Lisa Bowman for Metro.co.uk Saturday 1 Jul 2017 8:18 am
Just how healthy is your nut milk really?
There’s no denying that dairy-free milks are all the rage at the minute.
More and more people are ditching cow’s milk, with reasons ranging from lactose intolerance, being morally against the dairy industry, or just being grossed out that they’re essentially suckling on the teat of another mammal. Yummy.
Soy, cashew, hemp, rice – you name it, there’s probably a ‘milk’ made out of it.
But have you ever properly looked at the ingredients list of your moo-free milk?
Do you know what you’re putting in your body?
I’m always a bit suspicious when I don’t understand what things on the ingredients list are.
Like, hello gellan gum, what are you, please?
When you make your own nut milk at home, you only use three ingredients max – nuts, water and perhaps a little salt or sugar.
However, many store brands make their products by using fewer nuts and replacing them with cheaper ingredients that act as fillers and thickeners.
We asked nutritionists what these ingredients are and if we should be worried about them.
Carageenan is an additive used to stabilise and thicken some dairy-free milks.
‘This is the main one to look out for,’ Amie Richmond, head nutritionist at Body Fabulous tells metro.co.uk.
‘This seaweed-based additive has shown to be extremely inflammatory in some studies and should be avoided, especially by those who already have digestive tract issues.’
Oils are used in dairy-free milk as a thickener and emulsifier, and I personally find it a bit rank that I’m essentially pouring oil in my coffee.
If you’re trying to follow a healthy lifestyle, you avoid too much oil, so why would you want it in your milk?
‘Be wary of high levels of added oils such as canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, and soybean oil,’ warns Amie.
Ideally, we should all be eating less sugar, so it’s not ideal if it’s being slipped into our dairy-free drinks.
‘Opt for unsweetened milks that will not be acid forming,’ advises Amie.
‘Check for sugars and artificial sweeteners – both should be avoided.’
This includes syrups like agave and maple.
Guar gum, gellan gum and locust bean gum are used as emulsifiers and although they sound icky, they do actually have some health benefits.
‘Guar gum is a thickening agent derived from the guar bean and has been shown in animal studies to be harmless even at high doses,’ explains Matt Wright, nutritional researcher at Click for Therapy to metro.co.uk.
‘Significantly in rats guar gum promoted weight loss and lower blood glucose, and as a result is now being considered as a therapeutic tool for humans to improve glycemic control (blood sugar spiking).
‘However, as these gums are indigestible they may be problematic for people with gut issues such as IBS, causing discomfort and increased gas.’
Sunflower lecithin is used as an emulsifier, to stop the mixture form separating.
‘Due to the composition of sunflower lecithin some nutritionists recommend it as a supplement probably due to its choline content,’ says Matt.
‘Choline whilst not strictly speaking a vitamin is now classified by the National Academy of Sciences as a vital nutrient, and is widely considered to be deficient in the modern western diet.
‘It helps with muscle control, memory, sleep and is liver protective.’
So while some of these ingredients may not be as terrifying as they first seem, it does seem a bit shifty that thickeners are being used in place of actual nuts.
I went on a bit of a supermarket dairy-free milk rampage and realised that very few brands actually stick to the simple mix of water, nuts, salt.
Organic brand Plenish use 6% almonds in their almond milk (£2.50/litre), mixed only with water and a bit of salt, and the extra nut content keeps the mixture thick.
Then you’ve got Oatly‘s organic version of their oat milk (£1.40/litre) which contains only oats, water and sea salt.
On my supermarket tour, I noticed that organic brand Rude Health use only 1% almonds in their almond drink (£2.49/litre), using rice as a thickener and cold-pressed sunflower oil as an emulsifier.
I was curious to know why their almond drink contained more rice than almonds.
‘We use rice to make it silky smooth and naturally sweet, and just enough almonds to taste almondy,’ a spokesperson for Rude Health told metro.co.uk.
‘If we added more almond it began to taste like marzipan, whereas any less simply tasted of rice. We also found that our unique slow production method, which uses the finest Italian almond paste to make the drinks, doesn’t need to use as much to get the desired taste.’
They also pointed out that they do actually make an almond drink without the fillers – their Ultimate Almond Drink (£4.40/litre) which is made from 6% almonds mixed with water and tastes ‘like homemade almond milk; nutty and not at all sweet’.
I guess it all boils down to how bothered you are by the added ingredients and if you think it’s worth potentially spending a little more money to get a purer product.
I initially cut out cow’s milk to see if it helped my adult acne, which it didn’t, and I’m now wondering if inflammatory ingredients like carageenan in my plant milks have been actually been adding to the problem.
I really can’t be bothered to make my own nut milk so I’ll make do with scouring carton ingredients and paying a little more where necessary.
‘Cos I’m sure as hell not down for drinking oil on the reg.
It’s Not All About The Gym
As we hit bikini season, plenty of dieters strive for the beach body that’ll really make a splash this summer. And everybody knows how, right? Just hit the gym?
Well, maybe not! While weight loss and exercise go hand in hand, some hardcore fitness routines are far from slimming.
We’ve all tried fads to shed a few spare pounds but that kind of focus can so often set us off course, according to the weight loss expert and nutritionist, Amie Richmond.
We sat down with Amie to get her take on summer dieting regimes. What are her dos and don’ts, and does she have any advice on where to start?
When embarking on a fat or weight loss program, the first question you should always ask yourself is Do I want to be thin or do I want to be healthy? We’ve all heard the phrase You can’t out train a bad diet and it’s true. In the long term putting your health first requires fueling your body with the right nutrients, which is the most beneficial way to maintain a healthy weight and achieve your goals.
Whilst diet and exercise are, of course, both important for your overall health and wellbeing, particularly when starting your weight loss plan, it is vital that food habits change in order to see real lasting change. Your most important step when you start out is to set realistic slimming goals. This means ditching extreme diets of any kind – including crash diets – in favour of healthy, balanced meals which include protein, carbohydrates and good fats.
Losing weight too quickly by under-eating, over-exercising or skipping meals can lead to excess skin folds on the body where it has shrunk too quickly. Extreme exercising can also put increased pressure on your adrenal glands and can end up stressing your body with high cortisol levels, which in turn can lead to future health problems.
For the best results, why not follow Amie’s 5 easy tips for healthy weight loss:
Eat seasonally to maximise your nutrient intake.
Go for real food, making your diet as natural as possible.
Aim for a ‘colourful’ plate and a good variety of veg in every meal.
