The art of healthy snacking

Lets face it, we all get hungry in between meals.  Put it down to boredom or maybe you might actually be hungry.
Snacking can make or break a really healthy eating plan. 
You probably plan your meals really well, you start your day with a healthy breakfast of oats, cereal or a piece of toast with avocado and tomato (if you haven’t tried it then give it a go……yummy!). 
You have planned to get a healthy sandwich from the local bakery, deli or cafe or even better you will make it yourself with ingredients from your fridge but at some point during the morning you come a little un stuck………right?
You reach for a chocolate bar or better still a “healthier option” of a muesli or protein bar.  Buyer beware! Some healthy bars are not always that good for you, I know I’ve said it before but I will say it again CHECK THE INGREDIENTS, check the fat and sugar content, how many ingredients, if there are a heap then put it back and look for a fresher alternative.

If you have a healthy breakfast you are less likely to snack, those who skip breakfast are more likely to eat higher calorie foods later in the day.
As well as eating well in the morning you should also avoid snacking for the sake of it. Wait until your body tells you it’s hungry, you don’t need to have something to eat at morning tea just because your colleagues are!
Eat smaller more frequent meals to satisfy your hunger cravings. Forget foods that come from a packet, look for foods that are fresh which tend to be lower in refined carbs, sodium and fat and in addition will be higher in fibre.

If you can plan your snacking then your diet won’t come un stuck and you will see yourself achieving some great outcomes.   Don’t be embarrassed about taking a piece of fruit or a healthy Energy Ball to your next meeting, better still if you will be out and about running errands with the kids, take along a small lunchbox and be prepared.  There is nothing worse than deciding to stop for a cuppa when your little one is asleep in the pram and finding the only things available to eat are really large slices of cake from the cabinet at the local coffee shop or a low calorie scone that comes with the addition of high calorie cream and jam.  If you are prepared you will not only save money but you will look and feel better for it in the long run.
Recently I noticed the prices in a local coffee shop were close to $6 for a slice of cake, that’s a saving of $312 over a 12 month period if you don’t have that weekly slice of cake.

Plan plan plan, that’s the one piece of advice I can offer you the most. Plan your snacks to fit within your calorie goal, always count your calories before you consume your food.
If you are a stay at home Mum, think about making yourself a lunch box every night for the
following day, this will help when reaching for the things you probably shouldn’t be having when home during the day.
Limit yourself to a single serve, never hang around food tables at functions or family events as you will find yourself reaching for food you don’t necessarily need.

Here are some of the foods that I tend to snack on when I’m hungry and my body is needing fuel:

  • Nuts (approx 1/4 cup per day)
  • A plain sandwich with some lean meat or even a smear of natural peanut butter
  • Apple and fruit with a small tub of yoghurt to use as a dip
  • A whole boiled egg (or two)
  • Energy Balls (linked above)
  • Paleo Fudge 
  • Carrot, celery and a homemade dip such as tomato salsa or hummus
  • Cup of strawberries with some 80% dark chocolate dipped on the tips
  • Cruskets with cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber
  • Popcorn (not the stuff that’s smothered in butter and salt)
  • Oats (if its a cold rainy day then have a bowl of nice warm oats)
  • Craving ice cream? Blended frozen banana hits the spot
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies (homemade of course)
  • Lean meat such as ham, silverside or beef with a little pickle spread on it
  • Chicken in a can
  • Canned fruit
  • Apple smeared with natural peanut butter
  • English muffin with fruit spread (preferably with no added sugar)
  • Sweet potato baked with a sprinkle of cinnamon & stevia served with yoghurt
  • Fresh tomato with mozzarella and basil
  • Canned Tuna
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup frozen grapes

There is definitely a right and wrong way to snack when trying to lose weight. 
Fruit and veges in my opinion are always going to be the safe option because they are low in fat and calories.  Combine some healthy fats, lean protein and complex carbs to help get that full feeling for longer. 
You should always avoid sugary foods including soft drink as well as the diet options, try to make sure your snacks are not high enough in calories to substitute a meal.

Happy snacking

Jaime xx

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Week 32

This week was going to be hard from the get go.  I had a loss last week but was sure that our holiday indulgences would catch up on me by the end of the week.  It was hard to stay motivated but I made sure I attended another body step class at the gym on Thursday, I am no longer a gym class virgin having done 3 classes now and I’m really enjoying them now that I don’t feel like everyone is watching the “new girl”, I’m learning the steps with every class I do.
I will make sure next week to step out of my comfort zone again and do another type of class, maybe a body pump or circuit.

Weighing on my mind is my monthly visit with my dietitian Scott, I don’t know why I’m worried about it, its not like I have had a bad month (beside my gain week) which I have pretty much made up for.
I blew my calories out on the weekend with a dinner out at a buffet with family on Saturday and a Sunday night roast at Mum & Dad’s (with all the trimmings, of course) so I knew Monday and Tuesday meant low calorie days.  It was hard coming back down to 1150 calories for 2 days but it was what I had to do and it paid off.

My visit with Scott went well losing a total of 2.8kg this month.  He does have me a little worried, he has said that I will probably only see him twice more as I will be at goal.  My worry is that my visits to him keep me some what accountable and without that, will I fail?  Will I gain weight?
I know that I will not let myself fail and neither will my support network of family and friends but its a battle of the minds some days to get those thoughts out of my head.

I am really focused this week, I will walk to and from my work meetings at other sites, I will do 3 classes at the gym and I will do some toning at home with my kettle weight for arms.

Weekly StatsStart Weight: 104.2kg
Weigh in 29/05/13: 0.6kg Loss
Total Loss: 26.4kg in 32 weeks
Current Weight: 77.8kg
Current BMI: 27.9 (started at 37.4)
Total Percentage Weight Loss: 25.34%

Calories Consumed: 9132
Sugars Consumed (Goal 350): 476 grams
Total Fat (Goal 210): 239 grams
Exercised: 4 times
Exercise Calories: 1586

Jaime xx

BMR & TDEE

What is BMR?
Basal Metabolic Rate

  • The amount of calories your body burns even when resting, even while you’re sleeping! Pumping blood and breathing. 
    We all have different sized engines so we all burn different amounts of fuel.

My BMR is 1558 calories per day

Calculated using the following method”
For Women BMR = 655 + (9.6 x Weight in KG) + (1.8 x Height in CM) – (4.7 x Age in Years)
For Men BMR = 66 + (13.7 x Weight in KG) + 5 x Height in CM) – (6.8 x Age in Years)

My BMR is = 655 + 752.64 + 300.6 – 150.4 = 1557.84

What is TDEE?
Total Daily Energy Expenditure

  • The total number of calories that your body expends in 24 hours, including all activities, this is also known as “maintenance”.

Now that you know your BMR, you can calculate your TDEE by using method below:
Sedentary = Little or no exercise (desk job) = BMR x 1.2
Lightly active = Light exercise or sport 1-3 days a week = BMR x 1.375
Mod. active = Moderate exercise or sport 3-5 days a week BMR  1.55
Very active = Hard exercise/sport 6-7 days a week = BMR x 1.725
Extra Active =  Hard daily exercise/sport & physical job or 2 hard training days a week = BMR x 1.9

So for me, if I want to maintain my current weight of 78.4 (which I don’t, I still have more to lose) with my current 1-3 days of exercise I would need to consume 2142 calories. 
I must stress that this needs to be healthy food that will fuel your body.  More calories doesn’t mean bad food, it means more of the good stuff.

BMR x TDEE = Maintenance Level Calories
1558 x 1.375 = 2142

So now I know what I should be eating if I want to maintain, how do I figure out what I need to consume to lose weight.  I need to create a calorie difference.  I can keep my calories the same and do a lot more exercise or I can drop my calories and keep doing the same amount of exercise.
Obviously to gain weight you need to increase your calories about your maintenance level.

