Do you have an internal voice which says: “I’ll never lose weight because I’m lazy” or “I have no willpower”. If you keep thinking this way, your weight loss targets will be much harder to achieve. You need to keep a positive outlook on your weight loss journey.
Negative thoughts and emotions become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you keep telling yourself “I can’t lose weight” – you won’t. There are several ways that you can be more positive about your weight loss:
Put your mind in control – instead of just reacting instinctively, try to be logical
Concentrate on what you can eat, instead of bemoaning what you can’t
Don’t think of exercise as a drag – think of the health benefits it gives and focus on how good you feel after exercising
Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself
If you keep thinking of yourself as being addicted to sugar/biscuits/cakes etc. this will make it harder for you to lose weight. Instead, think of yourself as someone who enjoys a healthy diet, and who is progressing towards a healthy weight. Don’t put yourself in a box. Think about how you would like to be, and start thinking of yourself in that way. Take control of your life and define how you want to be.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Weight loss is a journey, and every journey has it’s ups and downs. Maybe you stood on the scales and your weight had increased a notch, or maybe you ate junk food or skipped your exercise class. If you fall off the wagon in this way, don’t beat yourself up – look upon it as a minor stumbling block and resolve to try harder next time. Don’t focus on perceived “failure”.
I often work with clients who feel down when they don’t achieve every single weight-loss target. People get downhearted because they didn’t complete every single exercise session planned for the week, or because they caved in and ate a biscuit or two. When this happens, I try to put things in perspective. The client who skipped a few exercise sessions? Until recently, he hadn’t exercised in almost 10 years – in this context, skipping a few sessions is no big deal. And the client who ate a few biscuits? A few weeks back, they were consuming nothing but junk food. Try to put your slip-ups in context. None of us are perfect, and so long as you are going in the right direction, you’ll achieve your target weight.
Now it’s Your Turn!
Write down 5 things which interfere with your weight loss goals e.g. “I don’t have enough time to exercise” or “I have a sweet tooth”. Then write down 5 ways you will overcome these obstacles. Keep this and refer to it when you find yourself beset by negative thoughts!
Stay positive – you’ll achieve your weight-loss goals!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Eating out should be a pleasurable experience – definitely something to look forward to! However, eating out doesn’t need to ruin your weight loss targets. Here are a few strategies that will help you keep to your diet.
Before You Go Out
Don’t starve yourself before you go out – this is a recipe for disaster, as you’ll end up overeating. If necessary, have a healthy snack before you go and drink some water to ensure that you’re well hydrated.
Think about your weight-loss goals before you go out – this will help you to stay in control. Visualise how you’ll look and feel when you achieve your weight-loss goals.
If you are going to a restaurant try to get a look at the menu before you go out – it’s easier to make healthy choices in the comfort of your own home. Ask the waiter for extra vegetables or salad instead of the pasta or potatoes. Chances are they will only be too happy to oblige. Good options include:
Tandoori mixed grill with salad & side vegetables (avoid rice and bread)
Kebabs with plenty of veg – no pitta bread
Meat with salad and vegetables (avoid potatoes)
Omelette (with filling of your choice)
Steer clear of pasta or rice based meals and focus on meat and vegetables. Avoid bread – particularly during your starter. Needless to say, forgo dessert if you’re serious about achieving your weight loss goals – sugar laden puddings are a disaster if you are watching your weight. Go for a cheese board instead, and go easy on the crackers.
Avoid fruit juices and fizzy drinks – water is the best option. If you’re drinking alcohol, go for a couple of glasses of red wine.
Eat mindfully when you’re eating out – eat slowly, chew your food, and stop eating when you are pleasantly full. Just because you’ve paid for the food doesn’t mean you have to finish absolutely everything. Most restaurants will be happy to wrap surplus food for you to take away.
Eating Out at Social Events
Make sure you aren’t too hungry before you go. If you’re going to be waiting a long time before you eat, take some fruit or mixed nuts as well as a bottle of water. Avoid bread and breaded products such as chicken nuggets. Fill up on fresh salad and steer away from potato salad and pasta salads.
Avoid dessert – if necessary take a small piece to be polite and eat it very slowly. Keep half of it on your plate as a way of deflecting people from offering you more. Plan how many alcoholic drinks you will have and stick to it. Drink water in between every alcoholic drink – you’ll feel better the next day when everyone else is suffering!
Watch Your Alcohol
You don’t need to drink loads to have a good time. Alcohol contributes to weight gain, so you should moderate your alcohol intake. Set yourself limits before you go out – and stick to these limits!
Hopefully these guidelines will help you to enjoy eating out without wrecking your weight loss goals. Enjoy your food, take your time eating, and focus on the foods that you can have rather than the ones you can’t – dishes with meat, fish, vegetables, salad & cheese. Bon Appétit!