Free Weight Loss Tips

Positive Thinking for Weight Loss

Woman throw scarf comp
Let go of negative thoughts! Think positive about yourself, and you’ll begin to achieve your weight loss goals

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!

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

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.

Are You Surrounded by Foods That Make You Fat?

FScientists think that an environment which encourages you to eat unhealthy food is a major reason for the increase in obesity. There’s even a name for the phenomenon: The Obesogenic Environment. We are surrounded by unhealthy food choices. Think how easy it is to get hold of junk food – you’re never more than a few paces away from a Mars bar, a bottle of Coke or a packet of sweets – the very “danger” foods that cause us to put on weight. Junk food is sold to us in every imaginable setting: at work, in leisure centres, on every high street, in vending machines, petrol stations and newsagents. When our environment promotes unhealthy food, is it any wonder that we are putting on weight? It’s not all doom and gloom – there are a number of ways that you can change your environment so that it works for you, rather than against you. The following tips should help.

Portion Size

Plate sizes have been getting bigger, and most of us are culturally programmed to finish what’s on the plate – a recipe for overeating! Research shows that when you put larger portions in front of people, people eat more – and don’t even realise they’re doing it. My favourite experiment involved a never ending soup bowl (fresh soup was piped in from below) which caused people to eat way more soup. Other experiments involved giving people popcorn in different size containers: People ate 45 percent more popcorn from extra-large containers compared with large ones. In light of this research, it’s worrying to think that the average size of dinner plates has increased in the last few decades. The solution? Buy smaller plates! I’m not joking, simply using smaller plates will help you to control your portion size. Instead of having to think about every mouthful, you make one simple change to your plate size and you will be less inclined to overeat. If you clear your plate and you are really still hungry, you can always go back for more – but you’ll have to consciously decide to get more, rather than mindlessly ploughing your way through a heap of food on an extra large dinner plate. Research also shows that people tend to drink more from short fat glasses compared with tall thin ones – so if you do drink fizzy drinks (which I DO NOT recommend), using tall thin glasses will help limit your consumption.

Make the Healthy Food Choice Easy

ChocolatesDon’t make the mistake of surrounding yourself with junk food – you’ll be far more likely to succumb to temptation. Shopping is a key time when you really need to think about controlling your environment. If you don’t buy crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks, you’ll be less likely to consume them. Making one good decision when you’re shopping will save you from having to constantly resist temptation. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t shop when you are hungry – you’ll be more likely to buy junk. Get yourself fired up and positive when you shop for food and stick to healthy options. This will pay dividends when your resolve falters later on – when you crave junk food, there won’t be any in the cupboard.

Pre-Commit to Eat Healthy

Stock your house with plenty of healthy foodstuffs like fruit, vegetables, wholegrain products, nuts and seeds. Make sure these foods are easily available. Commit in advance to eating well:

  • Put 5-10 pieces of fruit in a bowl in the morning, and make sure you eat them by evening
  • Put fruit and nuts into a lunchbox for a snack during work-time
  • Leave a jug or bottle of flavoured water on your desk – you’ll be less likely to go for unhealthy fizzy drinks
  • Leave a well stocked fruit bowl where the family can easily get to it – you’ll be more likely to snack on fruit

The TV Environment

Don’t have a TV in the room where you eat, or make sure that you religiously turn off the TV whilst eating. Research shows that watching TV whilst eating has been linked to overeating and obesity. Having a TV in your bedroom is also a bad idea. It will affect your sleep patterns, and poor sleep has been linked to obesity. Whatever you do, don’t allow your kids to have a TV in their room – this encourages passive habits and has been linked to obesity.

Pushing Junk Food

Our commercial world pushes junk food constantly (because it is so profitable). You can’t change this bit of your environment, but you can at least be prepared for it! Don’t believe the advertising slogans concocted by junk food manufacturers, and be ready when junk food is pushed at you. I recently bought a cup of coffee at a petrol station, and the shop assistant almost fell over when I refused the free muffin: “but it’s free!”. You don’t need the muffin. Don’t take it. Be prepared when shop assistants offer a free chocolate or a special offer on junk food – just say no. I recently stood in a massive queue at WHSmith in Heathrow Airport, trying to buy a bottle of water. The queue was so long because every time someone made a purchase, the shop assistant offered them three large chocolate bars (Toblerone) for the price of two. It was working – many people were buying chocolate that they had no intention of purchasing when they walked in the shop. Decide what you want to buy, and stick to it – ignore any offers, and beware of this marketing tactic.

Get Some Toys!

Teenage girl on a bicycleFill your house with active toys:

  • Footballs, tennis balls and frisbees are not just for kids
  • If you have room, get an outside table tennis set or basketball hoop
  • Get a table football and have tournaments with family & friends

If you have easy access to active toys, you’ll be more likely to get out and be active.

Move More

Park a bit further away from your destination than usual, and walk the rest of the way. Buy a bike and use it to run errands, commute, or just to go for a leisurely bike ride. Store it somewhere prominent, so that it will act as a reminder to you.

Control Your Leisure Environment

Instead of always meeting friends in a pub or restaurant, try tag rugby, 5-a-side football or go for a swim and a sauna together. When you take the kids out for a treat, decide in advance against taking them to McDonalds – take them for a walk or a swim instead. You don’t need junk food to bond with the kids, and if you don’t expose yourselves to fast food restaurants, you’ll eat less junk food. Get some activity and have some healthy snacks afterwards. If you do get some active leisure, watch out – most leisure centres boost their profits by vending junk food. Don’t undo all your good work by guzzling chocolate. Plan in advance how and where you can get a healthy meal after your activity session.


We can’t control all aspects of our obesogenic environment, but there are many ways that we can get our environment working for us:

  • Control portion size – use smaller plates & taller glasses
  • Make a shopping list and stick to it – don’t buy junk food
  • Add 5 – 10 pieces of fruit to a bowl every day and make sure you eat them
  • Keep a bottle of water available – you’ll be less likely to consume unhealthy drinks
  • Stock up on active toys – for adults & kids!
  • Get active in your leisure time – meet your mates in the gym rather than the pub
  • Don’t eat in front of the TV
  • Keep the TV out of bedrooms
  • Be prepared when junk food is pushed at you
  • Move more – walk and cycle when you can

You could also cause a fuss where you see unhealthy choices being promoted – why not try to change things for the better? I worked with secondary schools in our local County to have fizzy drinks vending removed and replaced with bottled water vending. Fizzy drink consumption plummeted overnight in the schools that made the change, simply because access was restricted. So get out there and make your environment more healthy!

Photo 1 by: Svadilfari licensed under Creative Commons Photo 2 by: emdot licensed under Creative Commons Photo 3 by: catface3 licensed under Creative Commons

No Such Thing as a Bad Food? Think Again!

Good Food!

Recent research carried out at the Harvard School of Public Health calls into question the often cited weight-loss advice to “Eat Less, Exercise More” – advice which is over-simplistic. It also calls into question the food industry mantra that “there is no such thing as a bad food”.

The Harvard School of Public Health have an excellent website, carry out excellent research, and are unafraid to provide clear and unbiased advice.

In a series of three separate studies looking at diet and other lifestyle factors, researchers found that long-term weight gain was closely linked to:

  • Intake of specific foods and drinks
  • Physical activity
  • TV-watching
  • Sleep duration

In particular, changes in diet had the biggest effect on weight gain. The research appears in the June 23, 2011, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Preventing Obesity

The average person puts on excess weight very gradually – about 0.5 kg (1 lb) per year. Half a kilogram of excess weight isn’t much – but over the course of a few decades you can easily pile on 10 kg, ending up overweight or obese. The researchers at Harvard looked at data collected over a 20 year period, and the results paint an interesting picture of how weight gain creeps up on us. It also highlights which foods and lifestyle factors are most closely related to weight gain.

“An average adult gains about one pound per year. Because the weight gain is so gradual and occurs over many years, it has been difficult for scientists and for individuals themselves to understand the specific factors that may be responsible,”

said lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor and one of the authors of the research.

Name and Shame!

The research points to several foods as being most closely associated with weight gain:

  • Potato chips/crisps (for each one increased daily serving, +1.69 lb more weight gain every 4 years)
  • Other potatoes (1.28 lb)
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages (1.00 lb)
  • Unprocessed meats (0.95 lb)
  • Processed meats (0.93 lb)

Good Foods!

Several foods were associated with less weight gain when their consumption was increased, including vegetables (−0.22 lb), whole grains (−0.37 lb), fruits (−0.49 lb), nuts (−0.57 lb) and yogurt (−0.82 lb).

The bottom line? Eating more of certain foods can actually help prevent weight gain. Avoiding other key “bad” foods can also help avoid weight gain. The take home message:

  • Eat more minimally processed foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt)
  • Avoid highly processed foods (e.g. white breads, bagels, processed meats, cakes)
  • Avoid sugar
  • Avoid sugary drinks & sweets
  • Eat fewer potatoes and refined grains (white rice, breakfast cereals low in fiber, other refined carbohydrates)

If you’re overweight, we recommend avoiding sugar and refined grains – including bread, pasta & white rice.

Why should the type of food we eat influence long-term weight gain? Surely it’s all about how many calories we take in (by eating food) balanced against calories we burn (by being active)?

Good Foods vs Bad Foods

It turns out that not all calories are created equal. Different foods have different effects on hunger, insulin levels, and feelings of fullness (satiety) – so eating more of certain foods may help us to eat more healthily.

Nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are unprocessed – it takes time to chew them and digest them. If you eat more of these foods, you feel full for longer – so overall, you’ll consume fewer calories over the course of a day.

By way of contrast, when you eat sweets, the calories are easily absorbed and you will not feel full for long – you’ll soon be ready for more empty calories in a vicious cycle of over-consumption.

According to Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard and senior author of the paper: “The idea that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods is a myth that needs to be debunked.”

The following video shows Dr Mozaffarian talking about the research:

The research also found that TV watching and sleep habits were linked to long-term weight gain:

  • More TV watching was linked to weight gain
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours per night was linked to weight gain

Overall, the weight-changes associated with any one lifestyle change were fairly small. However, together they added up – especially for diet. Small lifestyle changes can together make a big difference – for bad or good.

It is easy to gain weight unintentionally – excess weight creeps up on us gradually over a number of years. However, making simple lifestyle changes has the potential to help prevent and treat obesity.

Lose Weight: Take Control of Your Environment!

Weight loss food
Supermarkets often do their best to sell you junk food – you need to be strong when shopping – remind yourself of your weight loss goals before going in the shop

When you are trying to lose weight, managing your diet is really important. Unfortunately, we’re usually surrounded by unhealthy foods – and this makes it more difficult for us to make healthy choices. We tend to snack on foods that we have access to – so if biscuits are in the cupboard, you’re more likely to eat them!

If we surround ourselves with junk food, is it any wonder that we eat more of it? If our environment is full of temptation, we’re much more likely to give in to cravings and fail to achieve our weight-loss goals.

Controlling Your Food Environment

You need to learn to take control of your food environment so that healthy choices are easy to make, and unhealthy options are more difficult. It’s usually easier to change your environment than to change your mind. Simple guidelines to control your food environment include:

  • Use smaller plates – you’ll tend to eat smaller portions
  • Don’t keep biscuits, sweets or crisps in the house!
  • Put salad & vegetables on the table – you’ll eat more of these healthy foods
  • Keep your fruit bowl highly visible – on your desk or in the car
  • Restrict your access to junk food – if you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it!
  • Make water available – take a bottle of water with you to work, leave a jug on the table
  • Strictly limit the amount of sweets and crisps you buy for the kids
  • Don’t buy cakes and biscuits when you visit friends – avoid temptation
  • Don’t keep gallons of alcohol in the house – you’ll be more likely to slip into the habit of mid-week drinking!

Things You Can’t Control

There are many situations where you can’t control your food environment – and in these situations you need to be strong! If you’re going somewhere where you know you’ll be offered unhealthy food, be prepared.

In particular, stay focused on your weight loss goals when you’re food shopping or eating out. Keep a reminder of your weight loss goal with you – and look at it when you feel tempted!

Need help managing your weight? We can help! Give us a call on 087 930 7575 – we love to talk and are happy to give free advice!

Roast Salmon with Veggies

healthy meals for weight loss
Weight-loss diets shouldn't be boring! Fill yourself up with our delicious and healthy salmon recipe

If you’re watching your weight, try this delicious salmon recipe. Salmon makes a perfect main meal that can be used as part of your TurnTrim weight-loss diet. You could even cook extra salmon – use it as a centrepiece for lunch on the following day.

Salmon is a great source of protein – it is also high in healthy fats called omega-3s. Serve with plenty of vegetables and a dressed green salad, and your meal becomes a powerhouse of beneficial antioxidants and healthy nutrients.


  • Frozen salmon fillets (MSC certified if possible)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper


Add the frozen salmon to a roasting dish. Drizzle with oil. Rub wholegrain mustard into salmon fillet. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top. Add lots of black pepper. Slice some red pepper and sprinkle over your salmon.

Roast at Gas Mark 5 (190 deg C) for 25 minutes.

Serve with boiled or steamed vegetables and a large green salad.

If you enjoyed this recipe, why not like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for regular healthy recipes and weight-loss tips. If you’re in Co. Clare, call us on 087 930 7575 to find out about our weight loss services.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

colaType 2 Diabetes is on the increase. It’s a major cause of ill-health, and it will knock roughly 15 years off your lifespan if you get it.

To make matters worse, people are getting the disease at a younger age. There was a time when people got Type 2 Diabetes in their 40s, but now it’s beginning to affect teenagers. What’s causing this deadly epidemic?

Poor lifestyle habits.

Yep, you heard me…we’re doing it to ourselves with our unhealthy habits.

According to the World Health Organisation, the disease is largely preventable, and there are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk.

One of the main causes of Type 2 Diabetes is being overweight. If you are overweight, do something about it now!

Get Active

Regular physical activity reduces the risk for a range of illnesses, not just diabetes. Aim to be physically active on most days, and build physical activity into your daily life.

  • Walk or cycle to work or school
  • Park at the back of the car park when you do your shopping – give yourself further to walk!
  • Get off the bus one or two stops early, and walk the rest of the way
  • Avoid elevators & escalators – use the stairs instead
  • Have an active lunch break – go for a short walk or run
  • Limit the amount of time you & your family watch television – play a board game together instead
  • Play active games – you’re never too old to play catch or frisbee
  • Take part in regular organised physical activities. If you’re not interested in sport, why not try dance, yoga, tai chi, or other non-competitive activities


  • Don’t eat sugar or sugary foods – you don’t need sugar, and it’s bad for you
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Cut out refined carbohydrates – pasta, bread, cakes and biscuits
  • Limit your consumption of potatoes and rice
  • Drink water or milk instead of fizzy drinks

If you are overweight, make the simple changes outlined above – and give yourself time. If you need extra help, check out our services. You didn’t put the weight on overnight, so don’t expect to shift it overnight!

Photo by: JohnGoode licensed under Creative Commons

Simple Evening Meal: Roasted Chicken Pieces

MP900427799Eating for weight-loss doesn’t have to be boring! For most people struggling with their weight, the main problem is too much sugar & refined carbohydrates. It’s pretty easy to dump the carbs and still have satisfying & healthy food – and this recipe should help.

