Archive for December, 2012

The Difference Between “Normal” & Emotional Eaters

December 30, 2012
First of all, there are many differences between “normal” and emotional eaters and the distinction can be very messy with lots of gray in between.
However, I do think it’s useful to have benchmarks — if only for the sake of developing awareness. If you worry you might be straddling the line between a “healthful” and “unhealthful” relationship with food, scan this real quick:
“Normal” eaters eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. And by hungry I mean physically hungry in their stomachs, not just hungry in their heads. I know what you’re thinking — “but I’m hungry ALL the time!” No you’re not. Your emotions are hungry all the time. You’re hungry 2 to 4 times per day depending on what you’re eating.
Emotional eaters obsess about what they’ve eaten in the past or what they plan to eat in the future rather than staying present to what’s actually happening in reality (i.e. Life). If you spend an inordinate amount of time feeling guilty about something you’ve eaten in the past or anxious about how you’re going to eat in the future, you’re food choices are likely driven by your emotions rather than your physical needs.
“Normal” eaters eat real meals. Because “normal” eaters actually wait until they’re hungry (or at least until proper mealtimes) to sit down and eat something, they generally eat fully satisfying meals including multiple food groups in a sitting. Emotional eaters, on the other hand, tend to graze all day and may not eat a “real meal” until socially required to do so.
Normal eaters don’t “sneak eat.” Normal eaters are not ashamed of what they’re eating, nor do they care if someone walks in on them eating their favorite foods. They can eat at a restaurant without worrying that they’re being judged. A wise friend recently said to me, “I know I’m eating emotionally if I’m mortified at the thought of somebody catching me.”
“Normal” eaters eat their food sitting down, on a plate, with utensils. They honor the food their eating with an average of 10 to 30 minutes of attention and generally eat with a sense of dignity (rather than quickly shoving food in their mouths, so they can pretend it never happened).
For the record, this list is only meant to provide some food for thought — it is not meant to be prescriptive. At the end of the day, what matters most is how you feel.
Do you feel free with food or do you feel constricted? Is your relationship with food nourishing or is it a source of stress?
Only you can answer these most important questions for yourself.
By Isabel Foxen Duke,

Break the Sugar Habit

December 26, 2012
By Maria Guadagno

I know it’s the time of year when all sorts of “sugar plums” are dancing in your head: from candy canes and gingerbread men to sugar cookies and apple pies.

Even if you eat well all year, one cookie can easily lead to 10 at the holiday table.

Here’s the simple secret that will turn off your sugar cravings: eat more root vegetables. 

When you pass on dessert, you won’t even feel deprived! You just won’t feel like eating cookies, cake, or candy.

How does it work?

If your body’s nutritional needs are not met, it will tell you to keep eating until you have all the glucose (energy), vitamins, and minerals you need.   That’s why cravings are a good thing. They’re your body’s way of telling you what it needs. (And believe me, they are never wrong.)

Unfortunately, in this day and age, our brain often gets confused thanks to a barrage of food advertising and an abundance of processed foods.

So, now, when your body sends out the signal, “I need sweet food,” your brain can easily interpret it as “Get me a tub of rocky road ice cream,” instead of what your body is actually looking for, which is the energy, vitamins, and minerals that come from root vegetables. Both are sweet, but definitely not equal in nutritional profile.

So, if you give your body what it needs, you won’t even want the sweet imposters.

Try eating more sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, yucca, beets, rutabaga, turnips, jicama and butternut squash.

Eat a hearty root vegetable dish before a holiday party, and you’ll be able to stand in front of the dessert table for hours without drooling.

Of course, a few nibbles of holiday treats won’t kill you, so by all means, enjoy a taste!

Life is no fun without cake, but remember, it’s no fun with an expanding wasitband, either, so use this secret to be satisfied with one slice, instead of 8.

Information sourced from

How to stay fit during the busy holiday season

December 21, 2012

Beat The Holiday Bulge!Realistically speaking, your goals this time of year should be to fend off the dreaded holiday bulge (the average weight gain is about a half a kilo), hold on to your hard-won endurance (a person can lose up to 20 percent of their cardiovascular fitness if they quit exercising cold-turkey between Christmas to end of School Holidays), and put a dent in the inevitable stress of the season (so the stuff that’s supposed to be fun actually will be).

