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How To Avoid Piling On The Pounds At Christmas

Christmas.

The number 1 thing I look forward to at Christmas is spending time with my loved ones.

Spending time playing games and eating.

The work and club Christmas meals, Christmas dinner, advent calendars, selection boxes, mince pies, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, spiced cookies, baileys, mulled wine, bucks fizz and on and on the feast goes!

It’s relentless!

It’s a time when your months of hard work can be undone in just a few days. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can still enjoy your favourite Christmas treats if you’re savvy!


Tip #1: Avoid Grazing

One of the big problems at Christmas is the grazing. Every time something sweet, carb-based (mince pies, biscuits, crackers, peanuts) or a sweetened drink passes your lips, your blood sugar will significantly increase and you’ll go into fat storage mode. At Christmas, we graze AND we have our main meals. You’ll be in fat storage mode A LOT!

You can still eat your normal meals but try to keep the nibbles and drinks to immediately after your main meals. This gives your body more time between meals to allow your blood sugar to come back down.


Tip #2: Fasting

Something I get lots of my clients doing is fasting because it flips the switch from fat storage to fat burning. This can take many forms and the most popular option is to skip or delay breakfast. By doing this you have a long overnight fast, which allows your blood sugar and insulin to decrease.

To feel good whilst fasting:

  1. Drink plenty of water (you lose more when you fast)
  2. Break your fast with a protein-rich meal. This could be eggs, protein pancakes or a fry-up (skip the fried bread) for example.

Tip #3: This or that

Another client tip that’s useful at Christmas is to either have carbs with your main or have a dessert, not both (or if you want to be really strict then don’t have either!).

So if you particularly look forward to desserts, skip the carbs (potato, pasta, rice, bread) with the main meal.

If you’re a big drinker then I’d include this in the equation. If you want to drink more than a couple without undoing your hard work then it’s worth considering skipping the carbs and dessert.


Summary

Allow yourself to indulge on the big day; one high-calorie day can actually boost metabolism!

If you have numerous social events that involve eating off-plan during the Christmas period then follow the above tips to avoid undoing all your hard work.

After Christmas, to help you get back on the wagon, use my FREE ‘5 Day Detox to Curb Carb Cravings’ to get you back on track and super focused.  Sign up below!

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I have women contacting me every day, who tell me “I’m virtually starving myself, why am I not losing weight?!” It’s because they haven’t addressed the underlying cause of weight gain; hormone imbalance.

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  2. Eating too frequently switches off a super important process in the small intestine called the ‘migrating motor complex’. This clears bacteria preventing overgrowth.

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Can My Symptoms Actually Be a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways.

And they’re a lot more common than most people think.

I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening.  If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary.

What I’m talking about, is an intolerance, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body.

This is what makes them so tricky to identify.


Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhoea;  symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way.

Symptoms like:

  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Shortness of breath

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.


How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

I know, I know…this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD.

The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms.  

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.


Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • Lactose (in dairy  – eliminate altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these are a source of your symptoms.

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.

Click here to download a free copy of my Weekly Diet Diary/Food Journal to help you track.

And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?

When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.      


What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for help, and that’s OK. I don’t want you to continue suffering if you don’t need to!

Check out this dairy-free Nut/ Seed Milk Recipe

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