Meal Prepping: Your Diet’s Missing Ingredient

Meal Prepping: Your Diet’s Missing Ingredient

Meal prepping is more than just arranging healthy foods in pretty containers worthy of Instagram. In fact, meal prepping could be a crucial process that your daily diet is missing. Even if you have a kitchen stocked with all the right foods and perhaps, you’re even exercising regularly, meal prepping is an extra step worth taking. Meal prepping also has a lot more benefits than having an organised meal plan.

Stay on that fitness track

It’s more difficult to give into temptation when you know there’s a whole healthy meal waiting for you at home. There’s no need to go through the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant or call eating a bag of chips in front of the TV a proper dinner because you’ve already prepared every meal you need for the coming days. It’s especially challenging to stick to whatever diet regime you have at the end of a long work day or when you’re all beat from a tough workout at the gym. But, with an easy meal you can re-heat at home waiting for you, it can make your commitment to your fitness goals much easier.

Save time and money

Eating out is fun, but when you’re on a particular diet or trying to save money, it’s not so good. You can bring your prepped meal to work or wherever you need to be during the day, so that keeps your wallet in check. Even better is when you’re shopping for groceries, you already have planned out your meals, so you know exactly what to get and how much of it. There’s less chance of those fruits and veggies going bad in your fridge now. And, it should go without saying that meal prepping will save you heaps of time throughout your week. Sure, you need to set aside some time on a Sunday for your meal prepping, but it should be all smooth sailing from there when all you need to do is reheat your meals. This should also save you time and energy on kitchen cleanup and constant trips to the supermarket.

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Mix it up

Looking at meal prep photos, you might think, ‘oh no, a whole week of just chicken breast and broccoli?’ Well, think again. You can, in fact, mix it up. What’s great about meal prepping is that it can be as flexible as you need it to be. This goes for both recipes and shelf life. Most recipes allow you to keep your meals in the freezer, so if you opt to eat out, then that’s completely fine. Also, meals don’t have to be bland and dull. You can make healthy versions of your favourites to eat at your convenience.

Learn something fun and new

Even if you think poorly of your skills in the kitchen, meal prepping might just surprise you as an enjoyable activity, especially once you realise the time-saving benefits. And even if you already have some culinary know-how, applying your skills to meal prepping can be a new challenge. No matter your cooking skills, you’ll be learning all sorts of recipes.


Affirmations To Get You Through Weight Loss

Affirmations To Get You Through Weight Loss

Affirmations are positive messages you give yourself and are intended to help you achieve your goals. This technique can be effective for some people, particularly when it comes to the complex journey towards losing weight. This kind of positive reinforcement has been proven to dramatically influence behavior, according to research.

Daily affirmations can help in breaking habits and decreasing stress, which are huge factors when it comes to weight loss. Another obstacle is having no confidence or motivation, but these affirmations can allow you to focus on progress, build up determination and overcome any setbacks.

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An important part of committing to a weight loss program is repetition. This is key in forming new habitual behaviour patterns. When you’re hitting a slump or tempted to overeat, the constant repetition of these affirmations will eventually become an automatic response to make more proactive choices.

“I accept myself, my body shape, and the beauty I hold.”

Self-acceptance takes a while to achieve, but is a fundamental part of any body transformation. Know and study your needs versus your wants, your strengths versus your weaknesses, and what you can and cannot control. Re-frame the negative talk and develop kindness towards yourself and your body.

“I appreciate that I’m making the decision to make a change.”

The first step is usually the most difficult to take, especially when it involves change. Not only will you be transforming your body, but your mind as well. Maybe it’s taken you a while to make this decision. Be grateful you’ve made it.

“I let go of any guilt around my eating habits.”

We’re quick to call some of our favourite foods “guilty pleasures.” While it starts out as a casual comment, this leads to feelings of shame surrounding eating. Be grateful for the food you have access to and can partake in.

“Dieting is about making healthy and satisfying food choices.”

Food nourishes not only the body, but the soul. The “healthier option” doesn’t have to be the boring option. Be diligent in reading nutritional facts as well as seeking out flavoursome meals that are good for your body.

“I say yes to taking care of myself.”

This journey to weight loss should not be about pain. It can become overwhelming–any sort of change is–and it’s tempting to resume old patterns that may not be good for you. Remind yourself that this is a form of self-love.

“I deserve better and will create better.”

You’re worth helping. You’re worth the sweat, blood, and tears.

“I can and I will.”

Even just thinking that the impossible can be possible can do wonders. Take it step by step. Specific visualizations can be helpful too. “I can walk 5,000 steps today and I will.”

“I make time.”

A quick way to put off exercise or healthy food preparation is making the excuse that you simply don’t have the time. Change that perspective to “I make the time.”

“I have the energy.”

“I’m too tired,” you tell yourself after a long day. You may find you’re more resilient than you know.

“When I come across a setback, it is a bump on the road, not the end of it.”

Everybody stumbles on the road to change. When all feels lost, look back at where you’ve come from. Even taking that first step was a huge achievement. Let that propel you onwards.

“I am grateful for everything my body does for me.”

At the end of the day, no matter the state of our bodies, we’re afforded so many abilities and privileges. It’s a momentous thing to be thankful for.

Good Carbs versus Bad Carbs

Good Carbs versus Bad Carbs

If you’ve ever attempted to modify your diet in an attempt to lose weight, you’ve probably once deemed carbs as “the enemy.” They’re calorific, up our sugar levels, and do no good for one’s waistline. But carbohydrates are essential to our nutrition. A well-balanced meal has a proper amount of protein, fat, and carbs. Carbohydrates do indeed supply the body with glycogen, because this is how the body processes carbs. Glycogen is crucial since it is the energy our bodies need for everyday functions. So, if carbs are good for us, why all the fuss?

Consuming carbohydrates is not as simple as “eat less.” There are, in fact, “good” carbs and “bad” carbs, or kinds of carbohydrates that are either beneficial to our bodies or little to no nutritional value. Complex carbohydrates are considered “good” carbs. They’re called complex because they’re made up of complicated molecules which break down slowly. This means the supply of energy is steady. Compare that to simple carbohydrates or “bad” carbs, which deliver a quick rush of energy, but follow with an equally immediate drop. Simple carbohydrates are what can cause the spikes in blood sugar levels and unbearable mood swings.

Weight Loss Pinjarra HillsComplex carbohydrates are high in fibre and starch. They also contain much-needed vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Great and healthy sources of complex carbohydrates are whole grains, beans, quinoa, legumes, oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread, barley, couscous, wheat bran, seeds, nuts, dry peas, oatmeal, and avocados. The key component in these complex carbs is fibre. Ideally, our daily intake of fibre should be 25 to 35 grams. High-fibre diets can help with fat loss, digestion, cholesterol levels, and the risk of disease.

“Good” carbs generally have a low to moderate calorie count, meaning you can eat larger amounts of these carbs with lesser calories. Good carbs also have essential nutrient values and contain no refined sugars or refined grains. They’re typically low in sodium, saturated fat with little to no cholesterol and Trans fats.

“Bad” carbs are made up of a high number of calories, even if the portion is minimal. They’re also high in refined sugars, like fructose corn syrup. These refined sugars have been found to be linked to disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Refined grains are also present in bad carbs. An example would be wheat flour made to look white in colour by stripping it of its nutrient value. Bad carbs have little to no fibre and are often rich in sodium, fats, cholesterol or Trans fats.

The sugars found in simple carbohydrates can be digested easily. Not all simple carbohydrates are bad. There are natural sources of simple carbohydrates, such as fruits, some vegetables, milk, and milk products. While being simple carbs, they still have essential nutrients, fibre and protein. The sources to avoid are processed and refined foods, such as soft drinks, white sugar, pastries, white bread, juices, ice cream, candy, and milk chocolate. Even food products labelled “low fat,” “sugar-free,” “fat-free,” or “low calorie” can still be sources of bad carbs. The general rule of thumb for packaged food items is: the fewer ingredients, the better.

Live an Extra Decade with These Easy Healthy Habits

Live an Extra Decade with These Easy Healthy Habits

Here’s a sobering fact: cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in Australia. Now, here’s a comforting notion: a new report suggests that five, very simple habits can lead to a longer life. These are:

  1. Not drinking too much alcohol
  2. Eating a healthy diet
  3. Exercising regularly
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight
  5. Never smoking

Researchers discovered that adults who regularly practice these five habits can extended their lifespan for as much as up to 14 years. Participants of the study were 82 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular diseases and 65 percent less likely to die of cancer. The study, which involved 34 years of data, also noted that when maintaining these lifestyle habits at age 50, men could live an extra 12.2 years and for women, another 14 years.

The global average life expectancy is at 80. For Australians, we rank 14th in the list of countries with high life expectancy rates at 82.3 years. Monaco is at number one with 89.4 years and Japan second with 85.3 years.

One medical professional has cited that never smoking is the most important factor, which may be a wake-up call for many Australians. According to the Cancer Council Australia, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the country.

Consuming alcoholic beverages is a line people must carefully walk. There are some benefits to the occasional glass of wine, some studies show. Aside from inducing a relaxing effect, moderate drinking can reduce the risk of death by heart attacks, clot-caused strokes and other cardiovascular issues. Red wine is one particular form of alcoholic beverage that fare better than most. Red wine has a high concentration of polyphenols that can reduce blood pressure.

The downside of drinking is going from moderate to binge drinking, which leads to inflammation of the liver, increased blood pressure, heart muscle damage, and several cancers, like breast, colon, mouth and liver.

Weight loss pinjarra hillsMeanwhile, a healthy diet, as defined by the World Health Organisation, is defined as a balanced intake of energy or calories. The total fat should not exceed 30 percent of the total energy intake to avoid unhealthy weight gain. One should also decrease saturated fats and cut out trans fats. Free sugars should be limited to less than 10 percent of the total energy intake. Salt intake should be less than 5 grams per day to prevent hypertension and heart disease.

The ideal body weight is entirely individual and depends on factors such as height, gender, age, build and degree of muscular development. The body mass index (BMI) has been commonly used to measure the “healthiness” of one’s weight, but the BMI system has its flaws. The 200-year-old system does not account for age, sex, bone structure and fat distribution.

As for exercise, the Australian Heart Foundation recommends half an hour of physical activity each day, which reduces the risk of heart disease by 35 per cent. Alternatively, 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is also recommended. For people who like to walk or who usually commute, 10,000 steps per hour a day or walking at a rate of 6 km/hour is also a great form of exercise.

Advantages of Being a Runner

Advantages of Being a Runner

Runners, especially those who run long distance, generally have two things in common: sinewy quads and a heavy duty set of lungs. But the perks of running does not stop there. There is so much more that long-distance running can do for you including for your mind and body.

In a recent study done in Finland, researchers found that long distance runners tend to be smarter. In this research, they studied the effects of resistance training on adult rat brains. They used rats with both genetically high and low response to aerobic training. All subjects underwent a 6 to 8 week aerobic training in which they were urged to complete HIIT or resistance training workouts and run.

Fitness Training KenmorePrior to doing the research, the scientists had already established the fact that aerobic exercises do have positive effects on the function and structure of the brain. However, they did not know whether HIIT or anaerobic resistance training had the same effect on the brain, specifically to the growth of neurons in it.

It has quite a similar effect to humans. Here are some of the amazing health perks enjoyed by those who run very, very far.

Good memory

Humans, mice and monkeys share a common peculiarity:  a protein that is identified with memory flows in the brain after a run, as stated in the research that was published in Cell Press.

Another odd discovery was unearthed by the University of North Florida when they found that running barefoot can also enhance your working memory. There is about 16% increase in working memory performance in barefoot runners after exercise. This was determined by their ability to remember instructions, directions and understanding information. It is believed that the extra “tactile and proprioceptive demands” stimulates your brain into tapping your working memory more forcefully, boosting its growth and function.

Strong knees

It’s a common notion that running can ultimately have a bad effect on your knees and joints. In some degree, this is true especially when running on high terrain, your knees may experience some pain due to excessive use. On the other hand, something good can actually be benefited from long distance running. According to a research at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, regular running can actually put off late onset knee pain.

Longer life

It seems that running is particularly advantageous in fighting cancer, according to a research issued by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In this research, they took 2,560 middle aged men as their subjects and observed their health over the span of 17 years. They have observed that the men who were more physically active were less likely to develop cancer. In fact, runners who run for at least 30 minutes per day are 50% less likely to acquire the disease.

Live happier

A long distance run can put you on a high. Anyone who’s been jogging regularly can attest to feeling much better after a not so pleasing day at work — once you’ve gotten past the first few kilometres.

If you’re still not convinced, there is further research done where it was discovered that jogging (as well as other aerobic exercises) changes the skeletal muscles and removes kynurenine (an amino acid that accumulates when you are stressed and depressed) from the blood. After a run, the body also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that improves your disposition.

How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness Goals

How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness Goals

You may have read how a daily glass of red wine or the occasional beer can have health benefits, with claims like lowering blood pressure, preventing heart attacks and other diseases. But, what is the truth? How does drinking alcohol truly impact our health?

Like any other food and drink you consume, alcohol has an effect on your metabolism. For anyone working on losing weight, pay close attention to this. Alcohol still has calories, but also has quite the high metabolic rate compared to most foods. This means you can essentially burn more calories while drinking. When you’re drinking alcohol, your body’s reaction is to process it first and to set other foods aside. Your body’s top priority is to remove the alcohol from your body and, unless you’re a champion binge drinker, it happens quickly.

Alcohol, however, is notorious for lowering one’s inhibitions. A couple of drinks in, you’re feeling loose and relaxed, but your ability to make rational decisions can be impaired. If it becomes an excessive habit, this leads to intoxication. You may also be familiar with morning after a rough night out and the temptation to stay in bed. The dehydration and lethargy aren’t exactly great motivators.

So, what’s the verdict on alcohol? It’s not bad, but what could be bad are your drinking habits. The negative effects of alcohol can be managed, but without control, the results can go from uncomfortable to devastating.

Weight Loss Pinjarra HillsWeight gain is one adverse effect. You’ve probably heard of the term “beer belly,” which is, to an extent, true. Any alcoholic beverage can cause weight gain if consumed in excess. Alcohol in relation to heart health is also vital. Moderate drinking can have great benefits, like lowering cholesterol–but only if paired with a healthy lifestyle.

Athletes should be wary of their alcohol consumption, since alcohol affects balance, hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Alcohol also depletes your body of fluids and electrolytes, which can then lead to fatigue. Additionally, muscle growth can be reduced since alcohol impairs protein synthesis, which is a crucial part of muscle development and maintenance. Alcohol also causes inflammation, which leads to joint pain and muscle aches.

If you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol can leave your body feeling hungry. The calories alcohol contains are not nutritious at all. There’s also the habit of having junk food munchies after a long night of drinking. Worse still, excessive alcohol consumption not only excretes important nutrients, but blocks them as well. Be sure to replenish your body after alcohol. Keep yourself hydrated and nourished–with actual healthy foods, so put down the greasy pizza.

Now, for some good news. You can still drink alcohol, but limit it to one drink a day. The healthiest types of alcoholic beverages are the sugar-free kind. If you’re a wine drinker, make sure to consume sulfate-free wine since sulfates can cause liver damage. Clear liquor, like vodka or gin, are also recommended. One nutritionist suggests adding fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, or basil for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Overall, moderation is key to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

How To Treat Exercise Pain

How To Treat Exercise Pain

We always assume that “no pain, no gain” is the standard when it comes to achievement, particularly in terms of fitness. The more you sweat, the more your muscles ache, this means the more calories you’ve burned and the more toxins you’re eliminating, right? Not necessarily. A little post-workout soreness is common, especially if you’re a beginner or you’ve just introduced your body to a new form of exercise. However, experts agree that experiencing muscle soreness well after two days of your workout can be dangerous.

If you’re still hurting after two days, you might have delayed onset muscle soreness. During exercise, your muscle fibres get torn and, as the body heals them, this causes inflammation. That inflammation is the reason for that soreness making you feel like you can barely move. To treat delayed onset muscle soreness, the expert recommendation is to hydrate. You’ll also want to keep your blood flowing, which can you do by relaxing in a sauna or by exercising some more. More physical activity may be the last thing on your mind, but light exercises, such as swimming, yoga and working with foam rollers can ease your soreness.

Even if you’re a regular exerciser, perhaps you might be vulnerable to pain in certain areas of the body, like your joints. If you’re experiencing specific kinds of exercise pains in particular areas, there are some ways to treat them.

Knee pain

If you’re fond of running and doing squats and lunges, your knees are probably prone to more pain than most areas of your body. This can be caused by not having proper form and can be an effect of sitting all day. Physical therapists recommend a specific stretch to improve your knee strength. Sit on a chair, extend one leg out straight and lock your knee join as hard as possible for five seconds.

Back pain

personal training near meDeadlifts, cycling, and bent over rows can lead to pain in your spine and back muscles. When performing these exercises, it’s important to maintain the natural arch in the small of your back. To alleviate and prevent pain, you can try this before and after exercises: Create a hollow as large as you can in the small of your back and then round your lower back as much as you can, creating as much movement in the spine as you can. Repeat this for 15 to 20 times.

Hip pain

Running and jumping causes your hip joint to be flexed and can even cause mis-alignment. Re-align the joint before your exercise by doing this: Place a pillow on the floor and rest one knee on it. Take a wide step forward, like you’re doing a lunge. Move your hips and trunk forward until you feel a stretch in the hip flexors and/or groin area. Move in and out of the stretch slowly.

Shoulder pain

If pull-ups, push-ups and presses are making your shoulders feel tight, you need to practise internal and external shoulder rotations before each workout. This can be best accomplished using resistance bands.