9 Ways to Avoid Christmas Weight Gain (and still have fun)

9 Ways to Avoid Christmas Weight Gain (and still have fun)

It is amazing how the year has gone so quickly…

In this blog, I reveal the reasons why you’re prone to piling on the pounds over the festive season as well as my top tips for avoiding weight gain – and still enjoying yourself…

It’s normal to want to indulge over Christmas, but the number of people joining diet clubs and gyms in January speaks volumes about how many regret their festive binges.

I wonder whether that’s a well-trodden path for you? Maybe you’ve grown up associating food with pleasure and fun, so subconsciously you fear that if you don’t eat tonnes, you won’t have a ‘happy Christmas’. It’s easy to slip into a ‘one more won’t hurt’ mind-set – just one of the many reasons you might have piled on the pounds during the festive period in the past.

When working with clients on weight loss programmes, I always like to get clear on what has held them back in the past. These are a few of the things that often come up:

Portion control – have you ever felt you’ve waited all year for Christmas, so you’re not about to hold back?  The extra roasties or chocolates don’t seem to matter.

Social life – family commitments, work lunches and endless parties mean that you are literally overloaded with temptation, sometimes on a daily basis. And hangovers add to the urge to eat junk food and veg out on the sofa.

Sedentary lifestyle – a busy social life means exercise routines get put on the back burner as we swap dumbbells for the remote control. The average family spends 3.5 hours watching TV on Christmas Day. Swap that for some gym time and you’ll have done the hard work of actually making a start come the New Year!

Mental ‘hall pass’ – willpower goes out the window at this time of year. It’s almost as if you tell yourself that it’s fine to binge on everything in sight as you’ll lose it all when you go on a January diet / detox.

But the fact is, you can still enjoy the festive season and not gain weight. For most people ‘Christmas’ is actually just a handful of days – Christmas Eve, the Day itself, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and maybe a party or two along the way. The trick is to not feel left out by integrating treat foods into the context of an overall healthy diet. So, one mince pie, not four, in one afternoon. And as long as you have some strategies in place before the festive season, there’s no reason why you can’t start the New Year looking and feeling fantastic.

As a qualified and registered nutritionist, I work with clients to take control of their relationship with food and plan how to get through times when over-indulgence might feel hard to resist.

Here are my 9 tips for how to avoid gaining weight over Christmas, and still have fun:

  1. SET A FESTIVE FOOD GOAL

It’s unrealistic to try and avoid all temptation over Christmas, but by setting a specific goal – say, limiting yourself to one treat a day, or scheduling in a quick workout once or twice a week to offset your increased calorie intake – will help you stay on track. You could even make it into a fun game and get the whole family involved!

  1. EAT SMART

If you don’t have a plan (for parties, going out, visiting friends, having family over and so on) you are setting yourself up to fail. Be clear in your mind what your healthy options are, and if you know you’re going somewhere you won’t be able to eat the right foods, take some nutritious snacks or meals with you. Fill up on some protein-rich food or leftover chicken/turkey, or keep sugar cravings at bay with a homemade energy ball before you hit the party circuit.

  1. PORTION CONTROL

Eating from a smaller dish causes you to eat less, because the food itself looks more substantial. If you transfer food from a 12-inch plate to a 9-inch plate, it looks like more food and you, therefore, feel more satisfied.

  1. AVOID EXCESS

Christmas excess can lead to hangovers, and hangovers often lead to poor food choices, especially a tendency to seek out sugar and starchy carbs. Research reveals that fat from certain foods, including ice cream and roast potatoes, goes straight to the brain and tells you to eat more! It triggers messages that are sent to the body’s cells, warning them to ignore appetite-suppressing hormones that regulate our weight.

The effect can last for a few days, sabotaging efforts to get back to a healthy diet afterwards. Dr Deborah Clegg, who conducted the research, explains: “Normally our body is primed to say when we’ve had enough, but that doesn’t always happen. When you eat something high in fat, your brain gets ‘hit’ with the fatty acids and you become resistant to insulin (which regulates blood sugar levels) and leptin (the hormone that suppresses hunger). Since you are not being told by the brain to stop eating, you overeat.”

  1. OUT OF SIGHT

If you want a Quality Street chocolate and all you have to do is reach to the tin and help yourself, chances are you’ll end up eating 3 or 4. But if you have to get your shoes on, walk to the shop in the cold to buy some chocolate, you probably wouldn’t bother.

Ever heard yourself say “take this away from me, so I stop eating?” With food directly in front of you, it’s easy to overindulge. Once it’s removed, you realise you aren’t even hungry – you were just eating because it was there. So, keep unhealthy foods out of sight in cupboards or better still, don’t buy them. If you know they’re in the house, you might not be able to resist.

  1. REMEMBER VEGETABLES

Veggies don’t need to be doused in oil and roasted to within an inch of their lives to taste good. One of my favourite festive side dishes are thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, which I flash-fry with garlic, pine nuts and a dash of white wine. It’s so tasty, I make it all year round. Slow-cooked red cabbage and apple is another fantastic way to get some much-needed nutrients.

  1. SLOW DOWN

It takes around 20 minutes for your body to tell your brain that you’re full. If you eat quickly, you’re more likely to eat more. Slowing down gives you time to recognise and assess how hungry you really are. One trick I use is counting chews (it’s tedious but, believe me, it works). If you chew a bite 10 times, you’ll eat slower. I also found myself enjoying food more, as there’s more time to actually taste what I’m eating. Eventually it becomes second nature to chew more. If you’re in a group, try to be the first person to start eating and the last to stop. Pacing your eating like this will get you to eat more slowly without getting in your head about the specific amount that you eat.

  1. CIRCLE OF SUPPORT

Emotional support is crucial when it comes to dieting. Research shows that people who felt supported by their friends and family were 50% more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan. So, ask your loved ones to help you avoid temptation by not offering you sugary treats. Buddy up with a family member who is also trying to lose or maintain their weight. Having that moral support will boost your chances of success (and you won’t be riddled with that horrible feeling of regret the next day).

  1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF

It is the season of goodwill, after all. If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up or see it as an excuse to write off the rest of the day and eat everything in sight. Just chalk it up as one bad decision and move on. You can get back on track tomorrow.

If you’re resigned to Christmas weight gain and are promising yourself, you’ll do something about it in the New Year, why not make a commitment to your future self by booking a FREE call with me to see what the options are. I offer a range of health and weight loss packages that can help you reach your personal health goals. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to get to (and stay at) your happy weight. Click the link below to book your free call

Click Here To Download Your FREE “Eating Out at Christmas” Guide

Self Care – A Secret Ingredient in Your Weight Loss Journey

Self Care – A Secret Ingredient in Your Weight Loss Journey

Are you guilty of beating up yourself? Do you prioritise self-care?

It is OK to love yourself and do things that make you happy, it does not mean that you are selfish. You will feel better, more positive and this will radiate into the lives of those around you.

Choosing to love and care for yourself is a secret ingredient in your health and weight loss journey. How you feel about yourself affects your whole life.

So be kind to yourself, cherish yourself, appreciate yourself, you are worthy of your love.

Do not talk to yourself in a way that you will never talk to anyone else

A daily self-care planner will help you establish a routine to energise and revitalise your body, mind and soul each day.

Loving Yourself Changes Everything. 

Download Your Monthly Self-care Planner to Get You Started……

 

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

Did you know that green tea is more than just a green solution? Did you know that it has powerful health benefits?

It has grown in popularity in recent years and for good reason – it has very genuine health benefits and make a great variation on your usual cuppa!

So, what about Green Tea?

Green tea is a very largely consumed drink in the world after water. It is made from the plant called Camellia Sinensis. It is made by lightly steaming the leaves after they are harvested.

It belongs to an incredible class of compounds called the polyphenols.  Polyphenols are strong plant chemicals that work together with the human body to keep us healthy.

The polyphenols found in green tea are called catechins and flavonoids, they are responsible for various green tea benefits. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that flavonoids and catechins have a strong antioxidant activity.

Green tea is full of nutrients and antioxidants that have powerful effects on the body. So, what are the green tea benefits?

Here Are 5 Amazing Green Tea Benefits:

  1. Enhances Mood & Brain Function

Did you know that green tea contains caffeine but not as much as coffee? It contains enough to produce a response but without causing you to feel edgy or nervous, something associated with too much caffeine.

Caffeine has been studied extensively. Low to Moderate consumption has been associated with improvement in cognitive function.

A review of studies published in the Nutrition Bulletin found that low to moderate consumption of caffeine (38 to 400mg per day, equivalent to 1 to 8 cups of tea, or 0.3 to 4 cups of brewed coffee per day) maximized the benefits of caffeine and was associated with improvements in memory, mood and brain function. There was minimum risk of dehydration.

Green tea also contains a unique amino acid called theanine, responsible for a sense of relaxation. A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that theanine affects aspects of the brain function in humans. It was found to increase activity in the alpha frequency band of the brain indicating that it helps to relax the mind without causing drowsiness.

The studies found that the individuals reported they had constant energy and were more productive when they drank green tea, compared to coffee.

  1. Improves Oral Health

The dangerous bacteria associated with the formation of plaque, tooth decay and cavities in humans is called Streptococcus mutans. Catechins in green tea has been shown to stop the growth of Streptococcus mutans.

A study published in the Caries Research found that green tea effectively stops the attachment of the Streptococcus mutans strain to saliva in the mouth.

Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology also found that green tea was effective in reducing mouth odour because of its disinfectant and deodorant activities. Improving oral health was found to be one of green tea benefits.

  1. Enhances Cardiovascular Health

According to the World Health Organization, heart disease and stroke are one of the leading causes of death in humanity.

Improving cardiovascular health is one of the green tea benefits. Green tea has been shown to boost a variety of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. A study published in Atherosclerosis showed that green tea stopped induced LDL oxidation; LDL oxidation is a typical feature of coronary heart disease.

The study concluded that the consumption of green tea may lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Another study published in the Obesity Journal also found that the consumption of green tea decreased Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, thereby contributing to a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.

  1. Reduces Body Fat

The body fat reducing effect is one of the green tea benefits. It also helps to improve your metabolic rate.

A study published in the Obesity Journal in which men and women with abdominal fat-type obesity over a 12-week period ingested green tea containing catechin. The study found that there was a decrease in body weight, body mass index, body fat mass, waist circumference and hip circumference suggesting that green tea contributes to a decrease in obesity.

  1. Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining blood sugar levels is one of the green tea benefits. High blood sugar levels increases your risk of insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea consumption drastically reduced the fasting glucose and haemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) concentrations.

Green tea was also found to reduce fasting insulin concentration and improve insulin sensitivity.

Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the regular consumption of green tea was associated with a 33% reduced risk for diabetes.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, the green tea benefits are amazing. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to your cup increases the benefits of green tea, the vitamin C in the fresh lemon juice boosts the amount of catechins available to be absorbed by your body.

It is important that you consume good quality green tea. Good quality green tea will be green, if it looks brown instead of green then it is not good quality, it is possibly oxidized, which destroys a lot of its important compounds.

References:

Serafini M, Ghiselli A, Ferro-Luzzi A (1996) In vivo antioxidant effect of green tea and black tea in man. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 50: 28-32.

Ruxton C H S (2008) The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutrition Bulletin, 33: 15-25.

Nobre A C, Rao A, Owen G N (2008) L-theanin, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 17: 167-168.

Otake S, Makimura M, Kuroki T, Nishihara Y, Hirasawa M (1991) Anticaries Effects of Polyphenolic Compounds from Japanese Green Tea. Caries Research25: 438-443.

Lodhia P, Yaegaki K, Khakbaznejad A, Imai T, Sato T, Tanaka T, Murata T, Kamoda T (2008) Effect of green tea on volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air.

Yang T T C, Koo M W L (2000) Inhibitory effect of Chinese green tea on endothelial cell-induced LDL oxidation.

World Health Organisation (2014) The top 10 causes of death http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/.

Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I (2007) A Green Tea Extract High in Catechins Reduces Body Fat and Cardiovascular Risks in Humans. Obesity, 15: 1473-1483.

Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi L Y, Zhu J D, Mi M T (2013) Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis o 17 randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98: 340-348.

Iso H, Date C, Wakai K, Fukui M, Tamakoshi A, JACC Study Group (2006) The relationship between green tea and total caffeine intake and risk for self-reported type 2 diabetes among Japanese adults. Annals of Internal Medicine,144: 554-562.

The 7 Essential Ingredients of a Healthy Balanced Diet

The 7 Essential Ingredients of a Healthy Balanced Diet

I am sure you may have heard of the phase: you are what you eat.  Eating a healthy balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining good health. So, what are the essential ingredients of a healthy balanced diet? Let’s take a look…

Here are 7 essential ingredients of a healthy balanced diet

1) Water

Did you know that you can eat a large portion of a healthy balanced diet and still feel hungry? That is because you need a drink of water to fill you up.

Water is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. It is important for optimal health. It is also essential for the functioning and cleansing of your body. You lose water daily from your body through urine and sweat and it needs to be replenished.  If you are not drinking enough water, you can become dehydrated.

Studies have shown that good hydration is essential for the prevention of chronic diseases (1). To gauge whether you are drinking enough water, the colour of your urine should be a light-yellow colour. Dark yellow urine is a sign that you need to drink more water.

If you are looking for ways to sustain good levels of hydration throughout the day, herbal and fruit tea is a good alternative to water. Herbal and fruit tea contain no caffeine and can have some therapeutic effect.

2) Herbs and Spices

Did you know that every time you use herbs or spices to add flavour to your food, you are literally making it tastier without adding a single calorie?

Herbs and spices are an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. They will not only add flavour to your food. They will add colour and health benefits to your food; your meals will come alive.

Herbs and spices are some of the most powerful antioxidants. They are nutrient dense; rich in minerals and multivitamins and they have medicinal properties.

Here are some of the herbs and spices that you can incorporate into your diet:

Turmeric, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Cayenne chili pepper, Black pepper, Cumin, Sage, Coriander, Basil, Garlic, Thyme, Oregano, and Ginger etc.

3) Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are good carbohydrates. Eating plenty of fresh, high quality vegetables and some fruit is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. It will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health.

A research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that people who eat seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42% lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion. They also found that they enjoy a 31% lower risk of heart disease and a 25% lower risk of cancer (2)

The study brought to light that vegetables had a larger protective effect than fruits. Your focus should be on consuming more vegetables and small amount of fruit.

Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables such as broccoli, kale, lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, bell pepper, cabbage, watercress, etc

4) Other Good Carbohydrates

Other good carbohydrates are starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, yam, squash, parsnips and pumpkin which are essential ingredients of a healthy balanced diet. They are digested slowly so will not raise your blood sugar or spike insulin. They can be eaten in moderation.

Don’t eat carbohydrate alone. Always combine it with some fibre, protein or healthy fats to help with blood sugar balance.

5) Good Quality Protein

Good quality protein is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. It is important for the building and repair of your body tissues such as your skin and it is also a main component of your immune system and hormones.

Including good quality protein in your diet is important for blood sugar and insulin balance. It will also help you control your hunger.

Here are good quality protein you can incorporate into your diet:

– Free range eggs (preferably organic)
– Organic, grass-fed poultry (preferably organic)
– Fish, shrimps (wild and not farmed)
– Nuts and seeds
– Beans or legumes
– Small portions of lean clean meat, wild game (preferably organic)

6) Good Quality Fat

Did you know that FAT does not make you fat or cause heart disease? A research published in the British Medical Journal shattered the myth that fat causes heart disease and obesity; they found no link between eating saturated fat, heart disease and obesity (3)

The type of fat you eat matters, not the amount. Good quality fat is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. By adding good fat to your diet, the digestion and absorption of your food is slower, and the reaction of insulin is less extreme. So, don’t cut out fat, enjoy it.

Here are good quality fats that you can incorporate into your diet:

– Fatty fish including wild salmon, sardines and mackerel
– Avocados
– Nuts and seeds
– Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil
– Extra virgin coconut oil
– Grass-fed animal products – butter, eggs

 7) No processed food

Processed food refers to food that has been chemically processed and prepared from refined ingredients and artificial additives. All the real nutrition has been processed right out of it. It is not an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet.

Did you know that you can become addicted to processed food? When food is processed, essential components of the food like fibre, water and other nutrients are removed and the way the food is digested and absorbed by your body changes. Dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter is stimulated, making you feel good and you crave more.

Processed foods are high in sugar, unhealthy fat and processed salt which have all been linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

The key to a healthy balanced diet is eating a range of healthy food in the right amount.

References

1)     Manz F, Wentz A (2005) The importance of good hydration for the prevention of chronic diseases. Nutr Rev63:S2–5
2)     Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker A, Mindell J S (2014) Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203500. [Epub ahead of print
3)     Aseem M (2013) Saturated fat is not the major issue. British Medical Journal, 347:f6340 (link: http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6340)

FATS EXPLAINED: BEST HEALTHY FATS FOR YOUR BODY

FATS EXPLAINED: BEST HEALTHY FATS FOR YOUR BODY

Park that notion that fat is bad. It is not. In fact, most of us aren’t eating enough of it. Fat can help you lose weight, protect against heart disease, absorb vitamins and boost your immune system. Do you know which fats to eat and which to avoid?

Saturated fat

These are the fats that have the worst reputation, and they’re found in animal fats and coconut oil.

Here’s the controversial bit because it goes entirely against what we have been told for decades (and we are still being told by government agencies) … these saturated fats that you eat – the dietary saturated fats – don’t raise cholesterol.

The fats that are ‘bad’ are the trans fats, which cause cell membranes to become stiff and hard, and they no longer function correctly. Trans fats are harmful to cardiovascular health (lower good cholesterol – increase level of bad cholesterol). Some trans fats are contained naturally in dairy products, but particularly in processed foods (i.e. hydrogenated oils, margarine).

Monounsaturated fats

These are the kinds of fats associated with the Mediterranean diet – particularly olive oil -, and populations that eat a lot of these fats, like the people of Greece and Italy, have some of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. Many cardiologists advocate the Mediterranean diet, as higher intakes of this kind of fat are linked to lower cholesterol (or, to be more accurate, a better ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol).

Polyunsaturated fats

You will probably know these as omega-3 and omega-6 – the essential fatty acids. ‘Essential’ relates to the fact that the body cannot make this kind of fat; you need to eat it as part of your diet – or take it as a supplement.

They fulfil many roles in the body, and sufficient levels have implications for cell membranes, hormones (they regulate insulin function), managing inflammation and immunity, mood and memory.

As a rule, omega-6 fats are not as good for you as the omega-3 fats, which are all anti-inflammatory. It’s not that omega-6 fats are inherently bad, just that it’s less good when the balance between the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids gets disturbed.

Historically, humans ate a good ratio of omega-6 to 3 – ranging between 1:1 and 4:1. The modern western diet has changed things for the worse, and the ratio is frequently 20:1 thanks to processed foods, vegetable oils and conventionally raised (rather than grass-fed) meat.

What happens is that you get more of this…

  •   Increase in inflammatory conditions/ autoimmune disease
  •   Obesity
  •   Heart disease
  •   Diabetes
  •   High cholesterol
  • Cancer

Here’s why fat is essential in the body…

  • It’s a concentrated energy source.   Gram for gram, fat is twice as efficient as carbohydrates in energy production.
  • Fat can be an energy store. Excess fat is stored for future energy production (excess calorific intake).
  • Protection – internal (visceral) fat protects your internal organs, like the kidneys and spleen.
  • ‘Subcutaneous adipose tissue’ (that’s code for the fat that you can feel by pinching your skin) helps to maintain normal body temperature and provides padding.
  • Fats regulate inflammation, mood and nerve function.
  • Every cell membrane in our body is made of fat – the brain is 60% fat.
  • Many hormones are made from fat. These are known as steroid hormones and they govern stress, sex, and immune function.
  • Fats are actually essential for survival (experiments on rats in the 1920s showed that, then fat was removed from the diet they died).
  • Fat is the preferred fuel for muscles and the heart. The brain can also burn fat for fuel.
  • Essential fatty acids are required for healthy skin, healthy cell membranes, healthy nerves, healthy joints and to help with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

How did fat get such a bad name?

Fat has got a bad reputation. Over the last 70 years low-fat products have been marketed as the saviour of our health. And the message from governments and the media was – and largely still is – that, when eaten, fat gets stored as fat in the body and puts us at greater risk of heart disease.

Part of the problem, of course, is that we use the same word for the fat we DON’T want (on the hips, around the middle and so on) and the fat we eat.

The demonization of fat began when an American scientist called Ancel Keys produced the first ‘evidence’ linking saturated fat to heart disease in 1953. He based his scientific opinion on observational data of heart disease, death rates and fat consumption in six countries (ignoring statistics from a further 16 countries because they contradicted his hypothesis) and assumed a correlation between heart disease and eating fat. (As an aside, when another scientist looked at the same research, this time considering ALL 22 countries’ data, no correlation was found).

Although there might have been correlation (there was a relationship), it was not causal (didn’t actually cause the situation).

A further study on rabbits compounded Ancel Keys’ hypothesis: The rabbits were fed cholesterol (which doesn’t normally form a part of their 100% veggie diet) and went on to develop fatty deposits in their arteries. And then, guess what happened? Poor bunnies!

Governments (and their health care agencies) across the world began advocating a low fat diet.  They told us to fill up on bread, rice, cereals and pasta, and opt for low-fat or no-fat alternatives wherever we could.

Soon, the food industry jumped on board to create products that better satisfied this new advice. They replaced saturated fats with ‘healthier’ vegetable oils, like margarine and shortening – ironically trans fats are now one of the few fats research shows ARE linked to heart disease. The biggest problem is that, when you remove the fat from foods, you need to replace it with something else to make those foods palatable – and this replacement is sugar. This was a REALLY bad move.

My favourite fats

AVOCADOS They go with practically anything and are high in both vitamin E and in healthy monounsaturated fats. Slice it, mash it, love it!

COCONUT OIL There’s so much to like. Apart from helping reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure, coconut oil is an anti-fungal (caprylic acid) when used both externally or internally. The ideal replacement for butter in baking and as your oil of choice when frying (though we think it works best if you’re cooking something with an Asian influence).

NUTS Packed with nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E, nuts bring plenty of essential fats to the table. They make the perfect snack – eat a handful (preferably raw) with a small piece of fruit or spread a little nut butter on an oatcake (peanut butter is just for starters – try almond for a change).

OILY FISH are chock full of omega 3 fatty acids, which are the building blocks of your sex hormones, so are essential for hormone balance. We love them all!

OLIVE OIL Use cold pressed organic oil as a dressing on salads rather than to cook with as the high temperatures reached when roasting or frying can turn the oil rancid.

Cooking with fat

How the fat is used (through cooking and processing) is a big deciding factor whether it is healthy or unhealthy. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) become free radicals in the presence of light, oxygen and heat.

That is because frying with oils like olive oil at high temperature leads to oxidation and the production of free radicals – highly inflammatory for the body and may increase the risk of heart disease or cancer.

Use these oils for cooking

Coconut oil, avocado oil, butter or ghee, or goose fat (clarified butter).

NOT extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil. Don’t use sunflower oil at all (although do eat the seeds) and save extra virgin olive oil for dressings on salads.

MINDFUL EATING: What is Mindful Eating?

MINDFUL EATING: What is Mindful Eating?

How often have you read that you should eat mindfully? What does that actually mean?

Eating mindfully is the practice of being present as you eat.

If you’re into mindfulness, you might think that ‘mindful eating’ is all about “eating slowly and without distraction.” That is certainly one way to look at it but I also want to share my take on it…

One of the things that comes up all the time for my clients is non-hunger eating. This is eating even though you’re not actually hungry.

Does that resonate with you? Do you ever eat for comfort, due to stress, out of boredom, in secret or because you’re upset about something? The consequences stretch far beyond problems with weight. They go right to the soul, and have you feeling incomplete, wrong, guilty and ashamed.

In my book, mindful eating is with intention and attention.

  • Eating with the intention of caring for yourself.
  • Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and how it affects your body.
  • Being aware of your physical and emotional cues.
  • Recognising your non-hunger triggers.
  • Learning to meet your needs or reward yourself without food.
  • Choosing food to nourish your body.

I find many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognised triggers, thoughts, and feelings. Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns and triggers without judgment and creates space between your triggers and your actions.

HOW TO EAT MINDFULLY

  • Whenever you notice you feel like eating, pause to ask the question, “am I hungry?”. You are then able to observe your thoughts andchoose how you will respond. This gives you response-ability and empowers you to break old automatic or habitual chain reactions and discover options that work better for you.
  • Exercise: think back to the last time you ate. Did you look at your watch for your cue or to see whether it was time to eat? Did you have an appointment, for lunch, maybe? Or perhaps you walked past a shop window and THEN decided you really needed a cake just like the one you saw in the window.

I can tell you that before I got out of the diet trap myself, I was alarmed to discover that I never ate because I was hungry. What were your reasons?

  • It was TIME to eat (lunch, dinner, etc.)
  • You were offered food
  • You were sad and needed to be comforted
  • You were angry
  • You were bored
  • You were happy and wanted to celebrate
  • You saw something you fancied
  • You were upset and needed a treat

Other –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

This exercise will give you a valuable insight into why you are choosing to eat.

Remember you were born knowing exactly how much to eat. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel.

By reconnecting with your instinctive signals, you can manage your eating without restrictive dieting or obsessing over every bite of food you put in your mouth. Proper hunger is your natural guide but you need to be able to distinguish this from the non-food triggers.

To break out of the pattern of eating on autopilot, get in the habit of asking yourself, “am I hungry?” every time you feel like eating. This simple but powerful question will help you recognise the difference between an urge to eat caused by the physical need for food from an urge to eat caused by ‘head hunger’ or non-hunger eating.

The more you are conscious of what you are putting into your body, the more you are able to choose healthier, nourishing foods. This will help you establish a healthy relationship with food and maintain a healthy weight.

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