Overeating

Binge eating and restoring balance: The expert’s guide to balanced eating

Did you know that there’s a difference between bingeing every now and then and an actual binge eating disorder? The term ‘binge eating’ is thrown around often but there’s so much more you need to understand.

Many people complain about their relationship with food and attribute this to binge eating. There are different types of binge eating though. There’s the Friday night binge after a long, hard week where you just need some takeaways, a dessert, chips, some choccies and maybe even a couple of biscuits. 

Then there’s the more serious side to binge eating. Binge eating disorder (BED) is a type of feeding and eating disorder that’s now recognised as an official diagnosis. 

Everyone has experienced some form of binge eating but that doesn’t always mean you have BED. Let’s take a deeper look into this. 

Explore: The importance of gut health – plus the best and worst foods for your gut

What is binge eating? 

Binge eating is when you eat even when you aren’t hungry and continue to eat until the point where you are over-full or feel physically ill. 

Binge eating can be something you experience periodically but it can also turn into a disorder where in addition to eating large amounts of food in excess and to the point of discomfort, you also feel out of control when eating and have a sense of shame or guilt.

Binge eating more often can have serious implications on your health and wellness and it’s important to restore a sense of balance to your relationship with food. 

The psychology behind binge eating 

Bingeing behaviours extend beyond food. Bingeing can include eating, drinking, shopping and more and all types of binge behaviours actually have similar causes. 

According to clinical psychologists, bingeing helps people deal with their negative emotions that they can’t deal with rationally.  

Many of us have had a moment of self-indulgence when things just feel too tough but when does the occasional overindulgence become an actual problem? 

Well, according to clinical psychologists, bingeing can become a full-fledged disorder when characterised by feelings of powerlessness, secrecy, shame and isolation. 

When you start to feel that you need to hide away and binge in private or you need to schedule your binges around work and social plans, then you may need to dive a little deeper into why you’re doing this and figure out whether or not you need to ask for some help. 

Related: Are you an emotional overeater? Here are 5 ways to help you overcome it

Why do we feel the need to binge? 

There are a variety of reasons why you may seek comfort in binge eating. Some of these can be;

Psychological

As we mentioned above, feelings of unhappiness, frustration and the like can be “numbed” by binge eating, even if for a limited time.

Sadly though, what often happens is the pain and guilt in the aftermath of a binge can trigger stress which may lead to another binge and the cycle can continue. 

Explore: Managing stress and how to make it work for you 

Chemical

You know that feeling of euphoria after biting into a delicious meal or dessert? Binge eating can give you a similar chemical reaction. 

Often people overindulge because it feels great (until they begin to feel guilty). Our brains release the feel-good neurotransmitter of dopamine in high quantities when we eat something that brings us joy.

You can imagine what happens next. Once your brain gives you that euphoric feeling during a binge, that feeling can become a physical addiction. You’re then more likely to binge more often because you crave that same rush of chemicals.

Sociocultural

Society can be tough and cause feelings of self-consciousness and like you aren’t good enough. The need to fit in can lead to bingeing in many different forms. 

Managing the guilt around (binge) eating

The guilt associated with a binge can be crippling. And it can feel like it’s impossible to get over. 

These are some of our tips that should help you manage the feelings of guilt: 

Spot your “should”s and “shouldn’t”s

Start paying attention to how often your inner dialogue includes the words should or shouldn’t. How many times do you say “I shouldn’t eat that” or “I should be doing that”? The second you start saying I should or I shouldn’t, you’re immediately making yourself feel guilty.

Be more mindful

Actually think about what you’re eating and how much. It’s so easy to get caught up in your feelings and trying to find a quick fix but really think about what you want and what will serve your mind and body. 

Eat slowly and think about how you feel. Remain in tune with your body, it will tell you what you need and even if your mind is yelling “more!”, your body is probably begging you to stop so pay attention.

Unfollow accounts on social media that are triggering

Social media can be a very triggering environment. From “what I eat in a day” posts to the never-ending posts about hustle culture, it can leave you feeling less than adequate. 

Unfollow accounts that trigger negative emotions in you and cause you to use binge eating as a coping mechanism. 

Talk to yourself like you’re talking to a friend

Be kind. You’re your own worst critic and we can be so hard on ourselves. Change the thoughts you have about yourself. Think to yourself, “would I say this to one of my best friends?”, if the answer is no then why would you talk to yourself like that?

Building a balanced relationship with food

This isn’t an easy thing to do. Many of us struggle with food. Whether we’re worried about gaining weight or if something is healthy or not, our minds are constantly dissecting food. 

When you feel the urge to binge, take a step back and acknowledge how you’re feeling, as difficult as it may be. Truly think about why you feel the need to eat right now. Consider questions like;

  • Am I hungry?
  • How will this make me feel later? 
  • Does this serve what I am trying to achieve? 
  • Do I need to eat or am I trying to hide my feelings? 

The best thing you can do is be conscious about what you’re doing and why. If you feel like you’re really struggling, please never feel ashamed to reach out for help. 

Christmas Lunch

6 Simple tips to avoid overeating this festive season

The holiday season is upon us and with all the fun festivities comes an abundance of delicious food! It’s definitely the time to indulge a little bit but there can also be too much of a good thing. Our top tips will have you loving the festive food without bingeing. 

In many households, a good holiday season is often associated with an abundance of food from large meals to snacks and desserts. We become accustomed to thinking that it’s perfectly fine to overeat during December and we’ll get back to our healthy ways in January. But many of us start the new year feeling lethargic, bloated and just uncomfortable. 

As much as we love good food, delicious drinks and great company, there really can be too much of a good thing. You don’t want to binge and overindulge to the point where you feel ill or unhappy. 

Our tips will ensure you enjoy all the festivities without feeling the need to binge or overeat. Sound a little impossible? Keep reading, we’ve got you!

Something important to keep in mind

Please remember that this is not the time of year to think about a diet or feel bad about yourself or nitpick at every single thing you’re putting into your body. 

This time of the year is for you to focus on your loved ones, think about the year that you just thrived through (yes, we say thrived because even if you don’t think so, you’ve accomplished SO much this year) and it’s a time to have FUN! 

But while you’re loving life and finally getting the relaxation you deserve, don’t let your health take a backseat. Even though we fully support you living it up and indulging here and there, you still need to have some form of control over what you’re consuming. 

This is why we’ve highlighted some simple ways to avoid bingeing and overeating this festive season. 

Explore: How to practice mindful and intuitive eating during the holidays.

Tips to avoid the festive binge

Think about it like this – rather have 1 mince pie in one afternoon instead of 4. It’s small changes like this that will easily keep you from bingeing and feeling bleh.

  1. Ever thought about a festive food goal? 

Now, we know this may sound a little restrictive but it doesn’t have to be. When we say a festive food goal, we mean something like choosing to have one sugary treat a day. This could be one chocolate from your advent calendar or one serving of dessert. You choose what your treat is but just make sure it’s only one a day (while still keeping tip 3 in mind).   

This way you won’t be eating multiple treats with no sense of control. We know the mindset of “Ugh, it’s Christmas” or “But it’s the holidays” is tempting to use as an excuse to eat whatever you want but by setting small food goals for the festive season, you’ll feel better and it will be better for you in the long run. 

 

Christmas Feast

2. Eat smart and plan ahead

If you’re going out to a party or meeting up with friends, eat a nutritious snack before heading out. This will ensure that you’re not starving when you get to where you’re going so you’ll be less inclined to over-order or overeat.

 

If you’re going to your aunt’s house and you know that she’s not a big veggie eater, offer to bring a  dish and make a nutritious veggie bake. This way you have a little control over the nutrients you’re giving your body. 

There are little adjustments you can make by simply planning ahead. 

3. Think about those portions

Now this is the trickiest tip of them all! Restricting the amount of peppermint crisp tart that you’re quite literally drooling over, is no easy feat. 

But this is one of the easiest things for you to do. When dishing up for yourself, rather go for a little less, if you’re still hungry, you can still go for seconds but you’ll probably find that your eyes are always a little bigger than your stomach. 

You’ll find that if you have a smaller portion of each food offered at a meal and wait 10 minutes after eating, you’ll actually be satisfied. And you’ll have a little extra space for dessert too!

 

Discover: Simple holiday exercises 

4. Don’t forget your veggies 

It’s so easy to immediately pile all the roasted potatoes on your plate or the different assortments of bread and before you know it, there’s no room for veggies or salad. 

Make sure you’re still eating enough veggies. Veggies keep you fuller for longer and will keep you from sneaking to the fridge for a midnight snack later. 

5. Be mindful 

Actually think about all that you’re eating. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the food that surrounds you but really think about what you want and what will serve your body. Eat slowly and think about how you feel. Remain in tune with your body, it will tell you what you need and even if your mind is yelling “more!”, your body is probably begging you to stop so pay attention.  

6. Be kind to yourself 

Like we mentioned, this is an amazing time of the year and it’s not the time to be hard on yourself. But you really don’t want to feel uncomfortable or unhappy so by simply being more mindful and having a tiny bit of self-control, you’ll go into the new year feeling refreshed and satisfied! 

Related: 8 Health hacks to stay healthy and fit this festive season

We’re not even going to lie to you, this blog has us thinking about those mince pies and delicious meals that await us so we’ll leave you with this – you deserve this break, you deserve the treats and delicious food and you deserve the time with your loved ones so enjoy it to the fullest! 

Just remember to pace yourself, think about what your body needs and be kind to yourself because you deserve it!

Happy holidays from all of us at WellBe & Co!

Female Health Checks

5 Important Health Checks Every Woman Should Do

As women, we are in between trying to balance careers, children, families, social lives and so on. And because of how busy life gets, it can be hard to remember to look after your own health on top of it all.

This is why creating healthy habits for yourself through eating healthily, exercising and meditation is so crucial because you need the energy and ability to tackle your everyday. Over and above creating healthy habits, it’s also very important to ensure that you have regular health checks. The reason why health checks are so important is that they can improve your quality of life, prevent complications and detect potential problems early, which can ultimately save your life in the long run.

So the question is: What health checks should you be getting?

Female Health Checks

1. Pap Smears

As you enter adulthood you should be going to get regular Pap Smears. According to WebMD you should go for the test “every 3 years from ages 21 to 65”. The purpose of this exam is to test for cervical cancer in women. It can also reveal changes in your cervical cells that may turn into cancer later.

2. Mammograms

A mammogram is a screening for breast cancer. It involves compressing the breast between plates so that X-ray images can be captured. According to nationalbreastcancer.org “women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years”.

3. Blood pressure

Having regular blood pressure tests should happen throughout your life. According to heart.org, “blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range”. To maintain a healthy blood pressure range you need to follow a healthy diet and incorporate regular exercise into your life.

4. Skin examination

Regular at home skin examinations should happen every month. You need to start getting in the habit of scanning your skin for any new moles or start pointing out changes to existing moles as they can be an early sign of skin cancer. According to cancer.orgfinding it early when it’s small and has not spread, makes skin cancer much easier to treat”. If you have a family history of skin cancer it’s best to go for regular check ups with your doctor or dermatologist.

5. Dental checks

From the moment you get your first tooth and through your whole life you should be going for regular checks with your dentist. According to nhs.uk “people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 to 24 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more often”. This way you can spot early signs of decay and any other problems.

 

Exercise

Maximise your workouts by tailoring it to your menstrual cycle

Your menstrual cycle plus exercise can often equal misery, right? Everything your body is going through is enough on its own, who wants to add exercise to that equation? We’ve all been there at one time or another but there are definitely some perks to exercising while you’re on your period. 

Now, this isn’t going to be one of those blogs that tells you to put the chocolate down and make sure you workout every day of your menstrual cycle. We completely understand that a little bit of indulgence and rest can be the best thing for you during your time of the month. But if you still want to exercise and get your endorphins flowing, then keep reading! We are diving into everything you should know about exercising while on your period.  

A little bit about menstrual cycles

Before we get into it, let’s briefly discuss menstrual cycles.  

Generally, a full menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, with a little bit of wiggle room. Some cycles can range from 23 to 35 days. The first day of your period is the start of your menstrual cycle followed by the next 27 days until you begin your next period counting as a complete cycle.

Every menstrual cycle is unique but they all have the same phases – the menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase. 

These phases make up each complete month of your menstrual cycle and they can make you feel differently throughout the month. 

The menstrual phase is from when your period starts to when it ends and your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels decrease during this time. It usually lasts for about 3-7 days but it can vary. This begins the follicular phase which starts on day one of your period and continues until ovulation and it’s usually about 16 days. During this phase, the follicle-stimulating hormone is released. 

During ovulation, the luteinizing hormone is released in response to the follicular phase’s rise in estrogen levels. You may notice your body temperature increase during this phase. 

And then lastly you’ll enter the luteal phase where there is a rise in progesterone and a slight increase in estrogen levels and then as this phase ends, these hormones will decrease. This is when you’ll experience all those fun PMS symptoms like bloating, headaches and cravings (large Cadbury bar anyone?).  

How does working out affect your period (and vice versa)?  

While you’re on your period, your body and hormones often feel like they’re going through the most! 

Any form of exercise can have subtle or extreme influences on your menstrual cycle depending on how your body reacts to physical activity. Your body is controlled by your hormones and physical activity can impact your hormone levels which is why your period can affect the way you workout. 

Want to know a secret though? You can maximise your workouts by simply going with your flow. According to Women’s Health advisory board member Stacy T. Sims, PhD, you can tailor your exercise routine to your cycle and you can find a way to perform at your best throughout the month.

 

Exercise

How to maximise my workouts 

Firstly, high-five for even thinking of hitting a workout while on your period because it can be tough. 

Your menstrual cycle causes your hormone levels to change throughout the month which in turn makes you feel stronger, more tired or moody depending on the time of your cycle. 

In the beginning

During the beginning stages of your cycle (this is when you’re on your period), your progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest which can cause a dip in energy levels and cause your emotions to go a little haywire. This is a great time to really listen to your body and see what it feels like doing. 

If you’re really struggling then do a slower form of workouts like going for a walk, doing yoga or even just hopping on the treadmill. This will keep your body moving, increase your endorphins and you should be feeling a lot better once you’re done. 

If you’re up to it though, you should try and include some strength training in your workouts. Research has shown that strength training during the follicular phase (days 1-14 of your cycle) results in increases in muscle strength compared to training in the luteal phase (days 15-28 of your cycle).

The sweet middle spot

During the middle of your menstrual cycle (this is usually during ovulation), you might find your energy levels increasing as your estrogen and testosterone levels increase again. This is the best time for high-intensity workouts and possibly even some heavyweight training. It’s time to take full advantage of your power! 

The end is near

And then finally you’ll move into the luteal phase. This is when your progesterone levels rise and your estrogen decreases. To be quite honest, this is the most problematic time of the month and this is when you begin experiencing the majority of your PMS symptoms.   

This is probably when you’re going to feel like sitting on the couch working through your watch list on Netflix rather than working out at the gym. But don’t give up on your physical health! 

Try to go for shorter workouts or keep your workouts the same but use lighter weights and less intensity. Be realistic about what your body is going through and don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not performing at your best. 

Menstrual cycles can be frustrating but equally wonderful. They give you the opportunity to fully embrace yourself and all that you’re capable of. It’s just about making your flow work for you. 

Love and Food

EATING WELL MEANS LOVING WELL: FOUR FOODS THAT INSPIRE A BETTER LOVE LIFE

Sure, there was a weird “is the world going to end” moment that had libidos soaring through the roof. But, when our bodies are stressed and fatigued, getting turned on may be last on your bodies to-do-list. Here’s what to add to your shopping list to boost your libido when you need it.

At the risk of starting on a dramatic note, we’re talking about two incredibly important things: food and sex. Two massive pillars of humanity surviving and getting this far, obviously. More than being essential to our existence, they appear again as being two huge pillars in how we experience pleasure and expression.

It isn’t surprising then, that the two would have such a great effect on one another. 

Love and Food

Eat well to love well

We hate to break it to you – but aphrodisiacs aren’t all oysters and rhino horn. Eating for better sex doesn’t need to look so different from eating for health. A good rule of thumb? If it’s good for your heart and the way that oxygen moves through your body, it’s going to improve the way sex feels for you and your partner.  

The foods we’re going to touch on are naturally good for you because of the energy that they provide, the way they let blood move around your body and the hormones they release to get those good feelings going. So what’s on the menu? 

  1. Clams and Oysters (B12)

I know we said it wasn’t all about the fancy food, but clams and oysters are a fun delicacy to incorporate into your diet for special occasions. One serving of clams has enough B12 to kickstart your evening and for good reason: B12 deficiency is one of the leading reasons behind erectile dysfunction. Clams are packed with an amino acid called L-arginine. L-arginine, once in the body, converts to nitric oxide which then increases blood flow around the body and to the places where blood flow is needed during sex; your nerve endings, genitalia and erogenous zones. 

  1. Fatty Fish (Omega 3)

Incorporating some fatty fish like fresh salmon into your dinner menu or breakfast bagel is going to get your system prepped with all the energy you need to have good, zesty sex. Fish is a great source for the macro-nutrient, Omega 3 which combats fatigue like you wouldn’t believe. Do your body a favour. 

 

For a great morning libido boost, why not try your hand at our smoked salmon scrambled eggs? 

  1. Spinach & other leafy greens (Magnesium)

The thing about eating for better sex is that you’re going to want to be eating things that really benefit the way that your body functions. Cue: leafy greens. Incorporating iron-rich foods like spinach, broccoli,  are going to do wonders for your body because of how magnesium dense the plants are.  Magnesium boosts blood flow, helping sex to feel better and last longer. 

  1. Asparagus (Histamine) 

Enhancing your climax is one of the reasons people turn to asparagus when they want a sex-improving diet. This veggie contains histamine which helps to promote more intense orgasms amidst a whole resume of benefits for health and wellbeing in your everyday life.

Fun fact: in 19th century France, three courses of this phallic vegetable were served to newlyweds to promote a sense of longing for one another. How considerate.

Skip the Valentines Day quick-fix

The day comes with the pressure to perform and before you know it you’ve loaded your cart with sparkling wines you can’t pronounce, lubricants you’re scared to use (what ingredient causes a fire sensation on purpose?) and more milk chocolate than you know what to do with.

There absolutely is a time and place for quick-fix sexy foods. These are foods that feel sensual to eat (you know the ones we mean: juicy fruits and velvety sauces). It’s when you lose yourself in how crazy good that tastes and the happiness hormones do the rest for you: we love those moments and we hope you have plenty of them! What if, though, you could have that fire in your belly beyond the month of February? 

Top tip: sugar (in chocolate and alcohol) before sex is only going to make you exhausted before you even begin. Skip the cortisol spikes and wait for the natural endorphins to kick in. 

What this should drive home is how sex and food don’t need to be a one-weekend quick fix to getting intimate with your partner. When you look after your body, the rest looks after itself. 

If you haven’t already succumbed to the Valentines rush or your purchases have left you wanting, maybe we could interest you in a more sustainable approach to making sure you’re up for it even when you don’t have time to prep the champaign and chocolate. We believe that better habits make for a well-rounded life, and we like to help people get there. Pop onto our socials or click here to read more about what we do and how to get started! 

Run Run

HOW TO BREAK THROUGH MENTAL BARRIERS WHILE RUNNING

Written by Oliver Brinsford – WellBe&Co Trainer & Sports Psychologist

Mental barriers in sport or other recreational sport events are something that many people experience and struggle with. A big factor for many individuals is the feelings of performance anxiety before taking part in an event – that overthinking, mental negative self talk we so often find ourselves succumbing too – can be completely crippling and can result in a bad performance if left unchecked. However there are a few simple  coping techniques that can be used to your advantage.

But first things first.

What is Performance Anxiety?

Performance anxiety manifests and stems from various stressors for that particular individual in that particular scenario. For example, in the case of a running event, someone might have thoughts of not finishing the race. This then can quickly spiral and feed other more ingrained and personal fears like the fear of letting yourself and potentially other people down in the process.

Others may have worries about not feeling their best during an event, not beating a previous best time or setting too high targets for oneself. All these stressors can add up and become extremely overwhelming prior to performance, so much so that your on-the-day performance actually becomes hindered. 

4 Simple ways to help you overcome these mental barriers

  1. Switch from negative to positive self-talk

Negative thoughts won’t get you anywhere, and certainly won’t get you anywhere faster. Worrying about what might happen is mentally and emotionally taxing and doesn’t serve your end goal – which is to run the best race you can on the day. 

Instead of flooding your mind with negative thinking like: “What if I burnout halfway”, “Everyone else is fitter than I am” or “I should just give up now”, rather put a positive and constructive spin on your thoughts like, “I’m ready for this challenge”, “I’ve trained hard for this race’” and “I’ve got this”.

  1. Use visualization before a race

Visualization is a very powerful tool that is used by many athletes all over the world. It works by helping you focus your mind on all the positive aspects of the race. For example,you may picture yourself crossing the finish line or even something simple like the feeling of the road on your shoes or the sound of your breathing. Visualization is all based around your senses – hearing, touch, sight, smell and taste – and using them to rehearse your specific sport or race before partaking.

Try it right now! 

Close your eyes and picture yourself running your favorite outdoor route. Imagine the sound of your feet as they hit the ground; the feeling of the sun as it warms your skin, the distinct scent of earth and fresh air, and the cooling sensation of a big gulp of water at the halfway point.

