Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Put your positive pants on

Tuesday Tip: Put your positive pants on 🤗

Do you ever wake up feeling stressed about the day ahead. Stressing about the day before it’s even happened is very common but a a recent study has shown that starting your day this way can actually impact on your brain function and performance for the rest of the day

So waking up on the wrong side of bed isn’t just a saying. The study in the Journal of Gerontology found that the more participants anticipated a stressful day, the worse their brain function and memory was later in the day – whether the actual day turned out to be stressful or not. Our ability to anticipate and prepare for things – a critical survival feature humans have developed, can be great to help prepare for and even prevent certain events. But it can also be harmful to your brain function, memory, decision making and performance. This can in turn make you even more stressed. Not to mention the increased levels of stress hormones released as you anticipate the stress you expect to encounter that day. It has also been linked to increased calorie consumption and fat deposition around the belly (due to increased cortisol).

So what can you do about it? Well it’s time to put your positive pants on! The study also showed that taking some time out in the morning to focus on more positive thoughts, or 5 – 10 mins of meditation/mindfulness practices can dramatically reduce the anticipate stress of the day ahead.

So if you wake up expecting the day to be stressful that’s the time to try something simple like some deep breathing exercises before you start your day, or try to list 3 positive things about the day to come (no matter how small). Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to do these things so you don’t even have to remember to do it.

Put those positive pants on and improve your day!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: How to curb sugar cravings

Tuesday Tip: How to curb sugar cravings 🍬

Although as I said last week, sugar isn’t the devil, and won’t make you fat (excess cals do), those sugar cravings can still lead you to over eat. Sugar cravings can hit even when you’ve had a satisfying meal, so here are some foods to help curb those cravings.

#1 Fruit

Fresh fruit – specifically strawberries, raspberries, pineapples etc are a great option. They’re low cal, and contain fibre (unlike fruit juice) which slows the absorption of the fruit sugars. Have them with greek yoghurt after dinner for a creamy snack, or blend with a frozen banana for an ice cream like dessert!

# Almonds

Full of protein and fats, they not only fill you up but help to control blood sugar so can reduce cravings. They keep you fuller for longer meaning you’re less likely to have an energy slump and reach for the junk.

# Pumpkin seeds

Rich in magnesium, as well as protein, fibre and fats, these are a great option if you’re craving chocolate. Often chocolate cravings can be linked to lower magnesium levels. Toast them with cinnamon for a tasty snack.

# Greek yoghurt

Rich in protein and good fats – again this will keep you fuller. It can help to support your gut’s natural bacteria, as recent studies have shown some sugar cravings are linked to imbalanced gut microbiomes. Plus it feels like a treat as it’s creamy and decadent. Mix with berries for the win!

# Apples or celery with peanut butter

A combo of fibre in the celery or apple, and the protein and fat in the peanut butter make this a great option to help beat cravings. The apple sweetness will help too. Particularly good as a mid afternoon snack or before an evening workout.

So the perfect way to help those cravings is probably my current favourite dessert – a big bowl of berries and pineapple, a dollop of greek yoghurt, tsp of peanut butter and then a sprinkle of seeds and nuts (not too many mind!) – smooth, creamy, sweet and a little crunch from the nuts – perfect!

Try it and see what you think!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Sugar doesn’t make you fat

Tuesday Tip: Sugar doesn’t make you fat 🍪

Sugar has been vilified as the main cause of obesity, with people claiming it results in more fat storage than any other nutrient and that it alters your metabolism. This is simply not true. Sugar is a carbohydrate and on it’s own it contains 4 cals per gram, and no other nutrients or fibre etc that help keep you full. So it’s true that sugar won’t fill you up, and that of course could lead to excessive consumption of more sugar or other foods, but the same applies to any food. You may not feel full but you’re still making a conscious choice to eat more.

100g of sugar alone is 400 calories. However if you consumed 100g worth of sugar inside other foods (e.g. chocolate, fruit, bread, ice cream etc) then you’d be eating well over 1200 cals. Only 400 of those calories are sugar, the other 800 are non-sugar calories within food. Many high sugar foods are high in overall calories anyway – a cookie isn’t bad just because it’s “full of sugar”, it’s also the large amount of fat calories too.

A calorie surplus is what causes you to gain weight. It’s not the sugar in the food, it’s the total calories. The ratio of sugar to other nutrients does impact on food choice (you choose things because they taste good) and because those foods often leave you feeling less full you’re then likely to eat more too. But it isn’t the sugar causing you to gain weight. Eat too much of anything and you will put on fat. In fact a recent study of people who were assumed to be “naturally skinny” actually found that despite some of the participants living off sugary foods they were still lean – why? because they weren’t at a calorie surplus.

So yes, eating or drinking sugar can contribute to weight gain, and it can certainly make it harder to stick to a daily calorie goal, but this is in conjunction with a whole host of nutritional, behaviour and psychological variables that all affect how many TOTAL calories you consume. Sugar itself is not the devil it’s made out to be!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Protein

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Protein 🥤

The post-workout protein shake is a common sight at gyms, but do you really need protein immediately after your workout? Well yes and no, and here’s why.

# 1 What was the workout?

If it was a short, low intensity session then no. If it was a long (90 min), weights based session then possibly yes. Protein is needed for muscle repair and building so you may need protein after a long, tough weights based workout. BUT even if your goal is to add muscle you only need a little protein post-workout to kick start recovery. If you take too much your body can’t metabolise it and stores it as fat. Short, low-intensity sessions don’t require you to rush to refuel unless you’re already hungry.

#2 Carb to protein

It’s more important to refuel with a combo of carbs and protein. A ratio of 4:1 or 3:1 of carbs to protein is ideal. The protein kick starts recovery and the carbs replenish energy stores in muscles. For 15-30 mins after a long workout the enzymes which pull carbs in to muscles peak. If you miss that opportunity the enzymes are no longer able to pull carbs in to your muscles which starving them and inhibiting repair.

#3 But what about after I’ve done weights?

You’re unlikely to deplete your muscle’s carb stores during a weights session anyway so you don’t need to rush to get a protein shake in. Instead just make sure you get protein via a balanced meal within 2 hours of your workout.

So you really don’t need to bother unless you’re training for long periods (90 mins), at high intensity (or you’re a body builder). At best you’ll be wasting money on shakes you don’t need, at worst you’re adding a load of extra calories which are just going to be stored as fat. You need to eat protein throughout the day so aim for around 1.2 – 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. For most people, eating a balanced diet, you’ll get this from your meals so there’s no need to boost the protein further. If you do longer training sessions, or are very hungry after a workout, then the perfect post-workout snack is actually chocolate milk – a perfect ratio of carbs and protein (dairy or soya milk), or some greek yoghurt and fruit.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Don’t weigh yourself daily

Tuesday Tip: Don’t weigh yourself daily 🤗

I tell clients not to weigh themselves too often, or worry about short-term weight fluctuations, but why? Your body is 60% water and it’s one of the first things you lose (or gain). Fat mass can’t change overnight so being 1-2kg heavier in a day won’t be fat. Average water loss/gain over 24hrs ranges from 0.5 – 2.5 kg. To lose a 1/2 kg fat in a day you’d need to burn approx 4,500 cals; a massive extra calorie burn for one day! Water however is lost (and gained) due to:

#1 Low-carb diets – when you cut carbs you lose water as the body uses glycogen for energy. It’s stored with water so using it releases water which you pee out.

#2 Increased protein – Protein breakdown creates urea and nitrogenous waste which need water to be removed from the body – the water flushes them out, so more water is lost.

#3 Salt – If your diet is high salt your body will retain water to dilute the excess sodium e.g. a particularly carb heavy, high salt meal will lead to greater water retention. In addition high salt results in high blood pressure which long term can cause cardiovascular damage.

#4 Caffeine – is a mild diuretic i.e causes water loss and increased urination. This is more pronounced if new to caffeine. If you regularly drink it the effect will be small, but a very heavy coffee day could impact your water weight.

#5 Alcohol – this prevents the release of vasopressin, a pituitary hormone that regulates water loss. Water loss (dehydration) is a side effect of alcohol (hence the hangover) so this will reduce your water weight too.

#6 Exercise – if you exercise intensely, or in hot weather, you will sweat more and lose water. Try it – weigh yourself pre and post a really intense session and see how much water you’ve lost.

So it’s normal for water-weight to fluctuate which is why weighing daily or multiple times a day is pointless (and leads to unnecessary upset). Long term weight changes result from changes in fat and lean muscle so if you’re seeing big losses in only a day or so then you know it’s water loss, and if you wake up a few kg’s heavier than the day before you know that’s not fat either!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Low carb diets aren’t magic

Tuesday Tip: Low carb diets aren’t magic 🌟

Low carb (or keto) diets are ALL the rage, and for some people they do seem to work….but not because they magically make you burn fat. Here’s what actually happens

#1 A reduced carb intake leads to almost immediate loss of water weight, hence sudden drops in weight at the start. It’s not fat. It will come back once you eat carbs again.

#2 They involve eating more protein, which is important for hunger control. So you’ll feel fuller and eat less calories overall, and be in calorie deficit. Calories, not carbs, dictate fat loss and gain.

#3 Protein also plays a vital role in muscle preservation, and has the highest thermic effect of any nutrient (i.e. takes the most cals to metabolise). So you’ll be burning slightly more cals each day, contributing to the deficit.

#4 They also mean more veggies. These are high in fibre and water making you feel fuller, slowing digestion and less likely to eat as many cals.

#5 More fats are also consumed, another key for staying fuller for longer and slowing digestion. So once again you’re far more likely eat less.

#6 They revolve around reducing the amount of carbs; the biggest portion of people’s diets. AND most calorie dense junk foods are carb-based so you’d be cutting those out. When you remove a food group you’re removing calories too, so you end up in a deficit.

SO how do these diets work? By getting you to do things that lead to consuming fewer calories, whilst telling you it’s nothing to do with calories and all about magic low carbs….

Does this mean you should do it? If it works for you then sure! Do I think it’s sustainable? Nope. Avoidance of food groups creates a poor relationship with food leading to binges or blow outs. It can also lead to fatigue, health risks of increased fat intake, regaining water weight when you go back to carbs, etc and of course it will only work if you have a high refined carb-based diet anyway.

My advice – everything in moderation. We need carbs as much as we need protein and fat. If you want a long term sustainable diet then just focus on reducing overall calories by whatever means works for your lifestyle.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Not so healthy health foods

Tuesday tip: Not so healthy health foods 🥗

With so many “healthy” foods out there, deciding what foods are healthy and low calorie can be a minefield. Here are a few prime suspects which are not as low cal as people imagine.

# Granola

it’s full of fab foods like oats, nuts, dried fruit etc but is also very high in sugar, and calories. Portion sizes are vital here; try weighing the amount you have to check if you’re actually over doing the calories on this one. Or make your own, but that doesn’t automatically make it healthy either!

# Energy/Protein bars

A great snack option but in terms of calories they’re usually no better (and often worse) than a choc bar, BUT they are a better choice to keep you fuller for longer. Just don’t assume that if it’s called a protein bar that its a free pass to eat loads.

# Nut butters

A great source of fats and proteins, BUT that comes at a cost; they’re calorie dense. They are also loaded with extra fat and sugar too. Check the labels, monitor the amount you’re having (I suggest actually weighing it).

# Smoothies

Fruit only ones are high in sugar, and low in fibre and protein, so won’t keep you full. If you’re gonna have one then have it as a meal, not with it, and ensure it’s got protein and fats in too and go easy on the fruit.

# Gluten-free/ dairy-free

Sorry but despite what people think this doesn’t make food healthy, again these options can be higher cal. Only go for these options if you need to (coeliac/lactose intolerance), not just because you think it will be lower calorie.

# Salad dressings

We often forget that they’re actually far more calorific than we realise and high in sugars and fats. Make your own with a little olive oil, dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, and include it in your calorie estimates.

# Vegetable Crisps

If you’re eating veggie crisps because you think they’re healthier than potato crisps you’re out of luck. If you like them – eat them, but otherwise stick to your favourite crisps if you’re going to have any! Better yet stick to real vegetables with your dips instead!

So make sure you read those labels guys, and don’t be sucked in by the hype!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx