Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Exercise Is Not Just for Weight Loss

There are many benefits to exercise and one of those is to help you to sleep at night. There are many people searching for how to go to sleep at night, and one of the best ways to do that is through exercise. Of course, you will also benefit from losing weight.

Depends on the Time of Day

There have been a number of studies that have contradicted the finding and this depends on when the exercise is done. Exercising does help you to wake up, which is why during the morning is the best time to do it. If you exercise in the evening, you will struggle to sleep.

By doing exercise in the morning, you will help to start your metabolism for the day. This will lead your body to naturally needing the rest at night. You will also do your exercise in the daylight hours, which gives your body the exposure to sunlight that it needs. Getting light during the right times of the day will help your body to settle into a pattern – your eyes tell your brain that it is light so your brain tells your body to stay awake and will then tell your body to sleep when it gets dark.

The problem with exercise late at night is that you will raise your body temperature. This will lead you to feeling more alert and awake and so you will struggle to sleep.

How Much Exercise Should You Get?

You do not have to train for a marathon to get the exercise that is required to help you go to sleep. Just 30 minutes a day, five days a week will help you settle into a regular pattern. There is no need to do that 30 minutes at the same time in one day; you may find it easier to split it into different sessions.

A 10 minute brisk walk on your lunch break and then a 20 minute bike ride after work will work just as well as a 30 minute swim early in the morning.

Opt for Relaxing Exercises

If you do decide that the evening is your only time to do exercise, look for the relaxing ones. There are plenty of options available and yoga is one of the best ones. Even simple stretching exercises will help to relax your muscles and help you go to sleep at night.

Set Up a Schedule and Stick to It

Of course, exercise is not the only way to help you sleep; having a schedule and then sticking to it is essential. Take some time to set up a daily routine. This will involve going to sleep at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. This helps to set your body clock and after a few weeks your body will get used to the timings.

The only times that you should sleep more are when you are ill or pregnant – or when the doctor has recommended it. Sleep is the only time that your immune system is able to work, so it will help to fight off infections and illnesses.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Aspire Channel Swim

I know I said my next post was going to be about the Extra Easy Slimming World Plan but this has taken priority at the moment - and it fits well with the idea of losing weight and keeping it off.

Have you ever wanted to do something with your workout? Maybe set a challenge for yourself? I do that on a regular basis as a way to keep myself motivated, whether it is run or row a certain distance over a set time. One thing that I am doing this year is the Aspire Channel Swim.

The Aspire Charity

Aspire is a charity that helps people after they have suffered spinal injuries. It helps the thousands a year, who find they are in a wheelchair for the rest of their life, with simple tasks like eating, moving around and even helping with confidence and the motivation to get back to life.

Like all charities, it has to rely on the donations of others and something that has been set up is the Aspire Channel Swim.

The Channel Swim

This is an annual event that I am joining in with this year. The challenge is to swim 22 miles in 12 weeks. 22 miles will cover the length of the English Channel, which is a dream that many people (including me) have of swimming.

I have done the event in the past and covered the 22 miles in 8 weeks in a pool that I used to lifeguard in. This year my goal is to finish it in 4 weeks. It means I have to swim 1416 lengths in 4 weeks, which works out to be around 358 per week, give or take; I've managed 240 since starting on 27th September (I started a little late).

Why Not Give It a Go

Not only is Aspire a worthy cause, there are other benefits to swimming this challenge. The main one is your weight. You will be surprised by how much work you do while in the pool. Most of the time, you will not feel it because the sweat is being released into the water and also the water is holding your weight. But, your body does so much and you will work every muscle in your body!

It is a great way to lose weight, tone up and just generally feel great. But, if you don't fancy giving it a go, or are worried that it isn't possible for you, then I would really appreciate it if you would sponsor me for my efforts. You can do it by clicking here.

Good luck to everyone who does give it a go.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Green Slimming World Plan

With so many people wanting to lose weight, it is important to look at the different types of diets available. Following on from my previous post on The Original Slimming World Plan, I’m going to go into detail about the next plan on the list: The Green Plan.

Focuses More on Carbohydrates

While the Original Plan focuses more on protein, this one is mainly for those into carbohydrates. You can eat as much pasta, potatoes and other carb products like that as you want throughout the day, without having to weigh them or point them. This is completely different from the Original Plan and is more suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

As well as that, you will have to point any meat products – and other high protein products that you eat. However, fruit and vegetables remain to be superfree foods, so you can eat as much as you want of them.

The A and B Menus

These work in the exact same way that they do on the Original Plan. You are allowed two from each of the lists, which are included in full through the SW guides. Foods include milk, cereal and bread. This does seem to be confusing at first, but the more that you read through the guidelines and follow the plan, the easier it is said to get.

Combine the Plans to Work for You

Something that most veteran SW members have said is that you will be best to combine the two plans. That doesn’t mean do them both on the same day – that definitely won’t work. It means switch plans throughout the week. Spend one day on the Original Plan (also commonly called a Red Day) and then the next day on the Green Plan (commonly called a Green Day).

Combining the two plans will give you the chance to get the most out of the nutrients in the different types of food. After all, your body does need both of them. However, it is possible to lose weight by following just one of them, if you prefer.

The Extra Easy Plan

This is a third plan available on SW and is something that I will cover in my next blog post.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Original Slimming World Plan

As I promised, I was going to cover the way that Slimming World worked, which would then help people decide whether this was a diet for them. Just to let people know, I did try it for one week and weighed in this week only to find out that I’d put on two pounds (not the way that I wanted to go), which still makes me wonder how this “diet” works.

This is going to be covered in two to three posts to keep it readable and interesting.

How Slimming World Works

If you’re still thinking that this is something for you – and it may well be (not all diets will work for everyone) – there are a few things that you should know about the diet. First of all, there are a few foods that you can eat for free. This means that there are no points (syns as SW calls them) in them. You can eat as much as them as you want throughout the day and should still be able to lose weight.
There are other foods that do have syns but are something that you should aim to get into your diet each day. You are allowed a certain amount without having to point them in your food diary. After you have had that amount, you need to add up the points (even just for a drop of milk).

The Plan Choices

There are three plans that you can follow on the SW diet. The first is the Original Plan. This is how SW started out and is still a popular plan for many people. You can follow this plan by itself or you can mix and match throughout the week. Most people who have been on the SW for a number of years will tell you that mixing is possibly the best thing for you.
With the Original Plan, you can eat as much meat, poultry and fish as you want. There is no need to point them as long as it is all lean meat; that means no fat on the meat and no skin on the poultry. You can also have as many eggs as you want and have the option of having up to two choices on the A and B menu.

The A and B Menus

The A and B menus are your dairy and whole grains. It’s up to you what you have. You can have a certain amount of milk twice a day or have cheese instead to get your dairy. For those who like cereal and bread, you can have up to two lots from the B menu too. More information is explained in the plan.

This does sound confusing at first, which is possibly why the first week is hard. However, everything is explained in the books that you are given in your first meeting. You can also call or email your leader as much as you want to make sure that you’re doing it right.
Coming soon…the second option for SW.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Slimming World Diet

I recently tried the Slimming World diet but decided that it wasn't for me. That doesn't mean that it won't work for you - just remember that not all diets work for everyone. Here's why it didn't work for me.

First of all, when the group leader asked me whether I'd tried Slimming World before, I openly said "no, I've always tried Weight Watchers." I got the response of "well, that doesn't help you keep the weight off afterwards anyway." From a woman who said that she'd always been on Slimming World and had never tried anything else, I've got to question where she got that idea from. It wasn't because Weight Watchers wasn't working for me; I wanted to try something different. I know lots of people who have lost weight on WW and kept it off by coming back to classes every now and then. That instantly turned me off from the group.

The second was looking through the plans. There are three different plans that you can follow but I won't go into them right now (I will post more about them at a later date though). I decided to follow the Extra Easy plan since it sounded easy to get into. I could eat as much vegetables and fruit as I wanted (which sounds about right) along with as much pasta, potatoes, meat and eggs as I wanted. That was something that didn't sound right to me. I still don't get how you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight. A woman is only supposed to have 2000 calories on average a day. I've worked out my metabolic rate and I'm only supposed to have 1600 per day due to the lack of exercise I do at the moment; even when I do exercise, I'm only supposed to have around 1800 calories per day.

Eating so much doesn't sit right with me, especially when I added on the fact that I had to get in some dairy and some wholewheat products a day. It got a little confusing from there but mainly because of my preferences during the day. I'm not the biggest milk lover and getting the amount of milk I should have had a day was actually really difficult for me.

When starting the plan, I was told that I wouldn't feel like I was on a diet because of how much I could eat. The difference is I did feel like I was on a diet - and much more than I have ever felt while on WW. Once you've gone through everything I've just mentioned, you've got to start pointing things. The points are known as Syns on SW but that doesn't change what they really are. The difference was the amount of points I was allowed compared to the amount of points that were in products.

The amount of points your allowed isn't based on your weight, height, gender or anything like that. You're allowed between 5 and 15 per day. Apparently, your supposed to eat around 10 for the best chance of losing weight. I easily ate my way through points just by having a Daily Milk bar! I ended up eating half and letting my other half have the other half because of how many points were in it.

Now on WW, I can limit my chocolate pretty easily but the best thing is that I know I can have that bar of Dairy Milk per day without worrying about going over point values and having to sacrifi ce something else. That was why I felt like I was on a diet. If I wanted a treat, I had to look through the books for the best one on SW. I don't really have to do that with WW because there's a little more freedom.

The thought of not having certain types of chocolate or letting myself relax a little but still lose weight was really getting me down - especially when I was walking through the supermarket with my other half. He'd pick something up and I'd shake my head because of the points that were in it. Pitta breads and wraps were even out, which meant no Nandos for me! Not something I could deal with! It was there that I decided to revert back to Weight Watchers.

I've tried the change but it doesn't work for me. The stupid thing is that I didn't even get to the weigh in to see if it does work but with the psychological feeling, I know it won't. I know WW will as long as I have the motivation. I have the motivation now to be successful with WW so I'll go for it...

Disclaimer: I'm definitely not saying that SW will not work for everyone. There are people I know that have had success with the diet. Maybe I picked the wrong meeting to go to and the woman rubbed me the wrong way to start with. Maybe this is just one diet plan that isn't for me. All I know is that I'm better off with a diet that I know will get me down to my dream weight; I just have to stick to the change of eating habits afterwards.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Problems with Crash Diets

Many people want to lose weight quickly. While this is possible, it’s not always the healthy option. Crash diets are on the top of people’s lists because they help them shed the pounds in weeks. The problem is they are extremely dangerous to your body; especially if you follow them for the long term.

Crash diets can help to kick start weight loss but only when done sensibly. You’ll need to check with your doctor first to make sure you’re following the right plan for your body’s health. Here are a few risks that you’ll be taking if you don’t follow them the healthy way.

While you will lose weight quickly with crash diets, you won’t keep the weight off for the long term. These weight loss plans are also known as yo-yo diets because you’ll put the weight back on just as quickly as you lose it. While you’re cutting the calories down, you’re not changing the way you eat for the long term; when you go back to eating normally, you’ll go back to your normal easting pattern.

Another problem with crash diets is the lack of nutrients that you’ll take in. Your eating plan will be extremely restrictive, so you’ll find that you can’t eat all of the healthy foods that you need. Meat and wholegrain pastas are good for you but they can be cut out completely, depending on the diet you follow. Iron and potassium deficiencies are the most common.

The diets can also damage your organs. Your heart and kidneys are among the two that suffer the most because of the carbohydrates that are needed. Also, as your body burns more calories, your muscles will be most at risk; the calories from your muscles are the most easiest to get to. Excessive crash dieting can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

Finally, you will also be putting your brain under a lot of pressure and not just physically. Losing weight quickly can take a lot out of you and it’ll have an effect on your mental health as well as your emotional one. You’ll become more irritable and possibly depressed. Also, as you focus more on your weight, there are chances that you can develop more serious eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
If you’re overweight, then you should work to lose the pounds. Rather than focusing on how quickly you want to do it, focus on how successful and healthy you want to be in the end. Take your time to change your eating habits for the long term and not just for the short term goals. Also remember, this is just information; for medical advice, speak to your doctor.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Pros and Cons of Weight Watchers Online

As many people search for the best way to lose weight, they are looking at the different diet options available. Weight Watchers is just one of them. There are different plans that you can follow and Weight Watchers Online is just one of those options. Before you decide whether it is for you or not, you should weigh-up the pros and the cons.

The Positives

  • The program teaches you about eating healthily and does not just give you strict rules that you need to follow. You'll hardly realise that you are on a diet!
  • Once you get to your goal weight, you are given help so that you can maintain that weight; this is sometimes the hardest part of weight loss
  • You can do it all from the comfort of your own home and in your own time. This is the perfect option for those with busy lifestyles.
  • You can still eat your favorite foods. It is all about eating in moderation and not about completely cutting out different foods.
  • There are lots of success stories, which are great to keep the motivation going.
  • There is an online community, full of people who are willing to offer help with losing weight. Many have already reached their goal weight and have tips that could help you.
  • The online forums have a variety of challenges to join in with to help you lose weight and stay motivated. Some of the challenges are based on exercise goals but some are for weigh loss goals.

The Negatives

  • It can take some time to lose weight; the plan is focused on a healthy weight loss, which is between 1lb and 2lb per week.
  • You will need motivation to keep going on the plan. It's best if you have support from the family or someone else to follow the plan with.
Losing weight no longer has to be difficult. Weight Watchers Online is well worth the consideration if you want to make this time the last time that you lose weight.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Losing weight healthily

There are now many people looking for ways to lose weight quickly but that doesn’t mean that it will be healthily. However, there are ways to be able to drop a dress size or two and be able to join friends in that gorgeous dress in no time.

It is all about controlling the amount of calories that you eat and creating a deficiency so that you body needs to burn the calories from the fat. Of course, there are chances that you will lose weight so quickly that you will end up burning the calories in the muscles, which is not the way to go.

Over time, this blog will give you hints and tips on how to lose weight and what diets are out there. Much of this is done based on experience after following diets, whether they are “fad” diets or the slower diets like weight watchers. I will also go through weight loss supplements and just whether they are the best option for you and the risks that you will be putting your body under.