Chicken soup

Hopefully, you have lasted the weekend so far with slightly reduced “bad” calories and are feeling better going into sunday, with the roast and whatever substantial to come! Changes however subtle to sunday lunch can make all the difference, less gravy, no salt on your food or not in the cooking, no dessert would be good and keeping your portion size anything less than monstrous would be great!

Back to the title, in the famous “chicken soup for the soul” series of books, ( basically self-help books with lots of stories that are truly inspirational, and help you retain your faith in human nature), the author became very successful in helping others become motivated and do something worthwhile and inspiring with their own lives.

After he wrote all these books from stories of real-life people, he wrote his own “how to” guide in life on being successful in life. Almost a recurring theme in this number one best seller was the need to get rid of negative influences and people in your life. In the author’s case, he experienced many negative people that nearly destroyed him.

The bosses he encountered were often “little hitler’s”, his friends weren’t exactly “friends”, they would demean any good he was trying to do and destroy his self-worth, his relationships in the main would turn out disasterous, as he had no self-confidence and would be used to being a “door mat”. His mother actually would turn out to be a huge bully, who dragged him up, and would often leave him alone for days on end, as she “enjoyed” herself in her own “pleasure” activities revolving around drink and drugs.

Then one day, he realised the negativity was destroying his life and others as he craved a more successful life for himself, to cut a very long story short, he surrounded himself with positive influences, lost his old friends, gained positive new genuine friends one at a time through his giving and good work, applied for jobs with ethical companies that treated their employees well, developed positive relationships with like minded people, he even famously ex-communicated his mother, as she was a draining and destroying influence on his life, and in his own words “was better off without here and vital to his future success, because she almost destroyed me”!

He became interested in how others overcame adversity and through the many thousands of interviews he did, he noticed some common threads he was able to apply for himself. He noticed that those truly successful in life (not just in money terms) were people who usually gave a lot of their time to others and didn’t ask for anything in return, he noticed they are “do’ers” and not “talkers”, their word was their bond and most of all, they never set any limits on the possibilities they had in life, often against huge odds.

These stories became legendary and inspirational, and life-changing for many of its readers. As you try to create your own success story, getting rid of your negative influences in your own life is paramount, and will be like getting rid of a massive weight off your shoulders.

Have a great week and if you’ve followed the weekend recommendations, you should start off monday in great spirits and a couple of pounds lighter!


Saturday’s calories challenge!!!

Ok, we have got through friday night, we have reduced our takeaways or not even had them at all!! What about today, i never really do fried breakfasts but what about you?

What about eating out lunch time, or the weekly visit to the chip shop?

What about the binge you usually do on a saturday, the extra beer, the extra wine, the extra starter, main course and dessert?!! Saturday night pizza anyone?!

What about all the extra stuff you do whilst you shop, “that won’t hurt, that doesn’t really matter, and there’s only 200 calories in this ready meal”!!

Once a week, the “cheat meal” doesn’t really matter as it will keep your sanity from the rigours of the week but i’m telling you now that as most of the people i have trained notice, once you eat well, you’re not so tempted to go mad ALL weekend because you will have negative side effects, like i said i suffer from wheezing from sugary/fatty food, and by sunday night i will feel like a 90 year old who has smoked all his life, if i have 3 days of eating badly, plus i can easily put on a few pounds, and then monday morning runs are not a great feeling at all, in fact they can be downright horrible and a massive struggle.

I encourage you this weekend to feel what it’s really like to cut down a little bit if you have an excess weekend, and let me know how good it feels on monday morning? Do you feel lighter, do your workouts feel better, are you motivated to do better because things are suddenly “easier”?!

Let’s work through this weekend by analysing each day, this is saturday so let’s see what happens!!

P.S. If you are in the supermarket, have a look in other people’s trolleys and look at the person pushing it, the trolley will be full of good or bad food, this will often tell you if that person is in shape or not! A fun game for you this weekend!

