How To Plan Your Diet

December 25, 2011
by Katie

The New You In The New Year



As 2012 comes upon us quicker than we would have liked, it’s time for each of us to reflect back on 2011 and start planning what you want to achieve in the coming year. To the New You in the New Year!

Here’s a helping hand with 5 questions that you can ask yourself to help plan for the forthcoming year.

1. Was there anything that worked for you in 2011? Did it bring you closer to your goals?

2. What areas of your life do you think you should be focusing on in 2012?

3. Do you need to learn a new skill to help you focus on your goals?

4. What courses, videos or reading material should you focus on to help you attain your goals and what should you disregard as they do not help you toward your goals?

5. How can you find more time to spend with your family?

The most important factor to consider from all your answers, is to plan for your success and you will get there. Remember, never give up. Concentrate on what you want out of the New Year and go for it. Nothing beats planning and determination. You can do it! The only true way to fail ultimately, is to do nothing.

There are already many people, many experts, many methods and diets, many tools, and many everything to make your plan more confusing. It’s really easy to get caught up in the promise of of whatever you think you’re after, hoping you may find an answer to what you desire. So take a step back and make a note of your answers and this will help you motivate yourself and move forward to your own goals, not relying on someone else to tell you what your goals should be.

So, all the best for the New Year and for the New You.

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December 20, 2011
by Katie

Exercising In Winter’s Dark Days

We all know that we should be exercising to keep healthy and we have good intentions to keep up that exercise over the year. However, when it comes to winter time, we get discouraged but there really is no need to hibernate and store away your exercise gear. You should keep yourself active throughout the winter to keep yourself in shape and also to boost your mood.

As adults, we should be aiming for 150 minutes of weekly physical activity at least. This can be broken down into 30 minutes of exercise per day for 5 days of the week. To make this easier, think about doing something that you would really enjoy, something that can be done indoors, such as badminton, dancing, Pilates, swimming, tai chi or yoga. The possibilities are endless and you could learn something new.

If you find that you are struggling with your new regime, don’t overdo it. You can build up the amount of exercise you do slowly. Sometimes, if you break the activity up into smaller chunks, it makes it easier to do.

Even though its winter and the days are shorter and darker, don’t let the cold weather put you off. You could take a long walk with the family at the weekend, or better still, go for a family bike ride. Just make sure to wrap up warm and be extra careful if it’s icy or wet.

A family bike ride can be lots of fun and a 30 minute ride, where you breathing is increased, will help keep your heart healthy. However, before you start cycling in traffic, don’t forget to check the Highway Code for the up to date rules and regulations for cyclists.

To get the most out of the family walk, don’t just stroll. You need to be walking fast enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. This will really help with your exercise regime. When you have finished your walk, a few gentle stretches will help improve your flexibility. If you want to keep track of how many steps you have walked so far, plan your walks, save your favourite routes or set personal goals, get the FREE ‘My Get Walking’ tool.

I love walking and always try to set myself a goal whenever I head out. You can walk around 1,000 steps in approximately 10 minutes, so try to build up gradually to walking around 10,000 steps on five or more days of the week. Pedometers  are a really fun way to keep track of your steps and you can use it to work out your average daily steps and then start adding those extra steps to your total steps per day. You’ll be surprised how many steps you find yourself walking every day, and every step counts. Did you know that you will typically use between 300 to 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps!

Whatever form of exercise you decide to do, make the most of the winter. Don’t just curl up with the TV because it’s dark outside. Do something that you would not usually think about doing. Not only does this get you involved in exercise, it could get you involved in a new group of friends.

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December 16, 2011
by Katie

Top 5 Healthy Christmas snacks


Christmas is a time when tradition dictates that we treat ourselves and our families. We don’t want to fill ourselves up with too many rich pastries, biscuits, cakes and puddings over the Christmas period but we want to spoil ourselves and our families, and there’s nothing wrong in that. There is a way to enjoy the pleasures of Christmas foods and keep yourself and your family healthy and happy.

Here’s my pick of the 5 most yummiest and healthiest Christmas snacks that my children and I are going to be making this Christmas.
1. Christmas pinwheels

3-4 medium sized flour tortillas
1 packet low-fat cream cheese
2 table spoons of plain yogurt
25g cooked frozen peas
25g minced sweet red pepper

• Beat together the cream cheese and yogurt until smooth
• Add the red pepper and frozen peas and mix well
• Spread the mix across each of the flour tortilla and roll up tightly in cling film
• Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours
• Slice in ½ inch pieces to create festive looking red and green pinwheels

2. Parsnips and carrots drizzled honey sticks

1 small parsnip
10 baby carrots
Cooking oil
1 table spoon of honey

• Thoroughly was the carrots and parsnip
• Top and tail the baby carrots and cut in half
• Peel the parsnip and cut into strips, discarding the central hard portion
• Steam the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes
• Place the steamed vegetables in a frying pan with a small amount of oil and dribble with honey
• Fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft


3.  Crackers about Snowman

• Box of round wholegrain crackers such as Ritz
• Pack of low fat cream cheese
• Frozen diced vegetables that have been lightly steamed
• Sliced red and green peppers
• Spread the cream cheese on top of the cracker
• Get your child to for the snowman’s face and ‘hair’ with any combination of the frozen vegetables
• Add a little  red or green pepper slice for a scarf

4. Oatmeal Cookies With Christmas Twist

60g plain flour
75g sugar
225g of soft butter
225g ordinary porridge oats
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
225g chopped golden raisins and cherries
Pinch of salt
Oiled baking sheet

• Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and beat together with the butter, eggs and vanilla essence until smooth
• Stir in the flour and oats
• Drop teaspoon-sized ‘blobs’ onto the oiled baking sheet or you could roll the dough flat so your children could cut out Christmas shapes to decorate
• Bake the shapes or ‘blobs’ at 180 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown

5. Santa’s playing snowballs

175g icing sugar
115g pecan nuts
240g cold butter
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
120g plain flour
120g wholemeal flour
50g white chocolate/dark chocolate

• Spread the pecan nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 180°C for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted
• Once toasted, grind the pecan in a food processor, adding 1/3 of the icing sugar
• Add the cold butter, salt and vanilla essence and blend before adding the flour
• Add flour and mix until a dough forms
• Roll out the dough into 1” balls and place on an oiled baking sheet
• Bake at 160°C for approximately 20 minutes or until the balls are dry and lightly browned
• Allow to cool
• Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave (High for 1 minute, stir and melt for further 30 seconds)
• Use the melted chocolate to ‘sandwich’ together two cookies until all are paired up
• Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens, then roll your snowballs in a bowl with the remaining icing sugar (or desicated coconut if you prefer) to form a light dusting of ‘snow’

Enjoy your Christmas. Enjoy your food.  Choose the healthy option rather than the extra bowl of trifle or Christmas pud. I intend to make sure my family have a wonderful Christmas meal without feeding them lettice and dry crackers. Use your own common sense and don’t over indulge and you will find that counting calories will be the last thing on your mind.

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December 13, 2011
by Katie

5 Reasons For Success In Losing Weight

Positive Mind1. Positive Mind Set  

The most important reason for success in losing and maintaining weight and feeling good about yourself does not come from following the latest diet or from buying expensive dieting products.  It comes from making the decisions yourself about what actions YOU are going to take to change your diet and your lifestyle. A lot of people do enjoy short term success but if you ‘go on a diet’, what happens when the diet finishes? It’s very hard and practically impossible to be constantly on a diet and if you learn to incorporate the right changes in your life, then it’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight and balanced meal plan in your everyday life.

 Low Fat Bar2.   Low Calorie Foods

The supermarkets shelves are full of products that tell you they are ‘low calorie’ and ‘low fat’. You can buy such delights as cheesecake, ice cream, chocolate, macaroni cheese and biscuits. However, be warned. The promise of low fat can actually mean that you pile on the pounds instead. These products often contain a high level of sweeteners, sugar and carbohydrates that can cause weight gain. They can lead your body to crave more and the more you eat these products, the more likely they are to affect your health as well. A really good solution would be to choose a healthy snack instead of a ‘low fat’ one. Choose an apple, a handful of fruit and nuts or pre-prepared cut up carrot and celery sticks. They can be just as tasty and are so much better for you.

 A running woman3.   It’s not just about exercise

When we talk about exercising as part of your plan to lose weight, it not just about the exercise! Most people believe that exercise = weight loss by burning up lots of calories. Running for instance, uses up to one to two hundred calories but this is still not a lot compared to the amount your body needs during the day. Most of the calories you burn up in one day are known as your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Only around 20% of the calories you need are used up in actual physical activity.
What influences your BMR is your size, your fat to muscle ratio and your body’s ability to metabolise the amount of food you eat i.e. the bigger you are, the more food you need to eat. If you exercise more, you become more toned and one of the most effective ways of losing weight is to increase your metabolism by toning your body through more activity.

4.   Snacking between meals is good for you

This brings us on to the best news yet! Snacking between meals is actually going to help you lose weight! Of course, this does depend on you choosing the right snack.
Whenever you eat, your metabolic rate will increase for approximately 90 minutes afterwards. The more often you eat therefore, the higher your metabolism. For example, someone who eats five meals of 300 calories each will burn more fat than someone eating three meals of 500 calories and if you wait longer between meals, the likelihood is that when your meal comes, you will eat a lot more.

Pitcher of fresh cool water5.  Water Water Everywhere

Water really is your friend!  It helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste and keeps your internal organs in good health. If you don’t drink enough, you could encounter problems and this could include a reduced metabolic rate.  There’s no hard and fast rule about exactly how much to drink but you should hydrate your body throughout the day and don’t allow yourself to become thirsty.
What you should avoid however are drinks containing artificial sweeteners as these can make you put on weight. When you drink a can of soda, your body is fooled into believing that it must now deal with lots of calories and sugar and this can lead you to crave the wrong kind of foods to compensate.

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December 5, 2011
by Katie

7 Tips On How Not To Let Stress Affect Your Weight

Stress brought on by dieting is added to your personal and work life stresses that you face every day. As a result, you probably feel you are trapped in a vicious cycle of, the more stress you are under, the more you eat.  I’ve written below some tips for managing stress-related overeating to help you stop this unhealthy habit.

When we’re under stress, we can find ourselves engaging in unhealthy and self-defeating habits such as binge eating and there’s strong evidence that shows that stressed out people put on weight faster. You can deal with this stress related eating if you practice the following;

1.  Practice Waiting

When you begin to feel hungry, don’t give in to instant gratification. When this happens, tell yourself to wait that extra 20 to 30 minutes to eat, especially if it’s near to lunch time. The chances are that if you are in a high stress related situation, then these cravings are just that, stress related, and they’ll disappear when you allow yourself to become distracted. Continue Reading →

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December 2, 2011
by Katie

6 Unhealthy Habits That Stop You Losing Weight – Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of my 6 unhealthy habits that will stop you losing weight.  If you think about them as your read them, you will discover  that they all make sense. It is these small simple thoughts that can be turned into simple healthy habits.

A family meal buffet style4)    Eating off larger plates in a buffet style environment

When given an option, a huge 98.6% of obese individuals chose a larger plate. Thinking sensibly, if you have a larger plate, you put more food on your plate which equates to more calories and more body fat. You should keep your portions in check by choosing smaller serving plates. If need be, you can always go back for seconds.

Youshould also resist setting out foods buffet-style, and opt instead to serve them from the kitchen. When food is served from several dishes at the dinner table, people eat 35% more over the course of the meal. When an extra helping requires leaving the table or asking for more, most people will hesitate and think twice. Continue Reading →

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