Fuel Your Own Fire

Over the next few weeks you will all be learning about me, my own nutrition and how it influences my weight, behaviour and training. I will be very open with my eating habits so you can understand my life and way of thinking. All my clients have to open up to me and share what is happening in their lives, they show me years of frustration over not seeing the results they want with body composition changes. So now it is time to see mine and to be honest I am just like you if not I may struggle even more.

Let me explain…

Currently I am following a low FODMAP diet. I am sure most of you are like what is that?! I have never heard of it before! It truly is the best way of eating I have ever followed!

FODMAPs are found in both processed and natural foods and stands for Fermentable Oligo, Di, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. FODMAPS are typically found in carbohydrates based foods, but also in a few other fat/protein based foods. These foods are are poorly absorbed in the bowel. So in basics terms, there are many different types of foods my body doesn’t like and it will sit in my gut, ferment and cause a lot of pain, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation. So it really hurts A LOT!! Imagine a razor blade going against your guts! That has happened to me a few times 🙁

These foods range include dairy (lactose), gluten, wheat, fruit (fructose), vegetables, legumes, lentils, nut and seeds and honey. Yes even fruits and vege!! There are many things I have to avoid but it is the best thing for my body. I consume lactose free dairy, gluten and wheat free bread or bars, I avoid legumes and lentil completely.

Fruits which I can eat include, oranges and other citrus fruits, bananas, berries, honey dew melon, grapes in a small amount and kiwi fruit. There are a couple others, but they are pretty expensive. That’s it, n apples, pears, or MANGO  or pineapple, which I  love which makes it even harder!

Vegies which I can eat include, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, baby spinach, green beans, cabbage, broccoli in small amounts, bok choy, eggplant, red capsicum and cucumber. Again there a few more but I wouldn’t eat the others or again are expensive or are rarely in season.

So I think you can understand my diet is pretty limited, especially in healthy nutrient dense foods that I love! Which truly makes life harder. The thing I am most grateful for is that I am a Dietitian, and I know how to supplement my diet with all the nutrients I need to make sure I get the best of my training. So now you understand my diet is not like the average person, but I think it will put my diet into a little more perspective as you read it.

Now just before we take a look at my training and diet, I need to write a disclaimer, this is a diet for me only, not for everyone else to follow! This goes off my body weight, my metabolic rate (Because I know it!), training level and intensity, and because I need to lose 6kgs in just over 3 weeks. Yes that’s a lot of weight!! So please ask for help because you may end up hurting yourself!! I will not be following this plan in the long term. But in a few weeks time, I will let you know what that diet will look like.

So my training currently looks like this:

  • Crossfit Class five days a week
  • 6-7 days a week, 1 hour of steady state work to help burn fat e.g. rowing, running, airdyne, Burning ~500-600 calories
  • Weightlifting 4 x week in the evening
  • Kettlebell class 1 x week
  • I might go for a walk on the beach maybe 1-2 x a week.

Nutrition: I have a training days and Low calorie days

Training day: around 1500 calories

  • BF: 1 GF weetbix + 1 C of goodness superfoods digestive plus + 1 C of lactose free high calcium skim milk + 1/3 Scoop of protein powder
  • Snack: 4 corn thins with a small scrap of vegemite on each + a carrot
  • Lunch: 2 eggs + 2-3 thins slices of ham, baby spinach, dash of above milk + 1 slice of GF Purebred Chia bread
  • Pre training: Gluten free muesli bar + orange or banana
  • Post Training: 100g of porterhouse steak or chicken breast + 200-300g of sweet potato + baby spinach, cucumber, zucchini – or I might mix in pumpkin and carrot.
  • Snack: 1tb of milo and 200ml of lactose free milk

Low Calorie day – 2 x a week around 600 calories

  • BF: 2 eggs + 2-3 thins slices of ham, baby spinach, dash of above milk + 1 slice of GF Purebred Chia bread
  • Lunch: 100g of chicken breast + pumpkin + baby spinach, cucumber, zucchini and carrot
  • Dinner 100g of white fish + pumpkin + baby spinach, cucumber, zucchini and carrot

Usually I do not exercise on a low calorie day and tell my clients to never exercise on this day, so please do not do this if you decide to attempt this, but I am doing it as a trial run to see how I go. There is no high intensity to my training on these days, I am just plugging along and getting the work done. On Sunday I did trial this and by 3pm in the arvo I was ready to eat an arm and leg haha, where normally I am pretty good until about an hour out from my last meal. So definitely avoid training on these days!

So this is my plan and it is aggressive, but I am using it as a case study. I will know what things will and won’t work, especially when it comes to my own clients. I will reweigh myself on Wednesday to see if I have succeeded with my diet and training for the last week and reassess what I need to do to make sure I am on track to continue to lose weight. This will all be in next week’s blog! So if your keen to make a change. Maybe don’t try and follow this because it is a test and wait for a few weeks!!

Of those people I have already told what I am doing with my training and nutrition, they have said I am determined and so focused on what I want. But I will tell you the truth. I am afraid. I am afraid of failing and not reaching the goals I have set in place. Failure is probably my biggest fear and it has been something that I have been faced with many times over the last month.  I have failed to help my clients see the results they want to see, I’ve failed in my family relationships, my own relationship, to keep my weight lower than what it is at the moment and in training also. The last month has been a huge learning curve for me and I was in a pretty low place especially last week. My roommate gave me a few words of wisdom. He said how you choose to come away from these situations will make you a better or you can just do nothing. Sure it feels like crap now and you can feel upset about it, but don’t let it run your life. Make the decision to be who you want to be.

This is exactly what I want you guys to believe in regards to weight loss. Don’t let your failures in dieting or nutrition dictate the next stage of your life or your next meal. Make the decision to change; set yourself a goal, and work hard until you get what you want. Don’t be afraid of failing, set out to become who you want to be. IF you need help ask, we all need it at some stage in our life, so don’t be proud or scared, just ask.

I am using my failures as fuel to my fire, I know what I want and will not stop until I get it. That is the hidden truth; it is all in the mindset and is what I am using! Use yours too.

Binge Eating

So over the last few weeks, I have discussed fad diets and why they aren’t sustainable. When you follow a fad diet, usually you go well for a while and then you find yourself craving foods you have restricted for so long.  As a result you binge. Even if it isn’t a fad diet you are following and just focusing on healthy eating, you have cheat meals or day which end up becoming a food bingeing session instead.

What is binge eating?

Binge eating is consuming a large amount of food in one period of time. At this point of time you feel out of control and unable to stop yourself from eating. Binge eating does vary from overeating, mainly because it is in one short period of time, rather than long term overeating or continual snacking. Both of these will lead to weight gain.

Physical, psychological and behavioural issues are all reasons that may lead to binge eating.

Physical Cues:

Feeling tired or lack of sleep, feeling bloated or constipated or rapid weight gain. I find most people think to themselves – oh I already feel like crap, so I might as well just eat whatever and however I much I want. The care factor decreases and bam you binge.

Psychological cues:

Preoccupation or obsession with food or eating – here food is the only priority, all you can think about is eating or when the next meal is. Feeling shamed, guilty or self-loathing, especially post a binge. You are never satisfied with yourself and as a result constantly feel stressed or anxious about body weight and how people look at you. Your self-esteem declines and it is harder to go out and socialise with friends.

Behavioural cues:

Food starts to disappear, and you become secretive with what you consume. You begin to become more withdrawn because it’s harder to eat out, or want to evade questions about eating and body weight because it is distressing for you.

Ok so we know what the signs of binge eating are – what can you do to stop it?

Now is the time to look at food differently. Become aware of what you are eating and not be afraid of food. How many people have become afraid to eat because they are not sure if what they are doing is good or bad. You are trying to make a conscious effort, but still you fail to lose weight, or you hit a plateau to then only give up because you cannot handle not seeing results anymore!

First and most important thing – ASK FOR HELP

Don’t be afraid of being judged, as a health professional, we are here to help. If you are worried, talk to friends or research a dietitian/psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist that can help you out. The long term health implications of binge eating will lead to many chronic health conditions later in life, such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and cholesterol, arthritis, social isolation and in reality loneliness.

Manage your stress: One of the easiest ways to curb your stress is to find options that are not food related to distract or calm yourself. For example, go for a walk/bike ride/run, have a bath, read a book. Find something you love to distract yourself.

Stop Dieting!!! I have said many times over the last few weeks, restriction leads to binging! Focus on eating a healthy diet with things in moderation to prevent letting yourself go.

Keeping a food diary is a good way to monitor what you are eating. It makes you realise what you are putting into your mouth and in what quantity. The amount of clients I have had say to me after they have written down what they would typically eat in a day, how bad it looks in terms of types of food or portion sizes in frequent! Food diary’s will help you keep accountable to yourself.

Eat 3-5 meals a day and keep your metabolism working well. The more regular you eat, the less likely you will be starving by the time your next meal comes around. This means you are less likely to gauge on anything or everything in sight until those hunger pains are gone or until you cannot physical fit anything else in.

Exercise – the hormones released during exercise will help curb the emotional eating, and it will help promote weight loss!

Eat the food you love regularly – yes I did just say that!! If you love chocolate – have a couple pieces every day. If you don’t restrict yourself in crazy amounts, you will find you will not crave it. When I tell my clients this – they say, “No Amie, it just won’t work, I know I won’t be able to control myself!” This is when I say though, only buy the portion size you will consume in one go. E.g. one freddo frog, 1 snack pack of chips, not a whole family sized packet, box of biccies, or chocolate block. If you find you have not restricted yourself from it, you will not crave it, and you may even find that one day you can say, actually I don’t want that chocolate today.

I hope these tips help. But in all reality guys, binge eating is something that will take time to remove from your life, I struggle with it at times, but it’s you recover from it that makes you stronger! Knock the binging on the head and decide the next meal will be good. Don’t say the next day, or on Monday. Make it the next meal! Keep yourself accountable to someone and get some help. I promise it will make a difference to your quality of life!

Part 3: Fad Diets

Hey everyone,

This is my last discussion about shake fad diets. Towards the end I have briefly talked about bingeing so please make your way all the way through!


This one is an interesting topic for myself mainly because I followed isagenix for a few months about 18 months ago. Well straight up I will tell you it worked just like any other fad diet. I lost a lot of weight, both muscle and body fat. I had no energy especially in the afternoon and I was like why? Training was pointless and I was very inconsistent with my results, which in turn frustrated me and I didn’t realise why. After a couple months I stopped and as a result regained a couple kilos of what I had lost but my training was more consistent. My strength increased dramatically and I could train harder and longer in cardio workouts. Surprise surprise! I should have known better, but I didn’t!

So as a result of following it I know there are a number of issues with Isagenix which I will cover in detail:

  • It doesn’t teach you how to eat real food
  • It doesn’t provide you with enough carbohydrates especially if you train
  • It is expensive
  • It isn’t REAL FOOD
  • Not all the nutrients will not be absorbed
  • It is a money making scheme!

I could probably list more, but I don’t have enough space in this blog!

Isagenix does not tell you how to eat real food. It doesn’t teach portion sizes or when to eat the right foods at the right time, especially around exercise. Your body needs more or less food at certain times of the day depending upon your activity level. What happens when you go back to eating real food? Do you go back to how you were eating previously? Is a shake diet really sustainable for the rest of your life? Will you regain what you have lost? What will you do?

