Read testimonial »
|Tags||nutrition recipe pilates hormones wellness massage lifestyle 3rd age baking mind set post natal menopause power plate breakfast meditation post-natal womens health mindset lifetsyle pelvic floor show all posts|
Showing all posts tagged: wellness
Are you finding you pick up colds easily?
Or, are you trying to stear clear of the office lurgy?
At this time of Year it is really important to make sure we have got our immune systems fighting fit...and sometimes it can be done quite cost effectively & naturally too!
These 5 things are my family's 'go-to' remedies. I hope they help you too!
1) Vitamin C
Are you feeling like you have stubborn weight that just won't shift??
Maybe you've been told its's just "your age" or to "get used to it" or worse...."to exercise more & eat less"?!
NO WAY :-)
I truly feel that applying old concepts of "exercising more & eating less" just DOESN'T work for us from midlife...stressing the system & working out for longer is an old paradigm, that simply isn't working.
It's time to apply the bang-up-to-date, research-proven methods & put them into action.
Which means exercising SMARTER and getting NUTRIENT DENSE foods in.
Menopause & the 10 or so years leading up to it (known as peri-menopause) has always had a bad press, as with the loss of oestrogen comes with increased risk of:
- bone-density loss
- The increased risk of coronary heart disease
- Stubborn weight gain (esp. around the thighs & bottom)
- Libido running low
Does any of this sound familiar?
The brilliant news, is that there are some simple natural actions you can take....today!
I've cherry-picked a couple of evidence-based studies that I use within my 5-week online Goddess Program, as these are the methods we work on together through a well paced journey of nourishing nutrition & lifestyle.
I'm always blown away with the results we see each time! Here's 2 action-points for movement in mid-life, that I think you will love:
1) Exercise SMARTER NOT LONGER
I just have to share with you the most recent published journal; a 16 week study amongst a group of obese post-menopausal women - one group started endurance training, the other did short-duration, high intensity workouts. Both groups were monitored with their fitbits, had a diet guideline & monthly meet-ups.
The high intensity group (also known as HIIT) LOST DOUBLE the body fat to the endurance group. A whooping 8.7%!! This is very meaningful, and very exciting, as it actually takes LESS TIME to carry out & yeilds more results.
So ladies, when you are deciding on your Summer goals for 2018, bear in mind the bone-building, fat reducing HIIT type of exercise that you will find through a number of types of exercise like:
- Power Plate
- HIIT specific classes
- or bone loading exercises at home (check out my YouTube channel here)
2) Exercise to improve INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Our insulin sensitivity controls our blood sugar levels. Improving our insulin sensitivity helps us to reduce insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes) and reduce our risk of diseases.
Regular exercise helps us to store sugar in the muscles for up to 48 hours. With resistance training (ie - using weights) showing the best for effectiveness.
This is true even in peri-post menopause (see the study here) This is truly empowering as you DO NOT HAVE TO put up with central body fat because of your age. Find a safe way to start lifting light weights ladies!!!
If you would love an action plan to nourish your body & get exclusive home HIIT workouts for home....I bet you'll love my fully interactive Vitality Goddess Program!
I've had a lot of questions about 'slimming down' for Summer & Detoxing. But I actually think the word 'detox' can sometimes be be a loaded word, with lot's of mis-information surrounding it!!
>>Do we even need to detox??
>>Isn't that our livers job day in day out anyway?
Detoxing with all the promise of loosing 'x'lbs can be misleading, as yes indeed our liver DOES help us detox day in & day out.
However, some things can become a 'liver loader' and give it a hard time doing it's job.
>> The liver transforms substances that would harm you if they accumilated them. The liver processes it & shuttles toxins & old hormones off to the right channels for elimination. But when it is overworked, the liver has a very nifty 'back door' that spurts out the extra it can't deal with right now, & re-circulates it back into the system....like old oestrogen (hello PMS & cellulite).
You may have an overloaded liver if you:
- Have problem skin
- Have low energy
- Have low thyroid
- Have PMS
- Have low mood
- Have cellulite
The choices we make affect how effectively the liver can do it's job. It's not what we do sometimes, but it is the small things that we do each day that keep our body systems energized. This is great news for busy mums, full-time workers & anyone feeling overwhelmed. This means you DO NOT NEED TO GO ON A CRAZY DETOX TO REAP THE BENEFITS OF A HAPPY LIVER!!
Here are some lovely little daily rituals, that you can fit into your busy life that can make you feel a whole lot brighter & brimming with energy! Not to mention buh-bye PMS & stubborn hips ;-)
This month we celebrate National Sleep Day, on Friday 16th March. I know, I know, there is a day for everything these days...but this is an important one!!
