Hunger and Cravings – How are hormones affecting your weight and energy?

We often hear people blaming their weight gain on their hormones. Can weight gain really be blamed on the endocrine system or is the cause due to food and lifestyle choices? Many people have a vague idea of the function of hormones but have little knowledge of the specific hormones which may be affecting hunger, appetite, and weight. Here is a summary of some hormones which can affect your weight. Leptin – a satiety hormone • When you eat your fat cells secrete leptin, a hormone that signals satiety and lets you know that you have eaten enough. It’s self-regulating, however many of us override leptin and continue to eat when we are no longer hungry! This results in leptin resistance. • You can overcome leptin resistance by exercising, losing weight and maintaining muscle. Ghrelin • When your stomach is empty it releases ghrelin. Foods containing fructose, such as fruit juice, corn syrup, soft drinks and almost all sweet tasting food stimulate the production of ghrelin, resulting in feelings of hunger and more food consumption. • Skipping meals, eating too little, eating infrequently, or consuming too much fructose makes it worse by causing ghrelin to make you crave poor food choices. Incretins and Insulin • Incretins are a group of metabolic hormones that are released after eating. They stimulate a decrease in blood glucose levels by triggering the secretion of insulin. • High carbohydrate intake leads to high levels of blood glucose and in turn high levels of incretins and insulin. • A long term result of excess sugar/carb intake may be a resistance to insulin, which means it can’t do its job as effectively and so more must be produced. More insulin means that more fat is stored, and it becomes more difficult to move that fat out of storage, i.e.: lose weight. There are other hormones such as glucagon, cortisol, serotonin, and oxytocin which we will discuss in the next edition, however if you are wanting to lose some weight try the quiz below. The quiz covers: 1. Goals you would like to achieve 2. Reasons why you might be struggling to lose weight 3. What you’ve tried in the past 4. Options that might suit you best Register at the end of this quiz and we will email your summary to you. Click the link below to start the quiz…
Quiz Tas

A New Way to STOP the Weight Loss Struggle?

As personal trainers we are constantly asked:
  • What is the best diet to lose weight?
  • Which exercises are best to flatten my stomach?
  • What foods are best for me to eat?
  • I’ve been eating fruit for breakfast is that good for me?
And the list goes on. Having been in the fitness industry for 30+ years and worked with many clients whose primary goal is weight loss.  I often wonder if exercise didn’t burn calories, what percentage of exercisers would keep exercising? Over the past 23 years at Personal Best Fitness, we have helped hundreds of members lose thousands of kilos and most importantly keep the kilos off.  We have done this with a dual edged sword of exercise and dietary modification. We’ve always looked for the most effective exercise and dietary changes. Having spent most of my working life in the fitness industry, I have observed and even trained in several approaches to weight loss. If I’m being honest, I am horrified at some of the dietary advise that was given when I started in this industry and other so called well published recommended dietary guidelines prescribe.  However, science has evolved and there are now better and newer approaches to dietary advice. I’m not a dietitian nor a nutritionist, but I have observed the following as great strategies for weight loss.
  • Limit alcohol or cut it out altogether
  • Reduce white and yellow foods from your food intake, start with
    • Bread, cereal, and muesli
    • Rice, pasta, and couscous
    • All fruit apart from a handful of blueberries every other day
    • Avoid cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and lollies
    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day
    • Priotise protein at each meal and as a snack
    • Eat slowly and put your knife and folk down whilst eating your meal
    • Go to bed slightly hungry
    • Fast . . . have 12 hours where no food is consumed once a day., i.e., if your finishing eating at 7.30pm, then don’t eat until after 7.30am or better still eat when you are hungry!
There would likely be people with a string of formal dietary qualifications that may have different views, however experience has shown that these simple and easy to follow ‘guidelines’ do achieve real weight loss, in fact about .5 kg per week for those with 8 or more kilos to loss. Put bluntly, it’s not fat that is making us fat, but rather sugar… or any food or drink that converts to sugar in your blood…. healthy or not! Weight loss is often made so complex and can be confusing as the recommendations change so often, just have a look at your home library and see how many diet books you have in the bookcase? So, if you are serious about weight loss give these a go for the next 4 weeks and let me know how it goes, I would love to hear about your triumphs and for you to be another Personal Best Fitness success story. Give it a go . . . what have you got to lose, just a few kilos! Or if you would like some support with weight loss, this month we are launching our new dietflex 1 on 1 private online weight loss coaching. If it is time to put yourself first, we are offering a few special ‘6-week kickstart weight loss’ packages right now. We only have space for 12 weight loss clients for our founder member offer. If you’re at your ideal weight but know someone, member or not, who may be interested, just forward this email to them. Would you like some more information on how it works? Text Yes to 0419 337 397. I’ll then organise a Zoom session to show you exactly how it works. Amanda Coombe Master Personal Trainer Dietflex Weight Loss Coach
Personal Trainer Hobart

What does ‘Getting Fit’, actually mean?

