The idea behind a gratitude journal is taking time to stop, notice and reflect upon the things you are thankful for, no matter how big or small. Doing this daily can increase well-being and life satisfaction.
Try to notice new things your grateful for everyday – it may seem hard at first but with practice you will start seeing more of the good and less of the bad. Little by little how you perceive situations will change as you have adjusted your focus.
Be more specific with your gratitude – such as a moment that occurred in the day. Rather than saying I am grateful for my health, be more specific about something that happened that day or week.
Try to think beyond yourself and look for examples outside of us that we can be grateful for.
If journaling isn’t for you then maybe have a gratitude jar and some paper, when you feel grateful for something write it down and put it in the jar. Then every few months you can go over what you wrote to remind yourself of the good things.
How to have more gratitude everyday
Appreciate everything – Don’t be picky and look for the big things in life, you can be grateful for a clear day to go outside, a good nights sleep, a word of encouragement from a friend or having no dishes to wake up to one morning.
Find gratitude in your challenges – what have you faced in the past that you are grateful for today? What challenges lay ahead? What can you be grateful for in the midst of adversity?
Share it with others – express yourself and show your gratitude to the people in your life. Tell them, it will lift their day and yours as well.
Volunteer – giving of your time to help others in your community. No matter what’s happening there is always someone you can help. You don’t necessarily have to look very far to help out. You could go shopping for a neighbour, offer to take their bins out if they are unable to, cook them a meal or make yourself available for a weekly chat if they are lonely. It takes our mind off our own problems; it will make you more grateful for the things you have; and it makes a difference in that persons day or week.
As we’re facing ever changing restrictions and it doesn’t look like this virus is going anywhere, I thought I’d talk about the importance of staying active through lockdowns and other COVID restrictions.
Recent research has found that activity levels have decreased by 33% and sitting time has increased by about 28%. Those who were commuting to work have lost their walk to the station, or even a cycle to their place of work in some cases. Two-week quarantine periods have meant people are confined to their homes unless there is an emergency, such as needing to go to A&E. We all know that being sedentary is ‘bad’, but specifically it is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, bone and joint disease, depression, and premature death. As well as the physical effects of lockdown, there has been a huge impact on the nation’s mental health, with NHS mental health services having a surge in referrals.
If you were exercising before lockdown, you are not exempt from these this, although you’re in a much better place than you would be had you not been training beforehand. After 3 months of not exercising, it has been found that cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, aerobic fitness, and strength are all negatively affected. Luckily, these levels are not likely to be all the way back to how they were before you started exercising.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as regular moderate exercise has been shown to benefit your immune system, which is even more important during this time. It has also been shown time and time again to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. For the best chance of sticking to your goal of being physically active, have a think about these things;
What kind of exercise do you prefer? E.g. doing a strength session indoors vs going for a fast walk/jog outdoors.
When do you want to be active? E.g. do you want to complete a full exercise session at a set time or exercise sporadically through the day in shorter bursts?
How can you schedule and prompt yourself to exercise? E.g. schedule a time to exercise and set a time on your phone to remind you, or book into a class online.
Habits have been found to be more likely to form if you set a time to do it i.e. exercise in this case, and if you combine it with something else you enjoy, such as listening to music or catching up with a friend.
As we age a number of things happen to our body which can be exacerbated by a lack of physical activity – loss of muscle mass, strength, power, and cardiovascular fitness. Resistance training in particular has been shown to ameliorate or even reverse this, and also improves walking endurance, gait speed, static and dynamic balance, stair climbing, and reduces risk of falls. For these reasons, it is important that older adults include strength training in their exercise regime.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published an infographic on this topic, including the physical activity recommendations (150-300 minutes moderate to vigorous exercise per week) and examples of activity that could help you reach those recommendations. I have included this in the featured image (at the top of the page).
Hopefully we will see you all in the gym in the not so distant future if you are still training from home, but for now keep up those zoom sessions and try to get your walks in!
For anyone with eating disorders/disordered eating or anxieties about their body shape/weight, Christmas and New Year can be a pretty stressful time. There is lots of talk about ‘holiday weight gain’ followed by talk of weight loss resolutions everywhere you turn, making you even more aware of your diet and body.
With articles and social media posts about mad weight gain and ‘burning the excess calories’ all over the internet and magazines, it is easy to overestimate how much extra we have eaten than usual. Although you may consume slightly more– a mince pie here and there, a few extra glasses (or bottles..) of wine, and some obligatory chocolates, it is unlikely that you are eating enough of a calorie surplus to gain the few kilograms you think you might gain. Fat gain requires a fairly long-term period of eating in a calorie surplus, not just a few days over Christmas. Remember, to gain one pound you need to eat a calorie SURPLUS of 3,500kcals.. that’s 3,500 calories over your maintenance amount (roughly 600-1000 calories a day extra for a week).
You may however experience bloating due to eating more carbs and salty foods than usual (e.g. those delicious roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings). Bloating will make your clothes feel tighter and have you feeling heavy and sluggish, but you haven’t actually gained any fat and as soon as you go back to your normal eating pattern you should feel much better. Make sure you keep hydrated (with water!) throughout the holiday as this may help reduce your bloating.
The fear you may have about weight gain over the holiday may also lead to you gaining weight which you wouldn’t have done in the first place. For some people, feeling like you have ‘indulged’ can trigger urges to over-eat or binge – an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset. If this sounds like you, it’s important to reassess how you view the food you are eating. If you have subconsciously labelled it as ‘bad’ or ‘off limits outside of Christmas/celebrations’, eating it may create this feeling of guilt or anxiety. Try to think of all foods as acceptable in moderation and remember that no food by itself can make you ‘fat’.
Having said all this – if you do gain weight there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You have celebrated with family, and enjoyed some well needed down time after a stressful year. Weight fluctuates, and spending time with loved ones is far more important than the number on the scales.
So often I see clients who struggle with their nutrition, and are constantly sabotaging their fat loss efforts without realizing it. Below I have listed a few things to help you take control and stop getting in your own way in your journey to losing fat long term
1. Over eating on weekends – So often clients are eating well through the week but completely come undone at weekends. They go way off track and wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere. I am not saying you cant’ indulge a little but too often will slow down results.
For me I try to eat near perfect Monday to Friday so that I can plan out a few things I like on the weekends.
Always be mindful of your weekend eating and plan out your social activities so they don’t derail you.
2. Skipping meals – So often we think that by skipping a few meals we will eat fewer calories that will lead to greater fat loss. However skipping too many meals can lead to you over eating either mid afternoon at the office or at the end of the day (especially after dinner) if you haven’t planned out your meals it will leave you reaching for whatever is floating around.
You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. Plan out your meals ahead of time, don’t skip meals and don’t be scared of eating 3-5 times a day if you are following your eating plan properly.
We often think we need to suffer to lose weight, be it in training or by following a ridiculous diet that restricts everything. YOU DON”T fat loss should be about health and nutrients and making sure you are getting enough of what you need to function better, have more energy, sleep better, train better and think better
3. Reward yourself with food after exercising – This is a big one and I see it so often. You cannot out train a bad diet!!!! Just because you train doesn’t mean you can eat what you want. We somehow think we are exempt and this can be a big reason why you aren’t getting the results you want. Like always stick to the eating plan your coach has provided you with, try to get out of this way of thinking so you can finally move forward
4. You don’t give your eating plan enough time to work – So often a client starts a new eating plan and only sticks to it for 1-2 weeks before declaring it doesn’t work and start making their own changes based on what they think. I have learnt that you need to be patient and really commit to the plan to test how effective it is for you. As a coach if my client follows the plan they always see results, and I can make changes as and when they are needed as I know they have the foundations spot on. Be patient and trust that your coach knows what they are doing (providing they are following evidence based nutritional guidelines).
5. One slip and the whole day is ruined – In terms of self-sabotage this is a big one. You eat some cake mid morning and immediately declare that you ruined the day so proceed in eating whatever you want and declare to start again tomorrow.
If you eat the cake, it’s done, you can’t take it back, but you can control the rest of the day and stay on track. We need to rid ourselves of the guilt associated with eating something not in the plan and look at the bigger picture. One piece of cake in a week will not ruin your fat loss results, but constantly losing a day because of one slip will definitely have an impact on your goals. Try to keep things in perspective, you are only human, you just have to pick yourself up and keep going
6. You don’t keep track of your food portions – I don’t expect clients to stress over weighing everything but your portion size can play a big role in long-term fat loss. It’s easy to over eat even if it’s healthy.
To combat this you should weigh or portion your meals, use a bowl instead of a plate, use cup measurements to portion rice and veg, use the palm size of your hand to measure protein etc.
When I was trying to lose fat I switched to a bowl for my main meals as it stopped me over eating. I found this very useful and successful in sticking to my calorie goal and use it to this day
7. Not reading the label – We are so often tricked into believing something is healthy for us because it is what the front label says. It could be labeled as low fat, low sugar, low carbs etc. and we immediately think its ok but you have to look a little deeper.
Most things low sugar may contain artificial sweeteners; low fat generally has higher sugar etc. Be careful and read the ingredients, if things contain more than 5 ingredients and I can’t pronounce the names I don’t touch it. Look at the serving size then times it by how big your portion will be – after this I usually realise it’s not worth it. Food companies want you to buy their product so make it look as healthy as possible.
If your still not sure – stick to real food, make it yourself and don’t trust what companies say
8. Trying to do too much at once – When starting out on your fat loss journey so many people try to do everything at once – food prep, training, lifestyle changes etc. Unless you are one of the few who can make a lot of changes without much of a challenge – you will soon become overwhelmed and feel like you are failing and not good enough.
What I do with clients is set weekly goals; we sit down and chat about where they are at in their journey, work out how stressed they are, how much time they have for training and food prep etc. Then I work out what 1-2 big changes they need to make first before overloading them with a long list. You need to prioritise what you need to do first to get you started on your journey, then as you build better habits you can make more changes.
If you currently feel overwhelmed – sit down and work out what big changes need to happen first. If getting to the gym is too hard and you are not exercising – aim for 10000 steps a day. If you are bored of the gym – go find a personal trainer or local boot camp. If you can’t get your eating right – cut out sugar and lower your white starches down and eat more vegetable. Make 1-2 changes that make the biggest difference in helping you reach your goals.
9. Letting the scales be your guide – to be honest I don’t really weigh myself, as it always leads to misery. Constantly jumping on the scales every day can turn your fat loss goal into an emotional rollercoaster. You might feel great until you jump on the scales and your disappointed, which in turn ruins your day, it effects your food choices and you don’t even feel like training anymore.
Don’t weigh yourself too often – once a week maximum. I use girth measurements with clients over weight, and even then it’s not always accurate. Forget the scales, stick to eating plan, train your butt off, stay positive, be consistent and you will drop fat – trust me
10. You are too hard on yourself – No one is perfect and there is no perfect diet, perfect training program, or perfect plan for fat loss. Your journey is just that…. it’s a journey, it will be filled with highs and lows, good choices and bad choices, great training sessions and poor training sessions, good days and bad days.
Don’t be so hard on yourself when you mess up…………………
You just have to learn from it and move on. Don’t worry about being perfect; but instead focus on doing your best each day, be consistent and enjoy the journey.
So, you’re trying to stick to a routine, done your workouts, working from home and trying to keep yourself busy – Fantastic!!!! But you find yourself snacking more and ‘grazing’ on sugary and salty snacks throughout the day. Well you’re not alone. Everyone experiences emotional eating at some point, but this will be even more prevalent now due to self-isolation.
There could be a number of triggers ranging from; boredom, lack of concentration, anxiety, panic, and anger. The trick is to understand your trigger and find activities at home to combat them without using food as a coping mechanism.
If you’re feeling the urge to snack then try and opt for a mentally challenging activity like a crossword, sudoku, scrabble. Play a board game, twister, charades or get the cards out and play silly games like snap. The interaction with family members will be fun and take your mind off eating. Call a friend for a chat or read a book. Maybe start up an old hobby you haven’t done for a while like knitting or drawing. Slip into a relaxing bath and meditate.
Avoid buying large amounts of crisps, biscuits, chocolate and ice-cream. Instead replace them with healthier whole foods to graze on. Get baking there are so many healthy recipes for mini snacks that will trick your brain into thinking it’s having a chocolate muffin, but actually you’re eating a low fat brownie alternative that you’ve cooked yourself from scratch.
Plan the times you eat your meals and include plenty of vegetables and high protein foods as they keep you fuller for longer, leaving less room for junk food. If you’re feeling the urge to snack drink some water first then wait 10mins. Often hunger pangs are mistaken for the need to hydrate. If you’re working at a desk, take regular breaks to re-stimulate your brain. Low concentration levels often lead to reaching for the doughnuts. Brush your teeth after your evening meal and get you pj’s on. You’re more likely to not snack because you feel more ready to go to bed.
One last thing. Try and have a healthy perception of food and put the food you eat into two categories. Foods you eat on a daily basis, and foods you don’t eat that often. That way if and when you do reach for the treat tin you won’t beat yourself up with guilt.
I think we can all agree that the current situation we are experiencing globally has been strange, scary and unpredictable. Whilst society has been advised to self-isolate it is vital that we focus even more on our mental health and wellbeing. There are certain things we can do to maintain our health whilst in lockdown.
Plan your day – Having a regular routine gives people purpose, structure and something to look forward to. As tempting as it is to stay in your PJ’s all day try and stick to the time you would usually get up and go.
Stay active – Being active is great for mental health. It reduces stress, aides better sleep patterns, motivates you, keeps you healthy and makes you feel good.
Meditate – Relaxing your mind can improve your mental health and transmit positive feelings. Set aside some time during your day to experiment with different meditation and breathing exercises. This will be an excellent way to clear your mind especially if you are working from home.
Stay connected – Not having the social contact you would normally have can have a detrimental affect on your wellbeing. Especially if you are living on your own. Try staying in contact with loved ones, work colleagues or friends by using video platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Sending text messages or other social media messages is also a great way of keeping in touch.
Sleep – Having a good sleep pattern is also key to mental health. Try to get as much natural light as possible by keeping your windows and curtains open. Sit in garden if you’re able. The body needs to differentiate between night and day. Also try to go to sleep at the time you would normally do and avoid mental stimulation an hour before bed. So, no laptops, phone, or computer games.
Lastly if you know anyone who usually struggles with their mental health, check in on them by giving them a call, text etc to show they still have a support network.
1/12th of the year has passed – just like that it’s February.
How are you tracking with those New Year resolutions??
Hopefully you remember what they are.
If you’re on track and motivated – fantastic. Keep up the good work.
If you need to start again – then do just that, put it behind you and keep moving forward.
No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.
Work hard, be consistent, stay focused and do it with a smile on your face.
No matter how many times you fail, just keep getting up and moving forward.
I have always learnt more from the times I failed than the times it all went my way.
Are you lacking motivation?
Here are a few ways you can help increase your motivation to reach a goal.
Give yourself a reward.
Ask a friend to go with you.
Create reasons why you will succeed.
Have a bigger vision.
Find a way to achieve your goal that makes you happy.
Own your own goal – be accountable to yourself.
Find others who can support you.
Ultimately your desire to change has to be greater than your desire to stay the same.
Motivation is never constant – sometimes you need to ask yourself the question…..
HOW MUCH DO I WANT IT?
What do I want more to lose weight or to eat what I want?
What do I want more to watch tv every night or sacrifice (or invest) an hour to go to the gym?
What do I want more monthly spending on stuff I don’t really need or using that money as an investment into my health by getting a trainer or joining a Small Group PT Gym?
If you’re constantly struggling to get started and have no motivation then maybe you just don’t want it enough….or maybe you need to try something different to motivate yourself.
Admitting that you can’t do it on your own and that maybe a coach would help isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a step forward. If you can’t stay motivated doing it on your own but you can when surrounded by others and great coaches than do just that.
