Chia Pudding

weight-loss-healthy-snack-ideas

weight-loss-healthy-snack-ideas

This is one of my favourite snacks – high in protein and omega 3 fats, high in fibre and a number of essential minerals, and it kinda tastes like a dessert! Winning.

Note: this is best when made the night before, soaked overnight

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (any colour)
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind) or water
  • your choice of toppings (see below)

Method

  1. Soak chia seeds in liquid – preferably overnight – or until liquid is completely absorbed.  I find the easiest way to do this is put the chia seeds and liquid in a jar, shake it up and leave it soak in there.
  2. Top with whatever you like – my favourite is 3 tbsp greek yoghurt, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1/3 banana (sliced) and a handful of blueberries.  

For toppings, think: plain yoghurt, berries, banana, stone fruit, mango, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond butter or other nut butters, bee pollen, cacao nibs, buckwheat kernels.. the options are endless!

Tip: If you find it a little bland, add more fruit or a bit of honey.  

Two-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

pancakes-breakfast-healthy-weight-loss

pancakes-breakfast-healthy-weight-loss

I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t love pancakes.  If you’re focusing on weight loss, or just looking for a healthy breakfast idea, these two-ingredient pancakes are perfect for you!  (I’ve also been known to eat these cold, with a slather of almond butter on top.. soooo yummy)

Makes around 4-6 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 3-4 eggs, whisked

Method

  1. Just combine the eggs and banana and cook pancakes in a non-stick pan.  You can top your protein-rich pancakes with berries, nuts and seeds, and a little honey or pure maple syrup.

Note: stay away from artificial ‘maple-flavoured’ syrups in the supermarket – they’re just flavoured high-fructose corn syrup. You’ll have to spend more to get the pure stuff, but it’s so much healthier and tastier.

Easy Egg & Veg Cups

food-eggs-weight-loss

food-eggs-weight-loss

It’s true what they say – eggs really are the original superfood.  Whether you’re eating keto, wanting to lose weight, or just have a really healthy snack – these egg and veg cups are perfect!  Kind of like a cheat’s quiche.  They’re free from gluten and super high in protein and nutrients.  Have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy cold or heated up.  Super simple!

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • large handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 rashers bacon, diced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled into pieces
  • 1/4 cup red capsicum, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs

Method

  1. Grease a 12x muffin tray. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Whisk eggs in a small bowl, season with salt, pepper and dried herbs.
  3. Add spinach, bacon, feta and capsicum to bowl and combine.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tray and bake for 40mins or until slightly browned on top.  Allow to cool slightly in tray before removing. Refrigerate once cooled completely.

A Natural Approach to Weight Loss

weight-loss-danni-archer-naturopath-adelaide

If you’re like most people, you have at one time or another thought about losing weight.  When you think of health professionals who can help you lose weight, you might think about a dietician, a personal trainer, or even a doctor.  But have you ever thought about seeing a naturopath?  As a qualified and experienced naturopath specialising in weight loss, I’m going to share with you some of the ways in which naturopathy can support you to safely and effectively lose weight.  Of course, you should always consult a health care practitioner before making any changes to your current diet or lifestyle.

What is naturopathy?

So you might even be wondering, what is naturopathy?  It is a traditional system of medicine focused on natural remedies including herbal medicine and nutrition, among other things.  Naturopathy was once seen as witchcraft, but has recently had a facelift and modern day naturopaths now utilise the most up-to-date scientific research to support their use of natural treatments.  Naturopathy is popular because it is safe, effective, and often causes less side effects than pharmaceutical medications.

Why should I see a naturopath for weight loss?

