Excuses – how to beat them!

Every day I get hit with the same excuses over and over as to why someone could not follow the diet. So today I am going to discuss the most common ones and how to battle them or how to think differently.

The most common – I have injured myself and cannot exercise. First and most importantly, does this injury impair you from stopping all exercise – if you have hurt your shoulder, wrist or elbow, can you still not do lower body work, or for a knee or ankle, is there not some kind of upper body work you can do? What about simple things like walking, or swimming, or sitting on a bike.

The majority of the time, some form of exercise can still be done. Even though it may not be the most interesting it is still burning calories. I hurt my lower back (3 bulging discs) at the end of last year. Instead of completely giving up I started walking and swimming. Some days I would walk for an hour other days 3-4 just to burn calories. I would also swim as much as I could. I found if I was sitting on the couch doing nothing I would get into the habit of not exercising and once my back was better I would not want to get back into it.

Not only this, instead of saying ‘oh, I’ve hurt myself, I am going to have a pity party all to myself and eat whatever I want’, I tightened up my diet, I kept it simple and avoided as much extra foods as possible. I didn’t want to gain 5kgs and I didn’t. I just lost muscle mass however I focused on controlling my diet because I wasn’t able to control my exercise. Yes I was still grumpy and upset because I couldn’t exercise and I was in pain all the time, but once my body started to heal, I didn’t need to focus on losing weight, just regaining my fitness and the strength that I had lost. Mentally, so much easier!

So remember, if you do every become injured – and I hope you do not, but think, keep moving the muscles that you can to burn those calories, and control your diet! Don’t go crazy because once it will drive yourself into a further hole of depression, because you feel fat, you feel weak and lazy and as a result you will probably eat more. Then the cycle will continue. Break the cycle now. If you need help just ask.

What might be the next excuse? I went away, and then I had this function on and then I had a family outing etc. So I think I will wait a little longer so I can start fresh next Monday, or the Monday after that? Sound familiar, I have done it before so I am sure I am not the only one.

But life happens, things come up that you are not able to control or change, but it is how you deal with these events that will impact how you feel, your body weight and exercise. Nutrition significantly affects the body’s mood and energy levels. Rather than focusing on following something perfectly, follow it as best as you can rather than changing nothing at all or giving up. Damage control – if you have a function or family outing – do some exercise before it starts, that way your body is more likely to use the extra calories for fuel rather than store them. Pick the healthier options.

  • Meat and vege minimal chips, or sauces on the side
  • Don’t eat all of your meal – it is ok to leave food on your plate.
  • Pick a smaller serve size – do not go for entrée, main and dessert
  • Take your own snacks with you
  • Steer clear of the fried food
  • Pick vodka lime and soda, spirits with sugar free drinks, wine, low carb beer.

Even though it may feel hard, it is worth it. Think of your energy levels, mood, and training. Take the time to focus on what you want and stop making excuses that it is too hard or there are too many things going on. There is always a way around, just take the time to find that path!

Superfoods – my top 8

Superfood is the term that is thrown around so frequently these days.

So for today’s blog I thought why not break down the benefits of the most vitamin and mineral dense products available at the moment.

  1. Kale – Kale has been stated to be one of the best nutritionally balanced foods provided today. It contains more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin C in just 1 cup! So in terms of trying to prevent any sickness, consuming a cup of kale a day during winter may be a good idea. However, most people I find (myself included) kale to not be the most delicious tasting lettuce out there. So if this is you, try combining a few other vegetables/fruit to get what you need. Kiwi fruit/mandarins and oranges are great sources of vitamin C along with strawberries and broccoli. Consume 1-2 of these a day and along with the other foods you consume, you should be getting all you need in the day!
  2. Chia Seeds are one of my favourite foods that I try to include in all my clients diet every day. This is due to its high omega 3 content. In just 1 tsp it can provide what you need on a daily basis. Omega 3 is great for preventing inflammation within the body, and keeping those joints healthy! So 1 tsp a day – add it into yoghurts/smoothies/ homemade biscuits/breads – it is definitely worth it!
  3. Oats are also one of my other favourite foods. It is a fantastic source of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre removes the bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream and helps keep our heart healthy. The only down side it is doesn’t not have a great amino acid profile in terms of protein. As a result, I add ½ a serve of protein powder and ½ C of milk to the oats after cooking to ensure I am eating all the protein I can get in the one meal. Also be careful with portion sizes. Oats are carbohydrate dense – usually 1/3 C is all that is needed to keep energy levels high.
  4. Kombucha is a fermented green or black tea helps by aiding gut digestion and increases gut health. Kombucha is a probiotic drink due to its fermentation process is holds a number of bacteria and yeast. Probiotics are living micro-organisms (good bacteria that live within the gut). Probiotics support the immune system, aid absorption of nutrients throughout the gut and prevent the invasion of harmful bugs. If you have the ginger flavoured ones, it almost tastes like ginger beer, DELISH!
  5. Saurekraut is a fantastic probiotic as it produces the bacteria lactobacilli, which is great for a healthy gut and for the immune system. As I explained the benefits of probiotics above sauerkraut is definitely a superfood in my eyes.
  6. Acai – this is a great product although quite expensive. It is full of antioxidants and is great for heart health. However if you do not want to spend money on this product, have some other berries instead – blueberries in particular are also high in antioxidants!
  7. Eggs contain the perfect protein and is one of the most nutrient dense food available! Eggs are low in calories, high in protein and contain Vitamin B12, selenium and choline, all which are very important for brain function. Consuming eggs every couple days is a great option for a main meal or snack! Cheap, simple, versatile and delicious, you can’t go wrong.
  8. Caesin – Milk protein. Many people are afraid of cows milk and how unhealthy it is for you. When looking for weight loss it is one of the first things to be cut out. Milk is contains about 80% Casein and 20% whey. The casein gels to the lining of the stomach, which means it will be slowly digested contains casein, which is a slow releasing protein. Casein blocks protein breakdown, which for those who are looking to gain muscle mass is essential. Having a glass of milk, yoghurt or cottage cheese before you go to bed at night will help with muscle mass development!!

These are my superfoods and the ones I include in meal plans on a regular basis!

Is Sugar really bad for you?

Sugar is broken down into glucose and sucrose which is easily absorbed in the blood and sent to our cells to be used for energy so we can talk, think, be active and function well! Without any sugar we would be lethargic, tired and aggravated. So where do we go wrong?? Why is there soo much hype about sugar? Research shows, sugary foods consumed in EXCESS is toxic to our body. The excess will be converted from sugar to bad fats by the liver. The recommended maximum dose of sugar is about 10% of calories (thus this will change how active you are) however it roughly works out to being 2tb of sugar a day for women and 3tb for men. Most people do not stick to this portion size throughout the day or have it all in one sitting. This is the main correlation between sugar and weight gain/adverse health effects.

The sugar we really need to watch out for is fructose – the one that is derived from Corn syrup. Fructose, unlike glucose does not release insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is important as it transports the sugar into the cell to be used for energy. If there is not enough insulin available, the extra sugar will be converted by the liver and stored as fat. Meaning there is a greater pressure placed on the organ if it is continually placed under stress. So when you are looking at the back of any packet if you see the word high fructose corn syrup or some kind of fructose in it, I would avoid the product like the plague!!

I thought it would be a good idea to break down all the different types of sugar so you know what are the best options, because there are just so many! I have been confused before about what is the best to consume and writing this today has helped me, so hopefully it will help you also!

  • Agave Sugar is high very high fructose, depending upon the brand can range from 56-92% of fructose!! This is 33% sweeter than sugar. Even though it may be consumed in a smaller portion to table sugar, it does not mean it is better for you!!
  • Barley Malt Syrup – not a bad option, it is about half as sweet as table sugar. Dried barley grains are dried quickly and then cooked down until they are form the syrup. It is not processed as much as other products.
  • Brown sugar is just normal refined sugar but with molasses added back into it to give it the colour.
  • Coconut Sugar – probably one of the better options because it has a low glycemic level, which means it will not give you an energy spike and bring you crashing down within an hour or crave something else sweeter later. Not only this unlike normal sugar it actually has a number of micronutrients added. Woo!
  • Date sugar – derived from dates and very high in fructose I would limit these to 1 maybe 2
  • Pure fructose – not derived from corn syrup is our natural fruit sugar which occurs naturally in honey, dried fruits, grapes, apples etc. Still only consume these in a small amount such as once a day.
  • Fruit Juice – no point!! Just avoid!! It is all fructose. Most juices have more sugar than soft drink!fruit-juices-vs-soda
  • Lactose – our milk sugar which is 20% as sweet as sugar – a really good option. However a number of people struggle to digest this sugar, choosing lactose free dairy products is always a good option.
  • Maple Syrup – the pure option is barely processed and again has a very good source of vitamins and minerals included – a great option!
  • Rapadura/Jaggery/palm sugar – a good option also, it is made up good sugars, and proteins and fibres!
  • Stevia – is a good option also –It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and as a result you only really need a drop or two to get the taste you need. However, I find has a very bitter aftertaste! I am not a fan of this one.
  • Sucrose is the chemical name for granulated white table sugar which can be produced from either sugar cane or sugar beets. It is broken down during digestion into a mixture of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Each molecule of sucrose eaten means a molecule of glucose goes straight to the blood and one of fructose goes straight to the liver. Sulfur dioxide is added before evaporation to bleach the sugar.

So the best types of sugar to go for are

Maple Syrup
Coconut Sugar
Barley Malt Syrup
Raw honey

However they should still be only consumed in small portions – remember (except for the stevia) they all contain roughly the same amount of calories and are sugar. Consume in Moderation, you do not have to completely remove every type of sugar from your diet, it more about education of what the best options are and not going crazy on the portion size. Or if you do want to have those types of sugars, place it around training. The body will absorb and use the sugars for fuel faster than what It would if it was consumed away from exercise and be stored as fat.

I hope this has helped you decide what the best options for you are!