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Posted on April 22, 2015

7 reasons your ‘diet’ isn’t working

Diets/ fitness/ Health/ health benefits

moderation

There’s nothing more annoying than spending so much time in the gym, doing calorie counts at a restaurant, avoiding all your favourite snacks and still seeing no results. Despite all your efforts and ability to maintain will-power for so long, the number on the scale doesn’t seem to want to budge– mind-boggling, right?

Luckily, you don’t have to throw in the towel right away and you might even find it comforting to know that you probably aren’t the only ‘dieter’ who isn’t seeing the desired results.

In most cases, it could just be because you’ve picked up on a few small – and extremely common – habits that are preventing you from seeing the scale drop. All it takes is making a few smart lifestyle changes that will have you shedding weight sooner than you think.

dieting

Here are some of the reasons your ‘diet’ isn’t working:

#1: Calling it a ‘diet’ to begin with

I personally don’t like the word ‘diet’. To me, it implies starvation, limitation and robbing your body of what it needs to survive – ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but you know what I’m getting at. I think it’s better to regard your weight loss goals as creating a lasting healthy lifestyle – this also promises a lot more consistency!

#2: Not knowing your eating personality

I recently wrote a piece about knowing your eating personality. Knowing whether you’re a socialiser, a binger or an emotional eater can bring you one step closer to seeing the the results you want because you will know how to go about on making your lifestyle changes.

#3: Going cold turkey

I’ve already touched on the idea that I associate the word diet with restriction and limitation. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that labelling certain foods as big no-no’s will only make you want them more. Remember, moderation is key!  If you focus on having more of what your body needs i.e fruits, vegetables and water, then you can treat yourself every now and again.

one meal doesn'tmake you skinny

#4: Trying to eat as little as you can

Don’t get me started on this one. Nothing hurts me more than hearing someone say ‘I’m starving, but I can’t eat past 8pm’ it drives me absolutely insane! Some people seem to forget that food is their body’s fuel. You need it to keep energised during the day. Eating within a healthy range of foods is not bad for you – even if it is after 8.30pm!

#5: Misreading the scale

When I first started at the gym I was 50kg, then after a couple of months, I went up to 52kg. Some people would freak out about this, but I knew that it was just all the muscle that I was gaining for working out! If the scale isn’t budging, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t losing inches. You could simply getting fitter and gaining lean muscle mass.

lean

#6:  Dieting but not exercising

If you want to see results, then you need to bare in mind that watching your diet and exercising go hand-in-hand. If you’re too embarrassed to go for a jog and don’t want to join any gym classes then there are a lot of YouTube videos that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals in the comfort of your own home- you have no excuse!

#7: Giving up too soon

Anyone can have a setback, but it takes someone with real determination to get back up and try all over again. I’m not going to lie, I have my moments when I give up completely and need a few weeks to get back on track. But when I do, I get enthusiastic about it all over again!  It all comes down to being realistic about what you can achieve in the time that you have. Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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Posted on April 21, 2015

Healthy homemade granola

Health/ recipes

healthy homemade granola

When it comes to granola, I’ve always thought that making it at home was far better than consuming the store-bought stuff (like most things, I suppose).

Ready-made granola tends to be packed with sugar, unhealthy fats/oils and unnecessary ingredients. Homemade granola allows you to have full control of what you put in and how much of it you want – you are the boss here!

This recipe takes no more than 20 minutes to make and if anyone around the house is a fan of nuts and oats then most likely, you will have most of the ingredients at home!

So let’s get started….

Ingredients:

  • 200g organic oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp seasame seeds
  • 2tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 55g dried fruit

Directions:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and then add in oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon powder and honey. Gently stir until everything is well incorporated.granola 1
  2. Cook at a medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the oats are golden brown in colour.granola 2
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a baking paper.granola 3
  4. Once cool, stir in the dried fruit and store in an airtight container.granola 4

Tip: Once you get the swing of things, you can switch up the nuts and add your favourite seeds – make it your own! Serve with Greek yogurt or in a smoothie bowl, enjoy 🙂

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Posted on April 15, 2015

Food cravings: What your body is trying to tell you

Health

food cravings what your body is telling you

Although people have food cravings for a number of different reasons, an abnormal craving for something is usually a sign that your body is low in a particular mineral, nutrient or vitamin.

When you crave a particular food, your body is speaking out to you and trying to tell you that you’re lacking in something important.

Here are some of the most popular food cravings and what they mean:

Sugar

Sometimes, a craving for sugary foods can simply mean that your body is under hydrated and may need some water. But at other times, sugar cravings could indicate a blood sugar imbalance or more precisely, a drop in sugar levels. However, instead of reaching for cakes and biscuits to ‘stabilise’ your blood sugar level, it’s a good idea to consume  more fibre-enriched foods to give your body the fuel it needs without spiking up sugar levels.

Suggestions: Beans, whole grains, fruit & vegetables.

Salt

Changes in stress hormone levels in the body can often lead to cravings for salty foods. So if you tend to always carry around a packet of crisps with you during exam season, this could be why. The adrenal glands, responsible for helping the body cope with stress, tend to get tired from hormone production. To support these hard working organs and to keep the salt craving at bay, add more B-vitamin foods to your diet.

Suggestions: Nuts, seeds & vegetables.

Fizzy drinks

A craving for carbonated drinks usually indicate low levels of calcium in the body. Calcium, as you probably already know, is associated with bone growth. When the body is low in calcium, it will draw this mineral from it’s bones, which could lead to health problems in the future. Instead of reaching for a fizzy drink, try including more calcium- enriched foods in your diet.

Suggestions: Low-fat dairy products or  leafy greens

Oily foods

A craving for greasy foods can often indicate  a fatty acid deficiency. Instead of having a deep fried snack, try including  more good fats in your diet. This will provide the body with essential fatty acids and may reduce cravings for unhealthy fats.

Suggestions: Omega-3 and omega -6 fatty acids and more fat-soluble vitamins E, D K & A.

Carbs

White flour based cravings can indicate fatigue, changes in blood sugar levels or insulin resistance. If you tend to crave a lot of white bread, crackers or foods that have a lot of white flour in them, then it is important to include more fibre in the diet. This will give you better blood sugar control.

Suggestions: Fibre, magnesium enriched foods like bananas or spinach  & more protein.

Fish

A fish craving can indicate low levels of protein in the body. Adding more protein to your diet usually does the job when you are craving fish in general, but when it is more specific i.e salty fish, then it may mean the body needs more sodium.

Suggestions: Nuts, leafy greens and beans.

Red meat

Cravings for red meat are usually a sign of an iron deficiency. So if you often crave steaks or burgers quite regularly then it may be time to eat some more iron-rich foods. Since vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, it’s a good idea to eat foods that are high in this vitamin along with your iron-enriched foods.

Suggestions: Legumes, dried fruit & beans.

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Disclaimer: This list is only an indication. Specific food cravings could mean different things for different people. See your doctor if you have any concerns.

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Posted on April 11, 2015

5 runners that will motivate you to workout

fitness/ Health

5 runners that will motivate you to work out

A gym instructor once told me that the sexier your workout clothes, the more productive your workout will be. Now, I don’t know if it was just his way of getting women to wear yoga pants in his classes or not, but I do think there is some truth to this statement – especially when it comes to running shoes.

If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I am crazy about my pink Nike runners. They’re the most comfortable pair of running shoes I’ve ever owned and when I first got them, I was so motivated to workout that I managed to do a bit everyday – even if it was just a 10 minute walk up the road, I was all game!