1. Incorporate a pre-performance routine

Having a pre-performance routine helps use systematic series of mental and physical cues to help you get focused on the task or event at hand. For running this could include:

  • Having a standard pre-run breakfast meal
  • Taking a few minutes to be quiet and visualize the run ahead or practice some mindful breathing
  • Doing a dynamic warm-up routine

These pre-performance routines and habits can be key in helping you feel mentally calm and physically primed for any run or race.

  1. Stay focused with specific self-instructions

Anxiety as mentioned is very unhelpful when it comes to performance as it makes us focus on what might go wrong rather than what we actually have to do (the challenge ahead). A useful tool to help counteract this is to ask yourself: “what is it that I actually have to do right now?”. Giving yourself specific and actionable commands aids in hindering any unwanted anxiety-provoking interpretations of the situation. 

For instance, next time during a race try using actionable commands like: “deep breaths”, “don’t forget to use your arms”, “relax your shoulders“ and “we are halfway there, so let’s pick up the pace slightly”. These small cues help to avoid the trap of confusing the facts of the situation and keeps you focused on the task ahead.

It doesn’t need to be an uphill battle

Incorporating these expert mental tips and tools will not only help you improve your running, but also free up more mental space so you can actually enjoy the running experience the way you should.

A word from RunMalibu

This blog was written by Oliver Brinsford, a WellBe&Co trainer and sports psychologist, in collaboration with RunMalibu. WellBe&Co is a personal and corporate wellness company specializing in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions.

Eating Well

NUTRITION FUNDAMENTALS FOR ENDURANCE TRAINING

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a half-marathon runner, triathlete or simply a newbie getting ready for your first 10km race – if you’re an endurance athlete, your body is no stranger to the strain of working out for long stretches of time.

Proper nutrition is perhaps the most essential ingredient when it comes to keeping your body going, getting you through your workouts and ensuring that you recover properly.

That’s why, in this week’s blog, we give you our top 5 nutritional tips to help you keep optimal energy levels and ensure peak performance during your endurance training journey.

Is there a magic diet for endurance training?

There is no specific “endurance diet” for athletes looking to build stamina and better their performance. However, there are some basic guidelines that health and wellness professionals tend to recommend for those building up to compete or participate in upcoming races or long-distance events.

Nutrition for endurance is all about experimenting with a range of meals and eating plans to see what works best for your body and what combination of foods will help you reach your peak athletic performance. At the end of the day, whether you are an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, it all comes down to fueling your body properly so that you can truly perform at your best.

5 game-changing nutrition tips for endurance athletes

1. Eat carb-centered

We’ve all heard of carb-loading, and while we wouldn’t recommend scarfing down a whole bowl of pasta pre-race, fueling your body with high-quality, carbohydrate-rich foods such as wholegrains, healthy fruits and hearty vegetables is a great way to fuel your body for more intense exercise. 

A high-carb diet will enable your body to absorb workouts with less stress and allow your body to better support the high volume of glucose needed for this level of physical exertion during training.

So, exactly how many carbohydrates should you be eating as you gear up for an upcoming month of exercise and get ready to put your stamina to the test?

Typically, endurance athletes report that the total amount of carbohydrates in their diet account for 60% to 80% of their total calories, but the recommended intake of carbs in any athlete’s diet can differ depending on the type and duration of training. In general, a good rule of thumb is to increase your carbohydrate consumption to make up 70% of your total daily calories

2. Eat quality food 

The bottom line is that what we eat matters, and the role it plays in our performance is undeniable. It’s easy to eat well when preparing for a race, but the trick is to keep your body fueled and healthy during training and off-time too. 

While most elite endurance athletes can and do eat everything, they don’t eat equal amounts of everything. Instead, dedicated athletes tend to focus heavily on high-quality foods and eat low-quality foods in moderation only – since high-quality foods tend to be more nutrient dense, richer in vitamins, and contain more beneficial antioxidants.

In general, your meal preparation should focus on diet diversity, with a variety of fruit, vegetables and whole grains as the centerpiece of every meal and only a moderate amount of unsaturated fats, meat and dairy. The idea is to get more overall nutrition from fewer calories which, in turn, will allow you to maximize your performance while still maintaining a healthy weight.

3. Eat as an individual 

No two athletes are the same, and whether you’re a newbie athlete or a more experienced individual, learning how to listen to your body is essential when it comes to getting  ready for an upcoming week of intense training.

Try to pay attention to what changes occur in your body and the difference in your energy levels when you eat a specific food or consume more of a particular food group. Different athletes tend to benefit from different diets, so it’s important to adjust your meals accordingly. You might find that cutting dairy out of your diet reduces bloating, while another athlete may choose to limit their red meat intake to increase both their energy and their focus. 

Learning to listen to your body’s reactions to food can do much more than just help you lose weight. It can also help replenish energy quicker after training, build and repair tissue better, maintain an ideal body weight and boost your immune function.

4. Replenish electrolytes with healthy food

Replacing electrolytes is an instrumental part of endurance sports training – especially when training sessions exceed an hour per session or when training conditions are particularly hot or humid.

Consuming foods with a lot of electrolytes is essential for basic cell and muscle functioning, and an electrolyte imbalance could cause some pretty serious symptoms such as dehydration, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, cramping, and overall fatigue.

So, how electrolytes do you actually need?

Athletes can require anywhere from 100 to 2,500 milligrams of sodium per hour, but every athlete’s particular sodium needs depend on individual factors such as how much sodium their body is putting into sweat (aka their “sweat rate”). 

Electrolyte supplements, drinks and foods that contain a good amount of sodium should be a key part of every athletes training regime to prevent hyponatremia during long endurance events. Athletes who experience frequent cramping or muscle pain should also be sure to increase their salt intake for a few days leading up to a big race. 

5. It’s not just about the calories 

While many athletes do choose to count calories for personal weight or training goals, when getting ready for weeks of endurance training it’s important to focus on eating enough to fuel your body and give yourself enough energy first and foremost.

The dangers of under-fueling are real, and not eating enough can actually harm endurance performance just as eating too much does. Number crunching calories can prevent optimal nutrition and hydration – both of which are important for preparing and recovering from training. That’s why it’s important for any enthusiastic endurance athlete to figure out what works best for their particular body so that they can eat well without letting calories be the centre of their focus at all times. 

A simple recipe to get you started 

Asi

Asian beef noodle salad

This dish is just loaded with delicious and vibrant flavors, as well as a healthy hit of inflammatory antioxidants too.

INGREDIENTS

250 g/ 8.8 oz pack of rice noodles

4 Tbsp soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime (approx. 1 Tbsp)

Knob of ginger , peeled and grated (approx 1 Tbsp)

3 Tbsp oil

200 g/ 7 oz steak, sliced into strips

1 red bell pepper , de-seeded and sliced 1/2 medium carrot, grated

1⁄2 cucumber , sliced

Handful coriander leaves, chopped Fresh chili pepper, sliced (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup roasted peanuts, for serving

METHOD

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large frying pan on medium high and cook the steak until done to your liking. Season to taste. Soak the rice noodles according to pack instructions. Whisk together the soy sauce, lime, ginger and remaining oil in a large serving bowl. Drain the noodles well, then tip into the bowl. Add the cooked beef to the bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Toss everything together, and serve topped with the chili and peanuts.

A final word 

Essentially, following these expert tips and tricks will help you feed your body with adequate fuel for endurance activity, maximize your endurance fitness and improve your all-around performance.

A word from WellBe&Co

This blog was written by WellBe&Co in collaboration with RunMalibu. RunMalibu is taking virtual running to the next level with their US-based virtual races hosted between 7th and 8th November 2021. 

HOW TO PRACTISE MINDFUL AND INTUITIVE EATING DURING THE HOLIDAYS

While the holidays are usually a time for joy and cheer, for some of us they can be a time of heightened stress and anxiety as we face unhealthy temptations during holiday meals.

That’s why, in this week’s blog, we want to share our top tips for recognizing and coping with the food-related anxiety during the holidays. It’s time to ditch that food guilt and have a wholesome, happy Christmas without letting diet-obsessions get in the way! 

What is mindful eating? 

Mindful and intuitive eating is about developing an awareness of your relationship with food. This approach has nothing to do with diets, meal plans, discipline or willpower. Instead, it is about developing a more conscious, healthier and balanced response to food, and teaching yourself how to get in touch with your body’s cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction.

Tips for mindful eating during the holidays 

The holidays can feel like a minefield for many of us, with large family meals presenting many delicious temptations. Food equals comfort and togetherness for many families but research shows that one-third of holiday stress is due to fears of overindulgence and food-based anxiety.

So, for those struggling with stress and guilt about food this festive season, here are some tips for enjoying holiday gatherings without derailing your health and wellness goals.

Christmas

1.Eat more healthy, hearty foods

The fear and guilt associated with breaking a restrictive diet or eating foods we’d normally avoid during the year can prevent many of us from really enjoying a meal with our family. The key to coping with food anxiety during the holidays is to reject this diet mentality and encourage yourself to focus on healthy, balanced eating rather than restricting yourself during this time. 

Remember, it’s okay to enjoy a mince pie and some delicious Christmas pudding, but it’s equally important to stack your plate full of veggies and greens. 

Eating plenty of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains along with Christmas treats can help curb cravings and prevent you from overeating. These “high volume foods”  also tend to leave you with an increased feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction after a meal. 

2. Savour what you’re eating 

While it may be tempting to wolf down three servings of turkey in one sitting, it’s important to take a moment and really appreciate what is on your plate. Try to employ all your senses while you’re eating your food, and eat slowly to really take-in the flavour. Eating slowly increases the levels of hormones responsible for feeling full, which may help reduce calorie intake and encourage you to eat more mindfully and intuitively. Chewing slowly can also encourage better digestion and leave you feeling more satisfied after a meal.

3. Don’t channel your stress into eating

Even under normal circumstances, tensions can run high at holiday gatherings – and that was before a global pandemic was thrown into the mix.

It’s important not to channel the stress from this kind of large family gathering into eating. While it may be tempting to take this as an opportunity to self-sabotage and rely on emotional eating to cope with your feelings, try to develop healthier ways to deal with emotional triggers during this time instead. 

For example, try to incorporate more exercise and activity in your daily routine in the days leading up to this Christmas period. And, if you start to feel overwhelmed during a family gathering, practice stepping away, finding a quiet place and doing some deep breathing or even a short 5-minute meditation session

4. Listen to your fullness cues

People tend to panic if they move away from a more restrictive diet and stop calorie-counting. While breaking a diet or strict eating plan can be a source of anxiety for many people, the holidays are a time to say goodbye to this guilt and start listening to your body instead. 

