Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Try something new

Tuesday Tip: Try something new ! ⭐️

Ok, ok, I know.. It’s a cliche – new year, new start blah blah blah but … Bear with me… Thinking about it, what better time to try something new than the start of a new year?

So my tip today is to do just that – commit yourself to trying one new thing today, this week, or even this month! Just one thing! It might be a new workout or exercise class, it might be a new food (time to finally try that recipe you spotted the other day etc?), or try a new hobby/local club or activity, or just try a new habit – always having a healthy breakfast, or walking at least 20 mins a day for example? It doesn’t have to be physical – try something new that’s good for your mental health too – take 10 mins a day to meditate, try saying ‘no’ to a few things when you actually mean no, commit to a few hours a week doing something (whatever that is) for you…. The possibilities are endless!

So there is my challenge for you today – try something new, no matter how big or small! Let me know how you get on!

Happy New whatever you try and Happy Tuesday! 😁

Xxx

Uncategorized

Craving chocolate…. just have chocolate!

Craving chocolate…. just have chocolate!🍫

At this time of year it’s quite common for people to try complete bans on certain foods in an attempt to lose weight or fat. Usually these foods are those they deem to be “bad” – often the more calorie dense or triggering food such as chocolate for example. Labelling foods as good or bad is never a great idea – no food is good or bad and all can be included within a balanced diet. The key is being aware of the calories in those foods and consuming them in moderation.

The problem with completely banning certain foods is that it isn’t sustainable long term. If you’re using it as a kick start – then fab, if you find it works for you and you need it to get you into the right mindset then brill, if you’re doing it because you find those foods trigger binge eating or other behaviours you want to avoid, then go for it! However if you’re arbitrarily banning them because they’re “bad” then think again. One of the biggest issues is that when we ban certain foods as “bad” we often consume “good” foods instead without being aware of their quantities or calories.

This is example is a classic one – and one I’ve fallen foul of numerous times myself. You’re avoiding chocolate because you’re trying to be “good” but you are desperately craving it. So instead you try a cocoa naked bar – cos that’s kinda chocolatey right? But it doesn’t really cut it, so you reach for the chocolate brazil nuts – ok so they do have some chocolate, but they’re “good” because Brazil nuts are great for you, and they’re not a proper chocolate bar so thats ok…. but that still doesn’t cut it…So you reach for the Superfood protein balls – cos protein and superfoods must be good eh? By now you’re probably too full to have more, but you still haven’t suppressed that chocolate craving.

However you’ve consumed over 700 cals in that little exercise… Instead you could have had a 45g sized bar of actual chocolate – enjoyed it, fed the craving and got on with your day for a mere 240 cals. In fact you could have had 2 bars and still have consumed fewer calories!

So sometimes you’re better off just having the damn chocolate!

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Can I eat too little to lose weight?

Tuesday Tip: Can I eat too little to lose weight? 🥗

I am often asked whether consuming too few calories causes your metabolism to slow down so that you stop losing weight, and even gain weight, as the body “hangs on to fat”. People say that to get out of this “starvation mode” you need to eat more. One small problem – starvation mode is a myth!

As long as you have a calorie deficit (eating less than you burn) you will lose weight – regardless. Calories in vs calories out is what matters. A long term calorie deficit does cause adaptive thermogenesis (metabolic rate slow down) BUT it is not significant enough to stop weight loss and can’t cause weight gain! It just slows the rate of weight loss down, but what slows it even more is the fact that you’ve already lost weight so the body isn’t burning as many calories as it did initially. That’s why you need to adjust your calorie intake as you lose weight and why plateaus are common. In one famous large scale study – the Minnesota study – 36 men were put on a 24 week low calorie diet (1560 cals) and also had to complete physical tasks. ALL the men lost approx 25% body weight and ended up at approx 5% body fat. No one stopped losing weight, no one gained weight. You can’t defy the laws of thermodynamics – you need energy to fuel your body, you can’t magic it out of thin air, if you don’t eat enough you will lose

So what’s the moral of the story? If you’re not losing any weight/fat or your shape isn’t changing over a significant period of time, it’s not because your calories are too low, or because you’re in starvation mode. It’s because there is no deficit. Even if you think there is… there isn’t. If there was, you’d be losing weight!

Happy Tuesday🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Merry Christmas!

Tuesday tip: Merry Christmas! 🎄

It’s Christmas Eve! So my only tip today – is to enjoy your Christmas tomorrow! However you are spending the day – have a lie in, spend time with friends, family, (or animals) that you love, maybe take a gentle walk, enjoy yummy food, watch Christmas tv etc.

If you’re working then take some time out when you can to do something that you enjoy. Don’t stress about what you’ve eaten, or how little exercise you’ve done, just enjoy the tastes and yummy food, a day or two won’t kill you! Get back to your normal eating and training pattern afterwards and you’ll be back on track in no time.

Hope you have a lovely Christmas 🎅🏼🎄xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Just a quick festive drink…’

‘Just a quick festive drink…’ 🥤

At this time of year all the coffee shops bring out their range of festive coffees and hot chocolates. You’re out Christmas shopping, or meeting up with friends and family, so you just grab a quick festive drink to enjoy and get you in the festive spirit. You’ll drink it in minutes, and possibly have a snack with it, without really thinking or noticing. But that’s ok, because it’s just a festive hot choc, and it’s Christmas….

These drinks do vary but are all pretty high calorie. This particular example is a Cafe Nero hot grande salted caramel hot chocolate – with skimmed milk (not even semi or whole milk) and comes in at over 500 cals and almost 60g sugar.

On the other hand that selection box contains 5 chocolate bars, with less calories and sugar. Now whilst I’m sure you could eat a selection box in one sitting (I certainly could) most people probably wouldn’t . You’d probably spread it over a few hours or possibly days, rather than eating it all in one go and certainly wouldn’t have it with a snack (unlike the hot choc).

Christmas is definitely a time to relax a bit on calories and certainly a time to focus more on sharing memories and happy times with people you care about. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of the calories in some of the treats you are having.

Knowledge is power so being aware of the calorie content of things, and also of our own perceptions of the things we consume is always a good thing.

If you want the festive drink – have it and enjoy it. If you want to eat your way through a selection box in one go then go for it. Just be aware of the calories so you’re making an educated choice!

Merry Christmas 🎄

Xx

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

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?

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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!

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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!

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#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.

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#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!

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#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

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