The new edition of Losing the Last 5kg is now available!


Losing The Last 5kg CVR 3D

Writing a book is a big thing. It is kind of like having a baby. You think about it for years beforehand. The process of writing it is slow and arduous and then when it is finally released it is great but also sometimes not what you expect. When I wrote my first book, Losing the Last 5kg 7 years ago it was bittersweet. Yes I was proud of the book but it was hard to find in bookshops, someone else wrote a book with a similar name and the whole process was not what I hoped it would be. In saying that, Losing the Last 5kg sold quite a few copies and as such my publishers approached me last year with the idea to republish it. I was keen but wanted it updated to reflect the changes in diets we have seen over the past few years.

So now, as we release the new edition of Losing the Last 5kg I am pretty proud. The manuscript is much stronger than the first book. I have literally rewritten 30000 words and I am really proud of the final product. With updated sections on intermittent fasting, eating with others, diet detoxes and meal timing, Losing the Last 5kg is a great daily manual for everyone who simply wants to control their weight in busy modern life. 

So if you liked the first edition, still want to lean up but avoid strict diets and fads, check out the new and revised Losing the Last 5kg, I am sure there will be something in there for you. 

Losing the Last 5kg is available to purchase now on Booktopia and Amazon.

School lunchboxes


Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 3.03.39 PM

It is that time of year again…….schools back! And with the annual stationery and new shoe run too comes the influx of ideas for busy parents on how to pack a nutritious and appealing lunchbox for small children, which should be said is no easy feat. Considering though that growing children do consume up to 30% of their total calories while they are at school, what we pack them each day is important. So here are the easiest steps to take to pack a healthy yet child friendly lunchbox, and the best packaged snacks out there if you are looking for some guidance. 

The easiest way to pack a nutritionally balanced lunchbox is to think of it in terms of compartments or sections. This way you will ensure you have enough items in the lunch but also the right nutritional balance. 

A well balanced lunchbox will include:

1. Sandwich, wrap or crackers

Remember that wholegrain and whole meal varieties of breads and crisp breads are best. Try to also include a protein rich filling such as ham, tuna, chicken breast or egg on sandwiches as the protein helps to keep kids full throughout the afternoon.

2. Piece of fruit

Fresh fruit is always best as dried fruit, fruit juice, fruit sticks and straps are high in sugar and digested quickly. Remember that grapes should be sliced for children under the age of 5.

3. Dairy food

Dairy foods including milk, cheese, yoghurt and dairy snacks provide both calcium and protein for healthy bones, teeth and growth. Look for the very few yogurts that do not contain added sugar where possible. 

4. Snack

Aim for snacks to contain <400kJ or 100cal per serve and options that are made from whole grains – see list detailed below. Naturally homemade snacks such as banana bread or mini muffins are better options nutritionally if you do have time to make them 

5. Water 

Water should always be the drink of choice for children. Fruit juice, cordial and flavoured waters are high in sugar and not consumed regularly.

Research on Australian children’s lunchboxes has found that on average children are consuming three packaged snacks such as muesli bars, cheese and dip packs, fruit twists, potato chips and snack bars, which is too many. Snack foods are often highly processed food choices that offer little nutritionally. For this reason it is suggested that at most children consume one packaged snack food each day. Good snack food choices contain dietary fibre, whole grains and/or protein and contain <400kJ or 100 calories per serve. 

If you are worried that you child’s lunchbox does not contain enough “fun” foods, consider letting your child choose his/her snacks once each week and negotiate healthy choices for the remainder of the week. 

To keep lunchboxes at the right temperature, look for freezer style cooler packs or try freezing an ice block or tetra style drink and pack with the lunch to keep it fresh. 

One of the biggest issues in relation to children’s lunchbox choices is that they have too much choice. Limit your child’s choice to just one or two food items to avoid starting a never ending negotiation about all the different type of food that you can include in the lunchbox.

The better packaged snack food options 

Messy MonkeysMessy Monkeys

Found in the health food section, these wholegrain snacks are gluten free, contain just 90 calories per serve and the kids will actually eat them.

Kids Roasted Fav-va Beans 

A great choice nutritionally thanks to the high protein content – with 3g of protein, 1g of fibre, no sugar for just 70cal this product is a great balance of a naturally flavoured packaged snack food that kids will actually enjoy eating. 

Sunbites Air Popped Popcorn

With <80 calories per serve, 2g of fibre and no added sugars, popcorn is a great lunchbox filler.

Milo Energy Snack Bars

With <5g of added sugars (about the lowest you can find in a kids snack), just 80calories and almost 2g of fibre, this popular brand combines some nutrition with a child friendly product. 

ARI Bars

In the health food section, a low sugar, gluten free bar option for <100calories.

Cobb’s Popcorn

Another popcorn option.

Milo Starz

If you can find them, these are a good choice with just 80 calories and a relatively low amount of sugar compared to traditional biscuit style snacks for kids.

Freedom XO Crunchers

With just 4g of sugars per pack and fewer than 80 calories these gluten free snacks are child friendly, nut free and taste great

PetitMiamPetitMiam Plain Yoghurt Pouch

One of the only yoghurt tubes for kids that does not contain ANY added sugar

Are you ready to commit to the Zip Water Challenge?


Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 12.58.00 PM

This is a sponsored post.

When it comes to health and lifestyle change, we are often told what we should and should not be doing, cutting back on or reducing to achieve success. Much less frequently do we focus on the strategies and techniques that will generate positive health outcomes minus the feelings of guilt and deprivation. As such, there is growing interest in focusing on the benefits of building positive health habits as opposed to breaking the bad ones. 

Habits are formed when we repeat a certain behaviour over time until it becomes automatic. In the case of drinking water, a habitual behaviour could be filling up your water bottle when you arrive at work. We may always have this intention, however when we are distracted, busy or overwhelmed we may not have the cognitive capacity to focus on our specific health goal. This somewhat explains why we often do not meet our daily water goals, or return to poor eating habits quickly even with the best of intentions. 

With the help of a Zip HydroTap, keeping well hydrated is one of the easiest ways to optimise your health, yet so few of us manage to achieve our fluid targets in our busy lives. The average adult needs at least 1-1.5L of water each day, plus extra for any high intensity training that you do. In the warm summer months, this means that some of us may need as much as 2-3L of water each day, which can be challenging to say the least. Drinking enough water ensures that our digestive system works optimally; that we are able to maintain energy, concentration, focus – helping to prevent feelings of fatigue.. Drinking enough is one of the simplest things we can do each day to look and feel at our best. 

So as we move into a brand new year with many of us needing to drink more water on a daily basis to look, feel and perform at our best, we are encouraging you to commit to our 21 Day Zip Water Challenge. We know from research that this is the minimum amount of time it takes to establish a new habit and it is not too overwhelming a time frame for us to keep focused and motivated. 21 days throughout January and February, the warmest time of the year is also a perfect time to focus on our hydration. 

With a daily tip and suggestion to help remind you of easy ways to increase your water consumption, not only will drinking more water become a natural part of your daily routine, you will feel a whole lot better as a result. 

If you are one of the many who knows that your hydration needs a little more attention, or want to commit to building some strong new daily health habits, look for our daily #zipwaterchallenge tip. 

Read how a Zip HydroTap® changed Susie’s life, here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here.

Think healthy


Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 9.24.35 PM

While nutrition is a science, eating is a behaviour, a behaviour that often occurs in a social context. For this reason, while specific diets may come and go, understanding and learning how to control our eating behaviours in different environments is a crucial aspect of long term weight control. Here are some of the deeply entrenched behavioural habits that are common in individuals who do manage to control their weight, not just in the short term, but for life.

1. They self-monitor

Whether it is keeping track of your food intake, daily step number or your weight, keeping mindful of our day to day food and activity habits and incremental changes in body size is a crucial aspect of long term weight control. This makes sense for a number of reasons. Documenting food intake, whether via an old fashioned food diary or an advanced electronic monitoring system helps to prevent the mindless munchies that sees little extras slip into mouths on a daily basis. Activity monitors help prompt us to move more after we have sat down for many hours each day and most simply of all, keeping an eye on our weight via regular check in’s with the scales reminds us to pull back when we see those numbers start to creep up. Indeed self-monitoring is proven to work – data from the US Weight Control Registry, which tracks a group of people who have lost 15kg or more and kept it off, found that reduced rates of self-weighing are associated with greater weight gain over time.

2. They limit not restrict

You know the old dieting story, you cut out everything from your diet and then after a few hours, days or weeks you can no longer maintain the restriction and binge at the first opportunity. There are numerous reasons why extreme dietary restriction does not work – people like to eat tasty foods; tempting food is around us all the time and perhaps most importantly, psychological food restriction appears to impact blood glucose regulation, which in turn may drive appetite and the drive for sweet foods. For this reason, more moderate dietary approaches in which controlled amounts of foods that we like to eat can be consumed without guilt and negative emotion are much more likely to be sustainable long term. This means including an occasional glass of wine, or dessert or whatever your vice is should not be frowned upon, rather encouraged.  

3. They control the environment

It may sound ridiculous but I could not tell you how many weight loss clients claim to want to lose weight but who still purchase high fat cakes, biscuits, chocolates and desserts as part of their weekly shop, and then get cranky at themselves when they succumb and eat them. Behavioural food researcher Brian Wansink has repeatedly shown in research studies that human beings will eat more when food is readily available. If we can see the lollies, we will eat double the amount we would if we could not see them. The larger the plate, the more we will eat. Working backwards this simply means if you do not want to eat it, do not buy it, and simply serving yourself less is a powerful weight control technique that we have 100% control over.

4. They plan their food

Planning is the key to dietary success – simply having the foods on hand that you need to avoid becoming a victim of your food environment. How many times do you travel, go to a conference or to a social function and find yourself eating poor quality, high calorie food because you have nothing else on hand and are hungry? Avoid this scenario entirely by always keeping a backup supply of nutritious foods on hand; eat before you head to social functions so you are not starving and forced to eat whatever is served and pack your food when you know the choices available will not compliment your dietary goals.

5. They keep things consistent

It does not matter if it is Christmas, a birthday or if they have been ‘good’ in the week, individuals who control their weight keep their basic dietary intake consistent. In real life this means always eating breakfast, and always drinking water and even though an occasional extra or treat may slip in, rather than completely throwing their dietary rules out the window, they get straight back onto their program. Just as exercise consistency is the key to success so too is dietary consistency. So no more taking the weekend off, or starting again Monday, just start now, with your very next meal or snack choice.

Foods to ditch in 2018.


Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 9.12.31 PM

Forget the typical New Year’s Resolutions that see you follow a strict regime for a few days before reverting to your old lifestyle habits. Instead consider ditching a few of the worst foods nutritionally from your diet, for good. Not only is this black and white approach clear and simple, but long term your diet and your health will only benefit.

Turkish toast

It may taste like the best thing teamed with a coffee on the way to work, especially when served dripping in butter and vegemite but the harsh truth is that a typical serve of Turkish toast from the local café has a similar amount of carbohydrate as at least four slices of regular bread. You can thank the relatively heavy slices which are packed full of refined white flour giving a particularly heavy slice compared to regular sliced bread. Turkish bread is also surprisingly high in salt which is another reason to get rid of it from your diet, for good.

Banana bread

You know it’s really cake right? With up to 80g of carbs, 20g of sugar and 30g of fat in a single slice, banana bread has much more in common with cake than it does bread. The problem with banana bread is that it often becomes part of our daily food habit as we order it along with a coffee on the go at our favourite coffee haunt. This means often we are consuming an extra 300-400 calories we do not really need, simply because we get used to enjoying banana bread we our coffee. Do yourself a favour and ditch the banana bread and save your cake for times you really, really feel like it.

Margarine

When you examine the nutrient requirements of the body, it is debatable as to the role margarine plays. Ideally we will get our good fats via the natural oils – seeds, nuts, olive oil and avocado, and we get plenty of saturated fat thanks to meat, dairy foods and our treats, which really does not leave much space for processed vegetable oil which is the base of the majority of margarines. While some types may claim to reduce cholesterol, it could be argued that there is no point adding in refined oils to the diet to achieve a relatively small outcomes when you could get the same outcome by eating well, losing a few kilos and avoiding refined vegetable oils altogether.

Fruit yoghurt

With even the heathiest of fruit yoghurts containing close to 4 teaspoons of sugar, if your goal is to reduce your total intake of sugar, you are best to choose natural or Greek yoghurt and enjoy it with fresh fruit. More importantly, check the ingredient list and look for varieties that do not contain added sugar to help lower your overall sugar intake on a daily basis.

White rice

We often add a scoop or two of rice to our favourite Asian dish without a second thought, or order a sushi pack for a quick and easy lunch without considering that a single cup of white rice contains 45g of refined carbohydrate (a slice of bread contains 12-15g), and the type of carbohydrate that sends blood glucose levels soaring. As white rice is a filler food minus the fibre and protein of the more nutritious brown rice, the less you add into your diet, the better.

French fries

How often do you remember eating the fries on the plate not because they tasted particularly good, but simply because they were there? The issue with thin French fries is that they absorb more oil than fatter chips and are extremely easy to overeat. A single serve or roughly a cupful also contains at least 300 calories which is the equivalent of a small meal. So if you can be strong, and ditch the fries you will save yourself plenty of fat and calories.

Sweet biscuits

They may stand innocently near the coffee at work, but a simple plain sweet biscuit is made of sugar, vegetable oil and refined white flour and offers nothing positive nutritionally. They also tend to be one of the key foods we munch mindlessly at work, or when waiting for things and in modern life few of us have extra calories to waste on mindless munching. A blanket rule of saying no too offers to plain sweet biscuits is an easy way to cut some of these nonnutritive, mindless calories on a regular basis. 

Keeping hydrated this Summer


Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 9.44.18 PM

This is a sponsored post.

While we give plenty of attention to what we are or are not eating, we often don’t take time to consider what we are drinking, or more specifically, are we drinking enough? As the temperatures rise to give way to another scorching Australian summer, it is a good reminder to take some time to consider how you can keep well hydrated no matter how hot it gets outside. 

Dehydration, even mild dehydration, can leave us feeling tired and lethargic, and also prone to eating extra calories. It impacts our digestive system, skin health and overall energy levels and it’s just as, if not more important, to pay attention to the amount of fluids we need to drink each day to help us be at our best. So, as we move into the festive season, here are some easy ways to ensure you are well-hydrated right through summer. 

1. Always carry a water bottle with you

Availability is generally the key – whether you have filtered, chilled or sparking water within easy reach, you will drink more. Commit to keeping a bottle in your handbag, workbag and car to ensure you always have water on hand and aim to get through at least two to three bottles every day. 

2. Serve water with meals

Have you ever noticed that you drink a lot more water when it is served to you without asking at restaurants? Get into the habit of always serving a jug of ice cold still or sparking water at meal times and notice how much more you drink. 

3. Add extra where you need

If you are exercising regularly, make a concerted effort to add an extra 500-600 ml of water into your day to ensure you are compensating for the extra losses, even if you are not sweating or feeling thirsty. If you are a particularly salty sweater and prone to cramping, you may also benefit from adding an electrolyte solution such as Hydralyte to your workout water. 

4. Go for water first

Whenever you arrive home and reach for a glass of wine, or arrive at a function and pick up an alcoholic drink, simply swap this to reaching for a water first. Not only will this help to control the effects of alcohol, but it will go a long way in preventing dehydration when you are enjoying a few alcoholic drinks.

5. Don’t forget your minerals

Salty foods such as Asian sauces, processed meats and snack foods can contribute to dehydration as they draw fluid out of the body’s cells. When you are enjoying meals out and know you will be consuming salty foods, an easy way to help prevent dehydration is to bump up your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. The high amounts of potassium found in fruits such as bananas and also vegetables will help to buffer the impact of extra salt in the diet as well as adding plenty of extra water from the fresh foods themselves. 

Recipe: Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

½ avocado

1 banana

250ml milk (skim or unsweetened almond milk as desired)

½ cup Greek yoghurt

Handful of spinach leaves

Drizzle of honey

Method

1. Blend together for a filling and high potassium breakfast drink that will keep you full until lunchtime. 

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here

Festive drinks


Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 3.08.32 PM

This is a sponsored post.

Good hydration is crucial at this time of year and the warmer weather means we need to drink more. With celebratory end of year drinks frequenting your social diary, it can be challenging to drink enough fluids. So if you want to enjoy the festive season, here are some healthier versions of your favourite sparkling summer drinks to help keep you looking and feeling your best no matter how busy you are with the help of the versatile Zip HydroTap. 

Cucumber Cooler

Serves 1

Ingredients

½ lime

2 Lebanese cucumbers, skin removed 

500ml sparkling water

Method

1. Blend cucumber with a small amount of water. Then strain juice away from the pulp.

2. Mix cucumber juice with sparkling water and serve with a squeeze of lime. 

Sparkling Iced Tea

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 herbal tea bags (mixed berry)

4 cups boiling water

4-6 mint leaves

2 tsp. honey

2 cups sparkling water

Method

1. Place tea bags in boiling water and allow to sit and cool for 40-60 minutes. 

2. Remove tea bags and add mint leaves and honey and stir.

3. Mix ½ glass sparkling water with iced tea mix to serve. 

Berry Punch

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 punnets of whole strawberries (or mixed berries if preferred)

2 punnets of mashed berries

1L of sparkling water

6 cups crushed ice

½ bunch mint, finely chopped

100-200ml Vodka (if desired and adjust based on required strength)

Method

1. Place berries (both whole and mashed) in a bowl with vodka for 60-90mins.

2. Add sparkling water and crushed iced and serve with mint leaf garnish.

Christmas Cocktail

Serves 1

Ingredients

100ml Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice

1 nip vodka (if desired)

250ml sparkling water

1 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

2-3 mint leaves

Method

1. Mix and garnish with mint leaves and pomegranate seeds

IMG_0040

Passionfruit Mojito

Serves 1

Ingredients

4 passionfruit, seeds removed

¼ cup passionfruit nectar or pureed pulp

1 nip Barcardi White Rum (if desired)

250ml sparkling water

Mint leaves to serve

Ice to serve

Method

1. Mix sparkling water with rum and passionfruit pulp.

2. Add in extra passionfruit seeds, and ice and garnish with mint leaves.

Read how a Zip HydroTap® changed Susie’s life, here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here.

Are you getting enough protein?


Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 6.31.29 AM

Are you getting enough protein?

We regularly hear that protein is good for us, and we know that it is crucial for muscle growth and repair, fullness and that protein rich foods including meal meat, fish and dairy are rich sources of iron, calcium and zinc yet new research from the Australian Health Survey released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown that 7 out of 8 Australians do not get the recommended amounts of good quality protein on a daily basis. And while we tend to get our protein right at night, it is our breakfast and lunch that can often do with a boost when we are considering if we are getting enough protein rich food on a daily basis. 

Protein is one of the three main nutrients found in food. The body requires protein to build skin, hair, blood and muscle cells and protein also has an important role in immune functioning.  As protein is not the primary fuel for the muscle (unlike carbohydrate), protein is digested more slowly than carbohydrate and is hence likely to keep you fuller for longer after eating it. Protein rich foods including dairy and lean meats are also nutrient rich foods contain a number of other key nutrients including iron, zinc and calcium which are crucial for optimal metabolic functioning. 

Most importantly when it comes to weight and appetite control, as protein is not the primary fuel for the muscle (unlike carbohydrate), protein is digested more slowly than carbohydrate and is hence likely to keep you fuller for longer after eating it. Protein rich foods including dairy and lean meats are also nutrient rich foods contain a number of other key nutrients including iron, zinc and calcium which are crucial for optimal metabolic functioning.

When I am working with clients, in general Aussie adults are very good at eating protein at dinner with hearty serves of salmon, steak, chicken and meat but often our breakfast and lunch choices are meals we pick up on the go and they can be carb heavy at the expense of protein. Large serves of Turkish bread, muffins, banana bread, sushi, and noodle based dishes and wraps tend to be carb heavy, which appears to be leaving us a little low on daily protein serves. This recent survey data has found that on average Aussies are getting just 1.7 serves of lean protein rich foods, where the actual recommendation is 2.5 protein rich food serves each day.  

The issue with this style of eating is that carb rich meals can leave us feeling unsatisfied and less likely to remain full and satiated for several hours after eating. In turn this can lead to poor appetite control and overeating. Take a classic Aussie breakfast of Vegemite on toast, this simple meal is only likely to keep you full for an hour or two, as opposed to a protein rich breakfast such as eggs on toast which is likely to keep up full for several hours. 

The answer to this protein dilemma is simple, all you need to do is aim for at least one protein rich food such as eggs at each meal is the key to reaching daily protein targets. For example, adding lean meat, egg or tofu to stir-fries, a slice of cheese to crackers or snacking on nuts or a hard-boiled egg rather than cakes and biscuits. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 20-30g of protein at meal times and 10-20g at mid meals.

So, if you have been wondering how much protein you are actually eating at each meal and snack or need some ideas on how to make sure your diet has enough protein, check out these tips below. 

1. Start the day with a protein rich breakfast to help control appetite through the morning. Good options that contain 20g of high quality protein include 2 eggs on wholegrain toast, Greek yoghurt with fruit or a protein based smoothie.

2. Keep your protein rich snacks on hand to grab in between meals when you are busy – good options include a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg or some Greek yoghurt and berries.

