Weight Loss Advice by Nutritionist Vanessa Belvedere

5 expert tips for Weight Loss

Our expert Nutritionist Vanessa Belvedere gives you the top 5 tips for weight loss!

Here are the top 5 tips to lose weight and feel great by working smarter not harder. Now let’s get started!

1. Make happy hormones
When we feel good we are more likely to stick to a healthy diet that fuels and nourishes our body. Exercise increases our uptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate our mood, appetite, digestion and sleep (1). Additionally, exercise increases our basal metabolic rate (BMR) moving us closer to an energy deficit which is required for weight loss (2).

2. Portion control
To supercharge your weight loss, combine calorie restriction with your exercise. A reduction of 500-1000 calories per day is recommended for weight loss and to maintain weight loss (3). The easiest way to restrict calories is to practice portion control. Follow these 4 simple rules to perfect your portion control, stabilise your blood sugar levels, keep you full and reduce cravings:
• Fill ¼ of your plate (around ½-1 cup) with carbohydrate-based foods
• Fill ¼ of your plate (around 100-200g) with lean protein
• Fill half your plate (around 1.5 cups) with vegetables and salad
• Consume 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fats with most meals

Choose whole grains that are low GI and high in fibre (oats, brown rice, wholemeal pasta/bread). These foods provide a steady stream of glucose in the blood, keeping you fuller for longer and avoiding low blood sugar leading to sugar cravings (4).

Protein assists with appetite control and requires energy to be converted into fuel raising our BMR, which can contribute to weight loss (5). Aim for around 20g or one palm’s worth of protein with each meal (5).

Vegetables and salad
Vegetables are low in calories and contain dietary fibre (6). They are a powerhouse of antioxidant, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which add bulk to your meals keeping you feeling full. Try to add 1.5-2 cups of low starch vegetables to each meal.

Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, avocado. Try to add a portion with most meals.

3. Pause the processed foods
Processed foods are high in salt, fat, sugar and calories (7) which contribute significantly to your overall daily caloric intake leading to weight gain. Avoid foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce, long ingredient lists, preservatives and colours. Reading food labels is the best way to avoid eating unnecessary calories. Try to eat foods low in sugar with no more than 15g per 100g and aim for foods with less than 120mg of sodium per 100g.

4. Eat every 2-4 hours
Eating regularly spaced meals throughout the day is important for regular protein consumption and may prevent overeating. Pre-plan your meals for the day, ensuring you are fuelling your body at least every 4 hours.

5. Keep hydrated
Dehydration can cause a decline in concentration, exercise performance and be mistaken for feelings of hunger (8). To avoid eating when you are thirsty, make sure you consume enough water by drinking 35-45ml/kg/day (9).

More about Vanessa - Sports & Spinal Nutritionist

Vanessa is a qualified Nutritionist, with a Bachelor of Human Nutrition Degree majoring in Public Health. Vanessa is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia and a certified Sport and Exercise Nutrition Coach.

She specialises in nutrition coaching that teaches the foundations of building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the art of weekly meal prepping (so you've got more time for the fun things in life) and weight loss.

Vanessa can provide nutrition advice that is based on the individual's lifestyle and belief system, as she is a huge believer in one size does not fit all.


1. Wipfli, B., Landers, D., Nagoshi, C., & Ringenbach, S. (2011). An examination of serotonin and psychological variables in the relationship between exercise and mental health. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 21(3), 474-481. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01049.x

2. Singh, M., Dureha, D. K., Yaduvanshi, S., & Mishra, P. (2010). Effect of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on basal metabolic-rate. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(Suppl 1), i26-i26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2010.078725.87

3. Jakicic, J. M., Clark, K., Coleman, E., Donnelly, J. E., Foreyt, J., Melanson, E., . . . Volpe, S. L. (2001). Appropriate intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33(12), 2145-2156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200112000-00026

4. Bazzano, L. A., Hu, T., Reynolds, K., Yao, L., Bunol, C., Liu, Y., ... & He, J. (2014). Effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 161(5), 309-318. doi: 10.7326/M14-0180

5. Symons, Sheffield-Moore, Wolfe, & Paddon-Jones. (2009). A Moderate Serving of High-Quality Protein Maximally Stimulates Skeletal Muscle Protein Synthesis in Young and Elderly Subjects. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(9), 1582-1586. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2009.06.369

6. Eat for Health (2015). Vegetables and Legumes/Beans. Retrieved from https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/vegetables-and-legumes-beans

7. Stuckler, D., McKee, M., Ebrahim, S., & Basu, S. (2012). Manufacturing epidemics: the role of global producers in increased consumption of unhealthy commodities including processed foods, alcohol, and tobacco. PLoS medicine, 9(6), e1001235. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001235

8. Stand, A. P. (2009). Exercise and fluid replacement. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(2), 377-390.

