Laura Cini Wellness : lauraciniwellnes.com

Hannah:

Welcome to The Burn Pod, listeners. Now, we’re really excited to get stuck into today’s episode, which is all about nutrition. We actually have a triple threat for you in this area too. Now, our first podcast will be focusing in on the big one, fat loss or weight loss, which is the topic that I know most of you, when it comes to nutrition or when you think about nutrition, you think about. And our second episode in this series will be on energy. And our third will be focusing in on sleep.

            And we’re very lucky to be joined by Laura Cini, owner of Laura Cini, an expert nutritionist and naturopath, with over 20 years experience. Now, she works with clients and specialises in boosting energy, sustainable weight loss, detox and cleanse, sleep, and personalised nutrition. She’s up-to-date with the latest research and use evidence-based herbal and nutritional medicine. So, welcome Laura.

Laura Cini:

Oh, it’s great to be here, Hannah. Thank you.

Hannah:

No worries, and thanks so much for your time. I’m very excited. I know it’s a topic a lot of our listeners always have lots of questions around because as you and I’ve spoken about, there’s a lot of competing information out there.

Laura Cini:

Oh gosh, there’s so much misinformation, poor quality information, and myths really, and just downright lies really, out there on the internet. And it’ll be great to be able to get stuck into it today and really talk about some evidence-based information to help your members really.

Hannah:

Yeah. Exactly. Well, let’s touch on a bit of background around you, firstly, so the listeners can get to know you. How did you get started in this area? Tell us a little bit about your business and a bit about yourself. What are you passionate about?

Laura Cini:

Sure. So, I’ve been in the field for over 20 years now. I’ve got my own practise in North Hobart and I also do a lot of group health chat sessions around Hobart, for yoga studios, or gyms, or workplaces. I do some work for ABC Radio, about once a month I have a chat with Mel Bush on her evening show about various topics. I’ve got an Instagram and a Facebook page where I post a fair bit of free content. And I suppose, I treat a wide variety of health issues, but as you’ve mentioned, my specialty areas or probably the most popular areas that people see me about are sustainable weight loss, boosting energy, sleep, detox, cleanse, and a lot of nutrition. So, I am a naturopath, nutritionist, and herbalist.

            So, I started, gosh, well I’d left school and went to University of Taz and was studying there and was really fascinated in natural medicine. And so, when I graduated, I thought, “Right, I’m going to pursue this passion.” And I moved to Melbourne and studied health science, naturopathy. And as part of that, we covered a lot, it was three years full-time and we covered a lot of ground. There was anatomy and physiology, chemistry and biochemistry. We studied nutrition and herbal medicine and we looked at pharmacology, which is how pharmaceutical drugs work in the body, to have a good understanding of that. Looked at how to interpret research.

Hannah:

Wow.

Laura Cini:

And I loved that. Yeah, I absolutely found it absolutely fascinating. I remember saying to a friend of mine, “Look, if someone would pay me a wage to become a professional student, I’d just keep studying.” Because I just loved it. But I had to get into the real world at the end of that. And I worked for a nutritional and herbal medicine supplement company in Melbourne, in their research and development area, and their training area.

Hannah:

Cool.

Laura Cini:

And then, after a few more years, I was really missing Tassie. I really missed the serenity and the clean air and the five minute, 10 minute commute, although it’s probably a bit longer now, there’s a lot more traffic than back then.

Hannah:

Yeah.

Laura Cini:

That was back in 2003. So, I moved back here and started my own practise, seeing clients, and also started working for an actual medicine dispensary in town. Some of your members might have heard of it, Goulds Natural Medicine.

Hannah:

Oh, yeah.

Laura Cini:

Yeah. Yeah. So, I started working there and I did a bit more study at UTAS in public health and did a bit more training around learning about behavioural change and motivation. And so, I suppose, fast forward to now, and my aim really is to get evidence-based information about natural medicine out to clients, to really help them make positive changes to their health. So, they can just look and feel better, have more energy, better sleep, and just-

Hannah:

More confident with their decisions, I guess as well, because they know what they’re doing.

Laura Cini:

Yeah, more confident. Yeah, more confident. So, they’ve got decent information, evidence-based information, with which they can make decisions about their health.

Hannah:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, let’s get stuck into it then. And it’s a doozy, this one, weight loss or fat loss, it’s something that nearly every single woman, including myself, at some stage in our lives and some of us constantly throughout our life, we struggle with our weight or thinking we need to lose some kilos or struggling to even try to lose 500 grammes. And as most of us know, it’s more about what we’re putting in our body unfortunately, than moving our body, which I’d love to say that we could go for one run and we’re perfect, but unfortunately it doesn’t happen that way.

Laura Cini:

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Hannah:

This topic is major. Plus, as we mentioned, there’s just so much disinformation out there, it’s hard really, to know what to do and what is actually manageable in our busy lives. So, we might have a good idea of what to do, but it’s so far beyond our capabilities. Like, have green smoothies. It’s like, well, no, I don’t really have time to do that every day or eat the rainbow every second meal and all that sort of thing.

Laura Cini:

Yes.

Hannah:

So, can you give us a bit of information or a bit of an introduction to your approach to nutrition and in particular to the fat loss, weight loss?

Laura Cini:

Yes, it is a huge area. And the majority of probably the clients that I see do want to lose some weight and that’s fat, not muscle, not water. Obviously, healthy, sustainable weight loss is all about fat loss. And so, my approach, it’s not about deprivation. It’s not about guilt. It’s not about counting calories or points. It’s about safe, practical, sustainable weight loss. And it’s personalising that to each client, because everybody’s metabolism and nutritional needs are different and a lot of weight loss programmes don’t take that into account.

            So, the aims, I suppose, from a naturopathic point of view, we deal with the whole body. So, we look at how the whole body is functioning. My approach is to boost metabolism. That’s a key part of it. So, when your metabolism is healthy and you don’t want it to be too slow or too fast, you want it to be at a healthy rate so that you’re burning calories, you’re burning fat, even when you’re at rest.

            It’s also crucial is to balance hormone levels. So many women have issues with particularly oestrogen being out of balance in their body. And when your oestrogen is not in the correct balance, you hold water and you hold fat. So, you hold fat and fluid, and it’s really difficult for the body to let go of those if your oestrogen levels are not in the right balance, in balance with progesterone. And that’s a really big area, I see a lot of women that are doing so many good things, but they’re battling with that oestrogen element and it will be very noticeable prior to their period, where they may gain fat or hold more fluid.

Hannah:

Hold water. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Laura Cini:

Yeah.

Hannah:

And it’s a bit unfair as women because what worked for you in your 20s, you might be doing exactly the same thing that’s always worked and you’re hitting perimenopausal age or even going into that menopause age, everything’s getting thrown out because your hormones are different.

Laura Cini:

Exactly. You go through a really big hormonal shift and cortisol is often in the picture at that age as well. That’s a stress hormone. And when that’s out of balance, there’s quite a few symptoms, but one is holding fat, particularly around the middle area. So, putting it on around there and finding it difficult to shift. So, that’s a really important aim of mine as well, to make sure that a client’s cortisol levels are in the right balance, so their body can actually start to move into burning fat. It’s very difficult to burn fat, particularly from around the middle area when your cortisol levels are all over the shop.

Hannah:

Yeah. And what can you do for cortisol levels?

Laura Cini:

Yeah. Look, there’s some really good evidence-based herbal medicine that I use to help to rebalance cortisol levels and they work to help if a person’s cortisol level is perhaps a little low in the morning and then a little bit high at night and it’s affecting their sleep as well often, and they’re getting the middle of the body, abdominal area, retaining the weight there, the fat level, it can help to rebalance the cortisol levels into a correct rhythm, because you’ve got a certain rhythm to the day that your cortisol should be at certain levels. And when it gets out of that rhythm, then there’s a problem. So, there’s some really good herbal medicines that we can use to help rebalance cortisol.

            And another thing that we often look at in terms of other hormones is the hunger hormones and oh my goodness, these can really, in many people, get quite out of balance and that’s ghrelin and leptin. And when they’re out of balance, you can get … I remember, I had a client years ago who was doing lots of really good things, but she was just so hungry. She just couldn’t get full when she ate. And she was having a lot of trouble with cravings for the lolly jar at work.

Hannah:

Sweets or something. Yeah.

Laura Cini:

Or a pack of Tim Tams. And so, what we looked at with her was we really focused on rebalancing those hunger hormones, and one way we did that was through improving her sleep. She was quite sleep deprived and when you’re sleep deprived or you’re getting poor quality sleep, it really upsets the balance of those hunger hormones and it makes it really hard to make good eating decisions, even though you know what you need to be eating.

Hannah:

Yeah. Right. I never would have thought … I mean, I guess I always figured that if you’re not sleeping well, it’s because you’re obviously awake longer and so, because you’re awake longer, you eat more, but I didn’t actually think that it was something to do with the hormonal imbalances and that it actually causes you to want to eat more. That’s really interesting.

Laura Cini:

Oh, very much so. So, when cortisol is out of balance, that can certainly lead to cravings. And then when those hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are not in the right balance. And obviously, poor sleep can be one of the reasons for that. It’s really hard to resist those cravings, even when you know what you need to choose to snack on. It really affects the decision making area of the brain. And then, people beat themselves up, Hannah. And that’s really, as a practitioner, I really want to take the guilt out of the weight loss equation because there’s an enormous amount of guilt. And a lot of people don’t realise that it’s not just a lack of willpower, it’s actually that their hormones are out of whack.

Hannah:

Yeah, and working against them.

Laura Cini:

And there’s lots we can do for that. Yeah.

Hannah:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s crazy. Well, you touched on it before, but a big one for us at BurnTheory, isn’t to focus on loss or fat loss necessarily. Although, when we do lose a few unwanted, sticky kilos, it’s great. What we do try and focus on is staying healthy, active, and strong. So, a key for us is to educate around the importance of muscle mass building or maintaining lean muscle and muscle tissue. So, how important is it to understand fat loss versus water, and also how important is it for us to maintain muscle tissue?

Laura Cini:

Yes. Look, you’re spot on, muscle tissue is vital. And as we get older, a lot of people start to lose lean muscle tissue. And it’s really important for maintaining healthy metabolism levels. Muscle burns a huge amount of calories, it’s much more metabolically active than fat tissue is. So, it’s a key part of keeping, obviously, a younger body and a stronger body, but also a key part of keeping a healthy metabolism, and too many clients that I’ve seen over the years have done various weight loss strategies. And look, I admit, I’m guilty of that too. Before I studied health science, I also tried various weight loss strategies, and none of them were particularly effective.

Hannah:

No.

Laura Cini:

I felt really quite miserable and hungry, and deprived. And I didn’t lose fat tissue, I lost muscle tissue and water. And what a lot of people focus on is the weight on the scales-

Hannah:

Yeah, the number on the scales. Yeah.

Laura Cini:

But the number on the scales is not the key factor to focus on here because muscle weighs more than fat. And you’ll find that a lot of people that carry excellent levels of muscle tissue, a lot of athletes, they are quite heavier than what perhaps would be recommended by the BMI index. And that’s because-

Hannah:

Yes. I know that one as a personal one. I’m short and muscular, ex-gymnast body type, and forever my BMI, according to it is either at the higher levels of healthy and sometimes I’m in the not so healthy range, yet, I’m not, I’m just very muscular.

Laura Cini:

Yes.

Hannah:

It’s a bit depressing for someone that’s short and stocky to be called high BMI.

Laura Cini:

Yeah. So, I agree. Again, that’s another guilt area for women in particular, when they look at the scales. So, I really encourage my clients to go on the fit of their clothes. If they’re burning fat tissue, they will get leaner and their clothes will become looser. They may not change a lot on the scales because they may lose fat tissue, yes, but they may gain some muscle tissue, which is what you want. So, you want to be lean and strong, not necessarily light.

Hannah:

Yeah. Exactly. And that’s why listeners out there that are currently our members, when we do the optional body scanner, we don’t care about what the actual number is. We’re looking at your body fat percentage going down, hopefully, but you’re maintaining or increasing that lean muscle mass and the water. And they’re the big ones. So, we said, fat loss first. Water then, if we touch on that a little bit.

Laura Cini:

Yeah. So look, some people do need to lose some water or some fluid. Women in particular tend to have issues with fluid retention more than men because we have more oestrogen and oestrogen does tend to encourage retention of fluid, particularly when it’s out of balance with the other hormones. So, some people do need to lose some fluid, but primarily when you’re trying to lose fat, you don’t want to be losing too much fluid, you don’t want to be dehydrated. All your cells in your body, your body’s made of trillions of little cells, teeny-tiny cells, and they’re packed together. And they’re all really busy with all of their jobs to do, and they need to be plump and hydrated. When you think about an analogy might be like a grape, as opposed to a sultana, they need to … Does that make sense?

Hannah:

It does. Yeah.

Laura Cini:

Yeah. So, for them to do their jobs well and for your metabolism to be ticking over well, they need to be well-hydrated. And that’s another area that I talk to my clients about because many of us are quite dehydrated without knowing it.

Hannah:

Yeah. And I think we mistake dehydration for hunger. I know I certainly do.

Laura Cini:

Yes. Definitely. Definitely. That’s another one. You get what you think, “Oh, is that a hunger pang? Yeah. I’m hungry.” And it’s actually, for many people, it’s a thirst cue, and they’re not realising that they are quite dehydrated, especially if they’ve been dehydrated for years. And that can slow your metabolism down as well and make it harder to burn fat.

Hannah:

Yeah. Right. Yeah. So, the water actually impacts your metabolism too. It’s crazy how this all works together. I mean, we’re only barely even scratching the surface, but I’m already learning things. This is awesome.

Laura Cini:

Yeah. It’s a really complex area really, when you start to dive into it, it’s fascinating.

Hannah:

Well, I know that everyone’s dying to ask this question, and I think we sort of started talking about it, but then we got back into the muscle tissue. Why is it that we feel like we’re doing all the right things, but we just can’t lose weight? Are there handbrakes to fat loss?

Laura Cini:

Yes. Definitely, there are handbrakes to fat loss. And I see this fairly regularly, clients that come in … And your members might be able to relate to this, given that they’re the type of clients that I really enjoy working with it. They’re motivated and they’re already exercising and making some really positive choices, but many people get to that stage and just can’t shift the fat. And that’s because there may be various handbrakes. So, their foot’s on the accelerator, they’re doing good things, exercising, eating well, but the handbrakes on, which just slows down or will stop things from happening.

 So, when I’m looking at reasons behind the handbrake, I’m looking at stress is a big one, the cortisol, as I said, being out of the normal pattern or dysregulated. I’m looking at their gut bacteria. How well are they digesting food? There are certain types of gut bacteria, they’re associated with being lean and certain types that are associated with carrying more body fat. So, I would be looking at the kind of foods they’re eating, the kinds of foods that will nourish those good types of bacteria. I’ll be looking at the possibility, perhaps they’ve got imbalance of good and undesirable bacteria in their gut. That’s really common, and that can really slow things down.

Sleep, as I’ve mentioned, sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep, that’s a common handbrake. Thyroid health for many women is another handbrake. Many women have a low or slow functioning thyroid, and that is the boss of your metabolism in the body. And so, if that’s not working well, that can really slow down your metabolism and you may find that you’re putting on weight, even if you’re not eating very much and you’re exercising well. So, I go through this checklist. So, the stress, the thyroid. I’ll be looking at hormone levels, oestrogen. I’ll be looking at menopause. Many women find that as their hormone profile changes, then they need a bit of help with that.

And probably another handbrake is a lot of women and men are, in very good faith, taking a variety of supplements perhaps that they bought from the supermarket or chemist, that they think are really doing good things. But many of those may contain very poor quality raw materials. They may contain really inadequate levels of the active ingredients. Some of them may not even contain what they say on the label. So, that is an area that I also look at, the supplements that people are taking. Are any of them having a potential interaction with their pharmaceutical medicine? Are those supplements appropriate for them? So, that can also be problematic because whatever you put into your body, and a lot of those are synthetic, made in a lab and they’re synthetic, and the body has to metabolise those and break those down as well.

Hannah:

Yeah. Yeah.

Laura Cini:

So, there’s a lot of handbrakes and I suppose, I want to be really positive here for your listeners in that, if you’re doing what you consider the right things and you’re exercising and you’re eating well, and you’re still not shifting the body fat, it may be a handbrake.

Hannah:

That is a little bit out of your control at this point, or you just don’t know about.

Laura Cini:

Yeah. You may not even know about it. So feel, I suppose, positive that there’s a lot of angles that need to be looked at.

Hannah:

Yeah. Exactly. It’s not just that the exercise and the healthy eating isn’t working, so you should just throw it out and go back to being a couch potato. Yeah. And I know we’re really only, as I mentioned before, we’re really only scratching the surface here. And I know that even I’m like, “Oh, can we stop and we dig into that. I want to know specifics here.” And we’d probably need about 15 different podcasts on just one topic to get through it. But for listeners out there, we’re actually running a face-to-face workshop with Laura at our Moonah studio on Saturday, the 4th of September from 10 till 11:00 AM, which is actually going to focus entirely on sustainable weight or fat loss. And this will be interactive and educational and fun, we promise.

So, if you are keen to dive into this topic a little bit more, get a little bit more into the practical application, either reach out to us at info@burntheory.com.au, or download the BurnTheory app, head to explore and workshops, and we can book that one in. So, there’s heaps of options out there, guys, that particularly Laura has put out there, free content for you to continue to educate yourself. And obviously, as I mentioned before, our workshop at the Moonah studio on Saturday the 4th. Now, you’ve mentioned a couple of things, Laura, but how can listeners get in contact with you?

Laura Cini:

Yeah, sure. So, feel free to … My website is my full name. So, L-A-U-R-A-C-I-N-I wellness.com. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook, there at Laura Cini Wellness. And I post a lot of free content on there if your listeners are interested. I also do generally a radio interview for local ABC Radio about once a month. And for example, I spoke about intermittent fasting and weight loss early this week, on that show. So, details are usually on my Facebook or Instagram site about those. So yeah, reach out and connect. That would be great.

Hannah:

Yeah. Perfect. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Laura. I really appreciate your time. I love chatting to you and I’m really looking forward to getting into our next podcast episode, which will be all about energy, guys. So, stay tuned. Thank you.

Laura Cini:

Thanks so much, Hannah.

Hannah:

Catch you later.

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