People carry their fat in different places, we are not all the same and depending on where you store your fat does have an impact on your health.
If you gain weight mainly in the abdominal area it is said that you are an apple shape.
If you tend to gain weight mostly on your hips, buttocks and thighs, then you are known as a pear shape. I am a pear shape.
Depending where your body stores the fat does affect your health.
If you are an apple shape, you are at more risk of health problems associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and diabetes.
If your waist is above 94cm (37in) if you are a man and 80cm (32in) if you are a woman then this indicates that you are carrying excess weight around your middle.
You can’t change what shape you are, it is an inherited characteristic .
You can limit its extent by keeping your weight at a healthy weight and exercising.
I am not saying you can’t have any treats again if you are an apple shape, it is all about eating in moderation. I eat chocolate, cakes and biscuits, but I don’t have them every day and I only have 2 biscuits at a time and not half a packet.
One of the main things to remember is when you are about to eat something is, are you really hungry or are you just bored??
Don’t forget to drink two litres of water a day, because when you are dehydrated you will feel hungry, even though you might just be thirsty.
If you are not a person who really enjoys exercise then it can be hard to motivate yourself to do it.
Exercise has been shown to increase self-esteem. When we feel good about ourselves it encourages us to take care of our health and wellbeing and support us in our efforts to change. Try to make some form of exercise a priority and make time for it, because it is vital for your health and it will improve your mental outlook, mood and self-esteem.
Exercise is a fantastic stress buster and just a moderate increase in your level of exercise can leave you feeling calmer and in control. Whenever you feel stressed or anxious, take a long, brisk walk and see if you feel better afterwards. Exercise discharges the stress hormone such as cortisol, that accumulates due to chronic stress. Exercise increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and stimulates the release of mood-lifting endorphins that relieve pain – a natural opium known as the runners high. These changes in the brain chemistry make us feel euphoric and exhilarated.
It has been shown in several studies that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants or traditional psychotherapy in elevating mood.
The more intensely you exercise, the more of these chemicals you produce, helping you to feel better and better.
If you haven’t exercised for a while then build up slowly, don’t try to do too much at once. If you are recovering from illness build up slowly and don’t over do it. I had Covid in April and im still not back at the fitness level I was before. I have to build it up slowly because if I do too much it will massively impact how I feel the next day and can result in me taking a step backwards.
Below is some of the amazing benefits of exercise:
Maintains weight loss over the long term
Increases resting metabolic rate
Improves strength and stamina
Improves muscle tone
Improves joint flexibility and suppleness
Strengthens back muscles and eases pain
Strengthens heart muscle
Improves lung function
Helps reduce food cravings and regulates appetite
Slows down the body’s ageing process and helps you look better
Reduces stress and anxiety
Improves mental clarity
Increases self-esteem and self confidence
Increases energy and reduces fatigue
Increases the production of endorphins, helping you to feel calm
Helps you sleep better
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces the risk of mature onset diabetes
Improves your insulin/blood glucose mechanism
Reduces cholesterol to healthy levels
It feels good
My main exercises at the moment are yoga and walking.
Yesterday I had a little robin on my walk with me.
Due to the situation we are all in at the moment it is definitely worth trying to do some exercise to improve how you feel.
If you don’t eat meat one of the first questions you probably get asked is: where do you get your protein from?
So here is some answers:
Legumes are a great source of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates and include beans, peas, lentils and nuts.
Lentils are widely available and can be added to salads, wraps, curries, soups or stews. Black beans are also a rich source of antioxidants and one of the healthiest legumes you can eat. Legumes contain more protein than any other plant food. They are also high complex carbohydrates and low in fat, so they are a great food.
Loaded with magnesium and antioxidants and fibre. Quinoa is becoming more and more popular with households.
Peanut butter is great for a quick easy snack and brilliant to have after a workout. Due to its high fat and protein content it should help you to feel full and help to get rid of those sugar cravings. Just having one tablespoon equates to 4g of protein. You could also try other nut butters such as almond, cashew, or macadamia. I like to use peanut butter in my own cereal bars. When you make your own you know exactly what has gone into them.
There is a lot of meat alternatives around today and I do think that they taste great. They are packed with plant based protein. For a quick easy meal you could use a meat alternative chicken burger in a bun with a side salad sprinkled with seeds for extra protein. Give it a try before you say “I only eat proper meat”.
Hemp and Chia Seeds
These tiny little seeds are packed with protein and can be added to smoothies, homemade bread or homemade cereal bars.
So as you can see you can get plenty of protein from plant sources if you choose not to eat meat.
Iron is an essential mineral, found in every cell of the body.
It is an important component of the haemoglobin in red blood cells, which carries oxygen around the body.
If you have too little iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-transporting red blood cells. The knock on effect is fatigued body, which impacts brain function and immunity. Many people do not get enough iron from the food they are eating.
Iron deficiency anaemia is a very common nutritional deficiency in particular amongst children and women of childbearing age.
If you have heavy periods they can leave you lacking in iron and so can pregnancy as your body requires extra iron for your growing baby.
Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
Lack of energy
Shortness of breathe
Loss of appetite or nausea
Cold or numbness in the fingers and toes due to poor blood circulation
Children may become very tired and have low concentration levels
Heme And Non-heme Iron
Dietary iron comes in two forms: heme iron which is found in animal flesh and non-heme iron which is found in plant foods and dairy products. Research suggests that heme iron is more absorbable than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is better absorbed along side vitamin C.
Good Sources Of Iron Include:
Brazil and Cashew nuts
Dates and prunes
Now you can see why iron is so essential and has a huge impact on your body. Try to include iron rich foods in your diet.
We might not be back to having a normal lifestyle yet, but it is about making the best of each day and trying to find something positive.
Being healthy is not about depriving yourself of your favourite foods or following a very strict diet. I certainly don’t live my life like that and I have never have. In fact I am eating a chocolate dessert while typing this. It was left over from last night. Yes some weeks I do gain a few pounds, it is when I have over indulged or not done any exercise. I still never remove my favourite foods from my diet, I just reduce the amount I have.
Many people don’t realise just how much food they eat in a day. It can be a shock when they are asked to complete a food diary. There is no point cheating as you are only cheating yourself. Give it a try write down every single thing you eat and drink in a day.
If you are wanting to lose weight or just want to feel healthier set yourself a goal and then break it down into small manageable goals or you will be put off before you have even properly started. A simple goal to start with could be to add an extra portion of fruit or vegetables to your meals for a week. Aim to have a 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day if you currently don’t have many.
TEA AND COFFEE
Cut back on your tea and coffee introduce herbal teas and green teas as these can have amazing benefits.
Look at the type of carbohydrates you are eating. Do not remove carbohydrates from your diet. Your body needs them, If you are consuming a lot of white carbohydrates then swap them for brown carbohydrates such as brown pasta, brown bread, brown rice, use wholemeal flour. This is a quick and easy way to help your wellbeing and lose weight.
Increase your water consumption as it is so important for your body. Our brains are capable of telling us when we are hungry, when really we are thirsty. Water is so beneficial for your skin and lots more. I can really tell if I haven’t drunk enough water I get headaches, feel tired and fine lines appear under my eyes. If you are exercising don’t forget to increase your water intake.
FOCUS ON YOUR FOOD
Focus on your food, avoid rushing your meals. Eating slowly allows your body to digest the food and this will give the body time to register when it is full and stop you over eating. Think about how you feel after you have eaten, this can encourage you to eat healthier. The more processed and junk food you eat the more tired and sluggish you will feel. Try not to eat when you are bored. When you reach for a bar of chocolate or packet of crisps just think if I am really hungry I would eat an apple. Don’t use huge plates as this as this can make it super easy to overeat or add more vegetables to your plate. Everyone at some point has sweet treats when they are stressed or have a bad day. Yes I am guilty of this, I am only human as long as you recognise how many times you are using food as a comfort and if it is a lot look for other ways to ease stress. Some people exercise, go for walks or clean the house. Try something different.
MAKE YOUR OWN TREATS
You can make your own treats. Two of my favourites are flapjacks and energy balls. If you make it yourself you know exactly what has gone in and there isn’t anything hidden so you have control of what is going in your body. If you do buy shop bought treats check the label and have a look how much sugar is in it. More than 15g per 100g is classed as high sugar content.
Preparation is the key to success when you are trying to lose weight or be healthy. If you prepare your food you are less likely to skip meals or grab a takeaway or eat processed food. Plan your meals and do a shopping list before you go shopping, This also helps you to speed up your shopping. Always have spices and herbs in as they can liven up any dish.
Exercise plays an important part in your health and wellbeing. You need to find something you enjoy or it will become a chore. It is far better if you enjoy it. Once we reach 40 years of age we start to lose muscle mass and it leads to a slower metabolism. You can build muscle mass by doing strength training exercise. A big advantage to weight training is your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise. You don’t have to go to a gym to exercise. I do all of mine at home, I do hula hooping, yoga, cycling and walking. If you are busy like most people are these days break it down into small sections. I do 10 minutes of hula hooping in a morning. It will soon add up if you do 10 minute bursts or do star jumps while waiting for the kettle to boil or jogging on the spot during adverts in your programme. Exercise is a great way to manage stress.
