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easter

Easter Treats that Feel Like a Treat!

Easter is just around the corner, and the shops are filled with all sorts of beautiful indulgences with which to celebrate.  Some of these beautiful indulgences  can  make us feel wonderful and happy and loved and those life enhancing feelings will stay with us for probably 10 days. Others we can treasure for life. So much to look forward to.

However, does that sound like your Easter treat?  For most people, probably not.  Why is that?  What is your Easter treat?  Is it a superficial and purely commercial shop bought Easter egg packaged to entice all ages and stamped with an absolute 100% guarantee of  the sugar rushes that will leave you feeling rubbish for at least one day and hug your waistline like the most ardent lover for the next few weeks?  Those sort of  Easter treats can make even the healthiest of us feel sluggish, stuffed and with a horrible sticky taste in our mouths, no matter how many times we clean our teeth? What sort of “treat” is that!

With YOUtrition, it’s all about thinking differently.  I cannot remember the last time I ate or was bought an Easter egg.  I do however remember last Easter, the one before that and even further back because of the wonderful treats bought/made for me by my son.

I still have the beautiful handmade Easter cards, saying on not very straight lines (who cares!), “I love you mummy, Happy Easter”, and the Easter chicks made from cotton wool balls and dyed a frightening yellow.  Later he progressed to shop bought cards, just as precious, with lovely verses he had obviously read in advance because they applied to our lives, often with photos of us and our dog stuck in – how utterly precious these still are.  And then of course the beautiful daffodils.  Always a bunch of sunshiny daffs on Easter Sunday.

Can you imagine how these true treats make me feel?  I know the mummies among you will, and it would also take the most hardened sugar addict to also not be affected.

So, my message is clear.  Ask your family in advance for something different this year.  Guide them gently to the card shops, point out the glorious spring flowers everywhere and let them know that at this second (or maybe third, after Christmas and Mother’s Day), most commercial time of  they year, that the things that would give you most joy are not the ones you put into your mouth and enjoy for 10 minutes then feel despondent about and regret for days later, but the pure joy of a homemade card or non-food gift or, for me my absolute favourite, a beautiful simple bunch of spring flowers.

Happy Easter!

 

smoothie

Smoothie, Power Up Your Body With Nutrients And Keep Calories Down

This morning, whilst I am at home getting ready for my busy day I am loving a smoothie for breakfast.  A gorgeous alternative meal (and I do mean alternative, don’t have a meal as well!),  that took less than 5 minutes to blend and, even though I am always prepared in advance with a healthy meal and snack in the fridge, sometimes I just feel like something different, maybe a little more indulgent that I can sip away at on the way to my next client or at home in front of the computer whilst I work.

And this is where smoothies become king.   A healthy smoothie can provide you with essential vitamins, fibre, healthy fats, protein and minerals and are an easy way to nourish your body as well as being a fantastic aid to weight loss.

Quick and unstressful to make, there is no need for the shop bought variety which are expensive and can have very high sugar content. The best way to know the exact ingredients in your smoothie is to make them yourself. All you need is a blender, leafy veg, a small amount of fruit and a base, such as water, milk or yogurt. Smoothies don’t need much planning in advance. These are the basics and from this start point, anything you like goes, literally.

The healthiest smoothies are packed with fibre, protein and healthy fats – think avocado, nuts and seeds.  Delicious to taste they are a godsend on a busy day, or after an indulgent night before or weekend.  They are a great way to re-balance our bodies and pump in the nutrients we may have missed out on and to keep your calories down.

Beware though of the not so healthy smoothies, even homemade ones.  These are the ones packed mainly with fruit and although fruit is fantastic in terms of antioxidants and vitamins, it does need to be eaten in moderation due to the high sugar content.  I want your smoothie to keep you full so that you don’t need to snack between meals, and don’t create a massive sugar spike then slump which will leave you craving more sugar.

The best proportion for any smoothie to keep you full and satisfied is 3/4 veg and the last quarter made up of fruit, healthy fats and water – if I do add avocado or nuts, I use water instead of yogurt to keep the fat and calorie content lower.

So here is my smoothie recipe for this morning, and as I said before, I didn’t plan it, I just had the ingredients to hand,  and literally anything you like goes.  Be brave, mix it up.  Like any new recipe, taste it and then add a little more sweetness in the form of an extra strawberry, a little more banana, or ramp up the intensity by adding a pinch of chilli or small amount of ginger.

Breakfast Boost

1 x handful spinach.

1/4 avocado.

2 x tbsp oats.

¼ x beetroot.

½ x small banana.

1 x strawberry.

½ cup water.

Serves 1, Cals 200.

Blended all together and its done.  If you like a little looser add water to achieve the consistency you like.  Just look at the nutrients involved here, the vitamins, fibre, protein and healthy fats.  This is a total powerhouse of a meal in one delicious drink.

habits

New Year, New Habits – Are they hard to stick to?

Happy New Year, Happy New Food Habits to all my lovely YOUtrition ladies.  I hope your Christmas period was filled with love, laughter and not the obligatory family fight …. or is that just my family???

So, New Year, New You, New food habits.  How’s it going this year?  Off the wagon already and feeling that change is impossible?  Read on and think about my little story.

Last October I lost my little dog, Bandit, at the age of 12.  He was a massive part of mine and my son’s life – we were the Gang of Three and I can say in all honesty, that his loss, the first bereavement I have had since being sober (another sober Christmas.  Yippee to me!), hit me so, so hard especially as my son had just left for college.  Anyway, I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer and last week, got my new, ugly little girl who we have called Gorby.  She is 14 weeks old and the ugliest and most adorable scruff ever.  Now though I have the challenge of house training her.  A monumental task for me, as I have to kindly break her old habits, and lovingly instill new ones.  Bit like changing food choices/habits maybe……..

Every morning, in the freezing cold, I get up, pick her up and sit outside in my pj’s, robe, boots, hat and gloves for half an hour so that she can, in puppy training terms, “eliminate” .  Once she has done that, I praise her, take her inside, feed and water her and then half an hour later repeat the same routine – at this stage still slightly hypothermic and in my pj’s.  I have spent more time in my frosty garden this last week then I did all of last summer – actually, more than the last three summers put together probably.   Then for the rest of the day, I take her out between every 30 minutes to 1 hour to eliminate (love that word) so that she can learn that the house is not a toilet and the garden is.  I will probably have to do this for the next 6 weeks or so.  Please God don’t let it be longer….

Now to my point.  So many of my clients are concentious, loving pet owners.  They know before they bring home their pet exactly what is required of them to instill good habits that keep them and their pets safe and in a clean environment and they persevere until their pet’s new habit is formed.  Yet, when it comes to making changes to my clients eating habits, all the excellent effort they put into a pet or child they love, goes out of the window.  Why is that?  Don’t they feel they deserve the same level of kindness and attention?  Do they think no matter what they do the habits won’t stick?  Every dog owner knows that good training works and the short term “pain” and believe me I am not enjoying my early morning freezes, will pay off for years to come.

So, lovely ladies.  Let me help you create the new food/eating habits that I know will work for you in your life, because they are tailored to you.  Stick with them for just 6 weeks and if you choose, they will become habits for life.

To give you a confidence boost I am giving you my top five tips for creating new habits.

1 Add a new healthier spin to an old unhealthy habit.  Cup of tea and a biscuit in the afternoon?  Try a wholegrain oatcake instead with a teaspoon of peanut butter – loads of protein, no sugar rush so no sugar crash and further craving.

2 Small changes.  Don’t try to change everything you are unhappy with at once. A small change that you can stick with will make you proud of yourself and motivate you to move to bigger changes.

3 Start NOW! Don’t wait or overthink the change.  Just do it.  No waiting until tomorrow, or until the food/sweets are all eaten.  Throw the rubbish out.  Think, “Rubbish food, rubbish mood/body”.

4 Commit yourself to your new habit every day.  Look at yourself in the mirror, praise yourself for how far you have come, even if it is only one day, and say to yourself out loud, your new habit and your commitment to it.  You will achieve what you tell yourself you will achieve.

5 Make your new habit fun! If you want to exercise more, join a social dance class.  If you want to eat healthier foods, scour the internet for recipes and enjoy the experiment.  Involve friends and family.  Make your new habit a blast.

I hope the above helps you or gives you some ideas for what works in your life and let me know if you need any help or support. Here’s to you and your new habits!    I must be off now, its elimination time………

 

 

 

 

 

stumble

A Stumble is Not A Fall But A Natural Part of Weight Loss!

A stumble is not a fall – it  is so important to acknowledge that for successful weight loss!

We mostly have a clear view of what we want to look like, even if we don’t have a clear view of how to get there, and once we are motivated, we do our best to keep on track with our nutrition and movement.  However there will always be times when we stumble – a little bit like tripping over the pavement.  We are watching where we are going and focussing on our destination and something changes, someone drops something on the payment for instance and we trip.  What then?  Do we sit and think, “Right, that’s it, I have tripped up, I might as well spend the rest of the day lying on the pavement because I am expecting to trip again?”  No, of course not!  It is the same with our food.

Even with the best laid plans and preparation, something at some point will happen to derail you.  You might find yourself extra hungry and having to grab some product from a motorway station late at night.  You might find yourself at a party where the host has made a birthday cake and it would be horribly rude to refuse a small slice. Or you just feel like something sweet and ‘treaty’ whilst watching the tv at the end of a boring day. You then “give in to temptation” and feel miserable and like a failure later.  Sounding familiar?

I want to reassure you that a stumble is not a fall and definitely not a failure.   I always tell my clients to be kind to themselves.  Know that you are doing the best you can in the circumstances you find yourself in and a temporary set back is simply that, temporary. If you stay on your healthy track  80% of the time, you will reach (and maintain) your weight loss goals, and the more often you make healthier choices, the more often the only choices you will look for and see, will be the ones that keep you on track.

I want you to remember how amazing you are at caring for others and dishing out kindness and support to others whenever it is needed and yet we rarely do the same for ourselves. We beat ourselves up for being human and then give up.  Don’t!   Be the person to yourself that you are to your loved ones.  Acknowledge the stumble, learn from it (if it was an emotional one) and move on being your best, most fabulous and slim YOU! x