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.
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!”
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.
It’s often easy to focus on the things that are going wrong in life, and so it may be helpful to look at the story of a young woman who shows that overcoming obstacles is possible once you make up your mind. Billie, from Frewville SA, is a past Slimmer of the Year winner, and we think she’s pretty inspirational:
“2014 was a tough year for me, after tragically losing both my sister and brother in February and May of that year unexpectedly.
My sister left behind four beautiful children that I now help to care for with my parents. Through this huge upturn in our family, I found comfort in food and work. I kept my self very busy working 3 part-time jobs and studying full-time. I had always been overweight since my early teenage years; however, I had gained even more by the end of that year through grief, and simply not prioritising my own needs.
I was physically and emotionally exhausted, always reaching for food to gain energy. One morning on my way home from work, I fell asleep at the steering wheel. I realised I had suffered a huge sugar drop after eating a bag of lollies on night shift, and this was my wake-up call that something had to change. It was this same week that my friend invited me to a class at Healthy Inspirations, and so my journey began!
It has been a fun but challenging experience with endless shift work and family commitments, all while trying to complete my degree! I set a goal to achieve my weight loss by the time I graduated as a Registered Nurse. I was looking forward to wearing the dress of my dreams for the Graduation Ball, and savour the moment with all of my beautiful nursing sisters. That night, I had achieved my goal and was able to celebrate the two greatest achievements of my adult life!
I am a huge believer of being the change I want to see in the world. As a nurse, I wanted to achieve health and practice what I preached! This will always keep me accountable and motivated to inspire others by being true to myself. The happiness effect of weight loss is contagious, and people around me have been inspired to make changes in their life too. Already, my Mum has lost 12 kg in the last 3 months by following the Healthy Inspirations reset program!
I have come to realise the incredible capability of the human body. Not only of my own body, but that of the whole family at Health Inspirations! The women here are of all ages and backgrounds, and each member has their own story to tell. We inspire each other with flowing positive energy and acknowledge each little win. Women banding together as a powerful force is a catalyst for success!”
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
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.
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.
We’d love to hear how your Lunch Club goes.
Outstanding results don’t come naturally. Expertise and the achievement of goals requires effort over a long time, making mistakes and trying again. For most of us, losing weight is no different: a few steps forward, a step back, move forward again.
Instead of an all-or-nothing, success-or-failure approach, we should be treating weight loss as we do any other endeavour.
The baby learning to walk doesn’t give up because she falls down. She has support and encouragement around her, saying “Up you get” and so she does. She manages a few steps and is motivated by rapturous applause to take a few more steps. She looks around and sees smiling faces, and she loves the feeling of achievement and success.
She doesn’t focus on the falls; she focuses on the all-important successes.
Every one of us went through this process. We learned how to walk, ride bicycles, write, and brush our teeth using a similar process. Trial and error. Practice.
When did we lose the ability to accept a learning mentality? When did we expect perfection at the start?
Losing weight can be an emotional journey. There’s motivation and trepidation in the first days, elation at the first weigh-in, pride at sticking to the plan. It’s easy to take the next step forward.
Conversely, there’s despair if the scales move in the wrong direction, guilt at eating something ‘bad’, disappointment at ‘failing’. For some, it’s easy at this point to give up.
It’s essential to keep emotions and results in perspective. Emotions are often dictated by results, but the reality is that results are simply a reflection of behaviours. So, focus on the behaviours.
Think of losing weight as a learning process: you know how to eat, but the learning occurs by figuring out the foods, and amounts, and the eating times, that best suit your body. Once that is figured out, results take care of themselves.
From the outset, accept that there will be mistakes. Accept that the scales won’t always move in the direction you want. Accept that despite your best endeavours, you’ll sometimes make mistakes. This is all part of learning.
Stick with it. The longer you do, the more you learn and the fewer mistakes you’ll make. Results can and will be yours.
Losing weight by its very nature means that you’ll regularly be checking the scales, but that’s not the only – or even the best – way to assess your progress. More important are the Non-Scale Victories: those things that are great achievements in themselves and which can be a true marker of progress and improved health.
Consider non-scale victories that relate to health and medical issues. Doctors are often pleased (and a little surprised?) when dietary changes bring improvements such as reduced (or eliminated) medications, better sleep, reduced asthma or eczema or reflux, fewer (or no) headaches, improved mood, and decreased pain and inflammation so joints and overall comfort improve.
“General wellbeing” is a little vague when looking at non-scale victories, but for those accustomed to bloating, low energy, or frequent hunger and regular cravings will appreciate improvements in these areas. Sometimes they don’t even notice these improvements as they are gradual, and it’s not until they think about a specific condition that they realise “Hey, I haven’t had that for ages!”
Workplaces may also notice changes: Thinking clearly, especially mid-afternoon when the fog that afflicts many people is no longer present, is a bonus not just for you but for your workmates and for the business.
Day-to-day non-scale victories might include the disappearance of hunger and cravings as you nourish your body rather than just feeding it. You may find that you’ll puff less and have more energy for daily activities – making you more inclined to engage in some exercise.
Non-scale victories can also be aesthetic. Clothing fits differently as size drops. Fingernails grow stronger, skin improves, acne disappears.
Then there are the amazing non-scale victories that occur out-of-the-blue. You might see someone after a long absence and they don’t initially recognise you. The surprise on their face when they realise who you are is priceless. What about when someone tells you how well you look, or that you’re glowing or have a spring in your step?
Many of these victories happen even if the scale doesn’t seem to be moving, or is not moving quickly enough. Therefore, it’s essential to broaden your concept of success as it comes in many forms.
The number on the scale tells a story, but it tells only part of the story. Focus on the non-scale victories, and the scale might just start doing what you want!
“Meal prep is the key to success”
This is one of the secrets to being able to stick to your healthy eating plan. The saying “Fail to plan plan to fail” is true when it comes to changing eating habits. Without planning, motivation and conscious thought is required to create suitable meals. This is all well and good when you’re just starting, or when there are limited stresses in your life, or when time is plentiful.
But what happens if these ideal conditions do not apply?
We often see people start out well and get great results, only to find their weight loss slows and motivation drops as time passes. The problem is not with the program or with the person’s body; it’s a problem of organisation. Without organisation, the person ends up ‘winging it’ and, eventually, falling back into old habits.
Think about this scenario: You’re driving home from work at 6pm on a Tuesday night. You need to feed the family, get a child to soccer training at 7pm, feed the pets, water the garden and get at least one load of washing on the line. Just reading the list might be enough to create a little panic response, so something has to give.
Without weekend planning (and preparation), it’s likely that you’ll stop at a take-away and buy dinner. This might be OK if you weren’t trying to lose weight!
Imagine a different weekend, one where you thought ahead and knew that Tuesday night would be problematic. What to do?
Here are some of the strategies that I use to ensure the family eats well every day:
Enlisting this type of strategy not only ensures you have great food on hand for the week, it also saves time. Many of us are time-poor, so it makes sense to allocate an hour or two, once a week, for meal prep so that you save an hour every night.
For recipes or more ideas, talk to the Health Coaches in your nearest Healthy Inspirations centre.
Choose better. Sounds easy, but is it? We have a guest blogger this week – Lisa Marchesi. Lisa owns the Healthy Inspirations centre in Sale, Victoria, and has been helping her members not only lose weight and improve fitness, but also helps them changing their mindset. Over to you, Lisa:
Our habits shape our life! The key to successfully changing your daily habits to healthier ones is to substitute alternative behaviours that also satisfy your needs. Once the new habit is ingrained, the new behaviour pattern becomes easy and automatic.
Be realistic and clear on what your needs are and your WHY. Remember your mind is the control room of your life. Then go ahead and set your goals and take action; small daily actions to achieve your goals throughout 2017.
Imagine how you would feel if you sat down at the end of December 2017 and could tick off your goals that you had achieved and set in early 2017. I bet you’d be proud! Maybe even feeling gorgeous and possibly have made new friendships through your new community that supports you.
Now suppose you decided today, right now, that you are finally making a REAL commitment to turn your dramas into actions….whatever they may be. Maybe it’s to lose those extra kilos?
If you want to lose weight and get into shape in the New Year, you must develop the habits of a fit and healthy person. Eating the right foods, getting regular exercise and making the right lifestyle choices are the key ingredients for staying lean, fit and at a healthy weight. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, keeping your weight in check and nourishing your body can also lower the risk of some cancers.
