Fit Body Fresh Mind
Maddy
4:57 AM

Do you exercise to lose weight? Do this instead.


Most of us when we want to get “healthy” or lose weight, the first thing we do is commit to exercising more and/or harder. Sounds familiar?


While exercising is not a bad idea, it is often overvalued as a means to lose weight & “get healthy” and takes our focus away from other factors that have a more powerful effect on our health & weight such as diet, sleep, hydration & mindset.

In the past few years I´ve experimented a lot with the amount of exercise I have been doing and I´ve also taken a keen interest in the habits of others, not just as a Health Coach but as a friend, girlfriend, sister, daughter & Pilates trainer.

15 years ago, I was living with a pro athlete and both our lives revolved around fitness. We were waking up at 5:30am nearly every day, going to the gym for 2 hours a day & running up to 70kms a week. (He was doing quite a bit more than that but that was my average week!)

While I can´t say I wasn´t fit, I wasn´t exactly happy either. I was constantly tired & sore from training, I was 10% heavier than what I am now, I had a round little belly because I was bloated AF from eating foods that didn´t agree with me & I was ravenous all the time.

My training was driving me to eat more than I needed and my eating was driving me to train harder each time to offset the calories. Maybe you can relate?

This is only one of the issues that are often overlooked when we start training harder or more in order to "be healthy" or to lose weight. Here are a few others:

·      We believe that because we´ve worked out, burnt calories & are hungry, we can eat anything we want.

Well, we can´t. While 100 percent of the calories we consume come from food, we can only burn 10 to 30% through physical activity each day.


By addressing what & how much you eat, you can have an impact on the 100% you consume rather than on the 10-30% that you spend through physical activity. 

·      Physical activity increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a “stress hormone” that not only affects insulin levels and therefore our hunger but also favors fat storage, especially around the abdomen.

I know it might seem crazy but it wasn´t until I stopped doing high intensity workouts and opted for walking, Pilates & Yoga instead that I finally lost the fat around my abdomen. It also made me more relaxed, less ravenous and gave me the ability to be more mindful of what I was eating.

Slowing down is sometimes the best way to speed up!

·      Going to the gym is something we do occasionally, at most once a day. Eating is something we do several times a day, every day. 

Being more mindful of what you eat requires less time than exercise but will have more of an effect on your body as you eat more often than you exercise!

·      If you exercise solely for the purpose of losing weight, you´re more likely to choose a form of exercise purely based on the fact that it “burns calories” instead of it being something you truly enjoy and that benefits your body.

A good form of exercise should make you stronger (without breaking you), more flexible, more mobile, more relaxed & happier as a result. These factors are more important than the amount of calories it will make you burn.

Wild thing

Aside from the above, there are three other factors worth addressing in any quest to lose weight, that are as important, if not more important than diet & exercise:

1)   Sleep: When we are tired we are more likely to reach for junk food and to neglect our diet. We are also more prone to stress. Stress leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to disease.

The quality & the amount you sleep affects your stress & hunger hormones so getting enough sleep is as important as exercising & eating healthy!

2)   Hydration: we often mistake hunger for dehydration.

One of the first things I do with my private clients and in my detox program, before I even address diet or exercise, is to make sure people are drinking enough water.

A lack of water can affect your metabolism, your capacity to eliminate but also your brain´s ability to function. No amount of exercise will be beneficial  to your health if your body is not properly hydrated. 

3)  Mindfulness & stress management: you already know that stress hormones can affect your ability to lose weight but stress also has an impact on the voice in your head. Your mental health is as important as your physical health.

The mind and body are not separate. What affects one, affects the other.

Meditation & breathing techniques are the most powerful ways to calm and focus your mind. It only takes a few minutes a day but it affects every minute of your life that follows.

Realising that you have the ability to find peace inside of you, no matter what is going on in the World around you is extremely empowering and will benefit you in more ways than one.

More info about my personalized coaching programs can be found on my website www.maddywell.com. My next 10 day mind & body detox starts on October 23rd. You can get more info & secure your spot by signing up here.

