Tag Archives: weight gain

Is Protein The Secret To Weight Loss Success?

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They are used to make muscles, organs, tendons and skin. We also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and lots of tiny molecules that make our bodies work. So, we really need protein to live.

What is protein ? 

Proteins are made up of amino acids, like beads on a string. Amino acids link together to form long chains. Our bodies can make some amino acids, but others we must get from diet. These are called the ‘essential’ amino acids.

When we eat food containing proteins they are broken down into amino acids, which are then delivered around your body. Some proteins are broken down faster than others. The slow proteins will provide raised levels of amino acids to our muscles for longer time. A combination of fast and slow proteins may be the most effective for building and keeping muscle.

So how does it help you loose weight?

  

Protein is incredibly important in losing weight. It can boost your metabolic rate and reduce your appetite. There are plenty of studies that show this. But the key to protein diets is protein’s ability to reduce your hunger – it makes you feel fuller than fat or carbs. This means you eat less while still feeling totally satisfied. Bonus.

Protein – 4 great benefits:

1. Effortless energy use. Studies show that protein needs more energy from our bodies to break it down than the other macronutrients.

2. Feel fuller after eating. Protein makes you feel fuller. Eating more protein can even help decrease calorie intake during the day and aid in weight loss.

3. Lower risk of disease. Eating more protein can help protect against diseases like diabetes and obesity.

4. Boost muscle mass. Protein has a positive effect on muscle mass. When people are dieting they can lose muscle if they’re not eating enough protein.

WHATEVER YOU DO do not think of eating more protein as a ‘diet’, it’s a way of life. Being smart about utilizing the power of protein, along with regular exercise, will help you reach your goals. More protein combined with heaps of wonderful vegetables, good fats and less refined carbohydrate is truly a perfect way to fuel your body: for work, play and fitness.
  

If you’re after high protein, without also adding a heap of carbs, meat is the way to go. Combining any source of protein with a bunch of delicious green vegetables is going to make a truly great meal for your body. Great high protein sources:

  1. Grass-fed beef & lamb.
  2. Free range chicken and eggs.
  3. Wild salmon and shellfish.
  4. Natural yogurt and cheese.
  5. Protein supplement.

Wondering about number 5?  Whilst whole foods are ideal we live in the real world. The benefits of protein in your diet are clear, adding a good quality protein supplement (like Juice plus complete) to your diet might be an option at times. Especially those pushing their bodies physically, or needing a little help to stay on track each day in making good food choices.

Liked this post? Email me chloehthomas@gmail.com

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Is Failing To Meal Plan The Cause Of Your Weight Gain?

Saving Time and Money

You might not realize it, but you waste a lot of time standing in front of your fridge each afternoon deciding what to make for dinner. Not to mention the money you wast running to the shop 4 to 5 times a week to pick up last minute ingredients. By planning your meals in advance, you save money long term.

Eliminating the Last Minute Stress

Everyone knows how stressful it is to make a last minute decision about a meal. If you have a meal plan, you can take care of things in advance and all that is left at the end of a long day are those last few things to cook.

Helping You Avoid Unhealthy Choices

How many times have you opted to stop at the fast food shop on the way home or buy a ready made meal instead of preparing a healthy meal? Probably more times than you care to admit. Meal planning eliminates the need to rely on this unhealthy last minute option.

WHAT TO DO NOW:

  • How many meals you need to plan for 

Take a few moments to think about what you have going on next week week. Taking a quick note of everyone’s plans will give you a rough idea of how many meals you’ll need to get through the week, and how much you can get from each recipe.

  • What you have time for 

If you have a crazy busy week coming up, make a mental note to be on the lookout for quick, slow cooker or make-ahead meals that can served up in a hurry. We’re big fans of the cook once, eat twice (or thrice) approach.

  • Your food mood 

Things like the weather, a change in seasons, and food cravings can impact what sounds good on any given day. Thinking about these things beforehand will make recipe selection process faster and meal times easier on everyone.

