Avoid Gaining Excess Baggage This Holiday

If you’ve spent the last few months working hard to get your beach body ready for action, the last thing you want to do is see the pounds pile back on whilst you’re on holiday. Here are a few tips to avoid turning from beach babe to beached whale:

Count Your Cocktail Calories

Depending on how it’s made, a large Pina Colada can contain more calories than a Big Mac (490 calories), so make shrewd choices when you’re checking-out the cocktail list.  Better still, rather than a cocktail, opt for spirits such as vodka, whiskey or gin and have them on the rocks, or with a low calorie mixer, sipped not gulped!

Drink plenty of water to keep you both hydrated and feeling full. Add lemon or lime and ice-cubes to make it more appealing. Never use alcohol to try and quench your thirst, an ice cold beer may taste refreshing, but it won’t do your hydration levels or waistline any good!

Select, Seduce And Stay Slim

Holidays aren’t the time for strict diets, so do allow yourself some treats. Calorific indulgences should, however, be something that you’re really going to enjoy, rather than just a stale bit of sweet bread, so spend time selecting the best treat you can possibly find.

Don’t rush, holidays are all about slowing down and taking it easy. Allow yourself to be seduced by your food, enjoy everything about it including the presentation, aroma, texture and taste. By literally savouring every mouthful, you’ll end up eating far less and enjoy your food a lot more.

Restaurant Rules

In the restaurant, avoid munching on the mountains of free bread that you’re given. Save yourself for your meal, it’ll taste much nicer if you haven't already binged on tastless snacks first. If you’re waiting for a course to come, use the time to re-fresh your palette with some sin-free water.

Try not to have a starter, a pudding and a high calorie alcoholic drink all in one sitting. Opt for one out of the three or just go for the main meal. Remember that a couple of cocktails and a dessert everyday could add half a stone to your waistline by the end of a week!

If you’re on an all-inclusive holiday, keep reminding yourself that just because it’s all paid for, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. And don’t take the “all-you-can-eat buffet” idea too literally!

It’s All About Balance

Finally, try to make some healthy choices everyday, but make sure it doesn’t become a chore that ruins your holiday. Make a concerted effort to balance out any extra calories that you take on, by being as active as possible. Plan to swim and walk everyday, and take advantage of any fitness classes that might be going on, or a gym that you could use.  

Enjoy your holiday, have fun and don’t forget to pack your trainers!


PS. You’ll find some more holiday tips in my 2008 article: Forget Credit, You’re The One Who Should Be Crunching This Summer

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

How to Stay Cool & Motivated This Summer

When the sun comes out and temperatures rise, most people find that exercise becomes harder and the heat makes it tough to stay motivated. But that’s not to say you should hang up your trainers and eat ice cream during the summer months, it just takes a little more careful planning.
Take It Easy
I don’t say this very often, but when it’s really hot, it’s important not to push yourself too hard, and don’t be afraid to quit early or take breaks if you’re starting to overheat.
It's really important to get into the mindset that, when it's hot and humid, you’re just not going to perform at your best. This is because your body, especially your heart, has to work much harder just to keep you cool. Listen to your body, and avoid pushing on through if you start to feel dizzy, get a headache or notice that your performance has decreased significantly. Other signs to look out for are muscle cramps, a high heart rate, nausea, confusion, and a significant rise in skin temperature.
Take The Heat
The good news is that most people can acclimatise to exercising in the heat fairly easily. Start by exercising for less time and at a lower intensity and then gradually build up to longer, harder workouts.
Your body will start to adapt by sweating earlier, sweating more, developing an increase in blood volume, a lower body core temperature, and an overall improved ability to tolerate the heat.
It can take about 14 days to get acclimatised to exercising in the heat, and you’ll find that you can achieve a lot more, as your body starts to adapt.
Cool Times & Places
If trying to combat the heat isn't for you, then avoiding it is your best strategy. To keep cool, exercise in shady areas, such as in the woods, or open places where you’ll feel a breeze, like on the coast.

Try to train closer to sunrise or sunset, when the temperatures are cooler. I love running first thing in the morning, before most people are up, when the air is fresh and crisp, and the dew is still on the ground. It gives you a great feel-good factor for the rest of the day!