Integrative Nutrition
10:44 AM

5 Health Conditions That Affect Women More Than Men

We all know that women’s bodies are different from men, but to what extent do we truly understand how women can take unique preventative measures to live a long and healthy life? Read More

Maddy
3:08 PM

How to burn off those summer calories



I don´t know about you but during the holidays I tend to let things slip a little when it comes to what I eat & drink (oops, I´m only human!) so when I get back home in September I´m pretty excited to start cooking my own food & eating healthy again.

I know summer is over so the whole "6 packs are made in the kitchen" crap may be a bit out of date. And maybe having a 6 pack is not exactly something that you strive for but regardless of that, I think we all want to

Look & feel our best! 

Wake up full of beans! 

Have beautiful radiant skin,

Have a fresh & focused mind so we can perform well at work

AND slide into our favorite pants effortlessly!

Right? 

Well it doesn't take endless hours of paving the pavement or getting beaten up by a trainer to get there.

80% OF THE WAY YOU LOOK & FEEL IS DOWN TO YOUR DIET, HOW MUCH YOU SLEEP & HOW WELL YOU HYDRATE

I know it sucks to hear this if you're training your ass off and believe me, it's not the best thing to say for business as I also work as a Pilates teacher but it's true! I´ve been there. I´ve done that.

This whole "I´ll just burn it off at the gym" thing might work for a short while but it never lasts the distance, especially if you get injured, as I have on a few occasions! 

Sooner or later, you´ll have to address the reasons why your body is holding onto unwanted weight and that starts with reviewing what you put on your plate.


What you eat makes up the cells of your body and therefore has a direct impact on the way you feel, look & think.

But if like me, you´ve indulged in a few too many glasses of your favorite drink this summer or eaten a few too many ice-creams even though you know this isn't the smartest thing to do for your health (we all do it...) then I still have good news for you!


WHAT YOU EAT MOST OF THE TIME IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU EAT SOMETIMES

So overindulging a little during the summer holidays is fine & perfectly normal, as long as you go back to eating healthy when you return to your routine!

Sometimes this is more difficult than what we may think because our bodies keep asking us for sugar, alcohol or any other of the bad habits we might have picked up on holiday. 

Sugar is addictive & so is alcohol (because it´s basically sugar) so as long as we keep consuming them, our bodies will keep asking for them.

Trying to “reduce” your sugar consumption is like telling a cocaine addict to ”practice moderation” by only having one line a day. It doesn´t always work.

Which is why my strategy is always to cut out the crap completely by going on a detox. Of course detoxing can be tricky because not all detox programs deliver the same results.

Many detox programs actually do more harm than good because they´re more of a temporary band-aid approach, don´t promote real healing and leave you desperately hungry.

But that´s not the case with my 10 day detox. Unlike most programs, it actually involves eating REAL FOOD! No juicing, no disgusting powders or pills.

It´s a full meal plan that tells you exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks as well as shopping lists & recipes of nutritious & delicious food that is super quick & easy to prepare, is full of antioxidants to reduce inflammation & to activate your body's natural ability to burn fat!

Sounds to good to be true? It isn´t. One of the main reasons people hold onto unwanted weight even though they eat pretty healthy is because of the buildup of toxins. The body is so busy dealing with the toxins that fat burning gets relegated.

By removing all the most common inflammatory foods from your diet (gluten, dairy & refined sugar) and flooding your system with the most powerful anti inflammatory foods, your metabolism will fire up, your cravings for junk food will disappear, your energy levels will go through the roof & you´ll start burning fat again!

So how much do you really want to look & feel your best?

Do you really want to discover how amazing your body is designed to feel when it´s properly nourished?

Or would you rather just stick to slaving away at the gym in the hope that it will one day pay off? 

No amount of training will do what healthy eating does and the beginning of that starts here


Maddy
5:21 AM

Trying to lose weight by counting calories makes no sense - here´s why

Ask a class of 6 graders if 1000 calories of soda and 1000 calories of broccoli have the same effect on our bodies and you will be sure the answer will be a unanimous no. Yet most of the medical profession, the majority of nutritionists, our governments, the media and the food industry are still actively promoting the outdated, scientifically disproven idea that all calories are created equal and that as long as you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. To illustrate how absurd this equation is, we follow 750 calories of broccoli & 750 calories of soda once they enter your body. Read More

Maddy
2:54 PM

How to eat out without freaking out!

Eating out is no excuse for not eating healthy. Here is my fail proof plan for eating out at restaurants! Read More

Maddy
4:48 AM

My top tips for getting rid of cellulite!

Don´t be fooled by appearances, 90% of women will at some point have cellulite. Here is my fail proof plan to tackle it! Read More

Integrative Nutrition
9:40 AM

The Role of Health Coaches

Have you ever thought about why rates of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses continue to rise, despite increasing healthcare costs? We tend to normalize illness based on how widespread it is in the United States, but illness is not the normal state of our bodies. Read More

Maddy
12:42 AM

Is meat good or bad? My honest opinion.

So I don´t know about you but I feel like saying that you´re a meat eater doesn´t seem to go down so well these days. Most of us will at least have one vegan friend who will bombard us with guilt and try and convince us to follow their path. Now I totally believe that we could all do with reducing our consumption of meat but I don´t think going vegetarian or vegan is for all of us. It´s certainly not for me...

I agree that the way animals are being treated in slaughterhouses is shocking and I don´t agree with any of the suffering they are being put through before ending up on our plates. I don´t think it´s good for our environment to be such large consumers of meat, nor that it´s particularly beneficial to our health. But instead of trying to convert myself and others to becoming strict vegetarians or vegans, I think the solution lies in becoming more mindful of our consumption of animal products, both when it comes to the quantities and the sourcing of it.

All the way through history meat has been considered a luxury and something we enjoyed occasionally as part of festivities or on a special night of the week, like Sunday roasts. The trouble is that in recent years as our demand for meat has grown, so has the supply for cheap meat, so now we´re knocking back chicken breasts and steaks like it was going out of fashion, which it hopefully is.

In my work as a Health Coach, I often get asked if meat is good or bad. My answer is always that it depends on where you get your meat from and how much of it you eat. If you get 2 Euros/USD/GBP steaks at the supermarket for your supper 5 days a week, it´s probably not going to be the best quality meat. You´re probably eating a mix of hormones & antibiotics that have been given to a cow that has lived its life in conditions similar to those of a concentration camp. Now if we really are what we eat, which I believe we are, then eating that cow is not going to make you the happiest, healthiest person on Earth.

If on the other hand, we could all be a bit more mindful of the sourcing of our meat and be prepared to spend the extra money by getting free range chicken (preferably from a farmer who actually lets his chickens run free) and doing so less occasionally, then I think we might be on to something. This would benefit the farmers who haven´t bought into factory farming, make a difference for our planet, for our health & for the wellbeing of the animals before they get killed.

Meat has come under a lot of fire recently because of its supposedly bad effect on our health but I think we should be mindful of not throwing out the baby with the bath water here. Yes most of us are consuming too much of it but I also think it´s been creating havoc on our health because of the way it is being produced today! Every time we eat meat we also ingest all the products that these poor animals are being injected with to grow faster and to survive long enough until they are ready to get killed. We are what we eat eats.

Hence why it´s probably worth noting that most cows these days are being fed grains even though they are not designed for this and that it´s creating havoc on their digestion... So they are being given drugs. A grass fed cow will not be subject to these problems. The nutritional value between a grain & grass fed cow differs too. The nutritional value of grass fed beef generally contain LESS TOTAL FAT but up to 5 times MORE HEALTHY FATS in the form of Omega 3s than grain fed beef. So going grass fed is definitely a better choice when it comes to your health, and theirs.

For moral reasons, I truly wish I could say that I don´t eat any animal products but after a few weeks on a vegan diet I start feeling weak, even though I´m always mindful of eating a lot of protein in the form of lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, quinoa & hemp. I just feel like there´s something missing and I feel much stronger, more alert and have more energy as soon as I reintroduce a tiny bit of chicken, fish, meat or eggs, even just one or two servings a week. 

