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…
Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’
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
Pros: Fresh sashimi (Japanese raw fish) is a great source of protein and omega 3 fats. Many of the Japanese food options are ‘clean’, unprocessed and very nutritious, including seaweed salad, edamame, nori and other Japanese vegetables.
Cons: Unfortunately sushi is (processed) white rice which is made ‘tacky’ with the addition of white sugar to form into sushi. The addition of soy sauce is also very high in sodium, so if you are predisposed to hypertension, this may not be the ideal option.
Pros: Like raw nuts, raw seeds can also be a great source of fibre, essential fats, vitamins and minerals. It’s important to consume them raw to preserve the integrity of the essential fats. To reap the benefits of these fats, the seeds need to be ground/broken, otherwise the insoluble fibre of the seed may pass through without reaping all of the nutritional benefits. Seeds are sensitive to heat, light and oxygen, so keep them cool and in a sealed, opaque container.
Cons: Seeds ground into ‘butters’ and spreads, as well as commercially ground mixes (such as LSA) have likely been exposed to significant heat, potentially turning the sensitive omega 3 and 6 fats rancid. The average Western diet is very high in omega 6 (from vegetable oil, nuts, seeds, etc) and relatively low in omega 3 (oily fish, flaxseed oil), so a high consumption of nuts and seeds can further throw this balance out. For example, LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond) is predominantly omega 6.
Pros: All blue, red and purple coloured berries are high in flavonoids – potent antioxidants. The different varieties all have varying levels of beneficial nutrients, so it’s advantageous to include a mix of all colour, fresh (or frozen) berries in our diet on a regular basis.
Cons: When water is removed from fruit (dried fruit), the sugars become concentrated and enthusiastic consumption may lead to dental caries and weight gain. Fresh or frozen varieties in their natural, unprocessed state are always a better choice. Dried fruits may also contain the preservative sulphite, which can trigger allergy-like reactions in some individuals, including asthma, hives and anaphylaxis.
Statistics from the US National Weight Control Registry (founded in 1994) 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
- Your cannot out-run or out-train a poor diet!
When determining if an adult or child is getting optimum nutrition from food choices, it is necessary to consider the whole picture. In the case of milk ‘substitutes’, many of the available alternatives are not a nutrient-for-nutrient substitute for cow’s milk. If you’ve been conclusively diagnosed with intolerance to certain elements of dairy, or if you’re making choices based on a vegan diet, switching to an alternative milk without making other dietary adjustments to compensate may leave you, and/or your children, vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies.
There seems to be much confusion, perpetuated by information overload from overzealous marketing campaigns, when it comes to milk and milk substitutes. In this article, I have addressed some of the most common alternatives, along with the pros and cons, to help provide some clarity and enable you to make informed choices for yourself and your family.
There are many scaremongers online touting the ‘dangers’ of consuming dairy products. I’ve now heard it’s responsible for everything from a snotty nose to cancer. Consequently many of us are sent in search of ‘healthier’ alternatives. Rather than listening to hearsay and unqualified opinions, let’s look at some facts…
COWS MILK & DAIRY PRODUCTS
Milk is a significant source of readily absorbed vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium. Despite persistent rumours about an association between dairy and ill health, there is no scientific evidence to qualify these myths, which include excessive mucous production, cancer and weight gain. There is, however, a plethora of peer-reviewed studies recognising dairy consumption for its important role in optimum health and nutrition.
Milk and milk products contain a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate and are a very important source of essential nutrients including calcium, riboflavin, phosphorus, pantothenic acid and vitamins A, D and B12. Milk products also contain high quality proteins that are well suited to human needs.
Cancer & fatty acids:
Although the etiology of most cases of this disease is not known, risk factors include a variety of nutritional factors. The quantity and quality of fatty acids are especially crucial. Among fatty acids to which great importance in modification of cancer risk is attributed are conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The main natural source of them is milk and dairy products and meat of different species. Studies show their possible health promoting effects in obesity, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammation, and various types of cancer – especially breast cancer.
Several recent peer-reviewed studies indicate that the recommended amount (3 servings/day) of dairy produce helps close gaps between current nutrient intakes and recommendations. In fact, consuming more than three servings of dairy per day leads to better nutrient status and improved bone health and is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
In Australia, 60% of children (9-16 years) are not meeting the estimated average requirement for calcium, and milk is an important dietary source of calcium.
Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) indicates the amount of any given essential nutrient required to prevent a deficiency in 97% of the population. It is by no means our optimum amount, rather a bare minimum. If your RDI of calcium is 1000mg/day and today you consume only 500mg, the other 500mg is pulled from your bone minerals. Repeat this for the next 10 years and you’ll likely find yourself with irreversible brittle bones.
Further research facts:
- Osteoporosis – if milk and milk products are removed from the diet, it can lead to an inadequate intake of calcium. This is of particular concern for women, children and the elderly, who have high calcium needs. Calcium deficiency may lead to disorders such as osteoporosis
- Colon cancer – some studies have found that people who regularly eat dairy products have a reduced risk of developing colon cancer.
- Blood pressure – research in the US found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables, combined with low-fat dairy foods, lowers blood pressure more than fruits and vegetables alone.
- Type 2 diabetes – a 10-year study of 3,000 overweight adults found that consuming milk and other milk products may protect overweight young adults from developing type-2 diabetes.
Adequate dairy consumption:
- reduces oral acidity (which causes decay)
- Stimulates saliva flow
- Decreases plaque formation
- Decreases the incidence of tooth decay
- Full cream – full cream milk contains around 4% fat and is a source of vitamins A and D. For children up to the age of 2 years, full cream milk is recommended.
- Reduced fat – expect around half as much fat (2%) in reduced fat milk as full cream. Children over the age of two years can drink reduced fat milk.
- Skim milk – contains less than 1% fat. Children older than five years can safely consume skim milk. Both reduced fat and skim milk have vitamin A and D added to replace the naturally occurring vitamins that are reduced when the fat is removed.
- Raw milk
Most milk is pasteurised (heat treated). While pasteurisation reduces the amount of some vitamins, such as vitamin C, it also kills bacteria. Unpasteurised milk is a health hazard because of the dangers of exposure to bacterial diseases.
Some people switch to goat’s milk as an alternative to cow’s milk because of perceived sensitivities.
Allergies and sensitivities are usually due to one or more of the proteins found in milk. The proteins in goat’s milk are very closely related to those in cow’s milk so replacing one with the other usually doesn’t help.
Lactose is a type of carbohydrate that naturally occurs in milk from any mammal, including humans. Normally, an enzyme called lactase breaks down lactose so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Some people don’t produce enough lactase – undigested lactose is broken up by the bacteria in the gut causing gas, bloating, pain and diarrhoea. This condition is called ‘lactose intolerance’. You can be born lactose intolerant or develop it later in life. If you think you may be lactose intolerant, it’s advisable to see your health professional for a conclusive diagnosis.
Who is at risk for lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a common condition that is more likely to occur in adulthood, with a higher incidence in older adults. Some populations are more affected than others, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and Asian Americans. The condition is least common among Americans of northern European descent. Infants born prematurely are more likely to have lactase deficiency because an infant’s lactase levels do not increase until the third trimester of pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
People with lactose intolerance may feel uncomfortable 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming lactose. Symptoms range from mild to severe based on the amount of lactose consumed and the amount a person can tolerate. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and nausea. However, these symptoms may also be associated with other issues, so a professional diagnosis is essential.
How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?
Two tests are commonly used to measure the digestion of lactose.
