Navigate Your Family Christmas Traditions and Food Culture

Navigate Your Family Christmas Traditions and Food Culture

For centuries, food has been a common element that has brought people together to socialise and celebrate – it is part of culture and tradition. Christmas is a time that combines family, celebration, culture, tradition, food and drinks.

Often some foods are only prepared and served once a year, on certain special occasions, like Christmas. This is why food is such a central aspect to our Christmas celebrations.

Many cultures and families show their love through food, and therefore food equals love. If you don’t eat the food that has been lovingly prepared then it is seen as a rejection of love.

As a result, you may feel pressured into eating certain foods, and eating more than you want to, as you want to please family, and not cause conflict.There can be a pressure to have seconds or more than standard portion sizes.

To help you reconnect with what is most important to you about the Festive Season Holidays, remind yourself what makes this time of year special.

Some of the reasons for you could be:


  • Connecting with family and friends;
  • Spending time with those closest to you;
  • Celebrating culture and tradition, and
  • Finding time to relax and de-stress.

Food Equals Love and Leads to Food Pushing 

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The truth is, there’s more than just eating and drinking on the holidays – it’s really about sharing moments and happiness with the people you love most.

When grandma serves her traditional dish, notice everyone around – embrace the nostalgia, tradition, thankfulness and enjoyment. Notice what is going on and join in with the fun and love!

You can have a little without feeling guilty!

If food is pushed on you, be assertive and move the focus from you and tell them how much you love and appreciate them and what they have made, created, or done for you over the past year.

This is called deflection – moving the subject from one topic to another.

You can say how much you enjoyed their dish and then get them talking about the tradition behind the dish and how it became a family tradition.

If none of this works, you can say you are full, and either put your napkin over your plate or take your plate to the sink – removing you and it from the conversation.

Empower yourself to maintain your boundaries at family celebrations –  around food, eating and drinking – while still being able to enjoy yourself. Who doesn’t want to have a little of Nana’s Christmas Pudding, or to be able to say no without causing tension?


Balance Is The Key . . .

You don’t have to sacrifice eating to be healthy.

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With so much food on offer, you may tend to go into a mindless, feasting mode where you just binge. Alternatively, you have had a consistent mindset that each and every year, Christmas is when you give yourself a ‘free pass’ and eat whatever you want. Let’s be honest, this is neither healthy nor balanced and can have lasting effects on your psychological and physical health.

We are privileged, and most of us no longer live in a yearly famine state. Therefore, the majority of the foods that you consume during Christmas are available to you each and every day throughout the year.

If you really connect and get this, then you can begin to change how you feel and see food during the Festive Season.

This year, make a choice to change your mindset and eating behaviours with a focus on balance.

Eating and your choice of foods is a mindful act . . .

Living a balanced and healthy lifestyle is not about diets or overindulgence. Being healthy and finding balance is a daily habit that you can embrace without having to starve yourself from some of the nice things.

If you need a bit of extra support over the Festive Season, then get in touch with Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic today. We can support you by providing you with tools and strategies to create positive change to help you find or maintain balance in your everyday life.

Click on the below button to start creating balance in your relationship with food and eating, and improve your relationship with your family and ultimately yourself!

7 Tips for Weight Loss Surgery Success

7 Tips for Weight Loss Surgery Success

With 63% of Australian adults being overweight or obese, it is not surprising that there are over 22,700 weight loss surgery procedures each year.

Where dieting and exercise do not work, surgery will allow only small meals which leads to weight loss.

Although surgery has a high success rate, some people start putting weight back on after 3-6 months of having surgery. 

Some of the reasons why Weight Loss Surgery may be unsuccessful are:

  • Unhealthy eating behaviours and food choices;
  • Irregular and ineffective exercise routine, and
  • Disordered Eating such as Binge Eating, Emotional Eating and Food Addiction. 

Surgery is only a tool that you need to learn how to successfully manage for long term health and happiness.

It is important to be realistic with your Weight Loss Surgery.

It will not fix the underlying issues that have maintained unhealthy behaviours. It will not teach you to love your body and yourself. 

Seven (7) Tips for Weight Loss Surgery Success

Tip #1 – Smaller Portions 

Weight Loss Surgery Success – Portion Sizes

You may be one of the many people who find portion control difficult.

As the saying goes, ‘the eyes are much bigger than the tummy’.

Portion control is an important step to becoming healthier and happier. 

Reduce your portion sizes and feel fuller by:

  • Reducing plate size;
  • Picking quality food over quantity;
  • Leave approximately 2cm rim around the edge of your plate, and
  • Don’t pile food high.

Tip #2 – Stay Hydrated 

Weight Loss Surgery Success – Hydrate

Water is the source of life!

We all need to water to remain healthy and functioning.

By drinking water prior to each meal, you will find you will feel full quicker and you will eat smaller portions. 

Over time cut out sugary drinks and soft drinks, and limit caffeinated drinks.

If you find water boring or bland try adding some mint or lemon to your water.  

Tip #3 – Change Your Relationship with Food 

Change your relationship with food

When you are eating, have you ever felt like you are unable to stop?

. . . Or maybe you sit in a mindless daze when you are eating?

Then when you look down you’ve eaten a whole block of chocolate or a whole packet of chips.

Don’t feel guilt for eating something ‘naughty’!

By shaming yourself about what you are eating you are putting more stress onto your mind and body.

If you feel like eating something unhealthy try to change it for a healthier option, such as swapping milk chocolate for dark chocolate.

Halve the chocolate to what you normally would eat and add in a couple of strawberries or almonds.

Ensure you are eating 3 (normal sized) or 5 (small sized) healthy meals per day that have been planned and prepared prior to your eating times.

Practice being focused and aware of what and how you are eating by taking 5 deep breaths and having a glass of water.

Tip #4 – Manage Your Stress

Stress Management

Stress is a part of life and when we respond to stress in a negative way it may contribute to weight gain.

Some of the common negative responses to stress that contribute to weight gain:

  • Overeating;
  • Cravings;
  • Addictions;
  • Poor sleeping patterns;
  • Lack of sleep, and 
  • Fatigue.

If you are trying to lose weight or be healthier, you need to find a better balance for your stress.

Here are some tips to improve your stress management:

  • Take 5 deep breaths;
  • Stretch your body;
  • Listen to Music;
  • Get some sunshine, or
  • Get moving and go for a walk.

Doing these things on their own is great but doing them altogether will help you feel calmer and relaxed. 

Tip #5 – Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Realistic expectations and weight loss

Gaining weight does not happen overnight. So why do we always expect instant weight loss results?

In a world of instant gratification and unrealistic expectations for body and health it is easy to become disheartened when we do not see instant results. 

By putting in place a couple of measures for your ongoing success you will be motivated and determined to continue your progress.

For example, your measure could be walking/running 1km without stopping.

You will gradually build up to reach that goal and celebrate your progress as you go.  

Tip #6 – Respect Your Body

Love your body

Bullying and fat shaming is damaging to every person.

So, why is it OK for you to keep bullying yourself to be just like everyone else, to be perfect, to be thinner, to strive harder etc.?

You may not have realised it but every time you compare yourself to someone else and notice your flaws, failings and where you are not good enough, you are bullying yourself. 

Start to be kind and more loving towards yourself.

You can appreciate your body as unique and beautiful.

Remind yourself that you are human and it is okay not to be perfect.

Be aware of your thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and needs so that you can express them and recognise your needs.

High life satisfaction is achieved when you build your self-worth and self-esteem. 

Tip #7 – Create a supportive care team

Create your supportive team

To ensure long-term weight loss success, you need to create a supportive care team. Your Weight loss success care team can be made up of:

  1. Surgeon
  2. Psychologist
  3. Dietician
  4. Family and Friends
  5. Online Support Forums

Weight Loss Surgery does not fix the underlying issues that cause Binge Eating or Disordered Eating Behaviours.

Surgery may prevent some people from consuming the same amounts of food prior to their surgery however the behaviours still exist.

Some of the underlying issues for Disordered Eating behaviours such as Emotional Eating, Binge Eating and Food Addiction can be:

  • Stress;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Substance abuse;
  • Body Dissatisfaction;
  • Impulse control issues;
  • Difficulties managing and expressing emotions, and
  • Unresolved issues including (physical, sexual, emotional) and grief and loss.

If you are struggling with Disordered Eating behaviours such as Emotional Eating, Food Addiction or Binge Eating then we can help you!

The Professional Team at Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic will help you discover the underlying issues that are maintaining the unhealthy behaviours and provide you with practical strategies to build a life that you feel is worth living.

We will provide you will new skills and tools to empower you to create a life filled with purpose, fulfillment, happiness and health.  

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Effects of overexercising

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Effects of overexercising

Exercise is believed to be good for your health and wellbeing, and you have heard it so many times – over and over – Calories in and calories out!

This is the mantra to many weight loss programs.

While some of these programs do genuinely work, like most things in life, going overboard will cause more harm than good.

In our technologically driven culture, a lot of people don’t get their required regular exercise.

No need to go to the post office when you can quickly send an email in your phone.

No need to commute two hours for a meeting when you can schedule a teleconference right at home.

It comes as no surprise that physical inactivity is linked to higher risk of acquiring diseases like type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, and certain types of Cancer.

How do people try to counter lack of exercise?

Usually by putting on a jogging suit and running lapses, or stopping over at the gym when they can squeeze in a couple of hours after work.

Making it a habit to move your body is a healthy practice.


Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate and it is important to get your heart pumping to stay healthy.

Cardio workouts are an effective way to lose weight and feel healthier.

Some of the other benefits of a Cardio workout are:

  • Strong Heart;
  • Reduced stress;
  • Improved Sleep;
  • Increased bone density;
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer;
  • Temporary relief from Depression and Anxiety, and
  • Improved Confidence in how you feel and look.


When Too Much Cardio Is Bad for You

When you stress over doing cardio exercises often, do you ever ask that maybe, just maybe, you’re doing more cardio exercises than what is healthy for you? 

Fitness and fat loss expert, Shin Ohtake, who authored the book MAX Workouts, disclosed the interesting fact that frequent long sessions of cardio workout can cause a lot of pain and injuries.

Based on scientific research that probably opposes everything you know about health and fitness.

In his video, he presented the worst mistakes that people make and the misguided belief that longer cardio workouts can burn fat and be healthy.

Here are the pieces of truth when you overdose on cardio workout:

  1. Your muscles breakdown when you do cardio workout frequently on long sessions.
  2. Free radicals responsible for damaging cells in your body increase production
  3. You age faster as your cells begin to break and get damaged.
  4. You’ll suffer achy joints and possibly injuries.
  5. You can potentially gain weight.

Cited in the British Medical Journal, a German research published in the journal Heartfound that patients with heart disease are at high risk to die by heart attack or stroke when they do too much exercise that involves high intensity workouts.

The research findings are affirmed by Swedish researchers in a similar study published in the same journal suggesting that young men are likely to develop irregular heart rhythm as they age if they are doing endurance exercises over five hours a week.


What Is a Good Measure for a Healthy Cardio Exercise?

The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians released the recommendation to carry out moderate exercise on a regular basis, which suggests a 30-minute minimum activity.

Walking is accepted as a moderate physical activity if you intend to exercise most days of the week.

Be aware however, when you are starting to breathe heavily with difficulty talking while doing your exercise, it signals that you are overdoing your physical activity.

The bad effects of cardio exercise on your health entirely depends on how you perform your exercise.

Adding strength training to your exercise routine will provide variety to avoid overuse injuries which are common with cardio-only routines.

Strength training also turns fat to muscle which will boost your resting metabolic rate.

Your body will thank you for a slower strength training session which will be less of a stressor than constant cardio training.

If you are struggling with over-exercising, bigorexia or weight loss and need sustainable lifestyle solutions that promote genuine health, get in touch with Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic.

Sometimes it takes someone outside of your situation to help you turn your focus towards your goals filled with balance, happiness and health.

Thinking you are fat makes you fat

Thinking you are fat makes you fat

In our society striving to be thin, and keeping up with the unrealistically thin bodies of celebrities, causes many to perceive themselves as ‘fat’ when they are not.

Now we have proof that thinking you ‘are fat’ WILL MAKE YOU FAT!

A study by Cuypers and colleagues at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that 78% of girls who ‘felt fat’ in their teen years actually became overweight or obese in adult life.

Most importantly, it was noted that waist circumferences that classified them as obese, not BMIs.

“Perceiving themselves as fat even though they are not may actually cause normal weight children to become overweight as adults,” says Koenraad Cuypers, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Some of the reasons for the link between thinking and being fat in later life may start with behavioural changes found in teens who think they are fat.

Some of the behavioural changes may continue into adulthood and include:

Disordered Eating Patterns

As a teenager, disordered eating patterns such as:

  • Skipping breakfast;
  • Skipping other meals;
  • Restricting food intake, and 
  • Dieting etc…, 

negatively affect metabolism, stress, hormone production and brain function as you grow into an adult. 


Stress, anxiety and obsession about:

  • Weight;
  • Dieting;
  • Food, and 
  • Exercise, 

produce stress hormones that affect metabolism, hormone production, brain function and fat retention (particularly abdominal). 


Going on and off restrictive diets cause stress to the brain and body and changes the function of all aspects of the brain and body.

“Thinking fat” and then “getting fat” is not limited to teenagers.


According to the article, “Similar studies have previously been conducted in normal weight adult men and women.

These studies have also shown an increase in weight over time in those who perceived themselves as too fat.” 

Society and the Struggle For the Ideal Body

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If you type “ideal body” into a google search there are many articles about what the ideal body should look like and even “programs” to reach the “ideal body”.

When you look at the magazines in the rack when you are buying your groceries you are bombarded with glossy, “perfect” and photoshopped women and men. 

When you scroll through your social media you are constantly bombarded with images of people with filters and poses to make them look a specific way.

You will notice when a celebrity, or someone with a lot of followers posts a picture of themselves to their feed, people comment on their body – positively and negatively. 

Society has a major impact on the way we perceive ourselves and this can lead to many health issues including:

  • Extreme dieting;
  • Over-exercising;
  • Eating disorders, or
  • Disordered eating such as Binge Eating and Food Addiction. 

The social pressure present in your life, can not only lead to physical health issues but can also lead to poor:

  • Self-esteem;
  • Self-image;
  • Body-acceptance;
  • Self-confidence;
  • Self-worth;
  • Self-belief, and
  • Much more. 

Be a Role Model for Teens

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It is essential to provide a buffer between society beliefs and the media and our teens.

Parents, teachers and other key people, in teens lives, need to become healthy body role models.

How often do you find yourself, as an adult, looking in the mirror and saying “these jeans make my butt look big,” or asking someone “does this outfit make me look fat?”

As teenagers go through adolescence they mimic the behaviour of the adults around them. 

Most importantly though, is acknowledging role models for their positive internal qualities such as kindness, sharing, courageous, forgiving etc.

The best gift you can give your children is the gift of teaching them how to treat others with respect, kindness and humility.

Love Yourself and Your Body

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Change your Language

It starts and ends with you!

Small actions can make a big difference.

If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, why are you saying it to yourself?

Every time you talk to yourself and look at yourself in the mirror, you have the choice to lift yourself down or lift yourself up.

The more you embrace being positive accepting and confident about who you are and your body NOW, the more energy and happiness levels will naturally increase. 

Balance is the Key

Balance the not so healthy foods with healthy food.

If you are eating at least 80% healthy food every day you should reach a healthy balance as you change eating habits.

For example, if you have a creamy pasta bake, add 3-4 vegetables such as carrot, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, pumpkin etc.. 

Keep Moving

Look for opportunities to be active.

Cliché as it sounds, it does work:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator;
  • Park further away at the shopping centre;
  • Go outside with the kids and play;
  • Go Swimming, and
  • Do whatever is enjoyable for you to get your body moving. 

Feel good about just being you

Listen to yourself, your body and use your intuition to continue to learn about yourself and grow.

Along your journey be positive, kind, caring and understanding.

Allowing yourself to accept yourself empowers you to:

  • Acknowledge who you are;
  • Celebrate yourself, your achievements and milestones;
  • Change for yourself, without comparison or judgement, and
  • To be the person you want to be. 

If you are struggling with weight issues and/or Disordered Eating, Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help you get to the underlying issues of your health problems.

We specialise in weight management, Food Addiction and Disordered Eating such as Emotional Eating, Stress Eating, Binge Eating, Night-time Eating, Dieting and More.

Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help you build the life that you want and become the person you to be through a process of education, skill development, healing and achievement.

Weight Loss Surgery Does Not Reduce Depression

Weight Loss Surgery Does Not Reduce Depression

The positive outcomes of Weight Loss Surgery have been commonly touted, however what information is available on the less successful aspects and outcomes of Surgery?

For some people Weight Loss Surgery (also known as Gastric or Bariatric Surgery) has been very successful however, for some, the journey has not been so wonderful and not very successful.

For those who have Depression prior to Surgery, Weight Loss Surgery does not reduce Depression, in the long-term.

Weight Loss Surgery Positives

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  • Reducing Type 2 Diabetes;
  • Reducing risk of hypertension and heart disease;
  • Reduced cholesterol;
  • Reduced pain and pressure on joints, and
  • Reduced intake and need of medications.

Weight Loss Surgery Negatives

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Unfortunately, some people have been led to believe that Weight Loss Surgery is a cure for their eating issues and Obesity, almost like it being a magic fix.

Nothing can be further from the truth!

Research is finally catching up and it is starting to show the ‘real’ face and outcomes of Weight Loss Surgery for some people.

Weight Loss Surgery and Depression

One study reviewed patients who underwent Weight Loss Surgery before, at 6 months and 12 months Post-Surgery, for Depression.

This study found that there is a sub-group of people who have significant increases in Depression, 12 months after Surgery.

This same group also had lower self-esteem, psychological and emotional well-being.

Interestingly, this same sub-group lost more weight than the sub-groups that either decreased in Depression or had no change.

This study noted that the critical period for intervention is between 6 and 12 months, Post-Surgery.

Another study assessed patients before Surgery and again at 6, 12 and 24 months Post-Surgery.

This study also found similar results, with Depression starting to increase at 6 months, Post-Surgery.

The study also found a significant increase in Depression, in those who reported Depression levels, between the 6 and 24 months.

It was found that Post-Surgery Depression symptoms were associated with poorer weight outcomes and psychosocial outcomes.

A study reviewed patients between three (3) and seven (7) years Post-Surgery to determine if Depression was reduced after Surgery.

The findings identified that Depression is common among those opting for Weight Loss Surgery.

Again, in the initial stage Post-Surgery, Depression can decrease however, over time, Depression increases.

Weight Loss Surgery, Depression and Body Image

A study investigated a patient’s Pre-Surgery internal weight bias (negative feelings people have about their own weight and ability to manage their weight) and how this affected their weight loss 12 months Post-Surgery.

The study found that those who had higher internal weight bias scores, Pre-Surgery, had lower rates of weight loss and higher levels of Depression, than did those with lower internal weight bias.

General research has found that people with internal weight bias tend to have:

  • Low self-esteem;
  • Body dissatisfaction;
  • Feelings of lack of control over health, eating and weight;
  • Self-hatred;
  • Anxiety;
  • Eating Disorders and/or Disordered Eating Behaviours e.g. Binge Eating, Night-time Eating, Food Addiction;
  • Depression;
  • Social and relationship issues, and
  • Lower quality of life.

Therefore, if you are looking at having Weight Loss Surgery, it is important to ensure that you understand what could sabotage you in the short-term and long-term.

Weight Loss Surgery is not a guarantee for weight loss and health, long-term.

Especially, Weight Loss Surgery does not reduce Depression and this will stop your lifelong success and health goals.

This is why having a Weight Loss Surgery Psychological Evaluation will help you understand more about yourself and your health.

Fit Minds & Minds Clinic offers a Silver or Gold Standard Psychological Evaluation for Pre- and Post-Surgery.

Major Nutritional Risks on Weight Loss Surgery

Major Nutritional Risks on Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is commonly reputed as an effective method to treat obesity.

However, it have far reaching consequences long after the patient has been under the knife.

Obesity is getting increasingly common in the recent years.

It is evident across many countries in people from all walks of life.

With its rise also comes a long string of methods and procedures that promises to solve the problem – everything from supplements and diets to exercise and workout regimens.

Among these, bariatric surgery – more commonly referred to as gastric bypass surgery – is usually noted as the most effective means.

In fact, it doesn’t just reduce body weight; it also helps reduce Comorbidities such as Diabetes and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

However, gastric bypass surgery has nutritional consequences – side effects that a patient can suffer long after the procedure.

Bert Seelman explains that in surgical weight loss, you alter your body when doctors reconnect your intestine to a different part of your digestive tract.

The change in the order of your body’s system brings health problems as the re-ordering bypasses critical nutrients that according to research commonly occur.

Nutritional Consequences of Weight Loss Surgery 

Nutritional Consequences of Weight Loss Surgery

Registered Pharmacist Suzy Cohen explains the nutritional consequences of gastric bypass in that, major deficiency in macro and micro-nutrients can potentially lead to the following symptoms: 

  • Fatigue;
  • Anaemia;
  • Memory loss;
  • Cognitive changes, and
  • Loss of vitality.

These symptoms can lead to severe conditions such as:

  • Trouble walking;
  • Alzheimer, and
  • General loss of health & functioning.

Prescription medications according to Cohen, adds another layer of nutritional complexity and some of these issues are:

  • B12 and CoQ10 can be drained when you take metformin for your blood sugar;
  • If you are prescribed antidepressants, then antimicrobials can further impair your probiotic stores as iodine level decreases, and
  • For women who will later become pregnant can have foetal complications if they don’t receive adequate nutrients such as iron, B12, vitamin A, vitamin K and natural methyl folate.

Considering Weight Loss Surgery?

Considering Weight Loss Surgery?

If you are thinking that gastric bypass surgery is the ultimate key to your weight loss, think again.

Many consequences are irreversible.

The fact remains that you can possibly regain your weight even after the surgery and in the worst case, it can be fatal.

It is important that you understand the risks and how you should prepare and manage the consequences in the event that it is necessary for you to undergo the procedure.

Nutritional care is crucial to gastric bypass surgery according to The Australian Family Physician (AFP).

A nutritionist plays an important role to help you ensure adequate nutrition that your body needs after the surgery. 

However, your cognitive preparation for weight loss surgery to ensure optimum health is a vital key to the success and/or failure of the process.

Although Weight Loss Surgery is an effective treatment for overweight and obesity by limiting the amount of food intake, Weight Loss Surgery does not:

  • Control the quality of food consumed;
  • Fix your relationship with food and eating;
  • Heal Disordered Eating such as Binge Eating and Emotional Eating, or
  • Make you love yourself and your body. 

If you are considering your Weight Loss Surgery options, you may consider having a Weight Loss Surgery Evaluation.

An Evaluation will assess your entire life and who you are, including all of your past and presenting issues and patterns that have caused any negative cycles. 

We will help you identify the underlying issues maintaining your unhealthy relationship with food and eating and provide practical strategies for you to build a life filled with purpose, fulfilled, happiness and health.

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