May 122015

Weight Loss Pressure - Tips & Ideas To LOse Weight Easily -

Is Pressure Getting In Your Way To Lose Weight?

Some people thrive under pressure, and some people crumble. Myself, I tend to crumble! I always thought pressure could be a good thing, it could give me the added push to get things done and quickly, but in fact I repeatedly find myself feeling paralyzed and anxious when under pressure, and sometimes I feel defeated by the very things I set out to do.

As a health coach, I also see this with some of the clients I work with. When it comes down to diet changes and weight loss goals, some excel when they have goals and deadlines, and the pressure invigorates them. But for others, the moment pressure sets in, they find themselves procrastinating and even sabotaging every effort they make.

If you have health and diet goals you’re working towards, it’s important to know how you respond to your goals. Does a goal start off as an exciting goal, and then turns into pressure, and is that pressure constructive? Does having specific goals and deadlines propel you forward, or does it overwhelm you? Does pressure turn into motivation and creative energy for you, or does it create anxiety and stress?

Knowing how you respond to pressure can help you establish an effective strategy to actually achieve your goals. Too many times I see this one important step overlooked, and people try to go about achieving their goals all the wrong way, over and over again.

My story: I lost 30 pounds by going on a “pressure-less” diet! 

A few years ago I lost 30 pounds (see my blog post/video on how I lost 30 pounds here). I had been struggling for years to lose weight, and the more I tried to lose weight, the more I gained! The pressure I was putting on myself to lose weight was worse than the weight itself, and it was only until I surrendered to the weight loss, did I start losing weight.

When I say surrender, this doesn’t mean giving-up. It means letting go of pushing myself too hard, letting go of the pressure, letting go of high expectations and trying to control everything.

For years I went about trying to lose weight by setting out diet goals, rules of what I could eat, how much, and I had weekly weight loss targets. Sometimes these goals were so high and difficult, I wonder if anyone could reach them. I certainly didn’t! In fact, having such goals just made me more anxious, more stressed, and more unhappy – all of which made me want to eat even more.

I realized that my problem wasn’t the food, it was the pressure I was putting on myself that would make me want to sabotage all my efforts. I had to work on the pressure, not my diet. And that’s what I did. I re-worked my weight loss strategy to make it the most “pressure-less” weight loss plan. Instead of putting myself on a super restrictive diet, I made one goal, to lose 0-1 pounds a month. My only guideline was even if I didn’t lose that one pound that month, I had to make sure I didn’t gain any more weight. Easy!

From that “pressure-less” diet plan of losing 0-1 pound a month, I lost 30 pounds in about a year and a half. And, I’ve kept it off for about 4 years now. It was easy weight loss as well because I eliminated the very things that was causing me anxiety and stress, and in turn, the root cause for me to overeat. There were even many months where I lost even more weight than planned, and I met my weight loss goal much faster than I expected.

Is pressure standing in your way?

  • Have you been working on goals and getting no where?
  • Do you find the harder you try, the further you get from achieving your goals?
  • Do you have all the best intentions, but find yourself procrastinating or sabotaging yourself?
  • Do you keep putting off your goals, making excuses?
  • Have you been working on the same goal for over 6-12 months and haven’t gotten any where?

If you answered “yes” to any or all these questions, perhaps pressure is standing your way. I have to say, I always thought I did well under pressure, but I’ve come to realize that most of the time I don’t. By knowing this, I’m now able to achieve many of my goals more efficiently, not only my health and diet goals, but also goals having to do with my career, work, family, relationships, finances, etc. This doesn’t mean I go about getting things done passively, it means that I organize my approach to get things done with less perceived pressure, and I make an effort to keep stress to a minimum.

How to decrease the pressure to achieve your goals

If you know that pressure just turns into overwhelm, and it’s the last thing that will help you achieve your goals, then the next step is to re-work your strategy to make it as pressure-less as possible, but still effective enough to reach your goals.

