Do you skip breaky because you are just not hungry, but you force yourself to eat because you heard you are supposed too as its healthy?
The truth is – there are health benefits if you eat breakfast and also if you skip breakfast. It depends on your goals but for the purpose of this of this post let’s take the question above.
You eat breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day. Whose mum said this to them most days. Mine certainly did.
Research suggests that breakfast eaters are most likely health seekers. (this is not equivocal, and I am not saying if you don’t eat breakfast, you are not healthy). Breakfast tends to be a healthier meal of the day for most; intentions for the day are good so we make good choices, therefore, you are getting extra micronutrients in there and a good macro split generally to fuel your morning. Think fruit and great yogurt, eggs on wholegrain toast as examples.
Me personally, I’m a big breakfast fan! However, I am up at 5am most days and don’t eat until 9am. That’s only because I am manic in the mornings. If I ate it at 5am I would likely want to eat again at 9am again so I just don’t. I’m just not hungry at 5am.
If you are not hungry in the morning and you feel good off it then just don’t eat it. It will make very little difference to your day.
If you are skipping breaky for weight loss reasons (AKA intermittent fasting, basically skipping a meal and therefore most likely creating an calories deficit) but then find you overeat a lunch because you are so ravenous then maybe think about bringing back breakfast and that is not the diet for you. There is a lot of nuance here so feel free to message me if you have a specific goal.
Take away – if you want to eat it then do, if you don’t then don’t, it probably doesn’t matter!
My breakfast most days is kiwi, frozen berries, Greek yoghurt, nuts and chocolate. Weekends I’ll have bagels and eggs. Do you eat breakfast? Any breakfast inspo recipes??
I’ve been MIA on here lately! I’ve been very focused on starting and growing my Nutrition business, Whole health with Emma. Its going great and I am really loving helping people on a 121 basis.
I am really keen to make a bigger impact in making healthy feel easier. So, via my Instagram and Facebook platforms (wholehealthwithemma) I have set up a 6 week challenge. I wanted to share it here too incase you wanted to join in.
The purpose of the challenge is to help make us more aware. As a dieting society we are mostly focusing on taking away things in the pursuit of health (carbs, breakfast etc.) and we should be focusing on what we can add. Developing the things that we already do day to day, with a few tweaks here and there. Such as sleep, hydration and activity. These things can make a huge difference in how we feel.
This challenge is not a diet. So if you are already following a diet or plan of some kind, this will just complement it without a lot of effort.
Why should you get involved?
Its free Its easy Its fun It will make you accountable You will feel better You may lose weight You will be more mindful It does not require huge changes
Why you should get involved?
Aside from not wanting to improve your health I can think of a single reason.
How will it work?
The Sunday before I will release that habit we are working on for the week, you just do that specific habit per day that week. Each day I will post something relating, motivational, do Q+A’s about the subject and I will be doing it to so I will tell you how I am getting on too. Easy! I will release a checklist this week that you can use to check off daily.
Who’s keen? You don’t need to tell me, even take part under the radar or join in whenever you like.
The first is, are our hormones making us gain weight? We have all said or at least know someone who has said that our contraceptive method has made us fat.
Here is the harsh truth that I know many will not want to hear.
Only consuming more energy (food) than you burn will make you gain fat! Energy balance, it’s the principle of fat loss. FACT!
BUT (phew there is a but)
Hormones can play a role in helping us consume that energy. I will explain.
The appetite hormones
We have what is called the “hunger hormone” AKA Ghrelin. This stimulates our appetite. Then we have Leptin. Leptin tells our brain we are full and promotes energy balance, we like leptin!!
These two hormones can be affected by lots of factors. Lack of sleep can make your hunger hormone (Ghrelin) for example sky rocket making you hungrier that day. We want to keep ghrelin low during a fat loss phase so eating a whole foods diet with lots of protein will keep you fuller for longer. We want to be more leptin sensitive. We can do this by getting enough sleep, resistance training, avoid crash dieting, getting enough fibre and so on. Oh, wow look at that, balance and moderation!
So, we are all aware of the hormone’s estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
I will tackle each individually.
Estrogen – this increases in the first 14 days of our cycle (known as the Follicular phase) then decreases very quickly after ovulation around day 14. Let’s call Estrogen the nice hormone, we like estrogen. It keeps us on the straight and narrow and sane 😊 It also plays role in decreasing our appetite during the first 2 weeks of the cycle. If you are to start a diet for fat loss then this is when you want to do it.
Testosterone – We don’t have lots of this as its predominantly the male hormone but this is at its peak for us around ovulation. As this is when we have this highest chance of getting pregnant and testosterone improves our sex drive. Women who have PCOS can have 2-3 times more testosterone than women without and their cycle can be as long as 35 days compared the average 28 days of someone without PCOS. More testosterone can bring symptoms with it and women with PCOS hold body fat more central.
Progesterone – Let’s call this the horrid hormone. This rises from day 14 (luteal phase) right up to us getting our period. This causes the mood swings, can affect our sleep causing us to be irritable. We burn a higher number of calories in this phase, it can be up to 300 more. We also become more resistant to insulin which means we don’t tolerate carbohydrates as well but we crave them. Combine this with the affected sleep making our ghrelin hormones rise we end up consuming 500 calories on average a day more during this phase, hello weight gain!
