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

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Fake News

Tuesday Tip: Fake News 📰

We’re all busy, we almost all have smart phones, and there’s so little time in a day that it’s very easy to just scroll through facebook or Instagram for information and it’s all too tempting to take it at face value.

But according to a recent survey social media is the no. 1 source of nutrition and fitness misinformation.

There is zero control over what people put up on social media – design a funky graphic, tap in to a common fear or desire, and you can pretty much say anything and some people will believe you – eggs are bad, eggs are good, eggs cure cancer, eggs cause cancer… eggs contain lysozyme! (Long word, sounds scary, must be bad…… it’s not 😆) … I could go on!

That’s not to say you can’t trust anything you see on social media but just be a bit critical of what you see. Anything fear-based, food shaming or more about what not to eat than what to eat, or claiming some incredible effect of a specific food is likely to be something to be wary of. Social media can be a great source of information but check where that info is from – who is posting it? Are they qualified? Do they have a fitness or nutrition qualification? Are they quoting scientific, peer-reviewed, studies to back up their claims? Are they trying to sell something – if so that’s often a red flag, or at least a reason to investigate a bit more.

In general it’s mostly about balance and moderation – yes we can make grand claims about the awful effects of one food, or the amazing benefits of another – but it usually comes down to quantity. Having a takeaway once a week – not that bad, having it for 2 meals every day – probably not a great idea!

So be critical guys – it’s your body, read the advice, question it, ask for more info if you want – go and do a pubmed search online and find the research…. and yes I’m totally aware of the irony in me posting this on social media, but I’m very happy to chat through the research behind anything I post, and engage in healthy debate about it – any time!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Combat Slowing Metabolism

Tuesday Tip: Combat Slowing Metabolism 💪🏼

I am often asked how to combat a slowing metabolism as we age. Metabolism (basal metabolic rate – BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to carry out basic bodily functions at rest (breathing, circulating blood, cell repair, hormone balancing etc). Contrary to popular believe your metabolism doesn’t slow down as you age. What actually happens is that physical activity reduces and lean muscle mass is lost. This means a lower BMR giving the effect of a slowing metabolism. So how can you prevent this happening and keep your metabolism firing?

# 1 Be more active

Work activity in to your day – walk more, stand more, try new classes/exercises etc.

# 2 Resistance training

It’s important to build and maintain muscle so ensure you are doing some resistance training in the form of a class (e.g. pump) or in the gym itself.

# 3 Avoid fad diets

Extreme dieting can cause a down regulation in metabolic rate which can persist for years after the dieting ends. Cutting calories is fine but do it in a steady and sustainable way, in conjunction with physical activity, to help preserve muscle mass.

# 4 Find your motivation

Find what motivates you; is it the form of exercise? the social aspect of classes? the feeling of getting stronger? fitting in to your jeans? being able to run around with your children or pets? Whatever it is find that thing that keeps you going – write it down and keep it somewhere you can see it.

# 5 Get good habits

Find some healthy habits that work for you; track your food, exercise regularly, find alternatives to eating when you’re stressed (adult colouring books, reading, a bath etc), and measure your progress. Studies show those who measure their progress regularly are more likely to lose fat and keep it off long term.

# 6 Get hungry

Listen to your hunger signals and learn how to tell when you’re really hungry vs bored/emotional. A little hunger is a good thing; train your body to recognise actual hunger, Practice mindful eating – pay attention to what you eat, and when you eat, to help avoid boredom or stress eating.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Where to start with fat loss

Tuesday Tip: Where to start with fat loss 🏃🏼‍♀️

The weather is becoming milder and it’s the time of year when people start thinking about losing weight and getting back to fitness. Sometimes it can all be a bit overwhelming and it’s hard to know where to start. Here are my top tips to get started.

#1 Decide

It sounds obvious but you have to decide you want to make a change. YOU have to put in the work every day, so this commitment and decision have to come from YOU!

#2 Walk

Walking is a free, easy way to increase your activity right from day one. So don’t wait, don’t even think about it, just get out and walk – even if only round the block!

#3 Have a goal

The goal can be anything but making it something tangible or measureable is best – fitting in to a certain pair of trousers, being able to do X push-ups, managing a 5k run – whatever it is. Write it down and pop it somewhere visible – like on the fridge!

#4 Work out your why

Why do you want to lose fat? What’s driving you? Is it so you can be fit enough to play with your kids? To feel good at an upcoming event? To improve your health and ensure you’re around as long as possible? Find that emotional driver, right it down and pop it on your fridge.

#5 Track your food

How can you make changes if you don’t even really know how much you’re eating anyway? Loads of studies show that people tend to underestimate the number of calories they’re eating by on average 1000cals a day, so take the guess work out and use something like my fitness pal to track your calories and see where you need to make cuts.

#6 Switch to water

An easy, quick way to cut calories is to stop drinking them. Cut the juice, fizzy drinks, sports drinks, booze – switch to water , or zero calorie drinks.

#7 Pay attention

When you eat pay attention to that, not the Tv, or your phone or laptop. Many studies have shown that not paying attention to what you eat increases calories consumed and decreases feelings of fullness. So look at what you’re eating, take your time, chew well, and enjoy it.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: How to stop those binges

Tuesday Tip: How to stop those binges 🍟🍕

We all succumb to binge eating from time to time e.g. those times you eat a tub of ice cream and 2 doughnuts. Lots of things can trigger this eating behaviour, but there are a few things that can help prevent these binges.

#1 Don’t massively reduce your calories.

It’s tempting after a ‘bad’ weekend to drop to eating only 500 cals or live off juice, but that just leads to overeating later. To achieve sustained fat loss you need a moderate caloric deficit, flexibility to enjoy your favourite foods and some activity. You don’t need to cut out food groups, exercise manically or liquidise your food.

#2 Do something productive instead

If you’re an emotional eater (I am – happy – eat chocolate, bad day eat chocolate etc) then try to get your mind off food and do something productive – read, workout, find a hobby, call friends etc.

#3 Don’t label foods good and bad

Some foods are better for us than others, but no food is ‘bad’ – it’s just about how much you have of it. Eat whole, nutritious foods and leave some of your calories for your favorite treats. A diet you can adhere to for the rest of your life is a diet that works.

#4 No cheat days

Cheat days aren’t a good idea; aside from the fact you’re labelling foods and demonising foods as something you have to ‘cheat’ to have, you’re sabotaging yourself. Calling it a cheat day gives you free reign to overeat all day, ruining a week’s progress. Instead enjoy treats as part of your normal diet and if you do have a ‘cheat’ make it a meal not a day.

#5 Remove triggers

If there are certain foods you know will set off a binge then don’t have them in the house. If you can’t moderate the amount of ice cream you have then don’t buy it; have it when you’re out as a treat. Out of sight, out of mind.

#6 Remember how it makes you

Think about how you’ll feel afterwards. You’ll feel bloated, maybe sick, and the next day you’ll feel sluggish, guilty, frustrated, and you’ll continue this spiral of deprivation and overeating and limit your progress etc. Are the consequences worth it?

The best approach is to eat a balanced diet, including foods you love, every day.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Are BCAAs worth it?

Tuesday Tip: Are BCAAs worth it? 🥤

This week’s tip may seem a bit specialist but I’ve had lots of people asking me about these. BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), the supposedly vital pre-workout supplement (usually taken as a drink) which helps muscle recovery and building – are they actually worth taking?

In general – No. Why not?

#1 They don’t build muscle

BCAAs contain leucine, valine and isoleucine, 3 of the 9 essential amino acids for muscle growth/repair. You need all of them, not just those 3. There are also recent studies showing they can actually inhibit muscle growth. Taking them on their own creates competition with other amino acids for absorption, making it harder for the body to use the other “building blocks” to form new muscle tissue.

#2 but…

But “I read that BCAAs increased muscle protein synthesis!” Maybe, but most of these studies have serious limitations, including being conducted by the companies that make them! They’re often compared to water in these studies which isn’t a fair comparison. When compared with other protein sources BCAAs show no benefits.

#3 They don’t reduce muscle soreness.

A recent study showed no reduction in muscle soreness by taking BCAAs which is one of the many benefits proponents of them claim.

#4 They’re empty calories

They’re not zero calories. Think about it – how can they be no calories if they’re amino acids and used for muscle synthesis? Of course they have calories (check the packet!). So you’re taking on extra calories for zero benefit.

#5 They can make you eat more

Recent studies have found BCAAs actually increase your appetite and make you eat more. They also have no impact on fatigue or tiredness. Many reports of this are anecdotal – in most actual studies they have no impact at all.

BCAAs have no nutritional benefits. Unless your diet is devoid of protein, BCAAs will do nothing to help you look better, feel better or perform better. So rather than wasting money and calories on BCAAs just because someone at the gym or on Instagram said they’re ‘vital’ simply have a balanced diet, with normal amounts of protein instead.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: It has to be a priority

Tuesday Tip: It has to be a priority 🙌🏼

You want to lose bodyfat and get fit but you just can’t seem to find the time? I understand that completely – it can be really tough, especially if you’re working, or have a family to look after etc. You don’t have to devote your life to diet and exercise, but unless it’s one of your priorities then you will the sad truth is you will struggle to see any changes.

That doesn’t mean you need to love exercise, it doesn’t mean you need to workout every day for hours in the gym or become a running addict. It doesn’t mean you need to spend your free time meal prepping and eating boiled chicken/tofu and green veg and sipping protein shakes. You don’t need to fall in love with fitness, it helps if you enjoy what you do of course which is why it’s important to try to find exercise you love, but it doesn’t have to be your passion.

It does have to be a priority though. If it isn’t you won’t make time to go and work out, you won’t choose to walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift, you won’t be thinking about what’s on your plate before you eat it, you won’t make changes to what you eat and drink to reduce calories. In short – it won’t work. You have to make a change.

If you’re telling yourself you’re too busy or don’t have time to put any attention on your diet and fitness, then you’re right – you don’t – but that’s not because you don’t want to, it’s because it’s not enough of a priority right now (for what may be very valid reasons). Once it becomes a big enough priority or you choose to make it one then you’ll find you do in fact have time.

The reason you do have time is because it’s not about all or nothing. If all you can manage to do right now is go for a few walks more than you do, and cut your alcohol intake down to 2 instead of 4 days a week – then start there. Something is always better than nothing.

So figure out if you really do want to make the change and if you do start to prioritise it – in any small way you can!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx