Why would you Even Meal Prep your Food?


So, my life is back to super busy, as I’m sure all of you are experiencing as well!  Whether you’re a student, working, have a family of your own (or knowing lots of you – doing all three!) life is busy and can get stressful.  Eliminate the stress and time factor of having to scrounge to find something appropriate at each lunch-time and having to cook every single night by meal prepping!  It saves you time in the kitchen and helps keep you on track with healthy eating!  You can prep and plan for just dinners, for lunch and dinner, or even all three main meals of the day and snacks too!  The amount of prep you do, depends on how much time you have to dedicate to prepping and your personal preferences.

I prep my lunches for the week, cut up my veggies for snacks, as well as all my dinners for the week.  At different times, I’ve prepped my breakfasts as well but I seem to have a bit more time in the mornings to make it now that the boys are a bit bigger.

So what exactly is meal prepping?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, essentially it is planning and prepping your meals in advance for the week.  This means cooking items in bulk and eating leftovers!  For those of you who just groaned and are turned off to the thought of left overs, listen up, I used to hate left overs when I was younger, well actually up until I was at uni!  Now I rejoice in their existence and you should too!  Left overs are a wondrous time saver!

If prepping and planning can stop you eating off track and keeping you eating good wholesome and nutritious food one extra time each week – that’s a fantastic result and will certainly help you on your way to your goals faster!

And no, I’m not ‘preparing’ for anything special at the moment. Not competing, no shoots booked any time soon. This is just my life. And meal prepping is a life-hack I’ve really grown to enjoy and see the benefits of.

What do you do to keep your weeks prepped and ready to enjoy?

With hugs I prepared earlier,

Bella

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The post where I talk about the Healthy Eating Pyramid..

Nutrition Australia have finally updated their food pyramid for the first time in 15 years. Seriously – FIFTEEN YEARS!! The new pyramid is based on the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines, which was a thoroughly nerdy-wordy 52 pages, refined it back down into the pyramid and get this – it’s pretty fantastic! Not even joking…

I’ve been annoyed by the old pyramid (below) for SUCH a long time. There was so much weighting on heavy carbohydrates, a fairly decent allowance for junk/crap foods and demonisation of fats, healthy or otherwise.

old food pyramid

But wait – Check out the new food pyramid here:

New food pyramid

You see it? All of the amazing-ness?

Here are the major changes:

  • The food pyramid is now separated into five sections… way better than just three! This gives us a much clearer picture of what a healthy diet should look like. You know what I’d love? To turn it upside down! We read from top to bottom and I think it would help to see/read the ‘eat most’ section at the top. But hey, Healthy Upside-Down Food Triangle doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  • The new food pyramid very clearly gives veggies precedence over breads and cereals. Finally!
  • There’s so many greens. From a guess, I can identify bok choy, pak choi, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, basil, rosemary and lettuce – GREEEENS for the win.
  • More nutrient-dense whole grains are included. Like quinoa, cous cous, soba noodles and oats. Carbs are your friend.
  • Fruits and veg have different weighting. The new food pyramid calls for about three times as many veggies as whole fruit. This is exactly what I do with my kids, myself and my PT clients – quality proteins and filling up on veggies first.
  • There’s no junk food at all. Not even in the “sometimes” area like the original food pyramid. Actual REAL food for the masses, yeah!
  • Good fats are actually named up as good. The old food pyramid has margarine and reduced-fat spreads in the “sometimes” food. Now this spot is reserved for healthy fats like olive oil and almonds.
  • Spices and herbs have been included.
  • Avocados are included in the “eat most” section. Now there’s definitely no need to feel bad about having an avo a day
  • Margarine has been taken off the new food pyramid! Not even a food 🙂
  • There’s no allowance for added sugars.

What’s the bad news then? Hmm, there isn’t much. Not really. For a generic suggestion that needs to be broad enough to cover a whole country and therefore can’t possibly take into consideration each individual’s needs and reactions, it’s pretty great in general terms. If I were being really picky, I am still a little iffy on processed soy products like tofu. I don’t do soy at all and with clients who feel they need these in their diets I prefer they lean to the less-processed soy products. And personally, I run better on a much higher fat ratio in my diet. But hey – such an improvement.

So, that’s my thoughts on the new food pyramid, now I’m interested to hear yours. Sing out in the comments!

Cheers,

Bella

Full Belly not Fat Belly

I love it when I read things in my nutrition studies that actually apply directly to my experiences as a former chubster.

Something I read this week was about the concept of nutrient dense versus calorie dense foods. Sounds fascinating right? But as I broke it down in my mind it made so much sense to me.

You see, for the few years that I was obese it wasn’t because I was eating a LOT of food. In fact, everyone who knew me, including The Captain, would swear and declare that they almost never saw me eat. Part of that was that I was a terrible secret binge-eater. Years of disordered eating as I grew up makes it particularly easy for me to hide my habits around food from others. I’m like a self-destructive food Ninja.

But the main part was that I was whole-heartedly addicted to very calorie dense foods.

spiderman

 

 

 It means: A food with high calorie density provides a lot of calories in relation to the serving size. A food with low calorie density provides relatively low calories per serving size.

So it looks like this:

Caloric-Density

or terrifyingly like this:

Fast-food-and-apples

 

When I first started losing weight, I was mortified by the AMOUNT of food that I was supposed to be eating. How could it be that I had only been eating a small volume of food once or twice a day (with some snacks) and gaining weight like a prize cow but NOW I was eating buckets of food and losing weight? It really seemed like black magic. Except it’s not. It’s simply caloric density.

A plan consisting of foods with a lower caloric density meant I get to eat a lot MORE food for the same or less calories than my previous high calorie/low volume habits.

Foods that REALLY helped me fill the void left by my crappy diet were things that made me feel full and happy. Things I could eat a GIANT BOWL OF and feel a bit piggy. Because I still needed that mentally. Things like insane amounts of vegie sticks, air-popped popcorn, frozen berries straight from the freezer, a big bowl of fresh green peas…

These days, because I’ve had a few years of training myself to eat more regularly, not skip meals and incorporate more protein into my diet, I don’t get so ravenously hungry any more. While I still love that crazy full-belly feeling sometimes, I don’t NEED it. But in case you do, I hope this helps.

 

Nom Nom,

Bella xx

Guest Blogger – Nikky from ‘Lipstick and Motherhood’

Hey all – here’s a special guest poster for you today! Enjoy!
Bella

Hey Guys! My name is Nikky and I blog at Lipstick and Motherhood. When Bella offered me the opportunity to create a guest post I grabbed the opportunity with both hands because her blog is simply amazing and I couldn’t wait to interact with her lovely and loyal readers.
I blog about all things beauty and skincare, do reviews on products and tutorials on how to do certain makeup looks. I also like to talk about Weightloss, Motherhood and my love for my Thermomix. I have been on a weightloss journey for 18 months now.
 –

When it comes to weight loss, you mostly only hear success stories. Not many people are willing to say that they’ve tried and failed. As a matter of fact not many will tell you that they’re even attempting to lose the weight. I will put my hand up and admit that I’m one of those people. There are 2 people who know that I’m actively trying to lose weight and I know that they’re my biggest supporters.

Why won’t I tell anyone else? Because weight loss does not come easy to me. It never has and I don’t think it every will. See people who don’t have much weight to lose and haven’t struggled with it before just don’t understand how much willpower it takes to lose a single kilo.

Your willpower has to be strong, your mind set has to be in the right place and you have to be better organised than the military.
What goes wrong for me? The mind games. I have never understood struggle until I decided to loose the 40kg that I had in excess.  I want to lose it so bad, but my mind plays games big time. If I have a bad meal I would just go ahead and make it a bad week. If I miss one exercise session than I just don’t feel motivated enough at the next one and when the scales don’t place nice and show you’ve had a gain when you’ve worked really hard than that becomes very discouraging.  And then the roller-coaster starts all over again where bad eating is involved.

Nikky Nikky3 Nikky2

The mind is a funny thing. It can either help you get to where you want to go or really sabotage you.

I would love to know how the lovely readers of Sailor Vee have overcome this struggle and made their weight loss journey a successful one?

Nikolina xx

What I learned about myself from a DEXA scan…

Sometimes I choose not to blog things. Sometimes because I am too busy to write. Sometimes because I don’t think whatever it is is interesting enough to interrupt people with. And sometimes, it’s simply stuff I don’t want you to know.

Yep. I got secrets. Sorry.

So when I preemptively told the blog-o-sphere that I was having a DEXA scan, I sort of set myself up to NOT be able to do that. Which kinda sucks.

