Month: October 2014

Foods You Should be Eating To Help You Lose & Manage Your Weight

a tape measure on a chopping boardManaging your weight can be a tricky business, we need to keep in mind not only what we are putting into our mouths but also when and how much we are eating is also critical to effective weight loss and management. Here are some foods that are good for you to eat and will also assist you in both losing body fat and maintaining a healthy weight.


Water is really the only drink our body truly needs and is what our bodies are primarily made of. Drinking enough water regularly will keep our bodies hydrated, assisting with our overall energy, well-being and support our immune system. However, you can also use water to help yourself to lose weight. By two glasses before each meal will help to fill up your stomach, tricking your brain into thinking that it does not need as much food. consequently, you will not feel the need to eat as much during meal times.

Using this trick to eat less will add up over time and assist with your weight loss.

green tea

Green tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. Green tea is not only packed with high amounts of antioxidants that help to benefit our bodies in many ways, it also has a stimulating effect on our immune systems to help us burn more fat. Specifically, green tea targets fat that accumulates around our bellies as it has a stimulatory effect on the metabolism. One of the antioxidants in green tea also acts within the small intestine and helps to limit the amount of fat that gets absorbed through the intestinal wall.

One antioxidant in particular found in green tea is EGCG. Scientists believe that it is this antioxidant that works together with the caffeine in green tea to have a beneficial and stimulatory effect on the metabolism and therefore, make the system more efficient at durning fat.

When choosing a green tea to help you burn fat, be sure to choose a good quality tea as these will generally be higher in antioxidants and have a better effect. Personally, I like a Japanese green tea called Sencha as it is usually of good quality and has a smooth taste. However, there are many different varieties of green tea that you can try.

Green tea also has a wide range of other health benefits. Click here to learn more.

Porridge oats

Porridge oats are a great way to start your morning, either by making them into a nice, warm bowl of porridge or adding them to a smoothie. Porridge oats are slow to digest in the system, enabling you to feel full for longer. Maintaining this feeling of fullness for a longer period of time will help you to resist the temptation and the need to snack in between meals.

It is important to choose a natural and preferably homemade porridge and avoid the brands that have added sugar and flavourings.

Also be aware of how you make your porridge. Most people do prefer the flavour of porridge with milk, however, this really increases the fat content and the amount of calories you will be consuming. A good alternative is water, although porridge with water can have a slightly bitter flavour. Personally, my favourite and a good compromise is to use rice milk. Mice milk has less calories than cows mild and also has a slightly sweet flavour so helps to enhance the flavour of the porridge.

Organic peanut butter

This one may sound counterintuitive, but studies have shown that peanut butter, although fairly high in fat can actually assist with weight loss, provided it is of the organic variety. Non-organic peanut better can be very high in salt and other additives so be sure to only go for the 100% organic brands. Researchers believe that it could be due to the presence of monounsaturated fats in the peanut butter that help with the reduction in weight and body fat.

Furthermore, due to the presence of niacin (Vit B3) in peanut butter, it can help assist in reducing abdominal bloating. As mentioned previously, peanut butter does also contain quite a bit of fat so be sure to limit yourself to around 2 teaspoons per day.

If you want to know more about peanut butter and it’s effect on weight loss, here is a great article for you to read.

a piece of red grapefruitGrapefruit

Eating grapefruit or drinking it’s juice is also an effective and natural method to help you lose weight. Grapefruit is said to act on the metabolism and help burn extra calories. However, grapefruit also interferes with some medications so be sure to consult your doctor if you are taking any prescription drugs.

Grapefruit is a low glycemic food so when consumed it does not spike a persons insulin levels. This means that the sugars from grapefruit do not get stored as fat.

It’d not necessarily a good idea to just eat grapefruit all day and nothing else in order to lose weight as a person would not be benefiting from all the other important nutrients that the body needs from other food sources. However,if you are able to eat grapefruit then it is excellent to have in the morning for breakfast.


Beans are great to add to your diet if you are trying to lose weight. Firstly, they are a great filler and help you to fell full for longer. Secondly, beans contain high levels of protein which will also assist with your weight loss. Studies have now shown that a person with a high protein intake will burn more fat and have their metabolism sustained at a higher rate for a longer duration of time. However, we do not want to add copious amounts of meat to our diet in order to get the extra protein. Beans such as Pinto, kidney and black beans all provide a high amount of protein so you don’t necessarily have to consume more meat to up the ante.

an avocado cut in halfAvocados

Although avocados are high in fat they can actually help you to lose weight! Firstly, avocados contain good fat so there is no problem at all eating them with regards to your health. Avocados contain something called ‘Oleic acid’, which is a monounsaturated fat now believed to actually reduce hunger. Avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet in many ways for example, in salads, spreading them on ryvita or adding them to smoothies. You only need around 1/4 – 1/2 an avocado a day top make a difference.

Dark Chocolate

Yes that’s right chocolate can actually help you to lose weight! Well, dark chocolate that is. Dark chocolate has been found to slow down the digestion process, meaning you will feel fuller for longer and will be more likely to resist the temptation to snack between meals. Dark chocolate also contains good fats that can help to increase your metabolism.

Studies have shown that it is the coco found in dark chocolate that has all the health benefits. If you are wanting to eat dark chocolate to help shed those unwanted pounds then make sure you go for the natural, organic and unsweetened versions, generally the darker the better! It is important not to over-do it though so be sure to only eat a little dark chocolate at a time.


Similar to avocados, almonds also contain high amounts of healthy fats that can help you to slim down and maintain a healthy weight. Almonds are great for a quick snack on the go between meals so be sure to add a hand-full to your lunch box!

Many body builders attest to eating almonds as a snack if they get hungry between meals as they are a great source of protein. Almonds are also a great snack to eat in the evening if you get hungry but you do not want o put anything heavy in your stomach that could site there during sleep and then be stored as fat.

Boost Your Metabolism!

Eating the right foods and avoiding the bad ones are just a few important things you need to do in order to lose weight effectively. Many of these foods help to act as a filler in order to help prevent you from snacking between meals, others will help increase your metabolism so you can burn fat more efficiently throughout the day. However, it is also important to pay attention to your lifestyle and exercise routine as well.

For many people, changing their diet is the only thing they change in order to drop the pounds. However, exercise is also an important component and for most, a necessary one. When combined with a health diet, exercise can greatly help to speed up the metabolism and reduce fat much more quickly and efficiently. Besides this, regular exercise also makes you feel great!

The timings of when a person eats are also important. For example, many experts believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it helps to get the metabolism going. Fitness trainers also suggest eating a high protein snack in the afternoon around 3pm as this helps to get the much needed energy during this lull period. Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when it comes to timing is not to eat too late at night and especially avoid foods high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes and pasta.

8 Foods You Should Definitely Avoid For Good Health & Effective Weight Management

four cheese burgersMany people are wanting to eat more healthy now a days, but it can sometimes be difficult to tell the good foods from the bad if no one has told us what we should be eating and what we should be avoiding. The danger is that many foods that are actually bad for us are packaged and marketed as healthy options or at least, they are made to appear that way.

Here is a list of some foods that you definitely want to avoid.

Bad foods


For a long time, margarine was actually touted as a healthy alternative to butter however, it is actually far worse for us and many countries have started to ban margarine being sold. Margarine contains loads of trans fats, which is a type of unsaturated and is only produced artificially. Too much trans fats in a persons diet has been linked to coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s diseased, various forms of cancer, diabetes, liver dysfunction, obesity, female infertility, depression and various behavioural disorders.

Processed Meats

Studies have shown that there is a link between processed meets and an early death.  Processed meats are now suspected to lead to various life threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Processed meats contain a high amount of salt and lots of chemicals such as meat glues that are partially responsible for the severe health risks.

Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks have been found to not only be very high in sugar, causing rapid weight gain but they also contribute to diabetes and alter the growth and structure of our muscles. Not only this, but there is also now evidence that these drinks can increase hypertension, heart disease and liver failure.


A high consumption of caffeine can lead to high blood pressure and also put extra stress and pressure on your kidneys and adrenal glands. Caffeine also causes the body to become dehydrated. Coffee is notorious for its caffeine content and now a study conducted in partnership with the Mayo Clinic showed a link to early death for people drinking 4 cups or more of coffee per day, increasing their mortality rate by 21%.

As if that alone wasn’t enough to make you think twice before having a caffeinated beverage, caffeine consumption has now also been linked to attacks of gout, incontinence, insomnia, indigestion, headaches, type 2 diabetes, female infertility, more severe menopausal symptoms and more forceful contractions of the heart.

some white breadWhite bread/white flour

White bread and flour is high in empty carbs that can cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar. Not only that but it also turns to fat very quickly in your system. It is far better for you to go for brown bread and whole grains instead. White bread also contains a protein called gluten. Once ingested, the gluten affects the walls of our intestines and causes significant damage that can lead to intestinal pain, inconsistent stools, bloating and excessive tiredness. Studies have now also shown a link between whole wheat and heart disease.


Contrary to popular belief, breakfast cereals are definitely not healthy or good for us! The process by which breakfast cereals are produced is called extrusion. This process destroys pretty much all the nutritional value and also renders various amino acids as toxic, which can damage our system.

Ready meals

Ready meals and microwave meals are really bad for us! Due to their processing, pretty much all the natural vitamins and minerals in the food have be altered or destroyed. To compensate, the ready meal companies add synthetic vitamins and minerals but these are not as good for us as natural vitamins and minerals and they are also not so easily absorbed by our bodies. Besides this, these meals are also full of chemicals to unnaturally preserve the food for longer, enhance the colour, flavour etc. These meals are also full of added sugar, salt and fat.

Added to this, once these meals are put in the microwave or oven in their plastic packages, as they heat up the plastic containers begin to leach more chemicals into the food, which is also very toxic to our health.

some artificial sweetenerArtificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are purely chemicals and can damage our nervous system and alter our taste buds. They are far worse for us than sugar. There have now been studies conducted that show that artificial sweeteners can actually increase your appetite, causing you to eat more. One very common artificial sweetener is Aspartame. Aspartame is in many ‘diet’ products but research has shown that it has a whole host of nasty side effects including, seizures, hallucinations and even brain tumours.

There are several other artificial sweeteners all with their own host of scary side effects. To read more about why you definitely should not be using these products, click here.


Managing a Healthy Lifestyle

two red applesWhen first starting out to embark on a healthy lifestyle, you will find many things that come along to try to pull you off your new track. Don’t worry, this is totally normal and mainly due to your mind and body not yet being use to the changes in your lifestyle and your routine. It will take a little time to adjust and can feel a little uncomfortable or strange at first. You may have times when you feel that it is too hard to maintain the changes. Don’t be hard on yourself, it is far more important to make these changes in a way that allows you to enjoy the process as well as to feel and see the benefits. For this reason, it is advisable to make the changes slowly over time, gradually eliminating the bad habits and incorporating the good.

A healthy lifestyle can be broken down into three main areas:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Routine

To live a healthy and balanced lifestyle we must ensure that we are eating well, taking regular exercise and have a balanced routine. Point number three really refers to:

  1. Your eating routine
  2. Your exercise routine
  3. Your sleeping routine

Yes, your sleeping routine is also very important. Our body repairs and renews itself when it is at rest and if it is constantly deprived of good sleep then it will not be able to recover itself as efficiently. In time this will lead to depleted energy levels and a weakened immune system.

Here are some practical tips you can follow that will help you along the way and make your journey not only easier but also a far more enjoyable one.

Prioritise your health

stretchingYour health is one of, if not your most valued possession. Who wants to go through life not being able to do the things you really want to do because of a health condition? We all have to grow old but we don’t necessarily need to grow into a sick and worn down body. Taking action now and incorporating healthy lifestyle habits will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Yes, some people will suffer various illnesses regardless of what they do and are due to our genetics. However, these people will not experience the illness as severely as they might given a healthy lifestyle. Prioritising good health in your life will also mean that you will usually be able to recover far more quickly from illnesses and injuries if they were to befall you.

Prioritising your health does not mean that you have to never again eat a cheeseburger or a doughnut. No, you can still have these things but do it sensibly. Why do we eat bad foods? Well, generally because we enjoy the taste, they can make us feel good temporarily and they are often convenient. To prioritise your health it is a good idea to strike a balance with your lifestyle that leans in the favour of healthier choices. For example, when it comes to your diet, aim to have around a 80:20 ratio. That is, to ensure that around 80% of the food that you are consuming are healthy foods that will actually benefit your health and the other 20% can be foods that may not be so good but they are things you like and food items that give you pleasure.

Sticking to this ratio will allow you the treats whereas most of your food consumption will be healthy and a benefit to your body.


Planning for better health

a bowl of cerialAs we mentioned earlier, routine is so important to good health and will also make it easier for you to form the good habits and make them stick. Plan when you go to bed and get up in the morning, when you take your exercise and when you eat. You don’t have to stick to it religiously and always go to bed at 9:30pm no matter what, no, that’s no fun! For example, set a bed time for between 10-11pm for example. This hour will give you the flexibility should you need it to complete final tasks for the day, catch up on that book you’re reading or if you need the time to just unwind and relax. Yes of course there will be nights when you go to bed far later for various reasons, but try to keep these to a minimum and stick to your decided bed time for the most part.

Scientists believe that every hour you sleep prior to mid-night actually counts for 2 hours after! So if you can, make use of these precious earlier hours where possible and be sure to get your beauty sleep.

Let people know about your new lifestyle choices

Telling people, your friends and loved ones what you are doing will not only help you stay focused but you will also find great support from those who love you. This support can be really encouraging and can often make the difference between sticking to your new, healthier lifestyle and slipping back into bad habits when it really matters. You may even find that one or two people want to join you along your healthy journey. If this happens then welcome it with open arms and count it as a blessing as your new allies will not only support and encourage you, they will also share with you valuable information that they may learn along their own journey that can also greatly benefit your life as well.

Having health buddies can make it far easier when you visit restaurants together too and some of them may even become an exercise buddy at your local gym! One of my health buddies loves to share delicious and healthy recipes with me when she finds them, while another loves to come to the gym with me to work out. We constantly find inspiration and motivation in each other and greatly value the information that we share.

How to start a healthy lifestyle

Here’s a helpful video on how to start a healthy lifestyle