Use organic chicken if possible – you’ll be using a better quality product. Rub chicken breasts or thighs with the spice of your choice:

  • Salt & freshly milled black pepper
  • Curry powder
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Cumin & coriander
  • Marinate in natural yoghurt + cumin & coriander
  • Marinate in BBQ paste: tomato puree, soy sauce, cumin & chopped garlic

Drizzle with a little olive oil & roast at Gas Mark 6 (200 deg C, 400 deg F) for 30 minutes.

Roast some vegetables with your chicken – simply drizzle olive oil over your veggies and roast. You can buy packs of frozen oven-ready vegetables, which require minimal preparation, but it’s cheaper to use fresh root vegetables such as carrots & parsnips. Try roasting garlic cloves in their papery skins – when they are done, squeeze out on your meal. Delicious! Other convenient vegetables include frozen peas (cook on the hob), broccoli & cauliflower. Packs of stir fry veg are usually found with the salads in the supermarket – cook in the frying pan with some olive oil and some low-salt soy sauce.

Serve your roast chicken with some salad & vegetables. Aim to fill at least half your plate with vegetables – remember that eating more veggies can help you to control your weight.

Refrigerate surplus chicken and shred it into salad for an excellent lunch option. It might even be an idea to cook enough chicken for your evening meal plus your lunch for the following day.

Alternative Meat Options

You can vary this recipe by substituting beef or salmon instead of chicken – just cook the meat/fish as instructed on the pack. Salmon is an excellent protein source, and can be cooked from frozen. When cooking beef, you can grill or fry the meat.

  • Gammon steaks in individual packs can be grilled or fried – see pack for cooking instructions.
  • Steak grilled or fried – see pack for cooking instructions. Cook extra for lunch – keep in fridge overnight, shred into salad next day.
  • Salmon steaks cooked from frozen drizzle with olive oil squeeze lemon juice over them bake in oven for 20 minutes at gas mark 6.

Physical Activity: Cancer Wonder-Drug?

Physical Activity & Cancer
Regular physical activity can help prevent certain cancers, and is even beneficial for those battling cancer

There is strong scientific evidence that exercise has many benefits for cancer patients. Move More, a new report by Macmillan Cancer Support, outlines those benefits. Sadly, many health professionals are not aware of this issue.

Cancer is a big issue for many of us – my own Mother passed away last year as a result of cancer. Sadly, by the time my Mum was diagnosed, she was way too ill to exercise. But for millions of other cancer patients, regular exercise is an important therapy that is often ignored.

Four key findings from the report are:

  • Breast cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by up 40% by being active
  • Bowel cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by around 50% by being active
  • Prostate cancer patients’ risk of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 30% by being active
  • Cancer patients can reduce their risk of getting side effects of cancer and its treatment by being physically active

Doctors Unaware

Unfortunately, most health professionals are not aware of the benefits of exercise as a cancer therapy. A survey by Macmillan found that most GPs, practice nurses, oncologists and cancer nurses do not speak to their patients about the possible benefits of physical activity, or at best they speak to just a few of them.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

“Cancer patients would be shocked if they knew just how much benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long-term health, in some cases reducing their chances of having to go through the grueling ordeal of treatment all over again… It is essential that physical activity services are available and ‘prescribed’ to all cancer patients.

“It doesn’t need to be anything too strenuous, doing the gardening, going for a brisk walk or a swim all count. Health professionals can refer patients to a variety of services such as physiotherapy, specialist exercise programmes at leisure centres or walking groups.”

Traditionally, patients were told to rest after cancer treatment.  The new report suggests that this advice is out-dated and possibly even dangerous. Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer of Macmillan Cancer Support and leading clinical oncologist said:

“The advice that I would have previously have given to one of my patients would have been to ‘take it easy’. This has now changed significantly because of the recognition that if physical exercise were a drug, it would be hitting the headlines. There really needs to be a cultural change, so that health professionals see physical activity as an integral part of cancer after care, not just an optional add-on.”

See more on this issue at Macmillan Cancer Support.