January – Day 7/31

We’re on to day 7 and I want to know one thing; ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?

Enough fibre that is! Today is all about why fibre is important and making sure that you get your daily quota!

Dietary fibre has a number of benefits when consumed in sufficient quantities including the prevention or relief of constipation, helping maintain a healthy weight, and lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

You’ve probably heard of dietary fibre being referred to as roughage. It includes the parts of plant foods which the body can’t digest or absorb – fibre isn’t digested by the body, instead it passes pretty much intact through the digestive system and out of the body.

There are two types of fibre:

Soluble – dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. Soluble fibre can assist in lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels and is found in oats, peas, beans, carrots, citrus fruits, apples, barley and psyllium.

Insoluble – promotes the movement of material through the digestive system and increase stool bulk. Insoluble fibre can be beneficial to those who struggle with irregular stools or constipation. Good sources of insoluble fibre are whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables.such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes.

To ensure you receive the greatest health benefits, you should aim to eat a wide variety of high-fibre foods.

How much fibre do you need?

How much fibre we need varies depending on age and gender:

Men age 50 years or younger require 38 grams of fibre per day whereas those aged 51 or older are advised to consume 30 grams per day.

For women, it’s 25 grams for those aged 50 years or under, and for those aged 51 and over the recommended amount of fibre is 21 grams per day.

How can you get the required amount of fibre each day?

  • Start your day right – grab a bowl of high-fibre cereal (5 grams + per serving). Look for those with “whole grain”, “bran”, or “fibre” in the name. Alternatively you can add two or three table spoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favourite cereal.
  • Chose whole grains – Look for breads that list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour or another grain as the first ingredient and have at least 2g of dietary fibre per serving. Try things like brown rice, wild rice, whole-wheat pasta and bulgar wheat.
  • Get in the beans – legumes – beans, peas and lentils, are great sources of fibre. Add mixed beans to salads, kidney beans to mince meals etc.
  • Snack on fruit and veg – aim for five or more serving of fruit and vegetables per day, eating the skin too where possible. Not only will you bump up your fibre intake but you’ll get a load of vitamins and minerals in too.

Note: Though high-fibre foods are great for your health, adding too much too quickly can produce some negative effects including intestinal gas, bloating and cramping. To avoid this, increase fibre gradually over a few weeks.

And to round it all off and take us back to day one – make sure you are drinking plenty water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making your poo soft and bulky. Oh, and you can track your fibre on MyFitnessPal too without having to add it all up yourself!

So there you go, a whole post on how to poo better. You’re welcome!

January – Day 4/31

According to research, people underestimate their calorie intake by up to one third.

ONE THIRD!! That’s a whole lot of calories that aren’t being accounted for.

It also makes it understandable as to why people who THINK they are eating the correct amount of calories for their weight loss aren’t actually losing any weight at all – they may be stuck at a certain weight or even gaining depending on how badly their intake is being incorrectly logged.

I’m not having a go here, I just need everyone to understand that you have to be accepting of everything you are consuming and know exactly how much you are having. It can be all too easy to forget about the caramel latte you had on the way to work, the couple of bourbon biscuits you sneaked into your gob in the tea room, the lashings of tomato sauce you had on that smoked bacon butty this morning… You get the picture.

It can also be super easy to incorrectly guestimate the weight of the foods you are eating and be WAY off. Say for example you have a roasted chicken breast, jacket potato and steam veg for your tea – great choices, lots of nutrient in this meal along with a variety of vitamins and minerals, fibre and satifying to boot BUT, how much have you had? How big was the chicken breast, was it cooked skin on or skin off, did you cook it in any oil or with any marinade? How big was the jacket potato, small, medium, or large, is your “medium” the same as someone else’s medium size. What were your steam veg? Did you have a pre-prepared pack? Did you eat a whole portion? Did you check what a recommended portion is? Have you just gone on MyFitnessPal and picked the options you WANT your food consumption to fit in to (Trust me, soooo many people do this; the only person you;re kidding is yourself). This isn’t even everything to consider and you can see there are already a list of things you need to be aware of.

If this is the case then what can we do to make sure we know what we are eating and that we are recording accurately?

It may sound super anal and a total faff to begin with but, the only way to really know exactly what you are eating is to WEIGH YOUR FOOD.

Ok, so I fully accept that I may have lost some of you at this point, and that’s ok, maybe you’re just not ready for the accountability it takes to make the changes you really need….

For those of you who are still here, well done. You accept that there’s a problem and that this is the solution. It’s not as much of a ball ache as it sounds and once you get into the habit of doing it, it becomes quicker and second nature to do so. All you need is a set of kitchen scales like these. Just remember if you are weighing your food raw or cooked and then select the correct option from MyFitnessPal when logging them.

You can do this to add recipes to MyFitnessPal too – just log all the weights of all the ingredients and then select how many portions it makes et voila, you have your portion calories (and macros – more about this at a later date).

