Is sitting the new smoking

According to health experts sitting is the new smoking. The Irish blogger wrote about this article and I wanted to talk about it from Australia’s perspective. More and more of us work sedentary jobs and according to WHO we should get about 150 mins of moderate to vigorous activity a week. Office workers fair the worst when it comes to exercise. We sit and work our butts off in the office, but we don’t really do much moving. We go out for corporate lunches and dinners and have heavy meals.

At my old job of being a food blogger, there wasn’t a lot of room for standing and being active. Hence I put on a bit of weight (fat mainly). But at my new job which is writing about health and losing weight sustainably by running marathons I had a lot more opportunities to move more rather than sitting all the time.

Oh, and as such, I appreciated healthier ways of eating and moving about.

So is all that sitting and sedentary behavior bad for you?

Yes. We should be up and moving. We are made to move. When I sat all day I was not that happy and productive pre-2015. I felt like a glutenous lump and I’m sure you do too. Post-2015 I moved more and was happier and healthier for it. Post-2015 I joined a gym and got really active.

We measure activity using the Metabolic energy testing system (METS).

Light housework is 1.5-3 METS

Jogging, cycling is about 3-6 METS. The more intense it is would be about 5-10 METS.

Here’s how to be active.

  • Get off the bus/train a few stops early
  • Park a few meters away and walk the rest
  • Run when you can when it’s not busy at work. If you can sign up to a running event to get yourself motivated
  • If you have the money or work pays for you, join a gym. You might make some new friends whilst moving around and that will motivate you.
  • Offer to buy the other colleagues coffee.
  • Don’t have lunch at your desk. Instead, get outside. Vitamin D is good for you.
  • Love to cycle? Do you have a bike? Then why not cycle to work and home?
  • If you are in a restaurant with a six-course dinner and wine why not move about in between meals. If you have a long wait in between meals why not go outside and walk around the block.
  • Have walking meetings instead of sitting down meetings

Dump the scales campaign

And why Australia needs to dump those scales and learn some healthy habits. Yes to dumping the scales and accepting yourself. Its what’s inside that counts.

blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I got inspired by the Growing Butterfly’s Dump the scales post and decided to write my own. Hope Virgo started the campaign in London and there is a popular petition going on with about 71000+ signatures. I think it can also apply to Australians as we are fixated on weight. It is about the way that the NHS have treated these patients by turning them away.

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In fact, some of us have developed eating disorders because we are so fixated on the number on the scales. Sane defines it as a mental condition that affects 1 million Australians each year. The National Eating Disorders foundation says that 16% of Australians have developed an eating disorder. About 88% of those have bulimia. In 2015 I really wanted to lose weight so I was on the scales quite a lot and was fixated on going to the gym without eating much. As such during my periods I threw up and was quite PMSY on the first day of my period every month.

I also didn’t have a lot of energy to do my cycle classes properly because I was eating not enough calories and I was too light.

Fast forward to 2017 where I went to the gym and ate a lot and no I did not go on the scales a lot. I am happy with who I am and I don’t really care about those scales. Yes, there are still members that do this to this day. I see those new members at my gym that does it as they want to lose weight fast. They also may not know that eating after a class is actually ok as your body needs the protein to function.

Once in a while, I still get those ovulation pains and throw up sometimes.

Sometimes the scales can be inaccurate and the BMI can be also inaccurate as you may have more muscle and a lot less body fat and you’ll still weigh the same. It is recommended that you weigh yourself only once a week and not every day.

Verywell says that the scale can create a negative experience for some and some people get anxiety around the scales. Every time that number creeps up people get a bit unhappy about it even though they did the right thing. It could be just hormonal especially for ladies. It’s ok not to reach your goal weight as your body is quite different. Just accept it for what it is and be grateful for what you have.

Its healthy habits that count and not the scales.

If you or someone else has an eating disorder or continually measures themselves on the scale, its best to give the Butterfly foundation a call. Or Lifeline.


The Obesity epidemic: does Australia have a role to play?

The obesity epidemic is huge at the moment with lots of fast food chain stores opening. Obesity puts a strain on our healthcare system as people turn to the gastric bypass or the lap band. Both of these procedures are expensive and are not covered by Medicare. Healthdirect says that the cost of obesity is around $637 million each year and that covers the costs of absenteeism and procedures.

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Here’s one reason why Australians are obese and that’s beer. Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

It partly is the Government’s fault and it’s partly ours. The government should put a junk food tax and give discounts for healthier foods.

The government should increase the number of free fitness programs for people on welfare. People on welfare can afford the council’s free fitness programs but usually can’t afford the gym.

The government doesn’t provide a lot of funding for those that have a disability to get support in the gym. In my gym I see quite a fair few people with a disability trying really hard.

bread food restaurant dinner

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s also junk food advertising in the peak hours of 7am-9am and from 6pm-9pm at night. This is the time that families are home for dinner and home in the morning for breakfast. Mcdonalds has all their cheap deals and promotions going on at this time.

But its also ours in the fact that we are sedentary for most of the time. We don’t do much in terms of physical activity and we also eat too much junk food as its affordable. We work 12-14 hours a day and usually sit at our desk for lunch.

What if we didn’t need all that? What then?

Australia should reduce the number of McDonald’s on every street. They should also reduce the number of KFC and Nene Chicken outlets as well as Subway. The government should look at banning junk food ads at this time and instead put ads about healthy food up there. The ads about Marley Spoon and Hellofresh is great as it encourages people to cook.

The major supermarket chains should move the chips and the lollies to the back aisles and showcase fresh produce and canned food. At the supermarket, I often have to go through the lollies and chips just to get to the canned food aisle and other health food aisles.

Every week the lollies and chips are advertised as a special. And people buy them. I have seen huge parties in Maribynong park on Saturday where people bring lollies and stuff.

But at the same time, we should be with the HAES approach- Health at every size. These people have tried everything, yet they fail to lose weight. And some people are happy the way they are.


How we can lose weight with the NEAT method

Hate Exercise? Well, don’t worry your metabolism is working away in the background. It is doing everything it can from oxygen consumption to digestion of food depending on your body type.

NEAT is the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. We need some of that in our daily lives. This is the daily incidental non-exercise activity such as doing steps. This can vary from person to person as some people can be lean and not have to wear a coat on cold days. If people are overfed they just expend that energy through heat and movement. And some people compensate for eating more by eating less the next day.

We also need BMR  as well. BMR is the basal metabolic rate which your body needs to function. TDEE is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. You add the BMR and the number of calories that you burn whilst exercising and then you get your total calorie expenditure.

We use oxygen and the amount of oxygen that we use depends on the person. Generally, we use about 3.5 milliliters of oxygen per minute and that is just to breathe

Then we also have METS which are the Metabolic testing which measures how much oxygen we use in any given activity. Light activity is 1 MET. More intense activity is about 5-10 MET.

How to burn off those extra calories by not doing much.

Standing

When you stand you use more calories. Instead of sitting on the train, tram or bus, why not stand for the entire journey?

If you use the phone why not stand up to use it?

If the management can install a standing only desk, why don’t they do it?

Walking

If you walk a lot then it helps to burn the calories. Each day we are supposed to do 10000 steps. Not everyone can do it straight away but if you have a pedometer or a Garmin why not give it a go? After the time you’ll get used to it and it will be your daily routine.

Instead of emailing or ringing a colleague why not walk to their desk instead?

Instead of having sit down meetings why not do a walking meeting outside?

Instead of having someone or Ubereats grab your lunch or coffee, why not do it yourself?

You should park the car far away and then walk to your office!

If you have stairs why not use them instead of the lift!

Gardening

Do you have a garden? If so then gardening helps to use up some of your energy.

Housework

If you do some light housework then it counts.

Eat a high protein diet

This will help you gain more muscle to help you burn off that fat!

Carry some objects

This will help you to burn the fat and put on some lean muscle.


Mind and Body festival and why its good for office workers to go

Office workers get stressed out and tired all the time from sitting at their desk. They could benefit from a show like this where they can learn a lot.

There were a lot of people there wanting some answers to their problems of stress and feeling unhappy.

Whilst there were many detox teas and lifestyle products on offer we were only here for a few things.

Stress

It is said that about 45% of adults in Australia don’t get enough sleep at night. Stress is one of the biggest problems leading to thyroid issues amongst other things.

We learned a Chakra that day in the free workshop and that was to imagine the gold and white stripes of energy going through your body. Here this energy starts at your head and goes all the way down to your feet and then it comes back up again and down again. You do this meditation closing your eyes for about 5-10 mins daily.

Now tell me how that feels!

The expo has a lot of stalls where you can find your happiness once more. Here they had lots of crystal stalls as well as free meditation stalls. I didn’t have time to attend the free meditation but I sometimes do it at home.

Nutrition

We are big on eating more vegetables and whilst the show didn’t have a lot of nutritious meals, some stalls offered it such as Ragini’s Kitchen. But they were fairly overpriced. If they were keen on teaching good nutrition and encouraging us to eat more vegetables, why not have a Woolworth’s stall full of fresh salads and people pay what they feel its worth?

Or better yet why not have a Lentils stall?

But I liked the Bretzel.biz pretzel as that was the only nutritious thing offered that did not cost a bomb.

There was the usual expo cafe that was just overpriced and full of fried goods

Gut health

Gut health is another one of our problems in society today. Too many people have bad gut health. It’s due to too much-caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Also, we don’t have enough vegetables and black beans in our diet.

We eat too much-saturated fats including meats and fried foods in our diet. And some people have too much dairy which can be fattening.

And thirdly we don’t get enough exercise in a day.  For exercise, you can do whatever you like but we should be getting in 150 mins of vigorous activity per week.

Many thanks to the Mind, Body and Spirit festival for having me and next time there should be more food stalls that offer nutritious goods on the cheap and not the expensive crap. Oh, and there should be free water for everyone too.


Running and sleep: how sleep quality affects your runs

Running and sleep is an important topic.

photo of a woman hugging a blue pillow

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Sleep can benefit us all according to Runners tribe. Having a good night’s sleep can help repair muscle tissues and keep the weight down. As a result we run much better.

Last year alone I did not sleep so well in winter. I had a hard time trying to fall asleep and stay asleep. As runners we need about 7-8 hours of sleep.

Getting a good nights sleep helps regulate the appetite hormone.

In winter it gets really cold down here in Melbourne.

As such my running was not as good as it was in summer.  At that time my BPM was not more than 140 during my runs and long runs were getting harder. As a result, I had put on weight.

And the quality of my runs had diminished.

In Precision nutrition course we look at the relationship between running and good sleep and how having a good night’s sleep results in good runs. If you don’t sleep well and continually have this problem you’ll have trouble focusing on stuff that you meant to know. And you’ll be more injury prone.

According to Runners-resource.com, muscle grows in our sleep when we are in that deep restful mode. During a long hard workout, muscle tissue breaks down and you become sore and stiff. Hence this is why muscle would be lost if we do not sleep well all the time.

Sleep is essential for proper immune functions. Without it we would be more likely to get colds and other viruses.

Is one night of no sleep is ok?

It generally is, but try to have this once in a while. It is ok the night before the race as you are probably so nervous and excited to run.

Runners World says that you should track your sleeping hours online to see if there is a pattern or two. They talk about this sleep debt and that runners should not have such a bad sleep debt. If you do have bad sleep debt then an extra hour or two a week would not hurt.

What to do if you are constantly having a bad nights sleep

  • Keep to the same wake and sleep hours- too much sleep equaled by not enough can equate to insomnia.
  • Take magnesium to help calm the nerves
  • Keep your room nice and warm
  • Drink camomile tea
  • Don’t exercise so late at night
  • Keep caffeine to a minimum
  • Don’t eat large meals before bed
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol before bed as you’ll be up all night trying to get rid of it.
  • Turn off the phone before bed

Hope these tips help you to get a good nights sleep almost every night. And it ok to have that one night of no sleep occasionally.

 


Why eating potassium is important

As runners, we should be eating enough potassium for better performance.

Potassium is a mineral that goes well with sodium to maintain electrolyte and fluid balance in our bodies. There is a reason why water and bananas go well according to Runners World and that is to make sure that we are properly hydrated until the end.

Also potassium is the energy that runners need to function properly during the long runs.

Eating potassium is important for muscle function as without it our muscles cannot function properly. I tried going for long runs without potassium but it does not work. In the end, my runs got slower. Also, my skin felt really clammy and dried up during the summer runs in my first year. For the serious runners, it would mean lots of cramping and gas.

Recovery without much potassium is really hard as potassium is one of the building blocks for muscle and energy

Now I have learned better and my skin is not so clammy during my runs.

We run in the hot weather and lose a lot of potassium due to sweat. This leads to muscle cramps and diarrhea. Running Brina sums up the need for potassium well. Having enough potassium can regulate the heartbeat as well.

As runners, we get tired or fatigued. So we need a lot more potassium than the average joe. We would need somewhere between 3500-4000 mg a day. Most people don’t get that much. But Runners World says that we need about 4700 mg of potassium and 2300 mg of sodium a day.

Is it possible to be potassium deficient?

Most likely not but if you are running and eating a lot of junk food it may be wise to change your diet to include more veg and fruit.

Potassium deficiency according to Healthyliving can be difficult to measure as it is not your usual muscle cramps, but there are dizziness and lightheadedness in there after your run

If we eat too low in potassium we may have some digestive issues.

But luckily in our diet, we have enough potassium so we don’t really need supplementation.

So what foods have potassium in them?

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Dried Apricots
  • Red Kidney beans
  • Most seafood
  • Leafy greens
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Prunes
  • Soybeans
  • Cheese- but too much of it can be bad for you. One slice a day is enough.
  • Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium as well as carbohydrates. You can choose from sweet to the normal potatoes.

For endurance runners, a sports drink is recommended to replace the potassium lost throughout the run. But for me, I like to stick with real food and none of that sweet sugary stuff.


Happy hour

And why it is good to have it sometimes.

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Happy hour is meant to be an hour for unwinding and distressing about things. Here you can enjoy that odd glass of wine or two and not have to worry about weight or health. Its good to be able to socialize once a week and let your hair down.

Happy hour is where they serve cheap drinks at those times. But people have gone a bit overboard with them. The New daily says that about 45% of Australians drink with the intention of getting drunk. Australians are obsessed with beer compared to wine.

But just don’t go over your alcohol limit and drink plenty of water.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

But just don’t let the occasional happy hour turn into weeks. You have to have some days if not most days of the week alcohol-free. You could try a cocktail or two with Fever trees non-alcoholic drinks. Fever tree does these wonderful non-alcoholic drinks and I have tried them before at David Jones.

Even if you do happy hour you should drink responsibly and have some food with your wine. Happy hour needs to be earned. So you should work hard for your happy hour and do some exercise for it.

If you have to go for one of those degustation dinners see if you can come later before entree is served and after drinks and canapes. If you can’t then just choose to drink two drinks and do the rest as nonalcoholic.

If you during happy hour, sit away from the bar as you’ll less likely get carried away by the drinks that are served and will just focus on having one or two.

Free drinks? Yes please but still keep to your limits. Don’t go off limits just because its free.

Some short term effects of too much alcohol include

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Accidental injury by bumping into things
  • Road accidents
  • Blackouts

So what is responsible drinking?

For men, it is about 4 standard glasses within a day and for women its two per day. Standard glass can include a pot of beer or a glass of wine. And it can include a very small can of beer.

A pint is about two standard glasses of drink. One cocktail is also two standard drinks as many of them have two shots of alcohol.

Legally if I’m drunk can the bartender stop serving me?

Yes, and they should as it’s against the law in Australia. The bar or club or restaurant can be fined for serving drunk patrons. Moreover, these places employ security staff to handle drunk patrons and can ask you to leave. If you don’t leave they can call the police.

So enjoy that happy hour but just drink responsibly and earn it.


Instagram

Instagram is a really easy app to use. But there now is fake users and people who are not qualified to give information and pictures about health. In the last couple of months, I have seen many people pop up that are not qualified to give advice on nutrition and health. They cut out whole food groups such as dairy and treats which are important food groups. We should not have too many treats, though they are a good break from the ordinary diet.

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Here you post a lot of pictures but there are followers who are fake. And there are people that buy their followers which is not fair for others. In the past, I have had emails from sales people asking if I wanted to buy Instagram followers. I just blocked them.

You might remember the case of Brittany Dawson Fitness where a lot of people paid her money and she never gave anything besides showing off. Brittany Dawson is a US fitness blogger. She showed pictures of herself and it’s usually airbrushed.

There are other accounts like this too. In real life weight loss is not as simple as or fast as 6 weeks. It’s usually about six months of sheer hard work.

So what is Instagram doing about it?

They are deleting people who are fake or those that are not qualified. I guess in a way that’s great for businesses and individuals alike. So far I have had about 50 fake followers deleted from my account.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Do a google search on the user and see if they are actually qualified. Also, check out their profile to see if they are.

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If they have more followers than they follow then that is another question. Also if they write spammy comments on your post and they don’t post much is another way.

And don’t send any money to a person that you don’t know and if its an online fitness business you should see their work first. See what other people say about them on places like Facebook and their Instagram posts. Their work is usually a video or an actual blog post detailing how they do their workouts. And you should read the reviews.

Also, look at other fitness and health professionals online. Some of them call out these so-called fake bloggers. Fake bloggers usually don’t have a nutrition or fitness education and they usually promote some sort of diet where food groups are eliminated, especially dairy which we all need. And some of them make us feel terrible about going out and having a good time sometimes by discouraging it. Pixienutrition does this on her Instagram and so do some of the others such as Nutrition and Guru Chef.

You can report these fake people to Instagram and then Instagram will remove the account and ask people to rectify this.

I wish there was a list of those that we should not follow but then again Instagram doesn’t like to judge anyone much. And there are always new people popping up on Instagram on every single day.


Week 5 of Precision Nutrition

This week we learned about energy and the resting metabolic rate. This rate varies from one person to the next.

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We learned about kcals and calories. Calories are the energy-dense food and kcals is the food which has the smallest amount of energy such as vegetables and fruits.

This week was also about energy in and energy out. If we burn more than we consume in a day for over a period of days than we lose weight. If we burn less energy than we take in we will get fat.

Also, the timing of the nutrients is important. If you have just protein and fat your body will use that in a singular session. But if you have carbs with the protein your body will absorb that.  Hormonal balances are another thing to consider. For a woman, this is really important as our energy needs vary from week to week.

It is difficult to know how many calories that your body digests because you cannot see this. We excrete calories too. We can use all the calorie trackers in the world but we still cannot count how much we digest. Some of the calorie trackers may be outdated. Also, the soil and growing conditions make it hard for us to track our nutrients properly as they differ depending on climate and where the food was grown. The ripeness of our food matters because the nutrients can change (ie. a tomato eaten in the middle of winter can have fewer nutrients in it).

A product can have many different varieties that can vary with the nutrients and ingredients in them.

To gain lean muscle you need to have enough protein and do some strength training. About 2-3 times a week is enough. And for runners, we need about 100g-150g of protein a day.

We also learned about the law of thermodynamics and the fact that a thin person could be warm and not need to wear a coat or run a heater. NEAT is one way to describe this.

Sleep also uses up some of our energy. The better you sleep the more energy you will use. Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) will go up when you sleep well. Your Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum amount of energy that you need in a day for your body to function well. For females, this can vary depending on where they are at during their cycle.

The Thermic effect on food is the body’s way of digesting food. Thermogenesis is the process of heat production in the body. Protein has the highest thermic response as it uses more energy to digest them. Fats have the lowest thermic response meaning that your body does not need a lot of energy to digest it.

Total daily energy expenditure can be measured by adding the BMR, Thermic effect of food and physical activity together.

Measuring oxygen and energy helps us to estimate the energy cost and metabolism that our bodies need. For everyone their needs are different. Metabolic rates are also different for everyone as it depends on their lifestyle, gender, age, and other influences.

As a coach, I love to find activities that work best for everyone and what they like.