April 16, 2014

How to Stop Binge Eating or Emotional Eating

I have blogged about this topic before but as we head into another holiday filled with food and temptation at what seems like all hours of the day (chocolate Easter eggs at 9am?!) a treat can quickly turn in to a binge.

What is a binge?

A binge is an episode out-of-control eating, where you start with something small to satisfy an urge and within minutes you are moving on to more and more food without stopping. The binge will come to an end but only when you are completely full, feel sick and are completely defeated.

The whole binging phenomena is incredibly frustrating, especially the feeling of not having control over your own body. What's more, the reasons behind over eating are complex and often subconscious. You may be driven to emotional eating for all kinds of feelings that overwhelm you, may it be fear, sadness or anger. Happy emotions can lead to binges too, like celebratory occasions, euphoria and when used as a reward.

I actually read a great post on Jessica Sepel's website, who is a fabulous nutritionist, on the topic of emotional eating. She observes that overeating is prolific among young women. As Jessica argues, "food has now taken more importance in our lives than it should. It has become our emotional savior. We need to uncover the pain behind these feelings in order to effectively stop these cycles of emotional eating and binge eating episodes."

So where do you start with trying to ward off these binge attacks? Well first you need to do a whole lot of self love. Take time for yourself to stay in check with your emotions. Meditate, take peaceful walks, lie on the couch listening to some music, give yourself a mani or pedi, get a massage or take a bath. Journalling is also a good exercise to practice, especially during times of stress because it will help you to understand what it is you are feeling, before you turn to food for comfort.

DON'T SKIP MEALS. Hunger is a big trigger for binge eating, so keep your meals regular and balanced, with adequate amounts of fat and protein. Also keep 'binge foods' out of the house until you feel more confident. Binge foods may not always be your typical chocolate and chips. For me, I don't buy peanut butter, honey, or sugary cereal.

Urges are incredibly difficult to fight. Sitting with an urge is almost impossible for your body and is a losing battle, particularly if you are already under stress. If you are sitting around food, or about to head to the fridge or reach into the pantry, remove yourself immediately. Go and stand outside or in a quiet room. Take three deep breaths and think to yourself why you don't want to do this. Why eating is not the answer and try to check in to what you are really feeling.

In these times of need, call a friend, jump in the shower, go for a walk or keep yourself busy by doing some ironing or washing the dishes. If you are forced to stay at a dinner table, or it would just be socially awkward to suddenly run out of the room, start sipping lots of water and put a napkin over your plate. Maybe excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.

Another great tool is playing the focus game, where you locate five things you can see, hear, touch and smell. You may feel your feet on the ground, the chair of the table, the material of your dress, the strap of your bra pressing against your back and your hair resting on your shoulder. Think about each feeling, focusing on that for about 10 to 20 seconds before switching. Then repeat with another set of senses. This game acts as a physiological distraction from your anxiety and will instantly calm you and shift your focus.

Jessica Sepel notes the paradox between the food comforting you and then bringing you incredible guilt. She emphasizes, "the guilt from this emotional eating episode will be almost too much to handle. You feel like an absolute failure. This is a modern day epidemic, in my opinion."

If you do find yourself at the tail end of a binge, the most important thing to remind yourself is that YOU WILL BE OKAY. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU CAN GET HELP. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN. You deserve better; treat yourself with more self-love and don't beat yourself up over what you deem as a mistake. You used food to help you deal with an emotion you couldn't process, it was your coping mechanism. You now need to find a BETTER coping tool that will REWARD YOU in the LONG TERM. Eating in times of stress may have become a habit but you can form a new and healthier practice with some thoughtful planning.

Seek professional help to get a better idea of why you are overeating. Start at your local GP who will be able to find you a good local therapist to begin counseling. Jessica echoes my advice; "a professional will help you uncover the emotional baggage or pain behind your episodes. It will change your life. I can honestly tell you it changed mine. It became my outlet to release pain – rather than turn to food."

April 15, 2014

'The Face' Model's Share Their Healthy Living Lifestyles

The latest 'search for a supermodel' TV show, The Face, brings together successful model to act as mentors to the young hopefuls. As I shudder at the thought of being 'mentored' by Naomi, aka the dictator, I can't help but notice the 41-year-old looks amazing. Not to be outdone, Naomi's Aussie-model co-stars, Cheyenne Tozzi and Nicole Trunfio are equally stunning and manage to exercise a little more empathy for their chosen teams.

One of my favourite parts of the show is watching the models strut into the room at the beginning on a scene when I can girl-crush their make up and outfits. I've already bought a Camilla and Marc dress that stole the show for me when Nicole wore it casually to jump around on a trampoline.

It's not surprising that all three models are wellness gurus, although I suspect that good genes is strongly at play with the beauties. Read on to learn a bit about each model's healthy living lifestyle and their tips to staying fit on-the-go.

Naomi Campbell

As an iconic beauty and seemingly-ageless supermodel, Naomi Campbell advocates healthy living in a bid to 'prevent, preserve and maintain'. Ignoring the fact that this somewhat creepy statement conjures images of Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her, I'm pretty sure Naomi is referring to her healthy lifestyle.

Briefly entertaining a vegetarian diet, Naomi eats what her body craves which is foods that make her feel 'light' and nourished.

"I like to eat something that I can eat as much as I want and know it’s not going to make me feel like passing out. It really is ‘you are what you eat.’ It’s basically that simple,” shares Naomi.

Her on-screen antics on The Face scare me silly, especially when she screams at her petrified team of hopeful models (of which she mentors). Her hard leadership style makes it no surprise that Naomi loves to practice intense yoga. While yoga can be meditative, the supermodel leans towards a practice that  Like many wellness devotees, Naomi starts her day with hot water and lemon, before heading off to her beloved yoga class.

“I can’t do a headstand if I’ve had food in my stomach or I feel awful. It’s just you want to feel your best, you want to get the best energy out of your day,” observes the model. I can imagine doing a headstand after a green smoothie could have disastrous results.

Acknowledging that genes do play a role in her ageless beauty, Naomi understands the reality of growing old and is committed to doing so with grace, which must be easier when you are still wrinkle free in your forties. Nevertheless, her ability to keep pace and compete with fresh-faced waifs who are decades her junior will have me skipping off to yoga this week in an effort to follow suit. Although I certainly won't be relying on it for anger management...

(Source: Access Hollywood)

Cheyenne Tozzi

Aussie-model and ultimate beach babe, Cheyenne Tozzi, has been gracing the covers of magazines since she was a teenager. Her natural beauty and tanned toned body has been catching everyone's attention on FOX8's 'The Face', a reality contest for finding a up-and-coming model. She's also my favourite, shhh, and not just because she has liked my Instagram pictures!

Naturally we want to know Cheyenne's philosophy on food and fitness, and how she balances healthy living with her busy schedule. Training with her fitness trainer three times a week for intense body conditioning, Cheyenne also favours exercising outdoors, doing watersports like paddle boarding (which is actually not as tricky as it looks). On-the-go, the model will hit the hotel gym and follow a program set by her trainer or do a short routine in her hotel room to get the blood pumping. Her favourite exercise? "Squats, squats, squats!"

An advocate of eating in moderation, Cheyenne loves food but fresh clean eats, like fish and veggies, not anything out of the packet. She makes one exception though, her secret love for Sara Lee Sticky Date Pudding occasionally needs to be satisfied! You know the one, in the freezer section, next to their equally delicious banana cake.... mmm.

Back to the healthy stuff... apart from the occasional treat, the gorgeous model eats like you would expect. “I always start with a glass of warm water with lemon; it's really good to get your body going. I'm not really a breakfast person, but I'll blend up a juice with kale and apples, nuts and berries or whatever is in the house. Today my mum made a beautiful goat's cheese caprese salad with tomatoes for lunch.

"Tonight I might have some fish and vegetables. I don't really snack. I might have a pear or an apple, I'll have a cup of coffee, but I don't graze. I prefer to eat at meal times. I'm Italian that way; a meal is like a feature film. My favourite meal is grilled salmon with mango, red onion, coriander and tomato chopped up all tiny and placed on top of the fish like bruschetta. It's so yummy.”

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)

Nicole Trunfio

Stunning Nicole Trunfio, another hot Aussie model, steals the show when the camera sets eyes on the natural beauty. Another star of The Face, Nicole is a frequenter on designer catwalks around the world and often graces the pages of Vogue. Sharing the stage with Naomi and Cheyenne, Nicole holds her own both on and off the set.

She too has a passion for healthy living and staying fit. She exercises with her trainer three times a week to keep her killer legs lithe and takes every opportunity to move her body, using the stairs and walking as much as she can.

"Even if it's just half an hour, just doing it (exercise) is really important in keeping your body young and tight," says Nicole.

Growing up in an Italian family (much like Cheyenne did), Nicole has a passion for food and admits keeping her petite figure came naturally.

"I have always been balanced with my eating, I have good genes and haven’t ever had an issue with weight. I grew up in an Italian family so there was lots of pasta and carbs. I eat heathy, unhealthy 50/50," shares Nicole.

A big fan a green juices, Nicole now follows a clean eating regime, favouring salads and small protein serves. She recently underwent a detox during the filming of The Face, having her meals designed by her naturopath, whom she credits to changing her life and helping her feel better internally and externally.

The mind is as important to the model as her physical health. Swearing by sleep, 'it's so good for your body', Nicole also notes the importance of loving yourself.

"I think putting yourself first will cultivate the self-respect and nuturing you need to stay on top of your game. Once you start making a habit of that you can give so much more to others."

(Source: Pop Sugar)

April 13, 2014

Skinny Bunny Raw Chocolates

Enjoy your Easter chocolates this April with no guilt! Make these delicious raw chocolates in mere minutes. My Easter bunnies are packed with protein, low in sugar, gluten free AND vegan. Of course you can use whatever protein powder you like; I used my Sunwarrior powders. Get creative in the kitchen by whipping up these raw goodies in a variety of shapes, just use a trusty silicone mould to make sure you get the perfect result. If you want to give these as a gift, remember they melt quickly at room temperature. 

Skinny Bunny Raw Chocolates


Caramel layer
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of water (until mixture is liquid)
Chocolate layer
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons of cacao
  • 3 tablespoons of Natvia

  1. Use any silicone mould you like to create these raw chocolates. I found the bunny-shaped mould at David Jones.
  2. Combine all the ingredients to make a caramel layer. You want the mixture to be runny enough to pour/drizzle into the moulds. Fill your moulds half way with the caramel mixture and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Combine all the ingredients to make the chocolate layer. Drizzle over the caramel to top the rest of the chocolates to finish.
  4. Put in the freezer for at least four hours or preferably over-night to completely set before turning out.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. These will melt at room temperature and take them out shortly before serving.

April 08, 2014

Sugar-free Chewy Coconut Cookies

Natvia generously sent me another box of their amazing sugar-free sweeteners, which sent me straight into the kitchen to start baking. I love to have biscuits in the house to serve for friends or to accompany my chamomile tea at night while I am cuddled in bed reading a book. The aromatic smell of these spicy coconut cookies wafted through my apartment as they baked. Adding rice malt syrup (which is low in fructose) gives the cookies a chewy texture that's a little toffee-esque. 

Store-bought biscuits have so many nasty ingredients and preservatives it's super worthwhile to make your own, and this recipe is quick and easy to follow. As usual, this recipe is gluten-free and can easily be made vegan by omitting the egg and adding an extra tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in 2 tablespoons of water.

Last night was the first evening I felt a chill in the air and I could tell winter was slowly on its way. Baking skinny sweet treats definitely help to satisfy your comfort food cravings when the weather gets frostier. These biscuits are also delicious with my favourite winter warmer treat, a hot chocolate! Ditch the calorie-laden cafe beverages and make your own hot chocolate at home. 

Sugar-free Hot Chocolate

Heat one cup of low-sugar almond milk in a small saucepan on low heat. Once warmed, add in a tablespoon of Natvia's Vitarium chocolate drink mix and a pinch of cinnamon. For an extra special treat, pop in a sugar-free marshmallow (you can find these at Terry White chemists). This recipe is so healthy you can even enjoy this bevvy at breakfast time or lunch and dinner for that matter! But probably not all three... Hey, we need to exercise some restraint! 

Sugar-free Chewy Coconut Cookies

  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of Natvia
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons of rice malt syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider or raspberry vinegar
  • 1 organic egg

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add in the coconut oil (melted), rice malt syrup, vinegar and the egg. Mix all ingredients together until a dough form.
  2. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper. Take a golf-ball size of the mixture out at a time, and roll into a ball. Flatten onto the tray. Repeat until finished. If your hands keep getting too sticky, wash them with cold water and dry thoroughly before starting again. I had to do this a few times!
  3. Bake in a moderately low oven (160 degrees) for 15 minutes, or until golden. Take care to not let your cookies burn as all ovens can vary. (I'd check them after 10 minutes.)
  4. Take out and let set on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.