Skin – August 2020

The skin is the body’s largest organ - not all organs are internal like the brain or the heart.

  • Adults carry approx 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet (2 square metres) of it.
  • Skin doesn’t just cover us up and keep us presentable; in fact, without it, we'd literally evaporate.
  • Skin acts as a waterproof, insulating shield. It guards the body against extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight, and harmful chemicals.
  • It also releases antibacterial substances that prevent infection and manufactures vitamin D for converting calcium into healthy bones.
  • Skin is a huge sensor packed with nerves for keeping the brain in touch with the outside world.
  • It also allows us complete freedom of movement.
  • Your skin measures about 1 mm thick when you’re born, and grows to about 2 mm thick by adulthood but thickness varies depending on the part of the body it covers.
  • For example the skin is about 1mm think on your eyelids and about 3mm thick on your palms and soles.
  • As we age, skin gradually thins and becomes more sensitive to sun damage.
  • Every 24 hours, the surface of the skin sheds a layer of dead cells, constantly renewing about every 28 days which results in dead skin cells making up about 90% of household dust! YUK!
  • An average of 40 kilos of skin is shed during a lifetime.
  • Skin is very important and you must look after it.
  • Some of us find that as we lose weight our skin doesn’t shrink back as quickly as we would like.
  • This tends to be a problem for people who don’t exercise as they lose weight – many of you will have seen pictures of successful slimmers with folds of excess skin left in magazines.
  • The only way to deal with large amounts of excess skin is to have it surgically removed but there are a few easy things we can do to prevent the need for this to happen.
  1. Exercise on a regular basis – aerobic and toning exercises. Exercise ensures good circulation of the blood so supplying the skin with the nutrients it needs.
  2. Drink 2 litres of water each day – helps to remove toxins and prevents dehydration of body and skin.
  3. Dry body brush – circular motions towards the heart.
  4. Very cold showers – before you get out of the shower, target your problems areas with a jet of cold water. Don’t do this if you have a heart condition! The cold water stimulates the blood to rush to the surface and so stimulates the skin to repair.
  5. Moisturise – use a good firming cream (I recommend the Neal’s Yard cream) to encourage repair and firmness. Apply in a circular motion towards the heart.
  6. Protect your skin – always wear sunscreen. A tan is not a sign of health. As soon as your skin begins to change colour it means it is already damaged. The change in colour is your skin’s way of trying to protect itself. Your natural skin tone is always best.

COFFEE – August 2020

Coffee is a controversial subject when it comes to weight loss and fitness. Some say that it can be of benefit while others say that it can be detrimental; ultimately the decision is yours.

How Coffee Can Help….

  • Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. It can enable people to feel more alert and help them to be more active so leading to weight loss and a more vigorous workout.
  • It may also act as a mild appetite suppressant. Drinking coffee during the afternoon or after dinner can help to reduce cravings for snacks or sweets, by filling the stomach and suppressing the appetite, without the addition of calories.
  • Coffee might also stimulate your metabolism by increasing your rate of thermogenesis (how your body burns calories to create heat and energy). However, this is only a slight increase and studies have not shown it to have a very large effect on weight loss.

How Coffee Can Harm….

  • When you drink too much coffee, the caffeine can increase stress levels which might lead to overeating.
  • It can also promote insomnia which may also lead to a higher consumption of calories.
  • Coffee contains other chemicals which stimulate the production of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase stress levels.
  • Cortisol promotes the laying down of fat in your abdomen which causes more health concerns than fat in other areas.
  • Coffee itself has very few calories and no fat but people rarely drink it without something added to modify the taste. Even a shot of flavoured syrup can add 100 calories to a coffee and some of the more creamy and elaborate concoctions can have as many calories as an entire meal. Milk and cream are also very high in saturated fat, which not only contributes calories but is also dangerous for your health. Too much saturated fat can lead to heart disease.
  • Instant coffee contains many added chemicals which are not good for you and may irritate the gut meaning it cannot digest food properly. Caffeinated and de-caffeinated coffee both contain the enzyme that irritates the bladder.

In conclusion:

  • Drink coffee in moderation.
  • Try to have organic freshly ground coffee.
  • Be aware that coffee increases the levels of hormones that promote the laying down of fat; it can prevent good sleep; if consumed in high amounts the production of stress hormones can have an adverse effect on your heart.

Barbecues – August 2020

  • With summer upon us, and the bank holiday looming, I know many of you are enjoying the opportunity to have a barbeque.
  • We have spoken about barbeques before but some of us are still making the same old mistakes so this is just a friendly little reminder.
  • If your first thoughts are high-calorie, high-fat sausages and burgers - don't fret! Chicken, fish, vegetables and even fruit are delicious cooked on the barbeque.
  • Barbeques are a great way to cook as all of the fat from the meat drips into the coals below. Just avoid adding extra fat with sauces and cheese after they’re cooked.
  • Buy reduced fat versions of burgers or sausages or if you’re feeling creative then make your own.
  • Have lots of salad and accompaniments; beetroot, pickles and bean salads.
  • Limit yourself to one plate of food.
  • Have a lighter lunch if you know you’re going to a barbeque in the evening.
  • Use a marinade to add flavour rather than adding sauces and cheese.
  • When it comes dessert have sorbet with lots of fresh fruit.
  • Try to add some sort of activity to your barbeque so you burn off calories – a game of rounders is always fun.    
  • Kebabs - Halloumi is a popular vegetarian substitute for meat, which is very easy to cube and ideal for kebabs! Alternatively look out for cubed chicken breast, prawns or lean meats. The beauty with kebabs is that your imagination is your limit - most vegetables, and some fruits too, are delicious combined with tofu, poultry, seafood or meat.
  • Try cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, peppers, courgette or aubergine (cut into ¼ inch cubes), pineapple chunks, apple slices... whatever takes your fancy!
  • Simply put your chosen combination onto skewers, brush with a little olive oil, or find a reduced calorie marinade, and grill over the BBQ until the meat is cooked and tender and the vegetables are roasted and charred around the edges.
  • Note: If using wooden skewers don't forget to pre-soak them for 30 minutes to avoid the ends burning whilst cooking!
  • Salmon - This is excellent alternative to meat and ensures you are getting one of your portions of oily fish.
  • Mushrooms, Sweetcorn, Asparagus, Aubergines and Potatoes – these don’t have to be served in salads; they can all be cooked on the BBQ too.
  • Bananas – these can be cooked on the BBQ too to produce a low fat yet yummy pudding.
  • Remember to watch out for - salads covered in dressings/mayonnaise; white bread rolls/baps; anything with pastry; using alcohol to quench your thirst; high fat desserts!

Alcohol – Week Beginning Monday 27th July 2020

  • Lots of us enjoy an alcoholic beverage or 2 but sometimes we need reminding of the facts.
  • Alcohol is a poisonous substance.
  • It can’t be stored; it must be detoxified by the liver.
  • When you consume alcohol your body has to deal with the poison first before doing anything first.
  • It takes the liver about 1 hour to deal with 1 unit of alcohol.
  • This means that the body’s fat burning system is switched off while it concentrates on ridding the body of the poison.
  • The more you drink the longer it takes for the body to deal with it and so the longer you won’t be burning fat. This will obviously mean you will lose weight/fat more slowly.
  • 1g of alcohol contains 7 calories. Compare this to protein/carbohydrates = 4 calories and Fat = 9 calories.

Regular drinking

The guidance advises that:

  • to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level you are safest not regularly drinking more than 14 units per week – this applies to both men and women.
  • if you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more.
  • if you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long-term illnesses and from accidents and injuries.
  • the risk of developing a range of illnesses (including, for example, cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases with any amount you drink on a regular basis.
  • if you wish to cut down the amount you're drinking, a good way to achieve this is to have several alcohol-free days each week.
  • 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 5 pints of 5% lager or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.

So in conclusion you need to remember:

  • Alcohol can slow down your fat loss
  • It contains a lot of calories!
  • Watch your portions
  • Drink water so you don’t dehydrate
  • Willpower is soluble in alcohol

Maintenance – Week beginning Monday 20th July 2020

  • Maintenance is not easy. If anything it is harder than losing the actual weight itself.
  • Those of you who are sitting here today as maintenance members may or may not agree with this.
  • There is a suggested list of calorie allowances for men and women of different weights and ages in order for them to maintain their weight but everybody is different so this does not always work.
  • If you have been slimming for a while, then I recommend that you slowly build up/increase what you are eating.
  • Increase your protein portion size to start with.
  • The idea is to find out what your body is happy with you eating/drinking whilst still maintaining your weight loss.
  • I will help you through your maintenance and advise you on the best course of action.
  • The first part of maintenance is a learning curve as you have to learn different rules. We all know how to lose weight but keeping it off is the tricky part!
  • Eventually most maintenance members move away from weighing themselves weekly and only weigh fortnightly or once a month.
  • It is still advisable to stick to these rules:
  1. Treat meal once per week
  2. Drink 2 litres of water each day
  3. Keep away from refined and processed foods.
  4. Avoid wheat
  5. Lots of vegetables and some fruit each day.
  • When you reach your goal you also need to accept the new you and this can be hard, often friends and family lack support for you or are jealous of your slim figure.
  • The most important thing in maintaining your weight is to believe you are a slim person, NOT a fat one who is at their goal.
  • You have to know that this is it for life - a slim you on a healthy eating plan, exercising regularly, treating yourself occasionally and working towards a different goal.

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