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Tag: health

Six ways to improve your health and wellbeing for free (or close to it!)

 

Fancy powders and expensive exercise classes are great, but you don’t need these to be feel or be healthy. I worry that people feel like they can’t be healthy unless they have a lot of money. It doesn’t have to be this way!

 

Here’s the thing: there are loads of things that can be done for free or not that much money that can contribute to your health and well-being.

 

Here are six things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing that are free (or close to it!)

 

  1. Eat more vegetables. Farmers markets and market stalls have a variety of veg that doesn’t need to cost the earth.
  2. Get more and better sleep
  3. Move your body everyday
  4. Breathe
  5. Get rid of emotional vampires
  6. Drink water

 

How many of these do you do each day? Check out my IGTV video where I go into detail about each point. 

 

Do you want to talk more about your health and wellbeing? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.

 

Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating.

 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause. 

 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle!

 

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Is wellness for everyone?

I worry that many people feel health and wellbeing isn’t for them because they don’t have a lot of money for expensive ingredients, classes, crystals or workout gear. Or they don’t see anyone that looks like them speaking about health and wellbeing topics that are relevant to them.

 

This is why I believe it’s so important to have voices in the health and wellbeing industry that have a different cultural point of view and come from different backgrounds, be it race, age, body shape or ability.

 

By opening up the conversation to other people from different backgrounds, we widen the scope of what wellness means and the tools to achieve this. 

 

This means acknowledging that not everyone can afford expensive ingredients or has the luxury of time to make long and complicated recipes. 

 

It means acknowledging the history and cultural context of the wellness trends such as yoga, meditation, matcha and Ayurveda. 

 

It means acknowledging that certain health topics such as menstruation, fertility and childbirth have different cultural and religious contexts that must be addressed in order to move the conversation forward. 

 

It means acknowledging that some might be intimidated by going into a fitness class, feeling as though they don’t have the right body / skin colour / brand of leggings / etc. 

 

It means acknowledging the racial disparities in health outcomes, especially in the UK and the US. 

 

What do you think about diversity in wellness? What else needs to be discussed? 

 

Do you want to talk more about your health and wellbeing? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.

 

Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating.

 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause. 

 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle!

 

Photo by Nick Grant on Unsplash

Exercise and your menstrual cycle.

exercise and the menstrual cycle

Have you ever thought about how your cycle affects the way you exercise?

 

The highs and lows of hormones means that at certain times in your cycle it’s better to slow things down and do very light, gentle exercise. And at other times in your cycle, you feel full of energy and ready to take on the world.

 

Menstrual Phase

 

Do you notice a difference in the way you feel about exercise during your menstrual cycle?

 

I do.

 

During the first few days of my period, I usually stick to light and gentle yoga sessions, because I find that anything else leaves me feeling totally drained afterwards, which is the opposite of how I want to feel after I work out!

 

Follicular Phase

 

I notice a huge difference in my energy levels as soon as I finish my period.

 

Do you?

 

My energy skyrockets (along with my estrogen and progesterone levels) and I feel ready to take on the world!

 

It’s during this time of my cycle, I like to try new types of exercises, new classes, new instructors and new yoga flows. I find that I’m much more open to trying new things and the energy I have helps me retain new information.

 

Ovulation

 

There’s a point in our cycles where we feel so full of energy, like we can conquer the world!

 

Can you relate to this?

 

This is usually happens around day 14-16 of our menstrual cycles when we ovulate. We’re at the peak of our powers and it’s the point when our estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest.

 

This is the time in our cycles when it’s great to go hell for leather into your hardest, most challenging class, turn the dial up to the hardest you’ve ever gone in your spin class or add a bit of extra weight in the gym.

 

Luteal Phase

 

Do you ever feel a bit sluggish and tired in the week before your period? As estrogen and progesterone start to drop, so do our energy levels.

 

This is the time when you might feel a bit moody, bloated and your skin might breakout a bit.

 

During this time in my cycle, I try not to push myself, unless I’m really feeling up to it.

 

Instead, I focus on restorative yoga flows, lots of slow paced sun salutations and brisk walking (I can’t get away from walking, living in London!).

 

The peaks and troughs of our hormones and how they connect to our energy levels show how important it is for us to listen to our bodies and not force ourselves to exercise that our bodies aren’t ready for that particular day.