Have fun whatever you do!


ONE takeaway or DOUBLE helpings!

We all go through it, and it’s confession time for me too! I have taken a liking for Thai takeaways, but i do try to keep it good, i have a chicken stir fry with lots of vegetables, i drain any sauce left over and i have some coconut rice with it, this is my treat for the week. I have noticed though the other things on the menu, and started a month ago getting TWO main courses, such as a beef dish, again with lots of vegetables, but as i have a mega-appetite, the idea of chomping through two thai main courses wasn’t that bad, as it’s not really like doing two indians, or two chineses!

However, as an asthma sufferer since a child, when i started doing the two main courses, i started to wheeze afterwards, and didn’t really enjoy the bloated after effects, but guess what? Now i was used to the two courses, i tried another two courses the week after, and the week after that, and so on…………….until tonight!

I went back to normal and thought i wasn’t really leading a good example here, so did one main course again, and funnily enough, it is enough and i don’t feel bloated, and i’ve saved some money!!

The bottom line is here that we all get carried away with takeaways, saying we will “try” different things, but end up eating the whole lot! The extra main course can make a big calorie difference, plus get our stomach’s used to bigger helpings, all in the name of helping ourselves.

Supermarket time tomorrow, and how many of us have said that pizza looks nice, and have no intention of eating it, but come saturday night, you end up sharing it and really enjoying it, until you feel the horrible bloated effects afterwards!!

Okay, that can be Saturday’s treat amongst others, and what about sunday, sometimes we say “i’m going to eat well starting monday again”! This is an excuse to gorge ourselves on sunday lunch with the odd less than healthy breakfast preceeding it!! And i’m not going to accuse anyone here of a sunday night takeaway to finish the weekend off!!

We are talking 3 bad nights here, and this means we need a mega good week to get rid of all the rubbish of the weekend, plus we haven’t even mentioned alcohol yet!!!

Here’s something to think about, have one glass of wine and it takes 20 minutes of moderate exercise to work it off, or 10 minutes of intense exercise, work out if it’s worth it?!

Let me know if you have a mega-calorie weekend or will it be something more moderate, yet still enjoyable?!!


FIVE weeks to xmas!! Panic time!

Most people have two choices this time of year, they either throw in the towel, or they go on some crazy schedule to lose as much weight as is humanely possible in the next 5 weeks to get into that special dress or suit! Neither are great examples of health being at the top of the list and here’s why;

If you say “that’s it, i’ll start back after xmas, no point going for it now”, then that’s fine, but the facts are that you are wasting 5 weeks of your life, and are going to be miserable going into christmas, and even more miserable after christmas, when not only will you be feeling rubbish, your immune system will be down due to all the bad food and likely alcohol consumption, and you will be prone to all sorts of colds and viruses. Have you ever noticed why cold and flu remedies are advertised in force after christmas? Simple advertising because statistically they know the country is in it’s worst shape in early january!

If you go on the very restrictive route, you will typically go on a very low calorie controlled diet. If you go under 1200 calories per day diet, you are classed as being malnourished, if you go into any doctor’s surgery or hospital and ask if that is true, you will find it is.

The best way to go about any eating reduction is to bring it down gradually, 250-500 calories per day being the maximum amount. This has been proven to have a longer lasting effect on weight loss, and it will be better for your sanity too! The best way to do this is, like i always suggest, to “clean up” your eating habits and shopping lists.

Doesn’t it make common sense to use lean white meats, fish, whole grains, fruit and vegetables as the foundation for good health, instead of worrying about every single last calorie you are consuming? This way, food doesn’t become your only thought all day, and you are able to relax more and get on with the more important things in life.

Doesn’t it make sense to eat these good foods to look after your insides, and protect yourself more against serious disease? It must be common sense to eat well, drink more water, workout more and get some fresh oxygen into your system every day? You will find your body will react by getting into great shape, and truly being energised by the good care you are taking of your body! Keep your portions small, measure your carb and protein portions by the size of your fist, pile on the veg, snack on fruit and nuts and your skin will look amazing too, it really is the way to go and there’s no other way around it.

The quick fixes of this world will encourage you to go on calorie reduced diets of sometimes 3 digits, they are a sure-fire way to fail, and the weight always comes back on, plus 5% on average according to studies.

Members of this blog have posted privately and publicly about how, after a while, your body rejects the sugary/fatty food, because your taste buds will have changed for the better, and those high calorie snacks will taste “sickly” to you now. It’s a process that’s tough for the first couple of weeks, but once you have gone through it, you will appreciate how good it feels to feel energetic, and how it feels for your body to be getting tighter and leaner.

Summing up, if you take a longer term approach based on science and common sense, it may take longer to get there but you won’t have so many of those roadblocks in the road to come, there will be no more yo-yo dieting, and you will be sure your insides will be firing as well as possible. Don’t become obsessed with weight, look at the overall picture and aim to get that waist down to under half your height in inches, that will be a far more realistic measurement of progress and overall health.


How much should i lose?

Regular poster on here Cyril has asked some very important questions this week, and i think everyone needs to know the answers.

He asks “how much should i lose in the programmes posted here”?

The answer would be that the best way to think about it is in times of inches and body fat. We all have become slaves to the scales over the years, judging our success by a few pounds lost here and there, and when we put a few on, we shoot ourselves in the foot by “stress eating” again. It’s always better to look at your weight maybe once a week, or even once a month.

Once a month i measure clients and if you’re doing this at home, measure key things like your waist, or even better get someone to do it for you. Measure your waist and here’s a good test. If your waist is less than half your height in inches, then you are fit and healthy and likely to avoid serious disease, or at least improve your chances significantly!

For example, if Cyril was 5 ft 10 inches, that would be 70 inches. If his waist was 40 inches, he clearly needs to bring that down under 35 inches to really be close to his better health. If you were 5ft 4 inches, that would be 64 inches, so you would need to be 32 inch waist or below to be really healthy.

This is a simple guide to being healthy and takes all of 2 minutes, if that! Try this test and let me know how you get on. Waist to height ratio has a direct relationship to heart health so this is pretty important you check on this regular.

Plus this won’t play games with your mind! As long as your waist is coming down to the healthy range, then you are making good progress. Chances are too that your weight will eventually come down in relative terms! And you will feel MUCH, MUCH better!

The other question i was asked was about lack of motivation this time of year. The days are short, we are having an unbelievable amount of rain, wind and cold and it’s not even proper winter yet!!!

I would go back to one of my first posts under motivation. The DRIVING FORCE post was pretty powerful i think, and it will remind you of what you really want in life, what makes you do things and i will tell you one big thing i tell all my clients, this time of year IS THE TRUE SECRET of getting in shape. While others are giving up and saying “what’s the point”, here’s the time to absolutely put 200% effort in and really raise your standards!!

Another plus is that you won’t have the post christmas blues of ill health and being so overweight, you will have had a great run in to christmas and really be proud of yourself that for the first time in a long time, you managed to stick to something really worthwhile and you will reap the benefits before and after christmas, TRUST ME!!

Another SECRET for you, motivation doesn’t last!!! Strong structures do and that’s what i am encouraging. Nobody gets out of bed every day feeling amazing, but if you eat healthily, cut out the rubbish, don’t drink alcohol in the week, get to bed early, workout 4-5 times per week, the chances of you feeling amazing are SIGNIFICANTLY better!!

So in summing up, don’t see this time of year as a barrier, see it as another challenge that when you overcome it, YOU WILL GET HUGE AMOUNTS OF SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE!! Please, please, please, try it out and let me know every day, every week until Christmas (5 weeks friday) how you get on, are you ready for this challenge and ready to change your life for good?!!!!