Diet soft drinks – friend of foe?

April 3rd, 2014

Diet 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…

What are we drinking?

The primary ingredient is carbonated water. After this the ingredients vary, commonly a cocktail of artificial flavours, sweeteners, colours, acidifying and buffering agents, viscosity-producing and foaming agents and preservatives.

Sweeteners: Whilst those used in these drinks are ‘approved’ by the governing authorities, many other health practitioners caution against their consumption due to numerous complaints of side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, mood swings, nausea, seizures and abdominal pain.

Phosphoric Acid: This ingredient stops soft drinks from going flat.  Unfortunately it also leaches calcium from your bones and teeth in an attempt to restore your bodys delicate balance of phosphorus and calcium. It also neutralizes hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which is needed for digestion.

Potassium and sodium benzoate: These are preservatives that fend off mold and bacteria. When mixed with vitamin C the reaction forms benzene – a chemical which has been linked to leukemia and other cancers (according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest). Benzene is the same chemical which is released into the air from car emissions, burning coal and oil. It’s also used extensively in production of dyes, detergents, synthetic fibres, solvents, rubber and plastics. The US FDA conducted a food testing program between 1995 and 2000 and found that 79% of the soft drinks were found to have benzene above safe levels.

Artificial colouring: Various colouring, such as blue 1, caramel, red 40 and yellow 5 are common in soft drinks. Caramel colouring has recently been the topic of interest with studies showing these brown-coloured soft drinks contain a dose of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-Mel, commonly referred to on labels simply as ‘caramel colouring’. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer say the chemical may cause cancer and is concerned about exposure above 29 micrograms/day. Many soft drinks tested contained amounts of 4-Mel above this level.

The low down

The perception that diet sodas are a healthier alternative to sugary soft drinks might be very wrong, according to the results of the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, which were reported at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2011 Scientific Sessions.

This study, conducted over a 9 year period, showed that overall consumers of diet soft drinks experienced a 70% greater increase in waist circumference than non-consumers.

This is not the first study to associate weight gain with the consumption of diet soft drinks. In 2005, another study found that those who consumed 1-2 cans per day of diet soft drink had a 54.5% greater chance of being overweight or obese, plus for each can consumed per day, a persons risk of obesity increased by 41%!

So how can this be so when there is no sugar and almost no calories in diet drinks?

There are several possibilities…

-       the sweet taste has an effect on the appetite control centre in our brain

-       the sweet taste may stimulate an insulin response, just as it would when sugar is consumed. Insulin is a ‘fat storage’ hormone

-       it’s possible there is no effect at all, except that overweight people may tend to drink more diet drinks (it’s a chicken & egg situation!)


At this stage, there is no conclusive evidence to indicate which of these may be most plausible, however, the fact remains that, for whatever reason/s, diet sodas increase your risk of gaining excess body fat and, the more you consume the greater your risk.

Given the ingredients outlined above and the fact that these drinks may also increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, stroke, heart attack, weight gain and possibly even cancer, I really can’t think of a good reason to partake…


March 26th, 2014

There is much hype in recent years about balancing the pH of your dietary intake to promote good health. I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain a few facts about this theory and hopefully help to further clarify the subject.

What are these acid-alkaline diets based on?

These diets are based on a theory that each food we eat leaves a residue (acidic or alkaline) in the body following digestion. This is not related directly to whether the food itself is acidic (such as a lemon). In fact, lemons leave an alkaline residue. Some people believe that if we consume too many of these acid-forming foods our blood and tissues become acidic, which they believe causes disease. Based on this theory, these diets promote more alkaline-residue foods to enhance health and wellbeing.

So which foods are acid-forming and which are alkaline?

The answer to this question is complex and often contradictory, however, as a general rule, fruits and vegetables are considered alkaline-forming foods, whilst meats and grains are acid-forming. The problem is, much of the available information is contradictory and I am yet to see any evidence of how these food lists are compiled – nor have I seen any reputable study citing proof of this theory.  There are studies on almost every diet theory ever created, so it seems no researchers have found the acid-alkaline diet theory worthy of further investigation.

Why? Well it’s true that if your blood became even slightly over-acidic or alkaline and remained this way for even a couple of minutes, you’d likely find yourself in a coma. Where this theory really falls down is that, thankfully, the food we consume has very little effect on our bloods pH. If mother nature had allowed us to be entirely responsible for such a delicate balance in our diet, mankind would have ceased to exist a very long time ago!

Many of these acid-alkaline diet advocates will suggest you prove the effect diet has on your bodys pH by peeing on pH sticks which can be purchased over the counter at any pharmacy. If you’ve tried this, you will know that what you eat can indeed change the pH of your urine, however, this has nothing to do with your blood or tissues. Your kidneys excrete varying levels of acidity and alkalinity in your urine as this is part of their function. They are responsible for maintaining a constant pH in your body.

Is there any merit to this theory?

As always, diet boils down to balance. Not ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ of anything. If you eat too many acid-forming foods, the effort of maintaining pH will deplete your body’s resources, leaving you vulnerable to disease. For example, another way that your body balances pH is to pull calcium from the bones. So, this suggests that eating too many acid-forming foods might promote bone loss.

Again, I’ll just point out that the long-term consequences of a so-called acidic diet are purely hypothetical. They have never been confirmed by any direct research that links the acid-alkaline residue of the diet with health outcomes. But we do have some indirect research. For example, the effects of high-protein diets, which are presumably high in acid-forming foods, have been studied.

For example, high-protein diets can increase bone loss—but only in people who are calcium deficient. In other words, if you are getting enough calcium in your diet (a balanced diet), you’ll have more than enough to maintain your bone mass and safeguard any effects of acid-forming foods.

So what’s the conclusion?

Regardless of what you call your diet, it’s important to ensure you’re consuming a good balance of lean protein, fibre, colourful plant foods and essential fatty acids…all the while limiting or avoiding processed foods such as processed meats, flour, sugar and trans fats.

There is a Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for each and every essential nutrient. This is not our optimal amount, it’s the amount that will prevent 97% of the population from contracting a nutritional deficiency. The majority of diets I analyse on a daily basis do not even come close to covering the RDI, let alone the optimal amount. Whether you label it acid-alkaline or something else, if you aim to include the following in your daily diet, you’ll be well on your way to optimum nourishment and health.

-        25-35 grams of fibre/day (women: 8-10g/meal, men: 10-12g/meal)

-        1000mg calcium/day (1 cup of milk is only 300mg. women over 50 require 1300mg)

-        minimum of 7 serves of colourful fresh vegetables/day (1 serve = ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw)

-        a serve of lean protein in each of your 3 main meals (variety of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy)

-        Omega 3 daily ( daily fish oil capsules, flaxseed oil in salads and fresh fish twice/week)

-        Fresh water – divide your weight in kilos by 28 to estimate your required intake

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

March 8th, 2014

Dozens of worldwide media outlets are reporting on the same study recently 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.

Their “findings”:

This was an observational study.  This means they are looking for relationships between two or more phenomena and commenting on this association, however, this method of research cannot prove causation.

For example, you may look at the association between the increased presence of umbrellas in wet weather. Although umbrellas are often present when it rains, it doesn’t prove that they cause it to rain!

Unfortunately, claiming causation based off of an association is exactly what these researchers have done. Hence the sensationalism of the headlines.

Overall, our human and animal studies indicate that a low protein diet during middle age is likely to be beneficial for the prevention of cancer, overall mortality, and possibly diabetes through a process that may involve, at least in part, regulation of circulating IGF-1. Having said this, is it the low-protein component or is it due to the possibility that those who consume ‘high’ protein generally lead a relatively unhealthy lifestyle. After all, protein can be a Big Mac or a piece of steamed fish. Big difference.

In short, there are many influencing factors that have been ignored in this study. For example, those who eat more meat are typically not living healthy lifestyles. They may be inactive, consume less fruits/vegetables, smoke, consume high amounts of added sugar, alcohol, chemicals and preservatives, etc. They likely live the typical Western life. Despite the ability to control statistically for these factors in an equation, you cannot control physiologically for the interactions, and you certainly cannot pick one factor out of the myriad and claim it is the main cause.

Findings of many studies to date also indicate that it may be important to avoid low protein intake and gradually adopt a moderate to high protein to allow the maintenance of a healthy weight and protection from frailty.

In addition, the authors claim a benefit of increasing the consumption of plant proteins, however, the results from the mice studies where animal protein was actually replaced with plant proteins do not support these statements. There was no effect on tumor growth regardless of type of protein consumed. Not to mention the fact that mice, unlike humans, do not consume very much of their natural diet from protein sources (primarily herbivores).

Despite the very similar rate of cancer death per group, the authors described this as a 70% increase in cancer mortality with higher protein consumption, triggering a media sensation, despite the absence of these statistics (it seems they have calculated this figure over the entire cohort, rather than the categorised groups).

Next the authors claim that protein consumption increases the release of insulin and IGF-1, which increases the growth of existing cancer cells.

It does not cause the development of cancer.  If IGF-1 and insulin caused the development of cancer then we should all avoid exercising (as it’s a powerful stimulator of IGF-1) and eating as every time we eat (especially carbohydrates) insulin is released to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

It’s also worth noting that the author (who supervised this study) is Victor D. Longo (VDL), the founder of the company, VDL. VDL, designed the study and obtained funding from the Nation Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, or the writing or and publishing of the manuscript. VDL has an equity interest in L-Nutra, a company that develops medical food. L-Nutra’s products are a “formulation of natural nutrients with the ability to provide nourishment and allow subjects to enjoy a combination of good and mostly organically grown and plant-based food.”

In summary, there appears to be a vested interest from the author of this study and some exaggerated and unfounded claims, which have eventuated in a sensational media storm. I know we all aim to do the best we can for our health and sensational claims, such as this, don’t make our decisions any easier. I felt compelled to write this blog to clarify a few things.

At the end of the day, a balanced diet containing lean protein (beef, fish, chicken, dairy, eggs) and loads of colourful, fresh plant foods will cover all bases. I don’t advocate “high” or “low” anything as “high” is more than your body can use, which is useless and “low” is less than your body needs, which is also useless. Adequate amounts of lean protein, unprocessed carbs and essential unrefined oils is the best ratio for optimum health and longevity.

As I always say – you can’t believe everything you read!


February 15th, 2014

Tight neck & shoulders? Aching lower back? Do you sit for hours a day? Do you play a sport or train regularly? Read on…prehab may be just what the doctor ordered…

What is it?
Prehab is a customised and ever-evolving exercise program designed to match your lifestyle, physical condition and goals for change and/or maintenance. It provides body-specific focused exercises and activities to best suit an individuals needs.

Used to keep high-level athletes in optimum physical condition for decades, incorporating prehab into your training regime is just as important for those of low to moderate fitness levels, if not more so. The philosophy is essentially to prevent injuries and to keep you fit to train and fit to sit! The development of postural issues, specific muscle weakness/tightness and pressure on joints is exacerbated by day-to-day life. Prolonged working hours, sitting (car, plane, desk, sofa), poor ergonomics in our work environment, stress and recreational sports/exercise can all play a role in causing a multitude of imbalances. Injuries often occur as a result of many years of repetitive strain. You’ll often hear someone say they bent down to tie a shoe lace and ‘put their back out’. The shoe lace is not the cause – it was likely the 10 years of sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day leading up to this event.

The development and execution of an effective program can be complex. The practice of prehab and its success relies greatly on an individuals ability to commit to prevention. The development of the program needs to be progressive and regularly re-evaluated to tweak and change with the individuals needs.

Who Needs it?

Individuals of all ages and fitness levels can gain great benefits from incorporating prehab into their weekly regime. The more stress your body is under, the greater the need for prehab. Too often repetitive actions and everyday stresses can have a negative effect on our body. Incomplete and limited training techniques may cause tightness in certain muscle groups, imbalances in strength, coordination and/or muscle stabilisation. It’s difficult to avoid such imbalances as they occur with most activities and are constantly reinforced. This repetition is at the core of many injuries and may predispose an individual to a greater risk of injury and joint degeneration. This is where a specific prehab program comes in.

What’s involved?

A customised prehab program takes into consideration any existing imbalances, lifestyle, posture, weaknesses and strengths. It balances and optimises your range of movement, strength, coordination and stabilisation. In designing your prehab program, your trainer will compare left to right, front to back and upper to lower. Exercises and mobility training are focused on correcting weaknesses and vulnerabilities, primarily stabilisation of the hips/glutes, and the core. This may require a combination of Clinical Pilates, specialised Personal Training and consultation with an Exercise Physiologist. Tools such as a foam roller, balance boards, Pilates Reformers and weighted balls are invaluable in such a program. A Nutritionist may also be enlisted to complete the Prehab program. It’s important to ensure your movement is not being impaired by carrying excess body fat and/or excessive inflammation, plus there needs to be focus on optimum nutrition to allow efficient muscle recovery.

Prehab programs can be as simple as adding a few exercises in a warm up or cool down or as complex as a dedicated workout focussed on correcting weaknesses.

Who can help me?

Individuals should be screened for imbalances, measuring active range of motion and strength, biomechanical observations, past medical history, overall lifestyle, goals and present health status. Such screenings can be initiated and monitored by a Certified Exercise Physiologist.

For further information, please contact Aston Fitness – or +61 3 9827 8671

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

January 11th, 2014

While 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.

What are the core muscles?

While the definition of this group of muscles varies between experts, the following list are the most commonly identified. Essentially core function can include additional muscles, such as the glutes (bottom), erector spinae (running from your neck to your lower back), the diaphragm and hip flexors, but for the purpose of this explanation I’ll stick with the primary group.

Deep muscles:

Multifidus – located along the vertebral column, these muscles extend and rotate the spine

transverse abdominus (TVA) – located under the obliques, this is the deepest of the core muscles and wraps around your spine like a girdle for protection and stability

internal obliques – located beneath the external obliques

pelvic floor – This is a sling of muscle running from back to front, from the tail bone to the front of the pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles lift, while the deep abdominals draw in.

Surface muscles:

rectus abdominus – located on the front of the abdomen and referred to as a ‘six-pack’ when visible in lean individuals

external obliques – located on the side and front of the abdomen

Why are these muscles important?

Strong core muscles play such an important role in all movement that without conditioning, you’re almost certain to have poor posture and/or sustain an injury. While they’re important for men and women, it’s common for most women to become acutely aware of the importance of core strength during and post-pregnancy. Weak core and pelvic floor muscles can exacerbate bladder leakage, back pain and even the prolapse of internal organs. The pelvic floor muscles work as part of the core to regulate the internal pressure in the abdominal ‘cylinder’, in conjunction with the back and breathing muscles. During exercise the internal pressure within the abdomen is constantly changing. This regulation happens automatically for most people, however, if the core or pelvic muscles become weak, this may no longer work effectively. Ideally, the core muscles should work together with the pelvic floor ‘lifting’ and the abdominal and back muscles ‘drawing in’ to support the spine. However, when this is done incorrectly (and holding your breath), it causes excessive pressure to bear down on the pelvic floor resulting on strain on the bladder and bowel. If repeated, over time this can weaken ligaments and cause leakage or pelvic organ prolapse.

How to I activate my pelvic floor/core correctly?

We used to think that drawing the belly button towards the spine would activate our core, however, the latest research now indicates that this causes some to tighten their back muscles, draw in the abdomen and hold their breath. This places pressure down on the pelvic floor. To work effectively, the core muscles need to contract and relax throughout movement. Constant bracing can lead to stiffness in these muscles and can be as much of a culprit in ‘leakage’ as weak muscles.

The most familiar function that we all use pelvic floor muscles for is stopping ourselves from going to the bathroom. To correctly activate your core and pelvic floor, it’s easiest to feel if you lie down on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Place your fingers on the front of your hip bones and slide them inwards 2-3cms. To activate your pelvic floor muscles, think of stopping yourself from going to the bathroom. You should feel a slight tightening beneath your fingers and your stomach should stay flat. At the same time, think of gently drawing your navel in towards your spine until you feel the muscles tightening beneath your fingers. You should still be able to breath normally and have a conversation when these muscles are contracted correctly. Once you have mastered contracting these muscles, you can begin to practice in standing and seated positions until it becomes second nature.

The ‘Secret’: Make it your New Years Resolution…

December 17th, 2013

If I have a dollar for each time I’m asked (or told) about a new miracle diet plan, pill, cream, procedure or fad exercise class, I’d have my feet up on my private island counting the proceeds!

Despite the fact that the worldwide obesity rate continues to climb and 99% of fad diets end in a dramatic rebound, most continue to remain eternally optimistic about finding the elusive weight loss Holy Grail. While I’m all for optimism, the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect something different to happen!

I’m going to let you in on a secret – and believe me, I am speaking from many years of experience…

To gain and maintain the body you desire is not the result of any specific exercise or diet plan, it’s simply the result of a way of life.

I have clients and friends who exercise 10 times more than I do, yet they’re still struggling with their weight. Getting into shape and staying there is all about lifestyle choices and consistency. It’s not about ‘excess’ and you cannot out-run or out-train poor choices. So the “secret” is as follows:

  1. Take responsibility: while you’re spending all of your energy trying to find the ‘right’ program, you’re relying on someone or something else to fix it. Take responsibility for your choices. You will not have success until you suck this one up.
  2. Consistency: rather than being “all or nothing” or “going hard” for a short period of time, find a happy medium and stick with it. Remember, if you try to be ‘perfect’, you will fail time and again.
  3. 3. K.I.S.S.: there’s no need to follow an elaborate program, nor is it feasible to sustain. Keep it as simple as A, B, C! Aim for the following:

Active: 30 mins/day of movement (walk, run, swim, play with the kids…whatever works!)

Braun: Use your strength 2-3 times/week (the gym, a home program, with a trainer – just do it!)

Choices: eat 3 meals a day and put 5 minutes of thought/organisation into it the evening beforehand to ensure you don’t get caught out. Loads of colour, lean protein at each meal, adequate water intake, no added sugar or processed carbs and fats. Simple!

Now that you know the ‘secret’, it’s time to make this your resolution for the New Year. Let’s face it, you’ve tried everything else and have likely had many failures. This is the easiest of the lot and most importantly, it works!  Happy New Year  :-)

Think before you drink…

December 2nd, 2013

With the festive season fast approaching, it’s easy to be seduced by the numerous Christmas parties and celebrations. As we all know, a little extra alcohol consumption is generally part and parcel of such occasions. Before you become immersed in the festive season, it may be worthwhile familiarising yourself with the calories in alcohol…

The calorie misconception

November 28th, 2013

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!

Now, I hear you saying that you may keel over from malnutrition if you stick to this rule of thumb, but I’m here to tell you it’s going to be pretty close to what your body needs.

