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Giveaway: Balancing Health and Wellbeing with Blackmores!

2 Dec

I was recently contacted by Blackmore’s to do a review of their new “Personal Health System”.  At first, I was a bit wary.  I get asked to do a lot of product reviews and I like to align myself only with things that I truly believe in and things that I think are relevant to mine and my reader’s interests.  So I had a quick squiz (yes, squiz, I’m standing by that word!) at the site and I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I saw!

Developed specifically for time-poor Australians, The Blackmores Personal Health System (PHS) takes Blackmores’ expert understanding of nature and science a step further, providing an individually tailored online health program which combines the latest interactive technology with personal support from Blackmores’ team of naturopaths.

Basically, it is a 360 degree holistic approach to health including menu plans, nutrition advice, fitness suggestions, and a community of support as well as a lot more. It gives time-poor people the opportunity to stay fit and healthy wherever they are, whenever they want, with the support they need.  Blackmores has also welcomed Asher Keddie (Australian actress and star of TV show OffSpring) as their inaugural PHS member and ambassador.

I decided to trial the Sport & Fitness Program as it was most relevant to my goals.   The first thing I did was get stuck into the Health Assessment which was VERY thorough!  I may have giggled at how many questions about pooh it asks but hey, a healthy pooh is very important!  😉  My overall score was 82/100 which is 14 points above the average of all females.   It went on to show the areas that are letting me down – vitality and digestive health being the main culprits.  But after having a chat to one of their wonderful naturopaths and being sent some awesome supplements to try, I’m pleased to report that these issues are no longer such a problem for me!  I’ll provide a review on these products in another post!

Once I had completed the assessment I started browsing the other areas of the program.  There was really nothing that it didn’t cover – it has everything!  It provides you with a menu plan, a workout plan, a food and workout diary, a My Body tracking system (where you can record PBs, your weight and measurements – SO motivating!), access to email your assigned naturopath whenever you see fit (my FAVOURITE feature) as well as an awesome resource library that has great articles on nutrition, exercise and healthy living.   There is also a great forum with over 308,000 members and growing!  I personally think that being a part of a community is highly beneficial to reaching your goals as it provides an invaluable amount of support and motivation.

I honestly can not speak highly enough about this system!  I have only covered the basics of it too, it offers so much more!  And lucky for you guys I have TWO FREE one-month passes to giveaway (valued at $49.95 each)!

To win just leave a comment below on why you think you are deserving to win this prize!  A winner will be drawn at random on Monday the 12th of December at approximately 9:00am EST.

Get in quick guys!  This is a great way to help you start your new year (and new you!) with a bang!

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Dexa Scan – Review & Results

3 Aug

Yesterday I went to get a dexa scan and I have to say it was honestly one of the most interesting things I have ever done in my life!

What is a Dexa Scan?

Body Composition Australia uses the worlds most advanced scanning technology from Hologic, USA.  Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), assesses total body bone mineral density and highly accurate measures of the body’s soft tissue composition (muscle mass and fat mass).  By measuring your body’s muscle mass, fat mass, and bone mineral density, Body Composition Australia can determine your total body fat percentage, and changes in regional body composition. We also undertake specific measures to determine your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. 

Dr Jarrod Meerkin was so lovely and made me feel very at ease.  The scan is non-invasive and you remain fully clothed the whole time.  The only thing that is uncomfortable about the whole thing is the amount of time you need to remain still!   Basically, all you need to do is lie down on a bench and the scanning device passes over your body.  The whole process takes about 5 minutes.  It’s that easy.

My Results:

Firstly, he told me that my bone density was excellent.  It is so good that it is actually off the charts for my age.  How you like them apples??

Then he moved onto the real reason I was there – to learn more about how much fat and muscles my body holds.

My overall body fat percentage was 27.6% (women should be between 21 – 33%).

Jarrod explained to me that the percentage number is not the most important factor here.  What is more important is the actual fat mass and lean muscle mass that your body holds.

I have 18.5kg of fat mass and 45.8kg of muscle mass (which he said was very good).

The total fat mass of females should weigh between 20kg – 25kg.  He explained that anyone who falls between 15kg and 20kg is doing very well.  Professional female athletes sit between 10kg and 15kg of fat mass therefore this is now my goal.

Body Part Breakdown:

Each arm: approx 1kg fat mass; 2.2kg muscle mass
Trunk: approx 6kg fat mass; 23kg muscle mass
Each leg: approx 4.5kg fat mass; 7.8kg muscle mass

So How Do I Get to My Goal?

The coolest part of the whole process was when Jarrod broke down all the information in order to develop a plan and helped me set an initial goal of getting to 23% body fat within 12 weeks.

Using the information from my results he calculated that my BMR is 1565 cal/day (the amount of calories your body needs to just maintain life).  To get to 23% I would need to be at a weight of 63.9 – 64.9kg.  To achieve this I will need to lose 4kg of fat (which would bring me to 14.5kg of body fat) and gain 1-2kg of muscle.  To achieve THIS I need to modify my diet and expend a MINIMUM of 1800 cals per week on exercise (too easy!).

Then he gave me my new calorie and macro requirements: 1900 cals per day; 166g protein; 143g of carbs and 74g fat (fat total is to be divided by 3 – 1/3 sat fats and 2/3 poly and monounsaturated fats).

I’m excited to punch all the numbers into Calorie King and develop a new meal plan!  Yay!  More food!

For those in Sydney, you can get it done in Pitt Street at http://www.bodycomposition.com.au/

Prices are here: http://www.bodycomposition.com.au/index.php?pageid=2 (I had the short consult)

Moral of the story – whether you are serious about making gains or loses, get this done. You will not regret it.

The scans are clearly VERY flattering... haha

 

 

Review: CLA

15 Jul

I have been using CLA now for about 4 weeks so now it’s time for my review!  I must also apologise for my lack of posting – life has been very busy lately!

What is CLA?

Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) is a type of fatty acid that is found mainly in meat and dairy products.

Over 30 clinical studies have been conducted on CLA with the following possible benefits being found:

  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Decreases abdominal fat
  • Enhances muscle growth
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Enhances immune system
  • Anti-Carcinogenic

One study that I found particularly interesting can be found here.  This study was conducted by a company that makes CLA so it’s important to remember the results can be skewed.

Another interesting article can be found here.

My Experience With CLA

In the four weeks I have been using CLA, whilst keeping up my clean eating and exercise regime, I have leaned out , particularly in the middle, more than ever before.   I take two capsules of CLA, 3 times a day, with meals.

My last measurement results showed that I had lost 3cm from my waist and 2cm from navel and I had only been using CLA for two weeks at that time!  I definitely attribute this to the CLA as my results have been fairly consistent and this loss was quite a big one for me.   I am also starting to feel my abs come through, which excites me greatly!

My new measurements and photos will be taken in about a weeks time so we will really be able to see the results then but I am feeling confident that I will have some more good results this month.

Muscle growth has been coming along nicely too but I can’t really say if that’s just a side effect from training hard. 😉

As for immune support, well, I caught a terrible respiratory infection so it hasn’t done so much for me in that area I’m afraid!

One thing to note though – this is not some miracle pill that will make your weight worries go away.  You MUST train hard and you MUST eat clean for this to work.  Otherwise you may as well just be taking capsules full of olive oil, it will simply do nothing.

Where to buy it?

Your best bet is to source it online.   Have a bit of a search for the best deal.

This is the brand I use:

Have you used CLA?  What’s your experience?

Review: Dietlicious

7 Jul

Recently I was contacted by Dietlicious who asked me if I would like to try their meal service.  My response?  Hell yes I would like to try your meal service!  So they VERY generously sent me a weeks worth of lunches and dinners to try.

What I love about Dietlicious is that it’s not a DIET.  There’s no heavy restrictions, just good quality real food that has been portion (very important!) and carb controlled.

Their meals taste absolutely delicious (hence their clever play on words – ‘dietlicious’) and very gourmet.  The philosophy they stick by is that you shouldn’t need to sacrifice taste to lose weight, you can still eat tasty (but healthy!) food – it’s just all about the portions in which you eat it!  I think this is very true for successful weight loss.

The meals are conveniently delivered straight to your doorstep and on top of frozen meals they also provide you with fresh salad ingredients and airlocked bags of fresh vegetables which you can add to any meal as you see fit.  Everything is labelled clearly and has heating instructions.  The ingredients and nutritional values are also clearly displayed.   You can read about what plans Dietlicious offers here.

