Positive body image renovation

 

Body image plays a huge role in our health and fitness, so positive body image is vital. Here are 7 tips to get you on your way to loving your body.

1. Focus on function & sensation

Instead of fixating on the appearance of your body and others’, concentrate instead on what your body can do for you. When you think like that, you’ll find it’s pretty damn amazing! “Start focusing on your body as the vehicle of your experience rather than as a collection of surfaces to be appraised,” advises Cameron. “Switching to this perspective can come about through paying attention more often to sensations your body generates; how it feels to move, breathe, etc. Reflect on physical sensations your body enjoys and the activities it allows you to do, learning about the body and your body in particular, and remembering that your body is also that thing that generates thoughts and emotions, and appreciating all the subjective experiences it gives rise to.”

2. Quit the comparisons

Seriously, just stop it! Paxton strongly encourages avoiding engaging in negative body talk and discouraging it in the people around you. Instead she suggests you learn to identify when you are making body comparisons and remind yourself that “this is not a positive thing to do. I am making comparisons that are bound to make me feel less happy”.

3. Re-evaluate your worth

“When you value yourself as a person on the basis of your appearance, that puts you at risk,” warns Paxton. “If you can reconsider this and think ‘what is really important about me in my life, what do my friends think or my family think is important about me, and what do I value about what I do in my life?’, this can help people refocus away from appearance-related factors.”

4. Practise mindfulness

“Mindfulness brings us back to the here and now,” says McMahon. “It helps us to step outside from surveillancing our body from the outside to existing in our body from the inside.”

5. Build self-compassion

“Normalise the fact that most of us have parts of our bodies we don’t like – this is called normative discontent,” says McMahon. Recognising this will help us avoid “getting caught up in the unhelpful chitter chatter of our mind”. 

6. Engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy

Exercise for pleasure’s sake rather than weight loss, and reap the benefits of those ‘feelgood’ hormones. According to McMahon, an improved mood will have nothing but a positive effect on your body image.

7. Treat yourself kindly

“Nurturing your body and engaging in regular self-care will have a flow-on effect to how you feel about your body,” McMahon adds.

 

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How to stop yourself from overeating

 

Wondering why you constantly overeat? Here are three factors that may be contributing to over-indulging. 

 

It’s easy to over-dramatise the odd extra helping as a ‘binge’ or ‘blowout’, but if you are consistently eating more than your body needs, there may be good reasons. 

The stick: Macro shortfall

The human body’s drive for protein is so powerful that it will keep consuming food until its protein needs are met according to a University of Sydney study. As protein intake decreases, kilojoule intake increases, researchers reported.

The fix: Consume 15 to 20 per cent of daily kilojoules from high-quality, low-fat protein sources. Lean meats, legumes, fish, eggs and tofu all qualify.

The stick: Multitasking

Whether it’s the portion sizes at your local, a bout of intense work stress or mindless nibbling in front of the telly, there’s a whole gamut of reasons why we eat more than what we need or when we’re not hungry at all . 

The fix: Try to eat intuitively – only when you’re hungry. Focus on eating when you feel hungry and stopping when you feel full. 

The stick: Overwhelm

Research suggests that when we can choose from a wide variety of foods, we generally eat more. Under the ‘smorgasbord effect’, new flavours are thought to stimulate appetite while bland or monotonous menus bore us into disinterest. 

The fix: Limit yourself to a few choices.

NEXT: Kick start your clean eating journey with our 10 step guide to cleaner eating. 

 

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How to fast-track fat loss

 

Want to know the key to fat loss? Master trainer Daniel Tramontana shares his tips for guaranteed fat loss.

 

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics.

Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days + 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full bodyweight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

Read the full article in the August 2016 edition by journalist Katelyn Swallow. 

NEXT > Discover ways to boost your metabolism.

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How to lose the last two kilos

 

 

They say the last two kilograms are the hardest to lose, but we’ve found a loophole.

STEP 1.

 

Calculate your baseline

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you’d burn per day if you were to lie in bed 24/7. It’s based on various factors including your height, age and body composition (a higher muscle to fat ratio will burn more calories even at rest). To calculate your BMR, plug your deets into this equation (known as the Harris-Benedict equation): 

BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)

e.g. a 30-year-old female measuring 167 cm tall and weighing 54.5 kg would compute 655 + 523 + 302 – 141 to get a maintenance level daily calorie need of 1,339, or 5,624 kJ, per day (multiply calories by 4.2 to convert to kJ lingo).

STEP 2. 

Body audit

If your numbers come in low, don’t panic. In addition to what you burn to maintain basic bodily functions, you need to add your other energy usage. What you want to work out how many kJs you’re burning on average per day, and how many kJs you need to cut to lose your target kilos, is your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which comprises BMR (65 per cent), physical activity and thermic effect of food. 

To calculate your TDEE, multiply your BMR by your activity level according to these numbers.

Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)

Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise / sports 1–3 days/week)

Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise / sports 6–7 days/week)

Very active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise every day, or exercising 2 times/day)

Extra active = BMR x 1.9 (hard exercise 2 or more times per day, or training for marathon, or triathlon, etc.)

e.g. If your BMR is 1,339 calories, or 5,624 kJ, and you’re lightly active, your activity factor is 1.375, making your TDEE 1.375 x 1,339 or 5,624, or 1,841 calories/7,733 kJ. In theory consuming 7,733 kJ each day (or 54,129 kJ a week – there’s no penalty for zig-zagging to accommodate a dinner party) will maintain your current weight.

STEP 3. 

Budget crunch

Based on the 0.5 kg a week deemed optimal, you’ll need a cumulative deficit of 14,700 kJ a week (there are 14,700 kJ in half a kilo of body fat). A weekly deficit of 7,350 kJ will translate to loss of 0.25 kg per week. Aim to eat approximately the same amount of kJs each day, but don’t get obsessive. If you want to go out for parma (around twice the kJs in a Lean Cuisine dinner), shoot for 1,000 kJ less than your loss needs the following day and you’ll come out square. 

STEP 4. 

Loophole phase 

You can’t out-train a bad diet because it’s so much easier to consume calories than burn them. (A flavoured milk packs in more than an hour’s workout burn in a few gulps.) Yet exercise can give you an extra food allowance. By burning 400 calories in spin class, you can still eat 7,080 kJ and lose your half a kilo a week.

Looking for more weightloss tips? Check out Alexa Towersey’s top fat loss tips. 

 

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Top fat loss tips

 

From recovery sessions to food intolerances, trainer and IsoWhey sports ambassador Alexa Towersey shares her top five tips for fat loss.

 

1. Complete a lifestyle diary

This includes what you eat, when you go to bed, how often you go to the bathroom and how much water you drink. This will make you accountable and aware of any bad habits outside of the gym that could be hindering your results.  

2. Schedule at least two recovery sessions per week

I liken your body to a bank balance.  Every training session is a withdrawal; every recovery session is a deposit. If you are always training (withdrawing) and never recovering (depositing), you will eventually end up overdrawn and injured. Recovery practices include foam rolling, contrast showers, ice baths, massages and long walks.

3. Embrace hot yoga

The hot room allows for increased range of movement (which will translate into better range in your weight training), the heat enhances detoxification processes and the twisting movements improve digestion and lymphatic drainage in addition to massaging the internal organs.  Yoga is also great for stress management, and when you are stressed you will hold fat.

4. Test for food intolerances

Just because a food is ‘healthy’, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. If it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t eat it. Some of the most common intolerances include eggs, gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, corn and nuts. Intolerances can also be a result of eating too much of the same foods, so try and rotate your meal options regularly.

5. Support your liver and your detoxification channels using alternative body treatments

Think acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, Epsom salt baths, body brushing and infra-red saunas. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and try starting the day with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice.

For more fat loss tips, visit our weight loss section.

 

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Eat like a warrior

 

Keep your energy levels up throughout the day with Sheena-Lauren

‘s Warrior Recipes.

 

Chocolate protein and coconut porridge

BEST FOR: A mini boost before an end-of-day workout or if you need something in your tummy pre-early morning workout. (Sheena-Lauren recommends fasted morning workouts, but if you can’t fathom powering through without something to nibble, bite off a bit of brekkie and save the rest for recovery.)

“The oats provide a great sustained release of energy to power you through the morning. They are a great source of fibre to help curb mid-morning munchies,” Sheena-Lauren says.

What you’ll need

  • ½–1 cup traditional rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 30 g chocolate protein
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup

What you’ll do

Combine the oats, coconut milk and chocolate protein in a bowl. Ensure the oats are completely covered with coconut milk. Place in the fridge overnight to soak through. Sprinkle with chia seeds and add one tsp of rice malt syrup.

Sip on a protein shake

BEST FOR: Knocking out niggling hunger near the end of your workout.

“I sometimes sip on this throughout my morning workout if I find myself getting hungry, and I finish it post workout,” Sheena-Lauren says.

What you’ll need

  • High-quality whey protein or alternative

What you’ll do

Add a 20 g to 30 g scoop of protein powder to a shaker and top up with water. Shake thoroughly.

Spicy eggs and sweet potato

BEST FOR: Post workout recovery

“The eggs are a great source of protein for muscle repair and the sweet potato serves as a fantastic low-GI complex carbohydrate, replenishing energy stores to keep you feeling full and keep you on the go for the rest of your day,” Sheena-Lauren says

What you’ll need

  • 200 g sweet potato, grated
  • ½ red chilli, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

What you’ll do
Add the grated sweet potato to a fry pan with coconut oil on low heat. Add chilli and garlic. Continue to cook on low heat and toss regularly for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until soft. Poach two eggs. Plate up the sweet potato, add the poached eggs on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Add a 20 g to 30 g scoop

Start the Summer Warrior Challenge today.

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4 reasons you’re not shedding those last few kilos

 

Struggling to lose those last few kilos? Here are some common weight loss saboteurs that might be getting in your way.

1. Liquid energy

Less filling and easy to over-consume. Smoothies and juices may seem like healthy options, but can be packed with sugar and kilojoules. Cut back on sweetened beverages. Think carefully about long-term alcohol habits and drink less.

 

2. Portion size

Eat slowly and use smaller plates.

3. Mindless eating

We live in a culture of plenty, and food is easily available. Keep snacks out of sight to avoid temptation and overeating.

 

4. Inadequate protein

Inadequate fibre and/or protein can lead to overeating. Both these nutrients are filling and should be included at every meal. Protein is important also for maintenance of muscle mass.

So how can we stay on track?

Think about your core values and what you want out of life. What brings you happiness? Perhaps you rank health as a high priority and want to feel good and have more energy? Now look at small steps you can take to live in line with these values.

Find something that suits you. Hate the gym? Then don’t force yourself to go. Instead find something you enjoy (maybe yoga, bushwalking, pole dancing or underwater hockey is more your style?). If you indulge in fitness pursuits that you value and enjoy, you will be happier and more motivated.

Be open to change. Just because running half marathons worked for you five years ago, doesn’t mean that running is still the best option for you now. Listen to the needs of your body and switch to a new fitness routine if necessary.

Have realistic expectations. If you weigh under 100 kg then it’s not safe or realistic to try losing more than 0.5 kg per week. If you weigh between 100 to 150kg, then one kg per week is achievable, and if over 150 kg, then two kg per week is considered healthy.

NEXT:

 

Matcha powder: a secret weight loss weapon

Matcha powder helps boost metabolism and the body’s ability to burn fat. So how can we incorporate it into our diets?

What is it? 

Powdered green tea. Unlike many ingredients with weight loss claims, green tea won’t overstimulate the adrenal glands.

How to use it: 

Try green tea as a smoothie base or drink it on it’s own. Nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan says, “Green tea increases general health and improves body weight by increasing the metabolism and the body’s ability to burn fat,” she says.

In a study reported on in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea extract was found to boost energy expenditure by around four per cent for each 24 hours.

Where to find it: 

Matcha is available at many health food stores, and you can also buy it online.


Try it:
 Matcha makes a great base for fat-loss smoothies. If your goal is fat loss, a smoothie containing 500 to 750 kJ is ideal, and you want low GI and high-protein and fibre quotients to keep blood glucose steady and stave off hunger. 

