At AJ Physio, we believe in an integrated approach to ensuring your overall health. Our clinical services are complemented by exercise classes and dietary planning to help you achieve your health and lifestyle goals. The way we eat, the foods we choose and our internal health play a large role in our energy levels, weight, fertility and overall wellbeing. Unfortunately with our ease of access to information and so many apparent ‘nutrition experts’ these days it can be overwhelming to understand what you should be eating.
AJ Physio’s dietitian, Marika Day, can help you navigate through the constantly changing nutrition information. She keeps up to date with the latest nutrition research and provides an evidence-based approach to nutrition considering the pros and the cons for each individual. Marika has a strong passion for finding a solution for your problem.
Marika strives to understand you as a whole and what factors might be influencing your nutrition and diet choices. She understands that we are all individuals in the way our bodies work and will help find the best diet for you. If you are frustrated, confused or unsure about how best to eat for your lifestyle, condition or situation, Marika will seek to understand and provide you with a solution to your problem.
Marika can provide guidance on a diverse range of dietary issues. In particular, she has extensive experience working with a number of gut-related pelvic issues for women and men such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Constipation, Erratic Bowels, and Gut-Related Pelvic Pain. She also treats a number of women’s health issues including Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Low FODMAP diet and other gut-related conditions.
- Suffer from Pelvic Pain or Interstitial Cystitis and want to know if diet can help?
- Experience gut issues – Bloating? Erratic bowels? Stomach cramps after eating?
- Experience hormonal Issues such as Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Thyroid Dysfunction?
- Think poor gut health might be contributing to low immunity, low mood or other health issues?
- Struggle with emotional eating when you are stressed, bored, or had a bad day?
- Are you unsure about how best to eat for your body to achieve your goals?
- Have difficulty losing weight or sticking to a diet long term and need some support and accountability?
- Have food intolerances and feel unsure and restricted with food?
- Want to get back to your pre-baby weight whilst keeping your baby and yourself nourished?
- Worry your acne might be related to food and diet?
- Feel unsure about how best to eat for your condition? e.g. Coeliac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Diverticular Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
If so, please come in to see Marika for an assessment. Make an appointment online today.
Marika completes a comprehensive and holistic assessment of your health, diet, lifestyle, symptoms and history. She considers all factors that play into the way you eat, the symptoms you experience and the foods you choose. If you have any recent blood tests or relevant scans and results she will request you bring these along to your initial consultation. Marika may also request additional blood or other testing from your Doctor. Marika works with her clients to develop a customised plan that is appropriate to their lifestyle, health, personal preferences and goals. This may include meal plans, recipes, educational material, supplements or strategies to incorporate into your day. She will provide you with strategies to monitor your progress and recommend the appropriate follow up, accountability or support that is likely to lead to the greatest success.
IBS & Constipation, Bloating and Diarrhoea
Suffering from bloating, gas constipation or diarrhoea? You may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is experienced by between 8-16% of people worldwide and is one of the most common complaints experienced by Marika’s clients. IBS can be debilitating impacting your social life, work life and confidence.
- Pain and cramping
- Foul smelling gas
- Food intolerances
What causes or triggers IBS?
The exact cause of IBS is unknown but it thought to be related to:
- Gut-brain axis dysfunction
- Microme dysbiosis
- Food intolerances
What to do if you think you have IBS?
While there is no cure for IBS however most people can experience significant improvement in symptoms or total symptom relief with nutrition and lifestyle management. There is no blanket treatment approach to IBS, unfortunately what works for one person may not work for the next and creating an individualised treatment plan for you and your specific symptoms and triggers is necessary.
Common strategies include:
- Fibre & Fluids
- Low FODMAP diet
- Improve digestion
- Stress and lifestyle management
- Probiotics and supplementation
Marika works with you to find out the contributors to your symptoms and will tailor a plan for you which will help to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce symptoms
- Normalise bowel movements
- Identify food triggers through an elimination process
- Restore a healthy gut microbiome
Make an appointment with Marika Day – Book Online
Endometriosis & Chronic Pelvic Pain
Endometriosis and some Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) conditions can be associated with higher inflammatory markers. These conditions are common, with endometriosis affecting 1 in 10 women and CPP affecting 1 in 5. Sydney Pelvic Clinic believes in integrated, holistic management that reduce inflammation and optimise nutrition over the long term.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis/Pelvic Pain?
- Pelvic pain, either cyclical or non-cyclical
- Pain during sex
- Infertility or hormonal imbalance
- Heaving bleeding
- Bladder dysfunction, including frequency, urgency or pain
- Bowel dysfunction
- Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, bloating
How can nutrition and lifestyle management help?
