Thursday, 31 May 2012

A little bit of inspiration...

I've got into a bit of a rut with moving and the end of the chocolate moratorium and the school holidays.  I have to bring myself back into line, start to exercise, not just go through the motions, and eat more vegetables.  It begins today no excuses!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Celebrity work out wear Gisele Bundchen

For Gisele it is all muted colours, large sunglasses and a statement bag...

Get this outfit (sizes 8-22) free when you come to a boutique bootcamp at the Find...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Food for thought for Spring

Officially it is still Spring and the supermarket shelves and market stalls are alive with fresh, colourful produce.
By happy chance, most of the foods that are at their best at this time of year are low in fat, high in vitamins and minerals and will therefore help you to shift pounds and arrive at summer looking your finest.

Delightfully zingy and peppery, watercress is also high in goodness and low in fat. Dietitian Cara Lewis says: "Like all dark green leafy vegetables, watercress is a rich source of a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that should feature in any healthy diet. It's a particularly good source of carotene, a precursor to vitamin A which is also needed for healthy eyes, skin, bones and a strong immune system. Try watercress soup or adding to salads or sandwiches with fresh herbs."
Sugar snap peas
Sweet and crunchy, chowing your way through a handful of sugar snap peas is a good way to satisfy hunger pangs and keep your calorie intake in check. Lewis says: "Another vegetable which is high in vitamins and minerals, sugar snaps are particularly rich in the B vitamin biotin. Eat them raw or steamed as a snack or a side dish, they're great in stir fries with peppers, sesame seeds and a protein like meat or fish."
Rejoice! British asparagus season, which runs from May until June, is upon us. This eight-week window passes in a flash, so make sure you fill your boots while this delicious home-grown vegetable is available. Lewis says: "Asparagus is tasty steamed and drizzled with lemon juice or baked wrapped in parma ham." With less than four calories per average spear, asparagus (which is also low in cholesterol and has zero fat) as part of a balanced diet will help weight loss. It'll also make your urine smell, but we're sure you can live with that.
Get childhood memories of Watership Down out of your head. Rabbit is often unfairly overlooked in favour of more mainstream meats, and it's time to put an end to this prejudice. As well as being lip-smackingly flavoursome, rabbit is low in fat compared to other types of meat. Lewis says: "Rabbit is lean with a similar fat content to white meat. The fat content of cooked rabbit meat is approximately 3g per 100g, compared to 5-7g for chicken and 10g for lamb. Lean meat like this is also a great source of protein, which will help you stay fuller for longer, iron and B vitamins."
In addition to its long list of health benefits, including large doses of vitamins K, C, A, manganese, folate, iron and calcium, spinach is also rich in fibre, which is crucial for weight management. Lewis says: "Spinach and other leafy veggies like kale, cabbage and spring greens are not only low in calories, they are all excellent sources of fibre which keeps us feeling full, so we're therefore less likely to overeat on other calorie-dense snacks."
We most commonly eat it in crumbles and other sugar-laced desserts to reduce the tartness of this vegetable (yes, it is a vegetable), but rhubarb, which is at its best at this time of year, also works brilliantly in savoury dishes (it's great with lamb and duck, for example), where you can make the most of its fat-busting benefits. A good source of fibre, vitamin C and calcium, rhubarb also contains catechins, an antioxidant which, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, is thought to boost your body's fat-burning abilities by speeding up your metabolism.
Lamb may seem to be an odd choice, considering its fat content, but, like most meats, it has leaner cuts that are less destructive to your waistline. Plus, it's an excellent source of B vitamins to give you energy, and iron. Lamb is also high in protein, which we need for lean muscle growth and to help us feel fuller for longer. Lamb is, of course, available all year round but spring is when it's at its best (plus it tends to be reared locally). Have it with fresh mint sauce and vegetables or try slow-cooking lamb shanks and serving with wholegrain rice and asparagus.
Just coming into season now, the British berry season means it's time to fill up on luscious fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, among others. Low in calories, strawberries contain 140% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C (per one cup serving), as well as high levels of manganese and, most importantly of all, dietary fibre.
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without loading your system with sugar (thus putting an end to your plans to get rid of your belly for summer)? Try apricots, which, as their orangey/yellow hue suggests, are full of carotenoids, the phytonutrients that provide us with powerful antioxidant protection. Relaxing in the sun with a bowl of fresh, ripe apricots is the perfect way to say hello to the warmer months and goodbye to fat-laden foods.
Romaine lettuce
Salads are back on the menu now that winter has left us. One of the most nutrient-rich varieties of lettuce, romaine is loaded with vitamin C and chromium, which helps to regulate our blood sugar levels, making it the perfect base for all the other gloriously healthy spring produce you are going to consume this year. 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Body Sculpting foods

Sculpting a physique that is ready to be shown off in public is all about burning off fat while building lean muscle.
To tighten and tone, you must achieve two things; the first is to sculpt muscle fibres, the second is to burn fat around them. The one class of food that supports both these endeavours is protein, which boosts the metabolic rate. Consuming protein early in the day and then at three-hour intervals is your best bet to support the maintenance of muscle and destruction of fat. A typical 60kg woman should aim for at least 100g of protein per day.
Eating all the protein in the world won't help, however, if you lard it up on the sofa all day!  Exercise is vital too,weight training is best suited to body sculpting, it aims to overload the muscle fibres, causing a surge of metabolic activity, which results in the repair of these fibres. While one result of this is stronger muscles, your metabolic rate is increased for the entire repair process. This will typically last three days, so your body will burn more fat during this time.
The combination of muscular development and increased fat burning makes resistance training by far and away the most efficient form of exercise. Such exercises include press-ups, lunges, squats, chins, lateral pull-downs and the like.
Want to sculpt the perfect body? Here is a list of the best foods to help you do it.
A staple of body-sculpting diets, chicken is ideal because of its low-fat, high-protein content. Chicken is around 23% protein, making it easy for you to reach your target of consuming around 20g of protein with every meal. A 100g serving of grilled chicken breast (avoid frying and make sure you remove the skin) with roast vegetables or salad and 'good' carbohydrates like wholegrain bread is a perfect post-workout meal. Turkey, too, is lean and full of protein, so consider swapping that in to add some variety to your diet.
Forget the negative comments about eggs - they're a great source of protein that will promote lean muscle growth and, because they're also low in fat, they'll help you to lose weight. And remember - the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn, so make sure eggs (which contain around 6g of protein) are a regular part of your diet. Poached, scrambled, or boiled are best - again you should avoid frying as this only ups the fat content.
Oily-fish like fresh tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines are nutrient-dense foods which will keep you lean. Full of high-quality protein, tuna (fresh is best though canned tuna is also extremely good for us) is rich in B vitamins to boost your energy levels (helpful when you're trying to exercise regularly) and omega-3 fatty acids - good fats that protect us from numerous health conditions such as heart disease. These fatty acids also stimulate the release of the hormone leptin, which helps to regulate appetite and metabolism, and can thus protect us from weight gain and obesity.
While probably not something you could stomach every day, oysters are another fantastic source of lean, high-quality protein. A three-ounce serving of oysters contains around 10 grams of protein, as well as very little fat. Oysters are also rich in calcium, zinc and iron (which we need to produce collagen). Just go easy on the champagne, okay?
Meat! Again, you shouldn't eat too much of it, but if you are careful to choose lean cuts and limit yourself to around 500g a week, then red meat is one of the most adept body-shaping foods on supermarket shelves. Go for lean sirloin or fillet, which contains around 25g of protein and just 3g of fat per 100g.
No meat does not mean no body-sculpting protein. Tofu is a fantastic source of soy protein; just four ounces provides 9.2g of protein, almost 20% of your daily requirement. Tofu is also practically void of saturated fat and is low in calories. It's also a good source of those omega-3 fatty acids which also help us to burn fat.
Green vegetables
Spring is the time of year when suddenly our supermarket shelves really come alive with rich, green vegetables; spring greens, spinach, broccoli and kale, it's all there for the benefit of our bodies. Spinach, for example, is rich in iron and the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, which help our bodies to produce collagen, the protein that keeps our muscles and skin stretched and toned.
It's not just protein that helps us to tone up, other nutrients also play a crucial role in helping us stay in shape. The capsaicin in chilies, for example, was recently linked to weight loss in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The study found that this spicy food is immediately converted to heat by a process called thermogenesis, which speeds up the metabolism and so helps us burn more calories. The research also found that food loaded with chilli can keep us feeling fuller for longer and control appetite, meaning we are less likely to overeat.
Red for danger? Not as far as your diet is concerned. Red food like tomatoes and peppers are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene, which stimulates collagen production and keeps our skin looking healthy. Tomatoes are also thought to be a powerful cancer-fighting superfood. Always try to make sure your shopping trolley is full of fruit and vegetables of all different colours, so you know you are getting a broad range of nutrients.
Whereas refined carbohydrates like white pasta, bread and rice cause spikes in blood sugar that leave us hungry again only shortly after we've eaten, wholegrains have the opposite effect on the body. As the name suggests, these 'whole' grains have not been stripped of their goodness, and are therefore rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats. The energy from wholegrain products is released much more slowly, meaning you'll feel like you have enough fuel reserves to exercise, while the fibre and protein content will leave you feeling satisfyingly full for long periods.
Nuts and seeds
The ideal grazing food, nuts and seeds, which are packed with protein, fibre and good fats help to stave off hunger pangs while also encouraging your body to burn more fat, rather than muscle. Always have a handful of almonds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds in your handbag to banish cravings and flood your body with nutritional goodness.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Why do you want to lose weight?