The high-protein, low-carb merits of natural yoghurt keep conversion to glucose under control, to stave off recurrent hunger, while chia seeds add fibre for digestive health and satiety. For a great fat loss smoothie idea, try:

  • 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder

  • ½ cup of ice

  • ½ cup skim milk

  • ½ cup of natural yoghurt

  • 1 tsp of chia seeds soaked in 60 ml of water

 

NEXT: Check out 5 super healthy smoothie recipes or browse our Fat Loss section. 

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How to stay slim in your 30s, 40s and 50s

Can you beat age-related weight gain? We asked the experts for their diet and exercise tips for women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. 

What is the ‘middle age spread’?

The term ‘middle-age spread’ has been etched into ageing lore, yet unflattering connotations ignore the naturalness of physiological change. Expecting to weigh the same at 30 as 18 is folly according to clinical psychologist Louise Adams from Treat Yourself Well.

“Our body weight at age 18 is for many of us the lightest we have ever been,” says Adams. “We may not have stopped growing at that point and may not have reached full maturity. Weight gain as we age is quite normal and body shape and size can change over our lifetime. Sticking to a weight from many years ago is unrealistic for the vast majority of us. It’s similar to remembering how your skin looked as a teenager and expecting the same in middle age.”

The other sticking point in weight expectations is that many of us expect that with enough weights training and self-control we can defy the effects of hormonal changes associated with mid life.

“I think we should be a bit more accepting of carrying a bit of weight as we get older,” says the University of Melbourne’s Dr Joseph Proietto, a professor of medicine. “There are multiple studies that suggest that a little extra weight can be a healthy thing. In one study we conducted we looked at people who had stents put in their hearts for angina. We found that the underweight people died at a faster rate, and the overweight were better than the normal weight, the mildly obese were better than the overweight in terms of survival.”

How to stay trim – despite your age!

Dr Lavie encourages a paradigm shift from weight to fitness. “It’s much better to strive for fitness and be on the thicker side than to be thin and unfit,” he says. “Loss of fitness is a much stronger predictor of mortality than weight gain.”

He says the ideal is to exercise 40 to 45 minutes a day, five to six days a week, with plenty of strength work.

“Fitness gurus will tell you that strength training becomes more vital the older one gets, and they are right, for it supports muscle mass like no other form of exercise and can help increase not only strength but also bone mass,” says Dr Lavie.

“In most people, muscle strength peaks in our 20s and then gradually decreases. Recent research suggests that women on average will lose muscle mass twice as fast as men the same age, which can make a huge difference in their ability to maintain an ideal weight.”

 

NEXT: What is collagen depletion?

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Do I need to be skinny to look toned?

Want to achieve that ‘shredded’ look? It usually requires an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.

Increased muscle mass (i.e. size, width and volume of your muscle fibres) will help your muscles become more visible beneath body fat; however, significant mass is not always necessary for improved tone.

According to exercise scientist Johann Ruys, “Muscle mass increase is generally associated with an increase in tone, but an increase in tone is not necessarily associated with a major increase in size.”

How to achieve that ‘shredded’ look

To achieve the ‘shredded’ look of a figure model, increased muscle mass is generally required – more so than for the taut, slender lines of a bikini model. However, the acquisition of either body would usually require a decrease in body fat.

“Less body fat will increase the ‘visible effect’ of tone,” says Ruys. “But tone can improve your shape, even with body fat.”

Figure competitors sport around five to 10 per cent body fat for a competition, but it’s certainly not kept that low all year round. This means that even for the most muscled individual, sculpted abs (or indeed a sculpted aesthetic) is not always a reality.

Alexa Towersey, personal trainer and co-founder of the Creating Curves program – a program based on her experience training models and Miss Universe competitors – says “The training you do in the gym creates the muscle tone or muscle mass, and the correct nutrition allows you to get lean enough to show it off at its full potential.

If you’re looking for clear muscle definition, you need to lose the subcutaneous, or surface, fat. It’s true when they say, ‘abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen’.”

NEXT: Check out our Body transformations section or read about How to improve muscle definition

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