For far too long the fitness industry, media and so-called experts have pumped out diet after diet, telling us we need to go to extremes to lose weight or be healthy. The number of clients over the years I have had who embrace disordered eating as a way of life is staggering. Despite all my best efforts to steer them away, their old belief system is hard to let go of.
Have a healthy approach to fat loss – rewrite your belief system when it comes to losing weight. It won’t be easy, but you may finally get the breakthrough you have been looking for, rid yourself of the guilt and start to feel more positive and free.
The need for cheat meals only increases your likelihood of binging. Labelling foods as bad or junk, again leads to negative emotions around eating them. We need to start redefining how we perceive food and work on having a healthy relationship with all food and being more realistic and sensible in our food choices.
You can do it
It’s hard work but there is a freedom that you get when you can eat in a healthy, normal way that removes guilt and shame. If you want to drop some weight, tighten the belt around your normal eating. Look at the things you enjoy and want to keep in your diet, then set boundaries around them and adjust your other meals to allow for it while still maintaining a calorie deficit.
It does require more planning, being diligent to stick to what you planned (as you still want to lose weight) but the result is enjoying your food more, not feeling bad about having a drink or takeaway meal and feeling less stress about the whole situation.
Start small, start where you’re at, take it one meal or day at a time.
It’s a learning process and you will make mistakes as you improve.
Give yourself permission to have things you enjoy.
Set boundaries to keep you on track.
Don’t listen to what friends and family are saying about how this diet is the best or that you are doing it wrong. (Who made them experts in the first place)
Speak to a qualified and experienced personal trainer or nutritionist for support
Take it one day at a time, and if you mess up, don’t feel bad, just do better for the next meal.
Remove the extreme beliefs and find a happy medium.
What works for you won’t work for everyone, that’s the beauty of being human and one of a kind.
After being overweight, losing weight and then spending 5 years in physique competitions my eating was very disordered. I took quite an extreme approach to look good and picked up some bad beliefs and habits about eating and nutrition along the way. It took me at least 2-3 years to regain normal eating habits and still to this day that old belief system rears its ugly head when I decide I want to drop a few kgs. Times have changed and I have a new more balanced way of looking at food, a new belief system, but the old one is still there, I just choose to ignore it as it only leads to stress, shame, guilt, and me being unhappy.
Disordered eating is rampant and socially accepted as normal from the person looking to lose weight to professional sports people.
There has been a shift to promote and educate us on eating a balanced diet to lose weight and stay healthy, looking to shift our beliefs on what is healthy eating or normal eating; however, we have yet to embrace these habits and still hold old beliefs about what you need to eat to lose weight and idea of health is often ignored.
We are led to believe by the media, books, friends, family, and so-called experts that we must eat all the junk in the house before we start our diet, it tells us carbs are bad, sugar is bad, fat is bad and eating chocolate or a biscuit or even a piece of fruit will set us back. We are told to cut out whole food groups, to try to exist on 800 kcals a day. We are told we must be perfect and abstain from the things we love. We are told bad food is a sin or a cheat, even if it’s healthy. No wonder we are all messed up and don’t know what is right or wrong.
What is Normal Eating?
It depends on who you speak to and how they normally eat. Everyone has a different view on normal eating which is shaped by our family, our culture, race, environment, and social influences to name a few.
So, let’s look at what normal eating is not… and some things may surprise you because they are just accepted as normal. They aren’t.
It’s not takeaways every day
It’s not extra-large meals
It’s not eating entire packets of crisps, a whole cake, a whole block of chocolate.
It’s not eating massive portions every meal
It’s not drinking daily.
It’s not eating so much we feel sick
It’s not eating so little we starve
It’s not eating so clean you’re boring
It’s not living off diet bars or powdered food devoid of any nutrition
It’s not being scared to eat fruit because of the sugar content.
It’s not taking your meals to a friends’ house because you’re keto
It’s not only eating low fat
It’s not only eating low carbs
It’s not only eating high protein
It’s not living on processed meals and snacks
It’s not eating gluten free because you think it’s healthier (unless you have a gluten intolerance)
It’s not avoiding going out for dinner because that one meal will make you fat.
It’s not eating like a child even though you’re an adult
It’s not tracking and weighing your food 52 weeks a year
It’s not eating to extremes
We must be sensible and find a way of eating that improves our health, helps us lose weight if that’s the goal and stops us feeling guilt, shame, and other negative emotions when we over-indulge.
Yes, if you want to lose weight you need to cut back in some areas, you have to be more attentive to what you eat, you have to re-evaluate and negotiate with yourself what you will and won’t eat. You have to sacrifice BUT you don’t have to demonise food, cut out whole food groups, never drink alcohol again, decide never to eat sugar again or carbs, or fats or sweets or chocolate. THAT’S NOT NORMAL.
Normal eating is not bingeing on the whole chocolate bar today, so you finish it to start your diet tomorrow – there is no difference between eating the whole chocolate bar over a week than eating the entire bar in a day, except for the fact that you labelled it as bad so felt the need to binge on it.
Normal eating is having days where you eat more and days where you eat less – you don’t have to stick to a set number of calories a day to lose weight. I like to look at calories over a week and eat to how I feel over that week. This may mean some days I eat less and save more calories for the weekend to allow me to eat more – without the guilt and shame.
Normal eating isn’t tracking your calories all the time, if you eat normally, you are less inclined to binge, and less inclined to over consume calories as again the guilt and shame is removed.
Normal eating is eating a wide range of fruit and veg, a variety of good quality fats. It includes eating all the food you enjoy without labelling it as good or bad. Its finding a balance that gives you the outcomes of fat loss and improving your health.
If you aren’t losing weight, adjust what you eat, decrease portions, cut back on a few of the finer things in life but you don’t have to cut them out altogether.
You can still enjoy food and lose weight, you must set your boundaries and stick to them – see how that goes, readjust, and keep going.
Using your time during lockdown to stop and think!!!
As we continue to endure another lockdown and head into a few more months of uncertainty and are becoming used to the idea of a new normal I want you to stop and think about how you want to enter this new phase?
What changes do you want to make?
While some are wanting everything to go back to normal (I would call this our comfort zone) I have to ask is that what you really want?
Are there things in life you just got used to doing but don’t want to go back to?
Is the old normal a place you were truly happy?
Could you redefine what is normal for you and take steps towards finding more happiness and a clearer purpose for your life your family.
Our normal is so personal that what we consider normal someone else would define as odd or strange. Have we become so used to the way life just was that we settled and just accepted it as the way it is?
Could your new normal be better than what your old normal was?
In an effort to stop and think about what we want I would ask you to sit down and answer these questions.
What are the things you want to stop doing?
What are the things you want to do less of?
What are the things you want to do more of?
What are the things you want to start doing?
In life there are going to be things we have to do that we hate, but we do them as ultimately it will take us closer to our goal and vision for our life. There are also things we do that we hate, that really serve no purpose and just bring us down or take us away from doing the things we want to do more of or haven’t even started doing yet. There are also things we love doing that don’t serve our goal but make us happy and there are things we really want to do but haven’t started them yet for various reasons.
We have been so busy we haven’t had time to reflect on the next question….
The ultimate question is what life do I want?
From there I would work it backwards and define what you need to do in order for that to happen. I know that it’s not an easy thing to do, and you can’t plan out every area of your life (current situation in point) but you can redefine your goals, your dreams and your vision and see if you are on track or not or think about what adjustments you can make to steer a better course.
I know all of us are negatively affected by the current situation but to various degrees. There are many things to be thankful and grateful for and many things that will get us down.
May I encourage you to look up, look for opportunities and keep moving forward, even if its slowly at first.
We have the opportunity to pivot, move and create the life we want….there is no better time than now to reflect, ask ourselves some hard questions and start paving out a new path that will take us in the direction we want to go.
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!
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.
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.
Vary fruits, vegetables, fats and protein sources to expose your body to as many nutrients as possible
LOW GI FRUIT – 2-3 X A DAY MAXIMUM
BREADS AND GRAINS – ELIMINATE WHERE POSSIBLE OR MAKE THE BEST CHOICES
Spelt or rye bread – for most its better to eat a couple of times a week
Brown, wild or red organic rice
Oats – soaked in water overnight and cooked in the morning
FATS – use a variety to provide the body with more nutrients
Organic cold pressed Coconut oil – (good for high heat)
Organic cold pressed olive oil – sainsburys do a good one
Organic cold pressed hemp seed oil – Sainsburys (keep in the fridge)
NUTS – SOAK IN WATER OVERNIGHT
VEGETABLES – NOT LIMITED TO THESE, EAT A WIDE VARIETY
Eat1.2-2g/kg a day, keep it varied and avoid any foods that bloats you or upsets your stomach
PROTEIN CHOICES – NOT LIMITED TO THESE, EAT A WIDE VARIETY
Gluten Free sausages
LISAS TOP 10 RULES
If you eat breakfast make sure its healthy – Lean protein, fruit and vegetables, maybe jumbo organic oats. E.g. 2 chicken thighs and 1 apple, 40g oats and 2 eggs, 2 egg omlette with mushrooms, tomato etc.
Eat 2-4 meals a day spaced out (whatever number you desire)
Eat a variety of vegetables, good fats and protein in each meal.
Favour real carbs like grains, vegetables and fruits over refined and processed carbs.
Eliminate or greatly reduce (1-2 times a week max) processed foods.
Eliminate completely trans fats or hydrogenated fats from your diet (they are found in most processed cakes, biscuits and bars etc).
Train 3-4 times a week (weights or intervals).
Have a permissive meal 1-2 times a week – provided you are eating well. It will keep you sane.
Work on ways to reduce stress levels – epsom salt baths, yoga, sauna etc
Be in bed by 1030-11pm every day (8hrs sleep)
For maximum health I aim to eat more vegetables and fruit, increase my protein intake and choose better choices of carbs to help fuel my workouts
8 HEALTHY HABITS TO LIVE BY
Plan your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)
Get good sleep (length, quality, routine)
Think positive thoughts about yourself and how you look – replace the bad thoughts with good ones
Say positive things to yourself – change your self talk, be grateful
Improve your digestion – increase knowledge of how to improve it and small steps we can make to improve it
Is your training where it should be – number of sessions a week, intensity, need to stretch, strengthen etc in order to be healthier and fitter
Drink enough water – are you drinking too much alcohol, tea or coffee
Have a social life and enjoy yourself – get a hobby, go out with friends, go for a walk etc