- Reduce gut symptoms including normalising bowel movements and reducing abdominal pain
- Improving and diversifying gut bacteria
- Improve gut-brain axis
- Reduce inflammation
- Identify any trigger foods
- Improve stress, anxiety and sleep
- Supplements to assist in symptom reduction and improved health
If you suffer from Endometriosis or Chronic Pelvic Pain and feel your diet might be contributing to symptoms, Make an appointment with Marika Day – Book Online
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects 12-18% of women of reproductive age. Put simply, PCOS is the result of a hormonal imbalance, which prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. A large proportion of PCOS sufferers will experience symptoms like weight-gain, acne, fertility difficulties or infertility, excess hair growth on their body and face and scalp hair loss.
Marika can help you:
- lose weight or prevent weight gain
- improve symptoms of PCOS including irregular periods, acne and excess hair
- increase fertility and prepare for a healthy pregnancy
- manage your nutrition and blood glucose levels
- reduce long-term health risks such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
While eating well, exercising regularly and losing weight are particularly important, other lifestyle factors also play a part. Stress, lack of sleep and smoking may also factor. Excess alcohol and other harmful chemicals in the environment may also influence your risk. Marika will develop a plan with you to help improve your exposure to harmful chemicals, help you manage stress and make changes to your diet and lifestyle to improve your symptoms and fertility.
Nutrition for Fertility
Eating a diet that promotes optimal fertility and nutrition for pregnancy is important for everyone trying to conceive but especially those who may be struggling with fertility. Polycystic ovary syndrome, cigarette smoke, alcohol, coeliac disease, emotional stress, exercise and other factors may play a role in your ability to fall pregnant. What is considered healthy for the average person may not necessarily be ideal when trying to conceive.
Marika can help you:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Optimise fertility
- Improve the chances of falling pregnant
- Follow a diet which promotes optimal hormone balance and fertility
- Ensure adequate nutrient intake for fertility and conception
- Advise on supplementation
- Improve the chances of having a healthy baby
- Clarify confusion around soy, dairy and other controversial foods in pregnancy and fertility.
Make an appointment with Marika Day – Book Online
Weight Loss & Emotional Eating
We are constantly bombarded with information regarding our weight and how to achieve the ideal weight. So much so that it can become confusing and overwhelming and leave you in a place of wanting to give up. Marika recognises weight and emotional eating is a sensitive topic for many. She has worked with many clients and understands the daily struggles and emotional battles faced by many.
The key to sustainable weight loss is to find an approach that doesn’t feel restrictive and is easy and enjoyable. Marika doesn’t promote a one-size fits all approach and works with you to understand what has contributed to your weight and how to address the root cause. She will provided you with a structured program, education, individual goals and the support you need to help you shift the excess weight for good. Marika considers all facets of your lifestyle including sleep, stress, emotional eating and eating habits to create a comprehensive program for you to create new healthy habits.
If you are struggling to achieve and maintain a healthy weight get in contact for an assessment to see how Marika can help you live healthily and happily – Book Online
Acne is the most common skin disease affecting 85% of Australians aged 15-24, however women are more likely to suffer from adult acne. Hormonal changes in women related to pregnancy, coming off or starting the oral contraceptive pill or PCOS can cause acne in some women.
There are a number of lifestyle factors that can affect acne including stress, diet, weight and unmanaged conditions like PCOS.While not all acne is caused by diet, Marika can educate you on how to eat a diet which:
- Improves gut health and reduces inflammation
- Optimises nutrition for skin health
- Incorporates key nutrients and foods for skin health
- Avoids foods which may worsen acne
- Balances hormones related to acne
- Helps you identify any food triggers
Marika will also discuss supplements that may actually assist in acne management to save you time and dollars on multiple products. Make an appointment with Marika Day – Book Online
Coeliac Disease is a condition where the immune system reacts abnormally to the presence of gluten in the diet. Currently, the only treatment for Coeliac Disease is a 100% gluten free diet, even small crumbs and traces of gluten can cause intestinal damage.
Coeliac disease that is not diagnosed or treated effectively can lead to:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Increased risk of some cancers
Being a coeliac herself, Marika is an expert in the area of coeliac nutrition. She can help you transition to a gluten free diet, healthy eating gluten free, restoring nutrient deficiencies and provide you with advice on living a gluten free life. Make an appointment with Marika Day – Book Online
Why does my stomach feel bloated?
There are many reasons why you may feel bloated after eating or even on waking. These include IBS, medical conditions like coeliac disease, constipation, food intolerances, stress, sleep and even eating habits. If bloating is affecting your day to day life, there are many strategies that can be used to alleviate or improve your symptoms and your quality of life. Marika has worked with clients suffering from IBS for 5 years and has many diet and lifestyle strategies that will help improve your digestion and reduce bloating as well as help you exclude more sinister causes of bloating.
I am confused with what I should be doing with my diet?
Everyone seems to be a nutrition expert these days and everyone is promoting a different diet, so it is easy to see why you feel confused or even overwhelmed by nutrition. One of the best things you can do if you feel overwhelmed or confused about nutrition is to focus on one thing at a time. Most of the time we jump ship from strategy to strategy as soon as we see someone recommending the next new diet. Finding someone you trust who can educate you and support you to be consistent with a diet that suits you is essential if you feel overwhelmed with information. Marika spends a great deal of her time keeping up to date with the latest nutrition research and is able to help guide you through the sea of information out there and help you find the approach that is best suited for your lifestyle.
How many sessions do I need to see a dietitian for?
This will depend on what you are visiting for and how much support you would like or need on your health journey. Generally speaking a minimum of three sessions are required to provide you with the follow up and adaptations to your diet based on the progress or outcomes you see. Marika sees some of her clients weekly while others are only seen monthly – it all comes down to how much support and guidance you need to make the changes you wish to make. There is no right or wrong, good or bad number of sessions, what is the right number of sessions for you may not be the same for another.
Why are my energy levels low?
There are many health and medical conditions that can contribute to low energy levels and fatigue. From a diet and lifestyle perspective inadequate calories, poorly timed carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates, inadequate nutrient intake as well as stress, sleep and lifestyle factors can all play a role on your energy levels throughout the day. Marika can provide a full assessment to determine if dietary factors may be contributing to your fatigue and also guide you in the direction for further investigations if required.
I know how to eat healthy and how to eat better for my condition but I just can’t motivate myself to do it - how do I actually stick to something?
Most of the time when we are struggling to stick to something that we know will improve our health it is because we are approaching it with the wrong mindset. We are thinking that we must follow this perfectly otherwise there is no point following it at all. This is not the case. One of the strategies Marika teaches is gradual implementation of any diet. A step by step approach means you aren’t overwhelmed by change all in one week. You can create lasting habits that don’t actually require motivation to stick to, it will become part of the way you live your life. “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good”.
What sort of diet is best for weight loss?
There is no one diet that will be the best weight loss diet for everyone. Time and time again the research has shown that the best weight loss diet is one that is sustainable for you, one that you can stick to for life without it feeling like a burden. Marika does not follow a single dietary approach to weight loss. She collaborates with you to find an approach that is sustainable for you in the long run, that helps to improve your health, not damage it. Many weight loss diets focus on short term results at the detriment of long term health and can actually cause excessive weight gain in the long term. This is why finding an approach that is sustainable for you is essential if you want to lose weight AND keep it off for life.
Will an anti-inflammatory diet improve my pain?
Possibly, an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce systemic inflammation which contributes to pain in the body. Diet is usually not the root cause of pain and may not completely elevate pain but if improving your diet can even reduce pain by 20% it is worth a try. Plus, there are no side effects to a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
Do I need to take supplements?
Supplements are, as the name suggests, there to supplement the diet, not replace the diet. In some individuals and some conditions supplementation may be required. Marika’s approach is very much a ‘food first’ approach whereby nutrients should ideally be obtained from foods. However for some it is not possible to reach the therapeutic dose required for their condition or need without supplements and there are certain situations where supplements are recommended regardless of the diet e.g. pregnancy or in a vegan diet. Marika will discuss with you the supplements that may complement your nutrition therapy. She takes a scientific approach to supplements using them in the situations they are required rather than prescribing multiple supplements without evidence to back their use in that situation or condition. Should you choose to take additional supplements Marika can discuss with you the safety of these supplements to ensure you are only improving your health.
How do I stop emotional eating?
Emotional eating isn’t just sitting watching chick flicks eating ice cream. Emotional eating encompasses eating when you’re bored, tired, stressed, or happy and not all emotional eating is bad. It is when emotional eating becomes a habit that we really need to address it. That is, when food becomes natural way of dealing with difficult feelings whether that be boredom, stress or loneliness without even recognising the true motivation or reason for eating. To stop emotional eating one must first become aware of when they emotionally eat and why. Marika uses many behavioural and psychological strategies to assist her clients in understanding their underlying reasons for eating as well as provide them practical strategies to move away from food as a way to deal with emotions.
My colonoscopy and gastroscopy was clear but my symptoms are unbearable - what now?
The only thing more frustrating than getting a diagnosis is not getting one and being left unsure and confused about your symptoms. IBS is a functional gut disorder meaning there is no physiological or chemical signs of disruption to the system, but still you get very real symptoms. This is where dietary and lifestyle approaches become the key strategy. Marika will work with you to identify the underlying causes of your symptoms and assist in developing a plan to improve them.
Is there a difference between Dietitian or Dietician?
The only difference here is the spelling. Dietitian is typically used in Australia and the UK while Dietician is used more in the USA. Whether someone is qualified as a dietitian or dietician usually doesn’t mean there is any difference in the qualification, just a difference in their location or spelling preference.
Diet / Nutrition Links
- Mamamia.com.au – Food For Endo Management
- Monashfodmap.com – I have IBS
- Pelvicpain.com.au – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Jean Hailes – Healthy Eating For Two