Top Takeaways From The Fitter Food Academyeditor •
Excuse us for blowing our own trumpet here (parp!) but we wanted to tell you about our incredible experiences at the Fitter Food Academy. As you may have gathered we’re pretty passionate about sustainable health so it was wonderful to spend the day with like-minded individuals who share our goal, not to mention have a chance to work alongside the awesome Naturopath Emma Mihill and Strength Coach Paul Watson!
At our Fitter Food Academy on Saturday 16 May we discussed the values and importance of optimal hormonal function, a healthy gut, mindfulness and balanced training no matter what your goal in life. Listening to other professionals was hugely insightful for us and offered a timely reminder of a few things we’ve let slip or taken for granted lately.
Hanging out and finally meeting lots of the Fitter Food crowd was a brilliant experience. As was spending quality time with people equally passionate about making the most of life and looking after their health and longevity. Our event ended with a night at Paleo restaurant where we all raised a glass of reseveratrol-rich red wine and toasted to a great day of valuable learning and making new friends. We couldn’t wait to plan the next one and are already on the case for a November date and are looking for venues for our next Academy – keep your eyes peeled as a ‘save the date’ will be out soon.
At the Academy each presentation covered a specific area of health and fat loss, explaining the physiology and biochemistry to help people understand what’s happening behind the scenes and most importantly how we can influence these processes with healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits. We decided to summarise some key pieces of advice that you can implement on a daily basis to support your own health and fat loss goals:
Optimising Hormones For Fat Loss: Leptin and Friends
Keris detailed the science behind hormone health. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel around the body, rather like an email system carrying out the role of communication within a business. There is a hierarchy within this system largely governed and dictated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland located in the brain, thus how we think and feel has a huge impact on our hormones, they also adapt by receiving feedback signals from our body and environment. Our body fat should be regulated and kept healthy automatically, similar to a heating thermostat in a household, if we keep our lifestyles hormone sensitive. Here are some tips that ensure our hormones operate to support an optimal body composition:
- Eat low density carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit, root vegetables and potatoes) not acellular (flour, sugar, syrups)
- Eat polyphenol rich foods (green tea, chocolate, spices, red wine)
- Favour slow and low temperature cooking, ideally with water (boil, steam, poach, microwave)
- Get 8-9 hours sleep t support healthy appetite levels
- Eat slowly and mindfully
- Control appetite by limiting carbohydrates to evening meals or cycling carbohydrates to keep satiating hormones andiponectin and leptin higher during the day
- Drink a little coffee 🙂
- Supplement with chelated magnesium
Do You Have The Guts For Fat Loss?
Emma Mihill took everyone on a journey through the gut, explaining how digestion takes place and how it can be compromised by stress, poor eating habits, medications and nutrition deficiencies. She reminded us all ‘we’re more gut than human’ and the root of all health starts in the gut. Emma detailed all the latest scientific research and observations regarding imbalances of the gut microbiome and disease, including diabetes and obesity, particularly due to their role in appetite regulation and hormone function. She discussed how the gut is now referred to as ‘the second brain’ due to it’s powers in determining our mood, mindset and decision making, this is particularly relevant when it comes to cravings and comfort eating. Here are some of her nuggets on gut health:
- Digestion begins with a cephalic phase when we smell and see food being prepared so for optimal digestion cook your own food!
- Chewing food throughly and eat slowly to support the break down of food and stop large molecules entering the digestive tract and damaging the lining of the gut.
- Gluten proteins increase the permeability of the gut wall exacerbating your immune response to food, wheat proteins are also problematic for most people.
- Many additives, thickeners and preservatives in processed foods have a negative effect on gut bacteria, increasing undesirable strains so …to repeat… cook your own food.
- Strong associations exist between antibiotic exposure and body composition issues, taking probiotics and eating fermented foods can help to protect against the long term effects of antibiotic medications.
Some gut bacteria can control eating behaviour by demanding refined sugars, keep a healthy balance of bacteria for a healthy appetite.
A strong connection exists between the gut and thyroid hormones, support thyroid function ensure you have healthy levels of iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine, tyrosine, copper, selenium and B vitamins to support thyroid function.
- The gut microbiome is influenced negatively by chemical exposure (from household products such as air freshener and cleaning products) the oral contraceptive pill and NSAID medications (Ibuprofen and other painkillers).
- You gut microbiome can influence your thoughts and behaviours, it has a particular influence upon our production of feel good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Imbalances in gut flora may therefore lead to increased cravings and cycles of comfort eating, keeping a desirable balance of beneficial bacteria is hugely important to prevent disordered eating patterns
Practical Mindfulness For Health
Strength coach and master of mindfulness Paul Watson gave everyone some Fitter Food for thought with discussions about how we think each day and the focus we place on stress, worry and building up negative energy in our lives as oppose to prioritising our happiness and sense of contentment. This proved a huge revelation for many people attending the Academy, many mentioned they’d actually ‘forgotten’ to be happy recently and there were a few tears as we reflected on all we have to be grateful for in life 🙂 Paul also brought along his two great danes; Willow and Lucky, who proved hugely popular and featured several times in his presentations as he discussed some of the life lessons dogs had taught and continued to teach him.
- Start your day with an #attitudeofgratitude, be grateful for the small and simple things in life.
- We all have a right to be happy but many of us neither realise nor prioritise this. Life shouldn’t be so tough all the time.
- Wealth is not just based on material possessions, experiences and the memories of them bring us true wealth.
- We all have our demons, or as the Dalai Lama calls it the ‘Chattering Monkey’, but there are simple ways to quieten the monkey and put him back in his box.
- Our lives are full of white noise including emails, phones, TV and constant clutter in our minds, take some quiet time out each day: go for a walk, have a peaceful moment outdoors or do something that allows you to appreciate the silence for a ten minutes.
- Be careful who you hang with, the people around us play a huge role in our health and happiness.
- Pay someone a compliment each and every day 🙂
Training Strategies For Health & Fat Loss
It seems there’s a new training method, class or DVD each week that offers the final formula for fat loss but Matt explained that given we have such different genetic traits, lifestyles and mindsets the key is more figuring out what would work best for you and that comes down to goal setting. Matt pointed out that many people make the mistake of setting several overwhelming and unrealistic goals that can rarely be achieved. He outlined the science of fat loss training to encourage people to train effectively without compromising long term health goals.
- Often people set out with conflicting goals, a marathon does not = sustainable fat loss, set yourself one achievable goal.
- Chose a performance over a fat loss training goals for motivation, structure, team support, focus and a greater sense of reward.
- Optimise your foundations before embarking on extreme sporting achievements like adventure racing or similar events.
- Combine both HIIT and low intensity steady state cardio, both have great benefits to offer.
- There’s no magical formula of sets and reps for fat loss, play to your genetic strengths and focus energy where you feel strongest.
- Balance training with skills, daily movement and always stay on top of your weaknesses.
We hope this offers a few useful reminders and may be some lightbulb moments about the missing pieces in your health puzzle. We’ll be running our next Academy in November so keep an eye on the Fitter Food Facebook page and newsletter for more details soon.
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