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5 Ways To Make Those Resolutions Last

Resolutions pad

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Here we are in 2018! And we all know what that means, don’t we? That’s right, it’s New Year’s Resolutions time…again.

For many of us New Year’s Resolutions signify a fresh start and time to embark on changes and challenges for a new, improved self. Sadly, despite the best of intentions, this often fizzles out within a matter of weeks (or days) and we return to our old habits. How can we give ourselves the best chance at sticking to these aspirations and make them part of our lives moving forward? Here are 5 tips to keep you on track and make those resolutions stick!

1. Don’t Set Yourself Up For Failure.

Make small, achievable changes that won’t become insurmountable and easy to give up at the first obstacle/challenge. Once those small changes have become part of your routine, implement other ones. If you try to change too much at once, it can become all too hard and very easy to break your resolutions and give up everything.

If this year’s goal is to get fit and you’re coming from a place where you considered walking to the fridge to get a beer as exercise, there’s no point making your resolution to go to the gym 6 days a week. This is unrealistic and there’s not much chance you’ll stick with it long term. Start by walking to work or getting off the bus 2 stops early and walking from there as a start. Building up from there to 30 mins of walking and possibly some bodyweight exercises at home. Once you get used to increased physical activity, then join the gym so it’s not such a huge shock to the system. Besides, gyms in January are rammed full of New Year’s Resolution-ers just like you. Wait until February when some of the heat has died down.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to give up smoking this year, don’t be ashamed of getting a little help. Using nicotine patches and/or gum to help get through the cravings isn’t cheating; the main thing is that you quit. For good.

2. Find Support.

This can come from family, friends, colleagues or even online. If you can make the change a group/team thing, you’ll be more likely to succeed and help each other through inevitable challenges. While ultimately YOU are in control of the choices you make, more people on your team can help make those choices easier.

3. Minimise Temptation.

For the first couple of weeks this is going to be especially important. Breaking habits is hard; there’s no doubt about that. So removing yourself from situations where you’re likely to be tempted will give you a better chance to succeed. E.g., if you’re giving up smoking, don’t have cigarettes in the house, don’t go for “fresh air” breaks with smoking colleagues where there’ll be smoke all around you and temptation staring you in the face. If you’re trying to eat better, remove the biscuits and chocolate from your cupboards. It’s easier to resist temptation if their not within easy reach! When we went vegan for Veganuary last year, we knew we had to make sure our cupboards and fridge was free of animal products and full of healthy options to make it easier to stick to the plan. This leads us onto number 4…

4. Be Prepared For Obstacles And Challenges.

Resolutions planner

Be prepared!

This goes hand-in-hand with number 3. Life isn’t just smooth sailing, lollipops and rainbows; there are going to be things that pop up that will challenge your resolve and tempt you back to the habits of before. Sometimes they’ll come out of left field and try to knock you off course, while others you can predict and prepare for. One example is the eventuality of a friend’s birthday celebration. You can almost guarantee there’ll be alcohol, someone who smokes, and plenty of unhealthy foods and desserts to tempt you! When you know these hurdles are approaching, be sure to have a contingency plan.

Here are some examples:
Attend the event with one of your support network in tow to help you avoid making bad choices. If food is the challenge, check out the menu online before the event and have your choice prepared. If it’s smoking or alcohol that’s the test, be the designated driver for the night, so you’re not tempted to drink, lower your inhibitions and give in to temptation.

5. Nobody’s Perfect.

If you slip up, don’t give up! Giving something up cold turkey is never going to be easy. Likewise, making a new change in your life takes time and it’s easy to go back to your old ways, especially if you’ve been doing something for years and years. So if you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up and call it quits. Dust yourself off and get back on. Keep at it and continue to make that change you really wanted. In time it should get easier as the change becomes part of your new life and new you.

