Tempted to try the latest Magic Slimming Pills?

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Summer is just around the corner. You know what that means, right?

It means every gym is super packed, every diet book is flying off the shelves, and every supplement company is trying to push their latest “fat loss pill.”

Why?

Because with bathing suit season around the corner, many people are trying to lose weight.

I absolutely love seeing people make the decision to make a positive change in their weight and their health, and I love seeing people adopt a new healthy eating and exercise plan.

What I DON’T love, though, are the diet pill companies that promote their “magic” potions and pills as the easiest and best way to lose weight and keep it off. It upsets me that many of these companies take advantage of people who want to make a positive change in their lives by selling them products that may not work or (even worse) do more harm than good by damaging their metabolism.

I am going to make a bold statement here and say that if a “diet” program requires you to purchase their pills and shakes to make the diet work, you should be very, very cautious (and probably look for a different program).

I can tell you with 100% certainty that all you need in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off is wholesome, natural food…and that’s it! Oh, and water, of course. But magic pills or shakes are absolutely not necessary to drop the excess fat off your body and keep it off for good.

That is why I teach my clients and my readers exactly how to use REAL, delicious, and wholesome foods in order to boost metabolism, feel energized, and lose tons of fat at the same time.

Yes we also tell you about weight loss surgery as a tool to assist the morbidly obese … but it’s a TOOL not MAGIC WAND … you still need to eat right for it to work.

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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!

Getting Active …

So often when people hear the term ‘active’ it brings on a feeling of dread!

People imagine having to dedicate hours to insane workouts or worse, they might think of extreme sports that they’d hate like, perhaps, skateboarding and skydiving. I think this is because the term ‘active’ can have so many meanings.  We hear the word being used in commercials with a visual of a man diving off a building and the tag line “Active men use this deodorant” and it sets an expectation about what ‘active’ really means.

Some people think you have to be skinny to be active. Again this is because the media often uses the term ‘active’ while showing incredibly toned bodies with 6 pack abs. Subconsciously, this can make us associate an active lifestyle with too much hard work and danger. So if you, like so many others, find yourself saying “I’m not cut out for this active lifestyle thing” let me try and change your mind.

The perils of our modern lifestyle

The modern world of technology and advanced transport has changed the way we live. We often spend far too much time sitting at a desk staring at a screen. And, it’s a sign of the times that many people go straight from front door, to car, to parking lot.  Then they ride the elevator up to their offices, often with no fresh air in between leaving the house and arriving in the office.

Being active doesn’t take much; adding a walk around the block or even to a colleague’s desk can at least get you up and out of your chair.  I always like see how people mix up their commutes by adding a walk, climbing the stairs or even cycling if they’re feeling courageous.

Talking of bikes, have you seen the ’push bikes’ that now have engines on the back?  Or the little motorized scooters?  I bet that no one dreamed how popular these would become back in the 1990s…

Technology is wonderful but it has made us a little lazy. Just because you can sit on a bike and let it propel you to your destination, it may not be the best choice for your body especially if you want to stay healthy.

Find your own ‘active’

Find your own ‘active’, Samantha Clayton, Discover Good Fitness

The truth is that if you are not sleeping or sitting still, then you are being active.  Even fidgeting counts as activity and helps you burn calories!

Finding the level of activity that is right for your body is the best piece of advice I can give you.  Increasing your activity level can be as simple as taking a midday stroll or as dramatic as training for a marathon. Once you make a commitment to increasing your activity level, guess what? Every few weeks your body will adapt and you may be inspired to take it to the next level.

In my world the meaning of ‘active’ changes every day.  Some days it’s riding real bikes around the yard with my kids and other days it’s an extreme mountain trail adventure… Both are active, both are enjoyable and both are fun!

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Getting on the activity ladder is often the biggest step of all, but now that you know that being active does not have to mean skydiving and high intensity workouts, you may be ready to start climbing up your ladder to a more active life.

Good Nutrition & Convenience Can Go Hand-In-Hand

Focus on good nutrition while making use of pre-prepared foods and you’ll find that healthy eating is easy.

Good nutrition & convenience can go hand-in-hand

One of the biggest complaints people have about eating healthily is the perception that it requires more hours in the kitchen to prepare nutritious meals.  But there are so many convenience items available now that preparing healthy meals is a snap.

For protein, you can buy fish or poultry that’s already seasoned and ready for quick grilling or frozen pre-cooked prawns that can be tossed with some pasta and veggies for a quick dish.  And don’t overlook canned tuna, salmon or chicken breast that can be added to salad greens, rice dishes or soups.

You can also boost the nutritional value of condensed soups by mixing them with non-fat milk or soy milk instead of water.  As the soup is heating, toss in some frozen mixed vegetables, or some loose pack spinach to add nutrition, flavor and bulk.  Frozen-loose pack vegetables allow you to use only what you need and are ready to eat in minutes.

Salad preparation can also be quick thanks to pre-washed salad greens, all sorts of pre-sliced and chopped veggies and baby carrots.  Add a splash of low-fat bottled dressing and some pre-cooked chicken or shrimp and you’ve got a quick and healthy meal.

Fresh, pre-washed and cut veggies are available in the produce section, and if your market has a salad bar you can often find them there, too.  Pop them in the steamer, toss with some pre-chopped garlic or onions when they’re crisp/tender, and you’ve got a gourmet dish in minutes.

Master Your Diet Demons With A Food Journal

Think keeping a food journal is a waste of time?  You might want to think again.  Study after study consistently tells us that self-monitoring – that is, keeping track of what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how much you weigh – is one of the key components to successful weight loss. 

food journal

In a recent reviews on the subject, the conclusion across the board was there was “a significant association between self-monitoring and weight loss.”

What the studies tell us is that when you’re accountable to someone – not just to yourself, but also to a healthcare provider, a life partner or a friend – you greatly improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off.  And, the more often you keep track, the more successful you’re likely to be. In one study involving nearly 1700 people, those who kept food journals six days a week lost double the weight of those who kept food diaries only once a week or less.

Why does this work?  Because a food journal’s one of the best tools around for helping you to monitor – and change – your behavior.  You can’t change your behavior until you analyze – and acknowledge – what you’re currently doing.  Once you’ve got a clear picture of how much you’re eating and  how much (or how little) you’re exercising, you’re in a much better position to figure out what you need to work on.

And there’s more to it than simply writing it down in your food journal.  What’s even better is to record not only what and how much you’re eating – it’s also good to note why.  Were you hungry?  Or was your eating was triggered by fatigue, boredom, anger or stress?  This honest self-appraisal will help you see where you’re eating appropriately – and where a little behavior modification is called for.

There are all sorts of ways to keep track – anything from low tech paper diaries to high tech apps for your phone – but no matter how you keep tabs on yourself, there are a few things that will help ensure your success:

·     Be honest

Just keeping track of your ‘good’ days isn’t going to help you.  You need to come face-to-face with your behavior – the good, the bad and the ugly – before you can make positive changes.  Write it all down, and give yourself a pat on the back when you’re good.  But don’t beat yourself up when you’re not.  Tomorrow is another day.

·     Log your eating as you go, or even beforehand

Some people like to write down what they plan to eat and how much exercise they plan to do each day, and use their food journal like a checklist.  If you can’t do that, at least keep track as you go.  For one thing, if you pull out your journal each time you eat – or get the urge to eat – that little delay might make you think twice before you indulge.  And, if you wait until the end of the day,you’re unlikely to remember everything you ate – and by then it’s too late to change it.

·     Hone your skills when it comes to calorie counting and estimating portion size

  Your food journal is a great tool, as long as the information you’re logging is accurate.  So practice, practice, practice!  Weighing and measuring your foods at home will help you better estimate what you’re eating in restaurants, too.

