Make a New Year's Resolution that WORKS

Psychology research says that your chance of success when changing more than one thing in your life at a time is less than 10%, but if you change only one thing at a time you are more than 85% likely to succeed, because the human brain loves certainty and resists big change.

So when making your New Years resolutions, rather than saying “I’m going to lose weight”, think along the lines of:

“I’m not going to eat junk more than once a week” 


“I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes daily”. 

And you don’t need to wait for next year to make a new one! 😉 Research differs, but most say it can take anywhere from 20 to 60 days to change a habit. So after 3-8 weeks of living out your “small change”, make a new resolution that’s another step towards your ultimate goal eg. 

“I’m going to eat 5 green vegetables a day” 


“I’m going to see a personal trainer 3x a week”!

Wishing your happiness and good health in the new year!

Appetite vs Cravings: How to tell the difference

You’ve just spent 45 minutes of your day thrashing your body through an intense exercise session in an effort to lose weight and your metabolism is cranking! Even though you’ve drank copious amounts of water and eaten, you are sooo hungry, but are worried that eating more than normal will just counteract all the hard work you put into burning those extra calories this morning. What do you do?

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that occur in our cells to sustain life. To carry out these processes, the body converts the food we eat into energy. Chemicals in our digestive system break down the food into fuel, which is either used immediately or stored in the body’s tissues as fat. The energy (calories) expended over a day for us to be able to survive is called our basal metabolic rate.

Although you can’t control your metabolism, it can be stimulated during exercise – when you exercise you burn more energy. Also the fitter you are and the more lean muscle that you have, (muscle requires more energy to function than fat) the more of these chemical reactions that take place, raising your basal metabolic rate (so you burn more calories when doing nothing!)

Hunger and thirst are physiological mechanisms the body uses to tell the brain that it needs nutrients.The often-unpleasant feeling of hunger originates from the hypothalamus releasing hormones that target receptors in the liver.

Physiological hunger can be recognized by a growling stomach or a slightly nauseous and/or light-headedness, and usually comes on gradually after a period without food (anywhere from approximately 2-6 hours). The appropriate response to physiological hunger is to eat and learning identify your hunger signals are important in weight loss and management. Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re satisfied can have a huge impact on managing your appetite.

Try not to mix up physiological hunger with appetite. Appetite is the desire to eat food without a physiological need, but is often felt as hunger (psychological hunger). In some cases hunger can even be mistaken for thirst, which is one reason I encourage you to drink 500-600mL of water before you eat.

Appetite can be caused by a number of other psychological factors, some of which include:

Routine: Hunger can be stimulated by your biological clock (which is also regulated by the hypothalamus). So if everyday you eat lunch at 12pm, then at 12pm you may feel hungry just because your body’s clock says so.

Cognitive: When the sight, smell, taste, texture or talking about food you like, triggers hunger i.e, if one doesn’t like popcorn, the smell of popcorn doesn’t trigger hunger. Interestingly, people can also feel hungry for a particular taste; sweet, sour, bitter, or salty, and will keep feeling hungry until the particular taste is satisfied.

 How to fix: Distract your self with something else; go and DO something, change the subject, spray some perfume etc, anything to take your mind off it.

Emotional – Stress can lead to high levels of the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fatty foods because they give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief. This kind of hunger often comes on suddenly and can cause you to keep eating beyond the point of satisfaction, triggering feelings of guilt and powerlessness.

 How to fix: In order to stop emotional eating, you have to find other ways to emotionally fulfill yourself. Understanding your emotional triggers andemotional eating cycle is a good first step, though it’s not enough. You need alternatives to food that you can turn to for emotional fulfillment eg. When feeling anxious; pump some music and bust out dancing to expend some energy. If you’re bored; find a hobby, watch a good movie, or learn something. If you’re tired; have a hot tea, a bath or a nap. If feeling depressed; ring a friend or go through some old happy photos etc.

After a workout your muscle fibres are damaged and your energy stores depleted, so your body recognises a need for protein for muscle growth and repair, and carbohydrate (the fastest and easiest source of fuel for the body to use) to restock energy supply, which triggers physiological hunger and why you may feel hungrier on days when you work out. When on a weight loss diet however, you want your body to use your stored fat for fuel instead of carbohydrate, and this is why a lower-carbohydrate diet combined with an effective exercise program is usually beneficial for people with goals of fat loss. It is also important to make sure you are consuming enough protein (as I detailed in the BodyBAM Nutrition guide) so that your body can maintain and build your muscle mass. So if you eliminate the psychological hunger factors and thirst and you are still left with hunger, then EAT!! This is your body’s mechanism for telling you it needs nutrients, usually in the form of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and/or carbohydrate. Depriving your body of the nutrients it requires can cause the body to break down, function at a lesser rate and unnecessarily store energy as fat in the body’s tissues. So, start with 500-600mL of water, then eat some salad/vegetables (favouring green ones) and a little protein and unsaturated fat; more often than not your hunger will be gone.

If after a short time you are hungry again, repeat the process, but the trick is to eat slowly, recognise when you are no longer hungry (don’t keep going until you’re full) and stop there.

Fit, Toned and... Bloated?

Can’t kick that bloated feeling? Try this….

Water retention, or bloating, can be caused by an unhealthy/unbalanced diet, not drinking enough water (funnily enough), certain medications, or can be caused by some serious illnesses. But if you’re not sick or on medication, here are a few tips that can help get rid of that constantly bloated feeling!!

Get your vitamins and minerals… Potassium (in bananas, apricots, avocados and raisins), Magnesium (in green vegetables, nuts and seeds) and Calcium (in oranges, yogurt and tofu) are nutrients the body needs to help balance fluids and can help to alleviate bloating.

Eat foods that assist with digestion and/or are high in fibre, like yoghurt, wholegrain cereals, brown rice, cabbage or cranberries. Ginger and dandelion have a mild diuretic effect and both come in a tea!

Eat five or six small meals to stay well nourished, instead of three big meals. Eating large and/or infrequent meals can cause a rush of fluid to the tissues.

Too much salt (sodium) causes fluid retention. The RDI of sodium for adults is 200 – 2300mg per day. This means you may have to do more than just throw away the salt shaker… avoid packaged/canned/processed foods like fast food, olives, salted nuts, pickles and many frozen foods, soy sauce, almost anything flavoured, ketchup, and deli meats. Stick to fresh or fresh-frozen foods… If it’s out of a jar/can (eg. Tuna, asparagus) make sure it’s in spring water!

Furthermore, the body’s ability to excrete sodium is decreased when too much sugar is consumed and as a result insulin levels are raised. (So stick to your 2 pieces of fruit per day as recommended by and avoid excess sugary/sweet foods eg. most non-wholegrain cereals, muffins, sweetened yoghurts, fruit juice, sports/soft drinks, etc)

A low calorie diet will help you lose weight, but if eating too little, you could create water retention. Eat more than 1,200 calories per day and include lean protein, an important nutrient in short supply in very low calorie diets that helps rid water retention.

Exercise and movement (at least four times per week!) allows your lymphatic system to drain excess fluid and salt out of tissues through sweating and increased respiration.

Swim, or exercise in water. Water pressure forces fluid out of tissues and ultimately, the bladder (even if only temporarily).

Make it a mocktail not a cocktail! At first, alcohol acts as a diuretic, making you lose excess water and leading to dehydration, causing the body to preserve it’s fluids and retain water. If you do have a drink, make sure you drink plenty of water before, during the night and the next day! I usually have a glass or two of water between every drink, guzzle a 600mL bottle water before bed and keep another beside the bed while I’m asleep!!!! And who knows, you might even feel like exercising the next day 😉

It may seem contradictory, but drink plenty of water – 3L+ a day – to flush salt and fluid out of your system. Your body is actually less likely to retain water if you are well hydrated!

If after (or before) trying all this you are still feeling bloated, it may be a good idea to see your doctor!!!!