Here’s a few things I recommend:

  • Making doable and easily-to-accomplish goals. Small steps yield big results. When you can accomplish one task, it’s much easier to accomplish the next. Not only will you get things done, but simultaneously it will build your excitement and confidence as you set things in motion.
  • Get organized. Un-needed stress comes from being disorganized and not knowing what you are doing, or having a plan. If you have been working on a goal for a while, and not getting anywhere, ask yourself if there are certain details you’ve over looked, or wasn’t organized with? If so, get organized!
  • Give yourself time. Nowadays everyone wants a quick fix, and this is the problem. In the long-run, slow deliberate action will get you where you want to go quicker and with less mistakes and accidents than rushing around, trying to accomplish things too fast. If you don’t do well under-pressure, you probably don’t do well doing things under high speed either. If you are well organized, there’s no need to rush, rest assured, you’ll get to where you want to go.
  • Stay focused on what you’re accomplishing now. Stay focused on the task at hand, don’t get ahead of yourself. No need to remind yourself how much more needs to get done. If it’s not constructive, why go there?
  • Acknowledge what you are doing right. With every step you take in the direction towards your goal, acknowledge it, celebrate every victory. This will only empower you more!

Watch today’s video below for more on alleviating the pressure to reach your goals.

Need help with your diet? Natasha offers personalized diet, health, and lifestyle coaching! To get more information, and make an appointment, CLICK HERE!


May 082015

Can Tea Boost Your Metabolism? -

We hear all the time that tea can boost your metabolism, but is it true, and should you start drinking it? Is this the miracle beverage if you’re trying to lose weight?

Can tea boost metabolism?

Certain teas like green tea, white tea, black tea, pu-erh tea, oolong tea, etc., can raise your metabolism, just like eating certain spices like chilis can also raise your metabolism. But if you look into the research and studies, the amount of extra calories you burn from consuming these teas are very little, like an extra 10 or 20 extra calories, maybe 30.

In order to have a calorie deficit to lose weight, you need to be burning a few hundred calories a day to lose weight, not 10-20 calories. So even though the tea might boost your metabolism slightly, by itself it won’t have a significant effect on your weight.

What will boost your metabolism?

The only thing I believe has the best impact on your metabolism, by boosting it, and keeping it strong (especially as you age), is exercise and building muscle. The more fit you are, the stronger your metabolism will be. If you build muscle, and maintain the muscle as you age, this will help keep your metabolism strong.

Other ways tea can help you lose weight:

Even though I don’t think tea will do all that much for your metabolism, I do believe tea can be used as a weight loss aid.

Tea can boost your exercise performance

Drinking tea (green tea, white tea, black tea, pu-erh tea, oolong tea, etc.) before exercise can give you an energy boost for a more vigorous workout. The more vigorous your workout, the more calories and fat you will burn. The caffeine in tea will give you an energy boost. If you’re trying to lose weight, and you’re exercising regularly, perhaps try and have a cup of plain tea 30-60 minutes before working out to see if it improves your workout and endurance.

If you drink coffee or espresso before you workout, try tea instead! I think tea is a much better alternative to coffee because the antioxidants in the tea, especially green tea, can counter free radical damage from exercise, and the minerals in tea can aid in recovery as well. Coffee tends to be quite acidic and inflammatory, two reasons why you’d want to avoid it if you’re exercising regularly.

Try drinking a cup of tea 30-60 minutes before you exercise and see how it goes. Make sure it’s a plain tea, no sugar added!

Tea can be used as an appetite suppressant

Caffeine is widely known to be an appetite suppressant. That’s the active ingredients in most diet pills. Drinking one or two cups of plain tea a day, can in fact help to decease your appetite.

Tea is a good alternative to a snack. Not only can it bring your appetite down, it’s also calorie-free (when consumed plain), and can have nutritional benefits as well from the antioxidants and minerals. Like any other caffeinated beverage, make sure not to drink too much, or too late in the day because you don’t want the caffeine interfering with your sleep, or making you jittery or anxious!

In conjunction with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and drinking moderate amounts; tea can very well be part of your weight loss arsenal. Just make sure to use it as an additional weight loss tool, and not rely on it as a miracle drink!

Watch today’s video below for more on my opinion of tea, metabolism, and weight loss.

Need help with your diet? Natasha offers personalized diet, health, and lifestyle coaching! To get more information, and make an appointment, CLICK HERE!


May 012015

My Results Drinking 3 Litres Of Water For A MOnth -

Radiance Central’s Healthy Habits Challenge  

April 2015 Challenge:  Drinking a minimum of 6-8 cups of water/day

It’s the end of the month, and that means we’ve completed this month’s Healthy Habits Challenge of drinking a minimum of 6-8 cups of water a day.

Living in the hot tropics, I drank more than the minimum, I drank about 3 litres of water a day, and it felt GREAT! I have to say this is the first time in my life I drank an abundance of water daily, and what a difference it makes to feel fully hydrated!

Results of drinking a lot of water

The benefits and changes I experienced:

I have to say the biggest benefit I experienced from the Radiance Central’s Healthy Habits Challenge of drinking more water was the increase of energy. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I always related drinking more water for better digestion, appetite control, and the effects of being well hydrated has on the skin, but I never connected hydration with energy levels. This to me makes me want to continue drinking plenty of water every day. Now that I know what it feels like to drink a lot of water, I notice a big energy drop when I don’t drink enough.

I also noticed that once I got through the first week of adjusting to the increase of fluids, I found the increase of water did in fact reduce water retention. I had a much flatter stomach and felt my body could efficiently release and flush out any extra water I was holding onto. So definitely less water retention, less puffiness, and less bloating.

Also skin and hair – way more hydrated! Love this! Not only did my skin feel and look more plumped-up, clear, and soft, but my hair too felt softer and shinier!

What I was expecting, but didn’t happen!

Everyone who’s ever had a baby or toddler would know, you aren’t getting the quality sleep you used to (especially if you’re like me and still nursing and co-sleeping). I was hoping the increase of water would help the bags and dark circles under my eyes miraculously disappear, but no, unfortunately it didn’t (I have other suggestions for the bags and dark circles here!)

I also didn’t notice any difference in my digestion, but then again, I don’t really have any digestive issues to begin with. Maybe if I had issues already with constipation or heart burn, maybe I’d see a difference with the increase of water intake. If you did this Healthy Habits Challenge and noticed a difference with your digestion, do comment below and let me know, I’m definitely interested in hearing your feedback!

Also, I never noticed any difference in my appetite or weight either. I know that when I’m dehydrated I definitely mistaken thirst for hunger and eat more. For some reason during this month’s Healthy Habits Challenge I never really thought about how my water intake was affecting my appetite, and if it was significantly decreasing it. In retrospect, I don’t think the increase of water affected my appetite, but then again, looking back even if it didn’t decrease my appetite, my appetite never significantly increased either, and in fact I don’t recall at any time over this past month I ever over ate or felt the inclination to do so (which when I’m dehydrated, I can easily over eat).

What are your results from doing this month’s Healthy Habits Challenge of drinking a minimum of 6-8 cups of water a day? I would love to hear your experience on the Challenge! (Please comment below!)

To hear more about my results of drinking 3 litres of water a day, for an entire month, watch today’s video below!

The last 10 Day Juice Fasting Program starts next Tuesday, May 5th!
I’m working on a NEW online Juice Fasting program coming out this June or July. This program will be a shorter program (7 days total – a 5 day juice fast, and two one-day transition days on and off the fast). The 10 Day Juice Fasting Program in May will be the last time I’m hosting an extended, 10 day juice fast, so if you want to do a long juice fast, join us!!! CLICK HERE to sign-up!!!


Apr 292015

How I Got Rid Of Cravings For Sweets -

Yesterday someone left a question asking how to get rid of cravings for sweets. When I read the comment, I immediately thought about how much I could relate to that dilema. After giving birth to my daughter Luna Ray, I felt like I developed a strong sweet tooth overnight. I never had that while I was pregnant with her, but when she arrived, so did an unquenchable sweet tooth! Perhaps it’s from the postpartum hormones or lack of sleep, but for a long time all I could think about, and dream about, was sweet food!

So for myself, I needed to tackle that issue quick, and through various experiments there’s two things that worked for me to decrease and prevent cravings for sweets and treats.

How did I get rid of cravings for sweets?

Two things that help me the most to get rid of and prevent cravings for sweets: increasing consumption of starchy complex carbohydrates (whole grains, beans, legumes, pulses, and starchy vegetables like yams, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, etc.), and exercise (cardio and strength training).

What about fruit, or healthy desserts to get rid of cravings?

You might be wondering what about fruit? What about a healthy dessert made with dried fruit or honey, maple syrup? Wouldn’t that satisfy sweet cravings?

For me, not always! This is not to say that I don’t eat fruit or a healthy dessert, I do, and I love them, but to deal with the unrelenting sweet cravings that can be ingrained into my daily life, I want to get rid of the cravings to begin with, not substitute the cravings with something else. I know myself well enough to know that when I’m having a lot of strong sweet cravings, if I eat something sweet, even if it’s made out of healthy ingredients, sometimes I end up over-eating it, or not feeling completely satisfied.