One of the first questions we ask those who are new to Personal Best Fitness is “What would you like to achieve?” Often the response is “I want to get fit.” Sounds quite straight forward doesn’t it, but what does it actually mean? Getting fit means different things to different people. A common definition is, “To be physically fit means to be in a state of health and well-being. Physical fitness is defined as the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist disease and to react to emergency situations. Helping a client “become fit” can take a variety of approaches and avenues and can be very different for ‘everybody and mind’.

There are 3 or 4 aspects of “Being Fit” that we may focus on with you at Personal Best:

  • Improving your cardiovascular/aerobic fitness/ huff and puff.
  • Help you increase your range of motion or flexibility.
  • Improve your strength.
  And we will program this in such a way that is functional to your needs. The aspects that we focus on will depend upon your goals and how your body is currently functioning. It is important to recognise that different approaches and focuses will result in different outcomes and will facilitate significant improvements in both your health and fitness. Cardiovascular fitness or endurance can be improved with exercise that is performed at a medium level, greater than 20 minutes in duration. This helps improve the health of your heart and lungs. Running, walking, rowing, swimming and bike riding are all activities that help enhance your cardiovascular or aerobic capacity. The formula used to decipher what your exercise training zone is 220 – age =? divided by 65% and 85%. Below are some examples for a 40 and 60-year-old who is looking to work at either training zone. If you are age 40 years a ‘starting’ exercise zone would be a heart rate of 117 beats per minute (bpm) and the high-end intensity would be 153bpm. If you are aged 60 years a ‘starting’ zone would be a rate of 104 bpm and a high-end zone would be 136bpm.  

When getting started at Personal Best your personal trainer will direct you to the appropriate zone for you, taking into consideration the following:

  • Your health
  • If you have done vigorous exercise recently
  • Any aches and pains that you may have
  • And what goals you have
These zones should be viewed as a guide and individual advice should be sort. Flexibility refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. Flexibility varies between individuals, particularly in terms of differences in muscle length of multi-joint muscles. Some examples of multi joint muscles are the hamstrings, which cross both the hip and knee joints. Flexibility in some joints can improve their range of movement. Stretching being a common medium to maintain or improve this range of movement. Stretch receptors have two parts: Spindle cells and Golgi tendons. Spindle cells, located in the centre of a muscle, send messages for the muscle to contract. On the other hand, golgi tendon receptors are located near the end of a muscle fibre and send messages for the muscle to relax. As these receptors are trained through continual use, stretching becomes easier. When reflexes that inhibit flexibility are released joints are then able to have greater range of movement. There are a number of reasons why strength training is important. Some of these reasons are to maintain muscle tissue to protect your joints, build and maintain strong bones, control body fat, and decrease the risk of injury. Depending on what your goals are, your personal trainer will set your program accordingly.
  • If it is hypertrophy that you are after then 4 reps at 90% of your maximum load to 10 reps at 75% of your maximum load is required. Hypertrophy is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells.
  • If muscular endurance is what you are after approximately 15 to 20 reps at 70% is required. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. Some of the activities that require muscular endurance are, sustained walking or running, cycling, swimming, circuit training, aerobics and of course resistance training.
Functional exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, work or in sports. For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles that you use when you stand up and sit down from a chair or pick up objects off the ground. When rehabilitating a client from injury, or building function back into their daily life, exercises are ‘regressed’ so that the client can move with confidence again and trust their bodies as they perform these movements. Understanding how the body moves is part of the rehabilitation process and the personal trainers at Personal Best are able to deliver this knowledge with skill and professionalism. Some of the exercises personal trainers prescribe their clients may be walking along a plank of wood on the ground heel to toe to improve balance, reaching up the wall with one hand while in a staggered stance, to improve posture. These types of exercises then lead to more complex forms of movement and with weights and or resistance. “Being fit” has so many different meanings. Ask the question, fit for what? Fit to wash the car, run a fun run, pick the grandkids up, play netball, or fit to walk 15000 steps each day on holidays. All of these things are important as long as they are gradually progressed and applied in an individual manner. Remember, not everything fits the same person and we all require different approaches. Your goals over time will evolve as you progress along the continuum that is your fitness. If you are unsure what is ‘best’ for you, ask us about booking a personal training session. Fran Sullivan Master Personal Trainer