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What Gets You Out Of Bed Project: The Story Behind

March has just begun and we are already excited. Spring is peeping its head around the corner, the days are getting longer and we finally start “What Gets You Out Of Bed”, which we’ve been working on since the end of last year. You know how it is though, birthdays, Christmas, New Year, new goals and […]

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The Lowdown: Day 1 at Food Matters Live 2016 in London

Food Matters Live 2016 Event London

Food Matters Live 2016 – The Lowdown

Food Matters Live bring experts, researchers, companies and technology together. Its aim is simple: giving you the most up to date regarding nutrition, foods and health.
Did you know: one in five kids in the UK are overweight or obese by the time they start school? Did you know by the time they reach year 6 the number increases to
one in three? That’s a third! Crazy, right? And the stats are similar across the Western world. These were some of the topics discussed today at Food Matters Live 2016.

Event’s Focus

Tackling the obesity epidemic; The rise and rise of FreeFrom foods; The sugar tax; The role of advertising and marketing on food choices, especially relating to our kids. Food matters live addresses these topics and that was just the beginning. The post-truth age; Health, nutrition and associated decisions/food choices. The role of bloggers and celebrities and their influence.

You may say we’ve come a long a way from the “cholesterol mafia“, as quoted by professor Tim Spector (Director of the British Gut Microbiome Project), or the gluten free = weight loss bandwagon, however, there are still serious, pressing issues we need to attack. At this rate it won’t be long before half of our kids are overweight or obese, which will make overweight and obesity look “normal” to our kids. Worrying.
The main room panel discussions were led by TV and radio presenter Anita Anand and the panels included guest speakers from various backgrounds like Shadow Health Minister Sharon Hodgson MP, Craig Sargeant, General Manager at Mars Food UK or Ian Barber, Director of Communications, Advertising Association.

The Information Available Out There

First of all, the information that is now available is overwhelming for most people. Consumers are time poor and due to the lack or overload of information they find it hard to make sense of it all. From what’s on the packaging to what the retail industry is trying to sell us to the innumerable diets and misleading information that are online. The traffic light system, once understood, is a helpful tool, yet many consumers are either unaware of or don’t understand the information provided. Helpful as it may be, there seems to be a considerable amount of research for consumers to do. However, from a recent study, as pointed out by guests speakers including Jenny Hearne from watchmethink, it seems that health claims by celebrities and unqualified bloggers is damaging the industry and are on the edge of unpopularity. They are a bit like sugar and are becoming the bad guys!

Second of all, the basics are still being worked on. From a government perspective, although school meals have been improved, with a particular focus on the food being prepped on premises with fresher ingredients, there is still a lot to do. Promotions and ads on unhealthy products are still out there and should worry us more than they do, particularly when they target our kids.

Microbiome

Last but certainly not least, research into the importance of a health microbiome is exploding. Your microbiome is what really matters. The 3 rules to gut health given to us by prof Tim Spector were:
-Feed them, with fibre;
-Eat mainly a plant based diet. We’re not talking vegan here, just eat more plants; and
-Incorporate fermented foods;
Nothing too tricky there, refine what you’re doing and adjust a little bit to increase the above points.

The key to success isn’t necessarily sticking to a “diet” but believing that a bit of everything is what your body needs. We have been abusing anything and everything, which is why now we find ourselves avoiding more and more, like gluten, dairy and sugars!

With two full days still to go, we’re excited to see what else Food Matters Live 2016 has in store for us. Stay tuned for more updates!

Daen and Thomas


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Could listening to Podcasts improve your wellbeing?

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Not Getting A Good Night Sleep? What To Do And Avoid!

by Daen Heuston | 22nd August 2016

 

There are various possible reasons for not getting a good night sleep. From a bad pillow, noise outside your window to anxiety, stress and the list goes on. However, what you may have eaten or had to drink the night before can affect your sleep deeply too.

The main reason we care so much about a good sleep is that lack of sleep can cause damage to you and your body, as well as what it could lead to long term. Studies have shown sleep deprivation can reduce insulin sensitivity and raise levels of CRP in the blood, an indicator of inflammation and stress. These two things alone point towards an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Now that you know a bit more and are probably eager to improve your sleep, here are my recommendations as a nutritionist to get a good night sleep, and what to avoid and improve to get back to your sweet dreams:

The obvious first

1. Get into a sleep routine

Go to bed at the same time each night. Try and get into that routine to go to bed and get up at the same time in the morning, too. This applies on weekends as well! Whilst a little extra sleep on Sunday morning won’t hurt, sleeping way past your normal waking time can throw out your body clock for Monday morning. This means you won’t be starting your week at your freshest.