It might have to do with the fact that I´m a blood type O which means I´m a natural "meat-eater" and strive on a hunter-gatherer style diet. Blood type As strive on grains and often find it easier to let go of animal products but it really depends from one person to another. The best way to find out is to experiment for yourself and see how it makes you feel. 

So in essence I don´t think meat is bad for us but I think our overconsumption of it and modern farming is where the problem lies. And the only way we can do anything about this is to reduce our consumption and to be more mindful of where we source from. I ´ve reduced my consumption of animal products by 90% in the past 4 to 5 years so it´s a slow process but I feel much better for it. Even though I´m a carnivore, I was having way too much of it and by replacing most of it with vegan sources and only keeping it as an occasional treat, I feel lighter, my digestion has improved and so have my energy levels. I hope this inspires you to do the same.

Maddy
6:45 AM

Why I decided to become a Health Coach

Even though I studied Politics and thought I would make my career working for the UN, I´ve always been passionate about health & fitness and working as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach makes me feel like I´ve finally found my vocation. 

Supporting others in feeling better in their bodies and getting rid of any symptoms by improving their diet & lifestyle is something I really love and I feel I was made for. But I didn´t get to this point without having to go through my own struggles first. So here is a little glimpse of what it took!

When I was in my early twenties I was a bit obsessed with eating healthy. I was eating “low fat” & “low calorie” foods and working out to “burn calories” yet I was feeling like crap. I was obsessed with my health yet I was feeling worse than ever and suffering from candida. Candida overgrowth is a common condition that relates to imbalances in the gut flora.

After several rounds of medication, I got referred to a naturopath who suggested the cause of my disease was in my diet. Needless to say that this came as a massive surprise since I thought I was eating very healthy. It turned out that even though most of the food I was eating was labeled as healthy, it couldn´t be further from it. It was actually what was feeding my disease!

After two consultations with the naturopath I got sent home with a piece of paper saying I needed to eliminate all sugar, caffeine, gluten and dairy from my diet for a year. I was allowed 1 piece of fruit a day and told to be creative. Thanks.

I was in pieces and I had no idea where to start but I was determined to give it a shot since I really wanted to feel better. The first 3 weeks were tough. I had no clue what to eat and the first week I felt like a druggie because I was craving sugar so bad. I was moody, angry and had no one to turn to for support but I was determined to see things through.

Within less than a month, all my symptoms completely disappeared and along with it the bloating, the extra weight & the fatigue. Suddenly I started feeling lighter and my mind cleared up. Every day I started waking up a little fresher and slowly I was starting to feel much happier again. It was like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders, and my belly.

I´ve never really been fat but in those days I had some stubborn puppyfat stuck around my waist that had been causing me some grief but that suddenly vanished. My body had finally gotten rid of the toxins that were making me ill and I was back to being happy & full of beans again.

Even though the benefits were huge, the road there was not the easiest. I had very little support and was pretty much left to my own devices so I started devouring books, trying new recipes and learning as much as I could about how food can either cause or cure inflammation in our bodies. I realized that a lot of the information we are being fed by the media and the food industry today is extremely confusing and most often doesn't benefit our health.

Sure you might lose some weight by eating powders, pills or diet bars but will it really benefit your health? No. This is why I wanted to develop a program that would help others with the prime objective of improving their health & happiness, not just to lose weight. The weight loss becomes the byproduct. Once the inflammation reduces as a result of a healthier diet, our digestion improves and everything starts working better so the weight comes off naturally.

Chronic inflammation is the underlying issue to most diseases and also the reason why many people are holding on to unwanted weight. I wasn´t carrying those extra 5kgs because I wasn´t working out enough or because I was eating too many calories. I was running up to 70kms a week, going to the gym every day and eating less than 2000 calories a day. The reason I was sick & carrying a little extra weight was because I was eating the wrong foods and putting my body under too much stress from the toxins they contained but also from overtraining.

It took me a long time to make sense of this because we are all led to believe that fat storage is a result of too many calories in V not enough calories out. While this might be true if you study a mechanical engine, it doesn´t work for humans because we have so much else going on that affects how we burn calories including what we eat, our emotions and how many toxins our bodies are trying to process at the same time.

It´s been over 8 years since I turned around my diet and even though the first few weeks were hard, I would never go back to the way I was eating and training before. It was way too hard work and too frustrating. Now I´ve realized what my body is meant to feel like and I´ve connected the dots between eating crap & feeling like crap there is no turning back.

I still sometimes have a little something I know might not be the best for my health like ice cream or chocolate cake but I do so without any feelings of guilt or shame. I know that most of the foods I choose to eat are good for me so the little exceptions here & there are not going to mess that up.

It feels liberating to finally be free from calorie counting & worrying about fat content and to focus my attention on eating foods that make me healthy & happy instead! I´ve probably had a little cold only 2 or 3 times in the past 8 years which is a massive change since I would pick up every single bug when I was younger.

Every time we eat we have the choice to either enhance inflammation or reduce it and even though it´s an evolving journey, I´ve finally come to understand what works for me. And this is what I help others achieve too. It´s not so much about the quantities that we eat as it is about the quality of our food. Knowing what is good for our bodies and what isn´t is an individual journey but one I am passionate about leading others onto.

Keen on finding out what a healthier diet could do for you? I am currently offering a 50% discount on discovery calls. You can fill in a health history form and sign up for a call here.

Maddy
8:47 AM

Eat alive food, not dead food


If it doesn't go bad, don't eat it. Why? Because "dead" foods generally offer very little in terms of nutrition and sometimes contain artificial substances that extend their shelf life but can screw up our digestive & endocrine system.

By "dead" food I mean processed, packaged, artificially colored food stuff like replacement bars or breakfast cereals. These foods may taste ok and have lots of wonderful health claims on them but some of them shouldn't even be called food because they will actually do more harm than good to our health.


In recent years we have seen an incredible rise in “lifestyle induced” diseases like diabetes, obesity, infertility, cancer and more. It is hard to ignore the correlation between the rising popularity of “modern food” and these illnesses and the link between our health and the quality of the food we eat.

By choosing foods that are “alive”, we provide our bodies with nutrients in a form that is natural and that our bodies can process. These types of food don´t only contribute to our overall state of health but to our longevity too. 

By alive foods I mean foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. These types of food grow in the dirt, or on a tree or come from the sea or walk on legs. Think broccoli or sweet potatoes, or eggs or wild salmon or even some packaged foods like nut butter (provided that they only contain nuts and maybe a hint of salt). These foods are rich in antioxidants which helps reduce ageing and benefit our immune system too! 

The concept of living on “alive” foods may seem overwhelming at first as it sometimes requires some planning but generally the way I start with clients is that I encourage them to replace their packaged meals with “alive” foods one step at a time. Instead of grabbing a berry & nut snack bar, they´ll have a handful of berries & some almonds for example. And instead of eating a packaged cereal for breakfast, they´ll make a smoothie with ingredients that are “alive” such as berries, avocado, banana, coconut & almond butter for example. For some inspiration, check out my very berry smoothie recipe here!

There are tons of ways we can replace “dead” foods with antioxidant rich, nutritious & natural food. I recently made a spaghetti recipe replacing the “dead” pasta with some courgetti. It was super easy to make, tasted badass and the recipe can be found here.

Start with one meal at the time and steadily you will start feeling the benefits in the form of better digestion, more energy, clearer skin & less hunger! Yes by filling up on nutrient rich foods your body will start asking for less of it and no longer be reliant on the toxic hunger caused by some “modern foods”.

So go ahead, give it a go! Summer is the best time of the year for it since we have so many wonderful fruits & vegetables to replace the “dead” food with!

Want some personalised support? Fill out a health form & book a 50´discovery call with me to get inspired & empowered to start living a healthier life now!

Maddy x 

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