good

Why Does It Feel So Hard To Make Good Food Choices On Bad Days?

 

On a good day when we are feeling confident, happy and in control it is easy to make the best food choices. The ones that will make us feel proud of ourselves, enhance our eyes, skin and hair and give us looser waistbands.

On a good day, it is easy to wander around the shops contented and un-tempted by the high sugar, high salt, frankly high rubbish, quick foods and sweets on offer.  On a good day, we don’t need to raise our hands to form the sign of a cross and hiss, “Temptation get behind me”.  Instead, although we see these “treats” as we pass by, all brightly packaged and maybe even on three for two offers, they don’t call to us. They might gently whisper or nudge at our consciousness, but on the whole, it is fairly easy to give ourselves a mental shake and move on to the real foods, the sweet, juicy fruits, fresh veg and unprocessed meats that we know will, a) make a delicious, nourishing meal in next to no time, b) keep us on our weight and health track, and c) actually enhance all our good feelings, both physically and mentally.  So, on a good day, healthy eating really does seem to be an easy no brainer.

Then comes a bad day.  A bad day can take many forms. Disturbed night’s sleep, stress at work, argument with husband/partner/kids – it is usually men though isn’t it (or maybe that’s just me). The car breaks down, you don’t get the job you went for, maybe the cat becomes worryingly unwell or something truly devastating happens.

What do we do then?  How does this affect our food choices, and more importantly why?

Well, we usually look for comfort and support.  Something to make us feel better, to fill the “hole” the bad day has created within us.  And our go to “hole” filler is usually sugar and fat saturated food products and/or drink, be it an overwhelmingly sweet latte with syrup and sugar or alcohol. Anything in fact that takes our minds off our distress/tiredness whatever is getting us down.  Then as we wander around the shops, feeling upset or low, the very same brightly packaged food products, sweets and so-called treats seem to jump straight into our line of vision and suddenly we crave them.

We want to feel better quickly and we think that these are the perfect quick fix solutions to all our woes. So, we buy the rubbish and eat the rubbish,  usually in a much larger quantity than is our norm, and expect to feel better.  But then how do we feel? In my experience with clients they feel exactly the opposite of what they were longing for.  They feel sick, more upset, depressed, disappointed, completely derailed and hopeless.  Basically, feeling as rubbish as the food products they have eaten.  They never, ever feel better, so mission is definitely NOT accomplished.

This is my absolute area of expertise, and my understanding is unique. As a former alcoholic, I also used to view booze as an answer.  Actually, the answer to everything.  I drank to feel better, happier, more confident, to help me sleep, to get me through the day, the tough times, whatever I didn’t want to deal with.  And I thought, like my clients who feel the same way about their food choices,  that I could never stop.  And then I did.  It took one simple thought shift.  I stopped thinking about what I thought it gave me, and focused on what it took away.  I suddenly knew that what I drank only ever made a situation worse.  No bad day was ever brightened by my drinking, instead it was darkened.

From the moment I understood this, I was able, after 27 years to stop drinking.

I get my clients to view food in the same way.  I ask them, “Did that slab of cake, ice cream, glass of wine, ready meal make you feel better?”. “Did it make your day happier? Did you feel more able to cope? Did it take you back to the contented confident feelings you have on a good day?  Ultimately, did it make your day better or worse?”  Never once has a client said “Yes, it did” to even one of those questions, let alone all of them.

There is no connection between a bad day and making a bad food choice.  None. Nada, Zilch.  We allow ourselves to justify our poor food choices – “I need something nice to eat/drink to cheer me up”, on a bad day, but they are just excuses which harm us.  They are choices that will make you feel worse, which then promotes further poor food choices because we feel discouraged and so give up on ourselves. Conversely, on a good day when you make good food choices, you are spurred on by the way you look and feel to make even better ones.

Once we break the connection between rubbish days and rubbish food, making healthier choices becomes easier, plus those healthier choices can actually make a rubbish day better, even if it’s just that you feel in control of at least one area.  Your food.

Certainly, a good food choice on a bad day will make it easier to cope with a bad day, because you will be giving your greatest support in life, your body, the fuel it needs to fight all your good fights. You just have to stop in the rubbish food aisle and ask yourself, “How will I feel after I have eaten this? Will I feel better 30 minutes after? Will my day seem brighter? Will my problems have gone away or will they feel worse? How will eating this improve any aspect of my day” If you answer any and all of these questions honestly, the answer will be NO!

Don’t let a bad day tip you into food chaos. Once in, it can be hard to get out.  If you do make a poorer choice, look at in as a one off, dust your self down and commit to making better choices for the rest of the day.

Contact me if you would like to chat about your bad day and bad food choices and let’s see how I can do to help you x

 

 

looking

Looking and Feeling Your Best For Summer on YOUtrition’s 6 Week Group Program!

Looking & Feeling  Your Best  for Summer with YOUtrition – I make simple changes that work in your life easy and fun, REALLY!

Testimonials

*I have counted calories for over 16 years and nothing has worked for me before, but you do. Thank you!*

*Sonia, I love you and now I love me. I know I can stick with this, its me!*

With my YOUtrition program,  6 Weeks to Looking & Feeling Your Best For Summer, I understand that the great, easy, tasty recipes you will get from me are not enough.   The tips on planning & prepping whilst vital, will get you to where you want to be, but maybe not keep you there.

I address both the “why” of our food choices and eating habits as well as the fabulous food.  My uniqueness lies in my 25 year drug & alcohol addictions.   For so many years I  was beyond desperate to be different and knew what I should be doing but just couldn’t stick with it.  Now at 53 years old, in the menopause (suffering no symptoms because of my way of eating) at 5ft 8, and weighing a steady 9st 7lbs, I do it easily.  This experience and my incredible strategies for long lasting change are what I do differently and what I share with you on my programs.

A one hour group session once a week for 6 weeks.  The group dynamic creates an excellent opportunity to work through what is and isn’t working for you and to find a way around an obstacles – believe me, as a group, we always find a way.

  • Professional, individual, qualified nutrition & weight loss support and information – this is no franchise diet club run by an unqualified rep!
  • A basic food plan – recipes and tips.
  • Every week a new breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe along with snack ideas –  based around the group’s needs, abilities and time constraints.
  • A shopping and meal planner
  • A food diary to keep with you and keep you motivated.
  • Professional exercise advice.
  • Strategies around food and your lifestyle that you build on over the 6 weeks, giving you confidence in yourself and your abilities and literally giving you the tools to set you and your food choices up for life.
  • Access to a private What’s App group message that I write on every day and that you can also contribute to.  This ensures you stay on track long after the program has finished.
  • A one-off  Maintenance session 4 weeks after the Program ends, to see how you are doing and to reinforce the program.

I create a powerful and non-judgmental environment where you are given the recipes, the motivation and the absolute support you need to create new habits.  New habits take six weeks to form, hence the length of my program.  Every week you will sit, in a small group, talking through what worked for you and what didn’t, receive at least one new recipe and in a truly supportive, encouraging space we work to find what’s right for YOU!  Not me, not the person sitting next to you, YOU!  We laugh, occasionally we cry and we clap a LOT.  We don’t just focus on the weight, we focus on the “why” of the weight and find the way forward for you.


I preparing for my Summer programs for the areas local to Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Slough, so please contact me for more information and to reserve your space!

The cost of the 6 Weeks to Looking Great & Feeling Great is £100.

YOUtrition has been featured in

Looking Great & Feeling Great For Christmas

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat.  I wonder how many of us are feeling the same way!  With six weeks to go, would you like to lose that persistent 7 – 8lbs and look and feel your very best come Christmas Day?  It really isn’t too late with the right food information, planning and the key to weight loss – motivation and support.

My Looking Great & Feeling Great for Christmas is the answer. It’s tried, it’s tested and it works.

It follows the YOUtrition ethos of simple, easy foods, planned and pre-pepped in advance that will nourish your body with the nutrients it needs whilst ridding you of the excess weight that spoils your day. YOUtrition also works to remove the food and financial stresses  involved in making foods that the whole family will eat.  YOUtrition is not a diet.  It is a lifestyle, with a mix of recipes, tips and strategies  that work for life.  Really work.  Plus you get my expert support and encouragement along the way whenever you need it.

Here are some of my most recent testimonials.

“The ongoing gentle yet targeted support has ensured that my food choices are in line with my decision to lose weight. And this has helped me to start shifting some long-standing excess pounds. Can’t recommend YOUtrition enough”

Mrs P Zet

“I didn’t think making healthy food could be this easy.  I can’t even really call it cooking.  I am never hungry and there is always something to eat in the fridge that moves me forward.  Why has it taken me so long to think this way?  Where have you been Sonia? I love me and I love you”

Mrs A Brunds

I’m so happy! biggest loss for a long time in one week -2.8lb and down to 11st 6.6lb. I haven’t been below 11 and a half stone for about 4 and half years!”

Mrs S Doyle

“6lbs in three weeks and one week I wobbled a bit.  Yipee.  Thanks Sonia for getting me back on track, your words of encouragement made all the difference”

Ms S Elliott

My Looking Great & Feeling Great For Christmas program is £30 and comes with a Food Diary booklet for you to slip into your bag which will motivate and keep you on track.

reset

YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme

Reset your body to looking great, feeling great and losing weight in just 7 days and find a solution that works for you in your life.  Weight loss really can be that simple!

Everyone wants a quick fix when it comes to, well everything, especially weight loss.  The reality is though that it took time to get to the weight that makes you unhappy and it takes time to lose it and rest your body.  However, the time to lose the weight does not have to be long or hard, or stressful or leave you feeling deprived and fearful that the weight once lost will creep up and find you again.

I designed my YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme as a fantastic jump start to looking great, feeling great and losing weight,  to prove just how easy it is to get on track within 7 days, simply by making adjustments not just to our food choices and eating habits , but to our preparation and planning, which once you have completed the 7 days and realise how much time and stress you have saved as well as really seeing and feeling the difference, you will stick with quite simply because it is the long term workable weight loss solution.

Included in the YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme are simple tasty meals that are interchangable on any day.  There are my YOUtrition Top 10 Tips for Looking Great, Feeling Great and Losing Weight, which can be applied to literally every situation. Just read them, you will understand immediately the reason for them (and that in itself makes them easy to follow and stick with), tips on food, movement, portion sizing  and the all important and extremely poweful MINDSET – without the right mindset and thinking differently about your weight loss, this could become another quick fix for you –  you will still lose the weight, but I want it to be for you for life!   Take that absolutely on board and you have taken a massive step towards overcoming your weight loss challanges.

There is also a YOUtrition Food Diary in an easy A5 booklet for you to slip into your handbag. With four weeks to complete and tips to keep you motivated and on track with food choices, portion sizing etc, this is a very, very powerful motivational tool (mindset) which you keep with you all the time.  It is amazing how this one little book motivates clients forward and accountable for exactly what and how much they eat. There is also a Meal Planner for you to complete and take with you shopping.  Plan you meals in advance.  I take one hour out of my week to complete this, list the foods I will need and then go shopping. Stick to it! Don’t be lead astry with offers of food products – these are the very products are what got you to this unhappy state.  Keep in mind always your goals and only buy the foods on your shopping list. These are the foods that will take you closer to your looking great, feeling great goals.

Finally, you will get a 15 minute Skype/telephone consultation with me, ( I am a fully qualified specialist in weight loss and nutrition who has published articles  and also presents a radio show on health & fitness),  before you start the Programme to make sure you understand exactly what you need to do and for me to address any questions you have and to set you up motivationally for success, plus I can be contacted for support during the week and another 15 minute consultation at the end to keep you on track.

The YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme is flexible within its guidelines, so if you don’t like one type of food in the menus, I can simply and easily swap it out.  This programme really is tailored for you so that you can get the most out of it and stick with the principles for life.

Testimonals

” I am 55 years old, in the middle of the menopause and was feeling rubbish.  I didn’ expect much from this programme but was desperate enough to try anything and  I can’t believe how I feel.  I lost 6lbs, am sleeping better, my horrible how flushes have almost gone and my clothes are looser especially around my waist.  Best of all I was not hungry and didn’t miss any of the stuff I usually ate to make myself feel better.  I know now that was the stuff that actually make me feel worse”  Thank you Sonia for making me look and feel so much better.”                                     Meg Elliott, 55

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“I lost 5lbs the first week and I feel so good.  The programme is straightforward and easy to follow and it made sense.  Sonia is so funny , supportive and knowledgeable and I felt I was talking to a friend who wanted the best for me.  I have continued to plan my meals and this has saved me so much time and money,  I think differently about myself and my food and it is liberating which means even more to me than the weight.  I am well on my way to looking and feeling the way I deserve to be (Sonia’s words and my feelings).  One very happy lady.”   C Adams, 44

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“I wanted a quick fix for my holiday and my goodness I got one.  I expected to feel hungry and rely on willpower and neither happened.  I love the way Sonia thinks and talks and the support she gave me.  I don’t like oats so she changed two recipes and I live by myself so she changed the evening meals for one person.  Sonia understood me and I felt I was the only person she cared about and I now keep the top 10 tips with me as well as my food diary and my weight keeps going down and my self esteem and confidence going up”                                                 Sue Moore, 42

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Follow the Programme and success really is guaranteed!

YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme £50.00

veggies

Veggies, The Not So Secret Answer to Great Health & Weight

Veggies can sound like the dullest part of a meal.  However, there is so much we can do to literally spice them up, and in terms of weight loss and great health, they are heaven sent. To kick start your weight loss, try for one week portioning your plate out like this – you won’t regret it.

½ Veggies or Salad – make it colourful and fill this portion of your plate FIRST!

¼ Protein

¼ Healthy carbs!  Healthy carbs are not white or fluffy or overly sweet.  They include WHOLEMEAL (not brown) everything.

  • Choose a wide variety of veggies and steam them lightly to keep as much of the nutrients as possible.
  • Be brave and try new ones. Keep them colourful.  The greater the variety in colour, the wider the variety of nutrients eaten.
  • Low carb veggies include broccoli, cabbage, aubergine, pumpkin, courgette, asparagus, and butternut squash. All veggies are nutrient powerhouses!  Be creative with your veggies.
  • Add chilli flakes or sauté with garlic and onion or cherry tomatoes.
  • Add spices such as fennel or turmeric.
  • Dress with a very small amount of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Toast some pine nuts and toss in.
  • A small sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on any veggies is delicious, but keep this small and occasionally.

See how many options you already have?  Try these two fabulous alternatives to pasta and just look at the calories.

Courgetti

Ingredients

280g Courgettes

Method

Use a spiralizer – I used the finer noodle attachment – or a julienne peeler to create courgette noodles.

Toss in a pan with one teaspoon of olive oil for 30 seconds.  Done!

Serves 4, per 71g serving

Cal 25, Fat 1.3g, Carbs 1.2g, Fibre 1.4g, Protein 1.3g, Salt 0g

Butternut Squash Noodles

Ingredients

600g Butternut Squash

2 teaspoons Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 200. Lightly spray two large baking trays with oil.

Trim the top portion of the butternut.  This is the only part that can be spiralized (reserving the bottom for another recipe).

Trim the top off and peel the skin off. Cut the butternut in 2 pieces so it’s easier to handle, then spiralize using the thickest noodle setting of your spiralizer.

Cut into 6 inch lengths so it’s easy to eat.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Roast until soft, 7 to 10 minutes.

Serves 4, per 152g serving

Cal 78, Fat 2.1g, Carbs 11.2g Fibre 3g, Protein 1.7g Salt 0.02g

 

 

 

 

menopause

The Menopause – Symptoms & Relief, Nature’s Way

As women mature and the menopause looms,  it can become harder to lose weight.  But we really don’t need to accept this as our lot.  Although there is a tendency for women over 40 to gain up to 2lbs per year, it is more likely down to the fact that we move less and our general activity levels drop rather than from hormonal changes and the slowing of our metabolism.  That is not to deny that hormonal changes, particularly the lowering of estrogen as we enter the menopause, can change the way we store fat particularly round our trunk.  Hence the dreaded thickening waistline.  So what can we do to keep these excess pounds away?

It is important to acknowledge that the tried and tested quick fixes of our 20’ and 30’s are gone.  Our bodies just don’t respond in the same way.  Personally I love this. It means that any changes we make will need to be long term for the weight to stay lost and so we give up on the “diets” and make the food and lifestyle changes that lose the weight and benefit both our physical and mental health.

A couple of years ago, in the height of my embarrassing hot flushes and sleepless nights – the ones that left me looking and feeling like a wrung out tearful shadow of myself, I started investigating why some women suffer so much and others seem to sail through (maybe they actually didn’t, but if they were feeling like me, they surely deserved an Academy Award for hiding it!).  I started to read about cultures where the effects of the menopause where unknown.  Initially I wondered if this was maybe down to embarrassment and under-reporting on the part of the woman of these cultures, but even female health care professionals there had never heard of “hot flushes”. Why?  Here follows a brief description of the changes in our bodies during the menopause, please bear with me, I expect most of us know this, but still, I do have a reason for writing this……

When we stop ovulating our need for estrogen drops off dramatically. We do still produce some estrogen but in much smaller quantities in our adrenal glands and adipose tissue (fat cells).   The menopausal symptoms we come to dread, the hot flushes, sleepless nights, mood swings etc. are simply the result of our bodies being in withdrawal.  We don’t tolerate the drop in estrogen because in our Western diet of high fat, low fibre, we are accustomed to much higher levels of this hormone than our bodies ever needed. Basically we are going cold turkey!   Our bodies really struggle to re-equalize this balance and so we swing from one feeling to another.

So, that’s the science.  Now my response as a weight loss specialist and nutritionist and someone who cares passionately about women’s health and wellbeing.

During the menopause, as with all natural bodily functions, there is a natural diet based solution, which even if it does not completely alleviate all the symptoms, definitely makes them more manageable because our hormones become more balanced.  In the instance, the re-balancing is achieved by eating phyto-estrogens (plant based estrogen), antioxidants and essential fatty acids, along of course with cutting out the foods that work against them.

The highest sources of phyto-estrogens are soy, lentils and chickpeas – don’t panic though, this is nowhere near as dull as you might imagine.  Whilst it would be great to up your intake of these, the list of phyto-estrogen foods is long and varied and includes, seeds, nuts, grains, many vegetables and fruits (which also include the antioxidants) as well as herbs and spices.  Along with some healthy fats, think salmon, avocado, eggs and a little lean red and white meat, you can see that your daily diet won’t be dull but will go a long way to reducing your symptoms.

So these are nature’s menopause helpers.  What about its saboteurs?  They include excessive caffeine and alcohol, sugar in its processed form and refined wheats, salt and excessive meat protein intake.  I say meat protein specifically as vegetable protein (quinoa for instance is a complete vegetable protein), as meat protein seems to take more calcium from our bones which can make us more vulnerable to osteoporosis.

Also, whilst it is vital to maintain calcium intakes during the menopause, dairy sources of calcium can have high saturated fat content so should be limited to one to two servings a day.

So, armed with all this information, I made some really easy changes to my diet.  I upped my phyto-estrogen foods and minimized my processed/caffeine and sugar.  And I kid you not, I do not have any symptoms at all now!  Truly, I have gone from changing my sheets at least twice a week to the much more normal once.  My energy levels and mood are right up there and I still have my waist (not so much maybe, but it is still there….), plus, and for me most importantly, my so precious sleep is back on track.

Obviously there will be some ladies who say, “I do all this and I am still really suffering”.  My heart really goes out to you and please see your doctor in case there are any other underlying issues, however in the main these changes do work and will benefit every aspect of your life.  Dare I say it, here’s to a happier, more manageable menopause! x