New Year 2013–New Diet?

New Years Resolution Diet
Make a sensible New Year’s resolution for 2013 – give up sugar. You’ll lose weight, feel better, have more energy and be healthier!

Happy New Year for 2013! I hope you all had a great Christmas.

At this time of year, many of you will be making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve resolved to finally lose those extra pounds, or perhaps you have just decided to eat more healthily.

If you are thinking about changing your diet, I thought I’d give you some food for thought! It’s really important that we make the right kind of resolution – and this article will help you to make sensible resolutions regarding your diet.

Why Change Your Diet?

The best way that you can lose weight and ensure that you have a healthy life is to change your diet. Most people eat too much of the wrong kind of food, and not enough of the food that we are designed for.

We’re effectively putting the wrong fuel in our bodies. Imagine you had a petrol engine car. What would happen if you put diesel in the tank? You’d have a problem, that’s for sure! Your body is amazingly adaptive, and you can survive even though you’re putting in the wrong fuel. But while you might survive, you won’t thrive.

When you eat the wrong foods, the result is always the same: ill-health, low energy levels and weight gain. As well as causing you to put on weight, a poor quality diet increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes, Heart disease, Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Worst Foods

One of the biggest culprits for weight gain is sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate that is easily absorbed by your body – and it’s not a natural part of the human diet. Human beings have been around for 200,000 years, but sugar and other refined carbohydrates have only recently become part of our diet.

Your body is not “designed” to cope with repeated doses of easily absorbed carbohydrates – and sugar in all it’s forms is a particular problem. Hot on the heels of sugar are starchy foods – these are also easily absorbed by your body.

Here’s a list of the top 6 foods to avoid:

  • Sweetened drinks
  • Granulated sugar (don’t add sugar to tea or coffee)
  • Bread (especially white bread)
  • Pasta
  • Breakfast cereals (usually have masses of added sugar)
  • Sweets, cakes & muffins

The Insulin Connection

Sugar and other easily absorbed carbohydrates cause an increase in the hormone insulin. Repeatedly flooding your system with insulin results in weight-gain and other health problems (such as type 2 diabetes). Insulin stops your body from using fat as fuel, and causes your body to store fat. The end result of a diet packed full of carbohydrates is that your body has too much stored fat, you gain weight and your health suffers.

Fat was never meant to be locked away in long term storage – stuck on your belly, your backside and your arms. Fat is meant to be used as a fuel by your body – but if your diet is full of sugar & refined carbs, you can’t burn that fat.

The Low-Fat Myth

For years we’ve been told to avoid fatty foods like the plague. This advice is not based on sound scientific evidence – the most recent research clearly shows that eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, when you avoid fat, you usually eat more carbohydrates.

Many “low fat” products are high in sugar – which caused your weight problem in the first place. We’ve been eating less and less fat over the past 20 years, and more and more carbohydrates – and our weight has ballooned. You work it out!

Withdrawal Symptoms!

When you stop eating sugar and refined carbohydrates, you might experience some initial discomfort, and possibly even reduced energy levels. This is normal, and it will pass. Your body is so used to getting quick “sugar-hits”, that it can’t mobilise your fat stores and use them as fuel.

Not everyone experiences this, but if you do – stay strong. Your body will make the necessary changes, and before you know it you will switch into a “fat-burning” mode.

You may find yourself craving sugary foods as you move to a healthier diet. Remember that your new dietary habits are not the problem – your old “unnatural” habits are the problem. You don’t “need” sugar – this is just a common myth. When you change your diet, you are correcting years of abuse – and your body will need time to get through this transition.

Give yourself time, be strong, and look forward to more energy, reduced weight and better health!

I have personally not eaten sugar or refined carbohydrates in a very long time – it’s probably 6 months since I last had a slice of bread – yet I’m full of energy! I have never been fitter or leaner, and I teach several high-energy exercise classes each week.

Make a Resolution

The resolution I suggest is simple: give up sugar. Remember: sugar is toxic. Stop eating sugar – you’ll feel better, lose weight and be healthier. It’s that simple. Do your best to avoid the foods mentioned above.

Need Some Extra Help?

If you live in Co Clare, why not work with us. We provide a One-to-One Weight Loss coaching service, as well as a Body Transformation Programme. We’ll show you how to adapt your lifestyle so that weight loss happens effortlessly – without starvation, calorie counting or food supplements.

Watch this space for ideas, recipes and suggestions that will help you make the transition to a healthier diet. Why not join us on Facebook for more free weight-loss ideas?

Life Principles for Weight Loss

10 principles for a healthy life
Follow our ten principles for a healthy life!

Following our life principles will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. They’ll also help you to achieve peak fitness, to look and feel great, and to improve your health. What are you waiting for – make some changes!

Principle 1: Don’t Eat Junk

Don’t eat sugar – sugar is toxic. Don’t eat sweets or bars of chocolate. Don’t eat refined carbohydrates – avoid bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and anything made with flour. Don’t drink sweetened drinks – drink water instead.

Principle 2: Eat More of the Good Stuff!

Eat LOADS of veggies and salad, and plenty of fruit. Fruit & veg is really good for you – eating more of these foods can help prevent serious illness, and can also help you to balance your weight. Aim for 2 portions salad, 5 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit per day. Fill at least half your dinner plate with vegetables.

Eat nuts & seeds – unsalted. Nuts & seeds are a good snack. Get some sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts & hazelnuts into your life.

Principle 3: Eat Protein with Most Meals

High protein foods include red meat, poultry, fish & eggs. You’re designed to eat meat and eating high protein foods helps you to feel full.

Principle 4: Don’t Drink Too Much Booze

You don’t need to drink 10 pints to have fun. Don’t have more than 2-3 drinks at one sitting. On most days, don’t drink at all.

Principle 5: Get Some Exercise

Actually, get a LOT of exercise. Stand up and move around more, even at work. Take an exercise class. See how fit and strong you can become – you might surprise yourself.

Principle 6: Listen to Your Body

Eat when you are hungry, stop eating when you are full. Eat mindfully. Sleep when you are tired. Really LISTEN to your body, without distractions.

Principle 7: Control Your Environment

Remove junk food from your house – you’ll be less likely to eat it. Surround yourself with healthy options. Buy smaller plates – you’ll eat less.

Principle 8: Score Goals!

Get some goals – if you don’t know where you want to get to, how are you going to get there? Visualise your goals – imagine how you’ll feel when you achieve your goals.

Principle 9: Lighten Up, Have Fun & Play More

Have some fun. Get a hobby. Spend time with other people. Turn off the TV. Play is not just for kids – take time out to play. Meditate.

Principle 10: Get Outside More

Get outside every day. Put on a coat if necessary. Get some natural light. Get some safe sun exposure – you could probably use the vitamin D and you’ll feel better for it.

Burn Fat While You Work

weight loss tips for the workplace
Try to stand up frequently while you at work – it will help you burn fat and will reduce risk of serious disease!

Whether you work from home or in a communal office, here are a few ideas to get you active and promote weight-loss whilst you are at work. Being more active helps you burn more calories and helps weight loss. It also improves immune function, reduces fatigue and reduces stress levels!

Desk Height

If you sit all day, you are at greater risk of serious illness. People with sitting jobs have a higher rate of cardiac disease as people with standing jobs. If you do sit at work all day, vary your desk heights. If possible have a number of desks at various heights that you can move between throughout the day. If possible, try working whilst standing – which will help you to burn fat while you work.

Use Chairs & Other Equipment

  • Swap your office chair for a gym ball. It may seem like a crazy idea but they’re great for core stability
  • Hand grippers – very cheap to buy or just use a tennis ball – squeeze during thoughtful moments to improve grip strength and relieve stress
  • Pedometer – strap on a pedometer for the day – it might encourage you to walk more!
  • Use a regular desk to perform adapted push-ups during dull moments – increase productivity and burn fat at the same time!

Do Some Squats

Squats are a great exercise – they can increase your metabolic rate and give your legs and backside a good workout. You can do them anywhere, and it is easy to blend a few squats in to your working day. Why not do a few squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, or your computer to boot up?

Begin with chair squats:

  • Stand in front of a stable chair (without wheels), with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointing slightly out
  • Keep your shoulders back and your chest out throughout the movement
  • Keeping your weight on your heels, slowly lower yourself backwards onto the chair – keeping a straight back, and tensing your tummy muscles
  • Don’t flop down – use your muscles to hold you so that your backside is just touching the chair
  • Keeping your weight on your heels, stand back up to your start position
  • Repeat 5 times!

Once you’ve mastered chair squats, try them without a chair (hold onto a desk if you need to).

Stand & Walk During Meetings

Studies show that meetings are more productive, creative and shorter if individuals walk around during them. Weather permitting, you could hold them outside in a quiet area.

Get Some Light

Get outside as much as you can – take a paper notepad and pen outside if you have any creative thinking or planning to do. Use the mobile to make calls and walk around outside.

Position your work space in such a way as to take advantage of any natural light. Vitamin D is produced by our body when we are directly exposed to natural light, and low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to poor immune function and weight-gain.

Getting plenty of natural light during the day can also help you to sleep better at night. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain, so ensuring you get plenty of bright natural light in the mornings is a good idea.

If you need extra help with weight loss, we can help! Contact us or give us a ring on 087 930 7575.

Getting Active

Group of people doing yoga exercise
Being active keeps you fit and healthy – and helps you to take control of your weight!

Physical activity keeps you healthy. Being active helps you to control your weight, and according to the World Health Organisation it even reduces your risk for certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.

Adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day – and kids need a full hour. To achieve this target, you don’t necessarily have to join a gym – you can be active as part of your daily life.

Of course, formal exercise sessions provide lots of health benefits – building strength & reducing the likelihood of falls, among other things. But we can improve our daily levels of activity relatively easily by just looking at our lives a bit differently.

How Active?

Very easy physical activity won’t do you much good. To be really beneficial, exercise should stress your body. Your body will respond to this stress by changing & becoming more healthy. Your heart will have a better blood supply, your muscles will work more efficiently and your bones will become stronger.

You should be aiming for at least a moderate level of physical activity. A good way to gauge how hard you are exercising is to see how easy it is to hold a conversation – aim to be working just hard enough so that talking is a bit difficult.

The good news here is that moderate exercise will cause your body to produce endorphins – natural “happy” chemicals – so when you finish your moderate exercise you’ll feel great!

How can we incorporate activity into daily life? Check out the following ideas:

Walk Yourself Fit!

Walking is a great way to be active – human beings are designed to do lots of walking. Plan ahead so that you walk more during your day:

  • Get off the bus or train a few stops early, and walk the rest of the way
  • Park the car a bit further from your destination and give yourself a free workout
  • Wear comfortable footwear – if necessary, bring a spare pair of shoes in your bag
  • Invest in a mini rucksack for work or shopping – keeps your hands free and lets you pick up the pace
  • You’ll work up a sweat whilst brisk walking, so wear multiple layers rather than one heavy coat, and strip off as necessary
  • Save the really vigorous walking for your trip home – and hop straight into the shower when you arrive
Walking is a great way to incorporate some exercise into your day. If I’m out of town and have to miss my usual exercise session, I always plan to walk during my day.

Take the Stairs!

Where possible, avoid escalators and lifts. Taking the stairs is a healthy alternative, and will help contribute to your daily physical activity target.


Riding a bike is a great way to cover longer distances, and you’ll also beat the traffic. You might need to bring a change of clothes, or even grab a quick shower at your destination.


Vigorous housework can be a great way to get some physical activity into your day. You’ll also get the housework done in half the time!

  • Aim to work constantly, getting to the level where conversation is difficult
  • Put some music on and crank up the volume – this may help energise you and keep you working hard
  • Mopping, vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing are all good opportunities to be active


Get out and dig the garden. You could even grow some healthy veggies! If you’re not used to gardening, start gently and with relatively short bursts. You’re aiming to stress your body – not damage it.

What to Expect

If you’re not used to exercise, remember to start with relatively short bursts of activity, gradually increasing the amount of exercise that you do. Remember that you are aiming to stress your body – so expect a bit of muscle soreness in the few days following a new activity. This is normal, and nothing to worry about.

If you do feel sore, don’t overdo the exercise while your body recovers – but don’t use muscle soreness as an excuse to give up exercising! As your body gets used to being active, your muscles won’t be sore after exercise.

Remember that when you’re active you will work up a sweat! As you become fitter, you’ll probably sweat more as your body becomes more efficient at keeping cool. So expect to sweat and plan ahead!


Being active in your daily life will keep you fit, help you avoid serious illness, help you to manage your weight, and should also improve your mood. What are you waiting for – get active!

If you’re in the Shannon area and need help with weight loss, find out more about our services: contact us or give us a call on 087 930 7575.

Photo by: Several seconds licensed under Creative Commons

Vegetables, Fruit and Salad for Healthy Weight Loss

Healthy weight loss
Eat more vegetables, salad & fruit – it’ll help you lose weight and may just save your life!

Eating more vegetables, fruit and salad can help you to lose weight. Eating enough vegetables, fruit & salad can also help prevent heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. The World Health Organisation estimate that 2.7 million lives could be saved each year simply by eating more fruit & veg!

How Much Fruit & Veg Should I Eat?

If you’re watching your weight, we recommend that you aim to eat 2 portions of salad, 5 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit per day. Most people should aim for at least 9 servings of fruit and veg per day. A “serving” or a “portion” is roughly a handful – so for most people a portion would be:

  • A medium serving of mixed salad leaves
  • A medium sized apple, orange or pear
  • A handful of berries

For main meals, we recommend that at least half your plate should be full of vegetables and/or salad.

Why is Fruit & Veg so Healthy?

Vegetables and fruit have many health benefits – they contain numerous phytochemicals (pronounced “fight”-o-chemicals) that have a beneficial effect on health. Some phytochemicals have antioxidant effects – they help prevent damaging reactions within the body and have a beneficial effect upon health. Other phytochemicals help reduce inflammation. By reducing inflammation and oxidation, phytochemicals appear to promote heart health and reduce the risk of neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

People who eat plenty of vegetables and fruit get less degenerative illnesses, and taking vitamin pills does not have the same effect. Eating lots of veg & fruit won’t completely protect you from serious illness, but it will reduce your risk.

Fruit, Vegetables and Cancer

Research shows that some plant phytochemicals can slow or prevent the growth of cancer cells. One phytochemical found in cabbage, broccoli and kale (called indole-3-carbinol) slows the growth of breast cancer cells. A good reason to eat more cabbage!

According to the US National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organisation, not eating enough vegetables and fruit is linked to an increased risk for cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recommends the regular consumption of vegetables like lettuce, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onions and fruits. According to WCRF, these foods probably protect against certain cancers, including:

  • Cancers of the mouth, throat & voice box
  • Oesophageal cancer
  • Stomach cancer

According to the World Health Organisation, eating more fruit probably lowers the risk of cancers of the oesophagus, stomach and lung, and possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, colon-rectum, larynx, kidney, and bladder. Eating more vegetables probably lowers the risk of cancers of the oesophagus and colon-rectum – and possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, stomach, larynx, lung, ovary and kidney.

Fruit, Vegetables and Heart Disease

Studies show that eating more fruit & veg is good for your heart.  People who consume 8 or more portions of fruit or veg per day are 30% less likely to get a heart attack or stroke compared with those consuming little fruit or veg.

Which Veggies and Fruits Should I Eat?

The ones that you like! Aim to increase your general fruit and vegetable consumption, rather than focusing on a particular fruit or vegetable. Try to include a wide variety of different coloured fruits & vegetables, to ensure that you are consuming a range of beneficial nutrients. If you have limited choice available, your best bet is probably to go for richly coloured red, orange and yellow vegetables & fruit – like carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes & apples. The health effects of different fruits and vegetables are being slowly uncovered by scientists:

  • Apples reduce cholesterol levels and may reduce risk for some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons etc): contain phytochemicals that inhibit cancer cells and may be protective against heart disease
  • Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale and other cruciferous vegetables: Consuming these vegetables may protect against breast and other cancers
  • Tomatoes and cooked tomato products may be protective against prostate cancer

More health benefits linked to different veg & fruit are being discovered all the time – so don’t just focus on the ones we’ve mentioned. Just try to increase your veg & fruit intake across the board, with a wide variety of different types of veg, salad and fruit.

What About the Sugar in Fruit?

Some diets restrict fruit because of the fact that it contains sugar. I don’t go along with this. While it is true that fruit contains sugar, you’re consuming that sugar in a very natural package. Fruit has been a major part of the human diet since before we were human! So yes, fruit contains sugar – but the absorption of that sugar is slowed because you’re consuming plenty of fibre with it. Fruit is also packed full of other beneficial nutrients, as I mentioned above – so on balance fruit is a good snack for people watching their weight. One of my clients recently lost 1.5 stone in six weeks (and six weeks later, he’s kept the weight off!) – he was eating 12 pieces of fruit per day throughout his weight-loss.

Having said that, for people with a serious weight problem, we always emphasise increasing intake of vegetables (not including potatoes) and salad first and foremost.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully we’ve convinced you to include more vegetables, fruit and salad in your diet! Aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables & fruit of different colours – if you have limited choice, your best bet is to focus on eating lots of dark leafy greens (cabbage, kale, lettuce, rocket and other salad leaves) and anything that’s a rich red, orange or yellow colour. Fill half your plate with veggies at every meal – and cram down bucket-loads of healthy salad!

Need More Help?

We can help you to lose weight! Give us a call on 087 930 7575 to talk about weight-loss.

Exercise for Weight Loss Classes in Shannon

Exercise classes Shannon Co. Clare
TurnTrim Shannon exercise for weight-loss classes re-launch on 27th August 2012 – Call Elaine on 087 930 7575 for more details

Ladies in the Shannon area now have a unique opportunity to lose weight & tone-up. We’re re-launching our specially designed ladies exercise for weight loss classes at the Elite Fitness Centre, Smithstown, Shannon.

The classes cater for all fitness levels and are scientifically designed to help you burn fat and tone up. TurnTrim classes also include diet guidelines, motivational text messages, weight-loss coaching and an optional weigh-in.

We’ve designed the classes to be a fun and super efficient way to lose-weight. Each class includes a fat-burning exercise module, a body-conditioning module and a talk on weight-loss. You work at your own pace – we have two instructors at each class, so we can cater for all your needs. If you have an injury we are happy to adapt exercises for you, and classes are suitable for all shapes & sizes.

We also provide participants with diet guidelines and fun healthy homework assignments. After a few weeks on the TurnTrim programme, you won’t recognise yourself!

According to the World Health Organisation regular exercise helps you to control your weight and reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke. Exercise can even reduce risk for certain cancers, including colon & breast cancer. Regular exercise is also great for mental health – helping to reduce anxiety and stress. Moderate exercise also improves your “mood state” – releasing chemicals in your brain which give you a natural lift.

Being active is a great way to kick-start weight loss and improve your health – but exercise alone isn’t enough. Our classes are more than just an exercise session – we provide participants with comprehensive diet sheets and expert weight-loss coaching and advice. We track your weight-loss carefully when you attend classes, and there is a weekly weigh-in to keep you motivated. We also send you regular motivational text messages to keep you on track.

We provide you with:

  • An exercise class specially designed to burn fat
  • Diet guidelines
  • Weight-loss coaching & advice
  • Motivational text messages
  • A weekly weigh-in

You get all this for the super-low price of €10, which you pay as you go. As an added incentive, membership fees (usually €10) are free for August & September!

What are you waiting for? Get fit this Autumn!

Shannon exercise for weight-loss classes re-launch on 27th August 2012, 8:00 – 9:00 pm at the Elite Fitness Centre, Shannon. Call Elaine on 087 930 7575 for more details.