December 9th

I was 18 years old and I wanted, thought I deserved 2 weeks off training because so many people I knew were dong it.

This had never happened before, but everyone said I should do it. After all, they were too.

Gyms in those days were closed for 2 weeks for Christmas (apart from ours when we were open most of the time), one in particular was closed for 3 weeks, when members were encouraged to go out drinking every day, and to eat rubbish in copious amounts and you would be a true “hero” if you did. Treat “Cheat day” as EVERY DAY.

The less exercise the better, black jumpers and leather jackets could do “wonders”.

So the first exercise run after Christmas came.

My breath started off hard to catch, then impossible.

I had to walk up the hills I normally ran up, and my face was purple coming back. I felt terrible all night after it, I couldn’t move the next day and my wheeling was terrible in every session for a few days. A soul destroying experience.

That Christmas brought my asthma back in a big way. It was deeply unpleasant and I had to find an emergency pump.

This I promised myself would be my LAST Christmas when I did nothing. I would at least do a run, and I would least make an effort to not be an absolute pig every day.

This Christmas, although you may think you are a hero posting on social media all the chocolate you continuously eat, all the alcohol you throw down, it may be a better strategy to have some of what you fancy, but still put in the hard yards at the gym right up to Christmas, so you have none of the associated breathing problems, none of the colds and flu’s the headache companies hope you have so they can make more money out of you.

Keep your immune system strong, keep fit and you will be a LOT MORE BENEFIT to your family and all those closest to you.

Let’s aim for TWO more Huge weeks at the gym and still feel amazing.

Friday, 7th December

Good snacking!

Snacking is where many people will meet their downfall on the quest to better health and vitality.

It’s just so easy to grab a packet of crisps or a biscuit when you are feeling a little peckish.  Problem is, these little biscuit here and there soon add up.  Making sure you always have good healthy snacks in the house and in your handbag/car ensures that you get a dose of nutrients as well as starting to wean yourself off high fat high sugar snacks that just feed your cravings.

These snacks require no cooking and can easily be purchased from a local shop.

  1. Piece of fruit (berries are best and delish this time of year!)
  2. Low fat greek yogurt with fruit or nuts/seeds (1 handful)
  3. Carrots/peppers and hummus
  4. Guacamole with rice cakes and chopped tomatoes or salsa
  5. Hard boiled egg
  6. Low fat Philadelphia with celery
  7. Peanut butter (1 tablespoon) with banana 
  8. Tahini (Holland and Barrat) with 3 medjool dates
  9. Frozen grapes or strawberries
  10. Berry milkshake ( 1 cup of milk of choice such as skimmed or almond milk, half an avocado and a handful of frozen berries, 1 tablespoon of honey/agave nectar or maple syrup – blend all until smooth and creamy.
  11. Two tablespoon of frozen yoghurt preferably low fat

Try some of these snacks this week and watch your energy begin to soar!

Enjoy your day,

Nicola

Friday, 7th December

Consistency is key

It is very tempting to think that there is a special meal plan out there somewhere that will magically help us lose weight for good.  Losing weight often conjures up feelings and thoughts of pain and deprivation and along with the special meal plan, we often believe that the weight will also come off within a few days.  This is very common and I would often fall into this trap myself for years.

The truth is though that what works for one person often doesn’t work for another.  What we can do, is to start with consistency around our eating habits.  

The best place to start is with our first meal of the day, breakfast.  Studies show that people who make the effort to eat every morning often don’t binge late at night.  It may sound odd.  You would think that not eating all day would help you lose weight.  However, this often leads to excess eating habits later in the day or evening.  We crave fattier foods as our bodies have been deprived all day.  Also, we lack discrimination as to how much to eat later at night when we are hungry and tired.

Balancing out our meals throughout the day makes a big difference and we become more controlled around our food choices, in time.

Choose breakfasts that are filling but low in fat.  Great options are wholegrain cereals, cereal bars, fruit and milk shakes, egg based breakfast such as boiled eggs or omelettes, toast with a protein such as beans or low fat cream cheese for instance.  Fruit and nuts are also great breakfasts that you can eat quickly without any preparation.

Make breakfast a consistent habit and you will also find that you have more energy to get through the morning.  Experiment with simple options such as fresh seasonal fruits with a dollop of thick greek yoghurt or a fruity shake to start.  Summer is a great time to start this! Then build up to more substantial meals such as porridge or omelettes as the weather becomes colder.  Always choose foods that you enjoy eating, food should be pleasurable as well as nutritious and consistency around our habits is always the key.

Enjoy your day,

Nicola