7 reasons you’re exercising more and not losing weight

So you’ve started eating better, walking more, going to the gym, or you’re training for a 5km race. Brilliant! You expected the weight to drop off, so why aren’t you seeing RESULTS?

Here are 6 top reasons:

  1. You are ‘good’ all day with your eating and are distracted enough to avoid eating too much. But by the evening you are hungry and attack the bread, cheese, breakfast cereal, biscuits, ice-cream etc. This is the most common mistake I see my clients making. You need to eat more during the day to stop the evening over eating.
  2. Exercising can result in an increase in your appetite, so you eat more. If you are genuinely more hungry, ensure you are eating protein at each meal (eggs, fish, chicken, cottage cheese are great choices), lots of fruit/veg, a high protein yoghurt, milky coffee or tea, water. Consider bringing a meal forward by an hour if you are ravenous.
  3. You eat more before and/or after your session to fuel the exercise. One of the most common mistakes I see is someone having a milkshake drink after 40 minutes in the gym to aid recovery, often followed with in a few hours of a normal meal. A typical bottle of milkshake will provide 300-400kcal, essentially replacing the calories you’ve just burned off. If you are exercising to lose weight, then you need a calorie deficit ie. burning more than you eat/drink.
    Post exercise shakes have their place, but watch the extra calories!

    Post exercise shakes have their place, but watch the extra calories!

    Although extra food/drinks may be necessary for long and strenuous workouts, for shorter workouts less than an hour, the need isn’t as significant. Normal meal and snacks around exercise should be enough eg. snack of an apple or banana 1-2 hours before a workout, yoghurt after.

  4. You are trying to be too healthy – yes really! You’re think you’re doing all the right things – snacking on nuts or rice cakes with peanut butter; lots of avocado in salads; extra pumpkin seeds and flaxseed in your porridge. Thing is, even healthy fats are high in calories: a tablespoon of most nutty things  have about 120 kcal. Half an avocado has about 150 kcal. They all add up.
  5. You think you can eat what you want because you exercise – if only! A 3 mile run will burn approximately 300 kcal. Not an excuse to have 6 biscuits or a whole pizza. Rewarding yourself with high fat/calorie ‘treat’ food can cancel out the good work done. Even professional athletes who have multiple training sessions each day have to be careful with their diets.
  6. You need to change your workout – you run for 40 minutes three times a week, or sit on a exercise bike and do some crunches. Your body adapts to what you do day in day out. You need to challenge your body. If you want to change, you need to change what you are doing!
  7. You sit down for the rest of the day – You have an intensive workout for an hour, so you don’t feel so bad about taking the car for journeys that you could walk. You need to stay as active as you can, humans are born to move. If you feel too exhausted to do anything but sit down for the rest of the day, you are probably over doing the exercise.

Seriously Healthy 1 minute muffin

UnknownHigh in healthy fats and protein, low carbs.
The main ingredient in these healthy muffins is ground flaxseed. Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, as well as manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid omega-3.

imageModern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. I regularly recommend it to patients especially for constipation.

Flaxseed can be bought in most of the big supermarkets or health food images-3shops (it is the same as ground linseeds – my Mum tells me they used to put linseed oil on horses tails to make them healthy and shiny)

Add a little bit of honey/maple syrup/agave nectar/sweetener/raisins if you like (they can be a little bland without any sweetness!)

Nutrition info: 320 kcal, 1g carbohydrate, 16g protein

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon light vegetable oil, such as olive oil
  • optional sweetener of choice (1/2 teaspoon sugar/honey etc)
  1. 
In a coffee mug, stir together 1/4 cup of flax meal, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, sugar/honey/sweetener if using and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Be sure to use a coffee mug, not a cup.
  2. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp. of oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Microwave the mug for 45 to 60 seconds.
  4. Pop the muffin out of the mug and enjoy.

Eat on the run, or serve with a high protein yogurt and berries.

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Medical News Today article on Benefits of flaxseed

Avocado Fans – new from Tesco

A perfectly ripe avocado can be difficult to find, and in my experience they can be either rock hard (the one’s from the supermarket) or too mushy (the ones from my local vegetable market). Many people aren’t keen on the messiness that can be involved to prepare them.

Here is a fab new idea from Tesco: frozen avo’s that have been destoned and peeled. They are at a good price too: £2.50 for about 9 halves.

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£2.50 – about 9 halves

Although high in calories, avocados are little bombs of nutrition with a multitude of health benefits:

  • monounsaturated fats which lower the bad blood cholesterol and raise the good
  • The fats enhance absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K
  • Fats and fibre are slowly digested, so making you feel full up for longer
  • High in vitamin E, A and B vitamins
  • Twice the potassium of a banana – potassium lowers blood pressure
  • Very low in carbohydrate/sugar
  • people who regularly eat avocado are more likely to have a lower body weight, BMI and waist circumference

So what can you do with a frozen bag of avocados?