It sounds too simple to be true...but the power of sleep is hiding in plain sight - ie - we all have access to it, but maybe we don't realize the true PRIZE of making it a priority??
It has been researched that not enough sleep leads to weight gain (see study here), and can contribute to depression.
I know when I've had a restless night, or went to bed too late....no willpower in the World can stop me from heading to sugar for a lift at some point the next day. I realised this profoundly, when I started making sleep my priority.
Perhaps you'll find a little gem in here that you can implement TONIGHT, so that you get a deeper more restful sleep. Or go crazy, and try all 5!!
I am very intruiged to see what works for you, so do let me know on Facebook & Instagram - and be sure to tag me in your sleep endevours!
1. Get your 'friends' out of the room
How many of us go to bed & have a little scroll before we sleep? Or use our phones as our alarm? Or wake up & the first thing we do is reach for our phone?
Our electronic devices omit a blue light which suppresses meletonin - our sleep hormone. So if we are having a little scroll before bed, we are hampering our bodies ability to repair & heal. At best, have a electronic curfew a couple of hours before bed. At minimum filter your screen to a RED back light (check your phones settings or download FLUX for a red filter. All the blue screen stimulus plays havoc with sugar cravings too (due to the bad gut bacteria that loves the stimulus) - another amazing reason to step away from the devices & keep them out of our room.
2. Shut down the kitchen...but grab your cozy drink first!
It's been proven in a big study by Cancer Research, that having a window of 13 hours overnight without food is great for our health & cancer prevention.
So shutting down the kitchen around 7.30pm is a great idea...but do grab your cozy drink first! I love sleepy teas like Pukkas Relax or Love. This is due to the lavender content. Chamomile tea is also sleep enducing. See my popular recipes for my Turmeric lattes and healthy hot chocs too!
3. Get a high quality magnesium in
This is without a shadow of a doubt, the BIGGEST game-changer for me. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 reactions in the body including muscle repair. Magnesium is sleep inducing & also helps curb sugar cravings.
You can find magnesium in:
- Leafy greens
- Nuts & Seeds
- Beans & Legumes
However, due to food quality & stress, sometimes foods just are not enough these days. If you are a lady with PCOS (polycystic ovaries) or PMS – taking a powdered magnesium like @nutri is a must-try.
If you have aches and pains, you may like to try magnesium spray, directly onto the muscle. I love @sevenminerals
If you are local to Huddersfield make sure you check out our range of magnesium at the studio....whilst stocks last I also have samples to give away!
Hormones are our chemical messagers that run through our blood stream ACTIVATING certain cells into ACTION.
They are in control of:
- Our mood
- Our metabolism
- Our reproductive system
Last week, we discussed how to boost certain hormones for fat-loss. (Read here.)
And Today we are talking about balancing a different hormone, which does also manage our weight too!
Today we are talking about Cortisol, our stress hormone
If you feel:
- tired yet wired
- unrested when you wake up int he morning, even after a long sleep
- have stubborn weight, even despite eating relatively healthy &/or exercise
Then this blog is for you!! So, grab a brew, and let's get the low down & the actionable tips!
What happens when we are under stress?
Initially adrenaline is produced by the adrenals when we are under stress. Our adrenal glands kick in to produce the hormones adrenalin & cortisol, to help us deal with a stressor, which can be:
These hormones kick in at the sign of stress, because we are hard-wired for survival.
In cavemen times this served us well, as we needed our adrenalin to chase the odd lion (or run from it!). During this fight or flight mode, the body releases sugars into the blood stream, ready for action! The sugar got used by our muscles during the action. Then we got back to our safe cave, & we 're-set' back to our calm state. Our other hormones got their chance to be made & put to use, like our anti-anxiety & fertility hormone progestrone, or the metabolism regulatoring hormones of the thyroid, for example.
What isn't so great, is the fact that we are not built to with-stand long-term, low-lying chronic stress.
Fast forward to the 21st century...don't you agree we are under chronic stress, day in & day out?
Remember, our body thinks we are under attack when stressed, due to our 'hard-wiring' as humans. Our blood sugar levels surge ready to fuel the muscles to run from a danger that we are not physically running from, because often our stress nowadays is perceived stress from things like our email inbox. We end up with this vicious cycle of high blood sugar levels & instead of using it, insulin shuttles sugar into our tummy fat...this is a no-win situation.
Stress makes us fat.
