In the world of modern nutrition, almost everyone is on one diet or another, and people dwell on fats, proteins, and lists of “good” and “bad” foods. Low fat, low carb, Paleo, vegan, Atkins…. Read More
I often get asked what the difference is between a Health Coach and a Dietitian or a Nutritionist and I guess the short answer is that as a Health Coach I look at a bigger picture than just the food on your plate. I help my clients make improvements to all the elements that affect their wellbeing including sleep, stress, hydration & exercise as well. Most of us already have a rough idea of what we should be doing to improve our diet but a lot of the times we fail to take the steps required because we forget what our motivations are and we don´t have anyone to be accountable to. A lot of the times we´ll also take the most extreme measures to “detox” or lose weight only to give up a few days later because it´s not compatible with our social life, or our life in general and that we decide that being happy is more important than eating "healthy" and being miserable. This is where a Health Coach can step in and help you understand your motivations and make changes that are sustainable and suit YOUR unique needs. Everyone is different and today´s constant stream of information about diets, superfoods and coconut oil craziness can get very confusing. Through my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I haven´t just learned about over 100 dietary theories, I´ve also been trained to coach my clients by abiding to the following principles:
· Bio individuality: One person´s food can be another person´s poison. We are all unique and what works for you may not work for your neighbor nor for your sister or brother. My job is to help you discover which foods make you strive and which ones wear you down. There are some general guidelines that are true for everyone (we can all benefit from eating less crap a.k.a processed food & sugar) but we all react differently to meat, whole grains and certain other foods too.
· Primary food: We´ve all been there… we feel like crap and we reach for the tub of ice-cream, a glass (or a bottle…) of wine or our favorite snack. We´re not hungry, we just need something to make ourselves feel a little better. As a Health Coach I help my clients address the issues that are making them feel crap at times so that they don´t reach for food (or booze) for comfort. Some of the areas we work together to seek improvements to are relationships, exercise & careers but also having a spiritual practice like meditation if the client is open to this. When we are fulfilled in all these areas in our lives, we are less likely to reach for food for comfort. The food we eat becomes secondary.
· Practical information: So you need to add more greens to your diet but besides boiling broccoli you´re not feeling so creative about it? This is where I provide you with lots of easy, delicious and quick recipes that suit your unique needs and tips for what to order when you eat out as well. I will even write you a shopping list or if you´re one of my VIP clients I will come over to your house and empty your kitchen of any crap to replace it with healthy ingredients along with super duper easy recipes for you to make on a whim. Or if you´re lucky enough to have a private chef who prepares your food, I will consult with them to consistently improve your diet to suit YOUR specific needs.
· Empowerment: My objective is not just to give you a list of foods to eat & not to eat but to empower you with the knowledge you need to make better choices for yourself, forever. Once you will have experienced what it´s like to nourish yourself with foods that truly make you feel lighter, happier & more energised, you will no longer want to eat the foods that were wearing you down and you will understand why. We really are what we eat so improving your diet will not only improve your digestion, your weight & your skin but your thoughts and your energy levels too!
So in short, my job is to get to know my clients the best I can and to be their biggest cheerleader in their quest to become healthier & happier by providing them with all the motivation, accountability, knowledge & practical advice they need to do so!
Sounds like something of interest to you? I have different packages to suit all budgets & needs. Find out more by signing up for an initial consultation at a 50% discount here!
Researchers have been warning about the dangers of ocean pollution – especially the accumulation of plastic – for decades. However, it is only recently that comprehensive studies have begun to emerge showing just how contaminated life in the ocean has become. Read More
What are your last thoughts before you go to sleep? Are they positive? Or are they anxious and negative?
Did you know that the quality of the thoughts you have before you go to sleep will not only affect the quality of your sleep but also the mood you are likely to wake up in?
This is why having positive thoughts before going to bed is so important! I've been practicing gratitude before I go to sleep ever since I read the book "The monk who sold his Ferrari" (if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it!).
Gratitude practice is a fancy name for a very simple practice. Basically all you do is take a few minutes of your time to focus on the things in life you are grateful for. You can do this in many different ways but what I recommend is the following.
Before you go to sleep, think of 5 things to be grateful for in your life or in your day. Think of how lucky you are to have them and how happy they make you. Then let yourself go to sleep thinking about them. It's that easy! If you want to go one step further, get a journal and write them down. Keep the journal next to your bed and if you wake up during the night, open your journal and read them. And if you feel anxiety waking up, read them again.
Even on a really shitty day we can all find things to be grateful for, like the fact that we live in a safe environment with a roof above our head and not in a war zone, that we have a warm blanket and a comfortable bed to sleep in, or the fact that we have a loving family & friends we can count on.
By shifting our thoughts to these positive elements in our lives it doesn't just put things back into perspective but it can help us get a good night sleep even after the shittiest day! And sleep is the nuts I say. We all know how much the quality of our sleep will affect our day so it's totally worth investing in!
We might not have the ability to choose what sometimes happens to us in life but we always have the ability to choose how we decide to view it and how much importance we let it take.
Meditation is said to decrease stress, improve mental clarity, provide more energy, and foster creativity! It has also been scientifically proven to mitigate addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, cognitive function and even eating disorders!
In my initial consultations with clients I generally start with going through their current eating habits and their dieting history... so I get to hear a lot of stories about failed diet attempts that brought on frustrations, unhappiness and feelings of failure. And among all the people I´ve met and the stories I´ve heard there´s one thing that they all have in common: CALORIE COUNTING.
If you´ve ever been on a calorie counting diet you´ll know what I´m talking about... they´re not only a waste of time but they´re fcuking annoying and frustrating too. Who the hell would want to live that way? In addition to that, it´s a very reductionist way of looking at food because it only takes into account its energy content. It´s like looking at a Ferrari & a Renault and saying that they both have the same amount of fuel in them. Does this make any sense to you?
Well this is how we look at food if we only refer ourselves to calories. By looking at food this way, we don´t take into account what the food does to our bodies, how it stimulates us and how well we digest it. It doesn´t either take into account the amount of nutrients, vitamins or the amount of crap it contains for that matter either!
When you consider that 125 grams of avocado (approximately 1 avocado) approximately has the same amount of calories as 40g of Doritos (about ¼ of a pack) then you can maybe see why relying solely on calories to determine the quality of a food becomes a problem.
Imagine yourself eating ¼ of a pack of Doritos. Wait, who the hell eats ¼ of a pack of Doritos? Don´t you just open the pack and the next thing you know it´s gone? Or at best, you share it with a friend and it´s gone? Ok aside from the fact that eating ¼ of a pack of Doritos takes a lot of discipline (this is why calorie counting diets require discipline…), now imagine the sensation it will give you. Will it leave you full and satisfied? Or will you be hungry for more? Maybe have the rest of the ¾ of that pack? Anyone?
Now imagine eating an avocado. Wait, who eats a whole avocado? I mean it´s possible and I´ve certainly managed but it´s pretty filling right? It´s not really a sensation that is comparable to the on you would get from eating the Doritos. Right?
Ok so aside from the feeling of fullness, let´s look at the ingredients. When you eat the Doritos you get the added bonus of "Acidity regulators, colorings and other flavor enhancers such as Monosodium Glutamate & Disodium 5´-Ribonucleotide"... Wait, wtf is that? Well Monosodium Glutamate is MSG. It was traditionally used in Chinese restaurants to encourage people to eat more (it triggers insulin to make you feel hungry) and has often been blamed for causing a range of nasty side effects including headache, nausea & even brain damage.
Now the Food Regulation Authorities still allow it to be used in our food but it needs to be listed, which obviously makes it a lot less harmful to our health (right…) I´m not going to get into the nitty gritty of MSG here and I think we are all allowed to make our own opinion of it but for what it´s worth, here is mine: MSG is shit and anything that contains it is too.
Which brings us back to avocado. What are the ingredients in avocado? Well, avocado. Ok and what is avocado known for? Well avocados are known for being high in heart healthy fats and for helping to reduce bad cholesterol. They contain more potassium than bananas and also contain Folate & Vitamin B5, B6, C, E & K. The healthy fat in avocado can also help with "oiling your pipes" (if you know what I mean...) and can therefore contribute to weight loss.
So now that you know all this, would you recommend someone who is trying eat healthier and maybe lose some weight to eat the avocado or the “1/4” of the pack of Doritos?
Well those who advocate for calorie counting will argue that they´re both equal because they both contain the same amount of calories. And if you´re lucky enough, like some of my clients have been, your diet advisor might try sell you some manufactured products as a substitute for real food because it contains less calories than the food they are currently eating. Basically it´s something like:
“Here, stop eating those avocados that are full of calories & fat and eat this chemical shit bomb that´s got all this made up shit that is basically dead because you can leave it in your handbag for 7 weeks and still eat it! But it´s only got 100 calories! Yeah!"
Sounds like a really healthy choice right?
I think we can all agree that it´s not. And that´s the problem with the diet industry and the people who are encouraging us to make food choices based on calories (pretty much anyone who is trying to sell packaged foods these days...). The whole concept is flawed because it completely ignores the quality of the food and whether it is going to fill us up with a bunch of vitamins & nutrients or just make us more hungry because it´s full of shit (like MSG…). This is why losing weight by trying to reduce calories is not only difficult but it also often makes people feel like shit.
The good news is that people are starting to wake up to this reality and to realise that weight loss and making healthier choices doesn´t have to be hard, nor does it have to make us feel like shit. It just requires us to be smart and to stop believing all the bullshit that is being thrown around in the diet industry.
When you think about it, the only reason this industry is surviving is because of our confusion. If we all got smart and started listening to our bodies and stopped giving a FCUK about the C-word, we´d stop consuming all the crap that is being manufactured for the sake of it being “low calorie”, “low sugar” or “low fat”. We´d all eat REAL foods filled with vitamins & nutrients and we´d be in vibrant health & full of energy! We´d eat what we feel like when we are hungry and our minds would be free to focus on more important shit than worrying about what we should be eating to be "healthy"!
If this sounds like an appealing state of mind, the first step you can take today is to cut out the CRAP (aka the processed foods) by downloading my free cleanse cheat sheet here. It contains 9 simple steps to start cutting out the crap from your diet and to help you start a new relationship with food that focuses on quality, taste & satisfaction, rather than calories. And as a result you will feel healthier, leaner, happier & even more badass than you already are!
It is a common belief that the one good thing we can do for our health each day is go to the gym but while exercise is important, what we do outside the gym is even more important. 80% of the way you feel & look is down to what you eat & other healthy habits such as hydration and sleep.
Taking the time to exercise is great but it will not make up for an unhealthy diet or lifestyle so here are a few tips you can start applying now to boost your health & wellbeing even if you don´t have time for the gym!
· Eat more vegetables. You may have heard this a million times but this advice ain´t going out of fashion. Vegetables are where you'll find all your vitamins & nutrients in the form your body was designed to digest them. Fill 2/3 of your plate with veg at each meal. Choose vegetables that have a lot of color and try aim for at least 2-3 different colors on your plate each time!
· Eat healthy fats. some people still believe that eating fat will make them fat but this is not the case. Eating a healthy fat at every meal will not make you fat. It will help oil your pipes ;) We're talking nuts, avocados, seeds, fatty fish as well as coconut, sunflower & olive oil for example. Not only can these fats help lower bad cholesterol but they also help with vitamin absorption so always couple your intake of vegetables with some sort of healthy fat.
· Cut out processed foods, completely. If it comes from a plant eat it, if it was made in a plant, don't. It doesn't matter how shiny the wrapping is and how many health claims it has on it, most processed foods are filled with trans fats & dodgy ingredients. Eating whole natural foods as they were intended by nature will nearly always be a better option than eating something coming out of a factory.
· Take a movement break instead of a snack break. If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk working on your business it´s normal to feel like you need a valid excuse to get off your butt and take a break. Most of us use “hunger” and snacking as an excuse but a lot of the time all we need is to get away from the damn screen! So next time you feel like you need a break, do 20 squats, jumps, pushups or situps or walk up & down a few flights of stairs a couple of times. Keep a record of how many movements you do in a day and challenge yourself (and maybe your coworkers? ;). Integrating small bursts of movement into your day will do wonders for your energy levels and your mood. Doing them outside is even better!
· Snack healthy. If you do resort to snacking instead of moving, try keep it clean. A handful of nuts and some berries are a great snack for example. Berries are high in antioxidants and low in sugar compared to other fruits. By coupling them with a source of healthy fat it helps with nutrient & vitamin absorption and also prevents a peak in blood sugar levels. Another option would be an apple with almond butter or tahini for example. Dark chocolate (70% cacao minimum) coupled with nuts or fruit is a healthy snack in my book too :)
· Hydrate! Nothing beats plain old water! Depending on your weight, the level of humidity of where you live and your activity level, drink at least 1,5 - 2,5 liters a day! Coffee, Tea & soft drinks do not count!
· Sleep! I know most people are short on time but if you want to do one thing that will have a positive effect on your energy levels, your concentration, your metabolism and your weight, make it sleep. Sleep is one of the most underrated things ever! If you can't do it every night then try get at least 2 nights a week when you go to bed early and aim for 8 hours of sleep minimum!
If you feel overwhelmed by doing all these at once, I suggest you start by doing one the first week and just keep adding one more each week! Small steps make a big difference and in 8 weeks you will have created yourself a whole new healthier lifestyle!
Did you know that health is about way more than what is on your plate? That’s right, your relationships, career, level of fitness, and hobbies all contribute to your well-being – it’s what Health Coaches call primary food. Your home environment is no exception! Read More
We´re all short on time when it comes to exercise but the good news is that quality far outweighs quantity! Be smart about what you choose to spend your time & money on. Sometimes less is more! Here are my top tips on how to improve your relationship with exercise and truly achieve the results you want! Read More