Now the fun part! Once you know how many meals you’ll need, it’s time to find some healthy recipes and fill in your calendar for the week.

  • Create a master recipe list

Having a list of go-to meals is one of the easiest ways to expedite the meal planning process. Consider trying one or two new recipes and use a few old favorites to fill in the gaps. Every time you find a new meal you love, add it to the rotation!

  • Find a few new dishes to try

Finding delicious, healthy recipes isn’t hard–you just need to know where to look. Health-conscious cookbooks and food magazines are great but the internet can literally provide millions of healthy recipes at your fingertips.

COLLECT & CALENDAR YOUR RECIPE

  1. Start a master recipe list. Digital versions (like a note on your smartphone) are handy, easy to update and usually within arm’s reach!
  2. Fill in your calendar. Pick some favorites from your master list and 1 or 2 new recipes to try.
  3. Write your grocery list. While doing that, jot down ingredients for each recipe. Then, take stock of what you already have on hand before heading to the store.
  4. Pick a time to shop. Once your shopping is done, you’re ready to tackle food prep.

Example Meals for Meal Prep

Here’s a few examples of tasty meals and snacks you can prepare in advance:

 Hot meals for reheating:

Blackened salmon with sweet potato and broccoli

Thai curry with brown rice

Chilli with brown rice

Turkey curry with brown rice

Fish curry with brown rice

Sweet Baked potato with tuna in brine, avocado & salad

Cold Meals:

Chicken salad (spinach, rocket, pine nut, satsuma

Mackerel salad (shredded lettuce, pine nuts, grapes)

Chicken and avocado salad with salt and pepper

Cold Snacks:

Rice cakes with Merdian almond butter and banana

Juice Plus Protein flapjack

Juice Plus Protein brownies

Juice Plus Protein carrot cupcakes

Any un-salted/roasted nuts

0% Total Greek yogurt with natural honey and berries

Raw avocado

 

Never Eat Airplane Food Again – Top Tips For Eating Healthy When Travelling

Why do millions of people think they have to eat airport and airplane food because it’s the only thing available?

This is why i feel compelled to share and help you as you have a choice. YOU are in control of everything you put in your mouth and your body is not a rubbish bins for the industrial and processed foods. Airplane food is often heavily processed with tons of controversial additives and preservatives. When you’re flying, it’s stressful. Your body utilizes more nutrients, so it’s important to nourish yourself well and plan.

Bring food with you to the airport & on airplanes.

I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to eat airport and airplane food in a years – apart from fruit! It’s easy to do, but it does take a bit of prep time and you have to make sure that what you bring won’t get confiscated by the TSA at the security checkpoint.

Healthy-Travel-Food2

TSA lets you bring food through security.

In the UK, USA and in most countries, the transit authorities allows you to bring food through the security screening and onboard. Here are some items that work well and don’t get confiscated:

  • Homemade sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper stored in a quart-sized plastic bag. Keep in mind that all food that you carry on will need to go through the x-ray machine at the checkpoint. So, never use any foil. They will want to search your bag and delay your travels.
  • Dips and sauces, such as hummus, salsa and almond butter, as long as it is in a small Tupperware/container,  and put into a small ziploc plastic bag.
  • Fresh fruits and veggies, such as apples, bananas, carrot sticks, celery sticks and avocados. Just wash them at home or in your hotel room before you put them in your bag. If you cut or peel them ahead of time, of course they need to be in a plastic ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  • Crunchy snacks such as crackers, ryvita, kale chips, etc.
  • Dried fruit and raw nuts make a great snack on the plane. You can make my own mix – 1/2 cup each of raw almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries or raisins, and raw walnuts. The airport usually has trail mix in boots or Pret a Manger, but it comes along with all the inflammatory oils, other additives and are usually not raw or organic (although Pret is good).
  • Pre-made salads in containers (Tupperware- BPA-free plastic). Salad dressing can be already mixed into a salad or at the bottom of the bowl for mixing in later. Ask for a plastic fork on the plane.
  • Empty flasks – any size. These are great for filling up after you get through security. And you can bring a protein shaker bottle with the protein powder in, then once you are through security go to coffee shop and get some milk and water and mix it up – or on the plane.
  • Tea bags for making hot tea in the airport before you board or on the plane.

TravelTips1

Most people don’t think about this, but you can pack a cooler as one of your carry-on bags. There are some great travel coolers available, and even some that are on wheels that easily go through security for long flights or if you are traveling with family. Just make sure that it meets the size requirements for the airline that you are flying on.

For longer flights, pack some frozen food in your cooler. If you pack some frozen berries or yogurt in small containers, it will help to keep your cooler cool and slowly defrost during your flight.

And remember , exercise alongside your healthy diet when you are travelling. And no you DON’T need a gym or equipment – Click HERE for 9 workout moves you can do in a hotel room!! 

Please leave comments below and feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com, i would love to hear your top tips or any questions about your travels!

 

Thanks to Vali for some of these tips, check out her great website here.

9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

The easiest way to get fit (and stay that way!) is to use the one piece of equipment that will be with you no matter where you travel: you. With just the resistance of your own body weight, it’s possible to improve your strength, balance, agility, stamina, and more. The hotel doesn’t have a gym? No worries! Forgot to pack your sneakers? No problem! Accidentally booked a beach vacation during monsoon season? NBD! These 9 moves are excuse-proof, because wherever you go, there you are—literally!

CLICK HERE: 9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

womanworkingoutinhotel-room1

Cheat days. Are you doing more damage than good?

Are “cheat days” a good idea? Do these special days of indulgence help you reach your health goals? Or do they set you up on a seesaw of destructive eating habits?

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The Argument FOR Cheat Days: 

Rewarding Yourself-

Some say that giving yourself days of indulgence is giving yourself a needed break from your diet. These cheat days are a relief valve that help you stick to healthier foods.

The logic behind these days has more than a few flaws, and it’s due to the psychology and physiology behind them…..

The Argument AGAINST Cheat Days

⛔️The Name Is to Blame….The problem with “cheat” is that it carries a huge emotional weight of guilt, shame, and failure. 

“Cheat” is not a positive word. When you talk about “cheating” on a diet the same way you’d “cheat on” a partner, you’re adding a massive load of moral judgment that has no business being attached to a burger or a piece of cake, because your “relationship” with your diet is fundamentally different from your relationship with a spouse or partner.

Think about “cheating” in the context of a relationship. If you cheat on your husband or wife, it’s wrong because it’s hurting the other person, betraying their trust and breaking a promise.

Treating a person this way would make you a sociopath, but when it comes to food, this is a perfectly normal and healthy attitude. And that’s why using a word with moral connotations like “cheat” doesn’t make sense.

What’s more, when we deem certain foods “bad” or “cheating,” the negative name doesn’t help us pump the breaks.

⛔️When a food is off-limits, it can develop a specific, emotional charge. You begin obsessing over it, fantasizing about, and looking forward to that ‘indulge day’ all week. Then, when you finally have access to it, you overeat.

Separating foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories encourages you to associate eating with guilt and shame. This means that instead of enjoying everything we eat, we feel bad about ourselves when we eat something we consider “bad.”

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⛔️Furthermore Science shows when we think something is healthy, we’re not concerned with portion control and thus overdo it—whether it’s a “normal” day or a “cheat” day. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.

The problem now becomes: what word to use instead? Call it a treat, a detour, a “free day/free meal” or a non-healthy meal. Or just call it “part of the way I choose to eat” and leave it at that.

Once you stop making food into a moral issue, it becomes much easier to sit down and think rationally about whether (and if so, when) it makes sense for you personally to eat something that isn’t healthy.

⛔️Attack of the Calories

Those who assume they can compensate for giving into temptations—say, by holding themselves back on all days except their cheat days—are actually less likely to reach their dietary goals. This is because they’re more likely to consume a greater number of calories, not just on their cheat day but on the days following it.

