Today marks our 45 days on the 90 day plan. First half – done & dusted. It seemed so far away when we started back on the 15th January. Time flies anyway, it is how we use the time we are given. And, I really made sure I wasted none this year in efforts to get in shape. First two months of the year are probably the toughest for us as a family because we have four family birthdays in a space of less than six weeks. And, yet, both my husband and I celebrated all of them in style and cruised through it without a cake, simple carbs or alcohol whilst allowing everyone else, right before our eyes, to enjoy themselves with all the food and drinks that were not on our plan. I think we surprised ourselves even. Where was this resolve last year? I do not know, but, I certainly found it this year.
It has been exactly four weeks since I decided to embark on the journey of cleansing my body of sugar and toxins, reducing my overall body fat and really proving to myself that I can be this fit and strong woman and mother in her mid forties. I am already delighted with the progress I made to date, and, even more importantly, I enjoyed every moment of this journey! My husband is too with already his lowest ever body fat of 14%.
Why was this important to me in the first place, I wonder? When I ask myself that, my immediate gut feeling leads me to the answer that has less with body image, but with the disciplines and struggles one needs to have in order to achieve it. I do not necessarily want a muscly body, the one you see at body competitions, but I do admire the sacrifice and hard work, blood and sweat one goes through in order to achieve it.
I have been coaching clients into a better health since 2004, however, despite all the trainings and education, I have never had a health coach myself to guide me and make me accountable for the choices I make in order to achieve my wellness goals. Despite my own best efforts, while I was in what is considered a pretty GOOD shape, I have felt for a while that I needed to take it up a notch and get to the next level so I can inspire more people that we can all be fit at forty, fifty and beyond. Of course, I wanted this for myself too.
One of the highlights of 2017 has been meeting Anna, who then also introduced me to her husband Phil. I was very interested in Anna’s work as a Pranic Healer and we soon both realised we needed what the other one offered in order to increase our well-being to the next level. Anna is a wonderful, gentle soul and I am proud to call her my friend too. Anna and her husband have been coming to see me for about 6 months now and they have remained open-minded, keen students of improving their general health & nutrition, eager to apply what I suggested, so no wonder they had such great results. Here are their stories…
It was my local client who introduced me to Ann, her dear friend who lives in Liverpool. I have not yet met Ann, but, distance is not a challenge when client is ready to make changes as wonders of technology enable us to communicate despite the distance. Eight months later, Ann continues to make great progress and here is her story to date she was happy to share hoping to inspire more people who wish to lose weight and improve their health… and I am very grateful to her for that…
“On 24th November 2016 I ran out of clothes, nothing I owned fitted me anymore.
Time for change, I joined a gym, started walking and did exercise workouts at home, I was 86.5kg at the time, I worked hard with the exercise and two months later – I weighted 84.2kg, I could not believe how little weight I had lost for all the effort!
To up my exercise I joined my local CobraFIT workout class, I was surprised to see a few people I already knew at the classes and was very welcomed by all and really enjoyed the workout.
Ramadan is a Holy Month for Muslims all around the world, during which time strict fasting is observed in daylight hours, from dusk till dawn, sunrise to sunset.
I personally have a very fond memories of it as a child. My grandmother was a devoted Muslim and Ramadan used to be my favourite time of the year because, as I did not know in-depth the true meaning of it until I was older, I enjoyed the custom of bearing gifts for children, usually in money and new clothes. House would have been cleaned from top to bottom prior the start of Ramadan, with crispy, brand new or freshly washed and ironed bed linen, even carpet rugs would have been washed in the garden, if season allowed it, and there was this excitement and anticipation in the air. When it was time in the evening to break the fast, food was so plentiful and colourful. Some of my favourite dishes were almost exclusively cooked during Ramadan, like my favourite dish with okra – “bamija”. I guess, I have always been a bit of a foodie.
