Archive | June, 2010

Hypnotherapy Gastric Banding? Hmm…

30 Jun

I read the following article as I sat here munching on my lunch (garden salad with tuna and avocado if you care to know):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1266510/Hypnoband-Mother-drops-dress-sizes-hypnotist-convinces-gastric-band.html

Now, I am a firm believer that the power of the mind is an incredible thing however I’m not sure if you could *really* believe you had a gastric band for 6 months.  That’s an awful long time.  But I do believe you could, via hypnotherapy, become more conscious of when you are full and be more mindful of eating more healthy fare rather than rubbish.  But I think to be successful in weight loss you need to adjust your thinking as well.

For instance, when I was very overweight I used to moan and gripe over how overweight I was, “OMG I’m soooo fat, woe is me!  I wish I wasn’t so fat! [insert sad face here]”.  I started exercising and eating healthy and still moaned that I was fat and I didn’t notice any change (mind you, I WAS changing, just slowly, not at the fast pace I so desperately craved – hello PCOS!).  I soon realised that I had to also change my attitude to fully allow my body to make the changes I wanted it to.  I’m no scientist but I have read your body receives signals from the brain so if the brain thinks the body is fat, then the body will continue to be fat.  I read it so it must be true, yes?  😉  Anyway it sounds good so I’m totally sticking with that theory!

So whilst I think that hypnotherapy could be something that aids in weight loss, I also think you need to add hard work, determination, a healthy eating pattern and a bucket load of positivity to the mix to really get long term results.

Complacency is the devil

28 Jun

I’ve decided it’s time to kick it up a notch. I’ve become complacent over the last week or so, knowing I’m so close to my goal, feeling smug and on top of the world and slightly losing sight of the bigger picture.

So, I have to make some promises this week to get myself back into fighter mode. As Xtina would say I am a fighter, fighter! And you can’t stop me!

1. Give 100% in each workout (I’m not one of those people that say the cliched “I’m gonna give 110%!!”. I’ll give my best, yes, but 110% does not exist. Sorry. It’s mathematics.)

2. Stay on top of my meals. This means lots of fresh fruit and veggies, lean protein, low GI carbs and control my portions. This is something I am already doing so this just serves as a reminder to continue to focus on nutrition.

3. Continue to recognise my successes and visualise the coming successes. Yes, what I’ve done so far is great but there’s always room for improvement!

4. Stretch! So important to re-energise and recover tired muscles.

5. No more snacking! I’m a hungry, hungry beast lately and I put that down to all the exercise I do. I only snack healthily (nuts, seeds, yoghurt or mueseli) but it’s time to take stock of what I’m putting in my mouth and cut some calories to maximise fat loss again.

I’m a work in progress. Watch this space.

To detox or not to detox… that is the question!

28 Jun

The 48 hour rapid detox, the lemon detox diet, master cleanse, the celebrity detox diet… Detox diets are pretty popular at the moment.  They claim to shed weight quickly, clean your insides out, give you clearer skin and eyes and make you feel all over fantastic.  But do they really work?  And more importantly, could they cause more harm than good?

I set out with my excellent “investigationing” skills to get to the bottom of this debate and here’s what I found.

So, the theory is that certain foods are toxic to the body (especially refined and acid-forming foods).  When our bodies try to breakdown these refined sugars, they produce a by-product of acidic deposits (or toxins) that can accumulate and cause a sluggish digestive system.  By performing a detox you eliminate these toxins from your diet which in turn gives the digestive system a chance to function better which helps you burn more calories.  A detox is supposed to be helpful in reprogramming your body to realise it does not need addictive ‘hits’ of sugar and salt.

A good detox should teach you how to make changes for good and eliminate cravings for caffeine, sugar, salty snacks and alcohol.  A bad detox will encourage you to fast or consume only liquids for a specific amount of time.  This is harmful to the metabolism (and potentially fatal) and many people report that any weight they lost during the detox was quickly regained (and then some!) after the detox was over.

But do we really need to remove toxins from our bodies?   Detox advocates believe that detox programs lead to healthier eating patterns however the critics  argue that there is no evidence that detox regimes help remove toxins from the body.  They claim that the lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune systems already remove or neutralise toxic substances for us.

Unfortunately, the reason why detox diets appeal to the public is that they are based around the ‘quick fix’ philosophy. If you want to feel and look better then by all means eliminate sugar, caffeine, processed foods and alcohol from your diet.  Do start eating more fresh fruit and veg, nuts and seeds.  Do consume lean proteins and wholegrains.  Do ensure you’re drinking enough water.  But make these changes for the long haul not just for 48 hours or a week.  Your body will thank you.

