Jumping into 2021 with hopes for a better year, it’s no surprise people are striving to start new holistic approaches and to create more energy.
Recent research from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) shows over 9 in 10 Aussie’s would like to improve their health, following what has been a difficult year. A more holistic, healthy approach can help to sustain consistent motivation and increase energy.
Sydney-based Nutritionist and Exercise Scientist, Amelia Phillips is passionate in helping women lead healthy and fulfilled lives.
With a Bachelor of Exercise Science, a Post Graduate Certificate in Nutrition, a Masters of Human Nutrition, a podcast series and more than two decades of experience in the health and wellbeing industry (including being a co-founder of the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation and Voome.com.au), Amelia is no stranger to providing health and fitness advice.
She believes making drastic changes for your health can actually seem easier than taking up smaller changes.
“When you make a big drastic change you’re very focused on [that change]. For a lot of people that’s the ‘all or nothing’ approach which can be dangerous to something like dieting.
For Amelia, holistic approaches are successful because they address a person as a whole, taking into account someone’s physical and emotional well-being.
“Taking a 360-degree view of your health is so much more balance and sustainable because the body works in a congruent way where the body functions in one beautiful organism not dissected up into different functions.
“Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach where different meridians of the body will look after all functions whether it be your liver, or your circulatory system, whereas conventional medicine tends to silo things into your muscular skeletal system or digestive system”, she explained.
Amelia constructed the acronym “MEDS” to use as a checkpoint to keep the whole body in shape: M is for Mindfulness, E is for Exercise, D is for Diet, and S is for Sleep.
Here is how Amelia describes the process:
“Mindfulness is all about adopting whatever practises you need to help manage stress levels, to reignite your feelings of joy, to find your inner confidence and to really get out of your head thinking and really get into your heart and finding your true-self.
“Exercise wise I think it’s really great to mix things up a little bit even if that can feel quite uncomfortable at first. My recommendations are 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity.
“Diet – traps that we all can easily fall into that is detrimental to our health is what I call ‘empty calories’. Food we eat or drink that just has so many calories and absolutely zero nutritional benefits – sugary drinks are the number one culprit for this as it can have between 10-16 teaspoons of sugar in them, and contain up to 260 calories, which is almost the equivalent of a main meal. To ditch the sugary drinks, try swapping them for sparkling water, for example Amelia recommends “Soda Stream” sparkling water. Research has shown that consuming 340ml of sugary drink a day (which equates to less than one can) increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 22%.
“Another big trap is too much oil. Olive oil is good for us and so healthy but 4 tablespoons of olive oil equates to the recommended calories for one meal. You can think that you’re being really healthy but you’re actually eating way more calories than you need to.
“Another tip is when you cook fish or chicken, do eat the skin. A lot of people traditionally would say to get rid of the skin but the skin contains beautiful collagen, it contains so many nutrients in the fish you got lots of omega 3’s. Same goes with veggies, potatoes for example a lot of the nutrients are within the skin”.
“Sleep refers to creating habits that promote the best sleep you can get”.
To boost your self-confidence, Amelia recommends taking the ‘2 gives, 1 take’ approach.
“When you’re thinking about yourself and you’ve got that inner talk going, do a little check with yourself – are you taking away from your confidence by what you’re saying to yourself or are you giving?
“For example, you might look in the mirror and go ‘ugh, look at the bags under my eyes’, that’s a take. So, you go okay well if I just gave myself a take, I’m now going to give myself two gives, for example, ‘oh my goodness you got up early today and did such a great workout’ – you give yourself two compliments.
“The more you start to say those gives, the easier it becomes. The first time you do it it’ll feel so strange but, it’ll get easier and easier and soon the ‘takes’ start to fall away and the ‘gives’ will come more naturally and you slowly become less and less down yourself”.
According to Amelia, Intermittent fasting is a helpful way to not gain kilos, and boost energy by limiting snacking and cravings.
“For example, if you stop eating at 9pm, don’t eat again until 9am. What this does is narrow the window when you do eat, so breakfast, lunch and dinner are closer, preventing sugar spikes and snacking. Fasting for 12-14 hours overnight helps improve heart health, lower blood pressure and protect against type 2 diabetes because our bodies go into repair mode. It’s a gentler way to lose weight.
“I think this works quite well for some people particularly if you are working from home. For me, I will have a really big brunch, I’ll have that quite late like around 10 in the morning, and then I will have a very early dinner around anytime from 5:30 to 6:30 I’ll have a teeny tiny snack in the afternoon. I’m basically only eating in an 8-12 hour window”, she explained.
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