Eating healthy when other’s don’t

Sometimes when you’re a good eater, you’re not always your worst enemy. The people you live with or constantly hang around may be major hindrances to your strict diet. It’s hard enough to resist eating high-calories foods when you’re keeping your diet lean, so it’s understandable that you can be swayed when you see your friends eating junk all the time.

What do you do when your colleagues want to do a KFC office run or when your friends want to meet at the bar? What about when your flatmate cooks another heat and freeze meal or your partner prepares are tantalising Italian dinner that will definitely sabotage your daily calorie intake? It’s times like these where you ought to stick to your guns and choose the healthier options so your hard work doesn’t go to waste. Here’s how:

Bite size is alright
When you’re feeling pressured in a social setting, remember to portion control. Appease the crowd by telling them you’ll try a bite. This is better than saying no and is less likely to cause offence. At the same time, you’re not consuming a massive amount so you’re not endangering your diet. 

Serving yourself

If your partner or flatmate has gone to the effort to cook a yummy, but fatty dinner, it’s okay to serve yourself. Why not half a very small serving and eat vegies for the remainder of the meal? If you’re in control of your plate, it’s easier to adjust portions. If preparing your plate isn’t an option, politely ask for a smaller portion.

Monitor your pace

When you’re having a good time and are caught up in great conversation, you’re subconsciously on autopilot and prone to fill your face with whatever’s on the table. That’s why it’s a good idea to eat a little bit before a scheduled meal so you aren’t as hungry and are less inclined to make bad food choices.

Preparation is key

If your diet has succumbed to peer pressure of late, make it a habit to not cave in again. This is best done by preparing what you’re going to eat in advance and also how you’re going to respond to foods that tempt you.

Create a focus

Dinner or lunch doesn’t have to be the highlight activity of the day. You can ardently suggest a walk after dinner or schedule a movie or board game as the new focus.

Focus on your clothing size, not the scales

Australians should use their dropping down in clothes size as a key indicator of weight loss, not the kilograms displayed on their humble bathroom scale. You see, weight scales aren’t accurate and tend to lie about your current weight due to the fact that several factors can influence your weight reading.

It’s essential to consider water retention, muscle gain (which leads to changes in lean body mass), glycogen storage, menstruation and other perfectly normal fluctuations to your body weight. If you better understand these changes and how your body function, you can free yourself from your daily battle when you weigh yourself in. Let’s have a look out how these aforementioned elements alter your scale reading.

Water Retention
Excessive amounts of salt/sodium in diets can cause the body to retain water. If you’re consuming too much sodium or not enough water, your body will hold onto the little water it has which will cause the scale reading to sky rocket. So drink water whenever you’re thirsty.

Menstruation
Women tend to retain large amounts of water prior to menstruation. This weight will go as quickly as it comes. On the plus, women can minimise water weight gain by increasing their water intake, maintaining physical activity and minimising high-sodium foods.

Muscle Gain
It’s no secret here. Muscle weighs three times as much as fat. So if you look slimmer, but weigh more… it’s clearly muscle gain. Hence; using clothing size as an indicator for fat loss.

Food Intake
Each meal we consume throughout the day will affect the numbers on the scale. So if you instantaneously put on a few kilos after eating a large meal with a drink, it’s not fat. It’s in fact the weight of the food you just ate that will be gone in a few hours upon digesting it. For accuracy’s sake, it’s best to weight yourself in the morning before you’ve have anything to eat or drink.

Glycogen Storage
Your body stores energy (carbohydrates) as fat and glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the liver, muscles and fat cells. Essentially it acts as your fuel tank for daily living. And for every gram of glycogen stores, your body will store an extra three to four grams of water with it. So that’s why when you eat a meal with carbs, the body automatically stores water and glycogen as weight. But it’s not fat at all! These fluctuations have nothing to do with weight loss or gain, yet it will affect your weekly weigh-in.

So really, it’s important not to lose your cool at your daily weigh in. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet and exercising vigorously, the best indicator for change is your clothing size because losing weight and losing fat are two different things. Take measurements of yourself regularly and don’t be dismayed if the scale jumps slightly up or down. Day by day, your body is changing and getting closer to the goal you’re trying to achieve. Change is happening, regardless of what the scale says. And it’s more likely that you’re gaining lean muscle if the scale creeps up as quickly as your waist line drops.

The perils of group “boot camp” classes

Sometimes boot camp exercise classes are really group injury classes.

The dangers of injuries associated with fitness boot camp classes are increasingly becoming more apparent. The popularity surrounding such classes is progressing at an exponential rate and so has the amount of exercise induced injuries I have been seeing. And I don’t believe it is a coincidence. There is an intimate link between boot camp classes and soaring injury levels.

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Can I eat carbs at night?

Should we listen to Hollywood and refrain from eating carbs at night?

Hollywood has been telling us since forever that a low-carb, or even no-carb diet, is the best diet. Is this really the case? Are we just starving ourselves to lose weight or perhaps there is a better time to eat carbs.

The truth is carbs are good for you and we need to eat them in order to maintain a balanced diet. On the other hand, you will put on weight if you eat carbs or any kind of food the wrong way. The old saying goes: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper. When it comes to consuming carbs at night, definitely eat less and cut out the starchy kind (pasta, rice, bread) after 6pm.

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Are you really ready to get results?

While there are more fitness facilities, information resources, health professionals and low fat foods available to us than ever before, our society continues to get fatter and unhealthier. Overweight and obesity rates are climbing at epidemic proportions, which if not stopped, will place enormous economic and health burdens on our future generations.

If you are concerned about your own health or your family’s health and want to lead a long-term healthy lifestyle, this book is for you.

Send an email to admin@visionpt.com.au to order a copy or go pick up a copy at your local Vision Personal Training studio.

Boosting your immune system

Eat immune system enhancing foods to fight off infection

It’s that time of the year when cold and flu symptoms are peaking. Look around the office, at the shop or while commuting and you’re bound to see people coughing and splattering away. If this is something you consider undesirable, why not boost your immune system by eating certain foods? It’s your best bet to fighting spreadable sicknesses.

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My Bodybuilding Preparation Eating Plan

Many people have asked what I ate each day in preparation for the Natural Body Building comp I did in May 2009. It was pretty simple really: the key is to just stick to it.

Black coffee before training each day

Breakfast = 50grams of oats with 6 egg whites and one yolk

Morning Tea =50grams of oats with 2 scoops of Vanilla Vision protein powder

Lunch = 100 grams of grilled chicken breast with mixed salad

Afternoon = 100 grams of grilled chicken with mixed salad

Dinner = 200 grams of chicken / beef or salmon with broccoli, zuchini and beans

Supper = Rice cakes with Natural Peanut butter

8 glasses of water each day.

During the final 8 days leading up to the comp, I also Sodium loaded and depleted.

Saturday              4000mg

Sunday                 5000

Monday               6000

Tuesday               7000

Wednesday        8000

Thursday             8000

Friday                    500

Saturday              500

Sunday                 250

Cut water at midday Saturday (ice cubes only)

I also manipulated my carb intake in the final week leading up as follows:

Monday to Thursday      Normal food intake (do not panic)

Friday – 250g (Oats with water, rice cakes, water based carbs)

Saturday – 300g (Oats with water up til midday, rice cakes after midday)

Sunday – 300g (Dry oats, Honey, peanut butter, banana, rice cakes)

Follow the sodium loading, carb loading and dehydration plan and watch yourself get ripped by Sunday morning!

Are you slowly being killed by trans-fats?

Trans fatty acids are the most harmful fats in the human diet and should be avoided at all costs.

Trans fatty acid (TFAs) is the abbreviated term for unsaturated fat with trans-iomer fatty acids. Basically it is fatty acid coupled with glycerine. And although they are unsaturated, they do not behave like the good fats found in vegetable oils and fish. Rather, they behave similarly to saturated fats in the body and produce similar health effects. Therefore, they are the most harmful type of fat found in the human diet and should be avoided at all costs.

TFAs are contained in both natural and manufactured products. Naturally, you will find them in certain animal products including cheese, butter and meat. Manufactured, or artificial TFAs, occur when liquid vegetable oils are hardened during the industrial processing stages of making margarine, cooking fats and pastry doughs for baking, crackers, biscuits, candies, salad dressings, chips, granola bars, fried foods and more.

What makes TFAs so dangerous is that they increase the amount of bad cholesterol in our blood and can reduce the amount of good cholesterol. Exhibiting harmful levels of bad cholesterol is a key indicator for heart disease and TFAs are also associated with many heart complications. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set a recommendation of consuming no more than 1 per cent of our daily kilojoules from TFAs. Postponed

Despite the countless health hazards to humans, it is not mandatory for food manufacturers to declare TFAs on product labels. However, manufacturers can provide statistics voluntarily. They are only required to declare TFAs if a nutritious claim regarding saturated, trans fats, cholesterol, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated or omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids is made.

This is quite concerning, considering the only valid use of TFAs for food companies is higher profitability. When vegetable oils are converted to solid fats by adding hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation), the shelf life of foods is extended. Flavour is also enhanced, which means more calories in your mouth. So really, it’s just not worth consuming TFAs in large amounts if they taste good, yet increase the level of plaque build-up in arteries.

What’s more is there has also been research conducted by Harvard School of Public Health which suggests TFAs may raise the risk of acquiring diabetes. That’s why it is important to make smarter diet decisions and choose heart-healthy fats such as avocadoes, nuts, peanut butter and TFA-free margarines. Don’t forget to check the number of calories per serving on product labels and compare saturated fats and TFA information if available.

Fruit for dessert???

Choosing fruit for dessert is a great alternative to its calorie-packed bakery counterpart.

Dessert is one meal sweet tooth’s look forward to the most. And if you’re watching your weight, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a little morsel of indulgence. It’s very possible to create yummy deserts from fresh fruit, yoghurts and healthy ingredients which taste good. The advantage being they just aren’t high in calories.

Many dessert foods including cakes, pastries, doughnuts, chocolate and cream-based desserts and ice cream are major calorie culprits. They are often hard to resist and easy to succumb to the temptation; even though we’re well aware that eating highly fatty foods isn’t worth it in the end. They can sabotage your healthy eating intentions and your waistline. Let’s face it: Ice cream is no health food.

That’s why choosing a fruit-based dessert is a far better option. They’re mostly easy to prepare and are great healthy alternatives to the fattening desserts that we know; especially if they have no added sugars or fats. Many really healthy desserts are okay to eat every night and if you’re eating fruit, it’s most likely to count as one serve of your daily recommended fruit intake.

Now if you’re eating out and dessert time has arrived before you know it, don’t go without and watch your friends eat. Instead, be smart. Opt to order a low fat yoghurt topped with fresh fruit salad.

If you’re having fruit-based desserts, ask for it to be served without ice cream or cream which only add a oodles of calories and not much room for nutrients. If you truly are craving ice cream, then that’s okay. Exercise portion control and ask for gelato, vitari or a low fat ice-cream alternative. That way you’re still getting your ice cream fix, just without so many calories. Remember though, that it should be a treat and not consumed every night.

Home time dessert cooking allows you to experiment the most. Many healthy dessert ideas come from raw food desserts. If you add berries into the mix, you will boost your antioxidants. Consider filling crepes with fruit compotes or dipping strawberries into dark chocolate. Another great touch is sprinkling lemon juice and a few drops of Grand Marnier on strawberries to add fresh citrus notes.

Either way, dessert should be enjoyed. It’s okay to eat a small amount of your favourite calorie-food here and there and truly savour it; just don’t eat too much and too often. For even more healthy dessert recipes, watch Vision TV if you’re a Vision member to find out more. Bon Appétit!

Are you wearing the right running shoes?

Nothing beats the feeling of wearing a perfectly fit running shoe.

When it’s time to buy a new pair of running shoes, brand, style and colour all matter. But what’s even more important is the actual fit of the shoe. Forget about price. If you focus on bagging a bargain runner on the discount table, then it will most likely lead to an injury. You need to buy the right shoe for your individual foot, regardless if it’s the most expensive or the cheapest as long as support is there.

I don’t blame you if you feel somewhat confused when entering sports stores looking for your ideal shoe. There are so many special high-tech features each running shoe claims to have that you’re left questioning if the feature has any benefit in your life. But if you stick to a few of the following tips, locating your perfect runner will be a much easier task.

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