Category Archives: Uncategorized

No time to exercise? Try A-B-E, Activity Bursts Everywhere (free online videos of short exercises you can do anywhere)

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Whether you like to exercise or not (and I shame to admit that I’m not the best on this) our bodies are designed to move. Physical activity and exercise improve your mood, sleep, concentration, energy levels, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, immunity and as if that wasn’t enough it will help you on your road to being a healthy weight and generally looking and feeling better. So why wouldn’t we do something that is so good for us?

The problem is that it’s not always easy to fit exercise into your day. It doesn’t help when you feel like you have to join a gym or take up a sport. That takes time/commitment and money. What if you don’t have enough time or enough money – or both?

Turn the Tide Foundation is a US nonprofit organisation which was created to help reduce US waistlines by developing, evaluating, and spreading the word about creative, yet practical solutions that can be used in the real world, by real people, for free. One such programme is ABE for fitness – Activity Bursts Everywhere.

The A-B-E for Fitness programme is a free library of 3-8 minute videos of activity bursts that you can do anywhere. The videos are organised by where you are (home/work etc) and the part of your body that you want to exercise.

Depending on your current fitness levels you can start with just one and day and work it up from there.

Here’s an example of one the exercises (working the lower body while standing)

Happy exercising 

Tips to avoid Easter weight gain

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Why is it that Easter egg chocolate tastes so good? I have always wondered if chocolate makers change their formulas at Easter time? I suppose they probably takes so good because they are tied up with so many happy childhood memories. Whatever it is, they are certainly hard to resist. Here we are then, it’s almost that time of year again when the Easter Bunny gets ready to make its annual visit. The weather is getting better, the days are longer and it’s a great time for family and friends to get together. With that comes a lot of social eating and, for many of us, a lot more chocolate than we would normally eat.

When I was growing up, all the children (and most of the adults) that I knew would spend 40 days of lent abstaining from one or several of their favourite foods. By the time that Easter came around we are well and truly ready to get stuck into our long awaited Easter eggs.

Things are a little different now. My own children don’t even know what lent is and only begrudgingly accept that one “treat” a day is more than enough. Hardly anyone I know has given up something for lent (me included).

If you are worried about gaining weight over Easter, here are some ideas that will help:

1. Start your own mini lent from today to Easter Sunday.

Choose some treat foods to cut out from today – happy in the knowledge that you will feel less guilty on Easter Sunday. Giving up things for Lent traditionally had a charitable focus – so you could go one step further and have a “treat” jar that you put money in each time you want to have a treat (a bit like a swear jar but with an charitable purpose) and at the end of the week you could give that money to charity.

2. Choose a non-chocolate gift

Ask your loved one(s) to give you a gift that is not chocolate – flowers, bubble bath, perfume…whatever makes you smile.

3. Go small

If you simply love the thrill of an Easter Egg ask for a small one – your favourite one from childhood might be a good idea.

4. Plain chocolate

If you like plain chocolate, ask for a plain chocolate egg. Of course you will eat the same calories overall but you are more likely to spread the eating over a number of days. As plain chocolate is richer we tend not to eat as much of it in one sitting.

5. Stick to Sunday

Keep the calorie treats to Easter Sunday. If you are at social gatherings people who really care about you won’t mind if you say that you are saving yourself for Easter Sunday.

6. Move more

The weather is usually good at Easter time and this year is looking to be no exception. Get out for walks, join in with the children on the Easter egg hunt, dust off the bikes in the garage – whatever takes your fancy. At the risk of stating the obvious, moving more will help offset those extra Easter calories.

7. Enjoy Easter Sunday guilt free

Bizarrely it seems that the more you get hung up on feeling guilty about what you are eating, the more you eat. Most importantly – enjoy your Easter Sunday, don’t feel guilty and start back on healthy eating on Monday. That’s what slim people will be doing – so take a leaf out of their book and have a great day.

Confused about why you have gained weight?

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As Channel 4s Secret Eaters hits our screens again, Anna Richardson continues with her no holds barred approach to uncovering the real truth behind the nations expanding waist lines. Each week two participants confess to being lost and confused as to why they have gained weight or why they can’t seem to lose weight. As the cameras roll and the pairs every food moves are followed with 24 hour surveillance for five days, it quickly emerges that all is not as it first seemed. Most participants are found to be exceeding their recommended calorie intake by at least 50%. Astonishing, even with cameras rolling several participants manage to consume more than double their daily calorie requirements. In true television style Anna gently (but not unkindly) makes a mockery of what the participants thought they were eating and shows them the shocking extent of their self deception.

Leaving aside the very real entertainment value for those of us scoffing at home from the comfort of our sofas (either figuratively or literally), there is a very important message underlying the programme. It highlights some of the dietary pitfalls that contribute to weight gain:

Excessive portion sizes

Genuine lack of awareness about the calorie content of foods

Multiple meals (eating more than 3 meals and two snacks)

Too much high sugar, high fat foods

Not counting the calories in drinks

Skipping breakfast and over compensating at snack or lunch time

Over estimating the weight loss benefits of the exercise

Mindless munching while preparing food/watching tv/working at a pc

The programme, in the shape of dietitian Lynne Garton, provides the participants with a calorie appropriate eating plan (and quite rightly so after poking fun at their expense). We find out how much weight they have lost but perhaps just as importantly we see that they are now eating better foods and often have a renewed interest in physical activity.

If you haven‘t had the pleasure (and it really is a great programme) check it out on Wednesdays at 8pm on Channel 4. Next episode on Wednesday 26th March 2014.

Getting motivated to lose weight

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Have you ever wondered why it is that you have been able to lose weight at some points in your life but not at others? Maybe it was a special event or a holiday that spurred you on or maybe you just managed to get in the zone? The most likely answer is that your mind was focused on just one thing and that all the decisions you made around food and exercise centred on that one key goal.

The problem is, we often have multiple reasons for wanting to lose weight and that’s when motivation gets really tricky. Changing your eating habits is difficult enough at the best of times but if you are not clear on why you are doing it, it can feel almost impossible to stay on track. If you have ever tried to change your eating habits you will already know all about the mental tug of war that happens when you try to change how you eat. This mental battle gets much more intense when we burden ourselves with several reasons for wanting to lose weight.

So, let’s try and establish what is the most important thing that is motivating you to want to lose weight now? The main reasons fall into the categories of physical appearance, health, fitness and being able to function well.

Which of the following best describes why you want to lose weight?

To be slimmer

To look better

To fit back into my favourite clothes

To look good at my daughter/son’s wedding

To look good at my own wedding

To be able to do more activities with the kids

To be able to exercise more

To feel younger

To feel better about myself

To have more energy

To be healthier

To avoid medication

To improve my fertility rates

To reduce back ache and other weight related aches and pains or maybe a different reason entirely…

You may well be thinking that several of the above apply to you and why do you need to pick one. Well, let’s take one scenario and see how the choices you make might change depending on your primary motivation to lose weight…..

It’s 10:30am, you’re feeling tired, you’ve had a bad nights sleep, you’re feeling stressed and the draw of a coffee shop fix is getting harder and harder to resist…you’re thinking that a cappuccino and a chocolate pastry swirl would be just the thing to sort you out.

If your weight loss motivations are to be slimmer, look better, have more energy, be healthier and to have more energy….then right about now your brain will enter into a complex internal mental debate. Some of the arguments will go along the following line….”I’m too tired to care”….”a coffee and a chocolate swirl is not going to make the difference in whether I lose 2 stone or not”….”I haven’t been doing well this week so I’m not on target anyway”….”I really need something to pick me up”…”I’m having a rubbish day, it will make me feel better”… get the idea. I’m not judging, I have certainly been there, done that myself.

