Thursday, 31 December 2009


I personally can't wait for 2010 to begin. 2009 hasn't been a particularly good year for me, but wow, have I learnt alot from it and in that way it's been so worth it. Looking forward though, this blogspot is a little light hearted with some great tips for New years resolutions, you have to make a few at least don't you? Come on, have some fun!

1. Listen to a favourite song EVERY day.
Music is capable of shifting moods, so pick a tune that you know will make you feel good for whatever reason. Why not make up a 'happy' play list on your Ipod, and the minute you start to feel anything but, blast it out wherever you are.

2. Eat good foods - that YOU like.
We all know (well you should do by now I've been banging on about it for long enough!Lol!) which foods are good for us, which are loaded with nutrients and which ones aren't but don't eat certain foods is you really don't like them. Eat foods that you really enjoy (80% healthy and 20% err... others) and you'll get more out of them. Life is too short to force foods down your throat that you don't like. Food should equal pleasure, and in turn equal energy.

3. Orgasm ..often!
Yes really, I'm serious. Orgasms release hormones which make you feel good (Guess you know this!) but not only that they can help regulate the systems in the body. A satisfying sex life can actually, apparently, add years to your life.

4. Maximise vitamins, minerals and particularly antioxidants which help fight cancer and keep the body running smoothly and illness free. Vitamin D is a particularly important one involved in mood boosting chemicals -most of it we get from the sun, so all year round we need to get outside to maximise this. If sunshine is lacking, and isn't it always in this country, then take a supplement.

5.Go out with your mates once a week.
I always make time for my girlfriends. Whatever mood I'm in before we meet I can guarantee we'll have such a giggle and I feel great for the rest of the day. It doesn't even have to involve alcohol!

6. Watch your favourite TV show.
Whilst I'm not an advocate of lounging infront of the TV all day, a little of what you fancy can do you the world of good, again lifting moods and generally relaxing you and cheering you up.

7.Make time for you - every day.
Having some 'me' time every day is essential, our lives are so busy now it's important to 'chillax' (don't you hate that word?!) and take a breather doing something that relaxes you- whether it's bathing,walking in the fresh air, talking to friends, painting, cooking - make some time.You will be rewarded.

8. Exercise.
This had to be in the top 10 didn't it? Working out in whatever form you enjoy releases feel good chemicals throughout the body which will benefit you enormously. If you're new to exercise try a brisk walk every day, even for ten minutes and gradually build it up. If you get bored easily mix it up - swim/row/skip/cycle/box/aerobics/weights, the options are endless. Your body will quickly feel better and look better, and this is another thing that'll
help you live longer with less illnesses and disease.

9. Eat breakfast.
You need to 'break the fast' after a nights sleep and get your metabolism going again, so eating a good healthy big breakfast is THE very best way to do it. Skipping breakfast will only make you want to eat whatevers handy later on in the morning, so plan it the night before and go for a protein and carb mix to keep blood sugars stable. Poached eggs on toast and porridge with coconut milk and berries and seeds are two great options. Have a drink 20 minutes before, try hot water and a slice of lemon to really get things shifting.

10. Have a day of rest!
It doesn't have to be Sunday but make sure that one day a week you rest to rejuvenate your body and mind.

Have a very happy New Years Eve and here's wishing you a healthy, fun filled,content, dis-ease and illness free 2010.
Lots of love.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Now I really don't want to come across as a party pooper with today's blog - but.............Christmas and New Year are really not an excuse to gorge on whatever you like and become a couch potato for a couple of weeks. Believe me if you do you WILL regret it come January 2010. (I shouldn't put people off because I'm usually stacked out work wise in Jan with people panicking to lose all the weight they piled on at Christmas!!)

Today's blog is just aimed at passing on a few simple tips, which you may or may not wish to take on board, to help you avoid having a wobbly tummy and a whole pile of lethargy and guilt come January.

Here goes :

Party time - don't stand near the nibbles! It's far more difficult to stuff your face if you're nowhere near the food.If you do wish to nibble try unsalted nuts, olives or satsumas and steer well clear of all those deep fried party packs that all the supermarkets are selling dirt cheap at the moment. The reason they're cheap is that they contain very FEW nutrients , and will leave you wanting more and more.

Never go to a party hungry!

Most people are going to sink a whole load more alcohol than they would normally, I think that's a given but if you can have a glass of water (yes, you read that correctly!) for every glass of alcohol a) you'll feel better the day after and b) you won't pile on so many pounds. Remember that any/all alcohol sits around the tummy area, and stops your body burning calories from other foods.

Watch your portion sizes. Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean that your stomach requires more to fill it, it really doesn't. Try drinking a glass of water 20 minutes before a meal, it'll fill you up a bit so you won't eat as much.

Christmas dinner itself doesn't have to be unhealthy. Turkey is a great lean meat full of goodness, as are all those wonderful winter veggies that go with it, sprouts especially. Eat these two foods first and then see if you have room for stuffing, roast potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon and Yorkshire puddings etc!!

Little tip when making roast potatoes - make them larger! They absorb less fat.

Get outside - go for brisk walks, and take the whole family. It'll stop arguments over TV programmes, the kids can let off steam, and you'll work off some calories; killing lots of birds with one stone.

And last but not least if you are going to pig out, and most of us probably will - do it for just two DAYS and not two WEEKS!

Eat and drink consciously, and pace yourself.

ENJOY, have a fabulous time and I hope Santa is good to you. Thanks for reading my blog, there'll be more in the new year.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


And so the Scientific Advisory Committee On Nutrition is suggesting that the current UK recommendations for daily calorie intakes needs increasing?! Hey, hey, great news; license to eat more .Isn't that just what we all need to hear?

At the minute we're 'allowed' 2000 calories for women and 2500 calories for men and the increase is suggested as 16% - 2320 for women and 2900 for men.

At a time when we already have rapidly rising obesity levels in this country it really doesn't seem wise to me for so called Nutritional experts to suggest we eat more. Are they crazy?

Do they assume the general public will eat these extra calories in healthy nutritious energy-giving foods that will serve their bodies well - or is it more likely people will think ,ok, so I can eat another couple of biscuits, have an extra slice of pizza, or swig down another pint in the pub. My guess would be the latter! Sorry if I'm doing any of you a disservice.

And anyway, surely the whole calorie thing should be relative to your body size, weight, frame and activity levels. There is a major difference in calorie requirements for a five foot nine women with a petite frame weighing 9 stone and exercising 6 days a week, and a five foot four female couch potato with a large frame weighing fourteen stone! Not difficult to work out that their needs from food are VERY different.

And this really is how we should view food, in terms of our bodily needs and not randomly eating whatever we choose which encourages cravings,obesity, and other health problems.

It's all about conscious awareness. It's so easy to eat your way through a packet of biscuits whilst watching your favourite TV show without thinking. Or drinking ten pints in the pub with your mates, or overdoing it with a large takeaway pizza. Does your body really NEED all of this food or could you quite easily live without it.

I advise clients to keep a food diary, to write down EVERY single morsel that passes their lips - this is a great exercise in conscious awareness. It's really scary to read through at the end of the week. You can bet your life you'd forgotten about a lot of it, and its usually the bad stuff, as mentioned above!

Our diets, however many calories we consume and it's not something I've ever been into or ever advise clients to do, should be made up of what I call 'clean food' i.e. fruit, vegetables (these two are top of the list), eggs, fish, oils, and lean meats, and complex carbohydrates. And yes, you're allowed a little of 'what you fancy' but make this 20% of your total food and not more.

For anyone who IS interested in calorie counting here are some scary statistics! A pint of beer averages 200 calories,a small bar of Dairy Milk is 255 calories (God knows how many are in the giant bars!), Toffee Crisps are 220 calories, a snack sized Mars bar (which is just 32grams, so basically you could probably eat four) is 175 calories, and last but not least a slice of pizza is approx 300 calories - yes that's just one slice!! Scary - and not only that but you get a mouth full of saturated fat and/or sugars in most of these too. Oh our poor bodies!

My recommendation is to cut out the processed stuff in the main (which generally equates to the most calories anyway!) (80/20 rule) and take a look at your metabolic type. Metabolic Typing works based on questions on your dietary, physical and physiological traits and provides you with a food list to pick from, with no calorie counting, no portion control, and no traffic light systems. Simple to follow and effective in reducing cravings,assisting weight loss, improving digestion,raising energy levels and generally improving the way you feel.

Try it and judge for yourselves.And if you don't just EAT CLEAN. RX

Monday, 9 November 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

Do we have any idea how much salt we're eating?

The food Standards Agency have finally cottoned on to the fact that the likelihood is we have no idea whatsoever. This is because so many of the foods we buy in boxes and packets now have salt added, even breakfast cereals and bread! Why?

Apparently a total of 75% of the salt we eat comes from our everyday foods, take that as processed, by the way. This is because the foods that contribute most salt to our diets are not necessarily the saltiest but the ones we eat most often - processed again. Half the time I think we'd be hard pushed to actually taste the salt in these foods - sweet breakfast cereals??

The recommended salt intake for the average adult is 6g a day. We are currently averaging 8.6g. In view of this the Food Standards Agency are currently running an ad campaign that you may already have heard (I've heard it lots on the radio), asking us to pay closer attention to the salt levels in our food.

To find out more about it you can log on to, but here's a bit more general information that may be useful on salt and why we DO need some in our diets.

Salt comes in the form of sodium chloride, two elements that combine to create something unique and useful to our bodies. We need it for the following reasons:

- salt helps to balance blood sugar levels
- salt is a strong, natural antihistamine
- salt can help prevent muscle cramps (and we all know how painful they can be)
- salt is needed in order to make the structure of the bones firm
- salt helps to clear the lungs of sticky, yakky mucuousy type stuff
- salt is needed for the absorption of food particles through the intestines
- salt stops excess acidity in the body

Having cleared the fact that yes we do need salt in our diets there is a big difference in the types of salt we need. Most of the salt in commercially produced processed food is refined table salt.

