Tag Archives: fat loss

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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You CAN eat meat and be healthy (and lose weight!)

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Eating meat will clog your arteries, increase risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes, and take years off your life, isn’t that what we keep being told, and even more so today?

In recent years meat has become the most talked about and controversial thing when it comes to nutrition, with Netflix documentaries and warring nutritional theories becoming more and more prominent, it’s no wonder so many people are turn their back on meat or just downright confused about the whole thing.

As a species we’ve been eating meat since the beginning of our evolution, but today there are so many raging arguments about eating meat when it comes to things like the awful state of our nation’s health, the environmental impact of agriculture, and the unethical treatment of animals – and all of these arguments have become tangled up in a minefield of confusion!

If we want to live long, healthy lives, should we eat meat? How much is OK or should we completely scrap it? Should we consume ANY animal products at all?

While anti-meat advocates and scientists have tried to frighten us away from eating mean by linking it to things like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, research actually shows meat to be a nutrient-dense food that can actually help to prevent these diseases, as well as prevent nutritional deficiencies – as long as you focus on quality and eat it with plenty of plant foods and vegetables.

Plant-based diets should be the foundation of everyone’s diet, and quality meat and fish can also form part of the diet without being harmful in any way. The typical Western diet is made up of processed foods, processed meats, inflammatory omega 6 fats (vegetable and industrially processed rapeseed and sunflower oil, margarines, hydrogenated fats), plus plenty of sugar and refined carbs, whilst being low in vegetables and nutrient-dense fruits and other quality fibre.

I’m not saying that there are NO downsides to eating meat at all, but there are good scientific and health-related reasons to eat high-quality, organic, grass-fed, sustainably raised meat as part of an overall healthy diet.

Here are 7 points to help you make the most informed decision when it comes to eating meat:

1) Meat is the single best source of protein. I hear and read a lot of people saying that beans and pulses have a lot of protein, as well as things like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and nuts. Well, they do, for plants. But firstly you’d have to consume a large amount of them in one sitting to get the optimal amount of protein required at each meal/across a day (ideally between 1.5 and 2g per kg of body weight per day), and secondly they lack a number of the critical amino acids, and we need ALL the amino acids, not just some of them, for good health. So, fulfilling your daily protein requirements with non-animal foods requires a fair amount of attention to detail, planning and effort – something that most people can’t manage. You have to eat three cups of beans with 100 grams of carbs to equal 6 ounces of animal protein (that contains zero carbs). And plant proteins contain very little leucine, the rate limiting amino acid needed to build muscle. Most of the plant-based protein sources are not ‘pure protein’ meaning they are also carbs e.g. beans and pulses like lentils, chickpeas, butter beans etc, or also fat e.g. nuts and nut butters. The older we get the more important dietary protein (we can lose as much as 3 to 5% of our muscle mass per decade after age 30) is in order for us to maintain our precious muscle tissue which means we maintain our health, strength, structure and prevent disease and ageing.

2) Meat was, and still is, unfairly demonised. Half a century ago it was discovered (in a flawed study) that saturated fat raises cholesterol levels and causes heart disease, and this led to the widespread demonisation of meat. We cut back on meat, opted for “lean” meat, and trimmed and skimmed all the fat off our meat. The thing is though that heart disease is a complex condition that doesn’t just involve high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, but also inflammation (from an array of other diet and lifestyle factors), blood sugar imbalances, triglycerides, and a lot of other factors. Also, the actual impact of saturated fat on cholesterol and heart disease isn’t that simple. Studies have actually found that the main source of saturated fat in meat, stearic acid, has no impact on our blood levels of cholesterol. What’s even more shocking is that eating saturated fat doesn’t raise blood levels of the saturated fats that cause heart disease. It’s actually refined carbs and starches, and sugar that actually raise your blood levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and the bad saturated fats.