After discussing goals with a client recently, she commenced her new regime. Two weeks later she was standing in my office to weigh in and discuss how she was progressing. Let’s call her Jenny. Jenny started out at 20 kilos above her ‘healthy’ weight and, as a result, had been experiencing some health problems. She was quite distressed, explaining to me that she would have starved to death on the amount of food I had suggested if she had kept it up for more than a day (the plan, by the way, included three balanced main meals and two snacks each day and the appropriate amount of calories). I asked her what ‘starving’ felt like. Did she feel faint, shaky, lethargic, vague, nauseous?  All of which may have indicated that she was not consuming enough food and she was experiencing blood sugar fluctuations, which we certainly want to avoid at all costs. She said her stomach felt empty, but there were no ‘symptoms’ as such. She felt to compelled to increase the amount of food we’d recommended because she couldn’t stand the hunger. So I weighed Jenny and measured her body composition to compare it to her initial result two weeks prior. No surprise she was exactly the same. She hadn’t lost a gram of fat. After a long conversation, I started to get the feeling that much of what Jenny had experienced was a psychological attachment to her food and a fear of change. Jenny left my office with a new goal: to take on the food plan with an open mind and instructions to contact me immediately should she start feeling unwell.  Seven days later an ecstatic Jenny skipped out of my office having lost 1.5 kilos of pure body-fat! She had experienced no hunger. In fact, she now felt she had more energy and fewer cravings. The lesson in this? Sometimes we need to let old habits die and acknowledge that change can be a bit intimidating. It’s a lot easier to feel full and satisfied if you focus on ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’.

Creating change and sticking with it through the ’silly season’…

November 14th, 2013

Committing to a new lifestyle regime can be frustrating if you’re not getting the desired results.

We’ve all been there … you follow the rules – eat well, exercise and you are thrilled with your initial weight loss. And then out of the blue, you keep moving but your fat loss begins to slow, or even slips backwards. At this point it can seem like it’s simply not worth the effort.

It’s important to acknowledge that your body is a mirror-image of your lifestyle. If your goal is to reach a weight of 60kg and you get stuck at 70kg, it’s likely you’re following the lifestyle of a 70kg person. If you start eating and exercising like a 60kg person, you body will have no choice but to follow you there. This doesn’t have to involve starvation, profuse sweating and more time at the gym. It simply means that your present routine needs tweaking.

To gain the edge on a successful, life-long regime, here are some tips to help liberate you from the frustrating set-backs and lead you onto success:

  • Don’t use the scales as your only means of monitoring progress. It is possible to maintain the same weight yet make positive changes to your body
    composition: more lean, less body fat. The way your clothes fit is a great guide.
  • There are SO MANY benefits in regular exercise, all of which go a long way in helping you to burn stored fat more efficiently, such as improved insulin sensitivity and an increase in metabolic rate.
  • It is said that you need to practice something 1000 times to form a habit, so be patient with yourself. If you’re overweight, you’ve likely a champion at poor habits! Start practicing new, healthier habits today. You may mess it up here and there, but be patient with yourself – practice makes perfect!
  • If what you’re doing is not working for you, the smallest changes can get the ball rolling again. You know what they say – the definition of insanity is the continue doing the same thing and expect something different to happen!
  • Don’t try to follow rigid diet plans or you will set yourself up for disappointment. Focus on implementing healthy choices which can be maintained for the long-term
  • Remember, it’s all about quality, not quantity. You can increase the intensity and efficiency of your exercise without having to devote more time to it. You can also reduce your calorie intake without reducing your volume of food. Perhaps it’s also time to find a trainer or buddy a couple of times a week to help you reach the next level.

Joint pain and your weight…

October 14th, 2013
The rate of knee and joint surgery in Australia is on the incline and appears to be increasing in tandem with the obesity epidemic.
For those suffering with joint pain, even losing a small amount of weight can make the world of difference.
Some interesting stats below:

Most people will notice a 30% improvement in joint pain and function after losing 5% of their body weight

Most people will notice a 50% improvement in joint pain and function after losing 10% of their body weight

Quality of life, need for joint replacement and mortality are also improved

People who are overweight are at greater risk of more osteoarthritis

For every kilogram of weight you lose there is a four-fold reduction in knee joint load