Refined table salt often contains other 'things' to bulk it up such as anti caking agents (which potentially are aluminium based), dextrose (a sugar) , sodium silicoaluminate and sodium acetate - the latter two are thought to be associated with kidney disturbances, mineral malabsorption and water retention.

Eating too much refined table salt is surrounded by differing medical opinions but the general view is that it can lead to high blood pressure and increased chances of heart disease.

On the other hand natural, unprocessed sea salts can be beneficial to an already healthy diet - they contain many trace minerals necessary for nutrition and regulating our bodily systems.

So for a healthy salt intake ;

- check the labels of processed food particularly bread and breakfast cereals. You may be shocked at the levels of salt contained in them.Try adding up your consumption in a day.

- use unprocessed sea salt - the best kind is from New Zealand if you can get it.

- always taste foods before adding salt. You may find they really don't need any more adding.

- If you eat a generally, healthy diet full of organic fruits and vegetables and quality meat and fish, adding sea salt will enhance your diet by adding nutrition.

- Adding a pinch of sea salt to a bottle of water will help keep electrolyte and energy levels up , if you are already drinking enough water(don't do this if you already salt your food liberally and eat heaps of processed foods)

- reduce your intake of unnecessary salt by reducing your processed food consumption. This includes fast food outlets where salt is used in vast quantities.

Reducing the amount of processed foods in your diet will help in all areas, not just salt reduction - they contain way too much sugar, wrong types of fats and plenty of chemicals too.Why would you want excess amounts of all of those swimming around inside you?

Hope this was useful.


How dull would life be without chocolate? However healthy most people are, and I like to include myself here, a piece of chocolate or even a bar, every now and again can be just yummy.

And it can actually be good for us too! If you eat the right stuff - apparently some Swedish researchers have been looking into the effects of eating chocolate and heart disease and have discovered that chocolate eaters (2-3 times a week) are up to three times less likely to die of heart problems than those who avoid it. Isn't that the best news you've heard in a while??!!

The thing to remember before you all rush out and stock up on the sweet sugary stuff is that all chocolate is NOT created equal! Although the Swedish study did not actually distinguish between types of chocolate, most research indicates that it's only the dark kind that's good for your heart.

Dark chocolate, ideally go for the 70% cocoa solids or higher (90% is fabulous, an acquired taste that's worth acquiring!) still contains sugar, around 12g per large bar, but the cocoa packs a healthy punch that may counteract the detrimental effects of the sugar. How cool is that? The key ingredient in cocoa are flavonoids. These are natural antioxidant plant compounds which have been known for some time to have healthy heart effects.

Chocolate also contains fat but much of it is present in stearic triglycerides (dark still by the way, milk contains other fats which are not so good!) which is good HDL cholesterol. The fat also slows down the rate at which the sugar is released into the bloodstream so you won't get the blood sugar 'spike' which you WILL get from the other varieties of chocolate.

Dark chocolate eaten in small doses but regularly can help prevent diabetes too, as it improves insulin sensitivity - again please note this is only the DARK variety. Other types will have the opposite effect.

Dark chocolate bars are now largely available in most supermarkets and even small convenience stores mainly thanks to Green and Blacks (Bournville has been around for a while but its cocoa solid content is too low for it to be included as a 'healthy' treat). Also, Green and Blacks is organic so you can avoid unnecessary chemicals.

Seeds Of Change have a great range, some of which include berries and nuts and spices, and is also organic, and exceedingly tasty.

Raw chocolate is becoming more prevalent now ,too, and is well worth a sample. Available on the Internet, and in larger health food shops it's worth trying but beware that tastes vary enormously.

I've conducted a major study over the years (very pleasurable) and have recently come across a range that is made on my doorstep in Wetherby, and sold through the Good Life in the market place. It's called Sweet Revolution and comes in a range of flavours, but all made from 100% natural ingredients and with no high temperature heating so the nutrients reach us virtually untouched. Worth a try - for guilt free indulgence, and for the kids no sugar spike that sends them crazy for half an hour!

100% cocoa bars and blocks are available in Hotel Chocolat and also Waitrose, and work very well when grated onto berries with coconut milk with a bit of cinnamon for a sweet dessert. Also great for cooking with.

So there you have it, it really is OK to eat chocolate - great news to my ears. But please avoid those great big tins of Quality Streets and Celebrations they're selling as 'buy one get one free' for Christmas, in Salisbury's at the moment; they'll do you NO favours however nice they taste.

Choose 70% plus and enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


How difficult can it be to lie down in a lovely, snuggly warm bed (if you're lucky, with someone you quite like next to you) in the dark and fall asleep, and stay that way for eight hours. Sounds like bliss doesn't it, and so it should be, and we wake up feeling totally refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Why is it then that so many of us cannot do this? Or we go to sleep quite readily only to wake up a couple of hours later and toss and turn for most of the rest of the night.

This is me at the moment. I've now joined the x million people in this country who have INSOMNIA. Aaaaaaaaaagh, it's horrid. I hate it; it makes me feel sluggish, lethargic, foggy, irritable, impatient and increases cravings for foods that are not healthy just to get me through the day.

INSOMNIA is big business; approx 16 million presciptions are written in the UK each year for sleeping pills. And no doubt several million other products are bought over the counter with a view to obtaining that blissful nights sleep.

I know whats causing my INSOMNIA; it's stress, which again is big business. We live in a busy, stressful, 24/7 world and seem to have lost our ability to relax, in the main. We have computers,texting, I phones, Blackberrys,TVs with hundreds of channels,late night shopping etc. etc. all of which encourage us to keep going and going despite being exhausted. We end up with a situation where our brains are tired but wired; unable to switch off.

I have a client who frequently wakes in the early hours, gets up and does a few hours work to 'catch up' and then sleeps again. Another clients husband wakes in the night and tosses and turns due to stresses at work. My father also suffers from insomnia, as does his wife, and he has been known to watch ships crossing the Atlantic on the Internet to pass some time!

Our body's need sleep; fact. It is productive; it is necessary for our survival. It gives our minds and body's a chance to recharge. It enhances performance, learning and memory and inproves creative ability to generate those 'aha' moments.

We should aim to be in bed by 10.30pm, and between then and 2am our physical repair takes place followed by mental repair between 2-6am. If we miss out on sleep at these times, we cannot get the repair cycles back even if we slept all day long. This is the way we are hard wired. These are part of our circadian rythmns - mess with these and our body's are in trouble.

Our circadian rhythmn is the internal clock that guides our daily cycle from sleep to wakefulness and back to sleep again. When this is interrupted ie. with things like shift work, it can throw everything out. Over time if we constantly abuse our wake/sleep cycles illness and disease can occur.

I just need to point out that alcohol and drugs can also cause insomnia - whilst you may collapse comatose in bed after a night out drinking, the quality of sleep you are getting is far from ideal, and you may find you wake a few hours later and not be able to get back off to sleep again leaving you feeling dreadful the following day.

So how can we help ourselves to achieve that enviable eight hours sleep a night. Well, sleeping pills are NOT the answer. Whilst they may work in the short term it is easy to become addicted and lose your natural rythmn. Generally they have side effects (read the small print) such as headaches, confusion, nightmares, memory problems, and nausea, and who only knows what the build up of chemicals is doing to your liver. They are also likley to leave you feeling 'fuzzy' during the day.

There are natural alternatives, such as Valerian tea, available at health food shops. I'm trying this at the moment. You drink it an hour before going to bed, and are advised not to drive or operate machinery, like with sleeping pills.Chamomile is also a relaxing, calming tea but can be an aquired taste.

Eating foods containing tryptophan can be helpful as it is a relaxant. These include chicken, turkey and milk. Warm milk is a good thing, but not hot choclate as choclate is a stimulant!

Try relaxing for 30-45 minutes prior to going to bed.A warm bath is a good idea, and lavender oil added is a great relaxant. A read of a calming book can help, as can some gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates (anything energetic is not advisable as it releases cortisol which will wake you up) or try asking your partner or a friend to give you a relaxing massage with some calming oils. My friends Ian and Dan are the best masseurs I know, and can guarantee me a great nights sleep - if only I could win the lottery and employ them full time!

Vitamin D supplements can help sleep, and help our organs stay healthy and decrease our cancer risks.

Hypnosis is another natural therapy that can help with relaxation and sleep.

To clear your head if you are suffering from stress, keeping a journal by your bed can be helpful. Before sleep, and also if you wake in the night, write down any negative thoughts you are having leaving your head free and empty to sleep.

Tonight I'm going for it, starting with some yoga. I have my journal at the ready, I have lavender oil for my bath, I have Valerian tea to drink in my bath - all I need now is a volunteer to come and massage me. Any takers?

If you have any tips on how to get a good night sleep please, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


I'm totally in awe of my mother and her cookery skills. Don't get me wrong, I know my way around a kitchen (thanks to my mum and Mrs Grace, my officious Home Ec teacher at school), but she makes it all seem so effortless. Even if she's cooking Sunday lunch for a dozen people, with four of the most complicated, time consuming, desserts known to man (usually a minimum of four to choose from, hence my sweet tooth!).

I prefer dishes that are quick, easy, healthy and straight forward - yet still tasty - to prepare and my blog today is all about SELF PROMOTION. By that I mean ME, self promoting my latest service through BALANCED, and that's COOKERY SESSIONS.

I've always analysed clients food diaries and made recommendations to improve things, and make life easier where food is concerned, so have decided to take it further. I'm now offering to teach people to prepare good healthy meals for themselves, friends and family, in the comfort of their own home.

With today's busy stressful lifestyles most of us are looking for easy options in the food department, and this is where meals can seem really daunting and why we often fall back on those handy ready-meals, convenience foods and take-aways. The majority of food falling into these categories contain way too many chemicals and way too much salt, sugar and bad fats - leaving very little nutritional value for your body to convert to energy.

Eaten regularly these meals are what make us fat, lethargic and ultimately are more than likely to contribute big time to health problems such as arthritis,heart and cholesterol problems, diabetes etc.

Making good healthy,fresh, nutritious meals from scratch does not have to be stressful. Most of it is in the planning - making sure you have the ingredients where and when you need them, and not over complicating things.

I have a couple of clients on board already and last night had a two hour session with the client who requested this service a while ago - a big thank you to you!! He wanted to learn quick and easy breakfast, lunch and dinner options and over the past few months has now built up a repertoire of delicious meals he's able to prepare from scratch with little time and effort.

Amongst others we have made chickpea curry, roast chicken with garlic and lemon,tuna with black eyed bean salsa, stuffed peppers and salmon in a paper bag. Nothing freaky there hey?! Just good wholesome food incorporating all of the food groups and delivering top quality nutrition to the body.

Many of these meals have the added bonus of being able to be frozen. If done in portion size it means they defrost during the day whilst he's at work, and hey presto when he gets home there's a 'ready meal' to pop in the oven the minute he walks through the door.

If you've got children and want them to eat more healthily, this is a great way to get them involved. Why not try a cookery session for the whole family? and sit together and eat it afterwards.

You are what you eat. Really.

Contact me for more information or to book a session.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


OMG, I'm just back from a week in America. I feel very privileged to have taken part in the TRX course over in San Francisco with 17 other highly motivated individuals; awesome. I learnt loads, and am desperate to share it, so anyone who fancies having a go with a TRX (think mobile cable machine) give me a shout. I'm offering 30 minute taster sessions for free for the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, back to to days blog - overeating and portion control. I was under the impression that San Fransisco was full of beautiful, healthy people all taking huge amounts of care over their appearances and body's in general, with sensible eating and exercise etc. Unlike other areas of America! Not so!

I was a hugely taken aback to see clothes sizes in XXXL and the most ridiculously sized food portions in restaurants.

Not only do they give you a half plate size of sauteed potatoes with virtually EVERY meal (yes breakfast pancakes included) but they are visually affronted when you say you'd rather not have them on your plate! In one week I think I ate as much as I would do in a month in England. Partly because I was at someone elses mercy (I normally plan every meal in advance - anal I know) and partly because I was on a bit of a holiday, and thought "what the f***" like most of us do. "I'll deal with it when I get home"- well I'm home now and most definitely dealing with it.

Portion control is a big problem for many of us and once your tummy gets used to receiving large portions it then complains when you try to cut them so down! So how can we limit what we put in our mouths to control weight levels and out overall health in general?. Good time of the year to look at it because with Winter coming up there is a tendency to hide behind big jumpers and eat lots of comfort food to keep warm. Don't do it. When Spring comes (I know it's a long way off!) you WILL regret it.


1. When you make casseroles, bolognaises, soups etc. freeze them in individual portion sizes, so that's all there is.

2. Drink a large glass of water 20 minutes before a meal. It'll take the edge off your hunger and you'll feel satisfied more quickly with less food.

3. Eat a salad on its own before your main meal. Results as above.

4. Try eating 6 small meals a day rather than three big ones. It'll help keep your blood sugar stable and get your stomach used to receiving smaller amounts in one sitting.

5. Plan ahead so you're not caught out, and have to head to the nearest McDonald's/Ainsley's/Gr eggs. Don't lose control over what you put into your mouth.

6. Simple one - use a smaller plate!

7. If you are buying 'snack food' buy it in single serving packs such as nuts or seeds. You won't be tempted to eat more because there won't be more!

8. Resist buying bigger than necessary chocolate bars (if you have to eat chocolate). Is there really any need for a foot long twix????

9.Practice conscious eating - be aware of each mouthful you're putting into your body,and what will happen to it as it goes through your digestive system. Be aware of how you feel; does your stomach bloat, do you get constipation, diarrhoea, gas etc. All these are bad signs that your body is objecting to some of the foods you've eaten.

10. Keep a food diary or journal. record what you eat and drink and regularly review it. Add comments on how you felt straight after a meal, and then again two hours later. Did the food give you energy? Did it make you lethargic? These are useful clues as to how food is working for you. Food to our body's is like diesel to a car, give it the wrong stuff and it'll malfunction, big time.

Hope this has been useful.
Comments other than Lucy's gratefully appreciated.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Lots of people around me seem to be coming down with nasty bugs at the moment, including my nine year old son. This week at least eight members of his class have had a twenty four hour sickness bug. Not nice but kids bounce back pretty quickly thank goodness.

Adults don't always bounce back so quickly and Autumn/Winter with a change in the temperature seems to bring more disease, so how can you boost your immune system to ensure you're not missing out on living your life because you're laid up sniffling or worse?


1.Up at the top is KICKING the SMOKING habit. I don't think I need to go into detail here, we all know that smoking kills - the build up of toxins in the body is enormous and puts a great strain on the immune system, and the liver. Set a date to quit, get rid of everything to do with smoking on that day, tell the world you're going to do it and ask for their support. Use some strong smells like peppermint,Vick, spices, coconut; apparently they help stop cravings. If you need to ,get some gum or nicotine patches, and whilst relapses are common if you're prepared for them they're easier to deal with.

2.LAUGH - children laugh all day at anything. Fab to listen to, and we adults should take a leaf out of their book because it's so good for us and most of us take life too seriously and get bogged down in unnecessary detail, I know I do! Laughing can decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells. Watch a sit com, film, meet friends, read a joke book, play with your kids;do whatever it takes to add some laughter to your life.

3.AVOID antibiotics. Yes, they have their place but frequent use causes a build up of chemical toxins that have to be broken down and detoxed by the liver. They have side effects too and alot of the time are taken unnecessarily. They should be taken for bacterial infections only - not viral. Don't take them for colds and flu even if they're prescribed. Don't use them as a preventative measure, and don't save or share them.

4. AVOID C.R.A.P foods (junk food), your body needs a good old fashioned 'hunter/gatherer' style diet ie. eating as close to nature as possible. Organic or locally sourced meats, fruit and vegetables, fish, pulses and unrefined carbohydrates and lots of filtered or mineral water (approx two and a half litres a day). Experts believe that nutritional deficiencies are probably the greatest cause of immune system weakness. Junk food has no nutritional value, it can even be called non nutrient food so places a strain on the body to detox and digest. Lose it where at all possible. Try the 80/20 rule, and apply it to alcohol as well.

5. Be TACTILE. Cuddles, hugs, kisses and affection in general are extremely good for us, and are to be encouraged for the amazing 'feel good' factor they produce, helping to lower stress levels and put things into perspective. Do random acts of kindness every day, see how good it makes you feel . Make communication in general part of your day whether its through face book, texting, phoning or direct face to face contact- be socially active. Isolation leads to negative feelings in alot of cases, and can blow things out of unnecessary proportion.

6. Be ACTIVE - exercise and movement in general is what our bodys are designed for. "Death is still, so keep moving" (Dr Berndston). Sedentary ways have a big impact on our health, especially posture, and your weight (and obesity is definitely not the way forward for health). Moderate exercise is the key - government recommendations are 5 x 30 mins a week. Not difficult to fit in to your routine, as it can be as simple as walking to work, or running up and down stairs. Functional movement is as good as any 'formal' exercise. Buy a pedometer and see exactly how close you're getting to the 10,000 steps we're all advised to do each day.

7.DEAL WITH DEPRESSION. We all have 'down' days, and doing some of the above tips will help conquer them - affection, exercise,laughing etc.It's when we can't shake off the blues that we need to take positive steps to overcome them. Clinical depression is damaging to the immune system, it weakens it, but even just having a bit of a down day can do the same.
Try positive thinking; if something goes wrong, isolate it. Don't lump all of your life together as one big negative. Box off the negatives and concentrate on the positives - think I can and I will. When Lauren(my seven year old) and I went climbing last weekend she said to me on the way there " mummy if you say to yourself that you can do something then you'll do it" and she climbed straight up the first wall like a little monkey. The mind is THE most powerful thing, use it to your advantage.

8. SLEEP - this is crucial in fighting off infection, and other illnesses. Night time is the time when the body repairs itself, both physically (10.30- 2am) and mentally (2am til 6am) so getting your eight hours a night in is very important. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to heart disease, gastro intestinal problems and other medical illnesses so hit that sack at a decent time.

9.LET GO OF STRESS - easier said than done; most people I know have some stress in their lives to a greater or lesser extent. It's how we deal with it that's the issue. Under constant stress our body's are bombarded with stress hormones and they can cause the immune systems ability to fight disease to decrease. Stress relieving solutions are a blog all on their own but in brief try to create balance in your life - meditation, yoga, relaxation, keeping a stress diary - writing things down gets it out of your head, dance, listen to music, meet friends. Basically off load in whatever way feels right.
A 'friend' once said to me that my life was like an episode of Dallas. That made me stop and take a good look at what I was doing, and he was right. Sometimes it's just time to take a chill pill............

10. Avoid toxic pollutants such as PCBS. Buy organic where at all possible, stay away from cigarette smoke, alcohol (OK within reason) and illicit drugs - all of these play a part in the build up of toxins in the body, helping to prevent your immune system from functioning optimally. Read food labels and avoid those containing unnecessary chemicals. Choose naturally derived household cleaners too, these products are now readily available in supermarkets.

So there you have it, all of the above are possible with some thought and time. Stay healthy this winter, and live your life to the full.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

You Can Heal Your Life

I haven't blogged for ages, partly because my personal circumstances have changed big time, and my emotions are running pretty high just now. This has been a gradual build up over the past few years and to say I've been stressed is an understatement.

