Wednesday, 27 June 2012

How to help combat against Cellulite...............

Ever felt that dimpled, orange peel effect on the skin around your butt, thighs, tummy and sometimes backs of your arms? You have, then that’s ‘Cellulite’ it’s a term used to describe the dimpled appearance of skin caused by fat deposits that are just below the surface of the skin.

Can it be got rid of, I’m not so sure BUT a healthy diet including some ‘Superfoods’ (see below) and losing excess body fat and a lifestyle that reduces stress may help reduce symptoms.

Firstly what causes cellulite?

The causes of cellulite are not well understood, but there are plenty of theories including the below:

·         Hormonal factors

Hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Many believe estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.

·         Genetics

Certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genes may predispose an individual to particular characteristics associated with cellulite, such as gender, race, slow metabolism, distribution of fat just underneath the skin, and circulatory insufficiency.

·         Diet

People who eat too much fat, simple carbohydrates or salt and too little fibre are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite.

·         Lifestyle factors

Cellulite may be more prevalent in smokers, those with a sedentary lifestyle and those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time.

·         Clothing

Underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks (limiting blood flow) may contribute to the formation of cellulite.

There seems to be a lot in the press these days of ‘Superfoods’.  Super foods such as the ones mentioned below can not only help to create a lean, healthy, dimple-free body, but also reduce the risk of a myriad of diseases and illnesses as well as significantly improve your mood.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is an effective natural antibacterial agent that contains many vital minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon and fluorine.  No one is really sure how apple cider vinegar works to promote weight loss, but there is no shortage of theories.

It is generally believed that the nutrients, enzymes, and organic acids in apple cider vinegar cause weight reduction by acting as an appetite suppressant, by increasing your body’s metabolic rate, by reducing water retention, and by helping you maintain a feeling of wellbeing. However, the immune system boosting effects of apple cider vinegar are profound, and the vitamins and minerals it contains can contribute to athletic performance and muscle growth.

Many commercial apple cider vinegars have been pasteurized, filtered, refined or distilled in order to make the product look good, and thereby more appealing to the general public. Unfortunately this extra processing destroys much of the healthy goodness and thus many of the apple cider benefits that were in the product in the first place.

The best type of apple cider vinegar to use is one made from cold pressed, organically grown whole apples, in which no chemicals or preservatives have been added, which contains the “mother of vinegar”, and is not pasteurized. The “mother of vinegar” is a natural gelatinous substance formed during the last fermentation step.

Please note I am NOT endorsing this product as a quick fix to weight loss.

2. Avocado

High in vitamins and vital nutrients, avocados are a rich and delicious addition to a healthy diet Avocados are a good source of fibre, potassium, folate, vitamins C, K and B6.  They are also high in monounsaturated fats.  Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves good HDL cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you are a Type 2 diabetic.

Avocados are one of my favourite foods!  And my lunches when at home is avocado over two soft poached eggs on a piece of wholemeal toast and baked tomatoes. 

TOP TIP – To reduce the oxidation (browning) effect of an already sliced avocado, sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice and keep in a sealed food bag in the fridge.  Use within 24 hours.

3. Berries

Cranberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries (and any others I may have missed) are not only a delicious and healthful fruit, but they are full of radical fighting antioxidants and fibre.  Berries are lower in calories than other fruit and some provide up to one-third of your daily fibre in as little as one cup!  Besides the benefits to your body, consider the benefits to your brain, some studies show that as little as one-half cup of mixed berries a day improves cognition and motor performance. That’s one yummy super-food!

4. Fish

Omega 3 rich fatty fish and fish oils consist of a plethora of essential amino acids that work on strengthening and fortifying skin cells amongst other things. Stronger, more fortified skin cells will lead to improved tone and texture of your skin.  Try and have fish at least twice a week and aim for one of them days to be an oily variety such as tuna, salmon, trout, kippers. mackerel, sardines, herring or anchovies.

5. Dark leafy greens

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, watercress, broccoli, cabbage brussel sprouts (which by the way are not just for Christmas!) and kale are rich in an antioxidant called lutein, which research has shown is good for helping the skin to retain its moisture and elasticity and increase its lipid levels, all good news for those suffering from cellulite. On top of this, leafy greens are nutrient-rich and are good for the circulation and detoxification.

