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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why did I write The Monday to Friday Diet?

Why on earth would a dietitian write a ‘diet’ book – we know that diets do not work. Well, for some of us they work initially but the research shows that strict diets do not work long term. Inevitably once we have cut back our calories for a few weeks and lost a few kg, unless we keep pretty focused, exercise for an hour a day and follow a 1300 calorie diet, most of the time, the weight always creeps back on – depressing isn’t it?

So, now I should clarify, The Monday to Friday Diet is not a ‘diet’ as such, but a way to approach our busy (and getting busier) working weeks so that we have some clear food and exercise rules with which to build strong lifestyle habits. Once we have these habits, taking control over our week and ultimately our food intake over the course of the week helps us to manage our calorie intake and commit to moving our bodies, for life. And that, put simply, is the secret to weight control.

Now this concept is not only relevant to the Monday to Friday working peeps out there – balancing food intake and exercise throughout any week can be challenging for working women, full time mums, shift workers, those juggling study and work, travel or life in general. We are all dealing with intense time demands, traffic, huge family and social commitments and an increasing need to move well and eat less. For this reason The Monday to Friday Diet offers you the specific strategies you need to deal with all of these demands and pressures. The Monday to Friday approach shows you how to adjust your calories on different days of the week, how to deal with your food and exercise when you travel, how to control your calories but still enjoy your weekend, how to get balance over your food, your body and your busy, busy week.

Ultimately we all want to eat tasty food and enjoy a busy fulfilling life, a big part of which is coming together over food with those closest to us. Unfortunately for many of us, our weight and our bodies become a victim to this lifestyle and so it is time to take control. The Monday to Friday Diet will show you how to do that – with food plans, recipes and plenty of tricks and tips, you will wonder how you ever got through the working week without it.

For the past 12 years I have spent much time with my clients helping them to work through the juggles and demands of their busy weeks, and develop strategies to continue to eat well and exercise no matter what their weeks look like. I have brought together these recipes, strategies and ideas to help you do the same. I look forward to hearing how the Monday to Friday Diet helps you to take charge of your week and ultimately your weight and health too.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The secret to getting and keeping motivation

If I knew the secret to getting every single individual motivated I would be in a very powerful position indeed, but unfortunately, as is the case with many human attributes, motivation is a complex and changeable state. For many, motivation, particularly when it comes to health and fitness routines is innate; we learnt to eat and behave in a certain way when were small and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. For others, a health scare or realisation that you are 20kg heavier than you should be gives us the kick we need to change our daily habits and turn our lives around. Then there are those individuals who just seem to never get it and keep at it; they try one health and fitness craze after the other, never cementing a pattern of living that give their bodies and lives at better chance. As we edge closer to the warmer months and before all things weight loss become popular again perhaps it is worth trying to locate some of your own motivation. Some questions to ask yourself during this time as you try to find it include:

·         What are the benefits of keeping my body fit and healthy?

·         How would my life be better if I felt better about my body?

·         Am I the kind of healthy role model I would like to be for my children?

·         Can I physically do all the things I would like to with my body?

·         What am I really putting into my body each day?

·         If I was fit, healthy and happy what would I be eating and what training would I be doing each day?

·         If I knew I could keep my body disease free by eating well and moving, would I be more inclined to move more and eat less?

·         Who are the people in my life who would support me living like this?

·         What changes can I make to my lifestyle today that will help move me closer to my goal of living well and feeling healthy?

Remember, motivation starts with a single positive thought and is maintained with every small, single step you take in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Supplements and schoolboy athletes

Teenage boys love them, parents tend to be concerned about them and teachers try and ban them – supplements. The mix of white powders, special drinks and potions packaged in brightly coloured, extra-large containers with the words ‘huge’, ‘ripped’ and ‘massive’ plastered across the front in large bold writing via which school boys see the body of a Super 15 or NRL player suddenly within their reach.

So should we be concerned with teenage athletes turning to various supplements to boost their protein and nutritional intake to support weight gain? As is the case with all areas of nutritional science, there are two sides to the story. Of course parents should be concerned or at least aware of what their teenage athletes are consuming but the first thing to know is that we cannot group all supplements into the same category. There is a wide range of nutritional and performance supplements available, which all do very different things. Sure, some may warrant concern with various suspicious ingredients and stimulants, but many, as is the case with most ‘protein’ supplements are simply a mix of concentrated milk protein and some carbohydrates for energy.

Now while the most common question that comes from parents is, ‘can’t they just get their nutrition from their food and drink some extra milk?’ is warranted, here are some of the number to consider. A busy teenage athlete, competing in 2-3 different sports at a relatively high level will be burning and as a result require several thousand calories a day – and this is just to grow and develop normally. If the athlete then has considerably athletic ability identified and his sport will benefit from him gaining 5-10 extra kg, unless he is drinking a litre of milk in a sitting to get the equivalent 30-40g of protein he can get from a protein shake or eating large serves of lean meat or eggs at every meal and mid-meal, it is going to prove challenging for him to get the amounts of carbohydrates, calories and protein he will require for muscle growth and recovery on a daily basis. This is not to say that it cannot be done, just that it will require a lot of attention and eating – something which teenage boys are not necessarily good at, or have time for.

So for this reason, as long as the supplement schoolboy athletes are choosing is pure – that means contains just carbohydrates and proteins without growth additives such as creatine, which we do not know are safe for teenagers at this stage, and comes from a reputable Australian brand such as BSc, I do use protein supplements with school boy athletes. Naturally we stress that more is not better, and supplements will only work in conjunction with a strong baseline diet, but they are an option. And surely as parents it is better to know what they are having, where it comes from and make sure they are taking it the right way, as opposed to them purchasing a dodgy supplement from overseas and taking it on the sly, because this is what tends to happen deep in private school dorms late at night anyway.