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

13 Tips Helpful Additions to a Fat Loss Dieting Phase

13 Tips Helpful Additions to a Fat Loss Dieting Phase

Read times: 6 minute read time

Dieting can be hard work! But there are lots of things you can do to make it easier for yourself. In this post I am sharing 13 things that make dieting, or fat loss phases, easier. 

No matter what your body goals are, you need to enjoy your food and lifestyle enough to keep it in the long term. There’s no such thing as an eating style you hate that can get you the body you want in the long term. 

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Fat loss: Wildly Strong Women

Most of the tips are food related, but I guarantee they will help!

1. Egg Whites

This is really about volume, and in a way you can keep your egg-based meals the same in weight and volume without the calories. The yolk in an egg is around 50 calories, but the equivalent weight in egg whites is around 20 calories

 They can be rubbery so if you use whites only, you will need sauce. The yolk contains fat which is what gives eggs a creamy flavour and texture

 I used egg whites in oats and rice porridge, to create more volume and a fluffier texture. I used it in protein pancakes, and every couple of weeks I made an egg white pizza! So, they’re great. You can buy them in a packet in most supermarkets.

2. Protein Custard

Protein custards are fun because it’s like having a whey protein shake, but it thickens up just like custard, so you can eat it with a spoon, more like a dessert. 

 I used vanilla flavour to make really thick smoothies and smoothie bowls (which is something you can’t do on low calories as you need heaps of banana or avocado to make it fluffy). The texture of the custard will thicken it up, without the added calories.  

 My favourite brand is Red Dragon Nutritionals, and the vanilla custard flavour is to die for! Muscle Nation is also super popular. 

 I also use the custard to top my oats, or have some with muesli, berries, things like this. Or, you can just have it on its own.

3. Air-Fryer

I got an airfryer after deliberating for months. I am terrible with the oven (and super impatient) so throwing potatoes into the airfryer was amazing for me. I made crispy white potatoes, but also sweet potato chips almost every day. All you need to do is spray them with a little olive oil cooking spray, and cook them on a super high heat for 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I had a little sour cream and light sweet chili sauce, and sometimes I had them plain with salt. 

 You can make lots of other things in the air-fryer but the chips are my go-to.

 

 4. Zucchini

This is another volume trick, just like egg white zucchini is high volume and flavorless, so it’s highly versatile. By the end of my prep I was having both egg whites and zucchini in my oats, because it made the portion size bigger but without the calories.

Zucchini can also be used as noodles (we call these ‘zoodles’!) if you’re wanting a bolognese style meal, but can’t fit the pasta into your macros. 

5. Low-calorie sauces

This includes low-fat dressings, low-sugar dressings, and things like this. My favourites during my prep were Callowfit, and I used them on everything!

Keep in mind when you diet for some time, you don’t actually have the same taste buds as when you’re not, and your pallet gets quite bland. So as much as you usually would prefer a full-calorie balsamic vinegar dressing, know that the low fat version will be amazing when you’re in a dieting phase. When you go back to the real thing, it’s almost too much at first!

6. Flexible Dieting

This is an eating principle that saves everyone on a diet. In the old days we had set and rigid meal plans for fat loss, they worked but were impossible to stay with in the long term. Bodybuilders were the go-to people for fat loss, because people didn’t want to get smaller, they wanted to get ‘toned’. So to cater for this market, we would just prescribe these diets that were working for us.

I only did that on a handful of occasions before working out that a wholesome diet is better for the everyday person (one who is not obsessed with the gym), so not long after I started implementing variety. This was better, but also still restrictive.

I then brought in flexible dieting, which is where the person on the diet determines what they eat, whilst still sticking with calorie and/or macro targets. This way you eat your favourite foods on the daily, and you don’t miss out on things. You can make it more of a lifestyle, you learn about food, what your body likes and needs, and you’re likely to stick with it in the long term.

7. Save your TV shows for cardio

This one isn’t food related but, leave the TV for your cardio sessions! If you have to do a few per week, find a show you want to watch and wait until cardio time to watch it.

In the past, we used to walk on the treadmill 40-minutes per day, while staring at the walls! Or we would have to bribe someone to walk with us, or to stand next to the treadmill and entertain us as we walked. There were no iPhones, netflix, movies to watch on the treadmill. So do all of us old school dieters a favour and make the most of this technology.

8. Sugar-free maple syrup

I used this on egg whites with oats, and on protein pancakes. I also made french toast on a few occasions. It’s extremely sweet and as I said in the previous point, you won’t notice that it’s not the real deal when dieting.

9. Natvia brown sugar

This is totally random but I use it on everything – I sprinkle it on my oats, put it in cups of tea, and use it in my protein pancakes. It’s super sweet but with this brown sugar flavour which in my opinion reminds me of the real thing.

I also mixed it with cocoa powder to make a super low calorie hot chocolate (which I will get to in a minute).

Note this is a natural option which has not been shown to be harmful to your gut health, which many other sweeteners have been. It also doesn’t spike your blood sugar like real sugar or artificial sweeteners can do and lastly, it’s a plant, and it doesn’t make you crave more sugar.

10. Lot of veggies and big salads

You can eat a lot of vegetables to create high volume meals. Cooking them in a pan or in the oven makes them sweeter and crunchier too.

Keep in mind also that almost any vegetable can be eaten in a fat loss diet. Bodybuilders do broccoli, but as a normal human being, you don’t have to do that!

11. Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are another highly voluminous food. You could switch out 1 cup of rice for 8 rice cakes and you would be munching away for ages. In dieting you get to a point where you only have 10 gms carbs allowance in a meal, so two rice cakes is perfect for that.

I used mine with nut butter, protein custards (that was fun), tuna, light cream cheese and cinnamon, and more.

12. Popcorn

This is similar to rice cakes in that you can eat a lot of popcorn for not very many carbs. I made mine fresh in a pot and added cinnamon, paprika, himalayan salt and natvia brown sugar. It was delicious.

13. Cacao powder

Pure cacao powder is amazing as a treat, especially if it is cold. I used 1tsp with 1tsp Natvia brown sugar, boiling water and a little milk for a hot chocolate treat. You can also mix it into oats when you are really craving chocolate, and if you want even more chocolate add a square of dark choc as well.

Other honorable mentions; 

  • Powdered peanut butter (I like YUM Natural best)
  • Avalanche hot drinks (though be careful with your gut here)
  • Sweet teas, or teas you add Natvia to (I like Rooibos)
  • Use spray olive oil to cook with, or on potato, veggies, etc. 
  • Sugar free drinks on occasion

Those are the main tips I have for making a dieting phase easier and more enjoyable! Let me know if you have any of your own that you want to share. 

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

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Read time: 10-minute read

I’ve been in the health and fitness game for a long time. I’ve made every mistake, and paid for those mistakes time and time again.

It pains me to see everyone making those same mistakes, as there is so much ‘new’ information online, and none of it addresses the root of what it takes to sustain a healthy lifestyle in the long term.

In this post I have reflected on this, so here 10 of my top lessons from my 25 year journey. 

1. Emotional Regulation should be your number one priority

It starts in the mind (which stems from the BODY), so you can’t be healthy if your mind-body isn’t aligned ⁠

This is first because this is KEY. I learned this after many years of perfect eating and training, when I developed chronic fatigue. As I explored the mechanisms behind this illness I learned of how dysregulated my nervous system was, and it was this dysregulation that led to my condition.

I already had depression, anxiety, ADD, and PTSD diagnosis, but because I was so removed from my body, it didn’t click until I was physically unable to function. 

What does this look like?

  • Learning to feel into the body
  • Healing and or facing childhood trauma
  • Asking questions about your uncomfortable emotions
  • Seeing a therapist if you need to
  • Taking time to reassess your job, relationships and life choices. 

These things aren’t easy, they’re a journey, but I can assure you there is freedom (and better results in all life pursuits) if this one is explored in its entirety.

2. It’s a PROCESS. No one masters the habits overnight.

We all fall backward and have to jump back on the wagon again. ⁠

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Along your journey there will be setbacks, as it is impossible to just ‘decide’ to change and have no problems. Think of change like an onion, as you peel back one layer another appears.

So you start eating better, now you have less inflammation and more clarity to see the waves in your emotional state or those things that trigger it. When you’re triggered, you may spiral back to old habits in order to regulate yourself. In noting that, you need to develop a new habit to regulate, rather than leaning on those things you’re trying to quit – cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, etc.

Be patient with yourself and think of it like you’re going on a quest, and on this quest you want to uncover all those things that are holding you back from your dreams, and work through them one by one. As you do this, work to be happy and grateful for what you already have, and this takes the pressure off!.

3. We all have different needs and genetic capabilities – learn yours. 

This is KEY! We all have different muscle shapes, strength capacity, waist size, abdominal shapes, body fat storage limitations, sensitivities, and histories. Your past will influence your present, which is why the first point is so important.

If you’re wanting to change your body, then knowing those who excel in physical endeavors are built differently. They most likely don’t share your story. They most likely have more responsive bodies, lower body fat set-points, a faster metabolism and better levers for lifting. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else but your own. 

4. Nutrition is the number one variable you can control (in a sea of environmental toxicity – so start there)

If you don’t eat well, you really have no chance. There is no other way to say it! We are all impacted by our environment, epigenetic suggests up to 95% of our health outcomes are related to just that. It’s hard to avoid pharmaceuticals, petrol fumes, and some of us have high levels of emotional or psychological stress, but we can all control our diet.

This means; low refined sugar, no seed oils, no fried foods, no trans fats. It’s not that hard to do, but it’s hard to accept as those foods are SO addictive. So, start in the kitchen!

5. Weight training has positive carryover into ALL aspects of life

Weight training is beneficial for; 

  • Bone density
  • Injury prevention
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Mental health
  • Strength levels
  • Sports performance
  • Hormone function
  • Nutrient uptake

And, it can make your body more resilient. When you train well, the nervous system upregulates and has to return to normal again. The more you do this, the more it can stretch, the more you can take on in your everyday life. 

6. Being lean is NOT where the happiness lies

I have been shredded three times. The first time I was miserable as I had major body image issues and I had hedged all my bets on being lean. When I arrived there, I was more disappointed than I had ever been. The next time it was a little better, and the last time I was well aware that it was for the sport and the enjoyment, and so it was great, but I would never choose to live that lifestyle in order to stay lean, as the sacrifices I had to make were too high. Same goes for you!

7. It’s important to identify what you’re willing to do and how you want to live, and weigh that up against how you want to look.

And then, you want to work on accepting how you look. 

⁠How you look is largely genetic, and most people won’t tell you this. This means you won’t buy their programs or sign up to their weight loss diets. I tell my clients this, they understand what is realistic for them and what it takes to achieve the body they desire to have.

For me personally, this means being around 70-73kg, I have a nice shape, but I have no real visible muscle despite when I am lean looking very muscular. After a lifetime of chronic dieting and stress, I have to accept that this is what my body considers to be safe.

So ask yourself, what about this weight is safe for me? If there are realistic changes you can make to be healthier, then it’s likely you will lose weight as you make those changes. If you’re already living a truly healthy lifestyle, then understanding any further leanness you may achieve will not necessarily stick around.

Keep in mind also, that obesity is never safe for the body. Our bodies carry healthy amounts of body fat, but this is never in excessive amounts.

8. Community is essential – you need to have a safe people in your corner.

No-one can make it on their own!⁠

If you don’t have people in your corner cheering you on, it will be hard to change. I have experienced both sides, where I had friends that were not egging me on at all, in fact behind my back hoping I would fail. This means that when I would change, I would feel disconnected and with that disconnection came me ditching my efforts in an attempt to fit back in again. 

Recognise that good connections are people who; 

  • Support you
  • Listen to you
  • Compromise with you
  • Don’t need to be right all the time
  • Ask you how it’s going
  • Point out positive changes in you

They are not people who criticise, put negative ideas in your head or hold you back.  

9. SAFETY is needed for any lasting change.

Safety for me is something I only learned in 2022 as I heal my childhood trauma. I had no idea I didn’t have safety, and no idea how to recognise it.

SO this what safety is, for anyone who doesn’t know; 

  • It is having non-judgmental people in your corner
  • It’s being able to speak your mind without fear of negative consequences
  • It’s people who have a genuine interest in your life
  • People who can be present for you 

If you feel you lack safety, then this is where I would start! Seek out a therapist as this can be a great way of learning what safety feels like, and I’ll give you a tip, it feels strange but also very right to your nervous system.

You may have heard me talking about this alot of late, particularly as it relates to weight loss. Safety is key for any physical goal, as without safety we have chronic stress, and in chronic stress the body is surviving, not thriving, and you can’t achieve things that your body deems unnecessary when it is simply trying to keep you alive!

10. Your needs will change with each phase of life.

One minute it feels important to be skinny, the next it’s important to be strong, then suddenly we care more for mobility. Ride the waves and don’t judge your earlier choices as you occupy new spaces. ⁠

Changing your preferences is normal, and it’s important to embrace this and not fight against it. I see really often people posting about how they once cared about how they looked, but now they don’t, but rather than sharing in an empowering way, they’re mocking the girl who thought weight loss would make her happy.

Weight loss doesn’t make you happy, but your belief in that was your only hope for safety in that phase of your life. What you did in the past was what you did to survive. There are no right or wrong things to do if they lead you to your best life.

I have done; 

  • Cardio and fun runs
  • Weight training and bodybuilding
  • Powerlifting
  • Strongman
  • Walking only while I had chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Back to bodybuilding
  • Now back to walking only really light training as my body recovers through trauma therapy 

I have resistance every time I can’t weight train, as it is my preference but at the same time i have to ride those waves – if the body doesn’t want to do it, then I need to give it a rest. My point here is, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ exercise routine, food, training style or phase to be in. Do what your body can do at the time.

So those are my top 10 tips for you! I hope you gained some new insight.

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

Keys to Building Muscle as a Female

Keys to Building Muscle as a Female

Read time: 8-minute read

There are a million reasons why you should build muscle, including; 

  1. Bone density
  2. Protection from injury
  3. Metabolic health
  4. Healthy body composition
  5. Nervous system resilience 
  6. You can pick stuff up
  7. Confidence!

So with that being said let’s go deep into how you build muscle. Let’s start with what you should do; 

  • Eat at maintenance calories or above
  • Lift weights 
  • Focus on recovery
  • Sleep well

And what you shouldn’t;

  • Diet 
  • Do lots of cardio

With that in mind, let’s get on with the article. We are going to cover; 

  • What you should do training wise
  • What you should do food wise, and 
  • What you should do in terms of recovery

Training!

Your training needs to be focussed on lifting weights! I wrote a post a few weeks back on ‘5 reasons you’re not seeing results in the gym’ – check that one out after you finish reading this one! 

When it comes to lifting weights, you really need to train every muscle group twice per week, even three times if you’re a beginner. You also want to focus on your posterior chain. Lastly, you want to be consistent. So that is; 

  1. Train each muscle group twice per week
  2. Focus on your posterior chain
  3. Be consistent! 

Note the main muscle groups that we train include are; 

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves 
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Abs

So you want to do at least two exercises for each muscle group twice per week. If you went three days per week that would be either three full body days, or one lower, one upper and one full body. If it were 4 days/week you can do two upper and two lower, or just split the muscles up in a way that you train them each twice per week still. This ensures everything can be trained twice per week. 

Then we have my second point of focussing on the posterior chain. This is when you have passed your introductory phase but here you really want to focus on; 

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Back
  • Abs. 

And you want to be able to do a hip-hinge movement, you can find a link to what this is by clicking here

From there you can learn to squat and deadlift, as these are the movements that will bring you the lasting results (and motivation) when it comes to training. Understand these are hard though and there is no point in doing them if you can’t do them correctly. Hire a professional for these or start really light and work your way up from there!  

Also on the topic of training we have cardio, and the main thing I want to point out is that cardio is counterproductive for muscle building. It increases cortisol, which is a catabolic (ie muscle wasting) hormone and if the more frequently you do cardio, the less need your body feels it has for muscle. It thinks it’s best to lose it, as it’s not sure how long you’re going to run for and muscle is not as important as body fat for your survival. 

Walking is not catabolic, if it’s not excessive. Running is. Biking is the most likely to preserve muscle mass out of all of the moderate-intensity options, but again you don’t want it to be excessive, and you want to ensure you’re eating enough food to fuel it. 

HIIT training is only good if controlled, you’re conditioned for it, and eating well. Otherwise, avoid it. It won’t help you put on muscle. 

Then you want to make sure you’re consistent!

This means, whatever training program or schedule you have that meets the above criteria, you want to be consistent with it. Follow the same routine and try to lift more weight, or complete more repetitions each time you do that particular workout. You won’t always be able to increase, but the point is you try to. This is what we call progressive overload. My clients follow programs for 8-12 weeks before changing. 

So to recap, that is; 

  1. Train each muscle group twice per week
  2. Focus on your posterior chain
  3. Be consistent! 

Now we want to look at food! 

The main thing here is to eat enough! When it comes to muscle, this is what you need to know; 

  • You need to eat maintenance calories, and
  • You need to eat protein

When it comes to maintenance calories, this is the amount of food you need to eat on a daily basis to survive and do your activities (many women don’t eat enough here!). If you multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 16-18, this will give you a rough idea of how much to eat on a day you’re active, the higher number on a weight training day and the lower number on a ‘rest’ day. 

If you need to work out your weight in pounds, this is your weight in kilograms, multiplied by 2.2. 

Keep in mind that for a woman, muscle is not essential to our survival, nor do we have the hormonal profile to gain excessive amounts of muscle, so we need to create the environmental conditions to make that possible. 

Protein is essential as this is the building block, and contrary to popular opinion it is animal protein that is key here. I have had three pescatarian/vegan clients in my life, and they got less results as far as weights are concerned. If you follow a vegan bodybuilder and they’re amazing, understand it’s not their diet it’s their genetics (so they’re outliers), or performance enhancing drugs. 

So protein should be your weight in pounds in grams, so if you’re 130lbs, this means you need to eat 130gms of protein per day. Use a calorie tracking app for this. 

Note if you are in a deficit, your weight training is only going to serve you as muscle maintenance, not building, as there is no excess fuel available to build ‘unnecessary’ muscle tissue. 

Lastly, we have rest!

Sleep is KEY. As we sleep we release growth hormone, which helps us build muscle. If you don’t sleep, you miss out on this powerful hormone. 

If you don’t rest, then the same applies. When you train, you tear the muscle and they grow back stronger as a protective mechanism. They need a day or two to rest in between sessions, and you want to train them again once rested. 

If you train on top of sore muscles, there is just not the same benefit 

The same goes for beginners who train to the point of debilitating soreness. This is not necessary, you want enough stress to elicit a response, but not so much that it takes you a week to recover. 

So sleep, and rest. More is not better when it comes to building muscle!

In summary; 

  • Training wise you want to focus on weights, and limit cardio
  • Food-wise you want to focus on eating your maintenance calories, prioritising protein
  • Recovery wise, you want to focus on getting good sleep, and rest in between sessions

Keep in mind that things like; 

  • Pre-trainers
  • Keto diets
  • Vegan diets
  • HIIT cardio

….are not the key to building a lean, strong physique. They have nothing to do with it really. 

What you need is patience, consistency, and mastering the basics and you’ll see muscle growth over time!

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Female Training.

 

How you REALLY Burn Fat (and Keep it Off).

How you REALLY Burn Fat (and Keep it Off).

Read time: 5-minute read

I am going to start this article by telling you that losing weight is generally not that hard.

But, how do you keep it off? I want to help you understand the foundations, as this is where the problems come in.

We often hear the term ‘all diets fail’, or ‘diets don’t work’. Diets do work, it’s our approach that is the problem, as we often lean on quick fix solutions, trying to lose the weight as soon as possible. Other issues that arise are; 

  • We don’t intend on maintaining the lifestyle once the diet is ‘over’
  • We simply can’t’ maintain what we are doing once it’s ‘over’
  • We lost more weight than we needed to, and now the body is concerned about your safety (a competition prep, for example), 
  • We lost weight too quickly or pushed calories too low, and now the body is concerned for your safety, or 
  • We didn’t work on the underlying issues whilst doing the diet, so the behaviour that led us to becoming overweight returns as soon as the diet is done. 

So the problem is not in the diet.. The problem is perpetual dieting, a lack of personal growth and leaning on quick-fix solutions that add more stress to the body overall, and diets that make us so miserable that we can’t wait to get off them.

Now that you know why they ‘don’t work’, let’s look at what is essential for all fat-loss processes to be successful.

We will start with how to lose weight if you’re just aiming for general weight loss – that is, you just want to be smaller, and are not concerned with muscularity in the end.

If you are concerned with looking lean and muscular, and want to build a body that looks strong and fit, then all these principles apply, but there are an additional two tips I will cover afterwards.

What do we need to focus on if we are to lose fat, and keep it off? 

A healthy metabolism

This is the number one thing – your metabolism needs to be healthy. Without a healthy metabolism, fat loss is impossible and if it is, a metabolism can turn on you and your body goals, causing you to put all the weight back on.

There are two ways you can ‘damage’ a metabolism; 

  • Excessive dieting, and
  • Excessive stress

If you have dieted your whole life, then it is likely that your body believes itself to be in a famine, that is – undernourished and starving for food. This can also happen if your diet is high in junk food, as you aren’t getting your essential proteins and fats (not I didn’t say essential carbs, as I hate to break it to you, they aren’t essential). If you want to know more about this topic, read the article, or check out this video.

If you have excessive stress, this disrupts your hormones, which include hunger and satiety hormones, and can disrupt your gut. When in stress, the blood is focussed on pumping blood to your arms and legs so you can run, and in this case your digestion takes a back seat.

Excessive stress also means excessive cortisol, and this hormone blocks fat loss when it is chronically high. It makes adherence difficult, as it upregartultes your desire to eat carbs (as they support the lowering of cortisol), and it disrupts your sleep.

Additionally, trauma can impact how you metabolise food, in particular, carbohydrates.

So, you want to have healthy stress levels and resilience in order to have a healthy metabolism. And you want to stop dieting and eat at maintenance calories for a while if you’re someone who is chronically dieting. This signals to your body that it is safe, so when you go on a deficit, which is the next point I am going to highlight, the body does not freak out.

Calorie deficit

You must be in a calorie deficit. This means you must eat less food than you burn off per day. A 400-500 calorie per day deficit is enough to trigger fat loss, but this number can’t be dropping below what your body perceives to be essential to your survival.

Note that the lengths you can push a body into fat loss depends on your genetics, but also how much your body knows about the process. Our determination or willpower can sometimes be so strong that it overrides the body signal to stop dieting as well (in the case of eating disorders, for example).

A body that diets for the first time will not have a conditioned response to it, so it is likely you will be able to push it further. Once it works it out however, you’re toast, and it will become harder each time if you don’t take a structured and measured approach.

You must also know your maintenance calories if you are to have any idea what your deficit calories are. So this means you need to eat the same amount of food per day as you burn off for a while, pushing that number up until you reach a point where you’re relatively full, feeling good and energised, and not gaining or losing weight.

Once you find this number, you can subtract 400-500 calories/day off your maintenance calories via activity, less food or a combination of both, and the body will make up that difference with your body fat. 

Track your food

If you don’t track, you won’t lose weight and keep it off because you have no data to fall back on.

There may be an exception to this rule, being that if you’re overweight, say 120kg and you simply change to a whole food diet, it’s highly likely you’ll lose weight without tracking, but for most women I meet this is not their struggle. They’re generally slightly overweight, just enough that it is uncomfortable, and in this case, calories need to be tracked.

You can use an app like MyFitnessPal, ensuring you’re eating the same amount of food each day which is a deficit, so the 400-500 calories per day under than your maintenance calories (which you will have established before your diet). 

You also learn a lot about food! Like how 1 tbsp peanut butter can be up to 200-calories, and how you may be easily eating 1500 calories per day of snacks and cappuccinos, without even realising it.  

Eat whole foods

When you eat whole foods you ensure the body gets all of its essential proteins and fats for the energy day person, and also carbohydrates for an active person.

You also ensure your hunger hormones remain healthy, as when you eat processed foods they are designed to override these signals. The more fat cells you have from eating junk food, the more out of control the situation with food cravings becomes.

We also have gut bacteria like Candida for example, that often overgrows in women who have high stress levels and eat too much sugar, and as these critters feed on sugar. They are so clever they can send signals up through your enteric nervous system to the brain, telling it to eat more sugar (for their survival, not yours). These things generally don’t occur in a whole food diet.

Whole foods also ensure you are more satiated in a deficit, and have less cravings.

You want to have a consistent routine which is repeated week after week. 

For a fat loss routine, it’s important to do the same thing over and over, week by week. Check in once per week, and so long as it’s working, you just repeat. There is no way to ‘speed it up’ and if you don’t keep it consistent it is confusing to the body and it will likely backfire on you. It’s also confusing to you (and me, as a coach).

Get in a good rhythm and repeat, over and over, until you have a two weeks plateau in measurements and weight, then you want to change something (generally, increase the deficit as the metabolism has adapted).

So, those are the essentials for any fat loss goal. If you want to take it further, and see changes in musculature or finish your fat loss with a ‘toned’ look, you must also; 

Lift weights 

Lifting weights ensures you gain muscle in maintenance phases, and maintain muscle in fat loss phases. Cardio is catabolic, so too much cardio will actually have the opposite effect. It also increases cortisol, which as you now know is problematic in fat loss pursuits.

If you do fat loss without weight training, you will be smaller but soft. If you don’t care about muscle, this is totally fine! For many of you though, you want to look toned and if this is the case, you must lift weights.

Track macros, so protein is really important 

You must also track macros, rather than just calories. This means you eat a consistent amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein on a daily basis, with protein being the key nutrient that must remain consistent.

Protein is the body’s building block, and this should come mostly from animal protein as it is the most anabolic (meaning, it has the highest amount of Leucine, an amino acid that is essential for building skeletal muscle).

So within your calorie targets you want to hit protein, fat and carbohydrate targets. This is exactly how bodies are built, as different macronutrients have different effects on the body’s health and aesthetic. This is also why I love bodybuilding, as we use these macronutrients to create bodies that look like masterpieces!

I hope that helps you to understand what it required, and quit chasing after the quick fixes!

If you’re trying to lose weight and aren’t doing any of those things, I suggest you start to take the process more seriously and either enlist some professional help, or if you’re knowledgeable in this area create a long term plan.

Always remember that your body is smarter than you and being lean is not its number one priority

Just a couple more things to add! 

  • You want to be patient. Some weeks you will drop, others you may go up in weight. 
  • You want to track measurements as well as weight, as weight is unpredictable. 
  • For body recomposition if you’re a healthy weight, your focus is on LOOKING different. Not lowering the number on the scales. This is a focus if you’re trying to lose excess body fat. 
  • 400gms per week is a really healthy amount of weight loss, where it’s not a big enough deficit that it triggers a binge, and just enough weight loss that you are seeing results from week to week. 
  • You want to hire a professional if you’re not educated in this area

So that’s all on how to lose fat and keep it off. 

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Fat loss

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

Does losing weight make you happy?

Does losing weight make you happy?

Read time: 5 minute read

Most people get into the body transformation game with one idea in mind – 

“The perfect body will make me happy”. 

Is this true though? NO! And in this post I am going to cover this in detail. 

There are a few things I want to cover on this topic including; 

  • Where does it come from? Let’s look at the media’s role in it, and our own
  • How much this impacts us personally
  • Where does the happiness part lie? and, 
  • What can we do about it?

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

I have been a Personal Trainer for 20 years, and a full-time Women’s coach for at least 12. Personally I have always been obsessed with weight loss and body transformation. And most of the women I have trained over the years share the same obsession. 

There are a number of factors behind why we think being skinner will make us happy, but we can narrow this down to two categories; 

  1. The media
  2. Our own personal issues.  

If we go back prior to social media, and particularly up until the last few years, there was zero representation of the averaged-sized women in the media. Every teen magazine or fitness magazine had on the cover – how to lose weight’, and most often it was a 1200 calorie diet with no carbs paired with an excessive exercise routine. 

Let’s start with the Media 

As we started to make traction in the fitness world, learning from our earlier mistakes and teaching women to nourish themselves (I’m talking between 2010-2017ish) I really saw a shift. Women want to eat more, meaning, they want to eat what their bodies require of them. They were sick of the yo-yo diet cycle. 

However, with social media came the introduction of influencers – most often slim women who looked exactly like those we had seen in the media our whole lives, but now there were more of them, and their accounts grew as women everywhere wanted to know what their ‘secret’ was. I can tell you what their secret was – their genetics – but they won’t tell you that themselves. 

They began selling diet products, fitness challenges, getting photo shoots in their underwear and the bikini and fitness model divisions were introduced to competitions to fulfill this need. Now the perfect body can be two things – tall and slender, or lean with large muscles and a perfect set of breast implants. 

So in 2022, we have a new problem, being thousands of genetically elite, self-proclaimed experts who use their own ‘perfect’ bodies to perpetuate diet culture for profit. They don’t coach and have no idea of the impact their behaviour has on young women, nor do they probably care. Furthermore, we see them as ‘experts’ because they look the way we have been programmed to believe ‘healthy’ women should look. 

So just as we were making progress, an even larger force came in and we were moving both forwards and backwards at the same time. The fitness industry which was once a safe place for women to build themselves up was now just as toxic as the mainstream media industry. 

Women turn to fitness to boost their confidence, and are exploited. They achieve great things with their own minds and bodies, but because they aren’t aesthetically extraordinary, or can’t maintain a lean physique, they feel like they have failed. 

So that’s the media aspect of it. 

Then we have the second part, which is our own personal issues

Technically speaking, no ‘health’ organisation inflicts an eating disorder or body image issues onto us. In order for us to be susceptible to the messages, we need to be somewhat vulnerable to them. 

Much like they don’t remove addictive things like alcohol, porn, sugar and certain prescription drugs off the market, they wont ‘ban’ this kind of body from being supported because 1/ this kind of aesthetic-based ‘beauty’ sells, and we live in a corporation driven society, but also because, only some people become addicted. 

Some people are susceptible, and others are not. There is a really great thought leader in the area of trauma and addiction, Dr. Gabor Mate. We will use his words here to illustrate what I am saying; “ask not why the addiction, ask why the pain?”

HOW DO YOU BECOME SUSCEPTIBLE?

There are two ways you may become vulnerable to believing that your body needs to look a certain way in order for you to be happy; 

  1. You need to feel like you’re not good enough as you are, on some level, and
  2. You need to believe that there is something positive at the other end of the transformation – praise, belonging, success, attention, love, etc. Whatever you believe you need in this life to be safe and accepted, this lies at the end of your body transformation journey. 

We have only a few basic human needs – shelter, food and water, and connection. In order to survive, we need to be accepted by the tribe as no one human being can thrive on their own. 

Most corporations prey on our need for connection, as in the western world we have plenty of shelter, food and water to go around (disregarding the quality of that of course which is on a sliding scale). They do this by creating scenarios where it is taken away, for example the ever changing algorithm on Instagram based on what they call the ‘fame lottery’, supplying endless food and drinks that inflame the nervous system, and dating apps where we swipe instead of boldly approaching someone in the real world and asking for their phone number. So things aren’t really working in our favour here. 

Our need for connection is created into cash for large corporations. For those of us who become fixated on our bodies as a place of inadequacy, ‘diet culture’ is the solution. Once we walk down this path due to our own insecurities, there is no shortage of places to land. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BODY-FAT?

When you lose all your body fat, you do not immediately feel happy. To be perfectly honest, you may even feel worse – more vulnerable, more disappointed in learning that this wasn’t the answer. Your friends and family may distance themselves from you because your lifestyle is so restrictive, so you may even feel more left out than when you started. 