Hydrogen Breath Test. The person drinks a lactose-loaded beverage and then the breath is analysed at regular intervals to measure the amount of hydrogen. Normally, very little hydrogen is detectable in the breath, but undigested lactose produces high levels of hydrogen. Smoking and some foods and medications may affect the accuracy of the results. You should check with your doctor about foods and medications that may interfere with test results.
Stool Acidity Test. The stool acidity test is used for infants and young children to measure the amount of acid in the stool. Undigested lactose creates lactic acid and other fatty acids that can be detected in a stool sample. Glucose may also be present in the stool as a result of undigested lactose. Because lactose intolerance is uncommon in infants and children younger than 2, a health professional should take special care in determining the cause of a child’s digestive symptoms.
Researchers have identified a possible genetic link to primary lactase deficiency. Some people inherit a gene from their parents that makes it likely they will develop primary lactase deficiency. This discovery may be useful in developing future genetic tests to identify people at risk for lactose intolerance. Secondary lactase deficiency results from injury to the small intestine that occurs with severe diarrheal illness, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or chemotherapy. This type of lactase deficiency can occur at any age but is more common in infancy.
Milk and milk products are highly nutritious, so those who suffer from lactose intolerance don’t need to give them up entirely. You can still consume cow’s milk in moderate quantities and you can also use lactose-free milk.
Those intolerant to lactose can generally tolerate:
- Half a cup of milk
- Three quarters of a cup of yoghurt
- Three quarters of a cup of unripened cheeses like cottage or ricotta.
Is all dairy high in lactose?
Lower-lactose dairy products include:
- Fermented milk products, including some yoghurts, mature cheeses (like cheddar cheese, fetta and mozzarella) and butter, generally pose no tolerance problems.
- Heated milk products, such as evaporated milk, seem to be better tolerated than unheated foods because the heating process breaks down some of the lactose.
Foods that contain lactose are better tolerated if eaten with other foods or spread out over the day, rather than being eaten in large amounts at once.
Daily calcium requirements
Getting enough calcium is important for people with lactose intolerance when the intake of milk and milk products is limited. Many foods can provide calcium and other nutrients the body needs. Non-milk products that are high in calcium include fish with soft bones such as salmon and sardines and dark green vegetables such as spinach.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for calcium by age and gender:
|Women 51yr+ and the elderly||1300mg/day|
Calcium content in common foods
|Non-milk Products||Calcium Content|
|Sardines, with bone, 90g||325 mg|
|Spinach, frozen, cooked, 1 cup||291 mg|
|Salmon, canned, with bone, 90g||181 mg|
|Soy milk, unfortified, 1 cup||61 mg|
|Orange, 1 medium||52 mg|
|Broccoli, raw, 1 cup||41 mg|
|Lettuce greens, 1 cup||20 mg|
|Tuna, white, canned, 90g||12 mg|
|Milk and Milk Products|
|Yogurt, with active and live cultures, plain, low-fat, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup||415 mg|
|Milk, reduced fat, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup||285 mg|
|Swiss cheese, 30g||224 mg|
|Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup||87 mg|
A2 milk is cow’s milk produced from cow’s whose milk is high in the beta-casein A2 form of casein and low in the beta-casein A1 form of casein (a type of protein present in milk). A1 is believed to be responsible for some of the intolerances to cow’s milk, while A2 is believed to be more easily digested.
A1 and A2 are genetic variants of the beta-casein milk protein with different chemical structures. The A1 β-casein type is the most common type found in cow’s milk in Europe (excluding France), the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
A genetic test, developed by the A2 Corporation, determines whether a cow produces the A2 or A1 type protein in its milk. The test uses hair from the cow’s tail to determine this. The test allows the A2 Corporation to give licenses to milk producers once these producers prove their cows produce A2 β-casein protein in their milk.
Rice milk is a kind of grain milk processed from rice. It is mostly made from brown rice and may be manufactured as sweetened or unsweetened.
Compared to cow’s milk, rice milk contains more carbohydrates, but does not contain significant amounts of calcium or protein, and no cholesterol or lactose. Commercial brands of rice milk, however, are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, and iron.
Rice milk is often consumed by people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to soy or have PKU. It is also used as a dairy substitute by vegans.
Rice milk is made by pressing the rice through a mill stream using diffusion to strain out the pressed grains. It is sometimes also made at home using rice flour and brown rice protein, or by boiling brown rice with a large volume of water, blending and straining the mixture.
Common Ingredients (will vary between brands): filtered water, brown rice (10%), sugar sunflower oil, calcium carbonate, salt, vegetable gum, flavour.
|250ml (1 cup) serve||Reduced fat cow’s milk||Unfortified Rice Milk|
As you will observe in the above nutrient comparison, rice milk is higher in carbohydrates and sodium and lower in protein and calcium (unless fortified). The protein in rice is not a complete protein (containing all essential amino acids), so is not as readily utilised at that in cow’s milk. If you choose to replace dairy with rice milk, you can see this is not a direct nutrient-for-nutrient substitute. Cow’s milk is also unique in that the absorption of calcium is superior to other sources. When it comes to infants (<2yrs), besides the insufficient calcium and protein, rice milk is not an adequate source of dietary fat. If chemicals and hormones are what you’re concerned about, perhaps you could consider organic milk.
Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, Omega 6 fatty acids and minerals. Almond milk is made from ground almonds (friction, heat, oxygen) that are mixed with water, plus vitamins, stabilizers, and in most cases, sugar. Also, commercially manufactured almond milk is often fortified with calcium.
Typical ingredients list in commercial Almond Milk: Water, almonds, cane sugar, salt, sunflower oil, gum plus various added vitamins and minerals.
- It’s lactose-free
- It’s dairy-free for those who have dairy-related intolerances or allergies (although, you can source lactose-free or A2 milk to cover these issues)
- Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are highly sensitive to heat, light and oxygen which, when exposed, can turn the EFAs rancid
- The source of calcium often used in fortification is calcium carbonate. This is the cheapest source of calcium supplementation and can cause gas and stomach upset as it requires adequate stomach acid to effectively digest and absorb.
- There have been cases where parents have substituted Almond Milk instead of infant formula or breast milk, providing inadequate nutrition for infants. This can result in low bone density, rickets, low muscle tone and a visible goitre.
- Almonds are a goitrogenic food, meaning, when consumed in large quantities, they can suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, causing an enlargement of the thyroid. Goitrogens can be negated by cooking, but many are opting for raw almond milk, thinking it’s the healthier option. Again, while cooking may reduce the goitrogen effect, it will further destroy the EFA’s.
- It often contains added sugar
- It often contains vegetable oil – generally high in Omega 6. Besides this oil likely being highly processed and exposed to heat, it is also further throwing out our already skewed omega 3:6 ratio (see previous blog regarding a balance between Omega 3 and 6)
Another ‘pretend’ milk and not my favourite choice. Many ‘rumours’ about detrimental health effects of soy, however, no conclusive scientific evidence either way. However, I tend to think that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Food for thought…
- It’s lactose-free and doesn’t contain the proteins some individuals may have sensitivities to in cow’s milk
- Suitable for vegans
- Soy milk is ‘pretend’ milk, therefore the manufacturers add (processed) oils and sugar in an effort to make it resemble cow’s milk
- It is usually calcium fortified, which is not as well absorbed as the natural calcium found in dairy (see information earlier in this article)
- Soy milk is composed of an inferior profile of essential amino acids (absorbed and utilised protein) when compared to cow’s milk
- Flatulence – the amount of gas produced depends on the quantity consumed.
- Soy allergy – common allergic symptoms to soy milk include hives, coughing, digestive distress, fainting and wheezing.
- Thyroid function – soy is a goitrogen, which means it may interfere with thyroid function. The thyroid gland runs our metabolism and low thyroid during pregnancy and infancy (non-dairy formulas) can lead to retardation.
- Phytic acid – non-fermented soy milk contains large amounts of phytic acid, which can interfere with absorption of several essential nutrients, such as iron, calcium and iodine.
- “Soy after-taste face”
In recent months I’ve noticed a wave of so called ‘experts’ perpetuating a potentially detrimental food revolution. So many individuals seem to be confusing these ‘food elimination fads’ with being the ‘healthy alternative’.
I’ve listed a few of the most common examples below along with an explanation which I hope will help to make some sense of this complex weave of nutritional jargon.
Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten poses no detrimental effect to your health unless you have been diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance or coeliac disease. For the rest of us, a gluten-free diet will have no impact on our health or weight.
Organic means that a food has been prepared without the use of chemicals, hormones or genetic modification. It does not, however, mean organic foods do not contain sugar, highly processed grains and trans fats. If you’re conscious of your health and your weight, don’t be seduced by organic labelling and be sure to read the fine print.
No added sugar
This is a tricky one and I still strongly recommend you read the list of ingredients, which must list all ingredients in sequence of quantity (the largest being the first on the list). Many products marketed as the ‘healthy alternative’ will add honey, fruit juice concentrate and the latest fad – agave nectar…all of which are extremely high in a sugar called fructose. Fructose is digested like a fat – through the liver. It can be detrimental to our health (particularly to diabetics) and can raise cholesterol levels.
This one drives me mad! Dairy is an excellent source of calcium. The average person (under 50yrs) requires a minimum of 1000mg/day (1 cup of milk is 300mg). If you only consume 500mg today, your body will take the remaining 500mg from your bone minerals. Over time, this will lead to osteoporosis, which is irreversible. If you have been officially diagnosed with lactose-intolerance, I recommend lactose-free milk and/or yoghurt over ‘fake milk’, such as soy, rice or almond. To make these faux alternatives resemble our beloved milk, they are highly processed, adding oil and sugar to make them palatable. Repeat after me: There is NO BENEFIT to weight loss or health in eliminating dairy from my diet!
Many of the studies linking red meat to ill-health are flawed and inconclusive. Any detrimental effect could be from cooking methods (high temperature & charring create heterocyclic amines (HCA), which may be carcinogenic (cancer causing). Studies on high consumption of red meat also include highly processed meats, such as take-away burgers, deli meats, etc…which are also part of a diet high in numerous processed foods. There have also been studies which indicate that these ‘heavy meat eaters’ are also more likely to be smokers. Generally, it’s an entire lifestyle issue which cannot be pointed directly at red meat. I’ve never know any study which proves that those who consume a moderate amount of lean red meat with a balance of colourful, fresh plant foods is at higher risk of anything!
To add to the misinformation, a diet book was written many decades ago which suggested that red meat would putrefy in our intestines for weeks before we could eliminate it. Despite being physiologically impossible, this ludicrous comment seemed to stick!
We know that if we eliminate red meat from our diet completely (particularly women), we frequently become iron and B12 deficient. Iron carries oxygen around our bloodstream and supports our immune system, so those suffering from iron-deficiency will be experiencing very poor health.
Lean red meat, 2-3 times a week as part of a balanced diet is not only not detrimental, it’s good for your health!
Detox-schmeetox! It seems logical not to ‘tox’ in the first place. If you are feeling a bit ‘toxic’, the kindest thing you can do for yourself is clean up your everyday diet and curtail junk food, alcohol, cigarettes and/or pharmaceuticals. We are bombarded with the hype of ‘cleansing’ and ‘flushing out’ our system – in particular, the liver. Contrary to popular belief, your liver is not like the dirty lint filter in your vacuum cleaner. It does not get clogged up with filth and require a bit of a spring clean! If it is unsuccessful at filtering toxins, they simply pass straight through, unfiltered. The whole detox phenomenon is not unlike a binge and purge cycle. It has gained popularity because it presents as a short term quick-fix, as opposed to an ongoing healthy lifestyle change. The concept of detox really constitutes ‘binges’, rationalised by the occasional ‘purge’.
In a recent media interview, I was asked the question, ‘is it realistic for ‘mere mortals’ to get themselves into the same shape as the celebrities we all admire?’ Guess what? Celebrities are mere mortals. Just like you and I, they share similar insecurities and time constraints, and they face obstacles that challenge their goals. Sure, the cream-of-the-crop may graduate to immense privilege, such as personal chefs and live-in lifestyle gurus, but in reality, this is an elite few. The most successful people I have worked with, whether triumphant in wealth or health, all have something in common – enduring vision and discipline.
A large part of my daily work involves helping clients find inspiration and providing them with the direction and knowledge necessary to achieve their goals. I am delighted to say that I am still humbled by, and draw much inspiration from, a long-time client and friend, Sigrid Thornton. While Sigrid needs no introduction, what many of you may not know is that this acclaimed actor is also a very successful mum, wife, daughter, friend, humanitarian and … mortal.
I can almost hear you saying that someone of Sigrid’s caliber already has a means of motivation that exceeds the average person, having to appear in the spotlight. Even minor spotlights are motivating enough for many of us to be seduced by diet and exercise quick fixes. What distinguishes Sigrid from others is the fact that she doesn’t take the road that many celebrities do. The ones who live their lives to excess, madly dieting and exercising for the next film, appearance or photo shoot. They don’t seem to realize that they are ruining their metabolism, making it more and more difficult to lose weight each time. And what of their health?
Sigrid puts in the effort with consistency and balance – not just for the next red carpet event. She has long embraced a healthy lifestyle, incorporating ‘real’, unprocessed foods and regular exercise into her daily regimen. The results are evident: a body that exudes health, energy, poise and strength. This is something many aspire to and is one thing that, while it sets Sigrid apart from the mainstream, is certainly attainable.
Finding the key to ignite your personal drive
Without a tangible driving force and realistic goals, motivation is often a temporary whim and will fade prematurely. The very definition of the word ‘motivation’ is to find reason or inspiration to move forward. I’m sure we all have similar reasons for wanting to improve our body, but ‘wanting’ and ‘doing’ can be worlds apart. Many of us also ‘want’ to be wealthy, but if wanting was enough to make it happen, the world would be teeming with billionaires!
While vanity is a common instigator of changes in diet and exercise, it is not usually substantial enough to remain high on your priority list – certainly not for the long-term. You must dig deep and find the fundamental reason/s behind your desire to improve your body. If you still find that your motivation is superficial, then do some reading – learn about the benefits of a consistent, healthy lifestyle. Learn that stop-start attempts at healthy eating are making it more and more difficult to look good, let alone be healthy.
The most effective persuasion is to observe someone you consider an ‘equal’ achieve a goal you aspire to. Obviously this is an effective means of convincing yourself that it is feasible. Without a strong belief that your goal is attainable, motivation and implementation become almost impossible to sustain. Marketing gurus the world over have tapped into this very ‘human’ trait, exploiting airbrushed ‘before and after’ pictures for all they can muster.
Ensure that your expectations are congruent with your willingness to change and capacity to achieve. For example, if you wish to drop a few kilos and reshape your body, yet you are not willing to make the appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle, you will be disappointed. The ‘secret’ lies in committing yourself to a goal and beginning to embrace the lifestyle and patterns as if you are already where you want to be. Your body will have no choice but to mirror your actions – just as it does with your current lifestyle.
Another bonus of improving your health and fitness is that this drive and energy is contagious in other areas of your life, such as family, business and relationships. To harness lasting motivation, your drive must be important enough to you to fuel your actions. Every individual is different.
Now, I have three tasks for you to start today to help you move closer to attaining your goals:
1. walk EVERYDAY for 30 mins … you eat everyday, you must move everyday!
2. be responsible for your actions … think ahead and don’t allow yourself to be in situations where you are over-hungry and resort to poor food choices
3. be conscious of portion sizes and grazing … create a new rule: when eating, put your food on a plate and sit down. No standing in the kitchen and grazing.
We all have the capacity for the drive needed to create a fitter, healthier body. You apply it in other areas to which you have given priority, whether in your business or family life. Learning to harness this discipline and condense your efforts to form an effective diet and exercise regimen for life is the key to success. Start today. What have you got to lose besides a few kilos?
To control the obesity epidemic and minimise the risk of disease that inevitably results from being over-fat we need a greater emphasis, starting from very young, on how to best take care of ourselves. We are supposed to have responsibility for our own bodies yet it’s difficult as most of us missed out on the instruction manual.
Experts agree – it’s time to take serious action, but there is little consensus on how to tackle the global diet dilemma. There has been talk of banning poor food choices from schools, imposing tax on junk food and restricting advertising of foods considered culprits. While I’m all for making healthier foods more readily available, particularly to children, do they really think that slapping us on the wrist and using negative (and juvenile) tactics of denial is a viable option? In my experience, education and support are far more productive and inspiring tools for anyone battling with their weight. I believe part of the problem is that we do not take enough responsibility for our body and our health. It is my goal to encourage individuals to take on the full responsibility rather than look for solutions as to how it can be collectively handled it for us.
The number of diet and weight-loss alternatives available today is out of control, yet it’s taken just 20 years to double our obesity statistics, with Australia now charging ahead as one of the worlds fattest nations. Not a title we should feel proud of! As a result, we are at great risk of diabetes, heart disease and a range of other debilitating ailments, not to mention the fact that it’s costing us billions of dollars a year in health-care costs and lost productivity.
While Australia may now have more overweight and obese individuals per capita, after my recent stint in the US, I have to say the degree of obesity there is quite distressing. While we may be 10, 20 or 30 kilos over-fat, I have never seen as many morbidly obese men and women as I did in the States. Population statistics are based only on weight and/or BMI (body mass index), which only takes into account our weight and height. It is common to be of ‘acceptable’ weight for our height, yet be over-fat. If these statistics were calculated using the more accurate measure of body composition (lean to fat ratio), the global statistics for being overweight would likely be in excess of 85 per cent.
Feeling confused and desperate to find the quickest and easiest method, of course we succumb. The diet industry makes millions of dollars telling us what we want to hear. Every time we pick up a new magazine, we are bombarded with the latest craze in how to magically melt away the fat! Needless to say most are trying to sell us a new product. Each new and amazing system has the DVD, the book, the pill, the recipes, the shopping guide, the prepackaged foods … and, don’t forget, if you dial 1-800 immediately they’ll throw in a free set of miracle body shaping underwear or a spot of lunchtime lipo!
I am regularly frustrated by the ridiculous, physiologically incorrect advertisements showing how you can ‘dissolve’ fat and shed the kilos by simply taking pills, twisting, sliding, shimmying, vibrating, and my personal favourite – fat zapping! Sure, if we move more it will make a difference, but I’m stumped at how advertisers get away with some of this stuff, seemingly without any form of regulation.
Have you ever noticed that with each new gismo on the market, comes the promise of not only fabulous results but fabulous results faster? We live in a society that craves instant gratification. Marketing gurus know that we want maximum results from minimum time and effort. Deep down inside, I think we actually know the truth. But we pick up the phone and give our credit card number … just in case this is ‘it’! While we’re waiting in anticipation for the magic solution, our health is failing and our quality of life diminishing. We need to take responsibility for our own body and lifestyle – today.
If you blame something or someone else for the shape you’re in (time, money, family, work, genetics, hormones!), it will be up to someone or something else to fix it. And we all know that’s never going to happen! Take responsibility. You only get one body. Be nice to it!