Healthy Lifestyle And Weight Loss Success Ingredient 1: Consistency

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We get started on a diet or plan with the best intentions. Despite that, there are usually a combination of things that prevent 85% of people from succeeding and staying there:

  • Falling off the wagon (inconsistency)
  • Emotional eating
  • Not enough time
  • Stressful life (busy work/stressful personal life etc)

We start on a diet, we stop weeks in and have to essentially restart if we decide to do it over again.

This happens because:

the pain of not doing it is not enough for you to keep doing it

OR

the pleasure of doing it is not enough to keep you doing it.

Imagine a lion chasing you – it’s much easier for you to run and keep running because if you stop, the lion will eat you. We are programmed to avoid pain, discomfort and fear. If we fear losing something eg losing money if we make a bet, or looking embarrassed (losing social standing) if we make a promise we don’t keep, we keep doing the thing to avoid the pain or loss.

The contrast is doing something for the love of it and for pure enjoyment. Imagine eating going out for a drink every weekend with your friends. It feels good so its easy to keep doing it every weekend because we gain more pleasure from doing it than not.

Well in this light, the solutions to building consistency is to create either an avoidance of a certain discomfort, or do things because you enjoy them.

They will both work, but ultimately, a more wholesome and positive experience is created when we do things from a place of love and because it makes us happy.

Choosing to keep doing something to avoid pain or discomfort can definitely be a strong motivator, but lifestyle changes that last usually have the majority of motivation coming from loving to do something rather than avoiding discomfort of something else (80% towards pleasure /20% away from pain).

Please note pleasure is not in the context of hedonism and dopamine adundance i.e. overindulging, taking substances and watching Netflix marathons all day.

In the context of health, moving towards pleasure means discovering that you really like cycling, it gives you energy, helps you lose weight and so you keep cycling as part of your normal routine.

Or doing yoga because it frees up your mind and you can touch your toes. Or eating healthy because you like how much energy it gives you and how well you sleep now.

Find a working program tailored just for you

If you follow what worked for others such as keto plans, 30day challenges that don’t take into account your own lifestyle, preferences, challenges, they wont work.

Following a program that tells you to have 5 small meals everyday while you only have time to eat once or twice a day wont work.

Following a program that tells you that you need to go to the gym 6 times a week while you can only manage 3 or 4 days isn’t going to work.

That’s why a program and a plan tailored around your lifestyle is going to the the game changer for you. You’ll be able to maintain results for a long time because you’ll include the things you do love.

You’ll work around the schedule you have. You’ll work out with efficiency and spend minimal time at the gym. You’ll get a program you like, keeps up with you daily and keeps your relevant goal in line.

This will keep you happy and enjoying things so you move towards pleasure – and are more likely to keep doing it.

You need accountability

You need a partner along your journey who can be objective, but be supportive enough of you goal to give you a caring ear, social support and assertiveness – because you still need to reach your goal.

You will need people in your corner – whether it be friends, your partner, like-minded people, or a supportive coach. They will need to be aware of your goals, needs, be in your corner and give you the push you may need from time to time

This will provide the avoiding the pain factor- because a part of you wouldn’t want to disappoint others around you who are on your team and want to see you win. Its a critical element in success because we rarely succeed on our own without any form of support, counselling or guidance.

This is also a very strong motivating factor that tends to keep most successful people going – being part of a community and having support could mean a world of difference.

If you’re looking for a program, our 1 on 1 coaching provides caring support and tailored guidance, click here to find out more. if its not a good fit for you, it’s no problem. Just find someone, anyone close who can be a caring shoulder to lean on on your journey.

With these 2 elements, it’s much easier to keep going than it is to quit – and that’s consistency in a nutshell.

Double Cheese Burger Or Salad? What Actually Matters About What You Eat

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I have great news for you – you can eat anything you want and be healthy. Yes this is a true statement – of course with the exclusion of poisonous and dangerous foods – there’s in reality no such thing as good food or bad food.

You can eat exactly what you want and lose weight. You don’t have to workout 6 days a week and eat only leaves and dry chicken, cut out all starches and have all your meals tasting like cardboard to be healthy. Blanket statement such as certain foods are for weight loos or certain foods make you gain weight are technically misleading. To truly understand why, we must see food within the context of your lives and not right up close.

These are the 2 points to remember:

  1. Healthy food is better to eat regularly and over time (weight loss beginning stage).
  2. You can eat unhealthy foods from time to time and be healthy if your lifestyle is in check. (weight loss maintenance stage).

Everything Adds Up Over Time

Starting a weight loss journey or pursuing a health journey/goal, it’s important to note whether the food is taking us towards or away from where we want to be. This is the mindset towards food we must have if we have a goal (weight loss, weight gain, build muscle etc). And then from there decide to do more of what takes us toward rather than away from your goal.

In the article The Power Of The Compound Effect we briefly went into how a 1% change everyday will lead to 365% improvement in a year. Having one salad isn’t going to make you a healthier person overall. In the same way eating pizza isn’t going to undo all your efforts.

However these behaviours will have cumulative effects over time. It’s probably better for you to keep good food and reduce or even eliminate foods that make you overeat/overindulge, trigger foods etc IN THE BEGINNING STAGES or if you aren’t where you want to be.

You want to build the habit of having good food and better meals so it’s better to focus more on the good and this will take you to reaching your goal.

What You Eat And What Else You Do Is What Actually Matters In The Long Run

This is regarding point number 2. It is a more advanced idea that more people who are in beginning stages or not reached their goal might not easily implement because as we start off, most things are seen as black and white – good and bad.

But when you have some experience with reaching your goals, and are now at the maintenance stages, you become more flexible and realise that there are grey areas and you don’t really need to be strict. You need more self-awareness and big picture thinking about your lifestyle.

Let’s take these 2 people:

Person A: workouts out 4-5 times a week resistance training and cardio workouts, drinks 2.5L of water a day, calorie conscious (eats at or just below maintenance), aims for 25g of fibre a day from mostly whole foods including vegetables daily, and follows IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) style of eating, has double cheese burger for lunch 3x a week and makes sure she has extra vegetables on those days she does.

Person B: Doesn’t work out, stays up late watching Netflix 6 nights a week resulting in 5-6hours of sleep a night, hydrates with juice and soft drinks, drinks <1L of water/day, doesn’t really watch what they eat and frequently has take out or pasta for dinner but makes sure to have a salad for lunch 3x a week coz she has heard eating salads makes you healthy.

In these examples, the idea is Double cheese burger = not good and salad = good. However from these two, the reality is that person A will be significantly in better terms of their health because what actually moves the scale is all the other behaviours. Long term success is based on birds eye view and not looking at a particular thing but at everything.

Health Is Not Binary, It’s A Spectrum

Such is to say that there is not one single act that will change things magically. There can be certain behaviours you change that will trigger OTHER positive changes in your life.

For example a person saying cutting out sugar is what helped them lose 10kg likely means – they stopped eating processed foods containing sugar and replaced them with more whole foods – high fibre starches and vegetables (decreases appetite so you eat less), ate more protein (muscle sparing and decreases appetite), drank more water instead of juice and soft drinks.

Improvements that bring results rarely happen in a vacuum and it’s this point that matters. You can make little changes that will add up but making one change and not shifting your whole lifestyle around will not work in the long run.

How To Make It Simple To Carry Out

Take a paper and write down your daily habits and behaviours for 1 week – observe and document what you eat, how much of it you eat, how much water you drink per day, how many hours of sleep you get, whether you eat to feeling full at your meals, how much exercise you got that day, how your energy levels are, your mood, how many meals with vegetables you eat, how much take out/junk food you ate and how often.

Keep the record for a week and you will find yourself already noticing behaviours you may not have noticed you were doing and instinctively want to change them even without anyone having to tell you.

And the even better news is once you do one thing, make one change, you won’t want it to “go to waste” and it’ll be easier to make other changes for your benefit.

So a cheese burger is not wrong in the same way a salad is not right, they are a 0.5% impact action with power to influence things over a big enough scope of time. It is more potent when you change other behaviours around you.

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5 Core Things You Need For Your 2021 Weight Loss Journey

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As we come towards the end of the first month of the new year full of craziness, our health remains pivotal. Even among a pandemic we have the same desires for a better version of us.

With that, studies have shown that >90% of people who lose weight regain it – so what do the successful <10% do to beat the stats? They understand that you need these 5 unconventional things:

1. A Plan That Works For YOU

When you make a decision to finally do what you need to do and make a lasting change – you’ll need a system and not simply an instruction manual.

Using a plan that doesn’t take into account your own preferences, challenges and allowing for flexibility will take you to a short distance, yet in a few weeks will likely lead you to fall off the path.

Personalising your journey that fits into your schedule will always yield better results than blindly following someone. A bodybuilder who has time to hot the gym 6x a week will not help a busy employee working 2 jobs and has time for the gym only 3x a week. So you’ll need a .

2. Accountability

It’s a fact that when you have someone to keep you in check, you are more likely to reach your goal. This is because we tend to not want to disappoint others, whereas without someone to account to, you are likely to let things slide.

Using a friend or family friend could work, however the best is someone who will be objective and tell you what you’ll need to hear and not let things slide too easily – a coach is actually your best bet if you haven’t been successful in the past. (Click here to find more about our coaching.)

3. Tenacious Changes

Once you have the plan that works for you, you will need to be able to see yourself carrying out those behaviours for the next few months if you want a lasting change.

“How you get it is how you’ll keep it”

-Unknown

In this case, the changes you make to LOSE the weight is what you’ll need to do to maintain it. It’s the reason why crash diets and eliminating food groups doesn’t work long term- it’s simply not sustainable.

You need to create small changes doing things you can see yourself doing – and it’s why they have such great effects – they are not too far away from your own reality and they won’t seem so difficult to do – so you can see yourself doing them all at the time, and you’ll keep what you’ve worked for.

4. Reliance On Habits More Than Willpower

Using sheer force will help in the beginning – however it’s a limited resource. There will be days where you will be too tired,stressed or sad to even want to make the right decisions. Too many of these days can undo all the work you have done using all your will power if you havn’t catered for them. You have to create a system of habits in the beginning that you will fall back on when life definitely gets in the way (it is a guarantee to have bad days – it’s simply those who handle bad days better than others and make sure the bad days don’t do too much damage, who win over the long term. Do you want to be a winner long term? Then take the time and put energy into your habits and not just your decisions in the day to day.

5. A New Version Of You

You have to come to terms with the fact that the person you have been until now has gotten you here. The person you WANT to be who has lost 10kg, is full of energy and confidence requires a different version of you – otherwise you’d be them already!

This means you have to let go of some things you have been used to doing and eating – in the name of “I’ve always been this way” or “It’s always been like this”. The truth is that for you to truly achieve your weight loss goal you have to start seeing yourself as the person who has lost that weight – how often do they eat, what do they like to snack on, what is their attitude towards exercise etc.

Once you have that solution, then you need to ask yourself one question: “how can I be more like that person today?”. And then make a decision in line with what they would do.

Over time without noticing you’ll BE that person – and it becomes much easier to make healthier decisions because you have accepted it as who you are – and not a person who clings on to excuses and reasons why they won’t do the right thing.

This probably the most challenging part initially but it’s the ultimate reason for success in the long term. BECOME the person you want to be. Everyday.

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How Snacking May Be The Answer To Your Weight Problems

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It feels good to chew on something, especially to carry on in between meals, or when just bored at home watching Netflix.

Or maybe it’s tea time at work and you’re feeling peckish and could go for a light pick-me-up before the meeting at 11.

Nutrition is one aspect that is interweaved with our lives; it’s the TOTALITY of your lifestyle is what leads you to where you are on a weight loss journey. Picking a point such as snacking is a strategy that can help a long way because it’s a commonly overlooked potential Achilles heel.

Having filling nutritious meals will reduce the urge to snack in between so it’s simply another alternative. Cover your bases (main meals) so you don’t need to snack. This requires an element of meal prep and might be easier than having to hassle about snacking.

So let’s get into it. We have to play devils advocate here because nothing is ever truly bad or good. It just depends on whether it’s serving you or not.

To Snack Or Not To Snack, That Is The Question

Snacking adds up calories to your daily total, and usually quantities are not measured. In the context where one has full meals, snacking especially when unchecked and taken in an automatic fashion tends to overshoot total calorie intake.

When keeping in mind our struggle with weight loss and not seeing results, its the small things that we tend to gloss over that actually contribute the most and have the ability to swing in our favour.

Reducing your snacking will help if you tend to snack on cookies, cakes daily or even regularly. One lady I was talking to says she has chips (french fries) everyday at tea time yet she was struggling to lose weight.

Any idea where a starting point for her could be? Even before dwelling into the rest of her dietary habits.

Snacking the wrong way could be worse than snacking at all. In this case, cutting out meals in between will likely help especially if there are no available healthier snacks available.

If all you have are ultra processed foods available and you’re having issues with your weight, it might benefit you to reduce your intake. Decrease from 5x a week to 2-3x a week and eventually zero.

An Argument For Snacking

On the other hand, snacking is a way we can use to alleviate our hunger between meals, especially for those with busy working hours and little time for proper meals in between.

Commonly if we leave too much time in between meals we tend to overeat – fill up our plate more than usual and eat beyond satiety (11/10 on the hunger scale – you can even get the “itis”). Or when we get home without having had lunch, we grab the easiest quickest food to bite – usually packaged or something we can heat up in the microwave quickly.

This is where having a healthy filling snack would keep you full until the next meal.

The Best Snacks For You

  1. Medium apple and 1 tbs of any nut butter eg peanut butter, almond butter
  2. A boiled egg
  3. A handful of nuts – ie ~ 15 almonds/macadamia/cashew nuts
  4. Beef jerky/biltong
  5. A single serving of yoghurt
  6. Raw carrot sticks
  7. A cup of coffee/tea
  8. A small bowl of air popped popcorn
  9. 500ml of cool refreshing water (You may be dehydrated and think it’s hunger.)

The list above are the preferences I would recommend to someone who likes to snack or needs to due to time, their job etc. They are based on being higher in fibre, protein or nutrient dense in varying combinations.

If you can nail that, then snacking will be a helping hand towards your goal of losing weight. If you can’t however, rather than indulging in Jane’s freshly made cookies she brings everyday to the office, you might have to put in more effort in your main meals as mentioned at the beginning.

Are your snacks your downfall? Do an inventory on your dietary habits and you’ll probably find out what needs to change.

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Why The Scale Is Your Enemy – And How To Turn It Into An Ally

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I was speaking to a colleague of mine at the hospital the other day, who casually mentioned how she currently can’t step on a scale and would avoid one at all costs.

I asked her why, and she said at the beginning of last year, she weighed around 80kg. As the months went on, come Christmas time she was already 10kg heavier.

“I can’t step on it now because I don’t even want to imagine what the number will say.” It’s now been almost a year since she last stepped on the scale.

Most of us tend to have a love-hate, emotional rollercoaster – type of relationship with the scale. More commonly than not, it tends to be thought of with disdain, sort of like the “bringer of bad news”. An update when stepping on it can throw our whole mood off for the rest of the day.

Majority of us put a very high emotional attachment to the number we see on the scale. I am here to share with you instead how to bring the scale on to your side, why people who successfully maintain their weight loss over time tend to keep a scale and use it regularly- and how you can too.

The Scale Is A Messenger

The weighing scale is looked down on because it brings objective and direct information of what you may not be happy with, yet tend to avoid. It will be a reality check, and there are a lot people who live in the land of delusion about their weight – which is one measure of their health overall.

A story tells that an ostrich will stick its head in the sand when trying to hide from a predator. It thinks because it can’t see the enemy, the enemy can’t see it. Which is completely ridiculous because the ostrich is the size of, well, and ostrich.

It’s the same way we tend to see the scale – if we don’t step on it, it won’t tell us just how much weight we’ve gained. Even though we are already getting out of breath when climbing a flight of stairs, or our shirts have tightened, and the buttons on our favourite jeans don’t close so easily. In everyday reality when we don’t actively work on our health, the scale can make us face truths we don’t want, but actually need.

However this shouldn’t matter purely on a health journey. It’s true, scale weight is not the be all end all of any fat loss journey – there are so many better markers of progress: your energy levels, how you look in the mirror, your gym progress, lost inches on the waist while keeping the same scale weight (body re-composition)

Here are some facts that explain why we shouldn’t put all our eggs in the basket of the weighing scale:

  • Your scale weight fluctuates daily – taking weekly averages and the trend of each week is the most reliable way to assess – may be within 1-2 kgs a day eg if you had a high sodium meal which you don’t usually take.
  • Women experience more weight fluctuations – due to hormones that change throughout the menstrual cycle – hence don’t trust daily weights – trends are more accurate.
  • Your scale weight doesn’t tell whether its fat or muscle – you may be “overweight” but have gained muscle and lost fat (have you seen that picture comparing 5kg of muscle and 5kg of fat? You will be leaner with more muscle but may weigh more.)
  • It’s one of the least reliable ways to measure progress at the early stages of weight loss (eg if reducing carbs in the beginning such as keto, loss of glycogen and water may show up as a 4 kg loss in a week – around 3.5kg may be water, and only 0.5kg of actual fat loss)
  • It is a better tell of fat loss if your diet isn’t very fluctuant in carbohydrates and salt (which lead to water retention) – yo yo dieting, juicing, cleanses and binge episodes would increase the fluctuations more and not give good accuracy.

When To Use The Scale As Your Barometer

At the beginning of a weight loss journey, the focus should be on developing better habits including eating more protein, more vegetables, drinking more water and finding physical activity that you enjoy that you can maintain easily.

It’s not a focus to use scale weight in this stage because it’s better to create systems and create good habits rather than look at only the scale as a sign of progress. If you look only at the scale and feel good when the number goes down – keep in mind the number is always fluctuating and isn’t accurate (as explained in the points above).

However if one month your scale puts you at 75kg, and 2 months later, you are now at 87kg, this is most likely fat gain and can and should be a wake up call for you to fix up your diet.

Another scenario is if your weight trends as follows over a 12 week period:

Week 1: 65.5kg, Week 2: 66kg, Week 3: 66.9kg, Week4: 66.7kg, Week5: 66.3kg, Week 6: 67.1kg, Week 7: 67.5kg Week8: 67.8kg, Week 9: 67.9kg Week 10: 68.3kg, Week 11: 68.9kg, Week 12: 69kg.

This kind of weight gain is slow, insidious, and all too often what happens to most of us. Over a 3 month period, “only” 3.5kg was gained. However if we expand it over a year, it could mean a 10kg unchecked weight gain.

(Click here for a post about weight gain that creeps up on us and how to intervene.)

Its in cases like this I believe you should use and thank the scale instead – once you see this and notice it, you can now take action on it.

The action is commonly to reduce the weight – however there are people who find they might be underweight and keep losing weight and it could also be a signal to eat more. As you take action (reduce portions, walk more, etc) you then continue to use the scale and over the weeks you will be able to see if your numbers have reduced (if you want to lose weight) or going up (if you are underweight).

How It Is An Easy Maintenance Tool

In addition, the scale is to be used not just for now, but as a lifelong strategy to keep an “eye” on where you’re at – once you are at a weight you are happy with, as a self-check.

The biggest challenge once you have lost the weight/gained the weight as per your own goal, is that we tend to relax and settle into the ease of things. You release pressure to keep your portions in check and make time for the gym. This is why it’s important to build good habits and systems as these will become your base minimum.

How you lose it is how you’ll maintain it.

Unknown

Even with that, life happens and we might deprioritise our health. And we are back to weight creeping on us – so to avoid this long cycle of trying to play catch up, step on the scale from time to time, as if its a compass, simply to obtain the data and adjust accordingly.

It’s a simple tool to use, and does not need the negative connotations it usually gets. Remember, the scale is just a messenger – it is YOU who has to take the responsibility for your health.

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4 Things To Make It Simple To Keep Your Health Goals In Check

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When it comes to reaching for our goals – there may seem to be big hurdles to overcome – more than one in fact. Indeed it will require some work, but we can use certain mindset shifts and activities in order to kill that fear of “climbing a mountain”, and make it more realistic and manageable.

1. Understand And Accept That It Will Take Weeks/Months, Not Days

Impatience will be the death of your progress. You will need to set your mind to know that what you want will take longer than you think for it to happen. Probably weeks or even months longer. Sure, you can decide to do a quick fix/crash diet/do a 30day challenge, yet what happens when the challenge is over? Most likely the results you have obtained may not last because they haven’t been backed by long lasting habits to keep them.

Results happen after pushing for weeks – and most importantly – results are KEPT after pushing and working for months. This doesn’t mean that nothing will happen for this period of time – increase in mood, energy levels, appetite and better sleep can happen within a week.

It is also during this period of time that other important aspects are being built; building good habits, finding exercise and healthy meals you enjoy and learning to love the process and yourself for pushing through.

2. Get Used To Thinking Ahead

Living life on the fly with no preparation of thought of the future is a way to increase chances of failure due to the inevitable challenges, distractions and difficulties that happen daily. Planning for the future doesn’t have to mean planning every single thing in your life, but you can put in place strategies such as meal planning, grocery shopping and avoiding keeping trigger foods and foods that are easy to overindulge in your home.

Such strategies set you up for success and you will have more good than not-good moments and will drive you closer to your goal rather than sabotage you.

3. Pick An Active Hobby

Sure most of us love the social aspect of gyms and aerobics classes, however it is also wise to adopt a hobby that involves physical activity eg swimming, hiking, cycling etc. Keeping physically active in a variety of ways decreases how sedentary you are and improves your overall health.

It is easier to maintain your desired weight when you keep active in non-formal ways that you enjoy too – rather than stick to a gym routine only as a way to keep active. The aspect of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a way of measuring how active in general you are. The more active you are, the better – for your goals and your health.

4. In Tough Times Think Of What You TRULY want

Whenever the alarm rings in the morning and you’re supposed to go to the gym, or you get home from work exhausted and feel like emptying 2 bowls of cereal and downing 500ml of Coke – think of what you TRULY want. In the moment you may “feel” you want it because it will give you that dopamine hit – and it will.

However 5 minutes when you are done and that feeling of guilt comes it – the feeling of guilt comes because your actions are not in line with what you truly need – which is nourishment and hydration. Your subconscious knows what you need and the feeling you get after taking an action is an indicator of whether you are acting in true accordance with what you need.

There will be moments where we give in to our urges and have the whole box of oreos, however make sure to keep these occurrences to a minimum – and listen to what you truly need – and give your body that.

It takes setting up some good strategies to have a good chance to reach for, achieve and sustain good goals. It is important to be realistic in order to give yourself the best environment and create the proper mindset to reach your goals.

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5 Things To Make Your Weight Loss Journey Easier

Making small changes and choosing to focus on them will make achieving that weight loss goal. Sticking to the fundamentals as listed below will take you closer and closer to that goal.

Making these changes in the beginning may seem energy-consuming, but over time a double positive effect will happen – they become second nature so you’ll do them more automatically, plus when you start seeing your results, it creates positive reinforcement and makes you want to continue following these practices. So let’s just dive right in.

1. Drink Your Water

When you start staying fully hydrated, the differences in your mood and appetite will be as clear as night and day. The fact that majority of us drink mostly soft drinks, fruit juices, and teas and coffees loaded with hundreds of calories does us more disservice than we realise.

How many times do we drink plain water without fillers to make it taste good? Infusions with fruit/lemons are also as simple and as effective as drinking plain water. It’s the extra unneeded calories from fillers (creams, sugar etc) that take hydrating from an energising endeavour to a weight-gain hidden killer.

The great news? Making the swap to plain water will be enough to get you better results, clearer skin, improve your mood and will motivate you to do more.

2. Eat Low GI-Foods

Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index include foods like oats, legumes, wholewheat flour products (pasta, bread etc) have the extra benefit of not only stabilising blood sugar, they are satisfying (filling) and reduce hunger for hours.

This means you’ll be less hungry and be less likely to reach for the first thing you see or when you are about to go to sleep. Eating carbohydrates at night helps with sleep and will stop those midnight/2am fridge raids. Try it for a week and note the changes.

3. Make Your First Meal Of The Day Protein- And Fibre-Rich

Your first meal of the day is a time you can use to get ahead of your nutrition – you just woke up, have fresh energy, and your willpower is at its highest. As the day drags on, willpower gets depleted, and it’s harder and harder to give in to the temptations that come your way.

Eating a protein filled breakfast such an egg white omelette or a protein shake with oats, will not only give you a head start with eating enough protein for the day, but it will also keep you full for longer and also reduce hunger throughout the day. Win-win!

4. Avoid Foods That Are Difficult To Stop Eating

Have you ever had half a bag of Doritos? I mean actually ate half the bag and stopped, satisfied, then been able to walk away? Me neither.

Doritos, Oreos, chocolate cakes, candy, chocolate – I think most of us are aware to limit these because they fit the definition of “unhealthy” – in reality they are foods with limited nutritional value, and are hyperpalatable (combination of fat/sugar/salt that makes food ultra delicious – abnormally so) they are difficulty to stop.

There are everyday foods that have the same effect – there could be these junk foods in your house, or it could even be food accessories like peanut butter or nutella.

The idea is not to avoid them for their own sake, but because they serve as trigger foods and are hard to stop consuming. Overconsuming will keep you from making the progress you want.

Ways to apply this to everyday life is the old mantra of avoiding keeping junk food in your house. Only eat them when you eat out eg going out to celebrate, birthdays etc, or if you do buy for home – buy single serving sizes. Buy 1 magnum ice-cream instead of a 5L tub of ice cream, buy a slice of cake instead of a whole one.

5. Tell A Friend/Family Member To Keep You Accountable

Sharing your plan when you are about to take action with someone will keep you accountable because now you know someone else is expecting you to follow through. This will add as external motivation to keep going. Combining this with your own internal motivation will help you keep up the changes you decide to make, and this is what helps take you closer and closer to your goals.

Having someone to support you when you’re killing it, or to remind you when you might feel like quitting or stopping goes a long way in helping you achieve your goals. Get a buddy and tell them what you are doing, you want to reach target X by date Y. You will have someone to keep you on your toes, and you might even end up inspiring them when you stick to it and reach those goals!

These are the 5 tips to make things easier, however ultimately the work relies on you at the end of the day. One day at a time with the right mindset is the start to a reaching your weight loss goal.

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Belief Matters Most – In Everything You Do

Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

We’ve heard that quote before, and it seems pretty cliche, right? Well the reason things get cliche is that there tends to be a reason for them to be over-used or over-said – the information is usually based on fact. This quote is anyway.

The true power of your attitude and mindset is only going to be appreciated for the unlimited power that it is when you take the chance to believe in something you have not yet allowed yourself to believe.

Yes, you have the power to allow yourself to believe what you want, contrary to what you may have thought all along.

We wait to find someone to love us and enter a relationship to then be able to feel love (ie a relationship allows us to feel love ie believe we are worthy or love). We wait until we lose our job or have a pandemic in order to start thinking about our finances (ie crisis allows us to be more financially aware, ie believe we need to reduce spending and save more).

Only then, when either in a situation of loss or where we physically see something in front of us to we give ourselves permission to think in a different way, to believe in something different.

And it’s exactly the same with your fitness and health, we believe only “when I lose Xkg” or “when i can run Xkm in 20minutes”, or “when I can do a handstand to a split” THEN will you be fit and healthy, and deserving of the title or status of being a “fitness” person.

Allow Yourself To Believe First

I’m here to tell you that lucky for us, we can choose to believe even before the result.

Let’s say you simply grind away robotically at something. You may see physical results eg if you eat a boiled egg diet for a month, you will SEE the result of dropping weight. Yet it will not be truly lasting and sustainable, especially self-sustainable – free from any need of external validation – because it hasn’t been engrained in your mind to become natural and “normal” for you. So the pounds will pack back on, and likely even more than what you started with.

We can use the power of belief to reverse this process. It works the other way round – only when you first believe that you are eg a happy healthy person , then you can take on their behaviours; act like them; eat like them; workout like them etc and only at the end, will you see the physical proof in front of you – looking fit, having more energy and most importantly loving yourself.

Sure, it hard to completely rely on faith especially on the matter of health; there are so many measurable indicators of whether your health is good or not! – Your weight, body fat percentage, yoga poses attainable, how you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror naked. So what do you do even before you’ve started, when there’s no proof? When you’re at the starting point, what anchors your belief?

The Proof Will Come When The Effort Is Applied

On early days, you will likely have high motivation and energies to push through, and in this stage, as you create your beliefs such as “I am flexible and strong”, you might struggle to touch your toes, let alone do a crane pose. What you need to do is put in the work consistently, even on the days when the days are rough, and look for the improvements.

You will improve over time as you put in the work, this is an undeniable fact. You just need to be aware of how each time it gets easier and easier to touch your toes; how now it gets easier to wake up at 5am; how you feel less hungry and more satiated you feel as the days pass since switching to an egg white omelette for breakfast instead of your normal cereal; or even how much easier the workouts feel at the gym.

These teeny tiny small changes is exactly what you use to back up your beliefs. If you chose to become more energetic, through the work of diet changes and working out, you notice the actual improvements. They serve as hella motivation for you to continue pushing on which leads to more change which allows you to push on and have more change and on and on and on.

Until you reach the point where you have made so many changes and see yourself as the goal achieve and maintaining that vision of yourself becomes easy. It is easy because its who you are being, it becomes who you are.

In the same way who you currently are right now feels easy for you to be; you have this set of beliefs (whether you’re aware of them or not) that govern what you say, eat, think and act. The current sets of beliefs you have is what is creating the reality you have right now.

So if you want a new reality, whether it is physical appearance, energy levels, or simply improving your overall health, all you have to do is to allow yourself to believe in something new.

It all starts with a crazy idea, the crazy belief you can bring the idea to life (which I KNOW you can) and the crazy plan to achieve it. All you’ll need then is the stick-to-it iveness and patience.

Dare to dream, and believe it even more.

