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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Starting Out With Cycling For Weight Loss

If you’re just starting out on the journey towards fitness and weight loss, you might want to base your rides or ‘sessions’ purely around time spent on the bike. Ride at your own pace and enjoy the feeling of getting active – every little will help and you don’t need to worry too much about intensity.
As you get fitter, you might want to add some variety. Easy rides, where you can talk and hold a conversation, are often called ‘fat burning rides’. These are good for improving your ability to just keep turning the pedals, and burning through fat.
At the other end of the scale is ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ or HITT. This involves pedalling really hard for short intervals with easy breaks in between. These rides burn through carbohydrate stores and you’ll need to up your carbohydrate intake on the day you complete one. Though they don’t specifically burn fat, some experts still believe these sessions are best for weight loss because the high intensity means you burn more calories during the day and you’ll also build more muscle through a session like this.
Experts will argue all day over which form of exercise is ‘best’ for losing weight. Our answer is simple: all things in moderation. Ideally, aim to fit in a couple of interval sessions in the week and a longer ride when you have time on the weekend. This will train your body in both fat burning and high intensity, strength building directions. And it’ll keep you motivated thanks to the varying styles of training.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Lose Weight Cycling

There are many reasons for wanting to lose weight. If you’re carrying a little excess baggage then dropping the pounds could improve your health and help you to avoid conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
Losing weight can also improve your confidence, and your performance on the bike – but it’s important that you always put your wellbeing first. Only aim to lose weight if doing so will improve your health and fitness
If you’ve decided that losing weight will be beneficial for you – then cycling is a great way to go about it…

The Benefits of Choosing to Lose Weight Cycling

Running is often considered the number one exercise for torching calories. The problem is it’s also ‘high impact’ – every step sends impact through your feet, ankles, calves, knees – and so on. As a result, it’s easy to get injured, and that risk is increased the heavier you are.
Cycling, by contrast, is low impact. As well as being a cardiovascular exercise that burns calories, it also strengthens your muscles – particularly your hamstrings, glutes and quads without too much risk of injury. The stronger your muscles are (by the way – your thighs WILL NOT become massive if you cycle – that sort of physique is gained by time in the gym and a lot of protein) the more calories your body burns just existing.
Cycling can be very sociable, too. Riding far and wide with friends at the weekend allows you to see new sights, whilst commuting to work mid-week saves you time and money. Or you can sweat it out in the gym for the ultimate high intensity workout in double quick time.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Healthy Oil Choices

Your Guide To Healthy Fats In Your Diet

All fats contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids but choosing foods which contain higher amounts of unsaturated fat, and less saturated fat, is preferable.
Unsaturated fats contain a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids and are usually liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and are found in vegetable oils such as olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats provide us with essential fatty acids like omega-3 which are important for health.
Good choices of oils are:

Omega 3 fatty acids

These are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are found in oily fish (e.g. mackerel, salmon and sardines) and in smaller amounts in sunflower oil, flax, linseed oil and walnuts. Omega 3 fatty acids are associated with good heart health as they can help to prevent blood clotting and regulate heart rhythm. They are also important during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support child development.  In order to get the benefits from these fatty acids we should all aim to eat at least one portion of oily fish per week.
  • Good sources include mackerel, salmon, pilchards, sardines, kippers, herring, trout, fresh crab, whitebait and swordfish

How can we make better choices in the fats we eat?

We should all try to cut down on the amount of saturated fat that we consume and choose healthier foods containing unsaturated fatty acids instead, from foods like avocados, nuts and fish. These foods are typical of the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with good heart health and a lower risk of heart disease.
Vegetable oils such as rapeseed, olive, sunflower, soya, sesame oils, and spreads made from these oils are healthier alternatives to oils or fats rich in saturated fats (e.g. lard, butter, palm and coconut oil) as they contain a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids.
It’s easy to make small changes to cut back on saturated fat. Here are some examples of simple swaps you can make to reduce the amount of saturated fat you consume:
Whole milk, cream and full fat cheese
Lower fat dairy products like skimmed, semi-skimmed or 1% fat milk and reduced fat cheese
Fatty cuts of meat

Lean cuts with no visible fat
Roasted and fried foods

Grilled, steamed or baked foods
Butter, lard, ghee, coconut and palm oils

Oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils and spreads made with these
Cakes, biscuits and pastries

A handful of unsalted nuts

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil - The Bad Fat

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil is a bad fat that causes high cholesterol, obesity along with a range of health conditions.

It has been banned in some countries but is still often widely used. If in doubt you should always read the food label and avoid as much as you can anything with the word Hydrogenated fat in it.

Start by avoiding the offenders below. On top of that, use this shopping tip: Check the label for “partially hydrogenated oils.” They’re a hidden source of trans fats.

1. Cakes, pies and cookies (especially with frosting)

Most cake and cookie mixes list 0 grams of trans fat on the label. But there’s a catch. Manufacturers can list 0 grams if the trans fat content is under 0.5 grams. Those small amounts add up when you eat multiple servings of sweets. If you add frosting, you’re in for a whopping dose. An average serving of frosting contains 2 grams of trans fat, plus the same amount of sugar as one tiny slice of cake.

2. Biscuits

This one surprises a lot of people. Frozen biscuits contain upwards of 3.5 grams of trans fat. Watch out for the word “flaky,” a texture trans fat helps produce. In addition, biscuits often contain over half of the daily recommendation for sodium.
“If refrigerated or frozen dough produces a texture that seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD
Wellness Institute

3. Breakfast sandwiches

Sure, microwavable breakfasts save you time, but they typically contain at least 1 gram of trans fat (more if they come on a biscuit). Take a close look at the ingredients, and you’re likely to find partially hydrogenated oils in the top five. Plus, they’re packed with sodium.

4. Margarine (stick or tub)

Most margarine makers have removed trans fat from their ingredients, but you still have to double-check. The few that still contain trans fat have levels as high as 3 grams per serving.

5. Crackers

Many crackers also benefit from the labeling loophole. You may see a “0” on the label and think you’re safe, but don’t be fooled. Check the ingredients. Here’s a tip: If a food can last in your pantry for weeks without going stale, trans fat might be keeping it fresh.

6. Microwave popcorn

Next time you watch a movie, choose your snack carefully. Microwave popcorn is a source of whole grains and antioxidants, but many buttered and flavored varieties have trans fat content as high as 5 grams per serving. Check the labels carefully, and opt for popcorn that comes with no trans fat.

7. Cream-filled candies

Bite-sized candies with creamy fillings typically contain 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. But it’s all too easy to eat more than one serving. Before you know it, you’ve ingested far too much sugar and an alarming amount of trans fat, all without any nutritional benefit.

8. Doughnuts

Many establishments have taken trans fat out of their ingredients, but be wary. Even those who make the “0 gram” claim may contain a small amount. That risk rises if you choose frosted or cream-filled doughnuts. And don’t forget, doughnuts offer a sugar bomb with little protein or fiber, which leads to a crash later in the day.

9. Fried fast foods

Trans fat can lurk in your favorite fries (5 grams) and sandwiches (2 grams). Luckily, most fast food companies and restaurants display nutrition and ingredient information on their websites or at the restaurant. Look them up before ordering or ask your server if they use partially hydrogenated oils. Be wary of deep-fried goodies at fairs and carnivals, too.

10. Frozen pizza

Frozen pizzas are another example where convenience isn’t worth the damage, with around 1 gram per slice or serving. Frozen pizzas rely on trans fat to give the crust that flaky texture. Think of it like this: If refrigerated or frozen dough produces a texture that seems too good to be true, it probably is.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Start The Day Off Right

What you eat throughout the day can be dependant on how you start off.

I try to eat healthy and have something filling. This often helps me to make better food choices later on. Over Christmas and being out of my normal routine, I found I was eating breakfast at all different times of the day and not always having something nutritious and filling.

Now back into normal routine I am back to eating either porridge oats with coconut milk, poached eggs on toast (usually Spelt or wholemeal bread) or omelettes with chopped mushrooms and tomatoes.

Occasionally I will have mixed fruit (blueberries, kiwi and banana) with Greek or Natural live yogurt.

By having a good breakfast it helps to keep me fuller for longer. I also feel more inclined to eat healthier foods during the day.

Today for example I have had fruit and live yogurt for my breakfast - the fruit for an added vitamin boost and yogurt to give my 'friendly' gut bacteria a helping hand. At lunch time I made a chicken and vegetable stew and ate 2 dishes of it (it was rather yummy).

As I write this I am still feeling full and will have something a bit lighter for my evening meal, although I have yet to decide what.

For some people, eating 5 or 6 small meals during the day works for them. Keeps their metabolism ticking over and helps to stop them from feeling hungry. However, I find that having 3 meals a day, providing they are nutritious and no snacking in between, helps me to lose weight.

It's all about finding an eating plan that works for YOU.

You can read more about the eating plan I follow for weight loss and why it works for me  HERE

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Tips To Avoid Extra Weight Gain From Drinking Alcohol

To reduce the chances of gaining weight from drinking alcohol, follow these tips from the British Nutrition Foundation:
  • Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week, which is equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine.
  • Alternate an alcoholic drink with a glass of water – this will help to prevent you becoming dehydrated.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. If you do reach for snacks while drinking, opt for a healthier option – choose a sandwich instead of crisps or chips, or choose a chicken burger without mayonnaise instead of a kebab with garlic sauce.
  • Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Opt out and drink at your own pace.
  • Try cutting down with a friend, as you’ll be more likely to stick to it with moral support.
  • Eat a healthier dinner before you start drinking. Order or cook before you start drinking so you’re not tempted to go for the less healthy options.
  • Pace yourself by taking small sips.
  • Avoid "binge drinking" – it is not advisable to "save up" your units to splurge at the weekend.
  • If you’re drinking white wine, why not add a splash of soda water to help the same number of units last longer?

Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year's Resolution, Don't Do It!!

The New Year is upon us, which means it’s time to make a resolution or two. So what will it be this year: lose weight, again; promise yourself a change of job, again; earn more money, perhaps?
The truth is, most of us will do the same thing we always do: set some goals that will be forgotten about by the 7th January, or thereabouts. So this year I’m proposing something different. And the goal-setting gurus will hate me for it.
Yes, I’ve heard it a million times before; the reason we don’t stick to our resolutions and don’t fulfill our goals is because they’re not SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
And while there is a lot of truth in that, for me it’s only half the story.
So this year, I’m throwing the rulebook out the window and offering you an alternative pathway.
Do nothing. Don’t set any resolutions or goals.
And if you must set a resolution, then make it this: Give up wanting anything to happen in the New Year.
And if you have to set a goal, set a goal to set no goals.
“What! But it’s New Year. A time to restart the clock, to set about achieving all that’s possible and to fulfill my potential!”
Yadda, yadda… Forget it. If you don’t want to find yourself in exactly the same position this time next year, thinking the same thoughts and feeling the same feelings, do this instead:
Rather than rushing forward in a panic to set resolutions or a list of goals you can start on New Year’s day, forget all that and enter the New Year in a mode of being absolutely present, and absolutely positive about how great it’s going to be.
If you do this, and endeavour to maintain this approach, you’ll end up doing everything you’re supposed to as and when it’s supposed to be done.
Stop the “I must” thought mill turning over all the things you should have done this year that you’ll “definitely do next year”.
Enter the New Year with zero pressure on your back to do anything other than remain open to the possibility of your potential, receptive to change and ready to show compassion to yourself for your shortcomings.
Out of the state of being will arise all the doing, and achievements you never planned for but will be amazed to see unfold.
The reality is that there’s no point in setting the same resolutions you’ve been setting for years on end, only to feel disappointed and down on yourself.
Remember what Albert Einstein said:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
This cycle only perpetuates feelings of failure and inadequacy, which is wholly negative and certainly not conducive to achieving goals.
Consider for a moment why you haven’t shifted that weight, changed that job, built that shed in the garden or watched your son play football more often.
Maybe you didn’t really want to, or maybe you were busy prioritising things that don’t bring the soul-fulfilling contentment to your life that you internally seek.
Maybe you thought so hard about doing positive things that you didn’t get around to actually putting them in motion.
Now there’s a thought. Why is it that for all the motivation you have before the 1st January, you get more unproductive as the year goes on?
I’m willing to bet that it’s because for the last x amount of years, you’ve been setting New Year’s resolutions without really knowing what you really want out of life.
You are not doing what your heart is yearning for.
Perhaps your resolutions and goals are based on the expectations of others.
Perhaps you are being driven by a false need to conform to societal norms.
So this year, it’s time to make a real change. It’s time to take stock of where you are and what you want out of life, not to continue doing what others expect you to do or what you think might make you seem or feel more successful or more appealing.
How about, for this New Year, you just allow you to be you?
It doesn’t seem like a big resolution, but in fact this is absolutely massive.
Try it.
It doesn’t matter how many goal-setting guides you follow, the moment you stop piling pressure on yourself to undertake resolutions that you aren’t wholly committed to, or don’t even really want, is the moment you give yourself a chance to breath – to be present enough to see the wood for the trees.
That breathing space allows us to see who it is that has been doing all the doing, who it is who has been trying to reach all these goals and get to these moments of self-actualisation that never seem to quite plug the hole of fulfillment.
New Year or not, once we turn the search inwards and start truly understanding the “self”, the actor playing the role, we aren’t just given a chance to start again; it’s more than that. We are reborn, and most importantly, set free.
And this is the feeling a New Year should bring. A feeling of release. A feeling of newness. A feeling of being free.
Being here and not there, off in our mind’s evaluations and projections all the time, and knowing instead of assuming and predicting what could be or might be “if”, gives rise to a purer awareness of self, and opens a pathway for clear seeing to navigate life’s rough seas.
Of course there’s always room for improvement in life, and yes, goal-setting can be a positive activity.
But if you always feel short-changed by your efforts and rewards, then perhaps it’s time you stopped forcing yourself, stopped making empty promises to a stranger, stopped living through the expectations of others and instead made friends with yourself and the wonderful being that you are.
Empty your glass and step into this New Year without baggage from the last. If it feeds your soul, do it. If it makes you want to get out of bed in the morning with a smile, carry on.
Spring board into the New Year and let your positive energy synchronise with the earth and give you the clarity to move forward and be comfortable and contented with who you are.
Let go of the expectations of others and, for once, let your intuition take the lead in guiding you through the year.

I guarantee you will attract an abundance of positive opportunity into your life.
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