2. Your surroundings matter

A dark, quiet and tidy bedroom will make a huge difference. It may seem obvious but preparing for a good night sleep is important.

3. Consider putting your gadgets away

No screen time at least 1hr before bed. This includes TV, mobile phones, iPads/tablets and computers. Meditation helps a lot of people to calm down so this could be something for you to look into.
Also, get some sunlight, or at least daylight, in the morning (without sunglasses) before 10:30am. This helps tell your body it’s daytime and keeps your circadian rhythm and melatonin production in check.

Nutrition & Fitness: The “I told you so”

4. Coffee. There is a time limit, I’m afraid

Avoid caffeine after midday if you can. A herbal tea, like camomile, may help you wind down after work rather than adding that extra caffeine to your body.

5. Fitness has an impact on your sleep

Regular exercise actually helps you in getting a good night sleep. However, it is recommended not to exercise later than 1hr before bedtime.

6. Your late heavy meal lets you down

The Spanish do it, yet it’s an easy and helpful one to avoid! A big, heavy meal too close to bedtime. Let’s just say that lasagna may not be your best option!

7. It’s getting serious now

Increase tryptophan-rich foods in your diet. Have a banana after dinner. Turkey is full of it and you can also find some in dairy (if you tolerate it) and walnuts.

 

Voila! I hope the above tips help and please get in touch if you have any questions. We would love to hear what has helped you and what you’re working on.

 

Daen x
Daen Heuston | Co-founder Vitality+Awesomeness and  Holistic Nutritionist & Wellbeing Personal Trainer at Nuffield Health Shoreditch, London.

 

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Your Healthy Start: Brekkie of Champs🏆

Feeling hungry by 10am? | Barely any energy left since 11am? | I’m so hungry, I could eat my workmate’s lunch! | My 15 min break is generally around 14:30 |  Is it 5pm yet? | What am I having for dinner tonight?

Above are many instances and feelings experienced because you have compromised on your breakfast in the morning. Sugary cereals or 2 apples for brekkie are certainly not going to cut it, I’m afraid!

In order for you to have a productive and efficient morning at work or on a day off, you need those nutrients that are going to give you and your family what you need to be at your best. Always ensure there’s an adequate amount of protein in your brekkie (or any meal for that matter). This will reduce the likelihood of you sneaking over to the bikkie tin mid-morning because you’re starvacious at 10am. We love eggs for breakfast. Plain and simple. And eggs are a fantastic source of protein, as well as omega-3, selenium, B vitamins, iodine, and vitamins A & D. If you can get them locally from a farm (or farmer’s market) where the chooks are free-range and preferably pasture-fed, then that’d be the best source. They’ll be super fresh and have the best nutritional profile. Otherwise, go organic or at least free-range. They’re also incredibly versatile so you’re less likely to get bored for breakfast. Here are a couple of our faves.


=> Find out what our nutritionist suggests for your food essentials



HEALTHY BREAKFAST: GREENS ON TOAST WITH AN EGG OR TWO

The greens can be baby spinach, kale, asparagus or whatever takes your fancy and you have on-hand. Kale and spinach are both ridiculously nutrient-dense and are key to the meal. Give your greens a bit of a wilt if you like (we do). And the eggs? Well, poach ’em, fry ’em, boil ’em, scramble ’em… mix it up!
As far as the toast goes, a nice gluten free loaf with a little something extra. Some seeds to boost the fibre, for instance. If you’re going to be eating bread, you might as well make the most of it. If you’re still eating gluten, I’d definitely recommend a good quality sourdough, possibly from your friendly neighbourhood artisan baker or farmer’s market. Sourdough is fermented slowly and is normally much better tolerated and digested by those with gluten sensitivity. Along with this, if you know who’s baked it, you can find out exactly what’s gone into each loaf (meaning there’s less chance of added ingredients you’ve never heard of).
Next, slice up some fresh tomato. Stack it all up, sprinkle on some turmeric, freshly ground black pepper and you’re hot to trot! Deeee-lish.

 

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Computer says "No"

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Annabelle’s story.

Having been through several years of studying nutrition, sometimes I forget that much of the knowledge I’ve gained isn’t necessarily obvious to Joe (or Jolene) Average (this is one of the main reasons we started vitalityawesomeness.com btw). I need to be reminded sometimes that people get their information from different sources, some of which are questionable. Read more

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The Low Fat Joke

yoghurt

I’ll admit it: my sanity is in jeopardy. If I see one more advertisement with super fit beach bodies proclaiming the wonders of a product being “fat free”, I may have to be checked in to the nearest nuthouse.

The incessant message being shoved down the consumer’s throat of eating low-fat to trim down is, in a word, ridiculous. To put it bluntly, the science just doesn’t support this “logic”. Eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. Having said that, if you chow down on a stick of butter wrapped in bacon three times a day, there’s a good chance you’ll stack on some extra kilos. But this isn’t purely because your “meals” have a high fat content. More than likely you’ll be consuming far more energy than your body needs and so you’ll store it away for a rainy day (in the form of body fat).

Some folks at Harvard University did a meta-analysis of studies involving 68 128 participants, which was published in The Lancet in December 2015. They found low-carb dietary interventions produced significantly better results than low-fat dietary interventions when it came to losing weight. Also, low-fat interventions were no more effective than other higher-fat interventions. In other words, if you decide to change your diet, cutting out fat isn’t the most effective way of losing weight. Those following a low-fat intervention did lose more weight than those who stuck to their normal diet. So, the decision to change was more important than whether the change was increasing or reducing fat. Confused?

Well, here are some reasons I believe going “fat free” or “low fat” is the wrong choice:

  • If they’ve removed the fat, what have they replaced it with?
    Fat tastes good. It also gives food a satisfying mouth-feel. So if the manufacturer removes the fat from a food, the taste goes along with it. Now our normally tasty food tastes like wet cardboard/an old boot; not a great plan for repeated sales. Hmmm… what else tastes good? Sugar! Let’s pump it so full of sugar the consumer’s head will spin. As long as we can put “fat free” on the front, that’s all that matters. That’s what consumers want (because we keep telling them that’s what they want). This process can be repeated replacing sugar with salt, artificial sweeteners, flavours etc. So make sure you check the label. No, not the front where the company is telling you what you want to hear, turn it over and check the ingredient list and the nutritional panel, where they’ve printed what they have to tell you. That’s where the truth comes out.PopSnarfsImage source 
  • We need fat for our bodies to work properly.
    Four of the vitamins we need are fat-soluble vitamins. These are A, D, E and K. To put things simply, if we don’t eat fat, we won’t be getting/absorbing these essential nutrients. Deficiencies in vitamins can lead to all sorts of health problems. Our brains are around 60% fat and they need certain types of fat to operate optimally. We’ve probably all heard of omega-3 and omega-6, right? These are types of fats, which collectively (along with omega-9) are called Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs. They are called essential because human bodies can’t make them and so we have to get them from our diet.
    In addition to this, all the cells in your body contain fatty acids. Every. Single. One. They form part of the cell membrane (the part that keeps the outside out and the inside in). So we need to choose the right kinds of fats to help keep our cells functioning correctly.
  • You’ll miss out on a whole host of healthy foods.
    Cutting out fat from your diet means missing out on amazing foods like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and oily fish. Oh, and eggs. EGGS! I don’t know what I’d do without eggs! These are whole foods, which contain lots of healthy fats, as well as a range of other helpful nutrients. Whole foods should be a big focus for your diet. Generally, the closer a food is to how it’s found in nature, the better. By removing fat, you’re also restricting the variety of foods you can eat. This can lead to monotony and boredom. Variety is the spice of life! Cliché, I know, but it’s so true.

⇒ You may also like to read our article about Eggs and Cholesterol


So to sum up, the fact you eat fat isn’t what really matters. It’s most definitely the type of fats you choose to eat. If you’re going to eat a handful of natural nuts, smear or smash some avo on your toast or drizzle your salad with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, then I say “go for it!”. These whole foods have plenty of health benefits to coincide with the healthy fats they contain. On the other hand when choosing packaged foods in the supermarket, make sure you read the ingredient list on the back of the pack, check to see what’s behind the “low fat” message on the front and check for hidden sugars and nasties. Low fat isn’t always best, most of the time it’s just a joke.

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