Healthy weight management

What does weight management mean?

For many people, weight loss, slimming, dieting, shaping up (whatever you choose to call it) is a life-long struggle and involves a lot of disappointment, negative body image and, often, worry, feelings of hopelessness and damage to self-confidence.

Yet, being in control of your weight and managing it in a controlled, healthy and long-term way (weight management) is central to ensuring long-term health, fitness and even happiness and confidence. Contrast this with “yoyo dieting”, crash diets and seasonal dieting, which are bad for the body and much harder to both achieve and maintain.

Overweight people are at increased risk of numerous ailments, which range from heart disease and high blood pressure, to type-2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing difficulties and many more. Luckily, it is not actually as difficult or confusing as perhaps you might think to get your weight under control in a healthy way – so hang in there!

Recent trends

Weight has been one of the leading health concerns of the Western world in recent years (not least because of COVID-19). Obesity in Britain, for example, is swiftly approaching the chart-topping statistics of the United States. And it is not just adults that have been getting larger – children’s weight is a broadening concern.

How to reduce body-weight in a healthy way

Healthy weight loss is certainly not about extreme dieting or weight loss fads.

Effective weight management is about much more than just focussing on the numbers, like your weight and calories. It is about shifting the way you think about food, starting with a healthy routine which involves permanent changes in daily eating and beneficial exercise habits.

Essentially, healthy weight management is a combination of:

  • optimum nutrition (a well-balanced diet) and
  • a realistic exercise routine.

This doesn’t mean having to live on greens, without treats. Nor does it mean having to go to the gym 7 days a week.

It could possibly mean eating and/or drinking certain things in moderation, while increasing the volume of health foods. And, in terms of physical acitivity, it could mean doing as little as 15 minutes of exercise (such as walking or jogging) every other day – whatever meets your needs, taking into account your own particular health issues and circumstances.

Why so many people give up

One of the hardest things about introducing any lifestyle change is the ability to make that change last for the long term. We have all had the experience – every year, we make promises to eat more healthily, to drink less alcohol, to do more exercise etc. We start off well and, even with the best of intentions, in the majority of cases we slowly revert back to our old easy and ingrained habits.

One of the key causes of this is that the change was either put in place too fast and in a drastic way, and/or it was an unrealistic aim for the long-term.

A very common example is that, nearly all people attempt to completely do away with all treats from their diet. It’s naive to think that you are not going to have, for instance, a chocolate bar or packet of crisps ever again – and the reality is, that is not even necessary for healthy weight management. This approach usually end in binging.

Similarly, very few people are going to be able to sustain going to the gym seven days a week. Again, this is not necessary and, in fact, is not even constructive. Your body needs rest in between exercise.

So, people set themselves up to fail and lose morale when they do.

How to lose weight successfully

To introduce long-term lifestyle change (which is the key to successful weight loss), it’s important to think of a range of physical exercises that you really enjoy and can pick from to keep your routine interesting.

Furthermore, one of the many common fallacies about losing weight is that the meals / foods you can eat are very restricted. That is simply not true. While you will certainly need to cap your consumption of certain foods (especially those high in saturated fats and sugar), you are not automatically barred from enjoying the treats you like every now and then.

A nutritionist or personal trainer can help you to better understand precisely what varieties of food you should eat on a regular basis for a healthy, well-balanced diet and healthy metabolism, and which you should view as treats, to have on the odd occasion. Meal plans can be helpful in the early stages, while you get used to the new regime and break old eating habits.

The key is to understand that no two people are identical and so their is no “one size fits all” diet that will magically make you lose weight. Instead of a diet, you need a meal plan and exercise programme that are specifically tailored to you and your body.

Variety and moderation are the keys to your success!

A little extra support – health supplements…

If you find that you want a little additional help, you may want to think about including weight management supplements in your programme.

Not only can these help you to top-up on additional vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that will support your body through the weight management process (including support for energy levels, metabolism and immunity etc), they can also assist with resolving any underlying health issues that may be hampering your weight loss efforts. Common examples include digestive problems and hormonal imbalances. 

Plant-based protein powders and tasty light meal shakes can also provide a quick, easy and healthy snack substitute, that keep you feeling full and away from unhealthy treats in-between meals.

For more information, visit our main website

How to eat a balanced diet

What is a balanced diet?

Everyone always talks about “eating a balanced diet”, but have you ever wondered what that actually means?

Firstly, it is important to note that a balanced diet is essential for general health and well-being, as well as for maintaining a healthy weight. How it is achieved in practice can be very different for different people – not least because every individual is different, taking into account factors such as lifestyle, level of activity and energy demands, metabolism, pre-existing medical conditions, age, gender, health goals etc.

For example, athletes, vegetarians, vegans and those suffering from food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances will all have very different dietary requirements.

