The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

10 Ways to Get Back on Track after Christmas

Not so long ago, in-fact just a few short weeks ago, you were energetic and determined to maintain your healthy lifestyle.   Then Christmas happened!

You had intended to enjoy the holiday, Christmas after all is a time to eat, drink and be merry with family and friends.

So you ate an extra piece of Christmas cake, had some chocolate from the kids selection boxes at breakfast and rekindled your love of Bailey’s coffee.

Every time you ate or drank something you knew it was a choice you were making, but its Christmas…….  Why not indulge a little.

But soon you find that each small mouthful is taking you further and further away from the path of your healthy lifestyle.

Realising you had “blown” your diet, you ate another mince pie and another and couldn’t get it together the next day either.

Of course in the run up to the big day itself, you have been so busy that you missed one workout, and that turned into a whole week away from the gym.

Now it feels as through your momentum to start over again is gone.

In your head you tell yourself tomorrow ill try…

Every time you misstep on your healthy journey, you have two choices:

To keep walking backwards, ignoring how bad you feel, beating yourself up because you have in some way failed a test (who made that rule anyway???)  every day takes you even further away from your goals.

Or

You can choose to accept your lack of perfection as normal and forgivable, so ditch any guilt you may have been feeling about your Christmas treats, now is the time for positive thoughts not negative ones and so now you can choose to  take not one, but two positive steps down the path that brings your closer to the body and fitness that you want and deserve.

So now, instead of waiting for the next day, week, month or even year to overhaul your habits, start TODAY, right now!!.

Start small. You can’t go from the sofa to running for an hour or from cake to carrot sticks in a day. But you can do one, two or even a handful of small things that will help you regain your momentum for healthy living.

Below are The Body Retreats 10 ways to helps get you back on track right now!!

1. A short HIIT workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. For ideas browse our back catalogue of workouts on the website.

2. Create a new recipe. Cooking healthy foods can be fun and it never has to be bland. Be creative with those turkey leftovers.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right!

4. Drink your water. Aim for 8 glasses each day and you’ll soon feel the difference!

5. Get outside for at least 20 mins.  Walk around the block, take your bike out.  exercising outside will give you an boost as well as helping you to get that all important Vit D top up.

6. Write down what you eat and drink across the day.  No matter how it adds up, you’ll learn from it and it will help you to make a new choice tomorrow.

7. Share your goal to get back on track, why not post us on our FB page, let us know what is working for you.

8. Cut the carbs at night.  Plan your evening meal at night to be refined carb free and give your digestive system a rest in the evening.

9. Mix your drinks… and by that we mean for every alcoholic drink you have, have a glass of water or soda to help keep hydration levels up.

10. If you feel like you are way off track and need further help and support then book yourself onto our next Weight Loss Retreat where we guarantee you will drop those unwelcome festive pounds you have gained.

What is Clean Eating?

Have you heard about Clean Eating?

If you have been reading the newspapers recently then you could be forgiven for thinking that there’s a whole new diet craze in town. It’s called Clean Eating.

Just this weekend the lovely Nigella Lawson told the papers that she was against clean eating as it could promote eating disorders. I’m not sure that Nigella gets what Clean Eating is really about. Clean Eating is not a diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle.

True there are a number of high profile trendy advocates of Clean Eating, some of whom add their own twist to Clean Eating, so you may have read that you should avoid wheat, dairy, red meat sugar etc etc.  No reason to if you don’t have an allergy or intolerance.

What is Clean Eating?

Clean Eating is a deceptively simple concept.

The heart of Clean Eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; its not a craze and its not a dangerous fad….it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation leading to improved health – one meal at a time.

The idea is to avoid processed foods and only eat ‘real’ and so therefore Clean foods.

Unprocessed foods to include in your daily diet:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Dried legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Organic Free Range eggs

Minimally processed foods include in moderation in your diet:

  • Unrefined grains, like whole wheat bread and pasta, oats, quinoa and brown rice
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Unprocessed Organic meat
  • Hormone-free Organic dairy
  • Sustainable Fish and Seafood
  • Oils
  • Raw Honey or Maple Syrup

Sticking to this golden rule of choosing real clean foods can involve a bit more cooking from scratch, but when you choose to eat clean then you can enjoy anything from steak to cake.

Why Eat Clean?

Going back to basics, by reducing the chemicals, preservatives or additives along with heavily processed foods tend to be higher in salt and calories, and may also be less nutritious places additional strain on your body, especially your liver, which means that your overall health can be compromised in the long term.

Clean Eating emphasises whole grains, lean cuts of meat, sustainable fish and seafood, healthy fats and lots of fruits and vegetables. No whole foods are completely banned, and the plan promotes an overall balanced diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, fats, and protein.  Nothing faddy here.

Six Simple Strategies to Eat Clean

 Only eat ‘real’ foods: Put simply, this means buying recognisable ingredients to prepare at home and avoiding processed and packaged foods.

Cook your own meals. Instead of buying meals in a box or packet, cook the majority of your meals from scratch. That’s not as hard as it sounds. Clean, whole foods need little preparation beyond a bit of chopping and light cooking to make satisfying, delicious meals your family will love.

Keep meals simple: Delicious, healthy food doesn’t have to mean hours in the kitchen. Keep your ingredients to a minimum. Just be sure to include a source of whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat at each meal.

Eat regular meals: Don’t let more than four hours go by between meals or snacks. This will help regulate blood sugar, which will keep you energised and help curb your appetite.

Eat Proteins and Fats. When you do snack or eat a meal, make sure that meal is balanced. For the most satisfaction from your diet, and so you’ll be less tempted to eat junk food, combine protein with carbs or carbs and fat. This simple act will fuel your body and quash hunger pangs, meaning you are less likely to be tempted by quick and convenient processed foods.

Listen to your body: Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, not full up or over-stuffed.

So there you have it , Clean Eating in a nutshell.  Eat what you like, just make a conscious choice to eat real whole foods where possible and then enjoy it in moderation.

Five Health Foods That Are Actually Sugar Traps

Making healthy food choices is a part of every day but with so many mixed messages on what is healthy its hard to make the right choice.  Often manufactures and marketing companies play up the health properties of their products to make them sexier and sell better.

Research shows that many of the food and drink products we consume every day use up our sugar allowance in one fell swoop while others, which on the face of it appear to be health foods actually exceed the amount of sugar you should have during the entire day.

The World Health Organisation has reported that we are now eating almost 4 times the amount of sugar than our grandparents , much of that sugar is hidden on processed foods.  When fat and is taken out of many foods it is replaced with sugar or artificial sweeteners.  So we find ourselves consuming more sugar than we intend.

Here are our Top Five Health Foods that are actually Sugar Traps.

Yoghurt

Low fat and flavoured yoghurt in particular. Yoghurt makes a great addition to our diets, it’s a good source of protein and calcium. But choose wisely as you can find that many yoghurts on the shelves would actually qualify as a pudding rather than healthy snack. Yoghurt has naturally occurring sugars in the form of lactose which gives its own slight sweetness but most have added sugar to really stimulate our taste buds and keep us coming back for more.

Yeo Valley Fat Free Vanilla Yoghurt – serving contains 21gms or 5 tsps of of sugar

By contrast

Rachel Organic Greek Style Yoghurt – serving contains 5gms or 1 tsp of sugar.

When choosing yoghurt always go for organic natural yoghurt and then you can add your own sweetness at home by adding a little raw honey, some fresh fruit or just enjoy plain.

 

Granola

Granola hit the shelves as the prefect healthy antidote to the boxes of sweet flakes that predominate the cereal aisles. Most granolas are based on whole grinas such as oats or rye combined with nuts and seeds they are a nutritionally packed option. But the problem is that on their own oats, seed and nuts taste bland.. they “need” a little sweetness. And so manufacturers add in dried fruits, honey, syrups etc   Most add in natural sugars, but still sugar and often in large amounts.

The Food Doctor Fig & Cranberry Granola – serving contains 9.4gms or 2 tsps sugar

By contrast

Dorset Cereal Simply Nut Granola – serving contains 5.6gms or 1.5 tsp sugar

The best granola you can eat is the one you make yourself at home, but if you are going to buy a branded product then use a half serving and sprinkle on top of some delicious natural organic greek yoghurt for a low sugar high protein start to your day.

 

Fat Free Foods

So often when trying to achieve a health goal we think that low fat means high health and that just isn’t the case. Natural fat in foods is good, beyond its nutritional benefits it adds flavour, texture and gives you a feeling of satiety. Remove this and you need to add in ingredients to replace these requirements and often that means adding in sugars, sweeteners, sodium, emulsifiers, thinking agents, bulking agents and gums..none of which sounds appetising but in the hands of a clever chemist they can create taste alchemy.

Hellmans Fat Free Salad Dressing – per 100 mls 11gms Sugar

By contrast

Hellmans French Dressing – per 100mls 6gms Sugar

 

Dried Fruit

From cereal bars to breakfast cereals, fruit winders and gums and of course bags of dried assorted fruits are promoted as being 100% natural. Just because a food is labelled 100% natural doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded with sugar. When fruit is dried the water is removed and so concentrating the natural sweetness making them very delicious perhaps dangerously so. The problem here is portion size, you may eat one or two whole apricots but be able to eat 5 or 6 dried apricots.

Fresh Apricot – Serving contains 3.5gms or just under 1 tsp sugar

By contrast

Dried Apricots – Serving contains 13gms or 3.5 tsp sugar

The key here is moderation, dried fruit is a great addition to a healthy diet but the first rule of fruit is to eat 1 – 2 portions of fresh seasonal fruit so that you are consuming the fibre along with the sugar and have dried fruit only 1 -2 times per week.