Note: Links taking you to products are via amazon associates. I may earn a small commission should you purchase items following these links.

January – Day 2/31

If we’re looking at this month in terms of weight management as well as general health and fitness then we need to be aware of what we are actually consuming. Yes, I’m talking calories.

cut-calories

A calorie is a unit of energy – One calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. The calories in food provide energy in the form of heat which allows our bodies to function.

How many calories does a person need each day?

The NHS provide a rough guide that suggests men should should consume around 2,500 calories per day, and that women should be on an intake of around 2,000 calories per day. This is a very rough guide and is based on an “average” person (whatever that is).

In all reality, caloric needs are entirely dependant upon the individual, their goals, activity levels and starting point amongst other things. We can work this out using a couple of simple calculations, or in this case, a couple of links to external sites to do it for you…

Let’s talk about the caloric needs of the body.

First off, BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories you would need to eat each day just to process the most basic of bodily functions while at rest. If your weight were to increase so would your BMR.

Next, TEF – Thermal Effect of Food. This is the energy required by your body to digest and absorb food and beverages.

And, TEA – Thermal Effect of Activity. This relates to the calories required to complete all forms of activity throughout the day, deliberate exercise or daily tasks.

Why are these things important?

If we use all of the above information together we can work out our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) or simply put, the total number of calories we burn each day.

BMR + TEF + TEA = TDEE.

Wow, that’s a whole lot of information if you’re just starting out! To make it all easier for you to work out head over to the TDDE Calculator here. You’ll be asked to fill in the following details: gender, age, weight, height, and activity level – be honest on all of these details, incorrect information here is not going to help you in the long term. Don’t worry about the body fat percentage if you don’t know it, you’ll get a good estimate without it.

Once you have input all of this information hit the “calculate!” button and you’ll be taken to a page where it gives you the information you want: Your Daily Maintenance Calories.

If you want to keep your weight the same your daily maintenance calories is the number of calories you need to be consuming. If you want to lose weight then we are going to adjust this number, reducing it by up to 500 calories. And similarly if you would like to gain weight we would add up to 500 calories per day to your maintenance number.

TDEE Page

***I do not encourage very low calorie diets, they do not work as they leave you feeling hungry and then you end up in a food binge. Ideally your weight loss or “cutting” calories should be no lower than around 1450 calories per day. Slow and steady wins the race.***

Now that we have learned a little more about the body and it’s caloric needs we need a way to track them. I highly recommend downloading MyFitnessPal to your mobile phone; you can search for the foods you eat, add your own recipes, scan in food via barcode and select portion size as well as sectioning your food intake into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You can also track your water intake on MyFitnessPal as we discussed yesterday.

This is all I would like to give you for today, as I said earlier, if you’re new to this type of information then it is a lot to take in. It’s also only the 2nd of January and it’s probably the first day that you’re really actually thinking about any of this.

1st January – Day 1/31

Welcome 2020 and Happy New Year to You All.

A new year and a new decade. January is the time when everyone makes their New Years Resolutions – much of the time this being about health or weight loss (or both).

I would like to bring you a month of health, fitness and well-being assistance, one day at a time, giving you bite-sized chunks of information you can use to make improvements towards your own personal goals.

WORD OF WARNING – This IS NOT a fad, and IS NOT a quick fix. This is giving you information and tools to help you make better decisions for your health, fitness and well-being.

Before we begin, I would just like to remind you all; always check with your GP or healthcare provider before starting any new health or fitness regime.

Also, if you would like to, I encourage that you record your weight and measurements (hips – fullest point, hips – top of the pelvic bone, waist – at the belly button, chest, bust, thighs, arms, shoulders, neck, wrists) today along with a start point photo… I am very aware that measuring wrists sounds odd but we’ll use this later.

So, slow and steady wins the race. You didn’t get all out of shape and feeling unfit over night so please don’t expect it to be fixed over night. We are looking at changes to implement for the long-haul, selected by YOU which are manageable FOR YOU.

Day 1 – I have spoken about this time and time again and it will always be the first thing I talk about when you want to start feeling better about your self health and fitness wise – WATER! Today I want you to drink at least 2 litres of water throughout the day.

Water Day 1

Chances are that, over the festive period, you have indulged in more rich and calorific foods, and possibly alcohol, than you would like to admit to. It’s ok, DO NOT PANIC. Water is going to help you remove the excess water your body is holding on to, re-hydrate you, and get your gut moving nicely again, all reducing that sluggish and fatigued feeling I bet you have right now!

This is the only thing I would like you to focus on today. If you would like to do anything else that will help you feel better then get yourself outside for some fresh air – a trip to the beach, the countryside or just a walk around your local area can help invigorate you and defeat couch-potato mode.

See you tomorrow for more info!