Restricting ourselves throughout the week and then slamming our bodies with sugar and fat once our cheat day rolls around, can have “a massive impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. You’ll wake up the next day craving more sugars and simple carbs, and you’ll find yourself feeling pretty ragged. And if you repeatedly increase your caloric intake above baseline, you may inadvertently end up gaining more weight over time.

Cravings serve as a sign that your nutritional approach isn’t sound. Most cravings come from overly restricting your food intake, using food as a drug, or over exercising.

⛔️Binging Leads to Extra Cheat Days

Once that day of indulgence comes, it’s not about enjoying the foods you haven’t had all week. Instead, you’re approaching it out of a need to consume all you can before the day goes away. “It feeds into a feast-and-famine cycle,”.

Binging on a cheat day also makes it challenging to confine cheat-day foods only to that designated 24-hour window. It’s very hard for people to compartmentalize their diets. ‘I’m only going to have those cookies on Saturday’ can easily spill over into ‘I’ll only have a few cookies Sunday too.’

 

✳️The Solution: Stop Restricting, Start Enjoying—in Moderation✳️

So if cheat days don’t work, are we all better off eating whatever we want, whenever we want?

Well, not quite, following a healthy diet means including a number of foods—all of which are consumed in moderation. If weight loss is the goal, this usually means three square meals a day with planned snacks, incorporating treats but in smaller portion sizes.

Research suggests eating a balance of foods—with none of them off-limits or labeled “bad”—is the best way to reduce the kinds of cravings that can lead to a binge.

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So what does a game plan for a healthy eating with no cheat days look like? 

➡️Remember these 3 things:

1.✅Listen to your appetite.

If you want to eat spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, have it! Don’t find the low-carb version with the fat-free sauce. If you actually eat what you want, you’ll likely end up eating a more reasonable amount of it.

Eating in tune with your hunger is a principle of intuitive eating, and it’s shown to have a positive effect on both your weight and your wellbeing.

2. ✅Enjoy treats from time to time.

Research shows (and experts agree) that sprinkling reasonably sized desserts or treats into your daily diet encourages you to find pleasure in meal time again—and that pleasure will help ensure you don’t feel the need to go overboard.

So instead of confining your treats to one single day, drop them into places throughout the week.

3. ✅Savor every bite.

Once you place any item of food into your mouth, take a moment to: taste, smell, and experience it as a whole. When you take the time to be mindful about what you’re eating, you tap into your satiety cues.

Forget about designating a cheat day to reward yourself. Denying yourself most of the week and then indulging like crazy on your one day “off,” just promotes guilt, anxiety, and shame around eating—which means you won’t likely get to the health outcome you’re looking for. Instead, make every day a great day by listening to your appetite, periodically adding in some of your favorite foods in small portions, and savoring each and every bite of everything you eat. This sustainable approach will help you think of all of your eating as enjoyable, and that’s what gets you down the road to where you want to be.

✅”Calories in vs. calories out” is the golden rule for effective weight loss. To lose weight, a person must eat fewer calories than he or she burns. 

You are not a quitter! You are not a cheater! 

If you feel the need or desire to “cheat” on your diet, it may be worth examining your relationship with food and whether you’re actually taking steps to leave dieting behind in favor of adopting a healthy eating plan that you can live with for life.

Please feel free to email me – click here. Or leave a comment below on whether cheat days work for you – I would love to hear your story.

Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy. It’s equivalent to 4.184 absolute Joules.

We’ve all heard that “a calorie is a calorie,” and while there’s truth in this statement, it can lead us astray in our quest to build a great body.

You see, when we’re just talking about mere weight loss or gain, it doesn’t matter where these calories come from. So in this way, a calorie is a calorie. When it comes to PURE weight loss (not factoring in muscle vs. fat, body composition, overall health, physical performance, or energy levels), eating fewer calories than you burn every day will be the main part of the equation. Eat less than you burn: lose weight.

HOWEVER, we’re FAR more concerned with how you look, how you feel, if you are healthy, if you are getting stronger, if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and if you live a long life full of activity, exercise, sleeping well etc. You want to do everything in your power to avoid things like heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes – diseases that end your life too early.

When we’re talking about improving body composition (losing just body fat and not muscle, or maximizing muscle growth while minimizing fat storage), you must not only follow the principles of energy balance, but you must do so with a proper balance of macronutrients.


A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. How you balance your intake of these macronutrients has profound effects on how your body responds to the foods you eat. For example, protein is the most important macronutrient to get right when you want to optimize your body composition. The research is clear.

A high-protein diet…

-Is vital for preserving lean mass when dieting for fat loss.

-Is vital for maximizing muscle growth when dieting for muscle gain.

-Is effective for reducing body fat levels, including abdominal fat in particular.

-Increases satiety, helping you avoid hunger pangs and cravings.

-A high-protein diet is even more important if you’re exercising regularly, as this further increases your body’s demand for amino acids.

Despite what you’ve been told, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. They don’t make you fat or unhealthy. In fact, there are big benefits to keeping carbohydrate intake as high as possible, even when dieting for fat loss, including…

-Better workout performance.

-Improved retention of lean mass.

-Better thyroid function.

-More satiety.

-Better mood.

Trust me–low-carb dieting is NOT GOOD and is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people looking to lose weight, and is downright detrimental to those trying to put on size.

What does the perfect ratio look like?

In my opinion, the amount of calories consumed and the ratio of what the macronutrients should differ from person to person depending upon their body, goals, and routine. A proper meal plan not only provides the proper amount of calories but breaks them down into the optimal amounts of macronutrients as well.

  

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you had success with counting calories or calculating macros, or did it make you go crazy?
Which methods have you messed around with, and what are your goals? Are you trying to lose a few pounds, lose a lot of weight, get to a minimal body fat percentage, compete in an elite sport, etc.

Do you use any apps on your phone to record claories alone or do you include macronutrients? -Has this article made you reconsider? 

I’d love to hear from you – chloehthomas@gmail.com, or message me on facebook- click here

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Combat a Slowing Metabolism

1. Aim to strength train at least 2-3 times per week
(This is the most important tip!). 

Whether you’re a gal or guy, prioritize weight lifting in your exercise plan. Adding muscle mass increases your BMR, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. If you’re a newbie to strength training, send me an email chloehthomas@gmail.com and I’ll help you out.

2. Ramp up the intensity of your aerobic exercise (think running, swimming, biking faster). 

Exercising at higher intensities allows you to reap the benefits of “after burn,” a phenomena where you burn extra calories post-exercise. To benefit from this effect, you should run, jump, dance, swim, bike, etc. at a pace where it’s difficult to talk. If you can push a little harder, then do so.

3. Eat enough protein from high-quality sources. 

High-quality protein sources supply amino acids to your muscles post-exercise so that they can repair and grow. To learn more about what foods contain high levels of protein check out my blog post- List of High Protein Foods & their RDA

4. Stay well hydrated

 Water is important because all of the chemical reactions in your body requires water—including the ones that burn calories. 

5. Don’t starve yourself in order to lose weight. 

You need to consume a moderate amount of calories in order to lose weight. If you eat a significantly low amount of calories, you’ll lose weight rapidly but much of it will be from water and muscle loss. Plus, you’ll likely lose hard-earned muscle mass that’s responsible for maintaining a higher BMR.

 


Is Booze Making You Fat? The Truth About Alcohol & Calories


We don’t burn extra calories to metabolize alcohol – not like we do from digesting carbs, fat and protein. This phenomenon, called the “thermic effect of food”, refers to the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. Because alcohol is so easy to absorb, it enters our bloodstream without burning any extra calories.