Drink, Drink & More Drink!
Sweating is a very effective way to get rid of excess heat, but it causes the loss of water and electrolytes (salts) from the body. Dehydration, even as little as 1%, can affect your performance.
Prevention is the key to avoiding dehydration, and you should drink well before you exercise, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t start exercising already dehydrated, with the idea that you’ll catch up during your workout, it just won’t happen.
It's important to pay attention to your hydration levels at all times, and not just when you're about to workout. Get into the habit of drinking water throughout the day, to increase your overall hydration levels. When you’re in the office, never pass a water cooler without taking a drink. At home, never go into the kitchen, without doing the same thing. Always carry a bottle of water around with you, and take regular mouthfuls.
During your exercise session, sip water frequently, and see drinking as an essential part of the workout, rather than an inconvenience. You’ll increase your performance, delay fatigue, and avoid risking injury and your health.
Immediately after your workout, start to re-hydrate your body to speed up recovery, keep your energy levels up, and prepare for your next session.
Less Is Best When It Comes To Clothing
The most important features of your summer wardrobe should be sunscreen and a hat.
On top of that, clothing should be light-weight, and light-coloured. Synthetic fabrics are much better than cotton, which can rub and cause chaffing once wet. It’s also worth investing in some technical clothing such as CoolMax, DryMax or Dri Fit, which wick-away sweat from your body. A performance t-shirt is probably the most important thing to invest in, although you can go the whole hog and buy everything technical, including your underwear!
Finally, don’t overdress in an attempt to lose weight. “Sweatsuits” will just make you lose a lot of water, and you’ll no doubt cook.
Lean, Fit & Fast!
People who have good cardiovascular fitness are usually able to handle the heat better than those who are less fit.
Also, body fat is an insulator, so if you loose a little excess weight, you might find that you can handle the heat better. If you’re tired or unwell, you’ll also notice the heat more.
Finally, faster runners will probably find that they get a greater cooling airflow, keeping them fresher than slower runners!
To sum up, training in hot weather shouldn’t be taken lightly. The more attention you pay to keeping cool, the better workout you’ll have.


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

The 10 Commandments of Healthy Eating & Weight Loss

Gain control of your diet and weight by following these 10 wise rules.

Thou shalt…

  1. Fuel up frequently. Eat a little and often, and you’ll give your body a constant supply of energy which will help you to avoid cravings.
  2. Think before you eat. Consider why you want to eat something. Is it because you’re hungry? Or because you’re stressed, bored, lonely, angry or depressed? If it’s not hunger, will that sugary indulgence actually solve the problem, or just make you feel worse?
  3. Avoid food shopping on autopilot. Stop repeating your bad habits week after week. Buy something healthy that you’ve never tried before, or flick through a recipe book for inspiration. A varied and interesting diet will help to satisfy the appetite better and is more nutritious. Aim to try a new healthy food or dish every week.
  4. Never buy “foods you can pick at”, such as crisps, chocolates and peanuts. Once the packet has been opened it’ll be hard to stop, so best not having them in the house at all. It’s a slippery slope!
  5. Take control. Prepare your own foods rather than eating out or buying take-aways and pre-prepared foods.  Put yourself in charge of the ingredients list and portion sizes. Your salad may taste better with a thick dollop of mayonnaise, but do you really need it? Is it more important for you to reach your weight loss goal, or have a salad that tastes marginally better?
  6. Opt for wholegrain foods.  We digest them slowly, so they’ll make you feel fuller for longer. Look for wholegrain bread, pasta, breakfast cereals and brown rice.
  7. Steer clear of foods with a lot of added sugar.  Watch out for words, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, corn syrup and honey on the ingredients list. If you see one of these near the top (they always start with the biggest ingredient first), you know the food is likely to be high in added sugars.
  8. Give a very wide berth to high fat foods. Again, check the ingredients list. High is more than 20g of fat per 100g, and low is 3g of fat or less per 100g.
  9. Under no circumstances be a plate cleaner! Think about how much food you are consuming in each sitting. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not stuffed. Eat slowly, your fork is not a shovel. Your brain doesn’t start signalling feelings of fullness until 20 minutes after it actually is, so take your time and give your body the chance to recognise that you’ve had enough to eat.
  10. Limit your alcohol intake. Not only is it highly calorific, but it also reduces your will power and ability to say no to alluring fatty foods. You also maybe a little less angelic with your food choices the morning after!

Good luck and remember that you're allowed to break the rules every now and then. Just put yourself back on track as quickly as you can, and don't make a habit of it!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.