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HOW TO ACHIEVE LONG TERM
WEIGHT LOSS GOALS

In simple terms, losing weight is just a basic mathematical equation : -  

If you consume more calories in one day than you expend, you will put on weight; if you consume less, you will lose it; and if you consume the same, your weight will remain constant.

To generate a negative energy balance, you will need a combination of a small calorie restriction over the course of one day, with a simultaneous increase in your daily energy expenditure through some form of exercise.

Guidelines for successful weight loss recommend reducing energy intake by 500-1000 calories per day, thereby promoting a 1-2lb per week weight loss.  Exercise should also be progressively increased to a minimum of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week of moderate intensity exercise.  Increasing this further to 200 minutes per week, makes it easier to maintain long term weight loss.  The long term benefits include : -

1) Weight loss occurs in a safe and controlled manner.

2) The calorie deficit is not dramatic, therefore it has greater adherence rates, and also prevents the common yo-yo effect in body weight levels.

3) Exercise provides a significant cardiovascular health benefit, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Avoid large calorie restriction : -

Unfortunately, significantly restricting ones calorie intake is a popular practice, but this can actually have adverse effects.

Whilst placing your body into a state of nutritional deficiency may increase the amount of fat utilised, it will also lead to a significant reduction in your carbohydrate stores, and a significant breakdown of protein in addition to fat.  If these circumstances occur, the body tends to adopt the "survival strategy" of lowering its metabolic rate (the rate of burning calories) in order to conserve its fuel stores.  

This 'slowing down' of the metabolic rate then has adverse effects on weight loss, as the total additional calories burnt from fat to maintain energy requirements will decrease as the total energy demand decreases, plus the enzyme lipoprotein lipase will actually promote the storage of fat in such states of nutritional deficiency.   Also, the quality and frequency of your exercise will decrease as you will not have sufficient levels of energy.

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Therefore, in order to achieve your long term weight loss goals, there is no need to dramatically restrict your calorie intake.  The most effective method of weight loss is achieved by a combination of both sensible, healthy eating, of a well balanced diet, and exercise.  Drastic diets cannot be maintained for long, but small changes such as reducing fat intake in particular, and increasing activity levels, really can help facilitate the long term maintenance of weight loss.

Laili.x

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EXERCISING ON HOLIDAY

All year we put so much effort into maintaining that fitness regime, and then let it slip when we go on holiday.  Sound familiar ?  Well now there's no excuse for being lazy with all the activity holidays on offer.  That's not to say that you can't have fun and relax at the same time - it just means that you won't have to work extra hard at regaining your fitness when you get back !

There are a vast array of activity holidays from which to choose your ideal break.  Whether you are off for a fun time with the girls, your partner, or taking the family on their annual break, you are guaranteed to find something to suit you.  You can do as much or as little as you want, but one thing is for sure - with this type of holiday, you won't have time to let boredom set in.

Activities Abroad :-

Activities Abroad are a provider of year-round adventure activity holidays.  They offer a WET WET WET... WET WET !!!  weekend away in Slovenia and the Julian Alps.  This is the holiday for you if you love adventure and want something to get your pulse racing.  This adrenalin-filled weekend includes five river-based activities ranging from gentle night canoeing to exhilarating hydrospeeding.  With beautiful scenery as an added bonus it sounds like an amazing weekend.  www.activitiesabroad.com

Sunsail Clubs :-

Sunsail Clubs offer a variety of activities in great locations such as Antigua, Turkey, and Greece.  What an experience it would be to do your usual fitness class on the beach !  Private tennis lessons are also on offer so you can return from your holiday with an extra skill or you could spend a day scuba diving or on a mountain biking adventure.  Sunsail also has watersports holidays where you can use dinghies, go windsurfing, yachting, water skiing, wakeboarding or canoeing.  The list is endless !  But if all that activity gets a bit much then you can just take advantage of the beauty treatments, massages, or go on one of the local excursions or sightseeing trips.  These holidays seem perfect if you are after a bit of variety, or if you are going away with the family who all want to do different things.  www.sunsail.com

Neilson :-

Neilson is another activity holiday expert who caters for beginners and experts alike.  You could go skiing and snowboarding, biking or sailing - and all in the most exotic of locations.  Even if you are considering travelling alone you are guaranteed a great time as they promise to look after their solo holiday makers.  Neilson even offers a way of getting in touch with other solo travellers before you go.  www.neilson.co.uk

Action-Outdoors :-

If it is a climbing, flying, horse riding or hiking weekend you are after, Action-Outdoors has a huge list of locations to choose from.  They offer all-inclusive holidays and pride themselves in being extremely good value.        www.action-outdoors.co.uk

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So as you can see there is so much out there to allow you to incorporate activity into your summer holiday.  But if you are just going away on a normal holiday and are really determined not to abandon your exercise regime during your time away, there are still things that you could do.  You could take a skipping rope or resistance bands with you - both are lightweight and can assist you in a great workout.  Or try going for a 15 minute jog in the mornings before the sun gets too strong.  You could follow this with a session of lunges, squats, press ups and sit ups.  It will leave you feeling great and then you have the whole day ahead of you to do as you please.  

So what excuse do you have now ?!