Ditch sugar, monitor your salt intake and read the labels of your food carefully.
Make sure you get three nutritious meals a day, with two small snacks thrown in to keep your blood sugar levels up.
8 Ways To Get Rid Of Acne Now And Forever
Top dermatologists weigh in on which acne treatments really work.
By Jacqueline Kilikita and FIORELLA VALDESOLO
Feb 16, 2017
For beauty obsessives, acne is something of a scourge on humanity and it pushes even the best of us to extreme, sometimes dangerous measures. From putting toothpaste on our faces, to scraping and picking away at our skin and cotton-budding harsh chemicals or neat alcohol on open sores, many of us have tried some relatively unadvisable things in a bid to decrease the number of blemishes.
Then, of course, there are the anti-biotics. A course often of six or 12 months, which can preclude drinking and bring on depression as a side effect, and where's the fun in that?
In this article, we break down and investigate a wide range of treatments - from adjusting your diet, to applying different kinds of topical creams, with the hope that you might find the right sort of solution to suit you and your lifestyle.
But first, is there a different treatment for teenage acne as opposed to adult acne?
"The conventional acne treatment for teenagers is to dry them out and get rid of the oil," says dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD, and although we have less sebum as we age, the oil we do have turns into a pore-clogging glue.
"Adult acne is the result of a problem with the oil chemistry," he says. "As hormones change, oil does too, becoming more viscous and as it flows through the gland and out through the pore, it gets stuck."
So how can we banish those sore, unsightly bumps for good?
1. DITCH THE DAIRY
While facialists have bashed dairy for decades, clinical studies have only recently established a link between milk consumption and acne.
"Milk contains testosterone precursors, which cause increased sebum production," says dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD."What's fascinating is that one study found that of all milk, skim milk has the strongest correlation with acne, and some hypothesise that skim milk has less oestrogen than whole milk."
The thing is, switching to organic milk won't remove your exposure. "All milk naturally contains androgens and IGF-1 [Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, a hormone that may be a precursor to breakouts]," Mariwalla says. "There's no such thing as hormone-free milk. Plus, milk contains sugar, a lactose, so it stimulates insulin."
If you just can't bear to banish milk from your diet completely, nutritionist and wellness coach Amie Richmond suggests opting for nut, rice or oat milks instead - and the same goes for yogurt. "Replacing milk and yogurts with coconut-based, dairy free varieties will not only help eliminate the compounds that trigger acne, but they have the added benefit of high protein levels which is great for your overall health."
Another recent study suggests that following a low glycaemic index diet—that means one with less refined sugars, carbohydrates, and sugar-containing foods—may result in fewer acne outbreaks. "As the glycaemic index goes up, it affects insulin production and all the hormones," Fusco says. "They are all in a delicate balance—your female hormones are in balance with your thyroid hormones, which are in balance with your insulin. When you have more in one area, it's like a domino effect on the others."
Since the dietary acne provoker may vary for every person, New York dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, recommends keeping a food diary outlining what you eat in the days before a breakout to determine what your triggers are. "Then you start a very slow re-entry, introducing one new item, like dairy, every six weeks to see what happens on the skin," says Marmur, who believes that it takes just 48 hours for what you eat to show up on your face.
2. FEED YOUR SKIN
Now we know which types of food to avoid, which groups should we be adding to our daily diet?
"Probiotic rich foods such as oats, chia seeds and sauerkraut, not to mention dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and cabbage, will help eliminate the toxins that cause acne," say both Richmond and Matt Plowman, of Cardiff Sports Nutrition. "Foods packed with zinc, like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flaxseeds are also great at boosting immunity to the bacteria that causes spots, but it's food that is high in skin-healing vitamin A, such as spinach and carrots, that is even better. Don't bank on expensive treatments and creams - it's best to start from the inside."
While it may sound like a cliche, not drinking enough water is detrimental to your skin's health. "Acne can be a result of toxins leaving the body," says Richmond, "so sipping on water throughout the day helps flush these toxins out. That said, it's important that the water you drink has been through a carbon filter. "Tap water in the UK contains a number of added chemicals which can contribute to toxin production."
3. TRYING OUT ORAL MEDICATIONS
Historically, the premier hormonal mediator has always been the birth control pill, which works by lowering your body's testosterone levels - the male hormone that increases oil production - but this doesn't have to be your first line of defence.
Marmur points out that while the Pill may clear up acne, it can also provoke another unsightly reaction: melasma, a noticeable discoloration of the skin that she says is on par with acne in her practice as a top complexion complaint, not to mention mood swings, weight gain, weight loss and headaches.
If you do opt for the Pill, figure out an exit strategy first. "Birth control pills can be very effective, but eight or nine times out of ten, when you stop them, you are right back where you started," says Bank, and that's where Spironolactone comes in.
"This a actually medication that was initially developed for blood pressure and heart failure," says Dr. Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, "but we have evidence that it works in female adult acne by local attention on hormones in the skin."
Like many spot sufferers, Bank is also a big fan of Accutane, the prescription-only vitamin A–derived pill, because it continues to work after you stop using it. "Accutane is still, hands-down, our most effective, lasting antipimple medication," he says, and the results speak for themselves.
Although an Accutane prescription - which you can get from your GP - comes with significant FDA regulation (because of possible birth defects, patients have to agree to use two forms of birth control and undergo regular pregnancy tests during treatment and for one month after), most of the derms we interviewed believe it to be worth the trouble. "After you stop the medication, many people have a durable response for many, many years," Mariwalla says.
And we can't forget the buzz surrounding antibiotics. "There is definitely a move away from them," says consultant dermatologist Dr. Justine Hextall FRCP. "We are seeing antibiotic resitant P acnes, and while a short course of Tetracycline may be prescribed, there is little evidence that long courses confer much benefit. That's why I prefer topical treatments."
4. TOPICAL TREATMENTS
Gold-standard topical acne fighters such as retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid remain the solutions most frequently name-checked by our dermatologists and Mahto reveals that using retinoids are one of the most effective treatments for acne prone skin.
"Retinoids, or vitamin A, stimulates collagen production and exfoliates the top layers of skin cells. This really helps to reduce the formation of both whiteheads and blackheads, and improves pigmentation or staining in the skin left behind by acne."
And according to Consultant Dermatologist Justine Hextall, a combination of spot treatment benzyol perozide and retinoids is even better. "Interestingly, recent studies have shown that benzyol peroxide can help to prevent antibiotic resistance in acne, but you have to be savvy. It dramatically reduces vitamin E, another important anti-oxidant in skin, so make sure you apply a moisturiser packed with the stuff half an hour later for a healthy, happy complexion."
Found in a myriad of affordable, over-the-counter spot creams, gels and pastes, exfoliant salicylic acid is favoured by many dermatologists for its ability to help break down the outer layer of skin, so it doesn't mix with sebum, while speeding up the resolution of whiteheads. "It's also a common agent in chemical peels which I'd suggest for sufferers with modrate to mild acne," says Mahto. "It helps to banish acne lesions, pigmentary change and to diminish superficial scars."
And there's a new kid on the block - Azelaic Acid. "This is the new skincare buzzword ingredient," says Rodial's Jon Rummins. "It is anti-bacterial and, at the same time, provides an anti-inflammatory soothing action, which is why we have added it to the Super Acid Rush Peel alongside dead skin-lifting Glycolic Acid. Together, they treat the skin without sensitising, helping to diminish acne considerably."
Although, as Marmur notes, it takes only two days for a pimple to crop up, you need to give any topical preventive measure 42 days to kick in. "The lifespan of a pimple is about six weeks, so that's the magic number for how long you should give a product before you give up," she says.
5. TRY A MICRONEEDLE TREATMENT
As far as picking goes, it's hard to resist the lure of the magnifying mirror, that evil contraption that turns every pore into a crater. But while it may appear that your clogged pores number in the thousands, many of those little dots, particularly on the nose, are entirely normal hair follicles. Resist the urge to squeeze; leave extractions to the professionals. "If you have a well-trained medical aesthetician working under the auspice of a derm, they can use acne extractors or microneedles to actually get in there for the more difficult whiteheads," says Neil Sadick, MD.
Dermatologist Hextall agrees: "Often, traditional acne treatments quickly clear the typical papules and pustules but the comedones remain. I have found that microneedling is getting very good results, so book in with a dermatologists if you have constant flare-ups."
All this talk of needles might make you feel a little queasy, but the proof is in the clear skin. In fact, Mahto even suggests opting for a steroid injection, especially for single, isolated, stubborn acne lesions such as cysts. "This method is particularly useful is a quick response is required, for example, if you have an upcoming social event. The cyst usually flattens within 48 hours - your dermatologist will be happy to discuss any side effects."
6. LOOK INTO LASERS
After being papped leaving an L.A skin clinic, Kendall Jenner took to her blog to reveal that she used a laser to clear up a bout of debilitating acne - and there's method in the madness.
"IPL (intense pulse light) treatments can often calm down outbreaks," says Hextall, "but I use this in conjunction with other topical treatments. IPL is fantastic at reducing the post-inflammatory redness. It is this redness that responds to the treatment; it attracts the laser brilliantly and shrinks the outbreak."
While IPL is a great place to start, Mahto mentions that it's worth talking to a cosmetic dermatologist on the General Medical Council register to decide which treatment is best for your skin. "As well as IPL there are pulse dye lasers and other light sources that can help. Although, they may be a little pricey, some starting from £300 and upwards on average, and multiple courses are sometimes required."
7. LED THERAPY IS GAINING TRACTION
In case you hadn't noticed, skincare is getting pretty hi-tech - and LED therapy is causing quite a stir among specialists.
"There is an increasing interest in the anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating properties of LED treatment to diminish acne," says Hextall. "Blue light is also anti-bacterial to P Acnes in the skin while red light is anti-inflammatory. Together, they are very effective and a lot of great work has been done to show that."
8. SIMPLIFY YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
"I am struck by how much cleansing and exfoliating occurs as soon as acne appears," says Hextall, "and in my view, this often makes things worse."
That's right - constant washing, especially using soap products, will disrupt the skin's naturally acidic pH, in turn, disturbing the skin barrier, and if the skin is stripped of oil, it'll only produce more to compensate. Yes, it's a scary thought, but there's no need to worry!
"Using a gentle, slightly acidic wash and applying a light moisturiser can be one of the most important changes when it comes to treating acne," says Hextall - so what does she recommend? "I like Cetaphil as an active topical treatment to apply during the day as well as La Roche Posay's Effacular Duo - it calms spots, reduces inflammation and keeps skin hydrated."
How To Be A Gluten Free Vegan
If you're struggling with being vegan and gluten free here are some top tips to help make things easier.
5 May 2017
Read the full article here; http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/vegan/gluten-free-and-vegan-1057204.html
Some 542,000 people living in the UK, have now adopted a plant-based diet, according to the Vegan Society. Veganism is now one of Britain’s “fastest growing lifestyle movements” and with many health benefits associated with a balanced plant based diet, it’s no surprise why. According to Mintel, 8% of UK adults say they avoid gluten as a lifestyle choice. If you are following a gluten free diet and considering making the transition from meat to plants then read on for some top tips from Bodychef Nutritionist - Amie Richmond.
Ask for help – having helped people lose weight and get healthier for over a decade www.bodychef.com know what they’re doing! So their dietary experts know that to satisfy your need for good quality carbs and have put together lots of meals with good grains, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice. All delivered straight to your door. And with tasty pre-prepared selections such as Spinach and Sweet Potato Stew, Green Bean Pilaf with Black Eye Peas and Lentil and Tomato Hotpot – you’re not going to feel like you’re missing out!
You’ll also find loads of colourful and delicious fruits and vegetables that go into making your lunches, dinners and desserts a real delight. Your all-important and valuable protein is gained from a healthy amount of scrumptious nuts seeds and legumes, leaving you with a complete, healthy clean-eating diet plan that’s free from all animal derivatives.
Have a Trial Week and do your research. Start by listing all the vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits and grains you currently enjoy then do some research into new foods you haven’t tried yet. Ever tried guava for example? This fruit has a remarkable nutrition profile, just 28 grams of guava will give you 107% of your recommended vitamin C intake for the day. You will be removing meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey, gelatine, sugar and natural flavourings from your diet. Look at what you currently eat in a week and see what foods you will have to give up so you can be realistic.
Dinner. This is the hardest meal of the day to change so if you currently have the traditional meat and two veg for dinner, try eating out in different restaurants in your trial week for some inspiration. Middle Eastern, Greek, or Asian restaurants have a great array of vegan dishes plus there are now vegan only restaurants and cafes which will also cater for your gluten free choices.
