Why Snacking is a GOOD thing!

Should we snack between meals?

Eating three square meals a day used to be the catch-cry in years gone by. All of the current research puts this to bed, in favour of 5 smaller meals per day or 3 small meals & 2 planned snacks. However you label it, grazing through the day is the very best nutritional practice for several reasons.

Eating more frequently throughout the day (roughly every 3 hours):

  1. Revs up your metabolism and forces you to burn body fat. If we have gaps of up to 6 hours between meals our metabolism feels the need to slow down to conserve energy for later. 
  2. Allows your uptake of nutrients to be more evenly spread. Eating protein at each small meal with 1-2 serves of low GI carbs per day, will keep energy and blood sugar levels even, and mood more consistent throughout the day. 
  3. Enables better opportunities to fuel up before exercise, so there is something in the tank  and after exercise, to maximise recovery. Both are important if you are looking to improve fitness & strength and to optimise your health.

 Encouraging snacking is not open license for junk food and poor choices. It is important to include quality lean protein with each small meal (and/or snack) as well as some low GI carbohydrates each day. (For example: vegetable sticks with homemade homous, or nuts & seeds, or Greek yoghurt with nuts)

There is no need to panic about the extra time needed to prepare daily for these extra small meals, because you can always cook more food for a particular meal, which can then become “left-overs” or what I like to call “planned-overs” for the next day’s meals. 

Switch Off Your Sugar Cravings!

Apart from alcohol and drugs, the next biggest addiction in the Western World is “sugar”. Refined sugar is a very powerful stimulant, which has a drug-like effect on the body, so people can develop a dependency on it.

What are sugars? 

Sugars belong to one of the major nutrient groups, called carbohydrates. This food group includes: fruit, vegetables, grains (cereals, breads, pasta, rice, oats, wheat, corn, rye, millet, flour-based products), wine, spirits, chocolate, honey & other sweeteners … etc. When eaten, they break down into glucose or fructose. A sugar craving can include a craving for sweet carbs (eg. chocolate, sweet biscuits, desserts) or savoury carbs (eg. bread, crackers, potato chips, hot chips).

Simple & Complex Carbohydrates

Simple, refined carbs are digested & absorbed more quickly because of their lower fibre content. This provides a quick energy boost, but can leave the person feeling flat and fatigued after it wears off. Often this energy deficit pushes the person to look for another ‘hit’ of sugar to provide yet another energy boost to help them through the day.

Complex carbohydrates breakdown more slowly and provide longer lasting energy and help to stabilise blood sugar levels, leaving the person more satisfied for longer. Sugar cravings are a thing of the past.

Our bodies are equipped to handle excesses of sugar for a short time only. When we consume large quantities of simple, refined sugars, the pancreas & liver are stressed and we suffer a ‘stress response’. Adrenalin is released during this ‘fight or flight’ response, causing an increase in insulin production (a fat-storing hormone) and thus initiating the laying-down of body fat. This would have benefited our ancestors who lived through periods of food scarcity, but for us it is dangerous as we never suffer the food shortage and therefore get to burn off our fat stores.

Switch off your sugar cravings!

Try the following:

  1. Reduce stress levels significantly (by incorporating exercise, relaxation, yoga breathing, meditation, soothing music …)
  2. Replace refined sugars with good quality proteins throughout the day with 1-2 serves of complex carbs (eg. oats, low GI rice, lentils, wholegrain bread). 
  3. Eat smaller meals with 1-2 snacks per day, so that you maintain a top up of protein at every opportunity. This stabilises blood sugar levels and can substantially reduce cravings within 1 week.

3 Ways to Turn Back the Clock

Nothing ages a person more than a stooped posture and diminishing strength, ie. muscle wasting. Some side-effects of ageing include: decreased muscle mass and strength, limited mobility, reduced aerobic capacity, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis, increased susceptibility to diabetes, and there is now clear evidence of the link between sedentary lifestyle and  memory loss. Both a sedentary lifestyle & poor food choices can be responsible for many of these changes.

3 Ways to Turn Back the Clock now:

  1. Put down the remote and pick up the weights! … Weight-bearing exercise 3-4 times a week helps build muscle strength, increases muscle tone or mass, builds bone density, increases mobility and improves both heart & cognitive function. It’s never too late to start – walk taller today! 
  2. Avoid skipping meals and/or short-cutting meals with poor alternatives.  …Improving dietary choices is important for providing the energy needed to perform exercise and recover adequately afterwards. If food intake is well-timed around daily exercise, you will discover the energy you never knew you had. Walk more energetically today!
  3. Weight training is great exercise for the brain as well as the body! … Lifting weights helps improve cognitive function by stimulating mental focus while performing the exercises. Walk with purpose and remember where you are going today!

 

Secrets to Fat Loss

Four scientifically proven tips to losing fat & keeping it off: 

  1. Eat 3 meals & 2 snacks per day, every day. This boosts the “thermogenic” effect of food, which means once your food is digested, the energy produced is utilised in the fat-burning process. 
  2. Include “good fats” in small amounts with each meal, as they encourage fat burning and satisfy hunger quickly. Eg. choose from nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, salmon (deep-sea fish), turkey, chicken & pulses. 
  3. Eat protein with every meal & snack. In particular, start your day with a good serve of protein to burn more calories through the day. Eg. breakfast choices can come from sardines, eggs, nut butters on wholegrain toast or nuts/seeds added to rolled oats, and smoothies made from whey, soy or rice protein powders with yoghurt/fruit & ground seeds.
  4. Eat the right amount for you – based on your level of activity, age, etc – your body requires a minimum amount of calories to keep healthy, even if you are trying to lose body fat. Eg. if you don’t eat the right amount of good fats per day, muscle mass can waste.
  • Contact me today for your customised Summer Nutrition Plan on 0438 577 351, to lose body fat & keep it off for the long-term!

 

Beat Stress Before it Beats You …

What is Stress Doing to Your Body?

A chronic state of stress can have widespread negative effects, such as:  

  • Poor digestion – reduced digestive secretions can lead to symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea, IBS or reflux.
  • Irregular blood sugar control – the hormone cortisol signals the release of sugars into the bloodstream in anticipation that muscles will need fuel to help you run away. These sugar spikes can lead to weight gain if the sugars are not utilised as muscle fuel and instead converted to fat.
  • Hormonal imbalances – lack of libido, menstrual irregularity and fertility issues can all arise when your body switches to making stress hormones in preference to sex hormones.

A Life Less Stressful

There are a number of lifestyle changes you can employ to help manage your stress and optimise your wellbeing:

  • Eat healthy – lean proteins, antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds, all nourish your neurotransmitters.
  • Exercise regularly – a fabulous stress buster, exercise helps burn up excess adrenaline whilst releasing the ‘feel good’ chemical messengers, the ‘endorphins’.
  • Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours) – practice good ‘sleep hygiene’ techniques such as no TV or computer time for at least half an hour before bedtime and avoid caffeine in the afternoon & evening.
  • Meditate – particularly helpful if you cannot “switch off” your brain at night. There are numerous techniques available to help calm an overactive mind, such as transcendental meditation, yoga breathing, mindfulness and creative visualisation.

Stress is an inevitable part of modern lifestyles, but it needn’t get the better of you nor keep you from reaching your health goals. Talk to me today about strategies and supplements you can use to regain control over the stress in your life.

Crank Up Your Metabolism!

Eat and exercise right and speed up your metabolism now! 

One reason people tend to gain weight as they age is because their metabolism slows down dramatically, often due to poor lifestyle choices. Eg. less exercise, overeating, eating too few meals, or eating too many refined processed carbohydrates. Other reasons may include: taking certain medications, hormonal imbalances and toxic overload.

We do have the ability to make a difference to our metabolic rate. It all starts with eating the right food choices at the right time of day and also, eating enough. Exercise is also a necessary part of the plan. Weight training is one of the most effective ways of cranking up your metabolism.

When a person begins to burn body fat and lose weight, toxins in their fat stores are mobilised and will often dampen down the process of fat burning. By removing the toxins during weight loss, the metabolism stays fired up and you will continue to lose body fat. My weight loss programs do address this toxin release, so that the individual is less likely to experience a weight loss plateau.

When all of the factors above are taken into consideration, the individual will maximise the amount of weight they lose, while becoming a better fat burner and increasing their metabolism!

Weekly Weight Loss with Merridy

Top 2 Tips for this week:

  1. A new eating plan is a challenge to begin. Our eating habits are ingrained and long-term. They take time and effort to change. Be patient and keep aiming for your goals.
  2. We need to change the way we eat for a lifetime. Aim to eat clean, healthy meals most of the time. Learn to like eating healthy rather than unhealthy. You will feel better, have more energy, age slower, get fitter, lose body fat & gain muscle tone!

Fat versus Muscle – What you need to know!

Weight loss is not all about your weight on a set of scales. It’s about understanding your body composition, ie. what percentage of your body is muscle and how much is fat? This muscle to fat ratio determines just how healthy and balanced your body really is. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn body fat and the healthier you are.

As you can see, fat occupies more space than muscle – 5 lbs of fat is a larger mass than 5 lbs of muscle. So if you build muscle (add muscle tone) and reduce body fat (burn & lose fat), your size decreases. To add muscle, we need the right nutrients & weight bearing exercise.

I can perform a Cell Health Test which measures your muscle mass, body fat & fat to muscle ratio (and much more). This bioimpedance test reveals your ideal amount of muscle & body fat for optimal health and I can help you achieve your weight loss goals with my customised approach to weight loss. 

Love your muscle and learn how to burn fat efficiently!

  • Contact me to book your Cell Health Test today on 0438 577 351. 

 

 

Weekly Weight Loss with Merridy

Top 2 Weight Loss Tips for this week:

1) Remove your hunger by enjoying a balanced meal. Quit dieting and start eating the right food at the right time of day, to lose weight.

2) Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Eat your first meal no later than 8am to get your metabolism revved up.  We experience a metabolic peak first thing in the morning, so food consumed early is more likely to be burned as fuel rather than stored as body fat. Include lean protein, complex carbohydrates & fibre to set you up for the day.

Weekly Weight Loss with Merridy

Get your weekly weight loss tips here!

Top 2 tips for this week:

1) Spring clean your pantry now. Clean out all of the foods that are not going to move you in the right direction. Pass on any foods not on this list: quality protein (lean meats, fish/seafood, free range chicken/turkey, eggs, yoghurt & quality protein powder for nutritious shakes), beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, nut butters, in season fruit & vegetables, rice, quinoa, oatmeal, buckwheat, wholegrain pasta & bread. Cook with macadamia nut oil & rice bran oil. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over salads with a touch of balsamic vinegar for a healthy dressing. 

2) Shop healthy. Replace the eliminated foods with the right foods to fuel your success.