Don’t Be SAD This Winter, Just SMILE!


As the ‘perfect’ summer and autumn days come to a close, the reality of exercising in the winter suddenly smacks us in the face… Before we know it, our nose begins to drip, our eyes begin watering and the cold outside air freezes our lungs and unexpectedly turns us into puff the magic dragon. Welcome to Winter.

During the summer, it’s a totally different story. Your days are filled with crystal clear skies, warm sunshine, cute animals, joy, and laughter and on the odd occasion of a shower… it rains skittles instead. Warm weather is just too good. Swimming, running, hiking, camping and just generally keeping your body healthy and in tip-top shape just seems easier to do in the warmer months. As the days become colder and the sun goes down earlier than what is natural… somehow this combination turns us into hibernating bears in which we believe it’s okay to eat our bodyweight in food every day. It’s in these colder months that we not only put away the bikini for the winter but unfortunately hang up the running shoes too… and this is the problem.

If you’re tempted to hit the snooze button for every single morning from June 1st to August 31st, remember this – staying motivated this winter requires a change to only one thing: your mindset. Sure, the conditions encourage eating more and doing less, but the bedrock of motivation is based on two things:

1. To not get SAD this winter

Seasonal Affective Disorder or otherwise known as SAD L is characterised by a lack of energy, increased eating, longer sleep and weight gain. Most people tend to experience this mild form of depression during the cold winter months, however… there is good news! It can simply be reversed by just getting some Vitamin D, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, spending time with people you love and exercising with a SMILE – (tips ahead).


Set a big goal—and some little goals.
Move it
Improvements (Record them)
Love life
Evaluate Mindset and Motivations

Set a big goal—and some little goals.
If winter leaves your motivation to exercise colder than an icicle, why don’t you heat things up with a challenging new goal? It can be anything from single-handedly paddling across the Atlantic Ocean, running an ultra-marathon to doing 10 full pull-ups or trying a new sport. But please… make it a CHALLENGE. Choose a goal that is achievable and that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone.

Move it!
Exercise should be your number one drug. Just a 30-minute walk every day can do more for your long-term health than the efforts of a handful of doctors and the drugs they prescribe.
YES. You did read that correctly.
(Proven by every (legitimate) article ever written and posted in Google).

Improvements (Record them)
There’s nothing like seeing your own progress. Even just losing 10 grams should make you want to do a happy dance. Rejoice in your achievements and progress and realise that hard work DOES pay off! (Try not to celebrate with a block of choc).
Here is a small list I compiled of the many benefits of exercise and some areas where improvement can be easily seen and monitored!

Better Heart Rate. Better Sleep. Better Muscle Strength. Better Joint Movements. Better Oxygen Flow to Muscles. Better Brain Health and Functioning. Better Anti-Aging Treatment than Olay. Better Pregnancy. Better Blood Pressure. Better Immune System. Better For Osteoporosis. Better Weight Loss Results. Better De-Stressor. Better Depression Management. Better Sex Life. Better For Treatment of Diabetes. Better Lover and Do-er of Life.

There is always room for improvement… so why not start with exercise!
Have a go. Pick yourself up off the couch and begin down a new and exciting (but challenging) road called EXERCISE.

Love life
Embrace the weather – instead of always trying to avoid the cold, why don’t you embrace it?
The famously disciplined Shaolin monks train in any conditions because it builds character. You don’t have to go to the Himalayan Mountains, but just jump up, roll a mat out on your living room floor and ‘PUMP IT.’ Get outside, soak in the sunshine, breathe in the fresh air, run wild in an open field, throw a stick to your dog, roll down a grassy hill, do a star jump and hug a friend. It will all be good for your mind as well as your body. But what if it rains?

Toughen up and take a photo of the rainbow!

With all of the already known and proven benefits of exercise… it’s crazy to think that we haven’t just strapped ourselves onto a treadmill. So why don’t we? Why do we see it as such a chore?

I challenge you to write down WHY you want to exercise and to surround yourself with what MOTIVATES you. Ask yourselves these questions:
What do I want to achieve? Why am I doing this? What is the easiest way for me to exercise? Who motivates me? Why do I need to do this? How will this change my life for the better?
When you’ve finished all of your responses (and glued in a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio)… Take Nikes advice and “Just Do It.”
Exercise to YOUR aspirations and strengths!

For more information:

Appetite Tamers

Coats, boots and beanies – here we come! Winters on its way and so too is that extra bit of flab. This is the honest reality for too many of us, but it doesn’t have to be. Why not try something different and keep your body in shape this winter to reveal a beautiful, slim and trim body for summer without having to register for boot camp in spring. Do your body a favour with these 10 ways to tame your appetite and keep that extra weight off this winter!

  1. Stay well hydrated, as thirst is often translated by the brain as hunger. Hot herbal teas that aren’t caffeinated are a great way to get your fluid up without chilling your body. Stay away from caffeinated beverages as they are diuretics and will further dehydrate you.
  1. Have definite mealtimes and avoiding eating between meals. This forces the body to go into its stores to keep you warm and energised between meals rather than putting the excess calories from snacks into storage.
  1. Hearty soups will turn off the appetite with far fewer calories than other foods.
  1. Eat more complex carbohydrates. These foods are high in fibre, keep you fuller for longer and provide plenty of fuel for the brain and body. Complex carbs include whole grains, vegetables (including root veggies), salads and legumes. Keep the potato skins on and choose wholegrain pastas for a low GI option.
  1. Avoid stomach irritants. Irritation sets up motion in the stomach, which sends messages to the brain indicating the stomach is hungry. Foods that produce this reaction include caffeine, peppers, vinegar and mustards.
  1. All foods having a high fibre content tend to have lower calories and exert a suppressive influence on the appetite. This includes beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  1. Eat simple menus. Stick to 1-2 options on your plate rather than a complicated and often calorie dense meal. Vegetables and rice, salad and a loaf or soup and a bun are all good options without encouraging overeating with too may available options to sample.
  1. Outlast your cravings. Cravings are fleeting if we choose to ride them out. Do something to try and distract yourself when you feel a craving coming on. Choosing some kind of outdoor physical exercise such as a bike ride or a walk will suppress the appetite in most instances. Have a glass of water or call a friend to distract the mind and body.
  1. Fats and sugar together tend to trigger the appetite and encourage cravings. Avoid rich foods like puddings and cakes and choose lower calorie whole food options instead. Making your own desserts from dates, fruits and/or coconut products is a great way to reduce your calories and provide your body with a tasty, guilt free option.
  1. Learn what your triggers are and avoid them. Visual triggers like commercials, seeing someone else eating something or walking past certain foods in the supermarket can be enough to cause you to make your way to the check out with something you’ll regret later. Be strong, avoid that isle in the supermarket, get up and do something useful during ad breaks on TV, and if its not in our pantry – you probably won’t be able to eat it!


What’s in the lunchbox: Zucchini & Feta Muffins

zucchini&Feta muffins baked 1 zucchini&Feta muffins baked 2 zucchini&Feta muffins baked 3 zucchini&Feta muffins ingredients zucchini&Feta muffins rawThere’s no need for me to bake gluten-free for my family. We have no allergies that I am aware of, yet I get this strong urge to reduce the amount of wheat they do eat as an over exposure could cause a sensitivity. And let’s face it, wheat and gluten are in lots of food! Cutting back here and there can’t be a bad thing. Right? Plus, I like to have something I can offer my gluten-free friends (and I do have a lot of them!)

These yummy muffins came about as I am always looking for lunchbox fillers that aren’t full of numbers, sugar and bad fats. I was highly inspired by a recipe I found in this lovely lady’s book that kickstarted the process. Followed by what I could find in my fridge… I’m frequently on a vegetable rescue mission in the fridge… sadly many times it leads to vegetable corpse soup… but don’t tell my family that! And today I found some zucchini that still had some spring left in them.

Baking the gluten-free way isn’t a scary thing, nor should it mean buying a gluten-free flour packet from the supermarket. The easy rule I remember for making a wholesome gluten-free flour is using a non gluten wholegrain (or seed or coconut) with some starch to lighten it up. Using a nut meal is also a favourite way to keep the moisture in and lighten the mix but today I steered clear of nuts as my youngest son’s school is a nutfree zone.

Brown rice flour is readily available at the healthfood shop or maybe your health food aisle at the supermarket will stock it too. I mill my own by placing uncooked brown rice into my food mill and whizzing it until it is very very fine. Your healthfood shop will have the potato starch, and the polenta, I found down the baking aisle at the supermarket.

There’s no need to squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini as it will be absorbed by the thirsty brown rice flour. This recipe lends itself to endless vegetable and herb combinations.

And my favourite way to eat these muffins? Well, in this weather it is easy to devour 2-3 with a mug of hot soup.

Zucchini & Feta Muffins  Makes 12

½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup potato flour (starch)
1/3 cup polenta
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine Himalayan or Celtic salt
1 cup grated zucchini (approx 1 large zucchini)
½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, finely sliced
100g feta, crumbled
¼ cup olive oil
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk (soy, almond, or rice)

Preheat oven to 180C fan forced (195C conventional). Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with patty cases.

Sift the brown rice flour, potato flour, polenta, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Using a ball whisk, combined thoroughly. Stir through the grated zucchini and spring onion.

In another bowl whisk together the oil, eggs and milk until smooth. Stir in just over half of the crumbled feta and then add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring til just combined*.

Using an icecream scoop for even distribution, spoon batter into the patty cases, then top each one with the remaining crumbled feta.

Bake 25 mins or til golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from pan after 5 mins to a wire rack to cool.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.

*Don’t fret too much with the stirring. As this is gluten-free, there is no gluten to toughen the mix with by over beating as you would have to be concerned about with regular wheat flour.


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