Category Archives for Diet

Secret to losing weight

There’s a secret to losing weight that most people don’t really know, and believe it or not, it’s tied up with maths. Let’s start with some basic assumptions:

  1. If you started exercising to lose weight, you’re carrying extra weight.
  2. If you’re carrying extra weight, you’ve been consuming more calories than you’ve burned.
  3. Your body burns calories in metabolism, digestion, exercise, and daily activities.

Let’s put some numbers to this and let’s also assume that your weight has gradually increased over the years.

  1. You’re careful with your food and drink and consume around 2,500 calories a day.
  2. In a normal day, you burn around 1,500 calories a day.
  3. You are storing 1,000 calories a day.

You join a gym and do a good 30-minute workout 3 times per week. At best, you’ll burn 300 calories each time, or 900 calories per week. Divide this by 7 days, and that means that you are burning an extra 129 calories a day on average.

  • Add this 129 to the 1,500 you normally burn = around 1,629 calories a day.

Now, remember that you’re consuming 2,500 calories a day.

  • Subtract the 1,629 calories you’re burning from the 2,500 you’re consuming = 871 calories a day that you’re still storing.

You’ll continue to put on weight, but at a slower rate. “So,” you say, “I’ll just do some more exercise until I start losing weight.”

Let’s go back to the maths.

Brisk walking burns around 7 calories a minute.

  • Divide the extra 871 calories a day by 7, and you’ll walk for 124 minutes – over 2 hours a day!

This still wouldn’t mean losing weight, just that you’d stop gaining and stay at your current weight. “I might as well give up!” you say. Not so fast.

Reset your weight

Weight loss is easier if you have a clear and doable plan to reduce your calories and to manage your hunger, cravings, your body’s responses to the foods you eat.

  1. Your personalised eating plan is designed to suit your tastes, your lifestyle, and your family.
  2. We know that sticking to any change is hard, so special one-on-one coaching sessions each week help overcome challenges and keep you accountable and motivated.
  3. Your exercise sessions can be individual or part of a larger group – whatever works best for you.
  4. Weekly relaxation sessions help with reducing stress and taking some much-deserved time-out.

If losing weight is one of your goals, you have two choices:

  • Measure your weight today. Try to exercise yourself slim and be your own weight loss coach. Measure yourself in one month’s time. If you haven’t lost weight, do the next option.
  • Enrol in the Reset Program. You’ll get your own personalised plan and the support you really need. Best of all, you see the kilos gradually and consistently fall off.

A free weight loss assessment takes just 35 minutes.  Call your nearest Healthy Inspirations centre to talk to a Health Coach about how it might work for you.

Low-carb food tips

Low-carb food: In last week’s blog, we introduced the idea of Food Tips, Kitchen Tips, and Sleep & Exercise Tips that will help make changing to a low-carb eating pattern easier. Today we’re diving into some detail relating to low-carb food tips.

1. Pre-plan your meals and shopping

Getting to the supermarket without a plan, especially when you’re trying to shop for a new style of eating, will see your good intentions fail. If it’s too early in your change to low-carb, you just have little idea about what foods are low-carb and which ones just say that they are.
Make it easy on yourself: take 30 minutes before shopping to plan your meals. This allows you to write a shopping list that includes everything you need to purchase. Then, at the supermarket, you just go about selecting foods from your list.

2. Buy fresh whole foods

This sounds so simple, but many people new to the fresh foods sections of the supermarket just don’t know where to start. Your meal plan and shopping list will be the lifesaver here.
As a rule, almost all your grocery choices will come from the sections closest to the walls. Vegetables are generally not packaged, so you just load the amount of each item into bags. Meats are usually wrapped in plastic but otherwise unpackaged. Both are fresh whole single-ingredient foods.

3. Minimise packaged & processed foods

Supermarket aisles are reserved for the packaged stuff: food that has a long shelf-life. This includes canned vegetables, bottle water and the like, but most packaged foods are multi-ingredient foods that will not suit a low-carb eating plan. Steer clear of the aisles and it’s easier to steer clear of packaged and processed foods.

4. Herbs & spices create flavoursome meals

Buy a couple of small packets or jars of spice blends that suit your palate: Piri Piri Seasoning, Moroccan Seasoning, and Lemon Pepper Seasoning are examples. Use these blends as a great way to enhance and alter the flavour of your foods.
A simple chicken and vegetables meal, for example, can be changed to Mexican, Thai, Chinese etc just by changing the seasoning. Experiment a little and prepare to be surprised at how easy it can be.

5. Eat every meal from a plate

This sounds really strange, but it stops you from eating on the run. Eating with your hands usually means that the meal is not low-carb: it’s wrapped in bread and the like to hold everything together.
Another problem with eating on the run is that you don’t focus on the food, and the signals your body sends are blurred or not noticed. In short, it’s easier to maintain appetite control when sitting down and eating from a plate, using a knife and fork. You eat more slowly and your brain has a chance to ‘catch up’ to your stomach, telling you it’s time to stop eating.

6. Don’t eat in front of TV or in the car

Distraction = mindless eating. Have you ever become engrossed in a TV program and suddenly noticed that the biscuit plate or popcorn bowl is empty? Eating while not paying attention to the food is a trap for most people, so make it easier on yourself and combine points 5 and 6.

7. Discover your daily carb tolerance

Some people can eat a lot of carb, some a tiny amount, and most in between. We’re all different.

Think of it like this: roll up your sleeves and compare your forearm to that of a friend. One of you will have skin that can obviously handle more time in the sun than the other. One of you would have a lower sun tolerance than the other.

What can you do about it?

Other than following the slip, slop, slap message, one of you will need to get out of the sun earlier than the other or risk getting sunburned.

Carb tolerance works similarly. You and your friend will be different, so it’s essential to find your personal carb tolerance, and then make food choices that help you achieve the results you want.

Low-carb tips

Changing your eating patterns is not always easy, especially if you’re eliminating some of the staples you’re used to. These low-carb tips make it easier.

Food Tips

  1. Pre-plan your meals and shopping
  2. Buy fresh whole foods
  3. Minimise packaged & processed foods
  4. Herbs & spices create flavoursome meals
  5. Eat every meal from a plate
  6. Don’t eat in front of TV or in the car
  7. Discover your daily carb tolerance

Kitchen Tips

  1. Stock fridge & pantry with low carb basics
  2. Steamer & cast iron frypan
  3. Sharp knives & cutting board
  4. Microwave-safe containers
  5. Prepare tomorrow’s lunch tonight
  6. Double the recipe and freeze left-overs
  7. Dishwasher! (LOL)

Sleep & Exercise Tips

  1. No coffee & chocolate after noon
  2. Try mineral water with lemon or lime
  3. Go to bed early
  4. No TV or mobile phone in your bedroom
  5. Establish a consistent bed-time routine
  6. Early morning walk or exercise
  7. Schedule 2-3 gym sessions per week

You might be saying to yourself “Big deal I know all this stuff”. Knowing this, if you’re not happy with your current results, take advantage of our free intro session. We’ll show you the difference you can achieve with an individualised program that suits your unique body and lifestyle. Call your nearest centre today.

Why am I getting slow results?

Slow results are sometimes the most frustrating part of anyone’s weight loss journey. We start with high hopes of achieving our ‘ideal’ weight in no time, only to find that within weeks (days?) we’re disappointed. While outstanding weight loss results are promoted, many people achieve slow results. What causes the difference?

With any program, some people will struggle to be compliant, some will do everything required but have slow results, and others will do everything right and have spectacular results.Those who struggle form the largest group. Changing behaviour is hard, and the key is to find ways to make it all easier.

1.   Identify why change is important.

This is not as simple as “I want to weigh 70kg”. Ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to weigh 70kg?
  • Why that number?
  • What for?
  • How will my health and wellness improve through the journey to 70kg?

Set your goal clearly and focus on the reasons why you want to achieve it.

2.   Ensure you have clear instructions.

  • Is the program advice clear?
  • Do I understand what I need to do?
  • Is there a person available to answer my questions?
  • Is this person available as a support person throughout my weight loss journey?

Clarity is the key, with guidelines so simple that there is no doubt about what you need to do.

