Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Why lift weights?

Tuesday Tip: Why lift weights? 🏋🏻

There are a lot of misconceptions and fears around lifting weights – especially for women. Many people believe lifting weights is only something you should do if you want to build ‘big’ muscles and will result in a certain, often termed ‘bulky’, look. Whilst altering body composition to achieve that look is valid reason to lift weights there are loads of other important reasons, not related to aesthetics, which are even more important as we age.

# Strong musculoskeletal system

Lifting weights improves the strength of our entire musculoskeletal system – muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. This helps us stay mobile, strong and safe and far less prone to injuries and health concerns such as osteoporosis.

# Independence

As we age we lose muscle mass which means we lose strength and bones become more brittle and prone to fractures etc. By lifting weights you maintain bone strength and muscle mass meaning as you age you can maintain your independence – get up without assistance, carry your groceries, lift heavy stuff, and are less likely to break bones if you do fall.

# Improved power

Power depends on the ability to generate force. As you get older you have to continue challenging your nervous system to be stable, powerful and coordinated. We lose power at almost twice the rate we lose strength. Power enables you to stop yourself if you fall, stop your children running out in front of a car, lift bags onto the kitchen side etc. Lifting weights aids in power development and maintenance.

# Proprioception

This is the awareness of your body’s position and movement in space and is a component of balance. Lifting weights improves your awareness of what your body is doing and how it’s moving. This improves coordination and is vital for daily movement.

# Resilience

Any form of fitness training requires you to challenge yourself, learn new skills, be consistent and willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone. This encourages mental and physical resilience and can help you manage stressful situations.

So lifting weights isn’t just about your looks – it’s vital to loads of aspects of your life, health and well-being. So if you’re not already then consider adding some form

of weight training (be it a class or in the gym) to your workout schedule.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Why you overeat

Tuesday Tip: Why you overeat 🍕

Overeating can be an issue for everyone and whilst there are many reasons for it which don’t relate to the food itself (e.g. emotional eating, binge eating etc), there are some more general scenarios which make it much ‘easier’ to overeat.

Before I start I want to make it very clear that none of these foods are ‘bad’ and there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t include them in your diet, in fact I’d never recommend totally cutting any food out because it’s just not sustainable long term. However, there are certain foods that are more likely to lead to over eating. Foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat, such as pizza, ice cream, cakes etc cause a dopamine response in the brain. This means that eating them makes you feel good – as a result you will want to eat more to get that reward again. Having these foods isn’t bad and you shouldn’t cut them out completely but it’s important to be aware of the effect they have and to be mindful when you do have them. This also doesn’t mean you’re ‘addicted’ to sugar etc – you’re not – you’re just eating high-reward foods which makes you want to eat more.

So if you’re susceptible to overeating certain foods then it might be sensible not to have them around all the time e.g. If you know you can’t stop at one biscuit it might be better not to have a cupboard full of biscuits, but just buy them now and then instead.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Diet and Sleep Quality

Tuesday Tip: Diet and Sleep Quality 😴

I recently wrote about the link between sleep and fat loss and how increased sleep can aid fat loss. I discussed ways to help aid sleep but one other factor that impacts sleep quality is diet.

Sleep quality can be characterized by the amount of slow wave sleep (SWS) & rapid eye movement (REM) sleep one gets at night. As sleep progresses these 2 stages occur with greater duration. SWS has a restorative function and is known as deep sleep. Both SWS and REM are involved in memory consolidation.

Studies have found that certain nutrients can influence sleep quality. Increased saturated fat and decreased fibre intake reduces SWS , increased night time wake ups, and decreased overall sleep quality.

Alcohol consumption decreases REM sleep, whilst caffeine is linked to delayed sleep

onset (difficulty falling asleep) and decreased sleep quality. I’m addition larger portions or eating large meals just before bed also disrupts sleep due to the thermogenic effect of digestion.

In contrast increased carbohydrate consumption is linked to faster sleep onset (falling asleep faster), and increased protein and dairy can promote longer sleep duration. This is particularly true for tryptophan rich protein sources such as milk, yogurt, turkey,chicken, fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds, beans, peanuts and leafy green veggies. The idea of a nighttime glass of milk aiding sleep comes from the fact it’s rich in tryptophan and natural melatonin

Antioxidant (Vit C, E & A) and magnesium consumption not only aids recovery from exercise but may also affects sleep since their regulation is influenced by pro-inflammatory cytokines which promote sleep.

So what’s the takeaway here? No takeaway that’s for sure!

Avoid large meals, alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime. Instead have a balanced light meal including carbs, protein and dairy (if you eat it) and green veggies to aid sleep. And if you need a snack later on consider something like a bowl of cereal with milk for example.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: No quick fix

Tuesday Tip: No quick fix 😬

It’s not what anyone wants to hear but the faster you try to lose weight the longer it usually takes. You get stuck in a cycle of losing and regaining the same half stone- stone over and over again. Why? Because you try to do it too quickly. So you’ll be in that cycle for years and years – never making progress. Instead you could aim for something more sustainable and lose the weight over 6-12 months and keep it off long term.

If you’re always looking into the latest trend or fad diet, or forever doing ‘detoxes’ or ‘cleanses’ you’re not only perpetuating this cycle of rapid loss and rapid regain but you are also causing yourself significant damage. You are negatively impacting your relationship with food, your metabolism, your body image, your hormonal balance and your mental health. You’re also making losing weight much harder in the long term.

You didn’t put the weight on that fast so modify your expectations about how fast to lose it. Your body needs time to lose weight and for changes in body composition to take place. Instead of relying on things that in the short term seem too good to be true, trendy and fast, start looking for longer-term, sustainable approaches that fit your lifestyle and personality. Regardless of the approach this will include – being consistent and persistent over time, finding a balance (which varies from person to person but usually involves a level of moderation, rather than extremes of cutting out food groups etc ), finding new habits that support these goals, and building healthy relationships with food and your body. It also important to understand your priorities – when it’s a good time to try to ‘diet’ and when it isn’t – and accepting that sometimes it isn’t a high enough priority and not shaming yourself for that.

There’s no quick fix – no supplement, exercise, 6 week plan, detox or cleanse that will get you to and keep you at your goals. It’s not a short term thing – you’re in for the long haul if it’s going to be sustainable.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: You snooze, you win!

Tuesday Tip: You snooze, you win! 😴

Whilst fat/weight loss always comes down to maintaining a calorie deficit there are things which help make this easier – sleep being one of the biggest ones.

Sleep is one of the most underrated contributors to overall health and body composition. Chronic lack of sleep has negative effects on the immune, endocrine, nervous and cardiovascular systems and increases risk of illness and injury. Studies have shown an association between increased BMI and those with a chronic lack of sleep (under 7hrs a night). Studies also show that reduced sleep is associated with an increased energy intake – sleeping under 5.5 hrs a night was linked to an average increase of almost 250 cals per day. A further study investigated the impact of improving sleep length on energy intake and found that extending it to 8 hrs a night led to a decrease in energy intake of 270 cals per day. There was also a link to weight loss in this group (unsurprisingly given the reduced calorie intake). For each extra hour of sleep energy intake decreased by 162 cals per day.

Lack of sleep also impacts your exercise resulting in reduced reaction times, accuracy, strength and endurance. It also results in longer recovery times.

So how can you improve your sleep?

⁃ Aim to set aside approx 30 mins before bed to wind down and destress.

⁃ Aim for consistent sleep and waking times – so try to avoid the pattern of early wake ups during the week and very late wake ups at the weekend.

⁃ Reduce consumption of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine in the 2-3 hours before bed

⁃ Studies have also shown that reducing screen time before bed leads to improved sleep quality, falling asleep faster and waking up less during the night. So aim to put your phone away 30 mins before bed, and avoid viewing potentially stimulating content like social media/news as it can impact your mood/anxiety levels which will result in less sleep.

So put the same effort you do into your diet into your sleep to maximise results!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx