How to lose weight & keep it off

How to lose weight & keep it off

Hands up who put on weight during lockdown?

I know some people do lose their appetite through stressful times so this won’t affect everyone.

But many of you will be more like me. My daily exercise was regular trips to the fridge! I often found myself standing at the fridge door, looking in blankly, hoping for inspiration and usually settling for more chocolate! Or cheese, or bread, or whatever was closest, but then I literally inhaled everything I ate and found myself back on the hunt just minutes later.

So firstly, if you’ve been beating yourself up about the weight. Give yourself a break.

There was a global crisis, our routines were upended, our lives full of fear and uncertainty and food was a brief, welcome, comforting respite.

But enough is enough! Let’s get these stubborn pounds shifted…

1. First, and most importantly, you have to actually want to lose the weight. So find your WHY. And at times when you’re struggling, remind yourself of WHY you want to lose weight to help you keep focus and motivation.

2. Sorry to be the bearer of bad, boring news but there are no short cuts to losing weight. Get organised. Plan your meals, buy healthy and prep plenty.

3. FAD or lose weight quick diets might help you kick-start the weight loss, but they’re not sustainable, often not healthy and you don’t break your old habits. To maintain your weight long term, you need to learn how to eat. Find a way of eating that suits your lifestyle.

4. Move it. Find an exercise you enjoy and get moving. It’s great for endorphins too which will help you feel so much better. But bear in mind, you can’t exercise away a bad diet.

5. Drink lots of water. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. And it’s important to stay hydrated, helps with digestion too. But stick mainly to water, even fruit juices can be packed with sugar.

6. Write down what you eat. It’s sometimes surprising how much more you’ve eaten than you thought. You might also find patterns of when and what you eat. I’m a grazer and snack constantly and eat throughout the day. That all soon adds up.

7. Food is fuel for our bodies. Would you put cheap, nasty fuel in your car? Let’s treat ourselves as carefully by trying to eat more fresh, nutritious, unprocessed ‘fuel’. Read the labels, avoid high saturated fats, hidden sugars, high salts, E numbers and names of ingredients you can’t even pronounce.

8. Don’t call it a diet. It’s a way of eating that will enable you to lose weight and a new way of eating that will make sure you stay at a healthy weight you’re happy with. My diet is how I eat, I’m not on a diet.

9. Learn to love (and trust) food. Your body needs carbs, your body needs fats. No food is bad, in small amounts. Chocolate is good for the soul. Just not in the vast quantities that saw me through lockdown!

10. Try smaller plates or portions. I don’t know about you but I was brought up to clear my plate. Whatever the size! So maybe fill a smaller plate at first. Eat slowly, eat mindfully and stop when you’re full.

11. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. That’s bulls*t. And whoever said that had clearly never tasted Lindt dark chocolate with sea-salt, or meringue with fresh cream, or cheesecake, or freshly baked bread with butter, or cheese, or… you get my drift. HOWEVER, when tempted by any of the above or your own tasty pleasure, just take a moment to reflect on your WHY. Do you want that chunk of cake more than you want to lose weight? If the answer right now is yes, which sometimes it might be then either try having a little, or eat it with unbridled pleasure and savour each mouthful. You’ve made a choice. Own it and enjoy it.

12. When you eat something ‘bad’, ENJOY it! Stop whatever else you’re doing, sit still and enjoy every last morsel. Don’t ruin it by eating it with a huge side-serving of guilt. Savour it with intention and satisfaction. Otherwise it wasn’t worth it. So if you’re out for your friend’s birthday lunch and you had a nice healthy meal but find you can’t resist the dessert menu, just have the cake/cheesecake/tart/cream filled pastry and enjoy it. Maybe you’ll share it with someone, maybe you’ll eat the lot. But you’ve made a choice to have it, so give yourself permission to accept that decision, lean into that and enjoy it!

13. But don’t let that de-rail you. Don’t decide you’ll start your ‘diet’ again tomorrow, or the next day or after the weekend or whenever… Eat the next meal as you had planned and prepped. You’re making mostly ‘healthy’ food choices and sometimes you have treats. That’s life.

8 Proven Ways Walking Improves Your Brain

8 Proven Ways Walking Improves Your Brain

It might surprise you to hear that something as simple as walking can actually improve your brainpower.

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It doesn’t even have to be full-on power walking! Even a twenty or thirty minute walk during your lunch break can have a positive impact on your brain.

Here are eight ways science has proven that walking is excellent for your brain: 

1. Walking helps lower your risk of depression
Walking is an excellent way to improve your mental health. A 2018 study showed that any kind of moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking can boost your brain health and lower your risk of developing depression by a third.

2. Walking improves your cognitive function
A number of studies have shown that the magic amount of twenty to thirty minutes of daily aerobic exercise, such as walking, improves cognitive function and memory.

3. Walking stimulates endorphins  
Just ten minutes of walking is enough to start your brain releasing endorphins, the brain chemicals that lower stress, boost your mental health, and make you feel good. You’ve heard of the runner’s high? Well, you can get a similar positive rush from a brisk walk!

4. Walking releases the brain’s Magic Protein    
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) has been dubbed the brain’s ‘magic protein’ as it helps to rewire and build new neural pathways. Scientists believe it can even help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. And cardiovascular exercise is an easy way to stimulate the production of BDNF and keep your brain in peak condition.

5. Walking lowers physical and mental fatigue
A 2008 study by the University of Georgia found that just three sessions a week of a low-intensity exercise like walking can reduce fatigue levels by as much as 65 percent.

6. Walking builds hippocampus strength
Your hippocampus is the key part of the brain for forming and storing memories. Research has shown that even brief walks can actually increase the size and efficiency of your hippocampus.

7. Walking Improves Creativity
Artists, writers, and philosophers have long known the importance of walking for clearing blocked creativity and getting inspiration flowing again. Science can now back this up with a 2014 study by Stanford University showing that walking increases your creative output by up to sixty percent.

8. Walking increases blood flow to the brain
Blood is vital for every organ in your body, not least of all, your brain. That magic twenty minutes is all it takes to increase the blood flow to your brain to keep it active and healthy.

What do you think? Not bad for 20 minutes exercise!

I’ve long been a fan of walking and hiking and that’s before I realised it had just so many key benefits. Not to mention the added grounding and healing benefits of walking in nature. 

Right, I’m off for a walk…

 

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