At the peak of her career as one of Manila’s top fashion models, Nicolette Bell became restless and left the Philippines.
In 2006, she joined Emirates Airlines to travel and see the world, and was based in Dubai for eight years. Then she moved to California, where she worked for a lighting company and became the head of sales and marketing.
Nicolette decided to move to London in 2017 so she could be near her sister and family. It was in London where she met and fell in love with Daniel, and at 40 gave birth to their son Benjamin.
After giving birth to Benjamin, she decided to build a new career as a nutrition and lifestyle coach. Nicolette is a graduate of The Coaching Academy (TCA), which is London-based and recognized as the World’s Largest Organization for coaches. She will also receive her Nutrition diploma next month from the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS), which is based in Ireland.
Asked what made her decide to become a nutrition and lifestyle coach, she immediately replied: “I’ve always been interested in health and fitness, but I started to delve more deeply into it when my lifelong dream of becoming a mother turned into reality. It wasn't easy at 40; I needed to be healthy and ready for the sake of my baby. My lifestyle had to be drastically changed, from my diet, exercises and routine, especially the kind of food I would be eating.
Nicolette continues, “I started reading books about nutrition and slowly they filled up my small library and most importantly, my thoughts. As I was reading them, it overwhelmed me to know the benefits they bring into our bodies. Thus, I decided to pursue a diploma in Nutrition to make my knowledge lasting and permanent.”
As a nutrition and lifestyle coach, Nicolette would tell her clients to work on their mindset first, and then slowly start eating healthier by creating new healthy habits.
Losing weight, according to Nicole, is relatively simple and there really is no “secret formula.” As a nutrition and lifestyle coach, Nicolette would tell her clients to work on their mindset first, and then slowly start eating healthier by creating new healthy habits.
Read on as Nicolette shares with us her top 10 pieces of advice for weight loss:
How ready are you to make changes in your health? How committed are you to losing weight and what are you willing to sacrifice? And then, set realistic goals with a deadline. A goal without a date is just a dream.
In trying to lose weight, one to two pounds a week is realistic, as this doesn’t cause too much stress on you, physically and mentally. Knowing your “why” — the reason you want to change — will also keep you motivated all throughout the journey.
Eat a rainbow
I love challenging my family and friends to eat a rainbow every day by ticking all the colors every day if possible: red (tomato, red cabbage), orange (orange, sweet potato, pumpkin), yellow (corn, mango), green (broccoli, okra, spinach), blue/purple (eggplant, sweet yam or ube) and white/brown (mushroom, cauliflower).
It’s fun and a “healthy” competition. Adding colorful vegetables and fruits onto your plate helps in losing weight as these are nutrient-dense foods, low in calories, high in fiber and very filling.
Have protein in every meal
Good-quality protein is a very important nutrient for losing weight, as it improves satiety and makes you feel full longer in between meals. Eating a high-protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism while shaving off some calories from your diet, as it may reduce cravings.
Examples of good animal protein are lean chicken breast, lean pork chop, tuna, beef (skirt steak), eggs and cheese. For plant protein: tofu, beans and lentils, green peas and mushrooms.
Prioritize whole grain
Start by swapping processed foods such as white rice, white bread and white pasta for wholegrain. Wholegrain is unprocessed food grain that contains the fiber-rich bran. Some examples are oats, quinoa and brown rice.
A 335-ml. can of soft drink has 33 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 8 1/4 teaspoons. Calories from these drinks do not provide the same satiating effect as nutrient-dense food, thus leading to more cravings and food consumption.
If you like drinking sugar-sweetened drinks, you can swap them for carbonated water with a dash of 100 percent fruit juice concentrate and fruity herbal teas, which will help bring down the calorie intake.
Minimize or eliminate alcoholic drinks, which are “empty calories,” meaning they provide you with calories that have minimal nutrient value. Drink more water! Besides being calorie-free, the benefits are far greater than any other drink I can think of.
Organize your kitchen and have a fridge makeover
Load up on fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits, tinned cans of beans, lentils and peas as these are fantastic sources of fiber, and some healthy protein.
Another way is to hide the junk food or better yet, eliminate them in your house. There’s a study from Cornell University that women who had fruits more visible in the kitchen weighed 13 pounds less and women who had unhealthy food on their kitchen counters weighed an average 20 pounds more.
A client once asked me, “What is the best workout for weight loss?” and my answer was, “The workout that you enjoy the most!” Choose an exercise that you enjoy so it’s more sustainable. Also, schedule them in your calendar and do not cancel; it’s your appointment with yourself.
Combining movement and healthy diet is an effective way to lose weight. One tip I always suggest is to exercise or walk in the morning as the willpower is higher. Also, putting on your workout clothes when you wake up is one habit that can trigger a cue in your brain to work out.
Do you ever wonder why you crave to eat more when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep? Lack of sleep can trigger the ghrelin hormones (I like to call them the “Gremlin Hormones”), which lead to increased hunger. Getting enough sleep increases the leptin hormones, which send signals of fullness to the brain.
Asking a family member to join you in your weight-loss journey, joining a virtual community that shares the same goal, or getting a coach or mentor, will encourage when you want to quit.
Lastly, remind yourself all the time that, “Consistency beats perfection.” Instead of beating yourself up when a day does not go as planned, pause and reflect on how you can make healthier choices next time. Enjoy the journey knowing it will lead to a better you!