It is a common knowledge these days that having a breakfast is a must. Preferably, having not just A breakfast, but a healthy, balanced breakfast. There are many healthy breakfast options around that will leave you fuller for longer, but it still does not mean they are nutritionally fully balanced or that they fit into the optimal nutrition concept, the one that, ideally, we shuld all be aiming for. That is why Herbalife, for over 35 years now, has been pioneering Formula 1 Healthy Meal that has been used initially for weight loss, but, it also ticks all the boxes of an Ideal Breakfast Meal suitable for the whole family:
It feels great to be 43 and often complemented on the health of my skin and asked what my skin regimen is. However, before I say what actually goes ON my skin, it is impossible to talk about skin health without talking about overall nutrition…
Healthy skin is a lot more than just skin deep, so nourishing your skin starts from the inside first. No cream or skin regimen will be a good substitute for a bad diet or lack of sleep and rest. One does not need to be a skin health specialist to say with confidence that what we eat and drink will show itself on the outside too. From personal experience, the moment there is more sugar in my diet, more fat or processed food, especially lack of water or good night’s sleep – my skin will feel it too, not just my overall body, be it digestion, energy levels or else. It is also well known that teenagers who suffer from skin conditions like spots and acne almost always benefit and see skin improvement when decreasing saturated fat and sugar in diet, starting with replacing sugary cereals in the morning with healthier and more balanced breakfast options.
So, my top nutrition tips for healthy skin are:
Officially, February is a Healthy Heart Month. Heart disease happens to be our leading cause of death and virtually everyone nowadays will know someone who either has suffered, or still is suffering from some form of heart disease. Treatment of heart disease nowadays is merely through the prescription drugs. However, heart disease is a lifestyle disease and, as such, preventable and even reversible with the change in lifestyle, which could mean, for many, longer, quality life without prescription drugs…
Firstly, what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a natural fatty substance made in the body by the liver. It plays a vital role in the formation of cells, production of vitamin D, production of hormones, production of bile and digestion, BUT high levels can lead to an increased risk or a heart attack, stroke, developing atherosclerosis and other heart diseases… There are two types of cholesterol or lipoproteins:
low density lipoproteins (LDL) or bad cholesterol and
high density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol.
High levels of blood cholesterol from either diet or genetics will speed up the plaque’s growth faster. If the plaque bursts suddenly, it cuts off the oxygen supply to a part of the heart: which is when a heart attack can occur. The higher the level of LDL, the greater the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). The lower the level of HDL, also the higher the risk of CHD.
There are no noticeable symptoms of high blood cholesterol or dislipidaemia and it is usually diagnosed based on medical & family history and blood test results. Whilst we can not control risk factors such as family history, getting a heart friendly diet & getting regular exercise is something we all can control. These are the lifestyle factors that affect our cholesterol levels. So, whatever our age, if our lifestyle involves smoking, drinking alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, excess body weight and body fat or existing health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, then we are at risk of having high cholesterol. High cholesterol is not only an issue for older or overweight people.
Statistics show, according to the World Health Organisation, that 133.3 million people in the five biggest European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) have high blood cholesterol.
A 10% reduction of blood cholesterol levels will result in 50% reduction in heart disease in men of 40 years old in the next 5 years and a 20% risk reduction in those who are 70 years old.
Here are practical ways we can all manage our blood cholesterol…
The four main factors that influence our weight and how we feel are*: Nutrition: 75%, Environment: 11%, Hereditary: 8%, Stress: 6%. (*Source: www.euro.who.int), so, good news is – we can change a lot through a change in lifestyle! Through science, we have learnt that Nutrition plays a major role when it comes to not just Weight Management, but also our Heart Health, Energy Levels, Immunity & Aging process, Skin Health and so on. Losing weight does not always equal health if balanced nutrition is missing! Most diets you may hear about will usually restrict calorie intake or types of food you can consume. This means, your body may still not be receiving the nutrients it needs – not just for a healthy weight, but for a healthy life – strong immune system, healthy bones, healthy digestion, healthy heart, healthy skin and so on…
Losing weight can be hard. Right? It is a FACT, actually!