Want to lose weight? Fill up!

24 Jun

…on fiber!  That’s right, stuff yourself silly with lots of fiber to really reap weight loss benefits.

A recent study found that women who increased their daily fiber intake from 12 grams to 24 absorbed approximately 91 fewer calories per day than those who ate the same amount of food but less fiber.

Even if you do nothing more to your usual diet except add more fiber you could lose a whopping 4kg in a year without even trying.  I like the sound of them apples!  Get it?  Apples… good source of fiber.  HAHA!  What a knee slapper!

What is Fiber?

Fiber is the indigestible part of a plant.  It can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, beans and wholegrains.  Fiber can not be digested by the body so it quickly zips through leaving you with a lovely cleaned out gastrointestinal system.

What are the types of Fiber?

There’s two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.  You can find soluble fiber hiding away inside foods like the flesh of apples. Soluble fiber binds with liquids inside your tummy and makes you feel full.  It also slows down digestion which allows your body to absorb all the goodness from the rest of your food.

Insoluble fiber is what your granny is usually after.  Grannies love to poop regularly (who doesn’t for that matter?  We just might not talk about it as much as granny does) and I always take note of their smiling “I just pooped and it was fantastic” faces in Metamucil ads. It grows bulky in the belly as it absorbs liquid. The bulk then pushes waste out of your system.  You can find insoluble fiber in the skins and outer parts of foods.

Whilst insoluble fiber is pushing waste out of your system, it also goes to work sweeping nasty toxins out.  Eat lots of natural foods to reap the benefits of both kinds of fiber.

Women’s Health Magazine explains: “If you’re noshing on cereal with 44 grams of carbs per serving, but 10 of those carb grams come from dietary fiber, your body will absorb only the 34 grams of non-fiber carbs. The result: high-fiber fare can help you stay out of the spike-and-crash cycle some high-carb foods can create.”  So look for foods with a high fiber content.

How much fiber should we get in a day?

Well first off, as a nation we are certainly NOT getting enough.  The recommended daily intake is 25 grams however the average woman is only getting about 14.  Ditch the fiber-empty fare and replace with fiber-rich foods.  They pack more nutrients which is important if you are cutting calories.

Rather than reach for products like Metamucil (which has no nutritional benefits) it’s always best to get your fiber from natural foods.  It’s important to increase your fiber gradually as a sudden intake can leave you bloated and gassy which is an unattractive trait in anybody.  So start off slowly and drink loads of water while you’re at it.

Be careful not to overdose on fiber too!  As soon as you hit 50 grams a day the benefits starts to wear off and it can begin to affect your absorption of vitamins and minerals.

How do we get 25 grams in a day?

Here are some simple equations to get you started:

1 apple (5g) + 1 pear (5g) + 1 cup of broccoli (4.5g) + 1 cup of oats (12g) = 26.5 grams of fiber

1 banana (4g) + 1 cup of strawberries (4g) + ½ avocado (6g) + 1 cup of carrot (5g) + 2 slices of wholewheat bread (4g) = 23 grams of fiber

1 cup of bran (19g) + 1 pear (5g) = 24 grams of fiber

1 cup of red lentils (15.6g) + 1 cup of sweet potato (6g) + 1 cup of blueberries (4g) = 25.6g grams of fiber

So as you can see, it’s not too difficult to get the right amount of fiber in your diet!  For a list of foods and their fiber values check this site: http://commonsensehealth.com/Diet-and-Nutrition/List_of_High_Fiber_Foods.shtml

Start today and you’ll reap the benefits very quickly!  Happy poopin’ everyone!  😉

I have it… and 1 in 5 of you will have it too

23 Jun

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder affecting Australian women.  1 in 5 women have it but a shocking 70% of women have no idea.

PCOS can cause acne, weight gain and excessive body hair.  Most women are too embarassed about seeing a doctor about any of these conditions so they are left untreated.  PCOS also carries an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer and it also a leading cause of infertility.

Unfortunately, when women do end up going to the doctor, their symptoms are treated individually rather than investigating the underlying problem.  Personally, I went to the doctor several times spanning over a few years trying to get to the bottom of my weight problem.  Instead of looking into any possible hormonal issues I was advised to try Xenical (a horrible weight loss drug), exercise more and eat less.  Eventually a doctor advised I see a nutritionist and it was only then that the nutritionist suggested I get tested for PCOS.

PCOS is a confusing syndrome.  Not all sufferers have cysts on their ovaries and some women who do have cysts do not have PCOS.  In Australia you must have at least 2 of the following to be diagnosed with PCOS:

1. Infrequent or absent periods

2. High blood levels of male hormones or visible signs of facial hair, acne and male pattern balding

3. Ovarian cysts which show up on an ultrasound

If you have any of the above it is important that you see a doctor as they can offer you treatment which will in turn lead to a better quality of life and prevention of future diseases.

A few common theories around what causes PCOS are insulin resistance (which I have a mild case of) and high levels of male hormones.  Importantly, not all women who have PCOS have insulin resistance nor do they all have high levels of male hormones.  Another cause could possibly be genetics.

Sadly, 50% of PCOS sufferers are overweight or obese.  Overweight PCOS women rather than thinner PCOS women are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndromes.  Therefore it is especially important to reduce body weight (hence my my own weight loss journey!).

Evidence has been reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine that if a women sheds fat (in particular around her middle) she significantly lowers her insulin resistance and therefore may start ovulating as well.  Losing just 5% of total body weight decreases insulin and testosterone levels and can improve excess hair and acne.  Also it will give fertility a mighty boost.

It’s not easy though.  Many PCOS women report that after dieting solidly and working out regularly they lost minimal weight in comparison to what their non-PCOS counterparts would lose.   This rings true with me as well as according to the diet and exercise regime I follow I should be losing a lot more weight at a much quicker pace.   This is because insulin promotes fat storage in the body.  Unfortunately, experts say that there isn’t enough evidence that PCOS makes losing weight harder but I would like to invite them to live a day in my shoes and see what they think after that! There has been recent evidence though that fat tissue (which secretes hormones that influence metabolism and appetite) acts differently in PCOS women regardless of their weight.  Hopefully this will lead to further discoveries in this area.

After many failed weight loss attempts I finally signed up with a good trainer who is knowledgeable in the field of womens health.  She suggested I stop taking the pill.  This seemed to be a good first step as slowly the weight started to shift.  It’s not at a fast pace but I believe the key to keeping weight off for good is to do it slowly.

PCOS is extremely frustrating no matter what your symptoms are – infertility, weight, acne or excess hair – however with the right diet (low GI, fresh and whole foods), medical support and adequate exercise you could reveal the key to happier and more fulfilling life.

Lemon pepper spiced pork with cheesy aoili pasta

22 Jun

This is one of those meals where you come home and think, “What am I going to make with this stuff that’s sitting idly in my fridge?”. I had some pork and salad ready to go but I always like to ensure a balanced meal with a serving of good carbs.

I added aoili to my mash the other week so thought it might go well with pasta too! And I was right! I used Paul Newmans Own aoili but you could make your own if you’re feeling adventurous (and have time!).

Ingredients

Pork fillet
Lemon pepper seasoning
Garlic
Chilli powder
Salt and pepper
1 Cup of cooked pasta (I used rigatoni but I think little spirals or penne would be best)
Tablespoon of aoili
1/4 cup of grated light tasty cheese
Parsley (fresh is best but I used a little dried parsley)

Season the pork with a little lemon pepper seasoning, a pinch of chilli powder, salt and pepper and a little grated garlic. Cook for approx 3 – 4 minutes a side in a lightly greased pan.

Mix the aoili, cheese and parsley in with the cooked pasta until combined well and cheese is melted.

Serve with salad or vegetables. Voilà!

Healthy chicken parmigiana

21 Jun

Here’s a simple and healthy version of chicken parmigiana that I am sure you will love!

Ingredients:

Chicken breast, trimmed of sinew and excess meat
Spinach (fresh, frozen or baby)
Grated light tasty cheese
Tinned tomatoes, drained and rinsed
Italian dried herbs (or whatever you like – fresh parsley or oregano would be nice!)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees (190 fan forced).

Make a pocket in the chicken breast and hollow out with a sharp knife. Stuff the chicken with a few spoonfuls of spinach and cheese. Seal the pocket shut with a couple of toothpicks.

Tear off a square of aluminium foil. Place the chicken on the foil and top with a couple of spoonfuls of tomato. Sprinkle herbs on top. Fold the foil over and seal the edges by rolling them.

Place in oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

You could even add olives, capers and artichokes! Just place them on top of the tomatoes before sealing the foil.

Serve with vegetables or salad or slice the chicken and serve on top of rice or pasta.

Enjoy!