3) Updated science research is still debating how much saturated fat is a “healthy” amount, and latest wisdom suggests that saturated fat is fairly neutral; i.e. it’s not harmful, but it’s not necessarily a superfood either. Saturated fat originally became demonised in the 60’s and 70’s after ONE research trial was done which concluded that saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease. We now know (although a lot of mainstream health organisations are not up to date) that this one piece of research was highly flawed.  The decision to demonize saturated fat then extended across ALL fats by the 80’s – leading to today’s (devastating) fear of such nutritious AND weight management foods like egg yolks, quality red meat, nuts, olive oil, butter and avocado.

4) Meat is a powerhouse of nutrients for us. Our only dietary source of vitamin B12 is animal protein, and B12 is an essential nutrient for health. We also get valuable minerals and other vitamins from meat, as well as enzymes that we need to access nutrients, essential amino acids, and cancer-fighting antioxidants like vitamin A, which cannot be obtained directly from vegetables (the vitamin A in vegetables, like carrots, is not the ‘active’/usable form of the nutrient). Vegans often become deficient in B12, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, omega 3 fats and more. Yes, plant foods contain many of these nutrients, but they are just so much more bio-available in meat. Quality matters, and I am not referring to processed or low quality farms meats here.

5) Which brings me to the next point, that grass-fed meat is better. Grass-fed meat (as opposed to factory-farmed meat) contains much better types of fat than animals that are fed grains instead of grass. Grass-fed meat contains more omega-3s, fewer omega-6s (which can be a pro-inflammatory fat in excess), and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can boost metabolism and can be cancer-protective. Grass-fed meat also has higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It is often more expensive than conventionally farmed cuts of meat but worth the extra if you can manage it. In my house we eat less red meat (about twice a week) and higher quality, and we spend the extra on better quality chicken and turkey, and just cut back elsewhere.

6) A plant-based diet is a must. A lot of people talk about a plant-based diet in terms of being vegan. But everyone’s diet should be based around plenty of plant foods, whether a meat eater, fish only, vegetarian, or vegan.  At least three-quarters of your plate should be made up of vegetables and the rest of quality complete protein (e.g. quality meat, fish or eggs). You can include some ‘starchy’ carbs as well preferably coming from root vegetables like sweet potato, baby new potato, carrots, beetroot, or from brown, red or black rice, quinoa, buckwheat and beans and legumes like chick peas, lentils, butter beans etc. About a palm size and thickness of meat added to meals that are mostly vegetables.

7) What about all the well-publicised scientific studies showing that meat eaters are in worse health than vegetarians and die sooner I hear you ask? Well, the findings may have something to do with which meat eaters are being studied. Studies show many people who eat a lot of meat (particularly processed meat) are likely to have unhealthy habits in general. They might weigh more, drink more, smoke more, eat a low amount if any vegetables, low fibre and good fats. They are also more likely to be more sedentary. So maybe it isn’t the meat that’s damaging carnivores’ health—maybe it’s everything else they are doing to damage their health. It’s not the meat; it’s what is contained in the rest of your diet. You can be a sickly, overweight vegan or a healthy, well-nourished carnivore.

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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8 Ways To Enjoy Your Holiday Without Sabotaging Your Health and Weight

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Ever gone on a strict diet and exercise regime in the lead up to a holiday and then gone wild when you arrived at your destination because you deprived yourself so much beforehand? You wouldn’t be the first!

Going on a deprivational low calorie diet to get you into shape for something special will only result in binge-like behaviour when you finally release yourself from the deprivation, and usually complete undoing of any results you might have had!

Something a lot of people do (myself included way back when) is go all out on a holiday and really do EVERYTHING they just wouldn’t do in their normal everyday life. This is usually a result of the deprivation or rigorous training routine they might put themselves through in the lead up to the event. For example you might ‘to hell with everything for the next 7 days whilst I’m in Ibiza, I’ll just get back on track when I get home”. This sort of mindset can be quite damaging. Far better is some sort of balance throughout the whole year, then when you go on short breaks or longer holidays you just let your hair down a little more than you usually would, but nothing so drastic that it throws your whole routine completely out and sabotages your health to the point where you are left feeling (and even looking) quite rubbish when you get back to the norm, and playing catch up for a good week or two and maybe longer.

 

Here are 8 ways to enjoy your holidays without sabotaging your health or weight loss efforts:

 

1) Ditch the stupid diets in the lead up

You’ll only get to your holiday and drink and eat everything in sight for 2 weeks because you’ve ‘been so good for the last month’. There really is no need to have this detrimental relationship to your food and lifestyle. The way I teach nutrition applies 365 days a year, only when it comes to fat loss specifically there is always going to be some sort of calorie deficit needed in order to shift it, but none of my women would or should be eating less than 1700-1800 calories a day, even for fat loss. So, in the lead up to getting yourself out in a bikini you might just want to tighten things up a little bit for a while before you go but that DOESN’T mean restrictive deprivational diets of 1200 calories and a tonne of cardio.

 

2) Plan Ahead & Keep it Real

Preparation is everything, especially when trying to avoid stumbling into the nearest bar or cafe when you’re starving. When you get to your holiday destination go for a stroll and see what restaurants and shops you’ve got nearby and get an idea of what’s available to you. Most beach resort restaurants will pile your plate high with heaps of fresh fish, mouth-watering fruit and veg and lean proteins. And if you finish that off with a bit of ice-cream, so be it. Know that you CAN and should enjoy some indulgence on your holiday but you don’t have to go mad, if you don’t deprive yourself for weeks before your trip you’re far less likely to have that mentality anyway (see point 1).

 

3) Book Self Catering & Bring your Own

I never go away without bringing some trusted essentials in my case. Here’s what I bring:

  • Milled flaxseed (e.g. Linwood’s) to add to things like muesli, smoothies, and sprinkle on salads.
  • Rude Health Muesli Nutty Crunch (not something I eat usually but for a holiday it’s useful
  • Protein powder that can be mixed/shaken with water (I like SunWarrior chocolate raw blend or Bulk Powders strawberry whey) for a protein hit during the day whilst enjoying an ice cream on the beach!
  • Then I hit the local grocery shop and buy some eggs, smoked salmon, cooked ham or bacon, avocados, spinach and or other dark green leaves, berries, coconut milk or nut milk (if available), tomatoes, olives, hummus, and any other veggies I can get my hands on.

 

4) Don’t forget to hydrate!

Don’t let your water intake fall to the wayside on holiday, even if you are sipping on cocktails throughout the day on an all-inclusive break to the Caribbean, GET THAT WATER IN no matter what! Your body’s cells will need it more than ever on a sun drenched holiday and even more so if alcohol is flowing.

 

5) Sleep is still a priority

Try to stick your normal routine as much as possible and get your 7-8 hours in each night. If you’re on a party holiday then just try to have a night off for every wild night and catch up on some sleep, your body and mind doesn’t have to come back ruined!

 

6) Know your limits

Which brings me to my next tip – know how much alcohol you can handle and don’t binge drink just for the sake of it. Take your time and have a glass of water in between each drink, you don’t need to get wasted just because it’s a holiday, its far nicer to remember your entire holiday! The same can be said for tamer more relaxing holidays – don’t just drink for the sake of it, ask yourself do you really want this next drink or maybe you’d rather a refreshing mint tea or glass of water instead.

 

7) Move your body

There’s no need for your exercise routine to take a complete break whilst you’re away, skip the cab and opt to walk instead, drop 20 squats each day before leaving for the beach or pool, and swim a few lengths of the pool everyday.  

 

8) Relax and enjoy yourself!

If you get breakfast and snacks right, stay hydrated, move your body, and get plenty of zzzz’s you can enjoy indulgent meals and fabulous wine guilt free. It’s not all or nothing, not at all, just do your best to limit the damage as much as you can and for the rest of it, relax!
So I hope these tips are helpful, I’d love to know! Drop me a line at francesca@flnutrition.co.uk :-)

With love

Francesca

P.S. IF you’re not yet part of my free private facebook community then jump in! I’d love to have you in there. Click here to join but be sure to answer the 3 entry questions to make sure you get granted access.

Who do you need to become to be able to lose the weight and keep it off?

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Something that’s massively overlooked by the dieting industry is the mindset work that’s SO necessary if we want to bring about permanent change. So many people believe that weight loss is simply about following a plan or set of rules until the weight is lost. If we can’t follow the rules we’re failures, who lack will power. But not working on your mindset either before or alongside the plan is like putting the cart before the horse. Not addressing your identity or who you are as a person (your behaviours, habits, and beliefs) means you’re likely to fall flat on your face half way through or go back to old ways once the plan is finished.

Whenever I tell people what I do I hear things like “what’s the best food to eat to lose weight?” or “I need to to write me a weight loss food plan”. I cringe inside when I hear this stuff; with no judgement to the person who’s said it; but its just another reminder of how misinformed the general public is when it comes to successful weight loss and what’s ACTUALLY required to make change.

The “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it” mentality (a mentality that the dieting industry has shaped) demonstrates a lack of ownership of the process, it basically says, “I don’t want to think about or work on what I need to do; I just want to change my body so tell me the plan and I’ll follow it”

But if you want long-term fat loss you HAVE to take ownership of the process. Yes you will likely need guidance but in the end its on YOU to do the work. My coaching programme is all about me educating and empowering you to take ownership of your own nutrition and lifestyle decisions, and to continually progress the practice for the rest of your life.

If you’re just following a diet and exercise plan and hoping to get to your goal weight, with no plan as to how you’ll maintain the weight loss once the unsustainable and unenjoyable diet is over – then you’ll stay stuck in the perpetuating yo-yo dieting cycle forever.

Following a set of rules on auto pilot won’t prepare you for those inevitable times when you have to make tough choices. For example, if you are at a party and you need to make a decision about the best choice you can make to stay in alignment with your goals.

If you need to think on the fly once in a while, which you certainly will, you’ll be much better equipped to do so if you truly believe that every day and every situation is another opportunity to learn and refine your healthy new lifestyle.

Believing that the planning of your journey to health is someone else’s responsibility entirely will put you at an immediate disadvantage.

So, take ownership of your goals. Learn as much as you can and assess your own attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs along the way. It is a mistake to assume that lifestyle change happens by stepping where someone tells you to step without any other considerations.

New habits must be created, that means your identity must change, you need to be someone new, to act, behave, think and believe in alignment with what it is that you’re trying to achieve.

An example of this outside of weight loss or health is when it comes to building a business. in 2015 I left my corporate career to set up my own business as a nutritional therapist and coach. I expected to start following some rules when it comes to setting up a business including things like the set up itself and the marketing etc. – otherwise known as ‘the strategy’.

Little did I know that for me to build a successful business I needed to become someone I’ve never been before. My old identity (beliefs about myself, actions, behaviours and habits) needed to be transformed before I could even begin to be successful and maintain this success. I am still on this journey and its an ongoing one.

The very same goes for weight loss.

One last thing to add is that you obviously need to be on the RIGHT nutrition plan, rather than a mainstream diet that simply looks at calories and leaves you feeling hungry and deprived. This ISN’T the right plan.

So, WHO to you need to become in order to make these new rules and habits become part of who you are? What work do you need to do on yourself to start changing your identity in favour of weight loss and great health?

In my private Facebook community I’ll be running a 7 day challenge from next week to help the ladies in the group to start working on their identity, and finding out who they need to become in order to reach and stay at their goals, and how to start moving towards that new identity straight away. Click here to join the group if you want to take part in the challenge and start improving your life! If you’re reading this after April 2018 then you can still join the private community for lots of inspiration and support on your weight loss journey!