Depriving your body of sleep can speed up the ageing process and deter your weight loss efforts. Lack of sleep can affect your diet as you can crave carbohydrates when you are tired. Aim for 6-8 hours if you can this allows your body to restore and to protect vital organ functions. If you struggle to sleep try a meditation app or CD they really do help you get to sleep.
Like I always recommend make small changes so you are not overwhelmed. Start with a food diary initially just to see where you could begin to make small changes.
Do you find that your energy levels drop throughout the day or do you find it hard to get out of bed in a morning?
Living an on the go lifestyle often results in burnout or recovering from an illness can greatly impact your energy which is very true for me at the moment.
A lot of people reach for pick-me-up snacks or energy drinks and wonder why the effects don’t last for a long period of time.
There is so many things you can do to improve or hep maintain your energy.
Some of the main causes of low energy are………..
Poor Dietary Choices
Our bodies are not designed to consume a lot of the processed foods we eat today in the Western Diet. This also includes fizzy drinks, alcohol and extra caffeine. A lot of these foods also contain high amounts of sugar. Eating lots of white foods such as white bread and pasta can create ongoing stress for the pancreas causing it to release high levels of insulin which is required to lower the blood sugar levels by pushing sugar out into the cells. This is what creates the high/low energy crash cycle. This can lead onto you craving more sweet foods.
Another diet related energy problem is candida , this is a fungus that belongs to the yeast family. When your body is healthy, it will maintain small amounts of the fungus in the digestive tract. Poor dietary choices can lead to a candida growth to spiral out of control. When this happens it can be a major cause of fatigue.
Most people deal with some sort of stress on a daily basis. In today’s busy lifestyle many people are multi-tasking and struggle to find time to have relaxed mealtimes and stop working while they are eating. This will continue to deplete our energy.
What Can You Do to Nourish Your Body??
First of all do not skip breakfast. Having a good breakfast is key for balancing blood sugar. Try to avoid sugary cereals especially ones that change the colour of your milk.
Try to ensure that all your meals and snacks include some good quality protein. Don’t forget this can include nuts and seeds.
Consume plenty of green vegetables and most non-starchy vegetables give nourishment without causing blood sugar spikes. Non-starchy vegetables include asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and celery.
Eating some raw foods will also help in a great way as these are bursting with energy and enzymes which are normally destroyed during cooking. By eating raw foods means that your body doesn’t have to use a lot of energy to produce enzymes for the digestive process, reducing in more energy available for daily activities. If you don’t fancy eating raw foods you could try them in a juice first. Add in chlorella or spirulina for an extra protein boost.
Drinking water is so important, if you make one change today drink more water. Try to have two litres per day this does not mean two litres of coffee. If you struggle drinking cold water include herbal teas or add some fruit to your water. I start the day with a cup of boiled water. I am not saying completely stop other drinks just be aware of how many you are having. It is all about balance I have one coffee mid morning then change to herbal teas or boiled water.
Our bodies are designed to move all day long. Eventually lack of exercise will impair multiple physical functions necessary for health. Think of your body as a car that requires fuel from food and water and plenty of exercise to keep the engine running at optimum level.
It is important to get regular exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. I personally don’t like gyms. I enjoy yoga, cycling, walking and hula hooping. Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy is really important then it doesn’t feel like a chore. I do 10 minutes of yoga or hula hooping in a morning and it makes me feel so much better after I have done it. I won’t lie some mornings it can feel like a lot of effort, but it is definitely worth it. If you haven’t done any exercise for a while then build it up slowly. I haven’t been able to exercise properly for a few months and it has made a huge difference to my fitness levels. Set yourself small achievable goals.
Time For You
Mindfulness is good for stress, if that’s not for you do ensure that you take some time out just for you. Have a brew in peace on your own, read a magazine, phone a friend for a chat or go for walk. Even if you only have 10 minutes to remove yourself do it, it will make a difference if you are feeling stressed.
Try to make small changes don’t do everything at once or you are setting yourself up to fail. Change one thing a week and see how you get on. Before you eat something stop and think how will I feel after I have eaten it. Also I am not saying stop eating chocolate or your favourite foods, its about moderation. I eat chocolate and enjoy it, but I don’t have it every day.
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