Healthy Home Made Soup

Soups – not only winter food

Soups really “hit the spot” in cold winter days, however, they could be a great healthy meal or a snack in any season.

They are a great way to pack in more nutrition especially if your children are like mine – have a limited vegetable menu. Soups are a great way to disguise all those veg that they normally would not touch.

So, I am very lucky my boys love home made soups.

Home made soups are a much healthier option compared to canned soups that are usually high in sodium and some in sugar too, like tomato soup, as well as a chemical BPA. They are easy to make and cheaper too than store-bought ones. So, win on all counts.

I usually alternate between either a vegetable soup or a chicken bone broth soup.

Bone broth in particular has been found to have incredible benefits on our health:

Become the best version of yourself… Start today!

In the end, our health is usually one thing we CAN have control over and if you are someone at the start of your journey, remember that Rome has not been built in one day and our attempt to improve our physique and health should pretty much be approached with bearing the same in mind…

We need a plan, patience & vision.

Those with vision move even in darkness.

Our vision for ourselves is best when not focused on the outside appearance alone as our health and beauty are a lot more than just skin deep.

Our vision needs to be strong and inspire action every day, which will make us more patient and committed to a long term goals.

Then we need a plan that is simple, even fun and that nourishes us on our path to becoming the best version of ourselves.

Start Today

One of the biggest mistakes we all make is waiting for the “perfect storm”, that perfect moment to start something new… to start a new diet, to stop smoking, to look for a better job, start that project, make an important phone call, study for the exam…

The only perfect moment is RIGHT NOW.

Delaying action whilst waiting for that perfect opportunity is simply procrastination and the more we do it, the more we develop a habit of it that can be very costly.

Procrastination is an issue of self-regulation and, when it comes to health, it can cost us our health because we delay doing the right thing for our health and well-being over a period of time that can even go for decades. The result is a poor health, until it sometimes can be too late.

Procrastinators can change their behavior and it is said that highly structured cognitive behavioral therapy can work really well. If you have an issue with starting things – work on your psychology first.

Books are sometimes a great place to start and so are videos and podcasts to help with awareness and insights into what is stopping you and how to take an inspired action and stop procrastinating.

And remember, the path to the best version of yourself starts today and here are some basics to help you get started…

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

First thing is to re-visit how much water you drink daily.

Coffees, teas, fizzy and other sugary drinks simply do not count and all represent problem on multitude of levels including cellular damage, dehydration, low energy, weight gain.

Our bodies function best when body is well hydrated with at least 8 glasses of water a day, which is minimum 2 litres for most adults. More water is recommended for those of a bigger frame, especially men and when exercising as body loses water rapidly through sweat.

Water is sometimes the only catalyst that makes things work. As kidneys are responsible for detox, which can not happen without water, and whilst liver is responsible for breaking/ metabolising fat – when water is scarce, liver tends to help the kidneys and breaking the fat becomes secondary; as a result fat loss will be compromised.

If you are to start with one habit, start with water.

Apart from flushing toxins, water helps digest food & circulate blood. Food contains only 20% of fluid intake, so, hydration through healthy beverages is necessary.

A couple of glasses upon waking up with some lemon and then hydrate with one glass on the hour every hour. Set your phone reminders. Use fruit as water infusion. Green tea is fantastic alternative to regular tea and coffee.

Thermojetics Instant Herbal Beverage

Our Thermojetics Herbal Beverage is great for every day hydration as well as part of the weight management plan. I love adding some lemon to it too for added nutritional benefit.

It is a combination of green tea and other botanical ingredients. It has not been treated with alcohol unlike most teas from the high street stores; process of extraction and purification happens with water and charcoal, leaving the finished product with high antioxidant/ phytonutrient value, similar to the plant when it is picked up; it is highly refreshing and catechins compounds cause thermojetics effect that help boost metabolism and energy levels as well as help burn fat.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a bad news for not only fat loss but for our general health. It is a stress to the body that body treats as a poison.

If you would like to take your body composition to the next level, the best advice I could give you is to not only limit, but completely cut out alcohol.

Not many are able to do that and I approach it with care with clients as it is one thing that causes so much resistance. I do believe in taking small steps and limiting alcohol consumption to less to what is a norm to start with, then seeing the results we get and finally decreasing it further.

One can still have results if weekly units are minimal, up to 1-2 glasses of wine, as an example, but anything more will generally hinder the results greatly.

Cutting on calories in food to accommodate alcohol is highly undesirable and results will be limited, if any. Cortisol is a fat storing hormone in our body that alcohol (together with lack of sleep, too much cardio activity and stress) seem to elevate and, as a result, body is in a state of fat storing rather than fat burning.

So, think about your alcohol consumption and how much you really want to improve your health and body composition. Every success requires some form of sacrifice.

Think Protein to avoid Hunger & Slower Metabolism

Most people need to eat more protein. Or reduce protein coming from animal sources.

Protein is a very important factor for your immunity as body needs protein so that the white blood cells can produce antibodies that seek out and destroy invading viruses and bacteria.

It helps stabilise blood sugar levels and, therefore prevents hunger and fat storing. Apart from multitude of other uses, protein is incredibly important for the prevention of muscle loss over lifetime, especially when you are on a weight management plan.

Dieting is very much linked to a muscle wastage when dieting is not done right, which is the major cause of yo-yo syndrome – losing weight, then putting it back on again.

With loss of muscle, your metabolism is slower and so is body’s ability to burn calories. You may find yourself gaining all the weight (and more) back on that you lost, although you may be consuming calories that used to maintain your weight in the past. Your body has less lean muscle to burn them off and therefore, fat gain is inevitable.

High protein foods such as fish, soya products and low-fat dairy products can help to boost your immunity as well as increase your metabolism and support your lean muscle on your weight management plan.

Protein for Vegetarians & Vegans

Whilst I am not vegetarian myself, I support vegetarianism greatly, even veganism. The only issue I find with clients who are vegetarian or vegan is that they still suffer from an inadequate amount of lean muscle due to lack of protein in their diet, sometimes low energy levels and excess body fat that they simply are unable to shift.

All of these issues are sorted with our personalised nutrition plan that targets what they might lack in their diet – protein, plant protein in particular, and micro nutrient intake.

Whilst eating wholefoods can have remarkable good effects on the body, it is a well-known fact that, according to World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UK Ministry of Agriculture and Royal Society of Chemistry – vitamin and mineral depletion of our soil is a global problem with up to 72% depletion of nutrients in fruit and vegetables in Europe alone over the past 60 years.

Supplementation with pharmaceutical graded supplements can make a massive difference in energy levels of anyone, even those who already follow a healthy diet, Vegetarians & Vegans included who would greatly benefit from more macro nutrient balance in their diet.

Protein for Meat Eaters

Whilst protein is an important macro nutrient – meat eaters should take this information with caution.

Meat and dairy can cause high acidity in the body, that leaches nutrients from your muscle and bones and therefore deplete your energy levels and immunity, therefore meat protein must be well-balanced with plant protein.

Whilst getting THAT beach body will require eating personalised amount of protein each day (around 1 gram of protein for each pound of lean muscle – more if exercising and/or building muscle) in the right balance and frequency – you will do more damage on a cellular level if trying to get it all from animal sources.

My goal with clients who are meat eaters is to increase their protein intake whilst balancing plant with animal sources as well as increase their micro nutrient intake.

Generally, once there is a better balance of proteins v carbs & macro nutrients v micro nutrients (Vitamins and Minerals) established, in the right frequency, blood sugar levels are stable, cravings diminish, energy levels increase and we are more likely to have a sustainable fat loss.

Good Carbs v Bad Carbs

We need to stop thinking that carbs are our enemy. Body relies on carbohydrates for fuel, however, they are not all equal. The least processed carbs such as fruit and vegetables are extremely beneficial as they deliver all important nutrients, vitamins & minerals, to the body, together with powerful antioxidants and fibre.

To get that beach body, if that is what you desire, now that we drink more water and include protein in each meal whilst balancing plant with animal protein – we need to combine some Good Carbohydrates with that protein.

That means having a colourful diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes each and every day.

Bad Carbohydrates will go against our efforts to slim down, feel and look healthy and reduce our body fat. Bad carbohydrates are those highly processed and refined foods such as sugars, pastries, cakes, sweets, cereals, white pasta, white bread, sugary drinks, just to name the few.

They do not boost, but rather bust your metabolism, leaving you craving for more, whilst storing excess calories as fat, depleting your energy levels as they are usually void of nutrition.

They may also compromise your digestion and therefore, absorption of nutrients which has an effect not only on energy levels and immunity, but will be a contributing factor to weight gain too.

Fibre Factor

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate and one of THE most important dietary factors for helping support healthy digestion. Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and plays a big part in keeping our bodies healthy.

Adults are recommended minimum 25 grams of fibre each day for healthy digestion, so including high-fibre foods and fibre supplements in your diet can greatly help improve your digestion.

Fibre rich foods are slow sugar releasing and, when combined with protein, they keep your blood sugar levels stable and fuller for longer.

Most of the clients I see struggle to get adequate amount of fibre in their diet. If not sure, MyFitnessPal is a great tool to check if you do. I use it to check my own fibre, protein, Calcium and fat levels occasionally.

I teach clients to use it, if they wish, in addition to my support which we use as part of the education process so they see how getting perfect balance of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat intake within personalised calorie intake gets them results.

The moment they step out of the equation and there is less protein and more carbohydrates, the results are less visible at their weekly body composition check, or there are no results at all. Penny drops every time as they learn more how food balance and frequency affects us.

Should we count calories?

Calories are not all created equal. 100 calories of vegetables is not the same on a cellular level and on the level how body processes it and it’s affect on the body when compared to 100 calories worth of chocolate Maltesers (which, by the way, are NOT lighter than air).

I use client’s Resting Metabolic Rate to calculate the calorie ceiling they need to be under in order to lose weight, using a simple formula, however, because my personalised weight management solutions are already calorie controlled, my clients do not need to necessarily count calories.

They would just need to follow the prescribed meal plan that includes some great recipes, use their hand to determine portion sizes of macros and, sometimes, write a food diary as a great way to gauge daily food intake and those that do – have a better result.

They also learn how what they consume in any given week relates to changes in their body composition. All part of the education process and raising the awareness on how certain foods effect us. The moment they skip snacks or meals or eat unbalanced meals and snacks – they see decline in muscle, just as one of the examples.

Calories are important or rather learning about them, to help us become more conscientious about our food choices, but, balance in macro nutrients is even more important because not all calories are created equal.

Skipping dinner because we blew our calorie ceiling during the day (or any other meal or snack for whatever reason) is surely not the path to health OR healthy weight loss (or rather, fat loss) and improved body composition.

Get more active

Now that we drink more water, focus on lean and/ or plant protein and good carbohydrates with plenty of fibre, whilst banning all refined sugary carbohydrates – it is time we need to get more active if we want to see some great results! Remember, results come best from 80% nutrition and 20% exercise plan.

Believe it or not, we all have the six-pack muscles, but most people have it all hidden under the layer of abdominal fat. It is time to unwrap it! If you are not used to exercise, start with walking more and then find the local class that you enjoy, perhaps build it to a couple of classes a week.

The science shows that the best form of fitness that help you get into shape in less time is any form of High Intensity Interval Resistance Training. It is a combination of a little bit of cardio with resistance and weight training, all in one single workout. It not only burns a lot of calories during exercise, but it has the highest after-burn with up to 1000 calories burnt in 38 hour window post-exercise.

Try to find your own HIIRT or HIIT class near you or create a program that you can do at home.

Now that we have most of it covered and you are more aware what is needed to get you started on the journey of becoming the best version of yourself, I would like to remind you of the first point I made – start today!

Get the picture of yourself when you were at your best and get emotionally connected to that vision of yourself. Let it be your guide, your North Star.

If not sure how to start or if anything inspired you in this article, do get in touch, drop me a line. I would love to help. Free Evaluation offer stands, it can be slightly daunting starting on your own and you, whilst will need to do it by yourself, you do not need to be alone in the process. As many as 75% have better success when having the right support.

Until then, life is colourful, make your diet colourful too and feel the difference! Afterall, life is much more fun lived in colour!

Herbalife Nutrition Beta Heart Heart Nutrition with Beta Glucans

Suffer from high cholesterol? Here are 3 steps you can take to manage it…

Firstly, what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a natural fatty substance made in the body by the liver. It plays a vital role in the formation of cells, production of vitamin D, production of hormones, production of bile and digestion, BUT high levels can lead to an increased risk or a heart attack, stroke, developing atherosclerosis and other heart diseases… There are two types of cholesterol or lipoproteins:

  • low density lipoproteins (LDL) or bad cholesterol and
  • high density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol.

High levels of blood cholesterol from either diet or genetics will speed up the plaque’s growth faster. If the plaque bursts suddenly, it cuts off the oxygen supply to a part of the heart: which is when a heart attack can occur. The higher the level of LDL, the greater the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). The lower the level of HDL, also the higher the risk of CHD.

There are no noticeable symptoms of high blood cholesterol or dislipidaemia and it is usually diagnosed based on medical & family history and blood test results. Whilst we can not control risk factors such as family history, getting a heart friendly diet & getting regular exercise is something we all can control.

These are the lifestyle factors that affect our cholesterol levels. So, whatever our age, if our lifestyle involves smoking, drinking alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, excess body weight and body fat or existing health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, then we are at risk of having high cholesterol. High cholesterol is not only an issue for older or overweight people.

Statistics show, according to the World Health Organisation, that 133.3 million people in the five biggest European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) have high blood cholesterol.

A 10% reduction of blood cholesterol levels will result in 50% reduction in heart disease in men of 40 years old in the next 5 years and a 20% risk reduction in those who are 70 years old.

Here are practical ways we can all manage our blood cholesterol…

Step 1: Boost Your Exercise:

Regular exercise is an important part of our heart health and keeping our blood cholesterol at normal levels and, in general, a healthy heart. Exercise helps with weight management as well as keeping your heart healthy by strengthening your heart muscle and keeping blood vessels in a good condition.

It also helps to increase your good HDL cholesterol and stimulates the movement of fatty deposits in the liver. According to the 2013 NHS guidelines, 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week is needed to help lower your cholesterol, which amounts to 30 minutes five times per week:

  • Find a buddy and turn your much necessary fitness into a fun hobby you look forward to;
  • keep it simple and realistic: twenty-minute walk every day and one hour of some other exercise per week will help you reach your 150 minute goal, it does not need to be more complicated than that;
  • whenever you can, take stairs instead of elevator, park your car furthest from the supermarket entrance, etc… get active whenever you can as every little thing makes a difference.

Step 2: Choose heart-friendly diet:

  • Read food labels and choose foods with low cholesterol and low saturated fats:
    • do not buy ready-to-eat snacks like crisps (high in saturated fats, salt and sugar) and choose snacks that contain healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) like nuts, seed, sy beans and olives;
    • avoid processed meats like sausages, frankfurters (choose instead lean cuts of meat),
    • increase consumption of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel that contain healthy fats and Omega 3s;
    • limit intake of red meats and choose low-fat milk and cheese to reduce saturated fat intake,
    • avoid refined “white” carbs found in cakes, ice creams, pastries, white breads, white pasta
  • Take care how you cook your food: avoid roasting and frying and, instead, poach, grill or steam and choose healthy oils during cooking such as olive oil;
  • do not skip meals to lose weight: keep with eating 5 smaller meals every 3-4 hours to control hunger instead;
  • shop after you eat to avoid buying unhealthy foods at an impulse;
  • Increase consumption of fibre as diet rich in fibre can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Fibre helps to control your blood sugar and cholesterol, make you fuller for longer and prevent constipation or hard bowel movements.:
    • choose whole grain varieties of pasta, rice and bread;
    • increase consumption of fruits and vegetables

Step 3: boost your diet with beta-glucans with Beta Heart®

Beta-glucans (found in oats, oat bran, barley, barley bran) have been clinically proven to contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Oat beta-glucan has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol.

The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 3 grams of oat beta-glucan.

When our bodies digest oat bran, beta-glucans molecules are released. They create a gel that binds cholesterol. This is less easily absorbed into the body. The process uses up some circulating cholesterol, meaning less cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Lower your cholesterol

Lower Your Cholesterol with Herbalife Nutrition’s Beta Heart®

Beta Heart® is a nutritious vanilla-flavoured powder that contains the key ingredient OatWell™ oat beta-glucan. Oat beta glucan has been shown to lower or maintain blood cholesterol.

Herbalife has partnered with OatWell™ on Beta heart®, which helps to lower or maintain blood cholesterol in one step. OatWell™  products contain a 4-5 times higher concentration of beta-glucans than standard oat brand, and a natural combination of oat beta-glucan, insoluble fibre and protein.

What does 3 grams of beta glucans look like?

  • 2 bowls of oat based breakfast cereals (281 calories, based on semi skimmed milk),
  • 6 small slices of wholegrain bread (300 calories, based on 50% oat flour, 50gr per slice),
  • 9 oatcakes (400 calories based on 15g oatcake) OR
  • 2 scoops of Herbalife’s Beta Heart (only 51 calories).

Beta Heart® is also approved by cholesterol charity HEART UK, who provide expert support, guidance and education on cholesterol. HEART UK operates a product approval scheme to help signpost the public to heart-healthy foods that can play a positive role in helping  manage their cholesterol.

Key benefits of Beta Heart® :

  • 3 g of oat beta-glucans help to lower cholesterol (2 scoops)
  • 1.5 g oat beta-glucans help to maintain cholesterol (1 scoop)
  • Sugar free
  • With no artificial sweeteners
  • High in fibre (3 g per scoop)
  • Source of protein
  • 25 kcal per scoop

So, how ‘heart-friendly’ is your lifestyle?

A visit to your GP is the only way to know for sure whether your blood levels of cholesterol are ‘high’. Also, simply taking a look at your lifestyle can be an indicator:

• Do you have an unhealthy diet?

• Are you inactive?

• Do you smoke?

• Do you have a high-sugar  or high fat diet? 

If you are concerned, please do get in touch. We have nutrition programmes that can help manage your weight and cholesterol. The heart plays a key role in the human body – it is IMPORTANT to look after it.

how healthy is your diet

How Healthy Is Your Diet? Take a Free Online Test

february a healthy heart month

Heart Health – right at the heart of our health…

Officially, February is a Healthy Heart Month and having lost both mum and dad to heart disease, this is a topic very close to my own heart. Heart disease happens to be our leading cause of death and virtually everyone nowadays will know someone who either has suffered, or still is suffering from some form of heart disease.

Heart disease primarily comes from the build up of fatty deposits in our artery walls, which eventually block the blood flow, leading to a heart attack or a stroke.

Treatment of heart disease nowadays is merely through the prescription drugs. However, heart disease is a lifestyle disease and, as such, preventable and even reversible with the change in lifestyle, which could mean, for many, longer, quality life without prescription drugs, enjoying long, quality life with loved ones…

Whilst age, gender (men are more likely to develop Coronary Heart Disease), family history of heart disease and ethnicity are unmodifiable factors in developing a heart disease – risks factors that are known to influence development of CHD are smoking, diet, lack of physical activity and psychological stress and disease risk is particularly elevated in cases of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, renal disease.

Science shows that exercise and what we eat and drink play the biggest part in heart health prevention as it helps us maintain healthy weight.

Say NO to Heart Disease: Nitric Oxide (NO) and Heart Health

So, you exercise, maintain a healthy diet, keep your weight down, manage stress, but there is one more component you should add to your healthy heart regimen… and that is increasing your levels of Nitric Oxide.

Nitric Oxide (NO) is a signalling molecule produced organically in our bodies by the intake of right kinds of foods and supplements and it helps to control blood flow to every part of our body.

It supports overall vascular health by helping blood vessels to dilate, which supports healthy blood pressure levels and healthy circulation.

NO was discovered by Dr Louis Ignarro, PhD, world renowned heart health expert, who I had a pleasure of meeting and being trained by on many occasions and who was awarded a prestigious Nobel Price for the discovery of Nitric Oxide and what it could mean to the humanity in reduction of heart disease.

Dr Louis Ignarro believes that Nitric Oxide, this single molecule that is produced by the body itself, may be the single factor that contributes to all major illnesses and, at the same time, the key to living a longer, healthier life…

In itself, Nitric Oxide is a gas that acts throughout the body as a messenger and influences the functioning of virtually every organ in the body, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach, genitals and, of course, heart by inactivating so-called “oxygen radicals” (free radicals) in the body that can contribute to cell damage.

  • The cardiovascular system uses Nitric Oxide to control blood flow to every part of the body. Not only can Nitric Oxide relax and dilate (enlarge) the blood vessels, thus ensuring that blood can efficiently nourish the heart and tissues of the entire body, Nitric Oxide can also support healthy blood pressure levels.
  • The immune system uses Nitric Oxide to combat toxins, providing a strong internal deffence system.
  • The brain relies on Nitric Oxide to store and retrieve long-term memories and to transmit information within the nervous system.

A deficiency, therefore, of Nitric Oxide, can have a dramatic impact on our health. A total lifestyle approach to supporting Nitric Oxide levels including a healthy diet, exercise and nutritional supplementation, provides a wide range of benefits throughout the body at the cellular level which can improve circulatory, immune and nervous system function.

Here are just few things you can do to boost your Nitric Oxide production and support your Heart Health:

MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT:

If you are at least 15% heavier than you should be, than your excess fat is stressing your heart and blood vessels. Your endothelial Nitric Oxide production is diminished, and your susceptibility to a host of diseases is increased. Losing weight is not about vanity, but your health. Managing your weight is important, so is choosing a weight loss plan that will not damage further your health as many fad diets do, but will contribute towards your heart health.

DECREASE YOUR INTAKE OF SATURATED FATS AND ELIMINATE TRANS FAT INTAKE:

Whilst fat needs to form 30% of your daily calorie intake, it is important it comes from the right sources, so avoid Trans fats you will find in many off the shelf items like biscuits, cakes, ice creams, etc, but also avoid most of your fats coming from saturated fats from especially animal produce such as sausages and other processes meats… more about Healthy Fats

ADD QUALITY OMEGA 3 FISH OILS TO YOUR DIET:

Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils help reduce total blood fats, reduce bad cholesterol and raise HDL good cholesterol. Also, fish oils benefit the heart by keeping arteries being clogged up, contributing to heart attack and stroke. The recommendation is to include oily fish in your diet at least twice per week, especially fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon and fresh tuna. Research shows that the production of Nitric Oxide increased within minutes after exposure to omega 3 fatty acids.

INCREASE YOUR DIETARY FIBRE CONSUMPTION & ANTIOXIDANT INTAKE:

Many associate fibre with healthy digestion, but actually, our heart benefits too. Studies have suggested that soluble fibre can perform a tasks of lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels and increasing HDL cholesterol – by binding with cholesterol particles in your digestive system and moving them out of the body before they’re absorbed – thereby protecting the endothelial cells where Nitric Oxide is manufactured.

Scientists now believe that it is not just eating fat that causes the build up on the inner surface of the arteries, but eating those fats that have been oxidised, which makes it more sticky therefore adhering to the inner artery walls more easily.

Antioxidants neutralise free radicals in the body and reduction in free radicals will also reduce the risk of the free radicals oxidising the fat and making it stick to the artery wall.

We are now coming to believe that fibre works through substances called phytonutrients, which seem to have the antioxidant advantage when it comes to guarding NO. Higher fibre foods, in particular vegetables and fruits, also tend to contain other nutrients like vitamin C and E, powerful antioxidants that stimulate your production of NO.

Daily recommended amount of fibre is minimum 25 grams per day and statistics show that many are struggling with achieving even half of this amount, which is affecting not just heart, but also digestive health of the population.

INCREASE INTAKE OF DIETARY SOY:

Soy has been a staple of the diet in Japan for many years and heart disease is amongst the lowest in Japan, and at least the part of the credit belongs to soy.

Soy is filled with phytonutrients that function as antioxidants and fight everything from cardiovascular disease to cancers of the breast and prostate. In particular, soy substance called isoflavones interfere with the oxidation of blood fats, preventing free radicals from being formed and from causing endothelial damage that interferes with Nitric Oxide production.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate soy into your diet such as through soy yogurt or milk or tofu as a substitute for meat dishes. I personally consume it through my Formula 1 Healthy Breakfast smoothie and it provides, apart from a complete plant protein, also all the vitamins, minerals my body needs as well as the fibre – up to 10 grams of it just per breakfast.

INCREASE CONSUMPTION OF GREEN TEA:

Green tea has been known in China as a powerful healing agent for at least 4000 years. Green tea contains powerful antioxidant, which appears to kill cancer cells without harming healthy ones and it combats oxidative stress and protects your endothelial cells from invading molecules, thereby safeguarding Nitric Oxide production and improving your cardiovascular health.

Green tea also seems to speed up the rate at which the body burns up fat, making its consumption supportive of weight loss. It is very important how tea is manufactured to ensure its potency once it reaches the consumer, so I have my own brand that I trust that will not go through alcohol during manufacturing process as most supermarket teas do.

BOOST YOUR FITNESS:

Last but not the least – increase your Nitric Oxide production by boosting your fitness… Benefits of exercise are tremendous in getting our overall health, in particular cardiovascular. So, get more active!

I hope this article has been of a benefit and wishing you all a Healthy Heart Month of February! Please do check out Dr Lou Ignarro’s superb book “NO More Heart Disease”, my clients borrow it from time to time and find it refreshing and packed with not just research but also advice that can be easily implemented.

CONSIDER OUR HEART HEALTH FRIENDLY NUTRITION

Lower your cholesterol Beta Heart Herbalife Nutrition

Lower Your Cholesterol with our Beta Heart®

Beta Heart® is a nutritious vanilla-flavoured powder that contains the key ingredient OatWell™ oat beta-glucan that has been shown to lower or maintain blood cholesterol.

Herbalife has partnered with OatWell™ on Beta heart®, which helps to lower or maintain blood cholesterol in one step. OatWell™  products contain a 4-5 times higher concentration of beta-glucans than standard oat brand, and a natural combination of oat beta-glucan, insoluble fibre and protein.

Look after your heart, eyes and brain with Herbalifeline Max

  • Taking 1 tablet per day contributes to the normal function of the heart, normal vision and normal brain function
  • Taking 4 tablets per day contributes to the maintenance of normal blood triglyceride levels
  • Taking 5 tablets per day contributes towards the maintenance of normal blood pressure
Niteworks® Night-time Nutrition

Add powerful ally in the maintenance of excellent heart health with NiteWorks®

Herbalife’s  heart health supplement NiteWorks is a direct result of Dr Louis Ignarro’s awarded research and it supports your body’s natural ability to produce Nitric Oxide, which promotes circulatory, immune and nervous system function.

As majority heart attacks happen in the early hours of the morning when Nitric Oxide levels are at its lowest, this nighttime supplement helps to elevate its levels.

best breakfast 2019

Maintain your Weight and increase nutrient intake with Formula 1

Clinically proven to reduce weight and correct all five metabolic syndromes better and faster than all-food diet, our Formula 1 is a brilliant addition to anyone’s diet whether you need a more balanced and nutritious breakfast, recovery after a workout, healthy snack or any other meal replaced when on the go… it is a perfect plant based nutrition addition!

I dedicate this post to my mum…

Heart disease is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it.

Yet, unless it was fatal, it is a totally reversible disease and our lifestyle has direct impact on its development in the first place.

Take care of your heart, because it is literally at the heart of your health.

I love you, mum, miss you every day and wish you were still with us. Rest in peace, you are forever in my heart…

If you would like to reach out and see how you can support your heart health through Herbalife Nutrition and making lifestyle changes, please do not hesitate to get in touch…


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I am interested, but I have more questions about Herbalife NutritionI am ready for a lifestyle change & would love to work on a 1-2-1 basis - please book my FREE Wellness EvaluationI thrive in a group environment & I am ready to change my habits - I would like to discuss joining 5 Day Eat Clean Challenge or 4 Week Challenge

Eat well and sleep well to be well

Eat well, sleep well to be well!

I do not think that we talk often enough about rest and sleep and their connection with our general health and weight management. Not only that they are connected, but the way we eat, our nutrition, can also influence not only our weight management, which is not a big news to anyone, but it can also influence how well we sleep. It is called Sleep Nutrition.

An average adult should get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day.

So, how well are you doing?
Do you have difficulty falling asleep?
Are you perhaps waking up a lot during the night and then finding it difficult to fall back to sleep?
Are you waking up tired and feeling unsettled or irritable throughout the day?

If any of this is you, I hope this article will be able to shed a bit of light and, ultimately, help.

Herbalife Nutrition Healthy Fats

Healthy Fats: no healthy diet exists without them!

Here is one topic that is confusing the hell out of people. Fat in a diet.

Is fat bad? Should we have any fat in our diet? How much, if so? What kind of fat? What about keto diets? Etc.

We used to believe that fat is bad and diets should be low-fat… I know. I was there myself. Luckily, I had an awareness of protein and knew that cereals, bread, pastas are of no good to me, so I focused on protein and veg. And this worked really well. However, it WAS missing a healthy fat element and luckily science has moved on and with that, the way we now think of a properly balanced diet.

Low fat diet frenzy started in the 70s and it took decades before we realised that it was not fat, but sugar and simple carbohydrates, that are a true enemy. Many low-fat produce, like yoghurt as an example, were just added sugar to taste better. Same with baked goods: they reduced fat, whilst increasing sugar to compensate and sold us the notion that low fat was healthier. Think of muffins, cakes, etc.

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Vitamins & Minerals – tiny, but mighty!

My health education started when I was a teenager. I have always enjoyed reading about health, especially vitamins & minerals and their impact on our health.

I used to make smoothies with any edible plant that was available in and around the house, together with fresh raw eggs from a local lady and soya milk I would drive for hours on my bike until I found the store that stocked it.

Some teenagers smoked, I instead blended, juiced, shaked. This was not a norm in society at a time and neither is today. Certainly not for a teenager.

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Unexplained Weight Gain? These could be possible reasons

Weight management is a science. Beautiful science, that is. If you invest time in understanding it – managing your weight and your health becomes a game where you stand a chance winning it each time, for life.

Then, there are situations where you just might scratch your head, situations where it is not that simple and by the book, where you find yourself with an unexplained weight gain.

If you lack the knowledge of the basics, you will probably not find yourself in this article in case reasons for your weight gain are simply down to the lack of balance and frequency in your nutrition and diet.

If you eat more calories than what your body needs to function (more energy than you are burning), if your diet is out of balance (too many carbohydrates and too little proten) or if you suddenly cut back on exercise and continue eating the same amount as you did with exercise – of course you may gain weight! If your diet is not balanced, your body composition can be changing as well as you may be experiencing weight gain.

So, diet indeed is a major culprit.

However, if you’re doing everything the same as you normally  do and your weight still goes up – then you may need to dig a little deeper why that is…

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How to ensure fast metabolism

Metabolism is THE word. It is the reason why one person can eat like a growing teenager and not gain a pound, while another person’s every indulgence shows up on their waist.

What is Metabolism?

It is the name for the chemical processes by which our bodies convert food that we eat into the energy that we need to survive and function. It powers all our chemical processes from breathing to blinking.

The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR).

What determines our metabolic rate? Or what determines how effectively we burn the calories we consume into energy?

The aim is to burn all the food that we eat and not to have any excess, otherwise body will be storing it as fat and that is how we gain weight.

So, what determines how fast or slow the process happens is the combination of one’s body size, age, gender and genes. Of course, foods that we eat and drink will also effect the metabolism as some support it and some hinder the process.

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Trying to lose weight? It may be time to reconsider your drinking habit

While many of us can happily give up our fatty or sugary favourites, I find that certainly many of my clients find more difficult to give up alcohol, especially at weekends. It is built into our culture and it is a large part in how we enjoy time with friends and loved ones.

Apart from an obvious case where a person may be an addict, for vast amount of people alcohol has become a lot more than just an activity to partake when we are in social environment in order to perhaps celebrate something. Many use it to take an edge off a rough day, some do it almost on a daily basis. It has become a way of life. There is possibly even an emotion attached to it.

Coming home from a hard day, pouring a large glass of Pinot Noir (or whatever your poison is) to sip whilst you are cooking your healthy dinner for your family or your partner, then another one over dinner and perhaps even one more as you snuggle up on the sofa to wind down. It s almost like a scene from a movie that glorifies this lifestyle. It may help you relax and you rely on alcohol to achieve that state.

This is only one of million other scenarios, however, one thing that strikes me regularly when starting a client on their nutrition plan is their excitement to change their diet and start their plan and then their equal reluctance to give up their drink.

Sometimes the decision whether to go ahead with my coaching or not depends solely on how much their alcohol habit will be affected if they were to embark on a healthier & fitter self-betterment journey. It can easily sound like an addiction. And sometimes giving up alcohol is just one change too many they are not prepared to make.

Of course, it is OK not to be ready, it is our call when we are going to decide to change. And I am not in any way saying that alcohol should be avoided by absolutely everyone and at every circumstance. However, alcohol addiction is a reality for many. And obesity can be accelerated or even caused by alcohol, including many diseases. So, having any alcohol in a diet is a problem for many.

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Change your habits, change your life… How do we create new habits?

Thank you for clicking on this article as its title is everything but original. But, that does not make it less true. Actually, it is a huge deal!

Our life is truly a reflection of our habits at every level of our existence. We become what we think about because what we think about is what we will focus on and that will influence what action we take, which, ultimately, leads to a particular outcome (or outcomes for different areas of our life). Results, in one word.

Einstein’s famous definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different result. And, yet, that is exactly what majority of us do.

We have around 60 000 thoughts every single day, take or add a few, and research suggests that 98% of those thoughts are exactly the same thoughts we have every single day.

So, anyone wanting to change their life – what we need to change are habits and behaviours, which will influence our actions and the end result – our life.

Sounds simple, but we all know it is easier said that done. But at least we know that we got to change something. Because…

Change nothing – nothing changes.
Change a little – little changes.
Change a lot – a lot changes.

Habits come to mind as a logical one thing that we need to focus on changing. When it comes to health – habits are absolutely everything.

It is being said that it takes 21 days to change habits. But, science shows that this is a myth. Psychologists may agree that while it perhaps takes 21 days of consistent and conscientious effort to create a new habit, it takes far longer to break an existing habit.

More recently, study of 96 people was published in The European Journal of Social Philosophy and it states that it took an average 66 days to form a habit, such as eating a healthy snack or exercising regularly. That is to reach the point of Automaticity. When we develop a new behaviour that we do automatically, like brushing teeth is. The point of unconscious competence.

They found that creating a new habit depends on type of behaviour we are trying to change, the person and the circumstances. It can also take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit, which is an average of 66 days, but this highlights why it takes longer for some to adopt new habits.

I always talk to my client that after weight loss comes maintenance and research shows that maintenance is actually harder. Why? Because they have not yet reached the state of automaticity. They lost weight with my support, but those that take it for granted and have not fully committed to living a healthy, active lifestyle for life are the ones that will struggle to keep the weight off.

So, how do we create new habits?

Formula 1 New generation

New Generation Formula 1

After four decades, Formula 1 has changed for even better and we can not be more excited about it. It is cleaner and yummier than ever. It is New Generation Formula 1….

  • It is Vegan
  • It is Gluten Free
  • It is Dairy Free
  • High in Fibre (5 gr)
  • High in Protein (18+)
  • High in Vitamins & Minerals (25)
  • Natural Colour and Flavouring

Our Formula 1, almost unchanged for nearly four decades, is an advanced formula that made Herbalife Nutrition the leader in weight management and meal replacement industry.

Because what is good – feels good. You know it. Your body knows it.

Independent clinical studies on Formula 1 show how combining F1 meal replacement with regular diet produced better weight loss and fat loss results than food diet alone. That is in line with the recent research on meal replacements, in general.

And there is so much research on meal replacements and a role they play in an effective weight management although their role goes way beyond just weight management. Our Formula 1 is a primarily a nutritional product that can replace nutrients that we may not be getting through regular diet.

Our Formula 1 offers convenience, taste and nutrition all in one shake

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World Diabetes Day

14th November is World Diabetes Day. As more and more people have diabetes and increasing amount of people are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and the fact that lifestyle plays a big part in disease development – while it is important to raise the awareness of the disease, it is also very important to talk about its prevention.

Personally, I have diabetes in the family. I grew up with both of my aunties, my mum’s two only sisters, being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. One died from it and the other died of cancer before diabetes could claim her too. In my opinion, based on what I recall, apart from following the treatment – neither of them really took necessary care when it came to changing their lifestyle.

My mother, on the other hand, one that has always been more health conscious compared to her sisters, lived to her 79th birthday and has never developed the disease. She had a balanced diet and healthy weight. Still, this topic feels like it is very close to home as I love and miss my aunties very much.

So, what is causing Diabetes and how can we prevent it?

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4 Pillars of True Health – Path to being Healthy AND Fit

Ever thought if it is possible to be very fit and yet to be very unhealthy at the same time? I think it is very common…

It is usually demonstrated in regular exercise and feeling strong and fit, however, having low energy levels, possibly suffering from an impaired digestion or skin problems or frequent colds or some other form of ailment or even disease, even having excess weight!

You might be that person yourself or you might know someone who you even admire for being an example when it comes to their dedication to fitness, however, you can see they might not be eating great and are “getting away with a murder” when it comes to eating.

Some people I know are exercising so they CAN “eat what they want”. Or can they, really? That is the question.

It is also a possibility to be very healthy with great energy levels and youthfulness because of an attention to a healthy diet, however, to struggle to run for three minutes or get up a few flights of stairs.

I used to be this person after I had children and know the feeling very well. Exercise does burn extra calories, however, its role in weight management is actually minimal compared to its extraordinary role in our overall health, ageing process and general strength and stamina.

So, I think many will agree when I say that our aim, ideally, might be to be both – healthy AND fit.

The question is – are You? And, if not, how do we achieve both?

I can tell you that there is a lot more to it than just diet and exercise, but they seem to be good places to start!

NUTRITION

First pillar is Nutrition, of course. It is because, 80% of our health IS nutrition – what you eat and drink throughout the day because it does not matter how hard you work in the gym if you do not control what you put on your plate.

Your level of nutrition body gets will impact your mood as well as how your body functions. Ideally, we need to start seeing food as medicine. Because food CAN have that effect.

We ourselves are powerful beyond measure and it is equally incredible what our bodies can do when we give them the right nourishment and fuel that helps our cells thrive. Your nutrition is the first key to your healthy lifestyle and all the exercise in the world can not help you if you are not fuelling your cells right, in the right balance and frequency.

The latest research confirms that only 1 in 4 people, that is 25% of the population, across 15 European countries, considers nutrition when making their health choices.

Malnutrition (poor diet that results in micro-nutrient deficiencies that lead to disease) is estimated to cost £19.6 billion in the UK annually where malnourished adults account for about 30% of hospital admissions. No wonder we have such shocking figures if only a few consider nutrition in the first place.

I think there is a lot more to it and certainly education plays a huge part.

We are all different and different diets work for different people (where by diet I mean – a way of life, what works the best for you), however, at least 80% are absolute fundamentals that work for all of us because, simply put, we are all members of the human race and body is the engine that is pretty standard for everyone – same rules apply for majority of us:

To function optimally, body needs protein, fibre, healthy fats, micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc) and water delivered each day in the right balance and frequency!

On top of all that, we need to eliminate foods that drain our cells, lower immunity, cause inflammation, make us age faster and, ultimately, cause the disease.

EXERCISE

Second pillar is EXERCISE. It might be only 20% of your weight management efforts, however, benefits of exercise far exceed its benefits just for managing weight.

We are wired to move our bodies and what exercise does is quite astonishing. Exercise gives us energy, it releases dopamine which makes us feel better, happier, stronger; it releases serotonin which helps us feel more relaxed and it relieves stress, it helps neurogenesis or body to grow more brain cells; it accelerates learning and processing of information, makes us more alert, have more will power, makes us more motivated…

We are wired to move, all we lack is a habit of doing so intentionally, so, building exercise into our DAILY routine is an absolute game changer.

Best time to do it is in the morning, very first thing! Why? Because of all of the above that I mentioned that happens almost instantly after exercise. Also, because if you don’t, you know it – the day takes over and you are less likely to find time for it later on. How difficult is it to make time for it by just getting up 30 minutes earlier. You are worth it!

If you can go out and exercise in the nature, in the fresh air, it is even more impactful as it can be almost as a form of meditation, but even if you exercise at home, you will be awake, feel strong and ready to face the day.

Also, when you build exercise into your routine and learn about nutrition and start making the right food choices – then you are setting yourself up for success.

Remember, you can be fit, but unhealthy… and you can be healthy, but unfit… The ultimate goal to a long-term overall health is being FIT & HEALTHY!

And we are not done, not yet.

REST

Third pillar is REST.

Rest probably should have been first because it is after rest that we exercise and then feed our bodies. Body that is not rested is body that is not ready for anything. Good rest during the night regenerates our cells, repairs our muscle tissue, deep sleep rejuvenates our whole body.

If you have ever woken up not feeling rested enough, you know the feeling and can appreciate the importance of great rest.

If you have ever woken up feeling rested – you know that feeling too and how phenomenally it feels.

Sleep is a whole different topic, but best advice is to try to get 8 hours of sleep, avoid technology and LED lights 1-2 hours before bed time, as well as caffeine. Sleep in a dark and cool room.

All of those, and many more, help us rest during the night, however, there is another form of rest – relaxation during the day.

Allowing yourself time, even if it is 10-20 minutes to switch off, meditate, have a walk in the nature, clear your mind or even have a power nap that many successful people build into their daily schedule in order to freshen up and it helps them refocus.

There is a huge amount of evidence on the benefits of daily meditation on our well-being as well as productivity.

So, make sure you are not in your head and in all frenzy and activity all day long.

MINDSET

Forth pillar you might think is an unusual one, but it impacts our health massively – working on our HEALTH MINDSET. I am sure you have heard “80% nutrition, 20% exercise, 100% mindset!” Because we are creatures of habit and building healthy habits is built in the mind first!

Everything starts with a thought and healthy starts from making a CHOICE to be healthy, every single day. And this, in my opinion, is indeed the pillar worth mentioning because it is exactly with mindset itself that most struggle with before they can achieve health or reach their health, wellness, fitness goals.

Once we choose to be healthy, we need to start working on building habits that support our healthy, active lifestyle so we can continue taking action and feeding our bodies with the right nutrition, exercising our body daily and giving it rest and relaxation it needs.

To build those habits, we need to invest time in surrounding ourselves with people, influences, education, support that will help us achieve that.

We need to keep feeding our healthy mindset with healthy thoughts so our healthy active lifestyle continues to manifest itself.

So, how do YOU support your mindset?

Remember that if people around you are unhealthy, there is a nearly 50% chance you will be too. So, you must surround yourself also with positive examples. Find a coach, find a running buddy, enroll yourself on to a health programme that fits your lifestyle and gets you the support and education you need, etc.

So, think about this for a moment:

  • Who are the people around you?
  • What have they got you thinking? Reading? Doing?
  • Who are you following on social media? I am serious here. Who are your influencers?
  • What are you reading, listening to, watching?
  • Where is all that leading you?

If you want to be healthy, but are following, as an example – deep-fried pizza recipes on social media, or slogans how life is too short and should be enjoyed without limit so you can eat what you want and when you want it… you get the picture… Well, clearly none of that is really helpful.

If you have higher health goals, then you need to set clear goals, design a plan, surround yourself with the right support, positive affirmations and, ultimately, take action.

Most importantly, keep educating yourself what healthy is and what it is not because, life is a lot more fun when we are not sick and when we have energy to face the day.

Investment in our health is arguably the best investment you can make because life IS too short and it is worth and much easier living it in a healthy and fit body. Not because fit & healthy defines you and so does not the lack of it. But, because we are all worth living our best versions of ourselves – physically, mentally, spiritually.

I hope my four pillars gave you an insight into areas where you need to focus into making your health more balanced and health goals achievable. If you liked it, please share, because – sharing is caring. 🙂

I believe that health is our greatest wealth and state where happiness resides, so wishing you to be healthy and happy, always!

Yours in Health,

Sanela

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK Healthy Meals

Work those hormones for a successful weight loss!

If your idea of losing weight is still stuck on the old-fashioned calorie control approach – think again! Or worse – if you rely on your will power – think even harder (that is an exhaustive topic in its own right)!

Weight loss science has long evolved and weight loss has become what it always should have been – a lot more than a number on your scales, for sure.

World is slowly realising that successful weight management starts from within… from nourishing your body as well as mind. By being kinder to yourself from the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself to being kinder to your body by giving it the nourishment in the right balance so it can thrive instead of being deprived.

We are finally learning, or at least appreciate that we need to educate ourselves, about our bodies and how it functions so that we can eat for health and longevity – and weight management will sort out itself. These days, we can literally abandon the scales knowing that we are good!

Good for our body’s health and that shape is nicely coming along too.

How about that for body positivity! Loving our bodies just the way they are whilst we are building them healthier and better so this vessel can serve us well in whatever our purpose in life is – to raise a healthy, happy family or change the world – which is, kind of, the same thing, don’t you think?

By focusing on what IS – we only perpetuate its existence. Focus on health and becoming the best vision of you – you may be surprised how far THAT takes you instead of being obsesses with the number on the scales!

If you are not there yet and feel you are somehow behind this attitude towards your own health and wellness, don’t worry. It is never too late to start the journey the right way. Perhaps, keeping on reading for starters…

So, how do you get from that place of feeling heavy, lethargic, knowing you are not taking good care of yourself to actually not only losing weight, but also having energy, feeling good about yourself, having spring in your step?

The answer is as simple as – to make your wellness goals a reality – nutrition is the key and, more importantly, eating to balance your hormones related to weight management and metabolism. In the process, it is about repairing diet-related inflammation that exists in the body. Quality over quantity, right? Equally, quality of food is not measured in calories, but what it does within the body – does it feed & nourish your cells or does it damage them.

When our hormones are unbalanced – we age faster, develop disease as well as put on weight as they play a critical role in how body gets energy from the foods that we eat, which is known as metabolism.

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10 Item “Healthy Diet” Checklist

Back in 2004, a year after my first pregnancy, I took what I can only describe as a leap of faith, by embarking on my very first, and luckily last, weight loss journey. Since then, my focus has shifted on long-term health and becoming a better version of myself over the years. Healthier and happier version of me.

However, I did not understand at a time that weight loss is such a big thing for so many people and that choices are so vast that can truly leave a person lost in confusion as well as despair. It is because I never thought of weight before as I never had issues with it myself before my pregnancy.

These days, I imagine it to be even harder for those looking to improve their health or better manage their weight. The moment you open up your email or social media account – you are overwhelmed with health messages, recipes, different diets being promoted from all kinds of experts and influencers in health industry.

I am one of them, right?

Well, who knew that out of my first and very positive weight loss experience, passion was born and so was my calling. Because one thing I knew was that I felt better, not just for the weight I lost, but for the energy & confidence I gained as well as incredible satisfaction from helping others has given me.

With all that, there is also a constant need to remain a student myself as well as educate others on the latest in nutrition and health as, not only through solutions that we offer, but through the education – we can make this world a better, healthier place. Because knowledge is power. Always.

If you are one of those looking for help and not sure where to start, let me give you a few pointers what to look for, so you can make the right choice, the one that is sustainable long-term, rather than go astray or run around in circles.

If you are no stranger to dieting, I am sure you have, at some point perhaps, started a diet or an exercise regime but never got the shape and result you wanted, felt hungry or deprived, lonely, lacked energy or motivation to keep going?

It could be that what you were trying has not been something that is sustainable or lacked support or real science to make a long-term result. Here is my list of what to look for…

1.Focus should always be on body composition rather than weight loss alone as a measure of your progress. Traditional diets focus on a number on the scales rather than on what that weight loss consists of. Any time you go to the slimming class and step on those scales – you actually have no idea what is going on internally and whether that weight loss consists of fat or muscle.

Why is that important? Well, if you are losing muscle, you are also slowing your metabolism which is the quickest way to hit the plateau as well as gain all weight back, and more. And then you diet again and that is how we end up becoming a Yo-Yo dieters.

Diets like this are also a cause of premature ageing, reduced immunity, low energy, poor performance and declined strength. Only when we lose fat and fat alone, our shape starts changing and we are reducing the health risks that fat is causing.

Keeping or even increasing our muscle mass means that we have greater strength, faster metabolism and we only then run a chance of a sustained weight loss. Losing weight AND keeping it off.

2. Focus on balance of macro nutrients, not calories alone! Because if your diet is not balanced – it is not healthy. Full Stop. You may be eating foods generally considered healthy, but only when they are eaten in the right balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates – you will achieve more than weight loss – healthy body composition!

Commit to getting nutrition wise! Protein, whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or meat-eater, should be around 30% of your daily calorie consumption and so should be healthy fats.

So, salad alone for lunch or “everything low-fat” is not good for your body and diets promoting that are not great long-term! It is a sure way to lose muscle instead of body fat and that is not the right way to lose AND keep the weight off, to say the least!

Vegetarian and vegans in particular may struggle with this and if their diet is unbalanced in this respect – it may be the reason for unexplained weight gain or lack of energy and stamina despite eating “healthy”.

3.Focus on calorie quality to optimise metabolism, not just calorie quantity. Traditional diets allow you to eat within your calorie allowance and you are good as long as you do not go over! We need to move away from this outdated thinking because it is a calorie quality that counts far more. 200 calories worth of broccoli will have a completely different impact on the body than 200 calories of chocolate.

So,” calories in-calories out” approach is outdated and we know better now thanks to the science. Your body requires a certain amount of micro nutrients every single day to provide your body with health and vitality, so, the key is, even if you are eating to lose weight, to still hit your nutrient levels.

Nutrition can not be compromised. Otherwise, you WILL see lower energy levels, loss of muscle, and more. Research shows that only 25% of adults consider nutrition when eating. We obviously need more education on why nutrition always needs to be on our minds when eating, not just for an effective weight management, but for general health and longevity.

4.Think about your hormones. Traditional diets completely ignore the role of hormones. Because they focus on just calories alone. We need to know better, so we can do better. Most people do not realise that how we feel, look and even act is regulated by our hormones and we are not just talking menopause.

Everyone is effected by their hormonal activity every second of every day. They also control our body composition. Low quality food, even if it is low-calorie food, will compromise our hormonal activity and our biochemistry.

In particular we are talking about fat burning hormones that completely get out of balance when we eat unbalanced diet and it stops us from burning fat. Remember, it is fat we want to burn? However, when we eat clean, high quality food in the right balance, together with the right kind of exercise – fat burn is ON, baby! This really is the KEY!

5.Focus on meal frequency! The science now shows us that your body can only function optimally if it gets the right nutrients in the right amounts and – in the right frequency. So, the right plan would be the one that allows you to eat more high-quality foods, more frequently.

This would stabilise your blood sugar and satisfy hunger rather than spike it! So, skipping meals, especially breakfast and snacks is a big no-no for most people! Those are also the opportunities to fit in more nutrition.

6.Focus on exercising smarter, not necessarily exercising more. We are almost pre-conditioned to think that when we are trying to lose weight we need to get to gym more, like every day. Science shows us that doing small amount of exercise, but effective exercise that stimulates your metabolism is a lot smarter way.

So, instead of running for hours on treadmill, you are far better off adopting exercising at intervals so you get a varied heart rate. When you combine that with some resistance training – you will far better support your precious lean muscle and burn body fat. Remember that nutrition is 80% of your efforts, so make your workouts effective and no more than 30 minutes per day, on average, is needed.

And, more important than anything – find exercise that you enjoy doing as you are more likely to continue…

7.Focus on eating that promote stable blood sugar levels. Many diets promote low-calorie meals or snacks, however, whilst they are low-calorie, they could be completely unbalanced and messing up your blood sugar levels (calorie quality and balance, remember). The result is – storing more fat, even if weight loss is registering on the scales (loss of muscle due to lack of protein).

Another way we can cause blood sugar roller coaster is by skipping meals or snacks, usually in hope that we will lose more weight. It almost always backfires as research shows – all it does is causes us to over-eat on the next meal. If you truly want to do it the right way and achieve fat loss, avoid any diets that promote meal skipping. Meal frequency matters.

8.Avoid fads, eating plans that have a “fashion” element attached to them… so, high protein diet, low carb diet, high fat diet that is popular right now, etc, or basically, any diet that excludes whole food groups.

It takes years before we can see true evidence and clinical data on those diets and there is already plenty of evidence on some. But, just the sheer fact that they are excluding whole food groups means they will cause imbalance.

It may work short-term, but the imbalance generally means that people can not stick to it long-term. And if it is not a lifestyle thing, it is not right. Only balanced diet is a healthy diet, remember. We must understand that. That means – balanced amount of protein, fibre, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals and trace elements in diet will ensure our bodies get all they need so they can function properly and have strong immunity, slow down the ageing process and help us manage our weight for a long time after losing it.

9.Start with an end in mind – so, if your goal is to be healthy – focus on your long-term health, not on your looks alone and short-term weight loss. It is about long-term health strategy rather than short-term tactics.

For that to happen, your diet and diet of your family, needs to be … you’ve got it – balanced and nutrient dense. It does not matter how hard you work in the gym if you do not control what goes on your plate.

10. Focus on developing healthy mindset, knowledge and insights so you can achieve the shift within. Education on nutrition is so important so that you can understand and make right food decisions, however, working on developing long-term healthy mindset is far more important as it will help you get out of the dieting prison and ensure you can live your life free of negative body image, limiting self beliefs, stay in control of your emotions and a lot more.

So, instead of just focusing on your physical body, the key is to understand your emotions – where they come from, how to accept and process them; your psychology – beliefs and how to change them if they are limiting you in any way; your language – what you say about yourself, food and world around you and how you say it and if you are making any assumptions… etc. Only healthy mindset helps you stay healthy for life and I am sure that is what everyone hopes for.

I hope this was helpful, although it just gives you some pointers rather than in-depth solutions into each. Each of the points is a subject in their own right, but being aware of each can be a step into the right direction..

I am a Nutritional Therapist & Herbalife Nutrition Health Coach and if you would like help with your own weight management, or have any questions, please do reach out, I would love to help.

If you have been inspired by this article or wish to connect or place a comment, please do so further below and, please do share, because, remember, sharing is caring. 🙂

I believe that health is our greatest wealth, health is happiness, so wishing you to be healthy and happy, always

Sanela

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK Healthy Meals

In defense of “Clean Eating”

The world we live in today is so different to the world we lived in a decade ago. You just take Social Media as one example. It was almost non-existent ten years ago or certainly it did not exist in the same capacity it does today. I am daily overwhelmed and inundated with messages, articles, opinions, research, etc thrown at me.

I am assuming many feel like this.

Some of this information is truly great, some not so much. “Not so much” stuff does not always bother me, but, today, I saw something that, instead of ignoring, I thought of using as an opportunity to throw a different light at it as it is health related and a subject close to my heart.

As the title of the article suggests, it is indeed about “clean eating”. Because, while I thought I heard it all, I was amused, to say the least, to read how one “TV dietitian”, names need not to be mentioned, called clean eating as “unhealthy, another diet and bullshit”, pardon HER French. Well, her 65 thousand (plus 2000 extra since yesterday) followers loved her for it.

I can see the appeal, audience loves when we dare, even swear and throw bombastic claims. Everyone has their audience. However, I can not agree any less and I thought it warrants writing why that is and why you shouldn’t agree either…

Firstly, what is Clean Eating?

Well, clear definitions vary and so do opinions on whether certain foods should be part of it, but, in a nutshell – it is a balanced diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein and it is a diet that eliminates processed foods.

I think it is logical and something we have always known to be good for us, however, we have just now given it a name. Mediterranean Diet is probably the closest to clean eating we can think of. Which, in my opinion, is not really a diet, but a way of life for many people and they are better for it.

Notes to my younger self

Notes to my younger self…

My 45th birthday is in any day now and, although it is not one of those “round number” birthdays, I feel to be right in the middle of somewhere or something.

I feel the shift taking place and being at a cross-roads right now.

I borrowed this idea from a friend – to write to my younger self.

It could be a useful way of release, self-forgiveness, reflection, way to help myself move on from anything in the past that still may have a hold on me, to cherish that child in me… and, who knows, perhaps some insight might be useful to someone else too.

Why would anyone openly want to share such personal and possibly even vulnerable stuff, you may wonder, however, the idea is hardly new and has been used forever as a way to reflect and connect, with ourselves and others.

When we are open for deep reflection – the insights are enriching and give strength. When shared, the feeling is amplified. And I was certainly inspired by those who had courage to do the same.

We all seek human connection and it is exactly through stories that we connect…

* * * * *

My dear 7-year-old self, I wish to jump straight to you. I have so much love for you. As the only child, loved and protected by your parents, you were so looking forward to starting school,  making friends, learning. I cherish the innocence all children have at that age.

Your parents may have made it harder for you as they protected you so well, there was hardly a raised voice in our household.

Your older parents dedicated their life to you as you came after long 15 years of their marriage without children, after they almost gave up on having any.

So, you were precious to our dear mum and dad and they gave you all their love. What a blessing you were to them and them to you.

And then you started school and started learning about the world outside of the comfort of your home.

So, I wish to talk to you about what happened at school that day in the very first grade…

It was your favourite arts class and you were about to do something super cool and exciting. However, no one was paying attention as teacher was explaining what to do, everyone was shouting and you were at the back of the class, not particularly tall for your age, trying desperately to see as well as hear.

You felt you will miss it completely, so, in a frustration, you shouted begging everyone to be quiet. Immediately, there was a silence, then someone mockingly repeated your words, then laughter, then someone else begged in the high pitched voice imitating you, then the whole class laughed even more.

Everyone looked at you laughing and, like that wasn’t enough, whenever you were seen on a break that day, you were being mocked about it and laughed at. You wanted Earth to swallow you. You felt shame. Kids were cruel and unkind, only the way kids can be.

My dear child, this small incident is something still stuck in your mind even at the age of 45. It really is so silly, but it is what it is, it meant something more to you than it really was and you felt hurt.

You have never been laughed at before, of course you would feel hurt. I remember the feeling so well, still. This was the point when something changed within you, when your confidence took a dive. So, to avoid being judged, you avoided raising hand in class, although you were an excellent student, conscientious and hard-working, now with a need to be invisible.

Well, it was impossible to be invisible. If you were quiet, they would still judge you for being too quiet or by what you wore (or what your parents even wore), did, music you listened to.

If your socks were the wrong colour you can rest assured someone would be talking about it and, if more agree – your school cred is finished (and I do not think this is even an exaggeration!) Ah, school life! So precious and so cruel at times. Certainly prepares you for life! We all need a dose of it to toughen up. School does what loving parents certainly could never subject you to.

But, let me tell you now – do not let the politics of school life phase you. Everyone is trying to navigate their way through it, otherwise, there would never be a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (Ooops, you would not know anything about it yet, but, wait until you have kids – you will realise then that school life is not a smooth sailing for many!)

Do not let anything stop you from speaking your mind and standing up. Choose your fights, but speak your beautiful mind as it has not been taught to insult, hurt, belittle, shame, so, world is a more beautiful place because of the way you see it. If only world could borrow your glasses.

My dear 8-year-old self, when your mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and you came to suddenly realise that you may lose her, I really want to give you a big and long hug, I know it is worrying and you are terrified. But, your father has got you! He is there to make you feel safe during your mum’s treatment and recovery, he is your and your mum’s true rock. What will be will be.

None of us knows how long we have got, concept that may be hard for an 8-year-old to comprehend, but if I learnt anything from that experience is to never miss an opportunity to let your loved ones know that you love them, give hugs, love deeply, give kisses, be kind, smile… all that, often. Sometimes, we need to be reminded how fragile life can be.

By the way, mum is a survivor and she will be celebrating your 45th birthday with you, no worries.

My dear teenage self, you are still beautiful. Trust me on this. Instead of being hurt by being branded as “different” because you are more quiet and have unique interests – embrace it.

Being healthy and respecting and loving your body comes naturally to you and just this single fact will, trust me, serve you so well later on! You also have courage and seek adventure even if alone – you decide to jump out of a plane, you go away with scouts and sleep in the forest, you love nature as well as helping your parents in your garden, you get up early in the summer to watch the sun rise on the empty banks of the beautiful river Vrbas with not a single soul around you,  you read a lot – from Jane Eyre to even a newly discovered personal development starting with The Power of Positive Thinking (this will blow your mind at a time and it will save you later!), you ride your bike until you get scared how far you are from home, but the feeling of the wind in your hair and on your face is exciting and pretty priceless and what you are imagining freedom to be, you take long hikes in the nearby forests and get lost and then find your way back without panic (I think some remember one particular hike like that and might not have forgiven you yet as it WAS scary, but you got them home safely, so, all is well!).

