Do you need a Mommy Makeover?

Becoming a mother changes your whole life- including your body! Women who have undergone pregnancy and childbirth can develop loose, sagging skin in their abdomen, as well as breasts that have lost volume (especially after breastfeeding). Many women will also experience the breasts losing their size, or pointing downwards instead of up and out like they did pre-pregnancy.

Exercise and diet can do a little to return the abdomen to its pre-pregnancy state, but no amount of lifestyle changes can reverse loosened skin or change the volume or position of the breasts. If you are unhappy with your post-pregnancy body and want to go back to how you looked pre-baby, you need a “mommy makeover.

A mommy makeover is a combination of procedures customized to help you look your best again after pregnancy, childbirth, and/or breastfeeding. It can include a tummy tuck and breast augmentation, a tummy tuck and a breast lift, or a mini-tuck and both an augmentation and a lift or any other combination thereof.

Some patients will also add liposuction to the abdomen, hips, legs, or buttocks to the tummy tuck or breast procedures.

Mothers who are considering a mommy makeover should get as close to their ideal weight as possible before the surgery. It will ensure the best results and make the results easier to maintain after the surgery. For example, the tighter your abdominal muscles are from regular exercise before surgery, the flatter your tummy will be after a tuck.

You will also need to quit smoking at least six weeks before the procedure, and have someone to help you with the children for at least two weeks after your surgery. You won’t be able to do the normal lifting, driving, and bustling about that generally comes with patenthood!

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Reconstructive surgery boosts confidence

Many plastic surgery procedures offer a way to reconstruct issues that affect the physical appearance. If you were injured or have had a condition that changed the way you look, you should consider some operations that may help. Take a look at a few of the surgeries available to people who need a reconstructive operation done.

Some people get a nose job because they do not like the way their nose looks. Others get one because they are having trouble breathing after an injury to the area. Whether you were in a car accident that broke your nose or you somehow got hit in this part of your face, you should look into plastic surgery as a way to solve the problem. Your doctor will likely recommend a nose job if this facial feature is now crooked or swollen, and especially if you cannot breathe easily due to the injury.

Another common reconstructive operation involves the breasts. If you had breast cancer and had to get a mastectomy to remove one or both breasts, you may be looking for a way to get your curves back in the future. Breast reconstruction can do this for
you. On the other hand, if your breasts are too large for your frame, a reduction may be the best choice for you. If they are causing your shoulders to hunch and your back to hurt, it may be time to get them reduced, and most doctors in the plastic surgery field can do the job.

If you have microtia, causing one or both ears to appear small or malformed, you can get an otoplasty. This procedure involves having a doctor modify your current ears or even add some if you do not have any. An operation can make a big difference in your appearance and self-esteem, so you should look into option when you are not happy with how your ears look right now. Even if you do not have microtia, but another reason altogether for your ears to look malformed, you can likely benefit from plastic surgery.

Many doctors in this field are able to complete these and other reconstructive procedures. Of course, some specialize in one or a few of them. You should seek out a surgeon with years of experience providing great results to people like you who are looking for ways to improve different aspects of the appearance. This should allow you to look forward to seeing the outcome and finally feeling more confident about certain features.

Boost your esteem contact Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk today to discuss your options.

7 “FATTY” Foods that Can Help You to Get a Washboard Stomach

These 7 shocking Fatty (but healthy) super-foods can actually help you to burn body fat faster!

At this point, the anti-fat propaganda has died and almost everybody understands by now that eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. 

In fact, it’s absolutely imperative to get enough healthy fats in your diet to keep your hormones balanced, blood sugar under control, and prevent cravings.

1.  Super Dark Chocolate (at least 72% cacao content or higher).

It might not be a secret anymore, but yes, dark chocolate (NOT milk chocolate) can be a very healthy food, even though it is technically calorie dense.

However, I would contend that dark chocolate can actually HELP you to burn off more body fat if you’re the type of person that has a sweet tooth and likes to eat a lot of desserts.  In this case, just 1 or 2 small squares of dark chocolate can many times satisfy your sweet tooth for only 30 or 40 calories as opposed to 500 calories for a piece of chocolate cake or a piece of pie.

Also some brands of dark chocolate that are in the mid 70’s in % cacao content or higher, can have a fairly high ratio of fiber content (I’ve seen some brands have 5 grams of fiber out of 15 grams of total carbs per serving), and relatively low sugar content compared to the amount of healthy fats.  In fact, that’s one of the “tricks” I use to select a good quality chocolate… I look for more total fat than total carbs (or about the same number of grams of each).

The importance of that fact is that it means many dark chocolates will not greatly affect your blood sugar and will have a fairly blunted blood sugar response compared to other “sweets”.

In addition, dark chocolate is also very rich in healthful antioxidants, including a powerful compound called theobromine which has been shown to help lower blood pressure and have other health benefits.  The fat content in a good dark chocolate should come solely from the natural healthy fats occuring in cocoa butter and not from any other added fats.  Any chocolates with added fats or other additives will generally not be as healthy.

The reason I say to choose dark chocolates with at least 72% cacao content is that the higher the % of cacao, the lower the % of sugar.  However, this does mean that any chocolate over 80% cacao content will generally start to get a more bitter taste and have very little sweetness.  If you like this type of taste, then the higher % cocao, the better. Otherwise, a good 75% dark chocolate is in my opinion an almost perfect combination of lightly sweet with a rich chocolate taste.  Just remember to keep those daily quantities of chocolate small as it is calorie dense!

You can also reap the benefits of the antioxidants and fiber without all of the calories by using organic unsweetened cocoa powder in your smoothies or other recipes.

2.  Coconut milk, coconut flour, and coconut oil.

Coconut milk and oil are great sources of a super healthy type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), including a component called lauric acid, which is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, and is lacking in most western diets.  In addition, MCTs are readily used for energy by the body and less likely to be stored as bodyfat compared to other types of fats.

Along with coconut milk and coconut oil as healthy fat choices, we’ve also got coconut flour as a healthier flour option for baking. Coconut flour is an extremely high fiber flour alternative (almost ALL of the carbs in this flour are fiber and not starch!).  Coconut flour is also VERY high in protein compared to most flours and is also gluten free!

Just beware that if you’re going to use coconut flour for baking, it absolutely NEEDS to be mixed with other flours as it sucks up moisture like crazy… I’ve made delicious baked goods by mixing coconut flour with almond flour and quinoa flour in equal parts, and adding slightly more liquid ingredients than the recipe calls for.

3.  Grass-fed (pasture-raised) butter.

Yes, delicious smooth and rich BUTTER (real butter, not deadly margarine!)… It’s delicious, contains loads of healthy nutritional factors, and does NOT have to be avoided in order to get lean.  In fact, I eat a couple pats of grass-fed butter daily and maintain single digit bodyfat most times of the year.

There’s a lot of confusion about this topic… in fact, I just saw a TV show today that was talking about unhealthy foods and one of the first things they showed was butter.  It just shows that the majority of the population has zero idea that butter (grass-fed only!) can actually be a healthy part of your diet.

In fact, there’s even ample evidence that REAL butter can even help you to lose body fat for a couple of main reasons:

   a.  Grass-fed butter is known to have high levels of a healthy fat called CLA, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, and also has been shown to help burn abdominal fat and build lean muscle.

   b.  Grass-fed butter also has an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (unlike conventional grain-fed butter) which helps fight inflammation in your body, and can help balance hormones.

   c.  The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also contain MCTs, which help to boost your immune system and are readily burned by the body for energy.  The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also help to satisfy your appetite and control blood sugar levels, both of which help you to stay lean!

If you have a hard time finding a grass-fed butter at your grocery store, Kerrygold Irish butter is one of my favorites, and even though the label doesn’t clearly state “grass-fed”, the cows are 100% grass-fed on lush green pastures in Ireland. It’s one of the richest butters in color that I’ve seen, which indicates high levels of carotenoids.

