With the sugar tax hitting the headlines last week we really need to talk about sugar!
Every day people tell me innocently that they don’t eat sugar... We need to get waaay more savvy than that. Food manufacturer's simply don't speak our language. They like to write in code names like grams, units and traffic lights (what??)
In fact, there are 61 different names for sugar. So without even realising it, many of us are consuming popular everyday items (such as bread, soups, crisps, yoghurts, pasta sauces and ready-meals) all containing added sugar and we are none the wiser. Sugar is everywhere.
Speaking on The Kaye Adams Show on BBC Radio Scotland recently, I discussed the importance of eating breakfast. Here's why!
Reasons to eat breakfast
What if you really can’t face breakfast in the morning?
If you really can't face eating breakfast, remember to rehydrate.
Try breaking your fast with half a pint of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or a few drops of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV). The bitterness helps wake up digestion and stimulate digestive enzymes making your body ready for the intake of food.
Reasons to stay hydrated:
We also discussed fasting and when fasting can be helpful in weightloss
If you really want to fast*, fasting for 12 hours overnight can be helpful, for some people. It's best to do this with one-to-one professional help. Contact me to discuss your health goals.
Benefits of 12 hour fasting may include:
*If you are diabetic or have a health condition speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet
As I discussed with Kaye Adams recently on BBC Radio Scotland, being permanently on a diet and skipping breakfast is not a recipe for a happy, healthy life. Sadly, lifelong dieting is the reality for so many people. I’m here to reassure you that doesn’t need to be the case.
1. Focus on the quality of your food
Turn your attention to the quality of your food instead of the number of calories or points in your food. That means choosing wholefoods which naturally promote satiety, such as certain good fats, good quality protein and fibre.
2. Balance your blood sugar
Blood sugar balance is about balancing out your hormones so you don’t get fluctuations in weight because the amount of glucose in your blood largely influences your appetite. This means combining protein with fibrous foods (such as vegetables) at meal times. This is something I talk a lot about with clients in my one-to-one consultations
3. Ditch the counting
Diets and slimming clubs are obsessed with calories and counting, at the expense of essential nutrients (and health). For example, ‘diet’ and 0% fat yoghurts are robbed of the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K and are replaced by sugar. Sugar upsets hormone balance and quickly leads to weight gain, predominantly around our waistlines.
Skimming off the fat in yoghurt means you are left feeling hungry sooner and craving more food, as well as losing out on those important nutrients. On the contrary, natural, full fat yoghurt will help fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied. Let's face it, full fat (natural) yoghurt is not the reason we are in the midst of an obesity crisis.
4. Choose your snack wisely
If you snack, swap the sad ‘diet cereal bars’ for real food. Try a protein snack such as a handful of cashews. Cereal bars are 100% refined carbohydrate plus sugar and will leave you feeling sad, unsatisfied and wanting more. If you work in an office, no doubt you will be challenged by the office 'feeder' on a near daily basis. Bringing in your own healthier sweet treats can help. Try these energy bombs or find out more about my personalised cooking classes
5. Prioritise your health
Planning your meals and cooking your own food helps you take back control of what you are consuming. Otherwise, there is no way to truly know what you are consuming. Read my 15 tips for better meal planning and have the confidence to shun the office feeder for good!
If you feel lost in the kitchen enquire about my personalised cooking classes
Ultimately eating real food, exercising and good sleep hygiene are the most important factors to focus on when weight loss is your goal. Contact me for a personalised nutrition plan to help you set realistic targets and help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Are you a breakfast lover or a breakfast hater?
Breakfast was certainly the most contentious meal of the day last Tuesday, 7th November, when I was live-on-air again with Kaye Adams on BBC Radio Scotland, discussing the importance of breakfast.
You can listen back to our big breakfast debate on the BBC iPlayer.
Fast forward to 2:35:22 to hear my interview with Kaye Adams.
Some radio listeners felt very strongly that skipping breakfast helps them lose weight. Trust me, it really doesn't! Read the science behind what actually happens below. I've also written a few words on how you can lose weight naturally
The breakfast challenge
For me, breakfast is the best meal of the day. There is no greater feeling than waking up hungry and tucking into a hearty breakfast such as pimped up porridge or high protein banana bread. I also get excited by breakfast out on the weekends but I realise not everyone shares my enthusiasm... I'm here to challenge that!
Shake up your wake up!
Try having one week of my favourite healthy breakfasts and see how much more energised you feel!
Here's five negative things that happen when you skip breakfast
1. Low energy
You’ve fasted all night so your blood sugar is low and so is your energy. You will feel fatigued and find it harder to concentrate at work, be prone to headaches and possibly light-headedness. Try a having one week of healthy breakfasts and experience how much more energised you could feel!
Low energy means we may be tempted to turn to stimulants such as tea and coffee for an energy boost to tie us over until lunch. This triggers 'fight or flight' mode (a temporary increase in energy, heart rate, blood pressure and a surge of glucose in the bloodstream). This artificially disrupts blood sugar balance, triggers the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) and creates symptoms of anxiety, stress (when you are probably already stressed) and can even disrupt your sleep later that night.
3. Mood swings
Mood swings due to an imbalance in hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. This increases risk of anxiety and in the long run, can lead to panic attacks
4. Concentration levels
Difficulty concentrating because your brain is not receiving the glucose it needs to function optimally
5. Office Feeders
Ah yes, we are all familiar with the office 'feeder'. The work colleague who feels the need to 'share' their snacks (junk-food) on a daily basis with the team when you really wished they wouldn't bother.
When we skip breakfast, the office sweeties, biscuits, doughnuts and pastries at elevenses become far more inviting when we have fasted all morning and we more easily succumb to ‘filling the gap’ until lunch…
If you are wondering how to lose weight and still eat breakfast, while skilfully boycotting the office feeder, read my blog post: How to lose weight (naturally) without compromising your health and happiness.
Importantly you are skipping an ‘eating opportunity’ to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally. The focus is far too often on weight loss and not enough on health and wellbeing.
Are you a breakfast lover or a breakfast hater? Let me know your thoughts on this hot topic in the comments below and maybe we can settle this age-old debate, for once and for all?!...
Are you prepared to shake up your wakeup and try by high protein banana bread or pimped up porridge?
Maybe you're just not hungry in the morning in which case read this!
Finally, please join me over on Instagram @stellar_health_mary for more health food inspiration.
Discover how to lose weight (naturally) without compromising your health and happiness here
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