3.   Assess your confidence.

  • Do I feel confident that the changes I need to make are possible?
  • Is the program one I can follow?
  • Can I follow it for the rest of my life?
  • How could I make the changes easier?

Not everyone can manage massive change, so if confidence is lacking, look at one small change that you do feel confident making. It might be as simple as ensuring you eat some vegetables at each meal. What's important for most people is that they have a good coach to assist them in making change: making suggestions born of experience and expertise along the way.

4.   Gradually increase the changes.

As one change becomes so easy that you no longer think about it, add another small change that you can confidently introduce. Keep doing the first thing, but now add a second. Then keep doing the first two and add a third. And so on.

If you're achieving slow results, don’t despair. Time will pass whatever you decide to do, so taking it slow and easy – and building confidence throughout – is in some ways more valuable than trying to do it all at once. Even if you're averaging a weekly loss as little as 100g, that would mean over 5kg in a year. It sounds like a small amount, but ask yourself "What will happen in the next 12 months if I don't do anything?"

Healthy sisterhood

Healthy Inspirations provides a sisterhood for members; a place where they can come and be supported and encouraged by like-minded women. Our franchisee Nola Bellenger from Prospect, SA, is this week’s guest blogger:

“The year is flying by and it seems like Christmas is just over and now it’s almost Easter! So where are we headed? We want this to be the year that we as women rally round and ensure we are using our health, weight loss, wellbeing and fitness goals as a vehicle to get exactly where we want to go. Use these goals to improve our lives, reduce our stress, explore the world fitter, laugh more, cry less and simply live longer and healthier lives.

Finding time

We think it’s important for us all to slow down a little, take the time to think and appreciate that we are here and continue to work on and value our health and fitness and give it the importance in our lives that it deserves. We understand as women that we all have our own versions of ‘busy’ and it is hard to find the time for ourselves when our family, kids, partners, work needs seem to always come first. If we can make ourselves just as important and really step it up this year in valuing our health and fitness we’d be onto something.

Let’s take the time to look after our fellow sisters around us. Do you know the woman next to you on the circuit or class has found it difficult to leave her house for the last few days as she suffers from anxiety? Lost her mother last week? Was just diagnosed with breast cancer? Is being bullied at work? Has a daughter suffering from depression and she just doesn’t know what to do to help her? Do you know we talk to our members multiple times a day about these sorts of issues they are facing? Please help us by taking the time to say hello to that person next to you as we really do not know the battles each and every one of us is facing each day. Simply be kind. Say hello. Check in with each other. Ask about someone you haven’t seen in a little while. Together we can look after each other.


Our nutrition is a long-term focus. This isn’t a quick 4-week fix or 12-week challenge. Let’s set up how we want this to look long term and start with the small changes that we can keep up over time; things like drinking enough water and getting enough veggies in. Get creative in the kitchen and we encourage us all to cook our own foods most of the time. This is where we have complete control of what we put into our bodies. Cook extra at night to freeze and avoid a quick dash for take-away when we come home late from work. Think of ways to catch up with family and friends that don’t always involve eating and drinking. Sure, these things are fun, but so are lots of other things we can do! In the long run these little changes will make a big difference. In the words of Cheryl (our newest member in 2017) “I’m making better choices, not easier ones”. We love this!!!

Please also let’s make a commitment to keep off the ‘Sad Step’ (scales) every single day at home. Our body naturally fluctuates and this sad step is simply just a number. It’s OK to be 80kgs. It’s OK to be 60kgs. A size 16 or a size 10. Let’s just be the best versions of ourselves and set a goal that is realistic to our body and our lifestyle. Many of us need to be focusing more on maintaining instead of losing each week. Shifting the focus can set ourselves free from this marker we have placed on ourselves.


Fitness is not a 6-pack stomach. It’s not about lifting the heaviest weights. It is not about being the fastest. It is about being able to do all the things we want to do. Being able to hike, run, lift your kids/grandkids, take holidays and travel in comfort, dance all night, play tennis etc. Can we be honest and say that going for a quick walk a couple of times of week is good, but is just not enough to reach the level of fitness to do the things we really want to do? Start small – try and exercise for even 15-20 minutes every day and build from there. It’s not about coming into our centre every day (although you can and we do love it) but simply do a little more every day! Yes, do a circuit, try a class, but find a neighbour or friend to walk with, ski up the river on the weekend, walk the dog, take the kids to the playground for cricket, cycle instead of driving, join a tennis club. Let’s just keep moving, when we can, every single day. All we are trying to achieve is simply improve our own health and fitness so we can do all the things we want to do! Even look at training for an event to keep up our motivation and improve our fitness, or why not make your next holiday a cycling or hiking holiday?


But no matter how much effort we put in, we must have a positive attitude and mindset about our health and fitness goals and life in general. Look at the good in everything. Focus on the positives and what we can control. Think about some of the things that concern us; is it something that we will even be thinking about in 5 years’ time? There will be lots of challenges and detours along the way to our health and fitness goals so let’s not stress if we miss a workout, have a meal or too many drinks that weren’t ideal. Just keep in mind the long-term focus and exactly where we want our health and fitness to be, not just now, but also in 10 years’ time. How does that look to you? How does that feel? What might you be doing if you dared to dream a little about what was possible if you just started small and got started on your goals?


We often wait to have what we want before feeling thankful. We may be waiting a long time. To jump-start the flow of loving our life, we need to practice gratitude at all times, being grateful for all without conditions. Even being grateful for the things that might appear negative brings awareness to what is. When we can be truly grateful for everything that happens, the good or the bad, we will find that our lives gradually improve. It may be challenging at first to find the silver lining in every situation, but once this habit of gratitude becomes a part of us, we will be pleasantly surprised by what opens up. We can begin by expressing appreciation for the basics like food, shelter, health and for small things that we can easily acknowledge. From there, we can allow our gratitude to grow and when it does, we shall be ready for the small changes to come our way.


And enlist the help of a coach. That’s us! We aren’t talking about everyone signing up to do personal training but we are the people you can share your goals and aspirations with. We are there for you and can support you, give you that pat on the back, that kick up the butt, or that hug you really need. Doing it solo is just not how we are built as women so let us know exactly where you want to go and let us help you get there! Think about how we will feel in 2 months, 6 months or 5 years from now if we don’t start making some changes today? Use that feeling to help fuel exactly where you want to be.

We can’t wait to see the best versions of you (and us!) this year and in the years to come and until further notice be sure to celebrate everything because we plan to!”

Gluten-Free – Pros and Cons

Have you heard about the gluten-free diet? Is it magic or not?

It’s estimated that 14% of Australians may be on a gluten-free diet. Experts are divided in opinion regarding whether gluten-free diets are safe or dangerous. A recent study suggested that those eating the least gluten had the highest rates of diabetes. What gives?

We all know that over the last few decades we’ve been told to “eat less fat”. This was a bonanza for processed food companies who created low-fat and no-fat foods and drinks. The downside was that when they removed the fat, they increased the sugar.

These foods ended up with high energy density and reduced nutrient density. Now experts are questioning the low-fat dogma.

With the movement towards gluten-free, history is repeating itself. Instead of there being a fat scare we now have a gluten scare – another potential bonanza for processed food companies.

Back to the study showing those on a gluten-free diet had slightly higher rates of diabetes: The study did not distinguish between those who simply did not eat gluten-containing foods and those who ate processed foods labelled “gluten-free”.

Not only do many of these processed foods have less nutrients, they are higher in carbohydrate per serve. And, for those with a genetic pre-disposition to diabetes, eating a higher amount of carbohydrates over many years can increase the risk of pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) and eventually diabetes.

There’s another scare about gluten-free eating – that cereals and grains are a source of essential nutrients and that people who don’t eat cereals and grains may lack these nutrients.

But that argument does not say that cereals and grains are the only, or even the best source of these essential nutrients. If you choose not to eat cereals and grains, but eat good sources of protein (meat, fish, poultry, eggs and/or dairy) and plenty of vegetables, plus some fruits, you won’t be deficient at all.

We should all recognise that a very small percentage (less than 2%) of the population have Coeliac Disease – being completely allergic to gluten, even a tiny amount. If you suspect this is the case, you should speak to your doctor.

There’s a much larger percentage of people with gluten sensitivity, whether the condition has been diagnosed or is just suspected. Some experts even question whether non-celiac gluten intolerance is real or a figment of people’s imagination.

So… what’s the Healthy Inspirations view on gluten?

1. We don’t have a fixed ideology one way or the other.
2. We do not know of any weight loss or health benefit of eating or not eating gluten. It’s more about the choice of foods that contain the gluten. All gluten-containing foods are high in carbohydrate density.
3. Gluten itself is not an essential or even beneficial nutrient. Ask your doctor if they have ever heard of gluten deficiency.
4. There are plenty of other healthy fresh sources of the nutrients found in gluten-containing cereals and grains. Vegetarians can get non-meat sources of protein. Lactose intolerant people can be perfectly healthy not having dairy.
5. The “expert” to answer the question about whether your body is happier not consuming gluten-containing foods and drinks is “your body”!!!

The Healthy Inspirations weight loss program helps members identify the foods and quantities that best help them lose weight, improve their wellbeing and sustain their weight loss.

During this step-by-step process, members go a number of weeks not eating any gluten-containing foods or drinks. It’s common for members to report a reduction in bloating and brain fog within a few days of not eating these foods.

Some say “I’m amazed how good I feel now. I thought that the way I used to feel was normal.”

But the true test comes after many weeks of not consuming gluten-containing foods and drinks, and then adding it back in. This happens during our step-by-step process. That’s when the “expert” (your body) tells you if it is happier consuming gluten-containing foods or not.

If you’re losing weight on the Healthy Inspirations program, just follow our standard guidelines which is “Only consume from the large choice of fresh foods and drinks that are on your Daily Planner of the stage of the program that you are on, and nothing else.”

Our program has a fabulous weight-loss and wellbeing-increasing success rate for those who follow the plan. Discovering whether your body is happier or not eating gluten-containing food is just an added benefit.

If you have any specific question, just ask any of the Health Coaches at your centre. If it’s technical, they’ll refer it to our consultant dietitian for a technical response.

Jamie Hayes

Ageing – it's not just your genes

We’re all ageing and there’s nothing we can do about that, but our day-to-day choices can influence how we age.

Think about a time where a person’s age has genuinely surprised you. This can go both ways: the 50-year old who looks more like 35, or the 60-year old who you would have sworn was at least 80. What makes the difference?

There’s a genetic influence, of course, and we can’t do anything about our genetic make-up, but we can influence the expression of our genes.

Sitting around every weekend eating chips and drinking beer is going to have a different effect than being active and eating healthy foods.  Gene expression is influenced by lifestyle choices and environmental factors, so making the best choices will give the best results.

So, what lifestyle choices can you make?

  1. Ditch sugar. Sugar creates AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) which, not surprisingly, accelerate ageing. AGEs damage adjacent proteins, like collagen and elastic, which ages your tissues.
  2. Exercise, especially high intensity intervals and resistance exercise. Both these forms of exercise boost mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity, as well as maintaining muscle strength.
  3. Avoid excess alcohol, and completely avoid smoking.
  4. Eat fresh foods – and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
  5. Sleep well and long enough. Most people need 7-8 hours per night, so establishing a bed-time ritual and hitting the sack early enough is essential to making this happen.

Getting older is going to happen, but we can make choices that allow it to happen gracefully and healthily.

The temptation factor

The temptation factor can influence your food choices, so learn how to make it work in your favour.

The temptation factor can influence your food choices, so learn how to make it work in your favour.

Anyone falling victim to the temptation factor or with a problem giving up certain foods may want to rethink their access to those foods.

An experiment into candy consumption found that more candy is eaten when it sits in see-through bowls within arm’s reach compared to when in opaque bowls in the same location. When the candy is six feet away? Even less is eaten. See a quick video here that summarises the results. The temptation factor strongly influences behaviour.

What was surprising was that despite eating less when they had to stand up and walk to get the candy, the study participants consistently said that they ate more. It seems that the effort involved made them more aware of their eating behaviours.

So, what does this mean at home for someone trying to lose weight? Keep these temptation foods out of the house. If they’re not there, you won’t eat them.

