Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Happy Healthy Christmas

Tuesday tip: Happy Healthy Christmas 🎄

Managing the amount of calories we consume can be especially difficult during the festive season. Ideally, we want to find a happy balance between joining in with the fun without going totally overboard and ruining our healthy eating regime!

This is the advice I give my clients:

#1 Spread the damage – if you have an event coming up try to cut down kcals in the days leading up or after. I’m not suggesting you starve yourself as that will result in overeating later. Instead try to save 100-200 kcals a day for a few days to buffer the social event e.g if you have a Friday party where you may overeat/drink by 800-1000 kcal, reduce your daily intake by 200 kcal from Mon to Thurs. You’ll barely notice 200 kcals a day!

#2 Cut the Booze – Drink is the biggest contributor to weight gain during the holidays. Often we drink socially over several hours so it’s hard to track. You could stick to low calorie drinks – but what if you don’t like them? The best thing is to drink what you want and control the quantity instead. Plan for a set number of drinks (e.g 4/5) of whatever you like. That way you’ll appreciate it but not feel deprived. In addition drink a big glass of water before you start (as you’re bound to be dehydrated from all the festive rushing about) to help prevent you being thirsty and knocking back the first drink too fast. Have a glass of water after every couple of drinks too.

#3 Keep Active – incorporate a little activity in to your Christmas Day. Face it – we’re all going to over eat on Xmas day (an average of 4000 – 5000 kcals). You’re not going to burn that off in one day, but it will make you feel good if you get active – maybe an early morning run, or a post lunch family walk, or an evening walk to look at the xmas lights!

#4 Don’t Stress – try not to stress too much about those extra Christmas day kcals. As long as they’re not representative of your normal intake the effects of the overindulgence will be short lived. Get back to your normal eating and training pattern as soon as you can after the festivities and you’ll be back on track in no time!

Enjoy! Happy Tuesday 🎄🤗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 (here) 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

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Calorie Budget

Tuesday Tip: Calorie Budget 💰

As we head into the festive period it’s easy to overdo food and drink. If you want to stay in control it’s useful to think of your calories the same way you think about your Christmas spending budget.

With a budget you have a set amount you can spend so you can’t spend ore, but If you are trying to save too much you may deprive yourself of things that make you healthy and happy. Budgetting your finances is never something to be ashamed of right? It’s a good thing and shows responsibility. As it’s YOUR budget you can also choose to spend extravagantly on certain things if you’ve saved up some extra money.

For calories, you know how much you can eat per day to lose fat and if you eat more you will gain fat. If you eat too little, it won’t prevent fat loss but you will probably be miserable. Budgeting your calories isn’t something to be self-conscious or embarrassed about; it shows you’re looking after yourself. And, as with a budget, you can always choose to spend more for certain things, as long as the overall calories stay in budget over the week/month.

There are a few ways to do this:

1. Track food and drink as you go along, then stop when you reach the calorie limit. This works as you won’t overeat and it shows where you’re spending your calories. BUT you have to stop when you hit your target which can be tricky if you use up the cals early in the day. Fat loss may take longer but you’ll be learning along the way so will naturally get better at hitting your calories.

2. Pre-set Budget – plan ahead to meet your calorie budget by tracking in advance. This is the best option as you’re likely to hit your target, but you might find it too restrictive depending on your personality and lifestyle

3. Wing it! This only works if you happen to have a small appetite naturally and rarely overeat (a naturally frugal person), so only works if you already have those habits. Of course it teaches you nothing about calories.

Happy budgeting and Tuesday 🤗

xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Re-train your brain

Tuesday Tip: Re-train your brain 🧠

One trap many of us fall in to is treating food as a reward, and exercise as punishment; “i’ve had a really good week, I deserve a dessert” or “I’ve had such a bad weekend I need to really work hard at the gym tomorrow”. This cycle is self-defeating and creates a negative relationship with food and exercise. The key is trying to view both food and exercise as ways to fuel and care for your body, so you can sustain a healthy lifestyle long term. Here are some tips to help:

#1 Non-food rewards:

Instead of food, reward yourself with other things that are calming/relaxing or fun e.g. massage, manicure, new smellies, a bath, a walk, time reading your book, watching your favourite show etc. Or try things that encourage the healthy habits -new workout clothes, a new experience (e.g. rock climbing) or recipe books. Having nice things to go along with a behaviour makes that behaviour more fun, so your reward motivates you to do better

#2 Try not to justify food:

When you think, “I can have this because I’ve been good all week” etc then pause and remind yourself that your behaviour doesn’t determine what you can eat e.g. don’t reward yourself with cake because you went to the gym. Think about what food you want and decide why you want it e.g. you want cake because it tastes good – that’s fine. Re-train your mind to disassociate food from your behaviour. Have cake because you like it, not because you “deserve” it.

#3 Find fun workouts:

If the workout you’re doing isn’t enjoyable then change it. Try something new – if you usually run on the treadmill try doing a class, if you do classes have a swim etc – find something you actually like doing.

#4 Remember the good times:

Recent research in the journal “memory” has shown that recalling times when you had fun working out can help you look forward to future workouts. So reminisce about a workout you really enjoyed – it could be a fun class, or a race you took part in, or a game of football with your friends, or a walk or cycle outside – anything!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Vitamin D and COVID-19

Tuesday Tip: Vitamin D and COVID-19 🦠

There are mixed messages in the media about the link between Covid 19 and Vitamin D so I thought it was worth a quick overview.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble steroid hormone and is important for bone health, and regulation of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health problems including muscle weakness, various cancers, MS, Asthma, TB, heart disease, type I and II diabetes, depression, Alzheimers etc. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, so sun exposure is the main way that we obtain this vitamin. Even before the pandemic the recommendation was that people should consider taking vitamin D supplements between October and March (darker months) as there is a high rate of deficiency in the UK.

Many studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the risk of getting acute viral respiratory tract infections and pneumonia, and can help with common colds and flu. So what about COVID-19? Studies are limited but a recent study found that 82.2% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D. This was compared to the healthy control group of people without COVID-19, where 47.2% of people were vitamin D deficient. Studies have shown a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and higher levels of COVID-19 cases in the population. Some studies have also shown a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity and mortality. There are now 30 or so studies showing that optimal blood levels of vitamin D reduces the risk of covid-19 risk of infection, risk of severe disease and risk of dying. Many researchers now regard the evidence as ‘overwhelming’.

More research is needed, but there is little to be lost in supplementing with Vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and have low risk of toxicity but do bring significant benefits, not just in relation to COVID-19, but to overall health and well being. So what dosage should you take? You need a minimum of 10 micrograms a day (or 400 IU (international Units)), and the maximum daily safe dose is 100 micrograms (4000 IU), so something in between is a good place to aim for.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx