Tag Archives: dieting

How stress turned me into a fat storing machine

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It was mid 2015 and I’d just left my corporate career of 13 years, having decided to start working for myself as a Nutritional Therapist. The thing is I didn’t really have a plan but I just knew I HAD to get out of my City office job and start creating a new life for myself, having spent 5 years training to qualify.

I didn’t have any savings, just one more months salary to come, then that was it until I started making an income self employed – something I didn’t have a clue about back then!

Some of my friends didn’t really understand and some of them still don’t, but I knew this was something I HAD to do and if I waited until I had a load of savings behind me first I’d be waiting a LONG time, plus I knew that NOT having a safety net would make me more determined and driven (which it totally did).

During the first 9 months of working for myself and trying to figure things out, making mistakes, dusting myself off, trying again, over and over, I became VERY stressed and lost a lot of sleep. As a result I gained a stone in weight over the course of those 9 months. My nutrition had stayed the same during that time and was pretty much on point, yet still the weight just kept creeping on.

I wasn’t sleeping properly at all for those 9 months, I’d toss and turn until 3am most nights and then have broken sleep until 7am when I’d get up.

The stress was affecting my sleep and my sleep was affecting my stress – it was a vicious cycle, and this changed how my body was running metabolically and put me into fat storing mode.

The high stress meant I had more of the hormone cortisol in my body, which can lead to things like fat gain, sex hormone imbalances (causing hormonal symptoms and more weight gain)

Stress was also creating inflammation in my body, which turned into chronic, low-grade inflammation. This chronic low-grade inflammation was having a negative impact on my hormones, especially the hormones that regulate blood sugar levels; insulin, and cortisol.

I was basically a fat storing machine with muscle aches and pains, digestive issues, and hormonal symptoms.

Apart from my nutrition still being very good I wasn’t doing anything else at all to look after myself. I was stressing and worrying from the moment I woke up in the morning, and even in my sleep because I would usually wake up grinding my teeth. I wasn’t taking ANY time out at all, I felt guilty if I went to the gym or to a yoga class, or if I spent the evening watching TV or reading a book or God forbid having any fun! I made zero time for the gym or any sort of movement including walking, and I sat in front of my computer for hours on end each day pushing and trying to make things happen for my new business. I was seeing a bunch of clients at a health club until 9pm a few nights a week then staying up late to write their programmes.

I pushed and pushed and pushed, and after 12 months like this, I was a stone heavier, and I know that my symptoms and weight gain would have been a whole lot worse if it hadn’t been for my good nutrition.

I knew things had to change – and it down to me to make those changes.

I signed up to an intro offer at a local yoga studio and did a yoga class everyday for the next 10 days, more the restorative type classes rather than strong fast ones, as I knew my body didn’t need any more stress put on it at this point.

I decided that at this point going back to the gym wasn’t going to be helpful as I needed to do things that reduced the stress load on my body and right now anything other than walking and yoga was just going to add more stress. 

After a beautiful run of yoga classes over a few weeks I started to fall asleep a little easier, I felt more ‘grounded’; a term I had always heard but never truly understood until then, basically I was feeling more calm, and more mentally and emotionally stable, and now operating from a far more powerful place.

I started to allow myself the time out that I should have always allowed from the start. Yes I was worried about making enough money each month to pay the bills, the rent and allow me to live, but working 16 hours a day and worrying all night wouldn’t help or make things happen quicker.

I started reading fiction books to help me switch off from my work and anxieties about money, I started to actually listen to Mark when he was talking to me, took myself out for walks in nature (my local green common), did lots of yoga, meditated as many mornings as I could (I did 5-10 minutes), and as I started to feel a bit stronger I added in 2 structured heavy weight lifting sessions per week, but NO cardio or ‘HIIT’ because that would just stress my body again and get me storing fat not burning it.

I’ve lost the weight now but its was SLOOOOOOWWWW, and it was never going to be quick. 

My body did nothing wrong, it simply responded to its environment – and that’s all our bodies ever do – they respond to their environment. If your environment is one of high stress, poor sleep, and zero down time then eventually it will start to respond – very negatively. 

Same way if your environment is one of calorie restriction diets and a tonne of cardio it will eventually respond by slowing itself (your metabolism) down in a bid to help you preserve as much energy as possible.

I’m glad this happened to me because it only equips me EVEN more for the work I do everyday. I help women find fat loss that lasts, get really healthy, and really happy. 

If you’re ready to learn how best to serve your body so that you CAN lose weight AND KEEP IT OFF for good, AND know how to navigate yourself through life’s twists and turns without them being detrimental then the next round of The Forever Plan is for you. Enrolment is open now and we kick off on Monday 3rd Sept for 12 weeks of unwavering support, education and transformation. Send me an email at francesca@flnutrition.co.uk if you’d like to know more and reserve your place.

To find out more about how my coaching programme (whether the group or one on one) can help you, please complete the application questions below to book a complimentary breakthrough call with me where we can speak about working with me in more detail. I can’t wait to speak with you!

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How to deal with stress so it doesn’t halt your progress

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Stress really does have a lot to answer for. Whilst we all need a certain level of stress in our lives, its when it becomes to much and chronic we can run into problems.

I used to suffer massively with the effects of stress both mentally and physically. My entire body would feel it and I’d go for all sorts of body work treatments (which were amazing) to help it but at the end of the day it was the stress I had plus my thoughts and feelings towards it that was causing the pain. The treatments helped to dampen it down but it was only when I sorted my head out and learned how to manage the stress that I truly overcame it. Today, when I can feel stress building up from time to time I know exactly what I need to do and I’ve become so used to managing it better that I don’t need to remind myself more than once to start taking action. For me its journaling/writing my thoughts and feelings and flipping them on their negative head, upping the yoga and reducing intense gym sessions, no TV at night – baths and books instead and early to bed.

When we’re feeling overwhelmed with life and stress is getting the better of us we can tend to just do our best to get by rather than thrive in any sort of way. Our thoughts and feelings start to tend towards negativity as well.

We might say, think or feel things like:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not slim enough
  • I’m not fit enough
  • I don’t have enough time/there isn’t enough time
  • I don’t have the confidence/I can’t go to the gym, go for a run, do any exercise, ask for help at home/reach out to someone for help
  • I don’t have enough money/I’m broke
  • Etc. etc….

The thing is, our thoughts become things. If you say or think it then IT IS.

This is a concept I’ve really only just taken on board myself and I’m starting to get comfortable with.

If you say you are broke then you are broke, if you say you aren’t slim enough or you look horrible then you are and you do, if you say things aren’t going to go well then they won’t.

When we focus on the negative, or the lacking, then all if our energy goes to those thoughts and feelings and there is no room for it to go elsewhere and manifest anything positive. Our energy will get stuck in this place of negativity and scarcity.

We’re then switched onto a continuous cycle of self-loathing and sabotage.

I’ve been in this place, for years and years in fact, and its only recently in the last year or so that I’ve started to change my ways and I now think say and feel from a place of abundance instead. Now it’s not always that easy. I get days when I just feel AWFUL, and I have to try so very hard to stay up, to stay positive, to love myself, and to NOT think and feel from a place of lacking.

But imagine if:

  • You loved yourself, every inch of your being both inside and out
  • You were grateful for everything that already IS and everything you already have
  • You appreciated everything about your life even the stuff that isn’t quite as you’d ideally like it yet
  • You felt your life was so abundant and full

Imagine where your focus would go if you felt/thought/said as per the above?

Imagine what sort of choices you’d make and how you’d spend your time?

Imagine how you would show up for the people and things in your life?

When we feel grateful for what we have and are, rather than sorry for ourselves and hard done by, we make better decisions and enjoy day to day life a thousand times more, trust me.

This applies to your life on all levels but also to weight loss, if that’s something you’re trying to achieve.

Yes, to lose weight successfully you need the right information and advice, personalized for you, but you also need:

  1. To manage the stress in your life so that you’re actually in a place where you CAN implement changes and new habits, if you’re too busy to do this then you need to look at what of the things that are keeping you busy that you can toss to the side to make way for implementation and success once and for all.
  2. To stop focusing on what we don’t have or what we are not, and instead think, feel and speak from a place of abundance and gratitude for all that we are and all that we have. Our thoughts become things and thinking from a place of scarcity simply instills and perpetuates unhappiness, sucking of energy, negative energy and self sabotage.

Can you start to change the way you think feel and speak about things, your life and yourself? Trying to implement changes and new habits will be a LOT harder until you do. So I hope you can take this on board and start speaking and thinking differently about some of those negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs you have. Flip them on their head, keep repeating it until you believe it, and then keep repeating it some more 😉

If you want help with any of this stuff and think a complimentary call with me would help you get clearer on where you need to go (with NO obligation to work with me AT ALL), then click here to book yourself in for one at a time that suits you, or just reply to this email to let me know you’d like to speak.

With love

Francesca

Why am I not losing weight!?

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Are you doing all the ‘right’ things with your diet and exercise but still not losing weight?

I know first hand how frustrating this is!

The trouble is that for YEARS we’ve been told that to lose weight we should cut our calories as low as we can stand and increase the cardio workouts.

BUT when it comes to losing weight and getting to your ideal weight, it’s all about the BALANCE of energy in your body day to day, and cutting your calories in half does NOT create balance.

Let me explain what I mean.

We all have what’s known as our BMR; this is our base number of calories that we need each day; so the MINIMUM number of calories that your organs need each day just to perform their very basic functions. For the average woman this number is about 1400 calories (give or take). So to perform daily life in the way that we do we need to add on more to this number (anything between 300 and 1000 depending on your activity level and own unique needs) in order for your organs to have enough energy to function optimally, and we should never consistently eat close to or below our BMR calories).

Let’s say you’re woman with a BMR of 1400, and your somewhat active through the week, you should probably add around 600 calories onto your BMR and this number (2000) of calories will MAINTAIN your current weight. But if your goal is weight loss then you should remove about 10-15% of those calories (having you at around 1800 a day) so that there is SOME calorie deficit, but NOT a 30-50% one like most regular diets will have you doing. Cutting your calories as low as 1200 is ruining your waistline for the long term by slowly grinding your metabolism to a halt, it’s a recipe for metabolic disaster!

Most of the big mainstream diets do not have any nutrition science knowledge because if they did, they wouldn’t be telling the world to cut their calories in half and eat such low quality ready meals and bars whilst teaching you that avocados are a sin! It angers me that this is allowed to happen not to mention the amount of money these big diet companies are generating and all from fooling the public into a diet plan that has you gaining the weight back. But at least that way you keep needing to go back, so its repeat business for them! If a ‘diet’ worked you wouldn’t need to keep doing it. Its utter madness!!

A friend once said to me “well it works for me every time I need to lose weight I use it” ….errrmm hello? ‘every time you need to lose weight’? If the diet worked you wouldn’t need to lose weight again over and over!

We have truly been fooled.

So why do low calorie diets slow your metabolism?

Eating below or even close to your BMR calories means that your organs don’t have enough energy to work optimally for you, they cannot thrive and are rather just surviving. After about a couple of weeks of this your metabolism starts to push back in a bid to keep you alive and it slows down to save energy. It thinks there must be some sort of food shortage and it’s trying to protect you.

As this goes on your body starts to break down precious muscle mass in order to produce the energy that you’re not taking in from food. Over time as we lose more and muscle tissue your metabolism is slowing even further.

We need as much of our weight as possible to be made up of muscle tissue if we want our metabolism to run high and keep us in fat burning mode.

The typical dieter cuts calories to about 1000-1200 per day and does tonnes of cardio each week. They focus purely on the scale weight as a measure of success, they lose and they gain and they continue to yo-yo for life.

What about exercise?

Cardio alone is good for your cardiovascular system, of course, but if you want to truly burn body fat and change your body composition (hello waistline and toned sexy physique) you need to be doing resistance based training, basically exercise that builds muscle (no not bulks you up).

A lot of women are worried about getting ‘bulky’ if they lift weights but it’s not like that! We HAVE to build lean muscle tissue if we want to improve health, burn fat, and change our body shape for the better, and cardio doesn’t build lean muscle mass, in fact too much cardio can break down muscle mass.

For a permanent solution to weight loss eat MORE, cardio LESS and lift weights!

You might not end up losing much on the scale (muscle is heavier than fat tissue) BUT you’ll lose inches from your waist, start to feel better with more energy and find a body shape you’ve always wanted.

At first you might feel uncomfortable with this and I get that I really do. I was a typical dieter in my 20’s, running from one diet to the next and losing and gaining over and over. But that’s NOT a healthy or effective way to lose ‘weight’.

It took me a while to appreciate that even though my scale weight wasn’t budging like I thought it would I WAS losing body fat and changing my body composition for the better. I soon started to care less and less about the scale weight and now I can tell you that I haven’t weighed myself in years, I don’t own a set of scales and I never will, and no daughter of mine will either!

I hear a lot of women say they have a ‘slow metabolism’ – no you don’t, you just don’t have the nutrition and lifestyle habits in place that support a high one.

So what’s your current approach to your nutrition and exercise? How can you change it so that its more muscle building and less muscle wasting (too much cardio, loo low calories, and not enough protein anyone?)

So switch your running sessions for a sprint session once a week, and replace your cardio-based classes with deadlifts, squats and pull-ups – ask for help and guidance to start with and before you know it you’ll have opened up a whole new amazing world for yourself.

If you take the above advice on board and you stay consistent with it, over time you’ll see results, and these will be results you will maintain. But if you only get so far, or you don’t see any results at all, then there may be some areas of your functional health that are creating an energy imbalance in your body that may need to be addressed (by a qualified nutritional therapist like me ;-)) such as stress, sleep, gut health, liver health, and hormonal health.

Grab my FREE 4 Step Guide to Sustainable Fat Loss, Health + Happiness then you can grab my free pdf guide which I’ve put together especially for women like you. Click here to get your copy.

With love

Francesca

The typical pattern I see in a person trying to lose weight – is this you?

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When a person sets out to lose their excess weight it usually starts with feelings of determination and commitment. They get all fired up to FINALLY make THIS time be THE time when it ACTUALLY works and they lose the weight forever (I’ve been here many times!)

 

This is usually the typical pattern:

✅ You’re doing really well, following all the rules to a T

✅ About a few weeks in, you’re at a kid’s party, or there’s a birthday in the office, or you’re out with a friend, and you end up eating some cake or some other sugary treat.

✅ This ‘mistake’ ruins all further eating and exercise decisions that day, and usually for the rest of that week and you stop doing everything you were doing up until that fatal point, to try to lose weight.

✅ You spend a certain amount of time ‘off the wagon’ before deciding its time to get back on again, which is usually a Monday.

✅ You’re annoyed at yourself for stopping at all but you vow that THIS time (from Monday) things will be different and you won’t make any ‘mistakes’.

✅ Monday comes and you start again, and after a few weeks the same thing happens again, and you’re ‘off the wagon”, again.

✅ Instead of addressing the underlying reason of why you keep stopping/falling off you just keep on re-starting, over and over, likely for years.

 

So what might those underlying reasons be?

Most likely cause is that you’re on the wrong plan!

This coupled with the wrong beliefs (mentality) about fat loss and what is ACTUALLY needed to get you to your goal weight.

Your approach to weight loss is likely one that includes ‘dieting’ in the form of caloric restriction that’s too low below the amount needed to preserve your precious muscle mass and prevent your metabolism from slowing down and working against fat loss not for it.

You likely believe that you need to follow something temporarily, to the letter, until you’ve reached your goal weight, and then you can stop the plan and go back to your normal eating and living style.

You likely expect results to happen quickly and for the process to be a straight line from A – Z, and if you hit ONE bump you are off the plan.

You’re likely to be motivated purely by how much you weigh and how you look to other people, instead of being motivated  by how you want to FEEL, how your physical and emotional health is, and your energy levels.

You’re likely not looking at fat loss in terms of forever, of changing nutrition and lifestyle habits, forever, and continually practicing and building on these, forever.

 

Does any of this resonate with you? I’ve been this EXACT woman so I totally get it, but I’ve completely transformed my mindset about weight loss and as a result I now have the health and body I always wanted, and will have it forever.

Why? Because I live everyday in alignment with who I want to be and what I want for my body and health. There is no plan or diet to follow because the majority of the things I do and don’t do (80-90%) are in favour of fat loss and maintenance of my ideal weight, good health and high energy.

If you want long term results you have to stop doing the same thing over and over, or you’ll just keep getting the same result – temporary weight loss, regaining of the weight, and a detrimental relationship with food, exercise and your body.

If you want to read more about my 4 principles for sustainable fat loss, health and happiness then grab my FREE pdf guide here now and start making changes today.

With love

Francesca

My Weight Loss Story – Time to stop doing things the same way and expecting a different result!

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Do you want to lose weight? Are you trying to lose weight?

How long have you been trying for? Has it become a staple struggle for you in your life that you’ve almost just accepted?

For almost 10 years I did a new diet at least a few times a year. Sometimes it was the mainstream diet clubs in your local area and sometimes it was the latest dieting book that has been released with promises of being THE actual diet that would work this time.

I fell for all the fads and all the superfoods claiming to ‘melt body fat’

I joined a gym and did multiple spin classes, entered myself in 10k runs and half marathons in a bid to make sure I did a large amount of running each week, boot camps, and spent hours on cross trainers and treadmills.

I lost weight and gained weight over and over for ten years and times I never lost anything despite all the exercise and dieting.

It was SO frustrating!

I blamed my body, my willpower, and my resolve. I told myself I just wasn’t meant to be slim and in shape. I was ‘big boned’ and naturally ‘chubby’ and always will be (apparently).

Then one day I decided that something had to change, that maybe it wasn’t my fault, maybe there was a better way. I’d started to see a nutritional therapist for some digestive and skin issues I was having and she asked me about my diet and lifestyle. She told me that my digestive issues were likely linked to my constant calorie restriction and excessive cardio workouts. I couldn’t believe it, how could these things be linked?! She also suggested that the dieting and exercising was actually keeping me overweight and out of shape rather than the other way around. I thought she must be mad, but then I started looking into her claims properly and found that she might just be right.

From there my life changed, health, body and mind changed completely.

It didn’t happen overnight but once the wheels were in motion my body started changing. I was no longer starving myself, I was just fuelling my body with enough of the right types of foods each day to allow my metabolism to thrive and be happy, and I started lifting weights instead of all the cardio I was doing each week. I went for light 20 minute jogs when I fancied feeling the wind in my hair but that was pretty much it for regular cardio.

I started thinking about what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years and how detrimental it was. It got me thinking about the people I was taking advice from too, e.g. fitness instructors, who, although amazing at the fitness side of things, weren’t very knowledgeable on the nutrition side, and the mainstream diet companies that trained people up over a 6 week period on how to take people through the diet but didn’t actually learn or understand how the body and metabolism works. Maybe these diet clubs were just selling me a product to their gain? Something that CAN indeed work in the short term but what about long-term effects to my health and weight?

The diets were killing my metabolism and muscle tone and the excessive cardio was adding fuel to the fire. I was losing weight in the short term but then I was left with a slow metabolism and ‘skinny-fat’ body. I lost weight on the scales but most of that had come from water and muscle weight rather than actual fat weight. The weight piled back on eventually, every single time.

Once I started looking at my nutrition as a whole rather than grabbing the nearest diet plan to follow, I started to realize that my body needed MORE food, and LESS exercise, and different exercise! I focused on the nutrients my body needed and made sure I got those in at every meal in good balance. Protein and fat being the first place I needed to start, as my protein was low and fat non-existent in my diet. I increased fibre from plenty of vegetables and quality carbohydrates rather than the processed kind that came with promised of fibre and added nutrients on the box. I started seeing a personal trainer who took me through a quality weights training session once a week and gave me a weights programme to follow on 2 other days of the week.

Amazing things started to happen and after 6-12 months I was a completely different person both inside and out. Discovering a shape I never even knew I had. I have never looked back and was so inspired by what I had done that I spent the next 4 years training to become a nutritional therapies and now I teach women how to sustainably lose weight and change their health, body and mind forever.

I’ve maintained my weight and shape for almost 10 years now, which is something I could only dream about in my 20’s. I love my food, I love how I eat and I don’t struggle anymore. I truly truly want the same thing for all the amazing women out there who are struggling with their weight.

I’d love to speak to you if you’re going through the same thing and need some direction or just someone to talk to about it. I offer complimentary Weight Loss Strategy sessions via phone to women just like me and you, we’ll have 40 minutes to chat it through and it’s free. Click here to book a slot to speak with me and I’ll very much look forward to it.

If you’d like to read more and learn my 4 steps  to Sustainable Fat Loss, Health + Happiness then you can grab my free pdf guide which I’ve put together especially for women like you. Click here to get your copy.

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