As I write this we are just a couple of days away from another New Year – 2015! This time is always one of reflection of the past year and of resolutions and goal setting for the coming year.
2014 was not a good year for me diet-wise. I have put on a lot of weight and am now at my heaviest, if not quite my largest. Exercise seems to have dropped off the map in recent months and the cold winter months never help with that as I like to stay comfortably wrapped up indoors when it is cold outside!
I have some friends who have set some huge goals for 2015. One of them wants to run 1,000 miles! That works out at something like 3 miles a day! I really hope she achieves it; it would be a wonderful accomplishment and would go a long way to helping her lose the weight she wants to shed.
Running is not for me though. I think some people are built for running and others are not. Though saying that I used to run quite a bit as a teenager but I was a skinny waif back then. I’m somewhat heavier then and with bigger boobs so running simply does not work well for me :-)
As mentioned on the about page, I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life and I have tried a variety of diets and done various types of exercise. I have done Karate on and off for many years but I stopped 2 years ago after sustaining 3 injuries in a matter of weeks, one of which was pretty serious – a shoulder dislocation that took about 18 months to heal and still twinges now and then.
I would like to get back into it but I’m not sure if 2015 will be the time. I just feel too heavy. It’s difficult to lug my body around quickly with excess weight to carry. I would like to lose a stone or two first and then consider it.
Two things that do work quite well for me though are weight training and kettlebell work. Kettlebells can be used for strength training or cardio but I like to use them for cardio as I can do it indoors and it generally doesn’t involve running around or jumping up and down. Then I do weight training for strength. Well, that is the plan at least.
I have a gym just a few minutes from me and I also have some limited equipment in a garage and some kettlebells indoors.
Diet wise, I am planning to try several things this year. I have been doing a lot of research into the lemonade diet or Master Cleanse recently. It’s not really a diet – more of a short term detox. I have done some detoxes in the past with good results but not like this one. It is a purely liquid diet and I’m not quite sure I’d have the willpower for it.
However, the idea of giving my digestive system a rest and giving my system a good clear out is appealing as I have felt very sluggish recently. I’m considering doing a partial cleanse by using the lemonade portion of the detox to supplement some light eating – soups, smoothies, stirfries etc. This way I would get a ton of nutrients from the vegetables and still get the benefits of the cleanse, at least I hope!
That isn’t a long term solution though; just a way to kick start the year. I’m one of those people who loves carbs and all sorts of comfort foods but I think they don’t really agree with me. So I’m considering having another stab at the slow carb diet. I have done this before with limited success but I think I blew it on my ‘off day’.
If I tried it again I think I would do it a little differently – maybe allocate some carbs in a small portion and not have the off day and just do it for a month or something. I’m not entirely sure yet. I still have another few days to think about it!
We’re in December now and it’s getting to that time where Christmas parties are happening, the food and drink is out in abundance and we’ve still got almost a month to go! Many people put on some weight at Christmas time so why not give yourself a headstart with this quick diet that can give you dramatic results in as little as three days.
It’s called ‘The Burn’ and it has been devised by a nutritional therapist based in California – Haylie Pomroy. She is particularly popular with the Hollywood stars as her plans can work quickly and are ideal for dropping a few pounds before a red carpet appearance. Haylie has appeared regularly on NBC’s Extra, Access Hollywood and is a recurring guest on the Dr. Oz Show. She has also been featured in Marie Claire, People, Harper’s Bazaar, US Weekly, First for Women, Star, and more
What is The Burn?
There are several different plans which fall under the Burn umbrella. A 3-day, 5-day and 10-day plan. In this article we’re featuring the 5 day plan which targets a sluggish gut; something that a great number of people unknowingly suffer from.
The idea of the 5 day Burn is to kick start the gut, encourage the beneficial bacteria and help to release enzymes which can eradicate the toxins which cause the body to store up that stubborn fat around the belly area. It reduces abdominal bloating and helps you regain that slimmer waistline.
Do You Have a Sluggish Gut?
This plan will help you to lose some weight regardless of how it got there, but if you suffer from digestive issues then it could be extremely beneficial. Have a look through these symptoms below. Do you suffer from 3 or more of them? If so, give The Burn a try and see just how effective it can be:
- Do you get heartburn or indigestion weekly or more often?
- Have you been diagnosed with IBS? (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Do you often find yourself constipated?
- Do you have regular occurrences of diarrhoea?
- Does your tummy get bloated, especially after eating?
- Do you tend to be rather ‘windy’?
These are just a sampling of the symptoms that caused by caused by gut problems but there are the most common.
A slowdown in gut motility is actually a form of slow transit constipation but is often not recognised as such. It’s not a very nice subject but it’s something that causes discomfort for many people, especially women. Emptying of the bowels should be stress free and pain free.
Increasing the amount of fibre in the diet and the amount of fluids one consumes can help but it not always enough on it’s own. This meal plan includes plenty of both.
There are also many other problems that begin with the guy. A ‘leaky gut’ (gut dysbiosis) is a common problem which can lead to autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease and many others. A Paleo diet is often used to help cure a leaky gut.
How Does The Burn Tackle These Problems?
Modern lifestyles, continuous stress and poor diet habits can cause the bad bacteria in the gut to overwhelm the good bacteria. This can slow down or even stop the production of the enzymes that digest food in the body.
If your digestive system is not working as it should then the gut can start to build up toxins. This not only makes you feel bad in the ways shown above but the body will attempt to get rid of the toxins by storing them in your fat cells – usually those around the abdomen. This is one of the reasons why belly fat in particular always seems to be so difficult to get rid of.
There are several components to the diet – smoothies, tea, soups and regular meals. The ingredients in each of the recipes is carefully crafted to target certain issues. The smoothies promote the grown of those food digesting enzymes. The tea will help to stimulate the bowels to clear some of that ‘backlog’. You will likely visit the toilet a couple of times a day. The soups are designed to help heal the lining of the gut.
You are not just drinking liquid food however. The plan also includes a host of meal recipes that are designed to be both delicious and satisfying whilst also helping to boost metabolism which helps promote faster weight loss.
There are lots more recipes, enough to last you a full 5 days over at The Daily Mail online.
The recipes are fairly easy to follow along with assuming that you have the ingredients already in your pantry. Haylie uses carefully selected spices which have the desired effects on the body. This is not a diet where you can adapt the recipes to your liking. You may end up spending a bit more money on ingredients when you get started.
The Burn is also gluten free. Gluten is something else which can cause gut irritation and in severe cases can lead onto Celiac disease.
A new study entitled “Meal frequency and timing in health and disease” published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the USA (PNAS) has found that fasting, or at least dramatically reducing calorie intake on an intermittent basis can break down fats, repair the cells of the body, reverse the ageing process, and shrink tumors and guard neurons against degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
How does fasting help?
In our modern society we are taught to eat ‘3 square meals a day’ and usually have snacks in between. However, in terms of evolution and our biological roots this pattern of eating is actually abnormal.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not eat regular meals in this way. They would often go a day or two without food or only the small amount they could forage around them, until they found their next kill and would then be able to eat much more for a while. Obesity, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cancer and all manner of other ailments were virtually unheard of back in those times.
The paper states “For many of our ancestors, food was scarce and primarily consumed during daylight hours, leaving long hours of overnight fasting. With the advent of affordable artificial lighting and industrialization, modern humans began to experience prolonged hours of illumination every day and resultant extended consumption of food.”
Dr Michelle Harvie, research dietitian at Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention and co-author of the paper, said: “There are many myths and assumptions concerning diet and eating patterns, including the belief that a healthy lifestyle should involve three square meals, plus snacks, every day. However, this common eating pattern is in fact abnormal from an evolutionary perspective. Emerging studies suggest that intermittent periods of energy restriction can in fact improve health and even counteract disease processes, such as the development of breast cancer.”
What is the 5:2 Diet?
The 5:2 diet is an intermittent fasting diet. The general principle is that you eat as you normally would for 5 days of the week and then for two days, you reduce your calories down to just 500 per day.
Although not a complete fast, the severe calorie reduction in this two days is low enough to trigger the health benefits associated with fasting. The low calorie period is designed to be short and not meant to be sustained for long periods.
Dr Harvie used a forerunner to the 5:2 diet in her studies. Participants ate around 600-1000 calories for two days. She says that when the body is in a fed state, which we are for most of the time, the cells of the body are in growth mode. It is only in a fasting state that your body goes into repair mode and protects against disease.
This is another reason why sleep is important – as our bodies repair during sleep. But when we have big meals late at night and then a big breakfast the next morning that fasting period overnight is not long enough to repair the cells fully. By fasting for a 48 hour period, we give our bodies the chance to repair more thoroughly.
Have you every wondered just why there are so many diets around these days? I think the answer is simple – we are all different! What suits one person doesn’t suit another.
To begin with, our relationship with food differs from person to person. Think about how many food allergies they are around. One person is allergic to peanut, another to strawberries but there are millions of people who can eat either of them without problems. They is gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, and a gazillion other intolerances.
Then there’s simple food tastes. There’s carnivorous meat eaters but then there are vegetarians. Those who like lots of hot food and others who prefer dipping into a salad. Those who can’t face food before 11am and others who cook up a massive feast as soon as they wake up in the morning. There are lovers of all things hot and spicy and then those who think a Chicken Korma is hot (c’mon!).
There are big eaters, small eaters, those who like one or two huge meals and others who prefer to pick and graze throughout the day. Some people are late night snackers and others won’t eat within a few hours of bed time.
On of top the preferences when it comes to our eating habits and tastes, there’s also lifestyle to consider. A single guy living on his own is likely to eat very differently to a busy mother with several young children. Somebody who works from home and can cook all their meals is likely to eat differently to somebody who needs to take a packed lunch into work every day.
There’s other lifestyle factors – travel, vacations, special occasions, eating out, eating with friends and all of the ways in our social lives revolve around eating. It isn’t just about us as individuals. We eat with other people, we eat on the run, on the road and so on. Somebody who travels for 30 weeks of the year is not going to eat in the same way as somebody who is just at home all day.
There are billions of people in the world and no two of them are alike. Food is one of the most personal things there is and it is essential to life. We all have vastly different lifestyles so of course no one single diet could possibly be right for everybody.
The purpose of this site is to break down diets into their practical terms – who is it good for, what do you need to consider, is the diet suitable for a family to eat? Can you stick to it when you travel or eat out? These are the factors I will be looking at. I w\nt it to be easy for you to find the perfect diet for you – the one that will fit in with your tastes, your preferences and your lifestyle.