Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Drop a size in time for the Christmas partying!!

YOU ask, we listen! Following a great discussion in our Facebook Slimpod Club community last week, we’ll be launching on October 30th a 30-day drive to Drop a Size In Time For The Christmas Partying!

In Slimpod Club between now and October 30th I’ll be suggesting several new healthy habits on which you can focus for just 30 days. Easy!

The 30-day challenge is for men and women and will be really simple. All you need to do is choose just two things to focus on and then commit to doing them every day during November. We will run special groups to enable you to hold each other accountable.

Here are some thoughts, but please add your suggestions to the comments below, too, because this is all about your journey and implementing small changes in your life.

With your Slimpod helping you, committing to a couple of the suggestions below will be very easy!

* Reduce the sugar and refined carbs in your daily diet.

Reduce alcohol.

* Do a certain number of steps every day.

* Do squats every day.

* If you suffer from stress, practise mindfulness or meditation every day.

* Do the Pioppi or Blood Sugar diet for 30 days (and before you scream at me – they’re not really diets, they’re recipes based on proper food with no sugar or refined carbs and re really, really good for you!)

* Drink more water each day.

Naturally we will also be asking you to listen to your pods every day. I’ll be pitching in with a video here and there giving you support and advice.

So let’s get this moving and be all set for October 30th! I’m thinking it would be a great idea for you to identify an outfit you’d like to feel comfortable in for Christmas and have that as a goal.  What do you think?!

Weight loss is not a one size fits all – we can all choose our individual path and then work together to achieve it!

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Butternut squash and mushroom risotto – great healthy recipe

AS you know, I’m a passionate believer in the old saying “Eat healthy to live healthy.” So I’m really excited that our superchef Simon Smith has produced a recipe for you this week which features one of Nature’s superfoods – butternut squash. As head chef at Tameside NHS hospital in Manchester, Simon knows the importance of serving meals which are packed with all the good things our bodies need.

Butternut squash is low in fat and high in fibre, so it is an exceptionally heart-friendly vegetable. The fibre content is an aid to weight loss because just like a Slimpod it gives you a feeling of fullness.

It is also a good source of vitamins C, E and B6 plus a whole load of other important nutrients, so it helps protect skin, improves eyesight and boosts the immune system. One last amazing fact: a cup of cubed butternut squash contains more potassium than a large banana. Potassium is essential for bone health.

Let me know how much you like Simon’s recipe by leaving a comment below – he loves reading all your feedback.

Butternut squash and mushroom rissoto

SERVES 4

PREPARATION TIME: 15mins

COOKING TIME: approx. 40mins

Ingredients:

200g Butternut Squash (Diced)

360g Arborio Rice

1 Medium Onion (Diced)

150g Chestnut Mushrooms (sliced)

2clv Garlic (pureed)

1 Spring Onion (chopped)

750ml Vegetable Stock (hot)

100ml White Wine

15g Butter

10g Olive Oil

10g Fresh Basil

10g Fresh Parsley

Equipment Needed:

2inch deep Sauté Pan

Mixing Bowl

Small Vegetable Knife

Chopping board

 

Method:

Place the risotto pan on a low heat on the cooker and add the olive oil, butter and garlic. Stir continuously until all the butter has melted. Add the butternut squash, onion and mushrooms and stir until coated in the garlic butter, allow to sauté for approx. 5 min or till vegetables have slightly softened

Reduce the heat to a low setting and add the rice.  Stir the rice, spring onion and basil into the butter and veg mix and allow to sauté in the pan until the rice becomes semi-transparent. The continuous stirring of this dish is a factor in creating a creamy texture.

Increase the heat and add the wine allow the wine to simmer and absorb into the rice mix while continuing to stir.

Add a cup of veg stock into the pan stir the stock into the mix and allow simmering then continually stirring the rice mixture through the stock until it is all absorbed.

Repeat the last step one cup of stock at a time until all the stock is absorbed. The rice should have a soft texture with a slight crunch in the bite. Season and allow to rest for 5mins.

Then serve with a small helping of fresh parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Consistent small weight losses are the key to long-term success

DAY IN and day out I come across so many people who get really upset if they’re not consistently losing lots of weight each week. Some people then stop doing whatever they’re doing because they think the weight loss plan has stopped working, or it gets too hard to sustain.

They then blame themselves for “falling off the wagon” which leads to comfort eating to make themselves feel good. This, of course, then becomes a vicious cycle, inevitably leading to regaining any weight they’ve lost.

We live in an “instant” world where people can get most things almost immediately.  However, this just doesn’t happen with weight loss because your body won’t let it.

I’m constantly saying “steady wins the race” and a study has been published in the journal Obesity which proves this is the best way of losing weight long term.

It found that “hares” who crash dieted their way to slimness lost less weight over two years than “tortoises” who shed a consistent number of pounds over time.

