Secrets of success

Just a short post today about some startling statistics that confirm what I have been saying on this blog. The US National Weight Control Registry tracks over 5000 individuals who have lost more than 13kg and kept it off long term, improving their health & quality of life. Below are a few of the common traits of each participant:

98% modified their food intake

78% eat breakfast

75% are weighed/weigh themselves at least once a week

62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week

90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day

Did you know…

  • It takes 20 minutes of brisk walking to burn off 1 x skinny latte
  • Every ‘standard’ glass of wine takes 20 minutes of walking to burn off
  • We lose around 5% of muscle each decade after the age of 30 (if we don’t do regular strength training)
  • Your metabolism drops by 140kjs for every kilogram of muscle lost
  • 95% of people regain their weight after ‘going off’ a diet
  • 75% of your calories are burned by your basal metabolism

You cannot out-run or out-train a poor diet!

Staggered calorie intake…fasting….the 5:2 philosophy…what’s the deal?

intermittent-fastingThere has been much hype regarding intermittent fasting and the idea of eating normally for 5 days and fasting (very low calorie diet VLCD) for 2 days. You may have seen documentaries and/or read a book by doctor and BBC journalist, Dr Michael Mosley, who espouses this method to reduce visceral (internal) body fat and consequently the associated diseases. While I have quite enjoyed his documentaries and he raises some interesting points, there are still many unanswered questions as his productions are not exactly long-term, peer-reviewed studies, but rather intriguing observations with many unexplored variables.

For those who have been asking for my opinion on the 5:2 method, here are my thoughts on the unexplored variables:

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Coping with Peer Pressure

peer-pressureIt’s one thing to change your own psychology when embarking on a new eating and exercise regime but watch in wonder at how all of your friends react too. It’s quite an eye opener.

Often the people you think will be most supportive, turn out to be the most threatened. They start to notice you are choosing different foods from a menu, bringing lunch to work from home instead of the local sandwich bar and all the questions begin. Curiosity develops into lectures or challenges on the subject because there is always one friend or colleague who knows better.

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Media Headline: “High protein diet raises cancer risk as much as smoking”

Too much proteinDozens of worldwide media outlets reported on the same study published in the Journal of Cell Metabolism. Let’s take a look at the facts…

The study:

The researchers conducted a 24-hour dietary recall (known to be highly inaccurate) and measured nutrient intake (protein, carbohydrates, fats, and calories) of 6,000 participants. These participants were categorised into three groups (low, medium and high protein intake) based on their consumption in one 24 hour period.

Eighteen years later they measured causes of death (cancer, diabetes, heart disease and all-cause mortality). The researchers theory was that protein increases IGF-1, which may increase the rate of growth in tumours already present in mice. In addition to this, 2,200 participants were tested for IGF-1 levels, although no information on how this testing was done was detailed in the study.

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The Powerful Connection Between Your Mental Health and Your Diet

mind and dietYou can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading about the latest studies linking diet and nutrition to all manner of disease, such as sugar and diabetes, folate and spina bifida or obesity and heart disease…but what about our mental health? You may be surprised to learn just a few of the following facts. Yet a few more reasons to ‘nourish’ your body with food! Read More

The Calorie Misconception

I have found over many years of consulting with and advising clients, that most people believe they need far more calories than they actually do. While online calorie calculators are now widely accessible, they may provide an estimate of your requirement, but much of the time I have found these estimates to be too high. Particularly when we enter information about our activity to calculate calories burned over and above our minimum daily requirement (BMR). In the menu planner in my sixth book, The End of Dieting,  you will find and accurate BMR calculator. However, be careful not to overestimate your perceived activity. Once you have one of these calculations, if you follow this honestly over a period of weeks and you do not see a significant loss in body fat, you are probably over-consuming. In this case, I don’t care about the fact that your calculations are correct, or that it’s working for your best friend and third cousin on your mothers side! The only thing that matters is that it’s not working for you. The fact remains that if you continue to do the same thing you will continue to get the same result. You either increase your daily exercise and/or decrease your portions by 10 per cent (or both!) and you WILL kick-start fat loss. Your body is a mirror-image of your lifestyle. If you’re 80 kilos with a goal of 60 kilos, and you get ‘stuck’ at 70 kilos, it’s because you have the diet and exercise habits of a 70 kilo person. Tweak your lifestyle to that of a 60 kilo person and your body will have no choice but to follow you there!

