Christmas is the kind of time where we put our weight loss woes to one side and give those scales a break for a change. Now this post isn't about going all Bah-humbug on you in fact quite the opposite - I'm telling you to go enjoy yourself, enjoy the festivities but also letting you in on some quick tips to help you avoid that guilt groan come January 1st next year.
Christmas day is probably one of the fattest days of the year (with Easter following closely behind). We can scoff up to 6000 calories alone on Christmas day but it's the run up to Christmas that we can use for the shocked emoticon face. The reason for this is because Christmas can start at least 10 days before the big day itself.
I asked some of my clients when they start to get into the Christmas spirit with food and drink and majority of them agreed that from 10-7 days before December 25th, they start to get into the 'Diet starts next year mindset' and pop open the wine, open the tin of biccies. As said earlier, this post isn't about me having the Scrooge mentality around Christmas eating but I'm here with some of the tips I implement myself in order to avoid crying on the scales come January. So have a read and see which ones you think will be helpful to you. As always, if you have any tips, please do add them to the comments - you never know when a slimmer may use your tip!
My tips for avoiding the Christmas weight gain...
At the end of the day, Christmas comes once a year. The last thing you want is to feel deprived and not enjoy yourself (and that involves every aspect of Christmas not just the food and drink rituals). Enjoy yourself, spend time doing what matters most for you and your family and that is being with each other.
Wishing you health & happiness this Christmas time
Stress is something we'll all experience in our lifetime but it's also something that can hinder our happiness (and we don't want that now do we)?
Stress creates a vicious circle - you worry about something that's happening in your life then you feel stressed, you then worry more and feel even more stressed out. It's like you can't get control of how you're feeling. You may think that this stress you're experiencing is only a temporary thing but if you allow this feeling to build up, it can lead to anxiety and inner turmoil.
Your body doesn't react well to stress.
DID YOU KNOW?
When you are feeling stressed, your body releases a hormone called Cortisol which can age you! Not only that BUT added stress can damage your immune system leaving you susceptible to colds, viruses and can take longer to get over them. Stress can also cause you to put on weight. Yes it's true! Your body reacts to stress in more ways than you realise. So you need to do something NOW to reduce your stress levels and I have all the right tips for you right here in this post...
Reduce stress and anxiety with these simple yet effective tips.
Please remember: In order to start noticing the benefits of stress reduction, you need to practice these on a daily basis. Embarking on them once will have just a temporary effect. Stress reduction is all about new habit & thinking forming for a more mindful life.
As always, I hope this article helps you in some way to find clarity and inner peace
Love & light
Ally Baldwin is a weight management counsellor & Life Coach. If you find that your emotions cause you to overeat, please consider Ally's e-guide 'Beating Emotional Eating' where Ally discusses our emotions and how we can learn to control them to beat our overeating.
Baby it's cold outside and that means for a lot of us, we want to get all Hygge and start snuggling up with our cups of hot chocolate, marsh-mallows, cosy log fires and saturday night TV. Whilst this is all good for our stress levels, it's also the time of year a lot of us can easily put weight on.
If you want to start the new year ahead of the game, then read on to see my tips on avoiding any winter weight gain.
Research shows that some of us can put on up to 5lbs over the festive period. It may not sound a lot but when you think half a stone is just 2lbs extra, it soon makes it more real. In the time I have worked as a weight management counsellor, I have noticed some weight loss trends... Slimmers usually try to lose weight in October/November ready for Christmas parties etc and come December (usually from 10th December), they start to get the 'start in the new year mentality' and here's why.
So at the start of this post I mentioned the feeling all hygge - you know that cosy feeling where you're grateful you're indoors all snug as a bug and all that jazz. Well... that cozy hygge feeling contributes to our winter weight gain more than you know.
Hot chocolate in a coffee shop whilst doing the Christmas shopping? oh go on then (235 calories). Whilst you're at it, how about a cheeky mince pie? 'Don't mind if I do' (that's another 289 calories).
Lets not even get started on the Christmas Chocolate tubs that we all buy in December under the pretence they won't get opened until Christmas Eve - yeah we all know you'll buy another tub as they'll get opened one rainy weekend when you want to feel all cosy.
It's all of these behaviours that lead to this Winter weight gain (and I haven't even got to the Christmas day feast yet).
Lets not even think about the winter warming meals we usually have. It's proven that in colder months, our portion sizes get bigger. Plus we have a tendency to want to eat stodgy, filling foods which are usually coated in carbohydrates.
Avoiding the winter weight gain
Get Active It may be cold out there but there's nothing nicer than a long winter walk on a cold day. Imagine this... the sun is shining, you put your winter coat and boots on and just go off and enjoy the weather. Even a shorter more brisk walk can do wonders for your health. It can improve circulation, help clear your head and offers stress relief.
If you really aren't a cold weather kinda gal then don't worry. There's plenty you can do around the home to help burn off some of those mince pies.
Put on an exercise DVD and make sure you find time every other day to complete exercises. I personally love my Youtube videos and make sure I exercise for just 20 minutes every other day at home when i wake up.
Stock up Make sure you stock your cupboards with tinned foods such as tomatoes, tinned beans and lentils, pastas. Every winter we personally start cooking our homemade soups. Full of different kind of pulses, heaps of veg and potatoes to bulk it up. It can last for up to a week in our house with us topping it up when it starts to run low. It's filling, full of the good stuff (vits and minerals) as it cooks in the vegetable juices.
Healthy food swaps...
Avoid those dips - they are creamy, taste nice but they're so full of fat and calories. Plus they don't fill you up so you usually have a carb and calorie laden piece of bread to go with them.
It's tempting to have a roast dinner on the weekends but they're full of calories. Try having baked potatoes with your dinner instead of roast potatoes.
When you do go out to your coffee shop ask yourself if your hot chocolate really needs those marsh-mallows and extra whipped cream? they're just empty calories that you won't want later in the day.
Don't do the Christmas food shop too early
All that food in the house is far too tempting. I usually go out late one night (when I know it's less busy in the supermarkets) and I usually do my Christmas food shop about 4 days before Christmas. I also make a list before I go so I stick to my list without deviation and the temptation to buy lots of extras (which usually consist of sweets and nibbles).
Leave something on your plate rule.
How many of us as children were told to eat everything on our plate? now as adults we usually have a mentality of 'must eat everything even if i'm stuffed silly'. Our bodies and belts are groaning for us to stop yet our brain is telling us we must carry on. Silly isn't it? Seeing as our portion sizes get bigger in the colder months, so does our bellies as all of that extra food has to go somewhere. Try and experiment where you purposely leave something on your plate. Over time you'll naturally give yourself permission to leave that something on your plate without feeling guilty about it.
our thinking around christmas is way too crooked...
Remember... Christmas is only 1 day! So why on earth do we drag it out for about 2 weeks (or until the children go back to school)? On Christmas day itself, the average person eats about 3000 calories. That's nearly enough calories to put on 1lb. This mentality we have (and yes i'm guilty of it too) is so irrational. Some slimmers in the past have actually said to me they use Christmas as an excuse to eat what they want without caring and then feel guilty when they get back to normal in January. This is the dieting cycle that so many of us experience every year and links in nicely with new years resolutions.
Wouldn't it be an amazing feeling if you got on the scales come the new year and found you haven't put any weight on over the Christmas period?
I'd really love to hear your tips on avoiding winter weight gain. Please leave any in the comments section.
Your body hears and responds to everything that your mind thinks.
That's why weight loss truly is an internal battle. The problem is this....
Alot of us who want to lose weight comes from a negative viewpoint. We tend to concentrate on what we don't like about ourselves rather than focusing our attention on what is great about ourselves and our bodies.
Weight loss isn't just about eating less or moving more to lose weight. Weight loss is about showing yourself appreciation, respect and self love. If you aren't respectful to your body and don't appreciate (even the small things) that your body does for you everyday, you will struggle with successful weight loss.
So many slimmers seek nourishment for our emotions rather than for our body and this can lead to a negative pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving. You respond to your negative emotions rather than your rational / logical way of thinking.
If you are in a negative mindset pattern, how on earth can you go about starting to love yourself?
Affirmations are a fantastic place to start with self love and showing your body respect. Its true that if you feel grateful for your body and all it accomplishes, this will start to show on your body too.
By turning your attention to your body in a positive way, you'll feel less inclined to seek that emotional nourishment that you have been turning to for so long.
what are affirmations?
Affirmations are short, structured sentences designed to support your subconscious mind into positive change. Affirmations are used by millions to help change their mindset, apply positive behaviour and encourage long term change.
The idea of an affirmation is to find one that you can identify with and to apply it to yourself as your own personal mantra.
How can they help me?
HOW TO USE YOUR AFFIRMATIONS...
If you aren't used to the idea of using affirmations, it may feel quite alien or silly at first but trust me when I say, affirmations can be completely life changing. My personal affirmation took me from a girl who couldn't to a girl who can and since using my own personal affirmation every day, my life has changed considerably. When I find myself in life situations where I can't see any way out, I simply repeat my affirmations to myself and I can feel myself becoming mentally stronger as a person.
There's no point in using an affirmation once and thinking 'it doesn't work'. In order for our affirmations to stick to our subconscious, we need to repeat them as and when we need to AND on a daily basis.
Weight loss & health affirmations
You can apply affirmations for any aspect of your life but here I have listed some great affirmations to help encourage weight loss and good health.
If any inspire you, then please use them or alternatively, feel free to create your own.
About the author
Alleyne is a weight management counsellor based in the UK. With over 10 years experience helping slimmers, Alleyne looks at weight management from the inside out using counselling, mindfulness, spirituality and personality profiling.
A client sat in my office last week, looked me in the eye and said 'maybe I should accept that I'm just supposed to be fat'
I hear this quite alot from my clients. They seem to have tried everything that they are on the verge of giving up, ready to submit to their fate of obesity and body dislike but I'm here to tell you that IT REALLY DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!
There are so many reasons why you aren't losing weight and today I'm going to go through my top 7 reasons for you.
You lack motivation
In order to get started with something, we need that motivation. You know that little OOMPH, that get up and go, that metaphorical knock on the head to make us flick that switch. Motivation is something we are born with and we utilise it in different ways. Some of us are motivated by external forces and others by internal. You need to discover what motivates you and how you are programmed to best utilise that inner strength i know you have.
For more information on motivation, request our FREE maintaining motivation e-guide by sending us a quick email.
there are some quick fire ways in which you can easily get yourself motivated.
Some slimmers use an outfit to give them that burst of motivation, others use a holiday or special occasion. For me? I use people. I have a list of people I follow on social media. They are positive in their daily approach and I use their upbeat energy to give me that burst of 'hell yeah I can do this' mentality
You don't truly believe in yourself
If you've dieted and always found yourself with the same results, it's likely that you are stuck in that negative yo-yo trap I see so many slimmers get into. You lose weight, you gain it again so you try to lose it only for it to find you. Depressing isn't it? The truth is, that every time you go through that negative yo-yo cycle, you carry negative messages relating to your previous weight loss attempt. By carrying those negative messages, you burden yourself with your 'failed' previous attempts. You store them in your subconscious (a bit like a bank deposit account) and you withdraw the feelings when you feel like it just as a reminder of what a 'failure' you really are when you next try.
Your thoughts really do determine your reality and if you only think of yourself in a negative way, chances are that you won't achieve the results you are seeking.
You eat emotionally
Food is readily available - special occasions, happy times, sad times. It's there as a reward or as a comfort. It's no wonder that when faced with certain situations in our life, we turn to food!
It's not your fault thought as we food was often used as a reward, comfort or punishment when we were children. Often we carry these messages through to our adulthood and instead of using food as it should be (body fuel) we use it for much more. Changing your attitude to emotional eating isn't a quick fix BUT it can be changed with support and coaching. We have a fantastic e-guide called 'beating emotional eating'. This e-guide gives you more in-depth information about emotions and can help steer you into the right direction so you start to recognise your trigger emotions.
You really aren't trying
You say you're on a diet and losing weight but you choose the most calorific item on the menu and joke that diet starts again tomorrow.
You want to lose weight but you find all the reasons under the sun as to why you can't do it right now.
This is what we call a 'MIS-MATCH' it's where you say one thing but act on a completely different, contradictory behaviour. It's actually something I see alot.
We are all great at procrastinating, making excuses or telling ourselves fibs BUT who are we kidding. Liklehood is that others can see it for what it is so it's best to cut the Cr*p and be honest with yourself.
Are you giving it your 100% attention and devotion?
You aren't exercising
You groan, I groan, everyone groans. Yes - exercise. Sorry to say this but exercise really is an important factor in our weight management. Over the years, I have successfully lost weight and I've been just as successful at gaining it again but the times I have managed to keep my weight stable is by exercising. Find an exercise you like (for me it's swimming and kettlebell), cut the excuses, make it a priority.