The research shows that it seems that developing stable, repeatable behaviours related to food intake and weight loss early on in a weight control programme is really important for maintaining changes over the long term.

Which is precisely what my Slimpod weight loss programmes do, of course!

Professor Michael Lowe, from Drexel University in the US, said his research showed that sticking to weight-loss goals was important even if progress was slow.

He said: “Settle on a weight-loss plan that you can maintain week in and week out, even if that means consistently losing three quarters of a pound each week.”

Such good advice!

Here’s a link to the study:

Consistent Pounds Shed Leads To Weight Loss

 

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Monday, October 2, 2017

More great healthy habit building strategies

LAST week I gave you three strategies for building new habits.   Make sure you let me know below how you’re doing with them! I also said last week that I’d be building on those and giving you  some more – so here goes!

One thing that most people forget about when they’re trying to lose weight is their environment and how that influences and determines what they eat each day and their behaviour towards food.

Our home or work environment is not something that we think about very often but it’s really important for achieving goals because if your environment is stacked against you then it just makes it really really hard to get to where you want to be.

If for example you work in an office and somebody is consistently bringing in cakes or chocolate then it’s very very hard to resist temptation.  Or if you’re in the habit of including treats and snacks in your weekly shop so that these things are constantly in the house then of course it’s going to be so easy to just munching away through them during the day.

People often say “oh it’s for my son” or “it’s for my husband” when actually I think that’s a big excuse and it’s really for themselves!  Hands up – who does this?!

Yes it’s true that we respond to the environment around us but we can turn this round and actually use the environment to help us rather than hinder us.

Things in our environment become visual triggers for us to eat or drink and very quickly develop into a bad habit!

But we can use visual triggers to turn things around and create good habits.  Here are some ideas:

  1. Switch things around a bit at home.  If you want to break a habit then put the thing that’s causing the issue in a place that’s a bit more difficult to get to. Out of sight helps it to be out of mind.
    2.  Make the healthy things far more visible to you. e.g  put the fruit in a place that you can easily see it every day.  Have a bottle of water on your desk and challenge yourself to drink it all in the day.
  2. This next one is a fab strategy and I’d love you to do this as a task for the week ahead.  Put up a calendar in a visible place and every day that you perform your new habit, put a big cross on the calendar.  It will soon make a “success chain” and psychology proves that when you have consistently marked crosses on the calendar you won’t want to break the chain.

This simple strategy has been proven to help with procrastination and motivation.

Most people get demotivated and off–track after a bad day, which could include a bad workout, eating badly or simply a bad day at work, but this encourages you to get right back on track again because your focus is on the process of not breaking the chain and you forget about everything else.  Again, the task needs to be meaningful and simple enough to get it done easily!

If you slip up, then get back on track quickly.  None of us is superhuman.  We all slip up and to ride the blips we need to be kind to ourselves, understand it’s going to happen and be self compassionate. Build it into life!  That’s what the successful people do and you can do it too!

Let me know below which strategy you choose to implement into your life.  I love hearing about your progress.

 

 

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mushroom and sweet pepper stroganoff recipe

HERE’S a perfect dish for these autumnal evenings – mushroom and sweet pepper stroganoff. It’s packed with goodness and it will warm you through and through. Our hospital superchef Simon Smith says: “This vegetarian take on a traditional Eastern European dish blends the taste of seasonal mushrooms and vegetables with continental herb and spices. Finished with sour cream, this dish is low in carbohydrates and fats. The dish goes well with a light fragranced cous cous.”

Mushroom and sweet pepper stroganoff

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15mins

Cooking time 25mins

Ingredients:

150g Closed Cup Mushrooms (sliced)

100g Wild Mushrooms (whole)

150g Button Mushrooms (whole)

2 Mixed Sweet Peppers (sliced)

1 Medium Carrot (chopped)

1 Medium Leek (chopped)

2 Medium Onions (diced)

20ml Sesame Oil

100ml (half a glass) Cooking Red

Wine

20g tomato purée

2clv Garlic (chopped)

5g Dijon mustard

5g smoked hot paprika

10g Fresh Tarragon (chopped)

450ml Vegetable stock

Seasoning

80g Soured cream

20g flat leaf parsley

Equipment needed:

Medium pan & spoon.

4 Small Mixing bowl

Chopping board

Small Vegetable Knife

Preparation:

  1. Heat the pan on a medium heat and add the sesame oil.
  2. Add the crushed garlic, stir in the oil and sauté for a few seconds then add the closed cup sliced mushrooms, carrot, leek and onions. Stir into the oil and cover the pan and allow the vegetables to sauté for approx. 5 min or until vegetables are al dente (crisp to the bite).
  3. Add the sweet peppers and half the wild and whole mushrooms. Stir into the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, just to soften the peppers and whole mushrooms. Add the tarragon and paprika, stir into the mix then add the red wine. Increase the heat and allow the red wine to boil until liquid has reduced by half in the pan.
  4. Reduce the heat once more and stir in the tomato puree & Dijon mustard. Then slowly add the veg stock, stirring it into the mixture while on a low heat. When all the stock is in the pan stir in the rest of the whole mushrooms and allows simmering on the cooker for approx. 15 – 20mins to cook out the tomato stirring regularly.
  5. Check the pan frequently when the sauce has reduced to a coating consistency on your spoon. Remove from the heat, season and stir in the sour cream and finally the flat leaf parsley.