So, you could say your hormones are helping you gain weight but its still energy balance that is what makes you gain fat. Understanding this can help you if you do suffer with the symptoms of the follicular phase.
As we head towards menopause these hormones decline and periods will stop eventually.
Is my pill/coil/implant etc. making you fat then?
Not directly, but it will be affecting your hormones and all the above will be happening! You can however hold a little more water with some contraception though which you will see on the scales.
It’s very different for everyone. Some are affected and some don’t even see aa difference.
Exercise and the female cycle
The second thing I would like to discuss is training and exercise in relation to hormones.
Have you ever been to the gym and lifted a personal best only to find the following week you can’t lift it off the floor! Or done the best run of your life to two days later feeling like a slug?
It’s our menstrual cycle messing with us.
We mention above the Follicular phase and the Luteal phase.
Follicular phase – days 1-14 of our cycle. This is when out Estrogen is high and when we are at our strongest. This is when we should be doing our heavy lifting and HIIT sessions, we also get less muscle soreness during this time. Around day 14 (ovulation) out testosterone is high; we may get out best work out here!
The Luteal phase – days 14- 28 ish. Progesterone starts to rise and that yoga pose we were doing a week ago now seems impossible. Our balance and co-ordination are off, we can’t lift for shit and our works outs are just less satisfying. Planning the lighter exercises here would make sense.
I think once we know this and we understand where we are in our cycle then we can give ourselves a break, not beat ourselves up as much.
Take away – understand your cycle. If you are in a fat loss phase you can try and do your deficit in the first too weeks and then hit maintenance calories in the 2nd phase. You will still make progress. Its important to point out that we are all so different, some months we are good and others it hits us hard. If you suffer with PMS plan your training around this, don’t force yourself to do a workout that is possible not going to benefit you.
Its tough being a woman but we just have to get on with it!
Its been over 6 months I think since I wrote a post about myself and not about Nutrition. Two things prompted this post. 1. It’s been a year since I started my blog, for those who don’t know I actually started this blog to talk about my journey quitting alcohol. 2. I wasn’t feeling any inspiration about a nutrition topic to cover.
So I am hear today to talk about my journey back to alcohol after 6 months off. We talk about quitting all the time but never really talk about what happens after we decide to drink again. I never did and I think it was because I felt a little shame that I decided to drink again. Just a quick recap – my plan was to stop drinking for 3 months, even though I found it difficult for various reasons I also enjoyed the benefits so much that I ended up doing 6 months. I then made a decision to start drinking again but in moderation.
Funnily enough starting drinking again also tied in to COVID kicking in here in Australia. I had 2 rules. I wasn’t allowed to drink bubbles and I am not drinking in the house. The first drink I had after 6 months was a bottle of bubbles shared with a friend in my house LOL. I broke my own rules straight away. That first drink felt nice as I got that relaxed giggly feeling you get when you only have a couple. I thought to myself, yes, I can do this moderation thing.
I’m not going to tell you about every drinking session I have had so I will fast forward and put it into a nutshell. Drinking in moderation is hard, its probably harder than completely quitting but it is getting easier. Its hard because I get the fear when I know that I am drinking that I cant control myself with how much I drink, I get the fear about how guilty I will feel, I worry I wont get up early and be productive and that will also make me feel guilty, I get hangover fear. So basically I am ruining the whole experience before I even do it, so I say to myself then why am I even drinking?
I also set myself a rule that I will drink no more than 1 bottle of wine a week. Have I stuck to that? Mostly but I have had a few slip ups.
In the whole 6 months that I have been drinking again I have got really drunk once. Very recently at a hen party, I felt so gross on the way home I regretted how much I drank, I drank bubbles and didn’t stick to any of my rules. I know most people who read this will think Oh chill out, live your life blah blah blah. I also have these debates with myself, I know I give myself a hard time but that’s the way I am. Getting drunk brings me zero joy now and I try and avoid situations where this might be involved.
What I am loving is a couple of glasses with a meal, or sat on my balcony watching the sun go down with my husband. I seem to able to moderate in my own environment and I no longer crave more alcohol like I did before.
Stopping drinking absolutely changed my whole relationship with myself and now with alcohol. It made me realise that I am happier and more productive without it, I love sleep, my mind is clearer, my body just feels strong and healthy and I no longer give a shit if people think i’m boring if I don’t drink.
I do think I will eventually just stop drinking and it will feel natural and not such an effort. I haven’t drank for 3 weeks right now just because I haven’t, no effort has gone into it and that just proves to me that my weekends and evening no longer revolve around wine. I never get stressed anymore and crave wine to make me feel better so its not emotional involved in my life anymore, that’s the one that I am most proud of.
So, is it nice to be drinking again? It’s hard to keep control. Am I happier now I’m drinking again? No. So why am I drinking again, why not just stop? I think this is part of my journey and we all have a different one, I hope mine does lead to me being a slow lane drinker or a non drinker.
It’s very difficult to put PCOS in a nutshell but I am going to give it go. All that I talk about is based on current evidence. PCOS is still not fully understood even by the specialists, there is ongoing research being done and things change the more that is discovered.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome. To have the syndrome you will be diagnosed with two of the following and some females can have all three.