You are secretly picking at food
We open the food cupboards or fridge, we have a little nibble and close the door. An hour later we have forgotten that nibble we had earlier yet we wonder why the scales keep going up!
Keep a food diary. Write down exactly what you eat and drink in a day and review it weekly. Look at what changes you could make and implement them.
You aren't drinking enough
When our bodies are de-hydrated, they can send signals to our brain that we are hungry so off we go to fill our bodies with food when really it's water we're crying out for. When you wake up, have a drink of water and set yourself reminders to have regular drinks through out the day. 20 minutes before you sit down for a meal, have a glass of water. This will fill your stomach and in turn will help you eat less.
It's easy for us to take our eyes off the prize when it comes to weight loss. Life gets in the way, we lose track of time and ourselves and before we know it, we are chasing that wagon down the hill. However, weight loss is more than just looking good. It's about living a life of happiness and good health.
A recent study has shown that 98% of us has lapsed when it came to our diets and weight loss. So, if you have lost your way a bit when it comes to your weight, then please don't feel bad about it (or about yourself), just look at it this way - now's the perfect time to put yourself first, dust yourself off and start again.
Have you ever wondered if you have an addiction to sugar?
Sounds silly or does it?
However, the reality is that sugar is highly addictive. We are apparently all born with a slight sweet tooth but for some, that sweet tooth can get out of control.
So what happens to our bodies when we eat sugar?Eating a sugary snack releases ‘feel good’ chemicals such as Dopamine & serotonin. You’ll experience an initial high and like anything of an addictive nature, your body will start to crave more. You’ll become addicted to that feeling so eventually you’ll want or need more in order to have that same ‘sugar high’
Your body will then release insulin to try and stabilise your blood sugar levels. Once this has happened your blood sugar levels will drop and you may find that you have a slump in your energy levels. You’ll feel tired like you need a nap. At this point, you may find that you need sugar to help raise those energy levels. This is of course a complete no-no as you’ll just end up repeating that sugar rush cycle.
Too much sugar can make you put on weight.It’s not rocket science to realise that sugar is calories that your body just doesn’t need. There’s no nutritional values in sugar – no fibre or protein and you’ll need to eat a lot more sugary snacks to feel fuller than you would a high protein meal. Eating just 1 chocolate bar a day can help you put on 1lb in a week
Lets talk diabetes. It’s the elephant in the room with a lot of ‘sugar addicts’ we all know that sugar causes spikes to your insulin levels but did you know that your cells in your body can start to become resistant to insulin? Your pancreas will work harder to produce more insulin but unfortunately your cells don’t respond and your body ends up with sugar in your bloodstream.
Certain forms of diabetes can be controlled with medication (such as type 2) but cutting back on your sugar intake now will really help you in the long term before it gets too late.
Sugar can damage your arteriesSo we know that high sugar intake is linked with obesity and diabetes but did you know that other areas of your body will be affected?
High blood pressure for one which increases your risk of stroke. It can age you. Sugar in your bloodstream will affect your collagen levels which means that your skin will age faster.
Fancy a trip to the dentist?As a child I was petrified of those pictures on the dentists wall – the ones with children who had tooth decay. As an adult I’m pretty proud of the fact I have only 1 filling. Now it isn’t sugar itself that necessarily causes first hand damage but it plays a huge part. You see the bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugars. Acids are created and those acids can help cause tooth decay.
If these effects have been enough to scare you into next week, then read our must read article - tips for cutting back on sugar
Sweets... don't you just love em?
Bet you wouldn't if you knew what effect they had on your body (read our article here to find out more)
The ‘Eat Clean’ movement has grown considerably over the last few years. With more and more information being hidden from us by food companies, it’s no wonder that people want and demand to know what’s really in their food.
Food labels can be ambiguous at the best of times and as a nation, obesity is a problem that can’t be ignored anymore.
Sugar is now in the firing line. Not only because it can help contribute to obesity levels but also because of its effects on our bodies.
Too much sugar in our diet can leave us feeling sluggish, leave us lacking in energy and contributes to the on-going diabetes epidemic. Not to mention the quick ‘sugar highs’ followed by those dreaded sugar lows.
Now if I told you that you had to permanently give up sugar what would you say?
It can’t be done? I can’t do that? Or would you be willing to embrace a life without sugar?
Well… if you are one of those who thinks that it can’t be done, then look again. Here in our article, we’ll help you learn to cut back on sugar and how it can help shape your waistline and change your life.
Our top tips for cutting back on sugar….
Take your time to look at the ingredient list on your produce
When looking for sugar, you need to pay attention to anything ending in ‘OSE’ so for example fructose, sucralose, glucose. These are all forms of sugar. We also need to mention that another form of sugar is honey, avage, molasses and syrups. Corn and rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup. If these ingredients are higher up on the list, then the product contains more of that ingredient.
2. Don’t go cold turkey
It’s easy to rush into things and think ‘I need to cut sugar out of my diet NOW’
However, the reality is that a total sugar detox will hit you in the face like a bat. It is likely to be really hard to stick to. If you have a sweet tooth and find that you are consuming a lot of sugar every day, then detoxing will almost feel like it’s impossible and mentally we will quit before we’ve even started.
Why not go easier on yourself? Look at cutting back over a period of time. Again look at those labels and see how much sugar is contained within that item of food then ask yourself this.
Do you really need it? or is it that you want it? If your answer is that you want it rather than need it then now ask yourself… Do you want to eat that item more than cut back on sugar?
You’ll find your answer with those 2 easy questions.
3. Recognise those small steps
It may sound small to you but they really are a big deal! I bet after just a few weeks you’ll notice a difference in your energy levels and how you look. Your cravings will certainly subside and I bet you even drop a few lbs.
It really is WIN WIN
If you have a lapse and eat cake or biscuits don’t make such a big deal of it and think ‘oh I’ve blown it’ as you haven’t at all. You’ve just hit a minor snag and it can easily be rectified. Embark back on your low sugar diet and draw a line under it.
4. Listen to your body
We’ve all been there. You know that feeling when hunger strikes, the fast food van pulls up outside the office and you think oh I’ll just have this (usually a sweet treat or bag of crisps) Resist that urge. I mean do you really want those 200 calories of nothing?
5. Keep a sugar diary
It's not time consuming unless you want it to be. Simply making a note of what you have eaten and the grams of sugar in the product is a great way of keeping track of your sugar intake. If you are competitive like me, try to have a competition with yourself to reduce the amount each day. I think it may also be an eye opener to see just how much food you really do eat.
6. Protein Power Protein is great at helping us stay fuller for longer. As we feel fuller, we are less likely to go and turn to those sugary snacks. Get yourself organised, pack a protein packed lunch box and take it with you. Don't head out to the supermarket on an empty tummy as you are more than likely to pick up a sugar snack on the way out - hint! there's a reason why the chocolate bars are placed by the tills
7. Try dark chocolate
Ok. So white chocolate is synthetic (and in my opinion tastes it too). Milk chocolate well I won't lie, yes it is nice but have a look at the wrapper of any chocolate bar and i'm sure you'll be shocked at how much sugar it contains. Dark chocolate usually has a lower sugar content and due to the bitter taste, our taste buds can't eat as much as milk chocolate so you are more likely to eat less dark chocolate than you would milk chocolate.
8. Eat more fruit
Fruit has naturally occurring sugars and yes eating too much fruit can be just as bad for you as eating confectionery but like I say 'everything in moderation'. Fruit is full of vitamins and minerals where as confectionery has no nutritional value at all.
9. Eat, sleep, exercise, repeat
As said earlier, sugar releases serotonin into our bodies making us feel happier. Guess what?! exercise has the same effect. It may seem like a chore at first but once you allow yourself the time to get into a routine with exercise you'll start to make more positive changes to both your body and mind.
You'll notice as you cut back on sugar that you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Headaches aren't uncommon. However, after a few days you'll notice so many health benefits - weight loss being one of them. You'll also notice that your palette will change. Foods that didn't taste so sweet before will now take on a whole new taste identity. It really can be liberating & exciting
Need some extra mojo to help you cut back on sugar? Read our post about what sugar actually does to the body - scary stuff
Get that #fistpumpfeeling & cut back on your sugar today.
Alleyne is a qualified weight management counsellor, author and columnist.
> Affirmations for weight loss
> What sugar does to the body
> 10 tips for reducing stress
> How to cut back on sugar
>3 simple steps to self belief
>The power of pulses
>How to shift those last few lbs/Kgs
>Change your thinking to lose weight
>What is your self worth?
>What are you really hungry for?
>Are you in denial about denial?
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