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10 top tips to a happier life!

Happy Monday everyone! I’d like to share something with you today that was given to me by one of my yoga teachers. I know that it will probably sound a little cheesy but admit it, we all like a little bit of cheese once in a while! I can almost guarantee that if you are feeling a little gloomy cos its monday take one read of this and somewhere deep inside you won’t be able to help but have a little smile!

‘Puppy Frankie’s Rules for a Happy Life’

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy
  • Run, romp and play daily
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride
  • On warm days, take the time to stop to lie on your back on the grass
  • When happy, dance around and wag your entire body
  • Trust and be loyal
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently
  • If what you want lies buried, dig and dig and dig until you find it
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do!

Many thanks Rick at Dharma Shala and also to my gorgeous dog Biscuit who allowed me to use this photo of her for my blog article!

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A SENSIBLE 14 day Detox

My post this week is a SENSIBLE 14 day detox plan that I often give my clients if they are low in energy levels, feeling a little down or depressed or if they want to kick start a weight loss plan.

I say SENSIBLE IN CAPITALS because there are no expensive supplements to take, no living off cabbage and soup for 2 weeks, its easy to follow and stick to and there no aggressive or potentially damaging powders that claim to rid your body of toxins (often causing more harm than good!)

This detox plan focuses on healthy nutritious eating, getting adequate portions of protein and vegetables and quite simply cutting out sugar.

The reason for cutting out sugar – very briefly excess or overloads of sugar that aren’t converted into energy are stored in the body as fat. This can lead to weight gain. Also the excess sugar will send your blood sugar levels soaring, initially leading to an energy boost but then what goes must come down and eventually you are left with a tired lethargic slump. Then you guessed it, you will need to refuel with more sugar to keep you going!  Is that mid afternoon slump familiar to anyone?

Anyway give this program a go and let me know what you think… Please note – you are still allowed small amounts of dry wine, tea and coffee but obviously in moderation!!

DR PHIL MAFFETONE’S 14 DAY DETOX

Dr. Phil Maffetone’s 14 day weight loss and cleansing test is a great way to get started on a program that will detoxify your body safely and with great results!

This is a great program for anyone who wants to regulate their blood sugar with healthy foods.

The Two-Week Test
Dr. Philip Maffetone

I developed the Two Week Test in the early 1980s to help people get back their intuition and instincts about healthy eating. This is the first step to getting off the vicious diet cycle which is perpetuated so much this time of year.

Many people eat too much dietary carbohydrate – beyond what their bodies can tolerate. The Two Week Test is a simple method for understanding and correcting this problem.

First note if you have any of the following problems, and write them down:

  • Physical or mental fatigue
  • Blood-sugar handling problems
  • Intestinal bloating
  • Sleepiness after meals
  • Increased fat storage and weight
  • Increased triglycerides
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Poor sleep
  • Depression
  • Addiction

In addition, if you are concerned about your weight, weigh yourself before starting the test. After the test, you will ask yourself again how you feel regarding these complaints, and also check your weight on the scale.

During the Two-Week Test you will significantly decrease your intake of carbohydrates. It is important that you do not go hungry. Eat as much as you want but stick strictly to the recommended foods. Before you start the test, make sure you have enough of the foods you’ll be eating during the test. Go shopping and stock up on these items. In addition, go through your cabinets and refrigerator and get rid of any sweets in your house, or you’ll be tempted.

As for the test itself, you merely want to eat using the following guidelines for a period of no less than two weeks.

Foods to avoid:

  • Bread, rolls, pasta, pancakes, cereal, muffins, chips, crackers and rice cakes.
  • All sweets
  • All products containing sugar such as ketchup, honey, etc. (read labels!).
  • Fruits and fruit juice.
  • Highly processed meats such cold cuts, which often contain sugar.
  • Potatoes, corn, rice and beans.
  • Milk, half-and-half and yogurt.
  • So-called healthy snacks, including all energy bars, shakes and drinks.
  • All soda, including diet.

Foods to eat:

  • All cooked or raw vegetables (except potatoes and corn).
  • Whole eggs, unprocessed cheese, cream.
  • All unprocessed meats including beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, fish and shellfish.
  • Tomato, V-8 or other vegetable juices such as carrot juice.
  • Nuts, seeds, nut butters.
  • Oils, vinegar, mayonnaise, salsa and mustard (check labels for added sugars).
  • Sea salt (unless you are sodium sensitive).
  • Water! At least six to ten, 8-ounce glasses each day.
  • Dry wine, coffee and tea if you normally consume them.

After the Two-Week Test
Re-evaluate your list of complaints. If you feel better now than you did before the test, or if you lost weight, chances are you were previously eating too much carbohydrate and would benefit by lowering your intake. Any weight loss during the test is not due to reduced calories, as many people eat more calories than usual during this two-week period. It’s due to the increased fat-burning resulting from reduced insulin production. While there may be some water loss, especially if you are sodium sensitive, there is real fat loss.

If your blood pressure has been high, and especially if you are on medication, ask your health-care professional to check it several times during the test. Sometimes blood pressure drops significantly and your medication may need to be adjusted, which should be done by your health-care professional.

   

Adding Carbs
If the Two-Week Test improved your signs and symptoms; the next step is to determine how much carbohydrate you can tolerate, without a return of these problems. This is done in the following manner.

Begin adding small amounts of carbohydrates to your diet with every other meal or snack. This may be an apple for a snack, or some brown rice with dinner. Begin with fruits, lentils, rice and honey, and afterwards try bread, potatoes and others. Whatever you add, make sure it’s not a refined carbohydrate: no foods containing sugar, no refined-flour products (like white bread, rolls or pasta), brown rice instead of white, etc. Don’t add a carbohydrate to back-to-back meals, as insulin production is partly influenced by your previous meal.

With each addition of carbohydrate, watch for any of the symptoms you had previously that were eliminated by the test. Look especially for symptoms that develop immediately after eating, such as intestinal bloating, sleepiness or feelings of depression. If your hunger or cravings disappeared during the two weeks and now have returned, you’ve probably eaten too many carbohydrates. If you lost 8 pounds during the test, and gained back 5 pounds after adding some carbohydrates for a week or two, you’ve probably eaten too many carbohydrates.

PS – Photo taken at Killcare, near Sydney Australia.

My Fitness Ramblings! The Big Why?

 

Apologies as I haven’t posted anything in a while!  I have been back in the UK with my family and am now in the process of organising our relocation to Sydney, Australia so things have been rather hectic!

I was recently interviewed by a top women’s magazine here in Singapore. They wanted to gain a personal trainers perspective on the importance of eating healthily and exercising. Here are my views, in case you are interested!

Question 1. What does having a balanced diet and adequate exercise really mean? Why is it important?

The combination of an active lifestyle along with a healthy diet are two of the most important factors that affect your overall health. We are often hearing about how obesity is on the rise along with other health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. By doing some form of exercise everyday and eating healthily you can prevent weight gain and illnesses associated with it.

Exercise and a balanced diet are also important for overall energy levels, enabling you to live life to the full and do all the things that you love. It keeps the mind active and healthy, relieves stress, improves moods (especially around ‘that’ time of the month!) and helps you to look and feel better. Exercise and a good diet that is full of nutrients also helps to keep bones strong and healthy for later life and prevents injuries and posture problems.

Question 2.  Tell us more about eating healthily: What does it mean? How difficult is it to achieve? What are some of the conscious decisions that you have to make, and how do you make the best decision?

Most importantly eating healthy is about eating a good balanced diet containing food from all of the food groups; protein, healthy wholegrains, lots of vegetables, fruits, pulses and good fats such as raw nuts, seeds and avocados. It’s about variety, trying to eat as many DIFFERENT nutritious foods as possible and drinking lots of water, at least 2 litres per day. Cutting out processed and packaged foods and trying to stick to foods that are as natural and simple as possible.