If you don’t know where to start as its all too overwhelming then contact us at Fitness Hub 21 – firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07923471006.
We are well underway into the new year, schools are in session, most of us are back to work dreading the packed trains and congested roads in the morning. Already nearing the halfway point for the first month, I’m sure many of you have come to realise that your new plant – based lifestyle isn’t as hard as you may have first thought. However, tackling those mischievous cravings for a simple yet so delightful cheese toastie could end in crumbs… So to help you march your way to the end of January here are our top tips for getting you there!
Planning + Preparation
Just like with the majority of things in life, having a plan and being prepared for what is to come will increase chances of success (By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail). So set a little time aside and figure out what you will be eating over the next week. Stock your fridge and cupboards so that you already have the ingredients to cook your meals. We all have those times in the day where we might be at home and start to feel peckish, so not quite hungry enough for a full meal but enough so that it bothers you to get up and look for something to eat. Having plenty of vegan friendly snacks available at home will stop you from giving in – The same goes for when you’re at work! Prep meals and bring vegan friendly snacks.
Focus On What You Can Eat
A great place to start when trying a vegan diet is to attempt replicating the foods you already love by substituting out what isn’t vegan friendly. Veganism, especially over the last few years, has gained a huge amount of popularity, making it easier than ever to find meat and dairy alternatives, allowing you to focus on the things you really enjoy about veganism and so block out your old cravings for foods like eggs, meat and dairy.
Do your Research
It’s important to educate yourself on the reasons for switching to a vegan lifestyle as it gives a real purpose for why you’ve decided to change. There are plenty of documentaries out there now, such as: ‘The Game Changers’, ‘What The Health’, ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Forks Over Knives’ all of which are on Netflix. However, remember that these shows have a bias (that may not be evidence based) so doing your own independent research is best, to decide of being vegan is for you, or just something you want to try more of in the future. Having a ‘why’ or a purposeful reason for doing something will reinforce your resolve, making your decision to be vegan more important than that cheese toastie you were craving.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking, there’s just so much variety! Have fun experimenting with different recipes and explore cuisines you’ve never had. Keep it varied and make sure to include Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins (The 3 macronutrients) as well as your Vitamins and Minerals (Micronutrients). Where there’s variety you will be sure to get all your needed Macro and Micronutrients. A few to be considered a concern when referring to a vegan diet are Protein, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12. However, there are vegan protein powders and multivitamin tablets that are widely available. Other sources of protein are soya, tofu, chickpeas, beans, nuts, seeds, lentils and quinoa. Variety in what you eat is so important as you want to consume as many nutrients as possible.
Let Bygones be Bygones
It’s alright if you make a mistake along the way so try not to dwell on it if you do! Substituting such a large proportion of your diet from foods you have been eating for years to foods you may have never eaten before is a drastic change in lifestyle, so you can’t expect it to go perfectly – especially if it’s your first try. The important thing is to not give up, keep going and try to do better next time. We believe in you!
Veganuary will be over before you know it, follow our top tips to survive the rest of the month and finish strong, Good Luck!
The push for us to eat less meat is growing, and many have opted for a plant-based life.
For some its ethical, for others it’s a way to spend less, for others it’s a belief that being a vegan or veggie is healthier.
BUT IS IT?
I think you need to do your research if you’re going to cut out all animal protein and opt for plants only. If you’re vegan and all you eat is fast food, highly processed fake meat, minimal veg and poor-quality fats then your health isn’t probably going to be great.
Not all veggie or vegan food is created equal, many of the foods can contain loads of preservatives, bad fats and fillers that can make you feel worse and aren’t good for your health (the same is true for all processed food products).
On the other hand, if you know what plant-based foods contain the proteins you need, if you eat a variety of fruit and veg, good quality fats and organic soy products you will probably be much healthier overall.
The same goes for meat eaters – eating meat won’t make you unhealthy but if your diet is highly processed, low in fruit and veg and quality fats then yes it can lead to that.
You can have the same healthy approach to nutrition whether you’re a meat or a plant eater. Eat real food, eat as much unprocessed food as possible and eat a variety.
I think you can be healthy eating meat or eating plants.
Food is your first medicine, the food choices you make today will have an impact on your health, skin, weight gain/loss, mood and energy levels. So be smart and nourish your body with quality over quantity.
Find a great cookbook, vegan or otherwise; and go shopping to make healthy meals not just for convenience.
Make a plan around what you want to eat; and keep it simple.
This post isn’t pro vegan or pro meat – it’s pro health.
Have a think about how healthy what you eat is?
Could it be better?
What changes do you need to make?
Are you switching to vegan just to be healthier?
Have you made a plan around how you will accomplish this without meat?
Don’t blindly do something without first doing some of your own research.
If you just ate 150 calories less a day you would be eating 1050kcals less a week
7700kcals = 1 kg of fat lost so in just over 7 weeks you could lose 1kg of fat (not 1kg scale weight) by making small changes that you won’t really notice. Provided that you are in a calorie deficit by making these changes, if not then you may need to increase the deficit.
Now I am looking at calories only not how healthy the food is – that is a blog for another time.
We make fat loss so complicated – all we need to do is look at what we really eat, not what we think we eat. Then look for ways you can decrease the calories by 50 each meal or a total of 150 a day.
You could pick a different deficit, but the point is I wanted to highlight how thinking smarter and making small changes may be all you need to do to lose weight over time.
I am not asking you to give up your social life just to think a bit more about the easy changes you can make that require minimal effort.
A SIDE NOTE
Just by adding 20000 steps a week you could burn 1000-1300 kcals a week (depending on height, weight, sex and intensity/speed)
That’s a 30 min walk a day.
No real effort just a commitment to make the time to do it.
You could also take walks at lunch or go for a longer walk on weekends, get off the bus or train 1 stop early or take the stairs at work.
Every little bit adds up to help you move closer to your goal.
Just the same as over eating a little bit adds up to weight gain over time.
The fat loss won’t be an overnight transformation but what you will notice is that you aren’t stressed about your food, you can go out socially and just lead a normal life without being on a diet 24/7.
Something to think about
HOW YOU CAN CUT 50 KCALS FROM YOUR DIET TODAY AND A FEW CALORIE SWAPS
Below are just some examples of what 50 calories looks like and some ideas on how you can reduce what you eat quite easily.
1 slice bread granary bread = 85 kcals and 2 tsp butter (10g) = 74 kcals – so cutting your bread with butter intake down by 1 slice a day would lead to you eating 160 kcals less a day.
Each serving below is 50kcals, we have also added a few alternatives so you can see the difference in calories compared to similar items so you can learn how to calorie swap.
If you want to reduce calories by as little as 50 kcal a day then the below portions are what you would need to cut out. Or if you simply swap to a lower calorie food you can cut them out that way.
What does 50 kcal look like?
Hagen Dazs – 25mls
Oppo (Choc and Hazlenut) – 63mls
Greek – 38g
Natural – 63g
0% Fat – 100g
Chicken Breast – 40g
Rump Steak – 34g
Prawns – 75g
Full fat – 60mls
Semi Skimmed – 100mls
Skimmed – 138mls
Brown Rice – 50g
Oats – 14g
Condiments can be a very slippery slope if we don’t portion accordingly – by reducing your current portion by the amounts below you cut our 50kcal for that meal – if you’re doing this 1-2 times a day it will add up in your favour.
Tomato sauce – 45mls (3 tbsp roughly)
Normal – 15g
Light – 22.5g
Full fat – 15ml (0.6 Tbsp)
Light – 19g
These are just a few examples of how you can cut calories by simply reducing portions or switching to a lower calorie choice.
There are more options but hopefully you get the point.
Don’t make fat loss complicated.
Don’t make it so difficult that you can’t succeed.
There is an easier way that will work for you, you just need to weigh up your options, make a decision and stick to it.
For more info on how we can help you finally succeed in your weight loss journey or about our 30 day trial, contact Lisa email@example.com