Having said that, the broad meaning of a balanced diet is simply one that includes an appropriate amount of food from the various food groups, along with plenty of pure water. Moderation and variety are key.

The modern diet

Unfortunately, in this modern age (with growing time and financial constraints), more and more people are relying on “fast foods” / “junk foods”, ready-meals, frozen foods and highly refined and processed foods to make up the majority of their meals.

Although obviously time-savers, these types of foods tend to be high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, salt, saturated fats and chemicals (such as food additives and preservatives). Not only do they fail to supply the body with the nutrients that it needs, they actually contribute to toxin build-up, which can (for example) potentially lead to digestive problems, poor immunity, weight gain and all of the problems that come with it (including increased risk of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure etc).

Another common phenomenon is that people will often skip meals in an attempt to lose weight, which in reality is counter-productive. Not only is this approach unhealthy (and has the potential to damage your digestion and internal organs), it can actually prevent weight loss and even contribute to weight gain. Although this sounds illogical, when you think about it, it does make sense.

How skipping meals can lead to weight gain…

It is important to activate your metabolism with the right foods at certain times of the day. Skipping meals (particularly breakfast) can lead to weight gain in a number of ways.

  • When you don’t eat for a prolonged period of time, your body can go into “starvation mode” and your metabolism then slows down to preserve energy. This means that your body will compensate for the inadequate calories by burning fewer calories than it normally would. When your body goes into starvation mode it does not draw from its fat reserves for energy, making it more difficult to lose weight.
  • It tends to result in extreme hunger later in the day, which can then lead to cravings, bingeing and weight gain.
  • It gives you an uneven distribution of calories throughout the day.
  • It means you are depriving your body of the energy it needs to properly function, exercise, burn calories etc.
  • It causes low blood sugar levels and delays insulin response, which can lead to diabetes.
  • It is a temporary measure and won’t solve your long-term weight problems.

Skipping meals is therefore clearly not the answer to healthy weight loss and a balanced diet. The most effective means of losing weight and keeping off is adopting a sensible weight management plan, i.e. making healthier eating choices, exercising, drinking pure water and keeping your metabolism active. Metabolism plays a key role in how quickly you burn fat and lose weight; therefore, it cannot be overlooked as part of your plan for weight management and optimum nutrition.

Why is a balanced diet important?

Exercise alone won’t make you “healthy” – it is just one piece of the puzzle. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. A balanced diet is arguably the most important factor because it gives you access to the broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, salts, oils and other nutrients required by your body to function in an optimal way, including the energy to exercise.

Learning how to maintain a balanced diet is important for long-term health and weight management.

Where do health supplements come into it?

As a person trying to achieve a truly balanced diet and manage your weight, you might choose to take health supplements for a number of reasons, e.g.:

  1. As a result of depleted soil, long-distance importation, long shelf-life, pasteurisation, cooking methods (such as microwaving) and chemicals in our food, it is often lacking in nutrients, including digestive enzymes. For example, the level of vitamin C in vegetables can decrease by half within 5 minutes of being cut and by up to 70% after just 20 minutes. Similarly, cooking food destroys around half of the protein content and approximately 60% of vitamins and renders about 60% of the minerals non-absorbable. Nutrient-dense, food form supplements can help you top-up on nutrients easily and conveniently, every day.
  2. Restricted food choice can often make it harder to ensure you are getting the full spectrum of nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis. Many slimmers, vegans, vegetarians and others with restricted diets (such as allergy or intolerance sufferers) therefore choose to supplement their diets with tailored health foods and products.
  3. Those suffering from long-standing digestive health problems will often find that it is harder for them to absorb nutrients and lose weight. Digestive system issues are a common side-effect of being over-weight, most likely due to poor diet over a number of years. Many slimmers and those with digestive disorders therefore find that they benefit from, for example, colon cleansers and cleanse and detox supplements as part of their wider weight management programme. Others use probiotics and digestive system supplements to support their inner health and help to restore balanced levels of gut flora.

For more information, visit our main website

Carbohydrates and weight loss

Cut down on carbs to lose weight faster

You should eat fewer carbohydrates if you want to lose weight quickly.

Having said that, there is no need to cut out carbohydrates entirely if you are trying to lose weight and, in fact, that would not be a healthy step. Carbohydrates are an essential energy source for the body, but you should certainly cut back on the amount you are consuming – simple carbohydrates in particular.

In contrast, there are some healthy carbohydrates that you can eat that will actually give your body fuel to function, thereby facilitating exercise, a faster metabolism and weight loss.

The key is therefore controlling your carbohydrate intake, tailoring it to support weight loss instead of creating an obstacle to weight loss.

Which carbohydrates for weight loss?

Carbohydrates typically sit in the body and are very difficult to completely burn off. For best weight loss results, you therefore need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” carbohydrates, finding those that are going to help (rather than hinder) your efforts.

There are some carbohydrates that offer you little or no nutritional value, and that can actually cause your blood sugar levels to spike and possibly create an insulin imbalance. It is important to consume a majority of healthy carbohydrates if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

Carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, grains and other plant-based sources are healthy options that will support all-round nutrition, fibre intake, a fast metabolism and a feeling of satiety, at the same time as carbohydrate intake for energy levels. Examples include:

  • barley or barley grass
  • quinoa
  • chickpeas
  • wholegrains
  • sweet potatoes
  • oats
  • bananas
  • beetroot
  • grapefruit
  • and many more.

But one word of caution… While fruit is, of course, highly nutritious, beware not to over-indulge given the high levels of sugar. Even though these are healthy fruit sugars, they can still contribute to weight gain. Balance your diet carefully.

Eat smart, plan well

Changing the way you eat will most likely be one of the key factors that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Almost certainly, years of poor eating habits have led to the excess weight in the first place. It is those habits that need to be reversed.

Instead of eating your big meal in the evening, try changing it to lunch. Try not to eat starchy carbohydrates after 3pm; instead make your final meal of the day no more than three hours before bedtime. That meal should be a light meal high in lean protein and nutrients, but low in calories.

Sugary drinks, refined sugar and other processed foods are all things to avoid at all costs. Carbonated beverages, in particular, are full of sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates, and can also add to any cravings that you experience. Instead, choose a bottle of water to reduce the thirst that you have and help you to feel fuller, if you want to stay as healthy and slim as possible.

Also try to ensure that you have a little bit of lean protein in all of your meals, even breakfast. Protein tends to fill you up more than carbohydrates or fats would.

To help you lose weight, plan on eating a substantial healthy breakfast each morning. This strategy will help you avoid overeating at lunch time or craving snacks between the meals. Egg whites are a good choice.

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Start losing weight

Get started with your weight loss programme today!

Let’s face it, no one is at their ideal weight all the time and more often than not, you could stand to lose a few pounds rather than putting some on. Luckily, this blog post will help out anyone who wishes to get started on a successful weight loss journey.

It will give you a good idea of what you need to do, so that your weight loss goals will be met and your efforts will be long-lasting.

Everyone at one point or another has made the decision to lose weight, but oftentimes the goals we set for ourselves are not met. Many people fail on their quest for a slimmer body for a variety of reasons. There are countless ways you weight loss programme could lose momentum, leaving you short of reaching your goals.

Before you can start on a successful weight loss campaign, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions.

1. What caused me to gain the weight?
Understand what it is that you did to put on the extra weight. Honestly assessing your lifestyle, activity levels and eating habits is imperative if you are serious about losing weight, because this will allow you to see what changes need to be made.

2. Am I ready, willing and able to make a change?
Losing weight sounds a lot easier than it is and if you aren’t fully committed to achieving your goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. Make sure that you are going to put in the time, effort and dedication needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to ensure that you are physically able to tackle a weight loss programme (have you consulted your doctor?) and have the appropriate tools and resources at your disposal. For example, do you have a meal plan? Do you have an exercise plan? By preparing and informing yourself in advance, you will give yourself the best chance of success. It will also be more likely to lead to wholesale lifestyle change, rather than short-term efforts which then revert back to bad habits.

Once you have examined your current exercise and eating habits, and have made a conscious decision to commit to slimming down and getting healthy, you are ready to begin making changes to your life that will enable you to lose weight and keep it off!

Whether with the help of a personal trainer, dietitian or nutritionist, or through your own research, make notes of the nutrients you need to incorporate into your diet, as well as those items that need to be reduced or eliminated altogether. This is going to be different for each individual, so just make sure that you are incorporating a diet that you can tolerate or you will just end up giving up. Be strong, but also be realistic. And take it slowly. Drastic changes tend to be overwhelming, particularly where bad habits are ingrained.

You should also make exercise a real priority in your life. When hectic schedules reign and budgets are tight, gym sessions are often the first thing we are willing to cut out of lives. However, if going to the gym is really not an option, don’t make excuses – there are many other options out there to keep active that don’t cost the Earth. For instance, running outdoors, following YouTube exercise videos at home and even incorporating a greater level of activity into daily events (such as climbing the stairs, instead of taking the lift). Making time to workout, and building this into your weekly routine, is an extremely important part of living healthily, losing weight and keeping it off for the long-term. No matter what type of activity you wish to do, just make sure you do it. Making dietary changes alone is not enough.

Lastly, try to find a friend or family member who is willing to go on a weight loss journey with you. It is always easier to lose weight and get fit when you have a buddy who is struggling along with you. Together, you will be able to motivate each other to keep going when one or both of you needs a little encouragement.

Nothing in this blog is particularly new in terms of information for the average person, but you’d be surprised how many people start their weight loss programme without first taking these basic steps. Ensure that your efforts will pay off by using the tips given above to prepare yourself, and you are sure to lose that weight and keep it off!

For more information, visit our main website

Exercise health benefits

Why is exercise important?

Regular exercise is important for everybody, not just those who are looking to lose weight.

Our bodies operate best when they are engaged in regular activity. Conversely, health issues tend to crop up with your lifestyle is largely sedentary. The body craves movement and exertion, and it actually needs these things in order to function properly, to avoid muscle wastage and weakening, and to promote strength, vitality and longevity.

As obesity rates continue to rise, and we are seeing a growing older population, a lifestyle that includes regular exercise is a necessity. Ideally, this should be introduced at an early age for maximum benefit.

The bottom line is is to avoid inactivity for long periods; even some exercise is better than none at all. In other words, exercise is the key to good health and it can help to prevent a number of preventable health problems.

How can exercise support health?

Although exercise clearly helps to improve the appearance of the body (for example through weight loss and toning), it is also has countless other benefits for health.

Resistance training is often seen as being only for men or gym fanatics. However, exercise can take many forms and doesn’t necessarily have to involve the gym. For example, there is yoga, walking, running, cycling, boxing and countless others.

The important point to bear in mind is that exercise (any exercise) has a number of health benefits, which can contribute to the longevity and quality of life.

In particular, it is beneficial for:

  • detoxification
  • healthy digestion
  • heart health
  • weight loss (including a healthy metabolism).

Exercise is also important for muscle and bone health, and has a key role to play in maintaining a robust immune system by, for example, stimulating the lymphatic system. It is widely believed that the lymphatic system is the body’s first line of defense against disease. Exercise also improves circulation, helping to bring new fuel and energy to every cell.

In considered so important by governments that, in both the USA and Europe, there are a number of national initiatives that call for physical activity and exercise to be standard elements of both disease prevention and medical treatment for all ages.

How does exercise promote weight loss?

One of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to lose weight (and likewise one of the biggest reasons for failure) is focussing all their efforts on changing their diet, without thinking about the essential role of increased levels of physical activity.

Ultimately, your weight is dependant on the balance between the number of calories consumed each day and the number of calories burned. The main way in which exercise can assist with weight loss is through the burning of additional calories. Both aerobic and weight bearing exercise can achieve this.

Dieting alone is not going to be enough to ensure you reach your ideal weight in a healthy way, especially for the long-term. In fact, a 2006 study (Weiss et al) undertaken by Saint Louis University compared the effects of exercise combined with dieting, versus diet alone in losing fat. Although both sets of participants lost weight, only those undertaking exercise maintained their strength and muscle mass and increased aerobic capacity. Those who dieted only, lost muscle mass, strength and aerobic capacity.

Research consistently shows that regular exercise, combined with a balanced diet, is the most efficient and healthy way to manage your weight. In particular, exercise can affect our metabolism – when we exercise and eat healthily, the metabolism has a tendency to speed up and burn off excess calories and fat that it would not otherwise do, during periods of inactivity.

Getting the most out of exercising

If you are new to regular exercise, it’s important to take it slow and, if necessary, consult your doctor, a personal trainer or other qualified health practitioner before implementing radical changes to your diet or starting a new exercise regime.

Similarly, there are a number of health supplements that can support healthy weight management, athletic performance and nutrient intake. Increasing your levels of exercise should be viewed as part of a wider initiative to improve your health, including improving your diet to ensure that your body is getting all the “fuel” it needs to operate optimally.

For example, slimmers often find that protein powders and meal shakes can be helpful, because not only can they provide a low calorie source of nutrients, but the high protein content is vital for maintaining and increasing muscle and bone mass, supporting energy levels, for tissue and cell repair, for keeping the immune system strong and for preventing fatigue. And if you can find a shake that is fortified with nutrients, all the better.

A number of studies have suggested that a high-protein diet combined with exercise can support the weight management process, enhance fat loss, boost metabolism, improve muscle tone and improve blood fat levels.

As protein can assist in the repair and growth of muscle, this tends to mean that more calories are burned each day. Higher-protein diets may also help people to gain better control over their appetites and calorie intake, help them to regulate their blood sugar levels and reduce cravings. When your heart beats faster and you breathe more rapidly, it helps to lower your blood sugar level (which is why exercise is even more important if you have diabetes).

Similarly, ensuring adequate vitamin and mineral intake is an important part of any weight management programme, to ensure that you are losing weight healthily. For instance, antioxidants (such as vitamin C) are important in preventing damage by free radicals, which can be released during detoxification processes.

For more information, visit our main website

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