• Cheryl Penna

What eating plan to follow?

The big question is what style of eating plan do you follow?  


Sugar free, vegan, paleo, low carb, 2/5 or meal replacement?  Meal replacement and the 2/5 diet are often hard to maintain long-term and the weight is often put back on once people return to their normal eating patterns.  


To successfully lose weight you need to follow an eating plan that changes not what you are eating, but how you eat for life.  It is often necessary to follow some form of restrictive plan for a month or two to promote weight loss initially. Research has shown that quick weight loss also keeps people motivated.  This is why we developed the Optimal Fat Loss Program.  It is a very restrictive food program that shows results in just 21 days.  After this, food is gradually added back into the diet to see how you react.  Along the way we teach you about eating well and how to have a good relationship with food.


There is currently a lot of very exciting research related to obesity and why some people have trouble regulating food intake as well as food cravings.  The research has indicated that the micro-bacteria that line our gut predetermine how we process fat as well as our ability to regulate food intake.  


These microbes not only determine our body fat distribution but also regulate hormone production that can impact our mood and mental health function.  So how can we create good bacteria in our gut? Eat a diet based on whole food with as much diversity as you can.  Remember, I said whole foods is the magic ingredient here and therefore we need to eliminate refined sugar, processed grains and all the junk that we eat on a daily basis.  It takes about 2 weeks of healthy eating to change the bacteria in the gut, but you need to keep this up for life to enhance the overall effect of good bacteria.  


Exercise!   Did you know that January is the biggest intake of new clients for most gyms?  And have you noticed the increase in TV adds as well around this time of the year?  Unfortunately, most people join with good intentions but as the year progresses motivation dwindles.  I used to be a bit of a gym junkie and I was always amazed that people would join a gym and be given a program and then decide that they needed a Personal Trainer to keep them coming and motivated!  


My advice is to set up a exercise routine that you can do anywhere and any time.  For me it was investing in a Total Gym (yes the one on TV that Christie Brinkley does) and a walking machine.  I get up every day and go down to my garage (in my PJs) and do a great work out in just 10-15 minutes.  No make-up or special out fits needed.  Other great work outs are yoga (I have put up some great yoga routines on our Facebook page from MindBodyGreen if you want some ideas), walking and dancing.  Most importantly, find something you enjoy doing.  It could be just using a skipping rope for 5 mins every day or putting a note in your neighbour's letter box and organise a walking group in the morning or afternoon. Exercise is not an option, it is a necessity for optimal health and disease prevention.


Better Sleep The problem is that most of us just don't listen to our body's anymore.  I often ask my clients with sleep problems what time they feel sleepy at night?  Most people say a lot earlier that when they go bed.  Secondly, we are using technology such as iPads, computers and mobile phones late at night and don't realise that the blue light they emit shuts down our sleep hormone production (melatonin) and raises our wake up hormone (cortisol) in its place.  


It's important to establish a healthy sleep preparation routine every night that includes switching of all devices by 8pm.  


Dim the lights and try to relax by reading, have a warm drink such as a herbal tea with bit raw honey or listen to some relaxing music before bed. Tried to avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar at night if you have trouble sleeping.  There are some wonderful herbal remedies that can help relax the body and induce sleep.  Contact the clinic if you need some more information.



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275 St Georges Road Northcote Victoria 3070

Tel: 03 9482 5135

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