The Takeaways on SUGAR

Hidden Sugar comes in many forms

Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Ga-lactose, Lactose, Maltose etc, but not all of these different types of sugar effect our health in the same way. There are at least 61 different names for sugar that can be used on the packaging of products to disguise it from the consumer. Solution: limit or avoid packaged foods where possible. Certain types of sugar have been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, certain types of cancer, insomnia, obesity, metabolic syndrome just to name a few. In the average Western diet added sugar alone accounts for around 450 calories a day, or 1850 kilojoules, and these calories not only come with NO other nutrients but can effect your hormonal balance in a negative way. Your whole body will be thankful for reducing your sugar intake, in particular your liver and digestive system. Low-fat and ‘lite’ foods often have added sugar to enhance the flavour and make the products palatable. Check the label. Shop in the outside of the supermarket and avoid the isles. 80% of their weight-loss success comes from eating the right food. When dietary fat, supplemented by good quality protein and consumed along with abundant vegetables the bodies nutritional requirements are met. This reduces harmful reactions to food, such as see-sawing blood sugar levels. hidden-sugars Follow the 80/20 rule: Make good choices 80% of the time and the occasional slip-up will not be too much cause for concern. Eat like it’s 1934. Go back to the way your grandparents used to eat. Meat and three veg, real butter, the whole egg. At Personal Best Fitness we have had GREAT success in facilitating the weight loss of 100’s of clients due to our simple and effective weight loss guidelines.     Written by Amanda Coombe who is considered a national expert in lifestyle coaching and personal training having 5 times been a finalist in the Australian Personal Trainer of the Year award. She is the founder of Personal Best Fitness, Tasmania’s Fitness Business of the Year and is recognized as a leader in corporate health programs. Her corporate clients include Nyrstar, Tasmanian Collection Services, RACT, Hydro Tasmania, Norske Skog, Parliament House, Tasmanian Audit Office, SEMF and Tasmanian Fire Service.

5 Myths of Dieting and Nutrition

If there is one thing that is clear, according to Google, it is that every food both causes and cures almost every disease! The point being it isn’t hard to find articles claiming a certain nutrient is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. This can make trying to gain a clear understanding of what to eat extremely difficult and overwhelming. While it would be possible to write hundreds more, below are 5 myths about dieting and nutrition that certainly need to be stopped ASAP. A calorie is a calorie/all calories are created equal It is incorrect and highly simplistic to consider all calories as equal (1). The type of food (or the source of calories) is vitally important to the quality and possible outcome of consuming it. First of all the micro-nutrients help separate certain foods as more or less beneficial, vitamins, minerals etc. Additionally, different foods have different effects on hormones, which in turn control hunger, satiety, energy storage and potentially metabolic rate (2, 3). For example a diet higher in protein will have a higher metabolic demand, leading to more energy used at rest, than a diet higher in carbohydrates (4, 5). This higher protein diet will also lead to less hunger, even if calories are identical between diets. This was shown in the following study (5). Ultimately calories do matter for weight loss, but it is more important where the calories are coming from as this can help or hinder any attempt to eat less. Low sodium intake is best for everyone The average Australian consumes 3600mg of sodium a day, the recommended daily maximum level is 2300mg, although 1600mg is advocated. It is said that eating too much sodium will increase blood pressure leading to heart attacks and strokes. Much of the ‘salt raises blood pressure’ theory is based on one short-term study, “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH” (6). In this study a drop in sodium intake did decrease blood pressure levels a tiny amount. However the study did not actually measure if people lived any longer or not. An extensive report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) assessed the evidence of sodium intake in populations and possible health outcomes that may be affected by a change in salt intake. It was concluded that “evidence from studies on direct health outcomes is inconsistent and insufficient to conclude that lowering sodium intakes below 2,300mg per day either increases or decreases risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes…” (7). Essentially when actually measuring direct health outcomes, heart attacks/strokes, death rates etc. of the population at large, there is no evidence that lowering sodium intakes to the current recommendations will help us to fewer health problems. Furthermore there also remains some concern that sodium restriction can lead to raised triglyceride’s and cholesterol, not a desirable effect (8, 9). Eggs are bad for your health                              Eggs have unfortunately been demonized through much of the 1980s and early 1990s, due mostly to the fact they contain cholesterol in the yolk. For sometime cholesterol in the diet was thought to negatively effect blood cholesterol levels and lead to increased risk of heart disease. In the past few years however it has been shown that dietary cholesterol does not significantly affect blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, eggs have been shown to raise the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL), which decreases heart disease risk (10). The ironic thing about the demonization of eggs is that eggs remain one of the most nutritious, readily available, and cheap food choices. They contain a range of micro-nutrients that are beneficial to us as well as being shown to increases chances of weight loss when eggs are eaten for breakfast instead of bagels (11). Basically eggs are a very nutritious food choice and should not be avoided unless you happen to be allergic. Many small meals a day is better than 2-3 bigger meals Some people are fond of saying that eating many small meals a day will help to keep metabolism high. Unfortunately when this claim is tested in randomized controlled trials it does not stand up. Essentially eating 2-3 meals a day or 5-6 smaller meals will lead to the same metabolic output (12). There is even some preliminary evidence to suggest that eating more frequently can have negative impacts on fat accumulation (13). So if you prefer eating small meals more frequently be aware that it won’t be giving you a metabolic advantage, as is claimed. Low carbohydrate diets are bad for your health Low carbohydrate diets remain a popular choice, however many health professionals remain critical/skeptical that this type of diet can be safe and effective long term. One of the major concerns is that eating extra fat will cause negative implications for the heart. However low carbohydrate diets have been shown to actually improve the major metabolic markers associated with heart disease (14, 15), while leading to greater weight loss than traditional low fat diets (16-18). That’s not to say that low carbohydrate diets are for everyone, some people prefer or do better on different diets. But it is important to note that low carbohydrate diets are safe and effective with major benefits over many other popular diets (19, 20). Recommendations Trying to wade through the myriad of information about nutrition on the Internet can sometimes be exhausting and unproductive. With any claim made there should always be sound peer-reviewed evidence to back it up. Demand supporting evidence, if it isn’t or can’t be produced I generally remain highly skeptical of the claim. If you would like some guidance or clarification on any of the myths addressed, ask us at Personal Best Fitness. Ryan Giblin – Personal Trainer at Ryan has been actively involved in the health and fitness industry for a number of years as a Personal Trainer, coach of junior AFL teams and as a boxing coach. He enjoys working with clients to assist them in improving their quality of life.  He does this by focusing their personal training around fundamental movement patterns to help reduce their pain levels. With a service orientated approach, together with patience and good communication skills, Ryan finds working with a range of clients one of the most interesting aspects of being a personal trainer.   Ryan is a seasoned worldwide traveller, enthusiastic story teller and is sports mad! In his free time you will most likely find him researching or getting involved with one or all of these passions. References  
  • Feinman RD, Fine EJ. A calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics. Nutr J. 2004;3(9):10.1186.
  • Koliaki C, Kokkinos A, Tentolouris N, Katsilambros N. The effect of ingested macronutrients on postprandial ghrelin response: a critical review of existing literature data. International journal of peptides. 2010;2010.
  • Johnston CS, Day CS, Swan PD. Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002;21(1):55-61.
  • Skov A, Toubro S, Rønn B, Holm L, Astrup A. Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity. Int J Obes. 1999;23(5):528-36.
  • Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2005;82(1):41-8.
  • Sacks FM, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM, Appel LJ, Bray GA, Harsha D, et al. Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. N Engl J Med. 2001;344(1):3-10.
  • Yaktine AL, Oria M, Strom BL. Sodium Intake in Populations:: Assessment of Evidence: National Academies Press; 2013.
  • Taylor RS, Ashton KE, Moxham T, Hooper L, Ebrahim S. Reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;7(7).
  • Graudal NA, Hubeck‐Graudal T, Jurgens G. Effects of low sodium diet versus high sodium diet on blood pressure, renin, aldosterone, catecholamines, cholesterol, and triglyceride. The Cochrane Library. 2011.
  • Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9(1):8-12.
  • Vander Wal J, Gupta A, Khosla P, Dhurandhar N. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J Obes. 2008;32(10):1545-51.
  • Cameron JD, Cyr M-J, Doucet E. Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. Br J Nutr. 2010;103(08):1098-101.
  • Koopman KE, Caan MW, Nederveen AJ, Pels A, Ackermans MT, Fliers E, et al. Hypercaloric diets with increased meal frequency, but not meal size, increase intrahepatic triglycerides: A randomized controlled trial. Hepatology. 2014;60(2):545-53.
  • Westman EC, Feinman RD, Mavropoulos JC, Vernon MC, Volek JS, Wortman JA, et al. Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2007;86(2):276-84.
  • Santos F, Esteves S, da Costa Pereira A, Yancy Jr W, Nunes J. Systematic review and meta‐analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obes Rev. 2012;13(11):1048-66.
  • Dyson P, Beatty S, Matthews D. A low‐carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non‐diabetic subjects. Diabet Med. 2007;24(12):1430-5.
  • Brehm BJ, Seeley RJ, Daniels SR, D’Alessio DA. A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2003;88(4):1617-23.
  • Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, Shahar DR, Witkow S, Greenberg I, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(3):229-41.
  • Yancy WS, Olsen MK, Guyton JR, Bakst RP, Westman EC. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(10):769-77.
  • Foster GD, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, Makris AP, Rosenbaum DL, Brill C, et al. Weight and metabolic outcomes after 2 years on a low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(3):147-57.

Facts on Losing Weight

Weight loss can be the bain of many people’s life.  Some of us go from diet to diet looking for a secret or an easy way for losing weight, the last 5 to 10 kg while others just bury their head in the sand. Ever since I can recall I have adopted a high carbohydrate/low fat/low GI and count your calories approach to helping my clients lose weight.  Over the past few years I have began to question this. For many this approach wasn’t successful, even following a calorie intake of 1200 to 1350 calories per day. For the few that this was successful for weight loss was extremely slow. After coming across a book titled Good Calories, Bad Calories. Published in 2007 which collates more than 150 years of research into nutrition and weight loss and suggests that it is the quality, not the quantity, of calories you consume that lead to weight gain and disease. The more carbohydrates you consume the fatter you will be. Carbohydrates, and particularly refined carbohydrates -like sugar and high fructose fruit and high fructose corn syrup -are the prime suspects in the chronic elevation of insulin; hence they are the ultimate cause of common weight gain/obesity. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat. By driving fat accumulation carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume the leaner we will be. What do you eat to help you lose weight? You replace the carbohydrates in your diet, and particularly the sugar, high fructose sources and starches, with fat and protein. That is because fat and protein have minimal effects on your insulin levels. Therefore you eat meat, fish, fowl, eggs, full fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables, nuts, minimal fruit and no grains or sugars.  The following description illustrates how carbohydrates impact the human body and the degree to which we need them or not.
  • 300 or more grams/day – Danger Zone! Easy to reach with the “normal” Australian diet, (cereals, pasta, rice. bread, muffins, soft drink, packaged snacks, sweets and desserts).  If this is your diet you are at high risk of excess fat storage, high inflammation and disease markers, metabolic syndrome and or diabetes.
  • 150 – 300 grams per day – Steady Weight Gain Your body will continue to produce high amounts of insulin, therefore preventing fat burning.  Generally your weight will increase by 1kg or more per year.
  • 100 – 150 grams per day – Maintenance Range Range based on body weight and activity level. When combined with exercise provides optimal body weight maintenance and increased energy levels through fat burning and muscle development. This is where you want to be when you have reached your ideal weight and are striving for optimal health.
  • 50 – 100 grams per day – Effortless Weight Loss Minimizes insulin production and significantly increases fat burning.  By consuming meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables that grow out of the ground and some fruits you can loss 1kg of body fat per week and more importantly keep it off FOREVER.
If you would like to know more call us on 6234 5969. Amanda is considered a national expert in lifestyle coaching and personal training having 5 times been a finalist in the Australian Personal Trainer of the Year award.She is the founder of Personal Best Fitness, Tasmania’s Fitness Business of the Year and is recognized as a leader in corporate health programs.