Are you relying on this to help you lose weight?

Are you relying on this to help you lose weight?


For years I relied on willpower to try and change my weight, my health, fingernail biting, etc. Today, I see so many people trying to rely on their willpower only to fail. They try again and fail again. It’s a vicious circle.

Picture this: Gracie is a 30yo wife and mother to 3 children under the age of 10. She wants to get healthier and lose a few kilograms. So she picks up a diet book complete with the cookbook containing new-to-her-foods. She studies the book and learns what foods are off limits and what foods she needs to be eating. Gracie relies upon her willpower to get all this started and to continue in it. Gracie starts with great enthusiasm but she hasn’t factored in the birthday party she has to attend next week nor the family camping trip the following week. Nor has she factored in that she or some of the family don’t like these new-to-them-foods or the new recipes. And they take too much time to prepare anyway, especially if no one likes them.

Gracie assumed that she would get through it all by using her willpower. It all sounds great, in theory, but in reality, willpower is not loyal, it is fleeting and has no perseverance. Wilpower waxes and wanes, comes and goes. It simply doesn’t have the persistence needed to create lifelong change.

Why is this so?

This has been studied at great length by many researchers. Firstly, willower is a unitary power much like a battery. It can be called up and utilised however it is also capable of being drained, much like a battery goes flat.

When the [willpower] battery is depleted, we aren’t able to use the power it supplies. So we find that our battery is flat and we convince ourselves that it isn’t that important anyway or we bargain with ourselves by saying that it won’t matter just this once, that it’s okay to succumb to the temptation. Then, often comes the feelings of guilt or shame or the ‘in for the penny, in for the pound‘ mentality. You see, willpower is finite, it is exhaustible, it has limits. Researchers have found that willpower gets depleted by a few key things:

  • resisting temptation
  • persevering on task
  • monitoring our performance
  • making decisions
  • regulating our thoughts
  • low blood sugar

These things deplete willpower very quickly.

But hold on a minute, these are all things that happen frequently, daily if not, hourly. So if these things can drain our battery then we cannot always be fully charged with willpower. So we need something else to reply upon, something that doesn’t wax and wane, something that is more reliable and not so easily depleted.

Okay Susan, so what is it that we can rely upon to help us succeed if willpower isn’t it?

Great question, I’m glad you asked!


Your willpower will be tested enough at social events, at cafe’s, and as you pass the Krispy Kreme aisle in the service station. If you’re to have any chance of success, you need something more reliable, more helpful than willpower. You need a few systems and some healthy habits. Sure these take time to create and instil as automatics in your life but they are stronger in the long run, they will be more consistently faithful over the years.

Most of the things we do in our daily life are habitual – we barely even think about it. Habits can be positive and work for us or they can work against us. We need to discover the habits that aren’t working for us and flip them or replace them with healthy, positive habits that work in our favour.

This is where I can help! We can work together and ascertain your goals. Then you decide which habits you need to change first and then we work on strategies to help you achieve that. Contact me today if you are interested in coaching!

Rotate Your Greens

Rotate Your Greens

Rotate your greens

In the previous post, I wrote about learning to love green leafies and suggested incorporating them with as many meals as possible. And this is all true and good. However, it is worth knowing a little tip about greens. And that is that we benefit from rotating them. Don’t over rely upon one type of green leafies!

All greens have small amounts of toxins. Greens also contain anti-nutrients that should not be consumed in too high amounts over a long period of time. Each type of green leaves are different in their nutrient content and some are higher than others. Greens are not harmful but it’s a good idea to vary these compounds so your body doesn’t become overwhelmed. If you only consume greens from one family, your body may start to experience alkaloid build up. This is very rare, and easy to avoid. Some people with hypothyroidism are concerned about goitrogens which are found in Brassicas such as kale. Some greens bind calcium so that your body cannot absorb it so variety truly is the spice of life! Basically, by rotating greens on a regular basis, you avoid building up the toxins from one leafy green.

Just try a new/different leafy green every once in a while. I recommend rotating your greens once a week. This way, your body doesn’t get too much of a good thing in one leafy green family, and you get the benefits of new nutrients from a different green family.

Rotate Greens
Learn to Love Greens

Learn to Love Greens

green leafy veg

If optimal health or weight management is your goal, you really need to love green leaves because they are so very good for you.

Kale, collard greens, turnip greens, carrot tops, swiss chard, spinach, baby spinach & beet leaves, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, watercress & lettuces are” some of the most inexpensive sources of so many important nutrients. Dandelion, red clover, plantain, watercress and chickweed are edible green leaves which you may find growing in your backyard as weeds!

Green, leafy vegetables provide a great variety of colours from the bluish-green of kale to the bright green of spinach. Leafy greens have all types of flavours from sweet to bitter, from peppery to earthy (think nasturtium leaves).

There are so many good, healthy and worthwhile things to mention about leafy greens that I could write a whole chapter on them but for now I’ll just list a few.

Greens are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.

Adding greens to your meal or making a meal around leafy greens is quick, easy and affordable. A large bowl filled with leafy greens gently tossed with healthy oils like MCT or olive oil, topped with boiled eggs, a fillet of salmon or pieces of steak are hearty and yummo! In fact, did you realise that meat has all of the essential amino acids , essential fats and 12 vitamins needed for health? One vitamin is missing – Vit C. Which is why adding leafy greens to your meat meals is so important. Remember…

“Add some greens when you eat meat, They will make your meal complete!”
~Trim Healthy Mama

Folate: The word folate describing the B vitamin originates from the Latin root word folium, which means leaf. Did you know that our body must get folate from food – dark green leafy veggies! Folate deficiency can be quite common and lead to a host of health problems such as digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease birth defects. Folate does other valuable things as well but in a nutshell – you really, really need it.

Beneficial for weight loss: Greens contain nitrites, which have been associated in browning fat cells, meaning converting fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown cells. This creates extra fat burning and ultimately, weight loss.

Greens are also helpful for anti-aging, cardiovascular health, as well as helpig to fight against both types of diabetes.

Green veggies contain a variety of carotenoids, flavonoids and other powerful antioxidants that have cancer-protective properties. Green leafy vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which can also be converted into vitamin A, and also improve immune function.

The antioxidants like vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin that are contained in leafy greens may help reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin C helps the body make collagen too!

Note 1: Rotate your greens! Don’t eat watercress 7 days a week or baby spinach 6 days a week every week. Change it up! To over consume any one type of green can cause unwanted side effects. For instance, some greens bind calcium so that your body cannot absorb it so variety truly is the spice of life!

Note 2: While leafy greens offer many health benefits, they can sometimes trigger IBS in individuals who are sensitive. If you  take a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin), be sure to have your INR levels checked regularly as you increase your intake of dark leafy greens.

Note 3: Spinach and some other greens have a high oxalic content so if you are following a low oxalate diet then you need to limit your amount. Be led by our own body’s need and do what is right for you, if you have a medical condition. And if in doubt, always check with your GP or health professional.

You don’t need a recipe. Just buy a bag of mixed green leaves or a single type. Add a handful to every meal. Simple!

Meal Preparation Tip

Meal Preparation Tip

Meal Prep Tip

Try this kitchen productivity hack to save time. By spending 15 minutes on one day, you will make cooking dinner much quicker and easier for the next 3 nights.

A system or habit like this will make your life easier and help you succeed toward your goals.

My Problem: Afternoon decision fatigue and time challenged

A Solution: 3 day meal plan and preparation ready to go!


By 4pm in the afternoon I just want to chill out and relax. But tea…! I often save my sanity by using a pressure cooker but in the warmer weather I don’t use it as much. I prefer grilled meats and salad or vegges. But first things first – decision making.

All the choices can cause me to have decision fatigue. I ask the family to see what they want with the secret hope they will make the decision for me. No such luck. They don’t care – baked beans on toast will do them. I love them for not wanting me to slave away in the kitchen but I’m not doing baked beans all the time. So I look in the fridge at the plentiful food and can’t seem to make a decision. This hack means it’s already prepared and I only have 3 meals to choose from. Easy peasy!

I enjoy the shopping and choosing my produce. I also enjoy choosing our menu based upon our finances, our preferences, the weather and our likes at the time. I am fully in control. I get to choose the recipes that we love and that I know are healthy. I know the ingredients and I know there are no ‘hidden nasties’ or unnecessary ingredients in the spices sauces, etc.

This process still gives me flexibility and choice yet saves me time in the afternoon which is when I need time and energy the most.

Each year I compile two lists – Summer and Winter Faves. I list between 10 – 15 meals in each column. This saves me from racking my brain each time I create a menu plan. I simply look at my list and choose! Of course there is always room for adding new meals but this is my ‘starting point’.

The Process

  • Using my summer/winter lists I choose 3 meals for us to eat for the next 3 nights. I write them down. And I print out the recipes.
  • I go through the ingredients to see what is needed. This becomes the shopping list.
  • I grab shopping bags and hit the shops!
  • I return home. Now instead of putting everything in the fridge immediately, I group the produce and ingredients by recipe. Then I put each ingredient into a cooler bag or container, along with the recipe and pop it into the fridge!
  • I do this for all 3 meals.
  • I put other foods into the fridge – eggs, cream, butter, oils, etc.

When it is mealtime, I simply grab a bag from the fridge and get cooking! Everything I need is in the bag: the recipe, the protein, the fresh produce and other ingredients. The only ingredients I need to hunt for are the ones I usually use every day like eggs, milk, oil, mayonnaise, etc.

I have found this whole process to be quick and easy. I mixed up my own spice mixes ahead of time and portioned them out into jars which you can see in the photos. Hunting for seven or eight different spices and measuring it all out is quite time consuming so doing that when it is convenient for me saves me lots of time during the cooking process.

This process may not be for everyone and that’s fine! There is no one size that fits all. Rather it is about creating systems and habits that make your life easier, that makes it easier for you to succeed and reach your goals.

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Protein Power

Protein Power

Protein Power

The Power of Protein

When fat loss is a goal, getting adequate protein in is huge. I bang on about this a lot and and most women who start working with me already know that protein is important. However, once they start actually tracking to see how many grams they’re currently getting in, they are usually shocked to find out it’s typically a LOT lower than they expected.

It’s quite common for clients to only be getting in 40-60 grams when ideally they should be aiming for closer to 100-120 grams (or more, depending).  It’s not that they’re not eating protein, they are! But most are assuming there’s a lot more in the foods that they’re eating than there actually is, or they’re not eating enough of them to reach their goals.

For example;  if you are 176lbs or 80kg and your goal is to get .8 grams per pound of body weight of protein in per day, that’s 140 grams. Divide that up by your 3-4 meals per day and you’re looking at around 30-40 grams per meal. The recommended range of protein intake is between 0.8 g/kg and 1.8 g/kg of body weight but seeing as how most of here are not body builders nor elite athletes we can work around the lower to middle range. ☺

Maybe you’re eating a couple of eggs for breakfast. That’s only 14 g or so of protein. If your goal is 120, you’re going to have a lot of making up to do. Not impossible, but challenging for most. I know you are trying to anchor your meals and snacks around protein but it’s likely not enough.

Getting adequate, quality protein will do wonders for your satiety, your carvings, your energy levels, your hair and your weight loss* (* when eating correctly for weight loss to occur)

If fat loss is a goal, it’s also the most thermogenic macro, meaning your body burns more calories digesting and absorbing protein compared to carbs and fats. Not only that, it will help reduce muscle loss when in a calorie deficit.

Brands used in the comparison

  • Bega Simply Nuts Crunchy – 1 TB
  • Woolworths gouda – 20 g slice
  • Sss Foods Hommus – 25g
  • Chobani low fat Greek yogurt
The amounts shown in the photos below were all calculated using Cronometer.
If you were to eat everything listed above in the images you would be consuming:
1600 calories with 191g of protein, only 50g of carbohydrates and 65g of fat. WOW! While that is more protein than we need can you see how little calories it is for such a large amount of food. Are you eating AT LEAST half of this amount each day? If you aren’t eating at least half of this amount of protein, what are you filling up on – fat or carbohydrates?


Do any of these foods surprise you? Are you eating enough protein?

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NSV: Feeling Full & Satiated

NSV: Feeling Full & Satiated

Satisfied & Full

Non Scale Victory: Feeling Full & Satiated

Non Scale Victories are little signs of progress that cannot be measured by the bathroom scale. We need to acknowledge our NSV’s as progress and celebrate them as they are a milestone on the journey towards our goals. Rather than using a scale which only indicates one unit of measurement look out for the series of NSV posts which I’ll write over the next few weeks.

I coach my clients to eat more food, not less. Sometimes I hear messages such as this, “Wow, I’m eating so much food, I finally now what it feels like to be satiated“.  I LOVE hearing this! Ample protein, healthy fats and smart carbohydrates are very nutrient dense and filling. My clients are never hungry after meals.

As we digest our food, the gut sends signals to the brain about how much energy we’ve consumed which triggers satiation (the feeling of fullness) so we know when we’ve had enough. However, eating non-nutritive food is easy to stuff into our mouth, causing craving for more yet not satisfying our true needs. These non-nutritive foods are those foods which are more highly processed and energy dense (higher in calories yet lower in nutrients). They usually contain a combination of intense salty/sweet/fatty/crunchy/creamy tastes and it excites our brain and sends the message to keep eating to store enough energy for weeks! This is a wonderful, natural system that works well in times of famine.  Problem is, these foods are everywhere and we are not in a time of famine. So we are left with almost no nutrition and no satiation yet a whole lot of calories and other less-than-stellar ingredients.

You’re eating slowly. You’re choosing fresh, whole foods. By filling up on these foods you naturally have less room in your diet for processed foods. You are choosing fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, beans, and legumes which are nourishing you, helping you feel satisfied. You are feeling nourished. You are feeling full and satisfied. Your gut is happy and your brain is calm. Ahhh…

This is an early sign of progress, that you’re on the right track even though you haven’t lost any weight on the scale yet. And this is all fine as the bathroom scale rarely marks the milestones along your path to a trimmer, healthier body.

Our bodies are marvellously complex. Our body undergoes changes that are often hard to see and track. We feel and function differently even if we can’t fully describe what is going on with these changes – we just know that it is positive, albeit it, subtle. It is these Non Scale Victories (NSV’s) that help us to persevere through the tough times.

Take Action

  • Write these NSV’s down – everything counts regardless of how small you think they are.
  • Share with your coach, loved ones or supportive friends – celebrate the little wins!
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