6. Ginger

One cause of cellulite is poor circulation, so eating foods such as ginger that boost blood flow can help to improve its appearance. As well as being good for circulation, ginger is also good for detoxification and strengthening the lymphatic system, which can help with the circulation of lymph fluid and toxins that can accumulate in fat pockets under the skin, contributing to the bumpy appearance of cellulite.

TOP TIP – Ginger is also great for colic or poorly tummies, and coughs and colds.  Just add a few slices to boiling water and a dash of lemon.

So if you are a cellulite sufferer, get active to promote blood flow and good circulation, eat clean with the addition of some ‘Super foods’, girls don’t wear to tight fitting underwear, get your Bridget Jones pants out! And find something to help you rewind and relieve stress, see friends, and be happy.  Do all these things and you never know the appearance of your cellulite may not be quite as cottage cheese like as you initially started with.

All the best,

Till next time


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Circuits Class ..........why it kicked my butt!

Why am I finding it quite difficult to move today, why does virtually every muscle in my body hurt, and why will I probably go through the pain again!  Well its the dreaded CIRCUITS class.  Odly enough our regular Circuits class never really did that well, WHY?  Coz it's hard work!  And as we know people (you know who you are) never really push the boundaries so they are out of their comfort zones.  And as the majority of people go to the gym to get fit and lose some bodyweight (fat) they really should be trying something different, that creates a response so your body adapts (even if you do suffer the next day)!

So what is the format for a Circuits Class?

Our particular class (and there are variations on timings and equipment) was 30 seconds at a 'workout station' then 30 seconds of 'active recovery' which consisted of a moving bodyweight exercise, we did whatever we wanted (as long as we moved), exercises such as star jumps, burpees, power squats, skaters, jogging on the spot etc.  This of course made the class that extra bit tough as you were constantly moving, even the recovery was active and if we wanted a drink we still had to move!

What stations did we use?

Again anything goes, if your in a gym then barbells, dumbells, medicine balls, stability balls and steps and whatever we had to hand could be used.  Outside you may be limited if you don't have too much equipment, but a 45 minute bodyweight only class would be just as hard!

Our stations consisited of; Bodyweight exercises, Crunches, Dips, Running Man, Press Up's, Rope Climbing, and the Plank.

And barbell exercises; Chest Press, Lateral & Horizontal Raises and Bicep Curls.  James our instructor was kind and had 3 levels of easy, moderate and hard with appropriate weights (I took the moderate option, which was still tough)!!

So for a fabulous (but hard work) class that shoots your metabolism through the roof, puts your body through a great range of movement, keeps variety by including both bodyweight and resistance, and gets your heart pumping this is a must do class :)


Food Additives

Food additives are man made chemicals that are added to our food to enhance its flavour, shelf-life and appearance.  Also note that some chemicals can be natural occurring ones but this blog is concerned with the ones found in processed foods that is fuelling the obesity epidemic.

"Food additives have become commonplace in our modern diet but do they really “add” any value to our food?"

It might be common knowledge to you that most processed foods are not ideal for our health. These foods are often laden with artificial chemicals which can cause all sorts of havoc to our body.
Typically these food additives are not easy to identify, as they are hidden under a variety of names and codes and usually in very small font (click the link to read more and download your free copy of 'The top 10 Food Additives to Avoid').

Another very informative site is The Food Additives & Ingredients Association

I believe any great information we can source to help us make the right decision on that next visit to the supermarket is crucial.

All the best,
Till next time


Monday, 18 June 2012

My Massage Experience

As a Personal Trainer and someone who works out quite a bit, more often than not I'm left with tired and knotty muscles (oh the joys of exercise!?!).  Of course I apply stretches after my workouts, attend the odd yoga class and I also own a couple of self massage tools.  One of them, a stick which funnily enough looks like a stick with rollers along it and a handle at each end.  You roll it over tired muscles with as much pressure as you can bear. The other is a Foam Roller are also becoming very popular for myofascial release.  Visit You Tube to find plenty of demonstrations on how to use this great tool.

These are both great tools, and will continue to use them on myself and my clients.  The stick is a little more pricey than the foam roller, but it is easily portable so you don't mind paying a little more.  But to really get deep into those tight and shortened muscles a session with a therapist is definitely worth the money. 

When looking for an alternative to sports massage, which can be quite a rough experience.  Stumbled upon Soulspace

Soulspace is owned by Lisa Cadman, she offers an array of therapies including Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage, Acupuncture Massage, Swedish and Thai Massage.    I see Lisa once a month for a Aromatherapy massage, Lisa always knows which hand blended oils to use on me.  It's difficult to explain the emotions of experiencing a massage, especially if you've never had one before.  If you have you'll know exactly what I mean.  In these days of stress and strive I believe it is important to just let go of everything that is weighing you down, job, kids, husband/wife, money.  All these things are a burden, but to lose yourself for just half an hour can reawaken the senses, realign your body,  mind and soul, and recharge your batteries. 

As Lisa is getting to know me and my body she suggested that Thai massage may be of benefit to me.  Now I'd heard that Thai massage was pretty physical and in some cases includes you being walked on!  That was a scary thought, but Lisa reassured me that wasn't going to happen yet (with a glint in her eye!)  It is a little more physical, more so for the therapist as they use their body weight to help you take your body into deeper stretches.  Much more than we could do by ourselves.  So today I experienced a Thai half hour taster, mainly working on the lower body, getting to the deep muscles of my legs, pelvis and lower back.  All performed in her Thai inspired room at her home on a Thai futon bed.  Lisa was so reassuring with all the stretches, going into them slowly and controlled.  Giving me just the right amount of pressure.  The stretches felt deep but bearable.  My range of movement at the end of the session was brilliant.  A sitting forward bend, I'm not normally brilliant at as a twinge in my lower back usually stops me from going any further, this time ended with my knees so very nearly touching my thighs.  I've never been this close before, next time I'll nail it!

So I'm definitely going to include a regular Thai massage with my Aromatherapy massage, time well spent just for me!

Till next time
All the best


Monday, 11 June 2012

Triggers to Overeating - Part 3

A Summary - Strategies for Curbing Emotional and Overeating

  1. Separating true hunger from emotional hunger.  Before you put anything in your mouth, run through the previous exercise (see part 2 - 19/05/12 blog).  Eating is not going to make underlying feelings go away.  It is just a temporary way to numb you and give yourself a false sense of comfort.
  2. Plan for success.  Plan your meals and snacks before the day has started, so you know you are getting adequate calories and nutrition.  Therefore there should be no excuse to have unplanned meals or snacks.  Have healthy snacks (see Easy & Healthy Snack Ideas 19/5/12 blog) available and planned for the times when you may be vulnerable to eating.
  3. Know what foods and eating situations trigger emotional eating, and then work to avoid or minimise them.
  4. GET ACTIVE.  Not only because its burns calories, but makes you feel good, with that rush of 'endorphins' aids a positive outlook on life and reduces stress.  Always keep in mind the effects of exercising - feeling energised and healthy.  Now get off your bum and do something fun, be creative, be adventurous!
  5. Don't expect to be perfect.  Slips ups in eating are going to happen, after all we're only human!  Just think about what you can learn from it, put it behind you and move on as soon as possible.
  6. Create a safe nutritional environment at home - have plenty of healthy options on hand and don't keep junk food in the house.  Get rid of temptation.
  7. Tame your stress.  If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique such as yoga, meditation or relaxation class.
  8. Get enough sleep.  If you're lacking of energy or constantly tired you may be more prone to reaching for the wrong types of quick release sugary snacks.  Instead have a glass of water and if that doesn't perk you up have a short 10 / 15 minutes nap.  You'll feel much better for it.  Also try and get to bed an hour earlier than usual.
  9. Avoid isolation.  Being isolated leads to feelings of loneliness and depression.  The more you stay behind closed doors, the less you'll want to leave.  And the more you stay hidden, the more likely you are to eat.  And so you have the vicious circle that spirals and spirals till your out of control.  You must get out, make new friends, even if it feels uncomfortable.  Just do something to get yourself out of isolation.
  10. No matter what method you choose to stop emotional and / or overeating, it's important to realise that it CAN BE DONE.  There is HOPE and SUPPORT for you.  But you need to be SERIOUS, COMMITTED and DETERMINED to change.