Blog

Articles

Cycling 100 miles for Bowel Cancer UK

Today marks the end of April and Bowel Cancer awareness month so although it’s a long way off what better day to mention that I’ll be cycling in the Prudential Ride 100 this Summer and riding to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK.

This charity actively works to help people like me, young people with Bowel Cancer, and funds research which I and others like me benefit from. The ride isn’t until the start of August so it seems a bit early to mention it but it felt like the perfect way to mark the end of this month of awareness.

I won’t manage to get out and train for it – I only have Sunday afternoons off each week and by then getting in a bike is the last thing my body wants to do, so I’m just aiming to make it through the 100 miles in one piece!

If you want to support this amazing charity then there’s a link to my fundraising page below.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nancy-Priston-2019

Whether you want to support it or not please go and check out their info on spotting the symptoms of Bowel Cancer and make sure you know what to look out for – knowledge is power! This disease is treatable if caught early enough 💜🙌🏼

Thank you! Xxx

Fitness and Exercise, Mindset and Motivation

How to Survive the Festive Season

The festive season is well underway now and we’re starting to get in to the season of parties, drinks and over indulging. It can be pretty overwhelming and if you are trying to maintain or lose weight then the prospect of the next couple weeks or so can be quite scary. I’m very much of the opinion that life should be all about balance and you should definitely enjoy the festivities but it doesn’t hurt to have a little plan in place to help you get through it relatively unscathed right?

images-28

So here are a few tips to help keep you on track.

#1 Be kind to yourself and try not to panic

Over-eating on a night out does NOT make you a bad person. Your food or drink choices do not reflect your value as a person so if you have a blip and end up splurging when you don’t mean to, it’s ok. So try to remember to stay positive, even when things don’t quite go according to plan. The festive season is challenging for everyone and there’s no point berating yourself over a few extra mince pies. Practice self-compassion, forgive yourself and don’t let it spoil the festive season. Just pick youself up, dust yourself off and start again. Remember, if you’ve been losing weight you didn’t lose it all in one night and you won’t put it all back on again in one night either!

panic

#2 Choose your battles

Be realistic about how you’re going to handle the festivities. Saying “I’m not going to drink any alcohol at all until the New Year” or “I’m not going to eat any mince pies or chocolates at all” probably isn’t very realistic, but perhaps “I’m only going to drink at Christmas parties” or “I’m not going to eat any mince pies or chocolates at work” might be a bit more doable?

Look at your diary and decide which events are worth relaxing a bit for and having a splurge if you want it – it might be that you decide to enjoy a drink with certain friends or at certain events, and at others you stick to the soft stuff. Use your own criteria to decide which events you want to splurge a bit more at – it doesn’t matter how you decide, the important thing is that it’s worth it to you. One event a week is a good target,  so choose the special events and then don’t worry about them – just look forward to enjoying them guilt-free. Now that doesn’t mean go mad and eat and drink just for the sake of it, but just relax and enjoy having whatever you want to have that day/night.

images-2

#3 Make a plan

If you’ve decided which events to relax and splurge at that naturally means there are some events where you will want to be more careful. Perhaps you’ve decided that you will be more careful at your work-do, but allow yourself to relax at the xmas drinks with the neighbours.  So you have a few options – you can always politely decline to attend – that gets you out of it altogether… but I’m guessing you may well want to be there, so you need a plan.

First thing to remember is that food or drink is not the reason you’re there – the reason you’re there is to share time with people in your life. Focus on the people and the activities rather than the food and drinks.

Simple strategies include ensuring you’ve had something to eat before going to cocktails or drinks gatherings, or ensuring you have dinner plans already in place for afterwards. If it’s a dinner event then just try to make the best possible choices, fill up with veggies and get some protein in, and drink lots of water. If you are drinking alcohol then stick to lighter beers, white wines and other lower calorie drinks and try to avoid sugar-laden cocktails.

download-18

#4 Plan for the problems

Even though you have a plan sticking to it may be easier said than done. Try to think about the possible obstacles in advance. Are buffets your weakness? Do you tend to not eat enough earlier in the meal and then end up over doing it on dessert? Are the canapes your weak point? Or is it the bowls of crisps….

Try to have some alternative plans in place – for buffets commit yourself to one plate of satisfying food only, don’t go back for seconds. Take your time to pick the healthiest options you can and eat them slowly and mindfully. Make a decision before you go not to dip in to the canapes and crisps and ensure you’re not too hungry when you arrive so you’re not starving when they come round. Making an active decision before you even get there will help you to resist them more easily.

download-19

#5 Be sensible and realistic

You have to be realistic about the situations you’re facing. There’s no point planning on just eating carrot sticks all evening at a drinks party – you will fail, no question. So be smart about your strategy and honest about what you can manage. If you have a friend going with you share your plan with them – they might be keen to help you and give you some moral support – it’s a lot easier to say no to those canapes when you’re both refusing them.

download-20

#6 Don’t forget all those other good habits

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you need to forget all those other great habits you’ve developed. So still have a healthy, protein filled breakfast, drink lots of water, keep junk food out of the house, get your daily dose of vitamin D, walk as much as you can, when you’re not out partying focus on good quality sleep, and get to the gym or do a home workout whenever you’re able.

download-22-e1448461193351
download-21-e1448462542995

#7 Celebrate your successes

When you skip that dessert, or stop after that one glass of mulled wine, or avoid the bag of crisps –  celebrate it. It’s so important that you associate positive feelings with these healthy behaviours as that’s how they become habits. Simply smiling sends signals to your brain that something good is happening so giving yourself a big grin when you skip those desserts will already make it easier to do it again in future.

By focusing on the little successes you’ll also feel like you’re making progress. So take the time to make a mental note and congratulate yourself – you deserve it!

images-23-e1448461345311

#8 Learn from the inevitable blips 

As well as little successes there will be little slip-ups too. Don’t panic!

It’s normal, you’re only human! If your plan of no dessert ends up with four mincepies and a dollop of ice cream then it isn’t the end of the world. Try not to dwell on it, just because you had dessert when you didn’t mean to doesn’t mean you need to abandon all hopes of exercising self control over the holidays. Just acknowledge it and think about what you could have done to prevent it? And “being a better person” or “being stronger” and other self-damaging beliefs aren’t the answer – think about actual practical things like were you too hungry that day?  Did you get enough protein in? Could you have filled up with more veggies? Could you have left the table before dessert?

Or maybe you just didn’t realise that you’d be served your favourite dessert that evening – had you known maybe that night would have been one of your splurge nights….

Whatever the issue just acknowledge it, learn from it and move on.

images-24

#9 Adapt!

You’re going to find some things easy, others hard, you’ll have successes and setbacks and you’ll find what works for you and what really doesn’t. So be ready to adapt things if you need to. If the plan works well this year then next year it may still work but your circumstances will be slightly different  – friends may change, your job may change, life moves on so you have to as well. Your strategies will need to adapt but the basic principles will still be the same.  So don’t worry about needing to stick to a rigid plan – flexibility is the key!

download-23

#10 Enjoy and find the joy!

It’s a wonderful time of year to connect and reconnect with friends and family – enjoy it, and find the joy in all the things you do this season. Don’t let worries about food and weight overshadow all your activities – cherish the happy moments.

Enjoy 🙂 xxx

images-26

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’m going out for a curry, so I may as well just forget the diet’….

‘I’m going out for a curry, so I may as well just forget the diet’….🥘

You’re trying to lose weight/fat, you’ve been ‘good’ (ie within your calories) all week, but you’ve got that curry with your friends on Friday night. Well there’s nothing you can do to control that right? It’s going to be a write off, so you may as well just switch off and go full out – I mean the diet is ruined anyway right? So what’s a few more beers and that extra naan?

It doesn’t have to be! You don’t need to avoid social situations, and you don’t need to just totally switch off and go mad either. If weight loss is going to be sustainable for the long term then you need to find ways to manage social events and inevitable take aways and meals out without throwing the towel in every time.

As you can see from above the difference between the two curry options are massive. For most people that 1,301 dinner is still going to take them over their calories for the day BUT it’s a lot more manageable within the context of the week overall. You can easily offset some of those cals with a lighter breakfast and lunch that day, and reducing calories by 100-150 a day for a few days either side (that’s just cutting a snack or a coffee or two out!). Switching from a creamy based curry to a dry, tandoori option, going for plain rice, having one poppadom instead of 4, and switching to a lighter beer means you can still have a really nice meal. You can still drink with your friends if you want to, and you can still have a fab night out without blowing weeks of effort in one fell swoop. And of course you’re probably less likely to want to eat rubbish the next day if you’ve had a few less beers…

Sustainable, long term weight management is about working out ways to compromise and manage social events without them always been all or nothing! So you can still have fun, still eat out, still have delicious food, but still stay on track!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Coping with Xmas Stress

Tuesday Tip: Coping with Xmas Stress 🎄

Stress levels can soar at Xmas, with the pressure of expectations, exchange and excess. Here are some tips to help!

#1 Limit spending

Gift buying and entertainment costs can spiral quickly, so make a budget and limit spending by only taking cash on shopping trips. Make 1 financial decision at a time to avoid losing willpower and overspending. Remember your relationships with friends and family are more important than material objects!

#2 Manage expectations

Wanting things to be perfect can lead to more stress. Dinner being late or a less than perfect xmas tree won’t ruin your day – it may even give you fond memories to laugh about in future! Be realistic with children: they don’t need everything on their list! Xmas is about being together, so plan lots of fun family activities to do.

#3 Take time out

Factor in some time out for yourself – a bath, watching a movie, reading or a walk. You will feel better and be less likely to take your stress out on the rest of the family too.

#4 Don’t fall totally off the wagon

Plan, eat well outside events, stay active – check out my article (link below) for more. If you do find yourself overindulging just remember 1 day of indulgence won’t make you fat, just get back on track the next day and don’t make it a month!

#5 Go for a walk

Studies show physical activity reduces the brain’s response to stress, even more so with other people (by 26%). So try to fit a walk in to your day even if it means walking to work, or school pick up, or just around the block.

#6 Have fun

Laughter is a fab stress reliever. It releases endorphins, boosts circulation, helps muscles relax and reduces physical symptoms of stress. Make sure you have some fun; whether it’s your favourite movie, jokes with relatives, or a fun activity with friends or family.

At the end of the day remember, its just one day, it doesn’t define you or your life. Your friends and family are there all year round and if things don’t go as planned you can always get together in January or Feb instead 🙂

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Convenient, comforting desserts for150 cals or less!

Convenient, comforting desserts for150 cals or less!🍨

If you are trying to lose weight/fat then things like desserts are often one of the ‘easier’ things to cut down on to save calories. When I say easier I mean it’s an easily identifiable part of your diet which you can choose to either consume or avoid, not that it’s necessary an easy habit to change.

But there’s no reason you have to give up dessert to lose weight as it ultimately comes down to whether you’re in a calorie deficit. However as many desserts are 400 cals or more and will be on top of whatever your main meal is it’s very easy to rack up extra, unwanted calories.

However sometimes we just need or want a dessert and we may also not have the time to put together something from scratch. So if you do fancy a pud, but want to stay within your calories then here are a selection of lower calorie options. I can vouch for all of these being delicious too (especially the oppo cheesecake!). They’re also all very convenient – which helps when we’re all busy rushing around!

This list is by no means exhaustive – but it’s just a range of sow of the options out there.

Muller chocolate fix – Mint choc – 97 cals

Ambrosia rice pudding – 147 cals

Coconut collaborative choc pots – 100 cals

Muller corner – 105 cals (varies with flavour)

Oppo Sicilian lemon cheesecake – 150 cals

Alpro dessert moments chocolate hazelnut – 100cals

Coconut collaborative double chocolate paradise pots – 150 cals

Pots & co mango and passion fruit pot – 150 cals

So you can still have your pud and enjoy it without worrying it’s going to derail your progress!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: No Excuse

Tuesday Tip: No Excuse 🚫

At this time of year it’s easy to find excuses to ditch healthy eating or fitness plans . But most excuses don’t really cut it and here’s why:

# 1 Too Busy

We’re all busy with work, family etc, but that’s no excuse to eat badly. A lower cal dinner takes the same time as ordering a takeaway. Make life easier by buying bulk frozen veg, healthy ready meals or soup.

# 2 Bad day

After a stressful day it may seem like a takeaway/glass of wine etc will make it better. But it will only make you feel guilty, bloated and more stressed. If you’re an emotional eater find a non-food way to deal with your feelings e.g. exercising,  calling a friend, or watching a movie. 

# 3 I deserve it  

It’s tempting to reward yourself for your workout / work performance / weight loss with a “treat”. You do deserve a treat, but don’t celebrate with calories, have a non-food treat instead e.g. massage

# 4 Genetics

Why bother starting a diet when it’s in your genes to have a big bum or muffin top? While genes do determine where and how easily fat is stored, you’re not powerless to shift those pounds! Research suggests that regular exercise outweighs the effects of “fat genes”. 

# 5 Diets don’t work for me 

If diets leave you lacking energy, or you’ve never achieved results, it’s probably the approach that’s the problem. Fad diets, or cutting food groups etc aren’t sustainable. Instead, adopt a sensible, balanced approach focussing on a calorie deficit. 

# 6 Slow metabolism

Some people do have a slower than expected metabolism but the variation is small. You might need slightly fewer calories to lose fat but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Plus regular exercise to build muscle will increase your metabolic rate. 

# 7 I’ll start after X, Y.. Z

Rather than putting off your diet until tomorrow or after a big event start right now; at the next meal. Remember, a little blip isn’t the end of the world, put it behind you and carry on.  

# 8 I love food

You don’t need to make yourself miserable and eat things you hate to lose weight. You can have everything you’re having right now; just less of it! 

If you need any help or advice just ask me! Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Why you shouldn’t eat back your exercise calories….

Why you shouldn’t eat back your exercise calories…. 🏃🏼‍♀️

Many of us use activity trackers / fitness watches; they’re fab tools to monitor activity and motivate us to get fitter, but they can also cause some issues.

The main issue is the figure they provide for calories burned, particularly when linked to food logging apps. Apps like myfitnesspal give you a daily calorie target or budget to spend, based on your current stats, goals and activity levels. If you have a tracker linked then it automatically adds any calories burned to this figure e.g if your goal is 1700 cals and you burn 500 cals in spin it gives you 2200 cals to ‘spend’ (eat).

Great! So you can eat more right? Wrong! You shouldn’t be eating back those exercise calories. Aside from the fact that you have already accounted for your activity level in the daily calorie goal, the main issue is that the tracker is overestimating calories burned. Recent studies found that, despite being pretty accurate for heart rate readings, devices overestimated calories burned by 27 – 93% ! If we assume a 40% error rate you can see on the graph how much it overestimates (blue is actual burn, red is the tracker reading) e.g. a long walk burns 1500 cals on the tracker, but if you ate those back you’re actually over eating by 300 and 1450 cals!

This is why if you’re eating back those exercise calories you could easily wipe out the calorie deficit. Best-case, it slows progress, worst-case you overeat and put on weight. Also, as you get leaner and fitter the calories burnt in general activity and exercise decreases, so you’re burning even fewer calories than the device is reporting.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t record workouts and steps; it’s a great way to look at your relative effort and fitness. Use them as a way to encourage more activity but not as a reason to eat more. In the paid version of myfitnesspal you can choose not to add those extra calories, or simply un-link your tracker so it no longer gets that info.

So if you workout as a way to increase your calorie expenditure, that’s fine, just don’t eat back those calories, as it defeats the entire point of increasing activity in the first place.

🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Why Wait?

Tuesday Tip: Why Wait? 🤗

The festive season is rapidly approaching which is fun but also a time when eating and drinking can take priority over getting to the gym and watching calories.

We inevitably start to slack off over the next 4-6 weeks – often because we’ve convinced ourselves that once we get through the festive period and things ‘settle down’ we will refocus on our diet and exercise and lose weight then, usually in January.

But once we’ve got this mindset we often lose all control, eating and drinking as much as possible… because it’s Christmas right?! On average we put on between 2-5 pounds over the festive period. So when the festivities are over we’ve got that extra weight to lose on top of whatever we wanted to lose already.

Once the New Year hits we are all filled with motivation for the first few weeks, but then enthusiasm wanes and by February we’ve not really progressed towards our goals. This false belief that we will start on those weight/fat lose goals once Christmas and the New year are over is part of what leads us to over eat in the run up. It’s almost like we think there’s no point even trying to watch what we’re eating or start a new fitness regime during the holidays.

The thing is, there will always be something that makes it ‘difficult’ – in the New Year there will be other things making our lives busy or stressful, or other reasons to drop those goals. So why give in? Why not make a decision to start now? Just like you don’t need to start on a Monday, you don’t need to wait until the New Year to set some fitness or fat loss goals. Yes of course it could be tough at times but if you’re already committed to starting the process then you’re far less likely to put on excess fat which means instead of moving away from your goals you will be moving towards them!

So what are you waiting for? If you want to lose fat or improve your fitness start today! If you need any help just ask! 🤗

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xxx