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Infographic: Ultimate guide to fitness nutrition

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like infographics. And I love this one by Greatist, which has some great information about fitness nutrition and what you should be eating before and after your workouts.

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Recipe: Fruity Water Infusion

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Hi guys! This is just a quick recipe to tide you over until I can finish writing up the dozens of blog posts I have in the works. Enjoy! xx

Sometimes I like to mix things up a little and add fruits into my water for a fresh taste. I have been loving detox juices lately, and many of the ingredients I add into my water are great for digestion too.

What you’ll need

1/2 fresh lemon, cut into slices

1/2 cucumber, cut into slices

1/4 cup of mixed berries

Water bottle – the one pictured above is 1L.

How to make it

Simple! Once you’ve cut your fruits into manageable slices and are sure they’ll fit into your bottle, just add them in! It will be much easier if you have a bottle with a large opening like my one above from Lorna Jane.

The longer you leave the water to infuse (no longer than 24 hours), the stronger the fruit taste will be. I usually try to leave it to infuse overnight.

Infographic: 100 Calories (Calorie Breakdown)

The human body is a complex machine. Find out more about how our body uses the calories we consume in this infographic from Herbalife.

Get more information, inspiration and updates by following Zero Steps Back on Facebook!

Nutrition Spotlight: Lunchtime Survey/Infographic

In 2012, Sumo Salad, a salad and soup chain in Australia conducted a survey into the lunchtime habits of Australians – the SumoSalad National Lunchtime Habits Survey. They found that the majority of those interviewed don’t think lunch is important and tend to make less than ideal decisions regarding their lunches.

Lunchtime Survey Key Statistics

Sumo Salad Lunch Survey

Source: Sumo Salad – http://bit.ly/1dcNRjE

Here are some key stats from the survey:

  • 46% of Australians named convenience and value for money as being the main decision driver for their lunch. Only 31% named health and nutrition as the main factor behind their lunch choice.
  • 86% of those surveyed believe breakfast and dinner are more important than lunch.
  • 79% of people take half an hour at most for lunch during the working week.
  • 46% of the surveyed group skip lunch at least once per week.
  • 36% of Australians eat ‘healthy’ lunches two to three times a week and
  • 38% of the 1006 participants surveyed eat lunch at their work desk

I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I could go without eating lunch. I eat 6 or 7 small meals throughout the day, but ‘lunch’ is still super important and provides my body and brain with the fuel it needs to get through the afternoon. If I haven’t prepared a meal at home (frozen or fresh), I usually go for choices such as fresh sandwiches, custom “design your own” salads, soups or fresh stir fry.

Lunch Tips

  • First and foremost. Eat lunch. No matter what. You need to keep your blood sugar levels consistent, your metabolism active and your body functioning right. It’s just as important as breakfast and dinner.
  • Take time away from your desk. Even if it’s only 15 or so minutes, it will make a world of difference to your concentration and mood during the afternoon.
  • If you’re running low on time, look for quick but healthier options such as sushi, certain pre-made salads (go easy on the sauce – it’s usually full of hidden calories) or even a smoothie and a piece of fruit. Choosing options like fast food will only make you feel sluggish afterwards (hello, food coma!) and give your concentration levels a beating.
  • Prepare your meals ahead of time. Make bulk lots of food on the weekend and portion it out. I like to freeze my meals and bring them to work in a cooler bag and put them in the fridge. By the time I need them, they are usually almost or completely defrosted and just need a reheat. Making your own food will save you loads of money and will deter you from making unhealthy food choices.

Want more information, inspiration and tips? Follow Three Steps Forward, Zero Steps Back on Facebook.

“Obese Stomachs Tell Us Diets Are Doomed to Fail” – ScienceDaily

According to a new study, the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness to the brain become desensitized when a high-fat diet is consumed and significant weight is gained (obesity). Even if the diet is corrected and fat lost, the nerves won’t go back to normal.

This means more food would need to be consumed to reach the same level of fullness as someone who has always had a healthy diet. Researchers think this could be one of the main reasons why a lot of people who lose weight/fat on a diet eventually put it back on.

More information is available through ScienceDaily here.

MyFitnessPal – Setting Custom Macros (For IIFYM) – Google Chrome

Update: It seems User Scripts is no longer up and running. Here’s a link to the custom macros script, which you should be able to install once you have installed Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey – http://karoshiethos.com/js/MFP_Macro_Fix.user.js

 

Since I have been doing IIFYM, I have been using MyFitnessPal to plan and track my macros. There is a problem with the system though – custom macros work on percentages rather than grams or numeric values. I have found a fix in one of the forums, so I thought I’d go through it here just in case anyone else happens to be sick of the inaccuracies that occur when using percentages as I was.

Custom Macros - MyFitnessPal

My custom macros – calculated using iifym.com/iifym-calculator

Note: these instructions are for Google Chrome. If you are using Firefox, use Greasemonkey instead of Tampermonkey. If you are using Internet Explorer, you should upgrade to a better browser anyway.

Super special shout out to Rob Ruchte for creating this awesome script. Seriously awesome work.

Setting custom macros for MyFitnessPal

  1. Download and install Tampermonkey from the Google Chrome Store (link)
  2. Visit the MyFitnessPal Macro Fix page on UserScripts.org (link)
  3. Hit the install button at the top right.
  4. Once installed, go back into MFP > Home > Goals > Custom.
  5. There will now be options to set macros using percentages or grams.
  6. Edit and save your macros and you’re done!

The changes seem to translate perfectly over onto the iOS app (provided you don’t go try to edit them, I guess). On my phone my macros are 1 gram out, but considering the percentages had me sitting at almost 10g out for carbs, this is a definite improvement!!

I can’t believe MFP haven’t implemented this themselves yet. The forums have plenty of requests for it, and yet it’s still an issue. Oh well!

Hope this helps! x

Recent Snapshots – August/September

When I first started this blog, I used to do a monthly post with all my instagram snapshots. I stopped doing it a while ago, but I think it could be worth starting up again since I am a bit of an instagram addict and it’s definitely a big insight into my life. So here’s a few of my health/fitness/food related shots from the last month or so. All of these and many more here – cassiedawson_

Restarting STS and IIFYM learnings

Hello! Here’s a bit of an update….

I mentioned a few posts ago about wanting to redo Shortcut To Shred since I loved the workout structure so much. Well, that was 2 weeks ago and since then I’ve kind of been a bit wish-washy with the gym and my fitness since I’ve had no clear plan. I’ve still been going 3-5 times a week and putting in a solid effort (with the exception of yesterday, more details in a moment), but I am ready to give it 110% again. I’ve decided as to restart the program as of tomorrow! I am a lot more excited this time around as I know what to expect and what I’m capable of. Last time I was seriously worried, particularly since I knew people would look at me like I was crazy for running and everything in between sets.  As for the diet portion of the program, I will be sticking to the IIFIYM concept since it’s a lot more manageable for me and my schedule.

I also posted not long ago about starting IIFYM/Flexible Dieting. To say that it’s been eye-opening is a massive understatement. I guess until now I hadn’t really sat down and studied the micronutrients in the foods I eat (or was eating), and so it’s been a big learning curve. It’s definitely made me realise why I have struggled to lose any more weight for the last few months – I have a serious carb addiction! Hopefullly once I’ve stuck at this for a few months it will all come a lot more natural to me, but for now it’s going to take a little bit of work and time to get it right. I’m totally thankful for MyFitnessPal, too. Saves me lots of thinking and calculating. If you have any other time saving or general IIFIYM tips, let me know in the comments of this post or on the Facebook page – I need all the help I can get!

IIFYM and September Revolution Anniversary

As I posted on the Zero Steps Back Facebook page this morning, it was on this day last year that I decided to overhaul my diet and really get stuck into transforming my life. I signed up to the gym in March 2012 but until September, I just saw it as another excuse to eat crap food with a bit less guilt. I lost a little bit of weight, but I don’t think I was really getting any healthier.

In September, I wrote a blog article about my “September Revolution“. It was a joint effort by my boyfriend and I to both overhaul all the crappy foods we were eating and make some drastic changes to better ourselves.

I started counting calories and choosing more nutritious foods. Developing willpower was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, particularly in an office full of daily chicken-and-chip-eaters (who doesn’t love the smell of hot chips!?).

12 months on, I am much healthier, lighter and active. I have definitely been sucked in to the active lifestyle approach and the health/fitness/nutrition world.

These days I mostly just choose good foods and occasionally splurge a little, though I feel my lack of structure has been letting me down. So, I’m starting IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). I’ve gathered all the data, and actually started tracking today. Here’s my targets and stats:

Stats

  • BMR: 1449 CALORIES/DAY
  • TDEE: 2119 CALORIES/DAY

Targets

  • Target Calories Per Day: 1695 (20%)
    • 6 meals per day – Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Pre-Gym, Post-Gym/Dinner
    • Carbs per day: 122.8g
    • Protein per day: 158.4g
    • Fat per day: 63.4g
    • Fibre per day: 32-40g

Data calculated at IIFYM.com. This is the ‘aggressive fat loss’ option. I’m going to start on this, and move onto the ‘suggested’ option.

I know it’s going to take a little getting used to, but I really like this style of ‘flexible dieting’. I always have trouble sticking to eating plans so at least this way I can have lots of variety.

I’ll try and post a weekly summary or something like that so hopefully in a years time, I can look back at this and see how far I’ve come.

Lack of sleep linked to fatty food cravings

Image from sxc.hu

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed when they are tired, they always want dirty, greasy burgers and hot chips. I always thought it was just me, but it turns out it’s just been scientifically proven that poor sleepers crave fatty foods.

A new study has been released that supports a link between sleep deprivation and fatty food cravings. Though it has long been assumed there is a link between sleep deprivation and the ways in which it affects our food choices, this is clear evidence.

Using MRI scans to track changes in brain activity, 23 participants underwent two tests – one after a full nights sleep and one after being sleep deprived for a night. The test subjects were then shown a range of portion sizes and pictures of 80 different food types.

Once the subjects were sleep deprived, the scientists noted there was impaired activity in areas of the cortex that assist with appetite and hunger levels. They also noted higher levels of cravings for high calorie foods.

You can read more about the test at The Age and at Lifehacker.

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