Cortisol trumps the production of all our other hormones. Our calming hormone progesterone, doesn't get a look in, which can dis-regulate our monthly cycles & stop ovulation. Left unchecked, long-term it gives us a rougher ride as we go through peri-menopause & menopause.
Do you think you may be producing a lot of cortisol? You may be chronically stressed if:
- You have stubborn weight gain that isn't coming off like it used to
- You feel ready to snap at the slightest thing these days
- You feel like something is off - you just don't get as excited about stuff like you used to
- Your cycle is off - and you notice that it's usually when you are stressed
- You are getting hormonal hot flashes
I feel it's time to re-evaluate our perception of stress, & the production of stress-hormones....& to manage it....but where do we start?
We are all so very unique, and it's by knowing ourselves that we can start to take positive steps each week in the right direction.
You actually don't have to over-haul your life to start to feel calmer (and as a by-product notice your waist-line shrink!!) Just start with one or two things that you like the sound of, that can consistently do each day.
We go into a lot more detail in my Online Goddess Program, but I'd love to share 3 of the GREAT solutions for lowering cortisol that I feel everyone can benefit from straight away!
Let's get the solutions....Enjoy!
We don't have to retreat to the beach 9although that would be nice) Here is what you can do as part of your busy life:
1) 10 deep breaths....
with the exhale longer each time. This is scientifically proven to work, with brain imaging scans to prove it! Our 'fight or flight' mode calms and makes way for our healing, rest & digest side to switch on!
2) Interrupting anxiety with gratitude.
Very often I get caught up with my ever-growing to-do list &/or multi-tasking. After battling with adrenal fatigue, and NEVER wanting to go back there...I have made a pact with myself to check-in with how I'm feeling. This enables me to interupt the anxiety & ruminating going on in my head, with gratitude. Don't get me wrong when I say 'Interupt Anxiety with Gratitude'. This is not a plaster over feeling crappy. I have been doing my inner work on letting myself feel the way that I feel, acknowledging it. And even the acknowledgemnet itself makes me feel more at ease. Who knew?! This gives me the space to then notice there are so many things that are amazing & well in my life. This REALLY works for me. I make it a daily habit to keep me on track.
I know this isn't the most glamorous of topics...BUT...if you have bones...this is IMPORTANT :-)
Bone health is important throughout our entire lives....but it is usually only when we reach a certain age that it comes to light that we TRULY need to do something about it....let's not wait for the life-altering breaks ladies!
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, by 2020 approximately 14 million people over the age of 50 are expected to have osteoporosis and another 47 million to have low bone mass.
With a rapid decline in bone density after the age of 40, it is crucial that we find ways to build peak amount of bone density before this time, and then to off-set this decline with proven-effective strategies fromt he age of 40 plus.
It is not just the over 40's that are at risk. I met a lovely lady over the weekend who has had a diagnosis of osteoporosis in her 30's, which has prompted me today to take a look at what we can do about our bone health, so we can prevent life-altering breaks.
1) High-repetition & low-weight exercise improves bone density
In a recent study (see study here) over a 27 week comprehensive trial, non-impact, high-repetition, low-weights workout was proven most effective for improving bone density.
Postmenopausal women and osteopenic individuals experienced significant bone mineral density increases of up to 29 percent!
If you are looking for a Non-impact, low-weight exercise at Vitality, choose: Pilates on the Power Plate (Wednesday evenings) or try the Barre class. The Barre class will be full-time on our timetable in September, but until then, you can try it out on our 'Barre & Pamper' Evening Tuesday 18th July, and it will also feature in our 'Summer School' one-off classes mid-August!
It's absolutely well known we all need to move our bodies for our overall health.
This is where the confusion starts & this has to be one of THE TOP QUESTIONS I get week in, week out.
"Does it really matter what exercise I do, as long as I am moving? Right??"
Not all exercises are created equal in the benefit to your body, especially if you have any core considerations.
You will need to consider your safety of dynamic exercises if you are:
- Have a diastasis (tummy gap) no matter how old your child/ren are now!
- Peri-post menopause
- Had recent surgery
- Have obesity
We need to qualify the exercise before carrying it out, because not all exercise is created equal in benefit. It is evidence-based now that there is movement out there that will serve your needs of your life-phase AND make you feel nourished, nurtured & reduce your stress levels. See the wonderful research supporting this right here.
However, not all exercise is created equal in benefit to each individual.
We need to modify, swap out & simply find safe alternatives depending on what each individual needs.
This is something that I realised very quickly, when I first started out as a passionate 20 year old instructor years ago...I saw that I couldn't serve the needs of the individual when I started out teaching massive classes of 30+ people in the gym. I swiftly set up in my local village halls so I could manage the number of clients & serve each participant to get long-term results without compromising our core. We simply can't punish ourselves for last nights biscuits by picking up the heavier weight. We've got this amazing body & we can use it to our benefit trhough exercise that serves us well & leaves us feeling amazing!
Our core is not just our six pack muscles. It is made of:
- The pelvic floor
- The deep transverse abdominals (TVA) that wraps around the waist
- The obliques (pockets of muscle either side of our waist)
- The multifidi (deep back muscles)
- The diaphragm (works in conjuction with the pelvic floor)
- The glute max (bottom)
One of the big arguements that isn't widely discussed is exercise for women in the peri-post menopausal years. This is a time when muscle mass & bone density goes down due to declining oestrogen & potential pelvic floor issues can be on the rise.
If Women stop exercising due to pelvic issues, they add another layer to the mix, in terms of losing function in the muscularskeletal system. So does this mean we've got to do any type of exercise at the expense of the needs of our body? Not at all. There are safe alternatives that will give you the fitness & fat loss you want, especially when working with a wellness professional trained to serve the needs of Women in your life-phase.
The problem with some high-risk exercises
Some exercises will increase the intra-abdominal pressure within your core. This puts pressure on our organs & can lead to prolapse over time.
When I started in this industry almost 12 years ago now, I had endless energy...which I didn't even second guess & went about burning the candle and both ends quite happily!
Can you remember a time when you too felt this way?
Throw a business, family & my beautiful boy into the mix...& these days I need to be much more mindful about how I spend my energy!
This time of year, you may be aware of your energy levels too, especially as the nights draw in. So I thought now is a great time to share with you my 4 ways to FIGHT FATIGUE FAST, and naturally too!
The thing my sister & I have named the "Queen of self-care" since our babies were born!
Yes we all know that eating less & moving more creates a calorie deficit...but....
Have you found restricting your calorie intake is such a bore, and left you feeling miserable???
And, have you found when restricting calories your cravings & hormones have gone crazy!!? Relying on will-power never seems to last longterm...
If you are finding weight loss difficult...counting the calories & having less of them, appears at first enticing and full of promise, BUT this method DOES NOT mean you are going to burn fat as your fuel, nor be able to decide where in your body it comes from.
Why don't we burn fat as our fuel when we loose weight fast?
Calorie restriction for a quick-fix, often leads to more weight gain afterwards & also...saggy skin! This is because the weight we lose when we restrict calories to loose weight fast, often comes from using our muscle as fuel. Muscle is easier to access, rather than our body fat. This is because our body fat is somewhat 'toxic' & gives our liver a lot of work to do to process. Muscle is easier to burn as fuel when food is scarce.
When our body believes food is scarce, this initiates our primal fight or flight instinct, which drives our stress hormone up!
Because our hormones influence every action inside our body, our way to get long-term weight maintenance WHILST ALSO FEELING BALANCED AND HAPPY is to work with our hormones.
It is our hormones that truly un-lock our fat burning capabilities. And getting the hormones in balance = long-term results!
Our hormones influence everything in the body:
- Cortisol & progesterone balance affect our mood, and cravings
- Oestrogen determines our juicy joints & vibrant mood,
- Thyroid controls A LOT - our metabolism, joint health, mood & more...
I am so excited when Women get empowered about how to work with their hormones! And it IS possible to nourish yourself into health #nourishdontpunish is my mantra I use liberally!!
It is my job to give you these solutions at your finger-tips. This is exactly why I designed my 4 week Online Vitality Goddess Program. From the program, I've chosen 2 easy-to-implement ways to work with your hormones if you want to fire up your fat burning capabilities!
1) Raise your Human growth Hormone
This is the hormone that gets released when we create an oxygen deficit after interval training. (Often known as HIIT training.) This lovely hormone uses fat as a fuel long after your work-out (yey!) The appeal for HIIT training is that it is short in duration (great news for Mums & busy people!!)
An example of HIIT training that you can do without any equipment:
On your next power walk or jog, go to one lamp post faster than usual, then slow it down to the next lamp-post & repeat for up to 10 minutes.
Or, even better
Combine weights with cardio & work hard in 20-60 sec stints, like we do in our Power Plate classes, or in my work-out videos in my Online Vitality Goddess program. This is one way of getting great fat burning by raising your heart rate, whilst also being pelvic floor friendly (ie - no star jumps!!)