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Diet & Nutrition

Are you getting enough protein in your diet?

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

Protein is probably the most important macronutrient! Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Putting the desire of a toned physique aside, protein is essential for repair and growth.
 
Consuming a range of protein sources, (specifically amino acids), plays a key role in our diets. It’s important for general health and functionality (1). Sometimes, a closer look is needed to make sure our intake is adequate, if not optimal!

What does protein actually do?

Protein is made up of amino acids. Our body produces some amino acids but the rest is needed from our dietary intake.

Dietary amino acids play an important role in maintaining health. They help stimulate muscle growth and energy production in the body. They also help regulate digestion, sleep-wake cycles and absorption of vitamins and minerals.
 
As well as having a role in fat metabolism, immune function and hormone production. They also provide tissue growth and boost collagen in the skin.
how much protein

Carbohydrates & Fats

A lot of people focus on fat and carbohydrate intake to make a change to their body composition but as long as minimum requirements are met, carbs and fats are actually interchangable and don’t matter that much when it comes to weight loss (2).

I know a lot of people think that keto is king when it comes to weight loss, but it’s difficult to adhere to and tends to be a short-term fix. Personalised nutritional programming has a far greater affect on weight loss than ketogenic dieting, even if it shows initial results (3).

So if you think carbs are the devil or that fat makes you fat, think again!

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What's the recommended intake?

The recommended minimum dietary intake is 0.8g protein per kilo of body weight or lean body mass. Yet, this amount is widely considered to be too little for optimal benefits (4). And that’s not just for gym-goers either!
 
Studies show that an increased protein intake is important to retain muscle mass (5). It begs the question as to why there isn’t more of an emphasis on protein intake. It is not the key focus on a lot of diets, even though it benefits overall health, recovery and muscle growth.
 
We need to put the focus on protein and stop focusing on carbs and fats as the be-all and end-all of a healthy diet.

What's the optimal intake?

So, now for the good stuff! What you’ve been looking for…
 
An optimal intake of protein for all the benefits mentioned is at least 1.4g per kilo of body weight or lean body mass.
 
You can even go as high as around 3g per kilo, though this might be quite difficult to achieve. 
 
A good number to aim for is 1.6-2g and this is both for dieting and muscle gain/toning. 
 
This is because protein is satiating (it will keep you full). We’ve already touched upon all the benefits of protein in terms of muscle growth and repair.
 
But, don’t worry, an increase in protein does not automatically mean big muscles! That’s not how it works. 
am I eating enough protein?

How to implement this!

For muscle definition or toning, consume a meal or snack containing 20-40g protein every 3-4 hours. This could be supplemented with a shake if you’re finding it difficult!

For weight loss, I’d suggest a similar approach but you don’t have to worry too much about the frequency of protein consumption, particularly if you’re doing intermittent fasting.

But, I would still focus on getting enough protein in when you do eat, and it is easier when you spread it out throughout the day.

Key Takeaways

  • Protein should be your key focus when it comes to macronutrients.
  • Increased intake is beneficial for weight loss and muscle gain.
  • More protein does not mean more muscle – you have to train a lot for that!

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References

1 – Wu G. Amino acids: metabolism, functions, and nutrition. Amino Acids. 2009 May

2 – Gardner CD, Trepanowski JF, Del Gobbo LC, Hauser ME, Rigdon J, Ioannidis JPA, Desai M, King AC. Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 Feb

3 – Vranceanu M, Pickering C, Filip L, Pralea IE, Sundaram S, Al-Saleh A, Popa DS, Grimaldi KA. A comparison of a ketogenic diet with a LowGI/nutrigenetic diet over 6 months for weight loss and 18-month follow-up. BMC Nutr. 2020 Sep

4 – Deer RR, Volpi E. Protein intake and muscle function in older adults. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 May

5 – Wolfe RR. The role of dietary protein in optimizing muscle mass, function and health outcomes in older individuals. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug

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Healthy Lifestyle Habits

How Working From Home Could Be Saving Your Feet, Back and Posture.

How Working From Home Could Be Saving Your Feet, Back and Posture

A lot of corporate jobs either require or expect women to wear high heels as part of their professional look. Even  other industries women may feel obliged to wear them on a day to day basis, but is this good for our health?

A few hours wearing heels on a night out isn’t likely to contribute to long term niggles, but wearing heels for a  considerable amount of time for normal working hours obviously takes up a good chunk of your week.

So really, work from home life could be benefitting your health more than you think for the simple fact that you can wear what you want, as long as it’s out of shot during your video call anyway.

Let’s look at the research…

How if affects the body

Long term high heel wearing causes major changes in the functionality of the feet, ankle and knee joints as well as the lower back. An increase in height of the heel also forces the foot into an exaggerated pointed position which in turn increases knee flexion and lordosis of the lower back (1).

As well as affecting the lower back and lower limbs, one study also shown significant affects on the shoulders and upper back (2).

It’s also detrimental in adolescents as they’re still growing. It can cause postural disorders, where the head is unusually far forwards as well as lumbar hyperlordosis, pelvic anteversion, and knee valgus (3).

It does depend on heel height

In one study, the majority of females that took part preferred wearing heels that were at least 3 inches high and over half of them suffered with lower back pain and discomfort. From the entire study, a considerable increase in muscular fatigue was noticeable when the heel was higher than just 6 cm (2 inches). Higher heels cause the body to tense to improve balance, causing muscular fatigue and pain in the back, shoulders and neck (4).

In the adolescent study, it was observed that the height and width of the heel are the prime characteristics that were the most influencial in affecting posture and imbalance (3).

Lower, blocky heels are considerably less likely to affect your body. Lucky for us, that’s what’s actually in fashion at the moment! So this style is readily available.

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What about other types of high heels?

Shoes with a high heel that aren’t your typical high heel shoe, (shoes that have a high wedge for example), can actually cause the same amount of damange as a traditional high heel shoe. But, the advantage that this type of shoe offers is that is applies greater stability to the ankle joint (3).

The same is likely to apply to high heel boots as it covers the foot in it’s entirety as well as supports the ankle.

But faltforms are the absolute winner as one study explains that “footwear that has a heel size that is equal or close to the height of the forefoot does not cause horizontal imbalance of the sole and, therefore, will not affect the biomechanical alignment of the ankles, functioning similarly to the shoes without heels” (3).

Excuse me while I invest in loads of flatforms for this summer!

What can you do if you don't want to part with your heels?

Of course, I’m not saying you should just go ahead and throw out your high heels. I’d just suggest wearing them in moderation. 

Also, the use of a full inner sole actually alters the biomechanics and therefore improves the comfort and functionality of high heel shoes (4).

But when you don’t need to be wearing them, i.e. at your desk, swap them out for a flatter supportive shoe and give your feet a rest.

I’d also recommend toe spreaders to correct the restriction that high heels apply to your toes. Any structured smart shoe can affect the toe area of the feet and cause bunions, so toe spreaders should be worn for a few hours to try to counteract bunions from getting worse. (Of course, if they are too far gone, then surgery is the only corrective option!)

Key Takeaways

  • Wear flatter shoes when possible, that preferably have a wider toe box to allow more room for a natural foot shape.
  • Consider just wearing high heels for special occasions or certain work related meetings rather than all the time.
  • Look after your foot health by walking barefoot at home when possible and spread the toes.

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References

1 – Wiedemeijer MM, Otten E. Effects of high heeled shoes on gait. A review. Gait Posture. 2018 Mar

2 – Malick WH, Khalid H, Mehmood Z, Hussain H. Association of musculoskeletal discomfort with the use of high heeled shoes in females. J Pak Med Assoc. 2020 Dec

3 – Silva AM, de Siqueira GR, da Silva GA. Implications of high-heeled shoes on body posture of adolescents. Rev Paul Pediatr. 2013 Jun

4 – Hong WH, Lee YH, Chen HC, Pei YC, Wu CY. Influence of heel height and shoe insert on comfort perception and biomechanical performance of young female adults during walking. Foot Ankle Int. 2005 Dec

Categories
Diet & Nutrition

6 Ways to Create a Healthier Relationship With Food

6 Ways to Create a Healthier Relationship With Food

Loads of people come to me to lose weight or just generally be healthier and more mindful about their food choices. But one of my biggest goals is to get clients to have a better relationship with food!

I’m all for having the option of manipulating your diet to be in line with your goals, but this should never happen at the expense of your health. By building healthy eating habits (in a balanced way!) you can improve your relationship with food AND achieve your goals.

Healthy Eating in 6 Easy Steps

These are my go to tips to make sure that you have the best chance of creating healthier and more balanced ways of thinking about food.

Step 1 - Avoid treating foods as good vs. bad

Food is food. There are certain things that are higher in calories and less nutrient dense BUT eating these things does not make you ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’. 

Step 2 - There's no need to cut out food groups!

You don’t need to cut out carbs or fats to be healthier or lose weight. There’s just no need. 

It’s restrictive and if you enjoy those things, you’ll feel like you’re missing out. 

Step 3 - Learn how to relate to the hunger scale

Once you start eating when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re full, you’ll feel like you’re in so much control of your diet and body whilst giving it what it needs. 

healthy eating hunger scale
Healthy eating hunger scale

Step 4 - Make sure you're eating enough

Unfortunately, a lot of people who are used to ‘healthy eating’ or have experienced various types of dieting are under the impression that you need to eat very little to be healthy or lose weight. You don’t! 

You shouldn’t be in such a large deficit, it’s not good for you, mentally or physically.

Step 5 - Don't be overly restrictive with your favourite foods

Just because you’re trying to be healthy doesn’t mean you can never have things like pizza or chocolate. If you get to know how to structure your diet properly, you’ll learn how to factor in these things. Yes, even if you’re in a calorie deficit.

Step 6 - Remember that food is fuel for the body!

As well as needing food to surivive, you need food to thrive! If you want to think clearly, feel good, be your best self and smash your workouts – you need a good balanced diet. 

Healthy Eating Made Easy

Follow my tips below and download or pin this infographic to your healthy eating pinterest board, so you can refer to it at any time!

Your tasks for building a better relationship with food!

  • Consider which factors you identify with and see how you could work on that problem – dig deep!
  • You might benefit from joining a nutrition programme, such a my 90 day nutrition club, so you can work on your healthy eating habits once and for all.
  • However, if there are some serious problems that you need to work through please seek professional help for your eating habits.

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Healthy Eating Tips

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Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Is HIIT the Best Option When It Comes to Workouts for Weight Loss?

Is HIIT the Best Option When It Comes to Workouts for Weight Loss

So when people think of doing a workout for weight loss, most turn straight to high intensity interval training (HIIT) as their go-to plan. A lot of people believe that this is indeed the best way to lose weight, but let’s see what the research says.

You might also wonder what does HIIT actually involve? I’ll tell you my experience of what’s it’s not, what I recommend and what researchers use as their method.

Training Frequency

So first off, let’s look at traning frequency. Training frequency is literally how often you do a training session, so let’s say once a week vs. multiple times a week.

Based on overall activity levels it’s likely that an individual would be better results with more training frequency of 3 sessions per week. This would give greater benefits for weight loss and cardiometabolic risk factor improvement than just training once per week (1).

However improvements to your health can be made with less that the recommended 30 minutes a day of vigorous (cardio) activity combined with 2-3 resistance training sessions per week. This has been trialed on women with insulin resistance, both HIIT sessions and resistance training alone were effective in improving glycemic control over a 12 week period (2). Both groups did 3 sessions per week of just one type of training and still benefited from it from a health perspective.

Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss & Health

I’m sure many people are familiar with regular cardio workouts where you would do more of a ‘steady state’ or continuous style cardio session, rather than intervals. But what gives the best result for weight loss?

Well in one study, there was no significant difference in terms of body composition, but due to the style of training, HIIT sessions required around 40% less time (3). HIIT sessions have also been shown to be more enjoyable and easier to adhere to than regular cardio sessions as well as improving health factors, even without a change in body mass (4). 

But HIIT can be a significant impact to recovery ability, particular in overweight individuals, as it’s more stress to the body. I must note that these studies are often done on treadmills (for a total of less than 20 minutes) but running on a treadmill is not the sort of exercise I would ever give a client looking to lose a considerable amount of weight. A low impact alternative such as a bike or crosstrainer is much more ideal for less stress to the knees and hips. 

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What about other types of training?

Given that they’re are general health benefits to every sort of activity, we can’t ignore the mass amount of benefits that you’d get from resistance training.

Resistance training is highly effective in improving many aspects of physical and mental health. Studies have also consistently shown significant increases in lean body mass and increased metabolic rate.

Plus it’s defnitely not lacking benefits when it comes to comparing it with HIIT sessions.

Regluar resistance training sessions have been associated with…

  • reduced low back pain 
  • reduced arthritic discomfort
  • enhanced movement control
  • improved glucose and insulin homeostasis
  • a reduction in resting blood pressure
  • greater impact on bone density than other types of physical activity
  • significant increase in bone mineral density
  • decreased symptoms of depression
  • increased self-esteem and physical self-concept
  • improved cognitive ability

Finally and fundamentally, resistance training has been shown to reverse aging factors in skeletal muscle.” (5) How incredible is that?

 

My take on this

If you’ve ever worked with me, you’d know that I don’t have a personal vendetta against HIIT, I have an issue with classes and training sessions that are classed as HIIT when they’re not. They’re just long exhausting sessions!

If you go to a gym, and they have an hour-long HIIT class, you know that the training style is not HIIT. A proper session should be around 20 minutes or less, and combine a difficult working period following by a very low intensity rest. This is then repeated multiple times. 

I often like to include these at the end of clients sessions as because I go for low impact options, it’s doesn’t require you to be fresh and there’s room for error in case you feel a bit tired.

You may want to try bursts of 10 seconds on, 20 seconds off and repeat, or you could choose a different time scale to suit you! But you do need adequate recovery time.

weights workout for weight loss

Key Takeaways & Actionable Steps

  • The best method of weightloss is going to be the one you’re going to be most ready and willing to do.
  • Pick a workout routine that’s going to benefit you physically and mentally.
  • Find something you relatively enjoy and that you’re likely to stick to.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t do multiple sessions per week because one session is better than nothing!
  • If you’re going to do HIIT sessions, pick equipment or exercises that you’re confident with.
  • Remember that you can never outtrain a ‘poor’ diet – meaning if you’re eating more than the energy you’re using, you can’t lose weight.
workout for weight loss

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References

1 – Campa F, Maietta Latessa P, Greco G, Mauro M, Mazzuca P, Spiga F, Toselli S. Effects of Different Resistance Training Frequencies on Body Composition, Cardiometabolic Risk Factors, and Handgrip Strength in Overweight and Obese Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Funct Morphol Kinesiol. 2020 Jul

2 – Álvarez C, Ramírez-Campillo R, Ramírez-Vélez R, Izquierdo M. Effects and prevalence of nonresponders after 12 weeks of high-intensity interval or resistance training in women with insulin resistance: a randomized trial. J Appl Physiol (1985)

3 – Wewege M, van den Berg R, Ward RE, Keech A. The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2017 Jun

4 – Vella CA, Taylor K, Drummer D. High-intensity interval and moderate-intensity continuous training elicit similar enjoyment and adherence levels in overweight and obese adults. Eur J Sport Sci. 2017 Oct

5 – Westcott WL. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Jul-Aug

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