Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Does Stress Make You Fat

Tuesday Tip: Does Stress Make You Fat 🤯

Stress affects our mind and bodies in many ways. It makes you tired, affects your mood but can it also affect your weight?

Studies have shown that those people with the largest waist circumferences often report the highest stress. This doesn’t necessarily mean the stress is the cause of the weight but there is a pattern there. A recent study found that women exposed to a range of stressful tasks took 20% more of the free chocolate they were offered, compared to when they didn’t have the stress. But why does this happen?

The hormone corticotropin-releasing hormone rises in response to stress. This triggers a release of cortisol and adrenalin (the ‘stress’ hormones). Cortisol stimulates the release of glucose to provide fuel for fight or flight while adrenaline primes the nervous system for action. Once the stress is over, adrenaline disperses, but cortisol and the glucose remains and causes a surge of insulin. This stimulates the appetite, in order to to encourage the body to restore its fuel stores, to be ready to cope with the next fight or flight situation.

Now in reality we don’t actually use the glucose we’ve released, but we still refuel because we’re hard-wired to do so. The cortisol also encourages excess fuel to be stored as abdominal fat where it raises our risk of heart disease and diabetes.

So what can you do? One of the most obvious ways to solve the problem is to reduce or eliminate stress by changing your lifestyle and learning coping strategies. Studies have also shown that regular exercise enables you to become more stress-resilient. Not only will this dissipate those stress hormones, it will also release beta-endorphins, making you feel calm and contented. And the fitter you are, the lower the rise in cortisol.

Be aware of the connection between stress and appetite; just recognising it can help avoid the instant urge to stuff your face. Also during inevitable times of stress, be sure to have healthy options for snacks handy so your choices are limited. Set yourself up for success by having fruits and vegetables around, as well as good sources of protein.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: How to Get a Flat Stomach

Tuesday Tip: How to Get a Flat Stomach 🙌🏼

Everyone wants a flat stomach or visible abs right? Social media is full of pics of 6 packs selling miracle supplements, teas, exercise programs, or ‘waist’ trainers which can supposedly make you lose belly fat. But sadly there’s no quick fix – if you want a flat stomach it’s going to take more than some magic tea or a load of ab exercises.

First off; everyone has abs – the muscles may be tiny or weak but that 6 pack is there. They’re just hidden under a layer of fat for most people.

Fat does NOT turn into muscle; they are two different things. You could have strong abs, but if they are buried under fat no amount of exercise will give you a flat stomach or a 6 pack, because it doesn’t address the fat on top of your muscles.

A flat stomach only appears when you have a low enough bodyfat percentage.

But ab exercises and magic teas are a lot more exciting to market than ‘eat less, move more’ … so it’s not surprising there are so many products out there making these claims.

So if you’re punishing yourself with endless sit ups every day – stop – it’s not going to give you a flat stomach. You can’t target or spot reduce fat from anywhere. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work those muscles, it’s important to work the ab muscles to protect your back etc.

So how can you lose belly fat? Everyone loses fat from certain parts of their body in different orders depending on age, weight, sex, genetics etc. You can’t control where it goes from first. Women will tend to hold more fat in their belly, hips and thighs, whilst men tend to store more in the belly and butt. You may not lose it from those areas first; it may go from your arms or legs etc.

All you can do is aim to lose bodyfat generally and once you lose enough of it you will see it go from everywhere eventually! The only way to do this is to consume fewer calories than you currently are. So track your calories, find out how many you’re currently eating and then reduce it! And stick with it for weeks or months (not just 5 days!). If you’re at a calorie deficit you will lose fat and at some point that fat will come off your belly too!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

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

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

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

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Avoid Overeating

Tuesday Tip: Avoid Overeating 🍔

We all overeat sometimes, it’s natural, but we can learn to spot the triggers to prevent it happening.

# 1 Friends and family

They often encourage you to ‘just have one more’ or question your choices. It’s tough, but be polite but firm. After a few occasions they’ll accept your choices and may even join you!

# 2 Crockery

Larger plates lead to larger portions. An easy tactic is to go for a smaller plate to reduce your portions.

# 3 Tiredness

Tiredness leads to overeating as a pick me up and is often mistaken for hunger. Focus on getting quality sleep, and if you’re tired pack healthy snacks in advance to stop you going for the easy fix.

# 4 Boredom

Try to focus on the root of the problem; distract yourself, call someone, go for a walk, read a magazine, anything that stops you raiding the fridge.

# 5 Booze

Booze makes you less likely to feel full and likely to reach for salty, fatty snacks, which then make you drink more, leading to more snacks. Plus you’re likely to overeat the following day. Alternate booze with water, have a proper meal rather than endless snacks, and get straight back to normal eating the next day.

# 6 Thirst

Thirst is often confused for hunger. Always have a large glass of water before you eat anything to check you really are hungry.

# 7 Gulping food

It takes 20 mins for the body to recognise it’s full. So chew each mouthful longer, or put the cutlery down between bites to slow you down.

# 8 Blown it

One small slip and we’ve blown it so we may as well go mad and eat the world! Stop and remind yourself that one small slip is better than a massive binge!

# 9 Feeling deprived

If you’re cutting foods you love out then you’re liable to fall off the wagon. Incorporate everything you like in moderation and factor larger treats in to your weekly calories.

# 10 Starting tomorrow

When you tell yourself you’ll start your diet tomorrow you’re far more likely to over eat today, as a ‘last chance’ to eat whatever you want. So instead start at your next meal!

Do you recognise any of these triggers in yourselves? I certainly do! That’s the first step to changing things!

Happy Tuesday

🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Easy Calorie Cuts

Tuesday Tip: Easy Calorie Cuts ✂️

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s all about being in a calorie deficit so finding ways to cut calories easily without leaving you hungry is key. Here are a few easy cuts that you’ll barely notice.

# 1 Non-stick Pan

Cooking with oils can adds 100s of calories to a meal without contributing much to the taste. So invest a a good non-stick pan and some light 1 cal oil sprays and you can cut those cals without even noticing.

# 2 Skip the condiments

Often we don’t even consider the calories in sauces and dressings. Avoid these sneaky calories by skipping them or going for smaller amounts, or swapping for a lower cal version. Things like balsamic vinegar, mustard and salsa are great options that are lower calorie but pack a punch.

# 3 Reduce liquid calories

We often forget the calories we drink but they can really add up e.g. milk in coffees/teas, soft drinks, smoothies, and booze. Try swapping milky coffees for Americanos, teas for herbal tea, soft drinks for diet versions, and lower calorie alcoholic drinks (e.g. slimline gin and tonic instead of beer)

# 4 Fill up

Opt for more filling foods whenever possible whilst still being mindful of calories. Foods higher in fibre and protein will keep you fuller for longer (but do check the cals). A recent study found foods such as potatoes, fish, oats, apples and oranges, wholewheat pasta, beef, beans, grapes, popcorn and wholemeal bread kept participants fuller for longer so consider including these in your meals.

# 5 Alternatives

Find alternatives for the foods you like that taste good but have less cals. Try swapping your normal ice cream for low calorie ice creams or swapping your dessert/snack to strawberries and 0% Greek yoghurt. If you’re a savoury fan opt for things like popchips instead of crisps, and low fat cheese for a savoury snack (e.g. light mini babybel)

# 6 Spice it up

Adding herbs and seasonings to your meals can add extra flavour to your food and give your meals a kick, without adding any extra calories. Studies have shown it also increases perceptions of fullness.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx