Metabolic Myths Keeping You From Losing Weight

Metabolic Myths Keeping You From Losing Weight

Read time: 10-minute

Looking to feel healthy, energized and (maybe) lose some weight? Myths are rife in the fitness industry, so I am here to bust the most common myths around metabolism for you.

First of all, your metabolism as we are referring to here, is the fire that burns through food and drink. The higher it is, the easier it is to lose weight. Chronic dieting down regulates your metabolism, which makes it HARDER to lose weight. So, believing these myths will keep you from achieving your goals, and that is why we are covering them 🙂

Let’s start with the most common one;

Myth 1: I’ve tried everything and can’t lose weight 

Metabolisms simply adapt to your lifestyle. Anyone can lose weight, they just need to take a metabolically friendly approach. (if you want to learn more about this, check out my Nutrition course where I cover it, and help you fix it, in detail.)

The issue with most women, without getting too deeply into it, is that most women don’t eat enough calories, or enough nutritiously rich food on a daily basis, to create the foundations of a healthy metabolism.

When daily health targets aren’t met, cravings come in and we often over-indulge in hyper-palatable foods, pushing daily calories over the top into a surplus (more than you need). Fad diets are often leaned on too, when women find themselves believing this, as they want to get the ‘diet’ out of the way as soon as possible.

It’s not possible to just ‘get it out of the way’. Eating well and eating well regularly needs to become a lifestyle, not just a one-time thing for a period of time. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you start to feel leaner, stronger, healthier, and more energized.

Additionally, most women who say this, have never tried a measured, slow-going health-focussed approach, approved by a professional. What they mean by ‘i’ve tried everything’ is that they have tried every fad diet, trendy group challenge, or extreme methods.

Always keep in mind, the truth is a hard sell. It’s not romantic, fancy, quick or easy. You may have noticed this by now though with the content I’ve shared with you so far!

 

Myth 2: Your metabolism slows as you age 

 

The great news is that this is totally false, IF you continue to remain active.

Your metabolism is a reflection of your lifestyle. Generally speaking, as people age, they become less active and after age 30, they start to lose muscle. In women, it’s been suggested that this could be up to 15% by the age of 50, further declining after that.

If you remain active, continue (or start) weight training to maintain muscle and continue to fuel your body, with a nutrient rich diet, your metabolism simply will not slow down all by itself, it will respond to what you’re teaching it, and require it to do. End of story.

 

Myth 3: Exercise boosts your metabolism

 

Ok, so there is some truth in this one. Post exercise, there’s something that we call EPOC (excess post-exercise energy expenditure). This refers to the increase in energy (caloric) demands after a workout and essentially, the harder the workout, the greater the EPOC. But we’re only talking about around 60-extra calories over a 16-hour period, not a whole bucket of hot-chips worth 😉

When you have a sluggish, highly adapted metabolism and your body is under stress, this kind of intense exercise will actually just cause more stress on your body.

So it’s better to look at it like this:

Exercise increases the amount of energy you expend on that day only. For example, you burn 250 calories on the stepper, it hasn’t ‘increased’ your metabolism, it has simply burned through more calories than you would have had you remained sedentary that day. That means, you can eat 250-calories more that day, if your goal is to maintain your weight. 

 

Myth 4: Weight training increases your metabolism 

This is true, but it’s not dramatic. Increased muscle mass from weight training has been shown to have an effect on improving metabolism, but it’s not a huge amount when it comes to building muscle naturally.

For example, it’s been estimated that one kilogram of muscle can burn up to 12 calories while at rest. 1kg of fat burns around 4 calories per day. If over time you were to increase muscle mass by 10kg, this means you’ll be burning 120-calories more per day. Keep in mind this may take you a few years to achieve, so the effect is slight. You will look and feel a lot different though, that is for sure, due to changes in body composition resulting from your training efforts.

Look at it like this; weight training improves the quality of the body overall, and when more muscle is built, performance improves and training sessions are more effective. This has an impact on how we can transform our bodies over time, but not so much an ‘overnight’ effect on the quality of your metabolism

 

Myth 5: Metabolisms ‘break’ 

False. Refer to myth 1 – ‘I have tried everything and can’t lose weight’. 

Your metabolism isn’t ‘broken’, it’s just efficient. Remember that an efficient metabolism is one that adapts really well to its environment.

If your metabolism is sluggish and you’re gaining weight easily, it is not doing what you want, it’s doing what it thinks you need. It’s protecting you from a famine, keeping you as safe as it possibly can.

Why does this happen? There are generally three reasons; 

  • Your body is under stress, be it physical or emotional.
  • You aren’t consuming the right kinds of health-based foods
  • You are under-eating regularly and on purpose
  • You aren’t training in a way that optimizes your health (over-training)

Fun-fact – it is actually rare that someone with anorexia reaches a skeletal body composition. This is a genetic factor, and many who are treated with anorexia aren’t that skeletal at all, they’re just undernourished. So simply not eating does not help everyone lose weight. 

 

Myth 6: I can boost my metabolism with (insert food or drink here) 

This is true, but not in the way you think. We hear a lot about spicy foods, caffeine, and pre-trainers causing an increase in metabolism, but all they really do is speed up your heart rate, or increase body heat. This doesn’t ensure that your metabolism will speed up!

You could say this statement has some validity, due to what we call the ‘thermic effect of food’ (TEF). These foods require more energy to break down, with protein, and particularly animal protein, being the primary example.

Foods that are high in nutritional quality can also have a more positive impact on metabolism than processed, under-nourishing foods, as they are less-likely to inflame and damage the gut lining, or maim your healthy and helpful gut bacteria.

Healthful, whole foods are metabolically nourishing, and fast-foods can be destructive. Note also, that how destructive it can be is relative to the individual, their current state and stress levels, so for some people junk food is fine in moderation, and for others it is the last thing they need. 

 

Myth 7: Multiple meals per day will speed up your metabolism 

This is false, and studies have shown that your metabolism will remain the same whether you eat 6 meals per day, or just one.

In saying that, I believe it makes a difference for women to have a few meals per day to prevent blood sugar crashes, and increase the chance of adherence. Women’s bodies are most often more prone to stress, and when you spend many hours without a meal, it can heighten that stress, especially when your metabolism isn’t particularly healthy.

So if you’re stressed, or if feeling hungry makes you feel stressed, stick to more frequent meals. If you’re not stressed, eat however you like!

 

Myth 8: You should eat ‘fat-burning’ foods

Sorry, but fat-burning foods don’t exist. Calorie-control is the only way to make the most out of a weight loss journey. As mentioned above this means fat burners, coffee, and berries won’t make your metabolism speed up and body-fat to drop off

Fat-burning occurs when your body has a low enough amount of food coming in from healthy sources, without it feeling unsafe. When this happens, in order to make up for the deficit in energy your body will tap into fat cells and use them for fuel instead.

So, the optimal ‘fat-burning’ foods for you are, the ones that are most nourishing and least stressful for your body overall. 

 

Myth 9: Carbs are the enemy when it comes to a healthy metabolism

False, false, false.

Although we can survive without carbs, it’s very hard to thrive without them. Especially if you’re physically active.

There are no short-cuts. You can’t bypass your body’s physiology with a simple trick. The basics work time and time again, you just need to be consistent and patient!

Ignore the influencers, your mum, your friends (who aren’t qualified), and trust the methods that have been working for years on end.

Save your valuable time and energy for getting results!

40 Things to Learn, Explore and Master Before You Turn 40

40 Things to Learn, Explore and Master Before You Turn 40

Read times: 10-minute read

1. Establish close friendships

You only need ONE. Someone you can be honest with, seek comfort from, laugh with. You may have one friend for each of your needs, and that is OK too. So long as you can be yourself around your friends, you need this by the time you’re 40

2. Drop shame

Shame is an emotion that is inflicted on us by others – we are shamed for something we say or do, and as a result we decide we are ‘bad’. Seeing a therapist is a great way to explore your shame – whether it is around money, your body, your career, role as a parent, etc – as it will help you unpack. After you have unpacked, start revealing these things to your close friends, and watch your shame melt away.

3. Heal attachment wounds

If you have disordered attachment patterns, meaning you can’t connect well with others without feeling anxious, avoidant or a combination of both, then it’s likely you have an attachment wound. This is something that can be worked through in therapy, and the result will be closer friendships, healthier relationships, and more connection to the people in your life in general. 

4. Psychedelics

I have tried a few, and they were life-changing. I wouldn’t do them on your own, but in a therapeutic setting with qualified professionals that can guide you through the material that comes up for you, absolutely. 

5. Learn to lift weights

Lifting weights strengthens your nervous system, which is the most important system of your mind and body. You only need to go 2-3 times per week to see the benefits so if you haven’t tried it, get to it!  

6. Master a healthy diet

This is a process that can take years, as junk food is so addictive and widely pushed into our lives starting in childhood. Junk food is also a common self-regulation activity, so when uncomfortable emotions come up, we stuff them down with food. Eating more healthfully can improve your overall wellbeing, and help you identify when you are reaching for junk out of nutritional deprivation, or for emotional support. It will also protect you from a large number of lifestyle diseases. 

7. Learn to self-regulate

Self-regulation is about maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the nervous system. If you have mental health issues, it’s likely you don’t self-regulate well. By widening your tolerance over time, you can take in more of what life has to offer, and not live your life dependent on prescription drugs or food, alcohol, exercise etc to self-soothe. 

8. Find a ‘calm’ place

A country, a place in your yard, a small town, whatever. Mine was the South Coast in my 20’s, then Byron Bay, then Ubud in Bali, and now it is Mullumbimbie and Brunswick Heads up in northern NSW. The second I arrive there, it’s ‘me’ time and I am calm. Find this place for you. 

9. Find a ‘calm’ thing, person, outlet

This might be a pet, a friend, partner, painting class, hobby. Something you can just grab that will help you find peace in a short period of time is the goal here. 