I know that’s a fair few questions, but these are things to consider. I have seen a number of clients weight go up and down as a result of shake diets. They go on it because they know they can lose weight on it. But once they get to a weight they are happy at, start to incorporate the foods they used to eat and the weight creeps back on. Help your future self out. Learn about food, know what is in It and stop the fluctuations. The more your weight fluctuates, the more predisposed you are to chronic disease or cancer! I think this is a good enough reason to stop the yo-yo dieting.

Carbs are our friends!! Isagenix provides very little carbs especially for post a training session. It is enough for the times you do not train but otherwise you are in big trouble if you want to see gains in training! Additionally, because it is a low carb diet, you will have little energy to be able to hit a training session hard. The harder you can train, the more muscle mass you will develop; meaning your muscle mass will increase and speed up your metabolism! Do the right thing by your body.

Isagenix is expensive, and you still have to buy more food on top of the shakes and products! Why would you spend so much money on powders when you can eat real food which will cost you less!

The shakes have added vitamins in minerals. Some nutrients actually block the absorption of other nutrients. For example, calcium, it does not like many nutrients, such as fat, phytic acid, iron, salt, insoluble fibre and phosphorus, nutrients that are found in the shakes. So not as many nutrients are absorbed at what was thought!!

Lastly, it is a money making scheme – a pyramid scheme, there are many people I know who promote it just to make some extra cash without having to do anything. Some say they are really trying to help others, but how does providing a person an escape goat to weight loss really help. How does this help fix their emotional behaviours or reasoning to relying on a low calorie diet to lose weight (yes both muscle and fat)? Are they someone who has tried every fad diet and are using this as another diet and continuing the cycle of unhealthy eating habits? Are you someone, or know someone who is facilitating this unhealthy behaviour to help make some extra coin?

So, if you cannot tell this really irks me. Especially when I work so hard to help clients deter from these unhealthy behaviours, there are many people out their bringing them back to it. The same goes for many other diets, not just isagenix such as body trim, Tony Ferguson; other shake diets which do not teach people how to eat real food, in the right portion size, at the right time.

Maybe it is time to decide why you eat and what your goals really are. Do you eat out of boredom or because you love food, maybe because you are happy, wanting to celebrate or you are at a family gathering. Maybe you are sad or angry about a difficult situation that you are in. People consume food for various reasons. However these events, new unhealthy emotional behaviours or eating habits typically tend to be the breaking point of a fad diet. Then they binge, they give up, and the weight piles back on. I have seen it many times. Difficult life events, their social lives, or family life, get in the way and people do not know how to deal with it. So the bingeing goes from just being one meal, to a day, to a week and you keep telling yourself you will start again tomorrow, or on Monday. But it doesn’t happen and you feel guilty as a result. So you find another diet, the next best thing to lose the weight you have just regained and then the cycle continues.

Does this sound familiar?? Maybe it is time to make a change. It is time to knock those unhealthy eating habits on the head. I will not sugar coat it, it can be hard in the beginning and it takes time to change. I have clients who have taken months and months to break unhealthy habits. BUT they do, and as a result they have never been more happier about themselves. It is not just about seeing the scales move, it is about removing the emotional attachment or reliance on food to make you feel better or see results.

When you don’t give up, and make the decision to eat healthy and indulge occasionally, you will not find yourself being consumed with when I can eat my next meal, or feeling self-conscious or guilty for eating something you shouldn’t have.

Most people do not believe me when I say nutrition can be as simple as you want to make it. The media and fat diets make nutrition much more complicated than it needs to be. My motto is eating the right foods at the right time and in the right portion size. If you get those three things right, body fat loss will happen, no matter who you are.

BUT, it is your decision only to make the decision to follow it. I can help, guide and give you the tools to make it happen, but ultimately it is your choice to follow it.

Next week I will discuss bingeing and some strategies to deter you from it!

Happy Easter Folks!

Part 2: Fad Diets

Hey all!

Last week I discussed the metabolism and what happens to it while following a fad diet.

This week I will break down a few different fad diets and discuss why they are harmful in both the short and long term.

The first one I want to discuss is the Paleo Diet. The Paleo diet removes any food that has been processed or could not have been eaten in the paleolithic era. Such as grains of any form, dairy, legumes. It also asks to remove any starchy vegetables as it is not something the body is able to break down well.

For me personally, I like the paleo diet as a foundation. It does help decrease the likelihood of developing chronic disease later on in life. It is great for stripping nutrition back to the basics, incorporating more lean meats, vegetables and fruit into the diet, removing highly refined, sugary and saturated fat products from the diet. This is what I love about it.

However, what I do not like about it is that people do not know how to replace the nutrients they have cut out from removing dairy, grains and legumes. They do not consume enough to receive enough of the nutrients they need. As a result, they are unaware of how much they are actually detrimentally affecting their body by not consuming enough of what they need each day.

The main vitamin and minerals that I find most people struggle to meet their nutrition requirements for while following the paleo diet is the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iodine. These are responsible for our energy levels, bone health, muscle contractions, muscle growth, and for increasing our metabolism. So I think they are very important nutrients that you could be missing out on!!

The second issue I find is people lack energy while following the diet after a certain period of time. The first few weeks to months they feel great because they have removed the refined grains and saturated fat (which is FANTASTIC) but usually come to a plateau or low point, and energy levels begin to drop, especially if they are exercising as well. No grains or dairy food in the diet significantly decreases the amount of carbohydrates your brain will get to use for fuel. If you do not have enough fuel for your body to run, just like a car, it will break down. Your body will crave more sugar because it knows it needs it. You will come to a point where you will break and either binge on sugary foods or treats – whether it is paleo or not (dried fruit, fruit, sweet potato, lollies, chocolate, cakes, muffins). The binge continues and they find it harder and harder to return back to the way of eating. More sugary foods creep in and you find it harder to lose body fat.

This is usually that’s when they fall off the Paleo band wagon! So I ask you, what has this diet taught you? Incorporating lean meats and good vegetables – GREAT!!! Treating yourself to paleo treats regularly? MAYBE NOT!! Has it taught you what you need to replace to get all the nutrients you need?

The paleo diet is great if you do it the right way? Let me know if you need help!

The Juice Diet

The juice diet consists of fruit and vegetables in liquid form with no other meat, grain, dairy, nut or seed source included.

The Juice diet quotes:

It is a detox or cleanse for our body That is leaves you energetic after a couple days of detoxing That is releases toxins from our body It will alkalise the body

And these are just a few of their claims

The only good thing from this diet is that you will receive a good variety of vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegies BUT THAT’S IT!

If you think of it as a ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ then you are wrong. The simple answer for this is our liver and kidneys are magical organs! These organs remove the toxins for us, and filter and byproducts of our metabolism from food or fluid and excrete those toxins via the urine. So thinking that drinking juices will detox our body better then what our liver or kidney will, which is one of their main functions is Ludicrous.

The idea that the diet will alkalise the body is also just crap! Foods you eat will not change your pH. Plus you do not want to change the pH of your body otherwise it will leave you violently ill and could even lead to death. Our bodies are designed to follow the law of homeostasis (law of equilibrium). It will maintain a very narrow range pH range and we have mechanisms in place to bring our body back to equilibrium. This is what is most critical to our survival. So no, following a juice diet will not change the level of your pH.

The next issue is that it lacks any protein. What happens when the body does not receive enough protein to develop and maintain muscle mass or provide energy to increase your metabolism. If you are not consuming enough protein to help with this, then your muscles will begin to break down, meaning your metabolism will slow down. I discussed last week that consuming protein regularly is the best option to increase your metabolism. Well obviously you can see that the Juice diet really is a load of Crock!!

Lastly – do you think this is something that will be sustainable in the long run? Has this actually taught you how to eat real food to prevent weight gain? All in reality it is taught you is that you can lose a lot of Body Weight, not body fat in a short period of time.

I think that is enough for today!

I will discuss Isagenix, the zone diet and body trim next week!