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Why Weight Gain Creeps On Us As We Age (And What To Do About It)

Remember when we were younger, we could eat all we want, drink all we want yet we could still maintain our physique effortlessly. Fun times, usually these were teenage years to our mid20s. We didn’t have to THINK about food, we begrudgingly ate healthily from time to time, but our focus was on living our best lives.

This post is for those of us who have a feeling of “it was easier to be fit before” or “I looked better before”.

A living testament is to go on social media accounts which tend to rehash posts from many years ago – and for those millenials like me – most likely currently being in mid/late 20s to early 30s – will see throwbacks from 5, 10 years ago.

And we comment “hahaha this day at the party was fun!” or “we were crazy!!”, in a heart warming moment of nostalgia. Life somehow does seem to have been more fun in the past (especially taking into context our current reality).

However another realisation may then be apparent – we may now look different, one of the most obvious ways is that it is clear that we have gained weight, often against our wishes. A lot of people I know commonly have this very real struggle of having tried for a long time to lose weight or gaining weight and being unhappy about it.

Getting Older Means Establishing Priorities

When we were younger, especially during high school/university times, the idea of priorities didn’t have as much weight as it does now. Things were mostly “planned out” for us – to focus on school, make sure to pass that test or handing in that assignment on time, plus to have fun whenever we could.

Of course as we were younger some did experience unfortunate life events – a loss of loved one, parents divorcing, financial struggles, trauma eg car accidents – terrible things that affect and derail your focus on activities that will drive your life to a better future.

One important thing when we were younger – there was no true emphasis on our health, it was effortless to look good without little focus on it. It was just sort of “I live in the moment” and “the future takes care of itself”.

Then we grew older.

Now we have graduated from universities, we now have to look for jobs, we have children, we get married, we have to look for a place to live and find a way to get money to pay for us to live and support ourselves. On top of the realities of ageing parents, family tragedies, trauma, and maybe even a pandemic.

In other words, new priorities show up that we didn’t have when younger. And it takes all the time, energy and attention that we have to realise that “growing up” isn’t as easy as we thought it was. And throughout all that is life, we don’t really learn to put our health first.

We continue eating as we did before, we continue indulging in alcohol to the same extent, we don’t drink enough water, we still finish a whole bag of family sized Doritos by ourselves on a biweekly basis. We drink 2L soft drinks and fruit juices as we did before. We don’t want to control our portion sizes.

Of course we should live our lives and enjoy ourselves, however if indulging in behaviours with the reason of “enjoying life” leads to results that make you unhappy or take you from where you want to be, then I’d reason it’s not really serving your interests.

And the basis of adulting is learning that now we don’t have the freedom or carelessness we had prior when we still achieved the effortless looks of youth.

Adulting means you need to make time and consciously choose what is important to you and allocate attention to it for you to get what you want. And the majority of us don’t allocate time and attention towards increasing physical activity and improving on health for the long term.

Normal Does Not Always Mean It’s Good

It is seen as “normal” to gain weight as we grow older. This is something I have seen everywhere and is commonly accepted by everyone.

Of course as I mentioned, life does happen such as having children, developing illness, or financial situations that affect us and those are natural processes in life.

But if you are here, on the internet, reading this article, I can pretty much bet that you are in a position where if you feel unhappy with your health or weight, you can choose to make a change. You also probably know what you need to do or where you can get what you need to make that change.

Chances are however, that you won’t.

Because a lot of us live behind what is considered “normal” and acceptable – mainly what it does is it gives us a strong reusable excuse to not push ourselves beyond what is comfortable in order to make our health better.

Common Excuses

  • “I have 2 children/Having a child ruins your body/I used to be healthy before my kids/I don’t have time because I have to take care of my children”
  • “I work 6 days a week, 12hours a day/I work night shift 5 nights a week/My work schedule is too hectic”
  • “I have no money to buy healthy food/Eating healthy is expensive/I can’t afford to eat healthy all the time”
  • “I am too stressed to think of eating healthy/I don’t have energy to eat healthy”
  • “At home everyone else eats whatever they want, I don’t want to stand out/I have to eat what they cook at home”

All of the reasons above are valid and true barriers to needing to do what you want. However, in every single category above, there are thousands and thousands of people who overcome those challenges.

To make things simple, for all those scenarios above, the exact same strategies below will absolutely work and need to be kept in mind:

  • You need only 3-4 hours a week of effective workouts to achieve results eg this free gym workout plan and this home workout plan. That’s just a handful of Netflix episodes a week.
  • Meal prep is a timesaver to ensure you have healthy meals even with time and energy limitations
  • Having a health related goal will boost your mood, and achieving small wins will alleviate anxiety and stress. You will feel even more motivated to improve other areas of your life, and find that your mental health improves

Such are examples of how the answer is actually few effective steps to implement and take control of you health again. This means that as much as you make your children a priority, your job a priority, your family a priority – if you really want it, you have to make your health just as much of a priority. It is the only way to make true, lasting, change.

Undoubtedly, prioritising means you will have to give up on some things – alcohol, watching Netflix day – however, keep in mind nothing worth having is truly “free”. That’s what prioritising is – sacrificing what you want to do for what you need to do.

The Answer To This Problem

The main summary to all this, and the solution to achieving what you look is one thing.

AWARENESS.

Becoming aware of food and health associated behaviours and accepting where you are is the very first step. And usually from there, change is ready to be made – without avoidance of falling into the trap of excuses.

Mindset is the key to making this change and you need to be aware of what you’re doing and if it isn’t leading towards happiness, you are now in a position to make the changes you need.

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What To Do In A Weight Loss Plateau

You’ve been watching what you eat, saying no to the office complimentary donuts in the kitchen, putting lemon slices in your water and you feel you’ve been putting in the work but now the scale isn’t budging. Oh gosh what to do?

Well this requires you to be realistic and honest about the work you put in, because it’s either 1 of 2 things that happened: either you need to do MORE to make more progress because your body has adapted OR you’re slacking with your program/nutrition. So how do we know where to go and what does it all mean?

Am I slacking?

To find out if you’re slacking, you need to be objective. Not checking how you feel such as “I feel I’ve been putting in the work”. Track or weigh your food. Have your portion sizes slowly increased? This can happen when we get too “comfortable” with our progress. Sort of like going to the doctor, getting antibiotics prescribed for 5 days, on day 2 you feel better so you stop taking them. But you do need to complete the course. Likewise, you need to be consistent with your food quantity and make sure you aren’t going back to previous ways. Or have you done some late night pantry raiding at midnight a couple times this week? If that is the case, then it’s a simple fix,and progress can continue.

Also do track your physical activity. And by this I don’t mean if you’re going to the gym less – because it’s easy to know if you’ve missed 3 days of exercise or if you have been half-assing your workouts – you’ll know you have to pick it up. I mean during the day, are you finding yourself feeling tired and lazy, sitting more, walking less and taking fewer steps? Using the elevator all the time, using the escalator instead of the stairs, just sort of “lazying” it around more? You may be having fewer steps a moving around less. So do take note of that.

Am I rewarding myself too much?

Are you “rewarding” yourself with a big meal/high calorie treat for working out. While the idea of rewarding yourself after putting in work is a good one (positive reinforcement), choosing food as the way to reward yourself will usually lead to eating back the calories. This is quite common and a trap that keeps a lot of us spinning our wheels – you workout really hard (yayyy) then reward yourself with a 500 calorie shake. Do be mindful of this – especially with drinks.

Choose a form that doesn’t directly counter your efforts – go to the cinema, buy yourself a new shirt to match your new version of you if you must, but the best is to simply take pride in who you are becoming, reward yourself with a mental pat on your back. If you have to rely on external rewards and instant gratification, you won’t be able to sustain it in the long term. So do learn to take pride in yourself and enjoy the progress for the sake of he progress itself.

I’m on track but the scale isn’t budging. Now what?

This one is a bit trickier, because now it means you’ve “leveled up” so to speak. You have reached the limit of what your changes can do. So now you have to adjust either your food intake by reducing it, or increasing your exercise activities. In other words what got you here (current situation) won’t get you there (your end goal).

Making such changes depends really on what you’re able to do – you can add cardio activities if you haven’t, increase the cardio you are doing, or reduce your food intake (calories total). Another aspect ties into what was briefly mentioned above: walking more, increasing your steps and deliberately being more active in your day to day life.

This graph showing the total daily expenditure shows what contributes to your energy output – if you simply increase the exercise(EAT) or become more active in day to day (NEAT) your energy expenditure will go up and you will break your plateau.

The aspect of NEAT plays a much bigger role in contributing to your weight progress. It’s why if you have a job that require you to walk around a lot you will find yourself “accidentally” losing weight – sure its accidental because you don’t necessarily decide to do so. Then when you go on leave or you switch jobs to a more sedentary one, you’ll find losing weight is “that much harder”. It’s not harder, it’s just that your NEAT is way lower and you’ll need to focus on either decreasing your food, increasing your exercise (more cardio) or increasing NEAT by taking the stairs, walking to places instead of driving, more home activities such as cleaning, taking the dog for walks etc.

There’s only so much cardio and exercise you can do in a given day – for the average person with an active life – working, family, etc. So focusing on NEAT and food alterations are the best bet.

Making Continuous Progress Isn’t Easy

Staying “on track” especially using a tool such as the scale can make things harder. What to we even mean by on track? Because the longer you go on your journey the HARDER it will get to make the same progress.

As you put in more work, you’ll see less and less results. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t putting in the work, it’s the law of diminishing returns. Your effort to get 80% progress will be doable, but to get to the last 20%, you’ll need to put in exponentially more amount of work to make the same progress. If that is the case, you’ll have no choice but to amp things up. The cost of progress is putting in the work to achieve it, and if you are at a place in which you are not yet happy with, you have to keep pushing.

For this reason, using different tools to measure progress is better than a single one – how your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, your progress in the gym and how disciplined you feel. You can decide to simply use another measurement that’s less outcome based – such as how much energy you have or your improved mood after exercising.

In summary, reaching a weight loss plateau can feel discouraging, however if you truly are honest with yourself and take note of your daily habits, you’ll find the answer to breaking the plateau lies in one of those factors and thus you can continue on your path to your goal.

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