Thursday, April 19, 2018

Please join the Jamie Oliver kids junk food campaign and save lives

Jamie Oliver kids junk food Slimpod tweet

SO why did my favourite celebrity chef send me this tweet about the Jamie Oliver kids junk food campaign the other day? Because he’d like me to ask you for your support with something we’re both passionate about – unhealthy food being marketed to children.

Children are heavily influenced by what they see on TV, in advertising and on social media. Like Jamie, I believe if we can stop the junk food companies from marketing directly to impressionable young people, it will go some way to helping them change their behaviour.

That’s how we can start reversing the obesity crisis among kids, which really concerns me. The latest figures I’ve seen from the House Commons Library are that in the UK one in 10 children is obese by the age of five and one in five by the age of 11.

We’ve all got work together for their sakes to change this horrible situation. It makes me weep.

More shocking figures are contained in this report.

Here’s Jamie’s tweet to me:


This is not a political issue. Successive governments have failed to tackle childhood obesity and prevent millions of children from suffering what experts say are “appalling life-long consequences” from being brought up on junk food.

Jamie has launched a brilliant campaign on social media called We’ve #AdEnough Of Junk Food Marketing. He says: “Kids are bombarded day-in, day-out with adverts for food and drink products that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. They’re online, on TV, on the streets and all over public transport.

“If they are constantly being targeted with cheap, easily accessible, unhealthy junk food, just think how hard it must be to make better, healthier choices. We have to make it easier for children to make good decisions.

“It’s time we put child health first. I’m calling for the Government to introduce a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV and for proper controls on what ads kids see online, in the street and on public transport.

Here’s what you can do: Show your support for the Jamie Oliver kids junk food campaign by posting an image of yourself hiding your eyes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #AdEnough.

Make sure I see your pics by copying me in : @ThinkingSlimmer

Here’s the picture I posted of myself which led to Jamie tweeting me.

You can find out more about the great work Jamie is doing here: We #AdEnough

Please leave a comment below when you’ve posted your pic on social media. Thanks for supporting the truly worthwhile Jamie Oliver kids junk food campaign.

Let’s hope it is as successful as his sugar tax campaign.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

If you were a baby, would you feed yourself the way you do now?

healthy food relationship

MOST people dream of a healthy food relationship. So here’s something that will stop and make you think. I want you imagine yourself as a baby that needs nourishing and love. Would you feed that baby the same way you feed yourself as an adult – sweets, sugary snacks, fizzy drinks, massive meals? I don’t think so.

The key thing if you want to develop a healthy food relationship is to love and care about your body and your health as if you’re feeding a new born baby.

So you must ask yourself: what exactly does food mean to me? Do I see it as nourishment and fuel because I care about your body and health? Or do I use food to make myself feel better or as a form of reward? Just reflect on your answer for a moment and ask yourself if you really have a healthy food relationship.

After 10 years of working with overweight people it’s become clear to me they have a different relationship with food compared to those who are slim.

Most slim people regard food as a source of nutrients to fuel and nourish their bodies. Their pleasure comes from the feeling that they’re caring for their bodies by doing healthy things. Of course, slim people have times when they enjoy food and drink as a reward, but it’s not a constant emotional thing. They’re in control of their food choices.

Sadly, so many of overweight people I have a relationship with food which is far more emotionally driven by pleasure, reward, stress, comfort or boredom. Occasionally, something that happened as far back as childhood has altered the meaning of food.

Healthy food relationship – how to achieve it

Many of us associate food with love and warmth because it reminds us of family dinners with everyone around the table.  I was rewarded with chocolate and sweets if I was a good girl and did my homework.

When you’re used to having a food reward as a child, in adulthood it then becomes the thing that makes you feel better about yourself.  This can often get out of control because you’ve triggered dopamine, the pleasure hormone, and the more you get the more you want.

The great thing is that you can change and influence this. If you make poor food choices based on immediate gratification and immediate reward, you can do something about it.

One of the ladies on my Slimpod Gold programme recently told me it has really helped her to change her focus so she now looks at food only as nourishment and fuel. She says she’s no longer “mindlessly eating for Britain!” I’m so excited for her!

It’s life and bad habits that have changed things for YOU. Your brain has taken you down the road to being overweight and your brain can just as easily do a U-turn and take you down the road to being slim and a healthy food relationship.

It’s the same brain after all. To make this change of direction you only need to be in tune with your body and be able to eat in a way that gives it the nourishment it needs.

Do let me know by leaving a comment below if you identify with any of the food reward stuff or if you want a healthy food relationship.


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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fat around the middle – the surprising cause and the simple cures

How stress causes fat around the middle

HAVE you got fat around the middle that’s been there for years and just won’t shift?

Maybe you’ve been on countless diets and lost weight in various other parts of the body but the tummy fat won’t go. Here’s what you need to know: Getting rid of the fat around your middle is not simply about your diet or lack of exercise. It’s much more to do with the stress hormones in your body, especially cortisol.

So as it’s Stress Awareness Week in the UK I thought I’d explain why this is. Because once you understand the cause of fat around the middle, it’s much easier to do something about it.

When your brain thinks your life’s under threat it becomes stressed and releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This fight or flight survival mechanism dates back to caveman days.

The hormones released instantly create a number of physical changes. Your heart beats faster, you breathe faster, and your entire body becomes tense and ready to take action. Fight or flight is clever and very, very efficient and it provides everything your body needs to react to the stress of dangerous situations.

Once the danger’s out of the way the adrenal glands stop pumping out hormones and your body returns to normal. The problem with modern life is that many of us live under constant stress – it comes from deadlines, traffic jams, managing homes, children and elderly parents.

The effects of stress on the body

The body can’t distinguish between day-to-day stress and exceptional life-threatening stress so it reacts in exactly the same way it’s always done, which is fight or flight.

Let’s look at what happens when you’re stressed. The adrenaline helps you to be alert and focused while cortisol increases the levels of fat and sugar in the blood stream to form glucose, which provides instant energy.

However unless you do something physical, which is what your body is programmed to expect, then all that extra glucose has nowhere to go. It simply becomes fat which is stored round your middle so it’s close to your vital organs, such as the liver, for the next time it’s needed.

Fat around the middle – the refuelling problem

After a stressful event adrenaline levels return to normal and the body becomes calm. But the level of cortisol often remains higher, maybe for a few days, because your brain thinks you should refuel your body. So cortisol increases your appetite.

Now you can see why people who are under constant stress often feel hungry all the time. The body is getting them to stock up on the fuel it thinks could be needed again.

What’s most useful to it is carbohydrate and fat.  And those are the last things you need to consume if you’re trying to lose weight. In the modern world, when we spend so much time sitting at desks, in cars or in front of the TV, refuelling just isn’t necessary.

Now you know what’s going on, the question is: what can you do about it?

Find time each day to relax. Just 10 minutes of “me time” can make a big difference. If you’re on my Slimpod Gold programme, make full use of the Chillpod download which has undergone clinical trials and is unlike any other relaxation download.

The other thing you can do is exercise. This is proven to release feelgood hormones that counter stress.

Get moving to manage stress

Leave a comment below and tell me how stress affects you and what you’re going to do to relax more.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

How you lose body fat – the answer is C55H104O6+78O2→55CO2+52H2O

ONE of the trickiest questions I’m asked is this: “When somebody loses weight, where does all the fat go?” You know what – I wasn’t too sure myself the first time this cropped up. Luckily, I spend a lot of time studying research papers from around the world so thanks to an article in the British Medical Journal I was able to give a definitive answer. And you might be very surprised when you discover what that answer is.

Almost all the fat we lose is breathed out through our lungs as carbon dioxide. The rest is lost through sweat and urine.

I’m indebted to Dr Ruben Meerman and Dr Andrew Brown from the University of New South Wales in Australia for solving this important mystery – even if they did have to come up with this as their answer C55H104O6+78O2→55CO2+52H2O+energy 🙂

Once you understand the link between breathing and losing weight, you see life in a very different light.

How you lose body fat

Here’s the simple science: Every carb you eat, most of the protein and nearly all the fats are converted into carbon dioxide and water. If you don’t get rid of it all, you put on weight.

Now for the maths: The average person consumes almost 8lbs of food and drink a day (3.5kg) and breathes in about 21 ounces (600g) of oxygen.

So if less than 9lbs comes out (that’s 4kg) you’re going to put on weight.

How can you make sure that more comes out than goes in? Sadly, it’s not as simple as eat less and breathe out more. And no pills and potions will help either.

Of course, you’ve got to make sure you eat good, healthy food. That’s a given.

But just as important you need to increase the amount of carbon dioxide you’re breathing out – and the only effective way you can do that is to raise your metabolism by moving your muscles more.

Going for a walk triples your metabolic rate, and (sadly) so will Hoovering and sweeping. Even standing up can double your metabolic rate.

Read the BMJ research findings in full

How you lose body fat

Eating less obviously helps but consider these basic facts: We have to eat to survive and our daily intake has to be burned up. Metabolising 3.5 ounces (3.5oz) of fat intake uses 10 ounces (290g) of oxygen and produces 9.8 ounces (280g) of carbon dioxide plus 3.8 ounces (110g) of water.

Now let’s look at weight loss: To lose 3.5 ounces (100g) of fat a day, you have to exhale 9.8 ounces (280g) of carbon dioxide IN ADDITION to what you’ll breathe out while metabolising your daily food intake.

So you can see you’ve got to double your output of carbon dioxide every day to lose weight. One bit of good news is that we breathe out 7 ounces (200g) of carbon dioxide while we’re asleep at night, so that’s a quarter of your daily target gone before you get up.

But during the day, you’ve got to make sure you make healthier food choices (which is what a Slimpod is designed to do) and then be more active to lose weight. It’s why I swim, work out, play tennis or walk my dogs every morning and it’s why I’m a size 10 after having three children.

I’m luckier than most, I suppose – I’m my own boss so I can decide when I want to exercise and when I want to sit at my desk. But everyone can decide to stand up and walk around the office for a few minutes every hour.

Everyone can decide to talk a walk in their lunch break. Everyone can decide to walk up stairs and not take the lift. And everyone can decide to get moving more before or after work and at weekends.

What can YOU do to move more every day? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading them all – and I know they will inspire others.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Are your beliefs about yourself sabotaging your weight loss?

THERE are many reasons why people find it hard to stick with healthy eating and good lifestyle habits – and more often than not the biggest problem is what’s going on inside their mind. We all know how powerful the mind is and the stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can really have a massive impact on your life, both positive and negative.

There is a direct link between our beliefs and our behaviour and of course this includes the way we behave towards food too. If you believe you CAN lose weight your actions every day will reflect those beliefs.

And likewise if you’ve given up believing losing weight is possible, you’ll behave very differently.  This can mean you don’t care any more because you’re resigned to being fat all your life and there’s no motivation.

It can also mean you do care but you are full of fear and anxiety about yet another failure, so your heart isn’t in it.  I come across a lot of people who are full of fear and find it much easier to believe they can’t lose weight and this then becomes a subconscious protection tool so that they don’t get disappointed.

Dr Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University in America, is famous for her research on two different types of mindset, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

Here’s a really cute video that explains her research in nice simple terms:

The big thing about Carol’s research is that it talks about the connection between what you believe and how that then translates to what you do.

For example, if you believe things about yourself like “I can’t lose weight” or “It’s hard for me to lose weight because I’ve got a disability” or “I’ve got no willpower” – that’s the fixed mindset.