4.  Whole Eggs, including the yolk (not just egg whites).

Most people know that eggs are one of the highest quality sources of protein.  However, most people don’t know that the egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg… that’s where almost all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as lutein) are found in eggs.

In fact, the egg yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids.  Also, the protein of whole eggs is more bio-available than egg whites alone due to a more balanced amino acid profile that the yolks help to build.

Just make sure to choose free-range organic eggs instead of normal grocery store eggs.  Similar to the grass-fed beef scenerio, the nutrient content of the eggs and the balance between healthy omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (in excess) is controlled by the diet of the hens.

Chickens that are allowed to roam free outside and eat a more natural diet will give you healthier, more nutrient-rich eggs with a healthier fat balance compared with your typical grocery store eggs (that came from chickens fed nothing but soy and corn and crowded inside “egg factories” all day long).

If you want more details on eggs, here is an article that details more about why egg yolks are BETTER for you than egg whites.

5.  Grass-fed beef or bison (NOT the typical grocery store beef!).

I know most people think that red meat is unhealthy for you, but that’s because they do not understand how the health of the animal affects how healthy the meat is for consumption.  Keep this in mind — “an unhealthy animal provides unhealthy meat, but a healthy animal provides healthy meat”.

Typical beef or bison that you see at the grocery store is raised on grains, mainly corn (and to some extent, soybeans). Soy and corn are NOT the natural diet of cattle or bison, and therefore changes the chemical balance of fats and other nutrients in the beef or bison.  Grain-fed beef and bison is typically WAY too high in omega-6 fats and WAY too low in omega-3 fats.  In addition, the practice of feeding cattle corn and soy as the main portion of their diet upsets their digestive system and makes them sick… and it also increases the amount of dangerous e-coli in the meat.  This is not the case with grass-fed meat.

On the other hand, grass-fed beef from cattle and buffalo (or bison) that were raised on the type of natural foods that they were meant to eat in nature (grass and other forage), have much higher levels of healthy omega-3 fats and lower levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats (that most people already eat way too much of) compared to grain fed beef or bison.

Grass fed meats also typically contain up to 3 times the Vitamin E as in grain fed meats.

In addition, grass-fed meat from healthy cattle or bison also contain a special healthy fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in MUCH higher levels than grain-fed meat.  CLA has been proven in scientific studies in recent years to help in burning fat and building lean muscle (which can help you lose weight!).  These benefits are on top of the fact that grass-fed meats are some of the highest quality proteins that you can possibly eat… and this also aids in burning fat and building lean muscle.

Grass-fed meats are a little harder to find, but just ask your butcher or find a specialty grocery store and they usually have cuts available.

6.  Avocados.

Even though avocados are typically thought of as a “fatty food”, they are chock full of healthy fats!  Not only is this fruit (yes, surprisingly, avocados are actually a fruit) super-high in monounsaturated fat, but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants.

Also, guacamole (mashed avocados with garlic, onion, tomato, pepper, etc) is one of the most delicious food toppings ever created, and you can be happy to know that it’s also one of the healthiest toppings you can use on your foods.

Try sliced avocados or guacamole on sandwiches, burgers, eggs or omelets, on salads or with fish, or as a delicious side to just about any meal.

The quality dose of healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients that you get from avocados helps your body to maintain proper levels of hormones that help with fat loss and muscle building.  Also, since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal.  Say goodbye to junk food cravings and bring on that fat burning!  I personally eat anywhere from a half to a full avocado DAILY and it only helps to keep me lean.

7.  Nuts:  Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Macadamias, etc.

Yes, this is yet another “fatty food” that can actually help you burn belly fat!  Although nuts are generally between 75-90% fat in terms of a ratio of fat calories to total calories, this is another type of food that is all healthy fats, along with high levels of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Nuts are also a good source of fiber and protein, which of course, you know helps to control blood sugar and can aid in fat loss.

Nuts also help to maintain good levels of fat burning hormones in your body (adequate healthy fat intake is vitally important to hormone balance) as well as helping to control appetite and cravings so that you essentially eat less calories overall, even though you’re consuming a high-fat food.  My favorite healthy nuts are pecans, pistachios, almonds, macadamias, and walnuts, and by eating them in variety, you help to broaden the types of vitamins and minerals and also the balance of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fats you obtain.

Try to find raw nuts instead of roasted nuts if you can, as it helps to maintain the quality and nutritional content of the healthy fats that you will eat.

Also, try to broaden your horizons beyond the typical peanut butter that most people eat, and try almond butter, cashew butter, pecan butter, or macadamia butter to add variety to your diet.

One of the little “tricks” that I’ve used with clients when trying to cut down body fat is to have them eat a handful of nuts such as almonds or pecans about 20 minutes before lunch and dinner.  This ends up being a perfect time to control your appetite before lunch or dinner and helps you to eat less overall calories on that meal.

Can you leave food on your plate?

Growing up, you probably got the same speel from your parents as I got. “you can’t leave the table until you have finished everything on your plate”, or worse still, “Finish your dinner or NO DESERT!”.

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This works well when you are a kid, but now that we are all grown up, we can’t be afraid to leave food on our plates. The key here is to know when you are full, and to stop eating. If that means you still have food on your plate, so be it. It is not the end of the world (as your mother may have made you think). Food can always be put into the refrigerator for another time.  Here are a couple of tips to help you to stop eating when you have had enough to eat: 1.       Serve yourself a smaller portion. 2.       Don’t go back for seconds. 3.       If you’re at a restaurant, don’t use the excuse that you paid for it so should finish it. 4.       Don’t eat as if it is your last meal. You will eat again, so there is no need to gorge yourself on food now. 5.       Get out of the habit of feeling “stuffed” at the end of a meal. When you get this feeling, it means you have over eaten. We want to eliminate this feeling all together!  Good luck and happy weight loss

Need help with Emotional Eating?

Many people who turn to Weight Loss Surgery, have at some point, encountered emotional eating.  This is where times of stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety and other factors that we’ll go in to cause the sufferer to over eat.

We can divide the Situations and emotions that trigger us to eat into five main categories.

Social. Eating when around other people. For example, excessive eating can result from being encouraged by others to eat; eating to fit in; arguing; or feelings of inadequacy around other people.

Emotional. Eating in response to boredom, stress, fatigue, tension, depression, anger, anxiety, or loneliness as a way to “fill the void.”

Situational. Eating because the opportunity is there. For example, at a restaurant, seeing an advertisement for a particular food, passing by a bakery.

Eating may also be associated with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies or a sporting event, etc.

Thoughts. Eating as a result of negative self-worth or making excuses for eating. For example, scolding oneself for looks or a lack of will power.

Physiological. Eating in response to physical cues. For example, increased hunger due to skipping meals or eating to cure headaches or other pain.

To identify what triggers excessive eating in you, keep a food diary that records what and when you eat as well as what stressors, thoughts, or emotions you identify as you eat. You should begin to identify patterns to your excessive eating fairly quickly.

Now, here is a thing.  Overeating, and indeed emotional eating may not be your fault! Why?  Here’s why…

When you are stressed, your body secretes a hormone called cortisol.  As well as encouraging weight gain around the mid section.  It causes imbalances the makes the sufferer crave sugary, salty foods and usually carbohydrates

Also, if you are overly fatigued, becasue sugar gives you that instant fix, its easy to get dependent, however, sugar causes the insulin spike that causes fat to be stored and on an energy level, once the sugar hit wears off, you’ll crash, feeling worse than ever.

Finally whats happening with your leptin gauge?  Leptin is the Fat burning hormone that tells your brain when you are full.  If you are over eating the wrong things, eventually, you could get leptin resistant.  This hormonal imbalance can mean that your brain, never really knows when you are full, so you keep eating…see, told you it wasn’t your fault!