·     Don’t forget the details

The cream in your coffee, the butter on your toast, the dressing on your salad and the mayo on your sandwich – all those calories add up.  Analyze your food carefully, to make sure you don’t forget any of those ‘extras’.

·     Where do I start?

If you need any help setting up your food journal ask your Patient Care Manager or contact me directly Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk

 

Are You Being Trueful With Your Calorie Intake?

One key to maintaining a healthy weight is to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn.  But that’s sometimes easier said than done.

 

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Balancing your calories sounds deceptively simple.  Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight. Take in fewer calories than you burn and you’ll shed some pounds. Keep your “calories in” and “calories out” about the same, and your weight should stay pretty stable.  So why is it that hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t complain to me that they’re “exercising like a madman, but not losing any weight” or, “eating like a bird but the scale won’t budge”?  It simply boils down to this: when it comes to counting calories accurately – the ones you eat and the one you spend – there are so many ways it can go wrong.

Let’s say you’re a pretty big guy, and you’re fairly active.  And let’s say that in order to maintain your weight, you need to eat about 2700 calories a day.  That adds up to a million calories in a year.   If you’re calorie counting is off by a measly 10%, you’d eat 100,000 calories more than you thought in the course of a year – and you’d gain 28 pounds in the process.  And that’s just an error on the ‘calories in’ side of the equation.  A lot of people have trouble estimating the calorie cost of their exercise – the ‘calories out’, too.  So if you’re having some trouble with your ‘balancing act’, here are some of the reasons you might be struggling.

You don’t have a clue how many calories you should be eating every day

The logical place to start is by estimating how many calories your body burns in a day.  The problem is, there are a lot of variables – including your age, your gender, how much body fat or muscle you have, and how intensely you exercise.  The bulk of the calories you spend every day (about 70%) are used just to keep all your systems running – circulatory, nervous, digestive, and so on – and this ‘resting metabolic rate’ is determined by how much muscle you have.  The remaining calories you burn are used to fuel your daily activity.  You can find tools to help you estimate your calorie needs – and that’s a good place to start – but keep in mind that they’re only estimates, since they can’t take into account your unique body composition.  One good way to estimate your calorie needs is to keep a very accurate food diary for a week or so, and look at your average daily calorie intake.  If your weight is stable, then you’re eating about the right number of calories.  If you’re gaining, then you’re eating more than you need.

You underestimate how many calories you eat

Unfortunately, the information you get from your food diary depends on how accurately you record everything.  And most people underestimate how many calories they eat – by as much as 40%.  If you don’t weigh and measure everything – and rely instead on ‘eyeballing’ your portions – you could be wayoff.  Also, keep in mind that the calories listed on food packages can be off by up to 10%, and the calories in restaurant dishes can be as much as 25% higher than what’s listed on the menu.  And as you’re writing everything down, don’t forget the extras – the condiments, the gravies and salad dressings, the sugar and cream in your coffee, the handful of crumbs you found at the bottom of the cookie jar, the few bites of pizza you ate while standing at the kitchen sink.  It all counts.  Every single bite.

You overestimate how many calories you burn when you exercise

Most people estimate that they burn 2-3 times more calories through exercise than they actually do. Your calorie burn when you exercise depends on lots of things – your body size, how long you are actually exercising, and how intensely you work out.  Many times, people aren’t working out as hard as they think they are (…or for as long.  One of my clients wasn’t exactly lying when she swore to me that she was ‘in the pool for an hour every day’ – it’s just that she spent most of the time sitting on the steps chatting with her girlfriends).  And your body size matters, too – the more you weigh, the more calories you burn doing a particular exercise. Someone who weighs 120 pounds burns 250 calories walking for an hour at a speed of 3 miles an hour,  but a 200 pound person walking at the same speed burns over 400 calories.  If you’re relying on the exercise machine at your gym to tell you how many calories you’re burning, it may not be accurate.  Just keep in mind that an hour of swimming means 60 minutes of actual movement – which isn’t the same thing as, ‘an hour in the pool’.

You reward yourself for working out… by taking it easy the rest of the day

Maybe after exercising, you’re convinced that you’ve burned up a lot more calories than you actually have, so you figure you’ve earned a treat (see below). But adjusting our “calories in” as a result of exercise isn’t the only way we compensate.  Sometimes we adjust our “calories out” – and after a spell of activity, we overcompensate by simply becoming a lot less active for the rest of the day.  So when all is said and done, we’ve burned about as many calories as if we hadn’t exercised at all.  You need to keep up with your usual exercise and your usual daily activities, too.

You reward yourself for working out… with food

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard, “I worked out really hard, so I deserved that (…pizza, ice cream, beer…)” I’d be a wealthy woman.  Once you’ve convinced yourself that you burned off a lot more calories than you actually did (see above), it’s equally easy to convince yourself that you’ve got calories to spare –  and that you couldn’t possibly overeat.

So here’s another way to look at it. How much exercise would you actually need to do to burn off that pizza, ice cream or beer?  The chart below shows how much exercise a 150 pound person would have to do in order to burn off the calories in a variety of foods – and it takes a lot more than you think.  Imagine what you could accomplish if your exercise actually burned up as many calories as you thought it did – and you didn’t refuel afterward with a double cheeseburger and fries.

Food…

  Amount…

  Calories…

  Exercise required…

Microwave popcorn   –  4 cups   –  140   –  20 minutes of biking
Average candy bar   –  1 bar   –  280   –  30 minutes of singles tennis
Chocolate fudge brownie ice cream   –  1½ cups   –  780   –  90 minutes of racquetball
Potato chips   –  15 chips   –  160   –  90 minutes of Frisbee
Meat and cheese pizza   –  2 slices   –  1000   –  2 ½ hours of ice skating
Beer   –  16 ounces   –  250   –  1 hour of water aerobics
Chocolate chip cookies   –  4 small   –  400   –  120 minutes of bowling
Mixed nuts   –  ½ cup   –  435   –  165 minutes of dusting
Macaroni and cheese   –  1 cup   –  430   –  45 minutes of stair-climbing
Double burger with fries   –  1 burger + large fries   –  1100   –  2 hours of jogging
Ranch dressing   –  2 TBSP   –  150   –  30 minutes of aerobics
Mayonnaise   –  1 TBSP   –  100   –  22 minutes of brisk walking

Top Tips To Keep Your Weight Loss Surgery Tool In Check!

women exercising

 

Don’t drink calories.

Your calorie intake will be very limited after surgery, which should help you lose weight. Don’t work against your surgery by taking in liquid calories that provide no nutrition and slow your weight loss. Make every calorie count by focusing on protein, fruits and vegetables.
Avoid sugar.

Sugar is the ultimate empty calorie. Sugar will make your blood sugar climb, cause hunger pangs, provide no nutrients and, for patients of certain types of gastric bypass, cause dumping syndrome. Avoid sugar and any foods that list sugar in the first three ingredients, whenever possible.
Avoid carbonated drinks.

The bubbly nature of carbonated drinks, such as soda, can cause gas pain and increase the pressure in your stomach, which can be harmful to staples and sutures, especially in the months immediately after your surgery.

Don’t drink fluids immediately before, during or after your meal.

It is essential that you reserve the small amount of space you have in your stomach for high-quality, nutrient-rich food. Drinking before and during your meal will fill your stomach with fluid, instead of food, and drinking immediately after your surgery can “wash” food out of your stomach, making you feel hungry sooner. Separate food and fluid by at least a half an hour, whenever you can.

Keep your follow-up visits.

After surgery, your progress will be closely monitored. Skipping appointments may mean that a nutritional deficiency, surgical complication or other issues may not be discovered in a timely manner. Also, appointments are a good motivator for staying on track with your goals.   Once you return home to UK check in with your Patient Care Manager for any help or advice.
Don’t stop taking any medications without your surgeon’s approval.

Many diseases can improve with surgery and weight loss, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medication. Talk to your physician prior to stopping any medications.
Don’t snack.

Snacking is a habit that can slow your progress and hurt your long-term success. Stick to high-quality meals and avoid junk foods. If you are hungry, have a meal, but don’t snack between meals.
Protein, Protein, Protein!

Protein should be your primary focus when sitting down for a meal. Not only will it help you maintain your muscle mass while losing fat, but it will also help you feel full longer after your meals.
Skip alcoholic drinks.

Alcohol is full of empty calories that provide no nutritional value. It can also contribute to stomach ulcers, which you are already at risk for because of your surgery. Weight loss surgery also makes you more sensitive to alcohol than you were before, so a little goes a long way.
Chew and then chew some more.

Chewing your food thoroughly is essential to preventing nausea and vomiting during and after your meal. Large chunks of food can have trouble passing through the digestive tract after surgery, and if it gets stuck along the way, it can cause pain.
Find a support group.

There are more than 140,000 people having weight-loss surgery each year, so people who have walked in your shoes are not hard to find. Not only do support groups offer emotional support, but they can also provide advice on the wide range of changes you are facing as you lose weight. Support groups are available in most areas that have a bariatric surgeon and are plentiful on the Internet.  At Secret Surgery Ltd we run our very own online 24 hour support group along with monthly group meetings throughout the UK.

Listen to your body.

Don’t eat if you aren’t hungry. Just because the clock says it is time for a meal, doesn’t mean you should eat one. Learn to listen to your smaller stomach and only eat when your body wants you to.
Avoid simple carbs.

Simple carbohydrates are highly processed foods such as white bread, pasta, sugar and white rice. The rule of thumb is this if it is white, it may be a simple carb. You are better off with more wholesome alternatives such as brown rice that contain fiber and nutrients that white rice does not. Simple carbohydrates can also elevate blood glucose levels, triggering hunger pangs and cravings.
Exercise.

From the moment you are able to after surgery, exercise. Even if you can’t walk far or for very long, get started. Your results will be better, and you will be encouraged by how quickly your stamina improves as the pounds shed. Walking also helps prevent serious complications, such as pulmonary embolus and blood clots, if you start immediately after surgery.
Eat mindfully.

No more eating while watching television. Focus on what you are doing when you eat, and stop the moment you feel full. Giving food your full attention will help you learn to say when and develop new healthier habits.
Stay hydrated.

Drink lots of water. This will help you feel more energetic, and it will prevent you from mistaking hunger for thirst. Many adults confuse the two sensations, so if you are well-hydrated, you won’t ever wonder if you are truly hungry.

 

 

Surgery won’t fix your life. Remember that surgery is a way to lose weight, but it is not a miracle fix for every problem in your life. Being thin won’t make your children clean their room without being asked, it won’t fix a bad marriage and it certainly won’t make your nosy relatives behave themselves. Be realistic in your expectations of life after surgery.

 

Say goodbye to caffeine.

Caffeine is the most-used drug in the world, and it is a drug. Caffeine alters your mood, increases your heart rate and is a diuretic. If you drink caffeine, you will be working against your efforts to stay well-hydrated and increase your risk of a stomach ulcer.
Find healthful coping skills.

If you need bariatric surgery, the chances are high that you used food as a coping mechanism for stress. It is time to find a new way to cope, whether it is exercise, reading a book, talking to a friend on the phone or whatever works for you other than eating.

Kiddie meals and doggy bags.

Restaurant portions are going to be massive in comparison to your needs after surgery. Plan on taking food home or ordering a child’s portion. If you aren’t sure you can resist joining the clean plate club, divide an acceptable portion away from the meal and have the server remove the rest before temptation sets in.

Stop using straws.

If you are going to drink, don’t use a straw. Straws not only allow you to drink too quickly, so you may end up with an uncomfortably full stomach, but they also allow air into the stomach that can cause serious discomfort.