Laili x

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HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR PERFORMANCE AT WORK AS WELL AS IN THE GYM

If you sit at a computer all day, there are probably times when you reach for snack foods and caffeine-laden drinks.  If this is the case, you are certainly not doing much for your health, waistline, or productivity.

Breakfast like a king :-

Research has shown that eating breakfast can improve mental performance, levels of concentration, mood, memory, and make you feel more alert.  But rather than grabbing a coffee and croissant on the way to work, take a stock of cereals, fresh fruit and yoghurt with you instead.  This is cheaper and more nutritious.  Opt for high fibre, lower salt cereals - such as muesli, porridge, or other wholegrain cereals - wholegrain breads, fruit smoothies, dried and fresh fruits, yoghurt and fresh fruit juice.

Feed the brain, and take a break :-

Although sitting at a desk all day is not going to require a great deal of energy, you still need to fuel the brain.  A lack of carbohydrate will make you feel fatigued, sluggish, irritable and unable to concentrate.  Eating small amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods during the day will keep the brain powered, but don't overdo it as sitting at a desk only uses approximately 80-110 kcals per hour.  As well as burning calories, a burst of activity such as a lunchtime swim will make you feel energised.

The right type of foods to eat :-

Eating small quantities of the right types of carbohydrate foods during the day will help maintain concentration.  Carbohydrates are digested and absorbed by the body at different speeds.   Those that are absorbed into the blood stream quickly are known as high glycaemic index (GI) foods and cause a quicker rise in blood glucose levels.  Those that produce a gentler rise in blood glucose levels are known as low glycaemic index foods.   Lower GI foods allow the blood glucose levels to remain at a steadier level thus maintaining energy levels during the course of the day.  Research has shown other benefits to having more low-GI food in the diet such as : helping to lower blood fats; aiding weight loss by increasing the sense of fullness; reducing appetite and helping to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and possibly type II diabetes.

These types of foods also tend to be richer in fibre and so also help to produce healthy bowel function.

So at lunchtime, lower GI options include wholegrain/soya and linseed breads, basmati rice, pasta or sweet potato, with some protein such as chicken, turkey, prawns, beans, lean beef or ham, lower fat cheeses, plus salad and fruit.  If hungry during the day, snack on dried and fresh fruits, cereal bars, oatcakes, fruit smoothies, and low-fat yoghurt.

Don't forget to stay hydrated :-

Fluid accounts for 70% of our body weight, so it makes sense that what and how much we drink will affect our health and how we feel.

Dehydration has been shown to affect mental functioning, arithmetic ability, short-term memory and attention span.  So if you are seriously flagging at work, think about what you are drinking.  Have a 1.5-2 litre bottle of water on your desk and aim to get through it by the end of the day.  Try to avoid excessive amounts of caffeine-rich drinks regularly as this can cause a mild dependency, and so when you drink less of them you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability and fatigue.   High doses of caffeine can also have a diuretic effect.  However, there is no evidence that drinking 2-3 cups of tea/coffee per day will do any harm - just remember to drink other fluids as well.

When exercising, make sure that you are not one of the 65% who turn up to classes already dehydrated as it is very likely to affect both the effectiveness of your workout and your enjoyment of it.  

A little exercise :-

In addition to addressing the issue of food and fluids, remember to get up from your desk regularly, stretch your legs, and re-focus, get out at lunchtime to recharge your batteries, and include physical activity in your day-to-day routine.

Laili x

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DIET FOR LIFE - FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS

It is a sad fact that Great Britain is now the fattest nation in Europe with 24% of us being obese compared to 8% in Italy, 9% in France and 12% in Germany and Spain.  The key illnesses associated with obesity are Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Attack, Colon Cancer, Angina, Gall Bladder Disease, Ovarian Cancer, Osteoarthritis, and Stroke.

Because of this, in December 2006, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), a government body looking at best practice in healthcare, published guidelines on obesity, which include strategies on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight :-

Through diet :-

Base meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, choosing whole grain where ever possible.

Eat plenty of fibre-rich foods - such as oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grain bread and brown rice and pasta.

Eat at least five portions of a variety of  fruit and vegetables each day, in place of foods higher in fat and calories.

Eat a low-fat diet and avoid increasing your fat and/or calorie intake.

Eat as little as possible of fried foods; drinks and confectionary high in added sugars; other food and drinks high in fat and sugar, such as some take-away and fast foods.

Eat breakfast.

Watch the portion size of meals and snacks, and how often you are eating.

Minimise the calories that you take in from alcohol.

Through activity :-

Make enjoyable activities - such as walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics and gardening part of everyday life.

Minimise sedentary activities, such as sitting for long periods watching television, at a computer, or playing video games.

Build activity into the working day - for example, take the stairs instead of the lift, or take a walk at lunchtime.

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A waist circumference of 102 cm or over in men, and 88 cm or over in women, is associated with a substantially increased risk in cardiovascular disease, and other health risks.

However, even if you are a healthy weight, it is still important to include regular physical activity into your lifestyle, alongside a healthy diet.

Aim to do a minimum of 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days a week.  The activity can be in one session, or several lasting 10 minutes or more.  If you want to lose weight then aim for 45-60 minutes of moderate intensity activity per day plus reduced energy intake to really get some effective results.

Group exercise classes, combined with sensible eating habits, will set you up to be healthy for life !

Laili x