Hayley’s BLOG



If you’ve been listening to me for a while now (and certainly if you’re one of my clients), you will know that I love saying “ditch the scales!”

You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you? When it comes to health, what you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.

That’s why in my clinic, we use the Bodystat Quadscan device to measure MORE than just how much you weigh on the scales – we look at BODY COMPOSITION – which is so much more useful.

Something else that is VITAL to assessing health and weight loss is your waist circumference…

Otherwise known as “belly fat” or if you want to get technical, “visceral adiposity” 😉

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”? The apple is more round around the tummy and the pear shape is where fat is carried more around the hip, butt and thighs.

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

So why does waist circumference matter?

Well, one of the fruit shapes is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases)…

Which one? Yup – that apple!

Carrying weight around the abdomen is not a good thing.

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

So as you can see, where your fat is stored is more important from a health perspective that how much you weigh.

How to measure your Waist Circumference

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. I do this in my clinic and you can do it right now.

Women, if your waist is 80cm or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course!

(And… clinical tip here: sometimes bloating around your period or from digestive upsets can make your waist appear larger. I always take this into consideration based on the person standing in front of me.)

For men the number is 90cm or more.

Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool, it’s just a marker we use to predict risk. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them.


Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:

  • Eat more fibre. Fibre can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fibre foods are vegetables, flax and chia seeds and berries.
  • Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
  • Ditch added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice). They convert to belly fat faster than you can say “sweet tooth”!
  • Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.
  • Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
  • Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

Recipe (High fibre side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4

8-10 brussel sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 200 celcius.

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice. Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Toss. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K. You may want to eat them more often.

Category: Weight Loss

And is this the reason you can’t lose weight?

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight. Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow. Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?

And, more importantly – can you do anything about it?

What can slow your metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”! In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

These are the most common reasons I see in my clinic.

Examples of underlying reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone (especially poor conversion of T4 to T3, or too much reverse T3)
  • a history of dieting (nothing slows metabolism faster than starving yourself for long periods)
  • your size and body composition (more fat and less muscle tends to mean slower metabolism)
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep
  • nutritional deficiencies (the nutrients that are key to make energy)

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”!


Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right. But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium), as well as chronic stress for example.

Tip: It’s well worth having your thyroid hormones tested (but you’ll need more than just TSH checked. You need a full work up including TSH, free T4, free T3 and reverse T3 at the least in order to gain an insight. But that’s a whole blog topic on its own! ps – I can order all these tests for my clients)

A history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

This is why people often put on even more weight after going on a diet.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it. Never skip meals and don’t think starving yourself is the secret to losing weight – it’s the worst thing you can do!

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates. This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one. However, your body composition is a really important factor here – as two people who way the same can have very different metabolisms. Someone with more muscle mass is going to have a higher metabolic rate than someone who has more fat mass.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy. Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat. This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass. That way, you are literally burning fat while you sleep (how efficient is that!?)

I tell my clients to focus on building the BIG muscle groups as these are our furnaces… so think bums and thighs, ladies!

Which leads us to…

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up. Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. Also, exercise regularly. And remember that bit earlier about building muscle mass… so combine cardio with weights, resistance training or functional movement training.

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Go for 8, and you’re happily in the middle 😉

Nutritional Deficiencies

So many factors can affect our nutritional status. The quality of the food we eat, how it is prepared and also how well our digestive system can absorb it.

For the purposes of this article, let’s just take a look at the main nutrients that help our body to create energy and fire our metobolism… and they are:

  • B Vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • CoQ10
  • Iodine & Selenium
  • Iron

If you are lacking in any of these babies, then you won’t be effectively creating energy. There are, of course, many other nutrients at play however these are the big ones that I see the best results with in clinic.

*please don’t self-prescribe. See a qualified nutrition professional to determine what (and how much) YOU need!


Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 4

½ cup Brazil nuts

2 cups water

nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)

½ cup chia seeds

¼ cup raw cacao powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or stevia if you’re watching your glucose intake)

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk. If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip: Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

Category: Featured

I read an article when I was pregnant with my second baby that really resonated with me. In fact, it immediately inspired a new focus in my work with women. The fact that it was written by a doctor in my local area was spooky, and his clinic is in the same town as where I birthed that baby!

The doctor’s name is Dr Oscar Serrallach, an Integrative GP on the Far North Coast of NSW. I’d heard of Oscar before as he was well respected in the area and several of my clients had also been to see him. When I read his article describing the myriad of physical, emotional and mental symptoms mothers often present with, a shiver of recognition went up my spine. I’d experienced most of these myself after I had my first child AND so many of my female clients were going through similar things.

Symptoms like extreme fatigue, foggy thinking, thinning hair or falling out in clumps, insomnia, anxiety, depression, general crankiness and irritability, crazy hormones, weight gain, thyroid issues, autoimmune diseases

All things that started (or got worse) once these women became mothers.

So many modern mothers are struggling to regain their health and vitality post-baby – physically, emotionally and mentally.

These aren’t just new mums, either. Often, it’s women with kids in upper primary school who suddenly fall to pieces after years running on nothing more than the whiff of an oily rag.

What society may say is ‘just what happens when you become a mother’, Dr Serrallach (and ME!) understands is NOT normal but rather is the result of massive nutritional deficiencies and not enough rest.

Thing is, chronic nutrient deficiencies and too much stress can build up over time and manifest as Thyroid problems, Adrenal Fatigue, Autoimmune conditions…

The pressures us modern mamas are under has never been seen before in human evolution.

Here’s my take on the matter:

1. We come into motherhood already depleted:

Our food is not as nutritionally dense as it once was, due to farming methods, long storage conditions, supermarket shelves full of lifeless food etc. Medications like the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) deplete our stores of B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Most of us don’t get enough Omega 3 fats, or important minerals like Iodine. We eat on the run, sometimes skipping meals altogether, crave sweets to keep us going and probably rely a bit too heavily on coffee.

Many women have poor digestive health, so they aren’t absorbing their nutrients. And stress depletes our nutrient stores too.

Then, we fall pregnant and whatever precious nutrient stores we have go into growing a baby. Good news for baby, not for mum! Breastfeeding requires even more good nutrition, and so many mothers I see in clinic don’t eat enough, or miss out on the right foods, to keep up their stores.

Most of the pre-natal multivitamins in supermarkets and pharmacies are completely inadequate too, by the way. They tend to use cheaper forms of nutrients that are poorly absorbed and give women a false sense of security. It’s going to take way more than one or two little tablets a day to turn around your health.

2. We push ourselves to ‘bounce back’ too quickly:

If I see one more silly article about ‘getting your body back’ post baby, I think I will scream! Too much pressure is put on women to bounce back – and none of it actually talks about good nutrition, it’s all about firm bums and thigh gaps – when really we could be celebrating the miracle that our body grew another human. One who doesn’t care that we no longer look 22.

We stress about returning to work, how to cope with very little sleep, how to keep up with our work deadlines, daycare drop offs and interstate travel. We feel pressure to keep pushing ourselves in our careers and don’t take enough time (if any at all) for nurture and nourishment.

And often this is a financial necessity, it’s not like we WANT to punish ourselves like this.

The World Health Organisation recommends a mother breastfeeds her infant for 2 years. Yet our paid parental leave in Australia is for 18 weeks. Dads get 2 weeks, but they don’t have boobs.

Anyone who has returned to work and tried to express milk once or twice in work hours knows how fun that is.

There is such an incredible disconnect between what we know is good for a mother and baby’s health and what our society demands of us.

Given that so many of us go into motherhood already undernourished and adrenally exhausted,  what hope is there for mothers to regain energy without good nutrition and rest?

And which organ needs nutrition and rest the most… our brain! Stress is so damaging to our noggins.

I would often use the expression, ‘sorry, baby brain!’ as a funny way to excuse my vague behaviour from time to time. What Dr Serrallach is suggesting, however, is that this ‘baby brain’ phenomenon should only be a temporary thing – and may not need to happen at all if we nourish ourselves before, during and after pregnancy.

So, what’s the answer for all the mothers out there feeling overwhelmed and undernourished?

In my Naturopathy and Nutrition practice here in Newcastle, I most love working with mamas who come to me overweight, overwhelmed and totally worn out. I’ve been there and I know how to help them get out of it.

I use a very similar protocol to Dr Serrallach’s – tweaked a bit to my own experience as a mother who recovered.

It’s all about NOURISHING your body, mind and soul. You need a wholesome, nutrient-dense diet, with quality supplements (like THESE incredible ones) and natural medicines to help get those stores up fast, you need to stress less, improve digestion, sort out any niggling health complaints and you need SUPPORT.

That’s my job 🙂

If you would like my help to regain your energy, vitality and health, then please call the clinic today to book in a FREE 15 Minute chat to see if I can help you: (02) 4965 4881. Skype consults are available too 🙂

Category: Featured

What if everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong and it’s making you fat and tired??

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere, isn’t it?

It’s coming at us from celebrity chefs, personal trainers, online gurus who’ve healed themselves so they think now they can heal everyone else. Even brands are publishing health advice from their ‘in house nutrition experts’.

Government bodies are mostly still touting outdated guidelines and bad advice.

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.

More than ever, you really want to be picky about where you get your nutrition advice from!

One of my clients called me her ‘nutrition curator’ the other day. When I asked her what she meant, she said:

“I know that you’re super qualified and experienced on all things nutrition and natural health. You’ve done the study and have lots of experience helping other women like me. You filter out the rubbish so that I only get the parts that are relevant to me. I don’t feel confused anymore and know that what you tell me to do is what will work.”

Yay! Job done!

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on HOW MUCH you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.


Let’s take a look not at HOW MUCH you eat…. but at WHAT

Calories are not all there is to it. If a biscuit and an apple have the same calories, does that mean they are equally as healthy?

This is the main reason I detest all those weight loss programs based on points systems. It’s teaching you nothing about healthy eating or metabolism.

Besides, the “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. HOW MUCH you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that are far more important. Don’t get me wrong, we do need to ensure we don’t eat excessive amounts of calories – it’s just that its simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

You also need to pay attention to WHAT you eat…


Ideally, you need a varied diet full of whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible. This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and powerful phytonutrients in veggies for every cell in your body. Sometimes I have clients who tell me they “don’t like vegetables” and I get very tough love with them and say “learn to love them or suffer the consequences later in life”. Simple as that.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids and eating some form of protein at every meal and snack (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your food. Oh, and for like EVERY CELL MEMBRANE IN YOUR BODY! Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, avocado, eat your organic egg yolks cooked but still runny, enjoy oily fish, flaxseed oils, walnuts and get grass-fed meats when possible. And if you do eat something packaged, check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t say ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘canola oil’ – unless otherwise stated, these will be refined and hydrogenated which makes them toxic to your body. They last longer on the shelves which improves company profit, but it doesn’t prolong your life!

And have you ever considered HOW you eat and drink?

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you inhale your food?

(My dog does. But he has much stronger stomach acid than me and way less stress in his life.)

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating” – I have a whole blog on this HERE

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?


We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong, a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.

And don’t gulp it down too fast! Sip, sip, sip it.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fibre like ground flax or chia seeds.

So in summary…

Consider not only HOW MUCH you eat but also WHAT and HOW you eat it!

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 banana

1 chopped peach

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fibre and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein. If only they didn’t get stuck in your teeth for days…

Category: Weight Loss

Coffee is one of those things – you either love it or hate it.

I am firmly in camp LOVE it!

And on those few occasions I have stopped drinking it, the headaches and withdrawal symptoms were unbearable! Which actually suggests I am one of those individuals who perhaps should avoid coffee, but more on that in a moment…

Like so many of my clients, you may be confused by all the mixed messages out there on whether coffee is good for you or not. The media love nothing more than pulling out stories on coffee that one day say coffee is great, and the next that you should avoid it!

Like most things in health, you can usually find research that supports either side of an argument.

Thing is, coffee really is an individual thing.

Whether YOU should be drinking coffee is really one of those “it depends” type situations.

There is science behind why different people react differently to coffee. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking. It’s also about whether you are adrenally fatigued with cortisol issues, have anxiety, stomach ulcers, IBS…. the list goes on.

Let’s look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolise caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolise caffeine will impact how you’re affected by it. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolisers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel “wired” for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half are “fast” metabolisers. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

Another thing that affects caffeine metabolism is DOSE. Obviously, the more coffee you drink, the more there is in your system, the longer it will take to clear and the effects will be stronger.

For me, I can have one strong coffee in the morning and feel great. If I have any more throughout the day I get anxious, jittery and nauseous. So I stick to that one cup 🙂

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much – because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly due to the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Boosts energy and exercise performance
  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol
  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect YOU and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and Health Risks

There are a tonne of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

As a busy working mother of two young boys, I drink that one cup of coffee so that I am more likely to remember to put on pants and less likely to be late for things 😉

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee consumption is linked to:

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
  • Increased sleep disruption
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases
  • Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality”)
  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

And really, this all comes down to DOSE again. Most of these studies show that drinking one to two cups of coffee a day (and no other caffeine containing drinks) leads to these health benefits. Drinking more than this can lead to more of the unwanted effects like sleep disturbance and increased anxiety)

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues!) which suggests that it’s not just the caffeine in coffee that has these positive effects. Like all plant medicines (yes, coffee is herbal!) there are thousands of compounds all working in harmony and it’s hard to isolate one chemical.

Mother Nature is one complex lady!

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. I know you are smarter than this, and you are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee. Dammit.

So, should you drink coffee or not?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
  • People who often feel anxious
  • People who have trouble sleeping
  • People who are pregnant
  • Children
  • Adrenal Fatigue sufferers
  • Those who just don’t feel well after drinking coffee

If none of these apply, and you LOVE your coffee, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?
  • Increase anxious feelings?
  • Affect your sleep?
  • Give you heart palpitations?
  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference. Some of my clients say that they actually find they have MORE energy once they’ve given up coffee.

IMPORTANT: As coffee and tea are some of the most heavily sprayed crops, it’s really important to only drink organic coffee and organic tea. Regardless of how you handle caffeine, what you DON’T want is a cup full of pesticides!!


NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.


Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte

Serves 1

3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree

½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup Rooibos Tea (it’s naturally decaf)


Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.

Serve & enjoy!



Category: Featured

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You probably know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well, technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.)
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.)
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “Metabolic Rate”….

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity)
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions)
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat)

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) also called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

In clinic, I can show you what your current Basal Metabolic Rate is using the Bodystat QuadScan device. We can then look to see how much more energy you’d need if you increased your activity levels. This is a handy tracking tool for weight loss 🙂

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a LOT!


The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate…


Your body composition is crucial to a healthy metabolism.

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you’re not working out!

This is exactly why I always recommend appropriate weight training as a key part of my weight loss programs. Because you want your muscles to be burning fat while you sleep (what busy woman doesn’t want more time efficient fat loss?!)

The thing is, when people lose weight via some crazy starvation diet with restrictive calorie intake, their metabolic rate often slows down which you DON’T want to happen. You need to be building muscle tissue so that you maintain your metabolic rate. That’s really the secret to sustainable weight loss.

Aerobic exercise (where you increase your heart rate) also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.


The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolise your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolises foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.


And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

Your body is ALWAYS striving for balance, so if you are chronically in the stress-response state then your body will slow down other systems to conserve energy. Your digestion will slow, your metabolism will slow and you are more likely to gain weight.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

If you would like to find out more about YOUR metabolism, then please book in for a FREE 15 minute chat (via phone or in the clinic) and we can see if I am able to help you reach your health goals.

Call (02) 4965 4881 to make an appointment. 


Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

dash salt & pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy with plenty of veggies!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!


Category: Weight Loss
back to top