3. Bump up your protein intake at lunch by basing your meal around fish, chicken or eggs such as a frittata, tuna salad or chicken stir fry.

4. Keep a good quality protein powder at home to add to your favourite baked goods or smoothies.

5. Aim for your last meal of the day to include a palm sized serve of lean protein and lots of vegetables to support weight control

Sample Protein Serves

200g tofu

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup beans

½ cup beans + 1 slice cheese

Tub of Chobani Greek yoghurt

2 eggs

1 serve Sanitarium Vegetarian Replacement

100g meat / chicken / tuna

How much sugar is in your alcohol?


Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 2.21.41 PM

With the festive season well and truly upon us, chances are that your alcohol intake has been on the rise. While it is commonly thought that alcoholic drinks including beer and wine are packed full of sugars this is not quite true. Rather it is the sugars found in fruits or various alcoholic bases that are fermented and converted into alcohol. Alcohol per gram contains 27kJ or almost 7 calories, almost as many as a gram of fat, and alcohol calories are metabolised in the liver before the other three nutrients we consume are. In real life terms this means that while you are busy burning off the alcohol in your drinks, any calories consumed in food such as potato chips, pre-dinner snacks, fried food or heavy restaurant meals is more likely to be stored. For many of us this is the cycle which links drinking to weight gain over time.

Now while not all alcoholic drinks are high in sugars, there are some types that do contain added sugars, such as spirits served with mixers and ciders. These drinks then offer the double whammy of alcohol and as well as energy dense calories which can equate to as many calories as an entire small meal in a single drink.

So if your goal is to not gain weight over the next few weeks, the key is to balance your overall calorie intake – that is watch what you are eating when you are enjoying a few drinks AND make the best alcohol choices you can. As a general rule of thumb plain spirits such as vodka and soda and a small glass of champagne are the lowest calorie choices and the key is to drink slowly, and alternate with as much water as you can so that you do not suffer the effects of severe dehydration and / or a massive hangover the next day.

So here are your favourite drinks, and the calories and sugars they contain.

Drink | Cal | Sugars (g) | Alcohol (g)

Glass of champagne | 89 | 2 | 11.4

Small glass wine (120ml) | 82 | 0 | 11.5

Large glass wine (240ml) | 163 | 0 | 23

Cider (355ml) | 178 | 12.8 | 14.2

Nip of spirit | 67 | 0 | 9.6

Vodka Lime and Soda | 80 | 3-5 | 10

Schooner of beer (450ml) | 162 | <1 | 17.6

Schooner of light beer | 113 | <1 | 9.5

Schooner of low carb beer | 132 | 0 | 15.5

Nip of Baileys | 120 |  7.4 | 5.0

Gin & Tonic | 110 | 10.8 | 10

Martini | 124 | 0 | 18

Mojito | 170 | 9 | 19

Bourbon and Coke | 120 | 13 | 10

Pre-Mix Bourbon & Cola | 229 | 33.4 | 13.9

Margarita | 120 | 1 | 15

Mai Tai | 257 | 17      

UPDATED: Which dip should you choose? A dip review.


Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 9.39.38 AM

Whenever we think about parties and social occasions, we also tend to think about finger food, canapes and salty snacks – the dips, crackers, cheese and chips that we munch on as we enjoy a few drinks. While we may be aware that fried snacks and pastries are not that good for us, often we think that because a number of our favourite dips are made with vegetables, they are healthy options. Unfortunately this is not always the case, rather dips can be packed full of fat, salt and calories, as can the crackers we serve them with. For example, just a few Jatz crackers and pesto dip can contain more than 300 calories, or that of a small meal.

The biggest issue with dips is that they are not portion controlled – we keep dipping and dipping and before we know it we have eaten a meal worth of calories via dip and chips. For this reason, always portion out your dips before serving them; where possible look for 100% vegetable options that are low in fat such as Chris’s Egyptian Beetroot Dip and serve them with vegetables, not crackers.

*Dips choosen are a random mix from a Woolworths supermarket

** I am not paid by any of these companies.

Chris’ Tzatziki

Tzatziki is traditionally one of the best dip choices thanks to its relatively low fat content and high protein content thanks to yoghurt being its primary ingredient.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.):  89kJ (20cal), 1g protein, 1.2g fat and 1.6g carbs

Philadelphia Sweet Chilli Philly

Not as bad as some may think but the issue with Philly is that it is hard to keep portions small as it chunks when you dip it so spread it instead if you can.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 190kJ (45cal), 1.5g protein, 2.6g fat, 3.6g carbs.

Black Swan Fresh Guacamole

Often considered a ‘healthy’ choice, check your labels as avo dips as opposed to avocado may contain as little as 50% avocado and are bulked up with plenty of cream cheese and other additives.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 52kJ (13cal), 0.2g protein, 0.8g fat, 1.0g carbs

Bulla Cottage Cheese Onion and Chives

If you like cottage cheese, this is the dip for you as it is one of the few low calorie, high protein options

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 75kJ (18cal), 2g protein, 0.4g fat, 1g carbs.

Black Swan Skinny Hommus

Lower in calories and fat than regular hommus, one would argue that you are better to make your own or go for a natural hommus made from just chick peas, olive oil, lemon and sesame to avoid the additives and preservatives.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 97kJ (23cal), 0.5g protein, 1.6g fat, 1.8g carbs.

Chris’s Avocado

More cream cheese than avocado, with just 11% avocado – make your own with a fresh avo, lemon and a little olive oil and blend for a thinner consistency

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 217kJ (52cal), 1.0g protein, 4.9g fat, <1g carbs.

Macro Avocado Dip

With the primary ingredient listed as mayonnaise and 40% avocado, again make your own and get rid of the unnecessary extras.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 391kJ (93cal), <1g protein, 9.9g fat, 1.1g carbs.

Chris’ Egyptian Beetroot

My current market favourite with relatively clean ingredients and a low calorie load – you could make your own too but if you need to pick up something this is a good choice.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 82kJ (20cal), <1g protein, <1 g fat, 3.5g carbs

Philadelphia Mexican Salsa Philly

A new flavour to the market that does contain additives but is relatively low in calories and fat.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 176kJ (42cal), 1.6g protein, 2.6g fat, 3.1g carbs.

Wattle Valley Chunky Basil with Cashew and Parmesan

Who does not love this dip but it is packed with calories and fat so it is much better used occasionally as a spread because you will demolish that entire container before you even realise it.

Per 20g serve (1 tbsp.): 426kJ (102cal), 2.0g protein, 8.3g fat, 4.0 g carbs.

*** http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/health/saltier-than-sea-water-hidden-nasties-in-christmas-party-snacks/news-story/b4945c1c6de66e2a1ce15930fdebc39b

Image source: helloglow.co

The 5 core steps to an anti-inflammatory diet


Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.50.40 PM

Why an anti-inflammatory approach is the best diet for all of us

Another day, another diet and yet many of us getting fatter and experience the daily impact of our frames carrying too much weight via chronic pain, high blood pressure and cholesterol, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes just to name a few. Yet so many of us remain uncommitted when it comes to long term lifestyle change. While any amount of weight loss will generally impact inflammatory conditions favourably, few if any strict weight loss regimes are sustainable. It is for this reason that a general anti-inflammatory dietary approach is a good diet for all of us to follow. Not only is it easy, but long term the nutrient profile of this approach is favourable for both weight control and managing the cellular impact that a Western diet imposes on our cells as we age. 

So here is everything you need to know about an anti-inflammatory diet and the easy steps you can take to applying it in your own diet, every day. 

The term inflammation refers to a natural response by the body that occurs when there is injury or damage to the body’s cells. When this damage is detected, there is increased blood flow to the area or organ that is damaged at a cellular level and the production of various molecules that have the job of repairing tissue an eliminate toxins causing the damage. Inflammation can be experienced as a result of general immune responses repairing cells on a daily basis as well as a result of chronic disease conditions including heart disease, fatty liver and Type 2 diabetes, in which the body is constantly trying to mediate the damage often caused by the hormonal response to an excessive calorie consumption and the overweight and obesity that eventually results.

There are a number of blood markers of inflammation including elevated cytokines, chemokines and leucocytes which medical experts may use to identify and help diagnose both low grade and symmetric inflammation in the body. While used diagnostically, the ideal goal for patients is to ultimately reduce the causes of inflammation in an attempt to stop the body from attacking itself and ultimately causing further disease and long term organ failure. 

It has been known for some time that our diet, or specifically the balance of key nutrients in our diets can play a key role in preventing and managing the levels of inflammation in the body. Specifically it is the general shift towards more processed foods, and a greater intake of the types of fat that can promote inflammatory pathways that is hypothesised as one of the key reasons inflammatory conditions such as fatty liver and Type 2 diabetes has risen so dramatically in recent years.

So while there are few clinical trials that have specifically investigated an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diets and its effects on chronic disease conditions, here are the core aspects of a diet that will support the body’s natural immune function and help it to flight inflammation on a daily basis. 

1. Get your fat balance right

Some types of fat increase inflammation in the body, while others actively reduce it and the key to getting the right balance of fat in modern diets is to choose the right mix of foods rich in fat every single day. From a numbers perspective this means getting your balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats into a 1:1:1 ratio or between 20-30g of each of these fats each day. To achieve this ratio in food terms an adult will need 3-4 serves of omega 3 rich food such as oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and chia every single day. In addition, 2-3 serves of monounsaturated fat via avocado, almonds and olive oil will help to balance out these ratios. And most importantly we need to keep our intake of saturated fat from meat, dairy and coconut products relatively low with just 2-3 serves at most in addition to eliminating as much processed vegetable oils as is possible. Many of us fail to get this balance right as we do not eat enough oily fish and by overdoing the coconut products and fatty meat. As such supplementing your diet with fish oil does have merit. Most importantly, it is the elimination of processed fast and baked foods such as fried meal deals, cakes, pastries and snack foods that will get your own fat balance in the right ratios on a daily basis. 

2. Load up on fruits and vegetables

The brighter the colour of the fresh fruit or vegetable, the higher the antioxidant content and the more antioxidants we consume naturally as part of our daily diet, the better it is for the health of our cells long term. Countries with the longest lifespan and the lowest prevalence of chronic disease are known to consume 7-10 serves of antioxidant rich fresh fruits and vegetables every single day. Carotenoids found in brightly colored orange and red vegetables and lutein and zeaxanthin found again in carrots and capsicums as well as in salmon and egg yolks are two specific antioxidant rich compounds linked to lower inflammatory markers in the blood. To up your intake of all of these molecules we are talking much more fresh fruit and vegetables than you are most likely consuming for example, a vegetable juice with your breakfast; a large salad or serve of vegetables at lunchtime as well as ½ a plate or bowl of vegetables at night as well as a couple of pieces of fruit every single day. And don’t forget the nutrition in your salad and vegetables will be better absorbed if enjoyed with extra virgin olive oil, another food that is exceptionally high in natural antioxidants. 

3. Don’t forget the leafy greens

Independent studies which have started to examine the dietary links to lower levels of inflammation have identified that magnesium intake, the element found naturally in least green vegetables, nuts and legumes such as kidney beans and chic peas. This finding again supports the intake of more brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables each day but also the intake of nuts on a regular basis. 

4. Cut the sugars and refined carbs

Of all the evidence out there about carbohydrate intake, the primary finding is a link between the glycaemic load of the diet and chronic inflammatory conditions including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Thanks to a relatively high intake of refined flour and white rice as well as sugar rich foods such as juices, soft drinks, fruit yoghurts and snack bars, most of us will have a daily diet with a higher glycaemic load than is ideal to reduce inflammation. One of the easiest ways to reduce glycaemic load is to focus your diet less on heavy carb foods such as white bread, rice, pasta and sweet snacks and instead shift your focus to lean proteins such as fish, eggs, lean meat and chicken and plenty of vegetables. Then add small portions of good quality carbs such as legumes, grain bread and starchy vegetables to your meals. The other key part of getting the right mix of carbs in your diet is to get serious about sugar. Liquid sources of concentrated sugars including juices and soft drinks should be eliminated entirely as liquid sugars store fat in the liver more readily than other types of carbohydrate and are closely linked to increased inflammation in the body. Sugary treats such as cakes, muffins, chocolates and confectionery should also be consumed as infrequently as possible. 

5. Drink more tea

While dark chocolate and red wine are often linked to anti-inflammatory diets thanks to their relatively high flavonoid content, the truth is that there is limited evidence to show an overall benefit to inflammatory markets at this stage. On the other hand, tea, both and black and green tea is linked to reduced inflammatory markets in several studies. For this reason, swapping some of your hot drinks for plain black or green tea is likely to support a specific anti-inflammatory approach to diet.

Why you need to include cheat meals


Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 12.12.58 PM

When it comes to dieting and weight loss there are two kinds of people – there are those who follow their diet so rigidly that they rarely if ever allow themselves to eat a little more, or treat themselves and then there are those who cannot follow any kind of diet for any extended period of time. The interesting thing about weight loss is that it is actually good for the body to have periods in which calories are not overly restricted. To translate this into real life it means that there are actually benefits to including cheat meals (please note not cheat day!) into any strict dietary regime you are trying to follow. While it may go against everything you have been led to believe about weight loss, here are the reasons why a regular cheat will actually help with your weight loss goals.

1. It helps to reduce feelings of restriction

One of the main reasons that diets fail is that any feelings of dietary restriction – both actual calorie restriction or psychological restriction eg feeling like you are missing out, or not able to eat the foods that you want to drives more attention to the exact foods you want to be avoiding. This attentional focus in turn makes it more and more difficult to stop eating, or specifically to stop eating the foods you want to be avoiding. Once you can actively add in occasional treats or meals that you can look forward to, it is much easier to stick to your baseline diet.

2. It allows you to factor in social events and special meals

At any one point in time there are a number of social occasions and celebrations in which food is a big focus – a birthday meal; big party or special work event in which delicious food and drinks will be on offer. Following a diet in which these occasions can be accounted for makes dieting in real life much easier.

3. It ensures you get to eat what you like and feel like at times

Sometimes you really, really feel like a burger and fries. Now the more you try and not eat a burger and fries, the more you will think about that burger and fries. When your diet factors in a meal or two each week in which extra calories can be consumed, it in turn allows you to enjoy the best burger and fries you can find, occasionally so you can move on and forget that burger and fries.

4. It tells the body it is not starving

While strict calorie restriction will work initially, extreme restriction over time will ultimately see the loss of muscle mass and a reduction in metabolic rate. When a cheat meal is regularly consumed (once or twice each week) research shows that it actual helps to optimise fat metabolism as it basically tells the body that it is not starving. It appears that an occasional intake of extra calories in times of restriction tells the body it is ok to keep burning body fat. This means that you may actually NEED an occasional cheat to support long term weight loss. 

Intermittent fasting, how to do it.


Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 9.19.54 AM

How to fast the right way

We have heard about intermittent fasting for some time now – and since the original approach which suggested dieters have 2 days in which in which their calorie intake was particularly low (500-600cal) there has been a number of different versions of intermittent fasting to support weight loss. We have known for some time that there are a number of health benefits associated with regular fasting but the reality is that fasting is often easier said than done. While there are a few individuals who can eat literally nothing for days at a time, most of us are tempted by every type of food that crosses our paths, and the mere thought of dietary restriction is enough to drive our appetites and focus on food.

In my clinical experience there are 3 types of fasting that actually work to support weight loss, if you can remain focused enough to implement them properly. So if you are looking for a dieting alternative to a traditional lower carb, calories controlled approach, here are a few options you could try.

1. Low calorie days

In my experience this is the most difficult type of fasting to actually do, as for it to work you really need to keep your calories to 500 or less, and most people simply cannot do it. Most of us tend to get our calories to just 800 or 1000 and this is not a level of restriction that will give you the metabolic benefits more significant calorie restriction will. To give you an example of a 500 calorie day, you would be looking at a piccolo coffee, one hardboiled egg; a soup or plain salad at lunch and just 70g of fish with vegetables at night. The clients I have had who have been successful with this are extremely mindful of calories, very focused individuals in general who also have a big event they are preparing for and more traditional weight loss approaches were simply not working.

2. The Overnight fast

We are talking 12-14 hours without food overnight – and rather than dinner at 8 and then not eating until 12pm the next day, you will get the best results if you eat dinner by 5-6pm and then not eat again until 9 or 10am in the morning so you can still reap the metabolic benefits of consuming calories in the first half of the day. This approach is much more user friendly, can be a great way to reunite you with your natural hunger and suits office based workers or shift workers who are in the office late and as such can eat a light dinner at work.

3. One light day

Not technically ‘fasting’, dedicating one day each week to a low calorie intake is an easy way to help buffer the regular days we have in which we significantly over-consume calories and can be as easy as having a shake for breakfast, salad for lunch and soup for dinner. While the calories may not be a tight as that on the 5:2 approach, you will still benefit from keeping your calories relatively low at least once each week.

6 of the best Spring superfoods


Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 6.35.40 PM

This is a sponsored post.

Spring Superfoods

The sun is out, days are longer and many of us are searching for ways to feel and look our best ahead of the festive season. So, if you know that your diet could do with a spring clean, here are some of the seasonal fresh foods to include in your diet. 

Bananas

Packed full of natural energy, fibre, potassium and magnesium, a banana is not only convenient but is the perfect source of fuel for busy people on the go. Not only are bananas easy to find at this time of year, they are versatile – adding natural sweetness to smoothies, baked goods and cereal. They are a great self-packaged snack and can even be frozen and used as a low calorie dessert option. Another trick is to keep soft bananas frozen to grab when you are baking or to add to smoothies and juices. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

While we hear much about the wonders of coconut oil, the truth is that when it comes to looking at the research that supports the health benefits of any particular oil, you cannot go past olive oil. Its great for the skin with exceptionally high levels of powerful antioxidants that help to protect our cells from damage and as an addition to any meal to help boost satiety fullness, olive oil has one of the highest proportions of monounsaturated fat and lowest proportion of saturated fat of all cooking oils. 

Often considered a poor choice for cooking at high temperatures, the truth is that the high quality of olive oil means that it can be used in most dishes with the exception of deep frying, as well as used as a flavoursome dressing. The fresher the olive oil, the higher the antioxidant content, so replace your olive oil every two to three months and also keep in mind that ‘light’ varieties are not lighter in fat or calories and spray varieties lack the nutrient quality of fresh oil. Research suggests that including as much as two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day will help you to reap the many health benefits 

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt not only contains much less sugar than the average serve of store bought yoghurt but is much higher in protein which helps to keep your blood glucose levels regulated throughout the day. Added benefits will come if you choose a variety of Greek yoghurt which also contains probiotics, the live bacteria that will help to feed the good bacteria in the gut and is thought to have a powerful role in optimal immune functioning long term. 

Enjoy with some oats for breakfast, as a filling snack, as a light dessert option, and add to smoothies and protein shakes or even as a dressing option with vegetables for a daily calcium boost.

Red capsicum

Another nutrient rich, low calorie vegetable choice is red capsicum which is a rich source of carotenoids, the group of antioxidants known to play a powerful role in helping to down regulate a number of inflammatory pathways in the body. Red capsicum is packed full of Vitamin C, folate and fibre and with just 45 calorie per cup, you can enjoy an entire red capsicum as a filling snack providing a major nutritional hit. A flavoursome base to sauces, added to salads or teamed with hommus or Greek yoghurt. 

Rocket

Ten years ago, rocket was rarely the standard salad leaf of choice but the peppery rocket has become a fond favourite for many. Rocket originated in the Mediterranean region, hence its link with olive oil and parmesan cheese! Like most salad ingredients, rocket is extremely low in kilojoules but unlike plain lettuce and as depicted by its rich dark green colour, is chock full of Vitamin C, fibre, iron and beta carotene.

Rocket is also an amazingly easy salad leave to grow and now is a good time to plant some before it gets too hot. Try planting some seeds in a pot on your veranda or balcony and you will find you have rocket for your favourite parmesan and tomato salad in no time, which is perfect with BBQ’s and with grilled fish. 

Legumes

Legumes or beans have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years with cannellini, kidney and borlotti beans featuring regularly in a range of cuisines including Mexican, Italian and Lebanese. All beans are extremely nutritious containing a mix of low glycaemic index carbohydrates, dietary fibre and protein; their relatively high protein content making them a popular meat substitute for vegetarians. 

The soluble fibre found in beans has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels, and they also contain high levels of B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium as well as folate. While legumes are often used as the base of meals for vegetarians, beans can also be used in range of meals including mince, soups and salads for extra bulk and an extra nutritional hit. And best of all, legumes are extremely cheap, making them an economical addition to any meal.  

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here

The top 10 reasons you may not be losing weight


Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 10.18.57 am

At times, you may be eating very ‘healthy’ but this does not necessarily mean that you will be successfully burning fat. Here are the most common reasons that your diet may not be working.

1. You are having too many extras

Keep a record for a day of all the times that food or drink enters your mouth – you may be surprised how many extras slip in there. Alternatively track your calories on an online program such as CalorieKing

2. You are drinking too much coffee

Back tea or coffee without milk or sugar is fine but as soon as you choose a cappuccino or latte, the calories start to add up. Enjoy just 1-2 small coffees each day and try and enjoy them as part of your meal or snack – not as an extra.

3. You are eating to much at night

Often we try so hard to be ‘good’ during the day, that we do not eat enough and then find ourselves overly hungry at night. Make sure you have a good breakfast and lunch as well as a filling mid afternoon snack so you are able to keep your calorie intake at nighttime low.

4. You are eating breakfast too late

Remember that the body burns more calories in the first half of the day as this is when you are most active so aim to eat your breakfast as early as possible.

5. You are eating your dinner too late.

The body’s hormones are programmed to store at night so if you are regularly eating your last meal of the day after 8 or 9 at night, you amy need to eat your main meal at lunchtime and enjoy a light snack such as soup later at night.

6. You are drinking too much alcohol

Alcohol, per gram has almost as many calories as fat so a glass or two of wine can really add up. If your weight loss has halted, try eliminating alcohol for a week or two to see if that may be holding you back.

7. You are having too few calories

When we begin a new program, we can adopt the mindset that ‘less food is better’ – while this is somewhat true, if you take your calories too low you risk reducing metabolism which will slow weight loss. As a general rule of thumb make sure you are always consuming at least 1200 calories and you may need more if you are training constantly for more than an hour a day.

8. You are not exercising at the right intensity

There is a big difference between going for a gentle walk and flogging yourself at boot camp 6 days a week. For weight loss we need at least 3-4 sessions of high intensity exercise so it may be time to ramp up your training a little.

9. You are not eating before you exercise

If you are training intensely before breakfast or late afternoon, you are likely to burn more fat if you have a small protein rich snack before your session – a couple of crackers with cheese, ½ glass of milk or ½ a protein bar is all you need.

10. You are not moving enough

It is one thing to exercise, but if you then spend the rest of the day sitting down therein lies your problem. Ideally we need at least 8000 steps a day in addition to our exercise sessions so you may need to walk a little more to achieve the weight loss results you are looking for. 

How to make great tasting water


Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 6.17.10 PM

This is a sponsored post.

With summer just a few weeks away, we can almost smell the end of the year. The return of longer days and warmer temperatures means there are plenty of social occasions on the horizon to celebrate the end of another year. Warm weather also means that our fluid requirements increase, especially when we are regularly outdoors. So if you’re keen to jazz your water up a little, here are some easy ways to enhance the visual appeal of your water, whilst adding to its flavour and nutrition. 

Cucumber Mint

Mint is well known for its potential benefits to the digestive system – helping to reduce bloating and tummy discomfort. When combined with various fruits and vegetables, it creates beautiful cooling water. Not only does the mint cleanse the palate, helping to reduce sugar cravings, it also adds more fluid into our summer drinks when combined with high water-containing fruits and vegetables such as berries or cucumber.

Lemon Berry

The addition of citrus to any meal helps to lower the glycaemic load, or how quickly the glucose that comes from sugars is released into the bloodstream. This means adding some citrus to any water to be consumed with meals is a great option. Lemons mixed with any type of berries and strawberries offer a lovely flavour too. Another trick is to freeze your berries and add them into your glass of Zip filtered sparkling water which will help to retain their colour and plumpness. 

Apple Cinnamon

If you regularly crave sugar this could be the mix for you. Cinnamon is not only known to help control blood glucose levels but when combined with a few apple slices, it creates a slightly sweet flavour with only a few extra calories. This mix will appeal to children especially if you find it difficult to get them to drink as much water as they need. Simply use a cinnamon stick and leave it in the bottle or Mason jar to bring out the best flavour. 

Pineapple Ginger

When the weather is cool, one of my favourite hot drink mixes is a little ginger, honey and lemon. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, and commonly used to manage nausea. It’s easy to make a summer version of this immune boosting mix by combining a little fresh ginger and a few cubes of frozen pineapple, which will cut through the sharpness of the ginger without adding any extra sugars. 

Lemon Pepper

Now this option is not for the faint-hearted! If you don’t mind a little spice with your fluid, adding a single cayenne pepper to your water, along with a squeeze or two of lemon and a little honey or maple syrup, can help give your body a small metabolic boost. Cayenne peppers have been used for hundreds of years to help increase the rate of metabolism, clear nasal congestion and aid digestion. Add a little to your water for some natural zest and flavour.

Read how a Zip HydroTap® changed Susie’s life, here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here.

The non diet approach to weight loss


Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 4.19.58 PM

Non diet weight loss? It’s possible!

On a daily basis we hear so much about the foods we should eat and the diets we should follow for weight loss that it all gets a little boring.  Imagine if you could lose weight via strategies that do not involve calorie counting, label reading or spending hours at the gym? Well, guess what, you can with these proven strategies.

Plan your meals

The simple act of allocating 20 minutes each week to planning your meals in advance not only saves much time, stress and money but when it comes to weight control, planning your meals ensures that you are less likely seduced by tempting high calorie snacks and food picked up on the go. As a general rule of thumb, meals chosen quickly at cafes, fast food outlets and in food courts contain significantly more calories and fat than meals prepared at home. Save yourself literally hundreds of calories each week simply by planning the majority of your meals and snacks in advance.

Shop online

We have all been there; the 99c Cheezels at the end of the supermarket aisle; the pre-dinner dip and crackers you find yourself hungry for when shopping on the way home from work and of course the obligatory chocolate bar you throw in the trolley while you wait at the checkout. Supermarkets know all too well that a significant number of purchases are completed on impulse and as such, shopping online not only eliminates all of these impulse buys but helps you to meal plan in advance each week, saving you calories and plenty of dollars.

Clean out the kitchen

If it is in your kitchen you will eat it at some stage, whether it is the chocolate biscuits you say are for guests; cooking chocolate for baking or the kid’s leftover Easter eggs. Be ruthless in your kitchen and refuse to keep any food items you know you will eventually eat when you are feeling tired, bored or vulnerable. Not only will cleaning out the fridge and pantry feel empowering, it will inspire you to stock up on fresh, healthy foods that will help to keep your diet on track.

Check menus before you go out

Human beings are exposed to more than 200 food decisions on a daily basis – skim or full cream; large or small; vegetables or salad? Is it any wonder our brains become overwhelmed with all the options? As such, when we are exposed to tempting menu choices, including foods we would not usually consume, the variety can overwhelm us and rather than making mindful, informed choices we lash out and treat ourselves to treat style foods, often in line with what others around us are also ordering. A simple yet effective strategy to manage this information overload is to peruse menus when you are not hungry, prior to dining out. Here you can make a string decision nutritionally before you go out and be less likely to be drawn into the excitement of the ordering process. 

Sit down to eat

This one sounds simple, but when you sit down and concentrate solely on eating and nothing else, not only are you likely to consume fewer calories at that meal but also for the remainder of the day. An eating behaviour study published in the journal Appetite found that dieters who consumed their lunch whilst watch TV consumed significantly more cookie calories at afternoon tea than dieters who had enjoyed their lunch at a table with no distractions. It appears that keeping mindful during the eating experience is an important part of appetite regulation.

Pack your lunch

Did you know that the average lunch order from the food court contains 600-800 calories, or double what lunch for a small female should contain. Even if you pack your own salad or leftovers a couple of times each week you will be saving many, many calories on a weekly basis without really noticing it.

Eating healthy vs eating for weight loss


Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 4.09.49 PM

The difference between healthy eating and eating for weight loss

I am going to say something rather awful right now – you can have a very healthy diet and still not be losing body fat. In fact, I would say that up to 90% of my clients have a very healthy diet and yet still carry extra body fat. There are many reasons for this – metabolism; nutrient balance; meal timing and calorie loads just some of the reasons you may be making an acai berry smoothie each day and just not shedding the kg. So if you are both committed to healthy eating but also would not mind dropping a kg or two, here some of the other factors to consider.

What do you really eat?

It sounds so simple but once you write down exactly what goes into your mouth each day, you may find the answer as to why you are not losing body fat. You know the little extras I am talking about – the slice of cake at work; the office biscuits; a few lollies at night along with some dip and crackers before dinner – all common culprits that prevent fat loss. Write down everything that you put into your mouth for just a day or two and it will be easy to see where any extras are slipping in.

Are your nutrients balanced?

The less weight you have to lose, the more precise the balance needs to be in terms of the quantities of protein, carbohydrate and fat you are eating. A simple thing such as having too much carbohydrate in the morning or too little fat can prevent fat loss. The best way to identify your nutrient balance is to have nutrient analysis completed by a professional or download a monitoring APP such as ‘myfitnesspal’ which will calculate the amounts of macronutrients for you. Generally speaking a good balance for fat loss is ~40% energy form carbohydrate, ~30% from protein and ~30% from good fats. This regime will ensure that your variety of foods is not overly restrictive but is more sustainable than strict regimes such as Atkins (~10% carbohydrate, ~50% fat, ~30-40% protein.

Are you eating too few or too many carbs?

Completely cutting our carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, rice and pasta, can actually reduce your metabolism as your body is forced to break down muscle tissue to use as energy. A better option is to eat a balance of carbohydrates and proteins during the day and then keep them light at night. On the other end of the scale if you have cut right back on all carbs, and are reasonably active, chances are you are not eating enough. Even if you have a few kg to lose you will need a serve of carbs at both breakfast and lunch if your goal is fat loss.

What time do you eat?

The ability to burn fat depends on what different fuels the body has available to it. Within a mixed meal of carbohydrate, protein and fat, the body will always utilise the carbohydrate and proteins before it will the fat. This is merely an evolutionary adaptation for humans to store extra fat for times of famine. What this means in terms of fat loss, even if you eat a very low fat, nutritionally balanced diet, if you eat the bulk of your calories in the second half of the day you are unlikely to burn body fat simply because the body will spend its time digesting the carbohydrate and protein contents of your food and is unlikely to get to fat stores before you eat again the next day.

For this reason, a key step in fat loss is to shift your food intake forward, Aim for a carbohydrate protein breakfast, morning tea and lunch and then taper off the carbs sticking to meat and vegetables for dinner. Naturally, rewarding yourself with chocolates, biscuits or lollies late at night for all your hard work during the day is not a good idea as it is fuelling you up at night and likely to be preventing fat stores being broken down.

How I manage to find time to exercise.


Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 2.04.09 PM

I used to exercise a lot – at least an hour a day, probably more but since having the twins I am lucky to fit in a walk most days. But what I have realised over the past few months is that it is finally time to get my fitness back on track now that the twins are almost 2 years old (omg can you believe it?) so here are the ways I have managed to take back some time for me so I can again get my body back to its best.

1. Start with steps

Getting to the gym for a workout or to go for an extra run is indeed a luxury and generally depends on a number of factors coming together each day (husband arriving home on time, baby’s happy and well etc, etc) but on most days of the week I can manage to take at least 8000 steps. Indeed on days I can get way beyond this, up to 12,000-15,000 steps, even whilst including the twins on extra walks I really notice the difference in my body at the end of the day.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule

I like most women feel incredibly guilty when I take time away from home and from the twins to exercise. It feels self-absorbed, frivolous and selfish, and generally speaking my partner does not make me feel great about leaving the house but now, at least twice a week I get out. I leave, even when the twins are screaming and its bath time to meet friends, just walk, just do something. It may not be every day, but at least it means 2-3 times a week I have some formal exercise in my schedule.

3. Link to friends

It is much easier to keep a commitment to exercise when you have others you are meeting to train with. It makes training more fun, it reminds you there is a big world outside of motherhood and I never feel as good as the nights I have seen my buddies and had a workout. I highly recommend your own little exercise club who is always available for a quick session locally.

4. Pretend you are a man

Husbands rarely think about their partners being stuck at home all day dealing with the whims of small people. When do they ever say, ‘baby I know you’ve been home alone for 10 hours, why don’t you take an hour for yourself’?’ – do they? On the other hand, they do not think twice about telling you that they will be late because they, have a work meeting, will stop at the pub, need to get their bike fixed, the list goes on. So now, I do the same and announce that I will be going out (to exercise) rather than ask for permission. Because they never do. 

5. Enroll in events

Training is great, but it is even better when you are preparing for an event that requires a formal training schedule. It means you have something to look forward to, a goal to work towards and a commitment that needs to be fulfilled. The Blood Long Walk & The 7 Bridges Walk are two I’ll be using as training excuses in the next few weeks!

Salmon vs tuna. Which is healthier?


Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 1.40.59 PM

Why salmon is a better choice than tuna

Whether it is enjoyed on a sandwich; with brown rice or in a salad, tuna is a popular lunch choice. Known for being high in protein and relatively low in fat, tuna is a popular choice for fitness professionals and those wanting to lose weight and it is not uncommon to see fans work their way through several tins each day. 

Far less popular as a regular lunch choice is tinned salmon yet when it comes to the good fats that we know are good for us, it may surprise you to hear that tinned tuna is generally very low in these good fats. Tinned salmon on the other hand is one of the richest natural sources of the powerful omega 3 fats, and as such it would benefit many of us by making a swap from tuna to salmon, at least some of the time. 

While tuna fillets do contain some omega 3 fat, it is still relatively low compared to that of salmon fillets. In addition, there is often consumer demand for ‘low fat’ products and as such, the fat that is naturally present in tuna may even be extracted and then resold as a fish oil supplement. On the other hand, even though tinned salmon is not as concentrated in omega 3 fat as fillets, even the tinned varieties contain upwards of 1g of omega 3 in a single serve. This means a serve of tinned salmon each day is not only a protein rich choice, but one that gives you a hefty dose of these powerful fats.

The other thing to keep in mind if tinned tuna is your go to protein of choice is that tinned tuna is also a source of mercury, and as such the recommendations for regular consumption is at most twice each week. Many people eat tinned tuna every single day, which is again another reason to swap to salmon at least some of the time. 

Per 100g | Total Fat | Total Omega 3 | EPA | DHA

Tassal Roasted | 10.4| 1.8 | 374 | 425

John West Olive Oil | 13.6 | 0.3 | 109 | 190

Tassal Springwater | 6.9 | 1.2 | 382 | 434

Coles Pink Salmon | 0.9 | 0.4 | 80 | 260

Sirena Tuna in Oil | 7.0 | N/K | EPA & DHA =135

John West Tuna Slices | 0.9 | 0.3 | 35 | 262

John West Salmon & Beans | 8.2 | 1.5 | 54 | 99

Tassal Salmon & Beans | 8.4 | 0.5 | 111 | 160

Tassal Easy Bake Natural | 14.2 | 1.6 | 395 | 535

Birds Eye Steam Fresh | 2.8 | N/K | N/K | N/K