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Healthy eating plan participant Charlotte Grant"I am still in shock at the success of this healthy eating plan! I have lost over a stone and a half & my BMI & Body Fat are now normal."

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Worried about your waistline while on holiday; don’t be. 8 tips to help you.

At the beginning of this month my husband and I went on holiday to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It was in one word: fantastic. Beautiful scenery, lovely people and delicious food. We had a fabulous time although it was very hot: around 30 degrees most days but I wore my sun hat, sun cream and my new sunglasses to protect me from the rays. The emphasis is on new sunglasses as on the way to the airport I realised that I forgot to pack them. Wearing contact lenses, I absolutely need them otherwise I get headaches. So I bought myself a trendy, new pair at Gatwick airport.

So where am I going with this story you might think? Well, that it is really important to plan and prepare what you take on holiday, the same you need to do when you’re changing your lifestyle in order to get healthier and feel great again. If you don’t plan and prepare the foods you are going to eat beforehand, you will most certainly make, or will be forced to make, the ‘wrong’ choice and go for the unhealthy food options. I’m referring of course to those which are highly addictive and full of refined sugar, bad fats and salt. The funny thing is that I had planned what to bring food-wise but then I forgot my sunglasses, which shows you where my priorities lie!

Typically when we go away on holiday, many of us are concerned about eating and drinking more than we would at home. We’re out of our normal routine and don’t know if we can find the healthy foods that we are used to and which are available at home.

How can you minimise weight gain and maybe even return home lighter?

With these 8 Tips you can enjoy your holiday without feeling guilty or have any nasty surprises upon your return.

  1. Bring emergency provisions. I always bring some food with me that I can have in case I am hungry when “out and about”. These are, just to mention a few, nuts, seeds, a couple of tins with fish and some small individually wrapped little pieces of low fat cheese.
  2. Breakfast. What do you eat for breakfast when at home? Porridge? Yoghurt with seeds and fruit? All fine. Why should you change that for a croissant, a glass of orange juice, a piece of fruit and a slice of toast with marmalade? A breakfast like this will cause an enormous spike in your blood sugar level, you will feel tired and you risk putting on weight. Choose eggs, scrambled, boiled or as an omelette with vegetables, plain yoghurt with fruit and or nuts for breakfast and you will be full of energy to take on the day.
  3. Snacks. When you have had a healthy breakfast you will not need a cake with your 11.00 am coffee or tea. However if you feel peckish take some nuts (30g), a boiled egg or a piece of fruit with you. That way you avoid that tempting piece of cake or ice cream.
  4. All-inclusive resort. When staying in a resort where food is included and available all day, choose to eat fish, chicken or meat, vegetables or salad or fruit from the buffet rather than the tempting desserts and biscuits. Plan the times you want to eat beforehand to avoid grazing all day and don’t over eat.
  5. Eating out. Going out for a meal often means having a pizza, fish and chips, a burger etc. When eating out try the following:
    1. avoid bread and butter before your meal,
    2. drink a glass of water with every glass of alcohol,
    3. choose a protein such as fish, meat or chicken as a main course and combine with vegetables or a salad
    4. avoid chips, potatoes, white rice and pasta. They contain starch which will be transferred into sugar once in the body and therefore will raise your blood sugar level.
  6. Alcohol. Lovely to sit down and relax with a cocktail, a glass of wine or a beer. It is just such a shame that these drinks contain loads of sugar and that the body doesn’t like it as much as you do. It will try to flush out the alcohol as soon as it can and will use the water in your body to do so. This can cause dehydration. Be careful with alcohol consumption and drink lots of water. Allow yourself a fixed number of drinks and don’t drink before dinner. Start your day with 2 large glasses of lukewarm water and have a glass of water every time before you eat.
  7. Exercise. Stay active while on holiday. Here is how:
    1. Explore your surroundings by foot or bike and when visiting a town or village go on foot. You avoid the traffic jams and buses with sweaty tourists
    2. Go for a swim and do some lengths. Avoid hanging at the pool bar!
    3. Participate in beach activities.
    4. Keep on the move; it will give you more satisfaction. You will see more of your surroundings, you will burn off excess energy and you will feel a lot fitter.
  8. Enjoy and don’t go on a diet. If you assume you will put on weight while on holiday and plan to go on a diet once you’re home, you give yourself permission to eat what you feel like. This is called the ‘last supper syndrome’. Do you recognise this? You are allowing yourself to eat and drink as much as you like and as a result you will have put on a stone in weight rather than the 4 pounds you expected to put on. It is not a problem because once you’re back home you will sort yourself out and go on a diet. Please don’t!

My advice is to follow the 80/20 rule; if you eat healthily for 80% of the time then you may eat less healthily for the other 20%.

I hope you find these tips helpful and if you have any other tips you would like to share please do let me know.

Enjoy your well-deserved break. After all holiday is a time for relaxation and rest and not for worries.

Gluten Free or Not: what is all the fuss about?

Before 1996 not many people were aware that feeling bloated or tired, dizziness, swelling of your joints or mood issues could be caused by gluten.

What is it and should you avoid it?

Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The prevalence of wheat and wheat products, especially processed and refined varieties, have led to a greater percentage of the population developing gluten intolerance or an allergy to gluten.

I am sure that if you have made biscuits or baked bread, you know that the dough sticks to your fingers – this is caused by gluten. Gluten makes bread rise and is also used as a filler and binding agent in many processed foods. Did you know, for example, that tomato ketchup has gluten in it?

 

Coeliac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance and is in fact a gluten allergy – a serious digestive disorder that is increasing all the time. For someone who has coeliac disease, gluten causes an immune reaction that targets the intestinal villi. These finger-like projections are responsible for nutrient absorption. The damage flattens the villi over time so malnutrition is a serious result of coeliac disease. Around one per cent of Britons have it and they face a string of debilitating symptoms including vomiting, nerve problems, anaemia, inflammation and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Some estimates put the proportion of adults adhering to gluten-free diets in the UK at more than 12 per cent.

Gluten Intolerance is 30 times more prevalent than coeliac disease. 1 in 7 people are sensitive to gluten and suffer many of the same symptoms, albeit to a lesser extent, as those suffering from coeliac disease. People of European or Anglo-Celtic ancestry are more likely to have gluten intolerance or coeliac disease in their families.

If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea and even constipation.
  2. ‘Chicken skin’ on the back of your arms. This tends be as a result of a fatty acid and vitamin A deficiency, secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
  3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple Sclerosis.
  5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or a feeling of being off-balance.
  6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
  7. Migraine headaches.
  8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
  9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
  10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

How can you test if you’re gluten intolerant?

The best way is to eliminate any products containing gluten from your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better. This is what the famous tennis player Novak Djokovic did; as a result he increased his energy levels and mid-match collapses were a thing of the past.

If you want to avoid gluten, stay away from the following:

  • Wheat—including barley, einkorn, emmer, rye and spelt;
  • Wheat Products: bran, bromated flour, durum flour, enriched flour, farina, phosphate flour, plain flour, self-rising flour, and white flour;
  • Beer and ale;
  • Malt.

What can you eat if you want to eat gluten-free:

Warning:

Foods that are branded “gluten-free” should not always be considered healthy substitutes to regular food because they often contain high amounts of fat and sugar and low levels of protein. Check the label carefully before you make your purchase!

Give it a go and see what happens

Most of us are not aware that we might be gluten intolerant. You might have health issues and eating too much gluten could be the cause of it. As mentioned, I would recommend you try to omit gluten from your diet for 2-3 weeks and then slowly re-introduce it step by step. See if you notice any difference. You might feel more energetic, you might no longer feel bloated as often as you previously did, or you might notice an improvement in a health issue you might have. Give it a try.

If you need any help with cutting gluten out of your diet, let me know and I can help you on your way.

A Simple Elixir to Better Health.

65% of your body consists of water and your brain is made up of about 75% of water. That is why it is very important to keep yourself well hydrated. And I am afraid smoothies, fruit juices and coffee simply won’t do. In this blog I will explain what dehydration is, what the symptoms are and what you can do about it. The solution is simple and just one change away.

What is dehydration?

Water plays a large part in your normal functions, such as lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and facilitating proper digestion. Once the water in your body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in your body can affect the way you will perform.

If your body has lost one to two percent of its entire water content, you will feel thirsty, a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids.

Dehydration happens when you’ve lost too much water in your body without replacing it, preventing your body to perform its normal functions. Mild dehydration can easily be treated but if it reaches extreme levels, it can be life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Unfortunately we are no longer in tune with our body as much as our ancestors were and very often we do not recognise the symptoms of dehydration.

The major symptoms of dehydration are the obvious ones like:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Sweating too much
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Feeling tired

But some symptoms are more difficult to recognise as symptoms of dehydration and they are:

  • Digestive disturbances such as heartburn and constipation
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Autoimmune disease such as chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis
  • Premature aging
  • High cholesterol and High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Joint pain or stiffness

So what causes dehydration?

There are various reasons for dehydration of which intense physical activity is the obvious one as by sweating you lose a lot of water. Other causes are:

  • Diarrhoea. It prevents your intestinal tract from absorbing water from the foods that you eat, which makes it the most common cause of dehydration.
  • Vomiting. Common causes include food-borne illnesses, nausea, and alcohol poisoning
  • Sweating. Vigorous sweating may happen due to various reasons like fever and engaging in intense physical activity. Profuse sweating can also occur when you are working in a hot condition.
  • Diabetes. Aside from having high blood sugar levels, some medications for diabetes like diuretics may cause diabetics to frequently urinate.
  • Frequent urination.It can be cause by alcohol and certain drugs like antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and anti-psychotics.

Which people are most at risk?

Of course everyone can be prone to dehydration but there are certain people that are at higher risk than others. People such as athletes and mountain climbers (due to the high altitude and its’ pressure they will lose more sweat and breath harder), infants and children, the elderly and people who are ill.

So how do we prevent dehydration?

Since dehydration can be a life-threatening condition, it is important that you replenish your body with water immediately after you’ve lost so much. Water plays an immense role in your bodily functions, making it an essential part of your everyday life.

Always bring a bottle of water with you during exercise or any physical activity, especially when the temperature’s too hot. The above bottle is stainless steel and BPA free and can be purchased true A Fine Choice. One good rule of thumb to prevent dehydration is to drink as much water until your urine turns light yellow. Dark urine means that your kidney is retaining liquids in order for your body to perform its normal functions.

It is especially important to pay attention to people who are sick with fever, vomiting, or diarrhoea, so they may not become dehydrated. They should be given lots of water to replace the liquids that they’ve lost.

And as I said before smoothies, fruit juices and sport drinks do not count towards hydrating your body. They can contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar and sugar substitutes which are extremely damaging to the body and ultimately may make you feel thirsty again. And I am afraid coffee and caffeinated teas also do not count as water; they actually dehydrate your body. That is why the Italians serve a glass or water with their espresso!

Dehydration is preventable if you develop a regular daily habit of drinking 30ml per kg/2 pounds you weigh, per day,  which converts into 2-2 ½ litre of purified water.

Most of us simply do not drink enough water to stay hydrated.

In addition, the type of water you drink does make a difference. Mineral balance in the body is also essential for proper hydration. Thus, it is important to drink water that is mineral rich rather than de-mineralized water.

Filtered water can hydrate the body up to six times more effectively than regular water and it is free from chemicals, toxic metal salts, hormones and pesticides.

So start drinking healthy water and buy that filter. Cheers!

If you need any help or advice on improving your health through food by reducing your sugar intake, contact me leonie@eatwright.co.uk

 

The Body achieves what The Mind believes.

Why you should stick to a healthier lifestyle after January.

As we have fully immersed ourselves into the cold, blistery depths of the New Year, it is more than likely that most of us started our annual habitual health kick in January. After December’s over indulgence, we decide enough mince pies is enough and we take ourselves back to the previous thought processes of bikini bodies, summer sun and toned physiques.
New Year always grants us with new resolutions which primarily focus on shifting that winter weight. But, a healthy lifestyle offers so much more than weight loss. By feeling rejuvenated, you will feel more inclined to persevere with the gym or exercise you have chosen, and stick to eating those colourful foods which will be sure to boost your general health, mental health, appearance and self-esteem.

Go the Distance

Adopting some simple lifestyle changes in terms of what we eat and how much exercise we take can have a really positive impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Our diet and activity levels can affect muscle strength, coordination, stamina and concentration levels, and even simple changes can have a dramatic effect.

 

Cutting down on sugary snacks and foods that are high in processed fats is a simple way to improve your diet. This could be as simple as cutting out the sugar from your tea or coffee to begin with and gradually progressing, Going cold turkey is unlikely to be successful over the longer term, so instead, try to replace sweet treats with nuts and fruit, and try to adopt an 80/20 approach to what you eat. If 80% of your food intake is healthy, there’s room in the remaining 20% for the occasional sweet treat or indulgence.

 

It pays to approach exercise in a gentle way too, gradually building up the length of time you spend exercising and the intensity of the exercise itself. That way, you build your strength up and stay motivated. Starting with two gym days a week will leave you room to spot your personal improvements and achievements which will motivate you to continue.

 

A Tribute to the Heart

Making a resolution to lose weight and eat more healthily will have an impact on your overall health, particularly your heart. Maintaining an optimum body weight and taking regular exercise can both help reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease.

 

The British Heart Foundation and the NHS recommend that adults try to achieve 150 active minutes a week, which is less than 25 minutes a day. For time to count as ‘active’, your activity needs to warm you up and make you feel a little out of breath. You don’t have to sign up for a gym membership though, as simple things like brisk walking, dancing or exercising at home can all count towards that target of 150 minutes of activity.

 

As winter is the busiest time for the NHS, with resources stretched to the limit, there’s even more of an incentive at this time of the year to get fit and stay healthy.

Love your Skin

Our skin is perhaps the most visible sign of Christmas over-indulgence and harsh winter weather. If you want your skin to look fresh and healthy, you need to pay attention to the foods you eat, as healthy eating can provide long-lasting benefits. All that processed food you ate over Christmas means that your skin has been starved of the minerals and nutrients it really needs. Crash diets won’t help restore your skin’s vitality, as they rarely offer a balanced intake of nutrients. Instead, concentrate on eating your five-a-day, making sure you get plenty of food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, blueberries and tomatoes.

You can also treat your skin by upping your daily water intake. Drinking more water will keep your skin hydrated, but, if you aren’t used to glasses upon glasses, start with one additional drink at the start of your day and gradually increase this until you’re hitting your daily recommendation.

 

Hydration for your Hair

We all know only too well how much damage the winter months can do to our skin, but we often forget about our hair at this time of year. Hair can suffer just as much during the winter – whether from lack of nutrition caused by poor diets over the festive season, or from cold, wet weather and the effects of constant central heating.

 

There are plenty of things you can do though, to boost your hair’s health. Healthy eating can play a vital role in helping you achieve great-looking hair, with some foods providing essential nutrients and minerals to really strengthen your hair and make it shine. By identifying which foods can boost hair health, you can easily incorporate them into your healthy eating regime, for visible and long-lasting benefits.

 
Healthy eating and regular exercise play such a vital role in keeping us in shape, both mentally and physically. We literally are what we eat, and bad habits can have an effect on our entire bodies inside and out. Trying to eat well and exercise regularly is more than just a New Year’s resolution – it’s a lifestyle change that we should all strive for, and one that will repay us every day for the rest of our lives.

This guest blog was written by Holly Barry who contacted me 6 weeks ago and asked if I could have a look at an article she wrote about how important it is to continue to eat healthy and to exercise. I loved her view on the matter and asked her if I could publish it as a blog on my website. Thank you Holly.

 

If you need any help or advice on staying fit an healthy throughout the year I can help you through a 3 week programme: The Successful Mindset to EatWright which is currently on special offer from £63 down to £42 or my  6 week healthy eating programme that will help you to reach an optimum in your health and fitness.

The Danger of Diets.

Two out of three women, and more men than ever before, have tried to lose weight in the past year.  With an estimated 29 million Britons looking for ways to shed those excess pounds, it is no wonder that Britain’s diet industry is worth a staggering £2bn.

 

But here’s the thing: 95% of diets fail in the long term.

 

In this week’s blog post, we explore 7 reasons that could explain this phenomenon.

 

1) Willpower

 

Dieting is hard because it relies on our willpower to keep us on the right track. When we have been pushed to our limits and are desperate to make a change our willpower can be very strong indeed. Few people struggle in the first few days of a diet. But, as the state of our health and weight changes, and the pressures of day-to-day life build up, it can be hard to maintain this momentum. Willpower is hard to maintain for an extended period of time, particularly when our dietary rules are inflexible and strict. There is also a danger that, as progress is made, complacency will creep in and will make us less inclined to endure the struggle of restricting our food intake. Lastly, Dieters rarely rehearse how they might manage difficult situations such as going to dinner with friends – they simply hope that their willpower will hold up and, if it doesn’t, punish themselves with feelings of guilt or shame.

 

2) The Addictive Power of Refined Foods

 

The foods we crave, and the foods on which we so often binge, fall broadly into two categories: sugary products like sweets, chocolate, ice cream, cakes, cookies and soft drinks, and flour-based or carb-loaded products like pizza, pasta, bread, crisps and chips. Foods like these release an unnatural flood of dopamine that hijacks the pleasure centres in the brain and, in the long run, lead to cravings for this small sense of euphoria. Recent scientific research confirms that processed foods like these light up the very same addiction pathways in the brain as heroin and cocaine. Always check the sugar content of your foods – it can be hidden in the most surprising places!

 

3) Exceptions

 

Most weight-loss programmes incorporate exceptions into the structure of their food plans. The thinking is that, with a sneaky snack here, or a “cheat” meal there, or a whole “cheat” day once a week, we will find the whole endeavour of losing weight a lot easier. Some programmes even sell sugary treats that you should “eat sparingly” or only count as a couple of points on that day’s meal plan. The irony is that building these exceptions into a diet does not work. For most people, treats and cheats like these are simply reminders to their taste buds (and receptors in the brain) that there are easier ways to achieve pleasure than through real, wholesome food. These exceptions prevent our brains from adopting a positive approach to a sustainable shift in diet and eating behaviour and will, eventually, keep us hooked on refined foods.

 

4) Diets Make you Hungry

 

Restricting your food intake is not always going to please your body and could actually make you gain weight in the long run. Our bodies store fat so that, if we are ever caught without a readily available supply of food, we can continue to draw on energy reserves. Eating too little will push your body into fat storage mode, as it understands this to be a state of emergency. Your level of cortisol will rise as your body does its best to hold on to what nutrients it can – nutrients that are then stored as fat. Your body is now looking for other energy sources and you could actually risk losing muscle because it burns more calories at rest while your body seeks to hold onto its fat reserves for emergency energy. Most diets starve your body of nutrients and lead to intense hunger pangs. When your willpower finally gives in and you binge on whatever is close-by, your body will create fat reserves to make sure you have enough energy to draw on should you ever try another diet.

 

5) Biochemical Individuality

 

We are all physiologically different and we all have different needs and requirements. One diet plan may have worked wonders for your neighbours or your best friend but there is no reason that you will enjoy the same success. Invariably, this leads to feelings of inadequacy and failure when you realise that you lost less weight than others on the same plan. The majority of diets simply do not account for the fact that their rules need to be adapted on a case-by-case basis.

 

6) Not Real Food

 

Many diets rely on highly processed, refined and unnatural products to supplement a strictly constrained food plan. Not only are these products unappetising and uninteresting but they have the capacity to damage your body in the long run. The challenge of building such a regime into everyday life seems insurmountable, particularly when you consider the attached price tag of these specially made foods.

 

7) Failure to Change Core Habits

 

The only people who lose weight and keep it off are those who make permanent changes to their, and their families’, eating and exercise habits. Dieters often go right back to their old habits and favourite foods upon completing a diet, thinking that once the hard work is done they can celebrate their achievement in the way they are used to. If the diet is not a sustainable one and has failed to modify your body’s desires, then the old eating habits will creep back in and, soon, you will find yourself back at square one.

 

So why do we keep going on diets?

 

Upon completing a difficult challenge, like a diet or a healthy eating plan, we enjoy an unmistakable sense of achievement and euphoria; we have done well. If we fail, however, it might encourage us to have yet another go.

 

The success and the profit of the diet industry is based on our desire to be in control, and to experience this again and again. Ultimately, we have to question whether the diet industry would be worth quite as much if every single diet provided a sustainable solution.

 

Lifestyle, not Diets

 

In a world full of temptations it is laudable to want to find a healthy balance that works for you. Dieting is not the way, however. For long-term weight loss, many things – not just your nutritional habits – will have to change.

 

We need to reconsider the way we think about food. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of the hot new diet in an attempt to shed excess weight or achieve other aspects of wellness, we should be thinking about making achievable, realistic changes that we can sustain for a lifetime.

And this is where I can help. Have a look at my 6 week healthy eating programme that not only cleanses your body on cellular level and helps you to reach an optimum in your health but also teaches you how you can eat and live healthily for the rest of your life: http://www.eatwright.co.uk/work-with-leonie-wright/ This programme can change your life forever and is for those that are willing to look at getting better through food.

To better Health,

Leonie