Category: Weight Loss

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Fiber That Aids Weight Loss

Fiber is a well known nutrient, but not well understood. Put simply, fiber refers tocarbohydrates that cannot be digested by humans. They are classified as either soluble or insoluble, depending on whether they dissolve in liquids. Insoluble fibers function mostly as bulking agents and are not very interesting. However, soluble fiber can havepowerful effects on health and metabolism ( Different […]

Weight Loss Excercises

Just because it’s common, that doesn’t make us crazy about wearing swimmers with dimply thighs on show. The key to removing cellulite is to decrease fat deposits. If you’re stuck at work and don’t have time to get to the gym, take advantage of the office staircase. Sure, you’ll look a bit strange to begin with, but by upping your […]

4 workplace diet tips

Work stress ruining your diet? With a bit of planning you can eat well despite a crazy schedule.

6 workday diet tips - Desk de-stress - Women's Health & Fitness

Dr Libby Weaver, author of Accidently Overweight, says many poor workplace food choices stem from stress or boredom – cue desktop M&Ms. Skipping meals also promotes reactive or ‘emergency’ eating when your brain lets you know it needs glucose. Now. Even if it’s a two-day-old Danish.

“Much overeating comes from emotional pain, boredom, not being mindful, seeking energy,” says Dr Weaver. If you are a stress snacker, she suggests finding another way to deal with what’s going on: a five-minute walk or stretching in the park at the end of the street can resolve the need that would have been met by a giant cookie.

Choosing the fight food

Eating optimal foods at certain times can not only fire up your grey matter, but has flow-on effects for other dietary choices; what you choose to eat for afternoon tea can directly impact what you’re inclined to choose at dinner – and how much discipline you are able to exercise. (If you’ve ever felt like someone’s forced you to stop for takeaway fettuccine, you may have made the classic mid-arvo mistake of snacking on refined carbs.)

Click ‘next’ to view our workday diet tips…

6 workday diet tips - Women's Health & Fitness

The day you ask for 
a pay rise
Could there be anything more stressful? No-one would blame you for knocking back a stiff drink or supersize coffee in a bid to shake the nerves. But major stress already toys with blood sugar, and alcohol or coffee will only amplify the effect, leading to sub-optimal focus on concentration as your brain screams for glucose. Er, I deserve it because last year I did… is that a new pot plant?

Instead, try chamomile or lavender tea. Nutritionist Dr Rebecca Harwin also suggests increasing your intake of foods rich in Vitamin B, omega-3s and magnesium in the days leading up to your review – think sunflower seeds, and nuts and fish, which will help to reduce stress, improve brain function, and get you to chill the frig out. Of course, even if food is the last thing you feel like, it’s important to load up on quality fuel for optimum focus.

What the pros recommend

Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin recommends starting with a small portion of complex carbohydrates to help give your body a steady stream of sugar for the day.

“For breakfast, try some yoghurt with low fat muesli with some blueberries or strawberries.” For lunch, go a sandwich on brown or wholegrain bread with plenty of leafy greens and lean protein. For the rest of the day, eat regularly. And, Dr Harwin says, lay off refined foods and stimulants like coffee and cola, which are dehydrating. Drink water instead.

Banana - foods for energy - Women's Health & Fitness

The full-day 
The most important thing is to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day, says Bingley Pullin. “This is really important to maintain your focus through a long day of complex understanding.

Your secondary goal is making sure you get enough nutrients when you do eat, so you’ll need to snack every three hours and include nuts, seeds, dried or even fresh fruit. This will provide protein as well as a small amount of carbohydrates to sustain blood sugar levels throughout the day.” Harwin advises an early start on the morning you know you will be flat chat.

“Get up earlier and have a hearty breakfast with healthy protein, low GI fruit/vegies and good fats.” This will provide a sustained feeling of fullness and help to keep your blood sugar on the level all day.

Although foods brimming with fast-acting sugar may give you an instant energy hit, over a long day they can drop your blood sugar, meaning poor concentration, hunger pangs and sweet cravings.  Also remain hydrated throughout the sessions. Dry air from air conditioning as well as just talking for long periods can dehydrate you so make sure you have a jug of water handy to sip.

Breakfast should contain berries, nuts and protein - Women's Health & Fitness

You may not be burning much energy physically, but mentally you need to stay focused. Your brain uses a lot of glucose so it’s important to maintain adequate blood sugar levels.

Naturopath and IsoWhey educator Danielle Newham recommends that your breakfast contains berries, fruit, and yoghurt, with a quarter-cup of low fat muesli to sustain your energy.

“Making sure you eat regularly is key; you should snack on dried fruit, apples or bananas to make sure you maintain your focus.” Try to take 10 to 15-minute breaks to help re-oxygenate your body.

“You will be surprised how much more work you get completed,” Newham says. Dr Harwin also warns that the changes in your blood sugars from not moving regularly will affect your work and increase cravings and the risk of eating something unhealthy. “This can further result in an energy crash in the near future, followed by the food cravings and the cycle continues,” Harwin says.

Raw vegies such as broccoli can boost energy - Women's Health & Fintess

The day when you can’t fill up, no matter how much you eat
If you feel as though you have worms, here’s an off-the-wall thought: you probably haven’t eaten enough. How much we need to eat can fluctuate from day to day and what was enough yesterday may not cut it today (behind the scenes your body might be using up more energy to crunch the sales numbers or repairing the muscles you pulled playing beach volleyball).

This is the time to listen to your body, not your math brain, otherwise, physiology almost guarantees you’ll overeat later – and not necessarily helpful foods.

What the pros recommend

Newham advises ensuring you have snacks with ample protein – look to nuts and seeds, or even dried fruit. You could also get in on the protein shake buzz to curb your hunger. If you feel like a bottomless pit for more than a couple of days, you may need to up your fibre intake.

“Try munching on raw vegies such as broccoli, carrot or cucumber throughout the day,” Newham says. Of course, nobody ever died from eating a cookie (that we know of), so if you actually feel like a cookie – for reasons other than nagging hunger – go ahead. To promote satisfaction from one, not 20, “eat it slowly, enjoy the flavour, the feel, the smell, the experience,” says Dr Harwin. “Eating it slowly gives you time for your brain to realise you’re not hungry. You can also try eating a salad first to fill your stomach.”

Words: Jessica Colacino and Kara Landau

NEXT: 11 smart snack swaps>>



How to bounce back from a food blowout


The occasional overindulgence isn’t going to harm your health, but get back to normal the next day.

“It’s normal to overindulge and go out and enjoy yourself on occasion, but it’s how you redeem yourself after the fact as to whether you see weight gain or weight loss,” says dietitian Lauren McGuckin.

What to do after a food blowout

  • Wait until you’re hungry. Then have a light, healthy, protein-rich breakfast like an egg on wholegrain toast or a small bowl of muesli with yoghurt and berries.

  • Drink up. Dehydration often masquerades as hunger, especially after consuming high-fat and high-salt foods, so keep a water bottle on hand throughout the day.

  • Cook dinner at home. Research shows that the more we eat at home, the slimmer we are. Even if you’re choosing healthier options like vegetable pizzas sans cheese or stir-fries, takeaway foods are usually higher in fat and calories than home-prepared meals. Plus, portion sizes are larger to compensate for the extra hit to your wallet.

Browse our collection of healthy recipes or join our fitness community on Facebook!



5 ways to curb your sugar cravings

Are you addicted to sugar? Dr Mark Hyman has 5 tips for curbing your cravings.


1. Balance your blood sugar 

Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:

• Eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.

• Also, have smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every three to four hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans).

• Avoid eating three hours before bedtime.




2. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners and your cravings will go away 

Go cold turkey. If you are addicted to narcotics or alcohol you can’t simply just cut down. You have to stop for your brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices and artificial sweeteners from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.

Gluten-free diet - Food allergies - Women's Health & Fitness

3. Determine if hidden food allergies are triggering your cravings

We often crave the very foods that we have a hidden allergy to.



4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep

Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings. Struggle to sleep? Read our top tips.


Optimise your nutrient status with craving-cutting supplements

• Optimise your vitamin D level: According to one study, when vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that helps turn off your appetite doesn’t work and people feel hungry all the time, no matter how much they eat.

• Optimise omega 3s: Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are involved in normal brain cell function, insulin control and inflammation.

• Consider taking natural supplements for cravings control. Glutamine, tyrosine, 5-HTP are amino acids that help reduce cravings. Stress-reducing herbs such as Rhodiola can help. Chromium balances blood sugar and can help take the edge off cravings. Glucomannan fibre is very helpful to reduce the spikes in sugar and insulin that drive cravings and hunger.

NEXT: How to bounce back from a food blowout>>

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Gastric bypass bests banding for weight loss, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol control

Gastric bypass surgery has better outcomes than gastric banding for long-term weight loss, controlling type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol levels, according to a new review by UT Southwestern Medical Center surgeons of nearly 30 long-term studies comparing the two types of bariatric procedures. The review, appearing in JAMA, found that those undergoing gastric bypass operations lost more weight – an average of 66 percent of their excess weight, compared to 45 percent average excess weight loss for those undergoing gastric banding procedures. “We know gastric bypass brings more weight loss success and relief of commonly associated illness versus gastric band at one year after surgery. We now have the best evidence available telling us this outcome continues to be true even up to five years after surgery. We also know these procedures maintain their safety profile long-term,” said Dr. Nancy Puzziferri, Assistant Professor of Surgery and part of the bariatric surgery team at UT Southwestern. According to a 2011 estimate, some 120,000 bariatric procedures are performed annually in the U.S. Worldwide, gastric bypass accounts for about 47 percent of weight loss procedures, while gastric bands account for about 18 percent.

4 exercises to blast cellulite

Learn how to reduce the appearance of cellulite on your thighs and butt in time for summer. Here are 4 home exercises you can do right now.

Stair-climbing | Exercises to blast cellulite | PICTURE | Women's Health & Fitness

Image: Nikki Fogden-Moore

Did you know, according to a study in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, nearly 85% of women over the age of 20 have cellulite? (And yet, only 10 per cent of men are prone to cellulite). However, just because it’s common, that doesn’t make us crazy about wearing swimmers with dimply thighs on show. The key to removing cellulite is to decrease fat deposits.

1. Stair climbing

If you’re stuck at work and don’t have time to get to the gym, take advantage of the office staircase. Sure, you’ll look a bit strange to begin with, but by upping your movement on the stairs you’ll automatically target areas prone to cellulite. Simply walking up and down stairs burns at least 10 calories a minute according to the National Wellness Institute

Squats | Exercises to blast cellulite | PICTURE | Women's Health & Fitness

Model: Angela Jackson

Image: The Picture Box Cairns

2. Squats

Squats not only burn calories, they also produce muscle. By doing squats you will work all of the leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings and lower leg muscles.

You can add dumbbells to traditional squats to intensify this exercise further. 

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells (optional) down by your sides, palms facing in. Keeping your back straight, bend from the knees and hips as though you are sitting down. Don’t let your knees move forward over your toes, then return.

Perform 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions, depending on your fitness level.

Lunges | Exercises to blast cellulite | PICTURE | Women's Health & Fitness

Model: Hayley Roper

Image: Matthew Parkes

3. Lunges

Both walking and stationary lunges target all the lower-body muscles. 

Start by taking one large step forward and lower your body so both of your knees form 90-degree angles, keeping your front knee over the ankle. Return to the starting position.

Aim for 8-12 reps on each leg.



Surfer-burpeeModel: Valeria Ramirez

Image: Blake Pearl

4. Surfer burpee

A surfer burpee will not only challenge you physically, but will also improve mobility in your hips and back. 

Bend over or squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet.

Jump both feet back to a plank position.

Drop to a push-up—your chest should touch the floor. You can also drop to your knees here to make it easier if required.

Push up to return to a plank position while jumping feet to your left side (pictured), aiming to land on your mat standing side on, like you would on a surfboard.

Don’t worry if you land off the mat, your challenge is just to eventually get there. Just keep practising!

Jump back into a plank position and repeat on the other side. 

Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.

NEXT: 5 easy home workouts (video)