"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Do you ever feel like you are fighting a losing battle?

Lisa Cutforth - Thursday, March 22, 2012
If you feel like that... you probably are... here's why and ... WHAT you can to do change it!

Are you the winner or loser in your game, in your life?

Mastering Your State is the Secret to Being Successful and Being the best at Your Game!

Here are ten ways to do that!

  1. Awareness:  Who are you and what makes you tick?
  2. Stable base:  What are your unmet needs?  Make sure you move forward from a platform of strength by meeting your primary needs first.
  3. Passion:  Why is "it" important?  Why do you want what you want?  Knowing your "why" is crucial to success. Are you IN LOVE with your goal?
  4. Increase positive emotion: Have a few daily affirmations.
  5. Decrease negative emotion:  Watch out for automatic negative thoughts (ANTS that eat away at you)!
  6. Focus:  Your focus determines your results, get clear on what you want and where you direct your attention.
  7. Circle of Influence:  Who are your mentors, your peers, the voices in your head? Be discerning when you choose who you surround yourself with.
  8. Nutrition: Eat to nourish not for recreation.  Eat real and raw food for great energy levels and stamina.
  9. Exercise: Moving your body is a great stress and depression reliever, it also helps your body detoxify and helps you build muscle which controls your metabolism- i.e. increases your energy levels and helps you manage your weight.
  10. Rest and recuperate: You need to allow yourself some recovery time, especially if you live a fast paced life or are exposed to stress!  Think about this boxer, or any athlete... there are times to compete and times to rest and recover.
Book Lisa to talk to your group on this topic.
Purchase "36 Ways to Master Your State" Report for $10.

The Fat List: A review of the "49 Foods to Avoid"

Lisa Cutforth - Friday, March 02, 2012

I was in New Zealand last week presenting to The Max (the Prestigious International Fitness Business College) on weight management strategies and rather serendipitously the next day my husband came home with The New Zealand Herald.  The headline read:

"The Fat List: 49 foods to avoid"

The article explained that researchers from Otago University had developed and have now published in the New Zealand Medical Journal a list of foods "heavy on calories but light on nutrition".  Beside this were two columns.  One marked: BLACKLIST and the other ALTERNATIVE.  The intention of the list is to "help obese people to identify which foods could be cut from their diet".  I despaired as I ran my eyes over both their lists. The list seems to favour "low calorie and low fat or lite options", which really is not enough of the truth or full story when it comes to choosing food for health and good weight management. 

Always in my view, REAL food trumps artificial or processed food, including when it comes to weight management. I was disillusioned to find foods like butter, chocolate, honey, coconut cream and mayonnaise on the Blacklist.  Reading the alternatives was more disappointing.  Lite margarine, Coconut flavoured lite evaporated milk, diet soft drinks and Artificial Sweetener all made it onto the Alternatives list.

Why would I disagree with these selections?

Here is my word of caution.  "Lite" or "low fat" alternatives usually require additives, usually sugar or artificial sweeteners, to compensate for the taste and texture of the product so the ingredients lists on these foods leave a lot to be desired from a nutritional standpoint, I would argue they are often "light on nutrition" in my view.  Coconut oil (and anything real coconut for that matter) has been found to have many health benefits, my only caution would be don't overdo it because of the high fructose content, but certainly coconut oil or fat has actually being linked to weight loss and other health benefits despite being an unpopular "saturated fat" in nature.  I would also caution against margarines and fats or oils that have been manipulated.  When it comes to vegetable oils enjoy them in their purest realest form.  A margarine requires turning a liquid oil into a solid, this processing often denatures the fat unfavourably and sometimes even yields toxic trans fats.  Honey especially New Zealand Manuka honey is jam packed with good nutrition, and while it may be high in calories it can certainly and healthfully be enjoyed in moderation and doesn't deserve to be "blacklisted" in my view.  Neither does chocolate.  Good quality dark chocolate (organic and even raw when you can) has so many health benefits.  Mayonnaise, if real and good quality is egg, olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar- so good and even nutritious in moderation. 

The list is not all bad, but rather than blacklisting, I would prefer to "limit or have only on occasion".  Blacklisting can sometimes be like raising a red flag to a bull.  Sure, condensed milk, doughnuts, hot chips, pastries and regular sausages and salami are foods you don't want on your everyday or even every week list.  However, if I were to have a Black list it would be: Artificial sweeteners, Artificial Additives, Preservatives, Trans fats.  I would also caution against processed meats, luncheon meats and sausages and I would agree that sugar is just energy and has no nutrition. 

On the subject of "minimal processing and what not to eat.  An interesting article in Prevention Magazine in November 2011 interviewed certain researchers, specialist doctors and farmers and asked them one simple question: "Which food do you never eat?"  On their "Seven Foods that Should Never Cross Your Lips" they include: Stock Cubes (that contain MSG); Conventionally grown carrots (because they are like sponges sucking up all the chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the soil they are grown in) -rather buy organic; non organic beef (because of the hormones and antibiotics and especially if they are grain fed); white bread (because it is too high GI); diet soft drinks (because of their links to developing metabolic syndrome); Southern Bluefin Tuna (because of conservation issues and high mercury levels); and chicken nuggets (because they are usually very fatty and often made up of parts of the chicken you wouldn't ordinarily eat, so you could think you are eating this as your protein serving but you might only be getting 40% as "chicken protein").  (Their panel of experts included:  a Cardiothoracic Surgeon; An endocrinologist, A sustainable fishing expert; an organic farmer; a nutritional toxicologist; and a senior cancer researcher.)  Interesting!

Here is my Low Food List, and it details foods that I would certainly recommend reducing or limiting or having only on occasion. You will see by clicking on this link: Low Food List  that rather than talking about low calorie, as a rule I recommend eating real foods but follow these simple guidelines.  When it comes to carbohydrates try to choose foods that are naturally LOW Glycaemic load or Glycaemic Index, when you don't try to eat some protein with them (e.g. a banana and a handful or almonds, nut spread or hummus on toast, add some yoghurt to your muesli).  I also talk about limiting foods that are high in A.G.E (like sausages or crumbed meats) or high in free radicals (like deep fried foods) or high in artificial additives.  These foods can put stress on the liver and on the whole body causing inflammation, leaching important nutrients and also compromising your nutrition status.  In terms of weight control, focusing on eating to manage your blood sugar i.e. low GL and GI and eating GOOD QUALITY fats and oils is a really good strategy.  Add good quality protein, like fish and some raw and some fresh fruit and veg to that mix and do that 80 % of the time, you can cheat or enjoy some treats the rest of the time... and that is the winning formula!



Are you a coper?

Lisa Cutforth - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All behavior is purposeful.  Sometimes we get so good at "getting by", "getting on with it", "coping", "I don't have a choice" that before we know it we find ourselves settling for all sorts of things we never imagined we could ever live with.  That, is the art of coping. 

It is amazing how many of my client's health problems are the result of "coping".  It starts innocently enough, at a point where they make a "this will do for now" decision.  And it is often all down hill from there, often a sense of feeling trapped or not have choices can leave one feeling overwhelmed, tired, depressed and desperate for a way to numb the pain, switch off the pain, even if only temporarily, or feel good again.  I remember feeling sad, when one of my family members said... "I am at the stage of my life where I realised my dreams probably won't come true." 

Acceptance can be powerful, but "settling" or "coping" can be disastrous.  

"Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become...habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become. My father always said that... and I think I am fine." Margaret Thatcher

Driving today in the car, my mind started to wander, and I found myself starting to feel a little disillusioned and overwhelmed.  "How was I going to get through my long to do list?"  My next thought was, "Ooh, I could so use a "coffee happy" right now."  Now, this is from someone who studies eating behaviour, and I too am sometimes victim to "soothing my pain" or trying to "escape overwhelm" with food or distraction tactics. 

Once in a while and doing this consciously is all in the balance and probably perfectly fine, but if you find you are living your life like that.  Day to day, just getting by, just coping.  It's time to find a new way.  It's time to stop and give yourself permission to pursue another path, or give yourself permission to seek help.  Perhaps acceptance and committment therapy would be useful if you are trapped in old patterns and your whole life you have relied on quick fixes or the next form of "pain killer".

One of the most common forms of escape is dietary.  Food is a soft drug, alcohol, cigarettes, prescription drugs and the harder stuff are not really providing you any real relief.  Rather take yourself off on a long walk somewhere out in nature, the bush, the mountains, the sea... and ask yourself:  "What needs to change?"  Is it Me, is it The Situation?  What needs to happen?  Do you need to adjust to, adapt your beliefs, thoughts and behaviors or avoid something or someone?

If you feel stuck, get help.  Sooner rather than later. 

Repression, coping, Suppression will make you ill.  Love yourself enough to try to make it right.

"Everybody's searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all"

The Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston


Baby led weaning

Lisa Cutforth - Monday, January 23, 2012

Well, an exciting time for me, my daughter just turned six months and was able to sit unsupported for the first time yesterday.  We have managed to successfully exclusively breast feed her so far.  BIG HIGH FIVE :)  and now it is time for another mile stone. 

Introducing infant led weaning... which by the sounds of things is going to be LOTS of fun.  And it involves no puree` and no special meals or jars of baby food.  Just a place mat, a high chair and some appropriate foods and a baby... and an eager parent camera in hand.

There is some wonderful information I have come across about infant lead weaning but really I have my special friend to thank because she introduced me to it.  I stood in amazement as I watched her 7 month old feed herself and REALLY enjoying getting into different flavours, foods and enjoying the tastes and textures from chicken pieces to cherry tomatoes to mango.

If you have a little one... I would highly recommend it... and will let you know how I go :)




Anxiety Management Tip

Lisa Cutforth - Saturday, December 10, 2011

If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger, right?

Lisa Cutforth - Friday, November 18, 2011

I shudder these days when I hear this phrase, "Oh well what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  In a nutshell the problems I have with it are: It's probably not true, and it's misdirective, it drives you into dangerous ground where your boundaries, health and choices are concerned.  And it is actually really limited thinking.  Imagine the program you have to run to make it true.  And what is the underlying message? "Things that might kill, hurt or stress me may be good for me", "Ignore natural avoidance signals". 

In fact, if you are in stress and fear, you are in protection mode, not growth mode. Fear prevents and limits growth because your energy and resources are directed elsewhere.  Bruce Lipton has some fabulous stuff on this, getting right into the biology and nature, nurture debates.  

And in fact it is not good for you to repeatedly expose yourself to "hardship", it actually lessens your resolve, not strengthens it.  People who have experienced post traumatic stress, acute anxiety or depression always have a greater tendency towards that forever after not increased resilience as this phrase might imply. 

Alternatively positive experiences, or winning will make you stronger.  Check out this video. 

Happy Birthday Vitamin C

Lisa Cutforth - Friday, September 16, 2011

Vitamin C was discovered today by Albert von Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt (September 16, 1893 – October 22, 1986), many years ago!  This amazing man is also credited for "his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion process with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid". In 1938, he began work on the biophysics of muscle movement. He found that muscles contain actin, which when combined with the protein myosin and the energy source ATP, contract muscle fibers. 1937." 

He received a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Vitamin C is one of the most remarkable vitamins, as well as being important for our immune system, it is a powerful antioxidant, it is essential for forming scar tissue.

It is abundant in fresh fruit like guavas, oranges, kiwis, berries, and even the humble potato.  As vitamin C is water soluble though and an unstable vitamin it is easily destroyed by heat and oxidation. 

Trans Fats

Lisa Cutforth - Monday, August 29, 2011

Radio interview with Donna King on ABC on her "Learn something New" show:  Trans fats, what are they and why should you care?


How to get More out your Exercise and Love Every Minute of it!

Lisa Cutforth - Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Golden Secrets to Allowing your Body to LOVE Moving

(and get the benefits it needs to help you manage your weight and feel happier)

These pearls of wisdom are shared with you by a man who understands movement, strength and power better than anyone I have ever met.  I asked Rohan O'Reilly (Founder of Mandala Keys) if he would share his secret tips and strategies to getting more out of movement and how to enjoy it more.  Here was his very wise response:

"Firstly, do not do movement (as in exercises) that you do not have positive feelings about.  There is no need and it can actually do you more harm than good.  One of the keys to maintaining a positive body image is feeling good about what you do to your body. People most often fail to achieve happiness in this respect as a result of not treating their bodies like their bodies would like to be treated. Unless you REALLY enjoy being run and pushed to the point of exhaustion whilst being shouted at i.e. boot camp style, don't do it. 

Why is this is so important? 

Well, your body, your nervous system and your emotions are all connected (inseparable in fact) and they all know what they like and don't like.  Everything you do therefore sends a signal and a pattern in motion, and you respond to that, either positively or negatively.  And the feedback is "this is good for me", or "this is hurting me".  So with this in mind, here are three steps that literally have the power to transform the way you feel about exercising and your body responds to movement.

Step 1:

Forget about exercise and start thinking about movement.  And move in a way you body responds positively to. Movement could mean anything from salsa dancing to Olympic weight lifting. Ask yourself, what do you like doing?  Does your body enjoy walking, does your body enjoy the challenge of weight lifting and figuring out where it's strength point is, does your body respond well to endurance: nice long bike rides but feels depleted and stressed from high intensity sprints?  Do you feel happy and energized after a Zumba or dance class or is a spin class more your thing?

Step 2:

Understand the difference between sheer effort and intelligent movement strategies.  This is a BIG deal!  Just because you are red faced, sweating and puffed out doesn't mean it's an effective weight loss activity.  This might sound unbelievable but it's in fact the truth. The reason has to do with how your nervous system responds to different types of stress and changes in blood chemistry. Traditionally we have been taught that aerobic movement is the best choice for weight loss, however we now know this is not entirely true.  In fact, the most effective exercise choices you can make are: the ones that give you the biggest return holistically for the time and effort you invest.

Think about it, if you were to compare how people look and feel after coming out of a Zumba or social dance class, big smiles on their face, chatting in high energy tones, as opposed to those who have just finished being pushed beyond their limits in an air conditioned mind numbing rpm class with overly loud bad music and no social interaction, which activity do you think will give you more "bang for your buck"? 

There are definite benefits to riding your bike outside in a beautiful natural environment and having a great conversation with someone you like, if you can, as opposed to paying to ride somebody else's stationary bike in an artificial (air conditioned) environment.  Laboratory derived calorie burning statistics should only be one part of why you are choosing a particular movement, instead, in my experience the most important factor to consider, or the most important question you should be asking yourself is: "How does it make your soul feel?" The feel good component will be the difference between forcing yourself to do something because you think it's good for you and automatically engaging in a life long habit because it feels good, and this will have the knock of benefit of improving all areas of your life.

Step 3:

Be Present. To make the best of of whatever movement activities you engage in remember be present, do it with passion, be conscious of what your body is telling you and just feel it!"

Rohan O'Reilly, Mandala Keys


Do you have a tummy beast?

Lisa Cutforth - Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Tummy Beast

By Roald Dahl Roald Dahl

One afternoon I said to mummy,
“Who is this person in my tummy?
“Who must be small and very thin
“Or how could he have gotten in?”
My mother said from where she sat,
“It isn’t nice to talk like that.”
“It’s true!” I cried. “I swear it, mummy!
“There is a person in my tummy!
“He talks to me at night in bed,
“He’s always asking to be fed,
“Throughout the day, he screams at me,
“Demanding sugar buns for tea.
“He tells me it is not a sin
“To go and raid the biscuit tin.
“I know quite well it’s awfully wrong
“To guzzle food the whole day long,
“But really I can’t help it, mummy,
“Not with this person in my tummy.”
“You horrid child!” my mother cried.
“Admit it right away, you’ve lied!”
“You’re simply trying to produce
“A silly asinine excuse!
You are the greedy guzzling brat!
“And that is why you’re always fat!”
I tried once more, “Believe me, mummy,
“There is a person in my tummy.”
“I’ve had enough!” my mother said,
“You’d better go at once to bed!”
Just then, a nicely timed event
Delivered me from punishment.
Deep in my tummy something stirred,
And then an awful noise was heard,
A snorting grumbling grunting sound
That made my tummy jump around.
My darling mother nearly died,
“My goodness, what was that?” she cried.
At once the tummy voice came through,
It shouted, “Hey there! Listen you!
“I’m getting hungry! I want eats!
“I want lots of chocs and sweets!
“Get me half a pound of nuts!
“Look snappy or I’ll twist your guts!”
“That’s him!” I cried. “He’s in my tummy!
“So now do you believe me, mummy?”
But mummy answered nothing more,
For she had fainted on the floor.
The Tummy Beast” from Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl, published by Jonathan Cape Ltd & Penguin Books Ltd (UK) and Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc (USA) © 1983.

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