Monday, 29 December 2014

Lose that middle belly fat

When women come into the gym and I ask them what they would like to achieve they almost always say that they want to lose some weight around their waist. And I am no exception to this!! So when someone gave me Marilyn Glenville’s book ‘Fat around the middle’ I was delighted.
I’ve read through this and want to give you a few hints and tips that I found – of course, you would need to read in more detail if you want to fully follow her three month plan – but here’s a few highlights. She suggests a 4 point plan;
Those of you who work closely with me will know that this is very much the stance that I take. I’ll give you some nutrition & exercise tips. Supplements? Now that’s an interesting one – she suggests a variety of additional vitamins and minerals – a little bit of research showed me that a good multivit tab contains many of her suggestions. I use meal replacements that have 25% of my Recommended Daily Allowance in each pack – so I think I’ve got that one covered.
Lifestyle – well – that’s a real challenge. Reduce stress and get more sleep is the key message – there is really good research that shows that the heightened cortisol levels associated with chronic stress and lack of sleep interferes with your insulin metabolism and therefore your blood sugar levels and encourages the storage of fat round the midriff. If you are struggling to lose that last bit of weight around your waist there is hope – learn to relax – turn off your computer, meditate, chill, learn to relax every part of your body. And get some sleep – how much are we talking about? Seven to eight hours is optimal – now, before you all say ‘in your dreams’, read the research – less is just not good for you – not good for your concentration, skin, digestion, weight, memory, sex drive – need I go on?! Again, those who work closely with me will know that this is my really weak area. I have always viewed sleep as something I squeeze in if there’s time – I am working hard to change this attitude!
As for exercise – its what we always say, a good mix of cardio and weight work throughout the week. At the very least – get your 10,000 steps in every day – we have some pedometers on the way to test – we will let you know which we like the best.
Nutrition – now that Christmas is over lets get focused again – keep the simple carbs down – take out white bread, white pasta, white rice, sugar (check the labels – lots of sugar is hidden in foods), keep the protein up. Make every calorie count – so no ‘empty calories’ – don’t eat what doesn’t nourish your body (yes, I do mean crisps!). Keep the alcohol down – give your liver a break – and lose lots of useless calories! If you want to know more – let one of us know next time you are in the gym- we can help you plan your food.
But here’s another challenge – love that fist cup of tea of the day? Has to go to lose that belly fat the caffeine burst sets off the stress levels – she even suggests that milk isn’t too good for you. And my other early morning staple? A banana – and guess what – fast release carb – should be losing that for three months.
Now, this is a real challenge for me – change lots of things in my life – shall I go for small steps or a big blast ? Watch these pages (or my waist line!)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Proof that hugs are good for you!

Hugs are one of those things that you often know makes you feel better, but did you know that there are actual reasons why this is the case?

A hormone called oxytocin is released in response to touch.  Touch such as holding hands, hugs and massage.  Oxytocin is a chemical in the brain that can help to lessen anxiety and decrease stress , its known as the ‘love or cuddle hormone’.  Touch stimulates oxytocin to be released via nerve pathways and the oxytocin lowers cortisol levels, heart rate and blood pressure.  Studies have also found that oxytocin can encourage positive thinking and optimism.

Hugs can make you more relaxed and can enhance your immune system by changing the way your body handles stress. 

So what’s not to like about a hug?  Even a 10 second hug has been shown to be beneficial in raising the levels of oxytocin. 

It’s the season of good will – give a hug, it will be beneficial for both of you!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Feeling Festive (and fat?)

I don’t know about you, but I have mixed feelings about Christmas.  I love the Christian celebration part but struggle with the cost and the emotional turmoil.  And there’s the calorie overload and the very thought of feeling ‘out of control’ of food, exercise, sleep, alcohol and myself!

Perhaps, like me, you have two competing voices shouting at you;

‘Go on, its Christmas, it doesn’t matter just once a year’

‘You know you will regret those crisps and nuts.  You know that when you next step on the scales you will wish you had never seen a mince pie, far less eaten so many’

Does this sound familiar?  Chuck a glass or two of alcohol into the mix and you can quickly lose your way.

At Forefront Fitness we know that a bit of planning can make all the difference, here are a few tips that might help to make it all that bit more manageable.  These are all about going out to a restaurant but I reckon they would work just as well for a family get together anywhere;

·         Plan your night out

o   Be extra careful during earlier meals in the day

o   Be extra careful the day before and the one after

o   Then you can feel good about going out

·         Ring ahead

o   Check out what the restaurant has in the way of healthy options and decide to look forward to these

·         Tell others in your party about your eating plans

o    that way they are prepared and can get their comments out of the way before the big event

·         Have a small snack before you go out

o   Then you don’t get to the meal feeling ravenous and eat everything that is put in front of you

·         Eat slowly and mindfully – make a special effort to really notice what you are eating and enjoy it

o   Think quality, not quantity

·         The 80% rule

o   Eat until you are 80% full – give your head a chance to register all that food

o   Don’t leave the table feeling ‘totally stuffed’ – its really uncomfortable!

·         Ask for food in a restaurant to be prepared how you want it to be – there’s no need to make a fuss, a discreet enquiry will do the trick

·         Eating out is about being sociable not a competition to see who can eat and drink the most!

o   Enjoy healthy food

o   Enjoy the company and the conversation

o   Enjoy the evening without feeling bloated

o   Enjoy fruit and veg

o   Choose higher protein, lower carbs options

o   Keep creamy sauces, pasta, bread & deserts to a minimum

·         Keep hydrated

o   Increase water intake during the day to help flush out later

o   Alternate alcohol and water

·         Be proud of what you are doing, others may well follow your lead!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Don’t be a statistic!

Don’t be a statistic!  Did you know that obesity costs the UK 47bn a year according to a report just published.
McKinsey Global Institute (who produced the report) says that almost half the adults in the world will be overweight or obese by 2030.
The problem lies with a lack of coordinated response and a somewhat piecemeal approach.  The report calls for a series of interventions that could have a real impact.  We all know that its not just one thing that piles the weight on – its not just what we eat and our activity levels – its all the other things that happen.
Environmentally we are continually tempted, (its why I never watch commercial channels on TV) , emotionally we are besieged with messages to eat something that really won’t help us to manage our weight.  We eat large portions and drink calorie filled drinks.  We eat because we are tired, stressed, busy or just because we ‘deserve it’.  We move less and spend more time in sedentary pursuits.
We probably cant change the government policies or the food market single handed – but we can change our own behaviour.

·         Eat good calories to fuel your body

·         Drink water

·         Get some sleep

·         Manage your stress

·         Move around purposefully for 30 mins a day

 See if it makes a difference – need help- call into one of our gyms – we are the experts!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Christmas is coming

I know I can be mighty boring sometimes and I know that lots of you think that I ought to get out more (and you are probably right!) , however, I would just like to fire a bit of a warning shot on Christmas and calories!  I know, ‘calories over Christmas are inevitable’, ‘only once a year’, ‘would be rude not to’  and every other excuse under the sum, or rather under the mistletoe, I have heard them all. 

However, you are really just making work for yourself.  We, of course, are delighted.  As you pile on the pounds you get really keen on the gym and we get to see you all in January.  We like seeing you (especially if you bring a friend who wants to join too), but we don’t want you to have to buy new, bigger gym gear – so I am boldly going to tell you a story of excess calories.

Most women need about 1500 to 2000 calories a day and most men about 500 more (and those are generous allowances).  2 mini mince pies have about 240 calories in them, a honey and almond hot chocolate has 470 calories, yep, that’s about a third of what we women need (in terms of calories) in a day.  How about a ‘Pumpkin spice Latte’?  Are you tempted?  311 calories – about the same as a large chocolate donut. 

Simple tip – avoid the large size, syrup filled, whip cream topped, extra special, ‘Christmas delights’ – sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg on your cappuccino

 – that’s plenty bad enough!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Raspberry Ketones

You know if you look something up on the internet, it pops up on your side bar again and again – until you are almost convinced you should be buying it?

Well this has happened to me with Raspberry Ketones.  These are being hailed as a great way to lose weight.  There is some science behind it, which I will run through, but there are lots of warnings too.

First, why it might / should work.

It is claimed that:

Your body uses enzymes to convert unused energy, or glucose, into fat deposits in the body

Raspberry ketones have been found to increase the natural production of Adiponectin

Adiponectin breaks down stored fat cells, increasing metabolism and burning fat off your body

Raspberry ketones also decrease blood glucose levels and suppress your appetite


Well, that sounds good so far.  However, often these tests are on animals and carried out by the manufacturers of the tablet in question.

The physiology of Adiponectin is correct, but finding reliable, independent research to show that Raspberry Ketones have an effect on the levels is proving impossible for me.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t work – only that I can’t confidently tell you that they do.  We also need to consider that regulation on these type of tablets is low and the potency of each variety may vary enormously.

Let’s look at this another way.  We know that with many drugs we take that there is a placebo effect.  We are told that something works, we believe it, and it does.  This is a well-documented effect that many doctors are very aware of.  So, you take a Raspberry Ketone tablet every day and begin to feel lighter.  You take heart and think that you could get to like this and then start to watch carefully what you eat, then you fancy a bit of exercise and, before long, you are losing weight.  See, those tablets really work!

I think we are often only too keen to find a ‘quick win’ solution – someone said to me only today ‘I just want to wake up skinny’ and many of us can identify with this!  It is tempting to think that there is a tablet that will help us to be quickly skinny.  Raspberry Ketones usually cost about £10 a tub, so not a huge amount.  However, on balance, how about going about weight loss a different way?  Not as easy as popping a pill – but a healthy way.

What about a bit of exercise 5 times a week?  Go for a brisk walk, join a class, go to the gym.  Use that Wii Fit that you bought and never quite got round to using!  Wash the car, do your housework, turn off the TV and do something instead!  That will make a start.

Then, how about looking at what you eat?  Trying cutting out simple carb snacks (chocolate, biscuits, cake, crisps – you know the stuff I mean). Have a good look at your portion size, eat slowly and really take notice of your food (turn off the TV while you eat?).  Just persuade your body to breakdown some of your stored fat to fuel your body, then you will produce your own ketones which will really help with your weight loss

Good luck, money saved!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Pyjama Crew

OK – what I am going to say next may upset some people – brace yourselves.
I have a theory, its anecdotal and unproven – but it’s a theory none the less.
‘If you spend the time that you get in from work / school / college until bedtime, in your pyjamas, then you are more likely to be overweight’
‘Rubbish’, I hear you cry. Actually, no – and I am going to tell you why.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is suggesting that we limit the amount of time we spend sitting down watching TV / playing on screens of some sort. (Reported in The Guardian 23.09.14) NICE are suggesting no more than 2 hours a day in front of the TV and even go as far as recommending TV free days.
So, in from work, pyjamas on and slob out – it’s a recipe for disaster – a sure way to pile on the pounds. NICE recommend that ‘The general rule for maintaining a healthy weight is that energy intake through food and drink should not exceed energy output from daily activity’ – common sense really. Basically if you slob out on the sofa and pick at treats all evening then you are likely to put on weight. And we all know that carrying extra weight increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Ditch the PJs – they are for bed, switch off the telly – move around a bit, go for a run, a walk, slope off down to the gym – you know you’ll feel better!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Any diet will do

A  BBC report on  research from a university in Ontario tells us that it doesn’t really matter which diet scheme we use as long as it delivers fewer carbs & / or fat than we would usually eat.  It is best to use whichever plan fits best with your lifestyle and stick to it. 

Prof Jebb, from Oxford University reports that the important aspect is to adhere to a diet that cuts calories to around 1500 per day and avoiding cakes and biscuits. 

So the choice is yours!  Its all about finding a plan that you like and sticking to it.  There is no point choosing a diet plan that doesn’t fit with your life style.  It might take a while to get this right – often this is where we give up.  Its much more fun and manageable when we find a plan that we like and that we can work with. 

Having worked with many people on their weight loss journey I know that we are much more likely to be successful when we find a plan that fits around the client rather than trying to fit the client to the plan.

Here at Forefront we have lots of ways to manage your weight – make contact – we can help you to find a plan that fits you.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The benefits of lemons!

I can almost hear you say – ‘not another healthy eating tip’!
Like you, I get fed up with a new fad every week, but I think this one is really worth sharing.
And just to prove it, its what I am doing every day now!
Start your day with a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it. Why?
  • It supports the immune system. lemon juice is rich in Vitamin C which boosts the immune system, fighting colds & flu
  • It can help with digestion. It helps cleanse the bowel and stimulates the release of gastric juices. Can also relieve symptoms of indigestion, heartburn and bloating
  • Helps repair skin, the antioxidant properties help combat free radical damage, which is responsible for the symptoms of ageing
  • Can reduce appetite because lemons contain pectin, a soluble fibre which helps create a feeling of fullness
  • Lemons are alkalising and therefore reduce acidity (which can be inflammatory in the body)
  • Lemon juice is a diuretic so toxins are released at a faster rate
  • Want fresh breath? The antiseptic qualities in lemon juice helps kill off bad bacteria, so acting as a disinfectant
  • the high levels of potassium can help brain and nerve function and control blood pressure
  • The Vitamin C can promote healing and is important in maintaining healthy bones, tissue and cartilage.
  • Need to detoxify your liver? Lemons can help with this too

So, what’s not to like? Lemons are cheap, easily available and the drink is quick to prepare – give it a go? Let me know how you get on. ref:

Monday, 1 September 2014

Holiday Health

I get loads of ‘Healthy Advice’ emails into my inbox – lots I just discard but this one I really like – its from a Cancer Prevention organisation – with lots of great ideas and tips.

It’s that time of year and many of us have been working hard to look and feel great in time for that long-awaited get-away.
Yet when the wait and the hard work is over you may find that the biggest threat to your slimmed-down waistline may turn out to be the holiday itself.
We’ve come up with a few helpful tips to enjoy your holiday and stay in shape. 

1. Planning is key
Plan your meals so you are not tempted by unhealthy food when you get hungry. For example, if you have a day of sight seeing choose a filling breakfast, like scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast and don’t forget to buy some healthy snacks to take with you.
Planning a three-course dinner later? Then opt for a light lunch, such as a seasonal vegetable salad with balsamic vinegar.

2. Be selective at buffets
Buffets can trip up even the most strong-willed of us, but there are several steps you can take to avoid overindulging.
Before joining the buffet queue go for a stroll to see what the options are and select what you’re going to have.
Avoid cream or pastry-based dishes and anything that has been sautéed or deep-fried. Why not try local dishes made from a variety of fresh seasonal vegetables, like ratatouille, and seafood such as grilled sardines or mackerel?
Choosing a smaller plate can help to control portion size and prevent overeating.
Take breaks between your courses and wait for a little bit to make sure you really are hungry before you revisit the buffet table.

3. Enjoy something sweet but choose wisely
Having a healthy holiday doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding all your favourite treats.
The key here is to make good choices, for example if you’re treating yourself to an ice cream choose a fruity sorbet or frozen yoghurt instead of a creamy option. And skip the waffle cone to save 150 calories!
If there’s no lighter option, sharing is a great way to enjoy a treat without overloading on calories.

4. Watch what you are drinking
Alcohol is full of calories and is of little nutritional value, so it’s best to keep drinking to a minimum and choose lighter options. To cut down on the calories in alcohol, try swapping creamy cocktails, such as Pina Colada, for a gin and slimline tonic.
If you fancy a cold beer, then try alternating it with a low-calorie soft drink or even adding some low-calorie ginger beer to your drink for a twist on a shandy. .
Alcohol is also a proven cause of some cancers so remember to try to stick within our recommendations of one drink a day for women and two a day for men

5. Have fun being active
Being active for 30 minutes or more a day helps to reduce your cancer risk and with plenty of time for leisure, holidays are a great time to be active. Try our fun ideas for some holiday activities.

- Swimming is both relaxing and a great form of exercise. If you’re spending an afternoon by the pool, why not cool off by going for a dip and doing a few lengths? Take advantage of being by the seaside and spend a few hours snorkelling and discovering the aquatic world.
Walking is a great way to take in the scenery! Spend a morning exploring by foot or go for an evening stroll on the beach.
 Hit the dance floor in the evening, join a game of beach volleyball, take a cycling tour or challenge your companions to a game of tennis.

Making a few healthy choices like these can help you stay in shape and have fun on holiday.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Would you like some help to manage your weight?

You may weigh just what you want to – that’s great –but do you struggle to stay at that weight?

Maybe you weigh a bit more than you would like to or maybe you weigh a lot more than you would like to. Whatever your situation we can help

We have a whole menu of ideas for you.  You can, of course, carry on coming to the gym (do you need a new programme? –Just ask anyone of the staff).  You can get a boost with a set of Personal Training sessions – push yourself further than you knew you could!

You might want some help with your food – our cookery book is out any day now – packed full with nearly 100 healthy recipes – on sale in both gyms.

You will love our free Accountability Groups – come along on Monday evenings at 18.00 at Willingham – get weighed, get your measurements done and spend a bit of time planning your food week. We have found time and time again that if we say what we are going to hold ourselves accountable for some actions then we are much more likely to be successful than if we keep it to ourselves.

You can also pick up some meal replacement packs – we have teamed up with a great company that supplies an amazing variety of shakes, soups and meals and delicious snacks.  Every meal replacement is calorie counted (so you won’t have to worry) and has 25% of your Recommended Daily Allowances of vitamins and minerals – so you know that your body is getting what it needs.  There will be a plan to suit you – from the odd pack now and then (on a fat day!) right through to a short time on packs only to really boost your weight loss.

What have you got to lose?  Email for more information and help

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

NHS backs 'lose a little, keep it off' plans

NICE is asking us to ‘lose a little and keep it off’ (BBC News 28.05.14)

Well that’s just great – we have been saying that for ages!  If you’ve got a little to lose we can help – we have a great weight management programme launching next week, and we can help you to keep it off – we know how to help with diet and activity and we know how to keep you on track.

However if you have a lot to lose this could be viewed as an excuse to hang on to it and just lose a few pounds.  We understand that the government is trying to help us to set goals that we can manage – but we do also need to be aware that being obese is a health risk.

Losing the first 3% is a start on the journey – not the end of the journey.  But breaking weight loss down into small chunks is a good idea – its much less daunting and more manageable.

If you would like help and advice on managing your weight – ask one of our staff – they will be happy to get you started on your journey.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Even the Chief Exec

I just want to let you know that it can happen to anyone.  Any of us can become ill because we take our eye off the ball. 

There’s a great article in yesterday’s Guardian (17.05.14) by David Nicholson who until recently was the Chief Executive of the NHS.  Now you would expect him to be reasonably aware of the hazards of being overweight wouldn’t you? 

He tells us he was fairly busy (job, new baby, new house) and didn’t feel too good.  Maybe just a bit ‘run down’.  He was feeling really tired and was getting up to the loo several times a night.  When he finally got round to going to his GP it was quickly obvious that he had developed Type 2 Diabetes. The realisation that this could have a significant impact on his life expectancy was profound.  His GP told him that the complications of Diabetes are ‘heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of a limb.’  Of course, David ‘knew’ this, he had told the public accounts committee all this a few months earlier, but as is so often the case, ‘knowing about’ and knowing it could happen to you are not always the same.

We all ‘know’ that being overweight and having a larger waist measurement predisposes us to Type 2 Diabetes but we don’t always believe it will actually happen to us.  Or maybe we pledge that we will ‘do something about it’ if it does happen – that that diagnosis will be the wake up call we need.

Of course, David is doing something about it, weighing in at 17stone 6lb he knew he needed to lose weight. Alongside that he has altered his diet, looking at content and portion control.  (‘Told you so,’ comes to mind – he should have come to Forefront Fitness!)

So, what about you?  Are you waiting to be told or are you going to do what David now advises – take your own health seriously?  We suggest you check your weight, check your waist measurement (we are more than happy to help if you contact us) and adjust your diet accordingly if necessary .  We also suggest you follow the government guidelines and get your heartbeat up for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week, after all – if its good enough for the ex CEO – its good enough for us!

Monday, 7 April 2014


Well, the Chief Medical Officer in her recent report tells us that most of us are now overweight.  We eat too much fat and sugar and don’t do enough exercise – and I guess we knew that.

But you and I don’t have to be in the majority – we can have a healthy body weight and get the recommended amount of exercise.  By keeping down the amount of processed food we eat (the report tells us that this is calorie dense and nutrient poor) and cutting out the sugary drinks we will be on the right track.  We are about to release a great cook book with some lovely recipes that help us to eat really ‘clean’.  Healthy foods made from raw ingredients but quick and simple to prepare. 

And as for exercise – 150 minutes of moderate activity a week – I feel really excited when I read that – it gives me a great excuse to work out in the gym 6 days a week!  Or to go for a walk (aiming for those 10,000 steps a day) or oil the bike and venture out. 

I’ve worked hard on building muscle in the last few weeks – knowing that muscle is great at burning calories and gives great definition.  Combining this with some cross fit training has made a big difference to my fitness levels – it could work for you too!

Don’t be one of the crowd – let us help you keep healthy and Be Your Best

Friday, 14 March 2014


I would like all men reading this to look away now. Us women are going to concentrate on things that really matter for a few minutes.
Right ladies – you saw it here first – Sexycise comes to a gym near you. We are putting together a women only class aimed at improving ‘down there’. This class works your abdominal muscles, strengthens your core and your pelvic floor. It includes the sort of exercises that you don’t want to do in the gym when the men are around. I can’t guarantee that it will improve your sex life – but it might help you to be more ready should the chance to shine arise. It will help with continence issues and self confidence.
Give it a go – we have soft lights, gentler music, nice smells and a great work out – what’s not to like? (and no men, sweaty or otherwise!)
Currently in Willingham on Thursday evenings for 45 minutes starting at 18.30 and soon to be relaunched at Bluntisham. Phone the gym to book your place, £3 for members and £5 for non-members - if you bring a (female ) friend.
Come along and find out what TF stands for !

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Reasons to exercise

Reasons to exercise – let me remind you again why you are bothering to come to the gym!

·         Even moderate exercise during the day improves sleep.  Chronically sleep – deprived people are more at risk of heart problems . 

·         Exercise boosts your mood and self esteem (tell me that you don’t feel better about yourself after you have worked out ?)

·         Burn calories – keep your weight under control!

·         Reduce your risk of developing diabetes –

·         Help to keep your blood pressure under control – reduce your risk of strokes

·         Minimise the impact of osteoporosis

·         Keep mobile !

What’s not to like ?!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Help your brain, exercise!

Would you like to help your brain, slow down the decaying process, prevent dementia?
Latest research in today’s Times tells us that exercise such as brisk walking, can help to fight off degenerative disease – there is even some evidence to show that exercise can help with regeneration of damaged areas.
We know that the aging process is likely to be slower if we keep our minds active (yes, the crossword again!) and if we keep our weight under control. The news that exercise can even repair some of the damage done is really good to hear.
So, eating well, not smoking and only drinking in moderation, combined with brain activity and a bit of serious exercise and we have a good chance of holding on to all our marbles for a bit longer? Add in a good healthy diet and we are on a winner.
Dig out those trainers and if its just too awful outside for a walk – pop into the gym. Easy to do a quick workout and just think of all the benefits!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Fruit Juice

Do you have fruit juice for your breakfast? Do you have it because you think its really healthy – just made from fruit?
Lots of Vit C in fruit juice ? Yes, you’re right – loads – but it will cause a huge spike of Vit C in your blood stream and as we can’t store the excess – it will simply be excreted in our urine. The same is true of the sugar in fruit juice – big flood of sugar, high dose of reactive insulin and off you go again, swinging backwards and forwards. This is all enhanced by the fact that there is no fibre left in fruit juice so the juice is able to rush through without the slowing effect of the fibre on your body. Really you are much better off eating an orange than consuming full glasses of commercially produced fruit juice.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

What's your BMI?

Do you know that it is reckoned that by 2050 more than half of the UK population will be obese (that’s a BMI of over 30) – OK – so that’s still 36 years away – and there is a very high probability that I won’t be one of those – however, this is in our children’s life time if not our own – and we all know about the health risks associated with being obese (diabetes, heart disease and cancer for a start). 

Should we be concerned – you bet we should – we know we are, on the whole, living longer – but being fat and ill and living longer may not be entirely joyful.

The National Obesity Forum suggests 5 key tips – see what you think;

Tip 1 – Find out if you are a healthy weight – so, so often I hear people say that they don’t know how much they weigh , but ……….

But they think they are OK

But they think they have put on a stone over Christmas

The truth may well lie somewhere in between – but it is best to know – anyone of our staff in the gym will help you to work out your Body Mass Index (BMI) – which is your height to weight ratio.  And once you know you can be on the road to getting it to where you want it to be.

Tip 2 Make Long –term changes

Make changes to your diet nad exercise regime that you can sustain.  Set yourself a goal – I want to lose a stone before I go on holiday (for example) – and hold yourself accountable for getting there

Tip 3 Make short-term goals to change your lifestyle

The Obesity Forum suggests ideas like swapping sugary drinks for water, swapping crisps for rice cakes.  And how about healthy recipes?  - home made healthy food twice a week – that could be a goal

Tip 4 Stay motivated

Keep remembering why you are doing this – ‘I want to be healthier’ – ‘I want to fit into my clothes again’ – just hold onto those ideas so if the going gets tough you can hold on tight!