Fortunately, you can accomplish all those things (and even lose a few kilos!)—and you don’t need to carve out a huge amount of time to do it. Adding short bursts of intense effort can fire up your metabolism and fast-track results. In an Australian study, women who cranked out high-intensity interval training three days a week for 20 minutes (for 15 weeks) shed more fat than those who exercised for 40 minutes at a lower intensity over the same period.

And quickies aren’t just good for your waistline: Studies have suggested that small doses of regular exercise—we’re talking 10 to 20 minutes at a time—can result in temporary mood improvement or anxiety reduction. So just imagine how much stress you’ll be spared! Exercise raises levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels. “You may think a workout is the last thing you have time for during the holidays, but you’ll actually feel calmer and more confident if you can fit it in,” says Jasper Smits, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University.

With our uberefficient plan you can do just that. The routine uses supersets—back-to-back exercises that work opposing muscle groups—which torch calories and tone all over in less than half an hour. And don’t think you’re cutting corners by slashing your gym time: A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that participants burned just as many calories in a 30-minute superset circuit (like ours) as they did in a longer weight-training workout, and even more calories after they finished exercising. Ready to get yourself some of that? Let’s go!

Bonus burn!

Incinerate extra calories with one of these 20-minute cardio interval sessions as often as your crazy schedule permits.

On the road or at home. . .
No equipment or gym required! Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.

1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squat Jumps
3. Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you’re jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.
4. Burpees: Squat to place your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank position, and do a pushup. Reverse the move to return to standing, jumping off the ground to finish each rep.

At the gym. . .
Try this interval workout on any cardio machine. To up the effort, increase the incline, resistance, or speed.

0-5 minutes: Warmup (easy effort—you can sing at this pace)

5-7 minutes: Moderate effort (you can carry on a conversation)

7-10 minutes: Hard effort (you can speak a few words at a time)

10-12 minutes: Moderate effort

12-14 minutes: Recovery (easy effort)

14-16 minutes: Very hard effort (you’re huffing and puffing too much to talk)

16-20 minutes: Cooldown (easy effort)

Article sourced from

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Low Carb Turkey ‘Stuffing’

December 20, 2012

·         360g mild chorizo sausage
·         ½ cup chopped onion
·         1 cup chopped celery
·         1 head cauliflower, chopped
·         ½ cup white wine
·         ¼ cup chopped walnuts
·         ¼ cup chopped parsley
·         1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
·         Salt and pepper to taste
1.      Slice the sausage into ½ cm slices and cook in a large fry pan. Add the onions and celery to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
2.      Add the cauliflower and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, and allowing to brown slightly.
3.      Add the white wine and cook on moderate heat until no liquid remains in the bottom of the pan.
4.      Add the walnuts and cook for about 2 minutes.
5.      Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve alongside cooked turkey or chicken, roasted vegies and salads.

Drink (water) and be merry (and thin)

December 18, 2012

I know I’m guilty of not drinking enough water.  Maybe you need more H2O in your life, too.

Here are some compelling reasons why we should all enjoy more of the life-giving substanceWater, Water Everywhere: Author of Upcoming Book Explains Why Hydration is Important for Losing Weight

By Crystal Petrello, MS, RD, Coauthor of But I’m Hungry!  But I'm Hungry

TAMPA, Fla. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Registered dietitian and coauthor of upcoming e-book, But I’m Hungry!, to be launched Sept. 15 from Satisfaction Solutions Press, explains that hydration is important to weight loss any time of year.

Hydration is one of the keys to weight loss. It allows your body to give you proper hunger signals, while also preventing headaches, detoxifying metabolic byproducts and aiding post-workout rejuvenation and healing. Proper hydration is important because our bodies are more than half water. Water transports nutrients, regulates our body temperature, aids in digestion and gets rid of waste. So it’s at the foundation of any healthy diet/eating plan.

Your Body’s Needs

To avoid being thirsty, drink eight to 10 cups of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free fluid a day. This equals about two liters of fluid. For those refilling 16-ounce water bottles, this is five bottles a day. Water is the quickest and cheapest way to hydrate. Milk, juice and water in fruits and vegetables also add to daily fluid intake. Water, however, is the only natural calorie-free way to hydrate. (Keep reading for ideas for adding flavor without artificial sweeteners or tons of calories.)

Dehydration can mimic the feeling of hunger. As you learn to recognize the hunger signals your body is sending you, think about how much fluid you have had to drink during the day. There are times in our days when it is more difficult to drink enough fluids due to our jobs or schedule.

Seasonal changes can make it more difficult to get enough fluids. Our desire to drink cold water in the winter and in the summer fluctuates. If you are in the Midwest it may be easy to get enough water in the winter by warming up with your hot tea, but it is also dehydrating you. In the summer in the Southwest it is easy to get enough water because of the heat. But use eight to 10 cups as a guide for your needs all year round.

If you’re not sure whether you’re hungry or thirsty drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes. This may help your body adjust and help you figure out if you are hungry or thirsty. And when you are eating a meal, choose a low-calorie beverage to enjoy with your meal. About three-quarters of our daily fluid consumption happens while we are eating.

About But I’m Hungry!

But I’m Hungry! is a collaborative effort by a health writer, registered dietitian and editor who have joined forces to help people beat the one thing that often stands in the way of living healthy: hunger.

The e-book includes analyses of hunger, meal plans and weight-loss recipes, and tons of strategies for beating the beast. Visit    


Crystal Petrello.

Running Backwards?

December 16, 2012

running backwards

This column appears in the Dec. 9 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

Backward running, also known as reverse or retro running, is not as celebrated as barefoot running and will never be mistaken for the natural way to run. But a small body of science suggests that backward running enables people to avoid or recover from common injuries, burn extra calories, sharpen balance and, not least, mix up their daily routine.

The technique is simple enough. Most of us have done it, at least in a modified, abbreviated form, and probably recently, perhaps hopping back from a curb as a bus went by or pushing away from the oven with a roasting pan in both hands. But training with backward running is different. Biomechanically, it is forward motion’s doppelgänger. In a study published last year, biomechanics researchers at the University of Milan in Italy had a group of runners stride forward and backward at a steady pace along a track equipped with force sensors and cameras.

They found that, as expected, the runners struck the ground near the back of their feet when going forward and rolled onto the front of their feet for takeoff. When they went backward though, they landed near the front of their feet and took off from the heels. They tended to lean slightly forward even when running backward. As a result, their muscles fired differently. In forward running, the muscles and tendons were pulled taut during landing and responded by coiling, a process that creates elastic energy (think rubber bands) that is then released during toe-off. When running backward, muscles and tendons were coiled during landing and stretched at takeoff. The backward runners’ legs didn’t benefit from stored elastic energy. In fact, the researchers found, running backward required nearly 30 percent more energy than running forward at the same speed. But backward running also produced far less hard pounding.

What all of this means, says Giovanni Cavagna, a professor at the University of Milan who led the study, is that reverse running can potentially “improve forward running by allowing greater and safer training.”

It is a particularly attractive option for runners with bad knees. A 2012 study found that backward running causes far less impact to the front of the knees. It also burns more calories at a given pace. In a recent study, active female college students who replaced their exercise with jogging backward for 15 to 45 minutes three times a week for six weeks lost almost 2.5 percent of their body fat.

And it aids in balance training — backward slow walking is sometimes used as a therapy for people with Parkinson’s and is potentially useful for older people, whose balance has grown shaky.

But it has drawbacks, Cavagna says — chiefly that you can’t see where you’re going. “It should be done on a track,” he says, “or by a couple of runners, side by side,” one facing forward.

It should be implemented slowly too, because its unfamiliar motion can cause muscle fatigue. Intersperse a few minutes periodically during your regular routine, Cavagna says. Increase the time you spend backward as it feels comfortable.

