Cooper Smith_Orthorexia nervosa_Flickr

A Healthy Diet & Lifestyle: Why You Should ‘Detox’ Your Attitude and Goal Setting Criteria & Not Your Body

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise, Healthy Mind

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE! 😀

We’ve had a relaxing break and hope that you’ve all had a safe, happy and healthy festive period too!

As we transition into this sparkling New Year, it offers the chance of promise and a ‘clean slate’ of fresh opportunities. What are you planning; resolutions to rid yourself of bad habits, drastic diets or some realistic permanent and positive changes?

 

This is a cheeky picture of us during Christmas and no we hadn’t been drinking, but we were still enjoying the moment! You do not have to drink to enjoy social occasions, and having preconceived ideas of what you need to do to have a good time can set you up for a bumpy ride. This can also apply to ‘getting healthy’, especially at this time of year.

January usually brings a flood of clichĂ©s and crazy regimes, including ‘detox diets’. We have previously mentioned how we feel about ‘superfoods’, ‘detox/BS Health Terms’ and ‘diets’ and to recap, it’s unnecessary and typically diets will set you up to fail. Instead of trying to ‘detox’ your liver, gut, or your right foot, maybe you should try ‘spring cleaning’ your attitude and goal setting criteria instead.

 

 

 

…So here are five areas which we recommend you concentrate your energy on:

 

1. Give Up On Quick Fixes & Following Fad Diets

Photo by: Steve Davis, Fad diet stock photo_flickr

Photo by: Steve Davis, (Fad diet stock photo) Flickr

We all know that quick fixes and fad diets do not work long term and yet a great many people convince themselves that this time they’ve discovered the secret to easy and rapid weight loss. The only secret is the one kept by the marketers of these diets, which is that you’ll regain the weight as soon as you stop following the diet. However, this isn’t much of a secret, as we’re sure many followers of these quick fixes have been through this cycle at least once already. So what we should be doing is retraining our brains and attitudes.

Creating bad, good or even easy habits can be addictive by nature, but when it comes to creating long term and permanent commitments, we should be seeking only positive ones. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses when modifying your diet and lifestyle and realise that it’s a long-term commitment, not just an intermittent hobby; meaningful changes will not occur overnight.

We have previously talked about ‘fad gluten free diets’, but the principle can be applied to most fad regimes. You might think you need to give up carbs, gluten or go on a seven day detox to lose weight, but why has this become ingrained into your thought processes? The important question to ask yourself is why no accredited nutritionist and/or Dietitian worthy of the name would suggest a quick fix or unscientifically based mantra?

So if someone and/or a product suggests that you can achieve meaningful weight loss through a quick fix (a.ka. a fad diet!), you should put as much distance between them and yourself as possible
 and query any other health advice they have to offer.

Which leads us to
.‘Detoxing’.

The term ‘detox’ is very real, especially if you’re suffering from alcoholism. When it comes to ‘detoxing’, there isn’t enough credible scientific data published to show that we should take it upon ourselves to ‘cleanse’ or detoxify our bodies in the absence of any genuine addictions. Eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods is a lifestyle change that will benefit anyone. A healthful diet and lifestyle helps our liver, kidneys, colon and other organs to preform our natural mechanisms of ‘detox ’to help keep our bodies running without fail; detox kits and/or regimes do not offer us any substantial benefit and can cause diarrhoea, short term water loss, nutritional deficiencies and a dent in our wallets.

 

2. Be Realistic About Exercise

Photo by: Randy and Sarita, Shoemakers Photostream (ReneeB_Crunchy time) Flickr

Exercise can help reduce our risk in developing heart disease, dementia and other chronic conditions but it does not always promote weight loss, especially if we disregard food portion controls and other healthy eating advice! It can be a great way to improve our mental and physical fitness, but don’t expect it to provide you with a ‘detoxing’ solution. When we sweat, we release sodium, not toxins; as mentioned above, our body has other processes to deal with this. Don’t get us wrong, you can work up a great sweat and detoxify your mind of negative and destructive thoughts, which is great a way to de-stress your mind of day-to-day anxieties and fears.