Now, about the food!  My favourite meals were:

Chicken Cacciatore (373 calories)

Baby lamb fillets marinated in lemon, garlic + sumac, ready to grill (137 calories)

Honey Soy Chicken Noodles (429 calories)

I also had a couple of gorgeous curries that I can’t seem to find pictures of on the website, but trust me, they make a GOOD curry!  Even though the above were my favourites, I did thoroughly enjoy every meal they gave me.

The smaller serving sizes were a little hard to get used to at first (I’m used to a more generous serve of protein) but by the end of the week I was absolutely fine with it and even felt full at the end of each meal.  I have now carried over the smaller portion sizes into my own diet.

You can pick and choose the meals that you want delivered or you can just ask them to send you a variety, it’s up to you.   There’s also snack packs, fruit and breakfasts’ that you can add to your order.

Another thing that I found really cool is that they have husband/partner meals, larger serves of the same meal that you can order along with your meals so that your partner isn’t missing out and you get to eat the same thing at meal times!

Having tried another meal delivery service in the past, I can honestly say that this was far more superior in terms of taste, freshness, nutritional value and convenience.

So, if you are looking to lose weight yet still get to eat delicious and nutritious food, then Dietlicious is where it is at!  Give it a go.  You will not be disappointed.  🙂

Update!  FREE snacks for your first order
Place an order for one week and receive a free snack pack. If you place a multiple week order you will receive free snacks for each week up to 5 weeks.
promo code: snacks

Amanda’s TV Debut!

3 Jun

I was lucky enough to be asked on Kerri-Anne this week to talk about weight loss and it’s correlation with happiness and positive self-image.

For those of you overseas and unsure on who Kerri-Anne is, she is a very popular morning show host and has been in the television industry for many many years.  Justin called her the Australian Oprah.  Not like that helped me.  It just made me more nervous!

I had never been on TV before so I was extremely nervous and a little tongue-tied but I would have been a fool to pass up the opportunity to talk about something I am so passionate about.  Plus, Kerri-Anne was so lovely that it was easier to relax.  A little.  😉

The blog readers that have been with me since the beginning may recall my earlier posts on how I started to change the way I saw myself, improve my self-image and get motivated.  Here’s some links on the posts I have written on these topics:

Celebrities Are not Diet & Fitness Role Models

How to Get Motivated

The Follow On Effect

How Your Thought Patterns Impact Your Weight Loss

You Are What You Think

Goodbye Burgers, Goodbye Fries, Hello Health

Sometimes, when I feel unmotivated and wonder why I’m doing all of this, I just go back and read those posts and it sets me right back on the straight and narrow again.  It puts it all back into perspective that I am doing this for ME and if you don’t put yourself first then who else will?  🙂

So, without further adieu, here’s my appearance on Kerri-Anne!

It’s Time to Disconnect

18 May

One of the hardest things that I have had to overcome during my lifestyle overhaul (and especially during Project Tighten Up) was to stop eating food for pleasure.  I loved food (I still do, but not as intensely) and whilst I didn’t eat extremely unhealthily, I still made taste the main focus of my meals.  A lot of people would think, “Duh, taste is what it is all about!” but when you embark on a mission to TOTALLY reshape your body, taste can no longer be the primary or only focus.

When we eat something yummy it sends little signals to the pleasure centres in our brain that says, “Om nom nom, this is GOOD” and we want more.  So we eat more.  And the whole time there is a little party going off in our mouths and our heads and it’s a glorious time.  Ever been to a party and there’s some amazing soft cheese there?  How hard is it to stop at one piece?  Bloody hard, if you’re a cheese-a-holic like me.  That’s because food is almost like a drug – you become addicted to the pleasure it provides.  Hence, fat happens.

So, how do we disconnect these crazy little signals?  It all comes down retraining the way you think about food.  At the moment, I think of food as fuel.  I figure out what I will need throughout the day to fuel my workouts and I plan my menu around that.  I know I will need low GI carbohydrates to give me slow release energy, lean protein to help my muscles grow and aid recovery and healthy fats to keep me full.  I can make these things tasty and therefore give my pleasure centres a lil sumpin sumpin by adding garlic, herbs, lemon and chilli without increasing the calorie content.

