Category Archives: Health

6 Week Body Transformation

Looking to lose fat and get into shape for the summer? This might be just for you.
This 6 week Body Transformation is a full body nutrition and exercise programme designed to maximise your fat loss goals just before the Summer.

The programme will start on Monday 28th of April at 7pm and take place every Monday and Wednesday in St. Paul’s CBS Hall on Brunswick Street near Smithfield in Dublin city centre.

There will be full nutrition plans and body fat assessments over the 6 weeks to ensure you are achieving your goals and maximizing your fat loss goals.

The course costs 120 euro but there is an early bird price of 100 Euro for anyone registered before April 18th.

https://m.facebook.com/events/708787005845201?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A2%2C%22ref_dashboard_filter%22%3A%22upcoming%22%7D&aref=2&arefdashboardfilter=upcoming&ref=bookmark

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Filed under Exercise, Health

10 tips for successful fat loss journeyl

We all want to have a slim, toned, sexy looking body. This is the holy grail of the fitness industry!

Our eternal quest for the perfect body is fuelled by the media who spin tales about the new potion, pill, exercise regime or superfood that will miraculously shed the body fat for us.

Unfortunately life is not that simple and in this article I present some tips you might want to adhere to if you want to lose body fat the correct way.

1. Consume less calories than you burn: To lose weight, we must take in less calories than our bodies use. It is a scientific fact. There are many ways to eat less calories. Eat smaller portions. Replace high calorie foods with lower ones. Eliminate junk food. Remove drink calories with water.

THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT VARIABLE IN A WEIGHT LOSS PLAN. IF YOU DO NOT ADHERE TO THIS RULE YOU ARE LEAVING YOUR MOST IMPORTANT WEIGHT LOSS TOOL ON THE BENCH.

2. Keep a food diary: research has shown that people who write down everything they eat are more successful in their weight loss efforts than those who don’t. It can be tedious and time consuming but if you are serious about your weight loss efforts, it is a must.

3. Eat enough protein: Protein should be the first macronutrient on our plate. It is essential for basic bodily function, cell growth and repair, enzyme and hormone production. More importantly it is muscle sparing and reduces hunger enabling us to feel full especially when we are trying to diet. We should all be aiming to eat 1.5g to 2g per kg of bodyweight. Therefore if you weigh 60kg, you should be aiming to eat between 90g and 120g per day.

4. Resistance Training: Bodyweight exercises, weights, TRX, kettlebells are all examples. Resistance training will help build muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat meaning that your body will be able to burn more calories at rest. A body with more muscle is far more efficient at burning fat and staying lean than a body with little muscle.

5. Eat enough plant foods. Plants are high in micronutrients and full of fibre. People who consume high quantities of fruits, vegetables and legumes are less likely to suffer illness and be overweight. Those who eat a plant rich diet have well regulated satiety mechanisms. The body is less likely to crave sugar and processed foods because of the high fibre and micronutrient content. Try to eat plant foods at each meal. Colourful vegetables should be consumed at lunch and dinner.

6. Carb count. It is important to look at overall carb intake especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Your body may not be very efficient at using carbohydrates as a fuel. Someone who is very active and is lean will get away with eating a diet high in carbs but another who is sedentary and carrying a lot of fat will not be able to use those carbs efficiently and they will be more likely to be stored as fat. In this case, you may need to remove sugar and processed carbs from your diet, replace starch with vegetables and eat more healthy fat.

7. Sleep. We should all aim to get a minimum of 7-8 hours sleep per night. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. People who do not get much sleep or get poor quality sleep will have impaired hormone function. The hormones which regulates our appetite and suppresses hunger is called leptin. This is reduced in people with poor sleep and the hormone Ghrelin which increases appetite is increased. If you sleep well on a regular basis it is shown that your hunger will be controlled and appetite will be easier to manage. So therefore get a good night sleep will help you control cravings and eat less!

Growth hormone is  also released in large amounts when you sleep. This stimulates cell regeneration and growth. This helps in muscle growth and helps increase metabolism. With a higher metabolism, you burn energy faster which leads to easier fat loss. Don’t pass any heed on your housemate who wants to stay up talking rubbish, get to sleep, your body will thank you.

8. Eat sufficient Omega 3. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in omega 3 in conjunction with exercise has been shown to increase fat loss instead of just exercise alone. Diets rich in omega 3 have also massive benefits for disease prevention and brain health also.  This can be consumed in the form of oily fish or as an omega 3 or cod liver oil supplement. If taking a supplement, aim to get a good quality supplement with over 1000mg of DHA an EPA.

9. Reduce Stress. Stress can have a huge effect on the body and reduce its ability to burn fat effectively. Stress on the body can manifest in many ways A) insomnia B) chronic infections C) inflammation D) environmental toxins E) dieting F) too much exercise.

The body releases cortisol to help battle these ‘fight or flight’ stressful situations. Over time this over production of cortisol can wreak havoc on the normal cortisol cycle. Cortisol is meant to be peak in the morning, preparing us for the day and gradually taper off and lower as the day progresses.  If the body is churning out cortisol on a long term basis it can lead to huge many dysfunctions within the body.

– reduces your ability to burn fat, makes you hungry and crave sugar, increases the rate at which you store sugar, increases your belly fat, makes your cells less sensitive to insulin…the list goes on. BASICALLY CHRONIC PROLONGED STRESS MAKES YOU FAT!

NOTE: I did not mention anything about calorie counting. If you stick to the rules mentioned above you will not need to count calories. Your hormones should be regulated and appetite under control. If you are eating the right foods, counting calories will not be a problem.

10. Organisation: Are you prepared? Did you do your shopping? Do you have fresh healthy snacks in your home, plenty of fruit and vegetables in the fridge and lots of varied sources of protein and healthy fats? Do you have kitchen basics? Are you prepared to cook nutritious meals? Do you have lunch boxes to bring into work?

Do you have good intentions but are being let down by terrible organisation in your life? You will not have success in your weight loss journey if you are not prepared. As the old saying goes, ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail’.

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Filed under Fat loss, Health, Nutrition

Where has it all gone wrong?

With all the technological developments that have taken place in the world over the past hundred years, the human population has gone through a period of incredible growth. An abundant and readily accessible food supply has enabled us to multiply like never before. We are living longer here in Ireland than ever but are we healthier?

Irish life expectancy

Are we living a life full of energy and vitality into our late years or are we barely surviving?

Modern advancement in medicine has been remarkable and has enabled us to treat many ailments and increase our lifespan. Despite these advances in medicine, chronic disease is not abating, rather it is speeding up.

According to the book ‘The Health Delusion’,

  • more than one in three has cardiovascular disease
  • one in six has high cholesterol
  • six out of ten has high blood pressure
  • one out of ten has diabetes  and almost 4 out those 10 may be on the verge of diabetes
  • two out every five will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives

More than half our 50’s are currently living with two or more chronic diseases (diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease) and this figure is likely to dramatically increase by the end of the decade.

http://www.thejournal.ie/chronic-disease-1119276-Oct2013/

Are we supposed to be sick? Why is this happening? What can we do to reduce our chances and our family’s chances of being one of these chronic illness statistics?

Many of us go through life with a blinkered approach. We eat and drink what is socially acceptable, consume processed crap that is advertised as food in the media and follow outdated and misguided government guidelines. We assume that if it’s in a pack, it must be ok to eat and we do not take responsibility for our own health and wellness.

Then BOOM!…suddenly we get sick. We wonder why and blame bad luck!

Sickness

We don’t just get sick by accident, there isn’t a magic illness dice that spins and suddenly lands on us. We get sick because our body is struggling to deal with problems brought on by environmental, physical, mental or emotional stresses. These stresses are determined by our nutrition and lifestyle and our interaction with the world around us. In nearly all cases we are in control of these factors!

Genetics also play a role and this why our own health as parents plays a huge role in the makeup of our future kids. Any sicknesses we have will be transported in our genes to our future offspring making them more susceptible. It is a blue print for our children. If your parents had any chronic disease such diabetes or heart disease, you will have a higher risk factor of contracting these illnesses as you grow older. Epigenetics though suggest there are switches in our genetic make up that can be turned on or off based on our dietary and environmental choices. Therefore just because your parent had diabetes or heart disease doesn’t mean you will have it too.

My belief is that we can all shape the destiny of our lives and live healthier and happier lives.

Illness/health

What factors can determine our likelihood of contracting disease?

  • Nutrition – eating a diet full of sugar, refined grains, trans fats, additives and alcohol can lead to huge problems. Alternatively eating foods that are locally sourced, minimally processed, nutrient dense plant and whole animal foods, nuts, seeds and good fats can be like medicine for our body and enable it to function the way it was designed.
  • Exercise – sedentary lifestyles are a recipe for disaster. An increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are just some of the dangers. There is a magic solution – move more! Sitting for hours on end can be detrimental for our health. Do whatever exercise you enjoy and make it a regular part of your life.
  • Stress and Emotional Wellbeing- people who suffer from continuous long-term emotional, physical or mental stress will exacerbate the likelihood of chronic illness. Solution – chill out, all that stress is doing you harm! Do some yoga, meditate, go for a walk, worry less, and laugh more. Give thanks, don’t hold grudges, do voluntary work and smile;)
  • Sleep – Poor quality sleep can put people at an increased risk of depression and anxiety. It can lead to an increased chance of immune deficiency and heart disease. Quality sleep enables out body to recover and regenerate. We should be aiming for 8 hours sleep every night. We should be try to go to sleep earlier and try to avoid caffeine, white light(unnatural light produced by computers, tv and light) and rigorous exercise near bedtime. If we can do so, our bodies will be able to produce the hormone melatonin, while at the same time reduce our levels of cortisol as we near bedtime. Our bodies will be primed for sleep and we can maximise its benefits.
  • Environmental toxicity – we are being exposed to a huge amount of toxins. Over exposure to these toxins can make us sick.

Toxins where, I hear you say?

Avoid: Chemicals in our foods such as herbicides and pesticides. Antibiotics in farmed animals. Poisonous additives which increase shelf life. Eat fresh, organically grown and minimally processed

Avoid: Cosmetic products contain dangerous chemicals such as oxybenzone and parabens which can be toxic in the body.

Avoid: PFOA – Perflourooctanoic Acid, used in Teflon non-stick coatings, avoid high heat when using Teflon or better again use a stainless steel pan.

Avoid: Certain plastics such as BPA used in certain food containers and bottles should be avoided. Chemicals can leach out into our food and drink especially if exposed to high temperature or light. Studies have shown huge dangers to brain and infant and child development. Glass is a safer alternative.

Don’t accept illness as a ‘normal’ part of your life. Take control and do something about it.

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Filed under Disease prevention, Health, Nutrition