Failing that, keep these foods

  1. Stored on the top shelf of the cupboard or back of the fridge or bottom of the freezer. If they’re hard to access, you’ll eat less.
  2. In opaque containers and out of the packaging which has been designed to tempt. If they’re hard to see, you’ll eat less.

Let’s look at the positive implications of this experiment. If ease of access and clear visibility can make you eat more of a food, which foods should you keep in line of sight? A bowl of vegie sticks. A fruit bowl. A small container of nuts.

Does it translate to exercise? Keeping your runners at the bedroom door might prompt you to go for an early morning walk. Laying out your gym clothes at night might help you say yes to coming to an early-morning class.

Structure your daily routines around actions and behaviours that use this knowledge of the temptation factor in your favour.

Organise a Lunch Club

Lunch Club. What an amazing idea.

If you haven’t heard of a Lunch Club, the basic premise is that a group of like-minded workmates supply lunches for the group. Imagine having to think of and prepare lunch once a week, while also getting some wonderful variety and nutrition every day.

You may have noticed the meal preparation images that are abundant on social media – we’ve even posted some ourselves. This is where you set aside some time on one day to shop, chop, peel, prepare, cook and pack your meals for the week ahead. It’s a great idea and it works to support your dietary goals.

The only difference between individual meal prep and a Lunch Club is that it’s easier to get variety with the Lunch Club: instead of eating one meal five times, you eat five meals once!

Of course, the Lunch Club concept has plenty of potential problems, but getting your group together to negotiate rules and guidelines will go a long way to eliminating problems. See here for 6 primary tips you need to consider.

What if you don’t have enough (any?) like-minded workmates? Get a group together at Healthy Inspirations, your tennis club, a church group, or even at school drop-off or pick-up. You won’t eat together each day but can still benefit from each other’s culinary efforts.

  • Advertise the idea, including a time to meet to discuss the concept.Lunch Club preparation
  • Meet and talk through the rules. As an organiser, have your desired rules in place so that you have a starting point. As an example, you don’t want to have to tailor meals to individual’s vegan, low-carb, and low-FODMAP diets – it’s simply too much effort (and would require three separate meals) so the Lunch Club won’t last. Equally, if one member supplies a simple tuna salad while another does truffle-crusted eye fillets, it’s not going to work for long. The key is to ensure that each member of the group has similar dietary requirements and expectations.
  • If eating together, decide on the day each Lunch Club member will supply the meal. If eating separately, meals need to be supplied in containers that individuals can take home and freeze if necessary.
  • Let’s say you have 5 members in your Lunch Club. Each person purchases a set of 5 lunch containers – dictate the brand and size – to supply the lunches for other group members. This makes it easy to supply lunches and there is no concern about collecting containers back again.
  • Plan your lunch for the week, get cooking, and divide between the containers.
  • Deliver and enjoy.

We’d love to hear how your Lunch Club goes.

Daily deal temptation

Daily deal offers present some serious temptation – and it’s not all food.

Temptation is one of those things that is easy to avoid, but occasionally pops up when your guard is down.

If you’re a fan of the daily deal-style emails that arrive in your Inbox, you’ll be bombarded with temptation. Degustation menus, 2-for-one meals, and all-you-can-eat buffets, all at low prices, seem like a great option for a night out. And they are. Unless you’re trying to lose weight.

The trick with these deals is to have a look at the conditions of the deal. Is the restaurant convenient for you to get to? Can you go when you want or are there block-out times that might suit you better? Are the courses fixed or flexible? What menu options are on offer?

It’s usually there, somewhere down below the glossy image and bargain price. Look carefully at the options you’re given. Ask yourself if the options support your goals. Ask yourself if that matters.

Don’t be fooled by the gorgeous photo or the stunning backdrop: if the food is not right for you or your weight loss goals, you’re not likely to enjoy it to the full, anyway. Perhaps you will while you’re eating it, but what about afterwards or the next day?

And if the food (and drink) options do suit your goals? Go for it. You’ll get some amazing experiences that you otherwise may not have had. You might get some ideas for cooking at home. You’ll have a night out with no cooking or cleaning up. Perhaps you’ll have a date night without the children.

It’s starting to sound tempting. There’s no reason you need to miss out on these bargains as long as you make your decisions based on facts, not temptation.

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