Stress Awareness – Week Beginning Monday 30th March 2020

  • April is National Stress Awareness Month so I just wanted to highlight the importance of dealing with your stress as it can impact on your weight loss.
  • Some people lose weight when they are stressed and some people put on weight when they are stressed; either way it is not good for your health.
  • When you are stressed the body releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
  • Traditionally stress (and the release of these hormones) is related to legging it from a sabre-tooth tiger not because your child has just carved their name into your coffee table or because your 16 year old daughter has just announced she wants to be a dancer in Vegas.
  • Because of this your body has evolved to crave energy dense foods like chocolate or crisps at stressful times to help you RUN.
  • Now back when you had to leg it from the sabre tooth tiger you would have burnt off the calories but now when you’re telling Freddie to sit on the naughty step or explaining to your daughter that all that glitters isn’t gold in Vegas, you don’t burn as many calories.
  • By being aware of this it may help you to stop before you stuff yourself but it may also help you to understand WHY you are not losing weight.
  • Don’t stress yourself out further by getting upset that you’re not losing weight. Take a step back and take a deep breath. Keep exercising. Talk to your instructor.
  • If you are stressed remember these important stress reducing tips:
  1. Exercise reduces stress levels and burns calories at the same time.
  2. Connect with people – a problem shared is a problem halved.
  3. Have some “me time”. Set aside some well-deserved time for yourself.
  4. Avoid unhealthy habits like alcohol, smoking or caffeine.
  5. Look for the positives in life. Work out the things you’re grateful for and remind yourself of these regularly.
  6. Meditation is an excellent stress reliever and is scientifically proven to reduce stress.
  • For more information on stress visit

Why Do We Overeat? – Week Beginning Monday 16th and 23rd March 2020 - Over 2 Weeks!

  • How many of you over eat? Go on binges? Once you start – you just can’t stop?
  • We all know how bad junk food is for us. We know the risks, and I don’t really know of anyone who enjoys being overweight. So why do we keep overeating, and why can’t we quit the junk food?
  • Do we lack willpower, or is it something greater than that? Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons we humans overeat and what we can do about them.

You Overeat Because Your Body Isn’t Being “Fed”

  • This doesn’t make sense–we are stuffing ourselves because we aren’t being fed? That’s right–.
  • Most junk food is calorie-rich and nutrient-sparse, so we eat and eat and eat while our bodies search for those crucial vitamins and minerals that it can only derive from food, packing in the calories and storing them as fat.
  • Our bodies are truly amazing machines that want us to survive and be healthy, but so many of us are out of touch with those signals that we miss them.
  • Have you ever sat down with a bag of apples and eaten the entire thing? NO!! What about stuffed yourself on too much salad? No!!
  • You don’t, because you receive the nutrients and your brain releases leptin to signal that it got what it needed, and makes us feel full.
  • This explains how we can sit down with a bag of crisps and before we know it, look down and realize that they’re gone and we’ve just ingested 1,000 calories without even feeling it.
  • The next time you sit down to a really healthy meal, pay attention to how you feel afterwards. You will feel satisfied, calm and energized, but not stuffed.

You Overeat Because Your Brain Is Seeking Pleasure

  • This is like an addiction: our brains become dependent on the sensory pleasure we receive when we eat loads of sugar and fat. 
  • The feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain when we overeat, which makes it habit-forming.
  • We seek that pleasure over and over again, even though we KNOW it is making us fat and unhealthy. It becomes an addiction and fat and sugar are EVERYWHERE – thus making it the most widely available drug AND a socially acceptable form of addiction.
  • This would explain why so many people seem to really be struggling with losing weight and getting their unhealthy eating under control.

You Overeat Because Your Body Confuses Stress With Famine

  • Our ancestors did not have an environment where they could run out to the nearest fast food restaurant and grab food when the mood struck.
  • They hunted but food was not always available. When the threat of famine presented itself, their bodies released stress hormones which in turn signalled to their brains that they needed to eat and store fat.
  • This instinct is still present in the hypothalamus, or the ancient section of our brains.
  • When we get stressed about traffic, deadlines, money, and relationships, our ancient brains interpret that as “FAMINE!” and we instinctively begin to look not just for food, but for high calorie food that will help us store the most fat so we won’t starve.
  • In this day and age of excess, this translates to grabbing ice cream from the fridge or going through a fast food drive-thru instead of hunting for a sabre tooth tiger or finding a fruit tree.

 So How Do We Stop?

  • As you can see, overeating is not just as simple as “Stop overeating” - if it was that easy we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place!
  • Understanding the physiological reasons why we overeat is the first step to overcoming it. Why? Because you can begin to work WITH your body and nature instead of against it. 
  • You can also stop beating yourself up for your behaviours, and instead begin to understand yourself and have more patience. Your body is trying to help you, so stop hating it so much!
  • Try removing processed foods from your diet, as they are the biggest culprit in our chronic overeating behaviour. They are also NOT CLEAN!
  • Once we begin to feed our bodies the nutrients it needs with these foods, we will lose the compulsive need to seek them out. Our brains will feel satisfied and eating won’t feel so out-of-control.
  • Just removing the processed foods will be a game-changer for those struggling with their weight.
  • If you’re not ready for this, start by adding IN the nutrient-dense foods like green leafy vegetables, lean protein, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats (eg in oily fish) without cutting anything out yet.
  • You may be surprised what happens to your cravings when you are giving your body what it REALLY wants – NUTRIENTS!
  • Taking control of stress is also essential in eliminating overeating.
  • Try listing different ways of coping with stress. Exercise is the best stress buster there is!!
  • Do more classes – get the buzz – do it with like-minded people – research shows that people who try and lose weight in a group are more successful than trying it alone!
  • Sleeping for 7-8 hours every night also decreases your stress hormones, so make sure you sleep enough every night!

Hitting a plateau – Week beginning Monday 9th March 2020

Almost everyone reaches a weight loss plateau at some point.

The reason is that the human body works hard to keep energy intake and output in balance. After your initial weight loss, your progress will slow down and eventually stop even though your exercise and food intake is consistent. If you're plateauing check the following:

Problem 1. Lowering your calories too much
Fact: It takes calories to burn calories. When you decrease your food intake, your body simply lowers its metabolic rate in response. This still allows the body to function properly, but ultimately your body requires fewer calories which creates hunger and prevents you from losing fat.

Solution:Make sure you are eating enough. Write a food diary and show it to your instructor so they can check you are eating a balanced and varied diet.

Problem 2. Loss of lean body mass
Fact:Muscle burns fat and losing muscle means burning fewer calories. Lean body mass uses five times the calories as fat mass so, if you lose it, your metabolism drops and your weight loss stops.

Solution:Make sure your exercise program includes some resistance work using either body weight, bands or kettlebells. This is another reason why the toning part of the exercise session is so important.

Problem 3. Weight loss
What? But you thought that's what you wanted! However, what you may have forgotten is that when you weigh less, it takes less calories to move your body. A loss of any amount of weight will lead to a reduced energy requirement.

Solution:Make sure you continue a training program to help increase lean body mass, which can help compensate for the loss of calories.

Problem 4. The 'Adaptation' Phase Ends
Fact:When you start a new exercise program, your body responds because it is required to make numerous changes to adjust to different workloads. So, your muscles are rebuilding themselves and this consumes all kinds of calories. But, at some point your body will stop adapting to the new workload and, as a result, you burn less calories for the same activities.

Solution:Don't let your body get used to the exercise. Maintain your body's adaptation period by changing the intensity, duration, frequency and/or the mode of exercise and include interval training if necessary.

5 Little Things – Week Beginning 24th February 2020

There are 5 little things you can do to improve your nutrition/diet/food intake:

  1. Watch your portion sizes – half your plate should be veg; one third protein and the remainder carbohydrate.
  2. Avoid snacking between meals and/or picking at your children’s leftovers.
  3. Cut back your alcohol intake.
  4. Drink your water.
  5. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 There are 5 little things you can do to help improve your fitness:

  1. Never leave anything on the bottom stair – always take it up straight away.
  2. Do some exercise everyday to help tone your body – 10 ab curls or 10 press-ups.
  3. Go for a walk everyday in your lunch hour or first thing in the morning even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  4. Stand tall as often as you can – this will help to strengthen your core muscles as well as improve your posture which will, in turn, make you look slimmer.
  5. Get yourself a “Fitness Friend”. Someone who you agree to see at class each week or pick up on the way. This way you are less likely to back out or find an excuse not to exercise.
  • It’s the little things that count.
  • Repetition of the little things over time will lead to big changes.
  • So if you’re struggling to get back on track then remember baby steps/little changes will get you where you want to be.

WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERS – Week Beginning Monday 17th February 2020

Doctors recommend many things to improve health and wellbeing and in this talk we have the definitive list.

GET ACTIVE: Research shows that physical inactivity can shave almost four years off a person’s expected lifespan. Those who are inactive are twice as likely to be at risk of heart disease or strokes.

CONTROL CHOLESTEROL: High levels of cholesterol can lead to the build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries and bring on heart disease and strokes. It is cut by reducing saturated fat intake, eating oily fish and exercising. Many patients are prescribed drugs by their doctors to control their cholesterol.

FOLLOW A HEALTHY DIET: Healthy eating is one of the most vital factors – yet only one in three adults in the UK eats the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it has no warning signs or symptoms. It increases the risk of strokes by up to 40 per cent and heart attacks by 25 per cent. The most effective way to reduce it is to eat less salt. Many patients are also prescribed drugs.

ACHIEVE A HEALTHY WEIGHT: Two-thirds of British adults are either overweight or obese. These are major risk factors for heart disease and strokes. Being obese can cut lifespan by almost four years.

MANAGE DIABETES: Over 2.5million Britons have type 2 diabetes, with an estimated 850,000 undiagnosed. The condition, which is often caused by obesity and poor diet, raises the risk of heart disease and life threatening complications.

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