Furthermore, if you’re in a loop of thinking there is something inherently wrong with you, you will continue to find things that are wrong with your body. For me I hated the shape of my waist, and my left shoulder was smaller than my right. I’ve had clients get breast implants because they hated the way their leaner bodies came with a smaller bust, or they complain about the tiniest bit of cellulite that remains under their butt crease, which I can’t do anything about because it’s their genetics

Lately, as I have been engaging in therapy, with the trauma being the root cause of my body image issues since childhood, this ‘issue’ has been much more apparent. I noticed I look and feel different multiple times of the day. One day I think I am fat, the next I am old and ugly. I would put on clothing thinking it won’t fit because I’ve gotten so fat, only to find my body hasn’t changed at all. 

So how you see your body is linked directly with issues you have going on within yourself, and although the lifestyle adopted by going on a weight loss journey can be helpful, the weight loss itself won’t change those beliefs you have within your nervous system unless you actively work with those too. 

WHAT PART OF THE JOURNEY DOES CONTRIBUTE TO GREATER HAPPINESS?

Whilst losing fat doesn’t bring about feelings of happiness all on its own, the activities undertaken in a body transformation process absolutely can, such as;

  • Better food choices leading to lower inflammation 
  • Regular exercise increasing lymph flow and blood circulation
  • Lowered stress hormones which lead to improved sleep, gut health and feelings of calm

The truth of nutrition really is that eating a diet full of highly processed food is a problem, causing leaky gut, and neuroinflammation, which directly damages neurotransmitters and makes us feel crap about ourselves. So a healthy diet is key. Once again corporations interfere with your assimilation of this information because it’s unfavourable for their profits. 

Losing weight will not make you happier, but being healthy will

For a healthy weight woman, meaning that your body has the amount of body fat it deems to be necessary for you to create life, forage and protect your young, fat loss will not make you healthier or happier. It is also highly likely that whatever fat loss you achieve will be put back on, as this is the body’s safety mechanism. 

The body decides how much body fat is safe for you personally, and has no care for your body composition goals. So for this person, a dieting process may make you healthier because you’re eating better, sleeping better, and moving more, but you could also achieve this without cutting your calories back and losing body fat. So there is no benefit to losing that body fat specifically. 

If you’re higher in body fat than what your body deems to necessary, then you may experience more feelings of happiness as you lose weight, and with clients this looks like easily fitting into a plane seat, purchasing fashionable clothes, feeling more energised, less mood swings, moving more freely and being able to play with their kids. 

So weight loss for some people does improve quality of life, but it’s important to identify the ways in which your body weight is affecting you. It’s also important to diet in a healthy way, no matter your starting point. 

In summary, if you’re a healthy or unhealthy weight, making healthier food choices and moving more (both of which come with a weight loss goal) will lead to improvements in the following; 

  • Stable blood sugar, thus more stable moods and energy levels
  • Increased energy do to a lower toxic load, 
  • Lowered inflammation which leads to fatigue and depressive symptoms 
  • Improved sleep which lowers stress and food cravings, and
  • Better hormone balance, so your time-of-the-month will be more pleasant, your skin more vibrant and your mood overall more stable. 
  • Less stress leading to more capacity for connection

So those are the reasons why someone seems happier when they lose weight, but it is not specifically because their body fat is lower. 

What can I do to start healing my relationship with my body?

The following is what I recommend to my clients when they come to me wanting to change their bodies; 

  1. Unfollow anyone that triggers you to feel low self-worth. If you contract or feel envious when you see your feed, just remove them. 
  2. Switch your focus from calorie restriction and dieting to start, no matter where you are on your journey or what your end goal is. Eat your maintenance calories and see if you still want to lose weight once you’re feeling more healthy.  
  3. Train to get strong and improve your overall physical capacity, and do exercise that is friendly to your nervous system – weight training, cardiovascular activity, dance, yoga, pilates are examples. Note that competitive powerlifting, crossfit and HIIT training may be too much. 
  4. Start looking within. What do I want this for? Do I need to lose weight or am I just unhappy? If you feel the issue is outside of your capacity to process, hire a qualified professional like psychologist, psychotherapist, or coach who specialises in this area. 

By working on these things you can start to heal the relationship with your body. There is of course the ‘body positive’ movement, but I would be very wary of that as it often does not encourage a healthy relationship with food, which is foundational to good health in the long term. 

Often the best way out of body image challenges and diet culture is through it too, so don’t beat yourself up if you did a competition and felt like you failed. This is all a part of the journey. Now you know that’s not the answer and you can start focusing on those practices that brought about joy throughout the process and build on them instead.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Body Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

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