People ask me if I get bored eating the same thing every day.  I honestly don’t because I’m now so focused on food being fuel that it doesn’t bother me.  I make my lunches for the week on a Sunday and I will happily eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day resting assured in that fact that by doing so I will be moving closer to my goal of taking over the world of achieving ultimate health and fitness.  And a bangin body to boot.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t reward those pesky little pleasure centres every now and then because I certainly do and would probably die if I didn’t.  Okay, I probably won’t die but I would be a sad little bulge battler.  Once a week or so I’ll indulge and have a treat – that might mean a few pieces of chocolate or it may mean a delicious takeaway thai beef salad but I maintain the discipline not to go overboard and to keep it within a reasonable calorie limit.  Only on special occasions do I allow myself to indulge further and have something that I really want (like my favourite pub meal – steak, salad and chips) and maybe even a few glasses of wine.  But apart from these moments I stay strict on my food and alcohol intake because I don’t workout this hard to go and undo it by eating foods that offer me no nutritional value.  I’m going forwards people!  I do not want to stay at a stand-still or go backwards!

Think before you reach for that chocolate or that piece of pizza next time and ask yourself – why do I want to eat this?  Is it purely because it tastes good?  If so, you’re falling back into the old “food for pleasure” cycle.  Have something that offers better nutritional value instead and treat your body like the temple it deserves to be.

Do you think of food as fuel or are you stuck in the “food for pleasure” cycle?

Recently Trialled Health Products!

3 May

I’ve been meaning to post about these for a while now but I have been time poor lately.  Okay, poor choice of words… I’ve not been time efficient.  Argh, alright alright, I’ve been outright lazy.  OKAY?!  Gosh you people, always on my back.  I joke, I joke.  😉

I’m going to make this really easy for you (and me) and just give you some bullet-pointed notes on each product.  Then, hopefully, you can make an educated decision on whether you would like to try them or not!  I’m hoping it’s a big fat YES because they are each equally wonderful!

Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties and is even being used to help treat AIDS patients
  • It is known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of the arteries
  • It has been shown to improve digestion and strengthen the immune system
  • It is used as an energy booster and enhances the performance of athletes
  • It is great for weight loss as the fat in coconut oil is used to produce energy and speed up metabolism, rather than be stored as body fat
  • It is fantastic as a massage oil or body moisturiser
  • Start off taking a teaspoon daily and slowly work up to 3 – 4 tablespoons
  • You can add it to smoothies or cook / bake with it (I recently used it in a thai inspired soup and it was delicious!)

I buy my coconut oil products from Nature Pacific.

Vital Greens

Vital Greens sent me some samples to try recently and I think this is an amazing product!

  • It’s a great tasting green powder that you mix into your favourite milk, juice, smoothie or water
  • Contains 76 all-natural ingredients and is known as a “super food”
  • It has all the benefits of spirulina, chlorella and other super foods in the blend as well as herbs, enzymes, probiotics and minerals
  • It’s free from gluten, allergens, additives, artificial flavours, dairy, wheat and other nasties
  • It helps detoxify, energise, alkalise, nourish and support your system

Why not visit their site and give it a go for yourself?

Whey Protein Isolate

I was so thankful to receive a sample of this product and will definitely be using this for the long-term, that’s for sure.  I’ve even got Justin on to it!  I’d been looking for a good quality whey protein isolate product for a little while and when I stumbled across Double Barrel Nutrition’s site I knew I had hit the jackpot.

  • Contains no added fillers or flavourings – just 100% high quality whey protein
  • I blend it into my morning smoothie and flavour it with a little honey
  • Whey protein is derived from milk during the process in which milk is turned into cheese
  • Protein is found naturally in every day dairy products, eggs, and soy, but the quality is not comparable to whey protein powder nor is it as easy to use
  • Studies have shown that whey protein is the best concentration to provide optimal performance
  • Whey protein contains BCAA’s which can be utilised directly by the muscle cells, so they are used at a high rate during exercise
  • These BCAA’s have shown in studies to have the greatest positive effect on muscle protein synthesis among all of the amino acids
  • Have a read of this site for lots of useful info on Whey Protein – www.wheyoflife.org

Do you use any of the above products or products that are similar?  What do you think of them?