And finally

Tip 5 Small steps lead to big changes

Ditch the bread, walk to the shops, take the stairs – you don’t have to drop down to under 1000 calories or run a marathon – little steps can lead to big changes as long as they are sustained.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sugar and the Gurus

So, today we learn that some (most) of the people who are on the panel advising the government on safe sugar levels are paid or funded by the likes of Coca Cola, Unilever (owns Wall’s and Ben & Jerry’s) and Sugar Boards.  Its tempting to think this is like Foster’s helping an alcoholic to stop drinking or Benson Hedges campaigning to stop smoking.  

Its not for me to tell you who to believe or, for that matter, what to eat.  But I can pass on some advice from the NHS website on sugar consumption.

We are told that added sugars (in tea for example) shouldn’t make up more than 10% of our calorie intake on a daily basis.  About 70g for men and 50g for women so go steady on the fruit juice too.  

And check the food labels – we are looking for the ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ figure 

more than 22.5 g of total sugars per 100g is high
5g of total sugars or less per 100g is low

So, I checked a few items,

low fat yoghurt – 6.9g sugar per 100g – lowish – but the added sugar compensates for the low fat taste
Innocent Orange juice – 8.1 g per 100ml, creeping up
Weetabix – just 4.4g per 100 g – 
Tesco finest muesli – 15.6g per 100g
Tesco finest granola – 20.6g per 100g

Doesn’t take long to get to our allowance does it?

So, we are not sure if the gurus are completely objective – but we can all read the labels – and take responsibility ourselves – we did it for fats – now onto sugars!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

What to eat?

First it was fats and now it's sugar. One thing after another that we are told to avoid. But really it's quite simple, take in the amount of calories that your body needs for the activity that its doing.  Of course, not all calories are equal and if you live off Mars bars you will oscillate from a sugary high to a sleep inducing low. Your skin won't take too kindly to that sort of food intake either!  But sometimes I think we get a bit caught up in 'shoulds' & 'oughts' . By forbidding ourselves some things we can easily crave it and feel very deprived.

When thinking what to eat, think unprocessed, think raw.  The less the food you eat has been treated then the easier it is for you to eat just what you need. And that's a big factor too, you may well have been taught to eat everything on your plate but do you need it? Remember that it is just as wasted in your tummy if you've had enough as it is in the bin. A tip for you, eat mindfully, concentrate on your food ( not the TV or the newspaper !) and eat slowly.  You may well find that this helps you to stop eating sooner as your head can register what's in your tummy!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Exercise and Cancer

Reading yesterday’s Guardian there is an article which gives us all a great incentive to keep active.  According to scientists, (published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer) of the 78,935 people diagnosed with bowel, breast and womb cancers in 2012 about 12,000 could have been prevented if people were more physically active. 

Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, tells us that the relationship is not only to physical inactivity but also to excess body fats. 

Only 36% of women meet the government’s targets of at least 30 mins physical activity 5 times a week.  Come on everyone, yet more evidence that moving a bit makes a difference.  Build exercise into your daily life – research shows that it can help prevent cancer.  Our sedentary lifestyle is making us ill – get up and get going !! Join the gym – find 30 minutes 5 times a week – it could save your life.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Years Resolutions

3 little things to help with those New Year resolutions – three things you will barely notice –

·         say no to white carbs – so that’s no to white bread, white rice, white pasta.  Stop sending your blood sugar up and dropping it quickly – only to start the cycle again

·         leave off the sweeteners – research is showing that artificial sweeteners trigger the same reaction as sugar – triggering insulin production and the swinging blood sugar levels

·         eat protein or fat with carbs which will slow down the absorption of sugar and prevent the sugar spikes.  So, try eating fruit and cheese, nuts and seeds in yoghurt or a few olives or avocado with a salad.  

Remember – its not about being on a diet – its about a whole life style –

·         get enough sleep

·         avoid excess stress

·         eat clean / eat mindfully

·         exercise – aim for 30 minutes of reasonably strenuous activity 5 times a week

·         drink alcohol in moderation (think liver, think ‘empty calories’!)

Want to know more?  Pop into one of our gyms and chat to our staff – they really know what they are talking about

Best wishes for  a great 2014!