Susie Burrell's diet tips for busy lives

Seven years in Wollongong was enough for Susie Burrell to get hooked on maintaining an active lifestyle.

The nutritionist, weight loss expert and author grew up in western Sydney and moved here to complete her degrees in nutrition and psychology at the University of Wollongong.

Burrell admits keeping active didn't seem important to her before moving to Wollongong.

"It taught me the importance of activity in life," Burrell says of living in Wollongong, adding that during her time here she also worked with the Wollongong Hawks and the St George Illawarra Dragons.

"In a place like Wollongong you experience it [fitness] more because people aren't as rushed [as in Sydney]," she says.

"Down at the beach, it's naturally a lifestyle that's conducive to keeping fit because people spend more time outdoors."

Burrell, who has been operating a nutrition practice in Sydney for 12 years, stresses that successful diets are about lifestyle as much as fitness and food.

In her third book, The Monday to Friday Diet: Lose Weight and Enjoy Your Weekend, Burrell looks at weight loss in a pragmatic way, accommodating for the fact that modern life is extremely busy and weekends are to relax and enjoy.

"People are overwhelmed by their daily commitments and health and fitness seem to drop lower on the priority list," she says.

Even for the time-poor, planning ahead, knowing your limits and learning how to compensate when you've indulged is all that's needed to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Burrell's Monday to Friday diet includes training days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Saturday is the day to plan for the week ahead.

Most of Burrell's clients are mums and business managers, so she saw there was a need to present a diet that would fit in with busy lives.

"The first thing is to make sure you compensate - if you go out and have cake or alcohol, you need to compensate it with more exercise," she explains.

"And people need to factor in quality exercises. Many people don't do it at the right intensity to get the accelerated heart rate and metabolism boost."

Simple things like walking to get lunch and having soup for a meal make all the difference.

Burrell's diet even includes breakfast soup, which was inspired by a mum whose son suffered coeliac disease and needed a nutritional breakfast.

"I'm not a chef and I don't enjoy meal preparation a lot," Burrell says. "Most of my recipes can be described as 'throw them together' ones.

"I prefer recipes with five or six ingredients - I freak out when I see a recipe with about 12 ingredients."

Burrell says fresh food, especially vegetables and salads, are key to the diet, and super foods include blueberries, walnuts and fish.

The Monday to Friday Diet also provides hints on making the right food and exercise choices and preparing for social situations.

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