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6 Weeks To Sexy Program: What I learned, What I most Enjoyed

So by now you must be thinking, I thought she was doing 6 weeks to sexy, not 18 weeks?! It’s true, I have totally become hooked on this program, and have carried it through to the 3 month mark. Whilst my first two programs really saw me commit to the 5 days a week workouts, this last one I have been nursing an old back injury, and focusing on more pilates, walking, yoga and Physio exercises. However, as I will explain below, each 6 weeks taught me something different about myself and my body, and I guess that is just realistic and reflective of life in general. We can’t be perfect, things come up – emotionally, work-wise and physically – and at the end of the day you have to do what is right for you at that point in time. I have seriously loved every single workout throughout this program, and can’t wait to share with you what I have learned, and what I have most enjoyed!

What I have learned:

  1. Appetite increase – I get much hungrier when I am working out intensely, and need to ensure I fuel my body properly. For this, smoothies have been a dream – and I never have more protein than a 3-4:1 carb:protein ratio. I’ll make myself a turmeric latte for afterward, and that would hold me over to a mid-morning snack which I now always need!
  2. Listen to my body – In terms of hunger, energy and injury it is so important to listen to your body. It will repay you, and it will also catch up to you if you don’t! Even when it didn’t feel right to train, I still took care of myself in some way- whether it was a rest day or I chose to move my body in a different way (walking, yoga, pilates, Physio exercises).
  3. It’s about frame of mind – set the goals you wish to achieve and focus on them every day. I can tell the difference in my attendance and performance the weeks I said to myself (and out loud) that I was going to smash every day of that week. You make less excuses and you make the time to see it through- whether it be setting your alarm, a reminder on your phone, telling a partner or friend of your intention, packing your bag etc. etc. being in the right frame of mind get’s you to training every  day and pushes you to do your best.
  4. Overall energy boost – my gosh I have so much energy lately!  I really have no energy crashes, and I attribute it to working out daily and eating accordingly. Exercise should invigorate you, if it doesn’t, it might be worthwhile to speak to a practitioner about your adrenal health.
  5. Increased water consumption – this might be a silly one but I have also never drank more water and I feel like the combo of this, plus sweating daily, has really helped my skin.
  6. It’s not about what you weigh, but rather how you feel. I made the decision to not weigh myself as I went along, as I didn’t want any old insecurities to creep back in. I also now know how it is your body composition that often changes most, and that might not see a shift on the scales. 6W2S is very intent on letting you know this, with weekly emails and info regarding muscle, body fat and overall weight. As we get measured in a variety of ways at the start of each program (InBody Scan showing body fat percentage and muscle mass etc., body measurements, and strength capabilities), having this 6 week weigh-in is all you need. I also love how it is not simply weight, but rather, there are so many ways to track progress!

What I have most enjoyed:

  1. Having a solid routine, and taking the thought piece out of the exercise equation! This might sound silly, but choosing what to do each day can be stressful, and ensuring you have carved out the time to do it can be challenging! With 6W2S- I just get up and go and have someone tell me what to do 🙂
  2. Blake has a few “tests” he runs throughout the programs whereby he times you going through the session – without a doubt, I constantly bettered myself every time I was re-tested, showing me how much stronger and fitter I was becoming.
  3. Being outdoors for the most part, especially our once-a-week at Bondi. Sunrises always make a workout that much more rewarding and set a beautiful calming, energising tone to the day.
  4. The crew – the girls and trainers are the best of the best, and really motivate, inspire and make it all the more enjoyable turning up each morning. Not to mention the support and community generated through external activities and events and the FB set up each and every program.
  5. Feeling like my body has moved sufficiently each and every day – for someone that is seriously desk-bound either blogging or seeing clients, it can be challenging to get the 10K steps in we should all be aiming for. Whilst I still make a conscious effort to take breaks and walk around, these morning sessions ensure that I have moved my body daily to counteract the hours of computer-time.
  6. The results! Whether it be a more positive mindset, cleaner eating patterns, weight-loss, increased muscle mass, commitment, or hitting new goals, each 6 weeks actually offered me something new. The first one I was most committed to and saw the most physical progress, the second was all about new goals in fitness and strength and this third has been about mindset and listening to my body (due to my injury). Overall within the 3 months I’ve seen a significant drop in body fat %, comparable for what I had to loose, and am really happy with my overall results.

My favourite Fast Foods…

When we hear the words “fast food”, all kinds of nasty thoughts enter our minds, right?! Fast food chains, instant and artificial powdered vegetables, frozen minute-meals, or unhealthy snack foods (often disguised as healthy, I’m looking at you, muesli bars)… the list goes on. Basically things that are cheap and convenient. However, grab-and-go foods don’t have to be so nutritionally deficient. Here are some of my absolute favourite fast fixes when I am on the go…

  1. Seaweed – whether it’s a 5 minute nori roll consisting of raw vegetable sticks, avocado and tahini, or simply munching on a sheet or two, I love seaweed for a salty snack. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that are not always plentiful in land vegetables, such as thyroid-healthy iodine. Even better, throw a few broken pieces in a miso soup (another amazing fast food!) for a delicious seaweed and miso gut-healthy broth. Try for the untoasted vatiety.
  2. Carrot – I snack on 1-2 carrots a day! I love their starchy quality, and find them so, so satisfying even when I want something sweet. I generally just wash them, without even peeling their skin, making them even faster to prepare! A lot of quality nutrition is found in the peels of fruit and vegetables, and carrots are an easy one to leave on. Vitamin A rich, in the form of Beta-Carotene, they are fabulous for healthy skin and eyes, and should be a regular part of our diets. Enjoy on their own, grated with some lemon, or grab a little dip as well – hummus, baba ganoush, tahini, pesto etc.
  3. ¼-1/2 avocado – I could eat avocado all day! On it’s own, with a squeeze of lemon, in a sheet of seaweed (double points!), or on a rice/corn thin. So creamy and satisfying, avocados are full of the good monounsaturated fats, as well as skin-moisturizing antioxidants such as vitamins, A, C, E.
  4. Chickpeas – Yep, I sometimes just grab a tin of organic chickpeas, drain them, rinse and enjoy solo or with some salt and cajun spice. Of course, crispy roasted chickpeas or hummus dip is also a great way to get them in, however when you are in a pinch, a can of chickpeas are a much more nutritious alternative to popcorn or chips, and can be better than nuts for those of us who tend to overeat on them! They contain a good amount of iron, zinc, folate, potassium, fibre, protein, and phytates, and have been found to stabilise blood sugar, well after the meal they are consumed with. Plus overall, beans and legumes are associated with longer life!
  5. Mung bean sprouts – Definitely the healthiest snack! Again, a little better for our waistline then eating an abundance of nuts (which by all means are healthful, just are often eaten in excess which can inhibit weight loss if that is your goal). These beauties are crunchy, satisfying by the handful and powerful for cellular regeneration and health, being up to 50 x more nutritious than their mature counterparts!! Sprouting actually enhances the nutrient value of the seed, packing it with efficiently absorbed vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and enzymes. In fact, the sprouting process works as a form of “per-digestion”, expelling digestive inhibitors ensuring these beneficial nutrients are more available and thus better absorbed.
  6. Banana – I used to be terrified of bananas. Perhaps terrified is a bit dramatic, but I definitely viewed them as a treat. Not any longer! I have at least ½ a day. Frozen bananas straight from the freezer are an amazing sweet treat, they taste just like ice cream, and a perfectly ripened regular banana is the ultimate on-the-run snack that provides delicious dietary fibre, potassium, antioxidants and B vitamins.
  7. Dried figs – Another thing I used to view as a treat, which now, I enjoy a few times a week 🙂 Dried figs have such a great texture! Is it strange I don’t really like the fresh ones? Dried are actually higher in calcium, making them a great vegan source, and also contain more soluble fibre and less sugar than dates. One or two are the perfect sweet snack, and are even better when stuffed with a couple of raw nuts, or sprinkle of cinnamon.
  8. Kale chips – we all know the benefits of the almighty kale – fibrous and nutrient packed (iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, K), it is antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering and extremely detoxifying. Whilst kale chips aren’t always the quickest to make at home, they are a great options when out and about looking for a quick snack to grab from your local health food store, that is easy to eat on the go. Sometimes they come with a cashew and/or nutritional yeast crust, making them even more nutritious and satisfying! For an at-home version, try my recipe here.

Inspired by: Stef Jung, WholesomeStef

Continuing on with our Inspired By series, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the lovely, well-travelled, fitness enthusiast and health coach, Stef. Stef has recently moved from Switzerland to Sydney and has a story very similar to so many women of all ages. She is on a mission to lift others out of the darkness and destruction that comes with disordered eating and an unhealthy relationship with food and body image. Keep reading to find out more about Stef’s past, how she cares for herself today, her health philosophy and much, much more!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in the health industry?

I haven’t always been this healthy. In fact, I used to be a fad dieting, self-destructive treadmill junkie that obsessively counted calories and stepped on the scale up to five times a day. I had that “inner mean girl” syndrome, meaning that I was constantly telling myself I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, and the list goes on. After years and years of self loathing, I decided one day that enough was enough and that it was time to start taking care of myself. It’s been a long and hard journey, but five years later I have overcome my eating disorder and have created a healthy, fulfilled life for myself that I am absolutely in love with.

As I became more intrigued by the power of nutrition, mind – body connection and a holistic lifestyle in general, I realized that I wanted to help others with their own struggles. I am now a certified health coach and it is my goal to inspire other young girls and women to live their life to the fullest by becoming the healthiest and happiest version of them self, minus the deprivation, restriction and obsession around food and exercise.

What is your personal health philosophy? 

For me, being truly healthy isn’t just about what you eat and how much you train. It’s about so much more than that. You can eat all the kale in the world and live from juice cleanse to juice cleanse, but if you are not nourishing your soul on a deeper level, your body and mind don’t thrive. I think that being truly healthy means nourishing your body with whole foods, exercising because you love your body (not because you hate it!) and living a life that fulfills you and makes you happy. It’s something that I had to learn the hard way, but now I truly understand the importance of having the right mindset. Photo-21-06-2016-1-46-01-PM-e1466481045257

How do you begin your morning?

I love starting my morning by thinking about three things that I am grateful for. If my partner and I wake up at the same time, we ask each other what those three things are and then get up together. Next up is either a mini yoga flow (5 minutes), a journaling sesh or I go straight to preparing breakfast, depending on the schedule for that day. Oh, and I like to oil pull or drink my lemon water with ginger, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar while getting breakfast ready. Depending on my schedule, I might even get my workout in in the morning, so on those days I’m off to a class straight away and will have my nourishing morning routine post-workout.

What does a typical day look like on your plate?

I don’t believe in dietary labels and love mixing things up and trying new things. That means that no day ever looks the same! I tried going fully vegan once, but realized that, because of my restrictive past, it was triggering at times. These days I eat a very balanced, mainly plant-based diet with lots of fresh unprocessed foods. If I do eat animal products, I make sure I buy organic produce of the highest quality. I listen to my body and nurture it with whatever it asks for; that may be a vegan salad with quinoa, spinach and sweet potato or a bar of (dark and organic) chocolate. Some staple meals of mine are: tofu stir fry with buckwheat noodles and leafy greens, a green smoothie with vegan protein powder, hummus with veggie sticks as a snack and a warming oatmeal for brekky. 

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Right now I’m actually on Sarah Wilson’s 8-week I Quit Sugar program, and like I said, I love experimenting with new foods and seeing how my body and mind react. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so it’s been more of mental challenge than anything.

Fitness is a huge part of your life. What is your workout routine and do you have any tips you can offer on how to commit to an exercise regimen? 

Since moving to Sydney, I haven’t had a real workout routine per se. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked out everyday! I’m actually using Classpass at the moment and I really enjoy trying out new studios and types of workouts throughout the city. I’ve alIMG_9090finaleso been very active in nature and have been going on regular runs and even took up surfing. I find it really important to mix things up and love to push myself out of my comfort zone every day, otherwise I get bored easily! These days I’ve been doing one crossfit/functional training/ weight lifting type of workout per day + one more relaxing stretching session like yoga or pilates.

If you struggle sticking to your workout routine, I recommend finding a workout buddy that holds you accountable and also to schedule your workouts into your calendar. It’s all too easy to forget or neglect the commitment to yourself, but if it’s scheduled in, it makes it just that bit harder to ignore.

What are the three foods you have to have on your desert island? 

I go through phases with food, but I could never live without

  • Hummus

  • Coconut yoghurt

  • Spinach

What is the greatest health advice you have ever been given? 

That health is a journey, not a goal. It took me many years of dissatisfaction and body dysmorphia to realize this, but now I understand the importance of “enjoying the ride”. If you are always working towards that one far distant goal, then you will never be happy with yourself in the moment. 

It seems you have travelled/lived all around the globe! Where did you find was the easiest city to embrace a healthy lifestyle? Do you have a favourite fitness studio or cafe in that city? 

Sydney by far! There is such a huge health scene here with many amazing studios, healthy cafés, sporty events and a bunch of beautifully inspiring like-minded people that help you stay motivated and on track. In fact, that’s pretty much the reason why I moved here…Europe, and especially Switzerland (where I moved from) is so far behind on the trend, so it’s been a refreshing scenery change for me. Plus, the warm weather and beautiful nature just makes you want to be active outdoors all day long. One of my favorite cafés is Sadhana Kitchen in Bondi (if you’re skeptical about raw vegan cuisine, this place will change your mind!) and I love Urban Yoga and Humming Puppy for a good yoga session.

Like so many of us, you have overcome a difficult relationship with food, body image and self love. Do you ever still struggle with this? And if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it? 

Yes, definitely! I still struggle from time to time, just like everyone else. But over the years I’ve assembled a whole list of tricks that help me deal with a bad day. From taking a walk by myself to dry body scrubbing, writing in my gratitude book or talking it out with my bestie or partner before the feeling manifests itself, it’s all about self love and acceptance on those days. It’s when everIMG_9323ything seems to go wrong that kindness is more important than ever. No matter how busy I am I will try to find some “me time”, as my health and happiness will always be number one priority.

I also like to remind myself of this quote (one of my faves!):

You are under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”

 The quote is a reminder that even if you had a crappy start to the day, it doesn’t have to ruin the rest of their day. Become aware of your feelings, work through them and pick yourself back up.

One more thing that I want to add: It’s always been my goal to be as authentic and raw as possible with my audience. I allow myself to be vulnerable and try to always share when I feel down, frustrated, annoyed, insecure etc. There are way too many accounts out there that showcase this picture-perfect world, and it can be very triggering for girls who compare their own life to the highly edited life of social influencers. What’s important to realize is that we all struggle from time to time, and it’s my goal to show both the ups and the downs.

Please share with us one of your favourite clean recipes! 

Stef’s Vegan Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Serves: 2

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Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp ground flax seeds

  • ½ cup of water

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 2 very ripe bananas

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond)

  • 1 cup of blueberries

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • ½ tbsp nutmeg

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup of ground buckwheat (buckwheat flour)

  • Coconut oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Start by making your flax eggs: mix the ground flax seeds and water in a small bowl, mix with a fork and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  2. Mix all your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, spices).

  3. Mash your bananas and add to the dry mix along with the mix, vanilla and flax eggs.

  4. Once all well mixed, add the blueberries and mix gently.

  5. Heat up a pan with a small tsp of coconut oil.

  6. Add 2 big tbsp of the mixture at a time and cook.

  7. Add homemade vegan chocolate sauce.

  8. Sprinkle with fresh blueberries and coconut flakes before serving.

Connect with Stef:

Instagram: @wholesomestef

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wholesomestef

Website: www.wholesomestef.com

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Bang For Your Buck: Why Juicing From Home is Double the Nutrition and Half the Price

We all love our fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and rightly so. Not only do they taste amazing, they’re an awesomely easy way to boost our diets with all the right nutrients. However, not all juices are created equally. It turns out that how your juice is extracted makes a huge difference to both the nutritional pack they punch, and to your hip pocket.

In fact, there are two types of juicers; traditional (or centrifugal), and cold pressed (or masticating).

Traditional juicers extract juice using high speed and heat, a process that can readily destroy and oxidise nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes (also visible in your rapidly separating juice). Cold press juicers, on the other hand, use a non-heat, slow pressed extraction process that retains maximum nutritional levels.

Amazingly, studies* have shown that cold pressed juicers extract up to 50% more nutrients (including up to 42% more vitamin C, and 60% more vitamin A), all while yielding up to 50% more juice.

There are many other health benefits associated with enjoying your juice cold pressed. They can help manage weight, detoxify and cleanse our tired bodies, and prevent and fight a variety of ailments including that nasty winter flu. Juices also fit neatly into even the busiest of lifestyles, and can tempt even the pickiest of palates.

Purchasing cold pressed juice from your local café or bar can be a pricey exercise. In fact, if you were to buy a cold pressed juice every day from your local, you’d spend around $3500 a year (based on a conservative $9.50 per juice.) Yes, you’d feel amazing – but you would be spending ridiculous amounts of money in the process.

As a health food enthusiast and lover for fresh produce, I’ve found that cold pressing at home is the cheaper, simpler, and tastier alternative to store bought juice. By using the Mod Juicer, I’ve switched my daily café juice to juicing at home, and saved thousands of dollars in the process. It’s amazing how a simple switch can have such an impact, both to our heath and our wealth.

Juicing at home allows you to take full control over the quality of your produce, your recipes, your ingredients – all when you want it.

Only like to shop organic or local? Hate beetroot? Allergic to ginger? Want to start a detox immediately after a big weekend? All totally do-able. Not only that, you can also make your own tasty nut butters and natural nut milks. More wellness, and more savings. Here are two recipes loved by the Mod Team:

of raw almonds overnight in water (for at least 12 hours)
l of filtered water and add a small pinch of salt, mix together

Almond Milk

  1. Soak 100g of raw almonds overnight in water (for at least 12 hours)
  2. Take 800ml of filtered water and add a small pinch of salt, mix together
  3. Turn Mod on and add a quarter of the soaked almonds, followed by a quarter of the water
  4. Continue alternating soaked almonds with water until all added
  5. Waste from the nuts will begin appear in the pulp chute
  6. Open the juice tap to let flow your tasty, fresh nut milk. Enjoy!

Nut Butter

  1. Soak 200g of nuts (we love almonds as they are so alkaline) overnight in filtered water
  2. Drain nuts
  3. Replace the metal mesh and plastic rotation wiper with your clear plastic filter in your Mod Cold Press
  4. Open the orange juice stopper located inside the juice drum (where all the juice collects) (don’t remove, just move it aside)
  5. Place your nuts down the chute and watch in amazement as nut butter is created!
  6. OPTIONAL – Stir through a little sea salt once complete if you like a little seasoning to your nut butter

 

By Katharine McCarthy, Founder and Director of Mod Cold Press

Katharine McCarthy is the Founder and Director of Australian owned and run cold press juicer company, Mod Cold Press. Health enthusiast Katharine founded Mod Cold Press in 2015, after struggling with her first child’s distaste for fruit and vegetables. Katharine discovered cold press juicing as a complementary way to nourish her children. Here, Katharine saw the opportunity to create an efficient cold press juicer that was affordable, offered minimal wastage, and was aesthetically pleasing. The Mod Juicer comes in black and white and is $599 RRP available online at www.modjuicer.com.au.

For more information on Mod Cold Press Juicer head to the website and follow on Instagram: @mod_cold_press, Facebook: www.facebook.com/modjuicer, and the hashtag #mod_cold_press.

Sources:

*Korean Food Research Institute; Michelsen Laboratories Inc.

+Example based on purchasing a juicing box capable of creating at least 7 juices a week at a cost of $35 per box for 52 weeks. Mod Cold Press Juicer RRP $599, currently on sale at $499. Example based on sale price.

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