I read recently that the body can't differentiate between mental and physical stress, so if you're feeling stressed, tired and drained, going to the gym will put your body under further strain, and sometimes you need to know when its ok to stop.
Here are my top ways to rest and relax:
Next time you feel like it's all getting too much, and you know you should rest, do it. It's ok to stop once in a while so give it a go and let your mind and body recover.
Clean eating has become a huge trend over the last few years, and while it may help some people improve their diet and start getting back to basics by cooking with 'real' fresh, unprocessed ingredients, I'm not 100% into it.
The same goes for 'cheat meals', where, for example, once a week people who are eating a 'healthy' or restricted diet have one meal, or even one day, of eating 'unhealthy' foods, or eat off track without counting their macros.
My last 'diet aid' are slimming world syns. I totally understand how slimming world can and has helped lots of people lose weight, however their use of the word 'syns' is not one I like.
In case you haven't guessed it yet, I don't like these 3 words because of the negative connotations attached to them.
Clean eating may suggest that other foods are 'dirty'.
Cheat meals suggest that you're cheating by eating intuitively and giving your body what it's craving or may need.
Syns are a very negative word and while they are spelled differently, it suggests that it is a sin to eat certain foods.
These negative connotations can all lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and eating, and has caused problems for thousands of people, where they start following something to be 'healthier' or lose weight, and it works, but sometimes in some people this develops a fear of eating and/or binging on other foods, which is never a good thing.
I advocate balance in all aspects of life, and that includes diet and nutrition. I strive to help my clients realise a balanced diet and way of eating to use for life, not just to lose weight. I believe you should eat as you mean to go on, and eat in an unrestricted way.
Clean eating is a restricted way of eating, as can be syns. It can be disordered and unmaintainable. It can lead to a fear of eating 'non-clean' or 'dirty' foods and that's why I say no. Cheat meals can lead to binge eating and that can be as negative to your relationship to food as restriction.
NO clean eating
NO cheat meals
I fully respect why it works for some people, and for many people it won't cause any problems, however it can do for others therefore I will never advocate it as in my opinion it can promote an unhealthy relationship with food.
Eating healthy unprocessed foods is great, and something I am all for, but having less nutritious foods once in a while as part of a balanced diet is also fine. Stick to the basics and have a look at the Eatwell Food Plate, NHS guidelines or recommended portion sizes if you're unsure.
You can have a read about it here:
Weight loss requires a calorie deficit either through diet or exercise, and the former will involve restricting to some extent, but if you maintain a balanced diet throughout this time, once you've reached your goal, increasing calories to maintenance won't make much of a difference and the transition won't be as difficult or scary.
Give balanced, intuitive eating a try and maintain a healthy, fear free relationship with food both whilst losing (or gaining) weight, and afterwards for life.
Summer is here, on and off, so I thought it was time for a few facts about Vitamin D and the sunshine!
You've probably heard about Vitamin D and it being something to do with the sun but possibly not sure what the connection is and what it means.
Vitamin D has many functions in the body such as helping form strong bones and teeth (a lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children known as rickets.) It also appears to protect against cancer and MS and is needed for calcium and phosphorus absorption.
The body creates Vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, so between April to October in the UK most people should be able to get all their Vitamin D from sunlight. It is not known exactly how long you need to spend in direct sunlight to get enough Vitamin D as it varies depending on skin colour and how much skin you have exposed. However, don't forget, the longer you spend in direct sunlight, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer.
Between October and March in the UK we don't get enough Vitamin D from sunlight so have to get it form other sources.
During this time we get our Vitamin D from pastured whole eggs, liver, seafood, fortified foods and cod liver oil. Another source is supplements and this is recommended for some people including young infants and children and minority ethnic groups with dark skin.
However taking too many of these supplements over time can have a counterintuitive effect. For most people 10mcg is enough, but if too much is taken, calcium can start to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia) which can weaken bones and damage the kidneys and heart. Remember, always consult your doctor before taking supplements as it may not be suitable for some people.
Vitamin D has even been shown to help regulate moods and those with a Vitamin D deficiency as twice as likely to suffer depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who took these supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
I hope you've found this interesting, learned something new and don't forget to come back again soon for more informative blog posts.
If you're interested in personal training with a Level 3 PT with Nutritional Advisor qualifications, then get in touch on the contact page above and we can start your journey together!
At the moment I am loving all the delicious fresh fruit and refreshing salads so I thought I'd write a blog about the benefits of it!
Fruits are a naturally occurring 'simple unrefined carbohydrate'. They contain fructose and glucose (sugar), vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, high levels of dietary fibre and are also relatively cheap and convenient!
Fibre comes in two forms, insoluble and soluble. Most fruits are in the form of insoluable non-starch polysaccharides (fibre). Fibre doesn't actually provide any energy for the body, but instead its role is to aid in transportation of food through the digestive tract.
Most of the vitamins found in fruits are Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C. The first works to promote healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver and muscle mass as well as regulating metabolism, preventing fatigue and maintaining fertility. The latter supports the immune system, helps in the healing of wounds, aids tissue growth and repair as well as the formation of collagen and connective tissue, strengthens capillary walls and is a powerful antioxidant.
The energy in foods can't be released without certain vitamins and when it comes to carbohydrates, B vitamins are the most important as without them we couldn't utilise that energy!