 

Do you want to talk more about your menstrual cycle and getting control of any hormonal issues that are stopping you from exercising and leading a life full of energy? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

What are the fundamentals of self-care?

yoga as self care

I’ve been talking a lot recently about self care: how it’s in my view, not a trend, but a sustainable way to listen to and have respect for your body.

 

Self care means different things to different people, which is where some of the confusion comes from. In essence, it’s about taking the time to do the things that refresh and recharge YOU.  For me, this is about making sure I get enough sleep, spend quality time with friends (and not just texting them), eating enough veg every day and making sure to practice yoga and deep breathing every day.

 

For you, it could be something completely different.

 

As with everything, there are some fundamentals to self care: eating well, maintaining good personal hygiene, moving your body everyday, finally quitting smoking and being in nature.

 

Everything in your body is connected and a daily self care practice tends to your mind, body and spirit. Which is one of the reasons I called my business Eat Love Move: a lifelong journey of health addresses all of these areas.

 

Of course, I’m not perfect and I need to take my own advice. I pulled back from a lot this past week as I was feeling drained, down and generally a bit out of sorts. I blamed it on needing a slow start to 2018, but really, I wasn’t taking care of myself properly. Not sleeping enough, skipping meals and feeling a bit overwhelmed.

 

I went back to basics and focused on eating almost all of my meals at home, sticking to a daily yoga practice, going to bed earlier and doing my alternate nostril breathing when anxious feelings started to creep up.

 

So tell me. What do you think about self care?

Do you set intentions for yourself?

have you set your intentions for 2018 yet?

I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and intentions this week.

 

January rolls around and a lot of us put pressure on ourselves to build a list of resolutions that are mostly about things we should improve about ourselves. Problems we should resolve about ourselves.

 

But what if we accepted ourselves as we are?

 

What if we set intentions instead? Intentions are a common way of starting a yoga session, a positive way of focusing the mind for the practice ahead.

 

Daily, weekly and monthly intentions are a lovely way to focus on the present and the good things you want to do for yourself.

 

My intentions for 2018 are to live in the moment and remember all the things I’ve achieved (it’s easy to forget these things, isn’t it?).

 

What are your intentions for 2018?

I Tried It: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Have you heard about alternate nostril breathing?

 

This is an incredible way of shifting your nervous system from fight or flight stress mode to rest and digest, relaxation mode.

 

You’re essentially breathing consciously, taking in more air and reducing your blood pressure.

 

I decided to try it after reading so much about it. Here’s how you do it:put your thumb over your right nostril and take a deep breath in through your left nostril. Hold, covering your left nostril with your index finger. Release the breath through your right nostril. Repeat, taking the breath with your right nostril.

 

I found that I was much calmer after doing this and any anxiety I was feeling started to drift away.

 

Try it and let me know how you feel!

 

Have you tried mindful drinking?

testing drinking

How much have you been drinking this holiday season? So many events revolve around having a festive tipple or two, which feels fun at the time, but may not be helping you get to your health goals and may be stopping any desired weight loss.

 

Alcohol also has an effect on our sleep – it sedates us, but doesn’t help us get restorative, restful sleep. You know, the kind where you wake up feeling ready to get out of bed and jump into the day!

 

Try mindfully drinking instead: being aware of what you’re drinking and why you’re drinking it.

 

If you automatically pour a glass of wine when you get home from a stressful day at work, think about why you think the wine will help you relax. Could you do something else instead? A bit of yoga, a couple of boxing jabs to a pillow, a hot bath?

 

When you’re out, Instead of allowing people to buy you endless rounds of drinks at the pub or bar, be aware of how much you’re drinking and how you’re feeling. If you don’t want another drink, just say so, instead of being polite. Or ask for some water instead.

 

Mindful drinking means learning to drink what YOU want to drink and the amount that YOU want to drink rather than what you consider to be socially acceptable.

 

Have you tried mindful drinking? Let me know!

 

P.S. Are you using alcohol to help you get to sleep or finding that alcohol is stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep? Join my 5 Days to Better Sleep challenge, where I’ll be sharing ways for you to get a better quality night’s sleep. Join in: www.eatlovemove.com/bettersleep

 

6 ways to enjoy the holiday season

brussels sprouts selfridges windows

I’ve been talking about shifting mindset away from thinking about ‘surviving’ the holiday season towards enjoying the holiday season. Here are 6 ways to mindfully enjoy the holiday season without throwing all your health and fitness goals out the window.