I believe that you should aim to eat a low GI diet, which means foods that break down slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream. This means sustained energy levels throughout the day and less hunger spikes. In short a healthy diet is about spoiling and nourishing the body, eating foods that are good for you and make you feel good!

The conscious decision you have to make is that YOU want to change. It is a decision that only you YOU can make. Once you have set your mind to do it, although there may be blips at times (and you may need to exercise some willpower!) it is easier than you may think! I would suggest making a start by really enjoying the food that you eat. Really taste it and notice what you are tasting. Take a bite, are you tasting lovely fresh flavours or just a lot of salt or sugar? Does everything taste the same?!

Whatever the changes are that you decide to make ensure that they will work for you long term and fit into your hectic schedule. Make promises to yourself that you know you can keep!

Question 3. We’re trying to get our readers to make small changes in their eating habits each time: How do you advise them to do this?

Firstly to set a goal, why is it that they want to become healthier – why is it important to them? What benefits could it add to their lives? It might be that they want more energy when they get up in the mornings, or perhaps they want to lose a few kg for their wedding day or have more confidence to wear that special bikini on the beach or maybe they have a family history of high blood pressure. Whatever it is, this goal will help to motivate them to stay on track… especially when temptations get in the way which they always will!!

Next they need to decide what the changes are going to be in order to achieve the main goal. I would recommend beginning by making changes to just one meal per day. For example the first change could be at breakfast (research shows this is the most important meal of the day).  A good breakfast should contain some protein, healthy whole grain carbohydrates  and some good fats. Therefore they may decide to swap a takeaway muffin for a boiled egg with one slice of multi-seed toast spread with almond butter.

Make a shopping list! Plan what you are going to eat ahead of time rather than relying on impulse buys. Look forward to your nightly meals and make each an occasion.

Once the first change is mastered than they can start thinking about the second one etc…

Question 4. What is one exercise you would recommend to girls to help them tone their bodies?

Ideally they should do a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength/resistance training to keep themselves fit and healthy.

Cardiovascular training such as walking, running, cycling, dancing will help the body to burn fat. Strength/resistance training such as weight training, plyometrics, yoga etc will help to build lean muscle mass, give a toned appearance and increase the metabolism.

Unfortunately there is no one exercise that you can do but certainly walking would be a good first stage along with some simple resistance and core training exercises such as squats, lunges and planks.

Work out those Knots with a Free Massage

If you fancy a  free and very affective deep tissue massage then grab yourself a tennis ball do it yourself? Ok, I know it might sound crazy and I too was sceptical at first but honestly, it really works! You really can get into all those tight spots on your back, chest and glutes by using a tennis ball.

The process is called “Self Myofascial Release’ and it has been recognised to have a wide range of different benefits including curing chronic and injuries and pain and improving posture.

Back (particularly good for lower and middle back)

  • Stand with your back against a wall with the ball between you and the wall. Then move your body around over ball and find those tight spots. When you get to one hold for 30 seconds and or until the pain subsides a  bit and then release

Chest (great for helping to relieve shoulder tension which is often caused by a tight chest and weak upper back)

  • Stand facing  the wall with the ball between you and the wall. As with the back move your body over the ball until you find a tight spot.

Glutes (particularly good for runners!)

  • Sit on the floor and place the tennis ball underneath the right hand side of your glute muscle (butt). Place the right ankle over your left knee (the same leg that the ball is underneath) to open out the glute muscle and then slowly roll over the tennis ball making sure you go all the way out to the sides. Put as much weight on it as possible. If you find a tight spot hold the ball there for 30 seconds or as long as you can bare! You will know you are doing it right if it feels rather uncomfortable!

For a more extensive, full body experience you can also purchase a foam roller that has been specifically designed for this purpose.  See www.fitbar.com for  more information.


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