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Diet soft drinks – Friend or Foe?

soft drink photoDiet soft drinks began way back in 1952, when a New York-based company launched a sugar-free ginger ale called No-Cal. This was created with Diabetics in mind, not dieters. Over the next few decades, several other companies began to compete in this arena and, in 1963, the Coca-Cola Company joined in with the launch of the cyclamate and saccharin sweetened ‘Tab’. In 1982 our very own Elle Macpherson strutted her stuff on the very famous TV commercial. This was closely followed by the release of Diet Pepsi in the 1960’s. Over the years there have been numerous reformulations of these diet drinks due to the banning of certain sweetening agents and their links to ill health and disease (in the case of cyclamates, the FDA banned them on evidence they caused cancer in lab rats). These days most are still sweetened with aspartame (Nutrasweet) or a combination of several different artificial sweeteners.

It’s interesting … while there have been rumblings about the potential health risks of diet soft drinks for many years now (regular drinkers have a 43% increased risk of stroke and heart attack and other vascular problems), it’s not until you hear that your risk of gaining weight is increased by 54.5% with just 1-2 cans a day that the majority of the soda drinking population prick their ears up! Let’s explore this further…

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Let Food Be Thy Medicine!

food-picWhile we know that our food choices can have an impact on our weight and energy levels, you may not realise that they can also have a significant impact on inflammation. With inflammation at the source of many disease processes, it’s important to be aware of what is driving the inflammatory process and what can reduce/reverse it.

Surprisingly, the human body contains over 10 times more bacteria cells than human cells. This fine balance of bacteria, known as our microbiome, is now understood to have a significant impact on human health. The human microbiome may be implicated in numerous auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes and some cancers. Not only is the flora in our gut the foundation of our immune system (>70 percent is housed in our gut wall), obesity may also be exacerbated by a poor mix of gut microbes. These microbes control many functions essential to health, such as synthesis of nutritional compounds, for immune modulation and for inflammatory signalling.

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Protein Powders Explained

Contrary to popular belief, Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is not going to make you ‘bulk up’ and athleticism is not a prerequisite for its consumption.  Having said this, not all protein powders are created equal. Firstly, let’s understand what it is….

The curd in dairy is used for making cheese, while the liquid component, known as whey, is separated from the curd and is put through a micro-filter to remove the lactose and casein – two things many of us don’t digest well – and you’re left with the valuable amino acids and calcium. Whey Protein is possesses the highest biological value of all known Foods (the biological value of well-manufactured Whey Protein is 110-159 on a scale of 1-100). It has many immune-boosting properties, it can slow the process of sarcopenia (muscle loss as we age – see the chart below), lower triglycerides (fats in our blood), boost glutathione levels (powerful antioxidant), boost calcium intake, help to control our weight and keep us feeling fuller for longer.

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Core: what is it and how can you improve yours?

CoreFitnessWhile core training has become a bit of a fitness buzz word in recent years, many are still unsure of exactly which muscles are involved in our core stability and how to activate them. Hopefully this information will help to provide some clarity.

While most think of core as a tight six-pack or toned abs, but the most obvious abdominal muscles only form a small part of the core, which is actually group of muscles that stabilise the spine and pelvis. Therefore, a core-strengthening exercise program needs to include all of these muscles to be effective. When well-conditioned, core muscles help to distribute the stresses of weight-bearing, as well as improving our balance and posture and reducing our risk of injury.

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