We all have days when we are lacking that inspiration in regard to what meals you are going to prepare, and you just don't know where to start!
That is why having these six pantry essentials in your house is so important. Last-minute dinner ideas and thrown-together snacks for unexpected guests can come together easily when you have simple, foundational ingredients on hand. The below six are my favourites, and I use them ALL the time!
A lemon can add flavour to almost any dish! Fresh lemon juice is fantastic for flavouring chicken or fish, while some lemon zest can add depth to marinades, salads or grains. Lemon is a source of vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system too!
Canned items such as tuna, tomatoes, beans and chickpeas, are easy ways to add protein, make sauces and add flavour to a dish.
Vegetable / Chicken / Beef stock
Keep portions of frozen stock, or purchase organic cartons of chicken, vegetable, and beef stock. These can be used as bases for soups, stews and curries or even simply to add subtle flavour to quinoa or rice. With the veggies and protein you have in your fridge, you can throw together a meal in no time.
Quinoa can be used for so many different snacks and meals. Add it to salads, use it instead of rice or pasta, make them into burger patties or make some quinoa porridge, especially in this colder weather.
As well as being super versatile, quinoa is also packed with goodness. It is gluten-free and has a great amount of protein, carbohydrates and fibre.
Oil + Vinegar
The perfect combination not only for salad dressings but also to add some tang to your meals. Be cautious though, as oils aren't always as they seem and you need to be careful with the oils you use for cooking, especially when using a high temperature. I like to use olive oil for low temp cooking and salad dressings, coconut oil for higher temp cooking and avocado oil for salad dressings.
Having a range of different spices on hand can add so much flavour to your dish without the added sugars of many store-bought sauces. By simply changing up the spices that you use, you can create a completely different dish. For example - combining cumin, cinnamon, coriander and salt is more middle eastern inspired, whereas, smoked paprika, chilli powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder and salt is more Mexican based. Generally, if your spices are stored well in an air-tight container they have a shelf life of up to 1 year.
With these key ingredients, you will have no trouble putting together a quick, delicious and nutritious meal even on those days when you 'can't be bothered'!
How often do we say to ourselves, “I’ve been so good all day” and then night-time comes and all that hard work goes out the window? Then the next day you start the cycle again, you are ‘good’ during the day and then night-time comes and you can’t stop eating, even after having a really big meal.
This pattern tends to be known as the sumo-wrestler diet because if you eat late at night (and just before bed), your body will store all those extra calories as fat instead of processing them and burning them.
In order to be able to put a stop to this pattern we need to understand WHY this is happening. WHY are we craving more food, more junk food or really just anything unhealthy? More often than not, the root cause of this problem is an imbalance in our appetite regulating hormones. These hormones each have their own triggers and therefore if we can understand how to balance them, then the cravings for sweet, junk food late at night will be eliminated.
The four main hormones are:
We do also need to consider the hormone, Cortisol, which is our stress hormone. When you are stressed, your Cortisol level goes up, and when that happens, you get hungrier and your blood sugar and insulin levels rise.
Being able to balance these hormones and keep them in check will enable you to reduce those cravings and the night-time snacking that comes with it.
Here are 6 simple steps you can follow to take control of your cravings:
1. Eat breakfast – eating a protein rich breakfast is the KEY to stop your night-time cravings. Now, you may wake up in the mornings full from the late night snacking so it’s important that you break that cycle. This helps to keep your blood sugar levels balanced all day.
2. Don’t drink your calories – consuming high sugar drinks (soft drinks, juices, flavoured milks, energy drinks) spikes your insulin levels and increases your cravings for more sugary foods.
3. Eat regularly – eating your breakfast, lunch and dinner at regular times allows your hormones to remain balanced.
4. Have good quality protein and sources of fat with each meal – these foods are known to satisfy you and keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
5. Take some time out – stress increases our cravings, which results in us overeating and putting on weight. Learning to reduce your stress will help you manage your weight.
6. Prioritise sleep – depriving yourself of sleep drives the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, up and the full hormone, Peptide, down therefore you will end up eating more sugary foods to give you the energy you are lacking.
So remember that in order to put night-time binging behind you, you have to take the steps to stop the cycle and to create different pathways within your body in order for you to be able to keep that blood sugar level in check!
Saturday mornings always used to be the favourite part of my week and they have formed some of my fondest memories. Combining my favourite meal of the day together with being a big foodie led Matt, the boys and I to driving around the suburbs of Melbourne trying new cafes for our Saturday breakfast. This used to be our ritual for many years.