Statistics show that among those who succeed in losing weight, two-thirds return to their original weight within a year. Within 3-5 years only 3% of those who have lost weight maintain this weight loss. Of the remaining 97%, 15% return to their original weight and the majority (82%) put on even more weight. These statistics may alarm you. Furthermore, contributing factors to these statistics are:
After 13 years of working with clients on their personal journeys to a better health, weight loss, as well as fitness in the last few years, one thing is for sure – it can be a bumpy ride for majority and hardly ever a straight line. Many times, despite having the best mechanics for weight loss, it is the psychology that fails us, which makes me believe that 80% is the psychology and having the right mindset to reach our goals. This is probably true for everything in life, not just our health efforts.
Once we have a great plan and a strategy, it is our mindset that needs the most support.
20% of Your Success – Having A Great Plan
Protein Balls seem to be in fashion at the moment and there are many recipes – some I tried and they are to die for, but not all would constitute as a protein snack, in my humble opinion. I have seen many with over 200 calories and under 5 grams of protein. Just adding nuts does not hugely add to protein but it can add hugely to calories. And this does not work for me. So, based on some recipes I have seen, here is the one I came up with, but promise to keep trying improving on the protein v calories ratio:
- 150 gr of almonds (944 calories/ 32 gr protein)
- 100 gr Herbalife 24 Powder (380 calories/ 51 gr protein)
- 20 gr coconut oil (172 calories)
- 30 gr of raw honey, the one that bees actually make, not industrial (92 calories)
- tablespoon of vanilla extract or (for adults) some rum
- for garnish: sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and/ or raw cocoa powder
Mix it all in a chopper or blender until you get thick paste and using a bit of coconut oil on your palms – mould into balls and then roll in sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and add a sprinkle of raw cacao powder and, voila, they are done. Put your feet up and enjoy… one! (I know!)
I decided to use Herbalife 24 Rebuild Strength, normally used for a recovery shake after a strength training, because it contains array of essential nutrients, but also because I just love its distinctive chocolate flavour, reminding me of Baileys. Next time, and there will be next time, I will try with our Protein Drink Mix (Vanilla) and perhaps some other Formula 1 like Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookies & Cream or Cappuccino, or perhaps even some fruity flavours.
For my snacks, I am always looking for around 8-10 grams of protein under 150 calories and this snack just about does it. Above makes 12 balls each 25 grams and they are under 140 calories and 7 grams of protein. Not too shabby at all and makes a lovely difference. I think I still prefer my Herbalife Protein Bar with an optimum amount of protein (10 gr) and calories (140gr) per 35 gr snack as they are quick and handy and already done for me, but, if you do not mind a bit of fuffing around in making them, these protein balls are amazing and will be loved by everyone in the house.
The only two questions that run through my mind are where to hide them safely so they do not disappear in a flash and how to stop myself from not eating more than one in one go as they are superb and literally each is just one bite? Hmmm… But, mmmmmm….
I am always excited when I hear medical professionals stepping out of the usual “disease treatment” into “disease prevention” and acknowledging the fact that nutrition plays key part in not only treating but eradicating certain, if not most, diseases. Doctors in the 1940s knew this and somehow mainstream medicine nowadays still decided to choose a path of treating diseases with medications without enough emphasis or effort on the prevention side.
Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks very passionately about it in this video in his TED Talk in Liverpool. What excites me personally is that it is also very much aligned with Herbalife and what we believe in. In Herbalife, we have always believed in nutrition on a cellular level and the fact that in order to be healthy we need to focus not on body just meeting recommended daily amount of nutrients that merely perhaps just prevent some diseases, but the fact that we need to take it to the next level and achieve optimum nutrition to build our immunity and give body enough ammunition to be healthy and immune to most lifestyle diseases.
Optimum nutrition consists of giving the body what it needs in the right quantity and balance too. We are already, and have been for some time, personalizing protein levels and there is also drive to innovate and customize all the nutrient levels in the future. Our innovative Herbalifeline Max Omega 3 tablet is one of the testaments to that. Much of our scientific endeavour is focused on areas like the micro-biome, Dr Chatterjee mentions it in this video.