Hyperandrogenism – high levels of androgens causing symptoms such as oily skin, acne, facial hair, irregular periods and also alopecia
Polycystic ovaries – ovaries develop numerous small collections of fluid, called follicles and may fail to regularly release eggs
Oligo/Anovulation – where ovulation is irregular or not there at all
What are the characteristics of PCOS?
Menstrual dysfunction which can also lead to infertility or increased pregnancy complication
Insulin resistance and increased risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
More prone to anxiety and/or depression
More prone to obesity or weight gain as metabolism could be up to 40% slower
It’s difficult to say what the treatments are exactly because it depends on what symptoms you have as no one case is the same.
Of course, see your doctor and they will provide medical treatment.
So how can a Nutritionist help?
We can help a huge amount. Lifestyle is a key treatment.
Getting to a healthy weight/BMI – is shown to improve PCOS symptoms dramatically. This will improve insulin resistance. The method we use again will depend on the symptoms. For example – one study shows that a low GI diet can improve menstrual regularity and improve insulin sensitivity.
Metabolic adaptation – this means that you require less calories than someone without PCOS. Sometimes it can be up to 40% less. The harsh reality is that you will be on a lower calorie diet. Seeing a nutritionist to help with this is beneficial as we can set you where you need to be and make sure the method for the lower calorie diet is that one that benefits your health.
Exercise – aside from helping to boost mood therefore helping to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms its help can help you reach your weight loss goal. Resistance training will improve insulin sensitivity too.
Supplementation – research is still ongoing but there are some great studies suggesting supplementing with vitamin D and omega 3’s is very beneficial.
It’s a very complicated syndrome with no one way to treat it. It needs a dedicated period of experimentation and recording to find them method for the specific symptoms.
I would suggest seeing a Nutritionist (me please) and committing to a 12 week plan.
There are so many nutritional myths out there they could all have their own article but instead I thought I would take a small handful of the ones I come across a lot.
Does high insulin level prevent weight loss?
NO!! The myth is that if you eat a high carbohydrate diet (even if you are in a calorie deficit), it releases the hormone insulin which then makes your body store fat. Its absolute tosh and has never been proven, ever! I understand why people believe it! There are some very high-profile doctors out there promoting this theory, they say low carb is the only way. They have only one agenda, to sell their book!
There are many studies that dis prove this theory but I will name one that categorically disproves the insulin theory. In this study by Kevin Hall (Hall et al. (2015) Cell Metab) there were no significant differences in body fat losses when comparing isocaloric low carbohydrate and high carbohydrate diets in a tightly controlled metabolic ward.
Let’s have a carb party 😊
Eating little and often speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose weight.
NO! This one is a very popular myth and still well believed.
This meta-analysis (Schoenfeld et al. (2015) Nutr. Rev.) found no significant differences between meal frequency and changes in body weight. There are lots more studies to mention and all have found no significant difference when eating lots of meals compared to eating 2 big meals a day for example.
The only times eating smaller meals more often can benefit you is for muscle gain and that’s more specific to protein feedings.
Eat what fits within your lifestyle without any stress over timings!
Does eating red meat increase the risk of cardiovascular disease?
NO! Meat eaters will love this one and as this one has been around a long-time people find it hard to not believe but evidence is evidence.
This meta-analysis (O’Connor et al. (2016) Am. J. Clin. Nutr.) showed that consuming more than 0.5 servings of red meat per day did not significantly affect lipid-lipoprotein profiles or blood pressure, both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Many of the studies that do show a link to red meat and increased risk of CVD are correlation studies. What this means is that the people taking part in the study were also less likely to be physically active, more likely to be smokers, drink more alcohol, have a higher energy intake and have a higher BMI which are all related to CVD so how can you specifically blame the red meat.
Rather than focusing on reducing red meat you would be better off getting to a healthy weight, being more physically active, drink less alcohol and not smoke. All proven to reduce the risk of CVD.
Red meat is actually extremely nutrient dense food containing protein, fat, iron, zinc and many other micronutrients. Just saying. Moderation!
Is eating more than 7 eggs per week bad for your cholesterol?
HELL, NO and thank god!!
There are many studies to refer to so I am going to pick the one with the most eggs consumed in a week. This study showed that eating 21 eggs per week for 12 weeks resulted in no significant changes in ‘bad’ cholesterol and actually improved other blood lipid markers for health, including levels of ‘good cholesterol and triglycerides. (Mutungiet al. (2008) J. Nutr)
However, I should state that there are hyper-responders to eggs (as with everything). If you do have high cholesterol then remove eggs for a while, change nothing else and get re-tested, if its still the same then change other lifestyle factors and keep the eggs.
I’m a big egg fan. They are super nutritious and contain small amounts of very nearly all the essential micronutrients we need and they have up to 8g of Protein per egg.
I think that’s enough for now, I may do another next week with another 4.
Are there any myths out there that you are unsure about??
Nearly every single client I see in the clinic is not eating enough Protein, both male and female.
Unless you are really into muscle gains most people don’t even know why we need it and what it does for us. I have to try and change this as I think most Nutritionists would say it’s their favorite macro and we will prioritize it over the other macros, for good reason.
I’m going to try and keep the science bit to a minimum but do bear with me as its important you know.
What is protein anyway?
Proteins are large, complex molecules. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. There are essential and non-essential amino acids that we consume through food.
But why do I need Protein?
Let’s clear one common misconception about protein. You do NOT eat/drink Protein then turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger (if only). We do need to consume protein from our diet to provide amino acids for growth and maintenance of tissues. So, the amount you need really depends on your health and activity level. If you have had surgery for example, eating higher protein diet will help your recovery. If you are training hard with heavy weights you may need a higher protein amount to support the recovery of your muscles and help them grow.
If you are in a calorie deficit as you are trying to lose fat its important to keep your protein high so you do not lose muscle mass.
There are lots of other reasons that are not just muscle growth related as to why we need Protein, here are a few more and each one could have its own article!
Immune function support
It has a high thermic effect of food – which means you burn more calories metabolizing it
Supports weight loss – higher protein meals have higher satiety
Supports healthy nails and skin growth
Protein is also an energy source
Protein myths debunked
Myth 1 – You can only digest 20-30g of protein in one sitting – NOT TRUE We digest all of our protein however you may not need more that 20-30g per sitting for muscle protein synthesis AKA muscle growth)
Myth 2 – Protein makes you fat – NOT TRUE The only thing that makes you gain fat is a calorie surplus.
Myth 3 – To much protein is bad for your kidneys in healthy individuals – NOT TRUE There is not one study that supports this statement.
Myth 4 – Protein shakes are for body builders – NOT TRUE Protein shakes are great if you don’t have time to sit and eat food, they are not better than food but a complete protein is a complete protein.
So how much Protein should you be having?
The recommend amount is 0.8g per kg of body weight but evidence supports that we go higher than this.
I would recommend a guide of 1.2 – 2.7g for kg of body weight.
The 1.2 would be for a non-active healthy person, the more active you get then it should increase. 1.5 is a great start. A 60kg female would need around 90g of Protein.
Why should your Protein come from?
We have complete and incomplete protein. Remember those amino acids I mentioned at the beginning, well they are pretty important. We need them to make up complete Proteins.
Complete proteins –They contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts
They are found in all animal-based protein sources
Incomplete proteins – which means deficient in at least one essential amino acid
Usually plant-based sources which can be difficult for vegan’s as they can’t have any animal products, its not impossible though. Vegan’s need to be aware of how to combine their protein source to make up a complete one. For example, mixing rice with beans.
Side effects of not getting enough Protein.
You are tired – your body isn’t recovering and its effecting your energy levels
You are not making the progress you wanted in the gym
Loss of muscle mass
Increased risk of bone fractures
Risk of infections and low immune, you keep getting sick
I think that’s enough incentive to check how much protein you are eating. You may not even know that’s its low. Take a look at your diet and see how much you are eating.
Tips to increase protein
Aim for 20g minimum per meal
Make your snacks high protein – tuna, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, lentils, chickpeas
Throw in a protein shake or bar if you are struggle to consume through food – you can add protein to your oats, smoothie or yogurt
For as long as I can remember we have been told that salt is bad for us, it will give you high blood pressure and you will have a heart attack!
Turns out that this may not be the case.
Let me say that first, too much of anything is a bad thing, so keeping in mind throughout this post that I am not encouraging excessive salt intake.
What is salt?
Also know as Sodium chloride. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. You can get many different forms of salt. Sea salt, Himalayan salt and the table salt we all know to well.
Why do we need salt?
Aside from it may be making our food taste better we actually need salt! The essential minerals in salt act as important electrolytes in the body. They help with fluid balance, nerve transmission and muscle function.
What we all thought we knew about salt.
That too much salt contributed to high blood pressure and heart disease. New studies are now showing that this is not quite the case. This study (link below) found there was no actual link between salt intake, high blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
Evidence in recent years is emerging that restricting salt is bad for us as we are not getting enough. It can contribute to the follow.
Reduced hydration, especially in athletes Muscle cramps Higher risk of heart attack Headaches Weakness Cognitive decline in elderly Irritability Sleep disruption
Wow hey, who knew!
Which one is the healthiest?
They actually don’t differ a huge amount, but it seems Celtic salt is the king salt!
Table salt – is heavily processed however the pro’s to table salt are that it has iodine added to it so we do not become iodine deficient. Table salt has the least mineral content with the iodine aside.
Sea salt – its less refined that table salt with a slightly higher mineral content. However, it’s said to have a higher metal content and to contain trace plastics.
Pink Himalayan rock salt – is rich in minerals, containing all 84 essential trace elements required by your body. Pink salt can assist in many bodily functions, such as reducing muscle cramps, promoting blood sugar health and promoting healthy pH in your cells.
Celtic sea salt – is an unrefined, unprocessed and sourced from clean coastal waters. Containing unprocessed and naturally forming minerals contains a higher mineral content than Himalayan and even contains trace amounts of iodine, naturally.
Benefits of adding natural salt
Balances electrolytes and prevents muscle cramping
Helps you stay hydrated
Can Improve sleep
Supports a healthy nervous system
Recommended daily amount.
The government guild lines for an adult are 1 teaspoon a day (6g). If you already eat a lot of processed food, then you will be getting more than enough (maybe too much) so don’t add extra salt to your food. If you eat lots of fresh food adding some natural salt will benefit your health.
Yes!! If you have Celiac disease or non- celiac gluten sensitivity.
