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!