Is sugar the enemy?

It seems recently that there is a new nutritional message every few days and it's very confusing for people either trying to lose weight or become more healthy.

In this updated blog, today Public Health England has called on the food industry to change the amount of sugar contained in food and called obesity a pandemic...

Another debate that rages is whether we should reduce our fat intake (low fat) or whether sugar is the enemy.

Here's my take on it. The right type of fat is essential for a healthy diet and to aid weight loss. I'm sorry folks that doesn't mean cream cakes and chips all day, but eating good fats (in the right proportions), such as nuts, avocado, olive oil, eggs can burn fat but sugar well that's different.

Sugar is addictive and has no nutritional benefit in its purest form. I think one of the things that surprised me most was how much sugar is added to every day foods such as 4 teaspoons in Heinz tomato soup, Yeo Valley 0% fat vanilla yoghurt 5 teaspoons, 330ml of Coca cola 9 teaspoons, and if you ever watch the amazing Morgan Spurlock documentary "Super Size Me" you'll see that MacDonalds add sugar to most of their products.

So why do MaccyDs add sugar and why does Yeo Valley 0% yoghurt have added sugar? Call me cynical but they know it tastes good and is addictive. Once the fat is stripped out it has to be replaced with something to make it taste better.

Added sugar in our diets is unnecessary and has no nutritional benefits - empty calories is an expression you're probably familiar with - and that's sugar which will lead to weight gain. If you can't burn the calories (energy in vs energy out) you'll store the excess as fat.

That doesn't mean a no sugar diet will help you loose weight - although a no added sugar diet inevitably will. Confused? Let me explain a little further.

Carbohydrates both starchy (aka complex) and simple break down into glucose (sugar) in the body. Starchy carbs such as pasta, rice, potatoes, bread etc. are essential for energy and fibre - switch to brown, wholemeal or low GI for the best benefits. Remember when people used to eat pasta the night before running a marathon? That was for the energy and to have a glycogen store to call on for the effort needed. This is why people talk about reducing carbs in their diet - if they're not burning them off, it's being stored as fat. Simple carbs are found in fruit and vegetables, say no more! They are low in calories and we all know we can fill up on our 5 a day (or 7 now), and they contain essential vitamins and minerals.

So, sugar is addictive and has no nutritional value - some food for though (all puns intended!)

 


What's the Best Way to track your health and fitness - does BMI matter?

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO TRACK YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS –

DOES BMI MATTER?

 

Is there a single best way to track your health and fitness and weight loss journey?  Simply no…

 

Firstly, there’s a lot of debate about whether and why BMI is important.

 

For those of you who don’t know what it means it stands for Body Mass Index.  BMI is a way of measuring your body mass (fat) dependent on your weight and height.  The readings go from underweight (<19), through normal (19-25), to overweight (25-30) and three different categories of obese (30+)

 

You can check your BMI HERE with this simple tool

 

Now here’s the thing it was invented yonks ago, yes really yonks (1900s) and in recent years it’s had some bad press.  The reason being, some very muscular people are getting high BMI readings putting them in the obese category because muscle weighs more than fat.

 

As you will know, when I work with my clients, I use a range of measures as all have pros and cons, but I do use BMI and this is why.

 

Where BMI readings are inaccurate, this is usually pretty rare cases and the one that made the headlines in the UK were about a serious lady body builder who had virtually no fat and was total muscle.

 

Generally, this isn’t the case, and it’s a fair indication of whether someone is overweight or not.  It’s also recognised by the National Health Service in the UK and how they may or may not treat people dependent on what their BMI is.

 

For example, one lady told me that to be tested as a possible kidney donor for her Mum, they wouldn’t even consider her until her BMI was considerably lower (under 30).  One of my clients was also refused surgery until her BMI was below a certain reading.

 

BMI is used as an indicator for when bariatric surgery can be offered and even some GPs will refer their patients to slimming groups depending on their BMI.

