The Global Warming Diet

images1.jpgSo Chef Laura Stec and Eugene Cordero Ph.D teamed up to write their upcoming book ‘The global Warming diet’. I find this a fascinating concept that is currently capturing the imagination of environmentalists and health professionals. The authors have cleverly married the two areas of global warming and the obesity epidemic in the US to come up with a simple yet rather catchy idea. It doesn’t involve eating your own carbon emissions or creating your own electricity by hooking your hamster up to the national grid. On the contrary the authors are advocating swapping more sedentary pursuits and the use of the car for a little exercise. Is this too much to ask ? Simply walking 30 minutes every day will result in weight loss of up to 6kg in a year and reduce your fuel consumption by 100 litres per year!! 

If walking’s not your thing then how about cycling for 20minutes, jogging for 10-15 minutes or rollerblading for 10 minutes? They will all result in roughly the same calorie expenditure. Still not convinced? Well why not try to park your car a little further from work and walk the rest. Or how about just walk to work ? Either way you going to shed some pounds and do your little bit for the environment. Go on give it a go, you’ll probably feel great for doing it!

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You reap what you sow

superhero.jpgAs we head into March I am told that by this time of the year most new Year’s resolutions have been unfulfilled with many people back to where they started before making their bold commitments. So it’s time for a reality check! Are you moving towards your goal or away from it? Every decision you make will invariably move you either towards your goal or away from it. Deciding to skip the gym and press the snooze button will move you away, just one more glass of wine will move you away, I’ll take the lift and not the stairs will move you away. Deciding to join a gym (if you use it) will move you towards, hiring a trainer or walking to the shops will move you towards. You get the point? Ultimately all your decisions will move you one step closer or one step further away from your health and fitness goal, which is it to be?

You reap what you sow!! Oh Yes what you invested in your fitness, health and well being last year you are probably sowing right now. And yes you got it, what you sow right now this week you will reap later on in the month or later in the year. Is what you are doing reaping the rewards? If not it’s time to sow something different. Join a gym, find a new activity or get a training partner. Remember what you sow now you will be reaping this time next year!! The decisions you take today will affect your health and fitness tomorrow.

It’s a Trying Shame

high-five.jpgI hear this little inconspicuous word all the time with clients; I will try and do my 4 sessions this week or I will try not to eat 4 bars of chocolate a day! So what’s wrong with this little word? Well there are two reasons why you should consider banishing it from your vocabulary right now if you are looking to lose weight or get fitter. Firstly the definition of trying is “annoying or hard to endure”, now that doesn’t seem too appealing to me ? If I have something annoying that is going to be hard to endure, guess what I’m probably going to do everything other than that thing! How about replace the word ‘try’ with ‘will’, for example I will exercise 4 times this week. Does that make a difference?

Secondly the act of trying is actually strangely difficult. If you have a pen handy why don’t you TRY and pick it up? Trying is kind of this in between procrastinating state of neither doing or not doing something. Surely it would be much more simpler to either pick the pen up or leave it!!

There you go then, lose the ‘Try’ and replace with ‘Will’ and see how much more motivated you will become.

Enjoy your Food

melon.jpgAh yes Enjoy your food, every last mouthful. Ask yourself when was the last time you did this ? I mean really enjoyed and savoured your food, or is food just an activity that has to be done? Most of us are guilty of wolfing our food down whilst watching television or whilst on the run. Little wonder we miss the signs our body gives us to say we’re full. Next time you eat, eat consciously. What I mean is take your time and enjoy the tastes and flavours. It may be an idea to put your knife and folk down in between mouthfuls to prolong the experience. You will be amazed at, firstly how long you take and secondly the urge to LEAVE FOOD ON YOUR PLATE when your body says I ‘ve had enough now!!

Listen to your Body!

Listen to my body? Sure give it a go, you’ll be amazed at how good your body is at sending you signals to say when you’re hungry or full. Unfortunately we tend to override these signals, thinking we know better. This results in a desensitisation to our own appetite mechanisms which  mean we never know when to stop eating!!

Only eat when you are hungry

OK I make no appologies for the simplicity of this one. Forget your FAD diets, with no eating after dark unless its cardboard, or whatever. This is simple but effective. The idea here is you only eat erm…. when your body tells you, i.e. when you are hungry. Here’s the second crazy part, stop eating when you are full! This way you will eat regularly throughout the day the amount that you actually require at the time. Eat small portions, say 300-500kcal several times in the day. Try Low GI foods (fruit, vegetables, graines, pulses, rices and pastas) rather than high GI sugary foods (sweets, cakes, sugary drinks). This will have two benefits. Firstly it will keep you fuller for longer and help ensure blood sugar levels remain constant throughout the day which in turn will help keep the hormone insulin at lower levels. The presence of high blood sugar levels is coupled with Insulin which ultimately inhibits fat metabolism, not great it you want to shed a few pounds.Secondly small portions have a manageable calorific content whereas binge eating at the end of the day may result in excess calorie intake and storage. Funily enough research shows time and time again the benefits of eating breakfast. Those who have a healthy breakfast are much less likely to gain weight than those who skip breakfast all together.  

Choose Berries as part of your 5-A-Day

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When it comes to including fruit and vegetables as part of your balanced diet let’s face it some fruits pack    more of a punch than others. Although most fruits contain many vitamins, minerals and fibre Berries such as Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Cranberries and Raspberries contain a nutrient called Anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant which is found in abundance in the berry family. Recent research has shown that Anthocyanin found in these ‘Super Berries’ not only reduces the risk of CVD by reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol and raising ‘good’ cholesterol but they may also have a preventative effect when it comes to many other diseases such as Cancers, Diabetes and Alzheimers.

So when you are reaching for the fruit in the aisles consider these powerful little berries ! A handful of blueberries on your porridge or a glass of fresh cranberry and Raspberry juice every day will go along way to boosting your immune function. For more information about what constitutes a portion visit the 5 A Day website here.

Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate

In the last newsletter we touched on ‘Moving More’ and energy balance. Well to lose weight you need to be thinking in terms of creating a negative balance, i.e expending more than you consume. Well that’s easy I hear you say, let’s just not eat anything!! Well unfortunately it is simple though not that simple. First you need to calculate your BMR. Your Basal Metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate at which your body burns calories for basic bodily functions such as breathing, circulation and maintaining constant temperature.  

Women: BMR = 655+(9.6 x weight in kilos)+(1.8 x height in cm)-(4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66+(13.7 x weight in kilos)+(5 x height in cm) -(6.8 x age in years)

This equation will be very accurate in all but the very muscular (will underestimate calorie needs) and the very fat (will over-estimate calorie needs).
If you are inactive or sedentary multiply BMR by 1.2
Fairly active (exercise 1 – 2 x week) multiply BMR by 1.3
Moderately Active (2 – 3 x week) multiply BMR by 1.4
Active (hard more than 3 x week) multiply BMR by 1.5
Very Active (hard daily) multiply BMR by 1.7
The figure you have now is your estimated daily energy requirement. If you want to lose weight it is essential you know what your current eating habits are and what your daily energy intake. If weight loss is your goal then look at creating a deficit of around 500kcal a day. Remember every 1lb of fat is equivalent to 3500kcal, so over a week that’s 500kcal a day. You can now start to break this down further by doing say half an hour jog (based on 8km/hr for a 60kg person) which will burn 250kcal and not eating that chocolate bar (250kcal). A safe, sustainable weight loss is up to 2 lbs or 1kg per week.