Part 1: Fad diets decrease our metabolic rate by up to 15%

Hello all!

I wasn’t going to speak about this so early into the beginning of my blog posts, but over the last week I have had many incidences of clients, friends, and family members turning fad diets or binge eating. Personally I feel quite devastated by this as I feel like I have failed these people. I feel as though I have not educated enough or been available to prevent the cycle of restriction, binge eating and guilt.

So over the next three weeks I will be discussing both fad diets and binge eating to help you understand how Fad diets and binge eating will affect you mentally and physically. Then further discuss the experiences that been through or seen to help prevent binge eating or following a restrictive fad diet.

Fad diets – What are they?

A Fad weight loss diet is any diet that promises fast weight loss without a scientific basis. These diets often eliminate entire food groups and as a result do not provide a wide variety of important nutrients. Fad diets tend to provide short term results but are difficult to sustain and can cause serious health issues.

Now I just mentioned that Fad diets focus on weight loss – which is exactly what It meant – WEIGHT loss. It is not FAT loss. When you start following a fad diet, whether it is body trim, juice, paleo, zone diets, isagenix, everyone will lose a lot of weight within the first week or two.

Why does this happen?

Most people would think that it is that they are losing fat. In reality, most of the time it is actually muscle and fluid loss – not fat loss!

Fad diets are significantly less calories in comparison to the persons previous diet, the body begins to break down muscle to meet their energy (calorie/kilojoule) needs. This happens much easier than the body breaking down fat to use for energy!

So what happens when our body breaks down our muscle?

  • A loss of water weight – giving you the illusion that you are rapidly losing weight.
  • Your metabolism will DECREASE! So if you stop the fad diet and eat normally again, it will make it easier for your body to regain body fat quickly!

What is our metabolism?

Our metabolism refers to all the chemical processes going on continuously for us to function and practice a normal life. These processes include breaking down food and nutrients needed for building and repairing our body. If we eat or drink more than what we need for our metabolism to function, then it will be stored as fat. Our metabolism is responsible for our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Our BMR is the amount of calories our bodies need to just sit there and do nothing. No arms waving around or walking, just bed rest. The BMR is influenced by our age, gender, weight, height, lean muscle mass, physical activity, infection, hormonal imbalances and crash dieting!

Your metabolism can decrease up to 15% as a result following a Fad diet – which means you have to eat less to see body fat loss – and then your metabolism again will slow, and you will be left eating hardly anything!!! Where if you only cut out a small amount of calories at a time – your body will keep working smoothing and prevent a decline in your BMR.

So if crash dieting decreases our metabolism, what can we do to increase it to see body fat loss?

Protein increases our BMR by 20-30%. So firstly the most important thing is to ensure you are eating small amounts of protein 4-6 times a day (this depends upon your body weight and training)!

Carbohydrates increase our BMR by 5-10% – YES CARBS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! So make sure you get just enough each day to keep your motor running and energy levels high!

Fat raises our BMR by 0-5% – so keep the fat in our diet lower is a better option than cutting out whole food groups like wholegrains and dairy!

Maybe think about incorporating the right types of foods at the right time of the day, before you do any mass cutting of food groups! I have added many calories into clients diets, and ensuring the right food are eaten at the right times, and they have lost anywhere between 6-15kgs within the first few months. Do not underestimate the power of food!

Well I think I have said enough for this week, I do not want to take out too much time from your day. Next week I will discuss the main fad diets I see or my clients have followed, including the paleo, zone, juice, clean eating, isagenix, body trim, lite & easy diets. I will look at the pros and cons of each one and explain why healthy eating as a whole is much better than all of these diets put together.

Remember this photo!!



Do You Want Body Fat Loss??

Body fat loss can be a quite hard if you find are a boredom eater, or tend to binge or eat large portion sizes at one time. So today I want to discuss a few ways to help you think about food and develop good eating habits.

The first thing I suggest is to find different ways to distract yourself – these activities should not be food related! The more you are engaged in another activity the more likely you will forget about eating. For example: read a book, go for a walk, head to the beach, watch a movie or tv series, call a friend or basically just get yourself out of the house. These small tactics should take away the urge to eat out of boredom! Time will fly and before you know it your stomach will be prompting you that it’s the best time of the day – FOOD TIME!! haha.

The second thing I would suggest is to Pick a couple meals throughout the week that you can class as an extra meal on top of your normal eating routine. This could be foods that are higher in calories, or slightly larger portion size then normal, or basically things that you shouldn’t be eating at that time of the day that will promote body fat loss. That way you can still feel like you can eat what you want but it is not something that is regular occurrence.  If you can situate these meals before or after exercise that would be even better! Your body is more likely to use those extra calories as fuel rather than be stored as fat.

However, this does not mean you need to go crazy with the portion size. For example, don’t go for an entree, main and dessert if eating out. Pick one thing – do you prefer the main meal or dessert? For me it is always the dessert! I happily would have steak and vegies or chicken and salad and have a sweet meal after!  However again I would try and portion control this. I would pick a chocolate bar over a block of chocolate. I think the biggest tip I can give here is to only buy what you want to consume in that one sitting, don’t buy things that will be left over that may tempt you later on. But then in saying that, if you have come to a point in life that every time you have something sweet or savoury that is higher in calories and you binge eat, maybe it is time to look at food in a different way!

What is this tactic you may ask?

This exercise is teaching you how to control your temptations. If you do not feel restricted from eating a certain food then the likelihood of bingeing later on is significantly less.

So what should you do?

Pick one food that you love, ice cream, chocolate, chips, biscuits. Have one thing you like every day. So it could be one tim tam a day, 1-2 scoops of low fat icecream, a tablespoon of Nutella, 45g packet of chips etc. Still a small portion size, but have one every day. Most people I find cannot control themselves when it comes to foods they love, and will continually head back to the cupboard to search for more. I know I do it at times, so I am sure there are many others out there that do as well.

I think you will find if you eat it every day, you will get to a point that you decide, “oh, I don’t actually feel like it today”, and the packet will stay in the cupboard or fridge until the day you do want it. Don’t be afraid of food or guilty about eating something that you feel you shouldn’t or isn’t ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’. The problem is actually binge eating, where the portion size is significantly more which is where body fat gain occurs.

You will put on more body fat if you binge 1-2 times a week, then if you were to have something small each day over the week!!!
If you don’t believe me – try it, or even look at past experiences of weight gain? What have you noticed?

If you need help breaking these bad habits, or guidance on what you should be including in your diet to see body fat loss, please contact me on 0413 684 215 or email me at


If you want to know more about myself and where I have come from, go over and check out The Real Life Challenge, I wrote a blog about my life over the last few years and how I came to the decisions I have made with Target Nutrition! There are a couple other great blog posts already on the page you should check out! It is well worth the read!


Protein shakes – Yay or Nay??

Protein is very important for muscle mass growth and maintenance. Without protein we would struggle to do our day to day activities and become weak and fragile. The great thing is, our body only needs small amounts regularly throughout the day to get our daily requirements.

So what are the benefits of protein shakes are:

  1. They are very quickly and easily digestible by the body – so in terms of commencing the muscle repair process, this is an excellent point!
  2. For those who have no appetite after training, they are more likely to consume a fluid rather than food.
  3. If you are travelling long distances to work or home, protein shakes are an easy go to product if you cannot physically eat, or will not have access to food for a long period of time.
  4. They promote rehydration post training sessions

The cons of protein shakes:

  1. They provide extra calories which could easily be replaced by a meal if you are on a strict calorie budget. I know I would prefer to eat food rather than drink it! Food will keep you fuller for a longer period of time then fluid because your body takes time to break it down – usually because it has more fibre.
  2. They can be expensive! Spend your money on lean meats, eggs, dairy sources which will provide you with more vitamins and minerals then what a protein powder would
  3. They may have added ingredients that are not beneficial for the body so be careful of which ones you do buy. This is especially important for athletes competing in competitions which have strict drug testing policies. Some may have banned substances in their products!

Case Study:
Let’s pretend a client has just completed a 1 hour training session at the gym, on their way home they decide to have a protein shake. However once home dinner is already prepared ready to eat or it will not take long for it to be prepared (say 30-45mins)

Is it worth having two lots of protein based foods/products so closely together???
No it is not!!

Your body will take a couple hours before it requires more protein to help continue to repair muscle or maintain the growth already there. The best option would be to skip the protein shake – save yourself the calories, and make sure you have dinner within 45minutes to one hour after training. If this is not something you would be able to do, have the protein shake, but decrease your meat portion size to around half ~50-70g of chicken/red meat.

Remember your body only utilises so much protein at one time, so consuming more than what you need will be wasted and excreted by your kidneys. So instead of filling up on your meat portion, bulk up your vegetables and salad, or starchy carbs if you have been training to help keep increase feelings of satiety through to your next meal or the following day


The first thing I feel I should discuss in my very first blog post is something that I find is the most common issue when I start working with new clients.

Do you ever get to 3:30 in the afternoon and feel tired, lethargic and start to crave something sugary or sweet? Is that you? Well let me tell you why! ITS ALL ABOUT THE CARBS!!

Carbohydrates are our primary fuel source to get through our day to day activities without feeling tired or lethargic. The body can only store so much at one time and it needs to be continually topped up in small amounts throughout the day.

High carbohydrate containing foods are:

Bananas, apples, pears, mangos, watermelon, grapes, oranges
Corn, Potato, Sweet Potato, parsnip
Muesli, Oats, Crackers, Rice, Pasta, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Other grains
Milk, yoghurt, custard
Legumes, lentils, kidney beans

Low carbohydrate containing foods are:
Most salad and vegetables
Fruits like berries, plums, small nectarines, peaches, apricots, dragonfruit, rockmelon
Milk, plain greek/natural yoghurt

Consuming a small amount of one of the options above is enough to keep your energy levels high to fuel your day appropriately and prevent a sugar craving or energy crash later on throughout the day. So please do not be afraid of carbohydrates, they are important for brain function and basically enjoying life. No one wants to be around a person who is moody or angry because they haven’t consumed enough sugar throughout the day to keep the brain happy!!

Additionally, if you do not refuel your body appropriately after a training session you again may feel tired or lethargic later in the day. (you might not even make it to 9am!) Depending upon the intensity and duration of exercise your body will need some uptake (whether great or small) of carbohydrate to replenish your energy stores. During exercise the body goes through a great deal of stress. To allow your body to return back to normal what is called homeostasis, it requires carbohydrates to help this process along.

If you refuel your body appropriately after training, your body will not crave sugary sweets or feel lethargic or tired. Your body is smart and it knows what it needs to function well! Listen and be in tune with what it needs. If you find yourself craving sugar, feed it, but make wise choices – choose a piece of fruit and yoghurt or small amount of muesli and yoghurt. Do not go crazy, consume enough to refuel your body but not too much to promote weight gain.

If you need help deciding how much food you need to refuel your body enough without causing weight gain, please contact me and I will help you on your nutrition journey