 

 

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Monday, September 25, 2017

How to create good health habits that stick

RESEARCH shows that habits account for about 40 per cent  of our behaviour every day, so you can understand why it’s so important to create good health habits that stick, because this is one of the key secrets to lasting weight loss.

My Autumn Success Drive blog last week was all about goal-setting and breaking the big goals down to mini goals because this is what helps provide the momentum to reach the big goals.

The thing that most people find very hard to do when they’re trying to lose weight is to change their behaviour towards food and maintain a consistent healthy lifestyle.  It’s a constant challenge to use willpower to be consciously on top of your eating the whole time.

But it’s only through repeating the same behaviour day in and day out that healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle become automatic.

When this happens you don’t even have to think about it because your subconscious has taken responsibility for your behaviour. And this is how the Slimpod works – by gently nudging you into healthier behaviours without any of the effort!

One of the reasons so many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off is it just becomes too hard.

If you think about your eating habits over the past 10 years, they’ll probably resemble something like a rollercoaster ride rather than a cruise!

Nearly every habit you have today, good or bad, is the result of many small choices and decisions made over time.

And it’s the repeated pattern of small healthy behaviours that will lead to long term weight loss.  So remember those mini goals from last week’s blog – this is the next step after you’ve created those mini goals!

How to create health habits that stick

  1. Make them really small and easy

Start with something that is so easy that you need no motivation to do it.   If you have a fitness goal of 50 squats a day start with five and work your way up.  Do these at a regular time.   Make it easy enough that you can get it done without motivation.

  1. Develop the habit in very small ways

Success is a few simple disciplines, practised every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.—Jim Rohn

One per cent improvements add up surprisingly fast and make you feel great when you know you’re achieving something.

Rather than trying to do something huge from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Along the way, your motivation will increase, and your habit will gently become automatic – which is what you want!

Gradually increase the number of squats by one or two each day. Consistency is the key and you’ll be amazed how well you do!

Create a cornerstone habit

A cornerstone habit is something you begin your day with and this particular action sets you up for the rest of the day. I always begin my day with some exercise.  It’s either walking the dog, going to the gym or playing tennis (at 7.30 am!).

I have been doing this for five days a week for many years and I simply can’t start the day without it.  Even on holiday I have to swim/walk/jog in the morning before everyone else is up.

What could you set as your cornerstone habit – do tell me below!

Next Monday I’ll have more tips on how to create and develop great habits – watch out for my blog!

 

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Chef Simon’s super-healthy salmon en croute recipe

ALL of hospital superchef Simon Smith’s recipes for Slimpodders are created with busy people in mind and this week I’d like to share his Salmon en Croute recipe. Enjoy!

 

SALMON EN CROUTE

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 10 – 15 mins

Ingredients

4 * 130g Salmon supreme (skinless)
4 shallots (diced)
1tsp. Fresh dill (chopped)
1tsp Fresh chives (chopped)
1tsp Fresh parsley (chopped)
2clvs Garlic
Lemon juice
10g butter
1 lemon
2 *4ply Filo Pastry

Equipment

Baking tray
Frying pan
Chopping board

Preparation

  1. Place salmon fillets on to a plate and season; place the frying pan on a low heat on the cooker.
  2. Add the 10g of butter and melt, place the salmon supremes in the pan with the skin side down.
  3. Add the garlic, shallots, and herbs and squeeze ½ the lemon into the pan. Cover the pan, cook for approx., 2 mins, the salmon supremes should be light pink on the outside but still uncooked in the middle.
  4. Place the Supremes onto a plate and keep the pan with the juice in it.
  5. On a lightly floured surface cut the sheets of filo in half to make 4 rectangle pieces
  6. Place a portion of salmon into the middle of the pastry and add a teaspoon of the lemon butter juice from the pan on to each fish.
  7. Trim the width of the pastry to a centimetre from the tips of the salmon. Fold along the length of the supreme one layer at a time brushing each layer with melted butter and tuck the pastry under the fish to make a tight parcel. Crimp the ends with a fork. Repeat with the other portions and place on a baking tray.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven on 190C / Gas 5 for approx. 10min or until pastry is golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and serve with fresh vegetables and new potatoes or couscous . This dish goes great with a helping of garlic and cracked pepper creme fraiche.

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