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Try this for sustainable weight loss

weight loss
If you are trying to maintain a healthy weight, or drop those stubborn pounds around your middle, try implementing the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule states that, providing you eat well for 80 per cent of the time, you’re allowed to enjoy some additional treats the other 20 per cent of the time – perhaps if you’re out to eat, or being entertained at someone else’s home.

When you’re trying to make healthy changes to your diet, by aiming to eat perfectly clean 100% of the time you’re setting yourself up to struggle.

You’re only human, so give yourself a break. By using the 80/20 rule, you’ll simply shrug aside the ‘naughty’ 20 per cent and focus on making the vast majority of your food healthy and nutritious for your body.

Above all, food is to be enjoyed. Eating is a time for sharing and socialising.

There is nothing more demoralising than turning down invites to eat with friends because you are frightened you will slip from your diet.

Be kind to yourself and focus on that 80%. You may even find it becomes a 90/10 rule for you at some stage!


Avoid sugar foods to optimise your health

sugary foods
When you eat refined sugar, pastries, and sweets, the sugar quickly enters your bloodstream.

Your pancreas senses this spike in blood sugar and produces insulin. Insulin helps your cells absorb the sugar.

The problem is that the spike in insulin is so intense it can make your energy crash just a little while later.
In response, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. This is also when most people start reaching for coffee, tea, or other stimulants to compensate.

But this actually makes the problem worse––especially if it a regular occurance as cortisol both raises blood sugar and suppresses insulin. This means even though there is plenty of sugar in the blood, your cells can’t absorb it. Your cells are then “hungry” so they send hunger signals back to the brain. That’s when you get cravings for more sugary sweets and carbs.

And the rollercoaster goes on and on and on… but it doesn’t stop there.  Cortisol also shifts where your body stores fat, from “healthy” fat cells to the bigger toxic fat cells in your midsection. And the more fat you hold around your middle, the more cortisol you will produce. It makes the rollercoaster even stronger.

Not to mention how cortisol can affect your thyroid gland, which controls your metabolism, create female hormone problems, and cause digestive problems and immune suppression.

It’s a vicious cycle that can keep the weight stuck to your middle no matter what you do.

So, try to limit white sugary foods and base your diet around wholegrains, lean protein and lots of fruit and vegetables.

Don’t skip breakfast

breakfast oats
Many experts believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

People are so stressed in the morning, rushing to get kids off to school and themselves ready for work, that they often just grab a cup of coffee (often with sugar) and go on their way.

Without food inside of you the blood sugar will drop within an hour or so and you may start to feel tired and may struggle to concentrate. Adrenaline and cortisol will kick in to try to correct the balance and you will be looking for a quick fix by means of something sugary and so the ‘sugar rollercoaster begins’. The spike in insulin which is released to control the blood sugar level may be so intense that it can make your energy crash a little while later. Adrenaline and cortisol will be released again to correct the balance and you will soon be off looking for something sugary again whilst feeling tired and in some cases dizzy and irritable.

It is therefore important to make time for breakfast to set the blood sugar level at an even level at the beginning of the day. Try to allow yourself just 10-15 minutes to sit down and eat either a bowl of porridge with seeds or nuts and fresh berries or a couple of pieces of sourdough bread with 2 eggs or a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter.
Train yourself to do this as it is essential for your health.


Eat an egg for lunch to help maintain your concentration levels into the afternoon

healthy snack
Eggs contain the Vitamin Choline which helps to keep the brain and especially the memory sharp.

They are also a lean form of protein which, when boiled, poached or scrambled, make an excellent companion for slow release wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread.

The fat in eggs is low in saturates and so counts as ‘good fat’ and, although they contain cholesterol, if eaten in moderation (4-6 per week) can form an important part of a balanced diet.


Plan a healthy mid afternoon snack to keep you going until your evening meal

healthy snack
To avoid feeling hungry on the way home from work and maybe stopping off for a chocolate bar, take a healthy snack to work with you or pick up one up as part of your lunch to keep until later in the day.

An apple or banana with a small handful of nuts will give you an energy boost if eaten late afternoon. Or try a plain yogurt with fresh blueberries to keep you energies balanced until your evening meal.