Green Smoothie Breakfast – blend 200ml water, 1/2 avocado, a kiwi, a handful of greens e.g. spinach or kale, juice of half a lime, some ginger, and a tablespoon of Total greek yogurt.

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Defrost and simply use sliced or mashed and piled on wholemeal toast with some salt and pepper, egg, strawberries or tomatoes.

 

 

 

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

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A quick, easy, healthy and tasty recipe for chicken curry.

 

When time and energy are in short supply, but you want a super healthy dinner, this is perfect. I usually knock this up in about 20 minutes (in-between refereeing bickering children and negotiating their homework)

  • 4 ingredients: onion, tinned tomatoes, chicken breasts or roast a chicken and shred, Patak’s Korma Spice Paste
  • very quick and very easy
  • chocablock full of anti inflammatory nutrients (quecertin from onions, vitamin C and lycopene from tomatoes, and turmeric,  cumin, garlic in the spice paste)
  • High protein: from the chicken, excellent for your muscles and keeps you feeling full up
  • Not too spicy: my children will even eat it

What to do:

  1. chop up a large onion, fry on a medium heat in a tablespoon on vegetable or coconut oil for a few minutes until soft.Unknown
  2. add the 1 tablespoon of the spice paste (more if you like a stronger flavour)
  3. add the diced chicken breasts/chopped up roast chicken – coat in the spice paste, cook for a few minutes
  4. add the chopped tomatoes – allow about half a tin or carton per person
  5. simmer for about 20 minutes, longer if you prefer a drier sauce

Serve with rice or in a jacket or sweet potato……lovely to soak up the juices 🙂

Short cuts for when you’re too knackered or just don’t have the time: use frozen chopped onions, ready cooked chicken and microwaveable pouches of riceUnknown-5

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To add some extra nutritional oomph:

  • coriander/spinach, stir in at the end. If you cook it for too long it wilts away to nothing. Lots of antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • tomato puree – for some concentrated lycopene
  • wholegrain rice – extra fibre, more filling and more slowly  than white rice so keeps the blood sugar levels steadier

The Surprising Protein Source we’ve forgotten about!

I know, I know, cottage cheese……… it’s not very cool and seems to have been relegated to the 80’s as a diet food, aerobics workouts, lycra leotards and Ryvita. For most of us it just doesn’t feature on theimages shopping list.

We could be missing out…..cottage cheese is, in fact, the perfect healthy protein source. Not only highly nutritious, it’s also relatively cheap (65p for a 300g pot in Lidl), and incredibly convenient. Stick a pot in your fridge and you can prepare a healthy snack or meal in minutes.

Nutrition Facts: low in carbs and loaded with proteins, cottage cheese is very filling and will keep your muscles in top condition. It is also high in micronutrients like calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2. 1 cup of cottage cheese has more protein than a scoop of protein powder, 4 eggs or chicken breast.images-2images-1

Whether you are a sitting at your desk all day and need to watch your weight, a 110kg rugby player needing to bulk up on muscle, or a 70 year old granny,  load it up on a piece of wholegrain toast, in jacket potato, or with some chopped tomato and avocado.

Easy lunch today: cottage cheese, avocado, spinach, lettuce and olive oil.

Easy lunch today: cottage cheese, avocado, spinach, lettuce and olive oil.

 

Here are some new ways to use it, especially good if you’re not keen on the texture.

High Protein Smoothie: (350kcal, 52g protein, 23g protein) a perfect quick breakfast, or as a snack if you are highly active or wanting to gain weight. Blend 200ml semi skimmed milk, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon honey

High Protein Pancakes (500kcal, 35g carbs, 40g protein):
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup oats
3 eggs
Optional ingredients for extra oomph: cinnamon, cocoa powder, desiccated coconut, raisins
In a bowl or blender, whisk/mix all the ingredients together.
Fry in a non-stick pan with a little oil or butter on medium heat.

Sweet Potato with Curry Cottage Cheese (375kcal, 57g carbs, 22g protein, vitamin K, A and C)

Simply microwave a sweet potato for about 8 minutes. Open a small pot of cottage cheeseUnknown and mix in 1 teaspoon of Patak’s Korma Spice Paste (more if you like a stronger flavour). Load in to the potato and serve with something green, like spinach, broccoli or peas. The spice paste contains turmeric and cumin, both which have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

If you are lactose intolerant, too much cottage cheese can provoke all your tummy symptoms, so don’t have anymore than 2 tablespoons.

 

5 ‘unhealthy’ foods you should eat

Whether you are trying to lose weight, increase energy, reduce cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, improve fertility or just ‘feel better’, here are five foods that you may have been avoiding unnecessarily:

Peanut Butter – Frowned upon as a guilty indulgence, peanut butter can bring you many health benefits. Keep portions sensible at about two tablespoons a day i.e. don’t attack the jar with a spoon!

  • low glycaemic index, helping to keep blood sugar levels from fluctuating
  • good fat – peanuts are high in heart healthy monounsaturated fat
  • protein from nuts are fabulous for helping to make you feel full up for longer and maintaining or building muscle mass
  • High in fibre for healthy digestion and appetite control
  • Have on a piece of wholemeal toast, on an oatcake, mixed in to some chunky oat porridge, or in homemade flapjacks

Eggs – these little powerhouses of nutrition have had bad press over the years due to the cholesterol levels. Research shows that the cholesterol in food is not absorbed well in to the body and does not affect levels of cholesterol in the blood.

  • Full of choline for brain development (essential for pregnant women!)
  • Curbs your appetite – people eating eggs for breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day
  • High in protein – important for keeping your muscle, and helping to build more to stay lean
  • Easy and cheap – boiled, scrambled, dry fried, poached, microwaved in a minute………..they are so easy to incorporate

Dark chocolate – 80% cocoa chocolate may be an acquired taste, but it is worth it! A small amount will satisfy, as well as having numerous health benefits.images-4

  • low glycaemic index so keeps blood sugar levels steady (good for diabetics, overweight, PCOS, curbing cravings)
  • high in antioxidants which may be protective against cancer, heart disease and ageing
  • lower in caffeine than milk chocolate

Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt all have health benefits. Unless you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, there really is no reason to remove from your diet.Unknown-13

  • controls appetite: dairy products are digested slowly therefore help you to feel full up for longerUnknown-7
  • a great source of amino acids – essential for maintaing and building muscle
  • calcium – essential for bone formation and muscle function
  • yogurt has probiotic bacteria which are essential for healthy gut function. Keep it natural to lower the sugar content……add your own fruit for some sweetness

Avocados – traditionally,  avocados were relegated to the ‘foods to avoid’ list due to the high fat and calorie content. In fact, eaten in moderation, they actually provide immense health benefits.

  • Healthy fats – lower cholesterol and reduce appetite
  • Avocado eaters more likely to have lower body weight, BMI and waist circumference
  • high in vitamins and fibre
  • rich in phytochemicals which may protect against cancer
  • the fat content helps the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) from vegetables
  • try half an avocado sliced on toast, mashed as a replacement for mayonnaise or butter, or whizzed up in a smoothie

As with most things in life, “everything in moderation”! Including these nutrient dense foods everyday as part of an all round healthy diet can help your body to function at it’s best.

Dressing Up – 5 ways to add oomph to veg

A good dressing can transform a plate of salad or vegetables in to something quite spectacular. We all know that we should eat more veg as they have been shown beyond doubt that they are very, very good for us. Why vegetables are fab:

  1. Add amazing colours and textures to your plate
  2. Prevention of chronic health conditions  (heart, diabetes, strokes, obesity, cancer)
  3. Low in calories, you can eat LOADS
  4. Fibre prevents constipation
  5. Encourage the good bacteria in your gut
  6. Vitamins & minerals are needed by your body’s millions of metabolic processes
  7. There is a huge variety so you never need to get bored
  8. Vegetables can taste really good…………….

If you feel that veg can get a little dull, or need some extra oomph, here are 5 very simple dressings to turn a plate of the good stuff in to something pleasurable and delicious.

A big benefit of adding a dressing is that the oil helps with the absorption of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, therefore need fat for our bodies to absorb them. As for most things in life, don’t over do it with the dressing, use it to complement the salad or veg rather than drowning your plate in it. Unknown-1  

You don’t need any special equipment. Inspired by Jamie Oliver, I use an old jam jar……just put all the ingredients in the jar and shake well.

Extra virgin olive oils are a bit like wine as they can vary dramatically in taste, depending upon the type and quality of the fruit that is pressed, the time of harvest, the weather during the growing season, and the region from which the olives were produced. If you are feeling adventurous and budget allows, experiment! If you find the taste of extra virgin oil too strong, you can use olive oil instead. I prefer a ‘tangy’ dressing, so usually add more vinegar/lemon juice.  

Classic 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons of white or red wine vinegarimages-4 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil pinch of salt, pepper  

Lemon 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil juice of 1 lemontumblr_nb0yhi3gkn1tpkb57o1_500 pinch of salt, pepper  

Balsamic 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Pinch of salt, pepper  

Creamy 6 tablespoons natural yogurtimages 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil pinch of salt, pepper  

Thai 4 tablespoons lime juice 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauceimages-1 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated/finely chopped 1/2 clove garlic, crushed/finely chopped