 

1. Remember your long-term goals.

It’s unrealistic to try and avoid all unhealthy foods over the holiday season. Keeping your long term goals in mind can help you avoid falling into a spiral of guilt and worry if you happen to get too drunk one night or overdo it on the mince pies at the holiday mixer. Keep the big picture in mind and don’t worry about a few days of excess!

 

2. Plan ahead.

If you don’t have a plan for meals during the week, for parties, going out, visiting friends, having family over and so on, you are setting yourself up to go off piste. If you have a busy week ahead of you, plan out what you’re going to be eating for all meals so that you don’t go to parties on a empty stomach and so you always have a few meal options prepped in your fridge. If you’re going out in the evening, have something to eat beforehand so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach or filling up on canapés.

 

3. Eat mindfully and slow down.

It’s tempting to eat quickly when you’re out at holiday lunches and dinners as you get caught in a flurry of conversation and wine top-ups. Try putting your fork down in between bites and allow yourself to really enjoy each mouthful. Check in with yourself throughout the meal and stop eating when you’re full.

 

4. Out of sight, out of mind.

Have you ever heard yourself say, “take this away from me, so I stop eating it?”. With chocolate in  directly in front of you or left on your kitchen counters, it’s easy to overindulge. Once it’s tucked away in a cupboard, you’re likely to forget it’s even there. You can’t stop people from giving you chocolate over the holidays, but you can avoid leaving it out on display. Out of sight, out of mind.

 

5. Remember to get your veg in. 

When eating out, order lots of vegetable dishes and fill up on veg first. If in doubt, order a side salad to be sure you’re getting some of your daily portions of vegetables.

 

6. Be gentle with yourself.

If you find yourself going a bit of track, don’t beat yourself up or see it as an excuse to write off the rest of the day and eat everything in sight. The next meal is the next opportunity to pick things up again. Good health is a lifelong journey – one heavy night on the prosecco or a couple of days with lots of mince pies won’t derail you if you keep the big picture in mind and stay positive.

 

Make a commitment to your future self by booking a FREE call with me to see how I can help you take control of your relationship with food and reach your personal health goals.  Click here to book a 20 minute call with me or get in touch via email.

Forget ‘surviving’ the festive season, enjoy it instead!

christmas at the natural history museum

This is the time of year where we get invited to loads of parties and enjoy ourselves (maybe a bit too much!). It’s totally normal to want to let your hair down and relax some of your ‘food and alcohol rules’.

 

Many people have the mentality that the holiday season is something to survive, rather than enjoy. Can you relate to this at all?  Maybe you’ve grown up associating food with pleasure and fun, so subconsciously you fear that if you don’t eat a lot, you won’t have a ‘happy Christmas or Hanukkah’. It’s easy to slip into a ‘one more won’t hurt’ mindset, thinking that you’ll deal with any consequences in January.

 

What if you could have it both ways? What if you could enjoy the holiday season without going into January feeling the results of excessive eating and drinking?

 

I like to be really clear with my clients about what has driven the feeling of needing to do things to excess at Christmas and these four themes always seem to come up:

1. Portion control: They felt like they’ve waited all year for the holiday season and all the festivities surrounding it, so they give themselves a license to be excessive and not hold back. That means mass quantities of roasties, Quality Street, snowballs and festive cocktails – more is more at this time of year!

2. Social life: Family commitments, work lunches and endless parties mean that opportunities to eat and drink excessively are everywhere, sometimes on a daily basis. And regular hangovers add to the urge to order in unhealthy takeaways and veg out on the sofa.

3. Sedentary lifestyle: A busy social life means exercise routines tend to get put on the back burner as clients decide to wait until January to get back on the treadmill / bike / yoga mat.

4. Mental ‘hall pass’:  Willpower seems to go out the window at this time of year, with clients telling themselves it’s fine to binge, they’ll just sort it in a January diet / detox.

 

Can you relate to any of these themes?

 

What if I told you that you don’t need to ‘survive’ the festive season? That you could enjoy this time of year without needing to go on a mad diet / detox in January?  As long as you have some strategies in place before the festive season, there’s no reason why you can’t start the New Year looking and feeling fantastic.

 

As a qualified nutritional therapist, I work with clients to take control of their relationship with food and plan how to get through times when overindulgence might feel hard to resist.

 

Make a commitment to your future self by booking a FREE call with me to see how I can help you take control of your relationship with food and reach your personal health goals.  Click here to book a 20 minute call with me or get in touch via email.

 

The 2017 Eat Love Move Holiday Gift Guide: For Self-Care (For You or A Loved One)

Self-care has been a big topic this year and rightly so. It’s a nice way to do little things to take care yourself to reset amidst hectic lives and uncertainty.

 

Self-care doesn’t have to cost anything and I worry about the commercialisation of this term. Sleep,  positive self-talk and eating well are the best forms of self-care and the first two are free!

 

Here are some ideas if you want to give a self-care themed gift to a loved one.

P.S. Check out my gift guide for the foodie in your life.

 

daylesford organic candle

I’m obsessed with these Daylesford Organic candles. They’re paraffin and GM wax free and smell amazing.  Perfect to light just before a yoga or mediation session.

 

diffuser

A wood and ceramic diffuser is a brilliant way to clean the air and can be very calming, especially when you add in a few essential oils. And your house will smell amazing too!

 

yoga with adriene

A subscription to the Yoga with Adriene Find What Feels Good app. A daily yoga practice can create an amazing sense of health and wellbeing. For me personally, it grounds and calms me, whilst being an incredible workout that has sorted out my dodgy back and right knee.

 

eat love move holiday gift certificate

A health & wellbeing consultation with me! Give yourself or your loved one the best start to 2018 with a personalised gift certificate for a consultation or value towards a package.

 

sister and co coconut scrub

I love this body scrub. It’s such a beautiful product that makes the shower feel like a spa. So rejuvenating and the matcha in it helps to give you a healthy glow.

 

plyopic yoga mat

A colourful yoga mat (that can go in the washing machine).  There is something nice about having your own yoga mat when you take yoga classes, isn’t there?

 

weighted blanket

A weighted blanket. These are amazing – they ‘trick’ the nervous system into thinking you’re receiving a hug or some form of touch and can help you relax and fall asleep more easily. Perfect for those times when you’re struggling to switch your brain off.

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8 ways to beat colds and flu

lemons and grapefruits

When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly.

 

It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter.

 

That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better in dry air than where there’s humidity. And, when you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to more germs.

 

Here’s something interesting about the common cold: when your core internal temperature falls after exposure to cold, the immune system’s ability to battle the rhinovirus (the virus that causes it) is also reduced. The immune system literally slows down. The flu virus is also transmitted much faster when it’s cold out because the lipid (fatty) coating of the virus becomes more resilient the colder it gets.

 

Your immune system is the most powerful weapon you have against disease. Strong immunity means that the body is better able to fight off viruses and germs. Fewer colds and sick days this winter would be good, right?

 

There are many diet and lifestyle tweaks you can make to reduce your risk of catching a cold and flu this season. Here are my top tips to keep you feeling fit this month – and beyond!

 

1. Eat real food. Your body needs real, unprocessed food to stay healthy. Focus on eating natural, unprocessed food as often as possible. Follow the 80/20 rule: this means eating nourishing, unprocessed food at least 80% of the time.

Free-range, organic meat and wild fish, organic fruit and vegetables and wholegrains all contribute to a stronger immune system and offset the occasional indulgence.

 

2. Get to know probiotic foods. Did you know that up to 80% of our immunity to germs and disease is in our gut? The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the gut is part of the first line of immune defense, so getting the right balance between beneficial, or ‘good’ gut bacteria, and the ‘bad’, or potentially pathogenic bacteria, is key.

The gut environment takes a beating year after year, due to poor diets, too much sugar, stress, antibiotics and other factors. Even if you have no obvious tummy troubles, digestive health is vital, so it’s worth the extra effort to take care of it.

Add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet, as these repopulate the gut with good bacteria and feed them well enough to crowd out bad bacteria.

Here are some gut-friendly choices to get you started:

  • Organic, probiotic, natural full-fat Greek yoghurt, such as Yeo Valley or Rachel’s
  • Miso soup or miso paste
  • Oats
  • Onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fermented soy
  • Kombucha
  • Milk or water kefir

 

3. Have a bowl of chicken soup. Have you ever heard that chicken soup is great when you’re unwell? No, it’s not just an old wives’ tale! Research suggests that a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup can slow the speed at which neutrophils move around your body. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system, protecting your body from infection. When the neutrophils move slowly, there’s a greater chance of them becoming more concentrated in the areas of your body that need to be healed the most. Studies have shown chicken soup can be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms in upper respiratory system infections like the common cold.

 

4. Add herbs and spices to your cooking. Adding flavour to food is a smart way to include delicious immune boosters on your plate (and make your food taste better!). Garlic is a potent and flavourful herb. It is antimicrobial, thanks to the active ingredient allicin, which helps fight viruses, and has been used for thousands of years to boost the immune system and prevent sickness.

Most culinary herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties due to their phytonutrients, and in particular, oregano and thyme are rich in immune boosting properties. Spice up your cooking with turmeric and ginger, too, as these are well-documented immune boosters.

 

5. Cut down on sugar. Even if you don’t consider yourself a sugar addict, it’s worth taking a look at how much you do consume. Sugar fans the flames of inflammation and affects the ability of white blood cells to fend off viruses and bacteria. In fact, the immune system stays depressed for hours after consuming sugar, according to recent studies.

 

6. Drink more water.  Water is a miracle worker. It flushes germs from your system, helps your blood to carry plenty of oxygen to your body’s cells and allows those cells to absorb important nutrients.

Invest in a water filter to avoid taking in high levels of chlorine and fluorine along with your tap water and a stainless steel water bottle to avoid buying plastic bottles when you’re out and about.

 

7. Get outside! As difficult as this is to achieve in winter, spending sufficient time in sunlight is a vital immune booster. Vitamin D is made by your skin absorbing sunlight and a minimum of 10 minutes a day will help, although it’s worth nothing that darker skin has higher vitamin D requirements.

Supplement your vitamin D levels by eating more oily fish (salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna), free-range, organic beef, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and dairy.

 

8. Get back to basics. An age-old way to boost immunity is by following childhood rules – wash hands, go to bed early and be active. These simple measures may seem boring (and more difficult to achieve than popping a pill), but science proves that they work.  And your immune system will thank you for it.

 

Are you the kind of person that gets sick more often than others? Your immune system could likely use some support. Maybe there is an underlying issue, especially if you also have asthma, eczema or allergies. Is this you? I invite you to book in for a free introductory session with me to talk through your health and wellbeing.

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The 2017 Eat Love Move Holiday Gift Guide: For The Foodie In Your Life

It’s December, which means that the tree is up, we’re playing Christmas tunes non-stop and my husband goes on his daily mince pie extravaganza.

 

I’ve been working hard to bring you my first Holiday gift guide, with different themes, where I give you gift ideas for the various people in your life. I’ll post a new guide over the next few weeks, so you’ll definitely still have time to shop! Today’s gift guide is all about the foodie in your life, and has ideas for all price points. Happy shopping!

 

salt fat acid heat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

This is one of the best cookbooks I’ve seen in a long time and is high on my own Christmas wish list. The author breaks down the component parts of making a really flavourful meal. The foodie in your life will love this!

 

instant pot 7-in-1

Instant Pot Duo, 7 in One Electric Pressure Cooker

Having an Instant Pot is a kitchen game changer! Any meal that you used to prepare in a slow cooker, you can just drop into your Instant Pot and cook in less than a quarter of the time. I use mine to make rice, oatmeal, stews, pulled pork, pulled beef, creamy beans – the list is endless!

 

kleen kanteen water bottle

Klean Kanteen Water Bottle

Having a stainless steel water bottle stops me from buying plastic water bottles when I’m out and about and reminds me to keep up with my daily target of drinking at least 1.5L of water. These Klean Kanteen bottles are so durable and environmentally – I take mine everywhere!

 

big berkey

Big Berkey 

A water filter is essential for removing chemicals from your everyday drinking water. I love my Big Berkey Water Filter System, which is an investment at around £250, but it is the leading water filter of its kind and is big enough for a large family (it holds 8.5L).

 

lodge cast iron skillet

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets are incredible and very versatile. Once you get the hang of seasoning, your cast iron skillet can last you a very long time. True story: my cousin cooks with cast iron pans that are at least 50 years old and she says the food she makes in them tastes incredible.