So if you think you could do with a bit of gym motivation then I think these runners could help transform you to ultimate fitness fanatic:

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

new balance trainers

Photo Credit

Of course I had to start with New Balance as they seem to be everywhere at the moment! While the New Balance running shoes aren’t suede or anything fancy like the fashionable ones you see everyone wearing, they are a very firm and responsive footwear with cushioning that allows for longer runs. This shoe is also the ‘2015 Road Shoe of the Year’

RRP: $99, Newbalance.com

Nike Air Max Thea

nike air thea

I’m obsessed with the look of these runners; I think they’re the cutest thing ever! If you aren’t a huge fan of the colour (the first thing that caught my eye) then not to worry, as it comes in about a million other colours too! The Nike Air Max Thea is a lightweight shoe that is mesh at the forefoot and has perforations at the heel for breathability. It’s overall texture gives it a lightweight feel so you won’t want to stop running once you put them on!

€107, JD Sports

Sketchers Equalizer Expect Miracle

sketchers

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sketchers in general. But I must say, after I tried on a pair of their running shoes for the first time I had a new found respect for the brand. The Sketchers Equalizer has a memory foam insole, which means it molds itself to the shape of your feet with every step you take. What can possibly beat a customized fit?

RRP: €82, Schuh

Asics GT 2000

asics

Photo Credit

It might not look as pretty as the others, but the Asics GT 2000 is such a comfortable shoe that it wouldn’t even matter. I think a lot of the comfort comes from the fact that it has a DuoMax support system at the midsole which is positioned to enhance both support and stability – there will be no limits to your running with these bad boys!

RRP: €130, Elverys

Nike Free 5.0

nike free 5.0

Last but not least, the Nike Free 5.0. Not only are they stunning looking, but they are amazingly comfortable too! The Nike Free 5.0 is an extremely flexible lightweight shoe with ample cushioning. This shoe has an abundance of forefoot space, giving your toes the necessary space to move around freely. I have the Nike Free myself, and whenever I have them on, I feel like I have on slippers – love every inch of them!

RRP: €113, JD Sports

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Posted on December 26, 2014

5 ways to beat a killer hangover

Health

hangover

“I’m never drinking again” – are often the words muttered after a night of heavy drinking – which, for many of us – was last night. But how many of people actually follow through with it? Not a lot, I’m sure!

Rather than constantly lying to ourselves about never drinking again, wouldn’t it be better to just take a few precautions that would make the morning after a tad bit more bearable? I thought so too 🙂

Here are some tips that can help you have a more comfortable morning after:

Healthy fats

Apparently, incorporating healthy fats, like bananas, nuts and avocados into your pre-party meal is the way forward.  Avocados in particular are good for dodging a hangover because they’re loaded with potassium.This means you’re getting a head start on replacing the potassium lost during alcohol consumption.

Keep hydrated

As you know, alcohol dehydrates the body and drains it of vitamins and minerals. While it would be ideal to have a glass of water after each alcoholic drink – we have to be honest with ourselves – it’s not very likely that’s going to happen. So instead, drink about 1-2l of water at the end of your night to help restore your body the morning after. Coconut water does wonders – it’s high in potassium too!

Take your vitamins

I’m not trying to sound like your mother by telling you to take your vitamins here, but – take your vitamins! Drinking alcohol destroys essential vitamins in your body, particularly vitamin B. Taking some supplements in the days leading up to your big night(s) out will do your body a lot of good!

A spoonful of goodness

Taking a spoonful of olive oil may sound a bit far-fetched, but in a lot of Eastern European countries, this technique is a saviour when it comes to beating a killer hangover. Apparently, the fat in the olive oil limits the body’s absorption of alcohol in the same way as eating fatty foods before drinking does. If you can’t stomach a shot of olive oil before your big night, you could always dip some crusty bread into it and consume it that way!

Know your limits

If you know you can’t hack more than a bottle of wine, then there’s no point in trying to outdo yourself. At the end of the day, alcohol is no friend to your body so the more control you have over how much you drink, the better it is for your body!

Hope you found these tips useful for your next night out! Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! 🙂

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Posted on December 18, 2014

6 Dairy-free milk substitutes

Diets/ fitness/ Health

dairy free milk

There are a number of reasons why you might like to eliminate cows milk from your diet. Whether it’s due to a dairy allergy or simply because you want to make more health conscious decisions about what you consume (it’s nearly that time of year again!), you can find a couple of nutritional substitutes for regular milk that aren’t heavy on the saturated fat or loaded with calories.

Soy milk

Soy milk is probably the most widely available substitute for cow’s milk. It is full of protein & fiber, and is safe for people who are lactose intolerant. However, it has been said that soy milk is a bowel irritant and if you don’t go organic, it can be quite high in sugar too! So if you’re keeping an eye on your sugar intake, do keep this mind when consuming soy milk.

Rice milk

This is by far my favourite substitute for normal milk.  Not only is it the most hypoallergenic, but it’s also the least fattening! Rice milk has a lot of hearty goodness which can help lower blood pressure. The downside to using rice milk is that it hasn’t got as much protein as the other substitutes and it can cause a spike in sugar levels too. That aside, it tastes amazing!

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is another tasty alternative and it just seems like the benefits of drinking coconut milk are endless: it is soya-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, nut-free and its fat content is regarded as being ‘good fat’, since it’s easily metabolised by the body and converted into energy instead of being stored as fat – oh, and did I mention it was a vegan drink?

hemp milk

Hemp milk

I bet this photo caught your eye! 🙂 Hemp milk is full of healthy omega fatty acids as well as protein. If you have a soy or nut allergy, then this is the milk for you! Since it’s much thicker and a bit nuttier than the other milk alternatives, it isn’t to everyone’s taste so if you like the taste of cows milk, but just want to stay off if for diet reasons then remember that hemp milk doesn’t taste like cows milk by any stretch of the imagination – don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Oat milk

Since it’s derived from a plant, oat milk is free from both cholesterol and lactose. It has an abundance of the antioxidant vitamin E, but is not so high when it comes to protein. Because of its oaty flavour, oat milk works really well with hot cereals or breakfast foods. A huge drawback to using oat milk is that you have to be able to take in gluten, so if you’re coeliac then this is a big no-no!

Nut milk

From cashew milk to hazelnut milk to almond milk – there are just so many to choose from! Nut milks are generally loaded with protein and vitamin E, and are usually quite thick. Almond milk is probably the most popular nut milk and because it’s so thick and creamy, it is a natural match for making sweet desserts. The main argument against nut milk is that nuts are a common allergen for people. But if this isn’t an issue for you, then enjoy!

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Posted on November 18, 2014

Would you have sex with an STD carrier?

Health

Apparently having an STD doesn’t put everyone off having sex……

std

I came across an article on The Daily Mail about research conducted on young adults who admitted to having sex with someone with an STD – wait, it gets worse.

The research was commissioned by pharmacy www.UKMedix.com.  They asked over 1,200 people whether or not they’d have sex with someone they knew had an STI and around 19% answered ‘yes’ while up to a quarter said it would depend on the STI – I know, how gross!

What grossed me out more is the fact that 39% of those questioned have willingly jumped into bed with an STD carrier and didn’t even use a rubber! Most of them didn’t think that dealing with the consequences of having unprotected sex with an STD carrier was a big issue (because having an STI is soooooo normal!).

According to one of the representatives of UK Medix,

“Exposing yourself to the risk of contracting an STI is never advisable. Even though condoms can offer a certain level of protection, this isn’t the case for some sexually transmitted infections – and certainly shouldn’t be put to the test. If you really like a person, wait until their condition is treated properly before venturing into a sexual relationship with them. That way, you can ensure your intimacy is safe from risk of infection. There is never any excuse for knowingly exposing your body to potential harm in this way, particularly those who claim that they’d happily jump into bed with someone unprotected despite knowing they had an STI.”

Sarah Bailey

I totally agree with Sarah on this one. Safety first, fun later – your health is your wealth, people!

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