, we don’t even need to go grocery shopping or cook our food!


Sitting and Health

More sitting time has been associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

Obesity

This is an easy one. If you eat more than you expend = weight gain.

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In essence, if inactivity is not offset with a decrease in food, you’re heading for obesity land.

Type 2 diabetes and Hearth Problems

Our body cells use energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which are made from blood glucose (carb) and triglycerides (fat). Sitting decreases the demand for ATP (because you’re not using much of it) and downregulates the mechanisms that are used for drawing glucose and triglycerides from the blood into the muscle cells. These include the GLUT-4 transporter protein (needed for blood glucose to enter the cell) and lipoprotein lipase (enzyme that breaks down triglycerides to free fatty acids to fuel muscle cells).IMG_1726

This is also “sitting”!

This will ultimately lead to MORE glucose AND triglycerides in the blood which are well established risk factors for developing heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes!


If you think you are active, THINK AGAIN!IMG_1647

How many hours do YOU spend sitting?

This is also your cue to GET UP and MOVE!