With love

Francesca xx

Overcoming Food Cravings

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Cravings are something so many people struggle with, I used to have terrible cravings every single day – in fact I felt like my entire life was spent battling cravings and hunger! It can be worse when we’re stressed or feeling vulnerable emotionally.

It’s easy to be pushed ‘off the healthy wagon’ when cravings kick in, it really isn’t about willpower, in fact I really don’t like that term. It suggests that we’re not strong enough to just say no, but it’s NOT as simple as that.

Battling cravings can take up valuable brain space and energy when we’re trying to resist them.

It doesn’t have to be that way, cravings do not need to take over your life nor should they! All you need is a little understanding about how cravings work and some solutions for how to overcome them, read on to learn more.

 

CRAVINGS CULPRIT #1:Constant Sugar Highs & Lows in your Bloodstream

When I was in my 20’s my cravings were pretty much insane, and I gave in every single day. I would devour an entire pack of Maryland cookies all to myself, in minutes. I thought this was all down to willpower, and that I clearly just didn’t have any.

Here’s how a typical day looked for me back then:

  • Breakfast: Corn Flakes, Special K, or a croissant
  • Lunch: Jacket potato (quite a big one) with cheese and beans
  • Snack: 3pm – by now I was climbing the walls looking for chocolate or a muffin for the Starbucks across the road from my office, so off I went.
  • Dinner: pasta with tomato sauce and cheese
  • Evening snacks: chocolate/crisps/cheesecake

 

On a diet like this it’s no wonder I was having such intense cravings all the time. Between breakfast and lunch I craved but didn’t give in, between lunch and dinner I craved and DID give in, between dinner and bed I craved and DID give in.

Basically I was eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates that spiked my blood sugar levels initially, and then this was followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar (energy) once the hormone insulin had moved all of the excess sugar out of the blood stream to protect me (and stored it as fat..thanks insulin!) Those sharp drops in blood sugar left me feeling hungry, craving, low mood, lacking concentration, a bit fuzzy – no naturally my biochemistry started craving something to raise my blood sugar again and give me some energy. At this point the last thing you will crave is a plate of chicken and salad or a lovely soup. So you see it’s NOT a case of willpower, it’s your biochemistry. You are not weak and you don’t lack willpower! Refined carbohydrates and sugar are addictive foods, for the reasons I just explained.

Is this resonating with you?

I hope you can now see what I am trying to show you – that cravings can be controlled (eliminated) through the food choices you make all day everyday.

When I first embarked on a diet and lifestyle (permanent) change one of the first things I did was switch all the refined carbs over to their whole grain alternative. That meant replacing regular cereal with porridge, jacket potatoes with big salads, regular pasta with brown pasta (and less of it).

The first thing I noticed was that between breakfast and lunch I had no cravings or hunger and I didn’t even think about food at all until someone mentioned lunchtime was approaching – now this was a first!!

Then I noticed that after lunch at about 3pm when I would usually be craving like mad for some chocolate or a cake, I was a bit hungry but not craven, and I just wanted something healthy and opted for hummus, oatcakes and carrot sticks – WOW again!

I also started to lose the evening cravings for chocolate or crisps.

The problem up until this point had been major imbalanced blood sugar levels due to the sugar rushes I was having from the refined carb foods, so I was riding the blood sugar roller coaster all day, trying to manage my cravings and hunger all day everyday.

Not only do refined carbs cause us to ride the blood sugar roller coaster but so does our serious lack of protein. Most women are just not eating enough at all. Protein is KEY for keeping our blood sugar stable and hunger and cravings at bay. If you look at my diet breakdown above there is near to no protein at all. No wonder I was in such a craven mess every day!

The solution? The key to freeing yourself from cravings is to nourish your body with protein at every single meal and snack, plus good fats, use good quality non-refined carbs, plenty of nourishing vegetables and nuts and seeds that provide the essential minerals we need to help us balance our blood sugar, and plenty of healthy fats throughout the day.

You will enjoy your food (and life!) a lot more eating foods like this and you can create some really mouth-watering meals and snacks.

My life transformed once I discovered the right way to eat for my body. I couldn’t believe the clarity I had every day, the clear head, more balanced emotions and moods, and complete lack of cravings.

If I every skipped out on my healthy breakfast (porridge with nuts and seeds at the time) I really did feel it later on. Before lunch those sugar cravings would kick in again and no matter how I ate all day the hunger just wouldn’t go away. It was always a good reminder to stay with my newly created healthy habits.

 

CRAVINGS CULPRIT #2: Stress

When we’re stressed, our bodies use up more glucose from the foods we eat and more of the minerals needed to keep our blood sugar balanced. So stress can cause us to crave, even if we are eating a healthy balanced diet as mentioned above. So its important to recognize when we might be overly stressed and give our bodies more nourishment to manage the issue.

On super stressed days I know I will need more of the good stuff so I allow for that. I have healthy fat and protein based snacks at hand to have in between meals when on easier going days I might not have needed them.

Stress also increases the hormone cortisol, which sends sugar into our blood stream (because it thinks we need to run away from a tiger), this then signals the release of insulin and so we get the sharp drop in energy that we’d get from eating refined carbs and sugar. So its just more important when stressed to ensure the protein is there and the healthy fats too. Healthy fat helps to keep us balanced as well.

The solution? When you’re stressed make a consistent effort to eat better, stay hydrated and get more sleep and do things that help to bring calm to body and so can reduce the impact of the stress on our hormones (cortisol and insulin), this way we automatically dial down our cravings.

Some things you can do to reduce the impact of stress are:

  1. This short breathing exercise: Find a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it. Exhale through your mouth. Again, deep breath in through your nose and hold it. And exhale through your mouth. One more time, take a long, deep breath in through your nose. Hold it. Exhale through your mouth.
  2. Read good fiction or self development books in the evenings instead of watching TV, scrolling on your phone or tablet, or working on your laptop.
  3. Get some yoga into your week whether once or 3 times, anything will help. There are some great online subscriptions out there so you can do it from your own home, if you cant get to a class outside like yogaglo.com.
  4. Cuddles with your pets, friend, partner, kids!
  5. Relaxing in a bath with some lavender essential oil and Epsom salts, dim the lights and just lay there. I like to play a meditation whilst I’m in the bath and just feel myself calm and switch off for 20 minutes.
  6. Go for a walk in nature/green spaces. Listen to some of your favourite uplifting music – a powerful mood changer!

 

CRAVINGS CULPRIT #3: Boredom

Cravings can also be down to sheer boredom, so think on this for a minute. Perhaps you’re so bored in your job every day that you simply want something to spice things up a bit and get you through a draggy afternoon?

If that’s the case should you start thinking about switching to a job you find more interesting?!

If you’re boredom eating at weekends or in the evenings what could you do instead to fill your time? Find a hobby. Could you join a creative group, or a dance class or other fun fitness group? Read something that really gets your attention.

Maybe you could study something you’re passionate in your spare time. I have a friend who was pretty bored and she sat and thought about what she was truly passionate about. She realized that was make-up so she started spending her evenings watching make up tutorials on YouTube and practicing on herself or her housemate. That soon took her away from her cookie jar! Now she’s started a professional course and is planning a total career change!

 

CRAVINGS CULPRIT #4: True Hunger vs. Emotional Eating

There is a difference between true hunger and when we are highly emotional and want to fill our emotions with food. It can be hard to know the difference if you don’t take some time to think about it before diving in to that packet of cookies. Emotional eating can create a never-ending cycle of cravings.

The solution? Awareness is always the first step. By simply making the connection, and following the trail back to the trigger, we become mindful about the underlying feelings behind our food choices so we can regain control.

Need help with snack ideas that will get you kicking your food cravings to the curb once and for all? Click here to get your copy sent straight to your email address today. 

 

With love,

Francesca

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