You give your health a true fighting chance when nutritional levels are balanced and optimised. I am excited to see even more mainstream doctors aligned with this message as times move on… Enjoy the video!
I don’t think I have ever been excited as much as I was when Herbalifeline Max was announced to be released in Winter 2016.
I remember a training few years ago when one of our leading medical doctors mentioned that whilst our Core Nutrition (in the UK it is Formula 1 shake, Formula 2 Multivitamin & Mineral Tablets and Fibre & Herb Tablets), helps us reach optimum nutrition as part of a healthy eating regime, one other thing they would highly recommend adding to our daily nutrition intake are Omega 3 fish oils in form of a supplement.
To most people I speak to, thinking of fats as healthy seems to go against nearly every piece of nutrition advice they have ever had, but, there are certain types of fats that are considered healthy and that are actually essential to the body.
As one-third of the UK population regularly suffers from digestive illnesses such as IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach-aches, nausea and sickness and cancers of the digestive tract are the largest cancer killer, actually 23% of all UK cancer mortalities, our Digestive System does deserve special attention as it must be one of the most important parts of your entire body.
“Death sits in the bowels. Bad digestion is the root of all evil!” Hippocrates, BC 400 BC
You may or may not know, however, 80% of our immunity is right there in our gut and taking care of it is an essential part of a healthy body and a stable weight management.
Small Intestine is where the majority of digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place. As our body is exposed to toxins in everyday life, such as smoking, alcohol, medications, stress, pollution, chlorine and many more, maintaining healthy digestion helps body eliminate them from the body. Without gut’s ability to neutralise and eliminate toxins from the body – weight loss is impaired and, as a result, we can experience a weight gain, as just one of the “side effects”.
BREAKFAST is a family affair in our household. My children were as young as 6 months when they started with the shakes and I have taken shakes throughout pregnancy too, so this is something that we ALL do and enjoy and understand the nourishment value we get from it. My children will have a smaller shake with some fruit and a honey on whole grain toast or an egg or some whole grain cereal such as porridge as an example, my husband and I will only have a 350ml shake in soya milk or greek yoghurt OR even made in water with some of our Protein Drink Mix to help with protein, but without the sugar present in milk. I also add some of our Oat Apple Fibre too to keep my fibre level high from the start of the day. I also add some fruit or even vegetables to my shake and this breakfast. It gives me 25 grams of protein per shake and over 10 grams of fibre. I add more protein for my husband, so kick starts his day with 30 grams, which is optimum for the man of his built.
My healthy breakfast is between 250 – 300 calories which is just perfect for anyone wishing to lose weight or even maintain.
I am a firm believer in making breakfasts the most essential part of our daily routine and where we make a start when trying to change our lifestyle. And once we have this healthy habit sorted – of not just having A breakfast as part of our daily routine, but THE breakfast – the right kind of breakfast – then we build the rest of the good habits on top of it, one by one.
With chronic diseases on the rise, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have finally recognised the importance of breakfast as a healthy behaviour that is one of the key factors in reducing health diseases across Europe.
“As a former teacher, I can spot straight away who’s awake and alert and who’s tired and distracted. And in my experience, one of the biggest factors that determines success in the classroom is so simple and so often overlooked: having breakfast every morning.”,
says Jean-Claude Gonon, Secretary-General of the European Association of Teachers (AEDE).
World Health Organization (WHO) stated:
“A regular breakfast is part of a healthy diet, which in turn has traditionally been considered an important factor in a healthy lifestyle. Breakfast contributes to the quality and quantity of a person’s daily dietary intake, and breakfast-skipping has been linked to inadequate dietary nutrition in several studies. Breakfast-skipping also influences cognition and learning and consequently may impact on adolescents’ capacity to take advantage of learning opportunities provided by schools and families.”
But breakfast isn’t just important for children and young people. Making sure we eat breakfast in the morning is just as important for adults too.