9. Australian Government, Department of Health. Fact Sheet – What are the benefits of healthy eating? Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/sugar-drinks-toc~sugar-drinks-3-fact-sheets~sugar-drinks-factsheet-3-1-benefits-healthy-drinks

Written By Neurological Physiotherapist Alice Latham: Managing Parkinson's Disease with Exercise

Exercise could be the key to managing your symptoms with Parkinson's Disease

Written by Alice Latham, Sports & Spinal's Neurological Physiotherapist. 

Alice works with a range of Neurological patients along with patients with Parkinsons Disease and has seen a positive outcome using exercises prescribed from a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist. 

The positive effects of exercise and physical activity have been widely documented for a variety of health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mental health, cancer and can affect overall mortality (1). Recently the preventative benefit of exercise has been extended to neurodegenerative diseases, such as PD (2).

The cardinal signs of Parkinson’s disease; tremor, Bradykinesia, rigidity and postural instability, primarily impact motor function and walking ability (3). Physical activity can have a positive effect on your mobility, gait pattern, balance and upper and lower limb motor function, these improvements positively impact everyday functions and activities (4).

Getting involved in exercise in all stages of PD but in particular, the early stages of PD has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect. Being sedentary is one of the fastest ways to increase your symptoms. Exercise when intensive has been found to slow down the progression of motor decay, it might delay the need for increasing drug treatment (5, 6, 7).

Forms of physical activity and interventions vary, but the consensus seems to be on activities working on aerobic capacity, mobility, gait pattern, balance, multi-tasking and strength. Furthermore, Activities need to be intensive and completed at a high frequency. Overall activities are best supervised by physiotherapists and trained Exercises physiologists that can assess and tailor a program to your specific needs (8, 9).

If you want to be the best you can be, now is the time to review your exercise program. Exercise should be a long term goal for those with PD, but it often can be difficult to maintain consistency on your own. We are offering the professional assessment, creation and supervision of exercise for people with PD.


What Sports & Spinal can offer: 

  • Specialist Physiotherapy assessment, supervision and guidance
  • Trained Exercise physiology assessment, supervision and guidance
  • Individualised exercise programs
  • 1 hr long Weekly group classes
  • Information giving and signposting
  • Falls assessment and balance intervention
  • Fun and safe environment
  • For all stages of PD
  • Help you to maintain a lifelong exercise
  • Work towards your individual goals

More about Alice Latham

Alice is a UK Qualified Physiotherapist. She has a Sports and Exercise Science degree from Loughborough University and Completed a Masters in Physiotherapy at the University of Southampton. She has experience working in both the acute and community sectors of the National Health Service in the UK, where she developed a range of skills, as well as a specialist interest in Stroke and Neurological rehabilitation as well as elderly care.

Alice is a lover of all things active, getting outdoors and healthy living. She has been involved in competitive sports all her life, competing at national and international levels in Swimming, Running, Netball and most recently Triathlons. She has great interest and passion for rehabilitation, exercise and Pilates.

Alice is available for Physiotherapy appointments at our Kawana location. For more information, visit Parkinson's Queensland >here

