Wednesday 29 July 2015

Snacking - What Is Healthy And What Is Not?

SHHHH!!!!  I'm Having A Snack!!

Do you feel this way? That it's not okay to snack when you're trying to lose weight?  Should it be like this?

NO!! It Shouldn't Be Like This!!!

Snacking doesn't have to be unhealthy, it can, in fact, be healthy and part of your balanced daily diet.

Yes, it's the choice of snack rather than the fact that you are snacking that makes the difference between a healthy snack and an unhealthy snack.

Unhealthy snacks often include:

  • chocolate bars (high in fat and/or sugar)
  • muesli/granola bars (can be high in sugar)
  • frozen yoghurt (often contains more sugar than icecream)
  • chips/crisps (high in salt)
  • nuts/seeds/pretzels covered in salt
  • most vending machine snacks (usually high in fat/salt/sugar)
  • often low calorie, low fat foods in the supermarket are high in sugar content, do check this out

Healthy choices for snacks include:

  • hard boiled egg
  • fruit (e.g., blueberries, cherries)
  • cottage cheese
  • yoghurt (plain, unsweetened, or Greek, not with added flavours or syrups)
  • foods with fibre or protein, as these release energy slowly and make you feel full 

Finding a snack that curbs your sweet tooth, makes you feel full for longer and slowly releases sustainable energy can seem a hard thing to do.  However, by looking at your food choices and being prepared, you can still keep the calories low.  Using choices such as vegetables along with a protein source such as the egg or cottage cheese, can provide you with a nutritious, filling and tasty snack.  Remember also, when you're using foods such as cottage cheese, that adding spices or herbs is a great way to increase flavour, without adding calories.

Happy snacking!

Isogenix protein balls
Protein Balls, includes fibre and protein

Monday 20 July 2015

Dieting - And Always Hungry?

"You shouldn't be hungry on a diet." 

                                      - Sandra Venables

Dieting is a change of lifestyle, with healthy choices, not a deprivation, starve yourself regime.  

If you're at all like me, the concept of depriving yourself has been instilled in you for years.  The outcome? Yo-yo dieting!

This concept of healthy choices instead is the most important aspect to be remembered when you are undertaking a new Life Journey.

So, you believe you are making healthy choices now, not just restricting the amount of food you eating, but you still feel hungry? What's going on?  There are some biological reasons why you may feel hungry, and their can be some dietary reasons.

Why Am I Always Hungry?

  1. Your metabolism is fast
  2. You have restricted the type of food without changing the quality of the food
  3. Your hormones are not functioning well
  4. You are confusing your appetite (desire) with physical hunger (stomach pains)

How To Know What To Change?

Fast Metabolism
How do you discover if you have a fast metabolism?  Apart from going through hormone testing, one of the easiest ways is to assess what is happening in your bathroom (yes, I'm going to talk poo!). How often do you pass a stool? Once a week, once every two days, once a day, twice a day or more often?  Usually I put people into the fast metabolism slot if they are passing stools once - three times a day.  Food moves through your digestive system relatively quickly.  

If this is the case, you will probably need to ensure you are eating approximately 300 - 400 calories a day more than you have been advised based on your weight and height.  This is because you are on a fast pace, and your food doesn't remain in your digestive system long enough for you to fully absorb all the calories available to you.  So, great, eat some more!

Quality of Food
Does your menu still contain refined sugars, e.g., bread, processed, pre-packed foods?  These foods typically contain sugar, and this can create the 'sugar crash'.  This crash usually happens about one to two hours after you've eaten, resulting in this craving for more food.  Your energy plummets and your answer is to prop it up with stimulants (some form of drink or food), to gain more energy. Thus you feel hungry.

To avoid this sugar crash, take on more fibre in your diet.  I've written about fibre sources and the amount you want to be having every day previously, check it out here!  Ultimately, eat more veges, fruit and nuts!

Hormonal imbalances can play havoc with your desire to eat healthy choices!  Especially at the monthly cycle.  Also though, hormones play a role in telling you that you feel full, I wrote about this recently, check out if you're a constant craver here.

The types of hormones, and the resultant diseases, that can be out of balance and play havoc with your eating patterns include thyroid hormones (sending your metabolism into hyperdrive, or sleep), being in a pre-diabetic state (creating sugar crashes easily), and sexual hormones (mood swings only satisfied with chocolate!).

Get your hormonal states checked out to determine if this is an issue for you.

Appetite or Hunger?
Appetite is the desire to eat food, hunger is the physical changes in the body due to a lack of food. The difference is easily detected, are you craving that food (i.e. appetite) or does your stomach rumble and ache (i.e. hunger)?  

Really listening to your body and it's triggers for eating plays a large role in determining whether you are hungry or just fancying something to eat.  I should know, fancying something due to boredom, or stress, used to play a large role in my weight issues. I was never physcially hungry in the evenings when I used to fridge hunt, or cupboard stalk, looking for something that caught my eye. If I was truly hungry, the first cracker I saw, or the first piece of fruit or a carrot stick even, would've satisfied that craving, sadly, the eye went straight over these options and landed on the chocolate bars, or the ice cream, or the cake or the biscuit - do you see the pattern here? Yes, it's sugar!  I was looking for the serotonin release on a sugar hit. Of course, the inevitable would then happen, yep, an hour later, the search and hunt was back on!!!

I find food diaries are a great way to keep track of how much and of what you are eating during the day. I've spoken before about using MyFitnessPal.  I think it's a great tool to get to know and utilise.

Want to discuss how you too can manage your cravings, your hunger while making your Life Journey changes?  Contact me now to arrange a free consultation to discuss where you're currently finding difficulties.  

Sometimes every home needs a supervisor!  Love this photo, borrowed from Facebook


Wednesday 15 July 2015

Why Do You Eat What You Do?

Emotional, Constant or Feasting?

Why Do You Eat As You Do?

I recently watched a very interesting program looking at the reasons behind why people are overweight.

What I found incredibly interesting about it was the different types of testing the participants undertook, before they were classified into particular groups.

These tests included monitoring the stomach hormones, as these change as we eat, and are the little messengers that tell our brain that we are full. This is a new area of research and understanding. Sometimes these don't work so well for people.

Another test was a stress test, to monitor the cortisol levels of the participants, as well as their eating post stress.

Another test was to assess for a particular gene.  This gene, if defective, results in constantly feeling hungry.

What the testers were looking to establish amongst the participants was whether they were:

  • Constant cravers;
  • Feasters; or
  • Emotional eaters

Essentially the Constant Cravers were people who would feel hungry within a couple of hours of having a typical sized meal.  It was determined that their genes actually played a role in this aspect. A defective gene was responsible for the constant craving

The Feasters were people who didn't recognise the 'full' signal, and consequently overate. Their hormones weren't communicating loudly enough with the full trigger in the brain.

The Emotional Eaters were the people who made poor choices after a stressful situation, eating more than they set out to.

It was very interesting to see how the testers then set meal plans for each one of these types, in order to help these people change their way of eating, and hopefully to assist them in losing weight.

The Constant Cravers were given meals that were high in protein and had complex carbohydrates, something I speak about often in keeping that 'full' feeling.  They were told to continue with their meal plans and their snacking, with the exception that on two days every week, they were to fast (well, have very low calorie intakes, approximately 800 calories a day).  This style of eating is something I've adopted over the last two years (with some more support and a variation on what to eat on the no food day). It's certainly worked for me.

The Feasters were also given meals that were similar, higher in protein and with complex carbohydrates.

The Emotional Eaters were given a healthy meal plan,   It was also recommended that they find group support, as it's vital to helping them get through the stressful situations that they encounter, and it appears, as they're emotionally driven, to be a vital part of their success.

Each of the groups were then trialled on their eating plans to establish for themselves, how to eat and what effect it had on them.

It was great to see that each group had a positive experience of the changes.

On looking through research on eating patterns and obesity, I found it interesting that pyschological testing on people who are considered obese has been ongoing since the 1950s. It would seem that we are still trying to assess why people overeat.  Even as far back as 1959, there were investigations into the concept of inherited obesity as well as the role the brain undertook in obesity.  Showing that the concept of Feasters and Constant Cravers are defined groups.  It seems that scientists are continuing to refine those ideas today as well.

A study undertaken in 2003 showed that eating consistently over the day reduced the risk of obesity in adults, while skipping breakfast and an increased amount of out of home breakfasts and dinners (restaurant or takeaway) increased the risk of obesity.  Showing that the Constant Cravers may have a good thing going, they just need to make choices that suit this constant craving!

Recognising what to eat, when to eat, and why you eat is an important step in undertaking a new life journey, if you want to know more, or to be coached on this, contact me today!

Tuesday 14 July 2015

What Is A Balanced Healthy Meal?

When you are changing your lifestyle, such as I am, then sometimes you want some inspiration for your healthy 'knife and fork' meal for the day, the meal that is to be well balanced, nutritious and on target to support your healthy choices.

So what makes a meal healthy?

According to some sources, it's when there is a balanced selection of essential components:

  • lean protein
  • complex carbohydrates
  • healthy fats
  • fibre
  • vitamins
  • minerals
For this meal, you're looking to create a serving of between 1600 and 2500 kilojoules (or between 400 - 600 calories, approximately).

Base of the meal

To be balanced, here you are looking to provide about 40g of protein (that's not 40g of the source of the protein either).

To obtain 40g, you will need about:
  • 140g lean free-range beef
  • 140g lean cage-free chicken
  • 140g wild salmon
  • 140g fish
  • 3 - 4 eggs (or egg whites)
  • a cup of Greek style yoghurt
  • 55 - 85g raw mixed nuts

For beneficial carbohydrates, here you're looking to add complex carbohydrates to your meal.  These are carbohydrates that take longer to be digested in the body, giving the feeling of being fuller for longer, with a slow release of energy.  Avoiding simple sugars is a must here.

Healthy options include:

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked organic pasta
  • 1 cup baked sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked beans or lentils
  • corn tortilla

Most fruits and veges are packed with nutrients, and beneficial fibre (the 'stuff' you need to feel full quicker and for longer).  The good news about these are that the calorie or kilojoule count is not terrifically high either, so you can fill up your plate with these!  Ensuring your plate is 1/2 full with fruit and/or veges is great.

Look for:
  • 2 - 3 cups of apple or orange slices, berries (I'm thinking desert here!)
  • 2 - 3 cups of broccoli, kale, spinach, steamed veges
  • 2 - 3 cups of mixed salad, add tomatoes or capsicum for colour (forget the heavy mayo dressings!)

Looking for seconds? Go for more steamed veges.

Healthy Fats
Healthy fats should be included in your meal plan too, our body still requires fat to undertake many different processes, including transport of our hormones around our body. Excluding fats from your menu is not a balanced option.  These fats can be added to your salad to dress it up too.

Look to include:
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

How do you make this all seem exciting to eat? By adding herbs and spices to your cooking. They don't add kilojoules or calories, but they do add flavour!

Try something new tonight, that may even been balanced, nutritious, tasty and healthy!

Natural Weight Loss

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Chocolate, Today & Every Day!

Yes, I've written before about having chocolate on your life journey, now there are studies confirming that a little chocolate every day will reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Interestingly, these studies highlight that it can also be milk chocolate, for those of you who don't really go wild for the dark chocolate!

The average intake of chocolate was only 7g, so keep a lid on the chocolate box! Remember, everything in moderation is okay, it's the times we take them to excess that causes us to flounder when we're going on our life journey of change to good health.

I should know, over the last few months, I've definitely been taking some things more frequently than I should have been. Consequently, the scales have noticed a change on the upwards trend (thankfully, I'm still quite toned and the clothes all still fit!). 

Interestingly, it is because I still regularly monitor what I weigh, and regularly take part in 30 day challenges, that allows me to be on top of any silly mistakes I've been making lately.  What are my mistakes?  Well, here they go:

  • exercising only twice a week, ususally it's four times
  • having more than a glass of wine on a Friday night
  • staying snuggled in bed on these cooler winter mornings

Essentially I've been indulging a little too much in the department of wine, and not enough in the department of alcohol!  However, I know that it's fixable, and this month will see that change! 

In saying that, I won't be stopping my regular treat of chocolate over this time. For a few good reasons:

  1. I don't believe a way of life is about restriction
  2. The chocolate I eat has green tea infused into it, thus improving my mood, metabolism and energy
  3. Now I know that a small amount can be beneficial to my overall health
  4. I LOVE chocolate!!

isagenix cleanse, effective weight loss
My Favourite Chocolate Treat

Sunday 5 July 2015

Hemp Seeds & Weight Loss?

Seems an unusual combination doesn't it? How do you use hemp seeds (if you can obtain them for human consumption in your country) in your new lifestyle journey?

Well, firstly there is some interesting information available about hemp seeds and hemp oil that will support your knowledge and ultimately your body on your life journey.

Hemp seeds:
  • contain healthy fats (omega-6, omega-3)
  • are considered a complete protein (contain all the essential amino acids our body requires)
  • are a good fibre source

How does this information help on your life journey? 

As you may remember I have written before about how you need to increase your muscles in order to burn more calories or energy, thus reduce the amount of fat contained in your body. 

I have also written about increasing your metabolism by increasing your protein and increasing your fibre.

We also need to remember that our body needs good healthy fats in order to transport hormones around our body efficiently.  Hemp seeds contain both omega-6 and omega-3 oils, and in the ratio recommended by WHO as being ideal, 3:1 (omega-6:omega-3).

This allows us to consider hemp seeds as a viable supplement to our diets, to ensure we are obtaining our required protein, fibre and good fats every day.  Of course, there are other nut and seeds, oils, protein sources that will do the same as hemp seeds, but for such a versatile, all in one package, they seem a great source.  Also, they are rather in the headlines recently due to all the new research going on into hemp oil and it's potential health benefits. There is much more you read about on that issue elsewhere.

Interestingly, it has been shown that 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds contains 7 - 11 g protein and 1 - 9 g of fibre.

A good way to introduce them to your diet can be by adding a tablespoon to your breakfast smoothie, including them in your loaf of bread or by including the oil in your salad dressings or dips.  Remember that as they are a seed oil, they will impart a nutty flavour.

Let me know if you use hemp seeds and in what recipes you use them.

Friday 3 July 2015

Canada Day Fireworks

As Canada celebrated it's 148th birthday, I found this collection of fireworks from across the country.  Enjoy them as much as I did and wish Canada a wonderful day!

My favourites are the Vancouver, Medicine Hat, Winnipeg and St Albert.  I'm sure they were all amazing to be at!  Next year, I will be in Canada, so will look forward to seeing these places - my treat for achieving my goal weight, and maintaining it, by then it'll be two years of my new lifestyle journey and one to treasure (oh yes, as well as my 50th birthday).  So, yes, Canada has a place in my heart!

Enjoy the fireworks