Monday, November 27, 2017

Keep calm and carry on is the new Xmas challenge!

WELL, the 30 day challenge is over and there’s less than four weeks to go until Christmas…the busiest and most stressful time of the year for a lot of us. Mums have enough on their plates throughout the year and then it gets 10 times busier.  So many people have been doing really well with their healthy habits during the past 30 days so don’t let it all go to the wall now!  Sustainable weight loss is about continuity and putting an end to the yo-yo dieting stuff!

However, because we’re heading into this ridiculously busy time of year, your mind and body will need a little extra help to stay on track and today I thought I’d give you some advice on how to deal with the effects that stress can have on your body.

It’s a scientific fact that the more stressed we are, the more sugary things we eat. And the more of them we eat, the more stressed we become. That’s the most vicious circle imaginable.

It’s a bit like the old riddle about the chicken and the egg: what comes first, the sugar or the stress?

Stress changes how you eat and the choices you make. It makes you reach for the comforting sugary foods and a recent study suggests this seems to affect women more than men.

Stress means our bodies are awash with  hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which makes our blood sugar level go up and down like a rollercoaster.

We’re surrounded on all sides by sugar-packed comfort food so it’s easy for us to reach for a quick fix. But the stress which makes us go for the sugar produces more cortisol and we can become resistant to the insulin which controls our blood-sugar levels.

One of the effects of excess cortisol is that far more sugar is then stored as fat than is burnt as energy. And cortisol makes us store the fat around our middles, so that it is closer to the vital organs which might need it.

Constant stress means cortisol levels are high all the time – and you put on more and more weight.

So here’s my tips for keeping calm and carrying on as Christmas approaches.

  1. Avoid sugary breakfast cereals. They make your body react in such a way that the  the old cortisol/insulin battle starts up.
  2. Too much caffeine raises your blood sugar level just like sugar does. So go for decaff tea and coffee. Tastes just the same, does you more good.
  3. Exercise. Go for a walk, go to the gym, go swimming, talk the dog out, go for a jog. Whatever works for you will help reduce the stress hormones whizzing around inside you.
  4. Things you can eat to lower stress include berries, which are full of vitamin C, green vegetables, which contain so many nutrients, and nuts to give you the B vitamins your immune system needs.
  5. Sleep!  Make sure you’re getting enough of it! It’s been scientifically proven that lack of sleep is a huge contributor to weight gain and it’s one of the first things that suffers when we’re stressed. 

If you need a bit of extra help right now, our Chillpod is a fabulous stressbuster.  It calms everything down and people rave about it.  Here’s where to get one and use this code to get 20% off: CHILLSAVE

Let me know below if you notice that stress makes you eat more sugary stuff. How are you going to counteract Xmas stress by using your new healthy habits?

The post Keep calm and carry on is the new Xmas challenge! appeared first on Slimpod.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Healthy and delicious Chicken Verona recipe

OUR hospital superchef Simon Smith brings you a delicious healthy Italian dish this week, Chicken Verona, which is packed with goodness. Simon, head chef at Tameside NHS hospital in Manchester, knows that chicken is the perfect dish for a protein boost. Please let him know how much you enjoyed his Chicken Verona by leaving a comment below. He loves reading your feedback.

Chicken Verona

SERVES: 2

PREPARATION TIME: 10mins

COOKING TIME: 15 – 20mins

 

Ingredients:

2 x 130g Chicken supremes (skinless, boneless & butterflied breasts)

30g Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese

100g Smoked Pancetta

3 Shallot Onions (fine diced)

60g Button Mushrooms (sliced)

1tsp Basil Pesto

2clv Garlic (pureed)

10g Unsalted Butter (melted)

10g Olive Oil

80ml Red Wine

100ml Chicken Stock

150ml Passata

Seasoning

 

Equipment Needed

Medium Sauté Pan

4 small bowls

Small Veg knife

Chopping Board

Deep roasting tray

 

Preparation

Prepare the garlic, mushrooms and onions and set to the side in bowls.

Place the garlic and herb cream cheese into a bowl and soften with a spoon. Lay the butterflied chicken supremes on the chopping board with the skin side down.

Spread a tablespoon of cream cheese along the middle of the chicken supreme.  Fold over the chicken on either side to encase the cream cheese. Wrap strips of pancetta around the supremes until each fillet is encased. Place on to a plate and season with cracked pepper. Place in the fridge for 5mins to rest.

In a small bowl combine the melted butter, oil and garlic. Pre heat the oven to 180C / Gas mark 4.

Pre heat the sauté pan on a medium hob setting, add the garlic infused oil to the pan. Remove the Supremes from the fridge and place in the sauté pan. Allow the chicken to sauté on each side for approx. 3 min each side.  Cover with a lid while cooking so not to burn the chicken. When the pancetta is sealed place the supremes into the roasting tray and place into the oven for an approx. 5mins.

While the supremes are cooking in the oven, to prepare the Verona sauce add the shallots to the sauté pan and cook until onions have slightly soften. Add the mushroom and cook until the mushrooms have softened. Stir the onions and mushrooms often so not to burn them.

Add the pesto and stir into the vegetables then add the red wine. Increase the heat to high and allow the wine to boil and reduce the liquid by half. To this add the chicken stock and cook until this liquid has also reduced by half. Reduce the heat and stir in the passata. Simmer for a further 5 mins.

Remove the chicken from the oven and check it is cooked thoroughly (do this by piercing the thickest part of the fillet to the middle with a sharp knife. If the juices are clear then the chicken is cooked. If not return supremes to the oven for an additional 5 mins.

Place the supreme on to a plate and coat in a layer of the Verona sauce.  Serve with garlic bread. Enjoy !!!!

The post Healthy and delicious Chicken Verona recipe appeared first on Slimpod.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Turning an obstacle into a positive you can learn from

HOW did you get on with my “challenge within a challenge” last week? I asked you to be extra-vigilant about how much hidden sugar you were consuming in everyday food. I’m wondering how many positives happened as a result.

Today I’d like you to reflect back over what you’ve noted in your success log for the past week and reflect on the changes.

Look back at what you’ve achieved and congratulate yourself because your brain’s reward centre will get a buzz from your results and it will make you feel really good.

But what if you had certain expectations of what you wanted to achieve you didn’t quite get there?  What happens then?

Throwing in the towel when faced with a challenge is no good. One of the keys to sustainable weight loss is consistency and you achieve this by training yourself to turn the obstacles into something you learn from – and use the learnings to succeed.

Success truly happens when the negatives have no impact and your brain is trained to automatically think about how you can use the opportunity to succeed.

The best way for me to describe this is to give you an example – and this was recently posted in Slimpod Club.

So you can see how Pat  could quite easily have let herself be all-consumed with disappointment about the fact that she had a mini binge. She could quite easily have decided to give up.

But instead Pat saw the positive – it was only four biscuits – and if you have something going on like this right now then I encourage you to change what that means to you.

Instead of feeling disappointed and annoyed, make it something you take action on and do something positive with rather than letting it defeat you.

This is so important because it builds mental toughness and self worth. If you persevere with something you start believing, you can do it.

That’s all it is – looking at things from a different viewpoint. It’s also about keeping calm and being in control rather than allowing emotion to take over.

The real secret is in making “failure” your friend rather than something you fear and run away from.

This is going to help you get over the obstacles and move on to create and build healthy habits which will take you to your end goal…lasting weight loss.

Let me know below if you’re one of those people who stops if the results aren’t as expected?  Let me also know how you can make a positive out of a negative so you start changing interrupting the pattern.

The post Turning an obstacle into a positive you can learn from appeared first on Slimpod.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Think you’re eating healthily? Read this and think again

TWO weeks ago we started the Drop A Size For Christmas challenge. So – how are you doing so far? Have you been practising your small habits every day? If you have been diligent about your baby steps then go to the top of the class. If life has got in the way and you haven’t quite managed it every day, then look at it as a learning experience rather than giving up.

Think about how you can learn from what’s not gone so well and rather than getting emotional about it and thinking you’re a failure – do it differently.

One of the things you can do over the next few weeks to really move yourself forward both in terms of health and your weight loss is to be aware of your sugar consumption – and I mean the added sugar and hidden sugar that’s in our everyday food.

I know I keep on about this but it’s really really important.  Last Friday at the Sugar Summit in London, it was revealed that people’s concern about the dangers of sugar is very high.

Here’s one of the slides with the statistics, photographed off the screen at the summit.

A lot of the reason we consume so much sugar is that hidden in everything!

Look at the different names sugar goes under in everyday food…

So my challenge to you for the next week is to be vigilant and if you think you eat healthy food, think again.  Look for the sugar content in what you’re buying then limit your consumption to the recommended healthy amount…

Which is 25g a day (6tsp) for a woman and 38g (9tsp) a day for a man. If you’re anything like me, you were conditioned to look for the fat content in food.

Years ago I used to swear by Rosemary Conley’s Hip and Thigh diet and followed it religiously – limiting my fat consumption to only a few grams a day.

But things have moved on and several years ago I discovered a lot of the fat I was excluding from my daily nutrition was in fact important to have IN my body for essential health reasons.

However, refined, added sugar is NOT needed by our bodies at all and we consume too much of it.  So even if you think you’re eating healthy food, please spend a week checking your labels.

I spoke to a lady recently who said she eats healthy food all the time and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t shifting fat. Yet on closer investigation I discovered most of her food is convenience food from a very well-known “healthy” brand and there was huge amounts of sugar in the savoury food.

This is because sugar acts as a preservative to make shelf life longer and helps the freezing process to be more effective, too.  So today I’m issuing you with a challenge within a challenge!

My new challenge for you is about making sure the food you’re eating is healthy and not riddled with sugar – because so much of it is.

If you’re listening to a Slimpod this should be easy peasy to do!

Let me know in the comments below if you’re up for that and I’ll check in with you next week to see how it’s going!

The post Think you’re eating healthily? Read this and think again appeared first on Slimpod.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Honey and Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Hospital superchef Simon Smith has a really healthy recipe for you – it’s filling, nutritious and very tasty. Make sure you don’t overcook the vegetables so you keep as much of the goodness in them as possible. The chop is delicious with a baked potato. Please leave your comments below because Simon loves your feedback!

Honey and Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

SERVES 4

PREPARATION TIME: 10mins

COOKING TIME 15mins

Ingredients

4 x 200g – 225g Pork Chops

2 Sweet Peppers (de-seeded & sliced)

1 medium Onion (Sliced)

½ Red Onion (sliced)

100ml Sunflower Oil

30ml Olive Oil

20ml Sesame Oil

2clvs Garlic (pureed)

1½ tsp. Dijon Mustard

2tbsp Honey

½ Lemons

20g Fresh Chives (chopped)

10g Fresh Sage (chopped)

250ml Chicken Stock

Seasoning

Equipment required:

Griddle / sauté pan

Deep roasting tray

Large cooking spoons

Mixing bowls

Vegetable Knife

Chopping Board

Preparation

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200C, with a deep tray in it pre heating also.

In a bowl combine the oils, garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, chives, sage and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir or whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Into the bowl add the pork chops, sliced onions and sliced peppers. Stir into the marinate until all the pork chops and the vegetables are coated. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 5 mins

Heat the griddle pan on medium for the last 2min of the chops’ time in the fridge. Remove the chops from the bowl and drain excess oil and place on a clean tray. Season the chops with salt and cracked pepper and then carefully lay the chops into the hot griddle pan.

Allow the chops to cook in the hot oil for approx 2min on each side to seal off the meat. When chops start to colour in the griddle pan, remove to the clean pre-heated deep oven tray. Add a tablespoon of the marinate mix over the chops and place in the hot oven. Allow to bake in the hot oven for approx. 10min occasionally turning the chops.

Drain the sliced onions and peppers from the remaining marinate. Reduce the heat on the griddle pan and add the vegetables to the pan, allow them to quick fry stirring frequently. When the veg starts to colour in the pan remove and place in a clean bowl.

Increase the pan to high and add the stock to the pan.  Deglaze all the flavours cooked into the pan and reduce the stock until half the liquid remains in the pan.

Remove the chops from the oven and pour any juices in the tray into the jus in the griddle pan. Check the core of the chops with a knife to confirm they are cooked; the chops should have a chargrilled look and should be served on a bed of the fried vegetables with the glaze poured over.

 

The post Honey and Mustard Glazed Pork Chops appeared first on Slimpod.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Moira’s inspiring story of 70lbs lost and happiness gained

WE all love an inspiring story and if you’re anything like me, they give you motivation and make you feel really warm inside.  Every week I get stories from people whose lives are being transformed by their Slimpod programmes and Moira Mackenzie is one of them.  Moira was keen to inspire like-minded people to live a life without dieting and I’m  so grateful to her for agreeing to share her story with the media.

Here’s one of the quotes from Moira which appeared on the health pages of the Daily Express last week.

“My mindset around food has changed. I don’t have to restrict myself at all in what I eat, nothing is off limits. I just make healthy choices all the time. If I want chocolate I’ll have it, but only a couple of pieces. And I have smaller portions but I know they’ll fill me up.”

Moira went from a size 24 to a size 16 in her first year of listening to a Slimpod and is now down to a size 12, having lost an amazing 70lbs.

One quote from Moira struck a particular  chord with me, because as I’ve told you all before I was a fat teenager who was too embarrassed to go into dress shops. This is what Moira told the Express: “Before I could barely find anything to fit. Now I can go to any shop – and I do.  I always bought everything in navy blue or black so I didn’t draw attention to my size. But I love bright colours now. One of the greatest things is that my daughter, who’s a size 12 too, keeps borrowing my clothes – that is such a boost to me.”

The Daily Express headline

Something else Moira said brought a big smile to my face: “I’ve got so much more energy and I can keep up with my wonderful grandchildren. I’ve always been a happy person, seeing the good things in life. But I’m even happier now.”

Moira’s wonderful success proves that a Slimpod is not just about losing weight – it’s also about regaining long-lost confidence and becoming happy about life. Very happy!

You can read Moira’s interview with the Express here

Moira is an active member of our Slimpod community on Facebook and we all love her to bits!

The post Moira’s inspiring story of 70lbs lost and happiness gained appeared first on Slimpod.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Starts today! Join my Drop A Size For Christmas challenge

WOW! I can’t believe we’re on the run-up to Christmas – how did that happen? It’s always a great opportunity to have the last push of the year to release some of that excess weight.

So let me help you to drop a size for Christmas! Because it just couldn’t be easier!

In this new video which launches my 30-day challenge, I’m going to let you in on the secret of how to achieve your goal.

It’s the best early Christmas present you could give yourself – and please feel free to share this blog post with your family, friends and colleagues if you think it would help them.

 

 

If you’re a member of the Slimpod Club community on Facebook there’ll be various activities going on there over the next 30 days. If you’re not, then just join the challenge by commenting below.

I’d love to know what steps you’re going to be taking over the next few weeks to drop a size for Christmas – so let me know. Your comments will inspire so many others.

The post Starts today! Join my Drop A Size For Christmas challenge appeared first on Slimpod.