Reference list

1) Pate RR, Pratt M, Blair SN, et al. Physical activity and public health: a recommendation from the centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicing. JAMA 1995; 273:402-407.
2) Xu Q, Park Y, Huang X et al. Physical activities and future risk of Parkinson’s disease. Neurology 2010; 75:341-348
3) Jankovic J Parkinsons disease: clinical features and diagnosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychaitry, 2008, 79, 368-376
4) Lauze M, Daneault JF, Duval C. Journal of Parkinson’s disease 6, 2016, 685-698
5) Frazzitta G, Maestri R, Bertotti G, Riboldazzi G, Boveri N, Perini M, Uccelini D, Turla M, Comi C, Pezzoli G, Ghilardi M. Intensive Rehabilitation Treatment in Early Parkinson’s disease: A Randomised Pilot Study with a 2-year follow up. Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 2014. Vol 29, Issue 2, pp. 123 – 131
6) Hirsh M, Farley B. Exercise and Neuroplasticity in Persons living with Parkinson’s disease. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2009; 45: 215-229.
7) Petzinger G, Fisher B, Van Leeuwen J, Vukovic M, Akopian G, Meshul C, Holschneider D, Nacca A, Walsh J, Jakowec M. Enhancing Neuroplasticity in the Basal Ganglia: The role of exercise in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord2010; 25(Suppl 1): S141-S145
8) Allen NE, Sherrington C, Suriyarahchi GD, et al Exercise and Motor training in people with parkinson’s Disease: A systematic review of participant charecterisitics, intervention delivery, Rentention Rates, Adherence and Adverse Events in Clinical Trials. Parkinson’s Disease. 2012. Article ID 854328
9) Keus S, BLoem B, Hendriks E, Bredero-Cohen A, Munneke, M. Evidence based analysis of physical therapy in Parkinson’s disease with recommendations for practice and research. Mov Disord 2007; 22 (4): 451-460

CSM (Clinical Pilates)

At Sports & Spinal we offer top quality Core Strength and Mobility (CSM) classes, these classes are based on Clinical Pilates Exercises.

With an emphasis on core conditioning, breathing and body awareness, our CSM classes are a safe and highly effective way to stretch, strengthen and streamline your body without building bulk or stressing your joints.

CSM classes utilise a variety of exercises that incorporate balance, power, strength and stability. the classes are inspired by clinical Pilates movements and equipment, utilising levers and resistance to promote correct muscular activation patterns, postural awareness and core strength.

Classes Available:

At Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy we offer four different classes.

  1. Beginners Mat CSM

this is a small group class (maximum of 6 participants) suitable for beginners and those new to clinical Pilates exercises. this class runs through fundamental exercises and is a perfect starting point to prepare you for progression into our intermediate and studio classes.

  1. Intermediate Mat CSM

This class is the next step after the Beginner’s course. New exercises are introduced and are progressively more challenging.

  1. Advanced CSM

This class is suitable for those with a good understanding of clinical Pilates-based exercises. These classes include more complex moves and exercise flows to challenge strength and coordination.

  1. Studio CSM

The equipment adds another dimension to mat work and targets areas that can’t be reached with mat work exercises alone. The equipment adds more resistance and therefore increases toning benefits for the entire body. These classes are suitable for beginners with every session tailored to your individual needs.

What makes doing our CSM classes different to a Gym/Pilates Studio?

Our classes are instructed by fully qualified Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists who will utilise their expertise to ensure you maximise your recovery and achieve your goals in a safe, friendly and professional environment. Our therapists can also tailor exercises to help you reach your fitness goals.

Want to book in?

To ensure you get the most out of our classes, it is vital to perform an assessment in rooms to ascertain your goals and tailor a program specific to your needs. During this consultation, you will be shown the equipment and the basics of our classes. You will also be told which class you would benefit most from. If you have an injury or condition, let your therapist know as this will enable them to tailor your program to your individual needs.

Want TWO weeks FREE?

We are pleased to let you know we are now offering 2 weeks of FREE classes when you book in a class initial assessment. This allows you a risk-free period to see if our classes are right for you!

Contact your local clinic to book in your initial assessment today and gain access to 2 weeks of unlimited FREE classes.


Do I get a rebate back from my health fund?

How much will they rebate per class?

Yes and we can do on the spot claiming if you pay as you go. Unfortunately, we won’t know how much you’ll get back until we swipe your health fund card through our hicaps machine. If you’d like to know prior to joining our classes you can call your health fund to enquire.

Depending on whether the class is taken by a Physiotherapist or an Exercise Physiologist the following codes will apply:

560 - Physiotherapy code
502 - Exercise Physiology code

What do I wear to these classes & do I need to bring anything in particular?

When doing our classes wear a singlet or T-shirt and some tights or shorts. Anything you can move freely in and feel comfortable stretching in etc. We don’t wear shoes in our classes so bring along some socks. You’ll need a towel with you and a drink bottle is optional. Everything else you’ll require is supplied for you.

How often should I do your CSM classes?

We suggest doing our mat and/or equipment classes at least once a week, although we do encourage you to commit to a regime for 2-5 sessions a week, whether that be additional classes or a home-based exercise.

I’ve done Pilates Classes before. Do I need to have an initial consultation?

Yes. We like to assess what level you’re at so that you’re definitely going into the right class. If you feel that you know which class you’d like to do just give us a call and we will happily chat with you!

We offer CSM classes at Buderim, Coolum, Chermside, Kawana, Maroochydore, Nambour, North Lakes, Robina, Sippy Downs and Woolloongabba

To check out our time table please click >here

Contact your local clinic to book in for your initial assessment!

Healthy Recipes from a Dietitian: Sesame Crusted Tofu

Recipe designed by Chelsea McCallum. Chelsea is one of our superstar dietitians, and she is passionate
about sharing her love of healthy and simple, yet delicious recipes. Here is one of her favourites below:

Prep: 5 min | Cook: 20 min | Serves: 1


150g firm tofu

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp ginger

1tbsp tamari

1 tsp oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds

½ cup brown rice, cooked

1 small carrot

50g broccoli

50g capsicum


  1. Cut the tofu into 1cm thick steaks and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, ginger and tamari. Add the tofu and allow to marinate for 3 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the carrot and roughly chop along with the broccoli and capsicum, set aside.
  3. Removed the tofu from the marinade. Heat a medium skillet pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, sesame seeds and tofu. Stir-fry for two minutes until the tofu is coated in sesame seeds and set aside.
  4. Add the vegetables to the pan, as well as the remaining marinade. Stir-fry for two minutes until brightly coloured and crunchy. Serve with tofu as well as brown rice.

More about Chelsea - Sports & Spinal Dietitian

Chelsea is passionate about empowering clients to transform their health and prevent chronic disease. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Chelsea has experience in a wide range of nutrition areas such as weight management, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, malnutrition and sports nutrition.

Chelsea works at Sports and Spinal Kawana, Maroochydore, Sippy Downs, NambourNorth Lakes, Chermside. Contact these clinics to book in with Chelsea.

Healthy Recipes from a Dietitian: Beef + Quinoa Bowl  

Recipe designed by Chelsea McCallum. Chelsea is one of our superstar dietitians, and she is passionate
about sharing her love of healthy and simple, yet delicious recipes. Here is one of her favourites below:

Prep: 5 min | Cook: 10 min


150g beef

40g quinoa

1tsp olive oil

50g snow peas

1/2 bunch broccolini

1/2 green capsicum

1/2 red capsicum

1 tbsp soy sauce (salt reduced)

1 tsp ginger


  1. Prepare the veggies. Slice the capsicum into thin strips and trim and halve the broccolini and snow peas.
  2. Prepare the quinoa as per the packet instructions and set aside once cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet pan over medium heat and add the oil, ginger and soy sauce. Once heated through, add the beef and cook for 3-5 minutes each side to ensure the beef is cooked evenly. Remove from the heat and set aside.  Once cooled, slice into strips.
  4. To a medium bowl add 1 tbsp of water and the snow peas and broccolini. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  5. Build the bowl by starting with a bed of quinoa, followed by the remaining ingredients. Serve with coriander.

Chelsea McCallum is a Dietitian at Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy. Chelsea is passionate about empowering clients to transform their health and prevent chronic disease. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Chelsea has experience in a wide range of nutrition areas such as weight management, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, malnutrition and sports nutrition.

Chelsea works at Sports and Spinal Kawana, Maroochydore, Sippy Downs, NambourNorth Lakes, Chermside. Contact these clinics to book in with Chelsea.

Physiotherapy Advice on: Healthy Computer Use

Tips for Healthy Computer Use:

How you use your computer can be a major cause of back, neck and shoulder pain. Poor posture while sitting at the computer, lack of regular breaks and exercise all contribute to the problem. To help prevent back, neck and shoulder injuries when using your computer, here are some simple tips from the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Get Ready...

  1. Always sit in good quality, adjustable and comfortable office chair. Pull your chair close to the desk and adjust the seat height so that your elbows, hips and knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees. Your forearms should be parallel to or sloping down toward the desktop. Your feet should rest flat on the floor - use a footrest if necessary.
  2. Adjust the backrest of your chair to support the curve in your lower back and to help keep you upright when typing. Relax your shoulders.

Get Set...

  1. Sit up straight and position your computer screen at a comfortable viewing distance, generally at arm's length. Keep the top of the screen below eye level and directly in front of you. Don't use your screen positioned to one side.
  2. Don't work from documents flat on the desk. Use a document holder set close to the screen at the same distance from your eyes, or prop your work on a folder between the keyboard and screen.
  3. Ensure your screen is easy to see. Eliminate reflections by adjusting and tilting the screen and ensure there are no light sources directly behind it. Adjust the brightness control to suit.

