Goal Setting Made Easy – The Guide To Getting Things Done

Goal setting is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  The thing is, it’s always this time of the year when society starts sending you messages that you should be doing exactly that.

A few weeks ago, someone that I admire and respect immensely wrote a fantastic article on goal setting. which has a slightly different slant on the usual way of going about it. Gihan Perera is a colleague and friend and I always get something out of his insights.  I think you might too.  

Over to you Gihan.

Most goal setting programs are hard. The system might sound easy, but achieving the goals is difficult. It usually takes discipline, willpower, a strong mindset, hard work, sacrifice and struggle.

I’ve got a different approach to goal setting: This coming year, choose, plan and achieve goals that bring you joy, ease and happiness – not only when you achieve them, but along the way as well.  This of course, flies in the face of most goal setting programs. So be warned that what I’m going to share with you might be controversial, confronting or conflicting with other advice you’ve seen.  But hey – if you do embrace my advice, you will enjoy the next twelve months.  So what have you got to lose?

So do yourself a favour this year: Don’t create goals an activities that involve struggle, complication, hardship and sacrifice.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive, especially if you’ve done other goal setting programs.  But hang in there, I will explain.

There are ten guidelines here, broken down into three areas: Choosing the right goals (four guidelines), planning (3) and taking action (3).

Choose

1. Do what you love

It’s surprising how many people set a goal because they think they “should” do it, or they “need” to do it, or somebody else wants it for them. Those goals are the first to go when life gets in the way.

So only choose goals that you want to achieve. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say you should only choose goals that you will love to achieve. This isn’t about being selfish; it’s about choosing wisely.

2. Love who you’ll be

Think carefully: Are you going to be happy – truly happy – with the person you’re going to become if you do achieve your goals?

If you get that big promotion, will you be OK spending more time away from your spouse and kids? If you go on that carrot juice diet and lose 20 kilos, can you tolerate having to gaze longingly and wistfully at chocolate cake from now until the end of your life? If you get all those business travel opportunities, can you cope with spending wasted hours in airports, taxi queues and hotel rooms?

Be sure you’re willing to accept all the consequences of achieving your goal.

3. Think big

Most people don’t fail because their goals are too big; they fail because their goals are too small. Those goals are easily forgotten or tossed aside when something bigger comes along. So make sure you set big – but achievable – goals.

As Jonathon Kozol says:

“Pick battles big enough to matter; small enough to win.”

4. Know the reason why

It’s not the “what” and “how” of a goal that motivates you; it’s the “why”. Sometimes you’ll end up with something that wasn’t exactly what you imagined, but it still achieves the same result.

Plan

5. Love what you do

Plan to enjoy the journey. If it takes willpower, discipline or sacrifice to achieve your goal, it’s harder to do and easier to slip up. Instead, make it fun!

It’s no fun to crawling out of bed an hour early to exercise, but perhaps you can make it fun by exercising with a friend, so you make it a social event as well.

It’s no fun to set aside 10% of your income for wealth creation, but what if you also set aside another 10% as “play money”, to be spent on fun and frivolity?

It’s no fun to call past customers to bring them back into your fold, but what if you invited them to a cocktail party instead?

6. Hang out with people you like

Life’s too short to spend with people you don’t like, love, inspire or are inspired by.

Decide who you want to spend more time with this year, and make sure they’re part of your journey. They don’t have to be actively involved in helping you achieve your goals – although that’s a bonus. But make sure they’re around. And be especially sure you don’t neglect them while achieving your goals.

7. Get help

Whatever your goals, there’s a good chance somebody else has already achieved them. So find the right mentors and ask for their help. You might have to pay, or you might not. Either way, it’s the best way to fast-track your success.

Do

8. Start before you’re ready

You won’t have all your preparation complete. You won’t know exactly what path to follow. There’s always a reason not to start today. But if you’re waiting for the perfect moment to get started, you’ll be waiting a long time. The perfect moment is now.

9. Take a big step first

A rocket uses most of its fuel in escaping the Earth’s atmosphere. After that, it takes very little energy to keep going.

Many of your goals – especially the biggest and most important goals – are similar. Don’t start with baby steps; start with massive strides. The good news is that often just a few strides can make a big difference, and then everything else is easy.

Obviously I’m not suggesting you do dangerous things, like suddenly taking up squash if you’re unfit. But if it’s OK to start walking for 30 minutes a day, start walking. Don’t “build up to it” with unnecessary little steps – e.g. buying new sneakers, starting a journal to record your progress, telling all your Facebook friends, shopping for a new T-shirt to celebrate the start of the journey, and plotting the optimal walking route for different weather conditions. Sure, these small steps are easy, but it’s the first big step (literally in this case) that matters.

10. Do something every day

Do something towards at least one of your goals every day. After all, why wouldn’t you? These activities are fun, not a burden or a chore. So, in addition to working towards your goals, you’re adding some fun and enjoyment to every day of your life!

More importantly, at the end of the year, you will have taken 365 steps – enjoyable steps – towards achieving your goals. That’s 365 more than the average person.

So that’s it. Those are my ten guidelines for easy goal setting.

 

You can check out Gihan Perera and all he shares by clicking here.

The Twelfth Day Of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..twelve devils fighting, eleven emus kicking, ten wombats sleeping, nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

You may have worked out that my twelfth day of Christmas does not actually finish on Christmas Day.  I wanted to get the last message in before you all clocked off for a break and stopped thinking about your healthy selves.

So, today is Christmas Eve, Eve and I would like to wish a very happy and safe festive season to you all!  We made it.  

Given that twelve Tasmanian Devils are fighting today, I am not suggesting that you are devils but there may be some pretty crazy eating behaviour on Christmas Day.  I may even be involved myself.  I found this greeting card recently by British company ‘Make Do’ that I thought summed up the day perfectly.

Enjoy this day with your loved ones.

If you are reading this there is every chance you like to take care after yourself and for that I am happy. However, we all need a break in routine and if Christmas Day festivities allow you to do that – let your hair down. Nothing bad will happen, you will just need to have a good lie down on the floor. It’s cool down there so stay as long as you can.

Thanks so much for being part of my 2019 and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the twelfth day of Christmas (why?????), don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  Emergency Pickup only.

Click here for all details.

The Ninth Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the ninth day of Christmas or not, crocodiles are scary.  Not that I socialise with them all the time.  Some time back when I was doing a nomadic around Australia trip, we stopped off at the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory and hopped onto a boat to spot some crocs. Within minutes there were monster truck versions of the prehistoric animal flinging themselves out of the air  to try and jag some meat off the end of a stick.  I regretted taking the tour immediately as it was wrong on so many levels but as there was only one way of getting off, I decided to stay.

Crocodiles are THE peak predator with endurance like no other.  Because they are the boss of everyone, they can eat whatever they like. But they don’t.  They hunt only what they need, roll them around a few times and then eat when they need to. Yes, I know they do occasionally get confused and take a human who happens to be in their feeding ground. 

I think there is a lesson there that we can use over the next few days.  Be selective, gather only what you need, roll it around a few times and savour it, chew slowly and enjoy. And as a special tip, try not to confuse your fellow diners with the sumptuous fare.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the ninth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  There is still time to get it onto Santa’s sleigh but it’s probably the last day for postage. If you can pick up, there is still time.

Click here for all details.

Being a Vegan in Sport and A Side of Intermittent Fasting

There are so many hot topics in the world of sport and nutrition and two of them right now are the vegan diet and intermittent fasting.

Recently Mark Arnot over at the Train Smarter with Science podcast series, interviewed me on both of these topics and today I am sharing our chat with you all.

Sit back relax, have a listen and if you have any questions on either the vegan way of eating or intermittent fasting – I’m ready.

 

 

The Flavoured Milk Wagon

Flavoured milk may bring the image of chocolate, spearmint and strawberry to mind but flavoured milk can also include many beverages in this somewhat crowded space.

Take a Break

Before we start talking about flavoured milk let’s establish that it is more important than ever to renew our energy throughout the day, particularly if we spend a lot of time sitting. One way of doing this is to take regular breaks to refuel or physically move to get our circulation flowing to brains and bodies and therefore increasing our well-being and productivity.

When we take a break, one of our most common habits is to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Depending on where you are, the array of choices can be extremely limited or overwhelmingly diverse. They could range from a decaf skinny latte to a rich hot chocolate. It is very easy to dismiss our favourite beverage as a comforting pick me up without registering how much they are contributing to your daily diet. Not necessarily in a positive way either.

Which to Choose?

On the plus side, many cafes and roadhouses do use reduced fat milk when they are making beverages, due to the superior frothing ability of low fat milk. When considering the large amount of fat, sugar and calories in various types of full cream coffee, it can be advisable to request reduced fat milk, especially if you are consuming a few during the day.  To be sure you are choosing a regular or skinny coffee, just ask your barista.

Enjoying a coffee is one of the beautiful things in life from my perspective. However, I am aware that my best personal choice is a small without added sugar. Do you know what yours is?

Flavoured Milk of The Day

Flavoured milks are also a popular choice for many but can be equivalent to eating a meal as shown by a 600ml carton of ice coffee or choc milk. When choosing flavoured milk it is best to select the reduced fat 300ml variety, which provides a smaller number of calories while contributing a serve of calcium.

Just remember that taking regular breaks from behind the desk or wheel is vital to your health and well being but consider your choices when a break beckons and choose wisely.

The Sporty Advantage

As a kid I loved choc-milk, so it’s pretty exciting that it is championed by science. Sports nutrition research has shown that choc-milk, other favoured milk and just plain milk supplies the nutrition your body needs after exercise.  Studies have shown that women who drink 500ml of skim milk after training gain more muscle and lose more fat compared to women who drink carbohydrate drinks. There is good news for the men too.  Men who drink the same amount of skim milk after a resistance workout have been shown to gain 63% more muscle mass than those who drink carbohydrate-based beverages.

Milk and its flavoured counterparts provide you with:

  • Carbohydrates to help refuel muscles and energy stores
  • High quality protein to promote muscle recovery and growth
  • Fluid and electrolytes to help replenish what is lost in sweat

We know that a combination of protein and carbohydrate is best for recovery after exercise and with the exception of cheese, dairy products are a winning combination of both. For some super delicious recipes based on dairy products go check out Legendairy where you will find something for everyone.

 

Scroll up – the best recipe for the best dough

Scroll, scroll, scroll

The scroll situation is limited only by your imagination – think pizza, cheeseymite, banana and nutella, strawberry and ricotta, chicken and sweet chilli sauce or bolognaise sauce and cheese.

I have always loved the symmetry of the scroll and the deliciousness too.  The thing is, very often the scroll is made using pastry and the high fat content really prevents it from being a food that can be eaten regularly.

You can also find a good scroll at the local bakery but these guys can be quite large and sometimes the cheese and bacon are taking up a lot of space (I know that might seem like a good thing!).

Fortunately I have the solution with just two ingredients. Flour and yoghurt.

The Best Recipe for The Best Dough

Ingredients

2 cups self raising flour

1 cup natural or plain Greek yoghurt

Method

Place both ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl and using a butter knife, mix until dough comes together.  If the dough seems a little dry, add a small amount of extra yoghurt but be conservative as too much will make the dough too wet and sticky.

Flour a pastry sheet or large chopping board and knead the ball of dough until smooth (shouldn’t take too long and don’t overdo it). Using a heavy rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangular shape approximately 50cm by 30cm.  This is the basic dough and now you can decide what you are going to put in your scroll.

The Combo’s

You can choose from any of the following combinations or make up you own (and then let me know!).

Pizza – spread the dough with 1/2 cup of your favourite pasta sauce and top with 1 cup grated cheese

Cheeseymite – spread the dough with vegemite to taste (more is better for the flavour even if you are not a fan like me) and top with 1 cup grated cheese

Banana and nutella – spread the dough with 1/2 cup nutella and top with two small thinly sliced bananas

Strawberry and Ricotta – spread the dough with 3/4 cup ricotta and top with 10 thinly sliced washed and hulled strawberries

Bolognaise – spread the dough with 3/4 cup leftover bolognaise sauce (drain as much liquid as possible from the sauce) and top with 1 cup grated cheese

It’s Time to Rock and Scroll

Once you have decided on your filling and assembled all that you need, you can get cracking but remember to leave about 1cm around the edges so that you don’t end up with an exploding scroll!

To get things moving, start rolling from the long side and keep tucking and rolling until you reach the end, leaving that under the roll.

Using a well floured seated knife slice the roll into 2cm pieces and then place flat side down onto a lined baking tray.

Bake in a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

All you need to do now is enjoy but I dare you to be able to stop at one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Bliss Balls

Roll up, roll up, these bliss balls are super delicious and the perfect treat or post training recovery snack. All you need is 10 minutes and a blender.

 

Ingredients

12 Medjool dates

1 cup pistachios

1 cup almond or hazelnut meal

2 heaped tbsp cacao

2 tbsp dessicated coconut

1 tbsp chia seeds

 

Method

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined. If the mixture is not sticky enough to form balls, add a very small amount of water and process again.

Using a heaped tablespoon of the mixture form into balls and place into an airtight container and refrigerate until firm.

Chicken, Ricotta and Spinach Lupinsagne aka Lasagne

Lasagne gets me thinking about Italy, cheesy sauce, accordion music and red and white checked tablecloths. You might not have exactly the same vision but lasagne is a true crowd pleaser and one of those dishes that just makes you sigh with happiness doesn’t it?

Traditionally, lasagne can be loaded with béchamel sauce (delicious yes but high on the fat side of things), sheets of pasta and cheese upon cheese.
That might seem like a good thing (and as an occasional food, it really is) but for an everyday kind of dish, a few tweaks is all it takes to bump up the protein and reduce the fat, to tick the nutrition boxes and turn it into the ideal recovery meal post exercise.

Perfect timing because there is a new protein rich kid on the block, which packs a serious nutrition punch. This little goodie is the humble lupin – a unique legume that contains 40% protein, 40% fibre with a small amount of carbohydrate and fat and is completely gluten free. 85% of the world’s crop of lupins is grown in Western Australia which is pretty cool. Yay for the sandgropers.

So after a bit of experimenting, I have concocted Chicken, Ricotta and Spinach Lupinsagne and it tastes fantastic! This recipe is high in protein and fibre and is packed full of vegetables and flavour. It uses lupin flakes produced by The Lupin Co. which are so versatile and have so much to give our bodies, including a protein punch.

Chicken, Ricotta and Spinach Lupinsagne

Ingredients
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 x cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1 x 400g tin canned, diced tomatoes
20 basil fresh leaves
500g lean chicken mince
1-cup chicken stock
1-cup lupin flakes
1kg reduced fat ricotta cheese
150g baby spinach leaves,
2 eggs, beaten
5 x fresh lasagne sheets
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Method
Cook the onion and garlic together in the oil until golden brown and then add the chicken mince and stir until cooked through.

Add the carrot, zucchini, tomatoes, chicken stock and basil, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is reduced a little. While the mixture is simmering, cook the lupins in boiling water and cook for 3 minutes and then drain and rinse in cold water. Just before you take the chicken mixture off the heat – add the cooked lupins and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the spinach leaves in a microwave proof bowl into the microwave and cook for 1 minute until wilted slightly. Once cooled, squeeze out excess water and add to the ricotta along with the beaten eggs. Stir the ricotta mixture until smooth.

Spray a large lasagne dish with cooking oil and place some of the mince mixture on the bottom of the dish followed by lasagne sheets to fit and then half of the mince mixture on top of this followed by half of the ricotta mixture and repeat these steps once more finishing with the ricotta layer.

Cover with foil and cook in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serve:

Energy 312 calories, protein 27g, fat 12g, carbohydrate 19g, fibre 8g

This Lupinsagne is perfect for an everyday dinner and also a great recovery meal post exercise.

Watch this space for more lupinlicious recipes.

Buon appetito!

Lessons from a bike

Want to know how NOT to prepare for something? There are lessons from a bike coming right up that you can apply to anything at all, believe me.

Do you remember that last week we talked about the importance of doing the preparing before the doing – whatever it might be? Just in case you missed it, you can refresh here.

Preparing for anything has been front of mind for me due to my inability to move my neck for quite some time after a gazillion handstands but also because of a random encounter on a plane.

Back in October, I boarded a plane in Sydney bound for my hometown Perth. I was at the end of the queue, so by the time I found my home for the next five hours, both occupants of the seats either side of me were ensconced. The gentleman in the window seat was deep in conversation on his phone as I got settled and although I know it is rude to eavesdrop, it was a little hard not to when you are sitting 1cm apart from each other.

Although it was not mine, I quickly became engaged in this conversation. It didn’t take me long to work out that my travelling companion (lets call him TC) was about to embark upon a bike event that he was ill-prepared for and with just two days until the start gun sounded – there was no small element of PANIC.

Once TC was off the phone – I couldn’t resist questioning him on what he was actually doing. Firstly, hats off to him committing to a very worthwhile cause, the Ride to Conquer Cancer. But and there is a big but – when that commitment involves two consecutive days of sitting on a bike and cycling a grand total of 200km – preparing is central to one’s success at making it off the bike alive.

With five hours to spare, I had all the time in the world to grill TC. This is how it went.

Q. How much training have you done? A. None.

Q. Is your bike ready? A. Probably not, the last time I saw it was in the garden shed and it may have a basket attached to the handlebars.

Q. What are you wearing? A. What do you mean?

Q. What have you planned to eat and drink on the day? A. No plans as yet.

I could see that in order to assist TC to avoid being on the nightly news over the weekend, intervention was required and let’s just say that a crash course in general preparation, sports nutrition, logistics of cycling and survival skills ensued between Sydney and Perth that night.

I thought of TC often over that next weekend and first thing Monday morning he kindly updated me on his adventure. Here is what TC had to say…..

Hi Julie

Well, I completed the 200km and followed your nutrition plan to the letter. Had I not, I would be dead…

Key Take-aways:

  1. Identify obstacles – the weather Saturday was extreme

    a. Pissing rain from the start

    b. Hail in Byford

    c. Howling Sou’Wester (clocked at 80km / hour) that we rode directly into for the last 60km!

  2. Think logistics – setting up the swag at ground level was torture

    a. My knees were swollen enough without having to kneel on them.

    b. Slept first 3 hours in my shoes as I could not face the torture of taking them off

    c. Woke at midnight to find my way to porta loo and change into more comfortable attire in blustery 7 degree temperatures

    d. At first light surrounded by very enthusiastic cyclists who were looking forward to a 3 – 4 hour effort back to Perth and a lazy Sunday afternoon… Not available for me

  3. The right equipment is essential – my bike was a piece of s**t

    a. Sunday morning I woke to two broken spokes, a bent rim and 15 Psi in an 80 Psi tyre – all of which I suspect I rode with for a good portion of on Saturday

    b. Was told by learned colleagues my weekend was over… Some called it deliberate sabotage by me to avoid the 2nd 100Km

    c. I thought I would give it a bit of a go for personal pride with no thought of actually making it. Surprise, surprise, I crossed the finish line at McCullum Park on my bike in the second last group of real battlers.