If you are eating more calories then you need to exercise.  Simplified, you will not lose fat no matter what type of food combinations you eat.  Too much of anything, even good food will get stored as fat.  You will need a calorie difference to burn fat.  This will force your body into using stored fat  to make up the short fall. 
There are approx 3500 calories in 500grams of stored fat so if you create a 3500 difference in a week through your calorie intake or a combination of that and exercise you should loose approximately 500grams and a 7000 calorie difference will see you loose approximately 1 kg, this is because we have already factored in the exercise in our TDEE calculation.

BUT, there is always a but………………….
Make sure you don’t go too low. You don’t want your body going into starvation mode. 
The most common rule of thumb is to decrease your TDEE by 500 calories per day but not more than 1000 (mine is 842) and in addition not to drop your calories below 1200 per day for women and 1800 per day for men.

Although there is some math behind finding your BMR and TDEE they are just estimates for a starting point.  Count your calories and monitor your progress to find the best number for you. 
If you don’t see the results you want then adjust your calorie intake accordingly.
At the end of the day it is not effective to reduce calories to a very low level in order to lose fat. 
The more calories you consume the better as long as the deficit is created through food and exercise.  The best approach is to lower your food consumption slightly and do more exercise, maybe longer walks or a few more times a week.

Week 31

Well, if I thought I was bad last week then I was really bad this week.

Going away, holidays, taking a break, quality family time, whatever you want to call it, it shouldn’t be an excuse to drop the ball.  I wouldn’t say I dropped the ball but I did make the decision to enjoy myself responsibly.  We were to drive to 1770 on our first little family holiday, we have travelled before when my youngest was little and I was still pregnant with the 2nd.

I was prepared for our 6.5 hour drive with the boys, we had bought healthy sandwiches from the local bakery, we had plenty of fruit and we were going to stop at Red Rooster to have chicken and veges for dinner.  What I wasn’t prepared for were the Anzac Biscuits Mum had made for the boys! They were so yummy and although I didn’t know the exact calories I tracked them as I went.  It was a cold miserable drive and all we wanted to do was eat.
We had a fairly good dinner but after a big drive all I wanted to do was catch up with our friends who had driven down from Mackay over a cold cider and it was delicious!  I don’t drink much anymore so one was definitely enough 🙂
The next couple of days we were quite active with daily walks, a walk to the local lookout, playing at the beach with the boys, a spot of fishing (no catching) and generally being up and about a lot more than what my desk job brings me. 
My calories were blown out to between 1400-1600 each day but it was time to spend with family and sometimes enjoy that little ice cream cup at the beach and a beautiful Italian meal on our last night along with some gorgeous wine.

On our return on Monday I attended my first ever class at the gym, I was a gym class virgin.  I chose Body Step and after the initial 10 minutes and feeling very uncoordinated I managed to keep up 90% of the time.  I discovered that its OK to stop and no one will judge you and I had a heap of fun.  It was hard work but I didn’t feel as tired as I do after a 5km run. 
My aim is to do at least one class a week, there are a few to choose from so I can kick start my body with something new.  I need to work a bit more on my upper body (tummy and upper arms mainly).

After last weeks gain I know that I will need to work really hard to keep another gain at bay because from experience these things take about a week to catch up.

Weekly Stats
Start Weight: 104.2kg
Weigh in 22/05/13: 0.7kg Loss
Total Loss: 25.8kg in 31 weeks
Current Weight: 78.4kg
Current BMI: 28.1 (started at 37.4)
Total Percentage Weight Loss: 24.76%

Calories Consumed: 10037 BAD RIGHT???
Sugars Consumed (Goal 350): 367grams
Total Fat (Goal 210): 289grams
Exercised: 7 times
Exercise Calories: 1737

Week 30

This week I was a little naughty from time to time and although I stuck within my calories to a certain extent I had a bit too much Total fat in my diet, I have have had too much fat for the last 2 weeks. It’s just not sustainable.

After all, you can’t eat rubbish and lose weight. You need to eat clean, healthy food that will fuel your body. Eating less but eating worse is not the answer. 
This next week I will eat more good food and learn from my 3rd gain in 30 weeks.  
Wow 30 weeks.  It doesn’t seem like that long, just over half a year and look how far I have come with determination, motivation and support. 

Weekly Stats

Start Weight: 104.2kg
Weigh in 15/05/13: 0.2kg Gain
Total Loss: 25.1kg in 30 weeks
Current Weight: 79.1kg
Current BMI: 28.4 (started at 37.4)
Total Percentage Weight Loss: 24.08%

Calories Consumed: 9094
Sugars Consumed (Goal 350): 312grams 
Total Fat (Goal 210): 264grams 
Exercised: 3 times
Exercise Calories: 1378

Mother’s Day Classic 2013

My good friend Stacey and I were participating in this years Brisbane Mother’s Day Classic.  Before the race we hadn’t done any training together but separately we had trained and put in the hard yards, now it was time to test that hard work.
Murphy and his laws meant that Stacey had been sick in the 2 weeks prior to Sunday and I had a head cold earlier in the week.

We had made the decision as a family to sacrifice a sleep in on Mother’s Day, a potential breakfast in bed to be up and out of the house by 6am.  We headed into the City, then walked over the bridge with 2 husbands and 3 children in tow.  It was quite a coldish morning with a sprinkling of rain but we were prepared to run rain, hail or shine.

On arrival at South Bank there was a sea of pink, pink balloons, pink shirts, pink hats and pink porta loos, after all, The Mother’s Day Classic raises much needed funds for Breast Cancer Research  National Breast Cancer Foundation.
At 7.15 we headed over to the start line and were pretty happy with our spot approx 6m back from the start line, it was raining slightly but it was a pretty exciting time, Stacey and I had never run together in an event before today.
It wasn’t until this point that we noticed the tribute cards, pieces of paper pinned to runners backs with names and dates of loved ones, some who had passed and maybe some who were still battling breast cancer.
At 7.30 the hooter went off and after a slow start we got going, the vibe was fantastic.  A sea of pink running through South Brisbane.
Around the 1km mark Stacey pointed out a tribute card on a little girls back “Mummy”, admittedly it was hard to look at.  That little girl was running with her Dad like so many others.  As a parent, it pulls at the heartstrings, there was the Dad running with his daughter on his shoulders because she was too tired to run, everywhere you looked there were tribute cards, we were running for those who couldn’t.
We overtook people that had started with us and we had plenty of people overtaking us but we finished.  We ran our absolute hardest in the last half kilometre and finished in a time of 29.16 and placed 690th & 691st.  We were both so immensely proud.
Our husbands and children were waiting at the finish line and the 2 oldest proudly came with us Mums to collect our bags and medals.

Top: Before, Bottom: After

 

Next year we WILL run the 8km and maybe in years to come our children will be running along with us.  We may have scarified our sleep in but we did get that breakfast and it was so nice to enjoy it with great friends.

My reflection on the day was to forget about the gifts and what society makes of Mother’s Day, buy your loved one a card that has meaning, tell them what they mean to you and do something as a family to celebrate. 

Check out The Facts About Breast Cancer and get yourself informed

Donate to Breast Cancer Research if you would like to donate to a fabulous cause

You can have your cake and eat it too….

You know how it goes, you start your week with the plan to eat healthier, not have any junk.  You have a healthy breakfast and feel great, you have planned your day around healthy options. 
T
hat is until a co-worker brings in a chocolate cake for morning tea.  It looks fantastic and smells SO good, you’re not hungry but you just cant say no!

You tell yourself “I have been so good, one piece cant be too bad…….right?”

An average piece of iced chocolate cake can be anywhere between 250-300calories (not bad right) but it does contain 10grams of fat, that’s the kicker.  To burn off that one slice of cake will have to walk at a fairly brisk pace for around 51 mins…….is it worth it?

  
You can have these treats and do a tonne of exercise but even better why not try to choose healthier alternatives to common treat foods.  Try some dark chocolate instead of milk or white, baked chips instead of fried, meat free pizza.  Remember when choosing low fat or low sugar items to check the ingredients, if there is something listed that you cant say or don’t know then don’t buy it. 
Do your research.