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!