So to be clear, I do eat fruit, I eat fruit every day, and I do eat desserts made out of healthy ingredients, but I don’t rely on them to get rid of my cravings. Complex starchy carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, legumes, etc.), and exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, help prevent and eliminate sweet cravings, many times instantaneously!

Starchy Complex Carbohydrates

So when I started having crazy sugar and sweet cravings, I increased my daily consumption of complex carbohydrates like whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables. These food not only have a good amount of carbs in them, but also fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals as well. This not only works as a great carb fix, but works to stabilize your blood sugar and make you feel full and satisfied.

I don’t need to eat a lot of these carbs either, but I do have to make sure they are part of my daily diet in order to ward off sugar cravings. I find what works is having small portions once or twice (sometimes 3 times) a day with vegetables and/or a protein, to make a complete and satisfying meal. My portion sizes vary, but on average I have about 1/2 cup of complex carbohydrates in a meal.


All exercise is fantastic to stabilize blood sugar, boost mood, and release stress and tension. If you have a sweet craving, go and exercise. I don’t know many people who go and workout, and afterwards want to stop at a bakery to buy cake to eat on their way home.

When you exercise, you feel so good about yourself and how you feel, you get a natural high. This can counter the cravings, and if you exercise regularly, you’ll naturally notice those sweet cravings decrease over time without much effort at all.

More about how I get rid of cravings for sweets, watch the video below!

The last 10 Day Juice Fasting Program starts next Tuesday, May 5th!
I’m working on a NEW online Juice Fasting program coming out this June or July. This program will be a shorter program (7 days total – a 5 day juice fast, and two one-day transition days on and off the fast). The 10 Day Juice Fasting Program in May will be the last time I’m hosting an extended, 10 day juice fast, so if you want to do a long juice fast, join us!!! CLICK HERE to sign-up!!!

Apr 232015

Which Carbs Are Healthy? -

Which carbs are healthy?

I was recently asked, “Which carbs are healthy?”

Unfortunately, these days all carbs have a bad rap, even the healthy ones.

In my opinion, I don’t see anything wrong with any whole foods that contains carbohydrates, especially for people who are healthy, who have no health conditions, and no weight issues.

Whole, real foods that contain carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes.

Even foods like bananas, corn, potatoes, and rice which are known to be high glycemic or contain higher amounts of carbohydrates, I don’t see a problem consuming these foods. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. High glycemic processed foods like candy bars, chips or crisps, and donuts, on the other hand have absolutely no nutrition.

There’s a big difference between a candy bar and a banana. And if you are concerned about the carbs in your food, I would focus on eliminating and cutting out the junk food and refined food, rather than worrying about the health foods.

If you have a sugar-related health condition:

If you do have a health condition that is sugar-related, like Diabetes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Syndrome X, insulin resistance, acne, or you are over weight, then yes, you do need to be mindful of the carbohydrates you are eating.

Do this first:

In this situation, I recommend first focusing on eliminating all processed and refined foods (cookies, cakes, candy bars, chips or crisps, fast food, pre-made sauces and dressings, microwave meals, instant soups, pastas and noodles, white bread, sugar, etc.). Eliminate these foods for a while – not just a few days or a few weeks, but for at least a few months!

If that doesn’t work, try this:

If after a few months of completely eliminating all processed and refined foods, you see no difference in your pre-existing health condition or weight, then start cutting down on the portions of the carbohydrates you are consuming from whole foods.

I never recommend cutting out carbohydrates completely, or cutting out whole food groups containing carbohydrates (like cutting out all fruit, or all whole grains). Instead, focus on cutting down the portions. Either cut the portions in half, or instead of having carbohydrates with all you meals, just have a small portion with one or two meals a day instead.

A word of caution

I find when people cut out food groups, or cut out large amounts of macronutrients like carbohydrates or fats from their diet, strong cravings and even binge eating sets in. I can’t tell you how many people who previously never over-ate, or binged, suddenly found themselves in a terrible cycle of bingeing once they went on a super restrictive diet. And this is completely avoidable, as long as you don’t cut foods or food groups out, but instead decrease the portions.

Work with Natasha!!! Natasha offers personalized diet, health, and lifestyle coaching! To get more information, and make an appointment, CLICK HERE!