Your focus should always be to listen to our body’s hunger and fullness cues – with the goal of eating until you’re comfortable, full and satisfied in mind. A good idea is to try and focus on the difference between true hunger cues that encourage you to continue eating and non-hunger triggers for eating (such as tase, emotional stress or habitual eating) which could cause you to over-eat even when you’re already feeling full.

This is the perfect example of mindful eating. Instead of overindulging, try to observe how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness. 

5. Bring something of your own to share.

The fear and guilt associated with unhealthy eating can prevent many of us from really enjoying a meal with our family. So, why not bring along some of your own healthy but delicious treats like these chicken and bulgar wheat salad or these delicious raw chocolate brownies instead.

This is a great way to have better control over your food choices at this kind of social event, and you can guarantee that there will always be something on the table that works for you.

Enjoy the holidays with WellBe

Here at WellBe&Co, we believe in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focussed health and wellness habits. The key to living a healthy, balanced life starts with good nutrition – which is why we want to share all our top nutritious and delicious recipes with you this holiday season.

Why not try some of these tasty recipes this Christmas day and enjoy some healthy, hearty food while still indulging in a treat or two. And, if the stress of the holidays is getting to be a bit too much to handle, check out our simple guide to mastering mediation and developing better emotional awareness during this time.

Want to learn more? Check out our Instagram page or contact one of our friendly WellBe team members for more information today.

A SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE

PRACTICAL HACKS TO HOLISTIC HEALTHY LIVING: HOW TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE YOU LOVE

A little bit about me 

First off, Hello! My name is Jessica Thiels AKA The Lively Fitness Girl

I am a holistic health and fitness coach with a heart full of passion to help people create a beautifully balanced lifestyle that is sustainable and realistic. Since I was a little girl I always had a lot of energy. You would always see me jumping around and moving around. I never wanted to sit still and I would get bored super easily – sorry parents LOL! 

I found myself naturally leaning into sports, specifically running. I loved the challenge of it and I love how it made me feel – unstoppable, strong and free. As I got older, I got very good at running in High School and then I naturally started going to gym and discovering new ways to challenge myself. After studying a BCOM at University, I realized very quickly that I’m not cut out for the corporate environment so I went ahead and studied a Personal Training Certificate and Group Instructing Certificate at FitPro. I then decided I wanted to further my knowledge, so I got a health coaching certificate through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition which qualifies me to guide my clients to create a holistically healthier life – from exercise and nutrition to relationships, career, and spirituality. 

With a couple years of experience working as a Health and Fitness coach – I couldn’t be happier with the path I chose to help people create and live the lives they deserve. 

Let’s talk about you! 

Anyways, enough about me! Let’s talk about you. How are you doing right now? Are you constantly hopping on and off diet and exercise plans? Are you restarting every Monday after binging on the weekend because you were too restrictive during the week? Are you feeling like you can’t stick to anything and you can’t seem to find balance? 

Listen, I TOTALLY feel you. We’ve all been there. All of a sudden becoming too restrictive and too hectic can cause you to resent the whole process and journey of health and fitness. Yes, if you have goals you want to reach you do have to make certain sacrifices but if you are trying to create and maintain a sustainable healthy lifestyle, becoming overly restrictive will make you hate the process and turn back to your old habits.

The goal is NOT to feel like you need to consistently restrict yourself or start again every Monday. The goal is to create a lifestyle where you have balance. Where you feel good about yourself all of the time! Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done but what I do know is it is 100% possible. Starting small, celebrating yourself along the way and keeping it simple is a fab place to start!

HACKS TO HOLISTIC HEALTHY

The health hacks you’re after

Let’s dive into it! Here are a few tips to get you to start building a healthy balanced lifestyle for yourself:

1. Start small

Don’t go from zero to hero, it never works! Being super restrictive isn’t sustainable over a long period of time. Focus on creating small changes or small healthy habits that will become the building blocks to an overall balanced lifestyle.

2. Move your body

We all know that after getting some form of exercise you feel more positive and productive. Set a routine and ensure you move your body or exercise for at least 30 minutes every day – whether it be the morning, afternoon or evening. Also be sure to find something you enjoy and stick with that! Any form of exercise will do.

3. Work on your mental health

This is SO important. Often, we are focusing far too much on diet and exercise that we don’t even check up on our mental health. Just like you need to make healthy decisions everyday with regards to diet and exercise you need to do the exact same for your mental health. 

Take some time in the day and check up on yourself, make some time for meditation, journaling and breathing. If your mental health is not in check it will directly affect everything else in your life. Make this a priority!

4. Fill your fridge with yummy goodness

No, this doesn’t include just kale and broccoli. 

I’m talking about filling your fridge and pantry with a variety of fresh wholesome foods that will make you excited to eat your meal. Start learning some new healthy, tasty and quick recipes – there’s millions on Google. Being healthy doesn’t mean missing out on yummy food it means learning how to cook and create healthy yet tasty meals.

5. Have healthy snacks available always

Guys, full disclosure: I’m a snacker myself and if there’s no yummy fruit available or something to grab I will always feel like I need to have something sugary or salty to fill the hole. 

Have fruit, nuts, natural health bars/protein bars etc. available to you to avoid grabbing the wrong things.

6. Drink water

No but really drink water. Most of the time if we haven’t drank enough it causes us to snack unnecessarily.

7. Get some good shut eye

Guys, sleep is so important. I know it seems like a basic thing but often we stay up too late working, fiddling on our phones or watching too much TV instead of trying to wind down for good quality sleep. In order to do this, you need to make sure you have a good night-time routine! 1 hour before bed, start slowing things down and preparing for at least 8 hours of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep it will affect how you function during the day and it will affect the choices you make during the day.

8. Treat yourself

What a lot of us try to do is cut out absolutely everything we like and then hope for the best. Becoming too restrictive like this can cause us to then have a huge binge day because you’ve restricted yourself far too much. You can still have the foods you love but in moderation. Try not to get into the habit of creating a ‘cheat day’ because this mostly leads to us over doing it and feeling super sick and angry with ourselves. Have a chocolate, have a pizza etc. but then continue with your normal meals and routine thereafter.

9. Listen to your body

What is your body asking for? Sometimes your body might need you to slow down a bit and this is when you need to listen. Not every day are you going to feel like an intense workout session. Maybe sometimes your body needs something more chilled like stretches or yoga. This is a huge part of creating a balanced lifestyle because not every day will feel the same. So, tailor your day to day to what your body needs. And no this doesn’t mean giving into laziness or giving into excuses. It means changing things up when your body genuinely needs some TLC.

The bottom line

If you are trying to feel good, then let’s start by saying hell no to quick fixes! Learn that nothing worth having comes easy – you need to put in the work and make the changes. After all, nothing changes if nothing changes, am I right? 😉 If you make consistent healthy decisions every day you will quickly start to form a new routine and new normal for yourself. This new normal is the balanced lifestyle that you deserve to live. Something that will be sustainable throughout your life.

Realize that there is no destination to health and fitness. It’s a journey and it’s your journey! Enjoy the ride.

Let’s keep in touch:
Instagram and Facebook: @thelivelyfitnessgirl

Website: www.livelyfitness.co.za

Email: jessica@livelyfitness.co.za

 

Vegan 101

VEGAN STARTER PACK: INFILTRATING THE INNER CIRCLE

A top tip from the inner circle of veteran vegans; once you make the decision regarding the BIG ‘V’, please do yourself a favour & prep, babe! This is not a choice to be taken lightly, it is a lifestyle change at the end of the day & your current pantry staples are more than likely not really up to scratch! You reckon you’re fine, ‘cause you have bread & butter, you’ll just make a sarmie? 

Nope. That bread is probably made with milk & your fave sandwich spread is 100% made using eggs. UGH!

You are about to venture into the most intense game of speed reading you could ever imagine. I am pretty sure every single Pick ‘n Pay employee in Jozi must think I’m not lekker in the head; I stand for hours reading labels. Why does everything use MILK POWDER? You’re about to lose A LOT of the products you once knew & loved. Perhaps, take a moment of silence for your once beloved packet of Doritos.  Shame.

This all may sound scary & overwhelming, thinking that you’re ‘losing out’ by going vegan. But, you are about to gain so much more! You would not believe the incredible vegan alternatives to absolutely everything you can imagine… Vegan chocolate is the flippin’ bees knees! (No bees were harmed in the making of this blog thanks to SunnyBo Hunny!)

Oh, while you’re here, check out my other blog: VEGAN POLICE: THE TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS OF A MODERN DAY PLANT-EATER

Vegan Food

Shopping List

Back to business, though! My newbie vegan shopping list is short & sweet, to get you through your first week. You probably think it’s a list as long as my arm, consisting of quinoa, agave syrup & tofu? Well, the truth of the matter is, there is only one thing in this realistic vegans starter pack…

Peanut butter.

Yep, that is all you need, honey. Peanut butter (OhMega Nut Butters being my personal favourite!)  & a spoon big enough to feed the inevitable cravings. Because, they will come. Trust that! I think the vegan community has created an air of being ‘from the Earth’, drinking water straight from the damn stream & bathing in oat milk… (Oat milk is hella expensive, it would be a very shallow soak.)

But the reality is, most of us are just as unhealthy as the next person. Myself included! I can promise  you right now, every single vegan alive has some sort of nut butter in the cupboard. Not all of us want to eat kale & drink Kombucha. DO NOT BE FOOLED!

You need to understand, going into this that your body is going to go through some major changes. A lot of withdrawal & you are going to have some hectic cravings for things you never thought you would miss! Fish paste from boarding school when you were in grade 7? GET IN MY BELLY! A lekker oily boerie roll from that dodgy braai stand outside of Builders Warehouse? ASSEBLIEF! 

But, if you’re committed to your decision to tread more lightly on the planet, then push through! The reward far outweighs your need for a lamb chop or even a Wimpy burger! Think of the impact you as a person are making in the world. For every year that you choose not to eat meat, you would have saved 10 055 pigs, 647 737 chickens, 11 357 cows & 3 million prawns! I highly suggest checking out Fry’s website to see some really eye-opening stats!

 I mean, that is a hell of a lot of good karma!

A Raw Deal

I think my least favourite question I get, being a vegan (and trust me, there are PLENTY) is, “but why are you vegan?” I am never quite sure how to respond to that one. Should I be brutally honest? Should I sugar-coat it so that I don’t offend you? And, are you genuinely asking out of interest or are you just waiting to give me your opinion? 

My answer? I am vegan for all of the reasons. 

But mainly ‘cause Russel Brand told me so & who could ever say no to him?

 

Want some meal inspo? Check out these plant-based meals: 

CHOCOLATE OAT BOWL

CHICKPEA CURRY

PASTA ALLA RELISH