Go find a notepad and consider these questions.
Knowing what you want is the first step to getting it. Knowing what’s holding you back is the second step to making sure you get to keep it.
Write down your answers so you can see your progress later.
If you are really stuck coming up with a goal, start by asking yourself, if I could be, do or have anything in life, what would it be?
This might include time, money, not having the right opportunities, lack of motivation, procrastination, lack of self-belief, not knowing how to achieve it, or maybe you just don’t know.
For example, do you often put in lots of energy at the start, then within a couple of weeks find you’ve lost motivation? Do you put off getting started for so long you just give up? Do you start too many projects at once and end up overwhelmed and under motivated? Identifying your unique patterns is key to changing them.
What you tell yourself can stop you from achieving your most prized goals and visions. For example, if you have decided that this is the year you find the right relationship, believing that you are not worthy of love will sabotage your plans. If you told yourself that this year is the year you finally get the body shape you want or start the business you’re passionate about, but you have an underlying belief that “I’m not worth it” or “It’s impossible to find work in this market,” how motivated will you be? How effective? Listen to what you tell yourself about what you believe limits you.
They might be to have more confidence in yourself? Break patterns of self-sabotage? Not be concerned with what others think? Most of these can be resolved at Healthy Inspirations.
This could be a mentor, additional skills, a ‘how to’ guide, a clear action plan, a sounding board or someone to brainstorm with. At Healthy Inspirations, we have lots of resources along with our trained staff who are here to develop your plan so you can achieve your weight loss and healthy goals.
Enlist the help of a friend, partner or coach. To establish your own accountability, tell them what you intend to do. This puts the power squarely in your hands to determine your results.
Once you have these questions answered, it’s time to take action daily and review your goals weekly.
Keep the top 3 goals written on a card in your desk drawer or in your wallet and look at them once a day. Ask yourself, why do I want to achieve these goals? What will that give me or do for me? The “why” is your grander purpose and will motivate you to persist in taking action until it’s complete.
When you achieve a goal, celebrate! This is a great way to reward yourself for a job well done. It will anchor that wonderful sense of achievement within your psychology and physiology. This will only lead to building more and more success!
Remember there are no limitations, except those that are self-created and you can change those at Healthy Inspirations. We’d love to support you on your journey. Give your nearest centre a call today or simply pop in for a chat.
The wind-down to the end of year is almost done, and many people are in holiday mode. Whether you’re going away or staying home, the break – if you’re lucky enough to get one – can be spent recharging the batteries ready for another healthy year of busy-ness.
Things to focus on during the break:
Most of us lead busy lives, and we’re pulled from pillar to post all year. This gets worse in December for many, with end-of-year functions, work deadlines, school holidays and the like all demanding attention.
Use the break to develop some healthy sleep rituals. Where possible, try to develop sleep times you can maintain once everything gets going again. While it may be OK for a few days to have big sleep-ins, most of us have early starts for work and children all year so it’s better in the long term to develop workable sleep patterns.
Get rid of electronic devices from the bedroom. They can stay in the lounge room so that the bedroom is a sanctuary for sleep and intimacy.
Minimising alcohol, and ensuring dinner is not huge assist sleep quality.
It’s easy to ‘wing it’ while on holidays, and it feels like you’re giving yourself a break. The problem is that if you’re not planning and preparing meals, you may not choose the right foods. This increases the likelihood of sabotaging your weight loss plans.
Lack of meal preparation during your break leads to lack of prep when life gets back to normal. Us the time well to re-establish or initiate habits that will serve you well for the year ahead.
Even for those who love exercise, it’s very easy to fall out of the habit. Holidays are a great time to develop an exercise ritual. It might be an early morning walk – the weather is good and, let’s face it, you’ll be getting up early because of your good sleep agenda.
Meditation or mindfulness
These are stress-reduction techniques that can help through the year. The daily practice of being in the present and letting go, even temporarily, of life’s stresses can do wonders for your health and your weight.
Play with the kids. Connect with friends and family members. Expand your social networks. Social connectedness and a sense of belonging and support is vital to the emotional and mental health of most people. We are social animals, and most us need to make the effort to feed that need.
Enjoy your break, rest up, and develop the healthy habits that will carry you through the year ahead.