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Combining my love of science, health and fitness

Enough with the fat shaming!

Obesity is a scourge on society. Fat people are such a burden on our healthcare system that it is not coping. Fat people are simply lazy. Obesity is the fault of the person. Fair call? It certainly seems that way if you open any health magazine or watch the news these days. Apparently, all fat people are a burden on society and an eyesore to boot.   Well guess what. It’s not always true and it’s a horrible message to be sending out. It puts anyone who is overweight or obese into a societal subclass and it needs to stop. I’m absolutely fed up with society’s fake image of health. I want to start seeing a more positive message going out about health that is not just limited to the size of someone’s waist and the perkiness of their glutes.   First it’s well worth pointing out that the definition of a healthy weight is a contentious one. It is a man-made concept that does not have universal agreement. Currently, a healthy weight is considered to be a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 kg.m-2. However, keep in mind that using BMI as a means of assessing a healthy weight is somewhat flawed due its inability to distinguish between fat and lean tissue and it’s inability to determine where fat is located on the body. It’s well known that where fat is placed on the body is far more important than how much fat there is in total. So using BMI as a determinant of health therefore is going to be problematic and the research is backing...

Seasons

Tonight I wanted to write about seasons, which you might think is an odd topic, given this is a health and fitness blog, but bear with me as I explain my thoughts.   This post is about the seasons I’ve experienced as a mum and the pressure I’ve felt with my diet and exercise; especially being in the health and fitness industry. This post is specifically targeted to parents but the underlying message can be applied to any season we go through. The trick is just working out when we are in one.   Before my twins were born I was very fit and healthy. I was running 7km a day 4-5 times a week. I was also doing circuit training and ate a pretty healthy diet (or so I thought). Then I fell pregnant with the twins and, hello all-day-every-day sickness. I was floored. I felt like I had the world’s worst hangover. Every. Single. Day. Everything made me sick; smells, foods, my husband, eating, not eating, sleeping, waking up, water bottles, driving in the car – everything!! But, the car was the worst!! I would have to drive with my head out of the window to stop myself from vomiting in my lap. In winter it meant having the heat up full blast on my feet with my face freezing as I hung it out the window like a dog. I tried anything and everything to make the nausea stop. I tried medication to the point where I was taking wafers that cancer patients take during chemo treatment. But those wafers came at a cost of $90...

Cholesterol – Fact vs Fiction Part 1

Cholesterol is a sterol which is mix between a steroid and an alcohol. It is NOT a fat as is commonly thought. It is essential to the formation of bile acids, vitamin D, progesterone, estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol), androgens (androsterone, testosterone), mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone), and glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol). Cholesterol is also necessary to the normal permeability and function of the membranes that surround cells.” Therefore, without cholesterol we would not be able to sustain life. As I have previously discussed, the lipid hypothesis/diet-heart hypothesis/cholesterol hypothesis has never actually been proven. Yet it is touted as fact by just about every government and government affiliated association. This is made abundantly clear through the recommendation of avoiding saturated fat and keeping our cholesterol intake to below 300mg per day. The low fat/diet industry is now worth billions of dollars so it’s understandable why the government keeps pushing this message. As consumers though, we need to start being more discerning about what advice we take. For me, all I have to do is look at the rising numbers of people with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression etc. to know that something is not right about what we’re being told. But I digress, back to cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in absolutely every cell in our body and is involved in the: –          Formation of hormones (particularly testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone) –          Cellular structure of all of our membranes –          Control of our moods (cholesterol is needed to produce serotonin – our pleasure hormone) –          Function of our immune system Cholesterol also: –          Works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant –          Assists...
The Case For Saturated Fat (Part 1)

The Case For Saturated Fat (Part 1)

Poor old saturated fat. It’s been tried, convicted and condemned without so much as a fair trial. Since the mid 1900’s it has been ‘known’ that saturated fat was actually the root cause of heart disease and that over-consumption would lead to heart disease and an early grave! Right? Well, no actually. This may come as a surprise to you, but saturated fat was demonised in the 60’s and 70’s due to some very faulty (at best) and deliberately deceptive (at worst) research. Most of you will have never heard of Dr Ancel Keys and his 6 country study but this ‘study’ was so influential we are still feeling its impact some 60 years later. I will get onto this in part 2 though. First I feel it’s important to understand a little about the classification of fats. Some of you will may not be familiar with this topic but I’ll keep it simple and straight forward. Very quickly, the difference really between oil and fat is simply that when we refer to an oil we are talking about a liquid lipid (a lipid is the technical name for fat). When we refer to a fat we are talking about a solid lipid. Generally, saturated fats are solid at room temperature and unsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature. Dietary fats can be classified into 2 major groups: 1: Saturated 2: Unsaturated The unsaturated fats are then further broken into: Monounsaturated (including omega 9’s) Polyunsaturated (including omega 3’s and 6’s) Trans-fat (both man-made and naturally occurring) Figure 1 is a diagram of the fatty acid molecules (a fatty acid is what a...

My Story

I’ll keep this short and sweet. Really the only reason I include this is so that you get an understanding of who I am, where I’ve been and that I really can walk the walk (quite often rare in the health and fitness industry). It was a beautiful warm and sunny day when Naomi Elizabeth Coburn entered the world…… Kidding. Sorry. I’ll be serious. During high school, I was one of the kids that loved playing sport. I was reasonably good at most but never really excelled at anything. I was a swimmer all during high school and would make it to state level championships most years but I never really had the determination and grit to push myself into the next level. To be honest, I’m too social. I like a chat and swimming is one of the only sports where it is really really difficult to chat to those around you (maybe my parents were trying to tell me something). Don’t get me wrong, I did try. I’d gasp for air after each set and blab as quickly as possible with my friends until my coach would yell at me to shut up. Not that I did, I’d then try and hide down the other end of the pool for a chat. My coach wasn’t dumb, he was onto me pretty quickly. Anyway, I digress. My teenage years were filled with netball and swimming so it was with great surprise, after finishing up swimming at the start of grade 12 to focus on my exams, that I noticed some changes in my body. All my friends had been...

Welcome

Welcome to The Health and Fitness Blogger. I’m really glad you’re here and I’d love to hear from you (both the good and bad…..hopefully more good than bad). If you have particular topics you’d like explained, make sure you shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible. Let me first introduce myself so you can get an idea of whether this is the blog for you! My name is Naomi Ferstera and I am an exercise physiologist/exercise scientist, a tertiary lecturer, high school teacher and teacher for future personal trainers. I completed a 5 year dual degree in exercise science and education and I have been involved in the health and fitness industry for the last 15 years. I am currently completing a masters in human nutrition after informally studying nutrition for the last 4 years. I have a number of future professional aspirations but as I am a mother to 4 young children, I am taking things day by day. In saying this, my greatest achievements are easily my children Andrew, Alexa, Sarai and Felix and of course marrying the best man in the world, Tony. I am a blessed woman. As I just mentioned, I have been in the industry a while (I’m not at the dinosaur stage yet but give me time) and over the years I have heard every absurd ‘fact’ you could imagine. I don’t have time to list them all but sadly, when I started in the industry, I believed just about every one of them. Even more sadly, they’re still pervasive today and are often...
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