Have you ever stepped on the scales and got the shock of your life?  AAargh! I weight too much! First thought, ‘I need to do something!’ – and then the second thought – ‘I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START!!’ The basic rules of weight loss are calories in and calories out, or ‘eat less and move more’! Sounds simple, the maths is simple but the motivation, the know how and the determination are something else.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to give you an idea of where to start your exercise programme. What exercise do you enjoy?  Exercise needs to become something that you do on a regular basis.  There is no point embarking on a new way of life with exercise if you choose something you hate.  The gym may not be for you, that’s fine. … Continue reading

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Top tips for weight loss as you start the new year

  Avoid distractions Aim to eat at the table with the TV off for at least several days a week. Studies have shown that we tend to consume more when we’re distracted. By eating mindfully – sitting down to meals, being aware of the appearance, smell, taste and texture of food, chewing slowly and putting down your cutlery between mouthfuls – you’re guaranteed to enjoy it more. Rearrange your kitchen Keep the foods you want to eat more of readily available – put a fruit bowl on the table, vegetable sticks in the fridge and have some soup ready to heat up if you need something to sustain you rather than reaching for the biscuit tin. Rethink your rewards Write down a list of the non-food-related luxuries you enjoy. These could include a long, lazy bath, reading a magazine from cover to … Continue reading

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Eating out the healthy way

Some general ideas for healthier options when eating out at restaurants… Fish Look for steamed, baked or grilled fish dishes, stews, paella and steamed mussels from the menu can be a good choice, too. Add a healthy side salad or a couple of servings of steamed vegetables, and ask your waiter if sauces and dressings can be served on the side, or just replace them with a healthier option. Vegetable Side Dishes Steamed veg will provide all the nutrients – and taste – without any of the nasty extras. Ask for side dishes to be served without oil or butter, and request any salad dressing on the side so that you can decide how much, if any, to add. Skipping Lunch I’ve saved myself all day for a blow-out meal, arriving at a restaurant really hungry, wanting everything on the … Continue reading

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A sober look at drinking at home …

  We are heading into the Festive Season, where we might regularly have a few drinks. There is clear evidence of ‘average Jean’ having moved from drinking in the pub to drinking at home.  High prices at the pub, babysitting issues and the acceptability of drinking at home have all contributed to this trend. If you are concerned that you are drinking too often or too much at home, here are some tips for cutting down your alcohol consumption Buy smaller glasses. Wine used to be served in 125 ml measures. Glasses now can easily take about one third of a bottle in a glass! Don’t drink with your meal. If you only drink wine with your meal, it may reduce the amount you drink, but your body will process the alcohol slower as the food intake slows down the … Continue reading

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Cutting down on your use of plastic

Cutting down on your use of plastic is all over the media at the moment, particularly because it’s bad for the environment and damages wildlife.  But cutting down on plastic can also help you to eat more healthily!  Here are some ideas for cutting down on plastic, and how it helps you to stay healthier.  Perhaps a resolution for the new year? Buy loose, whole fruit and vegetables. By choosing loose fruit and vegetables, you can see how ripe it they are and by prepping the food yourself means they retain more nutrients than ready prepared foods. Make your own ready meals ahead. It’s all too easy to grab a ready meal when you’ve had a busy day. Remember the calories on a ready meal only have to be accurate within 25%, which is a huge variant.  You don’t really … Continue reading

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Practical steps to de-stressing

As we hit the holiday season, it’s very easy to feel stress with everything that has to be achieved in a short amount of time.  Here are some helpful ways to combat stress… Set New Habits that lower stressful situation Talk your worries over with someone you trust Set realistic goals and don’t be too hard on yourself Try to be a problem solver rather than finding the obstacles on your path Learn to say NO! Prioritise relaxation for you – ensure you have built in some time for you into your busy routine Have some fun – it’s one of the best forms of stress relief that there is Get Into Fitness Mode to lower stress Exercise at least three times a week Ditch the grueling workouts, and try and take it down a notch if you are feeling … Continue reading

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Worry Work

Is your To Do List always filled with things like – birthday cards, phoning a friend, looking at holidays, preparing for Christmas?  These small jobs can soon mount up and leave you feeling overwhelmed, and you end up worrying about everyday jobs and coping with everything extra on your list. Here are some helpful ways to tackle the workload without worrying too much. Write things down. Keep an up to date list of what you have to do and gain satisfaction from everything that you strike off that list.  Instead of feeling down about all that you have to do, concentrate on what you have achieved. Delegation! We can be very bad at asking for help.  Look at your list – are there some things that your partner or children can do?  If so, go on ask them, if you … Continue reading

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What’s your waistline like?

Do you have some extra fat on your waistline that could do with melting away?  Here are some great reasons why decreasing your waist is good for you. Heart Disease; you are more likely to suffer from heart disease if you have excess fat around your stomach. Type 2 Diabetes is much more prevalent in those with larger waistlines. You can be up to 3 times more likely to develop diabetes if your waist is over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. Blood pressure; losing inches from your waist can help to lower your blood pressure and avoid the need for medication. Living Longer; you are more likely to live longer if your waist is kept trim. Lower muscle mass, and higher belly fat can lead to metabolic disorders and early death. Sleep; you will sleep better … Continue reading

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What are your sleep patterns like?

Sleep has the biggest influence over our health and wellbeing.  It’s more important than exercise, income and friends.  We spend one third of our life asleep and we tend to take it for granted rather than spending any time making sure it’s the best sleep we can get. There are four stages of sleep and we spend around 90 minutes in each stage; we wake between each cycle whether we are aware of it or not. Stage One – Drowsiness and falling asleep. Ask yourself, ‘do you fall asleep within 20 minutes?’  To fall asleep easily we rely on our brain to switch off from wakefulness and activate our sleep centres.  If you are overly active before bed, it can affect how easily you fall asleep. Deep, regular breathing can help. Making a list of all that needs to be … Continue reading

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The link between diet and sleep …

You will always feel better and more energized after a good night’s sleep.  Consistently poor sleep will drag you down, and you will feel low and lethargic.  Poor sleep can raise our risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and lead to diminishing mood and higher levels of stress. Tiredness can also reduce the hormone levels of leptin (an appetite suppressant) and increase the level of ghrelin (which stimulates our desire to eat). Eating regularly and at regular times during the day will help our sleep patterns. Foods to Help You Sleep: Milky drinks, both dairy and alternatives, such as almond milk, are associated with helping you to sleep. Brazil nuts have the richest source of the mineral selenium, which scientists have found will help sleep. Eating more fibre is associated with a deeper and better night’s sleep. Foods such … Continue reading

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