Thursday, March 6, 2014

How our USANA family is helping The Smith Family

Lena Khoury. USANA ANZ
Network Development
Last night I was priveliged to attend The Smith Family’s Graduation Ceremony - a yearly event hosted this year at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney.

I wasn't very familiar with what this important charity that cares provides educational help for underpriveliged children and young people actually did. The most I knew about them was that they are active within our community and recognised by most people. I didn’t know was how incredible they actually were in contributing to struggling families and in supporting Australian students’ education!

The Smith’s Family’s ‘Learning For life’ program was the key reason for the evening; it had brought together over 30 graduates and their families, The Smith Family staff, company sponsors and other public members.

The night started with a few opening speeches by Jack Murphy, Acting General Manager NSW & ACT from The Smith Family. Then came Reeja Nasir, MC and Learning for Life student. Felix Busch, Hotel Manager at the Hilton Sydney spoke and then came Allen Madden, an elder from the indigenous Gadigal tribe where the hotel stood. He gave a Welcome to Country Speach and spoke of the ancient tribal lands where we had gathered.

All of the speakers received us warmly on this special occasion. We were welcomed with open arms and praised on how we were an integral part of their very special night, and this was because The Smith Family’s program was celebrating sponsored students who had been supported by The Smith Family and had graduated from either year 12 high school, or from a tertiary qualification.

The students all had the biggest smiles on their faces; it was like something I had never seen even at my own university graduation! These students were given the opportunity only most students can dream of - an opportunity to receive a great education which will lead them to better job prospects, the security of a regular income and the skills to participate in community life. All that was expected of the students was to commit to education, and for the younger students it applied to attend school regularly.

The night continued with a beautiful musical performance by another Learning for Life student of eight years, Amba Mercuri, and a panel discussion which brought a tear to my eye (not in a bad way of course!). One student in particular on this panel was Sang Bui and his mentor Gavin Street. Jack Murphy along with Gavin mentioned how really important it was for mentors to give these students guidance and networking opportunities with an ambition to help others. This brought more meaning to me about The Smith Family’s tag line “Everyone’s Family”– it meant that family support, Corporate Partners (Including USANA’s True Health Foundation -yay!), 7800 volunteers across Australia and the 450 Learning for Life students brought a change to the community and the future of Australia.

It made me so proud that we (and all of you!) are helping the youth of Australia - every child deserves this chance!

Students varied in different ages, backgrounds and from different areas of Sydney. It brought us all closer with a ‘lovey dovey’ atmosphere, a feeling that we’re all in this together. I personally wanted to get up on the stage and congratulate each and every one of those students because it made me proud of what my company, USANA, and The True Health Foundation was able to contribute to make a difference in their lives. It taught me to never say never, and never to give up on my dreams and goals because as long as you believe in yourself, you will come to believe that anything is possible!

I encourage everyone to take some time out of their day and think about how you can make a difference and make a change for one of these students. Whether it’s monetary, volunteer work or even become a mentor for one of The Smith Family’s students. I want to really thank The Smith Family for what they are doing and I was so glad to be part of their ceremony. I personally congratulate each and every student who has taken this program and wish them every success in their future endeavours!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are you an apple or a pear?

By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

Are you an apple or a pear?

We’re getting heavier – there’s no doubt about that! And, if we carry on this way, then by 2025, nearly 80 per cent of adults will have a weight problem. Being too heavy has already overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia. So are you ready for being overweight to be the new normal? Or are you prepared to do something about it?

Body facts

Being too heavy affects your body in many ways – it puts added pressure onto your bones and joints. It reduces mobility and it triggers fatty liver. It’s also a major cause of type 2 diabetes – a serious condition that if left uncontrolled can lead to nerve damage, amputation and even blindness!

And, getting into a healthy weight range today is the same as it ever was. You have to consume fewer calories and burn more. Plus, to maintain your weight, you have to make long-term, better health changes. Nothing new there…

Carrying too much weight wherever it is on your body is bad news. But more and more research is showing that carrying too much around your belly is particularly harmful. That’s because the types of fat that you’ll find on your bottom and thighs is slightly different to the type that’s found around your middle. Think of pear shaped versus apple shaped.

The fat in an apple shaped individual is called visceral fat (as opposed for subcutaneous fat that women around the world loathe and bemoan!). Visceral fat is much more active than subcutaneous fat. It is wrapped deep around the vital organs and it triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals. And since inflammation is behind problems with blood vessels – whether they are in the heart or the brain – it’s a good idea to reduce this type of fat particularly.

The healthy way to do this is to eat low-fat protein with every meal, increase fibre – especially from fresh fruit and veggies – whilst cutting down on saturated fat, sugar and salt (excess salt is linked with hypertension). It also very important to choose carbohydrates that are wholegrain (provide fibre) and have a low glycaemic index (GI).

Let’s talk GI

You probably already know that GI is a ranking system for carbohydrates. Low GI foods tend to be complex and take the body time to break down. They trigger the slow and steady release of glucose and help keep your body and mind fuelled for longer. They also help to keep you satisfied since a low blood glucose is what sets you running to the nearest vending machine!

Carbohydrates are ranked from zero to 100. So:

• Low GI = 55 and under (these are the best choice)

• Medium GI = 56-69 (choose these in preference to high GI foods and drinks)

• High GI = 70 and above (try to limit how much of these you consume).

You could say that high GI foods and drinks are already digested; the tiny sugar molecules are small enough to quickly enter your bloodstream. So, when your body detects that your blood glucose is raised (the body tries very hard to keep it within a normal range), the hormone insulin is released to reduce blood glucose levels and take the glucose into cells. The rapid surge in blood glucose after high GI eats and drinks mean that too much insulin is produced resulting in a sugar low. And it’s that low blood glucose that trigger the desire for yet another sugary fix. And so, the cycle continues…

More about metabolic syndrome

Being overweight and not being active can trigger metabolic syndrome and is also thought to contribute to central obesity (a cluster of symptoms that increase your chances of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes) which is a major sign of metabolic syndrome.

Also called Syndrome X, metabolic syndrome is a condition that’s characterised by the production of large amounts of insulin which the body can’t use properly. Insulin tries to take glucose from the blood into body cells where it provides fuel for cell processes. And, by doing this, it helps to keep blood glucose levels within narrow concentrations. But when insulin can’t do its job properly, glucose circulates in the blood. This is insulin resistance when insulin is produced, but just can’t work as it should.

Your ethnicity and gender affect your likelihood of central obesity (more men are prone to it but women are more likely to get central obesity especially after menopause).

Generally speaking, if your waist measures 94 cm or more (men) or 80 cm or more (women), you probably need to lose some weight. If you are a man of South Asian, Chinese, Asian-Indian, Middle Eastern or Central American heritage, you are more at risk if your waist measures 90 cm or more. Recommended waist measurements are being investigated but because of typical body build, they are likely to lower for Asian men compared with Caucasian men and higher for people of Pacific Islander heritage.

So what can you do? Getting more active and enjoying a healthier lifestyle will help you lose excess body fat, and reduce your weight.

Cut the saturated fat

We already know that too much sugar and alcohol contribute to central obesity (hence the infamous beer belly!). It’s also well known that too much saturated fat is bad for your heart – it clogs up the arteries raising your risk of health disease and stroke.

Now, new research has shown another good reason to cut total fat and eat more unsaturated fat.It seems that too much saturated fat prompts the body to build more fat and less muscle compared with the same amount of calories from unsaturated fats. This study, published in the American journal, Diabetes , is the first research on humans to show that the saturated fat in foods doesn’t just influence cholesterol levels, it can also affect where fat is deposited. Researchers found that more fat was deposited in the abdomen and in the liver.

Fat in the liver and visceral fat both affect your metabolism – so this finding is especially important for people with conditions such as type 2 diabetes and for those who have a predisposition to them.

Unsaturated fats may regulate more energy burning or decreased storage of visceral fat when a person overeats. In other words, they switch on genes in visceral that are linked to reduced storage of fat and better glucose metabolism.

Exercise – regularly

Start slowly – try one, two, five minutes of skipping and build it up at your own pace until you can hop, skip or jump for half an hour. Remember, if you have any medical condition or if you haven’t exercised for a while, speak with your doctor first. An experienced personal trainer can help – or look for local classes in your area.

Start abdominal fat by working your whole core. Muscle exercises, such as working with weights, yoga and Pilates can help but blasting away total body fat with aerobic exercise is also very efficient.

Muscle takes up much less space than fat and it requires a lot more calories just to exist. So, increasing your muscle-to-fat detonates body fat and gives you great shape and definition. Work weight-training exercises into your weekly routine to build muscle – work towards two to three half-hour sessions per week and you’ll see the results fast!

Around 70 per cent of your weight is due to what you eat and drink and 30 per cent is down to how much and how well you exercise. So, watch your portion sizes, cut down on sugars and saturated fats, and watch what you drink. Juices, soft drink and alcohol are loaded with calories so be sure to be aware before you make the conscious decision. Drink lots of water as sometimes, it is easy to mistake hunger for thirst. Cut out fruit juices and sugary cordials etc.

Replace your meals with Nutrimeal™

Kick-start your weight-loss by replacing all three meals for five days with a Nutrimeal. Yes, it can be a challenge. But it may be just the jump-start you need!

This kind of eating is the topic being research a lot right now. UK scientists funded by Diabetes UK found that drastically cutting calories in this way meant that overweight people who were taking medication for type 2 diabetes were able to stop using the tablets after two. Study participants consumed just 800 calories per day (each Nutrimeal provides around 230 calories so three Shakes plus one USANA Protein Snack provides around 850 calories). The researchers found that this low calorie diet helped the body to start to respond to its own insulin again.

Newcastle University’s Professor Roy Taylor believes that the benefits were seen when visceral fat was cut and so the body began to respond to insulin again. Visceral fat is thought to clog up the pancreas (where insulin is produced) and liver (which can get congested due to large amounts of triglycerides (a type of fat) from too much sugar/fat/alcohol). This cuts insulin production and stops insulin from being used properly.

By drastically dropping the calories, your body switches into starvation mode so that fat is burned from the vital organs. This frees up the organs so they can do their job properly again.

Remember to exercise for between 30-60 minutes a day to build lean muscle and burn more fat.

More about Nutrimeal 
Which flavour do you favour?

Nutrimeal contains a range of proteins, healthy fats, low GI carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals – it’s a low calorie meal-in-a-glass. It’s a great choice if you want to drop some kilos or you want to focus on low GI eating (Nutrimeal has a glycaemic index of just 25 and is endorsed by the Glycemic Index Foundation. Check out the GI of foods on: or you just don’t want to think about food and portions as you lose weight.

Try taking just Nutrimeal and a protein snack plus a piece of fruit and lots of steamed green veggies for five days. Then, switch to two Nutrimeal a day plus one low GI meal and healthy snacks until you achieve your weight-loss goals. Then, maintain your weight with one Nutrimeal daily, two healthy low GI meals and healthy snacks.

Other suggestions:

• Add extra fibre with a teaspoon or two of Fibergy Plus™

Add the benefits of fibre

• Add extra protein with SoyaMax™

• Add USANA Probiotic to help your healthy bacteria flourish

• Try the liver health tonic, HepaPlus™ – it contains the liver tonic milk thistle and the potent anti-inflammatory, turmeric and choline to help your body metabolise fats

• Go Nuts’ n’ Berries™ – low in calorie snack (just 150 calories) made with nuts for healthy fats and super fruits (cranberries) plus a kick of vegetarian omega 3 (via chia seeds).

With the goodness of nuts, berries and
omega-3 from chia seeds

Ready for a healthier new you – there’s never been a better day to start!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Are you addicted to fast food?

By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

Fast food - a heady combo of fat, salt and sugar!
Ahh, fast food! When you feel down and/or hungry or tired, it seems tick all the boxes doesn’t it? So, if you’re a fast food fan, have you ever wondered just exactly what it is that keeps you going back for more?
Well, it could have something to do with a heady concoction of sugar, fat and even salt. Humans like fat and sugar because for early man, the boost in calories could mean the difference between life and death. Sweetness also signalled that a fruit was ripe and ready to eat. Salt is important for helping to keep your blood pressure healthy – you’ll lose salt via sweat. So, for early man all of this was important.

Too much of a 'good' thing?

Today, though, fat and sugar is everywhere and fast foods reign supreme at every corner. Not only are they very convenient (and we’re talking vending machines and pie shops here, too), but some experts believe that certain manufactured foods are formulated to ‘hit’ all of your taste buds at once.

And, studying the brains of fast food eaters has shown some surprising results. US researchers found that after chowing down on burgers and fries, there was a definite alteration in brain chemistry. And, scientists went so far as to suggest that eating fast food regularly could lead to some people becoming overly dependent on the heady concoctions.

One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigated how food intake is regulated by the pleasure centres in the brain. It looked at how constituents in foods affect areas if the brain called dopamine-containing or pleasure centres.

Study leader Dr David Ludwig from the Boston Children’s Hospital in the United States, said: 'Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked with substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive.'

The low down on high GI

In this study, two groups of men were given milkshakes. All of them had the same number of calories and tasted the same, including sweetness. But one group were given milkshakes with a high GI (sugar) and the others’ drinks contained low GI carbohydrates.

As you already know, high GI carbohydrates release glucose into the blood rapidly while low GI carbohydrates are the healthier choice as they release energy – also in the form of glucose – much more slowly into the body. This is best because the body has a better chance of controlling how much glucose is in the blood at any one time – essentially you have more control,fewer spikes and crashes.

Getting back to the milkshake study and the volunteers’ brain activity was measured using MRI scanning and their hunger and blood glucose measurements were taken for four hours after the milkshake meal. Four hours is about the length of time after a meal and before the next one that an individual tends to make choices about what to eat or drink next.

Results found that the group that consumed the high GI (sugary) milkshakes had an initial spike in blood glucose (because the high GI carbohydrates are virtually already digested, they entered the blood rapidly). But the rise was followed by a crash in blood glucose. This triggered hunger and intense activation of an area of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens. This region of the brain is also involved in addictive behaviours.

The low GI milkshake drinkers didn’t feel the same kind of hunger and didn’t have the same brain activity either.

The study was interesting because unlike other studies which have compared different foods – such as cheesecake vs. boiled vegetables, whereas the men that consumed milkshakes that were identical – except for the glycaemic index. Plus, both milkshakes tasted sweet so it was specifically the GI rating of the carbohydrates that triggered the enormous variation in activity.

'These findings suggest that limiting high-glycaemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat,' said Dr Ludwig.

Dr John Hoebel from Princeton University in New Jersey has also shown how high GI foods may trigger feelings of withdrawal. In animal studies, he showed that denying rats who were used to a high sugar diet (25 per cent sugars) resulted in chattering teeth and the shakes when the sugar was denied to them. These effects similar to those seen in people withdrawing from nicotine and other addictive drugs.

Fast food - are you a regular?

But it’s not just about high GI carbohydrates. Fat is also involved. It is thought that high-fat foods appear to stimulate opioids or 'pleasure chemicals' in the brain in a similar way that addictive drugs might. And, it may be one reason why we regular fast-food eaters are so drawn to these kinds of foods – especially if they are eaten regularly.

Plus, when you’re hungry and your blood glucose level is low, it’s natural to reach for a quick fix. And, although some of us are pretty good at resisting temptation, others aren’t so great at controlling the part of your brain that helps you deal with impulse control – the prefrontal cortex. But the pleasure and reward centre in your brain, the nucleus accumbens, can get in the way cutting your inner strength.

Salt is another flavouring that you can get a taste for. Too much, though, can raise your chances of hypertension (high blood pressure) which in turn raises your risk of conditions such as heart disease.

So, if temptation is all around, you may well end up on the wrong side of a burger, fries and sugary milkshake/ice cream.

The best way to withdraw from high GI foods? Throw out all of the high-sugar, high-fat items from your home. Always have healthy snacks on hand – fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, low-fat, low sugar yoghurt or soy equivalents. Healthy wholegrain breads and nut butters.

Three flavours to savour!
   Try some of USANA’s healthy foods – Nutrimeal™ has a low GI of just 24 so flavour it with berries or banana. And pick up some of the delicious and nutritious Go Nuts ‘n’ Berries™ bars. They’re satisfyingly sweet yet high in protein and have a low GI of just 43. Then there's the protein rich snacks which are also high in fibre and low GI - get your teeth into Peanutty Bliss™ Choco Chip™, and Fudge Delite™. Three delicious new flavours are also gluten free!

Is it time for you to wean yourself onto the healthier stuff – for the sake of body and mind?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Living the life - USANA style!

Australia’s Network Development Manager,
Pamela Ferry

We so enjoyed our time relaxing over the Christmas break though by mid-January we were recharged and ready to start the USANA year with a big bang! And why not start the year of the Horse with a celebration?
We galloped into 2014 with huge events in Melbourne and Auckland showcasing a line-up of top level presenters, recognition, entertainment and loads of fun.

Loving living it!
The power of the people!
 The highlight as always is connecting with like-minded people from across the country, to fill up our tanks and get us inspired, pumped and ready to take immediate action to do what we do best: connect with others and change lives.

Our superstar speaker line up  


We flew in the best in the business to Celebrate with you! She’s mum to two boys, loves country music and is a fabulous singer. She’s also a top USANA Leader who’s one of the elite group that is Fortune 25. 5-STAR Diamond Director and Million Dollar club member and southern belle, Monica, won everybody’s heart with her infectiously warm personality.

On stage she shared her incredible USANA journey. Monica had many powerful messages including reiterating the importance of mastering the five simple steps to be successful in our business.
1. Approach
2. Invite
3. Present
4. Follow up
5. Close

Monica said: ‘Become an expert at these five things and you WILL achieve big results.’ She’s living proof that the system works. And, Monica’s insights certainly re-affirmed to me that we need to keep this business simple and focus on the action elements. I trust it did for you too!

Monica also talked about Leadership and Influence - to which we all know that every day in USANA is a journey of constantly striving towards being your best self and helping others. It’s about constantly learning and growing. Monica generously shared her spare time getting to know you and I know you’ll agree this Texan gal must come back and visit us again soon!


The Filipino Dynamo     
Looking forward to a healthy future!

He’s a young man so full of energy and drive that after four years in USANA he is already at the level of Diamond Director. Rich came over to show us how they grow successful businesses in the Philippines and Asian regions. His enthusiasm and knowledge kept him in back-to-back meetings with so many of our Associates and it was wonderful for Rich to experience some of our Australian and Kiwi culture during his visit. Rich showed that it doesn’t matter about the background or skill level you start with – with USANA you have the opportunity to create a lifestyle you maybe only once dreamed of. Are you constantly innovative in your business?

Innovative orator!

 Social Researcher

Social commentator and trends expert Michael McQueen is fast becoming one our top keynote speakers. He had the audience fixated with the messages from his latest book: Winning the Battle for Relevance. How to stay ahead of the curve and navigate change. Michael’s topics resonated strongly with our audience. After all, if you plan to be #1 in Australia and New Zealand, you need to constantly improve and be one step ahead of the competition.

Beautiful health!

Beautifully scientific

 ‘Hello delicious people!’…what a lovely way to open up a presentation! Our favourite USANA global health educator Dr Libby Weaver shared her personal favourite USANA products to promote beauty from the inside out. Many of us are devouring her growing cache of health and lifestyle books and madly cooking up amazing healthy meals from her two cookbooks. Dr Libby’s mission is to: ‘Educate and inspire people, improving their health and happiness, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world.’

We are so fortunate to have easy access to such high level experts in the areas of healthful lifestyle and business topics at our fingertips through the vehicle of USANA. What’s an event without some fun times? Dancing and Laughing USANAstyle!

There were so many special moments at Celebration. For me a highlight was seeing everybody dancing at their seats in our entertainment segments – so many happy faces living life to the fullest. The USANA family really knows how to party… From international dance groups to hip hop and Zumba we kept the room pumped with energy thanks to our talented Associates. Thank you to Joel Gallarde and Brad Duryea!


Breathtaking energy!

Time for the THF

  It was also great to raise funds for the True Health Foundation via a range of fun games. Almost $8,000 was donated and it will help our people who struggle with basic life needs of food and shelter to improve their quality of life. Personally. I love knowing that every cent is going directly to people in need. Giving back always feels good. Here we go for 2014 – lets work together! So we are already into the second month of the year and for myself I realised with all the preparation for Celebration that I had not completed my 2014 goals. They are now listed and I’m 100 per cent committed to achieving even bigger results personally and professionally this year. What about you? Have you set your goals? Do you know what you want for 2014? How will you make it happen? Who are you accountable to? Share your plans with me! It’s already shaping up to be our biggest year to date and our team here at USANA Corporate look forward to partnering with you to get big results and see you succeed. Make it your best year!

The Chinese zodiac sees us in the Year of the Horse so get trotting now, talk to people and never quit! See you soon!

In Health and Happiness, Pamela Ferry


Here’s what you had to say about Celebration...

Virginia Li, GOLD Director from Sydney, New South Wales: “It was definitely an eye opener! What I saw was a whole emergence of new young people which will definitely become very successful diamond leaders in the making!”

Brad Dureya, SILVER Director from Perth, Western Australia; “The opportunity to be on stage and perform was an incredible experience for me! Not only that, I was able to network with superstars and meet other Australian’s in the USANA business. The event had such a great energy and was fun!”

Fiona Jamieson-Folland 2-Star DIAMOND Director: 'Loving the start to 2014, with Celebration here in New Zealand! It's a massive reinforcement of all the growth and continued expansion that's happening everywhere, especially on our back doorsteps. And, it really lights us up to see such huge support and contribution for the THF.

The feeling that we're experienceing in our team and beyond since this event is that we're in the right place, with the right company, at the right time!'

Six reasons to include exercise into your day

By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

Get moving - for your mind, body and wellbeing!
 How’s your exercise regime going? An essential part of losing weight and keeping it off is regular exercise. And, your body was human body was made to move.
Aiming for around 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week, or 150 minutes of moderate activity over five or more sessions each week, is recommended for good health. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise helps to protect your heart and improve endurance, build fitness, strength and stamina. Strength training (working with weights) tones and builds muscle for a lean and shapely figure. Getting both types of exercise is ideal – it will burn calories and help you manage your weight. It can also lift your mood so you’re more focussed than ever to get into a healthy, happy weight

But, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, most of us are not moving as much as we should. More than seven out of ten of us don’t exercise enough. Here are just some of the reasons that you should move more!

Exercising regularly helps to:

1. Blast calories

You gain weight when you consume more calories than you use. Exercise is vital if you want to get lean and stay that way. But beware – unless your exercise is really intensive and you exercise for long enough, you may not be burning off as much as you think. For example, if you weigh around 60kg and you eat a 50g chocolate bar (270 calories) you’ll need to cycle at moderate pace for 35 minutes or walk for over an hour to burn it off! So, as well as burning off calories, thinking about what how much exercise you do and all those snacks and eats will help you to be more conscious about what you’re doing – and not be a distracted dieter!

2. Boost circulation

As you exercise, chemicals in working muscles produce substances that leave the muscle cells. These chemicals cause tiny capillaries (blood vessels) to dilate (widen) and this boosts blood flow which in turn brings more nourishing oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. Better circulation helps to nourish your internal organs and skin cells, too, so you look better, too!

3. Support the muscles that support your joints

Regular exercise may help to slow down and even prevent problems with your muscles, joints and bones. Regular exercise helps to build and maintain strength and flexibility – important at every stage of life but especially as you get older.

4. Get in shape

Muscle and fat are two entirely different tissues and you can’t replace one with the other. But you can build muscle and reduce body fat with weight training and strengthening exercises.

Muscle burns more calories than fat because it is metabolically active i.e. it needs more fuel to exist rather than fat which is a storage material. Your body uses up fat stores when you exercise and build muscle. And, more muscle means more calories burned daily.

So, for every half a kilo of muscle you put on, you’ll automatically burn an extra 22 to 36 calories daily and you’ll have a sleeker, more shapelier shape.

Muscle and fat take up a different amount of space in your body, too. Take a look at 2.5kg of fat and 2.5kg muscle – when you have more fat, you can see clearly why you’ll have more wobbly bits!

You can target your problem areas – fat from around the exercising muscle is used for energy so you can firm up trouble areas. So if it’s your tummy that’s causing trouble, learn exercises that target your core.

Aim for strengthening exercises like weights at least twice per week for up to 30 minutes to slowly build up your body’s muscle. Oh and if you’re a woman, don’t worry that you’ll get too muscular by weight training – women don’t have enough testosterone to build as much muscle as men.

2.5kg of fat takes up much more space than 2.5kg of muscle

5. Perfect your posture, balance and coordination

Your posture is the way various parts of your body align in relation to one another. Good posture can help to prevent fatigue, headaches, eye strain, and chronic muscular tension. Getting your posture right can also help to boost circulation and even aid digestion. It might also help you sleep more soundly.

For good balance and coordination, you have to be able to control a number of muscles in order to prevent falling over. So, building your muscle strength leads to better balance and may even help to prevent injuries as with age.

6. Feel good about yourself!

According to the Black Dog Institute: ‘Numerous studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who do not exercise regularly’. Also, ‘Several trials have shown that regular exercise of moderate intensity can be an effective treatment by itself for mild-to-moderate depression.’ That’s because exercise boosts the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and feel-good chemicals which in turn helps to boost your mood . And as regular exercise helps to tone and shape your body, you’ll have more reasons to feel good about yourself!

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days. Weight bearing exercise boosts your bone health as well as training your heart and lungs to be stronger. Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise if you have a lot to lose or have stiff joints.

Include three sessions of strength training. The ultimate in sculpting your body, this flab fighter builds muscle and burns fat so you have a sculpted, leaner look. Plus, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – i.e. the faster you burn calories.

So go on, get moving!

Monday, January 20, 2014

You booze? You don’t lose!

By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

OK don’t get annoyed with me for this one. You asked for the truth and the whole truth and here it is... If you just can’t understand why you’re not shifting the weight, it could be due that alcohol is holding back your best made weight-loss plans.

Let me explain...

Many of us enjoy a drink or two. But when you’re trying to lose weight, you may find that it’s best if you lay off it completely – or stick to just one drink per day.

That’s because alcohol is loaded with calories. At seven calories per gram, it’s second only to fat (which provides nine calories per gram).

Plus, when you add in the mixers/juices, the calorie load rises even higher. Another reason that alcohol can crank up the kilos is that it’s easy to drink a lot of it without it affecting your body’s satiety system. So, the calories can pile up and up. Then, the dehydrating effects of alcohol increase your blood pressure and slow down your metabolism. But, where your weight is concerned, there’s even more bad news...

When your body detects alcohol, it responds to the introduction of what is essentially a toxin by switching from fat metabolism in order to focus on getting rid of alcohol from your body. So instead of breaking down fats, not just the fats you’ve just eaten but the fats in your body, it concentrates on ridding itself of alcohol.

Putting the brakes on fat breakdown

One small study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involved eight men who drank two units of vodka and sugar-free lemonade. Each drink contained just under 90 calories. Fat metabolism was measured before and after drinking and then for several hours afterwards. Results showed that fat oxidation in the whole body (a measure of how much fat the body is burning) dropped by a massive 73 per cent!

Incoming fat…

So, while your body puts the brakes on breaking down fats that are already in your system, alcohol is also notorious for weakening your willpower especially for fatty, salty snacks (kebab anyone?). The slowed-down fat metabolism combined with incoming fat means that it’s easy to store fat in your body and in particular, around your liver and centrally around your body. Hence the infamous beer belly.

Beer belly AKA central obesity

This kind of central obesity or apple shape raises your risk for raised blood fats, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and developing type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that people eat around 20 per cent calories from food more than normal whilst drinking alcohol either because it interferes with your body’s ability to feel full or perhaps due to sheer will power weakening effects. The kind of fat around your middle is also metabolically active – it located deep inside your body and is wrapped around your internal organs. Plus, this type of fat prevents may hinder the work of your pancreas (which secretes insulin) and liver (which detoxifies and cleans your body).

Are you a weekend binger?

And, if you’re one of those people who is careful with alcoholic drinks during the week but lets it all happen at the weekend, you could be downing thousands of calories without knowing about it! So that cheeky glass of wine after work which turns into a couple. And the drinks with dinner. And so on. Unless you add up exactly what you drink (and eat) into a journal, you won’t have an accurate idea of what you’re consuming (try or

Seeing the calorie counts linked with drinks (just as more and more restaurants are doing for foods) – and the exercise that you’d have to do to work them off – may help to make us more aware.

Tips on controlling alcohol intake:

Women should drink less alcohol because their bodies don’t break down alcohol as fast because women are generally smaller than men and naturally have a smaller liver which processes and detoxifies alcohol.

You don’t need to cut out alcohol altogether. Once you’re at your healthy weight range, enjoy what you enjoy. But don’t overdo it.

• Alternate sugar-free soft drinks or water with an alcoholic one

• Go for light versions where possible

• Water down wine with sparkling water or diet lemonade for a refreshing spritzer

• Never eat without having food in your stomach

• Keep water available to quench your thirst while you drink alcoholic drinks.

Are you sticking to within the Australian Alcohol Guidelines?

Men: A max of two drinks a day on average with two alcohol-free days a week.

Women: Two or less drinks a day on average with two alcohol-free days a week.

A standard drink explained

1 standard drink = 10g alcohol which is equivalent to:

• 100ml of table wine

• 30ml of spirits

• 250ml of beer

But one drink isn't always just one drink!

• An average restaurant serve of wine of 180ml 12% Alc./Vol = 1.8 drinks

• A 375ml can of full strength beer 4.9%Alc./Vol = 1.5 drinks

• A 375ml can of pre-mix spirits 5%Alc./Vol = 1.5 drinks

Check the label to find out how many standard drinks in your serve.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Can RESET help you to lose the kilos and keep them off?

Lose it with RESET!
By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

Does RESET really work? The answer is a definite yes! Studies show that meal replacements (MRs) like Nutrimeal™ can be extremely effective in helping to kick-start your weight-management plans, help to break up bad habits and may even help you overcome the dreaded weight-loss plateau. USANA’s RESET Program is designed help you shake off bad habits, focus on health and weight and start you on your way to a healthier new you.

Why RESET works

It’s all about energy. Foods and drinks contain energy in the form of calories (except water which is calorie free). Your body burns calories while exercising and simply to live – cakirues are burned while you rest and sleep, too. And you burn them faster when you exercise.
If you take in more calories than you burn, you’ll store the extra on your body. If you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight. If you want a leaner physique and you want to be healthier, do it right! By combining fewer calories and regular physical exercise, you’ll lose fat and retain metabolism-boosting muscle. More muscle means that you will burn calories faster plus more body muscle means fewer wobbly bits and a more sculpted shape!

A healthier new you!

Remember, the RESET Program is only part of your long-term solution to better health. Thinking about what you eat, making the right food choices, getting your head around portion control and learning about healthier food preparation and cooking skills will help you to get the most from your healthy new lifestyle.

Getting into good habits means that you are less likely to go back to eating the types and quantities of food that caused your body to put on the excess kilos in the first place. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Exercise also needs to be a part of your regular life (aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise – the kind of exercise that makes you a bit out of breath but still able to carry out a conversation). Remember, if you haven’t exercised for some time or you have a medical condition, speak with your doctor before starting a weight-management and exercise program.

What the experts say

According to Dr Gary Egger writing in the Medical Journal of Australia ’Clinical trials show partial meal replacements (MRs) seem to be safe, acceptable and more effective over the long-term than most other diet-based weight loss techniques...’

He adds, ’Because most individuals in modern societies consume too much energy in relation to expenditure, there now seems little reason not to prescribe properly constituted partial meal replacements for whom this treatment is appropriate. In fact, with the trend to modern sedentary lifestyles and escalating levels of obesity, it is not difficult to imagine much of our population needing to use partial meal replacements judiciously at some time in the future for prevention or treatment of overweight and obesity.’

Track your progress

Whether you use an app such as ( or (, logging your diet and exercise activity is absolutely essential to success. You can track how much you consume and how much you burn and this will help to keep you accountable. Getting on the program and committing to it with a buddy is also a great way to keep you accountable and boost your motivation - and share your successes, too!

Track every aspect of your weight-loss process, every bite and sip you take and every rep in your exercise routine. Do it faithfully and you’ll be able to see patterns and routines. And by analysing these patterns, you can find personal solutions for your particular weight-management challenges.

Wishing you the best of health!