  4. Recovery is Important

    a. Epsom salts

    b. Hydralyte

    c. Ice on both knees

    d. 50mg Voltaren tablets

    e. T Bone Steak

    f. Half a bottle of Red

    g. Compression bandages applied indefinitely

Signed up for next year…Thanks for your contribution and being interested – part of the healing process is being able to talk about these things. TC

Thanks TC for the lessons you have shared and the grace in which you accepted your fate. Lets catch a plane a little earlier next year.

Orange, Chocolate and Sweat – Three Tops Tips to Fuel your Football Game

Chocolate and Oranges - how they can change your game

I so love the start of the footy season. The anticipation of a new beginning and a clean slate, the sound of the siren cutting through the slight crispness in the air and the whack of a boot connecting with the ball.

This past Easter weekend has marked season kick-off for Australian Rules Football.  One eyed supporters all over the country have breathed a collective sigh of relief that finally, their beloved game is back.

Having worked as the Sports Dietitian for the Fremantle Dockers for six years means that my favourite colours on the paddock are simple and easy to remember. Purple and white.  That is all.

This time of the year gets me thinking about what the players will be doing before, during and after the game because I know they have quite a routine to follow. Fortunately, professional football players are blessed with fantastic support and access to sports nutrition expertise.

But the thing is, this does not apply to the almost half a million junior and senior players who run out onto the field every weekend between March and September. As a result, many of these players and their families have lots of questions about how to fuel themselves or their kids and there are three questions that I often get asked.  The answers to each of them can easily be applied to any sport.

1.  Should I eat a chocolate bar prior to playing a game of football?

A 50g plain chocolate bar has a medium Glycemic Index (GI) of 49 and contains 15 grams of fat. Fat slows down the emptying of the stomach and therefore digestion and these factors combined mean that chocolate is best enjoyed at a time not associated with exercise.

Some of you will remember the television advertisement that was aired in the 1980s for Mars Bars®. The theme song contained lyrics suggesting that Mars Bars® helped you ‘work, rest and play’. There was definitely a sports theme to the advertisement and over time, this has led to the belief that chocolate is a good pre-game snack. Great advertising – but not so great for your body!

Any pre-exercise snack or meal should provide you with sustained energy to perform the activity to the best of your ability, and be easily digested. The food should be mostly carbohydrate with a small amount of protein and minimal fat. Ideally the food should be of low to medium Glycemic Index and consumed 1 ½ to 2 hours prior to the game or event.

Some healthy low-fat pre-game snacks include: cereal and milk, toast with baked beans or spaghetti, bread or toast with low-fat spread, Up and Go® drink or Sustagen Sport®, creamed rice and fruit and low-fat muesli bars.

2.  Does eating an orange assist performance during sport?

In Australian sporting culture the orange (neatly cut into quarters of course) has long been a part of weekend sport and something to look forward to at half-time. Eating an orange will provide you with some fluid, Vitamin C, and a small amount of carbohydrate (an average orange contains approximately 110 mL of water and 10 grams carbohydrate) so go ahead and enjoy one!

3.  Can athletes drink more alcohol than the average person because they will ‘sweat it off’ the next day?

In short – no. On average your body can process one standard drink of alcohol per hour through your liver. This does depend on quite a few factors including age, gender, body mass, drinking experience and food eaten and may be more or less accurate, accordingly. This is true of athletes and non-athletes alike.

It is true that after a heavy drinking session you can often smell alcohol on one’s body, but it is generally bad breath, not alcohol being excreted through sweat. In the mid 1980s, two sports medicine experts made an interesting assessment on the nutritional knowledge of a group of elite athletes in Australia. Twenty-six percent of the athletes believed that alcohol contained no kilojoules, reduced inhibition and actually improved their performance. Wrong! Drinking alcohol before a game or any exercise increases the risk of dehydration and injury, and more than likely very ordinary performance on the day.

It would be interesting to see how much that perception has changed but given that the sports culture in Australia still encourages alcohol consumption in the name of team spirit and friendship, perhaps the change has not been significant.

You can find more practical and expert advice plus free downloadable fact sheets from Sports Dietitian’s Australia.