The good news for serious runners is that backward does not necessarily mean slow. The best recorded backward five-kilometer race time is 19:31, faster than most of us can hit the finish line with our best foot forward.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Apple shallot pork chops

December 12, 2012

Healthy Inspirations

Apple shallot pork chops

Serves 4


  • 1 apple
  • 2 shallots
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Cinnamon\sea salt
  • 4 large pork chops
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup slivered toasted almonds


  1. Slice the apple as thinly as possible and then cut the slices in half. Thinly slice the shallots.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 4 Tbsp of the coconut oil over medium heat and add the apples and shallots. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the apples are tender but still a little crisp. Remove the apple mixture from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the last Tbsp coconut oil to the pan. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with the cinnamon on both sides and add a light sprinkle of sea salt is desired. Rub the cinnamon into the chops and place the chops in the pan. Sear on each side for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine to the skillet and bring to the boil to cook off the alcohol.
  5. Add the apple mixture, cover and cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Place the chops onto four serving plates and top with the apple mixture and slivered almonds. Serve with a green salad or steamed vegies.

Helping today’s kids fight obesity

December 11, 2012


Heart Research Institution

Obesity in children has doubled in just 10 years. There are now seven times more overweight or obese children than was the case a generation ago. As a result, experts predict that these children will be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parents due to the known links between obesity and the increased risk of heart disease! Here are 20 tips to help address this problem:

1. Set a good example – research shows that the eating habits of parents are closely related to the weight of their children.

2. Turn off the TV – too much TV makes kids fat. Restrict them to an hour or so a day and get them outside playing.

3. Size of the meal – don’t overload your kids’ plates and don’t force them to eat everything once they’ve had enough. Keep meals regular with only small, healthy snacks in between.

4. Make water the main drink at home – soft drink, concentrated fruit juice and cordial are way too high in sugar.

5. Keep the junk food at bay – only allow it occasionally.

6. Careful with rewards – rewards are great when your kids excel, but don’t use food as the prize.

7. Careful with the school food – know what’s available at school and limit canteen lunches to once a week.

8. Be smart with snacks – most ‘snack foods’ are full of sugar, fat and salt.

9. Keep on the move – make life fun for your kids by taking them to the park and kicking a ball around.

10. Take the low fat option – once your children reach 2, feed them low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese.

11. Options – get your kids to try lots of different types of foods, providing plenty of healthy alternatives like cereals, fruit, yoghurts, etc.

12. Beware negative comments – never say negative things about the shape of your kids or their weight.

13. Time – everyone’s busy, but take the time to cook healthy dinners instead of getting takeaway.

14. Breastfeeding – can protect against weight problems later in life.

15. Get physical – schedule in regular exercise with your kids, allowing them to try different sports as they grow up.

16. Balance – never ban a food completely… it only makes it more desirable. (My wife and I did this with Coke and our daughter Paloma now wants it more than anything!)

17. Emotional eating – understand that kids often use food as a means of coping with difficult times, so be careful if (e.g.) they’re being teased at school, etc.

18. Long term – as with many adults, children need to lose fat slowly and it often takes a year to see results. They do have growth spurts that help them lose weight.

19. Do breakfast – overweight people tend to skip breakfast. Set up good habits right from the start.

20. Varied appetite – a child’s appetite will vary as they go through different stages such as growth spurts. Let them determine this to some degree so they understand how much food is enough.

By Guy Leech, Information Sourced from

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Berries & Yoghurt with Roasted Muesli Crumble

December 6, 2012

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Coast

Serves 2

1 dairy protein | 1 fruit carb | 1 grain/starchy carb | 1 fat


  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 3 Tbsp raw oats
  • 2 Tbsp wheatgerm
  • 2 tsp mixed raw sunflower and sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400 g diet berry yoghurt
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 100 g frozen raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 220C. To make muesli crumble place coconut, oats, wheatgerm, seeds, almonds and cinnamon on a non-stick tray lined with baking paper. Bake 15 mins or until golden brown.
  2. Place ¼ of the yoghurt into 2 clear glasses. Scatter with ¼ each of the berries. Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp muesli crumble over berries, then repeat with remaining yoghurt, berries and crumble.