5 Years Young @ Heart…our celebration

My Friends what a fabulous time we had…what great moves, what spirit and enthusiasm…a true community of friends whom share the love of movement, dance, music and most important friendship and caring….I had emails from 20 of our members who are away or at work and wanted so to be with us…so hello to you all….I am off air for a while…BUT…just you wait…the fun continues 🙂

THANK YOU to you all….and thank you to VIRGIN ACTIVE of course…a place to come, exercise and feel at home.

How to stop mindless snacking


We’ve all been guilty of reaching for the potato chips or snacking on chocolate without even thinking about it. The occasional indulgence is okay, but if you’re going to break your diet, make sure it’s for the right reasons and you’re really going to enjoy it! 

Mindless eating adds up, and those extra calories can start to sabotage your weight loss efforts before you know it. So save those treats for a celebration with your friends! Next time you find yourself about to eat without thinking, HALT and take a second to consider the following…

H = Hungry

Before you start eating, ask yourself if you are actually hungry. If you are, ask yourself if those potato chips will really be the best thing to fill you up. The types of processed, high-fat foods that we tend to snack on mindlessly (chips, chocolate, biscuits) tend to have a very high caloric density and low nutritional value, which means you’ll be consuming a large amount of calories before you actually feel full. By contrast, foods with a low caloric density (like fresh fruits and vegetables) will fill you up on fewer calories, as well as giving you nutritional support.


So if you are actually hungry, look for something that will satisfy you with fewer calories. Having a small serve of oatmeal and yogurt will fill you up faster than half a bag of potato chips- and you’ll feel much better at the end of it! Foods that are high in protein and fibre are a good choice. Try some carrot sticks with peanut butter, apple slices with cottage cheese, or whole-wheat crackers with hummus. There are plenty of healthy choices that will keep your hunger at bay far more successfully than those salty, sugary treats.

A = Anxious or Angry

Anxiety or anger are also common triggers for people to reach for snacks. When you feel worked up or tense, it’s almost an impulse to grab something to munch on as a distraction. But what you’ve probably noticed after a session of stress-induced eating is that you didn’t even really notice or enjoy the taste. Why waste all those calories when you’re not even going to get the pleasure from them you might normally?

If you think you might be about to eat due to strong emotions like stress, anxiety or anger, take ten minutes to calm down and then decide if you still feel like eating. Go for a walk around the block, do some relaxation exercises, or take a few minutes just to chill and listen to your favourite music. Nine times out of ten, if you wait a few minutes the impulse will pass. 


L = Lonely

Comfort food is another problem for many dieters. Food is pleasurable, and eating can release serotonin in the brain, so it can be a physically comforting experience that people can be drawn to as a distraction from being sad or lonely. Often the thought process is something along the lines of ‘I’ve had a bad day, so I deserve to eat this ice cream.’ You do deserve comfort and happiness- but rationally, eating fattening foods might not be the best way to achieve that. Often, it will just perpetuate a cycle of guilt and anger at yourself for breaking your diet- which in turn, can drive you to seek more comfort in food.

If you’re eating as a reward for getting through a hard day, or to make yourself feel better when you’re in a low mood, or to distract yourself from feeling lonely, it might be more useful to look for other ways to confront the real problem. Often, simple things like calling a friend or a family member can be a big help. Do something that makes you feel good- like taking a bath, watching your favourite TV show, or even treating yourself to a massage or a manicure. Look for other ways to find comfort and social support, and you can start to feel better without sacrificing your diet.


T = Tired

Tiredness is easy to confuse with hunger. Getting enough sleep helps to regulate your appetite through the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which control how hungry you feel. So if you are sleep deprived, your hormone levels are altered so that your appetite increases. Your body might also be prompting you to eat to get more energy to keep you awake. 

In the long term, you can prevent this by trying to improve your sleeping patterns to ensure you are getting adequate rest. When you do feel like eating and you think it might be due to tiredness, take a time-out to do some relaxation exercises, meditation, or take a short nap.