Sudden shock: Other triggers for starting a diet were having to buy a larger dress size, seeing ourselves in a bikini and being dumped

It is usually a jolt of recognition that persuades someone they are overweight and it is time to start dieting.
That could be struggling to do up a top button on a favourite pair of jeans, having to buy clothes in a larger dress size or noticing your thighs in the mirror one morning.
But the most common trigger for women changing their lifestyle, according to new research, is an unflattering photograph.
Subtle changes in size and shape can be hard to notice, but looking back at holiday snaps forces us to assess ourselves objectively.
The surprise leads to impressive results, however, with women dieting after seeing an unattractive picture losing a staggering 14 pounds on average.
Embarrassing double chin moments are now frequently displayed to more people than we want them to be through Facebook, making many women see photographs as a very public measure of their worth.

    Half of the 1,000 women surveyed by admitted to having been shocked into slimming by a photograph that highlighted unwanted bulges.
    Other popular reasons for starting a diet included struggling to fit into clothes and catching sight of a reflection in a shop window.

    Old photos as well as recent ones were seen as highlighting weight issues, with 42 per cent of women dieting after noticing how many pounds they had piled on on since pictures were taken.

    'It is all too easy to become complacent with our body shape and size, and think we are doing okay, when really we’re carrying round a few extra pounds.
    An Eat Water spokesman said: 
    'Sometimes it takes something like a photo for people to acknowledge the fact they even have a problem with their weight.
    'A photograph can be like a bolt from the blue - often people are absolutely flabbergasted that they could have let things get so bad.'
    For some people, wanting to look good for an event such as holiday or wedding was the main impetus to start slimming.
    The most negative triggers included feeling fat in comparison to work colleagues, a dwindling sex life, and being cheated on by a partner.
    Some women said they felt too self-conscious when going swimming.
    A woman dieting after being dumped can expect to lose 14 pounds, while women shed around 11 pounds to feel more confident in their holiday bikinis.
    A desire for a new job or to fit into a favourite pair of jeans leads to an average weightloss of 10 pounds.
    But just under half of women admitted that they find it hard to maintain weight. 
    The average female goes on at least two diets a year, which last around three weeks each time.
    Simone Brenner, a leading Dietitian and Nutritionist for Eat Water, said: 'A major difficulty my clients face when starting on a new diet is adjusting their eating habits so that they consume a smaller quantity of food with a higher nutritional value.
    'Often they find themselves feeling hungry and turning to the very foods they need to avoid in order to achieve their target weight.'

    What is your motivation to lose weight?