This really is one of the biggest myths. The amount of times I have heard people say that something is gluten free so it’s healthy, or they have cut gluten from their diet and they feel so much better.
First of all, lets explain what gluten actually is.
Gluten is a group of proteins found in cereal grains. These proteins, called prolamins and glutelins, comprise 75–85% of the total protein in bread wheat. It gives dough its elasticity and makes bread soft and chewy.
In this day and age, for some reason and I cannot pinpoint when this happened, everyone started to blame their stomach issues on gluten. I came across a study whilst looking at some research and it tested 336 people who thought they had a gluten intolerance and put them on a gluten free diet. The results found that out of all those people on 27 of them had a gluten intolerance and 26 actually had celiac disease. The others had issues because of a number of different issues.
Stomach related issues can be stress (huge one), Irritable bowel syndrome, a diet change, a wheat allergy or another allergy such as lactose.
I have known many people remove gluten from their diet and have claimed that they feel better. That’s great. However, if you remove gluten from your diet you are also removing cakes, biscuits, all breads and other highly processed foods. Of course, they feel better, they have removed all the junk from their diet and probably replaced it with fresh and higher nutritious foods than they were eating before.
Other foods containing gluten are
Wheat Spelt Rye Barley Bread Pasta Cereals Beer Cakes, cookies, and pastries
Notice how most of these foods are the ones we tend to over consume? Could this be why we feel so bloated and tired after eating them, because we ate too much? Could it be not its not actually the gluten’s fault?
Are Gluten free versions better than normal versions of food?
Yes, if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Otherwise absolutely not. They are very expensive and usually have extra additives added to make then taste similar.
If you do think you have a problem with gluten you should go to your doctor to be tested rather than just assuming it is gluten, you could be focusing your energy on the wrong problem when you could be fixing the right one.
It is believed that 0.5-15% of the western population may have a reaction of some kind to gluten, its not as high as you would think.
This week has been one of the the harder ones in regards to being sober.
In Australia Melbourne cup is one of the biggest events in the calendar. We get to finish work early, we get super dressed up and head off to whatever venue has been booked for us. Its a really good day. The free drinks flow, the food is usually delicious and everyone gets hammered. I am usually the one who is most up for it. This year was different. I wasn’t drinking. I was determined to still enjoy myself and not dread the event.
I called the venue ahead of arriving to ask what non alcohol drinks they have, they had Carlton zero, I was happy as! It make a difference if people think you are drinking then you don’t have to explain yourself.
We arrive at 12.30pm, the race is at 3pm, I left at 3.30pm LOL! I have 3 Carlton zero’s, had a nice time but I started to feel the turn in the way people were acting and knew it was my cue to leave. The main reason of telling this story is the my manager didn’t drink and stayed with me the whole time. She wanted to support me, it meant a lot as I would never ask anyone too or expect anyone too. It helped.
I am finding that a lot of people are very supportive, more so than I expected. My best friend is great and really understanding as to why I am doing it. My work colleagues get it. My 8 year old daughter who obviously doesn’t understand the main reason behind it but I think is benefiting from me not drinking the most.
The biggest shout out needs to go to my husband. He is one of my 10 followers and reads every post. If you read my first introduction to the blog you will know that one of my fears was it affecting our relationship in a negative way. We think that our relationship is built on our love to socialise (as well as other things of course) which in turn means our love for alcohol and getting boozy. Nearly 7 weeks to not drinking and I am thinking how wrong that is that we think that. Ok so we are not out dancing the night away until 3am, we are not having drunken conversations that will mean nothing the next day or laughing hysterically at things that are not actually not funny but how often do we even do that anymore? I think the last time was a year ago when we had a night out in the city.
Instead and I hope he will agree we are probably in the happiest place we have ever been. I don’t know why. When I try to pin it down one of the things that come to mind is because I or even we are less irritable, my mood is better so I am more tolerant, I feel calmer, I feel good! He does too, he is drinking a lot less and making an effort to eat healthier. If I didn’t have his support or if he moaned about it then this process would have been so much harder. I am so grateful for him.
Its made me realise how important support is and surrounding yourself with those who do support you is a must.
I don’t get it anymore. It probably stopped about a year ago for me. I used to get it bad. I never missed anything and said yes to everything. Every work event, every social event, literally everything.
When I first got to Sydney form the UK being invited out and attending was the only was to meet people and build relationships. You are not sure who you actually want to be friends with so you have to try them all out, right? So I would go out at least twice a week. They were all drinking events, some free and some not free, didn’t matter, all would end with me being drunk. There is a big bubbles culture here with groups of girlfriends. There’s constantly a bottle being bought by who’s ever round it is and your glass is always full. You cant monitor how much you drink therefore before you know it you’ve drank 2 bottle of prosecco and you are hammered!
After 2-3 years of this is Sydney I started to tire of it. Sick of the horrendous hangovers, bored of the bear fear and I would always get my self in trouble by talking to someone about something I shouldn’t to some I shouldn’t have said it too so would have constant anxiety.
I made some great friends along the way but if I look back I am confident I didn’t make them friends because they liked me wasted, surely it was because they actually liked me!
So yeah, I just got over it. I also know that after 9pm when everyone is sloshed no-one remembers anything anyway so i’m not missing out there.
These days I’m much happier staying in with the fam, movie nice food and bed at 10pm (if not earlier), or a nice meal with a friend, long walks or something active. S many people will say I am boring, that’s there problem, I couldn’t be happier doing those things.
So I think the new term is JOMO, joy of missing out. I love that.
My health journey has been a long one and it’s still going. We never know everything; new research emerges all the time.
In my 20’s I was all weight watcher’s meals, 60 minutes of cardio a day and I was super skinny a couple of times, I was also overweight a few times too. When I was 30, I was pregnant, I lived off egg sandwiches and Maltesers, I gained heaps of weight. After that I took up running and back on the low calories. Now I put my efforts into health over aesthetics, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t care how I look, of course I do and that is ok! It’s been a real journey, but I wanted to share with you 5 things that changes my health forever.
1. The mornings
I used to be a night owl. Years of working in hospitality, partying, sleeping in until 2pm because my shift didn’t start until 3pm. Then when I did get a 9-5 I would stay up until 2am binge watching the 24 box set then roll into work with 3 hours sleep under my belt. That all changed when I had Hanna, now 10.
You literally have no choice to become a morning person. I slowly, over time, started to get into bed earlier as I knew my mornings would be early. Before I realised, I was crawling in bed at 10pm and getting up at 6am. My daughter still loves an early morning but so do I, I have come to love the mornings.
I now get up at 5.30am by choice. I know I have 1 hour before anyone else is getting up. I get up and do my 15 minutes of yoga. It feels so amazing to do those stretches in the morning. Then I will make a coffee, sit down at my desk and potter on my computer, reading posts, writing posts, catching up, whatever really, nothing to pressured. After my coffee I will go for a run or walk the dog. Then breakfast when I return.
I genuinely look forward to this each day.
Why – Its mine. I am doing what I want, for me. If I got up that hour later I wouldn’t have had that time.
I am not saying this needs to ne your routine. I am saying that you need a routine. One that you enjoy, one that works with your lifestyle.
2. Stop comparing
One of my favourite quotes is comparison is the thief of joy. Comparing can be dangerous for our mental health.
Let’s talk physical – If I opened my Instagram and there wasn’t a 6-pack looking at me then I would question if it was my feed. I followed all of the influencers. I now follow none of them.
I only follow real people who I can learn from and who can inspire me. I know now that my body is my body, I will never have Beyonce curves because I am just not genetical built like that. My thighs will always wobble because that seems to be where I store my fat. Once I stopped trying to be someone else I felt more positive about my body.
My current comparing challenge is with people who do what I do but I think they are doing it better, others in the nutrition world. I have started to change the way I think about it though and again I try not to follow to may influencers. I am trying to remember that people will want to work with me because of me not because my reels are perfection (lol which they are not) or my grid is colour coordinated.
Stopping comparing is hard and is a work in progress but once you do you will find that you are kinder, more positive and also mentally lighter.
I’ve always been a bit of a planner. I love a list. I have spreadsheets, then lists in my phone, then I love to write down and list and physically tick things off. Such satisfaction.
If you don’t plan then its hard to stay on track, FACT!
I plan my food and meals I plan my workouts and walks I plan my social time I plan my work I plan my future I plan my finances I plan my goals
If I don’t it all goes to shit. That is me though. It doesn’t work for everyone but if I was going to say plan one thing, I would say your meals for the week. Game changer. Plan things you actually like though or it won’t happen. Buy the ingredients.
4. Stop aiming for perfection
I follow a PT called Emma Storey Gordon and she says what I think all the time. She said this last year and it has resonated with me in such a way that it is part of my programme.
This means not aiming for total perfection all the time. It means that any action is better than no action.
An example is you aim to do 5 workouts one week but you only do 2 and seeing that as a fail. However, 2 workouts can still have a huge impact on your body composition.
Another example – trying to eat clean. Then you accidentally shove some chips in your mouth and then you think fuck it and it all goes to shit for the week until the next Monday.
I changed this perfection attitude; it was super hard and its still ingrained in me a little. This is what I think. If I make a decision that goes against my goals, I will then make sure the next decision is the right one. Imperfect action.
5. Being a bitch to myself
I hate it when people say love yourself. Oh ok, sure, that’s easy! Said none ever. It would be friggin awesome to love yourself though, right? I certainly don’t love myself but I’m pretty pleased with myself. I am starting to like what I see in the mirror more and more.
I’m not saying that’s what anyone else needs but this is what helped me be nicer to myself.
Now when I work out, for example shoulders, my favourite part to train. I’m like shit girl look at those gains. Same with quads when I do the leg extension. Weight training makes me feel strong AF and in turn it helps with mindset. Helps you feel more positive about what your body can do.
When I look in the mirror, I don’t hate what I see anymore and it’s so nice.
My point – saying nicer things to myself has helped my confidence in a big way. It helps.
So that’s it. My top 5 tips that I hope can help you too 😊
I bet 90% of females are nodding their heads right now.
I know I had up until a few years ago, then I studied Nutrition and really understood how it actually works.
Don’t get me wrong, I will always need to work on my relationship with food and it’s not easy all the time. You see I tend to overindulge; I have definitely had binging issues in the past, I don’t have one of those fast metabolisms and if it was just down to genetics, I would be overweight. I still dip in and out of weight loss phases too. However, the difference is now that I feel in control of it. I’m not on that hamster wheel of massive restriction on the weekends only to fall in the fuck it bucket each weekend. This is a huge achievement for me and it can be for anyone.
How did I get there?
I learnt about energy balance. We all have heard that calories in calories out is how we lose weight. Yes, a negative energy balance is the principle to weight loss. We then have to find a method to create that energy balance. That method with be your diet.
Did you know that the fat we hold on our body is actually excess energy AKA excess calories? When I learnt that it blew my mind. So, it makes sense that if we eat less calories (energy) than we burn that we will lose that energy AKA fat.
Another fact for you – did you know that when we lose fat, we breath it out!! WTF, again blew my mind. Most of it is breathed out as carbon dioxide.
Anyway, I went off subject.
It wasn’t as easy as just learning about energy balance, there is a lot more to it. However, learning about yourenergy balance is a bloody good start.
I stress the YOUR part.
Yours is different to Sally in IG who says she eats 3000 calories a day and has shredded abs Yours is different to Claire from marketing who is a marathon runner Yours is different to your husbands
Yours is yours.
So many reasons.
How active you are? How much your currently weigh and how tall are you? Do you work out? Your dieting history Any hormonal or medical issues
The list is long.
Once you establish your number. You need to work out your method AKA diet.
Also – individual to you!
Jo at work may have lost 40kg intermittent fasting but you can’t go more than 3 hours without food so that’s not going to work for you. It will fail and then you will feel crap and the cycle starts again.
You need help and guidance with this.
Something else we need to be aware of that pops up now and again and ruins everything. LIFE!
I mentioned earlier that I dip in and out of fat loss phases. Our lives are not linear; they don’t run swimmingly all the time. Lockdowns, surgery, job changes, house moves, relationship breakdowns, work stress. They can derail our plans for our health goals very easily.
This is the great thing about the knowledge of your energy balance. You can make changes according to what is happening in your life. The goal should always be maintenance but sometimes you go into a surplus and gain a little fat. If you don’t want that fat gain, we can then pop into a fat loss phase.
Health is not easy as it requires effort but if you do the things that you actually like it becomes easier and less effort. You start to genuinely enjoy the process of being a healthier person.
Having a consultation with a Nutritionist will identify what will work for you. What YOUR method is. They will encourage you to do the things you enjoy to the process is not a slog and that includes eating foods you love.
If it is something you have been thinking about, I encourage you to take that plunge, you won’t ever regret investing in your health.
I was never great a math’s. In fact, I got an E in my GCSE and had to return to college to retake it and scrapped a pass the 2nd time. It doesn’t come easily to me.
I now find myself in a job where percentages are a daily and my Nutrition job is all about equations and numbers. How did this happen to me!!
It got me thinking about all the numbers that are involved in daily health.
How many calories you eat How you split your macros into grams per day How many steps you do a day How many hours sleep to you get How many litres of water you drink How many plants are you eating
It’s all just numbers.
Funnily enough I’ve come to love these little targets we give ourselves and I think they are important markers to work towards to achieve your health goals.
Let’s break some of these down.
Calories – love them or hate them they are important to understand. All or the food and drink we consume are made up of these calories. Your number is individual to you and your goal. That’s why I hate meal plans. Meal plans are set calories and don’t take into consideration the individual needs. Calories are energy. If weight loss is a goal, we need to eat less energy than we burn. If you are aiming to stay the same weight you need to learn your maintenance calories. If we eat too much energy than we burn, we then gain weight. It’s as simple as that but not that simple. There is so much nuance.
Steps – Why do we need a step goal? I think a step goal is powerful tool and one that is totally in our control. I love things we can control. Steps equals movement and movement equals a healthier you. Again, your step goal is individual to you. If you are a nurse, then your step count is going to be higher than an office desk job worker. That’s why having a goal is great. I could happily sit at my computer all day, look at my watch and see that I only did 1000 steps all day. Seeing that will then encourage me to go for a walk until I hit my goal, encouraging me to move.
Having a step goal is great for weight management/loss but also heart health. Studies show that the sweet step count for health is 8,000 a day.
Sleep – we all know we need 8 hours, right? Well yes but no (as usual it’s not that simple). The eyeroll of the new parents who hear they need to get 8 hours sleep. The general sweet spot for sleep is 7-9 hours. I personally feel great from 7. My body just naturally starts to wake up then. Sleep is not always in our control, but we can control other factors. As humans we actual thrive from routine. Having a sleep routine is important for our body clocks. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will create that routine, even if that sleep if broken with night feeds or whatever. No phones in bed. Read if you can’t sleep. Dim the lights, create a nice environment that you actually want to be in.
New mums – I promise it won’t be forever Shift workers – you can only do your best to (too much to say therefore another post)
Lack of sleep leads to an increase in the hunger hormone Ghrelin. That’s why you crave food more when you are tired. If we don’t get enough sleep, it is said, we can consume up to 500 calories more per day could lead to weigh gain.
Alcohol – the government guidelines say we should be drinking no more than 5 150mls glasses of wine a week. That’s 1 bottle. 1 bottle of wine a week!!!! It’s not a lot is it?
We all know alcohol is bad for us. It’s a carcinogenic and leads to increased risk in many cancers, specifically breast cancers for us women. Yet knowing this we still happily guzzle it down claiming it relaxes us. It’sactually doing us no favours, it effects our sleep hence why you feel so tired the day after drinking even though you think you slept well. It leads to other behaviors such as overeating and poor decision making therefore weigh gain.
I am not the alcohol police; I definitely drink more than 1 bottle of wine some weeks but I think it’s important to know the harsh truths as we only see the shiny advertisements of alcohol. Most of us are not informed enough about the negative effects it on our physical and mental health.
The best bet – avoid binge drinking too much. This is classed as 4 standard drinks in 1 sitting. Try to have 4 days a week without alcohol.
Plants – Eat your plants! Aiming for 5 plus a day is ideal. Aim for different colours. Doing this will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need to help your body to its thing and make you feel better. Include at least 2 fruits, green veg for iron, your beans, pulses and legume for extra fibre.
There we have it.
Achieving optimal health is a numbers game but all of our numbers are not the same. This is the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more but I didn’t want to bore you to death.
Following generic numbers will only get you so far as they are a guide but are they right for you as an individual?
Seeing a Nutritionist to discuss your goals really is the way to go.
Let’s make 1 thing clear. Coffee is the best. I see people quit drinking coffee all the time and it makes me sad that they are suckking that little joy from there lives. Caffeine is not bad for us. In fact, there are studies to say it’s good for us for various reasons.
I have to say the word that no-one like. – MODERATION!
Get up and enjoy your morning coffee and even a 2nd. However, no caffeine after 12pm.
This includes energy drinks, tea (not herbal) but even green tea has caffeine and sodas. Here are my reasons
Caffeine stays in your system for 12 hours and has a half-life of 6 hours – ever had a 4-5pmcoffee then struggled to sleep?
Too much can cause anxiety – after coffee jitters anyone.
It can actually make you feel more tired – if you are having it to get through the afternoon slump, I promise you its only helping very short term.
Have a big glass of water instead as chances are you are dehydrated and that’s why you feel tired. Or make a fruity tea.
If you are on my mailer list, I will have emailed you a copy of this to print out. (to join mailer list post to my link tree in bio or DM me) Or you can take a picture of this and edit it on your phone. It keep you accountable.
I would love for you to share in your stories when completing a task or do the take, cooking a meal, anything just tag me so I can share too.
Day 1 – go for a 30-minute + walk. Rain or shine! If it is a nice day though, get out at midday for some vitamin D. I promise you will good after this. (unless you have a dog like mine and he just stresses you out)!!
I know I have a mix of different countries on this blog but here in Sydney we have been in lockdown for 9 weeks and there is little like at the end of the tunnel.
Groundhog day has set in and most people are losing the will.
Wouldn’t it be great so come out of the next weeks feeling better?
I have put a small challenge together. You don’t have to be in lockdown to take part.
This is not a diet.
It’s about making small healthy changes/choices. If those choices help you lose weight, then great 🙂
The point of this is to do the task each day, you can take that task into the next day if you enjoyed it or felt better from it. Some days may be a challenge for you, some days you may already tick that box. If you do find a day where you are already doing it do the day before’s task again.
I AM doing it mainly through my Instagram but if you would like to take part pop me an email to join the mail list and you will receive the calendar tomorrow.
Are you actually a really healthy weight but some influencer is rocking some abs and you think that’s how you should look?
Are you always on the diet hamster wheel, chasing to lose that last 3kg because you think it’s your happy weight? Once you get there it will bring you all the happiness.
If you actually really think about it, do you want to lose that weight so people can approve of your body? So your body is more socially acceptable?
I’m not going to lie, I have, I do, and I didn’t realise it until I stopped and thought about it. I have been thinking about my WHY!
My thoughts lately Why do I want to lose that last 2kg? f I lose that 2kg it will make me happy. I felt great the last time I was X weight. No, you won’t Emma you dick it’s just a number on the scales, I probably won’t look any different. I feel great now. No-one else will even notice! I can’t be a PT or Nutritionist and not be in shape, can I? I need to be in shape, so people take me seriously.
All nonsense, but still, this is my nonsense in my head. I have been struggling to lose that 2kg because my WHY actually isn’t important to me anymore. My goals have changed, and I didn’t adjust my nutrition to align with my now goals.
Have you been forever dieting and struggling to lose that weight, so much that you just diet on and off on autopilot?
Your WHY possibly could have changed and that WHY no longer motivate you. Have a think.
Do you want to make sure its balanced diet, a nutritious diet?
The plate method is your answer!
I love the plate method for my clients where optimal health is the goal. Also if weight maintenance is the goal.
If you do it right you will be making sure you are getting balance macros to fuel your body and also hitting those vitamin and mineral goals. This is great for overall health. 3 plates and 2 snacks a day should keep you fueled and at weight maintenance.
If weight loss is the goal it can be a little trickier to get right. We need to create a calorie deficit to lose fat. Aiming to eat 3 plates of food a day based on the plate method would do that. However, that might not be enough for you, you could be super active. That’s where adding snacks comes in.
The plate method is something I would recommend you do with a nutrition coach to make sure you are getting it right for you as an individual. We all have different need.
The plate method should be the ultimate goal of eating for the rest of your life 🙂