Try to ensure that you have a healthy start to the day

poached egg
Breakfast is essential as it supplies you with the fuel to help maintain energy levels and set your metabolism up for the day ahead.

A breakfast containing slow release carbohydrates and lean protein is the ideal choice, for example:
• Porridge with a teaspoon of seeds and a handful of berries
• 2 boiled or poached eggs with 1 piece of wholegrain toast or 2 oat cakes
• Plain organic yogurt with seeds and berries as above

Follow this up with a healthy mid-morning snack and lunch and your energy levels will be at their peak all day!!


Try taking the stairs at work rather than the lift

chicken sandwich
Regular daily exercise will gently increase your heart rate and ensure that the blood is pumping around your system more effectively, which will, in turn, help you feel more energised. A 15-minute walk at lunchtime will refresh your lungs, help to reduce stress levels and burn up to 75 calories. 

So, lots of reasons to venture outdoors at lunchtime.


Plan a healthy mid-afternoon snack to keep you going until your evening meal

water at work
To avoid feeling hungry on the way home from work and stopping off to buy some chocolate or crisps, pick up a healthy snack at lunchtime and plan to eat it either late afternoon or on your way home.

If you are in the office, eat a couple of oatcakes with some hummus or a natural yogurt with fresh berries. This will give you the energy boost for the commute home.

Or try a small bag of nuts or a banana to eat in the car or on the train!

Try to drink fluids before rather than during lunch to maximise digestion

coffee and water
Digestion starts in the mouth where starches such as carbohydrates are broken down by enzymes. This complex process is made more difficult with the presence of excess fluid which may dilute these enzymes and thus make them less effective. As a result, undigested foods particles may hit the stomach and small intestine causing cramps and pain.

So, to maximise digestion, leave at least 10 minutes after drinking any fluids before starting your lunch and avoid drinking with lunch.


Take a break from your desk for a few minutes each hour

healthy snack
It is important to give your brain a rest at regular intervals in the day so it can recharge ready for the next challenge.

So, make a point of getting up from your desk and walking around the office or going to the drinks machine to give your mind a different focus for a few minutes.

This is especially important after a meal, as a gentle walk about 15 minutes after eating will help the digestive system to process food effectively.

Do this on a regular basis to maximise your daily performance.

How to keep stress at bay during your working day

healthy snack
Stress in our lives today is almost continuous, and its effect on the body can be very extreme if it isn’t controlled. Symptoms of stress overload include rapid weight gain, anxiety, irritability and low mood.

So follow these 3 rules to help minimise the effect on your system:

Hydration: Drink water regularly during the day. Regular fluid intake will keep the body calm and able to deal more effectively with stress.

Relaxation: Go outdoors at lunchtime. A 15-minute walk helps you to relax thereby allowing the stress hormones that have built up during the morning to be released out of the body.

Balance: Eat a healthy lunch and regular snacks to guarantee a constant flow of energy throughout the day which will help keep the body stress free. Caffeine and sugary foods such as chocolate can have the opposite effect so try to avoid or minimise these in the diet.


Going to the gym later ? Make the right lunchtime choice.

healthy snack
If you plan to do exercise after work your body will require even more nutrients to support you. Lunch plays an important role as it can provide the energy not just for the afternoon but also into the early evening.

So make sure it contains:
• Wholemeal bread, pasta or rice
• Lean protein such as chicken, tuna, egg, ham or pulses
• Salad vegetables such as rocket, watercress, spinach and beetroot

An additional snack at 4pm such as a couple of oatcakes with a small piece of cheese or a yogurt with a handful of nuts will further guarantee that you are getting sufficient nutrients to maximise your workout.


Find it hard to remember to drink water ? Drink a glass or 2 with your daily cuppa

healthy snack
Caffeine can disrupt blood sugar levels in the body, causing ‘highs’ followed by a slump which inevitably leads to rapid drops in energy and concentration.

It takes about 4 glasses of water to fully dilute the effect of the caffeine from 1 cup of coffee.

So the more water you drink alongside the caffeine, the least disruptive it will be to your system.


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