 

biosnacky seed jar sprouter

Sprouter

Sprouts are the real stars of the vegetable world. Sprouted beans and seeds contain many more nutrients and enzymes than non-sprouted varieties. The vitamin content of some seeds, grains, beans or nuts increases by up to 20 times the original value within only a few days of sprouting! Research shows that during sprouting, beansprouts increase in vitamin B1 by up to 285%, vitamin B2 by 515% and niacin (for heart, brain and skin health) by up to 256%.

The Biosnacky Germinator Seed Jar at £10 is a good introductory product or, for the more dedicated, the 3-tier Germinator at £16.22.

 

nutribullet

NutriBullet

There are a number of these compact, countertop appliances that will whizz you up a decent smoothie and, if you’re the kind of person who struggles to get the recommended 7-10 portions of fruit and veg in each day, you should definitely consider one. I LOVE my NutriBullet. You’ll want to make sure that (regardless of what you choose) you pick one with a 600+Watt motor to ensure that nuts and seeds are efficiently blended. This one is also very easy to use and to keep clean.

 

herb zipper

HerbZipper

This little device is an easy way to remove the leaves from the woody stems on herbs, perfect for the cooking enthusiast in your life.

 

lock and lock glass storage containers

Lock & Lock Glass Storage Containers

I absolutely love these storage containers. I’ve been transitioning away from using any plastic to store food and these glass storage containers are the best. They are also oven safe – just remember not to put the lid in with it, because that is NOT oven safe!

 

reusable stainless steel straw

Reusable Straw

If you eat out or even get takeaway iced coffee, then inevitably you will have been given a plastic straw. These are terrible for the environment and in many places, not recyclable. These stainless steel straws are a lovely alternative, that come in their own little case.

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A Christmas party season survival guide.

christmas in london

It’s party season again and I want to assure you that it is indeed possible to have lots of fun and celebrate without compromising your health. Here are some easy tips to keep you healthy and mindful throughout December and help you go into the new year feeling good.

 

1. Don’t try to diet over the festive period. Unless you have an iron will, there are simply too many temptations, from alcohol fuelled parties to mince pies at every corner. Try setting a maintenance goal instead. This is more realisitic, much more achievable and will give you the freedom to enjoy yourself with the feelings of deprivation or the pressure to rebel.

 

2. Plan your food. Normal routine tends to go out the window over the holidays. Planning your meals is a way to make sure that you don’t forget about yourself, that you still have the right food in the house and you can still make good choices. All it takes is a few minutes of thought and preparation. Download my meal planning guide to make things a little easier!

 

3. Keep exercising. If your usual classes aren’t running, choose other options instead, such as brisk walking with friends and family, a family football game or an at home yoga session.

 

4. Don’t go to a party hungry. If you do, you’ll be fighting your body’s urges for sugar and will likely fill up on canapés and cakes. Have a snack such as an apple with nut butter or carrots and hummus before you go.

 

5. Watch your portion sizes and check in with yourself throughout your meal. It’s easy to let your eyes be bigger than your stomach and overfill your plate. Eating mindfully and being aware of how quickly you’re eating will ensure that you avoid overeating.

 

6. Make good alcohol choices. Avoid creamy & sweet drinks and try to drink alcohol with food to reduce the impact of the sugar and alcohol on your blood stream.

 

7. Drink plenty of water. Try alternating one alcoholic drink with one glass of water. This will slow down your alcohol consumption and improve how you feel the next day.

 

8. Be gentle with yourself. If you do overindulge, enjoy it and then get back on track at the next opportunity.

 

9. Try to have a few days in the week when you don’t drink. Too much alcohol is very hard on your liver, so a few days off during the party season will prevent you from burning out by the first week of January.

 

10. Have fun! 

What are the benefits of coffee?

coffee break

Like many people in the UK, coffee is my go to morning drink. I love the smell, the taste and the ritual of making a lovely cup of joe. There’s also the sheer weekend pleasure of having the time to sip on a hot cup of black coffee while reading the newspaper.

 

It pains me to say this because I love it so much, but coffee is a much-maligned drink, with the downside more frequently talked about than the many positives. A recent review of studies in the BMJ showed that moderate coffee drinking is okay and has some benefits, but like all good things, you need to know when to stop.

 

So what are the benefits? 

1. A cup of coffee is so much more than just hot black water. A cup of coffee contains riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3). Coffee is also packed with antioxidants.