 

Health Bars

Often considered a better alternative to a chocolate bar when it comes to a snack choice. These bars seem to actively promote health, labesl whole grain, 100% natural,..even at times 25% less sugar all adding to the myth of being the optimum health. Similar to the granola the mix of whole grains, nuts and seeds is a great basis for a snack but it’s the sugars that make it taste good and that is what we want in a snack. Enjoy these snacks in moderation but don’t be fooled into thinking you are eating a low sugar snack

Eat Natural Brazil Bar – serving contains 20gms or 5 tsp sugar

By contrast

Snickers Chocolate Bar – serving contains 20 gms or 5 tsp sugar

What health foods have you found that wasn’t good for your waist line or health? Leave us a comment below.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

It really is quick and easy to make this sweet and sour chicken dish, honestly you will never pop open a jar of shop bought sauce again.

I love Sweet and Sour Chicken, it’s the first chinese dish I ever ate and the memory of that sticky sweet and sour sauce poured over  battered chicken balls is one I still treasure.  But as I’ve grown up and become more aware of the ingredients that most processed versions contain I was put right off this dish.

So Ive created a dish that is naturally sweet and sour, you can adjust the spices to suit your own palate but this dish is light, clean and still sweet, sour and sticky.  It’s a real winner.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Serves 4
  • 450 gms Organic chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 Peppers, Any colour, cubed
  • 1 large Onion, cubed
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 large Carrot, finely sliced
  • 1 can Water Chestnuts
  • 1 225gms Pineapple Chunks (keep the juice)
  • 12 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Thumb size Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 80 gms Cashew Nuts
  • Large handful Coriander, chopped
  • 1 Tablesppon Rice Bran Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornflour
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 Whole Star Anise
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Chilli Flakes
  • Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper

To make Sweet and Sour Chicken

Place the corn flour and salt and pepper into a large sandwich bag and add the chicken slices and give a good toss so that all the chicken is well coated.

Next make up the sauce, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, dried chilli flakes and the juice from the pineapple can.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or wok, add the chicken strips and brown all over. Remove from the pan and leave to one side.

To the hot pan add the onion, peppers and carrot and cook for a few minutes, add a splash of water if the pan starts to stick. Next add the pineapple, chestnuts and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan along with the cashews and the sauce mix and cook for about 5 minutes until all the ingredients are hot through and the sauce is sticky and thick.

Serve with 50 gms whole grain basmati rice per person and sprinkled with fresh coriander.

Get Label Savvy To Root Out Stealth Sugar

You Want To Reduce The Sugar In Your Diet?

If you are trying to reduce the amount of sugar you and your family are consuming then you need to become label savvy.

Wether your goal is to lose weight, balance your blood sugar and energy levels or you just want to choose when and in what form you eat sugar then you need to be aware of all the sugars and sugar substitutes that are turning up in every day products.

Sugar comes in many forms and manufacturers know that those pesky health conscious shoppers are becoming wise to the sugar content of foods.   Unfortunately many manufacturers have resorted to stealth tactics to reduce the appearance of the sugar load of their products and they add several types of sugar. Often your ingredients can read like a chemical experiment so long is the list of ingredients. So picking out the sugar can be a tough call.

So how do you pick out that stealthy sugar… so first things first, remember that ingredients are listed by volume on the ingredients listing so the closer to the start of the list the more the product contains.

Sugar in All its Forms

Start by looking for the word “Sugar”… it’s a given, Its often there written in it most simple from. I would say that if you are surprised to see the word sugar in the ingredients, as I was when looking a some sausages recently, then choose another product. Also if the sugar is the second or third ingredient and the product isn’t a sweet or baked good then that’s a lot of sugar and you might want to consider an alternative.

Next look for the “Natural Sugars”, listed as Honey, Agave Syrup, Maple Syrup, Date Syrup, Concentrated Apple or Cane Juice, Raw Cane Sugar, Corn Syrup, Caramel, Molasses, Carob remember that just because its natural doesn’t mean you can consume without limit.

Now it’s the “Oses”. When you find ingredients that end in Ose it’s a good chance that these are sugars for example Glucose, Fructose, Dextrose, Maltose, Poly Dextrose, Sucralose.

Finally look for anything else on the list below…they all turn up in both savoury and sweet products all the time. Glycerin, Matodexrin, Diatase, Ehtly Maltol, Saccerides, Pectin, and some starches.

I know this seems like a long and exhausting list , but don’t despair. You don’t have to live a life without sugar, we all need a little sweetness but sugar should be consumed in moderation. With so many forms of sugar lurking in unexpected places, it’s hard even with the best intentions to limit your intake. Finding sugar on food labels is tricky, but not impossible. When you are armed with the right information and a willingness to read food labels, hidden sugars won’t sabotage your healthy eating goals.

It Only Takes A Moment

The next time you are in the supermarket just spend a few extra minutes looking at the labels of the products you buy most…you might just surprise yourself.

I’d love to hear from you about the most surprising product you found sugar or sugar alternative in. Leave me a comment in the box below.