Your liver does the dirty work because alcohol is seen as a toxin, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol first which means you won’t be burning calories from other sources while that happens. The liver is only able to clear alcohol at a rate of around one ounce liquor per hour, which is why consuming more than this will leave you feeling tipsy.

Alcohol makes your blood sugar drop, making you want to reach for carbs. The liver helps keep our blood sugar steady, but a liver busy at work metabolizing alcohol can’t do this effectively, causing your blood sugar drops and stays low until the alcohol is metabolised. This explains why you crave carbs and wake up the next day with a headache.

Alcohol calories that aren’t burned will be stored as fat. This is true for all extra calories eaten no matter the source, but what makes alcohol calories worse is that they are stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to ship out the alcohol-induced fat for proper storage in your fat cells. If the liver doesn’t do this fast enough (or if you drink too much, too often) the fat stays stuck in your liver and around your abdomen giving you what we refer to jovially as a “beer belly.”

This of course doesn’t mean you need to completely dodge all social sips. Here are some tips to help prevent you from gaining too much of your night out:

1. Pour yourself half as much. This will help you limit yourself to one or two drinks per party.

2. Avoid higher calorie mixed drinks like eggnog, margaritas, mudslides, or other sugary mixed drinks–or have one and consider it dessert.

3. Alternate between having alcohol and water to stay well hydrated.

4. Sip slowly and take the time of enjoy your alcoholic beverage.

5. Keep your alcohol budget at or below 200 calories. 

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Hopefully this will make you think twice when you go out this weekend!

Another way to look at the effect alcohol has on weight loss is to compare the equivalent time you would need to spend doing fitness training to burn these calories off! We’ll assume someone has an average fitness level and is of average weight.

Training time required to burn off calories from alcohol:

Alcoholic drink

Walking

Swimming

Running

Cycling

Beer (355ml)

30 mins

17 mins

12 mins

13 mins

Light beer (355ml)

20 mins

11 mins

8 mins

9 mins

Low carb beer (355ml)

23 mins

13 mins

9 mins

10 mins

White wine sweet (200ml glass)

40 mins

23 mins

16 mins

18 mins

White wine dry (200ml glass)

29 mins

16 mins

12 mins

13 mins

Red wine (200ml glass)

28 mins

16 mins

11 mins

12 mins

Spirits (on ice / neat)

13 mins

7 mins

5 mins

6 mins

Water

0 mins

0 mins

0 mins

0 mins


Stress And Damage Caused By Dieting, And How To Get On The Path To Recovery-By Nia Shanks

Nia Shanks makes a great summary here for why we should not diet !
(And explanation of how the stress dieting causes you actually makes you gain weight!)

http://www.niashanks.com/2013/05/stress-damage-dieting-path-recovery/

Happy to gain weight!

I am so happy – i weighed myself yesterday for first time since i started my weight gaining/healthy eating/gluten free diet which was back in April- when i saw the nutritionist.

I have gained 8KG (about 17lbs)!!!!!

I am so happy as this has not been all fat, it has been muscle as well.

  • I have not eaten any ‘junk’ food or processed ‘rubbish’ (sorry but it is!) .
  • I have been to the gym EVERYDAY (well nearly, excluding illness and photoshoots/catwalk shows). Sometimes twice – once for cardio and again later for strength training.
  • I have increased portion sizes, I decreased my cardio for one month (its now normal again), and increased healthy fats – eg, avocados, salmon, all nuts, organic nut butter, seeds.
  • Gluten and wheat free products are also higher in calories and fat anyway (eg. a lice of bread has twice the amount of fat and sugar compared to standard slice of bread, like Hovis or Kingsmill).

Now for my next challenge….finding the balance!

i have been eating well over what i need each day – which has shown on my body and the scales. So i now i would like to ‘settle’ at this weight which basically means taking each days as it comes– if i start losing weight again i know i need to increase my food. And if i keep gaining weight i will decrease my portion sizes and increase exercise. I will not be going back to any low fat products though- i now know what damage they have done to my body.