Meet you Calorie Needs. Everyone’s metabolic rate is different but as a rule women require around 2,000 calories a day whilst men need approximately 2,500. This is the number of calories required to maintain your weight but if you are looking to lose weight then be mindful that most vegans actually gain weight in the first year as your body deals with the change to your diet. To make the transition to veganism a bit easier, I suggest opting for a meal delivery service such as Bodychef (www.bodychef.com) who offer a delicious vegan package, with all your meals delivered straight to your door. This is a great introduction to going meat-free and the ‘personalisation’ options allow you to really make the meals work for you. So try it for a week and see how you get on. A sample day can look like this https://www.bodychef.com/sample-menus/vegan-diet/
Keep up your Iron. The biggest worry most people have when switching to a vegan diet is missing out on iron in their diet and becoming anaemic. Even though the iron in plant-based foods are not as well absorbed as the iron in animal foods, vegans usually eat a higher volume of iron-containing foods like chickpeas to compensate. Also, many plant foods naturally contain vitamin C, which aids the absorption of the iron.
Plan your protein. You don’t have to eat red meat to make red blood cells but you do need to fuel your body with all the minerals it needs. There are 24 grams of protein in a 4oz steak but there is also 24 grams of protein in 4oz of black beans so incorporate these alternatives into your meal to reach your recommended intake. The average male requires around 60g of protein per day and females around 50g.
No Dairy. Going vegan means no dairy products so no cheese, butter or yogurt. There are high sources of calcium in spinach and kale and lentils so make sure you replace all the minerals you are removing from your diet. Visit The Vegan Society website www.vegansociety.com for helpful resources on which plant based foods contain the highest mineral levels.
Going Shopping. You will be used to scanning labels for gluten free items on the shelves by looking for the GF ‘cross grain’ symbol on food packaging. Vegan products also have clear labelling so look out for the ‘V’ symbol. Be careful to check that it is vegan not just vegetarian as the symbols to differ between manufacturers and countries of origin. Read ingredient labels carefully. Be very cautious if the product is a new or improved formulation.
Eating Out. If you are eating from a buffet that is not clearly that is not clearly labelled then go for colour and opt for real whole foods like carrot batons, celery sticks, cucumber slices. Humus is a great dip for you but be mindful of the creamer dips which usually have added yoghurt. Bright coloured foods are normally a safe bet, stay away from anything beige, breaded, fried or battered foods that may contain hidden gluten and meat sources.
Phone A Friend and get support. If you’re going to a party or out for a meal, give your host/ the restaurant plenty of warning that you are now following a vegan diet so you don’t end up stuck or confused. At www.bodychef.com you can call or email any questions you have, get some advice or just some added motivation to avoid any slip ups. Hunger and willpower are not good friends so try not to replace meat with alternatives like high-fat foods or starchy carbohydrates. Avoiding meat won’t keep you healthy if instead you consume high- fat, nutrient-empty, junk foods like chips or crisps.
Making a commitment to become vegan when you already have a restricted diet is a big step. So if you are going ‘gluten free veggie’ this year then we wish you the best of luck in your new health journey
Ultimate guide to beating sugar: From meal prep to meditation, 7 ways to keep YOUR January diet on track
- Sugar creeps into all kinds of food. We also crave sugar when we're dieting
- British nutritionist Amie Richmond gives her tips on spotting unwanted sugar
- Founder of Yoga Medicine Tiffany Cruikshank has also shared tips on how to meditate away your cravings
By Mia De Graaf For Dailymail.com
Published: 17:22, 9 January 2017
January is in full swing, and the internet is buzzing with detoxes, juice cleanses, gym memberships... the lot.
But almost two weeks in, we all start to feel the pinch. That's when sugar cravings set in.
Our brains fantasize about sugar when we're thirsty, hungry, tired, or under-caffeinated - yearning for a quick hit, like a drug.
However, succumbing to the sweet stuff is the worst thing you can do.
Health care officials unanimously agree that sugar is the driving factor for the surge in global obesity rates, now that the myth that 'fat makes you fat' has finally been dispelled.
More than two thirds of the US population are obese or overweight, and more than two thirds in the UK.
Sugar can also wreak havoc on your organs.
So how can you keep your diet on track?
Worryingly, added sugars plague many common foods - even some that appear to be healthy.
Why? It's simple: they extend the shelf life.
Added sugars keep foods like bread, breakfast cereals and even tinned fruit and vegetables in seemingly edible condition for longer.
Plus it helps disguise the blander taste of foods that have had the fat removed and re-branded as 'low fat' options.
Therefore, many foods we think of as wholesome – like yogurt, cereal bars, low-fat snacks and fruit-flavoured water - may actually contain much more sugar than we think, ultimately causing us to pile on the pounds without even knowing it.
1. MEAL PREP IS KEY
'It sounds obvious but the only way to know for sure that you are not consuming foods with added sugar in them is to eat "real" food,' British nutritionist Amie Richmond explains.
'This means food which are not processed, so start by filling your fridge with fresh vegetables, fruit, lean meats, fish and eggs.
'Cooking from scratch ensures the only sugars you are consuming are natural sugars from fructose which is found in fruits and vegetables.'
A huge proponent of meal prep, Richmond recommends one in particular, which has worked for her: Bodychef.
It is one of many companies in the newly-booming meal prep business, providing freshly made meals delivered straight to your door, all calorie counted for you.
Richmond said she likes Bodychef for its tailor-made 'Low Sugar' plan, which offers meals, snacks and deserts free from empty calories found in refined sugar.
'It ensures your blood sugar levels stay constant without the peaks and troughs of a high sugar diet,' Richmond explains.
2. MEDITATE TO STAVE OFF CRAVINGS
Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine, told the Daily Mail meditation is key to keep your mind and cravings in check.
Here is her nine-point plan to banish sugar fantasies.
1. Set time aside to meditate frequently - even if it’s only for a few minutes every day. Short but often is far more effective than long periods you only schedule in occasionally.
2. Aim to meditate at the same time every day.
3. Find a spot away from possible distractions (radio, TV, computers, phones and other people) and sit on a cushion on the floor or perch on the end of the chair and allow your neck, back and shoulders to be relaxed.
Don't let yourself slouch back or get too comfortable, as you might zone out or even fall asleep, which defeats the objective. A state of 'conscious alertness' gives the best results.
4. Set a timer for five minutes.
5. Close your eyes, or keep them slightly open and softly focused toward the floor in front of you, and take a few moments to concentrate on your breathing and settle your mind.
6. When you're settled, begin by noticing the sensations of the outline of your body, your belly, your hips, your legs. Then turn your mind towards creating this image of yourself at a healthy weight. What does it feel like?
Can you picture yourself slim? What do you look like? How does it feel? Try to notice all of the sensations in this new, healthy body.
Do you walk differently or carry yourself differently? Do your clothes fit differently? Do you talk or interact differently?
Picture yourself slimmer - going through every aspect of a full day. Really visualize all the detail and make a point of noticing everything that feels different.
7. As your meditation ends, write down in a notebook all the positive changes you noticed in the slimmer you - in your body, your mind, your stress levels, your state of health, your relationships, work success - everything.
8. Keep in your mind this image of the slimmer you, and make a point of coming back to it at intervals throughout the day. Hold it in your mind for just a few moments, close your eyes, and think about how you are going to feel.
9. Repeat this meditation every day for a month, and increase your meditation time to ten minutes if you can.
3. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
There are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon.
According to Richmond, we should all have that figure fixed in our minds.
Guidelines in the US and the UK say we should be consuming no more than 30 grams of added sugar per day in our diet.
But it isn't hard to reach that limit.
There can be up to 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar in just one bowl of 'healthy' breakfast cereal.
A Chobani Bluberry Yogurt contains 15 grams of sugar per serving - more than a scoop of Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream.
And a serving of IHOP breakfast pancakes contain a staggering 55 grams of sugar - more than a slice of chocolate cake from the Cheesecake Factory.
Richmond says she cannot stress enough the importance of checking what's in your food.
'Read ingredient labels to find out how much sugar has been added to the food you are eating,' she says.
'Just because you are not sprinkling sugar on your food yourself, doesn't mean it hasn't been snuck in there, so work out where your "hidden" sugars are coming from and avoid them.
'Remember, sugar can be called many things so watch out for the following as they are all sugars - glucose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, honey, hydrolysed starch, invert sugar, fructose & molasses.'
4. WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK
Soda drinks are made with an abundance of added sugar (a 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 13 teaspoons of sugar).
But even more alarmingly, trendy flavored waters can also have large amounts of added sugar as well.
Flavored water now accounts for 30 percent of all bottled water sales in the UK, with some leading brands containing 9 teaspoons of added sugar in a 440ml bottle.
Again, Richmond warns, it comes down to checking the labels.
Most importantly, however, water is always an option - and more satisfying to your body than you may think.
Often, when your body is thirsty, you crave sugar for a boost. That makes Coca Cola, orange juice, and La-Croix look tantalizing.
Really, your body just needs a bit of hydration.
'Don't be fooled by the pictures of fruit on the bottle,' Richmond warns.
'When in doubt stick to plain filtered water, ideally at least 2 liters per day to keep you on track and avoid those sugar cravings.'
5. TRY NATURAL ALTERNATIVES
Ideally, stick to as little sweetener as possible.
If you can't resist a sweet taste in your morning Americano, try some alternatives.
But make sure you know why they are better for you, so you can differentiate between them and make your own choices.
'If you use sugar in your hot drinks try swapping to Stevia, a plant based sweetener or Xylitol,' Richmond advises.
'Made from the Silver Birch tree, Xylitol has a very low glycaemic index (GI) meaning it won't spike your blood sugar levels like refined sugar.
'It also has the added bonus of having 40 percent less calories than sugar.'
If you are a syrup or honey fan then try switching to Yacon syrup.
'With only one third of the calorific content of sugar, Yacon syrup is made from the root of a South American plant and has a GI of just 1 whereas granulated sugar ranks at around 60,' Richmond explains.
6. DIET DOES NOT MEAN DIET
Billions of people drink artificially-sweetened beverages to avoid the calories of sugar.
But according to a recent five-year study by Purdue University, diet soda is just as likely to lead to obesity.
And even diet soda drinkers who do not put on weight have a significantly increased risk of developing diabetes or heart disease, or of having a stroke.
The study showed that the false promise of real calories confuses the body.
When diet soda drinkers do eat real sugar, their body does not know how to respond.
After enough soda-drinking, sweet-tasting foods do not trigger the natural release of a hormone to regulate blood sugar.
It means the blood sugar will then plummet, triggering hunger and cravings for sweet food.
Beyond that, diet soda also wears down the brain's 'reward centre' by constantly triggering a rush of satisfaction.
Like with repeated drug use, the brain eventually gets used to this level of stimulation - causing you to eat more and more in a bid to reach that level of satisfaction.
Richmond echoes these warnings.
'When looking to lower your sugar intake don't be tempted to go for zero sugar options,' she says.
'These are regularly compensated with artificial sweeteners which some studies suggest may damage your health and in the long term lead to weight gain.
'Limit your intake of aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol and sucralose.
'Instead get your sugars from natural sources like fruits and vegetables and check the ingredients of products which are branded "naturally sweetened" or "contains no added sugars".'
7. GOOD FATS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause blood sugar to rise rapidly and then drop quickly, leaving you hungry and craving unhealthy snacks.
To minimize this rapid rise and fall, Richmond advises pairing protein with healthy fats and fiber in your meals, all of which can slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you full for longer.
'Opt for good fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil,' she says.
Still craving sugar? Richmond suggests this fail-safe tip...
'Add 1tsp of cinnamon to your daily diet to help regulate blood sugar levels and stop that afternoon biscuit craving.'
Weight loss tips: Doing THIS exercise burns MORE fat than going for a run
WEIGHT LOSS is the buzz-phrase of the moment with the new year upon us, and most of the nation having pigged out over Christmas. Check out the exercises you can do to lose weight fast.
PUBLISHED: 12:00, Tue, Dec 27, 2016 | UPDATED: 13:51, Thu, Dec 29, 2016
Weight loss is going to be at the top of most Brits' list as January's 'New Year, New You' season approaches. And with these five key exercises you won't have to swap your social life for the gym.
The barbell rollout is said to be the best exercise for burning fat and fast. Express.co.uk explains how to do a barbell rollout and four four other key fat-burning exercises.
A study at the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education revealed this gym move burns fat stored in the body faster than 'traditional' cardio exercise.
That doesn't mean you should ditch your 20 minute warm-up jog for a barbell rollout but combining the two will hit your body where it really matters.
You must take care to do this move properly, however, as this core killer risks the shoulders and lower back if performed without due care.
According to Muscle and Fitness magazine, this is how you should undertakes a barbell roll out:
- Place a barbell on the floor and grab it with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart
- Your shoulders should be directly over the barbell. This is your starting position
- Keeping your knees in a fixed position, roll the bar out in front of you until your arms fully extend in front of your body
- It comes after exercise was revealed not to be the most important factor in slimming down.
Amie Richmond, weight loss expert and nutritionist at www.bodychef.com, said: “When embarking on a fat or weight loss programme the first question you should always ask yourself is ‘do I want to be thin or do I want to be healthy?'
Secrets to losing weight this 2017 without having to go to the gym and starving yourself
By Viola Smith / 2017.01.06
The holidays usually will make anyone gain a ton of weight and it is often a struggle to go back in shape when this happens. Most people would crash diet, deprive themselves of good food or would even hit the gym to the point of almost losing their strength. Amie Richmond, a nutritionist has shared some of the most effective and safer ways to lose weight and detoxify this year.
In an article published by Mirror, about 7,000 calories are consumed by most people each time December hits and many are also desperate to get all those calories gone as quickly as possible. One of the best things to remove toxins from all the holiday meals eaten is to re-alkalise.
To do this means to balance the acidity level of the body by putting some powdered supergreen in breakfast meals, which are available at any local health and food store. It is a good product to cleanse the body from toxins that could harm the immune system.
Drinking hot water with fresh lemon zest and ginger could also work in detoxifying. These are easier to make and it is a good alternative in case one can't find those powdered supergreens.
Started the year on a high? Or are you still in your PJs, working your way through the Quality Street? Wherever you are on the journey back to greatness, please allow us to introduce our team of Happiness Experts, each ready to lend a helping hand to make 2017 your best year ever.
So, where to start? Let’s start at the very beginning (post-Christmas reference to Sound of Music obvs). It’s all about getting in the right mindset, says the king of juicing, Jason Vale, aka the Juice Master and creator of the world’s biggest free detox (kicking off on Monday 9th Jan, btw).
Your life is a direct result of what you feed yourself, both physically and mentally. If you can get the head in the right place, everything below the neck will fall into place exactly the way you want it to.
Ooh, we like that. So, how do we become the master of our own minds? Life and business expert, and best-selling author Sara Davison shares the secret:
Use the remote control to your mind… we all have it but often we don’t realise it or don’t use it. Learning how to manage your emotions is the most powerful tool you will ever master. Take back your control of your life and you can make 2017 your best year yet.
Now who’s gone and lost the remote?? Ah, found it. OK, so now we’ve got the mind sorted, time to start planning 2017. Leading life coach and Daily Express columnist, Carole Ann Rice advises:
Get clarity on what you want and inch towards it daily but most importantly, be in the now and make the most of the present.
Makes sense. But what about if you’ve lost your mojo too? Maria Hocking, author of Strip Naked & Re-Dress With Happiness says it’s time to step out of that comfort zone and into something new:
Right now, think about three things that would excite you. Choose the one which excites you the most. A great tip: If you can’t choose between two of them, toss a coin, let it land on the floor and step on it before you look at it. Ask yourself, “Which one did I WANT it to land on?” Your heart will answer.
Heads! But what if we’ve done all of that, tried really hard and we’re still not happy?
The problem is not the problem, our reaction to the problem is the problem. When life does not go to plan, ask yourself this question, is it going to matter in 5 minutes? 5 days or 5 years? Probably not. Go outside and take a deep breath and remind yourself it’s all working out perfectly.
And breathe…. thanks Jo Soley, Brilliant Business Angel, feeling better already. Nadine Dash, founder of Dear Nadine, shares that things can always change for the better, even though it might not feel like it at the time.
See the positive in your situation and the environment will respond in your favour. You just have to set the intention to get the victory.
And it’s ok to ask for help too. @CAPuk (Christians Against Poverty) can assist:
Poor finances can affect your whole outlook, not to mention your relationships and even your health. Take back control! Free sessions are available across the UK to help you draw up a flexible household budget and help you stick to it. Put your postcode in here and see what’s available near you.
Next up is Justin Wall – coach, youth mentor and provider of inspirational conversations. We already.
Happiness to me is having a vision for your life which will have a positive impact on both you as an individual and all those you come into contact with.
Talking about connections… anyone looking for love this year? Charlotte Lewis, founder of The Love Life Agency, says the secret to a happy relationship starts with us:
Truly value and love yourself first…. If you know your worth as a person, potential partners will have no choice but to see that too. We have to learn that we must feel whole, secure and a valued person on our own, before we enter a relationship, in order to give it the best chance of success.
Book us a table for two at the First Dates restaurant at once! Laura Hollywood, mental wellness expert, agrees – we need to give ourselves a few more hugs:
The one thing I think really helps people is self-compassion. There is much research showing that the more self-compassion we have, the greater our emotional wellbeing and less anxiety, depression and stress. If we allow ourselves to be human and not expect perfection, it helps us stay motivated even when we make mistakes, so we don’t become discouraged and stop trying.
All about reducing the stress levels then. Life coach and Huffington Post contributor Pamina Mullins has a tip for us:
All the brain plasticity research confirms we can rewire our brains. So be very mindful what you make a priority and focus your attention on during the year ahead. Your mental air space is prime real estate. Leverage it wisely! It can create miracles – or an almighty mess!
Mess we don’t like. Financial mess can make people unhappy – something Squirrel is on a mission to change:
Get on top of your money and you get on top of your life. Squirrel is an app that helps you manage you money better and avoid over-spending. Create a budget, stick to it and never have to worry about getting caught short.
(Editor’s note: Whoever thought of that brand name deserves a pay rise this year. *doffs cap*)
What else can help reduce ‘mess’? Judith Romain, complementary therapist and psychoanalyst, recommends this strategy:
Use a board with a list of pros and cons. What is important and what is less. By using this as a priority list, you allow for the free flow of energy which can help alleviate overload. Good if you have a chaotic mind. Take the time to do a weekly audit and evaluate the outcomes.
Wise advice there, thank you Judith. Kevin Mincher, founder of Unstoppable Teen, thinks commitment is the way forward:
Stop stating preferences and start making proper decisions where you really commit to the things that wil actually make this your best year ever.
Kevin, you had us at ‘best year yet’. But do we actually need to commit to a goal? Amie of My Body Fabulous thinks so:
It was British Prime Minster Edward Smith-Stanley who first said ‘Those who do not find time for exercise will soon have to find time for illness’. We are all busy but make 2017 your year to move. My top tip is to get a pedometer and try and hit 10,000 steps every day.
And you know what, it doesn’t need to be scary either. Chantal Di Donato, Founder and Health Coach at Live Lean Health explains why 2017 is the perfect time for change:
Our bodies want to be healthy; that is their default setting! We make it hard when our lifestyle is not based on abundance, but we can change that! It is a step-by-step process that will bring huge rewards in the end and this is how we create health! I believe 2017 is a great year to initiate changes, in its numerology path, it is a “1” (beginnings) and there is no better time to start something new and better!
And when you’re passionate about something, good things happen, right? Damien Clarkson, co-founder of vegan and conscious living festival Vevolution shares his thoughts:
Like all people I face struggle. Acceptance of that struggle is important and a belief that if you follow your passion and put positivity into the world you will overcome – that helps me find happiness. I try to do that through Vevolution, a festival for the kind and curious, the people who want to enhance their lives and make the world a better place.
OK, we’re cooking on gas now. And we’re loving it. We should show our gratitude.
Use a gratitude journal! Until you can be happy with what you have, you won’t find satisfaction with anything new either!
Betsy Pake, author, speaker and entrepreneur
Thanks Betsy, we’re very grateful. Now time for a takeaway from personal trainer, Alan Levi,
Gratitude is the attitude. Every day write down 10 things for which you are grateful that day (best to do this at the end of the day). What we appreciate, appreciates and the more we put our focus on the good things in our life, the more goodness and abundance we see in the world around us. As Tony Robbins rightly points out – it is impossible to be stressed and grateful at the same time.
Let’s repeat that one more time. Gratitude is the attitude. BOOOM. OK, so what about if there’s been one too many takeaways of a different kind? Sereen Ford reminds us that of the saying that abs are made in the kitchen:
Start by focusing on what you can eat, not what you can’t. By setting goals of what you want to eat more of, rather than less of, you are focusing on the positive aspects of food and therefore moving forward to changing your habits long-term.
We can do that. More nutrition advice to digest, this time courtesy of Victoria Tipper Nutrition.
My number one tip? Improve digestion. It’s really important to chew food thoroughly and take your time when eating. Many of us tend to eat quickly when we’re very hungry so regular snacks and eating mindfully will help relieve this.
Again, achievable. We’re feeling happier already. Keeping it simple for us is SBS winner, The Fit Mum Formula, with this handy tip.
Keep it simple. Eat more vegetables. For weight loss, half your plate should be vegetables for a main meal.
Common sense, right? Right. Time to get moving.
Prioritize two or three workouts every week. These are your immovable ‘happiness’ workouts. The ones you need to stay mentally sharp for other challenges in your life. Schedule them as you would revenue generating work meetings. In the big scheme of things, they are.
Karen Lisa Laing, writer, columnist and co-director of Fit School
Happiness workouts. Two words that we’ve never thought go together, but we have a sneaky suspicion Karen may help us find joy in the gym. Finally.
Another one that likes to move it (move it) is Lisa Jane of Wildcat Fitness, winner of Best Fitness Blog at the Health Blog Awards 2016. She says:
Move your body every day! Pick an activity you enjoy – running, yoga, dancing, swimming – it all counts. Exercise releases endorphins which can help to regulate hormones and improve sleep quality, making a happier and healthier you.
So, that’s our 24 tips to happiness all neatly rounded up. Everyone feeling like this now?
- 16:31, 3 JAN 2017
After a whopping average of 7000 calories consumed on Christmas Day - plus all the other lovely excesses of December - many of us are feeling sluggish and bloated, our bodies more of a skip than a temple.
As if on cue, many a vow to detox , juice, diet and generally have a lifestyle overhaul follow the festive period.
Juicing, fasting, and skipping meals, however tempting, are generally unsuccessful, and leave you feeling drained, irritable, and hungry.
So for a healthier, safe and effective alternative, nutritionist Amie Richmond has passed on her top tips for MirrorOnline.
Post-Christmas, our bodies are usually very acidic thanks to all the extra sugar we have consumed. This leaves our immune system depressed and less able to deal with colds and flu.
To re-alkalise your system try adding in a supergreen powder to your morning routine which you can purchase at any health food shop.
These supergreens are a mixture of plant algaes, which help your body detoxify quickly and safely and have the added bonus of increasing your energy levels.
Start your day with hot water and add fresh lemon and ginger to flush your system then get those supergreens in you to fight the fatigue.
2. Drink to your success
There is no magic pill to lose weight but increasing your water intake is definitely a step in the right direction!
Excess sugar in the body leads to dehydration, so try having one pint of water every time you feel hungry.
If you are still hungry afterwards then it's time to eat.
Make sure you are consuming at least two litres of water per day to help flush the toxins from your body and rehydrate your cells.
Not only will you feel healthier and more energetic, but it should also improve your skin and hair.
3. Start Moving
You don’t have to be a gym bunny to move. If the gym is not your thing then purchase a pedometer and try to hit a target of 10,000 steps a day.
Not only will you burn through those Christmas calories faster, but you will also increase your muscle mass and metabolic rate, leaving you feeling fitter, healthier, and stronger.
If you are short on time then try out some an online workout you can do at home or try a quick HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, which is effective in a short amount of time.
4. Clean out your cupboards
If you have flooded your body with alcohol, sugar, and fat, your body will be full of toxins. Give your liver a rest from dealing with these toxins by laying off the alcohol and putting some colour back in your fridge.
Bin all 'beige' leftovers including anything breaded, fried, battered or pastry encrusted, and replace with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, eggs, seeds, pulses, and fish.
Reduce your complex carbohydrates like pasta and rice and try something new like lentil, chickpea pasta or quinoa which have higher protein content and will help you feel full for longer.
5. Set realistic goals
Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't expect the indulgences of a month to fall off instantly.
According to the British Dietetic Association the average person will gain up to 5lbs over the Christmas period, the good news is that with a balanced calorie controlled diet your body can return to it's 'pre-Christmas' shape in just a few weeks.
Set a weight loss goal of 2lbs a week and weigh yourself once a week to check you are on track.
There are some great apps available to track your calories, but if this is too fiddly for you then opt for a meal delivery service like Bodychef (www.bodychef.com) where all your meals and snacks are calorie counted and delivered to you.
What are the five new healthy drinks?
Plant-based ‘super waters’ make big health claims – but do they really live up to the hype? Read about the new healthy drinks here:
1. WATERMELON WATER
With around 92% water, watermelon is the ultimate thirst-quenching food – but the buzz around new watermelon water may not be so justified. “Although the sugars that make it sweet are natural, it’s a high GI fruit,” explains nutritionist Angelique Panagos. The plus side? Packed with vitamins A and C to reduce wrinkles and antioxidants like lycopene and l-argenine to boost collagen production – it’s the ultimate anti-ageing beverage.
2. ALOE WATER
You might know it as the green goop you spread on a severe case of sunburn but the fresh pulp from aloe leaves produces a juice said to aid digestion, its vitamin C content boosts the immune system, while vitamin B12 gives you an energy kick. “While there isn’t much scientific evidence out there, it seems that the glycoprotein and polysaccharide content help reduce inflammation to calm intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s and IBS,” says nutritionist Chloe Strickland-Eales.
3. BIRCH WATER
Sourced from the sap of (you guessed it) birch trees, this refresher contains only four calories per 100ml and is rich in micronutrients such as copper, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium and magnesium. It also contains xylitol, which promotes good dental health and saponin, which blocks the absorption of cholesterol explains nutritionist Amie Richmond.
4. MAPLE WATER
“At only 10 calories per 100ml but packed pull of manganese for nutrient absorption, maple water is a healthful and low-sugar alternative to coconut water,” says Richmond. Meanwhile its hydrating electrolyte content means that it’s great post-workout to aid recovery.
5. CACTUS WATER
Containing around half the calories and sugar of coconut water, prickly pear cactus water packs electrolytes and minerals that hydrate, aid digestion and revitalise tired skin. The betalain extract can also ease hangovers explains Strickland-Eales.
Your ultimate guide to protein powder
No longer the preserve of grunting body builders in the gym, find out why protein powders can form an important part of anyone’s health and workout routine.
A hit of protein may sound simple enough, but with so many types to choose from such as casein, whey, non-GMO and so many ways to take it: before or after your workout, as a drink or baked into food – it’s tempting just to give up and pick up a family pack of crisps and a bottle of wine! Don’t. Let team UM guide you through the tricky world of protein powders…
Whey protein might seem like an obvious choice: it enters your blood stream faster than any other protein and boasts the highest levels of leucine, an amino acid, which builds muscles and fuels you through a workout. Take it within an hour of exercising for faster, better results. But experts warn that it might not be right for everyone: ‘Whey is the globular protein, discarded as a waste product in the cheese industry,’ explains nutritionist Amie Richmond, ‘Even if you have a slight allergy to dairy it can have a detrimental effect on your immune system because your body will attack it like a pathogen.’ The result? A runny nose or mucus build up in the lungs.
Taken before bed, it helps repair muscles throughout the night. The best option is micellar casein – your body digests it more slowly so you’re getting more bang for your nutritional buck. Like whey, it is derived from dairy so unsuitable if you’re lactose intolerant and grass-fed options are always best.
Now for the vegan-friendly options. Made from de-hulled soybeans, soy protein digests at a mid-range rate and contains high levels of the amino acids, glutamine and arginine – ideal to support, digestion, brain function and a healthy immune system. The bad news? It tends to be highly processed explains Gareth Dew, founder of Dew fitness and nutrition. Not only that but it also has a high isoflavone content. ‘These little blighters interact with oestrogen in the body and can skew the female hormone’s production when taken in excess,’ explains Richmond, ‘The fear for men is that this can reduce testosterone levels but women should seriously watch their intake based on their height, weight and macros.’
Last but definitely not least comes hemp. No you’re not going to get baked off the stuff and it isn’t the most effective at building muscle (it contains just 10g of protein per scoop compared to 25g in whey) but it’s not all bad news. ‘Hemp is a complete plant based protein so it offers inflammation fighting omega-6 and it also has a high fibre count,’ explains Dew, ‘If you just want a subtle protein boost this is a great option nutritionally.’
HOW TO TAKE IT
If you don’t like the idea of a liquid diet that doesn’t involve white wine spritzers, you can bake with protein powders by using it as a substitute for flour. Just remember that while it may fit better with your macros and workout gains you can’t eat as much as you want. ‘A calorie is still a calorie!’ says Richmond, ‘While one might do the trick, don’t undo a good workout by gorging on an entire batch of protein muffins!’
Weight loss diet UPDATE: Exercise is NOT the most important factor in slimming down
THERE ARE a variety of factors that can impact a person’s physique, but some have more weight than others.
By Lizzie Mulherin
PUBLISHED: PUBLISHED: 22:30, Wed, Dec 14, 2016
While weight loss and exercise can go hand in hand in some instances, a gruelling fitness regime on its own will not guarantee slimming results.
From extreme boot camps to workouts from suspended rope, health-seeking hopefuls have gone to great lengths in a bid to banish unwanted pounds.
But the focus has been misdirected, according to weight loss expert and nutritionist at www.bodychef.com Amie Richmond.
Amie said: “When embarking on a fat or weight loss programme the first question you should always ask yourself is ‘do I want to be thin or do I want to be healthy?’
“We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’ and it’s true. In the long term putting your health first requires fuelling your body with the right nutrients, which is the most beneficial way to maintain a healthy weight and achieve your goals.”
Many experts say only 30 per cent of any weight loss or diet regime is due to exercise. A staggering 70 per cent, however, is down to what you eat.
Amie continued: “Whilst diet and exercise are both important for your overall health and wellbeing, particularly when starting your weight loss plan, It is vital that food habits change in order to see real lasting change.”
According to the weight loss expert, the first step to achieving slimming goals is being realistic.
This means ditching extreme diets of any kind – including crash diets – in favour of healthy, balanced meals which include protein, carbohydrates and good fats.
She explained: “Losing weight too quickly by under-eating, over-exercising or skipping meals can lead to excess skin folds on the body where it has shrunk too quickly.
”Extreme exercising can also put increased pressure on your adrenal glands and can end up stressing your body with high cortisol levels, which in turn can lead to future health problems.”
It’s also favourable to eat seasonally, the nutritionist advised.
Amie said: “Choose a food plan based on real food, as near to nature as you can. Opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables as these are the most nutrient dense and low in calories.
“Try and achieve a ‘colourful’ plate with a variety of vegetables in each meal, such as beetroot, sweet potato and spinach.
“Eating three nutritious meals a day with two small snacks is ideal as this ensures your blood sugar levels do not drop suddenly leading to impulse eating of sugary foods.”
Amie said it’s also important to ditch sugar, monitor your salt intake and carefully check the labels of your food so you know what you are consuming.