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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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

How weight loss actually works….

How weight loss actually works….

Most people measure their fat loss progress by stepping on the scales. The scale can create an all or nothing mentality and can impact not only your happiness but your behaviour. If the scales don’t go down when you’ve been ‘good’ then what’s the point? You may as well throw the towel in and enjoy that cake!

But scale weight isn’t a great measure of progress, mainly because it can’t differentiate between muscle, fat, water or anything else. It just measures the relationship your body mass has with gravity. Sometimes body composition can change without any weight change, e.g. if you gain additional muscle, lose bodyfat and improve hydration you could see minimal weight change. Fat and muscle weigh the same but 1kg of fat is approx 4 times larger than 1kg of muscle, meaning you could very well be smaller and heavier.

Your weight also fluctuates wildly every day. Between morning and afternoon your weight can fluctuate up to 6kg depending on what you eat and drink, and how you exercise. If you drink 2-3 litres of water a day that’s up to 3kg. Then how much do you pee, sweat and breathe out over the day? It’s impossible to measure. Our bodies are mainly water so changes in hydration cause significant weight fluctuations.

In addition a bowel full of food, fibrous or salty meals, and hormonal changes can all influence weight and cause greater daily fluctuations so real change can be hidden. For example, I weighed myself Saturday night, then first thing Sunday and again at 1pm – there was 2kg increase overnight, but a 3 kg loss during Sunday morning! I obviously didn’t put on 2kg overnight or lose 3kg of fat in 6 hours. Depending when I weighed could massively impact how I felt about myself and my progress.

We’re conditioned to focus on weight but instead try to use other measures e.g. items of clothing and how they fit, or cm measurements etc. If you really can’t help stepping on the scales then look at averages over time rather than individual daily variations and focus on trends the long term. 🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein?

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein? 🍗

Protein is all the rage right now – pushes for its ability to aid weight loss, help keep you full, build muscle and added to pretty much everything in the supermarket now! But is it possible to eat too much?

Yes and no!

It’s important to get enough protein – not only is it essential for health (Amino acids in protein are the building blocks for your body), it’s also great at keeping you fuller for longer, but do we really need as much as it seems? The recommended amount is around 0.75g of protein per kg of bodyweight. So if you weigh 65kg you need around 49g a day – a chicken sandwich, porridge with milk, and a veggie chili will give you well over that easily.

Studies do show that higher amounts of protein keep you fuller for longer and there’s also evidence to suggest that higher intakes of protein can help preserve muscle mass when losing weight. If you’re trying to build

Muscle then higher protein is also important(1.2g to 1.6g per kilo).

But…. just because slightly more protein is good that doesn’t mean loads is better.

Studies have shown over 2g per kg brings very little benefit. There’s no way to store protein so any surplus is used for energy – which means of course if you’re consuming more calories than you expend you will store it as fat. Despite scaremongering about excess protein and kidney issues there is little evidence of this in healthy adults. There is evidence though that excess protein causes changes in gut bacteria and digestive issues.

It’s also worth considering what you’re cutting out in order to get extra protein in. If you’re swapping grains for protein you’ll be consuming less fibre which can lead to gut issues.

For the majority of people, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, you’ll be getting plenty of protein. So if you’re reaching for ‘protein’ laden snacks just because you think they’re better then don’t bother, have what you enjoy instead. If you’re adding protein powder to everything just for the sake of it – stop and think whether you really need to. Are you just adding extra calories for the sake of it? As always, balance is key! 🙌🏼

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’m trying to lose weight so I’m avoiding carbs ….

‘I’m trying to lose weight so I’m avoiding carbs ….’ 🍞

There is a common misconception that carbs are inherently ‘bad’ and that in order to lose weight you need to cut them out or avoid them completely. This usually means people cut out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc.

However they continue to eat fruit and veg without thinking twice when many actually contain more carbs. For example compared to a slice of bread a small Banana contains more calories, 3 times as many carbs and 15 times as much sugar! Now that doesn’t make the banana bad either – but why would you avoid the bread if you like it, yet happily eat the banana if you’re trying to avoid carbs?

In reality there is no reason at all to cut carbs from your diet. You can lose weight with or without carbs – it’s all about calories. Now obviously some people have medical reasons to avoid things like bread (coeliacs etc) but for the majority of people these foods are fine. The reason you may see weight loss when cutting these sorts of carbs is simply because you’re reducing your overall calorie intake. However unless you never want to eat carbs again then you’re not really setting yourself up for sustainable, long term weight management.

Obviously different carbs have different pros and cons – complex carbs will keep you fuller longer, whilst simple carbs (fruits mostly) will provide a faster hit of energy, you’ll get different nutrients from the different types too.

It’s important to have a balanced diet – including a range of carbs from bread to fruit. What works for you may not work for someone else and you may prefer to reduce consumption carbs, but it’s important to be informed about what’s actually in the food you’re eating before you make that choice. Cutting out whole food groups is never a sensible or sustainable approach though.

Personally I enjoy all sorts of carbs – from bread, to fruit, to pasta, to potatoes – to doughnuts! Eat the carbs you like and enjoy and just be mindful of the calories! 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Making Habits Stick

Tuesday Tip: Making Habits Stick 🤗

Creating new habits is key to maintaining weight and fat loss. Recent studies have shown it takes an average of 2 -3 months for new habits to stick. So how can you help new healthy lifestyle changes become habits?

#1 Identify your obstacles

There will always be things that make some things harder to change so start by identifying them. If you can identify a bad habit, and what triggers it, you can start to change it e.g. if you tend to indulge in snacks in front of the tv at night then maybe try less tv time, doing something with your hands (adult colouring books, knitting, puzzles, online games etc) or find alternative lower calorie snacks.

# 2 Make new habits easier

How can you avoid the triggers altogether and make the healthier choice the easy one? So if walking past the chip shop is your trigger, change your route home. If you’re trying to avoid chocolate binges on the sofa ensure you don’t buy any on the weekly shop. If you’re trying to workout more then book yourself in to classes, or workout with a friend and have your workout kit in the car or by the door so it’s easy to go and do it!

#3 Set goals

You need goals and the most likely to help you succeed are SMART ones (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based). Tonnes of studies support this so rather than setting a vague goal of ‘eating healthier’ set yourself a goal of eating a proper lunch so you don’t end up snacking on cake mid afternoon. Instead of saying you’ll ‘exercise more’ set the goal of doing two 45 min workouts a week, or walking 20 mins a day etc.

#4 Accountabilibuddy

It helps to know someone else is keeping tabs on your progress. Find yourself an accountability buddy to give you a kick if you start slipping. Also hold yourself accountable by posting your goals publicly on social media or to friends/family, set phone reminders to go to the gym/have lunch/avoid pizza etc. Try writing a list of new habits on a planner and tick off the days you achieve them; visually seeing the progress really helps.

Soon those new habits will become the norm and it won’t seem like an effort anymore!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Chicken is already high protein….

Chicken is already high protein…. 🍗

When it comes to snacking a high protein option can be a good choice – it helps to keep you fuller for longer and more satisfied. This in turn can mean you’re less likely to snack again later or over eat at your main meals and so can help with weight loss or management by helping you stick to your daily calorie goal.

As I’ve said before many brands capitalise on this by marketing their products based on their protein content.

This is a another great example of that marketing. The fridge raider slow roasted chicken bites are marketed as ‘powered by protein’ and yes they make a convenient snack. But they actually only have 12g of protein for 124 cals and are around 91% chicken.

Chicken on the other hand – which is readily available in pre cooked snack size packs – just like the fridge raiders, gives you 16.2g protein for only 79 cals and it’s basically just chicken (98%)! It’s also a lot cheaper too!

So if you’re looking for a meat based protein snack then just save the calories and money and buy some actual chicken!🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: 3 Main Barriers To Weight Loss

Tuesday Tip: 3 Main Barriers To Weight Loss 🍷

If you are struggling to lose weight it is usually down to the simple fact that you’re consuming more calories than you need. Often it boils down to three main areas where extra calories are sneaking in. I’m not suggesting you give any of these up completely but reducing them will help!

# 1 Alcohol

If you’re having a few big nights at the weekend, and maybe a couple of drinks during the week it soon adds up. It’s not difficult to put away 1000 cals in booze in a night. So perhaps try to first reduce the number of evenings you have a drink – go for 2 instead of 5 a week. Also try swapping for lower calorie options e.g. slimline gin and tonic.

# 2 Eating out

If you are eating out multiple times a week its very hard not to be over your calories as most main dishes will be 850 – 1000 cals. If eating out is essential (for work etc) then find the lowest options on the menu, look up the menu and plan what you’re having and log it in advance. Try to go for one course and avoid sides. If you can reduce some social meals out then do. Remember everything doesn’t have to revolve around food. Shift the focus from the meal to the relationship instead – seeing friends should be about that, not the food. Also remind yourself that all these foods will still be there when you reach your goal – it doesn’t all need to be eaten now!

# 3 Work Snacks

Offices seem to be filled with snacks and it can be really hard to avoid them. Try to bring your own snacks and to avoid wherever the office snacks are stored. Maybe chat to whoever is responsible for that side of things and see if some lower cal options can be provided (they can still be treats e.g. 2 finger kitkats instead of 4). Also try to save some cals on coffees too – switch to an americano rather than a latte etc.

It is possible to manage all three of these and lose weight, but you really can’t have your cake and eat it so you’ll have to reduce some of it somewhere! This is what I work together with my clients to do – so they can still enjoy all these things, reach their goal and stay there!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

The healthy smoothie deception…

The healthy smoothie deception…. 🥤

You’d probably consider grabbing a bottle of some fruit based smoothie as a healthy option. It may be something you’d grab to go with your sandwich at lunch etc. It seems perfectly reasonable and it’s marketed as 2 of your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.

On the other hand if I suggested you grab a punnet of strawberries, one and a half apples, a quarter of an orange, a handful of black currants, a bunch of grapes and two bananas to go with your sandwich you’d probably think I’d gone mad! However that’s exactly what you’re doing when you grab a bottle of fruit smoothie.

It would actually be pretty hard to eat that quantity of fruit alongside your lunch without feeling very full, yet we can easily guzzle down 390 cals of smoothie? The fruit itself is virtually the same amount of calories – so what’s the difference?

The difference is bulk, mainly from fibre. The fibre you get in whole fruit is what makes it almost impossible to eat the same quantity of fruit as is in the smoothie. The smoothie strips almost all that fibre out so all you’re getting is sugar and the micronutrients.

There’s nothing wrong with having the smoothie if you want it, and have the calories for it in your day, but I think it is worth stopping and considering the quantity of fruit it compares to. And perhaps if you want something healthy to go with your lunch grabbing a punnet of strawberries instead? 🤗xx