However, onwards and upwards, and to days blog looks at how it is possible to get your life back on track the way YOU want it, and not how everyone else thinks it should be. It takes guts to make change, to step out of the norm, not knowing whether the grass is going to be a brighter shade of green or some murky khaki colour. And once you've made a big change if it's not all you thought it would be often there is no going back.

The biggest thing I found to take on board is that WE are EACH responsible for our own experiences. Each time we make a choice we are doing what we think is right at that particular time, and beating ourselves up later is a futile exercise.

Negative thought processes are capable of ultimately leading to ill health. Harboured within the body with no way to be released means that they are stored, and where they are stored will differ depending on individual make up. Positive thinking goes a long way to producing positive outcomes. If we can really believe in something, there is a greater chance that it will happen and happen in the way we want it to.

Loiuse Hay, author of YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, believes that there is a strong correlation between diseases you may have had or are having now and a probable cause through certain thought processes.

For example ;
Health problem 1; sore throat.
Probable cause; holding in angry words. Feeling unable to express oneself.
New thought pattern ; I release all restrictions, and I am free to be me.

Health problem 2; heart problems.
Probable cause; long standing emotional problems.Lack of joy. Hardening of the heart. Belief in strain and stress.
New thought pattern; joy, joy, joy. I lovingly allow joy to flow through my mind and body and experience.

Reading this you may think this is all a little left of centre, but reading the book is well worthwhile should you be feeling vulnerable for whatever reason, and in need of some direction and guidance. Louise Hay is a very wise lady.

How many of us go over what has happened during the day as we lie in bed trying to sleep. Going over the events of the day, trying to rationalise them, beating ourselves up for things we said, things we did, things we may do in the future ,all can create negative thought patterns which can be hugely stressful.

When at my most stressed I really struggled to drop off to sleep and found that if I kept a notebook by my bed with a pen I could 'offload' all the confused thoughts swimming around in my head onto a sheet of paper helping to clear my mind so that I could relax enough to sleep. (It makes fascinating reading in the morning too, but you may need to hide it!).

We very rarely say to ourselves how well we have done, how loving we are in our relationships, how kind we have been to someone, how lovable we are, what great parents we make etc. etc.

What I'm trying to say is that the only thing we are ever dealing with is a thought, and a thought can be changed. Thoughts are one of THE most important things EVER. Thought processes can be dangerous if they are continously negative. Thoughts go on to produce feelings, and we buy in to those feelings. Change the thought and the feeling changes too.

For any one of us to heal our lives positive thinking is the way forward. I had a year of Emotional Freedom Technique with a qualified therapist. In a nutshell its all about releasing negative emotions and replacing them with positive ones. It works. I am now very excited about my future, and not petrified that I was about to make a dreadful mistake, as I was before.

The biggest negative emotions are guilt, criticism, fear and resentment and the thoughts and the feelings attached can cause more problems than anything else. Some of these thoughts come about because its easier sometimes to blame others than it is to take responsiblity for our own experiences. I beleive that what you give out you get back, in spades.

These four negatives can be responsible for ill health and disease. Long term resentment can 'eat away' at the body and make you ill. Guilt is a form of self punishment and often leads to pain. If we can forgive people for not being the way we want them to be it frees us up to release the emotions and move on.

Try this exercise, which goes along with EFT as a way to clear negativity, and to stop us beating ourselves up. Stand in front of a mirror, look directly into your eyes and tell yourself you love yourself just the way you are, and that you accept yourself just the way you are. Whenever you pass a mirror say it over and over until it becomes a habit and you truly believe it.

It's amazingly difficult to do this for most people, but worth perservering with. It can be quite an emotional experience, and if it is that's fine just go with the flow.

I've been on an emotional rollercoater for years and am still on it, although the ride is beginning to slow down alot. I still find myself sometimes overwhelmed with emotion so that I break down and cry. It's very therapeutic and so much more so if you have someone to hold you whilst it happens. I never underestimate the power of touch - human beings thrive on it from being babies; a cuddle can change my day so much for the better.

Life is a huge learning curve. A friend said to me yesterday that we are still learning. We learn every day, and won't stop until the day we die. So on this basis it is absolutely OK to make mistakes as we learn, to accept that this is part of living, and not to beat ourselves up over them. Let the negative thought pass through your head/body and replace a positive one. Every time.

This blog could go on for ever, there is so much to say on the subject but you may switch off very shortly so I'll wrap it up.

Tips to Heal Your Life :

- let out negative emotions by writing them down
- every time you have a negative thought, replace with a positive one
- get to bed on time, quality sleep reduces stress
- eat well. If you constantly put rubbish into your body in the form of poor food and drink it will have a negative impact. Really.
- repeat positive affirmations to yourself in front of a mirror every day, learn to believe you are a good person
- try EFT
- learn by your mistakes;move on
- be affectionate and in turn you will recieve affection
- cry if you need to, it can be very therapeutic
- accept cuddles/hugs
- take life one day at a time, its more manageable this way
- read Louise Hays book YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, because you are the only person who can; take responsibility for your experiences.

I hope this has been food for thought.

Monday, 31 August 2009


I went to a wedding reception on Saturday night; and a great time was had by all.

However, I woke up on sunday morning with foul smelling hair from the night before - cigarette smoke, yuk! Not had that for ages, since before they banned people smoking in bars and clubs (not that I frequented them all that much but..........).

It was probably my fault for going to stand outside with the smokers at the wedding (and there seemed to be alot), but that's where most of the interesting conversations were taking place.

It reminded me of a chat I'd had with some friends a while before about smoking, and drinking coffee. And how the two things go hand in hand for what seems like still too many people.

So, another blog on why it really, really is not a good idea for your body to be pumped full of nicotine and caffeine on a regular basis (yes alcohol and sugar are terrible too but that another days blog; before you start Lucy).

Someone had read an article that said that caffeine improves your memory. I've read up on this and apparently it does in fact stimulate regions of the brain that regulate mood, concentration, arousal and alertness. A good thing, temporarily?

Especially in my case; after three children I sometimes feel as if many of my brain cells have left my head permanently! But lets hang on a minute - this needs to be weighed up against the side effects of drinking too much coffee. Way too much can make you get the shakes (and I've witnessed this in an addicted friend). It can also cause anxiety and stress and mess about with your ability to concentrate.

Moderation is the key then?

What happens if we look at drinking coffee from a different angle? What if you're a regular exerciser, so to all intents and purposes looking after your body; but you also drink a shed load of coffee to get you through your day?

What's happening here is that you're possibly putting a bit of pressure and stress on your adrenal glands. Exercise is a cortisol producer in the short term (the stress hormone) AND so is coffee so you're getting a double whammy if you're doing both.

Rest after exercise reduces this and allows your muscles to recover and grow stronger etc. but if you're drinking coffee your body is likely to be in 'fight or flight' stress mode virtually all the time, which gives it a limited ability to rest and repair.

Long term adrenal fatigue can lead to all sorts of health problems like sleep disturbances, being tired but wired, depression, cravings - for caffeine!, poor immune system function and also weight gain.

This doesn't sound too good does it? And if you smoke as well as exercise and drink coffee. on.

We all know, or should do by now that smoking damages the lungs, and what do we need to exercise effectively and efficiently? A jolly good pair of lungs, amongst other things. Your cardiovascular system is damaged by smoking - fact. Smoking fills your body up with nasty toxins, reduces its ability to effectively transport oxygen in the blood and it stimulates the adrenals - just like coffee. Which is why we get a kick from it, and go back for more!

So if you're a smoker, if you like to drink lots of coffee and you also exercise, you're doing ONE really great thing. Pat yourself on the back, and then let's have a look at what you can do about the two things that you know need addressing if you want to be fit, and healthy, on the inside, long term.


Keep a diary - write down when you have a fag, when you have a cup of coffee and if you are able to work out why you felt the need for either or both then write this down too. If you can work out what triggers your desires, great, it can be worked on from here.

Try to substitute a cup of coffee for a cup of something else, say a herbal tea. Peppermint is a stimulant, as is green tea (and green contains a small amount of caffeine too). Sometimes, if it's a drink for comfort or relaxation that you're after, this may work for you, you can still clutch a Starbucks takeaway cup, and pretend!

If you wake up gagging for a fag and a coffee to kick start you in the morning, distract yourself. Book to see a personal trainer like me. You'd hardly want to turn up for a fitness session smelling of smoke and coughing your guts up now would you?

This sounds crazy but humour me. Give your fag packet to someone else at work. That way you may think twice about having to go and ask for one, than if they were within easy reach on your desk.

Maybe you use smoking as a relaxant after a hard day at the office. Try to find another way of relaxing. How about a swim, a massage, meet a friend whose company you enjoy in a place where you know you can't smoke, Anything.

Meditation, or yoga are great 'mind over matter' tools which could be helpful with both coffee and smoking. And EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, a type of counselling which helps to let go of the negative emotion attached to events/habits etc in our lives. Perhaps you started smoking when your relationship broke down, or you lost your job, and it's now become a crutch. I can't recommend EFT highly enough, and if anyone would like further details I can recommend a great lady who does it.

Hypnotherapy can be another great way to help you get off the stimulants. It's also sooooo relaxing. Contact me for a great guy who is able to help.

Patrick Holford, a leading nutritionist, has written a book on how to quit addictions - effectively called How To Quit Without Feeling S***. I think many many people are extremely worried about what will happen to them if they do quit their coffee/smoking habit. They know the 'come down'/detox is not going to be at all pleasant and this can put people off for years. Your body becomes dependent on substances that you fill it with very quickly and its not easy just to go cold turkey.

Patricks book aims to help by offering nutritonal and supplement recommendations to help 'take the place' of the substance you are trying to get away from. It's a thick book, and he's sold thousands of copies. Yes it is a big problem so please don't beat yourself up about it.

And that brings me on to my last point (hurray you might be saying). To quit smoking or drinking coffee YOU HAVE TO WANT TO WITH ALL YOUR HEART. When I ask clients , "on a scale of 1-10 how much do you want to give .......... up" and they say 5 out of 10, I know they are not ready. We go through goal setting, what will help, waht will hinder etc and for some it may take a health scare or shock to make them realise how serious a problem it is for them. For others, they may just wake up one day with the sheer determination, or have an earth shattering, light bulb moment that makes them ready.

Hope this has been food for thought............RX

Sunday, 23 August 2009


I've been severely reprimanded this week on facebook for a comment I made about my lunch the other day. I had asparagus, and as my friend Pete pointed out in a rather barbed comment, it is currently out of season here. He suggested I think of the planet, and the airmiles from Peru to here, which is where it had come from.

Fair enough, wrists justly slapped. I didn't think. I love asparagus, bought it in a rush from the supermarket, cooked it , ate it, and it was, as usual, delicious. But, it had come a long way to get to me and that's far from a good thing!

Especially as there are plenty of vegetables, and fruits, that are in season here just now, and so are readily available without all the transporting overseas, packaging etc.

Peter grows his own vegetables, pretty much organically and currently has the following available on his doorstep :

runner beans

So, really I have no excuse eating asparagus when these veggies and more can be grown and bought here. Cucumber, brocolli, peppers, and tomatoes are also in season - so much to choose from.

Fruit is also in abundance just now. Our strawberries have unfortunately finished, but they are still available elsewhere in the country, along with other berries such as raspberries and blackberries. Also plums, peaches and cherries too.

So, from now on note to self : I will think consciously before I buy. I am good, mostly, but I'm only human and make the odd mistake; in future I'll make a conserted effort to buy local, in season fruit and veg.

These colourful foods are so full of goodness, in the form of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients,fibre etc.- they are an essential part of our diet, and a tasty, joyful, versatile, mouthwatering experience. Buying locally and organic, and eating them fresh, ensures the maximum amount of goodness is maintained.

The recommendation is to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but ideally aim higher and make it mostly vegetables, preferably the dark green variety.
Juicing is a great way to get all five in. I like to start the day with organic carrot, green apple and ginger juice - adds a zing to breakfast.

So, Petes going to deliver some of his produce to me; can't wait. And a client gave me some of her garden lettuce for my lunch today, again organically grown, and it tasted so fresh. And lastly (short blog today)I've found a lovely shop/cafe in Harrogate called Fodder, who only sell produce grown/made in Yorkshire, including cheeses, fruit and veg, meats and even chocolate. A bit pricey but you get what you pay for, and it tastes delicious.

Promise I won't slip up again, Pete.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


I've got alot, alot of stress in my life just now and have had for some time. I really believe if I wasn't in this line of work I'd have gone under by now. I work hard at positivity, goal setting, saying "I can" instead of "I can't" and looking after my body, mind and soul with regular doses of TLC. It works.

Have you ever noticed how really difficult it is to feel optimistic when you're tired and lacking in energy and how different foods can help balance things significantly. Ever wondered why you get that dreadful energy slump mid to late afternoon? Look back; could it be the low- in- nutrients lunch you ate a few hours before? And what do hangovers do to your optimism levels? I can't really remember what a hangover feels like but can remember struggling big time the day after one (my halo is clear for everyone to see!).

Food affects mood, and energy levels, definitely. Every morsel you put between your lips has a direct correlation to how you're going to feel later.My children are a good example of this; if they eat sweets they are on a high for twenty minutes, but then (and this is when it's time to take cover) they crash and burn and I have to pick up the pieces. Life is not good at this point. Their negativity increases, they are less productive, have less concentration skills and lower energy levels.

What happens here usually with an adult is that they'll reach for more of the stuff that's created this state in the first place and so these peaks and troughs continue.

Food affects mood, I repeat,for lots of scientific reasons which I won't bore you with but ultimately the aim of the game is to BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS. Eating low Glycaemic Index foods helps with this; these are foods that release their energy slowly avoiding those peaks and troughs, and wholegrain carbohydrates are helpful here.

They allow for the absorption of tryptophan, which is a mood boosting amino acid found in foods such as turkey, beef,fish,eggs, milk and cheese, brown rice and nuts, and in turn to make the feel-good brian chemical seretonin.

So one of the ways to success is to cut out all refined carbohydrates ie. the white ones - white rice, white bread, white pasta etc.(very little nutritional value) in favour of the wholgrain,'brown' variety.

The top ten foods to help boost your happy hormones are :
sunflower seeds, dark chocolate (yes, there is a reason to live!), prawns and other seafood, oats, apricots,oily fish, brewers yeast, cottage cheese,turkey, and eggs. Give them a try see how you feel.

In summary, next time you're down in the dumps and your glass is always half empty, take a look at your diet. Revise it using the tips above and you're sure to feel better.

Oh and the odd glass of wine won't hurt either, just as long as it IS just the odd glass. Hangovers are pants in anyones book, aren't they?

And one last thing, to improve things even further EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR TYPE by following the METABOLIC TYPING DIET. See previous blogs for details, or contact me.

Today's tip : start a food diary and record everything that passes your lips, liquid or solid (and cigarettes). Take a look at the end of each day, and aim to improve the day after. After all tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


I've been on Radio Leeds again today. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience but feel the need to blog as a result. Bearing in mind that this station has a heavy bias towards middle aged females upwards, the majority of the questions put to me this time and the last were about carrying weight around the middle and how to get rid of it.

No suprises here really, just take a look around you when you're out and about! Check out all the muffin tops, the bursting bellies, the rotund shapes (and actually its not just middle aged ladies). Terrible scenes really; we are a nation of increasing waistlines.

Is it any suprise when there is so much junk food on offer? It's so accessible, it's readily available and very, very cheap. It saves people time, it tastes great (if you like that kind of thing...........think I'm in the minority here) so why shouldn't we eat it all the time? the main it has very few nutrients in it for our bodys to use to stay healthy and give us the required amounts of energy we need to exist in a happy,healthy state.

Processed foods, foods that have been tampered with, are basically non-nutrients. Our bodys don't recognise them as foods but as they are filled with salty and sugary flavourings it stimulates something in us to want more, and more. Basically until some good nutrition comes along. And some bodys are waiting a very long time for this to happen!

So if you are interested in finding some shape again (because it IS there somewhere), and being able to wear what you want, to feel better about yourself, to have more energy,and to be healthier in the long run, here are some top tips :

Cut out the CRAP foods (caffeine,refined,alcohol and processed)

Drink lots of pure water and herbal teas

Reduce the amount of refined wheat products you consume

Reduce the amount of processed dairy foods you consume

Reduce, drastically, the amount of processed sugary products you consume- *massively important*

Exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week - include some resistance and some interval training in this. Stick to it, make it a habit.

Get some good quality sleep each night (repair sleep = 10.30pm until 2am, physical repair, 2 until 6am mental repair)

Keep a food diary. This will highlight those biscuits you forget you've eaten or the fourth glass of wine you drank. Just keeps it all real.

Don't do thousands of abdominal crunches - THEY WILL NOT GIVE you A SIX PACK or any definition you require! You need to lower your overall body fat to have a defined stomach. Simple as.

Ok so there's some stuff to be going on with. Hope it helps. And by the way if you're intimidated by gyms, don't go - you can do all you need to do from home.
Call me.

Thursday, 30 July 2009


I'm not really sure where I'm going with this blog post today, but feel the need to cover the whole topic of the dreaded SUGAR substance again.

Boring, freaky, wierdy, antisocial, mad, crazy, are just a few of the adjectives that have been used to, yes, me! And that's by my friends. All because I took sugar out of my diet. And when I say sugar, I also mean refined carbohydrates (pasta, bread, rice) and alcohol as the body converts them to a form of sugar to be digested.

It is by far the hardest thing I have ever attempted to do in my life, no exaggeration. Therefore, in some situations I have succumbed.Sometimes I have to admit it's because I don't want to be different (although in normal circumstances I do quite like this).

Chocolate bars, chips, glasses of wine,fresh bread and butter, tortilla chips and dips, champagne, mints after a meal, a latte with friends in Starbucks, popcorn and coke in the cinema - all of these foods are now the norm in our daily lives, and are, in the main, part of sociable eating. To take all of this out(and more) is, I'll admit, damn near impossible.

I keep being told that we only get one life and we should just enjoy it! My God, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I love my life, I love all the opportunites we get, all the choices we have etc. etc. but shouldn't we be able to do this without eating sugar? Does it really have such a hold on us?

I read an article in a magazine the other day in which a journalist had been challenged to give up sugar for one month. Thats all. She did it eventually but with lots of false starts, and then feelings of irritablility, lethargy, spaceyness, moodiness, major cravings and more. This sounds more like someone withdrawing from cocaine, or serious alcohol intake than just plain old sugar.

Sugar is found in almost ALL processed (or CRAP) foods. Try reading some labels next time you're in those dreaded middle aisles in the supermarket and you'll be amazed. Even in what could be considered the most savoury meal, sugar will be present.

Why is this necessary? because those nasty food giants have worked out that by adding the right combinations of sugar, salt and fat to foods they can create insatiable feelings (ie. we never feel satisfied) so we crave more. The Pringles advertisement strap line 'Once you pop you can't stop, is very, very accurate for those reasons.

So, what happens in your body when you eat these foods is that, because they are nutritionally lacking, and have just the right chemical combination, your body wants more. But its more than a want - its a need. It's an overwhelming urge for more. Try eating one chip from a whole plate of them. Once you've tasted one and it activates that 'need' within you ie through your taste buds, you literally can't stop without physically removing the plate from within your grasp.

David Kessler, an Amercian who worked with Bill CLinton to take on the tobacco manufacurers has just written a book - THE END OF OVEREATING, and it's about this very topic. How the food manufactuerers are making stuff thats impossible to stop eating. Its great for their profits, but terrible for our waistlines.

Apparently from an insatiable point of view these are the top foods to be avoided at all costs :
Pringles, French Fries, Starbucks Mocha Frappucionos, Snickers, Kettle chips, Chocolate chip cookies, Flapjacks (unless home made),biscuits (especially chocolate ones). I'd add anything alcoholic to this list!!

The thing is and now this is serious. Sugar causes health problems, in excess.Apart from it making us fat, it makes us bloated - this is because glucose is stored in water in the body (short term) as glycogen in the muscles and tissues, so when you take it out of your diet you literally deflate!

It can also lead to syndrome X which is a resistance to insulin that can increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, and I think everyone knows that this is one of the biggest diseases of our time, and is rapidly rising in numbers.

So, the big food giants should be shot, in short.They are ruining the nations health, to line their own pockets. Not quite that simple I guess, as we can all say NO, but as I've just outlined it IS NOT THAT EASY. If it were we wouldn't need millions of diet books, self help books,low fat and low sugar processed foods (by the way avoid these, they're just as bad) and everything else that makes up the whole 'diet industry' - also doing well out of us thankyou very much!

This blog rambles abit today. I'm not apologising. It's my blog and I can ramble if I like!! I hope you've got something out of it, and it makes you think a little. If I could challenge you to attempt to take sugar out of your diet for one week and see what happens that would be just great. Please give me feed back. Don't resort to smoking to fill the gap however, as someone I know did. Couterproductive, big time!

Right, now back to my life; how to avoid all the available alcohol in our holiday home (particularly Pink Camel Valley Champagne), and the nibbles that will be out to go with it tonight.........aaaaaaaargh!

Monday, 27 July 2009


I'm about to go away for a couple of weeks on holiday with my family and the last thing I need (a, because it's my job and b, because I've worked hard at it) is to lose any of my fitness/muscle tone.

It's very easy when we go away from our normal existence to indulge and think "Oh what the hell"; but holidays are short lived and however enjoyable ,most of us will return a few weeks later, look in the mirror and wish we hadn't been couch or pool potatoes for the whole time.

Today's blog details a time saver workout that ANYONE can do ANYWHERE. It won't take up hours out of your family time, or deprive you of relaxing in the sunshine, and if you do it in the morning it's out of the way, and that box can be ticked.

I love to get up early and workout in the fresh air overlooking the sea. I find it hugely motivating and exhilarating to have a breathtaking view to look at whilst pushing my body out of its comfort zone.

Other than a pair of trainers there is NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED, and as much as I miss my punch bag, weights,bosu ball, stability ball, kettlebells,and all the other paraphenalia I have collected over the years to add variety to exercise, for two weeks I can manage perfectly well without it.

Skipping ropes require minimal room in the suitcase, and will provide an aerobic workout that'll tire you pretty quickly, and resistance bands too. Running and brisk walking are great to do anywhere and if you're lucky enough to be on a beach try volleyball, bat and ball, boule or anything that gets you up and moving. Swimming is a superb all over body exercise and a great cool down when you've had too much sun.

Back to the workout for today - this can be adapted to your personal fitness levels and ideally done every other day, with a run/swim/walk on the days in between. Work on the basis though, that anything is better than nothing!

Sets : x3 of each exercise
Reps : 10-15 of each exercise

Warm up for 5 minutes, a brisk walk is good, or marching on the spot.

Body Weight Squats
Forward lunges
Lying bridges
Push ups
Tricep dips
Side plank

Stretches to finish - important.

Remember : if you're somewhere hot you need to drink lots of water, and before you get thirsty. Also try to workout in the morning when it's cooler - and because you've done it for the day then! And ENJOY! Our bodys are made to move - yes really.

Good Luck and have a good holiday, I know I will. RX

Sunday, 5 July 2009


A real quick blogpost today, full of bullet points - What Can You DO Today To Start You On A Healthier Track?

* Reduce the processed foods you eat and particularly microwave meals bought in little plastic tubs. Never microwave plastic pouches, Tupperware or other plastic containers. There is evidence to suggest that the plastic seep into the food and we in turn eat them. They are in the main, non nutrient foods in the first place anyway.

* Keep food in plastic out of the fridge also. Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel. This applies to milk bottles too - decant if you have to.

* Drink filtered water only. Have a water filter attached to your tap, or your fridge water supply, and use a filter kettle for your hot drinks.

* Eat 1-2 portions of brassica vegetables each day, this revs up the ability of the body to de-tox environmental chemicals - they include, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, sauerkraut and kale etc.

*Avoid CRAP foods (caffeine, refined, alcohol, processed) - those aisles in the supermarkets full of packets. Nasty.

* Cut trans fatty acids out of your diet - mostly found in foods found in the middle supermarket aisles, see above point. Again, nasty.

* Eat clean foods, organic where possible. Think hunter, gatherer. If not organic go for locally grown produce. Clean foods help your immune system 'army' to fight off any invading cancer causing free radicals.

* Follow a detox protocol which avoids filling the body full of chemicals - eat clean, drink clean, stop smoking, reduce alcohol, use natural, organic skincare products, and household cleaning products (you can smell the nasties in these a mile off), use skin brushing techniques prior to bathing,drink herbal teas rather than regular tea and coffee. This will all help reduce your overall toxic 'load' which will otherwise stockpile the rest of your life.

* Read Detoxify Or Die by Sherry Rogers, MD.

* Buy glass bottles to carry your drinking water around in.

* Help to spread the word to friends and family about the pervasive power of plastics to destroy health.

* Reduce the use of over the counter drugs and medicines to fight minor ailments, which will probably go away on their own given time (and if they don't look for a more natural cure that works on the cause and doesn't just suppress the symptoms). The liver has its work cut out to detox the combination of OTC drugs placing stresses on the body.Prevention is way better than cure - diet, exercise, stress reduction, hydration, positive thinking, good sleep.

*Move your body, that's what we were designed for. Sitting down for eight hours a day helps us store toxins, reduces muscle tissue efficiency, encourages an unhealthy immune system and basically enables the body to forget how it should work.

* Read Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek for excellent, detailed information on how to detox your world.

NB. Cancer is caused 95% by diet and environment - protect both of yours because your health is a gift to be cherished at all costs.

I really hope this is food for thought, and of use to ALL readers.

If you need further detail on any of the above bullet points, leave a comment and I'll elaborate.


PS. FREE RADICALS : basically immune system 'invaders'. They come in many shapes and sizes, there are bacteria, viruses and fungi as well as parasites amongst others, all out to reduce our line of defence. They are potentially dangerous chemicals which we can mine-sweep with good antioxidant nutrients. When they take hold we are in danger of dis-ease.

Monday, 29 June 2009


As promised here's a short blogpost on superfoods for my lovely friend Paul.

There is no official or scientific definition of the term 'superfoods' (despite the fact that is one of the most used words in nutrition currently. The lists quoted often contain a diverse range of foods, from walnuts to salmon, spinach to blueberries.

So what is a 'superfood' - basically a food bursting with goodness and therefore high levels of nutrients and especially antioxidants (those clever things that are able to disarm free radicals and so help boost our immune systems and ultimately help cancer prevention).

Superfoods are all available in supermarkets, no specialist health food shops need to be visited, but please don't stray down the centre aisles full of C.R.A.P. foods.

You will not find any superfoods there. By the way if you've not read my previous blogs C.R.A.P. stands for caffeine, refined, alcohol, and processed. The more processed a food is the more of an anti nutrient food it is and far removed from a superfood.Even foods that have been fortified with vitamins don't count. What's the point of taking all the goodness out to process it and then attempt to put artificial goodness back in??

Anyway, back to superfoods - two of the most seasonal at the moment are asparagus and strawberries; both full of goodness. I think this is obvious by looking at them - fresh, colourful, moist and healthy looking. Put up against Wotsits and marshmallows there's no contest is there?

"The foods we eat are the first line of defense from the negative effects of lifestyle stress, pollution, radiation, and toxic chemicals". So says Amanda Hamilton, nutritionist to the stars.

And so the more superfoods we eat versus processed foods devoid of nutrients, the stronger our immune systems and the greater our chances of staying dis-ease free. Isn't that what we ALL want? Surely no-one wants to be ill, sick, dis-ease ridden and in pain because of a bad diet if they can help it. If we can help ourselves by eating well, and eating right for our types (see Metabolic Typing blogs), we can go a long way to maintaining the healthy body's we need for a long and fulfilling life.

The 'best' diet contains a varied mix of superfoods (and yes OK a small proportion of the other stuff) and the more colourful the better. Aim for five plus of fruit and vegetables a day, ten would be even better, mixed with protein to keep blood sugar stable.

So here's a list of a sample of superfoods - how many have you eaten today?..........

Apples,avocados,broccoli,wild salmon,turkey,seeds,nuts,kiwi fruit,garlic,cinnamon,green tea,dark chocolate (the darker the better 70% cocoa plus),oats,quinoa,pumpkin,spinach,tomatoes,beans and pulses and one of the most quoted : blueberries.

We still have plenty of strawberries by the way but not for much longer, come get them quick.

Today's Tip : have at least two superfoods with each meal, every day. Bet you feel better!

Friday, 19 June 2009


We have a little strawberry farm going on in our garden at the moment, and my five year old, Nat, is well in charge of it. Every morning he's out there in his pyjamas with a great big bowl picking the most beautifully sweet, red, strawberries before the birds pinch them.

We're giving them away to family and friends because we can't eat them quick enough!

So, today's blog is about how nutritious these fruits are and how we could all do with including them in our diets (unless you have an allergy to them - apparently it's the protein that forms the structure of the plant that could be responsible).

The ancient Greeks called strawberries 'komaros' meaning 'a mouthful' and they are a perfect size - particularly for children, and so sweet and succulent, what's not to love about them?

The best news in, they are really, really good for us; a true superfood:

Medicinally they are considered to have cleansing properties, due to a combination of their laxative and diuretic actions, and they can be very calming on the skin so useful for treating sunburn and insect bites.

They're rich in the minerals iron,magnesium,potassium and calcium, and are also rich in vitamins A and C. They actually contain more vitamin C per weight than citrus fruit helping the iron in them to be more readily absorbed.

They are extremely low in calories (if this is your thing!) and are also a low GL food meaning they will not spike your blood sugar levels shortly after eating. In fact I recommend strawberries and a few nuts as a mid morning or afternoon snack to clients - a whole punnet of them is the equivalent in GL points to a few dates!

Antioxidant vitamins A and C can help in the mopping up of free radicals, so strawberries can be a good anti cancer food. They are also rich in the soluble fibre, pectin, which can help with cholesterol. This makes them effective against heart and circulatory disease.

One little tip that I learnt just the other day ; when you pick them ,leave the green 'caps' on, as when they are removed an enzyme is activated that destroys vitamin C.

So enjoy them as part of your healthy nutrituous diet, safe in the knowledge that your body will thank you, and if you're a protein type feel free to add some good quality double cream too. I have mine with coconut milk, toasted dessicated coconut, a few nuts and some cinnamon sprinkled on the top. Lovely!

Enjoy. RX

Thursday, 18 June 2009


It's great wehn you first start out on a new fitness and health 'regime'. You're motivated, you're doing something different and if you stick to it strictly (and it's a good, sensible plan for you) you WILL get results. Eventually though, however much you stick to your plan you'll reach a plateau, a frustrating plateau! This is because the body is great at adapting, and this is what it's done. It's got used to the change and thinks this is now the norm so less effort is required.

So today's short blog is purely to give you a few pointers to overcoming a plateau :

1. Shape up your exercise - make sure you're doing regular sessions; is it possible to squeeze another one in, in the week?. Government recommendations are five times a week for 30 minutes, but if you're smart you can do less and achieve more. It comes down to intensity - forget the steady state cardio ie. running at the same pace for the duration of your exercise session.

2. Push through your comfort zone - that's what us personal trainers are here for. To help you go further than you would if you were working out on your own. I often get clients saying part way through a session " I would have stopped by now if you weren't here".

3. Do the opposite of what you're currently doing. Give your body a shock! If you're currently working out using a stability ball use dumbbells instead. If you're using a rowing machine, get on a bike instead. Shake it up a bit and your body doesn't know what to expect so the adaptation process can't happen.

4. Eat more, but the right stuff. If you're eating right for your body type you should be able to eat regualr meals of adequate proportions to fill you up, so you don't feel as if you're depriving yourself. Metabolic Typing does not use calorie counting, traffic light systems, or any type of food restricting etc.

5. Keep a food diary. Record every morsel that passes your lips, food and drink, and review it regularly. You may be very suprised at how much 'non nutrient'food you are snacking on, even if your main meals are home prepared.

6. Plan - it really is all in the planning. I set out my exercise plan at the beginning of each week, and work out all my meals and snacks for the following day, the night before. Sounds a bit dull but you soon get used to it, and it means YOU are in control. Take a little time to plan ahead and reap the benefits.


Monday, 15 June 2009


I've been hearing alot of people talking about carbs over the last week or so and how you should 'load up' on carbs before you do any endurance exercise. That may work for some people but if I did that I'd be flagging virtually immediately.

My body needs dense protein, it's taken me a while to work it out. I couldn't understand for years why when I eat pasta for lunch I feel dreadful an hour or so later -sluggish, sleepy, lethargic, definitely not up for doing anything energetic. The pasta party the night before the Great North Run would definitely have to be an invitation I'd decline.

However, I have a friend who is a vegetarian and she is also a marathon runner. She copes very well on a bowl of pasta for a meal, it'll last her for hours.She's a carb type through and through and she's worked out what foods do it for her.

So carbs are right for some people, but it's not a rule that they MUST be eaten before endurance sport. We are all different; we look different on the outside and so we are just as different on the inside which is why some ways of eating work well for some people and not for others. Put me on the Atkins diet and I'd do really well, but my friend definitely would not.

Most people are a bit confused as to which foods 'work' for them because when you put processed foods into the mix it messes things up. They confuse the body, they stimulate it with chemicals, they raise blood sugar levels and then drop them from a great height, they help to dehydrate, they alter moods - all of this prevents us from being in tune with what our body's really need.

One thing's for sure though, we don't need the amount of refined carbohydrates that we consume as a nation. Crisps, white bread, white rice, white pasta, cakes, muffins, buns, confectionary, alcohol, chocolate, the majority of breakfast cereals etc. = refined carbs.

And these are the foods that are making us fat, in the main. Our body's process them like sugar,so ultimately we can become insulin resistant and diabetic (apart from all the other health issues they raise). The rise in the number of people who have diabetes and those that are going to get it in the near future is scary, and alot of these statistics will be children.

This can be prevented by eating a diet of Low Glycaemic Index foods ie. slow release energy foods, such as oats, brown rice, wholewheat, spelt, buckwheat pasta, wholegrain/rye/spelt breads. Basically denser, heavier, more fibrous foods that take more time to be digested and therefore offer more sustenance to the body keeping it fuller for longer.

I know that when my children eat crisps they will be hungry shortly afterwards; the same goes for a piece of cake or a white bread bun. If they eat oatcakes with cheese they will not. Adults are exactly the same.

Processed foods send messages to the body that say " ok, well I've got some food but it's not the food I need so I'm assuming something better is coming along". If we continue to eat processed foods, the body continues to think this way, which is why people have the capacity to eat ENORMOUS amounts of C.R.A.P. foods which make them fat but don't satisfy them.

How about cutting out processed foods for a week, all of them, just as an experiment to see how your body reacts. You'll get very clear meassages then telling you which unprocessed foods are working for you, which ones you need to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel and which ones make you feel below par.

This is where Metabolic Typing can help. Bet you were wondering when I was going to mention it!

I know I harp on about it alot but it really is such a tried and tested method of eating. No calorie counting, no gimmicks, no bars, no shakes, no points, no traffic light systems, no humiliating jump on the scales each week in front of a load of strangers. Just a list of foods that are right for your body, gained from answering some questions on your psychological, dietary and physical traits. Very straight forward, it really is.

If you've been struggling with your weight, with bloating, with abdominal discomfort, with food cravings, with mood swings, with low energy levels,lethargy, insomnia and many other symptoms METABOLIC TYPING could be just the thing for you.

Call or text or email me to discuss. It can be done remotely, as well as face to face.

Today's Tip : Take charge of your eating - starting today. I guarantee you'll feel better for it, ultimately.

Friday, 5 June 2009


"The formula for change is when the desire for change is greater than the resistance to change".
Brad Sugar Australain Business Consultant

If I can recommend one book to you all out there out of literally hundreds of health/lifestyle/fitness books I have read it would be this :

How To Eat Move And Be Healthy - Your personalised four step guide to looking and feeling great from the inside out. By Paul Chek.

If you feel ready to make changes to your life - to become healthy and to feel vital, to have more energy, to be more focussed,to help the world be a better place, to be happy - READ IT!

If you're happy to plod along being fat, tired, lacking in energy, moaning about your life (how many people do you hear every day doing this!?), making excuses, being unhealthy, popping pills for a quick fix, eating non nutrient food - then stick with what you're doing because as the saying goes " If you always do what you've always done then you'll always get what you've always got".

Paul Chek is amazing. He's a complete inspiration. I've done CHEK courses : Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Levels one and two, and the information imparted is mind blowing.

I heard him speak at the Fitpro convention last month. He stood up and read a poem, and showed slides to go with it. It was one of the most intoxicating, beautiful, amazingly interesting and profound poems I have ever heard (poems are not normally my thing at all). He silenced a hall of several hundred people for a good forty five minutes - no mean feat.

At the end of it, I felt so inpired that I sat while others were filing out, and wrote my own poem to a close friend who inspires me. Something I have never done before.

His book, How To Eat Move And Be Healthy, is very easy to follow. It's not rocket science; it makes perfect sense and it covers subjects that we all take hugely for granted in this frantic world of ours. It teaches us to love ourselves to take time out for ourselves and to look after our body's. They so want to be healthy, if we'd only just let them.

TODAY'S TIP : I invite you to read this book for yourselves. sell it and it won't break the bank. Alternatively come to me for Holistic Lifestyle Coaching (contact me for details or see earlier blog posts) and you'll get a copy thrown in for free.


Why is it acceptable for middle aged men (and women) to have big bellies. To lots of people it's ok and just a part of getting older.

Rubbish, there is no medical reason why the tummy should get any bigger as we get older. I listened to two women talking in the supermarket yesterday, about dieting. One of them said " ooh I can't get into that dieting thing, I get sat in front of my computer with my food and that's me settled for the day. This women was the size of a house - honestly. I am fattist and I make no bones about it. Unless someone has a medical reason for being overweight there is no excuse!

I remember working with a guy who was a big fit strapping rugby player and he once said he was looking forward to letting himself go and getting a big beer belly when he got older. What an aspiration!

The thing is, not only is it disgusting to look at, very uncool, very unattractive, and lots of other adjectives it suggests there are big problems going on in the digestive system, and elsewhere in the body AND so it's highly dangerous.

It's unhealthy because some of it is visceral fat which means it is located deeper in the body than ordinary fat and is laid down around the vital organs.

Here it can release harmful toxins that increase the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Waist to hip ratio has become popular - lots of medical on line sites have calculators that'll work it out for you. They divide the waist measurement by your hip measurement and give you the resulting figure. Check out

Current guidelines are .75 to .8 for women and .85 to .9 for men . Anything above these figures is too high, and something needs to be done.

It's a more accurate health measurement than BMI.

To prevent 'middle aged spread' the government guidelines are to exercise five times a week for 30 minutes. Not alot that, and actually if you're working hard enough in your session you don't need to even do this (see a personal trainer - ie me! for guidelines on intensity) . How many people in this country are doing the minimum recommended amount each week? Very very few.

In addition to exercise eating right for your body types is KEY, so key I can;t emphasise it enough. See all my previous blogs on METABOLIC TYPING or contact me for more information. We're all different on the outside and so we're very different on the inside and require different foods for optimum energy and health benefits.

TODAY'S TIP : take a long hard look at your diet and exercise regime. Does it stand up to scrutiny? If not and your waist measurement is too high, start today and do something about it. RX

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


I've been on a course today and had to sit for four hours in a blistering hot room. Of course we were given lots of drink breaks and guess what was top of the list : tea and coffee, those great 'get me through the day' beverages. I also observed many of the group had brought their own drinks - mainly fizzy soda type stuff, Gatorade, Lucozade, Coca Cola, Fanta etc. Looking around the room (this was a more interesting study than the course) there was very little of what we are designed to drink - plain old WATER.

It seems the majority of the population have forgotten the humble drink of water such is the power of advertising and the great range of carbonated, sugar/sweetener/colouring/flavouring filled range of drinks that are so readily available to us today.

But these things along with tea and coffee (in large amounts) come with adverse health affects, when they displace water, these include :

tooth decay - who cleans their teeth after a can of coke?

sugar addiction - and boy is it addictive

caffeine addiction - likewise

insomnia - if you're still buzzing how can you expect your mind to switch off?

attention deficit disorder - stimulants lead to a 'jumpy' brain

insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes - this is far more common than most people are aware

Used within the 80/20 rule these drinks are fine, if the rest of the time the body is being hydrated by water and herbal and fruit teas. Become dependent on these drinks to 'keep you going' which is what many people use them for, and you run the risk of developing health problems long term.

One of the main issues is the damage they can do to the adrenal glands which are responsible for our stress response. In cave man times we needed this 'fight or flight' stress response to run away from attacking wild animals. Stress hormones were released that elevated our heart rate and blood pressure and diverted blood away from the internal organs and out to the skin and muscles allowing us to literally run for our lives. This was short lived and then our bodys relaxed again.

What happens when we take in alot of stimulants, particularly in the form of caffeine, on a regular basis, and also eat inadequately, is the adrenals are in 'stress mode' more or less permanently and can become fatigued. We have created a state in our bodys that is the modern equivalent of running away from a hungry bear!

When we omit breakfast this creates low blood sugar, and low energy levels leaving you NEEDING that next cup of coffee. The coffee gives you a temporary 'high', and you feel good again but soon will get the repeated energy slump.This yo yo syndrome will continue all day if sufficient nutrients are not ingested, and the coffee drinking 'need' increases leaving you wide awake in the evening when you should be sleeping.

This whole stress cycle disrupts digestion, sleeping patterns, energy levels, accerbates mood swings and a whole host of other minor health problems which will leave you feeling well below par, and can turn into more major health problems when this cycle is sustained for long periods.

In short, long term stress on the body and mind in any way shape or form is really not good.

So think about how you want to feel. How much would you like unlimited energy levels, to have a clear head, to have a digestive system that works smoothly and ultimately have no cravings?.

To look healthy on the outside and feel, and be, healthy on the inside?.

You HAVE to want it badly to get it, because temptation is everywhere. We are surrounded by fast food outlets, supermarket shelves stocking processed 'anti nutrient' foods, vending machines in offices offering nothing with ANY goodness, petrol stations - ditto. We are becoming a nation of very unhealthy people and it's scary. The NHS is drained enough and we look set to drain it some more if we carry on with our unhealthy eating and drinking regimes.

Why not make a small step today to improve what you ingest. You get one body and it so wants to be healthy - let it?

Today's Tip : Go cold turkey for a few days - you may feel shocking so plan to do it when you're not busy(?). Drink only water and herbal and fruit tea. Peppermint will give you a buzz in the morning,its a natural stimulant, as will green tea which whilst containing some caffeine has many, many healthy properties.I did it years ago and have never looked back. Good luck. RX

Monday, 25 May 2009


I've been doing alot of work with clients this week on positive thinking and how negativity can cause real health problems. Emotions, if not allowed to be released, can be harboured within the body and result in actual physical symptoms, which can be tricky to get rid of.

So today's blog offers some tips on how to keep your mind healthy :

Keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day by eating small regualr meals combining carbs and protein, particularly slow release foods such as wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and berries. This encourages steady moods rather than peaks and troughs.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Think when a 'problem' arises " will I still worry about this next week?". If the answer is no, let it go!

Focus, and keep focussed. Have a list of what you want to achieve each day from small jobs to big projects - learn to prioritise. If you have a list it prevents procrastination (I'm a big procrastinator but find if its written down I'm less likely to put things off).

Keep it simple. Apparently research shows that simple actions every day can improve mental wellbeing. Smile at someone at the shops, take a walk in the park, have coffee with a friend. Get that feel good factor!

Physical and mental health are so closely linked. The endorphins released through exercise can help impove self confidence and moods, try to remember how good you feel after your work out and it'll make you want to do it again, and again. If only we could bottle that feeling!

Eat a diet full of key 'mood nutrients' - iron, B vitamins, and Omega 3 fatty acids particularly will help keep you on an even keel, and are vital for brain function.

Rather than looking forward to a one off treat such as a holiday which can seem ages away try small and frequent boosts throughout the day or week. Plan things you enjoy doing such as working with a personal trainer (me, hey hey!), going dancing, walking the dog, phoning a friend, going to the cinema - the list is endless!

As social creatures, in the main, we crave comfort, support and contact. Hugs,kisses, cuddles, or a kind word go a long way to giving us a boost. Give someone you care about a big cuddle today. My children are the cuddliest creatures, and they love being tickled which is their way of inviting closeness - "mummy, tickle me please". We have regular tickling sessions in our house, and the giggling gives me a big high! I say to Nat "what's mummys happy thought" and he says " me laughing".

Singing and dancing allows us to express ourselves and don't worry if youre not as good as Madonna or Beyonce (all of us then). Close the curtains, ramp up the volume and have a good sing and a good boogie - try it, it's almost guaranteed to put you in a better mood. Useful with children; I use this method alot to lift moods and divert tantrums.

Aim to be flexible with your behaviour ie. don't be so rigid that if things change for whatever reason you lose the plot ( this is one of my biggest bug bears. I am Monica from friends and struggle with lack of organisation and if things change, well that's me thrown). Challenge yourself to a day of behaving in a way that's the opposite of what you'd normally do.

To uplift and balance moods aromatherapy oils are second to none. Lavender makes a great relaxant in the bath, and rosemary and marjoram are stimulants useful for focus and concentration. Geranium, frankincense and orange will give you a boost if you're flagging. Add six to eight drops to a bath and lie back and relax.

Visualisation is my last tip and not everyone is into this. If you do have a negative thought, try to visualise it leaving your body and mind (you can wrap it up, put it in a box first etc.) and let it float away. Then, replace it with a positive thought.

Todays Tip : stress is cummulative (I know for a fact!). Try releasing it as you get it with whatever means you have at your disposal, and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Ever wondered why boxers are as fit as butchers dogs? It's all down to their training, alot of which involves skipping.

A guy on my Personal Training course years ago was a featherweight boxer and was fitter than the rest of us by a mile. One day we did the 'bleep' test and he left us all in a heap at the side of the room as he carried on running back and forth as if it was a walk in the park. And he had not an ounce of fat on him.

My daughter, Lauren aged seven, came home the other day from school and announced she needed to learn to skip. All the other girls in her class can do it apparently, and she can't. She's a real tom boy and has never shown even the vaguest interest in skipping to date (I know but it is still viewed as 'girly' in the playground).

I grabbed a couple of ropes, shortened one, and we had a mess about with them in the garden. I use skipping as a warm up with clients, and boy does it get them warm. Within minutes, and it's such fun too. It reminds me of carefree days when I was little and that's always a good thing when as adults they don't happen that often.

Lauren's still practising little and often and can, in the main, do it now.

So what is it about a simple rope and jumping up and down repetitively that is so good for us?

Well, for starters it engages both your upper and lower body and also the brain which foxes alot of adults. It requires concentration and coordination big time to get your feet over the rope and not tangled up in it!

Having cracked the technique, alot of which comes down to timing, there are lots if different types of skips which should be manageable.

Skipping should be fluid, not jerky. Aim to hold your tummy in tight as you land and keep the knees soft so there is no jarring of joints going on. Short grass is a good outdoor surface as is the soft tarmac in children's playgrounds (just make sure you can do it before making a fool of yourself in front of a group of kids!) and indoors a sprung floor is great.

For beginners try just 10 skips, have a rest and do another 10. You will feel just that. You can then build up from there. You can do static skipping, running skipping (if you have the space), skipping on one leg at a time, skipping continuously on two legs, fast - this is what boxers do. There are many many options, just take yourself back to being a child and it'll all come flooding back!

Why bother - well there lots of benefits :

It's fun!
It'll make you smile!
It's portable, you can do it anywhere and can always use an imaginary rope; works just as well.
It's time efficient - do a couple of minutes and you'll feel it. Do this lots of times a week and you'll get great results.
It helps develop co ordination.
It works your heart and lungs hard - you will notice this very quickly as you're gasping for breath.
It helps tone muscles.
It helps strengthen joints.

I get clients to do 100 skips and then a minute of boxing using pads, and then repeat. A couple of minutes of this and they're well ready to work out.

I'm just going to do some now, what could be better to wake me up on a Sunday morning?

Today's Tip : Finding exercise that you enjoy goes a long way to helping you stick to it.