It means you’ll avoid doing things where you might feel like a failure and as a result you prefer to stop the healthy eating regime, and this will inevitably mean you self sabotage.  On the other hand, someone with a growth mindset tends to overcome challenges rather than avoid them and learn from comments and criticism, seeing them as inspirational and even motivational.

One of the limiting things about having a fixed mindset is it causes you to avoid experiences where you might feel like a failure. As a result you have a reluctance to learn and you avoid personal development because it’s too much of a risk.

I notice fixed mindsets nearly every day with people I serve. In so many cases they’ve come to Slimpod when everything else has failed.  They’ve been on 20 or 30 diets and have just given up believing it’s possible to change. They may not even have been that type of person before they started dieting.

So what can be done about this?  How can you change the things you believe about yourself?  How can you kick out the fixed mindset and achieve your goals?

How small daily actions can change your beliefs

Once you’ve identified that you have a fixed mindset and you would like to change the things you believe about yourself, the most important thing is to do something about it and take some action.

You can change your self-limiting beliefs by thinking of yourself as the person you’d like to become and getting there with small actions repeated every day.

When you enjoy the process of getting to the goal, this begins to change the way you think of yourself and will also start the process of changing your perception of yourself at an  identity level.

This is crucial because it’s at the identity level that real change happens.  If you want to lose three dress sizes and become a UK size 12, you MUST believe you can do it and then start becoming the person who IS the size 12.

This will help you to not only believe it’s possible but behave like a size 12 person.  It totally shifts your mindset.

The way of achieving this is to start with small steps.  You definitely need the goal in mind but that big hairy goal is not going to be achieved tomorrow so you can put it to the back of your mind right now.

The important thing is to start with the small steps and enjoy the process.  The process will then become a habit and you’ll gain loads of confidence along the way because you’ll start seeing results and begin to believe you CAN DO IT!

You’ll start to think of yourself as someone who CAN lose weight. So let’s break this down into small chunks, too:

  1. Set the big goal/intention.
  2. Set yourself a small action each day – this can be to eat protein three times a day, or reduce your full fat sugary lattes from three cups to one cup. Or plan your lunch and dinner in advance so you’re not grabbing the processed convenience junk. Or do a Hiit session three times a week.  Then DO THIS EVERY DAY!
  3. The thing that will make a difference is your dedication to the daily practice of your small action.  This will change everything because the process will help you form different beliefs about who you are. It will help you become a person who believes they CAN DO.

Too many people think that the result will define who they are. “If I’m a size 12 it will transform my life and make me happy.” But this is not the case.

It’s your daily behaviour and actions that will change what you believe about yourself and the size 12 person you become. It’s all about focusing on the everyday process of eating healthily rather than constantly worrying about the number on the scale.

Are you a person with a fixed mindset and if so, what small daily actions can you perform to start changing your beliefs?  Do let me know in the comments below –  I look forward to hearing from you!

There are quite a few videos of Carol Dweck on YouTube, by the way. Take a look for yourself:

If you want to delve deeper into Carol’s work, she has a fascinating book which I often dip into called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. You’ll find it on Amazon.


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Thursday, March 8, 2018

The inspiring story of Drew Lynch, the comedian who stutters

IT was my 20-year-old daughter who introduced me to Drew Lynch. “Mum, my favourite comedian’s doing a show in London this week and I’d love to take you with me to see him,” she gushed. How could I resist? “He’s one of my favourite You Tubers,” she said.  “He’s fabulous and the thing is, he stutters. Really badly.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A stand-up comedian who stutters? Do I really want to sit through an hour of that, I thought?

Well, I did. And do you know what? It was the most inspiring and emotional hour I could ever have imagined.

Drew Lynch is 26 and looks about 18. A few years ago he was playing softball and was hit in the throat by a ball, damaging his vocal nerves. Worse, he fell backwards and hit his head – and didn’t realise he had suffered concussion.

Without treatment, his brain never recovered from the damage caused by the fall and Drew was unable to speak normally again.

But he looked adversity in the face and vowed he would conquer his disability. Remarkably, Drew Lynch auditioned for America’s Got Talent and on his first appearance on the show he had the audience, the judges and most of America in tears.

Here’s a video of that emotional night…

What’s so powerful about Drew Lynch’s act is that he tackles his disability head-on and shows that there’s no obstacle in life that can’t be overcome if you have the determination to succeed.

That’s a great lesson for all of us. If you think you can’t do something – like lose 20lbs or run a mile – you’ll never get anywhere.

But if you use the obstacle to your advantage it can help you succeed.  When you vow to succeed, even if it’s against all the odds, as Drew did, you can triumph!

If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it!

Drew Lynch didn’t win America’s Got Talent. He came second – which is an astonishing achievement for a man who can hardly put two words together without struggling.

Here’s another video which shows you how has won the hearts of audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

One more thing. Drew has a special helper dog called Stella who is trained to raise the alarm if Drew has breathing problems because of his throat injury.

I took a quick snap of Drew and Stella together as we left the theatre the other night.

My daughter was in tears so I asked her if she was crying because she’d fallen for Drew (who is adorable). “No,” she sighed. “It’s Stella. She’s so beautiful.”

I love them both. Because they are one of the most inspiring couples I’ve ever met.

Please tell me what you think of Drew Lynch’s videos. What lessons can we all learn from people with that kind of courage?

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Drink more water for a healthier mind and body

MOST people know it’s important to drink more water but just can’t seem to drink as much as they would like – so I thought I’d help you with a few tips on how to make it a habit. But first let’s remind ourselves exactly why we should drink more.

Many people underestimate the importance of hydration when it comes to having a healthier mind and body – and of course there’s also the benefit of fat loss.

If you drink more water it’s one of the easiest steps you can take for a healthier body and mind. But it’s surprising how many people still get dehydrated.

Water makes up almost two thirds of our body and it plays a vital role in everything from regulating body temperature to keeping our skin healthy. It can also help reduce injuries when you’re increasing your movement because water helps to keep your joints lubricated.

When it comes to fat loss, hydration aids metabolism, so keeping your body well hydrated is so important in helping it to burn fat.

When you’re drinking the correct amount of water (see below), some of the key benefits include:

  1. healthier skin
  2. healthier teeth and bones
  3. healthier joints
  4. improved digestion
  5. reduced fatigue
  6. increased fat metabolism

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more water

Instead of waiting until you’re desperate and knocking back a whole bottle at a time, aim to drink water consistently throughout the day from as soon as you wake up in the morning. I carry a water bottle with me all the time and it’s become a habit now. Water is constantly on my desk and there’s always in a bottle in my bag.

The body loses water through breathing, sweating and digestion, which is why it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

Vegetables that contain more than 90 per cent water include cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, peppers, aubergine and spinach. Carrots are 87 per cent water and green peas and white potatoes are 79 per cent water.

Your body uses water in all its cells, organs and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions.

So how much more water should I drink each day?

The amount of water you should drink depends on a few things like whether you live in a hot or cold climate, your age, your body type (slim, overweight, muscular, flabby) and also how active you are.

But as a general rule between two and four litres a day is what’s recommended by doctors. I can hear you say right now, “wow that’s loads – I don’t drink anywhere near that amount!” – and you’re right.  Most people don’t even drink one litre a day!

Let’s do something about this right now! Here’s some tips on how to build a habit and drink more water.

  1. Make water more pleasurable to drink throughout the day; try adding some fresh mint for flavour. You can buy infusion bottles really cheaply and they work brilliantly. Or add pieces of fruit to tap water as I’ve done in the photo above.
  2. Use a water app! These are fabulous and there’s loads to choose from.  One of these can be your trigger – which is what starts every habit.
  3. If you’re a member of our Slimpod Club community, join in the water challenge which will be starting today! It’s always great to do things as a group!

Do drop me a comment below and let me know if you drink enough water already or if you really need to get a good water habit going!

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