 

But more importantly it does set a marker of likelihood of linked and related conditions associated with being overweight and obese.

 

Would it surprise you to know that someone with a BMI category of 30+ (Obese I) is 18 times more likely to get diabetes than someone who is in the normal weight range category (19 – 25)?

 

The lady as mentioned above, is looking to donate the kidney as one of the side effects of her Mum’s diabetes.  But did you know that diet and exercise can prevent diabetes and can certainly stabilise blood sugar levels?

 

If you think BMI is unimportant or not relevant, perhaps ask the woman mentioned in this who is desperately wanting to lose weight so that she can donate a kidney for her very sick Mum but can’t even be considered at the moment.

 

One important measure I use is waist measurement.  Because when we store our fat around our midsection this is also around our organs and a shrinking waist can have great relevance, and again reduce risk of preventable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

 

For men, a healthy waist is under 34” and for women it’s under 31.5”.  Very high risk is 40” (men) and 34” women.

 

Having said that, these are two of many measures I use with my clients to show progress, alongside scales, photographs, total body measurements and dress/trouser size.

 

For general tracking and measuring, weekly weigh in at the same time and day is a useful tool – scales aren’t everything but are a good compass of progress.

 

Before and after photos are great motivation to offset the vagaries of the scale weight, as are shrinking inches from the waist and body and fitting into smaller clothes.  Having said that, taking photos are often the thing my clients like least, but also do understand when they get closer to their goal the absolute value of having made themselves get out of their comfort zone.

 

A lot of my clients also measure health improvements in the number of press ups they can do, or burpees, or getting quicker on a certain run, or not struggling to get through an exercise routine that when they started felt challenging.

 

Another great indication for my clients of improving health and fitness is more energy through more exercise and better food choices.

 

All of these things give different meaning and motivation to a weight and health journey.

 

Is there a perfect approach? No, and that’s why I use a range of tools.

 

At the end of the day, what gets measured gets managed.

 


Changing roles, changing routines...

Changing roles, changing routines – how to manage your health and well-being from home to hotel

That first Sunday night bag back as I prepared for my new contract used to fill me with a mixture of excitement and dread…

 

And of course, the big question, do I pack my gym kit and my trainers?

 

Inevitably the answer would be “No, I’ll be too busy with work, it’s going to be full on and of course, it just makes my bag heavier with everything else I’ve got to take with me”

 

I get it….  Our focus is on the role at hand and often we just have to take a back seat as we fling ourselves into the new role, new routine, demanding clients, and actually just getting on with the job!

 

And it took me a long time to realise, that creating some simple routines alongside the routine of work could bring great benefits to my weight, my overall health and my energy levels.

 

It doesn’t have to be complex, in fact, when I work with clients we make it as simple as we possibly can so that they can make a commitment without feeling there’s more overwhelm and something else to think of.

 

Here’s three simple things you can do to (start today even!) to help with your weight loss, energy levels and overall health.

 

EXERCISE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE  IN THE GYM

The last thing most people want to do is to finish work and then spend an hour on the treadmill.  Exercise can be anything you like, even walking a bit more will help, but one thing I suggest time-strapped people do is a little bit of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

I know that can sound scary but the best thing is you work at your maximum effort – no one else’s!

If you can commit 20 minutes three times a week, this will start to bring great benefits.

For example, you could warm up for minimum of 3 minutes, then do sprints on the spot (think Ussain Bolt on the spot, arms pumping) for 30 seconds work, then 1 minute rest. Repeat this 6 times, cool down and stretch and you’ve just completed a very effective exercise.

 

THINK A BIT ABOUT FOOD – YES A BIT!

Most people get caught short with food and grab the first thing that comes to hand, particularly at lunch time – you’re in the office, you can’t get out.

Top tip – take something in with you before you get in the office.  Make sure you have veggies/salad and a good source of protein (lean meats, fish, lentils pulses) with a good source of healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts) and you’ll feel fuller for longer.

And even if you can commit to a healthy breakfast and lunch, that gives you much more evening flexibility.

 

STRESS CAN IMPACT WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS

 Well, stress can impact on a lot of things, and the impact on the hormones that work together for fat loss can easily get out of kilter.

But one way to combat stress is to make sure you get a good 7-9 hours sleep.  Switch off gadgets (stop phone fiddling) and make sure you get a decent night’s sleep for optimal body recovery and health benefits.

 

If you’d like to know more about my 12 week transformation programme, you can book a breakthrough call here.


Diet Myths Debunked - 3 Things You Can Do Now.

Diet Myths Debunked

3 Things you Can do Now to Start Losing Weight

 

I always say there is so much conflicting information about dieting and losing weight that often it becomes overwhelming and we end up paralyzed in the same place as we just don’t know the best thing to do.

 

Firstly, I’d say if you have found something that works for you – great!  Don’t over complicate things and stick with it.

 

So here are some of the most common things that people say to me that they feel need to change to lose weight.

 

Myth One – I just need to exercise more to lose weight

 

Many, many people think they just need to exercise more to lose weight.  This may have worked when you were lighter to maintain your weight or drop a couple of pounds, but there’s a true expression

 

You can’t out exercise a bad diet.

 

If you’re serious about losing weight, 80% will come down to what you eat, not how much exercise you do.

 

Don’t get me wrong, exercise plays a vital role to our wellbeing and health – we need it to keep our internal workings (that’s a technical term folks!) functioning at optimum levels, but also because it makes us feel good – our endorphins (happy hormone) run riot when we exercise.

 

We burn calories in 3 ways and exercise is the bottom of that list – so I like to say, think of exercise as a Brucie bonus – it helps but it won’t make the biggest impact on your weight loss effort.

 

If you’re exercising and thinking you can eat what you like, think again!  Even Rafa Nadal doesn’t have a 5 setter and then say “Oh yeah I’ll have a big Mac”….. Or I don’t think he does!!!

 

Look at your calorie intake (calories in vs calories out) and quality of food right and this will make the biggest benefit to your weight loss.

 

Myth Two – I don’t eat much why aren’t I losing weight?

 

Do you actually know how much you’re eating? Honestly, truthfully?

 

Most people don’t actually know how much they eat unless they track their food through an app like My Fitness Pal.  I do otherwise I’d forget the food that I eat!

 

All my clients will start using this app so we can see exactly what they are eating and the quality of their food (protein, healthy fats and carbs)

 

Do you count the handful of nuts you have with a drink, the biscuit with your afternoon tea, the oil that you use in your cooking?  Do you count the morning late or milk that you have throughout the day in your tea or coffee, or soft drinks?  What about alcohol?  Do you know what a portion of meat or fish looks like…

 

This may seem harsh but most people under estimate how much they are eating and drinking – quite often by the amount which is the difference to regularly losing 1 to 2lbs per week.

 

At some point, if you’re serious about weight loss, you do need to look at the amount and quality of food you’re eating.

 

Myth Three – Carbs lead to weight gain

 

We all like carbs right?  Potatoes, pasta, bread are essential staples for many people, but a lot of folks believe that eating too many carbs can lead to weight gain.

 

This just isn’t so…..  Eating more calories than your body needs will lead to weight gain, however those calories are made up.

 

Even if you eat too many veggies, fruit, healthy fats and meat and fish and you are over your personal calorie needs (calorie excess) you will gain weight…. You need to be in a calorie deficit.

 

Carbs are essential in your diet for energy.  It’s our primary source of energy, but if we’re not burning it up, carbs will essentially store as fat in our cells.

 

BUT, all carbs aren’t created equally.  If you feel you’re a carb-o-holic, what you can easily do is make some simple switches.  The best complex carbs to eat are….  Rice (basmati is actually low GI), sweet potato (yummy), oats, quinoa (if you like it), veggies, regular potato and finally pasta and bread

 

That doesn’t mean you should never eat bread, but why not switch your toast for oats in the morning, reduce the carb portion at lunch and instead go for healthy fats and protein…

 

The biggest switch you can make now is to eat a good source of protein at each and every meal – it fills you up and also helps build and repair muscle aiding that toned look we all desire.

 

I hope you found this helpful, do let me know.  If you would like some more help or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can talk more.

 

I run 12 week body transformation programmes for busy interims looking to lose 15-20lbs, tone up and feel more energised.

 

 


Why Becoming A NEAT Freak Can Help You Shed Pounds...

I've been thinking about days gone by of late, and I'm going to get a little nostalgic with you today.
(Probably because I've been poorly...)

We're much more sedentary than we used to be.  As a nation, we simply move less than we used to, and people really underestimate the importance of it.

Just moving more, doing something active...

When we were kids, we walked everywhere. My mum only got a car when I was 11.

Before that we would walk everywhere, and we would think nothing of walking... I remember when we were teens, with my sister, we'd walk all the way across town, a good hour's walk - at least - but that's just what we did.  Sometimes we'd take the bus, but generally we just walked... A LOT.

I remember we had a black and white TV - we didn't have a remote control. You just got up and changed the channel.  In fact, we barely watched TV... that's the really interesting thing.

We didn’t have time saving gadgets or devices that nowadays you take for granted, we didn’t have laptops, iPads, and phones that we spent hours gazing at.  We probably only really watched TV one evening a week (who remembers Top of the Pops on a Thursday evening?)

We simply moved more – always out and about, riding bikes and playing in the woods, and as we grew into teens and going out more, we walked.

I moved back to my home town, Hastings, for 5 years, before my move to Espana.  I wouldn’t dream now of doing that walk we used to do multiple times a week – it was seriously a long old way.

But we thought nothing of it then….

Now, we’d hop in a cab, grab an Uber or as a last resort take the bus…..

But why is this so important? Just moving more ...and how might that help you drop pounds easily?

We call it 'NEAT' in the fitness industry (non-exercise activity thermogenesis)...

Simply that means burning calories through moving / unstructured activity like walking, gardening, taking the lift, standing up and moving around.

One of the most important things I had the women in my FB group do this week was simply take a 10-minute brisk walk on top of whatever else they were doing.

Curiously the latest research from the Arizona State University suggested that three brisk 10-minute walks per day can be even more beneficial than one 30-minute walk per day….

But as I always say, start with one, then work it up to two, just add a little bit more each time.

Getting out and moving.  Just doing more.

I know you may be thinking can this really make a difference with weight loss when I go to the gym twice a week, or I play tennis (that’s me folks) or whatever it may be that you do.

Yes it will, because you are burning more calories and your body is becoming a more effective fuel burning machine.

Think of it this way, if you have an average working day of 8 hours and go to the gym 5 times a week and exercise for 1 hour a time that’s still 35 hours of doing a lot of sitting around.

Recently I bought a portable stand up desk so I alternate between sitting and standing, I use the bathroom upstairs, I set an alarm on my Fitbit to remind me to move every hour.

One of my clients recently told me how after a very successful weekly weigh in that what had gone well was she’d just done more – she’d moved, had been unpacking boxes, up and down stairs, walked to the grocery store, and put in her 3 exercise sessions for that week.

She’s highlighted this as an important thing for her to keep moving closer to her weight loss goals.

So what can you do this week, today to start to do more? Here are some thoughts…

  1. Walk briskly for 10 minutes each day
  2. Take the stairs (I used to when I was on the 8th floor!)
  3. Use the bathroom on a different floor
  4. Walk to the water cooler further away
  5. Get off the tube/underground/bus one stop earlier (or walk to one further away)
  6. Need to send that email or could you resolve with a quick chat – it’s quite pleasant too!
  7. As the evenings get lighter have a brisk walk after dinner

Let me know how you get on and if you’d like to join a small, friendly group of folk committed to losing weight, moving more, and feeling better; join us on Facebook here.


Why Diets Don't Work

WHY DIETS DON’T WORK

 

Hands up who has ever started a diet on 1st January?  Me…..  Hands up who has ever started a diet after a holiday or Easter? Me……  Hands up who’s waiting to start until after that big party you’ve got?  Me….

 

It’s always a tough gig to think about starting another diet because inevitably, we think restriction, depravation and even failure, particularly putting ourselves under pressure if we’ve set weight loss as a New Year’s resolution.  It seems to be an added pressure.

 

I have spoken to many people over the years that tell me about the diets they’ve tried in the past – everything from the more commonly recognised brands such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World to some of the more extreme such as the Cambridge diet where you replace food with shakes and the maple syrup diet where you drink a weird concoction of maple syrup hot water and cayenne pepper.  I’m not quite sure what this is meant to do except probably make you sick……

 

And to be fair I’ve tried most of them in my life, or a good fair few, always looking at the next fad and wondering if it will work.  To be honest, I was fairly unusual in the fact that I only became a persistent dieter in my 30s.  I’d always been slim and when I got into my first real relationship the pounds started to pile on as I settled into domesticity and thinking I could eat the same amount as my then partner whilst snuggled up on the sofa.

 

I remember one day when there had been a serious incident in our neighbourhood and the police were making house to house enquiries.  I leant over the sheet the officer was filling in and the description of me was “large build”.  I felt mortified, and decided it was time to start another diet.  Which of course I was successful up to a point before piling all the pounds back on plus some.  And every time I dieted and lost weight, when it went back on there always seemed to be extra pounds.

 

And so the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting became ingrained in me as much the self-loathing  and disgust I felt with my every increasing waistline.

 

So why is it that diets fail?  Well here’s my take on it.

 

Firstly, I don’t think we always identify a strong enough reason about why we want to change.  “Oh yeah I need to lose a few pounds” is enough motivation to get you going, but won’t inevitably keep you on the straight and narrow.  Brides are classic examples of successful dieters because they have an absolute goal and end date in mind and are often prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to be successful.  But I wonder how many of them put the weight back on once the magic day has passed by?  Willpower can start you off, but it won’t necessarily carry you through to success.

 

I’m quite lucky in the fact that through my fitness training I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t but there is so much conflicting information out there, we jump from one thing to the other trying to find the perfect remedy for our weight, and when it doesn’t work we’re often left feeling demotivated and confused.  The secret to losing weight isn’t that difficult, but if you’re not sure about

 

 

all the advice that you’re bombarded with, it’s hardly surprising that you struggle to do the right thing.  Honestly, there is no magic pill, it does take some effort and commitment, but more than that it’s about being consistent.  Not perfect, but consistent.

 

Once you’ve worked out what your main driver is, it’s about building strong foundations around several things.  In my video “The foundations for successful weight loss” I talk about the foundations of a house, and it’s the same with weight loss, you need to look at food/nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, motivation and habits.

 

What’s the point of promising you’ll get to the gym 5 times a week if your lifestyle isn’t going to

allow that?  If you travel away from home with work, you need to be able to fit things in around your schedule such as nutrition which may be more complex if you’re in a hotel.  And most traditional diets won’t cover these elements.  Let’s face it, we’re all different and therefore we need to look at what’s going to work for us as an individual rather than the masses who go to Slimming World.

 

By default, a diet has a beginning (I’ll start my diet on …) , middle (I’ve been on my diet x weeks and lost y pounds) and end (either getting bored or having a plateau, or making your goal and then not knowing how to sustain it).

 

Diet’s encourage you to change everything – you have a completely new eating plan which often means changing the type of food you’re eating, and what you’re cooking, all at once.  And this mass change I think is the key.  Willpower will only keep you going to a certain point.  And by having a made for you diet plan, you don’t actually learn about the best foods to eat or how to work your nutrition for you.

 

Finally, and somewhat cynically, the diet industry is worth $586 billion!  Frankly, the people that sell diets want you to fail so that you keep coming back.  They don’t want you to get sustainable results because they make money.  I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.  If you’ve ever been to a slimming group, you’ll see the consultant’s eyes light up as you walk back through the door for your next go at cracking the nut.  They want you to buy the products, come to the classes and spend the money.  Of course there are those people that are successful, but the percentage is very low.  85% of dieters fail – and that doesn’t surprise me at all.

 

As ever thanks for reading this, and if you have any question or would like to talk to me about my 12 week “Project You” transformation programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch lisa@lasfitnesshastings.co.uk or find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lisa.ali.520

 

 

 


What I'm Doing This January To Set Myself Up For A Healthy 2018: Lisa's Own Detox

I’m human – I fail.  I don’t live a perfect life.  In fact, far from it.  I tend to say “I’m perfectly imperfect”.

By that, I mean I don’t always eat the best nutritious foods every single day, or go and do cardio every day or lift really heavy weights.  Sometimes I drink too much (didn’t realise how cheap Cava is in Spain) and I mess up on many other things, not just my health and fitness

I can blob out, particularly when it comes to stressful times or holiday seasons.  I know this about myself.  When I’m stressed I don’t always take best care of myself and want to eat loads of chocolate and drink and not bother to go to the gym.  I want to stick my head in the sand and hope it goes away and gets better.

But the reality is, only I can make the changes and deal with things to make it better.

I was talking to my coach the other day about how there’s always something else going on in my life (ladies, I’m sure you know what I mean).   Seriously, I finish one major project or thing, and something else just comes along to derail me.

As most of you follow me know, I’ve had the most challenging of times moving to Spain and everything that goes with that.  It will settle down now but in a few months, something else will inevitably come up.

So what am I going to do this January to set myself up for success not just in January but throughout the year?

 

With my health and fitness...

The very first thing for me is creating routine.  Mine has gone out the window completely – I am literally going to get back into the routine of setting my alarm for the same time every day and stick to it – not turn it off and roll back over.

If I start the day right, I’m more likely to follow through.  With that I am going to start my morning cardio again.  My husband has found my exercise bike, and unearthed it from beneath a pile of boxes.  I love my 30 minutes of fasted HIIT most mornings.  It sets me up right for the day.

Now if I can nail these 2 things everything else starts to fall into place.  If I’ve done my cardio, I’ll eat a healthy breakfast.  If I eat a healthy breakfast that fuels me well, I go to the gym and have more energy and smash a workout.  It then keeps ticking on through the day.

I start to feel better, more energised and more able to tackle the challenges that may come up.  It really doesn’t help to fall to pieces and eat rubbish food and drink cheap Cava (although it feels comforting at the time!).

Now you see, I was a little tongue in cheek about a detox above.  Detox blah blah!!! I really don’t believe in them – they’re marketing hype.  The best detox you can do, is cut out some of the crap you’ve been eating and drinking, start moving more and fuel your body well.  Add in a liberal dollop of good old H20 and it’s a winning formula.   And that readers is what I’m going to do.

 

With my personal life…

Back to my original point about how I can cope with the challenges that are thrown at me.  Well, I’m starting by working on me.  Making myself stronger and fitter.  As with the work I do with my clients, I’m going to start breaking things down, setting myself 2-3 things to do each week to get through all that I need to achieve and has been building up around me.

Before I do that, I’m going to make a big, long list of everything that needs doing and prioritise it – important and urgent matrix.

Whilst this won’t work for those things that come along unexpectedly, it will make me feel more in able to control the things that I can and if I know that there are non urgent/important tasks they can go to the back of the queue.

I was after all a project manager by trade for many many years – I love a plan!  And January is now here and time for me to get planning about what I need to do alongside getting back into a routine with my health and fitness.

Now these aren’t new year resolutions – more “get a grip you’ve been all over the place for the last couple of months” goals!

The key to all this is breaking it down into small bite size chunks.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much.  Know what there is that needs doing and break it down.

 

With my business …

This year my “Project You” 12 transformation programme will be very important.  I want to work with more wonderful and inspiring clients as I have in 2017.

Take Maddy – in 12 weeks she lost 16 lbs and is down 3 dress sizes

Take Karen - in 12 weeks she lost 11lbs and is down a dress size

Take Pam – in 12 weeks she lost 16lbs and 23 inches

Take Victor – in 6 weeks he lost 12 ½ lbs

Take Amanda – she lost 18lbs and was a very happy bride….

These are just a few of the people I’ve helped in2017, become better versions of themselves, still working at it, smashing through their goals.

Project You will be stepping up a gear in 2018, but more of this in due course……

Amazing people, smashing their goals and inspiring me to do better

How about you?  What are your health and fitness goals?  One piece of free advice, please don’t jump on the latest bandwagon for a quick fix this January.  Do slimming pills, detoxes and potions work?  Simply, no they don’t.  Do something different.  First think about your big picture and then break it down.  Set smaller goals that are more attainable and can help you build towards that end point.

And if you’d really like to try something different, reach out and ask me about Project You and what it could do for you.

Once again, I wish you all the best for 2018 wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  Do let me know what you’re going to be working on this year – be it health, weight loss, fitness or whether you’ve got a big project, like a house move!  I’m always curious to hear what’s going on for you.

 


I don't eat much why can't I lose weight?

 

Recently, a lot of people have said to me “I really don’t eat very much why can’t I lose weight?”  It’s a really interesting conundrum and one that a lot of people struggle with.

 

Let’s start with some basics.  In the simplest of forms I believe weight loss is centred around the age old equation of calories in vs calories out i.e. if you eat less than you burn off you will lose weight, if you eat more than you burn off you will gain weight and if you have the right balance between the two you will remain the same weight (your set point).

 

So if you’re not eating very much you should be losing weight right?  Well now it comes down to some fine tuning and here are some tips and pointers I’d like you to consider…..

 

  1. Do you know how much you actually eat?

If you don’t know how much you eat how can you know if it’s enough or too much?

Track your food for a couple of days with either a simple food diary or take pictures.  Be honest and record everything you eat and drink to see if you are eating too much (or too little)

  1. Do you eat a good quality of food?

Now you may say “I thought you said it was about kcals in vs kcals out” and it is to a certain extent but not all food is created equal and some food will have a different impact on your body.  Without getting too sciencey, there are 3 main macronutrients that your body needs to survive (and some micronutrients) and they all play a different role in the body.  If you are eating too many carbs or bad fats, your body will react differently to if you are eating the right balance of protein (lean meat, fish, pulses), complex carbs (potatoes, rice, grains), and GOOD fats (avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds).  It doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you like, but eating ice cream, deserts and fatty foods every day won’t get you the body of your dreams.

  1. Alcohol intake –

Let’s be honest who doesn’t like a nice glass of vino or two, but alcohol has none of the aforementioned nutrients – it has none.  This means that it will, in essence just turn to fat in your body and will be what your body turns to first to burn off because of the toxins.  Take a check on how much you drink.  That doesn’t mean you don’t have to drink at all, but it could be impacting your weight loss.  Equally, are you drinking too many sodas or café lattes and not realising that this all counts towards your calorie intake?

  1. Do you exercise and think you can then eat that you want?

Most people will underestimate the amount of calories they burn when exercising.  For example it takes 140 minutes of brisk walking to burn off a Big Mac, 30 minutes of boxing workout to burn off a 45g bag of crisps and 25 minutes non stop swimming to burn off a chocolate bar, like a Mars or Snickers.  But if you’re burning that off you’re not burning the stored fat….

  1. Are you eating regularly?

Some people think that if they don’t eat breakfast, have a small lunch and then some dinner that’s a good thing to do, but you’re not regulating all your hormones so they start working together to burn fat.  Your blood sugar will be up and down all over the place and that will impact your insulin levels and then the hormones that work alongside insulin like ghrelin and leptin.  It’s much better to space your kcals out fairly evenly throughout the day rather than saving them up.

 

If you check all these things you may find out you’re actually eating and drinking more than you think or perhaps not a good quality of food.  You can actually eat quite a lot of good quality food and then add some extra things in that you like, such as the wine or chocolate.

 

But if you really aren’t eating very much and eat good foods, you could be going too far the other way.  The body is a very complex and sophisticated machine, I liken it to putting fuel in a car.  If you’re running on empty all the time, you’ll mess up your engine.  For your body, it will hold on to fat if it thinks it’s starving and your metabolism could be shot.  Eating less and less won’t bring you the dream body you desire and finding the right balance for your body and shape is what needs to happen to get effective weight loss.

 

This may sound a little confusing, but it’s really just working out how much you need and the right foods.

 

If you would like some more help or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can talk more.

 

I run 12 week body transformation programmes for busy women looking to 12-15lbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Walk on

May is national walking month in the UK with various different schemes such as “Walk to School” week and Living Streets asking people to #try20 – walk for 20 minutes daily.

 

Why is walking so important and how much benefit can it add to your overall health and fitness and indeed your weight – can you really walk the weight off?

 

In the simplest of answers yes you can walk the weight off.  But let’s look first at some of the specifics of walking.

 

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, anyone can take part in walking.  You don’t need fancy kit, expensive gym memberships or loads of time.  You can add walking into your everyday life very easily – you just need a good pair of comfy shoes or trainers and you’re all set to go.  All those thoughts about getting off the bus or tube a stop earlier or parking further from the shops, does indeed increase your overall activity level.

 

The health benefits of walking are numerous.  Regular walking can reduce your risk of several major diseases by 50% such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Walking can also lessen stress levels, boost self esteem and improve your sleep.  Good quality sleep and reducing stress are vital ingredients in the weight loss mix…..

 

Government guidelines suggest that we should aim for 2 ½ hours of moderate intensity activity 5 times a week.  That’s 30 minutes walking 5 times a week or 20 minutes every day.

 

I think this is a great guideline but if that seems a bit too much in one go, why not break it down to 15 minutes twice a day?  Or 10minutes, 3 times a day?  The biggest thing is always getting started and then sticking with it.

 

Now on to the multimillion dollar question….  Can walking alone aid weight loss?  Yes, in the simplest of terms if you are expending more energy by walking and this equates to more energy than you are putting in (eating), you will be in a calorie deficit and lose weight.

 

Let’s say you build up your walking to the recommended 10,000 steps a day and start to burn 250 calories extra per day.  That adds up to ½ a pound per week.  Make some small tweaks to your eating patterns and lessen calories by 250 per day and that’s 1 pound per week.  Don’t think you need to buy a fancy Fitbit or gizmo, a good old fashioned battery operated pedometer works just as well and can be found in stores like Argos for a fiver.

 

Is it that easy, I hear you ask?  Well yes, and no. If you currently do no exercise at all or are starting off, walking is brilliant (for the reasons mentioned above).  If you exercise in other ways, bringing in some walking for your cardio vascular health will definitely add benefit too.  But as you do lose weight you need to a) keep changing your diet (as you need fewer calories) and b) increase your activity to achieve the physical shape and tone we all desire.  That doesn’t mean you should stop walking, just perhaps look to bring in additional exercise.

 

Overall I believe as a nation we have become more sedentary.  We just don’t move in the same way that we did years ago – we have more transport options than before = less walking, we have more electric gadgets and devices, e.g. remote control = less walking, we have less physical jobs = less walking.  As kids, we used to walk everywhere and play out.  Society has changed and we too.

 

My final thoughts are, walking is great for your overall health and wellbeing and will definitely aid in your weight loss efforts.  So, go and find a pair of comfy shoes, boots or trainer and get out there and give it a go.

 

Thanks for reading – please let me know what you think, comment below or drop me an email lisa@lisaalicoach.com