If you’re wanting to lose weight, a naturopath is a great choice for many reasons.  Naturopathy is all about treating the patient as an individual and as a whole person. This means that rather than focusing on one aspect of your health, you’ll be treated holistically.  The human body is complex and multi-faceted, and when it comes to problems with weight there is usually more than one cause.  Often, health care professionals will treat one cause, and after weeks or months of little or no results you are left discouraged and disheartened.  Treating holistically ensures that all aspects of your health and your weight are investigated and nothing is ignored or missed.  In this way, naturopathy ensures that you have the very best chance at losing the weight and living your healthiest life yet.

You’ve tried a thousand diets already, and you’re still here reading this blog post about weight loss, right?  Naturopathy provides a long-term approach to weight loss, so you can lose the weight, improve your health, and maintain that for good. No more dieting!

Some surprising factors that can influence your weight loss.

You might not be aware that the following factors can significantly affect your weight and/or efforts to lose weight.  A good naturopath will help you to identify and correct these issues, and thereby help you to shift the weight for good!

  • Your digestion plays an important role in weight loss.  If you regularly suffer from bloating, constipation, diarrhoea or stomach discomfort, chances are your digestion is a little under par.  If your body is not able to digest and absorb the goodness from the food you’re eating, your weight loss efforts may be thwarted.  Think of poor digestion like a car with an oil leak – you can put the very best fuel in the car, but with a leak you’re still only going to get half as far!
  • Your blood sugar is a term to describe the way in which your body processes sugars.  Extreme blood sugar imbalances often lead to diabetes, but you can also experience mild to moderate blood sugar imbalances, usually without even knowing it!  Symptoms can include shaking or mood changes when you’re hungry, headaches, sugar cravings, and anxiety or anxious tendencies.  Blood sugar imbalances lead to weight gain via a cascade of hormonal interactions including insulin and cortisol (your stress hormone).  Without addressing blood sugar imbalances, you may find it is very difficult to lose weight.
  • Stress levels are often high in todays society.  We are living in a fast-paced, busy world!  When you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol to help your body adapt to the stress.  Unfortunately for us, cortisol actually encourages your body to store fat, particularly around your middle section!  This means that during periods of short- and medium-term stress, when you eat meals, your body is signalled by cortisol to store the fat from that meal on your body, rather than burning it up as energy.  So stress = weight gain!  Without addressing your stress levels, you may be missing a giant piece of the weight loss puzzle.

In summary:

  • Naturopathy is a safe and effective system of medicine, backed by scientific research.
  • Weight loss is very complex, and can only be successful when treated holistically and individually.  By ignoring certain aspects of your health and weight, you may find weight loss efforts are completely unsuccessful.
  • Naturopathy can help you to lose weight by addressing all underlying causes and factors, thereby helping you keep the weight off for good!

Four Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen

danni-archer-weight-loss-diet

Are you tired of spending hours in the kitchen?  Are you feeling guilty that your kids sometimes get takeaway meals instead of home-cooked?

Gone are the days when mum would be at home all day baking bread, preparing dinner and baking goods for the childrens’ school lunches – we are all busy mums and partners, running errands all day, some of us working half-time or even full-time.  Here’s a few simple tips to help you reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen – so you can serve up a delicious homemade meal and have more time to spend with your beautiful children!

1. Read the recipe before you start

By reading the entire recipe before you start, you can figure out any times where you can have two parts happening at once.. E.g. boiling the water while you cut up the veggies and prepare the meat.. By not looking ahead, you could be spending twice as much time in the kitchen!  Don’t trust that all recipes will give you a heads up for things like boiling water or pre-heating ovens, read ahead and you could save yourself some time!

2. Cut and freeze veggies in advance

A really good habit to get into is freezing your own ready-to-cook veggies.  Simply cut up some veg, place it in a freezer bag or zip lock bag, and use it on those nights you are just too exhausted or too time-poor to cook healthy food.  How easy is a stir fry or steamed veggies when they’re already prepared?  Simply heat in a wok or saucepan, or place in a steamer, and cook up a good source of protein to go with it. It’s super easy, and it saves you money by doing it yourself rather than buying frozen pre-cut veg.

3. Use your food processor

Okay, so you spent a decent amount of money on a fancy food processor, but you don’t use it?  Why are you wasting your time preparing everything with a knife when you’ve got a machine to do it for you?  Food processors are great at chopping up onions, carrots, and other hard vegetables.  You can slice veg for a coleslaw, ground nuts, some will even grate cheese for you!  Have another read of your food processor’s manual and make sure you’re utilising all it’s features – I promise, the clean up is worth it when dinner takes you half the time to make!

4. Stop peeling all your vegetables

This one sounds just downright lazy, but hear me out – the skin on a lot of your vegetables actually contains a significant amount of fibre (for healthy digestion) and a heap of vitamins and minerals.  The only reason most of us peel our veggies is to make them look better, but it means that we’re missing out on a lot of goodness that is in the skin!  Plus, it takes up more time in the kitchen.  Vegetables like carrots, zucchini and potatoes can usually be eaten with their skin on – just give them a good scrub, and prepare as usual.

Healthy eating does not have to be time-consuming!  Small changes to your kitchen routine can make a big difference and save you heaps of time in the long run.

Keep an eye out for my new recipe book ‘Healthy Shortcuts’ set to be released in March 2018 for more time-saving kitchen tips & tricks, and super simple, healthy and budget-friendly recipes.

The average daily diet of a yo-yo dieter

danni-archer-weight-loss-diet

If you’ve ever tried to diet in order to lose weight, chances are you can relate to this common scenario.

Here’s the original plan:

And here’s what actually happens:

Does that sound familiar?  You manage to eat super healthy all day, and by the time 3pm comes around you have the uncontrollable urge to snack and you just can’t stop!

There’s a number of reasons why this happens, including:

  • not eating enough calories earlier in the day, causing excessive hunger
  • inadequate consumption of protein, causing a tendency to overeat
  • consuming sugar and carbs, whether natural (from fruits etc) or refined (processed foods) without adequate protein and/or fat content

You don’t need to follow this unhelpful pattern any longer.  Work with me and find out why diet’s don’t actually work, and how to balance your blood sugar to reduce sugar cravings.  And get off the dieting merry-go-round!  I coach women all over the world and help them to lose weight, eliminate food cravings, heal their relationship with food and learn to love their bodies again.

 

 

You Don’t Need to Exercise if You’re Skinny

danni-archer-exercise-weight-loss

“You don’t need to exercise, you’re already skinny.”

The words seemed to echo as they were said to me.  When did exercise become all about weight?  When did exercise become something that only overweight people need to do?

Let me clarify: I am not at all denying that exercise is an important part of long-term, sustainable weight loss.  I always work with my clients to help them find a form of exercise that they want to do; something they enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.

But exercise is about so much more than weight loss.

Exercise is about physical health, AND mental health.

Did you know there have been studies proving regular, low-to-medium-impact exercise to be as effective in treating depression as certain anti-depressant drugs?

A study of over 12,000 men found that at least 30mins of vigorous exercise per week was clearly linked to a longer life, regardless of the participant’s weight, family history and smoking status.

It has long been accepted that exercise plays an important preventative role in Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders.

Exercise also helps to maintain bone density, reduces bone loss, and post-menopausal women who are regularly exercising have a significantly reduced risk of bone fracture than those who do not exercise.

Honestly, I could keep listing statistics forever.

The key message that I want to get across to you is this: exercise is not a punishment for being overweight.

Exercise to keep your bones healthy.  Exercise to improve your memory and prevent Alzheimer’s.  Exercise for happiness.  For goodness sake, exercise to LIVE LONGER.

Don’t just exercise because you’re fat.

 

 

 

How to Stay Focused on Your Health When Life is Hectic

danni-archer-weight-loss

As modern day women, we can all relate – juggling a career, kids, housework and a relationship is a tough gig!  In the midst of the day to day chaos, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.  The thing is, when we’re not taking care of ourselves we actually become less efficient at juggling all those elements of our lives.  One of my favourite sayings is from Eleanor Brown: “You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”  To be truly present in each and every moment, and to serve those around you (whether at work or at home) you need to have ‘filled’ yourself up with all the essential ingredients for wellness: nutritious food, physical movement, sleep, love, and joy.  How do you manage this when you’ve got 2 weeks worth of washing to catch up on and you’re running on coffee to keep you going?  Read on for a few of my favourite ways to stay healthy when life just won’t slow down.

Put the kids to bed earlier

Are you still wrangling your kids into bed at 10pm?  Bed time is often such a stressful time for so many parents, and stress is the last thing you need at the end of your day.  In fact, stress before you go to bed will affect your entire nights’ sleep!  Children need sleep and they need an earlier bedtime than their parents.  Don’t think you’re doing them a favour by giving in to their tantrums and tears – read them a story and leave them to go to sleep.  I know it’s not easy, but it’s a step you need to take to reclaim your own health and energy!

Change the way you drive

Here’s a great thought – what if you left just 3 minutes earlier each morning, and you could relax in the car on the way to work/school/child care/wherever.  Imagine not holding every muscle in your body tense while you drive!  What a nice start to your day.  Just 3 minutes earlier than usual, and you can drive knowing that you have enough time to get there on time no matter how many red lights you get.

Another tip for driving – listen to music that relaxes and soothes you.  Studies have shown that loud, fast music makes you drive faster, increases your heart rate and heightens your nervous system (in other words, it’s kind of stressful to your body!).  If you tend to spend all day in a stressful state, put on some calming music, leave 3 minutes earlier, and make your car trips a time for you to wind down and breathe.

Try a smart wake-up alarm

Have you heard of those cool alarms that wake you up when you’re in your lightest phase of sleep?  When you’re asleep there’s a few different cycles you go through, some of them are deeper sleep than others. Your lightest sleep cycle is called Phase I, and there are some alarm clocks that are able to analyse your breathing pattern to determine which phase of sleep you are in, and wake you up at the best time – usually Phase I.  Have you every noticed that some days you wake up gently and quite easily, whilst other mornings you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck when your alarm goes off in the morning?  Try a smart alarm and you can avoid those ‘hit by a truck’ mornings.  The alarm clocks are also available as smartphone apps, just search in the app store. (PS. Make sure your phone is set to flight mode if you’re sleeping with in under your pillow, you don’t want to be exposed to high levels of radiation all night.)  A good start to the day usually brings a good day!

Cook and freeze in advance

Cooking large portions and storing in the freezer is the oldest trick in the book, but it’s a really great way to ensure that you always have something quick and healthy on hand.  Don’t know if you’ll find the time to have a cooking day to freeze a whole lot of meals?  Try cooking a little extra each night at dinner time and freeze the leftovers.  This saves you a heap of time and also means that you’ll have a variety of different meals in the freezer to defrost and reheat on those nights you just can’t bear the thought of preparing dinner from scratch.  Being prepared means you’re less likely to rely on take-away foods.

Utilise the benefits of superfood powders

A superfood powder, I hear you say?  What on earth is that?  Basically, it’s a cheats way of getting a whole lot of essential vitamins and minerals into your body easily and quickly.  My favourite brand is Vital Greens, but there are plenty of different ones out there.  You can get greens-based powders, or even beetroot-based or fruit-based!  Don’t be afraid to give them to your kids, too.  By having a dose of superfood powder in the morning, you know that no matter what happens during the day at mealtimes, you’ve had a little boost of nutrition to start you day off right.  With soil depletion a real issue in agriculture and the uncertainty over how long fruit and veg are stored for before you buy it, the nutritional content of much of what we eat is significantly lower than what it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago.  Superfoods powders are not to be relied on as your only source of nutrition, but they’re a great way to add extra goodness to your day.  You may find that you have more energy, better moods and clearer skin with regular intake of your superfoods, too!

Move with your kids

Don’t have time to exercise?  Exercise with your kids.  Go to the park and practice soccer with them.  Wash the car together or go out and walk the dog.  Did you know just 15 minutes of exercise each day significantly reduces your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases?  Physical activity is also a great way to reduce stress and low blood pressure.  Don’t wait for half an hour of free time to magically appear so that you can go for a walk – you have to make time to exercise and move your body!

Make your health a priority

Ultimately, you need to make the decision to make your health a priority.  Do you want to be there to watch your children grow up, get married, and have children of their own?  Do you want to be fit and healthy enough to play with your grandchildren and enjoy every moment with them?  Don’t wait until your 50s or 60s to start thinking about health and looking after yourself.  Everything that you do each and every day is paving the way to your future health (or lack of).  Be a role model for your children and teach them how important their health is by making your health a priority.  And remember, you cannot serve from an empty vessel.  When you take care of yourself, you’ll find that you have more energy and clarity of mind, and suddenly everything else that you are juggling doesn’t seem so hard.

Top 5 Tips for Motivation & Consistency

danni-archer-weight-loss

I hear it all the time – the number one thing you struggle with when it comes to eating healthy and exercising regularly is consistency.  You can eat really clean for a week or two, even going to the gym 5 days a week or walking every morning.  And then one day all of your best intentions come crashing down and you’re eating Hungry Jacks for lunch, wondering what happened to your health kick.

In this post, I’ll share with you five of the most fail-proof ways to stay motivated, committed and consistent.

1 Set micro-goals

Setting a goal to lose 20kg in 6 months feels pretty daunting – and it’s a lot easier to give up when your goal feels so far away.  Setting micro-goals means you break your ultimate goal down into smaller, achievable chunks.  So instead of focusing on your 20kg goal, you might set a goal to lose 1.5kg in the next 2 weeks.  Not only does setting micro-goals make your ultimate goal feel more achievable, it also allows you an opportunity to celebrate every milestone you achieve.  And if there’s one thing that keeps motivation levels high, it’s continued success.

2 Celebrate along the way

Don’t wait until you achieve your big goal to celebrate and congratulate yourself – that’s super boring!  Recognizing every single achievement and milestone is a sure-fire way to keep your motivation levels high.  Wouldn’t you rather focus on what you have already achieved, rather than always focusing on how far you’ve got to go?  You can celebrate achieving your micro goals, and even non-scale victories like fitting into your size 10 jeans again, or finding the confidence to go swimming at the beach with your kids.  Whatever it is – you deserve to be celebrated!

3 Don’t just go by the scales

Have you ever been on a “health kick” or diet and everything is going well – you’re feeling good, the number on the scales is going down, and then one day you weigh yourself and you’ve managed to gain weight?  It’s really fricken disheartening!  And if you’re left feeling like you aren’t seeing results, it’s easy to give up.

It’s important that you recognise that the scales are not the most accurate picture of weight loss – that number will fluctuate due to hormones, fluid retention, bowel movements.. all sorts of things!  I highly suggest you don’t weigh yourself more than once per week.  If you really want to track progress, take measurements (in cm) of your waist, hips, bust, arm (bicep) and upper thigh.  Then re-measure after a few weeks, and you’ll be surprised at the changes (even when the scales aren’t reflecting it!).  And remember, if you’re feeling more comfortable, or happier, or more energetic, or your clothes are fitting that little bit better – all of those are worth celebrating.  It’s not all about the number on the scales.

4 It’s not “all or nothing”

Imagine you are pushing a boulder up a rather steep hill – you’re halfway up and all of a sudden you lose grip.  In that split second you realise you have two options:

a)    pause for a while, right where you are, holding that boulder in place and start moving forward again when you’re ready

b)   let go of the boulder completely, watch it fall to the ground and then walk back down and start from the bottom all over again

Which scenario seems easier?

When it comes to “health kicks” and diets, most women I know take option B.  They “slip up” one day, and spend the rest of the week eating crap foods and feeling crappy, promising to start their diet again on Monday.  Why does it have to be all or nothing?  Does just one tiny little lapse mean you have to give up completely and start all over again?

I don’t actually believe in “slip ups” or “cheats”, I believe in balance when it comes to eating.  But no matter what you eat, it doesn’t mean you have to give up and start again.  Stop, pause, hold your boulder in place and keep moving forward when you’re ready.  It’s so much easier to have a break than it is to let go and start again.

5 Keep it simple & sustainable

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of short-term diets and restrictions, because you generally end up gaining any lost weight back as soon as you start eating normally again.  Meal replacement shakes – especially when they only allow you one real meal per day – are an unrealistic and unsustainable way of life for most people.  And they should be!  Wouldn’t you rather enjoy a wholesome meal full of delicious flavours, colours and textures than drink a mixture of artificially-flavoured powder and water?

Keeping your lifestyle changes simple and sustainable makes it so much easier for you to be consistent and stay committed.

 

Want individualised support to help you create changes and stay consistent with them?  I work one-on-one with women who want to lose weight, improve their health and feel happier.  You can find out more about working with me here.

My Philosophy on Weight Loss & Health

As the owner of Divine Health & Wellness, my goal is to help women understand their bodies, reconnect with their true self and heal their relationship with food.

Something I see a lot in my clinic is women wanting to lose weight, and I am incredibly passionate about approaching weight loss from a holistic approach.  Most of my clients have tried 10+ diets before they come to see me for help, and it’s important that they understand that weight loss is not just about calories and exercise.  There are so many more factors involved, and this is where the traditional ‘diet’ industry really lets us down.

Here’s a real-life example of the importance of a holistic approach to weight loss:

One of my dear clients was in her late 20s, was a strict dieter, but couldn’t seem to give up chocolate.  It was her weakness, she told me!  No matter how hard she tried to ignore her cravings, every night she would end up eating an entire family-sized Cadbury block.  She wanted me to help her improve her willpower and give up the chocolate, but I approached it from another perspective.  Why was she craving the chocolate so strongly?  A number of reasons, including magnesium deficiency, omega 3 deficiency, low calorie intake during the day and unstable blood sugar levels.  All of which are quite simple to correct!  So I didn’t tell this client how to improve her willpower, in fact I didn’t even tell her to stop eating the chocolate every day.  I helped her correct her nutritional deficiencies through food and supplements, I taught her how to keep her blood sugar levels steady and stable, and I asked her to eat more calories during the day.  Well, she came back to see me two weeks later and said her cravings had basically disappeared after three days of making changes.

The dieting industry tells you to work against your body, push through painful exercise, fight cravings with willpower, ignore your hunger pangs and restrict your calorie intake.  What I do with my clients is the opposite.  I teach my clients to work with their bodies, so that we can get to the root of what is truly going on, find out why they are really struggling to lose weight, and fix it.  There is no point struggling to lose weight because you’ll be struggling forever!  Instead, I’m here to help you find simple, sustainable, successful ways to lose weight and keep it off.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, and individualised support is the fastest way to achieve and maintain your goals.

My promise to my clients is:

  • a non-judgmental, caring approach
  • open and honest support
  • practical and realistic advice (I don’t expect you to change everything overnight!)
  • motivation and encouragement when you need it most

I’ve struggled with my weight in the past, and all the other stuff that comes with that.  And that is why I am so passionate about helping women out of the black hole of the dieting industry.  Because I know how amazing it feels to free yourself from not only the excess weight, but all the stress and guilt and shame that comes with weight issues.

For even more support from me, you can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/divinehealthwithdanni and join my private Facebook group too.

Yours in health and happiness,

danni-archer-weight-loss