Developing a realistic exercise programme (one that we can easily fit into our day-to-day lives and enjoy!) can take time and a lot of trial and error. As we are hardwired to conserve energy, we can naturally procrastinate, trying to put off the inevitable… including regular exercise.

If you are new to exercise, it might be worth checking with your healthcare professional first. Embarking on a new exercise regime will take persistence and patience and there are ways to make it easier, but quite honestly it won’t always feel ‘fun’. There have been times where we have felt that exercise was a bit bothersome or that prior to the session it just wouldn’t be ‘good’. All of this pessimistic thinking only leads to failing before you have begun. Putting it into perspective, you wouldn’t expect that going into your office everyday would be prefect, bad days happen, but you do get through them; no one calls in sick because the day in question might be rubbish, so why treat your exercise sessions any differently?!

 

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Photo by: Comradehomer (Easy tricks to help you lose weight fast) Flickr

Genetics, age, personal circumstances
 we are all different, including the way that we lose weight. For example, Alex has the metabolism of a jet engine and struggles to gain weight, whilst my metabolism needs regular exercise and meals to make sure it’s running efficiently and to help keep my health (and waistline!) in check.

When it comes to meaningful weight loss, there are no quick fixes and there is definitely not a ‘one size fits all approach’; one method that will allow everyone to lose weight in the same timespan or manner.

Additionally we all come in different shapes and sizes; not everyone is designed to be a size 4! We need to appreciate our own circumstances, bodies and cast aside any unrealistic or unhealthy ideals.

A picture of a skinny body does not necessarily depict a healthy diet, it might be down to genetics or a case of someone having high levels of will power and/or potentially disordered eating behaviours.

So don’t compare yourselves to others, we all have our own journey and it is never truly finished; healthy living continues beyond ‘weight loss’, which is only one of many steps.

 

4. Manage Negative Influences

Photo by: Beauty Playin 'Eh's Photostream_img8564_digging for more_Flickr

Photo by: Beauty Playin ‘Eh’s Photostream (img8564_digging for more) Flickr

Negative influences can include anyone or anything that provokes or causes unnecessary stress, roadblocks and/or illness in our lives. Remember it is OK to say NO to people, especially to those ‘office feeders’, a friend that always gets you to skip your gym sessions, a spouse that does most of the cooking but refuses to cook vegetables or to fad health enthusiasts or even your friend’s mother that advises you to give up carbohydrates or that you shouldn’t eat after 6pm
 these are all examples of negative influences.

 

Social Contagion Theory

It’s been shown that social networks can influence the size of your waistband. According to a study (regarding obesity in large social networks) published during 2007 in the New England Journal of medicine, their analysis showed that a person’s risk of obesity has a greater influence from their social networks than their genetics. When a study participant’s friend became obese, that first participant had a 57% greater chance of becoming obese himself. We guess that it can be put down to social norms or preconceptions of what is ‘normal behaviour’.

To paraphrase a leading psychologist speaking on a BBC Radio 4 programme last month “we normalise our own behaviours and attitudes based on the averages of our social groups.” E.g. If your entire social network is overweight, you are unlikely to believe that being overweight yourself is unhealthy and/or a problem and are likely to avoid examples, groups and messages to the contrary. You may have heard the saying ‘we create our own realities’!

It’s not all bad news though; a study published during 2013 in Public Health Nutrition looked at weight-control strategies among adolescents with the assistance of family support. It showed that 50% of the group reporting sustained weight loss seemed to have more familial support.

Quite truthfully, you might lose friendships as you adapt and change your lifestyle because not everyone is ‘game to being a fitness buddy’ or ready to make permanent lifestyle changes themselves. However, true friends should understand your principles about making these healthy changes and should not be out to sabotage your good intentions.

 

5. Create Regular Consolidation (a.k.a Zen & Realistic Problem Solving!)

Photo by: Hannah Johnson_yoga_flickr

Photo by: Hannah Johnson (yoga) Flickr

It’s important for us to be diligent and create regular ways in which to reflect, focus on the positives and generate our own bespoke plans; allowing us to change our attitudes, behaviours and/or thought processes that could inhibit us from leading a healthier life, particularly one that we truly desire and deserve!

Plans might be set in motion in order to:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce our alcohol consumption.
  • Improve our cooking skills so that we can eat healthier meals.
  • Go to our GP to see why we are having intestinal cramps (not just putting ourselves on a GF diet!).
  • Understand what the potential reasons are as to why we are overweight.
  • Learn how to control our emotions- jealously, anger, fear or sadness could all be a recipe for disaster!
  • Exercise to improve our total quality of life- but hey, that could mean spending more time in the bedroom too! 😉
  • Learn how to unplug from the mainstream (saying goodbye to long hours spent in front of a computer or iPhone!).
  • Become more social- spending more quality time with the people that matter.
  • Reduce frivolous spending, learning how to budget and/or reduce debt.

 

It could also include ways to help us unwind and deal with the stress in our lives, such as: meditation, yoga, trying not to overcommit to social engagements or making time to read in our bedrooms without any interruptions for one hour a week. Another trend is expressing your thoughts on paper; daily or weekly gratitude journal entries. Planning can help instil positive and long term behaviours, helping us to avoid temptations, distractions and/or being able to find the best time(s) in order to start modifying our diet and lifestyles.

It can be recognising that changing one thing in our life may not create the happiness that we have been craving, e.g. losing weight will not necessary make us happy. If you were depressed before the weight loss, it might be there afterwards. Sometimes it’s not only about weight loss- it’s about finding ways to enrich our lives, becoming happy, healthier and hopefully blessed with more friendships and positive experiences as a result.

 

So let’s remember that everyone has the ability to lead healthier and happier lives (no ‘detox’ pills, drinks or crazy regimes needed!)… we just need to focus on the right decisions, methods and actions to do it!

Are you feeling optimistic? Are you ready for some permanent
and positive changes this year? What are your SMART goals?

 

Article written by:
A. Risby BSc, RD and L. Risby BSc, Nutritionist

 

Sources:
BDA-Detox Diets
NHS Choices- Benefits to Exercise
NHS Choices- 10 Minute Workouts
PubMed
The New England Journal of Medicine
BBC Radio 4 Programme – A leading clinical psychologist !
Public Health Nutrition
BDA-Weight Wise (SMART Goals)
Feature Image by: Cooper Smith (Orthorexia nervosa)_Flickr

 

These Boots Are Made For Walking: A Sunny Woodland Walk!

Exercise, Healthy Mind

So the meteorologist finally got something right! Saturday in the SE of England was sunny, warm and it didn’t have a cloud in sight! We were hopeful that it would carry on through the weekend, but the sun diminished by lunchtime yesterday; another teaser of the spring we all desire! At least our North American friends had their summer daylight saving time begin over the weekend (which will massively help with everyone’s moods= ↑happiness + ↓depressive slumps!); ours begins in three week’s time!

 

Like most Britain’s when faced with a bit of sunshine, we got out and about! The car was boiling after having bathed in the sunshine all morning, so the windows got rolled down and our coats were thrown into the back seat. Ah yes, glorious sunshine everywhere! Some sun enthusiasts were already sporting sandals, short skirts and enjoying ice cream cones; each to their own! It can’t be helped though… everyone in the UK knows that you cannot take our sunny days for granted; the weather can change every five minutes! We must all try and live in the moment.

 

 

So we drove to a great woodland area/nature reserve to explore, get our heart’s pumping and breath in all those wonderful springtime aromas…

 

…and so it began; c’mon boots! 🙂

 

 

Within five minutes of strolling down all of these tree-lined paths, we could feel the effect of the sun. We think that sunshine has the ability to put us all into a warm and dreamy bubble; creating a state of mindfulness.

NB: Exposure to sunlight can provide a great source for the body to help produce some Vitamin D (*although there are several factors that can determine our rate of absorption); the most optimum levels of the UV-B rays needed for this are obtained between April through to October here in the UK.

 

 

If only we could pause a moment in time…

 

 

This glorious woodland had numerous paths.

 

 

…But which way to go?!

 

 

This way was good…

Nothing beats a leisurely stroll…

 

 

…but ultimately we were spoiled for choice!

 

 

Presently most paths require you to dress in sturdy walking boots…but we had that covered!

 

 

Some of these trails went on forever… but this is fantastic in our books! Sometimes walking through a park can feel like walking in a herd of cattle…but this nature reserve allowed everyone to wander and explore without having to tail gate one another.

 

 

Thanks to treesculpting.co.uk (who we assumed used a wood chisel to design these beauties, but in actual fact used chainsaws!) we had all of these lovely wood sculptures to admire, like this ant …

 

 

this squirrel and hawk…

 

 

this bench with a badger and fox…

 

 

…or this creation, which we think is one of their ‘fern men’.

 

 

Maybe their creativity inspired others…or at least someone! Here’s a make-shift ‘teepee’!

A for effort!

 

 

Nature’s artistic flare created this little stream…

 

 

…and pond; it looks like a lagoon because of a) lime stone, or b) algae. What do else everyone else think?

 

 

As you probably noticed, a lot of this woodland is ‘naked’ at the moment… but we have no doubt how amazing this place is during late spring through until September. However, new vegetation was planted and thriving; just look at all of these tiny trees (not our shadows!)…

The silent giants…

 

 

Or this patch of holly!

We should have zoomed in the camera lens! Sorry!

 

 

We took advantage of the one piece of vegetation designated for woodland fun- this old, fallen tree…

Don’t lose your balance!

 

 

and then it was my turn…

Feeling confident!

 

 

 For some ‘log gymnastics’!

 

 

 

Or maybe we should try this tree swing??

Someone had made two of these over a little stream! Feeling lucky?!

 

 

We might of had an audience…

😀

Or not! Just look at this little fatty! I guess this grey squirrel has awoken from his winter slumber; no nuts in sight little guy!

 

 

On a serious note, here’s a lovely commemoration someone has made…

 

 

…for which we all can rest upon and be mindful.

 

 

 We would recommend this woodland to anyone. It’s perfect for dog walkers, mountain bikers, couples and families alike….but if your dog has an obsession with sticks, you might be in for a long afternoon!

 

So thank you SherrardsPark Wood… for encompassing so many wonderful pieces of nature, bringing families together and for putting the spring in so many people’s step today (dog’s included!).

Woodpeckers, deer, door mice and wild mushrooms were no where to be seen… but we’ll be back!

 

 

P.S. Many thanks to the kind traffic warden that we caught just in the nick of time! It was our first time to that area and we genuinely didn’t suss out the parking restrictions properly! Sorry!

 

 

What did everyone else in Britain get up to this weekend? Did the sunshine make you more energetic than usual?

What else motivated you to leave your house and your creature comforts?

As always, let us know! We love hearing about how you are making permanent lifestyle changes that enable you to Eat2Health and be more active!

Have a great week everyone! 😀

A Walk In The Park: Birds, Rain & Romans

Exercise, Healthy Mind

Whether you are you a stickler for consuming your 5-A-Day or follow a vegan or a pescetarian diet… The very definition of being healthy incorporates not only eating a ‘healthy diet’ but by also by implementing some sort of realistic fitness plan/routine.

Exercise doesn’t have to consist of a gruelling regime in the gym. When given the chance, we think that most people would prefer to be outdoors. We’re designed to move and we should make the most of what nature has to offer…rain or shine!

We know it’s less motivating when the trees are still bare, the wind has an icy bite and a blast of rain is imminent… but that’s what big, fuzzy apparel and robust winter boots are for!

 

This week we decided to stretch our legs with a trip into a Hertfordshire park. As you can see from the map, it’s a great size with lots of things to do (including plenty of hills to climb!).

This park is named after the Roman city ‘Verulamium’ on which it stands….

 

 

 

 We enjoyed an hour’s walk through sunshine, rain, a freak sleet storm…

 

 

…and groups of ravenous ducks!

 

 

This is a lovely park located within the centre of a historic town….so it’s obviously close to local amenities, like this pub….

If you venture off into the other direction, it will lead you to ‘The Waffle House’! Haha! Despite it having excellent reviews… it is unfortunately not vegan friendly! 😩

 

Just joking! We did not go into any pub, even at the end of our walk when we were cold and drenched!

 

 

With cheap bird seed on sale in the park’s cafe, the birds appreciate and expect to be fed…some even started to quack at the sound of our little, brown paper bag rustling…

So many ducks and beautiful swans…

 

 

Some of the swans we all too keen to show me their ‘bullying technique’ when it came to ‘feeding time’…

 

 

…biting at my hands…they really didn’t like eating off the pavement…but I guess who can really blame them?!

 

 

So we gave up and just enjoyed the peace and quiet (once we tuned out the sound of all of the honking Canadian geese!) and the sites, like these Roman ruins…

The remains of  the Roman city walls

 

 

This one is for all you history buffs or lovers of everything ‘English’…

 

We would have loved to have shown you more of these sites….but if you didn’t notice, the sign is stained in rain drops! The sky soon opened up and pelted us with heavy rain, followed by sleet. So we had to get a move on!

 

 

Our walk quickly turned into sprint…but we realised we still had one more bag of bird seed; we decided to brave the birds one last time. They were hungry and perhaps a bit aggravated about the freak storm…

Please excuse my ‘bear-paw’ blocking the corner of the camera lens!

 

 

A huge swan emerged from the pond and became aggressive; it snatched the bag of seeds from Al….and that was enough of that!

 

 

We’d just like to point out that it’s great to support your local wildlife, but please respect the advice laid out by the parks… do not feed birds white bread! This poor goose was a little worse for wear and feeding it half of loaf of bread from your local baker’s isn’t going to help matters…

Birds can be nutritionally depleted too! 😩

 

 

When the weather is more desirable (and the equipment is a little less slippery!), this outdoor ‘gym’…

Adidas allows everyone to bust a move in the park!

 

 

mini climbing wall…

To the left of this climbing wall is a large tennis court, and to the right is a custom-made volley ball court.

 

 

or basketball court…

To the left of this court is a huge, kids play area and numerous football pitches…perfect for when you’re tired of your kids turning you into a human gym-set! 🙂

 

 

…are among many of the resources that this park has to offer…which all allow people to support a healthy lifestyle with innovative ways of spicing up their fitness routines!

 

 

As we left the park we noticed that spring is just on the horizon with this budding tree…

Little pink buds are always a great sign!

 

 

…along with these little flowers that are lining the church cemetery.

We’re not sure what these flowers are; there are also many beautiful daffodils flowering around Hertfordshire at the moment too!

 

 

It’s always great to end a walk on a positive note; we would thoroughly recommend this park, rain or shine!

 

 

So we’d like to encourage everyone to get out into their local parks (or green spaces) this weekend and take their dog for a stroll, or allow their little ones the enjoyment of kicking a football across the pitch or just being able to run around (and be kids!)… and of course to allow yourself to de-stress from the week’s events.

 

So remember everyone- let’s all Eat2Health and get out and about more often!