So then, what if your motivation to lose weight is to look better? I am not a big fan of calorie counting but this is where you will need to be calorie savvy. Know the calories of your favourite indulgences and make an informed choice. Know whether snacking helps you to eat less calories at your other meals or if the snacks are just additional calories. I’m not naming any names but depending on the coffee shop you go to, a medium cappuccino with semi skimmed milk and a chocolate swirl can easily come in at over 500kcal. 500kcal is a small meal, not a snack. If looking better is your motivation then first take the time to look better with the body that you already have. Don’t leave it to a diet and weight loss to fix how you feel about. Do things that make you feel better about your appearance. It’s a very personal thing, so for one person it might be painting their nails or for another it could be “de-toxing” their wardrobe to get rid of clothes that are tired/worn out/just don’t suit them. Don’t let food be the only focus on how you feel about the way you look. If you allow yourself to feel proud about how you look now then you are more likely to treat your body well and to give it the healthy food that it deserves.

So let’s now suppose that your motivation for losing weight is to have more energy…well, sure the cappuccino and sugar laden pastry will give you more energy in the short term but instead of a cappuccino and a chocolate swirl you could just have a coffee with a spoonful of sugar in it. That will still give you a boost but with a fraction of the calories. Depending on your circumstances, you could boost your energy by having a ten minute power nap or you could just sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes and take some deep breaths to re-charge your batteries.

If your motivation is to get fitter then you might think about going for a short walk to perk you up rather than having a caffeine fix.

You’re starting to get the picture. Focus on what’s really driving you. It will help you to avoid all those painful internal arguments and it will help you to see what you could do to support that goal – either through food choices or in other ways. If, in spite of being focused, you still fall off the wagon and give into temptation from time to time, you are at least making a more informed choice and it should be easier to minimise the number of times you have indulgent treats.

Get to know yourself, be kind to the person that you already are and make choices that reflect what’s truly important to you at this time in your life.

Good Luck :)

14 weeks to the official start of summer

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It’s 14 weeks until the official start of summer. If you want to lose weight for summer, now is the time to start….don’t leave it so late that you’re tempted to crash diet.

Lucky for us the sun has come out early this year. With that our thoughts start turning to shedding our winter wardrobes. Have you made a commitment to shed the winter pounds too?

If you want to lose weight for summer now is the time to start. 14 weeks is plenty of time to safely lose 1-2 stone. Sure, there are crash diets out there that promise to help you drop half a stone in a week but when you lose weight too quickly it rarely stays off for long. There are some very good reasons why weight loss from crash dieting doesn’t last, not least of which is the fact that crash diets don’t “teach” you how to eat after the diet. Most people will drift back into the old eating habits that led them to gain weight in the first place – so it’s not really surprising that the weight creeps (or sometimes jumps) back on.

When you drop weight quickly you’ll lose a certain amount of fluid and fat but more significantly you will lose some of your very important muscle mass. When you re-gain weight you mostly gain fat so the more you crash diet the more “fat” you become (in other words – your % body fats goes up). As we get older we tend to lose muscle mass anyway so crash dieting makes this even worse. Loss of muscle mass is one of the main reasons why it feels like it’s harder to lose weight the older we get.

Personalised weight loss offers tailor made weight loss programmes. Together we explore your relationship with food and develop an eating plan that suits your lifestyle. You will learn how to lose weight and how to keep it off in the long run.

We also offer the 3 month Metabolic Balance weight management programme – Metabolic Balance is an all natural approach to restoring health, vitality and achieving a healthy weight. This approach is based on your current health status and your blood biochemistry – it really is unique to you.

Metabolic Balance in the News

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Metabolic Balance in the News

I was pleased to see an article in the Telegraph this week explaining the Metabolic Balance Programme

What is Metabolic Balance all about then? Here are the highlights in brief……

Metabolic Balance is an all natural weight loss & health programme.

It is available exclusively as a package lasting at least 3 months.

Clients receive coaching advice and assistance to support them in their journey.

It’s based entirely on wholesome natural foods – no supplements, meal replacements or commercially branded products are used (though you may continue to take supplements at your discretion).

Clients are given a bespoke eating plan that is designed specifically for their needs.

It is suitable for weight loss and for people wanting to have more energy and vitality (so you don’t have to be overweight to benefit from Metabolic Balance).

The programme may also help with headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, problems with digestion, arthritic conditions, food cravings, low engergy and lack of drive.

It was developed by doctors and nutrition scientists in Germany.

Plans are developed using information from a blood test and from a self reported health/wellness questionnaire.