10. Identify what you need to feel balanced

This one ties into the above – what things do you need in order to feel well? Is it good food, a partner, your kids, a business, a weekly massage? What makes you feel good, and how often do you need it so you continue to feel good?

11. Work out how much money you need in order to be happy

You don’t need $1million in the bank in order to be happy, $50K/year might not be enough either. Do you need to own a place or are renting ok? Do you need that extra $20k if it costs you your weekends and evenings with your kids? Do you need 6 bedrooms,  or is two enough? Work out what you actually need, and pro tip – the more self-regulated you are, and the healthier you are, the less money will appeal to you as a path of becoming ‘happy’.

12. Write down what you’re afraid of, and free yourself from it

If you have a fear – eg people – that impacts your daily life, work through it. Get a therapist, identify its origins, and work through it. I had a fear of doctors, mainstream medicine, small spaces, the dark, and people. The people one was a problem, so I worked through it. The small spaces though? Not so much ruining my life. 

13. Work out how much time you want to spend working per week

Are you a 30-hour girl, or a 50-hour girl? How many hours are you actually happy to work each week? Once you work that out, you need to come to terms with the kind of lifestyle that allows you to lead, financially and personally. THe key is to find a balance here. 

14. Are you working to live, or living to work?

About that work life balance again. Is your work your number one priority, that makes you happy and sets your soul on fire? Or is your family that for you? You can’t really have both without a lot of hard work, so it’s likely you will need to choose one or the other as the dominant focus. 

15. What area of your life are you happy to take risks?

Taking risks builds character, so finding a few ways where you can push the envelope is great for building self-trust and opening new doorways for yourself. 

16. Love your BODY

You only get one body, and it’s highly likely you were not gifted with the ‘perfect’ one according to modern-day standards if you’re reading this. Come to peace with yours and no matter what it looks like, aim to take good care of it. 

17. Find and experience true safety with another person

Safety is a place you can settle into with a person, without any fear. You should not be anxious when they’re not around, or terrified that they will abandon you. You should not be wondering if what they said yesterday is the truth or not. Safe people are transparent, honest, open, consistent and, well, safe. If you can’t find this, find a therapist and work on your attachment wounds. I did this and it’s paid off big time. 

18. Find authenticity

This is who you are, to a core level, when no one is watching. Who is she, and how can you bring her out into the open safely?

19. AUTONOMY

This is knowing yourself deeply enough that you can say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to people and things without doubting yourself. 

20. Stop watching the news. It’s full of shit

No discussion needed. 

21. List all the things that make you, YOU

All your traits, likes, dislikes, needs, wants, desires, characteristics. Write them down so you can begin to get to know yourself. This one helps with authenticity 

22. Enquire into your mental health issues

Do you have a mental illness? Ask questions. It’s likely it’s caused by your childhood, your food choices, alcohol, chronic dieting, poor relationships, working in a job you hate. I say this from personal experience by the way. Ask questions, as when you do this you can start to free yourself from the traps of your own mind, which can be held in limbo by a drug, but not ‘cured’. 

23. Enquire into your physical health issues

This is the same as mental illness. There are many reasons why you may be riddled with symptoms that lead you to be diagnosed with a health condition. There are also many ways to unravel a health condition. Not all of them, but many of them! Start asking questions – what can I change, what I am suppressing, how am I feeling towards myself? These are great places to start. 

24. Explore the idea that you are more than just your mind

You are an energetic mind with an electrical field that extends over 1 meter outside your body. You are 99% empty space. Your body holds onto everything you have not ‘digested’ throughout your life. You are not just a mind, your mind is merely an interpreter. 

25. Travel somewhere

Get out there and look at new places and cultures. It will open your eyes to how lucky you are. 

26. Live alone, be alone, experience life alone for a little while

If you’re never alone, you can never get to know yourself. If you are afraid of being alone, you have attachment issues, and these can be explored with a therapist

27. Cut back your socials

Social media is a breeding ground for insecurity, anxiety and depression. Studies have proven this to be the case. A fame lottery, where they choose some people to ‘make it’ on the platform is how it drives people to obsessively interact with the platform. Additionally, it hijacks your brain’s reward centre, making it harder for you to concentrate for periods of time or build a life in a way that is aligned with your authentic self. 

28. Stop comparison and competition

This one is most fueled by social media, but it’s important to recognise that you are your own person with unique skills, attributes, features and potential for contribution. Comparison is the thief of joy, and competition is essential to a point, but make sure you’re competing in a way that brings you joy. 

29. Align yourself

Alignment over hustle, every day of the week. Hustle is what they want you to do at the expense of your relationships, personal satisfaction and happiness. Get to know yourself, then align yourself with your dreams and desires, and go from there. The only exception I would add here is, once you’re aligned, it’s OK and sometimes totally natural to hassle your ass off for a while

30. Surrender

Nothing authentic comes from pushing all the time. Surrendering to the natural flow of life will lower your anxiety in the long term, and help you find what is aligned for you much easier

31. Research corporations. They rule the world and it’s time you know this

Most corporations have the same people in their boardrooms. This means, there is no real competition, the money lands in the same hands. Buy local, don’t believe media hype nor the PR stories that are crafted to take your money. Corporations want one thing – your money. If they take your mind, well that’s called neuromarketing, and they’re doing that too. 

32. Take a break from your phone, it’s destroying your ability to concentrate 

Everything on your phone is designed to hijack your brains reward centre. Keep it on silent (ensuring emergency contacts can override), and maintain your brain. You will be thankful when you don’t lose yourself to devices designed to connect you. Choose when you want to connect. Take back your control. 

33. Stop alcohol

Alcohol is a numbing agent. If you need a nightly numbing agent, you probably need to take a good look around you at your life choices. Are they wholesome? Do they light you up? Is your lifestyle making you happy? It’s never a bad idea to ask yourself these bigger questions. 

34. See a somatic therapist

Best. Thing. I’ve. Ever. Done. Research Somatic Therapy, and hire yourself a practitioner. 

35. See a therapist. It’s not shameful 

For almost all people, therapy is helpful. You don’t need to have a mental health diagnosis in order to justify seeing a therapist. They are there to give you an objective view of yourself, in a safe and loving way. If you don’t feel quite aligned, are struggling to manifest what you want in life, or find yourself riddled with uncomfortable feelings, see a therapist. They’re awesome. 

36. Learn to embrace uncertainty

This one is new for me, as I like to be in control. You can’t control other people or most outside circumstances, so surrendering (point #30) and going with the flow makes life much more palatable. 

37. Let go of overthinking

You cannot think yourself out of a problem, and most of the time, your brain is just trying to make sense of things in order to keep you safe. If your childhood was full of sunshine and rainbows, this is fine. If it wasn’t, then it’s likely that your thinking machine has it out for you. DOn’t overthink. Surrender, and if needed, find a therapist. 

38. Start a journal 

Just something to write in. Brain dump, write what you’re grateful for, what your dreams are. Write whatever you want. I have written 400 pages since April last year, it’s been great. 

39. Learn about parts – IFS

Your brain is made up of multiple parts, each with different characteristics, skills and feeling states. Learning about IFS has saved my life in a way, as I had many ‘parts’ that opposed each other – one that desired a loving relationship vs one who was afraid of connection. One that wanted to binge eat vs one who wanted to starve itself. Getting to know them, and bringing them all together has created a coherence in my life that I never knew was possible (I did this with a therapist, by the way!). 

40. Start having honest conversations

Honest conversations are how you connect with people. Release your shameful moments in a safe place. Speak your mind. Ask for what you want. Set boundaries around what you do and don’t want in your life. 

Bonus!

  • Ditch your masculine energy. If you’re a woman you were designed to flow with the waves of life. You are not a structured money making machine!
  • Set boundaries (all of the previous points will help you with those)
I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

Read times: 5-minute read

What a whirlwind that was!

I received an email almost 12 months ago now – ‘you have been nominated for the Telstra Best of Business Awards, click here to enter your business’

In 2017 I had some experience with Telstra’s awards program, and what I remembered most was the clarity I received about my business as I worked through each stage. Despite having no confidence at the time and being selected as a finalist, I was told by one of the judges I was a close second to the overall prize. This boosted my confidence in myself and my business exponentially, and since that day I always intended on doing it again.

So as I received the nomination I clicked through, and began putting my entry together.

The Telstra Awards are a rigorous process, so it’s not something you can breeze through or do in a weekend. There are four stages, each more involved than the one before it. You are notified after each round whether or not you have made it through, and if you do, you continue on to that next level. Each level they want to understand your business on a deeper level than the one that passed.

From the beginning I had the final round in my sights – the pitch pack – and so I put it all out on the table from the beginning.

The process 

The first round is multiple choice, social media links, your website and a short bio on your business purpose and story. If you’re selected to share more about your business you enter stage two, which were 3-minute videos responses on all aspects of your business, including; 

  • Company purpose and solution
  • Culture and team
  • Financials and future 
  • Business story 

They offer specific categories to best suit your business, I chose ‘Accelerating Women’ and ‘Championing Health’. For each category you submit additional answers to explain how you are contributing to Australia in alignment with the criteria of that specific category.

Once I reached the third round, I almost called it! It required 5 x 5 1500 word answers to each aspect of your business. As a solo entrant I struggled to complete it alongside my client load. You also don’t realise how much information there is to share, and how little 1500 words is, when you’re trying to explain what you do to strangers!

With the editing support of a long-term client, I passed through that stage to the interview stage – a 30-minute interview with the judges. They were extremely knowledgeable in their own fields and by this stage knew all there was to know about your business and vision.

From there, I made it through to the awards night as a State Finalist in both my chosen categories. I was SO excited!

The pitch deck was further away than I thought though – I needed to WIN in order to give my pitch. 

I WON the Accelerating Women award!

Dressed up in a gown, hair and makeup done, I attended the awards night with my two favourite people – my bestie and my partner. 

Then came the announcement – ‘I am so proud to announce that the winner is, Wildly Strong’. I was shocked! I took the stage to accept my award and deliver my acceptance speech. I was overwhelmed but also just so happy and proud. 

It was the best thing I have experienced in my business so far. And it’s not for the reason you may think.

I have no formal training in business. I am heart-led and my intuition is what brought me to where I am now. I followed my gut, shared my story and supported women in overcoming the same struggles I have overcome.

So I have no mentorship, and I get no business feedback, but the awards program offers me an opportunity for just that. It asks important questions of you as a business owner, and forces you to get clear on your past, present and future in a way that makes sense to strangers – not one of my strong points!

The National Experience 

So here I am ready to put together a pitch pack – the part I was most excited about. Judges from across Australia were selected for the panel, and you have 10 minutes to pitch your business to them. Aware of the fact that I had no formal training or any clue about corporate lingo, I put together a pitch that I was super proud of. 

They asked me questions around investment, how I was going to ‘challenge the establishment’ and things like this, to which I replied I would have to get a mentor. I hadn’t thought this far ahead, as I don’t have many resources available to me.

They gave me really great advice on what I could do to grow my business with the resources I did have – creating partnerships with other professionals that my work gels well with.

So a night of mingling, a pitch pack presented to judges, a masterclass where we met the CEO of Telstra, and a 6-hour long awards ceremony I was presented with my state finalist award. I didn’t win the national prize, but as a realist I wasn’t expecting I would. It was the experience I was seeking and the clarity around my own business journey that was most important to me.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I have such clarity around who I serve, the direction I am taking, the story that led me here, and what I need to do next in order to continue accelerating women into the future.

I was offered a speaking opportunity with the Defense Force, an article in the Canberra Weekly, an interview with one of the judges Div Pillay in June, and I made an appearance on Sunrise off the back of this awards program. These are valuable experiences that came off the back of the publicity I received in the awards program.

Where am I going now?

If I am honest, I am resting! The two awards ceremonies were on either side of my PTSD healing sessions in Byron Bay. I didn’t really get a chance or space to process what came up in my session, and I fell behind on client work! I am still catching up.

So, it’s a rest from me, and I have a few exciting things in the pipelines that I can’t tell you about yet – but it’s coming sometime in September.

The Telstra 2024 Best of Business Awards nominations are now open, so if you know of a business that could benefit from this process in the future, be sure to nominate them here!

Nutritional Myths you Need to Stop Believing

Nutritional Myths you Need to Stop Believing

Read times: 10-minute read

This post is dedicated to 10 nutritional myths, and of course I will deliver the facts around each, to ease your mind so you can get to making progress for the long term. 

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Nutrition: Nourish & Flourish Course

There are MANY myths in the nutritional world, some are as old as ever but others have popped up only recently. What I will cover includes;

  • Carbs are bad for you
  • Fruit makes you fat because of the sugar
  • You need to eat perfectly for good health 
  • The food pyramid is the best way to eat for optimal health
  • Fat burning foods exist 
  • There are ‘calorie free’ foods
  • Everyone should eat in moderation 
  • Multiple meals per day will speed up the metabolism
  • Animal protein is inflammatory 
  • Eat 1200 calories per day

Before we get into it, I want you to know this one thing – big food companies have staff dedicated to creating confusion around food through facebook posts and Question, false news stories and botched ‘scientific’ studies. Confusion keeps people hooked and there is much profit to be made in a population that is addicted to food.

If you had clarity, you would know that healthy eating matters, adn if you knew that, you would feel good, and you would stop eating their food.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the myths and I will clear this all up for you!

Myth 1: Carbs are the enemy 

False, false, false. Although we can survive without carbs, it’s very hard to thrive without them. Especially if you’re physically active.

There are two essential nutrients in life – protein and fat. This is an undisputed scientific fact. Carbs aren’t essential, but they are required if you are physically active as your body’s number one energy source.

Women lose weight every day and build muscle and play sports competitively because of carbs. There is some debate that marathon runners do better on high fat diets, but I can assume you’re not a marathon runner here. Marathon runners also lose their muscle mass, which is essential to long term health so there is no reason to follow their logic regardless.

We also need carbs for a healthy menstrual cycle, which you will notice right before you bleed when you’re ravenous and wanting to smash every carb in sight. This is a sign you’re either not giving your body what it needs at that time, or not giving it enough quality food at that time.

A time where a carb might be considered ‘bad’ is in obesity, type 2 diabetes or when you are pre-diabetic. EVEN THEN, a diet in lower glycemic carbs would still work. It comes down to preference.

Removing carbs to regulate blood sugar is never a bad idea, but at some stage they need to be brought back in, preferably before the body screams so loud that you eat more carbs than you’ve ever eaten in your life causing more problems than you had in the first place. I generally recommend 8 weeks as a maximum time period you should go without carbs, if you are overweight.

So eat carbs, enjoy carbs, but eat them from sources such as organic rice, sourdough if bread is your thing, fruits, potatoes and oats.  If you’re healthy, throw in some sugary treats occasionally.

Myth 2: The sugar in Fruit makes you fat 

Fruit made its way to the bad list and although it is a carb, I have given it its own point. Fruit is not bad for you, and fruit will not make you fat. I would not be surprised if it was a massive junk food company that started this rumor, as they are the only ones who would gain from such misinformation.

If you are overweight, or diabetic, then sure you probably shouldn’t eat 5 pieces of fruit/day, and it is optimal to choose fruits that are higher in nutritional value and fibre, such as berries, pears and apples.

But, you can eat fruit and still be healthy, and it is MUCH MORE healthy than eating a packet of lolly snakes or a donut because those foods have zero nutritional value and will hardly register in the body as ‘food’.

But, what about the fructose!? Isn’t that what makes you fat?

All refined sugar products break down into fructose in your body to some degree, so if you’re worried about the sugar in fruit, you should be worried about ALL sugar products.

My point here is, worrying about fruit yet consuming mars bars and soft drinks is misguided and will be detrimental to your health long term. Eat the fruit, start pushing out the junk. 

Myth 3: Eat from the food pyramid

No, you should base your optimal health on the food pyramid. The Australian one is not too bad, but I would certainly prioritize meats and animal proteins over grain products.

In a time where the government makes suggestions around food and lifestyle, yet people are sicker than ever, it’s perhaps time to think about it more critically. It is common knowledge that a diet high in refined foods is not a healthful one, yet we are still recommended to eat these things.

It is easier to feed a population with easy to grow crops and foods that can be diversified into many food like products, for example a corn crop is made into about 140 food ingredients, so it’s quite diverse in its ability to feed a population. This is where the motivation comes from.

It would be better (if you can afford it, which is a whole other problem), if you can eat as close to mother nature as possible, so the more ingredients a product has on the label, the lower down your list it should go. 

Myth 4: You need to eat perfectly and organic in order to be healthy

You don’t need to eat organic, but for some foods it’s a great idea. Look up the dirty dozen and clean 15,  where you will find a list of foods which are recommended you eat organic. Fatty meats are great to be consumed organic, whereas in lean meats it isn’t as important.

As far as eating ‘perfectly’ goes, there is no point in creating this kind of pressure in yourself. You’re a highly programmable human being and junk food companies are hijacking your brain on the daily, and subconsciously, through magazines, TV, Hollywood movies and social media in ways you can’t even imagine. 

So, you can’t just reject all unhealthy food and eat perfectly. If you want to change, it is highly likely that it will take you quite some time to change your diet, but just know with every intentional healthy choice, you are getting closer to that goal of better nutrition, and better health.

Give yourself some grace and allow the process to unfold naturally.

Back to the organic part of this point, if you’re hung up on this one and thinking a standard chicken breast is not healthy because it’s not organic, but then buying a big-mac instead, this is worse. There is plenty of nutrition in a non-organic chicken breast, it’s called protein, and it’s essential for building every cell in your body.

Eat as healthily as you can afford, as often as you can, and you will be healthy! Bodies are resilient, more than you know.

Myth 5: You should eat ‘fat-burning’ foods

Sorry, but fat-burning foods don’t exist. Calorie-control and meeting nutritional needs is the only way to build a body that looks and feels good. This means fat burners, coffee, spicy foods and berries won’t make your metabolism speed up and body-fat to drop off. They can speed up your heart rate, or increase body heat which can assist in fat loss, but there are many other things that need to be in check for it to have an effect.

If fat burning is  your goal, then know that this occurs when your body has a low enough amount of food coming in from healthy sources, without it feeling unsafe. When this happens, in order to make up for the deficit in energy your body will tap into fat cells and use them for fuel instead.

So, the optimal ‘fat-burning’ foods for you are, the ones that are most nourishing and least stressful for your body overall. 

Myth 6: There are ‘calorie-free’ foods

Nooo there are not. Artificial sweeteners contain between 1-3 calories per gram (rather than 4 found in 1 gm of sugar), but there is some debate now that the body actually compensates for that lack of calories after consumption anyways.

Where this kind of point does hold validity, is in the ‘thermic effect of food’ (TEF).

Some foods take more energy in the body to break down once consumed, with protein, and particularly animal protein, being the primary example. Fibre is also highly unlikely to be stored as fat as it isn’t even used for energy, but more so to feed your good bacteria and push food through your digestive tract.

Carbs are second on the list, with fats last. So any fats you consume take much less energy in the body to break down, and are stored as body fat much more easily.

Now you may be able to see why a ‘bikini body’ diet is high in animal protein and fibrous veggies, moderate to low in carbs and very low in fat. It’s effective, but not something most people can stick to long term because it is either too low in energy (carbs and fats), or it’s just not a diet that fits in with your desired lifestyle.

So there are no fat burning or calorie free foods, but there are foods you can find in nature that would have a more positive effect on your appearance than others. 

Myth 7: Sugar free foods are better than sugar

Untrue. They’re much the same really, as sugar free foods have been shown to have an effect on blood sugar, but also your gut bacteria. The body often continues to have sugar cravings even after you have cut the sugar.

Additionally, artificial sweeteners can have a negative impact on your nervous system.

I think in the early stages of a lifestyle change, replacing sugary foods for sugar-free ones can be a good idea. It can help with a change in behaviour and attitude towards sugar, but the use of these products should be with the goal of also cutting those out, for a healthy whole food diet with natural sugars. 

Stevia and Natvia are sugar alternatives that have been (so far) shown to have no negative effects on the microbiome of blood sugar levels, so check those out if you’re looking for a sweet taste without the neurotoxic chemicals or blood sugar spikes. 

Myth 8: Everyone shouldeat in moderation’

Eating in moderation is totally abused, and leads us to have mostly a junk food diet with a sprinkle of health. Everyone I know who eats in moderation eats mostly processed foods.

If you were to eat healthy food every day of the week and have something small each day as a treat, or a night out each week, depending on how big that night out is, that would be ‘moderation’.

If you need to eat junk daily, this is moreso classified as an addiction, or you could call it an ‘unhealthy diet’. Easier to just name it as it is! If you said you call your friends ‘moderately’, I’m assuming you don’t mean you call multiple times per day, it’s more so classified as ‘frequent’.

I always recommended seeking out a diet which includes as many whole foods as possible, and one where meals are pre-planned.

Situations where it WOULD be crucial to completely forget about what you’re eating however include; 

  • If you are underweight or anorexic – in this case, you have bigger problems than your food choices, so you should eat more
  • If you tend to binge the second you put restrictions on yourself – as this will lead to more binges. Work on the underlying driver though. 

In these cases you have gone too far down the ‘heath’ road, and it would actually be better for you to learn some balance. I have been here and supported quite a few of my clients through this as well. 

Myth 9: Multiple meals per day will speed up your metabolism 

This is false, and studies have shown that your metabolism will remain the same whether you eat 6 meals per day, or just one.

In saying that, I believe it makes a difference for women to have a few meals per day to prevent blood sugar crashes, and increase the chance of adherence. Women’s bodies are most often more prone to stress, and when you spend many hours without a meal, it can heighten that stress, especially when your metabolism isn’t particularly healthy.

So if you’re stressed, or if feeling hungry makes you feel stressed, stick to more frequent meals. If you’re not stressed, eat however you like!

Myth 10: Animal protein is inflammatory 

I won’t go into this one too much, because it triggers so many that are leaning into the modern-day vegan agenda of today. I say ‘agenda’ because that’s what it is – big food companies and billionaire shareholders who see mass amounts of profit being made by making a shift from animal protein to plant ‘protein’.

Know that the body doesn’t get what it needs from plants, it needs animal protein. There are very few human beings that can thrive without the essential amino acids (building blocks for your entire body) found in poultry, red meat, seafood and eggs.

If you want to change your body composition, then this is an even bigger reason not to go vegan as it will make you insulin-resistant and you can’t build muscle past a certain point without animal protein. 

Myth 11: Eat 1200 calories a day for health

This one pisses me off, as I too was caught up in this for the first 10 years of my fitness journey, which started back in the late 90’s. Since the 70’s women were told to eat less if they want to be healthy and lean, but all this did is destroy a generation of metabolisms and set them up for permanent food fear and easy weight gain if they are so happy to ‘let it slip’.

The average 65kg woman should be eating around 2000-2400 calories per day for ultimate health and energy levels. 1200 calories is below what I would have someone on right before they step on stage, and this is when their metabolism and health is at the lowest point, and their body is being pushed harder than ever. I have had two clients on those calories but both weighed under 50kg and only followed those calories for a few short weeks.

Unless you’re taking steroids, it’s highly likely that a diet this low in calories will lead to a negative metabolic adaptation, muscle wastage, a downregulated thyroid, gut, sleep and energy issues. So ditch the 1200 calorie idea and start eating more as soon as you can.

There is a video version of this too, if you would like to learn more!

So those are my top nutritional myths, busted! Were there any that surprised you? Comment below if you like, I will always write back directly!

Jen x

Christmas Health and Fitness Tips

Christmas Health and Fitness Tips

Read time: 8 minute read time

A part of a lasting health and fitness journey is knowing how to navigate events and holiday periods.

And by staying on track I mean, keeping your healthy body and lifestyle goals in a place where you don’t go backwards! Because we all want to start 2023 on a positive note.

In a healthy and fitness lifestyle there is a constant push and pull – we want to enjoy ourselves and have balance but we also don’t want to throw our chances of success out the window. So this post is all about finding that balance

I’ll start with my general outlook on lifestyle goals relating to mindset, diet and exercise, and then in the second half of the video I will be more specific on how to handle Christmas day if you’re really disciplined and want to stay on track as much as possible.

Let’s start on the mindset front as this is always a foundational element.

MINDSET TIPS

My biggest one is probably not what you would expect but it’s what I push onto my clients aggressively – you need to enjoy the holiday period.

And by enjoy, I mean, take care of yourself.

Know that you don’t need to eat shit and cut loose in order to do that. In fact, if you don’t, you will start 2023 inspired, rather than suffering a swollen gut, and neuroinflammation and disappointment in yourself.

So, relax! But take care of you while you do so.

For most people, Christmas is the only time you have in the whole year where EVERYONE is in holiday mode. You can really relax, spend time with family and friends and kick back.

It’s not a time for trying to be perfect and then beating yourself up for not doing so.

If it’s possible to take a break, this is what I recommend. If it’s not, I will share my recommendations in Part 2 of this post. 

PART 1 – GENERAL TIPS

Don’t plan to miss out

I often have women saying how they ‘only need one treat’ on Christmas day, but this never works out. I have believed this on multiple occasions, but the truth is that most people will overeat and exercise less whilst on holidays.

We are habitual creatures, and once the routine goes, so does the food and exercise. And most often, you are the only one in your family unit that is interested in being ‘healthy’ during this time.

So after years of coaching I have learned that the best thing for my clients to do over Christmas is take a break, and this means different things depending on their goals.

So we want confirm the following; 

  • How important are your goals right now? How closely do you need to stick with it?
  • Where do you want to be in the new year? Are you hoping for a change of some kind? And is this change requiring you not to start the new year with a food baby and a hangover?
  • Is it possible for you to take a break from your rigid routine? Are you on a strict diet (for example a competition prep), or can you take a short break for the sake of balance?

For someone on a fat-loss diet, assuming they aren’t competing or reaching a deadline, I put them back to maintenance calories for at least one week leading into christmas. I then keep the calories at maintenance until they are returning to their ‘usual routine’. This gives time for the body to refuel, hunger hormones to rebalance a little so that when the gates open on christmas day, they aren’t feeling famished. It also gives the body a break from dieting at a time where the most enjoyment and flexibility can be found.

Regardless, I don’t ask my clients to track Christmas day.

Always remember that an important part of a healthy lifestyle is balance and enjoyment. Not tracking food or worrying about what you’re eating every day of your life is what BALANCE is.

Binge drinking or binge eating is on the other side of the spectrum. So balance is when you eat differently than normal, maybe have a few drinks, but then pull it back to a health-focussed lifestyle again.

Look into other ways to be active

Another thing that is super common is clients will stress over where a gym is, but when we actually reflect on their holiday they will be hiking, swimming, playing with the kids all day and otherwise being much more active than normal.

And, they never make it to the gym unless this is a key part of their marriage, and in most cases it’s not. So why plan for it if you’re not going to make it? This just opens space for disappointment and self-deprecation.

I encourage my clients to use that week as a rest week from the gym, partly because rest weeks are great for the nervous system and also hard to enforce during normal routine, but also because it’s good for the soul.

But I don’t encourage inactivity.

So you might be getting the point that what I am wanting you to learn is balance, and releasing the pressure on yourself. If you’re on holidays, allow yourself to be on holidays

And know that you don’t go backwards quickly. It takes quite a few days of eating over calories to actually gain body fat, if losing fat is where you’re at right now. 

PART 2 – SPECIFIC TIPS

This part of the video is for those of you who are going to be sticking to the plan, continuing with your gym routine and deliberately staying on track (I have a few clients who are competition prepping, and others who don’t celebrate Christmas, so this is for you).

Let’s look at how you can navigate Christmas day

When deciding how to approach a food-filled day, we want to consider; 

  1. Your hunger hormones
  2. Your blood sugar, and
  3. Your goals. 

With your goals, we already know that you want to be strict so that’s checked off.

Then we want to approach the day in a way that increases the chance of success, and to do that you need to make choices that work in alignment with your hormones.

Food wise, the most popular situation (and best case scenario) is that you have a Christmas lunch. The recommendation here is that you have a really high protein breakfast, like steak or chicken or eggs, something that will fill you up. Add heaps of veggies as well! But keep the carbohydrates low.

From there, when you get to lunch, you want to stick with your high protein, salad and veggie style of eating. I wouldn’t put a cap on how much you can eat here (or what), as the chances of you nibbling on junk all afternoon are high if you struggle with discipline. So don’t avoid the potato salad, pasta salad, or gravy, just eat and enjoy the christmas food.

So in summary, start the day with protein, thus leaving a lot more fat and carb macros for the christmas food. Then you want to eat until you’re full, so that you aren’t hungry all afternoon whilst staring at chips, lollies, cake and biscuits!

For the rest of the day, listen to your body. It’s highly likely you are going to be so full and not have any interest in the nibbles

So that’s the easiest way to get through your Christmas day.

If you have lunch and dinner, or breakfast and lunch, you’re just going to have to be more mindful but the best thing, hands down, is to avoid the packet snacks. It is very hard to do damage if you eat whole foods, you can overeat, but the body in a satiated state won’t reach for packet chips.

If you can squeeze in a walk after eating that would be great as well, as this will help bring the blood sugar back down.

And, if you’re training still, most gyms are 24/7 so I would recommend training before you have breakfast. If you aren’t able to train on Christmas day then ensure you fit that session on another day that week.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

So those are my tips regarding keeping on track over Christmas! I hope they help you in some way, remember to keep the balance but also be mindful of your long term goals!

Jen x

 

 

 

 

 

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