Go Easy on Yourself...

  1. Don't use a notebook computer for extended periods. If this is unavoidable then check the top of the screen is below eye level, and plug in a mouse and a normal size keyboard.
  2. Limit continuous computer use and take a break every 30 minutes to do some neck, wrist and shoulder stretches. Focus on a distant point to give your eyes a break. Get up and walk around every hour. Change your tasks regularly to alter the load on your body.
  3. Learn to touch type so you don't have to bend your head forward searching for the keys. Alternate between mouse and keyboard by varying your inputting tasks. Learn the function keys and short cuts to reduce the amount of mouse use.
  4. Maintain your general fitness. Keep yourself strong, active and flexible. Manage the stresses of work and study with a balance of exercise, relaxation and other stress management approach.
  5. Take notice of early warnings. If you feel an ache or discomfort in any part of your body, check your posture, take a break and if the pain persists, see a physiotherapist.

Contact your local Sports and Spinal to book in with a physiotherapist to ensure you are keeping a great posture

Don't forget you can book online too! Book Online Icon Sports & Spinal


How Can Our Dietitian Help you?

A Dietitian is an allied health professional who is trained in food and nutrition science. Dietitians have extensive knowledge of the many roles diet can play in health and disease. One of the most important skills a dietitian has is the ability to translate scientific research and language into simple, practical advice that is individualised for each person.

A dietitian can help wide range population groups. The most common and obvious are those trying to lose weight or gain weight. However, there are many other areas where a dietitian can be a very useful source of information and guidance. Some of these include:

  • Individuals with Diabetes: this include Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes (a form of diabetes that may occur during pregnancy).
  • People experiencing gut issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)- this includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, chronic constipation/diarrhoea or Coeliac Disease.
  • Individuals with poor immune function, skin issues, low mood/energy levels which may be related to diet quality.
  • Individuals with osteoporosis or decreasing bone mineral density.
  • People suffering from pain related to Osteoarthritis which may currently be worsened by weight.
  • Assisting people by ensuring adequate cooking and food preparation skills to be able to provide good quality and delicious food!
  • Helping people to re-connect with their own body to assist with mindful eating and a more positive relationship with one’s body.

Your dietitian will collect lots of health and lifestyle-related information from you to ensure they know have plenty of knowledge, which helps them to tailor your personalised recommendations. One of the great aspects of including a dietitian in your health journey is the simple and practical strategies you will walk away with after each session and the accountability which can assist in keeping you on track to reaching your nutrition goals.

If you have any health concerns- big or small, that you think a dietitian could help you to manage, take the first step to improved health!

Sports & Spinal Dietitians:


Chelsea McCallum

Chelsea is passionate about empowering clients to transform their health and prevent chronic disease. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Chelsea has experience in a wide range of nutrition areas such as weight management, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, malnutrition and sports nutrition.

Ricki- Lee Driver

Ricki-lee is passionate about supporting and empowering clients to achieve their health-related goals. Since graduating with an Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Ricki-lee has obtained experience across a variety of sectors including private hospitals, aged care facilities, private practice, and specialist teams. Ricki-lee applies a patient-centred approach to enable clients to overcome health barriers and facilitate diet and lifestyle independence.  Ricki-lee has special interests in adult and childhood obesity, bariatrics and disability.

Blaise Stewart

Blaise completed her Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of the Sunshine Coast and is an Accredited Practising Dietitian registered with the Dietitians Association of Australia. Blaise prides herself on developing individualised achievable goals to foster long term health behaviours using evidence-based nutrition science, advice and support. Blaise also has a keen interest in sports nutrition and can help athletes or everyday gym goers increase health as well as optimise their performance and recovery. Blaise can assist with: Chronic pain & Inflammation, Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Disease, Digestive Health, Adopting a Mediterranean Diet and Sports Nutrition.

Sally Livock

Sally has extensive experience in private practice having built a large private practice on the Sunshine Coast over the past 25 years. She has developed specialist skills in the management of Eating Disorders-working closely with CYHMS, EDOS and specialist teams, and Bariatrics –having worked as the dietitian in a large Bariatric practice for the past 15 years. Sally has also developed a client-centred counselling approach to the management of weight loss, diabetes, and chronic disease.

Contact your local Sports & Spinal to book in!