You have a kind heart, you enjoy spending time with the elderly, rescue abandoned dogs, write and read poetry, paint, you simply adore Michael Jackson (and some mock you for that too – don’t they know man is a genius (well, they will, later on)!) because message from his songs about love, equality and peace resonates so well with you. You are so well-connected to your essence despite feeling misunderstood at times. Everyone is misunderstood at times, that is OK. Just stay your course, your sails are set right!

All that beauty, and yet, you feel so sad at times because of the silly “third grade” remarks. Now, as you are older, you know they only come from jealousy, but forgive them a lot sooner. Forgive right NOW. You must know that some do not have a bike, some are not even allowed one, some do not have a health conscious mum to teach them the love of nourishing themselves, some are not allowed dogs, some live in such small space that they can not fit in a dog, some are not allowed freedom to just go, without supervision, into the nature, climb hills, jump out of the plane or travel with scouts, some miss one parent…

Some get punishment or even beatings for slightest errors (while your parents sat you down one day, after they saw you kissing a boy (which was a “Mother Earth, swallow me right now” moment!) and told you to come to them first if anything bad happens eluding at pregnancy – oh, how embarrassed you were, but, I can tell you now – this was radical at a time and perhaps even now), so no wonder when they see your supportive parents trusting you so much, they feel slight envy.

Mostly, it is just a misdirected resentment and anger. Only hurt (or hurting) people hurt others. Children do not know yet how to deal with those emotions. They may even admire you as they wished the same freedoms for themselves. Feel for them and know from every cell of your being – you have a very happy, carefree childhood. The best you can do is share your dog walks, share bike rides, invite someone to nature walks with you or to play in your garden with you… Some will, some won’t. So what!

Also know one thing – these will still be the best years of your life. The age of innocence, excitement, first loves, discoveries, adventure, freedom you will probably never have quite the same again.

My message to you is to never, ever try to fit in. Instead, seek to belong. First to yourself, the rest will follow.

You are always brave enough somehow to “do you”, but, do it more convincingly rather than being so split all the time: doing your own thing and then crying yourself to sleep because you felt sad for not having company.

Although, I applaud you for picking yourself up the next day and doing your thing again. Just be more unapologetic about your choices. Always be yourself and love yourself just the way you are.

It WILL attract the right people in your life because you love human connection, but you know instinctively that only what is authentic is real. And those few special bonds that you create during your teenage years will love you for exactly who you are as they believe in you and your character.

I can tell you that you will have strong friendships from those early years still at this age, over three decades later, and let’s hope they continue until the very end. Cherish them dearly, they are the family you choose…

Follow your own dreams and do not seek approval. You are enough. All you need is already within you. What other people think does not really matter. The earlier you learn this, the easier it will get and luckier you will get too. It is one of the closest things to being truly free. Being free from the good opinions of others.

And from allowing opinions of others to define you. You are not your accomplishments or lack of them. Your past does not define you either. What closest to you think does not matter either. The only thing that matters is what you think of it yourself. “It” being your decisions, your choices, your plans, your goals, your results. If it gives YOU peace – You are good. If it doesn’t, forgive yourself, move on, change something…

My dear young adult, I am so proud of you, again. Despite the war and hardship, you always knew that love is the way, the only way, the answer. Build bridges. Forgive. Some things can never be forgotten and you do not have to forget.

No one can ask that of you.

But do forgive. So you can move on. You will be hurt, but, again, forgive. Otherwise, those that hurt you, win. Only hurt people hurt others, mainly out of fear, shame, anger. You are not one of them. You were born out of love, not fear or anger.

In your early twenties, you will move from being called “different” to “strange”. Quite uninventive as life itself can be very strange and yet we are meant to embrace it.

Try not to sweat it, you WILL find your tribe. Those that love all that was unusual about you. Continue with your art, meditation classes, reading and seeing beauty in unexpected – this will save you from hate that will be an easy choice because of what is going on in your life. Again, forgive them, they do not know any differently. Let others find their fate. Your only job is to find your happy place and be part of the solution as that is the only way to help the world heal and be a better place.

You will lose people you love, some indefinitely. Remember the good times, stay with the feeling of love for them because love is eternal. Tell stories about them, that is how they are kept alive.

You will come to understand that the best way to live a life is not to be attached to your past and to feel no fear about the future either. To imagine it the way we want it then to let go and surrender as we live in each moment to the full, with joy in our heart, taking relevant actions with authenticity and intention in order to create the reality we desire. But it is easier said than done, so, keep reminding yourself of this when you lose your balance.

“Expectations are limitations”, our meditations teacher back in our 20s used to say, his words still echo in my mind. So, give up controlling the outcome.

Your heart will be broken. It is inevitable. And not the end of the world as your young heart may think. It is all part of the greater design. We can not appreciate light without knowing darkness. Trust that good that is meant for you will come. Stay open to love and you WILL find true love who will love you for all who you are. And who you are not. You are worthy of true love.

Always tell the truth. Even if it hurts. And always with kindness. You owe the world your honesty if you want the world to grow.

People will turn their backs at you for no apparent reason. Do not dwell on it for too long, it is exhausting, as you know. Move on. And, again, forgive. Fast! Because people have their own reasons why they do what they do. Their own logic, their own unique understanding and view of the world. Allow them to make their own decisions.

Do not try to convince. The sooner you learn that convincing creates resistance and you are always on the losing end, the better relationships you will cultivate and people will stay for longer. Indeed, it is more important to be kind than to be right. Because kindness always wins. Trying to be right is a tiresome, losing game.

Choose your words wisely when emotions are high. Words can hurt like a sword and sometimes there is no going back because you can never take back some words. Choose them carefully.

When challenged, breathe and smile. Do not take it personally. Seek to understand. Ask questions. Questions are the answers. Ask more questions before coming to conclusions, do not assume. This will eliminate defensiveness and might help build a (better) relationship or prevent losing some.

Do not gossip. Ever. For any reason. Resist the temptation. Because you will be tempted to blame others for things that happen. Know one thing – negative things you say about others only reflects negatively on you. Beauty is in the eyes of beholder. And so is everything else.

Whatever you recognise in others – lives in you. So, only try to see the good in people. Because everyone has something good in them. Again, seek to understand. Take responsibility. Always. Learn from it rather than judge. What other side decides to do (and why) is none of your business. Your character is built upon how YOU respond. I wish I knew this early on.

Another thing about gossip – do not allow others gossiping in front of you. Let them know your boundaries. If they gossip about others, they can easily gossip about you too. They will, trust me.

Trust your feeling when around people as everything is energy. If it does not feel right, you could be picking something up. Choose different company. Do not force friendships. It must feel right for both parties.

Respect other people’s boundaries, however, make sure you define yours too. You will be respected more (by the right people), while others will take advantage if you are not clear about boundaries.

Never stop learning. And reading. It will help you understand yourself. Because the true power is in understanding yourself.

If faced with decision-making – dig deep… Seek answers that give you peace and you will not go wrong. If it does not feel right, do not do it! If in doubt, seek advice, but do not feel obliged to take advice.

When making a decision – do not seek approval for the decisions you make. It is a prison. You know it. Get out! Quick! Trust your own gut and do what is right for you and put the blinkers on. Boy, you will achieve incredible things if you find the courage to follow this advice. I have just realised I already wrote about the approval… obviously it is important to you. Take notes as I am writing from a personal experience. 🙂

Teach your future children kindness. World needs more kind people. Saying that, your children will be your own reflection in many ways, so, work hard on becoming the best version of you and the rest will fall into place, including the closest to you.

The secret is in the feeling, so seek joy and contentment in all you do. The bliss point.

Always give your best. It is the best remedy for dissapointment. Knowing that we, at least, did our best.

Travel More. It is the best feeling ever.

Also, talk about your feelings. Always get things off your chest. It is good for your mental health as well as for your soul. Choose wisely who to share your feelings with, though.

Believe in yourself. Believe you can. Only then things can happen. Whether you believe you can or you can not – you will be right, because belief is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Someone smarter than me figured this out.

Do not be afraid to ask closest to you how they see you. Just in case it highlights a blind spot you are not aware of.

Do not be intimidated by the people who are better than you. Seek them. Learn from them. That is how you grow!

Show enthusiasm in whatever you do.

Be fascinated by life. That is how you do not miss the beauty on the way. It is too easy to be just frustrated and angry.

Never give up on what you believe in or on those who you love.

Have an open mind and believe in impossible. Because “those who do not believe in magic will never find it”!

Build trust. It is the highest currency in life and in any relationship. Once broken, it does not mend easily. Be impeccable with your word and do what you say you would do.

My dear younger self, there is so much more, but, let’s leave it for another time. May I just remind you to always be your beautiful, kind self that life has not worn out, but polished into a diamond.

You will make mistakes, but forgive yourself, you are not your mistakes, you are a beautiful soul on a journey of personal discovery who wants to do good in the world and make the world a happier and more beautiful place. This has always been your intention. Stay a dreamer, but do not forget to be a doer too. You want to leave this world a better place, so have courage to be soft and vulnerable and yet strong and unapologetic in sharing your message so others can relate and be inspired.

Be brave and then even braver. You will need a lot of courage. You proved to be so resilient, but you will need more courage to make a true difference. Don’t hold back. Build momentum. Stay the course. You KNOW what to do, but remember that the difference is in the DOING! You’ve got this!

I love you and I am grateful for all the good in my life that you created and all the lessons you learnt on the way, even those learnt hard way, because there is no such thing as a success without struggle!

Looking forward to the future lessons and blessings with you as I now make peace and let go of the past!

Happy birthday 🙂

Your older (and now slightly wiser) self, thanks to you x

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK

Lessons and Blessings from my Second 90 Day Challenge

As my second 90 day challenge is about to finish, of course I am inspired to share my insights this time too. Many times down the line I thought I made a mistake for joining as I already got to my goal in the first challenge and I doubted that I will have the same resolve as I did in the first wave from January until April this year. Almost 90 days later, I am so very glad I did.

What was my goal?

Mainly maintenance. I think I secretly wished to be ready for The Next Level, but, I knew, while I had such strong resolve in the first wave, this time I was not as hungry for results as I already got the result that satisfied me. It is true when they say – the biggest enemy of great is good. And sometimes, good will just have to be good enough, as long as the purpose remains to be happy, healthy and strong.

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK

Nourishing Foods in Hot Weather

I believe this topic is long overdue as the Hot British Summer just keeps on giving, however, who knew! I do hope it is not too late for the advice and that we keep being blessed with this glorious weather (that we are so not used to). When we prayed for summer in the winter months (for the past few decades at least), I do not think anyone expected our wish to be granted in such abundance this year.

My husband would say – be careful what you wish for. Now, many complain that it is too hot, however, let’s all admit – there is something rather refreshing waking up to a warm, sunny morning; it makes you want to wake up early and seize the day. I have been watering the plants at 7AM most mornings and that, in itself, has been refreshing and wonderful. Connection with nature from the word Go.

Back to our subject, when weather is hot, there are few things we need to bear in mind in order to keep our body well nourished and energised.

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK Healthy Meals

Tackling Childhood Obesity

Not sure if you heard it – it has been all over the news… The government has issued a 33 page document in an effort to tackle childhood obesity as it is one of the biggest problems that the UK and many developed countries are facing right now.

Nearly a quarter of children in England are obese or overweight by the time they start primary school aged five and this raises to one-third of children who are obese or overweight by the time they leave primary school at the age of 11.

Obese children usually turn out to be obese or overweight teenagers, which can lead them into adulthood also as obese or overweight. Not only that this puts a huge burden on the economy as, statistically, obese and overweight people need more health care (because of obesity related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, just to name major three), but also health of our children determines their opportunities in life, their level of confidence and generally quality of life.

Every child deserves the best opportunity in life, I am sure you will agree.

So, this must be a step in the great direction, although, in my opinion, what is being proposed should be seen as just that – one little step in the right direction. See it for yourself…

Focus on calories

As overweight or obese children are consuming over 500 extra calories a day, emphasis has been put to find ways to reduce calorie consumption, which is in a form of an initiative to list calories on menus in restaurants, cafe, take aways.

This sounds good, however, if a child wants a pizza and dessert and nothing else (which, by default, always has the highest calories) – what is the parent to do? These calorie listings are, of course, not for the children, but for the adults themselves, parents, to make an informed choice and whether it will actually help a child choose a lower calorie option – is another matter.

Sugar Reduction

Reducing sugar, of course, should be at a very heart of any adult’s or child’s health efforts. Government has challenged food industry to reduce the sugar content in their foods and drinks by 20% by 2020, with a 5% target in the very first year.

If a 330ml bottle of a sugary drink has, on average, 40 grams of sugar, the plan is to reduce it to 32 grams. I am sorry, but whilst every little gram less helps – 32 grams is still way too high. The same goes for cereals and other foods and drinks frequently bought by children.

Advertising and Promotion

Of course, then we have to look at all the factors that influence our food choices. So, the proposal is to introduce 9PM watershed on TV for advertising junk food geared towards children. Problem again is – how many children do go to bed before 9PM? (Apparently over 1 million children are still watching TV after 9PM)

What is also proposed is that food companies and supermarkets will not be able to display tempting, sugary sweets at the checkout or advertise multi-buy offers. I think this is a great part of the plan as it will, at least, stop some impulse buys. Disappointing thing may be the lack of incentive to encourage deals on fresh produce as price matters to many, if not most.

Education is the Future

The above are major few take aways from the legislation that we need to know about.

But, how do we get children to naturally choose what is good for them? That, I believe, starts from home. It is parents that need an education and change in their own lifestyle before we can expect them to pass it on to their children. Obesity runs in the families only because of the same habits that members of one family adopt. And habits indeed can last a lifetime.

I remember when Jamie Oliver tried to make school dinners healthier and more balanced – how much resistance there was from the parents themselves. Because they did not know any better themselves. It shocked me every time I saw them angry whilst dropping a portion of “fish & chips” across the school fence to their child who refused to eat a healthy, balanced meal. But, I understood. They simply did not know any better. Period.

Most probably, their parents did not either. How can we expect a child to know any better then?

My children are a testament that it all starts from home. They are no strangers to a ocassional bag of crisps or a biscuit or even a fruit drink. But those are not found in our fridge or cupboard all the time. They are occasional.

Fruit is always available in the house and, being a health coach with an access to knowledge & information and nutritional solutions for a healthy, balanced breakfast and snacks – that is what they grew up with. There is no tooth decays, no sicknesses, no excess weight of anyone in our household. We speak to our boys of healthy choices. They question things themselves. “Mum, doesn’s that have sugar?”

I believe also that it will take many generations before both adults and children are conscious about their health. Perhaps, this government initiative is just a stepping stone in the right direction despite that fact that it is as flawed as it sounds. Perhaps this is the best they can do as food industry is a giant and they are not happy right now even with these minimal changes they have been asked to adhere to.

I hope it is not just to make us all quiet and content that at least something is done. I hope not. Afterall, the future of our economy depends on it as obesity has a potential to bankrupt it.

I am honoured to be in the health & nutrition industry and we need more health coaches to work in their communities making a difference.

I believe, while Government can continue with their legislations, it is our work on the ground that involves education and helping people with their health and nutrition and getting them more active that will have the most powerful ripple effect on how overall habits are changing and, with that, also our attitudes toward health and what is good for us and our children.

Until next time, wishing you a happy and healthy day!

Your partner in Health,

Sanela

From 5-A-Day to Breakfast Everyday: Why You Should Make Time For a Healthy Breakfast

I am a firm believer in making breakfasts the most essential part of our daily routine and where we make a start when trying to change our lifestyle.

And once we have this healthy habit sorted – of not just having A breakfast as part of our daily routine, but THE breakfast – the right kind of breakfast – then we build the rest of the good habits on top of it, one by one.

With chronic diseases on the rise, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have finally recognised the importance of breakfast as a healthy behaviour that is one of the key factors in reducing health diseases across Europe.

“As a former teacher, I can spot straight away who’s awake and alert and who’s tired and distracted. And in my experience, one of the biggest factors that determines success in the classroom is so simple and so often overlooked: having breakfast every morning.”, says Jean-Claude Gonon, Secretary-General of the European Association of Teachers (AEDE).

World Health Organization (WHO) stated:

“A regular breakfast is part of a healthy diet, which in turn has traditionally been considered an important factor in a healthy lifestyle. Breakfast contributes to the quality and quantity of a person’s daily dietary intake, and breakfast-skipping has been linked to inadequate dietary nutrition in several studies. Breakfast-skipping also influences cognition and learning and consequently may impact on adolescents’ capacity to take advantage of learning opportunities provided by schools and families.”

But breakfast isn’t just important for children and young people. Making sure we eat breakfast in the morning is just as important for adults too.

“Missing breakfast has been associated with several other health-compromising behaviours, such as higher levels of smoking, alcohol and drug use and more sedentary lifestyles. Breakfast skipping has also been linked with the increased consumption of snacks low in fibre and high in fat later in the day and an increased risk of obesity.”, World Health Organisation.

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK Healthy Meals

Health, like happiness, is an inside job: Healthy and Happy can only coexist

Achievement of any goals in our lives come down to our mindset. Health goals included. I have been working on this article a while, bit by bit, until it came together. It is a message to those who perhaps struggle at this point in time with their health and choices they make. I have seen a lot of struggle and I wish to tell you that you are not alone and there is hope.

If it was enough to just be told to “eat healthy”, advice we are given all the time (ambiguous as it is as it means different things to different people), everyone would be at their ideal weight and peak health. No, it is not easy, because it is a science and we are only human, so, try to feel less frustration and let’s focus on what we can do.

We all know we should choose, buy, eat healthier foods, however, unhealthy options can have such huge grip on us, until unhealthy habits are all we have. No wonder food gives us such anxiety.

Part of it, to a certain extent, is not necessarily even our fault. Do you know that the food companies employ food scientists who design foods with the exact ratio of fat, sugar and salt that gets us to the so-called “bliss point”? It is a point at which foods have such an appeal that we are begging for more. Foods with too much salt will cause us crave foods with sugar as body is seeking balance. And vice versa. Simple carbohydrates will make us crave just more of the same.

So, that is one issue and “easily” taken care of when we just decide not to touch foods we know are not good for us. Think cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, crisps, ice cream, etc… Easy peasy, right? Well, it is not. It is much easier said than done because foods with a “bliss point” can make a food addict out of us. Sugar addiction is real. But so is smoking and there are people who decide to stop, smoke their final cigarette and never smoke again.

Hrbalife Nutrition Digestive Health Solutions

Bulletproof your Digestive Health: how to keep your Second Brain happy

You may have heard already that our digestive health is our second brain and what goes on in the gut is responsible for 80% of our immunity. Small Intestine is where the majority of digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place.

As our body is exposed to toxins in everyday life, such as smoking, alcohol, medications, stress, pollution, chlorine and many more, maintaining healthy digestion helps body eliminate them from the body. Without gut’s ability to neutralise and eliminate toxins from the body – weight loss is impaired and, as a result, we can experience a weight gain, as just one of the “side effects”.

One-third of the UK population regularly suffers from digestive illnesses such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation, diarrhoea, stomach-aches, nausea and sickness and cancers of the digestive tract are the largest cancer killer, actually 23% of all UK cancer mortalities. So, with that in mind, our Digestive System does deserve special attention as it must be one of the most important parts of our entire body. Hippocrates famous quote still very much rings true today: “

“Death sits in the bowels. Bad digestion is the root of all evil!” (400 BC)

So, taking care of our digestion becomes an essential part of a healthy body and efficient weight management and here is why and how…

Herbalife Nutrition Independent Herbalife Member, Bath UK Healthy Meals

Keep Fit with Fit Foods

Your body is yearning to get lively as it is designed for movement, but, if allowed, it will begin to seize up, fatten up and generally degenerate. So, whatever your age, moderate exercise can help with your wellness as it builds and strengthens your muscles, improves skeletal density & keeps osteoporosis at bay, gets your heart pumping, helps shift plaque from your arteries, helps mobilise toxins trapped in fat cells, uses up stored fat reducing stored weight, reduces feelings of depression, lessens fatigue, improves skin tone and colour and there are so many more amazing benefits, both physical and psychological.

Exercise, however, is just one part of the equation. You may have heard this before, or you may hear it for the first time, in which case you may well be surprised, but the fact is – your health as well as the success of your weight management effort is 80% down to your nutrition and only 20% down to exercise. Therefore, poor fuel will equal poor performance and athletes know this all too well.