Eating large amounts of refined carbs (think: simple sugars) and processed food does a lot more harm to your body than just making you gain weight and feel bloated. The risk for many girls is PCOS, especially if women in their family also have the condition. Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome is an imbalance in your hormonal profile which can be caused by insulin resistance, and/or family history. Genetics are usually the main suspects for the cause, but there are many factors that can lead up to the hormones not producing the right blood sugar levels.
If you find that you grow a little more hair in places you don’t want, you get a little more acne than usual, highly irregular periods, inability to lose weight, weight gain, fatigue and depression, then there is a possibility you have PCOS (scans or surgery also must also be done to confirm growths on the ovaries, and blood tests will usually show a high level of testosterone or androgens). Your hormones are the chemicals that make your body work, and having too little or too much can cause a lot of problems, and the main one we are discussing in this article is weight gain. After a long period of time of bad eating, your body starts to reject insulin that is manifested in the pancreas and ends up storing around the side of your belly and lower back (love handles). Insulin usually enters into the blood stream and feeds the body its energy by allowing glucose to enter the cells, however, when the insulin is not processed it can be responsible for type 2 diabetes, and can feed cancerous cells.
Links have been made between hypothyroidism, PCOS and insulin resistance, and a good way to help avoid these symptoms is to temporarily eliminate processed foods, sugars, starches and complex carbs for a minimum of 14 days, this will give your body time to reset and give your metabolism a kick up the butt, and you will see a major difference in your midsection in 2 weeks.
If you have been following a high carb diet and not seeing results (or if your results have been going backwards) you definitely look in to switch your meals up a little bit to include more polyunsaturated fats, EPA & DHA (your "good fats"), which can help with insulin resistance, depression and anxiety. In reality, it’s hard to deny a nice carby pizza, fries and pasta. But we have to try and be mindful of things that can damage our bodies, I never recommend totally eliminating a food source, but take it in moderation. Being a nutritional extremist can throw out your bodies hormonal profile and set you up for failure in your weight loss journey.
When it comes to eating a balanced diet, there are a few options you can choose, but a method I like to use for when you are exercising and living a healthy lifestyle is the 80/20 method.
Every day isn’t the same, some days you are more active, you have a dinner, and you may go out for drinks with friends or just want to enjoy a treat meal. When thinking about energy vs. energy out or counting your calories and macros, you can't replicate each day, so total up your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is the amount of calories you need to eat to have the right amount of energy per day. Equation is on page 12 of the Get Lean Nutrition Guide.
Example – Rachel's is about 2500 calories per day (this is due to the large amount of training she does), let’s total that up over a week, and she will have 14000 calories to consume to maintain her weight and have energy to train, on days that she's not training she may drop her calorie intake by about 300.
Treat meals are usually best to have during a time when your body will use the extra carbohydrates and fats efficiently. Straight after a workout is always a good option, because your body can use these nutrients to help aid in cell recovery.
Ideally you want to be eating healthy for most of your week and then be a little more relaxed for a few meals, the aim of this is to still enjoy eating some of the foods that you like, or fuel your body for the energy it needs. When trying to lose weight there are many factors like, burning fats and carbs from exercise, balancing your hormones and reducing the amount of bad foods that go in your body that cause weight gain. Don’t feel guilty for eating a treat meal, your mind craves eating carbs and fats, and this will help you reduce binge eating. 80% of being healthy is mindset, willpower and influence. Surround yourself with like-minded people who aren’t going to make you feel like you have to keep up with them and eat the foods they eat, party when they party, laze around when you should be at the gym, the other 20% is knowledge, that’s what we can help provide. Keep up the good work, you are half way though, the next 6 weeks will create your new lifestyle of being fit, healthy and happy.
Micronutrients are essentially just vitamins and minerals, and they are called ‘micronutrients’ because they are needed in smaller amounts than macronutrients. They play a large role in your overall health and nutrition, as well as mental functioning and disease prevention. Often micronutrients are neglected when it comes to information online about what you eat, it’s much easier for people to discuss macronutrients and ratios that you should stick to, however micronutrients should not be left out! Foods which contain lots of micronutrients are considered to be ‘nutrient dense’, this is common of fruits and vegetables.
There are two kinds of vitamins which you can find: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are easily expelled from the body as they are lost through bodily fluids, which means they need to be replaced on a more regular basis. These are B vitamins, folate, biotin, panthotheic acid, and vitamin c. Although they are expelled from the body more quickly, they are only needed in small amounts. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K, and are stored in the body for longer periods of time, meaning they usually do not need to be replaced as often, and excess supplementation of these vitamins can lead to toxicity or negative side effects.
Here are some examples of where to find some of the common micronutrients in your diet:
Calcium: dairy, broccoli, dark green vegetables, sardines
Potassium: banana, cantaloupe, raisins, fish, spinach, green vegetables
Magnesium: spinach, almonds, black beans, peas
Vitamin A: sweet potato, carrot, milk, eggs
Vitamin C: orange, strawberry, tomato, kiwi fruit, broccoli, capsicum
Vitamin E: avocado, whole-grains, spinach, dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds
Vitamin B12: beef, fish, cheese, eggs
Zinc: beef, cashews, garbanzo, turkey
Download the worksheet here