Weight Loss

Meal Plans For Weight Loss

The majority of the meals and foods I have chosen contain slow-releasing carbohydrates. Slow-releasing carbohydrates (often call “complex” or low-glycaemic foods) are digested and broken down in the gut relatively slowly, releasing their sugars steadily into the bloodstream. This results in a steady rise in blood sugar, sustained energy, as well as efficient fat breakdown and hormone control. Eating complex carbohydrates help increase and control energy levels; aids weight loss, and controls and encourage a natural appetite.

Women’s health and hormone balance

Eating natural whole foods keeps insulin levels low – high insulin increases testosterone and oestrogen production leading to potential oestrogen and/or testosterone dominance in relation to progesterone

Meal ideas

Breakfast

* Berries with yogurt and cinnamon – Combine ½ a punnet of blueberries and ½ a punnet of raspberries with 100g of goat’s yogurt. Mix in 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds and sprinkle on top ½ tsp of ground cinnamon.

* A small bowl of oat porridge or cooked oatmeal made with soya or almond milk (Ecomil/Evernat). Add grated apple, a handful of whole almonds, or sunflower seeds and 2 or 3 tablespoons of natural “bio” yogurt.

* Fruit bowl with yogurt and flaxseed – chop 2 pieces of fruit, top with plain soya yogurt and stir in 2 tablespoons of ground or ready-milled linseeds (flaxseeds), with a soya milk or almond milk and hot water. Add ¼ tsp of cinnamon too.

* Smoothies in a glass – A blend of raspberries and strawberries, yogurt, soya milk or almond milk, and 2 tablespoons of milled/ground flaxseeds (available from some Sainsbury’s stores or health food shops), or wheatgerm. This meal provides essential fats, protein and fibre and flaxseeds (or other seeds) add a nutty taste to the mixture. A great start to the day!

Lunch

Chickpea dahl with dark green leafy and baby vegetable salad – gently fry off ½ tsp each of fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and ground cumin. Add ½ can of chickpeas and 100g of cherry tomatoes. Cook gently for 10-15 mins. Make a salad of green leaves, chopped coriander, and add mange tout peas, sliced beetroot, cucumber, and sliced raw fennel. Drizzle with a little olive oil, balsamic or cider vinegar, and a little lemon juice. Serve with a slice of rye bread.

Dinner

Tofu and cruciferous veg stir-fry. Use a variety of cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and stir-fry with onion, garlic and ginger. Use Tamari or a spoon of miso (try brown rice miso) mixed in a little water as a base or marinade. Stir in 100-150g of cubed tofu, tossing the mix until the vegetables are “al dente”… cooked but with a slight crunch!

Snacks if you need them…

A small handful of whole almonds

Hummus and vegetable crudités

A small bowl of sliced melon, blueberries and raspberries

Latest Update: Thursday, November 15, 2018

How Starving Your Body Can Make You Gain Weight

One of the things that makes people not get the weight loss results that they want is that they may occassionally be starving their bodies. There are two basic ways that this can happen. One is for it to be done inadvertently—like when you just get busy and forget to eat. Another is when you purpose deprive your body of food to try and “speed up” your results.

Regardless of how it happens, either scenario in this case is equally damaging. Although you will decrease the calories that you take in which may lead to some short-term weight loss, the kicker here is that you will be slowing down your metabolism. What this means is that after the starving is over, your body will hold onto the next meal you eat for dear life, expecting be be starved again.
If you allow starvation to become a habit, you will actually be contributing to your own weight gain in the future. Therefore, make sure that you are keeping your meals no more than 4 hours apart. As long as you do this, you will be supporting the healthy metabolism that you’ll need to lose the kind of weight that you’ve committed to.

cardio training

cardio trainingBefore you start wasting hours upon hours on those boring treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines, let’s examine if low-moderate intensity, long duration cardio exercise is really doing your body any good, or if it is mostly a waste of time. I hope you will concede upon finishing this article that there is a better way to get in great shape, and it doesn’t have to involve endless hours on boring cardio machines.
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”. Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities.
Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).
Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way — Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.
For example, lets say you jog trying to maintain the same pace for a good 45-minute run. As long as you didn’t encounter any big hills along the way, you probably maintained approximately the same heart rate the entire time – let’s say it was 135 beats/minute. Now, let’s contrast that with a much more effective workout of doing 20 minutes of alternating all-out wind sprints with walking for a minute or two in between sprints to recover. With this more effective workout, you’re rapidly changing your heart rate up and down on a much larger scale, forcing it to grow stronger to be able to handle varied demands. Your heart rate would probably alternate from 110-115 during the recovery walks all the way up to 160 bpm or more during the sprints. This doesn’t mean that sprints are the only way to take advantage of this style of training. Any style of training that incorporates highly variable intensity will give you these improved results.
The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.
To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors. There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training.
In addition to the previously mentioned wind sprints, most competitive sports such as football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion. In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this:

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog;

Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Interval 3 – run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

The take-away message from this article is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and a strong, lean body.
Latest Update: Thursday, November 15, 2018