Getting lean and clean (adapted from the wonderful James Duigan)

A healthy body from the inside out

With work, home, kids and not much spare time, it is easy to slip into bad habits, grazing on the wrong types of food and letting exercise become a distant memory. If you don’t look after yourself, you will lose energy, constantly feel lethargic and sleepy, have mood swings and your concentration will fly out the window. The result of all this will be that you will be far from your best and will be feeling stressed, emotional and lacking in confidence.

So…..

Think about what you are eating and when you eat. Start every day with a good breakfast as soon as you are up and dressed and don’t allow yourself to become hungry during the day. Sitting at the computer all day does no good – if you can, find time for a 10 minute brisk walk to get some fresh air and oxygen into your lungs. Have a snack of some protein between meals and keep sipping water all day. All this will keep you energised and refreshed and you will feel much more positive when you return to your work.

Some more info on why you will benefit from eating healthily –

Despite popular belief, the body doesn’t cling to fat as it knows that this is not the way that it functions best. However, when you eat or drink processed foods, alcohol, bad fats, too much caffeine and refined sugar, your body body becomes overloaded with the toxins they contain.It is these toxins and not your body, that cling to the fat. Because of this, you end up with squidgy bits around your thighs and hips and around your back plus rolls of padding around your waist, as well as a distended tummy that becomes more bloated throughout the day. You will feel tired and often irritable. And as for that dimply cellulite on your thighs and bottom……

If your body was lean and fueled correctly, you wouldn’t be craving that sugar or caffeine hit first thing in the morning and would wake feeling refreshed and full of energy. You wouldn’t get that overwhelming sluggish and sleepy feeling in the afternoon that only more caffeine or sugary/chocolate food will keep at bay. You wouldn’t have that sweet craving after every meal. You would however, sleep better, have better concentration, more stable moods and a more positive state of mind.

The body stores toxins in fat cells and if you diet, you will slowly lose fat at first but the toxins will have nowhere to go but back into your system making you feel tired, irritable and headachy. Your body will decide that it doesn’t like feeling like this so will hold onto the fat to store the toxins so if you are “toxic”, you will always struggle to lose weight. You will also feel constantly tired, emotional and generally deprived.

If you clean those toxins out of your system, you will feel so much better and will find losing weight (if that is your goal) so much easier.

TOXIC FOODS

The four main culprits are CRAPcaffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods. When you eat and drink these, you are putting toxins into your body and the fat will grab them.

GET RID OF SUGAR

Don’t use sugar as a reward. What sort of reward is a bloated tummy, wrinkles, and fat around your middle? Reward yourself with something else other than cakes and chocolate.

Eat plenty of chromium which helps to banish your sugar cravings and stabilise your blood sugars. Chomium is found in eggs, kidneys, whole grains, nuts, mushrooms and asparagus. (Chromium should not be eaten in high quantities if you are diabetic).

Take a spoonful of glutamine (found in health food shops) mixed in a glass of water. This is an amino acid that squashes sugar cravings.

If you are having a sugar craving, try eating a piece of cooked chicken or a spoonful of cottage cheese instead and let the protein distract your body.

The best form of sugar is raw fruit. Always try to eat fruit with some protein to help slow down the speed at which the sugar hits your bloodstream. Fruit is very high in sugar so do limit how much you eat and with a view to your “5 a day”, aim to load up on the veg, and limit the fruit. If you are someone who eats loads of fruit, cut right back and see how your tummy becomes flatter and your energy levels improve quite quickly.

THE WORST PROCESSED FOODS

Tinned foods

White bread, pasta and rice

Processed meats

Breakfast cereals

Frozen ready meals

Frozen chips, waffles etc.

Dried pasta

Packaged cakes, muffins etc

Chocolate, sweets, crisps…..

Aim to cut back on microwaving food as this can “kill food” and try to eat your veg. slightly undercooked and on the crunchy side.

Carbs – for a healthy change and to steer away from traditional bread opt for –

Rice cakes, sour dough, rye or rice bread. Oat cakes are a good option. As with fruit and sweet things, always have a little protein with the carbs as even good carbs have a high sugar content.

So….for a really healthy start to the day, how about scrambled eggs with a slither of smoked salmon and a handful of spinach. Or some poached eggs on rye bread with some ham? Or go a little bit further and have some oat cakes with humus and raw veg.? It doesn’t sound as appetising as a big bowl of Frosties but is more filling and will sustain you for longer and will stabilise your blood sugars.

MUST HAVE healthy options

Proteins – chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, duck, liver, all fish

Vegetables – organic if possible and try to have some raw every day

Nuts and seeds

Water

Add a desert bowl sized portion of organic fresh salad to every meal where practical

Aim for 3 meals a day plus sensible snacks

Approx 2 litres of water a day

Avoid, like the enemy it is to you, fizzy drinks, sugary food, chocolate and junk food.

Get at least 15 mins of exercise every day (this can be just going for a walk)

Going outside for fresh air every day, no matter what the weather.

Whatever your size or shape and whether you hope to lose weight or just feel more healthy and energetic, stick to the rules for the main part of the week and you can look forward to a much healthier summer.

Good luck 🙂

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