Tag: wellbeing

What are the fundamentals of 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 […]

Do you set intentions for yourself?

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 […]

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

 

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

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 […]

8 ways to beat colds and flu

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 […]

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!

 

Contact Me

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

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 […]

My new e-book is here!

  I am so excited to share my first e-book, Six Ways To Improve Your Period Pain! In it, you’ll find six ways to get started on improving your period pain, including ways to integrate these changes into your life.   Period pain is so […]

How well do you know your menstrual cycle?

swan at the round pond

This isn’t a trick question!

 

There are a few signs that tell you it’s worth becoming more familiar with your menstrual cycle.

 

Are you surprised every month when your period arrives? Do you get hit like a brick with PMS every month, feeling like it’s come out of nowhere? Do you track your period by when you get PMS symptoms?

 

Ladies, there is a better way!

 

Knowing more about your menstrual cycle and embracing it can benefit you in so many ways.

 

Firstly, I encourage you to download one of the many period tracker apps out there and start tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms. At the very least, you won’t be surprised when your period arrives every month #whitejeansallyear

 

After a few months, you start to get a sense of the length of your cycle. And it’s really important to know  that not every woman has a 28 day cycle. Some women’s cycles can be as short as 21 days and as long as 35 days. Every woman’s cycle is different so don’t compare yourself or your cycle to your friends.

 

Once you know when your period is scheduled to arrive, you can then start tackling your PMS. Many women get PMS in the 7 days before their periods, with symptoms like bloating, anger, irritability, brain fog, weepiness, pain and acne. PMS is a sign that something is wrong, so please don’t accept it as normal!

 

But your cycle isn’t just about when you get your period. Did you know that you have four phases to your cycle, where each of your sex hormones will peak or decrease depending on the phase?  This is why you might have more or less physical and emotional energy at certain times of your cycle or your libido might be higher or lower. It’s all connected to your hormones.

 

Knowledge is power. Knowing the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle can help you manage it better, get to grips with PMS, period pain, heavy bleeding and emotional ups and downs.

 

Do you need help understanding your cycle and your hormones? Book in for a free 20 minute Hormone Health Review!

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Alcohol and your hormones

We’re creeping up on Christmas party season, traditionally a time when many of us indulge in a tipple or two and let our hair down.   We all know that alcohol is a toxin. Yes, I said it! It tastes great and can loosen you […]

Do you get enough sleep?

How many hours do you sleep a night?  Ideally, according to the World Health Organisation, we should be sleeping at least 8 hours a night, uninterrupted. Anything less counts as sleep deprivation. And guess what: on average, most of us get 7 or fewer hours […]

I Tried It: Hot Yoga

Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash

I just completed 30 days of yoga and I’m hooked. I love how yoga calms and relaxes me, how it’s increasing my flexibility and how much stronger I’m becoming.

 

I’ve started another Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenge, but last week, I decided that I wanted try a hot yoga class to mix things up a bit.

 

I found a hot yoga class in central London that looked interesting, although admittedly, I was a bit skeptical of my ability to actually complete the class. Not because I was worried about being in a group setting, it was more about my ability to cope with the heat of the room. Real talk: I’ve had low blood pressure since I was pregnant with my son, so being in really hot places always makes me feel a bit light headed.

 

I decided to give it a go and registered for a lunchtime class at Another Space with the lovely Ellisif.

 

So here’s the thing about hot yoga that makes it different to the vinyasa yoga I usually do.  The class takes place in 32° infrared heat, so you’re doing vinyasa yoga at the normal high intensity, and the heat raises your heart rate even further.

 

In a nutshell: it’s very hot and you will get very sweaty.

 

The next time I do a hot yoga class, I will definitely wear fewer clothes. I thought I was being smart, wearing just cropped leggings, a tank top with lots of wicking capability and a sports bra. But even that was too much: there were men wearing only shorts and women in sports bras and short shorts in order to beat the heat.

 

For me, it was a bit of a mental transition going from doing yoga at home in an airy room with a draft to doing yoga in a very hot room, surrounded by people wearing as little as possible. And I won’t lie: the first five minutes of the class were tough, as I struggled to get to grips with the heat. And then just like that, something in my brain clicked into place and I was finally able to relax into the heat and the vinyasa flows.

 

The 45 minutes class was a very dynamic, with vinyasa yoga flows and very few breaks.

 

Reader, I loved it.

 

I left the class very sweaty but feeling full of endorphins, calm and very focused. And a little happier.

 

A little note: I wouldn’t recommend a hot yoga class to a complete yoga newbie. My view is that it would be a lot to learn the poses and flows and try to cope with the heat. So if you’re a seasoned yogi or have been doing yoga for a little while, I highly recommend trying a hot yoga class for a little variety.

 

Do you do hot yoga? Any tips and tricks to share?

 

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

Stories I loved this week.

How’s your week been? We’re in week 3 of the new school / work routine and we’ve finally started to find a new rhythm. And autumn looks like it’s finally here. Let squash season begin! My recent yoga challenge has opened me up to what […]

Are you more stressed than you realise?

How do you feel right now? Check your breath. Is it shallow, taking short, little breaths through your nose? Check your hands and teeth – are they clenched? Check your shoulders – are they tensed up towards your ears?   If you answered yes to […]

Green Salads For Beginners

big ass salad

When people ask me for shortcuts for getting healthier and feeling better, I tell them two things. Firstly, that there are no shortcuts and health should be lifelong pursuit. Then, once I’ve stepped off my high horse 😎, I tell them to eat more vegetables.

I’ve talked before about the importance of eating at least 7-10 portions of fruit and mostly vegetables per day, and one of the easiest ways of upping your daily veg count is by adding in a big salad for lunch or dinner. You could even go off-piste and have a salad for breakfast!

I like to follow the protein-fat-carbohydrate formula to build my salads. Why protein, fat and carbohydrate? Proteins and fats take longer to digest, so you’re fuller for longer. The carbohydrates, in the form of vegetables, are the source of important micronutrients and fibre.

A satiating salad at lunch should ideally see you all the way through to dinner, with no need for snacks (unless you’ve done a really intense workout!)

Building blocks
The building blocks of a good, nourishing salad are generally 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat. Here are some good examples of ingredients for each of the macronutrient building blocks – use organic ingredients where you can!

Protein: Shredded chicken, pork or beef, legumes, pulses, crumbled feta, sliced mozzarella, sliced hard boiled eggs, slices of smoked salmon or anchovies

Fats: Sliced avocado, nuts, such as walnuts, crushed pistachios, almonds or cashews, pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds, olive oil

Carbohydrates:

  • Grated cabbage, carrots, beetroot or kohlrabi
  • Sliced radish, cucumber, red pepper, tomato, olive or red onions
  • Steamed green beans,  broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower
  • Roasted and cubed potato, sweet potato or squash
  • And of course, loads of greens. I’m a fan of spinach, cos, bibb or romaine lettuce, and have also been known to drop in a little radicchio or escarole, depending on what’s in season. The one lettuce I never recommend is iceberg. It generally lacks flavour and doesn’t really add much to a salad.
  • If grains suit you, you can add a cup of cooked quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice or couscous.
  • Fermented veg like kimchi, sauerkraut or pickles

The rest

  • Dressings: I tend to prefer a simple squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt & pepper. If you have the time, you could premake a lemon vinagrette and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can start by whisking together 3 tablespoons of EVOO and one tablespoon of lemon juice and then tweaking from there. Or substitute red wine or balsamic vinegar if you don’t fancy lemon juice.
  • Extras (if you want to add some more oomph to your salad): Chopped herbs like basil, dill, coriander, rosemary and chives are nice to sprinkle over, as are sliced bell peppers or chilli flakes.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to a big ass salad. Just open your fridge door, use the protein, fat, carbohydrate formula and see how you get on!

Here’s one for you to try:

Autumn Squash Salad (serves 1 – 2) 
Ingredients:

5 cups mixed greens

1 large diced tomato

4 sliced radishes (I used a mandoline to slice mine)

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/4 cup roasted squash

1/2 cup shredded roast chicken (use the leftovers from your Sunday roast!)

3-4 tablespoons lemon vinaigrette

Method:

Toss together in a bowl and enjoy!

What are your favourite autumn salads?