Sure, there were always the favourites we would go back to, however, travelling 30 minutes to try somewhere different was always a highlight. The boys would bring their games or loom bands with them to keep them occupied whilst Matt and I were able to spend a few moments reading the paper and enjoying our coffee in peace.
The standard order for the boys was a serve of multigrain toast with peanut butter. Whilst it may be a 'boring' meal, the best part about this was that they both hated eating the crusts and that was my absolute FAVOURITE. I mean, how could they not??? It's the best part of fresh bakery bread..... right!!!!
Therefore, I would snack on the crusts whilst waiting patiently for whatever egg, salmon, avocado, spinach, mushroom, tomato, etc, etc, etc dish I ordered which would give me some more toast to enjoy. I was in my element.
BUT then as I discovered more about nutrition and the impact foods were having on my body, these indulgent Saturday mornings came to an end. I swapped my crusty toast for chocolatey smoothies and chia puddings, which is definitely not something to be upset about.... chocolate in the morning, who wouldn't want that, especially when it's guilt-free??? However, there were definitely times when the crunch of that toast was going to be sorely missed.
With my love for cooking and constant inspiration to find healthy, alternative swaps to the foods that I love, I spend a lot of time flipping through recipe books and trialing new foods. After all, changing the way that you to eat to encourage health doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself of the things that you love. You can imagine how excited I was when I came across Teressa Cutter's Pumpkin Paleo Bread (recipe below). I could get my 'toast' fix whilst feeding my body with nutrients that were going to support my health.
So, for all you toast lovers out there, I just had to share the recipe with you.
450g pumpkin (winter sqaush), peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 cup olive oil
300g almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
handful pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
Line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
Place your grated pumpkin, eggs, salt, nutmeg and olive oil in a bowl and combine well.
Add your almond meal and baking paper and mix so that it is all combined.
Spoon the mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours until golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 1 hour before removing.
Toast or grill and serve with your favourite toppings.
Makes 12 slices
I always find it amazing that it doesn't matter how full you are after a meal, there is always room to fit in dessert. It's that little pocket in your stomach known as the 'sweet compartment', and it seems to be completely separate from the rest of your stomach. But, when you're trying to eat healthily and be more mindful about what you are eating, it can be hard settling this craving in a healthy way. Let's be honest, most foods that taste amazing and settle those cravings are full of refined and highly processed sugars that completely unravel all that hard work..... however, that does not have to be the case! I'm going to show you how simple it can be to settle those sweet cravings with delicious alternatives leaving you feeling satisfied and completely guilt-free.
1. Eat naturally sweet foods - when you find that sugar craving hits, instead of scrounging around for chocolate biscuits which are full of ingredients that are not supporting your health, try to find nutritious options that contain natural sugar such as fruit. Heading into the warmer months, berries, cherries, mangoes, pineapple and watermelon, just to name a few, are fantastic options.
Being creative with how you use your fruit is always a great way to create healthy sweet options, and here are some example for you to draw inspiration from:
1 frozen banana, chopped
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1-2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
Splash coconut water
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend for 30 secs at a time on a medium speed until you get your desired, creamy consistency. Use a spatula in between blending to ensure everything mixes well. You may need to add some extra coconut water during the blending if you find the mixture is too dry.
2. Have healthy dessert options on hand - there are going to be those times when fruit just isn't going to cut it, and trust me when I say this, eating healthy doesn't mean depriving yourself. It's all about finding the right balance and having treats on hand that have been made with natural sweeteners such as raw honey and maple syrup. These will not only settle that sweet craving, but it will also provide you with nutrients... bonus!!!
For some healthy swaps, consider making an avocado chocolate mousse, chocolate truffle balls or give this seeded brittle a go:
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
¾ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¼ cup mulberries
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with baking paper.
Combine all the seeds, flaked coconut and mulberries in a bowl.
On a medium heat, melt the coconut oil and maple syrup so that it is mixed well. Once melted whisk in your vanilla extract.
Pour the melted liquid over the dry ingredients and mix quickly so that it is well combined. Spread the mixture onto the prepared tray and using a spatula flatten so that it is about 1cm thick.
Place the brittle in the oven for 20 minutes until it becomes a golden colour. Remove the brittle from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the brittle in the freezer for 30 minutes and then break it up.
Stores well in a glass container in the freezer.
3. Don't deny yourself of chocolate, just swap your sugar-laden milk chocolate for an anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate. You do need to be careful though as there are many 'healthier' chocolate options out there that have a lot of added sugar disguised as a different name. If you are game, you could always make your own...
½ cup coconut flakes (alternatively use crushed mixed nuts)
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
Prepare a tray with baking paper.
Lightly toast the coconut by dry frying them on a medium heat in a pan on the stove. It will take 3-4 minutes. Set aside
Melt the coconut oil in a pot on low heat. Once it is melted, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the rice malt syrup and cacao.
Add the toasted coconut flakes and spread the mixture on the lined tray.
Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.
So, there you have it. Settling those sweet cravings with delicious, nutritious alternatives may not be that difficult after all.
I hope you have found some inspiration from this blog and can now enjoy your dessert completely guilt-free.
In good health,
The flowers are starting to bloom, the mornings aren’t so dark, and the evenings are longer and lighter…. Warmer weather has finally arrived and it’s time to get that SPRING back into your step.
We all know the saying “it’s time to do a spring clean” and this is usually associated with cleaning and de-cluttering our houses, but why don’t you think outside the box and include your heath and wellness in your spring clean??
Surely there are habits that we have developed over the colder, darker months that need to be kicked to the curb. Its time to stop feeling sluggish and lethargic and get those energy levels back.
Here are 3 simple tips on how you can start spring-cleaning your body.
1. Eat seasonal produce – fruits and vegetables taste there best when they are eaten during the times that they should be harvested. Our bodies crave different foods at different times of the year depending on their water content and their ability to heat or cool our bodies.
Vegetables in season – avocado, artichokes, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, spinach, radishes, purples sprouting broccoli, rocket, salad leaves, peas, leeks, spring onions, spring cabbage,
Fruit in season – banana, grapefruit, blood oranges, honeydew, rhubarb, mandarin, mango and apricots.
2. Get moving – during the winter months many of us turn to hibernation and lose the enthusiasm and motivation to exercise. There is no doubt that exercise helps us with cardiovascular fitness and losing weight, but it has so many additional benefits too. With the weather starting to warm up, there is no better time than now to get back into that rhythm and even take your exercise outdoors. Meet a friend for a walk, join an outdoor boot camp or even enjoy a game of tennis with your kids. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are moving.
3. Clear out your mind – the strain we put on our bodies by being stressed is significantly understated. It affects the way we eat and sleep, our ability to concentrate and our mood. Adopting stress management strategies into your daily routine is a fantastic way to start removing all that ‘junk’ that is clogging up our minds. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to start meditating for 1 hour a day, it can be by introducing simple techniques such as doing 5 minutes of deep breathing on the way to or from work, carrying a little journal with you so that you can write down what you are feeling during a moment of stress or even something as simple as remembering to smile and planting seeds of positivity.
Generally speaking once we have made a decision to do something, whether to start exercising or change the way we eat, we adopt the “all or nothing” mentality. We go from sitting on the couch eating take out almost every night to exercising 4-5 times per week and restricting what we eat to only 1200 calories a day. Wow, what an extreme change! No wonder it is not sustainable for long periods of time. This is where the Power of One will become your saviour.
I went to a conference not long ago and was listening to the head of Small Business from St George Bank speaking. He introduced me to the concept of the Power of One through his speech, and although he was talking about it in financial and business terms, I immediately thought, “This is going to be a brilliant concept to use in my coaching”.
The best thing someone can do for themselves is make the decision that they need to focus on their health and well-being and make the necessary changes. However, this can be extremely overwhelming for many, especially when there are potentially so many things that need to change. The four most common questions from someone just starting out usually are:
"Where do I begin?"
"What do I need to change?"
"What is most important?"
"How am I going to do it all?"
My recommendation is to pick ONE, that’s right, only one behaviour that you want to change and focus on that. It may be something as small as only having one teaspoon of sugar in your coffee instead of two, it may be having breakfast a couple of days a week instead of skipping breakfast, it may even be just saying no to an after dinner snack. Start with the one thing you are most motivated to change and do this consistently. You will feel very satisfied by changing this behaviour and it will give you confidence to build on the one change into other changes you can make and become the person you can become.
Even though you may think that these changes are small and insignificant, they are actually big steps, because they are those few times that you are changing the behaviour you have recognised needs change. This creates a domino effect, giving you the power to spark a chain reaction of changed habits that builds new behaviours upon changed behaviours that will naturally lead to the next successful changed behaviour. This is something that you need to recognise as a step in the right direction, a step in the direction of reaching you goal.
So the next time you are overwhelmed with all the changes you want to make in your life, take a moment to reflect, break it down and focus on ONE thing that you can change. This is the way that you will make permanent, life-long changes. This is the “Power of ONE!”
Let’s not underestimate the effect a lack of sleep has on us. Apart from feeling exhausted, lacking energy, being moody, having low tolerance and having difficulty concentrating, you probably notice that on the days that you are feeling like this, your cravings for sugar and carbs are almost uncontrollable. You will eat just about anything to give you that spike in sugar and energy you are so depleted of.
The research is clear: Lack of sleep, or poor sleep, stops your metabolism working efficiently. When this happens your cravings increase, which makes you eat more, increasing your weight and risk of developing chronic diseases. Getting enough sleep, and sleeping well, are essential for our health!
The optimal amount of sleep for an adult is between 7-9 hours each night. Now I know the first thing that will come to mind for a majority of you is the thought: I am a mum (or dad) with young children so how am I supposed to do that??? Let’s not forget that I am a mum of 2 young boys (10 and 8) too and I am very lucky that they do not disturb me during the night. However, there is plenty that needs to be done for them at the start and end of the day, which means that I definitely don’t have the luxury of staying in bed until mid-morning. But the one thing I make sure that I do religiously, in order for me to be able to function and do everything that needs to be done, is that I endeavour to climb into bed each night between 9:30 and 9:45 with the aim to have the lights off at 10:00/10:15.
There are many ways that we can assist our bodies in achieving our optimal sleep so I thought I would share some of those tips with you. Please keep in mind that you will have to be patient, because an improvement in your sleep pattern will not happen overnight, it may take a few weeks or months, but these strategies will eventually shift your sleep patterns.
1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time to create regular rhythms of sleep.
2. Create total darkness and quiet in the bedroom.
3. Avoid caffeine – although you feel as though you need this to keep you awake during the day, this may end up making your sleep worse at night.
4. Avoid alcohol – it helps you get to sleep but causes interruptions in your sleep and therefore leads to poor-quality sleep.
5. Do not eat within 2-3 hours of going to bed – going to bed on a full stomach can lead to poor-quality sleep.
6. Don’t exercise vigorously after dinner – this tends to excite the body and makes it more difficult for you to get to sleep.
7. Turn off IT technology 1 hour before bed – being stimulated right up until we go to sleep makes it difficult for our brains to switch off and therefore get a restful nights sleep.
8. Take a hot salt / aromatherapy bath – raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep.
9. Stretch before bed as this helps to relax our bodies and makes it easier for us to fall asleep.
10. Practice relaxation breathing or meditation before sleep - this helps to relax the brain, allowing you to fall asleep more easily and have a restful sleep.
11. Before going to bed write down the things that are causing you anxiety and make plans for what you need to do the next day to reduce your worry. This will free up your mind, allowing you to have a deeper and more restful sleep.
12. Get 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight during the day – the light from the sun triggers your brain to release specific chemicals and hormones such as melatonin that are vital to healthy sleep, mood and ageing.
Remember, the key is to get both enough sleep as well as good quality sleep every night. Everything else will fall into place as a result. Your mood will improve, your energy will improve, your ability to concentrate will improve, but your sugar and carb cravings will reduce! You will feel more level throughout the day and you will find it much easier to cope with your work and family.
I am sure majority of you have had an encounter with the ‘Fusser Eater’, which has left you feeling frustrated, upset and stressed. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, you have taken the time out of your day to prepare a delicious and nutritious meal which you know will give your kids all the nutrients and energy they need, yet you are left feeling heart broken and frustrated when they reject this meal even to the point of not even trying it! You start to think, “what is the point” and “why do I bother”. Each mealtime becomes stressful and less enjoyable for you and your children.
Children learn by testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. They can be very strong willed when it comes to making decisions about food (to eat or not to eat, and what to eat). It’s all part of their social, intellectual and emotional development.
With our time being so precious and valuable, if your children aren’t going to even take the time to try the food that you are preparing, you start to offer them less nutritious options such as sugar laden cereal for breakfast, packaged foods for lunch and then fast food take away options for dinner because you know that it will get eaten. However without realising it, the food that we give our children can have a significant impact on their mood, energy and even ability to concentrate. Our children’s lives are so busy with their full days of school, extra-curricular activities after school and then social events and sporting games on the weekend, we need to fuel them correctly to be able to handle it all.
1. Model behaviour – Encourage healthy eating in your children by eating this way yourself. Children tend to mimic what we do, so if they see their parents eating vegetables such as broccoli and pumpkin with their meal, they will be more inclined to give that food a go. Where possible, share your meal.
2. Be sneaky – If your children do not eat a range of vegetables, pureeing soups or adding grated veggies to dishes such as Bolognese sauce, meatballs, burgers or casseroles are a great way to incorporate more vegetables into their meals. Smoothies are also a good way to incorporate different fruits and vegetables. Make a smoothie that turns out to be the colour that your child loves.
3. Encourage taste testing – Have 2 plates of food. Plate 1 has the food you know that your children are going to enjoy eating and Plate 2 has three different foods cut up into very small pieces that you would like them to try. The child takes alternating mouthfuls from each plate. If there is a food on Plate 2 that is too horrible for your child to contemplate, then there is always another option for them on that plate.
4. Take a relaxed approach – Setting expectations too high at mealtimes usually creates a more stressful experience for all. Make meal times a happy social occasion. Try not to worry about the spilt drink on the floor, or the food falling off the plate. Instead praise your child for trying new foods.
5. Make the food look attractive, make the plate colourful and cut the food into different shapes and sizes.
6. Avoid unhealthy foods – it’s very tempting to offer your child food treats just so she ‘eats something’. But if you offer fatty, sugary or salty snacks as substitutes, your child might start refusing healthier foods – after all, they’ll know there are tastier options!
7. Give your child some independence with their food – Get your child involved in preparing meals. They will feel proud and more inclined to try something that they have made. You can also try letting your child making choices within a range of healthier food options.
8. Ignore unwanted behaviour - If a child refuses to eat (or constantly spits out their food, or carries on with any bad behaviour) and receives attention for it, the end result is that they will continue to use the unwanted behaviour to get more attention. So, in these instances sometimes the best thing you can do is to ignore it.
9. Set regular meal times – On average a child needs to eat every 2.5-3 hours, so if they graze throughout the day and eat within 2-2.5 hours of a meal, it will take the edge off their hunger and they may be less likely to eat at mealtime. If they don’t eat at a particular meal time, take the plate away and make them wait until the next meal or snack time rather then allowing them to continue coming back and grazing off the plate.
10. Don’t give up – Fussy eaters can wear you down, but on average it takes 10 times for a child to try a particular food and get positive reinforcement.
So if you are dealing with a fussy eater, I hope you will find it comforting to know that you are not the only one that is experiencing these battles and keep in mind that it’s just a stage and IT WILL PASS!
As a female, I have always been told that it is extremely important for me to eat 2-3 serves of dairy a day in order to prevent getting Osteoporosis in the future. Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of either hormonal changes or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.
However, when I had a bone density scan done a few years ago and it showed signs of thinning in the bones of my lower back, I was completely taken aback since dairy had always been an integral part of my diet, along with resistance-based exercises (another good preventative measure to take).
I immediately started asking myself why this was happening if I was doing all the ‘right’ things to prevent Osteoporosis, so I started to do research into the effects of dairy and I was shocked by some of the findings. I want to share these findings with you.
Dairy is comprised of 87% Casein. There are many studies that have strongly and consistently linked Casein with the development of cancer. Casein requires the enzyme lactase to break it down properly, and with more people becoming lactose intolerant, this results in the Casein coagulating in the stomach making it difficult for your body to digest. It ends up fermenting and can potentially lead to toxicity. Casein is actually such a strong binder that it has been used as an ingredient in some wood glues!!
Further to this, dairy is one of the most mucus-forming foods there is. Excessive mucus can begin to harden and build up along the walls of your intestines, adding to a build up of sludge, which slows down the food passing through the intestinal tract and therefore potentially leading to increased inflammation and toxicity in your blood.
There is some Casein present in human milk (20%-45%), which we are obviously encouraged to breastfeed our children at birth, but the level of Casein found in cow’s milk is 300% higher, to help the calves develop much larger bones. This is why there is the theory that we shouldn’t drink the milk of other species.
Looking at the relationship of dairy and calcium, cow’s milk does in fact have a lot of calcium in it, but much of the calcium in cow’s milk is not easily absorbed by the body. There is a lot of phosphorus in dairy products, which binds to the calcium in your digestive tract and makes most of the calcium impossible to absorb. The body actually absorbs the calcium found in dark, leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds far more easily.
There is also a strong relationship between dairy and increased acidity in the body. Consuming large amounts of dairy increases the acidic load in the body, and in order for the body to overcome this and attempt to neutralise the acidity, calcium is extracted from your bones, as it is an alkalising mineral.
So after doing all this research, I came to the conclusion that it was probably better for my health to completely eliminate dairy from my diet and get my RDI of calcium from the other sources as described above.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and a follow up bone density scan has shown that my previous bone thinning has been rectified. I thank this to the ongoing resistance-based exercises I do, removing dairy from diet and also including Vitamin D supplements in my daily routine.
Most people think that if you lose weight then you are losing fat. But in actual fact, this may not be accurate. Naturally there will be some fat loss when the numbers on those scales go down, however this can also represent a loss of fluids and muscle mass.
Burning fat efficiently is not only the best way for you to achieve your desired figure but it also reduces the risks involved in you developing long term chronic disease.
Here are SIX of the top ways you can burn more fat efficiently...
1) Eat more fats
In order to burn fat, you have to eat fat. Wait, what? How does that work?
The body requires energy to keep its metabolism functioning properly. This energy is sourced from the nutrients we eat, namely carbohydrates, protein and fat. Fat packs in twice as much energy as the other two, so if you don’t have fat in your diet, you won’t have enough fuel to burn those calories. Also, in order to burn “old” fat from those stubborn places such as your buttocks, thighs and stomach, “new” fat is required as part of the process.
Here is another reason to have fat in your diet: Fat isn’t easy to digest, therefore it sticks around and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which means it reduces those urges to raid the fridge.
Fat also assists in a process to increase muscle size, which as you read on you will understand that this assists in fat burning too.
Now this doesn’t mean running off to your local burger or pizza joint! The fat I am referring to is your good, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats not your bad and ugly saturated and trans fats. You can get your fat burning fats from olive oil, avocado, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and salmon, just to name a few.
2) Lift weights
A common misconception is that bodybuilders are the only people who should strive to gain muscle mass. However, increasing muscle mass can benefit everyone’s health and appearance.
When talking about metabolism, muscle mass is the “engine” of the calorie-burning machine. Strength training increases your muscle mass, which results in a more efficient engine, which leads to burning more calories and thus leads to weight loss. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to maintain your weight and as a bonus, the more calories you burn whilst at rest.
3) Say no to sugar
Eating sugar is like flipping on a switch to tell your body to store fat. And sugar is everywhere, not just in lollies, sodas and desserts but it’s also hidden in refined carbohydrates like breads, pasta, rice and even milk. Your body will quickly digest and absorb these sugars as glucose. However, when we have eaten too many of these ‘sugar laden’ foods our body has too much glucose circulating and therefore it gets stored as fat to be used as energy at another time. So, the more sugar you consume at the one time, the greater the rise in blood glucose, and consequently insulin, so the longer you stay in fat storage mode.
4) Do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
This type of training is extremely efficient, especially when you are time poor. It involves alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and fixed periods of less intense exercise or even complete rest (eg; cycles of sprinting for 30 sec and then walking for 60 sec). You can get an unbelievable workout done in 8-10 minutes.
This form of intense exercise not only burns more calories during the session than a standard workout, but it also kicks your metabolism into overdrive. This kick-start allows your body to continue to burn fat and calories for 24 hours after you have completed the exercise.
5) Sleep more / balance hormones
Not having enough sleep can disrupt our metabolism and hormone balance, resulting in weight gain. This is caused by our night hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin, and when these are out of balance our body has a difficult time in sending us the correct messages of when to stop eating, therefore resulting in weight gain.
Sleep deprivation can actually turn into a viscous cycle because when you are low on energy, you will naturally go for your comfort foods, but you then won’t have energy to exercise, resulting in a larger waist line and further sleep loss.
Most people need between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night in order for their metabolism to work efficiently.
6) Manage Stress
Stress triggers our brain-to-body connection which activates a series of hormones whenever we feel threatened. It causes your brain to release adrenaline, which taps into your stored energy so that you can either fight or flee. At the same time you get a surge of cortisol which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used very many calories. This can make you hungry, very hungry. Your body will keep on pumping out this cortisol as long as the stress continues and this can result in over eating. You may also find it more difficult to keep to healthy eating habits or exercise routines.
Managing your stress is so important for you to be able to take control of your life, stick to a healthy eating plan and continue with your exercise routine.
So, in summary if you combine eating well, exercising efficiently and looking after yourself, your body will thank you for it and do what ultimately is your goal: BURN FAT