Gluten Free? Gluten Sensitive? A trend? A way of life?


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what is celiac disease – 11-22-2013

Going gluten-free seems to be the newest dietary trend that many people are following, even if it is not mandatory for one’s health. This trend was brought on by an increased number of cases of celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity, also referred to as gluten intolerance. Both diagnoses come with the recommendation of avoiding gluten-containing foods (wheat, rye, barley), however both are different in the way the body is affected.

Celiac disease, also known as gluten sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine causing it to become inflamed when gluten is digested. The immune system then generates an abnormal response to gluten and attacks its own intestinal tissue.  This leads to the wasting away of the villi that line the small intestine, malabsorption of nutrients and thus malnutrition. Symptoms may include Anemia, osteopenia, lactase deficiency, diarrhea, constipation, delayed growth, and weight loss due to malabsorption of nutrients. Other symptoms that may present are arthritis, dermatitis, infertility, muscle weakness, and constant fatigue. A series of tests and evaluations are performed including an examination of one’s family history as genetic predisposition is common, blood tests, and the final confirmation of an intestinal biopsy. Once confirmed a strict adherence to a gluten free diet is necessary.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is often interchanged with gluten intolerance. There are cases where symptoms are less severe, which may be considered gluten sensitivity, whereas severe cases would be labelled as gluten intolerance due to the intensity and length of time symptoms last. Gluten sensitivity differs from celiac disease in that the body views gluten as an invader causing a direct response in the form of inflammation inside and outside of the digestive tract, and with this disorder one’s own tissue (lining of small intestine) is not attacked, as we see with celiac disease. Once gluten is removed from the body, the inflammation goes away unlike the symptoms associated with celiac disease. Symptoms include bloating, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhoea due to the inflammation of the digestive tract. Headaches, lethargy, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity, muscle weakness/disturbances and joint pain may present as well. Tests performed for a diagnosis of celiac disease are usually done with the findings not showing the indicators necessary, leading to a trial gluten-free diet. With the diet, symptoms will disappear, and a diagnosis of gluten sensitivity will be given.

Unfortunately celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are becoming increasingly prevalent. Thus it is important to know how each diagnosis affects the body, and the reasons for being put on a gluten free diet. With more research being done, there may soon be more answers as to why more cases continue to emerge.


Celiac and Gluten-Free Fast Facts:

  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
  • An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease.
  • Celiac disease can affect men and women across all ages and races.
  • It is estimated that 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
  • 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed. (Source: Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center)
  • 5-22% of celiac patients have an immediate family member (1st degree relative) who also has celiac.
  • Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Burden of disease over four-year period per patient:
  • Females: $4,019
  • Males:  $14,191
    (Source: Long et al, 2010)
  • There are NO pharmaceutical cures for celiac disease.
  • 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac today
  • A positive attitude, 100% of the time, helps celiacs create a gluten-free lifestyle for themselves and their affected family members.
  • The celiac disease diagnosis rate may reach 50-60% by 2019, thanks to efforts to raise public awareness of celiac disease. (Source: Datamonitor Group, 2009)
  • Gluten-free sales reached more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2010 and are now expected to exceed more than $5 billion by 2015. (Source: Packaged Facts, 2011)


Focus On Your Core To Reduce A Fall

As the body begins to age, fall prevention becomes an important issue to address. We all know of someone who as tripped and fallen accidently only to find they have fractured a bone. Osteoporosis is most often diagnosed after a fall and more and more research is pointing to the importance of fall prevention.In July 2013, an article was published by  a German university comparing 5 decades of review papers on the importance of trunk muscle strength training for balance, functional performance and fall prevention in seniors. After comparing the data it was concluded that core strength training and/or Pilates exercise training can be used as an adjunct or even alternative to traditional balance and/or resistance training programs for older adults. In addition to the positive outcome of this review, the application of this style of exercise is easily achievable in groups setting or by individuals because little equipment and space is needed to perform such exercises.

The “core” is often thought of as the six-pack group of muscles, but in fact, it encompasses a variety of muscles from the hips to shoulders and the abs are only a very small part of the puzzle. The core muscles are used as stabilisers of the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso. When they contract they create a solid base of support.  These muscles help to control movement, transfer energy, shift body weight and move in any direction. Good examples of people with strong core muscles are surfers, snow board riders, yogis, bush walkers and even pole dancers. Any activity that requires a person to adjust to an uneven surface or engage in balance activates the core muscles.

The best core exercises are the ones that engage many muscles throughout the torso that cross several joints and work together to co-ordinate stability. Strengthening muscles via static workouts at the gym have limited effectiveness as they isolate muscles as opposed to working in combination during movement. Core conditioning exercise programs need to target all the muscles of the torso to be effective.

We have provided a workout sheet that will get you started on creating a more balanced and stronger torso.  Before commencing any exercise program, please consult your doctor who will assess your fitness level and address any issues that may hinder your plan.

I have supplied 6 suggested exercises to get you started. The “plank” and “side plank” exercises may be modified to your level of fitness by bending or balancing on your knees as this will decrease the intensity. Always start with only a few breaths, 3 -4 and build from there. Many people overestimate their initial capability which may cause an injury or leave them tender the next day. If you have the opportunity to exercise with a qualified instructor or join a class this will improve your form and decrease any possibility of harm.












Understanding BMR for weight loss ( basal metabolic rate) and using it in your weight loss plan

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns each day just by functioning – for example, through basic things like sustaining internal body temperature, pumping blood, breathing. So even if you did nothing by lie on the couch all day, your body would still be burning calories. Understanding this figure is key to determining the amount of calories you need to consume and burn in order lose weight.

So what determines your BMR? There are a number of different factors that will influence how many calories your body burns at rest, so each person’s result will be different. Some of the things that impact your BMR include:

  • Genetics. Some people are just born with faster metabolisms than others- this is just another part of your genetic makeup.
  • Gender. In general, men tend to have a lower body fat percentage than women, as their bodies are designed to build up muscle more easily. As a result, men will often have a higher BMR than women.
  • Age. As your get older, your BMR will decrease. After the age of 20, it generally drops about 2% per decade.
  • Weight. A heavier body requires more calories to function, so it will have a higher BMR than someone who weighs less.
  • Height-weight ratio. A larger body surface area will have a higher BMR.
  • Body fat percentage. People with less body fat will have a higher BMR.
  • Diet. If you regularly follow very restrictive, low-calorie weight loss diets, you can actually cause your BMR to drop by as much as 20%. This happens when your body goes into starvation mode.
  • Internal temperature. A body temperature increase boosts your BMR, so when you have a fever, your body will use more calories.
  • External temperature. A cold climate increases your BMR, because the body needs to use more energy to warm you up to a normal functioning temperature.
  • Thyroid function. Thyroxin, which is produced by the thyroid gland, plays a key role in regulating your BMR. If you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, this will impact how much energy your body burns at rest.
  • Exercise. Regular physical activity builds up extra lean tissue that helps to raise your BMR.


Estimating your BMR

There are a number of scientific formulas that can be used to estimate your BMR, taking into consideration many of the factors above. Of course, no equation can calculate your BMR with absolute accuracy, so keep in mind that these results are approximate.

Some of the most popular BMR estimation formulas include:

The Harris-Benedict formula

 Based on total body weight, considering height, weight, age and gender.

  • Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 X height in cm) – (6.8 X age in years)
  • Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X weight in kg) + (1.8 X height in cm) – (4.7 X age in years)

 Katch-McArdle formula

This equation is more accurate, as it is based on lean body weight- but this means you need to know your lean body mass (LBM).

  • Men and women = BMR= 370 + (21.6 X LBM in kg)

 Using your BMR in your weight loss plan

Once you’ve estimated your BMR, you can use this information to more effectively plan your calorie intake to help you reach your weight loss goals. Your BMR tells you how many calories you need per day to stay active and healthy. In other words, this is your daily caloric maintenance level. So, to keep your weight stable, you should remain close to this level.

To lose a few kilos, you need to create a calorie deficit. So, your daily intake of calories should be less than your BMR plus the extra calories burned through exercise. You can either add your exercise calories manually, or use the following formula to approximate based on your usual level of activity:

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise, desk job) = BMR X 1.2
  • Lightly active (exercise/sports 1-3 days a week) = BMR X 1.375
  • Moderately active (exercise/sports 3-5 days a week)= BMR X 1.55
  • Highly active (exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)=BMR X 1.72
  • Extremely active (exercise/sports and physical job or training twice a day)= BMR X 1.9

Just stop and breathe

Written by:

Andrew May:  a performance coach who has spent the past 15 years working with elite sportspeople.

Time spent practising breathing will repay dividends in lowered stress levels.Time spent practising breathing will repay dividends in lowered stress levels. Photo: Getty

This morning my five-year-old daughter was comforting her little brother, who had just tripped over the new truck he received for his 2nd birthday. His joy and elation had quickly turned to tears and two-year-old tragedy after his stack. Then Miss Five, in a calm and soothing voice said “just stop and breathe. It’ll be OK, little man, just stop and breathe”. Two minutes later he was manoeuvring his truck around the lounge room once more.

If a young child can calm her brother with four simple words, what benefit could “just stop and breathe” possibly hold for the busy executive?

Breathing and physiology

For thousands of years, humans have understood breathing has a powerful influence over our physiological and psychological wellbeing. But many people still find it difficult to understand the link between breathing and its impact on our body’s physiology and stress levels.


Research has shown the way we breathe has a powerful effect on how stressed we feel. When we feel stressed, one of the physiological changes that occurs is activation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight response) and an immediate increase in respiration switching from slow, abdominal breathing to faster, shallower, chest breathing.

This is a normal and healthy response in the short-term. If we are constantly triggering the sympathetic nervous system throughout the day however, we begin to habitually take shorter, shallower breaths with our upper chest, even though the stress may have passed.

The danger is that this style of breathing sends signals to the brain that we are under stress when the reality is, it may not really be under stress at all.

Average respiratory rates

The first sign of life in a newborn baby is breath. The average adult will take in approximately 20,000 breaths a day. The number of breaths we take per minute is called respiratory rate. You can work out your respiratory rate by counting the amount of breaths per minute, or bpm. Compare your self to the following:

Newborn baby: 44bpm

Infants: 40-60bpm

Older children: 16-25bpm

Adults: 12-20bpm

Relaxed adults: 8-12bpm

Elite athlete during exercise: 60-70bpm

Types of breathing

1.Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a slow, calm style of breathing controlled by a rhythmic contraction and expansion of the diaphragm. When you observe a child or animal (or if you want to be a little creepier, watch your partner while they are sleeping tonight – all in the name of research, of course) that is relaxed and happy, you will see their abdomen (belly button) moves out when they inhale and it deflates when they exhale. There is very little movement in their chest. Studies have shown that practicing this style of diaphragmatic breathing reduces muscle tension and anxiety levels within 60 seconds. Slow, deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system or what is commonly referred to as the relaxation response (the exact opposite of what happens with the stress response).

2. Stressed chest breathing

Stressed thoracic or chest breathing involves very little movement in the abdomen and it is predominantly the chest that moves when we breathe in and out. This results in a shallower, faster breath.

Again, observe a child who is distressed or crying. When a child is upset, their breathing switches from slow, diaphragmatic breathing to fast and shallow breathing. Chest breathing stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.

While breathing is controlled mainly through the Autonomic Nervous System, we can voluntarily influence our breathing and help switch off the stress response through changing our breathing style from fast, shallow chest breathing to slow and deep diaphragmatic breathing.

Doing this sends signals to the brain that the threat is over and the parasympathetic part of the Autonomic Nervous System starts to reverse the biochemical and physiological changes brought about by the stress response.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a skill and when performed correctly, is effective in reducing stress levels. It is physically impossible for humans to be relaxed and stressed at the same time.

How to check for diaphragmatic breathing:

1. Lie down on the bed or on a lounge, place one hand (palm face down) on your chest and place the other hand (palm face down) on your abdomen (just below your ribcage).

2. Breathe normally and notice which hand is moving most, ie. the abdominal hand or the chest hand.

3. If the hand on your abdomen is moving and the hand on your upper chest is still, you are using your diaphragm and breathing correctly.

4. If your upper chest hand is moving more than the hand on your abdomen, then you are breathing mainly with your chest and this is a form of stressful breathing.

5. Checking on a regular basis that you are activating diaphragmatic breathing will ensure the majority of your breathing is relaxed abdominal breathing.

6. You may initially find it difficult to breathe using your diaphragm. Don’t give up and keep practising. It is possible you have automatically switched to breathing with your chest and it takes time for your body to relearn to use your diaphragm properly again.

Learning diaphragmatic breathing

Anyone who has studied music, singing or performing arts is taught proper diaphragmatic breathing very early in their training. If you don’t take deep, slow diaphragmatic breaths, don’t despair. You just need to relearn how to breathe properly again.

Learning diaphragmatic is like any other skill and it takes a little bit of practise. Try it two to three times a day for up to five minutes each time. One of the advantages of diaphragmatic breathing is that you can practise it at any time, in any place, and no one will even be aware that you are doing it. It can be used when sitting on a bus or a train travelling to work, before and during a visit to the dentist or doctor, in bed just before going to sleep, or before a job interview, an exam or giving a presentation. Try the following activity:

1. Sit or lie down.

2. Loosen any tight clothing; remove shoes, tie, glasses/contact lenses.

3. Place the palms of your hands flat on your abdomen just beneath your rib cage, middle fingertips touching, at a point 2-3 inches above your navel.

4. Close your eyes and start to focus your thoughts on your breathing. Try not to think of anything but your breathing. This helps distract stressful thoughts. Thoughts will intrude, but don’t fight them; when thoughts come into your mind, try to bring your focus of attention back to your breathing. It is important not to worry how well you are doing but to instead focus on just doing your best to retain a passive, relaxed attitude.

5. Begin to inhale through your nose (not your mouth), feel the air flow through your nostrils. Breathe in for a slow count of 1, 2, 3, then exhale to a slow count of 1, 2, 3. This will give you a breathing rate of 10 breaths per minute.

6. Try to imagine in your mind’s eye that there is a balloon in your abdomen, as you inhale the balloon expands and as you exhale the balloon deflates.

7. Do not take deep breaths. When you inhale your fingertips on your abdomen should only slightly part; this will help to reduce the risk of over-breathing or becoming hypoxic.

8. Start by practising for a few minutes per day and then over time build up to five minutes, twice daily.

Breath is life

While Miss Five hasn’t read up on all of the research and benefits of diaphragmatic breathing (unless kindergarten teaching has really accelerated beyond our wildest dreams), intuitively she knew getting her little brother to “just stop and breathe” would help change his physical state.

When you really stop and think about it, breathing is life. Learning to breathe properly with your diaphragm is a proven way to manage stress and help you stay calm and focused throughout the day. Investing a small amount of time to learn this vital skill will pay for itself over and over again.

How do you build relaxed breathing into your day?

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/management/blogs/performance-matters/just-stop-and-breathe-20130624-2os3f.html#ixzz2X7l8J2Xh