Not another Fad diet?!

It’s that time of year again. The sun comes out just enough to remind us that we are finally on the right side of the year and summer is coming. Absolute joy at seeing blue sky and sunshine however is quickly replaced with, fear.

Lots of us go through this, year after year.

My mind races, trying to calculate how many weeks I’ve got left to try and squeeze into that dress I got for my friend’s wedding/party/social event. Can I lose four stone in a morning so that I can feel comfortable at a neighbour’s barbecue this evening instead of covering up in a cardigan/shirt, being a sweaty mess because I don’t want to show my muffin top.

All I want each summer, is to feel comfortable in my own skin. To be cool (in temperature!), to wear what I want, to not be self conscious, to be in good health and full of energy and to enjoy myself. Of course this applies to the rest of the year too but these feelings are heightened right now.

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Whilst this all seems very shallow, my health and general wellness are also on my mind, especially now I have a young family. The fact of the matter is, yes I need to learn to love myself more but if I’m feeling fat and self conscious, then I probably need to shift some weight. Be it for health reasons or vanity or both, something needs to happen.

I started this amazing program last year and lost 18.5lbs. I was full of energy and felt great. I stopped before I hit my target and now spring has arrived to kick my butt into gear once again and I am determined to get there.

I’m sure like me, you have tried the odd diet. I knew that I didn’t want to just eat cabbage or eat low fat but carry on eating sugar (more on this later). I didn’t want to fast or replace chewing with drinking. I didn’t want to deplete the nutrition in my diet and I do not ever want to gain the fat back!

No more fad diets.

What on earth makes this one so good? 

I like to refer to this as a fat loss program and not a weight loss program. This is not about detoxing for a few days and losing water (putting yourself in a bad mood and giving yourself a huge headache) or eating up valuable muscle mass (leaving you pounds down but feeling weak, drained and still hanging on to that fat). This is about ridding your body from dangerous, hard to shift, fat cells, once and for all. This is about addressing the issues why we gain the fat in the first place, putting our bodies back into balance, feeling great, getting rid of it and not gaining it back.

How does it work?

  •  A controlled, clean, low glycemic diet plan. Think, lean meats plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy fats. The diet is stripped back to basics so nothing man made, processed or high in sugar or salt. Real, whole food.

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The Glycemic index (GI) is a way of measuring a particular food’s effect on your blood sugar level. Foods with a low GI value are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised. Therefore consuming more of these types of food, results in a lower and slower rise in blood sugar levels, stabilising them.

These foods basically keep you going for longer and stop you from going shaky  between meals or getting headaches and feeling grumpy (or ‘hangry’ as my husband likes to call it). Stabilising your system in this way is so important, especially with type two diabetes still on the rise.

  • Pre-meal drops, 10-20 minutes before eating. These drops are an all natural herbal blend that is placed under the tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. The ingredients in these drops help to combat cravings and stave off hunger. They balance out hunger hormones and stress hormones. They help to stabilise blood sugar (along with the low glycemic diet), They also give an energy boost and help to increase metabolism.
  • Move around more. This doesn’t have to be hard core exercise but some form of movement does help when put together with the rest of this program. I try to walk more, instead of taking the car for example. If you can walk or swim or take a class then great but if not then this program still works wonders, just not as quickly.
  • Use a protein drink, packed with nutrients to snack on between meals.
  • Drink pure water.
  • Take night time drops (that come with the day drops). These help you to relax and I personally sleep like a log after taking them. They too have all natural ingredients and help your body to rest and repair itself. If you have read my blog post ‘sleep better, lose weight’ then you will know how important sleep is when you’re trying to burn fat and these drops work like an absolute dream.

That’s it: Eat whole foods, snack healthy, drink pure water, sleep well and take the little drops of joy.

The drops basically make it as easy as possible for you. How much easier would it be for you if you weren’t  hungry? If you were eating real food? If you were feeling energised and happy? If you were burning fat more effectively? If you were sleeping like a cosy baby?

No more diet pills, replacement meals, low fat and sugar laden diets or quick fix detoxes.

Are you feeling like me, like enough is enough?

If you’d like to know more about this program and how you can get rid of the fat and help to keep it off, in a healthy and safe way, click here.

Message me to find out how you can save money through purchasing online or if you have any questions.

I am here to support you every step of the way.

I’ll be back soon with posts on belly fat, self sabotage, detoxing from sugar and mindset. If you never want to miss a post then you can subscribe to this blog or like the MyWellbeing365 Facebook page by clicking on the links at the top right of this page.

Until next time 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep better, lose weight.

The link between lack of sleep and weight gain and what you can do about it.

Twenty something me: Sleeping’s cheating. What’s tired? I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Early thirties me:  I love my bed. Think I might stay in and watch a film. Have an early night.

Mid thirties me, with a baby: Sleep is over rated right?

Now: I love my bed but I have other things to do.

We all go through phases. I have always been someone who needed X amount of hours to function effectively. In my younger years I just didn’t care. I have realised now that I need around eight hours a night. Some people are lucky and have the ‘Margaret Thatcher gene’ that enables them to get by with less than five hours every night (just think how much you could get done!), however most people fall into the eight hour category.

This is not by chance. We are programmed this way. Without this necessary shuteye, things can start to go wrong. There are many different things that can happen to a person if they are sleep deprived, even if it’s only by a couple of hours per night.

1. It impairs your level of concentration, attention and problem solving.

2. It can contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

3. It can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.

4. It ages your skin.

5. It kills your libido.

6. It can cause you to gain weight.

The list goes on.

In particular, I wanted to talk about how it can cause weight gain and how getting the right amount of sleep can actually assist you in losing weight.

 

This may sound like a no brainer but of course, going to bed at decent hour will put an end to the late night snacking. If you are not awake, you cannot eat it!

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It is assumed that the longer you stay up, the more calories you will burn. Unfortunately, insufficient sleep really has the opposite effect.

Lack of sleep affects your ‘hunger’ and ‘fullness’ hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin.

Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat. When you are sleep deprived, your body makes more Ghrelin. Leptin tells your brain when you have had enough food and you’ve guessed it, lack of sleep causes your levels of Leptin to drop, thus telling your brain to carry on eating.

It’s not over. Your body also increases it’s levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. This spike, causes your body to conserve energy, to give you enough fuel to get through those tiring, day time hours. Worse still, the fat that it holds on to tends to be viseral fat – the type that sits around your middle and more dangerously, around your vital organs.

Do those voices tell you to reach for the chocolate or a bag of crisps when you’re tired?

Perhaps the voices talk only to me but depriving your brain of sleep, does dull activity in the frontal lobe – the part of the brain that is used for impulse control and decision making. You will naturally seek food that makes you feel good i.e. high carb, sugary snacks.

In summary an overtired you is not only in a bad mood but craves junk food, larger portions and has no will power!

Lets say, you have a will of steel. You are able to get through the long and tiring day without reaching for those empty foods and you manage to continue with your healthy and nutritious diet. It’s still bad news. You will continue hold onto the weight, struggle to lose weight if you are following a plan or even gain weight.

In truth, sleeping actually helps you to burn more calories. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that normal sleepers resting energy expenditure was 5% higher than those not getting enough shut eye. They also burned 20% more calories after a meal than those lacking in Zs.

Sleep is also vital for recovery. Without it, you cannot build muscle mass, no matter how much you work out. If you’ve read my post on BCAAs you’ll know how important maintaining or building muscle is. The more you have, the more fat you are able to burn.

Is sleep a priority for you?

In our busy, day to day lives, commuting, working, caring for others, working out, socialising, running a household, whatever…sleeping (even when we have the opportunity) just isn’t top of the list of things to do.

Many people need a wind down period at the end of the day. This could involve a book or social media but more often than not it’s all about the telly. Just one episode of GOT. As if! Then here’s what happens, a conscious decision is made to not sleep but to entertain ourselves instead. With that comes the probability of a snack, just one more episode and another tiring day the next day.

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So why do we fight it? Some of you don’t. I realise that you may be one of the many people who really struggle to get any real slumber time, try as you might. Most are just not aware of the impact sleep (or no sleep) has on the body.

Below are some helpful tips on how to get better quality sleep and more of it.

  1. Don’t drink alcohol before going to bed. It may make you sleepy but the quality of sleep you’ll have will reduce, as you will not have the deep restorative REM sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed.
  2. Make your bedroom a comfortable environment. Keep it cool (the best temperature for sleeping is between 15-19 degrees), peaceful and clutter free. Also, keep it dark. Your natural sleep hormone, Melatonin is suppressed if there is too much light.
  3. Wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday. Ideally you need to think about what time you need to wake up (roughly the same time everyday) and count backwards 8 hours and try to stick to that bed time. Catching up on sleep at the weekends does not work. In fact Harvard Medical School has found it’s near on impossible. Too much sleep all of a sudden can actually worsen your brain’s focus   and reaction time. 
  4. Turn off the TV/mobile/tablet 1 hour before bed. The blue light emitted from these devises is known to mess with our Melatonin levels and interrupt our circadian rhythm (body clock).
  5. Exercise. The National Sleep Foundation states that ‘people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week’. A 20-30 minute walk everyday should do the trick.
  6. No heavy meals and not too late. Try to eat 3 hours before going to bed. Eating too close to bed time could leave you tossing and turning as your digestive system keeps working through the night.
  7. Take a bath. Your core temperature drops during the evening and night time, making you feel sleepy. If you take a soak an hour or so before bed and raise your temperature a couple of degrees, the temperature drop is steeper and therefore leaves you feeling drowsier. You are also more likely to stay asleep through the night.
  8. Use essential oils. High quality, pure essential oils can help you relax and promote more restful sleep. Use them in the bath, in a diffuser or on the soles of your feet.
  9. Read with a dim light. In fact dimming the room from around 9/10 o’clock at night will start to increase that sleepy hormone.
  10. Limit caffeine in the afternoon/evening. This one seems obvious but if you have trouble sleeping, it is recommended that you avoid caffeine after midday.
  11. Eat more magnesium rich foods or take a supplement. Magnesium helps to decrease cortisol levels, calm nerves and relax muscles, therefore helping you to unwind. Try taking a supplement 1/2 hour before bed.
  12. Go outside. Not at bedtime! This again is to do with setting your body clock. Getting some daylight early on in the day really helps that circadian rhythm.
  13. Organise for the next day and keep a bedtime routine. Not only will you de-clutter your brain but having the same series of relaxing events (changing into PJs, brushing teeth, reading for 30 minutes etc) happen each night, should help to train your brain to fall asleep shortly after.
  14. Nanna nap. No more than 10-30 minutes and not after 4pm.
  15. Save your bed for sleep and sex only. This conditions your brain to make you sleepy when you lay down in your bed and to fall asleep faster.

So here’s to a new routine and (if you’re trying to lose weight) hopefully shedding some more pounds. Sleep tight.

Watch this space for more on Magnesium, essential oils and what to look for when shopping for nutritional supplements.

 

Benefits of BCAAs

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I used to be a firm believer that you get everything you need from a healthy and balanced diet. Supplements were something that pregnant ladies and Athletes took, as their bodies went through more than your average Joe. I’ve since discovered that, no matter how great our diet is, we simply cannot ingest enough food to give us the the level of nutrients our bodies need.

It seems there has been a huge decline in the nutritional levels of our food (in particular fruit and veg) over the last fifty years. This is thought to be because of how our food is now grown and harvested. Not grown in soil, chemical fertilisers used, storage and transport all play their part in the lost minerals and elements. I don’t know about you but as much as I love tomatoes, I don’t really want to have to eat ten of them to benefit from what I would have been getting out of just one, half a century ago.

Now lets throw into the mix a little calorie controlled dieting. My interest in nutrition grew as I started my own journey towards a lighter, healthier and more energised way of life. I used to feel virtuous for eating a salad! Now when I think about it, I’m eating even less (albeit clean, whole food). How on earth do I get what I need without supplementing my diet? The simple answer is, I don’t.

Anyway, I’m not going to harp on about amazing and necessary supplements today. (watch this space!) Learning more about nutrition is what lead to my understanding of the importance of BCAA‘s and how they can really help with weight loss.

Branch Chain Amino Acids. So what are they? What do they do? Why do we need them?

They are the building blocks of protein and are essential to our body. We cannot make them ourselves and therefore need to consume them. Without them we would die. There are three in particular that make up around a third of our muscle tissue.

Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.                               

BCAAs can be found in meat and dairy produce and legumes. They can also be taken in supplement form. They are very much en vogue in the health and fitness industry already, particularly amongst athletes and body builders. What isn’t widely known is just how beneficial they are for those simply wanting to lose weight.

Have you ever found that dieting has left you feeling tired/lethargic? This is because when we consume less calories, our bodies enter a state of catabolism. This is the breaking down of tissue (fat and muscle). As the body increases protein breakdown, it frees these muscle BCAAs to use them as fuel and if they are not replaced, this leads to reduced energy levels.

Supplementing our diet with BCAAs means that we can retain lean muscle mass, whilst shedding the much loathed fat cells. It is important to hold onto that muscle as it keeps your body burning off fat and weight loss is therefore less likely to plateau.

Branch chain amino acids also support the immune system, are good for your intestines and gut and can also reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is catabolic, it breaks down muscle and elevated levels can even result in increased body fat.

When should I take BCAAs?                    Click here to buy BCAAs!

If you are controlling your diet and working out, then they can be taken before, during and/or after exercising. Taken before, they can help prevent fatigue and improve concentration and a more effective workout. During can give a quick energy boost and taken after exercise they are great for tired and aching muscles, even aiding in muscle repair. Otherwise, if you are just controlling your diet then they can be taken with protein or in between meals as a boost that gets into the bloodstream fast and helps to keep you going until your next meal.

So there you have it. The secret of nutritionists and trainers everywhere! Can I get this through diet alone? On a reduced calorie intake, probably not. It is suggested that BCAAs should be taken as a supplement for a period of up to six months at a time. The great news is that if you would like to try this as part of your regime, there is a delicious, chocolate flavoured (BCAA packed) Power Boost powder supplement in the Pure Nourish range. One scoop can be mixed with 8oz of water or almond/soy/rice milk or added to the Pure Nourish original protein powder.                             Power_Boost_Image-1-500x470

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With regards to my own weight loss, I have now lost 8kgs/17.5lbs, following the Slenderiiz program and I feel great! I’m counting down to a family summer holiday, lets see what the next few weeks bring…

Stand by for more food inspiration.