To clarify, the whole reason I wanted the scan was I know that I need to move away from the significant obsession I have with weighing myself at least once a day. I do KNOW it’s a bad idea, not a great reflection of my body composition and can’t really be trusted to give me accurate information. In fact, Cathy knows my level of pain with the scale and tagged me in this post on IG during the DEXA day:

weigh

So I had the scan. I had it done at the University of Tasmania sports science unit. To be fair, the scientist did advise me that it was a very old machine and not capable of the type of information that modern DEXA units are. I still was a little taken aback at the sheer age of the thing. It looked like it was made in the 70’s from a factory conveyer belt and my Grandad’s camera. Fo Realz.

The UTas DEXA is older than this model and not in quite as good condition. Notice the natty computer it runs off.

The UTas DEXA is older than this model and not in quite as good condition. Notice the natty computer it runs off.

Also different is the level of information you get back from a modern DEXA. I was hoping for detailed information about the specific location of body fat held, but sadly this model was only capable of averages per limb and the trunk. You don’t get a print out of the information, but a written summary of what the operator interpreted from the scan. Even my sports scientist wrote though there was some ambiguity in the scan and the results may have been skewed in certain aspects.

But hey, enough blaming the equipment.

I came in at just over 32% bodyfat.

Huh. 32%.

In all honesty – I was expecting 25-26%. I would have been annoyed but understood 27-29% and would have been stoked with anything under 25%.

Nope. The machine in all it’s science-y wisdom says 32.4%.

I waited to feel crushingly sad. I put my polite face on, paid the man and walked to the car in the eerie drizzling rain, wondering if I was going to cry. I sent a message to a friend letting her know what it had come back as and said that I might cry. But I wasn’t crying. Not even close.

I sent a message to The Captain. I had promised him that getting a DEXA would end ‘the crazy’, which is the umbrella term we use for just about anytime I talk about my weight or size based on ridiculous perceptions I have of myself.

Message read:

wpid-2014-09-10-21.00.19.png.png

Being the awesome husband that he is, he offered to come out and hang out with me for awhile. He knows this stuff can knock me about a bit. But still, I was fine.

Not quite fine enough to leave it alone though…..

I mentioned in my previous post that I have in recent times been using an Inbody scanner to do a electrical bio-impedance measure of weight, muscle mass and body fat. So….

I drove straight to the gym and did another one. To compare apples with apples. As best I could.

On scan 2 months ago exactly I came up as – having 31.6kg muscle mass and 28.7% Body fat.

Yesterday – 33.2kg muscle mass and 23.8% Body fat

So, what did that experiment tell me? That comparing data from the same machine with conditions as similar as I could (same time, similar clothing etc) showed that I was heading in the direction I need to.

AND – because I want a third and independent non-scale reference point – I have an appointment to have my body fat read with calipers next week.

But what did I LEARN from today?

That peace of mind for me in not in the numbers. Not even in the better numbers from the InBody scan. It doesn’t put my soul at rest. It doesn’t make my life easier or even really validate my feelings about the work I put in being worth it. I wish it did. Some part of me really, really wants to cling to data to tell me it’s all okay. Numbers are part of a sport that I really enjoy. Transforming your body in incremental steps is far easier to celebrate when you know the height you need to climb and the progress you make each week. That’s going to be the ongoing struggle.

But at the very end of the day, hanging out at home, I kept coming back to the idea of what I wanted to know from this whole exercise. I wanted a non-scale baseline where I could come back and reference this point in the preparation in three, six, twelve months and know then what I’d been doing for my body.

It was never going to tell me if I was happy with myself. Only I can do that.

So I did. Stripped down, no make-up, at the end of the day with 4 litres of water and 1900 calories in my belly – this is me.

wpid-img_20140910_145610.jpg

This is me. At 32.4% Body Fat. Or 23.8%, depending on who you ask. Look at that smile and ask me if I care 🙂

And if this is 32.4% body fat, or 23.8% body fat or 40% body fat – I’m pretty darn okay with where I am.

Yes, I want to grow and develop and be lean and have a physique that others aspire to. But feck it – I’m strong, happy and healthy and capable of doing anything I want.

And I want to continue on this fun-filled adventure of eating lots and well, lifting heavy things and generally living life like a boss without guilt or shame or feeling like I am supposed to be anything other than where I am.

So yes, I’m going to change. I’m happy to be open and honest with you about the road and the fact it’s not going to be easy, and sometimes not pretty. And yes, there will be more scans, and tests, and weigh-ins.

But what did I actually LEARN from the DEXA. I learned that I’m okay. I’m better than okay, I’m good. And that I don’t need a machine to tell me that.

Beep. Boop. Beep.

Night all!
SV

Waitin’ on the Next Big Thing

Let me share with you one of my flaws. It annoys the hell out of me, but at least I know that I do it – and that makes me pretty good at catching myself doing it and spying it in other people.

No, it’s not endlessly complaining about the weather. Or interuppting. Or standing in doorways chatting holding up people trying to get through. People find those things adorable right? Right??

Huh.

It’s my habit of wanting to wait for THE NEXT BIG THING. That shiny new thing that I’m going to see/have/do next. Now, wanting something big and new is not a bad thing. But the trouble is that I sometimes lose focus on the thing I’m doing right now.

Take my nutrition approaches. At the moment, I’m working at gradually leaning down again, managing my food intolerances and still using and enjoying the flexible dieting/IIFYM approach. It’s good. It’s working for me. I’m happy and the weight is coming off, muscle staying on and I’m feeling good. BUT…. buh buh baaaa

next-big-thing-sign

I’m going to a seminar at the end of this month that will be about fat loss in the female figure athletes and competitors and I’m fascinated to hear the approach of the pro’s that are presenting. I find myself second-guessing my planning for TODAY, sneaking a few extra carb macros and losing a bit of my focus on the NOW because “I’ll probably change it all again next week”.

And it doesn’t need to be something as big as a full nutrition change. Sometimes I feel like this when I’ve ordered a new product online and I’m just waiting for it to be delivered. I won’t train legs tonight as my new tights will probably get delivered tomorrow! :p Or when I know I’m coming up to a program change for my gym sessions. Suddenly, my ‘right now’ is less shiny and important that the new whatever-it-is around the corner.

It’s a common issue for my fellow 12wbt alumni and current members for ‘between rounds’. Two weeks off turns into four kilos gained because ‘it hasn’t started yet’.

Grr.

So I can’t give authentic advice here as it’s still very much a glitch in my own journey. I own that couple of days with silly lapses and am right back onto today’s goals and aims. But with each mistake I make, it gets easier to see and feel myself holding out. Making less of today because of the promise of tomorrow.

So do the best you can with everyday – even if tomorrow promises to be bigger, better, bright or even just completely different. Like another of my favourite Roosevelt quotes (from Teddy this time though):


theperfectmoment

Tomorrow is another day, let’s make today awesome first!

Cheers Mateys,
SV

Is Instagram Killing Your Confidence?

Let’s be honest first up. I LOVE social media. Instagram and Facebook are my usual modes of choice, but really, I find it interesting and as a business-person I recognise its value as a connector and profile building tool. Used well, people have built businesses and even careers by sharing. Or even more importantly, it’s the only way my parents ever have any idea of what the kids and I are up to. It’s a part of our lives and short of the zombie apocalypse, I can’t see it changing anytime soon.

It’s cool, we like it.

However, I’m seeing and hearing more about how it can also shake or break your self image and personal expectations when it comes to your health, fitness, and wellness goals.

#Nofilter? #Notlikely!

A few fitness professionals are starting to show more honest posts, showing the reality (or at least less of the perfection) – not just the professionally shot images or stage-ready bodies, but so many of the ‘Insta-famous’ majority choose to only show their highlight reels. We’ve all seen the selfies in the mirror of six-pack abs, sculpted shoulders, glutes, and legs.  We appreciate it. We aren’t dumb, we KNOW the work that goes into looking like that. The risk is that when we look at them day after day, the quiet whispers in our thinking can start to feel inadequate because we seem to not be able to measure up. I don’t look as good as XXXX XXXXXX in a bikini – therefore I don’t look good in a bikini etc.

For most of these women and men, it is a full time job. My PT clients don’t pay me to spend hours working on myself; they pay me to help them reach their goals. My work in the community centre and in fashion design don’t care at all what I look like. I’m pretty sure my kids wouldn’t care or notice at all! And more than likely, you do not get paid to be in crazy-amazing physical shape either, so give yourself a break if what you see in the mirror doesn’t resemble the pictures on Instagram or on Facebook fan pages.

So my thought for the day is to breathe, and focus for a moment on the thought that while social media can be a wonderful tool and an amazing source of motivation and inspiration, you are only seeing a small and carefully selected portion of people’s lives.  We all get to choose what we share with others for the most part – and not everyone is keeping it real. Which is absolutely their right.

Don’t be negative about yourself up because you don’t look like someone else.  Newsflash: YOU NEVER WILL.  You are unique; there is no one else in the world exactly like you. Own it, be thankful for that fact, and move on.

Just be you. You are awesome.

Peace,

SV

yourebeautifultoo