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Identifying when you overeat is half the battle, next you can do alternative activities to distract yourself, things like:

– Writing down how your feeling when you eat
– Exercising
– Taking a Walk
– Drink a Pint of Water
– Sleep
– Relax
– But nothing changes until you rebalance those hormones.  Doing things like
– Stopping sugar
– Spreading your meals out through the day
– Not Snacking
– Not Eating Before bed
– Getting some good physical activity in
– Balancing your Macronutrients (Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats)

Get this done and you’ll never need to diet again.

Remember your dedicated Patient Care Manager is also there to support you throughout your journey.  

Contact me directly at Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk

For more information on our weight loss surgery options please visit Secret Surgery Ltd

Building an achievable fitness plan

The most important first step to becoming fit is making a workable fitness plan, otherwise it’s too easy to lose focus. Try asking yourself these five questions below and make sure you answer them completely honestly:

Building an achievable fitness plan

1. What are my bad health habits?

Your answers might be poor eating, having too many snacks or sitting down for too many hours…

2. Where do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10?

One being completely out of shape – breathing heavily while doing daily tasks – and 10 being perfect fitness.

3. How much time do you currently dedicate to exercise or activity each week?

And is it enough?  Would you like to be more fit and do you want to have more energy?

4. What three fitness activities do you most enjoy? 

Be honest – do you like walking, exercise classes or simply playing outdoors with your kids?  Don’t hold back from putting something more adventurous down as a bonus answer  – you can work up to high-powered activities as you build your fitness.

5.  What roadblocks have caused you to lose focus in the past?

Maybe you’ve stopped exercising because you’ve become busy at work, or your routine was interrupted and you didn’t get back into fitness.  Put down anything that derailed your plans.

Now let’s use your answers to make a fitness plan

You can decide to fix just one thing at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.  Let’s go through your answers and build a fitness plan you can stick to all year.  You don’t need to aim too high – right now, we just want to improve on where you are now.

Overcoming bad habits

If you eat unhealthily then you should focus on making your next meal more healthy because you can’t change what you’ve eaten in the past but you can make sure your next meal meets all your nutritional needs.  Approach fitness in the same way: focus on your current or next workout and do the best you can. Decide right now when you are going to do an activity… or even go and grab your running shoes and prepare for an activity session as soon as you finish reading this!

Your fitness rating

It’s good to know where you are – but you also need to think about where you want to be.  I’d like you to aim for two points higher than your current number.  So,  if you rate a five then your fitness plan should slowly take you up to a seven. And, if you’re already at level 10 then I know you’re ready for any challenge but maybe you could diversify?  Think about whether there are any areas you could further develop or learn to love more?

Your exercise routine

If you want to give more time in your life to exercise then try to increase your exercise habits by 10 minutes per week until you reach at least 30 minutes of activity a day.  Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting: if you currently sit down in an office for long periods then promise yourself that you’ll go and visit a colleague instead of emailing at least twice each day.  Or, plan a walk straight after work – even if you only go around the block then at least you’re out and about.  As you build your fitness plan, you’ll soon see that adding 10 minutes of activity here and there can make your day more fun and that has to be better than thinking of exercise as a chore.

Choosing an activity

You can start out by only doing the activities on your list – the ones you listed in answer to question four. The start of your fitness plan is not a good time to try new types of exercise, so focus on your favorites – they’ll help you feel confident and comfortable for the first few weeks.  Activities like walking, jogging and body-weight exercises are a great way to start out. I love the phrase: “don’t run before you can walk” because a slow and steady approach builds results that will last.

Avoiding roadblocks

If you find yourself always stumbling because of one particular obstacle then avoid it!  It sounds simple I know, but if you always plan early morning workouts but you can’t get out of bed then consider lunchtime or evening sessions.  You know yourself and your fitness plan needs to be tailored to who you are so, don’t pledge to do something that you won’t enjoy because then you’re less likely to succeed.

Finalizing your fitness plan

Now you should have everything you need to create a fitness plan that meets your needs.  You know what you want to achieve, how you what to achieve it and why.  You even know what might knock you off course.  With your fitness plan, be kind to yourself and choose an easier route that you know you will be happy navigating over the long term.

Once you have gathered all your thoughts, why not write them out clearly? For me, transferring my thoughts to paper helps to make them concrete – and if I have my goals written down, I know I can’t ignore them. Place your fitness plan somewhere prominent to remind you of your starting point and your aims.  I recommend sticking it on the fridge because keeping it visible will help to keep you motivated.  I also always keep an exercise journal because it’s a great way to track my progress and, when it works, you want to be able to remember how you did it.

Are You Facing A Weight loss plateau?

Have you hit a weight loss plateau? Has your fitness plan stalled and you don’t feel you’ll reach your goals?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I can help you power back up and start seeing results again.

Weight loss plateau

 

If you ever feel that you are doing everything just right with your fitness and nutrition plan but your results don’t seem to represent all of your hard work then I have a simple but effective piece of advice. Hitting a fitness or weight loss plateau is a very common problem in the world of sports performance and general weight loss. There are many theories on why our bodies sometimes hit a temporary yet frustrating roadblock but, by thinking outside the box, you can power through the frustration and start seeing results again. Keep on reading and you may be surprised at just how easy it can be to jump-start your flat-lined results.

All you need to do is take a few days rest in order to kick start your results.  Honestly – I’m not crazy or cracking one of my usual jokes – you need to do something really different to put body back on track and move past your fitness or weight loss plateau. I believe that if you’re ready to break free from a weight loss plateau or prevent yourself from hitting a future roadblock then a good rest may just be the magic ingredient you need.

Being consistent with your activity level and nutrition plan is an important strategy when it comes to sports performance, weight loss and fitness but have you ever heard the old saying that “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”?  In my opinion this saying is especially true when it comes to overexerting your body. Pushing your body to the point of exhaustion can spell disaster for your fitness level and weight loss goals. A plateau can happen at any point if you don’t schedule some quality down time into your program.

Three great reasons to rest your body

Here are my good reasons why a rest is sometimes more beneficial than a training session.

  • Avoid fatigue

Your body needs to re-generate, restore and repair itself often. The most effective way for your body to naturally heal itself is for you to rest. Overworked muscles and over-stressed joints just don’t perform as well and luckily our body lets us know when our muscles are overworked.  Your pain receptors will make movements uncomfortable and your joints can become tender when you push your body too hard. The nervous system also needs time to rest in order to adapt and improve from training.

Always listen to your body and rest if you are sore.

  • Natural Cycle

Athletes train in cycles for a reason, the timing of training may vary from athlete to athlete but one common factor in every athlete’s training program are pre-planned rest days. One of the main reasons athletes rest is to avoid fatigue, but resting the body also helps athletes avoid common overuse or stress injuries. Many athletes notice an improved general performance after taking time off from training.

A well-rested body will get better results than a tired one.

  • Spark Excitement

If you are putting your body through the motions day after day, you can become complacent and your exercise intensity is likely to drop without you even realizing.

Have you ever seen a dog that hasn’t been walked for a few days? As soon as the dog goes out, it’s like a whole new world and they are just so excited. Well, it can be the same for humans when we’re working out.Taking a day or two off from your current workout routine can make you come back to the gym with a renewed commitment and excited approach.

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There could be many factors that impact your results but if over-training is one of them it is easy to fix with a simple day or two of rest. My goal is to help you discover ways to improve your current fitness level and emphasize that you should to listen to your body. We are all individuals and our bodies adapt at our own personal rate: giving your body adequate rest so it can be strong for your next workout is a smart approach to achieving sustainable results.

You only have one body so use it wisely.

Although I am encouraging you to add a few rest days into your intense training weeks, this is not an excuse for you to sit on the couch and do nothing all the time! A simple change of routine or incorporating activities that are at a lower intensity such as a gentle walk or swim are acceptable rest day activities.  Occasionally my family enjoys a ‘duvet day’ where we sit back, relax and read or watch movies.  We’re usually active and we like getting out and about but now and then it’s good for everyone to recharge.

I know that taking a rest definitely improves my performance and helps me reach the next fitness level.  So, aim for one or two rest days a week but keep your completely inactive couch days to a few times a year!