 

2. Coffee can improve brain function. Caffeine blocks one type of neurotransmitter that can hold you back and increases noradrenaline and dopamine, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.

 

3. Coffee could lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. A number of observational studies show that coffee drinkers have as much as a 62% lower risk of developing this disease; one of the biggest health problems of our time, which is characterised by raised blood sugar and the inability to secrete insulin to lower blood sugar levels. A daily cup can typically lower your risk by 7%.

 

4. Coffee can help you burn fat. Caffeine is found in almost every fat loss supplement because it’s one of a very small number of substances proven to help with fat burning. Research shows that it can boost your metabolic rate by up to 11%, and raise the amount of fat you burn by between 10% in overweight people and 29% in lean people. The downside is that the effects are likely to diminish with time in regular coffee drinkers.

 

5. The caffeine in coffee can boost your physical performance. Caffeine stimulates production of adrenaline. This is one of the stress hormones, but primes you for physical activity. A cup of coffee can improve physical performance by up to 12%. Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system, telling it to break down the fat stored in fat cells and making the energy more available to be used as fuel. A cup of black coffee before a workout could improve your performance in the gym!

 

What’s the best way to enjoy coffee?

No coffee after 2pm. It is, after all, a stimulant and, if you drink it too late in the day, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep, or your ability to get to sleep in the first place.

 

Ditch the sugar. A sure fire way to undo all the good a cup of coffee can do is to add a few spoons of the white stuff. The downside to sugar is now pretty well documented. In a nutshell, it increases inflammation in the body, and can lead to obesity and diabetes.

 

Go organic. Coffee is routinely heavily sprayed with pesticides, so go for organic whenever you can.

 

How much can I drink?

The amount of caffeine in a single cup of coffee varies enormously. A small home brewed cup is likely to contain around 50mg per cup (unless you have an amazing coffee machine), while a large one from a coffee shop might have over 400mg. You’d expect the average cup to have around 100mg.

 

A number of studies suggest up to 400mg a day (that’s about 4 cups) is safe for most people but many people are able to enjoy more without any ill effects. Do bear in mind that tea, chocolate and some soft drinks and prescription drugs also contain caffeine, so you need to view your coffee intake in light of other things you are eating and drinking.

 

If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you!

 

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I Tried It: The 4-7-8 Deep Breathing Method For Better Sleep

sunset in richmond

Do you ever have nights where your mind is whirring and it’s tricky to drop off to sleep? I do.

 

I’ve been trying the 4-7-8 deep breathing method to help me get to sleep and it’s been really helpful! Pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil, the technique is designed to calm the mind and relax the muscles. If you’re one of the 30% of Brits who suffers from poor sleep, anything is worth a try, right?

 

Not sleeping well doesn’t just affect your blood sugar balance, make you tired and unable to concentrate – it also puts you at risk of more serious health issues including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and even reduces your life expectancy.

 

The 4-7-8 deep breathing technique comes from yoga breathing, where you have to keep the tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth. You breathe in through your nose quietly and blow air out forcefully through your mouth making a whoosh sound.

 

Here’s how to perform the 4-7-8 mindful bedtime trick:

1.    Exhale through your mouth making a ‘whoosh’ sound.

2.    Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.

3.    Hold your breath for seven seconds.

4.    Exhale through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’ sound to the count of eight.

5.    Inhale again and repeat the cycle 2-4 times or until you feel yourself drifting off.

 

According to Dr Weil, this technique works by filling the lungs with air, allowing more oxygen into the body, which in turn promotes a state of calm. Dr Weil advises doing the breathing during the day as well as it can also be used to improve digestion and stop the ‘fight-or-flight’ response in the body, reducing stress.

 

Even if you decide this stress-relieving technique isn’t for you, it’s worth exploring other ways to reduce your stress levels. Stress plays such a huge part in how we feel about ourselves, and that in turn has a knock-on effect on how motivated we are to eat well and take proper care of both our physical and mental health.

 

It might seem like a luxury to practise mindfulness or indulge in any kind of self care but you know what they say when you’re on a plane: you’ve got to put on your own oxygen mask before you can save anyone else.

 

The same is true for healthy eating. In my clinic, people often come to me feeling unmotivated and exhausted by life and it’s my job to help you feel inspired to make positive changes for yourself. And once you feel motivated again, it will help to inspire the whole family and others around you.

 

If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you.

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