The one thing to bare in mind when eating more fruit, especially if your goal is weight loss, is that it has a high sugar content, however, don't let this stop you increasing your fruit intake. There are some ways of reducing this by making different choices, for example, some research shows that green apples contain less sugar and more fibre than red apples. If you're currently eating a lot of 'refined simple carbohydrates', or processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, confectionary and soft drinks, then a swap for fruit will be greatly beneficial as you'll now be getting all the vitamins and minerals that you wont get in the processed foods!
Extra: Keep in mind that when consuming processed foods that aren't nutrient-dense, we are taking on that energy without the vitamins to utilise the energy in them! This type of food is sometimes referred to as the 'anti-nutritent'.
I hope this has been informative and shown you the wonderful benefits of eating fresh, natural, fruit and vegetables! As always if you have any questions please comment below, and if you're interested in personal training then get in contact on the 'contact' page!
,I'm not one for drinking protein shakes very often, but sometimes after an early morning training session I will whizz one up for a protein hit post workout, especially if I am craving chocolate!
I have tried making them in so many ways, but this is definitely the best and my absolute favourite! It's so thick and creamy and comparable to a McDonalds Milkshake for those reasons so here it is, my favourite Chocolate Milkshake recipe:
1 Scoop of Whey Protein - I use the Extreme Milk Chocolate from Optimum Nutrition
1 Frozen Banana
200ml Unsweetened Almond Milk or Skimmed Cows Milk
15g Meridian Almond Butter (if using Almond Milk I don't add it)
5 Ice Cubes
Put it all in a food processor and blend until thick, creamy and ready to drink...or eat with a spoon!
Easy peasy and a really quick, delicious way of getting a bit more protein into your diet!
A lot of people consider nuts to be a great snack, and a healthy alternative to their usual processed high fat foods, and they do have many benefits as outlined below. However, you have to be aware of their high calorie and high fat content.
A portion of nuts is probably a lot smaller than you think. Have a look at the picture above, would you guess 100 calories to be only 3 Brazil nuts? I'm guessing not. It's always good to be aware of portion recommendations as it's very easy to eat a large quantity of nuts in one sitting. However, this could be where those extra calories are sneaking in, and could explain why you're not losing weight.
If you consider your diet to be very good, you're exercising regularly but not losing weight, but you are snacking on nuts, check how many you're eating. Don't necessarily cut them out, just stick to a smaller portion.
Here are some of the benefits of eating nuts:
1. Walnuts contain the most antioxidants of all the nuts and are great at protecting the body from the cellular damage that contributes to some serious diseases, cancer and ageing. They also have the highest Omega 3 content which fight inflammation. Not only that, but if you're struggling with PMS symptoms, the Manganese in Walnuts may help reduce this!
2. Cashews are most rich in Zinc and Iron. Iron can help prevent Anemia and Zinc is essential for healthy vision and a good immune system. On top of that they're also high in Magnesium which may improve memory!
3. Almonds contain the most fiber and are the richest in Vitamin E, and are a good choice of snack in moderation if trying to lose weight. They are less calorie dense which means you can enjoy more of them!
4. Pecans have been found to considerably lower LDL cholersterol levels and reduce plaque formation in the arteries therefore improving heart health! The Vitamin E found in Pecans may delay progression of degenerative neurological diseases.
5. A single Brazil nut contains more than 100% of our daily Selenium, a mineral which may help prevent some cancers. However, keep in mind consuming high levels of Selenium may be harmful, so stick to one portion.
6. Macadamia nuts are the most calorie dense. They contain the highest level of monounsaturated fat and this type of fat is known to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
7. Pistachios are the least calorie dense with only 4 calories per nut. They are a great source of Potassium a mineral essential for a healthy nervous system, as well as Vitamin B6 which lifts your mood. Not only that but they slow your eating pace as you have to remove each nut from the shell.
8. Hazelnuts are an all around nut. Just like some of the others, they contain high levels of monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E.
I get told time and time again that 'I don't have time to exercise' or 'I don't have time to cook healthy meals', but how can this be possible?
It's so common to find women who hate other women nowadays, and it's such a shame. Some women, or girls, perceive other females to be competition, and as a result they aren't always very kind.
"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"
In other words, by giving kindness, praise and help to another woman, you will not lose anything yourself. It will not make your successes any less, you will not lose out by supporting others. The only change is the positive effect it will have on them.
Girl Power is all about creating a community of women supporting and uplifting each other. Let's create an environment that celebrates every one of us in every way by joining together and praising our achievements and successes.
It's so important to create a nurturing environment where we can learn and grow and in turn reach our goals and beyond.
Other women shouldn't be a threat to you, and you shouldn't feel as though you have to compete. One small act of kindness can go a long way, and while it's better to say nothing at all rather than something nasty, it would be better still if we could all say something nice.
Pay someone a compliment, give them a smile as you pass them in the street or show kindness in some other way. It doesn't need to be big, but it does need to happen.
One person at a time, we can make a change, and create the Girl Power community celebrating each and every one of us together.
When it comes to successfully losing weight or improving your fitness levels and health long term it can be the small changes that make a difference, so here are my top swaps to help you successfully change your lifestyle for the better: