Why am I not losing Weight? 

There is literally hundreds of reasons why you may not be losing weight.

I am trying to gradually work my way through some of the more common reasons, and explain how they may be affecting your results.

This week I am focussing on Insulin Resistance.

When you think of insulin, you probably automatically think of Diabetes & discard the problem, simply because you are not a sufferer.

However, everybody has insulin, the difference between us is how resistant or sensitive that we are. Let’s just clear up, being insulin sensitive is the better side of this difference.

Let me explain in this video how insulin resistance may be slowing down your weight loss results.

As you can see if you have been eating too many sugary snacks, or maybe overeating, then this may be part of the problem.

In this case, a healthy and well balanced diet that is calorie controlled may be beneficial to help improve your insulin sensitivity.

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How to Ease your Muscle Soreness!

EXERCISE logo copy 2We’ve all had it and we all know it is a byproduct of working hard to get the body that you want, but how can we relieve the post workout DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?

Well, you lucky blighters, I am about to share with you a few simple things you can do to help overcome those aches and carry on going to to loo without having to hold the towel rail! (yes, we’ve all done that too!)

STRETCHING – Myth or Fact? 

It was once considered incredibly important to stretch, both before & after a workout to help ease muscles into the stresses of training and to prevent muscle soreness… however this has now been debunked! It’s BS!

DOMS is a result of damage caused to the muscle fibres during a workout, imagine a piece of wool… If you keep pulling and tugging it, the fibres will begin to fray, and this is what happens to our muscle fibres…. It’s not a bad thing so don’t freak out thinking you are ripping your muscle up, well we are, but the body will repair them thicker and stronger than before, and that is where muscle tone builds from.

The thing is, once the damage has been done to the fibres, no amount of stretching is putting you back together again that quickly, so muscle soreness develops. Its a bit like a scratch thats itching as it heals.

That’s not to say that no stretching at all isn’t required, as there are other reasons why we do it!!

Also, as a result of the muscles being worked, they may tighten up, so some light stretching between workouts may be more beneficial to easing those post Body Pump Quads!

FOAM ROLLING

If you are one of my Pilates or PT clients then chances are you have met my little roller friend, chances are even higher that you have sworn at me or it as you have worked over certain muscles.

Truth is the foam roller can help to ease your soreness as it acts like a form of massage, so helps to release tension and toxins. Increasing blood flow to the areas worked, increasing circulation and speeding up the muscles recovery process…. Plus it is great at improving your flexibility!

HOT & COLD 

Possibly the least enjoyable of the options is heat & ice routines. You’ve likely seen the pro-athletes jump in an ice bath after a big event or match! Well this is the principle, although we are not pro-athletes and probably don’t have time or need to do this, so instead, get yourself an ice pack and hold it on the sore muscles for 15 minutes, follow this by 15 minutes of a heat pad. Go back to the cold and then the heat one more time. The alternation between the extremes is thought to improve circulation and speed up the healing process of sore muscles. But I suppose it depends on how sore you are and how much time you have to spare!

KEEP MOVING 

The best bit of advice I was ever given and probably the best bit of advice I have given in relation to DOMS is, KEEP ON MOVING! The last thing you want to do when you feel like you have done 10 rounds with Tyson is go and do another workout, but sitting still is only going to amplify the tension. So move a bit, start slow and then work up to more. Go for a nice walk but avoid straining your muscles too much… Just work enough to increase your blood flow a little.

HYDRATE

As with most things to do with our bodies, being dehydrated only makes it worse. So make sure you drink plenty of fluids in the few days after a workout to help cease the system.Its also probably a good idea to avoid drinks that will act to dehydrate you, namely caffeine and alcohol.

TAKE A WARM BATH

A nice warming bath can help relieve some of the worst tension, and is great for muscle soreness. Not only is the temperature going to help relax the muscles, but improve circulation which allows nutrients & oxygen to feed the muscles. You can also add some epsom salts to a bath which is rumoured to be be great for sore muscles.

PROTEIN

Eat a high protein meal following your workout to help increase the nutrients that are available for your muscles. After all muscle is protein, so feed it with something it can rebuild with rather than a danish pastry from the gyms cafe!

Finally, you should avoid taking pain killers! Don’t mask the pain, as this could lead you to move to quickly or with a bigger range of motion than the muscles wants to, causing an injury.

And there you have it… next time you complete a particularly gruelling workout, try one, two or even all of these methods and see if they help to relieve your soreness.

If you have found this blog interesting then please share, like, comment or subscribe for more health & fitness related posts. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Linkedin, or visit the website www.lmfitness.info 

How can your Cycle affect your Workouts?

lifestylePMS might as well stand for Physique Misery Syndrome.

I can honestly tell you that the appearance changes alone caused by your cycle can be significant.

One day you’ll wake up and see that your tummy is looking slimmer, leaner and flatter, bringing on a sense of excitement that all that hard work in the gym and kitchen is finally paying off. But then the next morning, you’ll wake up only to find a bloated, less than perfect stomach staring back at you. If you can learn to expect this it won’t cause any panic. And fortunately the problem vanishes after about a few days, normally as quickly as it arrived. Still… It’d bloody annoying!

The symptoms of PMS vary for every woman. They range from feeling like a pain in the backside to turning your life upside down for a week. But the classic symptoms include water retention and bloating, irritability, strong cravings, appetite changes, fluctuations in pain tolerance, as well as differences in your energy level.

Put simply, for the week and maybe the week leading up to your period, the last thing on your mind is putting in a hard workout or eating healthy. You want to eat chocolate, ice cream, and pizza while lying on the couch. If you’re a dedicated gym bunny, then PMS can leave you feeling psychologically devastated.

But its not just cravings and a bloated stomach that may make you feel like screaming head first into your pillow. Check out how your cycle can affect you and what you can do to prevent it causing a problem.

METABOLISM

Your metabolic rate is as individual as you are, and not only does if fluctuate from person to person, but day to day within the same person. Making it crucial that you know what you are doing with your food and calories. Especially if you are trying to shed that last few pounds!

If you’re stressed out, then your metabolism may rev up a bit higher. But on the other hand, if you’ve been following a very-low-calorie diet for a couple of weeks, you are likely to find that your metabolism has slowed down.

Your cycle also influences your metabolic rate. During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle— that’s the week or so before your period is set to begin— you’ll burn up calories faster than at other times throughout the month. Researchers measure increases in total energy expenditure of 2.5 to 11% during this time.

This may not seem like all that much, but if you’re dieting, it will make a difference.

Most women also experience an increase in appetite during this period of their cycle. They are hungrier and more prone to cravings. The end result is that they can end up consuming more calories than they are expending through this increase in their metabolic rate. They’re burning more, but there’s more to burn.

So one important take-home message from this is that if you’re currently dieting, and will continue dieting through your cycle, be extra careful about your adherence during the week before your period. You could easily undo your weight-loss efforts.

BEAT THE BLOAT

Another of the biggest period-related complaints among women is bloating. It’s not abnormal at all for women to take on 5 to 10 extra pounds of water during their cycle. As you can imagine, this can have an unsettling effect on the reflection in the mirror and your reaction to the scales!

What you have to remember is it is not fat!!! It’s just excess water retention caused by female hormones, mainly estrogen.

You can also try these methods to help reduce bloating:

  1. Avoid salty foods
  2. Drink more water than usual
  3. Sip some herbal tea
  4. Season your foods with oregano

 

Set Yourself UP Right! 

Avoid starting on a fat-loss plan during the luteal phase, for the reasons mentioned above. As you will be at a higher risk of feeling hunger during this time of the month, and that hunger will likely lead to greater incidences of food cravings, beginning your diet during this phase raises the odds of making mistakes and going off plan. Instead, you can try and cycle your calories, by bringing your calorie intake to a lower levelduring the two weeks immediately proceeding your period, when hunger levels are lower and cravings less likely. Then increase your calorie intake back to a maintenance level during the week before and during your period.

This will help mitigate that natural increase in hunger coming your way. But it will also help to naturally reset your metabolism. So if your metabolism is slowing down at all due to the reduced calorie intake, you bring that rate back up again during the increased calorie intake. Once you move back to dieting after your period is over, you will be burning body fat as fast as possible.

Additionally, since you will already be dealing with increased bloating during the week before your period, staying strict with your diet may be tough anyway. If there’s one time of the month you should be taking a break, this would be it. Since you’re also burning up calories at a slightly elevated rate during this time, the extra calories will stand a lower chance of being deposited as body fat. That is yet another advantage of taking a short diet break during the early luteal period of your menstrual cycle.

As for your workouts, there are some additional considerations to take into account as they relate to your menstrual cycle.

  • First, bear in mind that during the luteal phase of your cycle, your body temperature will increase. So if you’re performing intense workouts—which also raise the temperature of the body, then you may feel uncomfortable, and unable to sustain very high intensities.
  • A second thing to consider is that your tolerance for pain will be higher during the follicular phase of the cycle, after menstruation takes place. So it makes sense to place your harder workouts, the ones where you really plan to push yourself, during this time. You’ll find that you have a higher level of tenacity.
  • Carrying excess water weight throughout the luteal phase will also affect workout performance, especially if the workout includes running. That added weight will make you feel like you’re working harder than usual.

Keep Moving Forwards

Until you hit the menopause, you can’t change the fact that your period will arrive each and every month (unless of course you are pregnant maybe). But you can keep it from disturbing your workouts and body progress!

Try and keep these factors in the back of your mind as you set about your workout and diet routine during your cycle. By more clearly understanding the changes taking place within your body, you can help reduce the chances of them affecting you negatively. AND stop them from tricking you into thinking that all your hard effort isn’t achieving anything!

If you have enjoyed this blog, please like, share, comment and remember you can follow me on Social media by clicking on the links to the right of this post. You can also visit http://www.lmfitness.info  and download your completely free 21 recipe ebook.

References:

Davidsen, L. et al. (2007). Impact of the Menstrual Cycle on Determinants of Energy Balance: A putative role in weight loss attempts. Price, D. et al. (1998). A meta-analytic review of pain perception across the menstrual cycle. X.A.K.J., De Jonge. (2003). Effects of the Menstrual Cycle on Exercise Performance.

Beans, Beans… The More you Eat the more you………. ;)

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If you’re trying to lose weight, consider beans your new best friend.

 

But I am not talking about Baked Beans here… Well not the tinned variety anyway!

Beans once received a mixed bag of reviews within the weight loss community, one group would say, they’re high in carbohydrates, which discouraged many dieters. Whilst the other group would say, beans are complex carbohydrates, non-processed and natural, which means that they may be extremely effective for weight loss, especially when using them as a substitute for processed grains. ARRGGHHH… Who do you listen too???

Several studies have completed and touted the health benefits of beans. A 2013 study done by Loma Linda University found that “a high-fibre bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss,” while another study revealed that “bean eaters weighed, on average, seven pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts.

Not only is eating beans for weight loss highly effective, but these fibre-filled, nutrient-rich legumes are friendly on the wallet too!!! 😀

There are a wide variety of different bean recipes for weight loss that can help you shed those pounds.

Here are a couple that you can try out at home:

  • Black Bean Rice

This simple recipe is actually considered a staple in many Latin American countries, a straight-forward meal of black beans and rice that will fill you up and help you burn off  pounds.

Check out the full Recipe via the Shapefit site below:

Recipe from: Shapefit

  • Roasted Chickpeas

Finding a healthy snacks or side dish can be a little tricky sometimes. But these spicy roasted chickpeas make a fab alternative for chips to munch on, or they can be served as a part of a meal.

This recipe is super easy and super yummy: All you have to do is season and roast. Check out the full recipe on the PopSugar site below.

Recipe from: PopSugar

  • Southwestern Black Bean Chilli

Chilli is one of the most popular comfort food dishes around, and a staple meal among many families, especially during the winter months. This version below is loaded with weight-conscious black beans and removes the ground beef, but feel free to add lean ground turkey for extra protein.

Check out the full recipe from the Health website below.

Recipe from: Health

 

There are literally hundreds, thousands of fabulous bean recipes available on the internet. Why not give one or all of these above recipes a try & then search for more on the web, and keep beans a strong and staple part of your diet.

Beans are Fantastic for weight & fat loss, so keep them coming. If you have a favourite Bean recipe, please feel free to share with us in the comments below. We would love to hear them.

And don’t forget to share, subscribe and follow me on other social sites to keep p to date on new posts, recipes and workouts.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Ten Foods that you SHOULD Include on a Low Carb Diet!

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A low carb diet is NOT for everyone, but if you have the will power and self control to reduce your carbs down, then you will benefit in not only fat loss, but energy and health as well.

If you know me well, then you will know I stay pretty low carb most of the time, then drop even lower when I wasn’t to shed a few pounds off or lean up and expose my underlying 6 pack or back muscles. It’s easy enough to do if you like the low carb lifestyle, but what foods should you definitely keep in your “low-Carb” diet?

My top 10 are as follows:

  • Courgette

Courgette is the ultimate low-carb ingredients because it can be manipulated to have the look and texture of starchy foods. A spiralizer will come in handy for swapping pasta for zucchini noodles, or you can purchase the already made version form many supermarkets now. Or you could swap the fried potato hash browns, and try frying up some courgette dipped in almond flour instead. You could just microwave half a courgette with some butter smeared over the top for a minute or two and chop it into your salads.

  • Cauliflower

Cauliflower is another low-carb food that can be used as a replacement for high-carb ingredients in an array of dishes. You can trash the starchy pizza dough and try making a cauliflower crust instead. To make cauliflower rice, all you have to do is use a food processor to break up the cauliflower into pieces until it has the right consistency – use this in your next stir fry for a low-carb dinner. Again Some supermarkets are now selling pre-made Cauliflower rice, so you could get this instead of making your own.

Why not try swapping tortilla chips for thinly sliced cauliflower, topped with other veggies and cheese, for a new twist on nachos. Or mash your cauliflower instead of mashing potatoes. When it comes to cauliflower, you can keep changing it up and trying new things! It is incredibly versatile.

  • Eggs

Eggs are another incredibly versatile food and they also happen to be crammed with protein. Whether you scramble, poach, fry, boil, bake or make an omelette, quiche or smoothie, eggs are cheap and easy to eat. Dress them up with herbs, slice them up in salads, and make breakfast portable by creating little quiches in muffin tins. There is quite a few egg recipes in my healthy recipe ebooks so you can download this HERE.

  • Nuts & Butters

In theory a low carb diet could just consist of a plate of bacon served with a side of butter — but this isn’t necessarily the best diet for your heart as it is packed with Saturated fats. So we need in increase your mono & poly-unsaturated fats whilst living the low-carb lifestyle. For those of you looking for a more health-conscious way to cut carbs without missing out on fatty flavours, look to nuts and nut butters. They’re a low-carb, high-protein fat fuel that can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, salads, veggie dishes and more.

  • Chicken or Turkey Breasts

What’s so great about poultry? In addition to being mega high in protein, it’s also low in fat and good for your calories. This lean meat can become the centre of any meal: grill it, bake it, boil it, add it to a salad, or make a lean chili out of it. You should ALWAYS have a healthy amount of Chicken or Turkey in your Low-carb diet!

  • Greek Yoghurt

When you look at Greek Yoghurt it can be used for so many things, sweet & savoury! Add some chopped nuts or peanut butter for a sweeter taste or add herbs or seasonings for a dip. But be sure you go for a full fat version!

  • Salmon

Not only is salmon a fatty fish full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and calcium, it’s also a low-mercury fish and can be included as part of a low-carb diet. Baked, grilled, raw, served on its own, used as a salad topper  — be creative and see what you can make with a nice piece of Salmon!

  • Dark Chocolate

Dont panic Chocolate lovers, there is still some chocolate that is ok even on a low-carb diet! Extra-dark chocolate that contains 75% cocoa or more contains copper, manganese, iron and magnesium, along with plenty of health benefits. When enjoyed in moderation, it can help combat carb cravings, especially those chocolate cravings; some studies even suggest that including minimal amounts of dark chocolate in your diet can aid weight loss. Why not grate it on your Greek Yoghurt or add it to a smoothie?

  • Portobello Mushrooms

The next time you fancy a burger, why not replace your traditional bread bun with the tops of two portobello mushrooms?  Or,top the mushrooms with cheese, onions, leek or any other low carb friendly topping that you fancy & bake them in the oven? Again the Portobello Mushroom can be incredible diverse, so get creative!

  • ButterNut Squash

Much like the Courgette, if you find yourself in the mood for some spaghetti, try using squash instead, often called Boodles and these can be brought remade in some supermarkets. Although the consistency will be a bit different, squash has a flavour that is really a good match for tomato and garlic sauces, while containing only a fraction of the carbohydrates of pasta.

 

And there you have it! My top 10 Foods to definitely keep in a low carb diet!

 

If you have any questions or remarks, feel free to comment on this blog, or email me lesley@lmfitness.info. You can also follow me on social media using the links on my home page. You can visit my website at http://www.lmfitness.info and download my free recipe e-book as well. Thanks for reading 😉

Let me Tell you about my Sausage! ;)

NUTRITION logo copyOne of the best things about living where I live, is I am really close to one of the best, if not in fact THE BEST Butchers in Northamptonshire. So I can just nip out and pick up some of the finest meaty sausages and cuts of steak known to mankind!

He supplies the local premiership rugby team, some of which live in the same village, plus local top catering businesses, and then their is their hog roasts and burger vans… They truly do offer the finest in local meatiness.

But let’s talk sausages! We have all had those thin, nondescript bangers from the super market, and the inert-looking ones from the local cafe, but these bad-boy butchers  bangers are amazing! Almost completely all meat and no filler!

I cooked a batch of 6 on my trusty George Foreman grill just the other night, and there was NO FAT oozing out into the little drip tray…. I MEAN NONE! *Wow* I have had this drip tray full to the brim before now cooking cheap bangers from the local shops!

(I can’t go without mentioning their home made Chilli-con-Carne and Curry, and if I am on a bit of a naughty day, then their sausage rolls and pork pies are the best!)

It’s all top Quality!

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And not too pricy either, maybe a tad more than you’d pay at the local supermarket, but then look at the product you are buying and the QUALI-TEEEEE!

It’s real, honest, proper food!

You can buy your ready meals that have been pumped full of man-made fats, or maybe even the low-fat option, that has been pumped with sugar and chemical ingredients that you can’t even pronounce (these are there to make it last longer & taste more normal)…. these ingredients haven’t been in our diets much more than 40 or 50 years, but the butchers block meat has been in our diets for thousands of years!

Guess what else has increased over the last 40-50 years?

Oh yeah, that’s right… Obesity! 

Is that just a coincidence?

Either way, I know what I would rather be putting into my body!

REAL FOOD WITH REAL NUTRITIONAL VALUE & REAL FAT! That’s what we were born to eat! Not this highly processed man made, so called “low-fat” crap that you buy for a quid in the shops!

If you want to lose weight, which is what I want to help you achieve, then heed my warning and start to change the way you eat! Go for REAL FOOD, Visit your local Butchers and buy some proper bangers that smell amazing when you are cooking them. Grab a cut of steak whilst your are there and serve it up with some veggies. Get some proper MEATY burgers that aren’t filled with all the junk that is making our bodies rebel against the fat loss fads we keep throwing at them!

Give your body a break, and feed it with something that it can actually use! Good Fuel for a Good Body!

If you are wandering about the butchers I mentioned, you can visit their website here!

Have a great day!

Lesley 🙂  x

P.S. Don’t miss out on your chance to get a completely tailored healthy eating nutrition plan HERE starting at just £69.99

Quick fixes don’t work, you need to change your habits to change your body, start with the small changes, they all add up!

If you have enjoyed this blog, please like, share and comment! You can also follow me on Facebook, instagram and twitter using the links to the side of this blog post! And don’t forget to download your FREE 21 Healthy recipe E-Book HERE.

 

Why You Should be eating more Blueberries!

NUTRITION logo copyThere are many foods out there at the moment being labelled as so-called “Super-Foods”, but I am not entirely convinced that any of them would stand up against the humble, and some what innocent looking Blueberry in a competition.

So, what is so great about this tiny, but very mighty little berry that packs a killer punch of antioxidants?

Well, let me tell you, there is much more to this little guy than a sweet taste that goes well in a smoothie or with your morning porridge. Here are just some of its health boosting benefits.

  • They make you Smarter! 

Yep, really! A study was conducted by the North Carolina State Plants for Human Health Institute, and they say that it is the Phytochemicals that protect the brain cell turnover. This can also potentially help protect against Parkinson’s Disease. The humble Blueberry is better than other fruits for brain health, due to the high concentration and combination of these types of anti-oxidants.

  • They can help us Fight the Stomach Flab!

According to research at Tufts University, regular ingestion of catechins increases abdominal fat loss by up to 77%. The catechins found in the Blueberry, activate fat burning genes in the abdominal fat cells and assist with fat loss, especially around the stomach! QUICK…. Pass me a punnet!!!!

 

  • They can keep us Looking Young!

Move over Olay & Nivea, I have a new anti-ageing product! Now I am not suggesting that you smear Blueberries over your face, however, Blueberries are one of the richest sources of something called proanthocyatnidins (no, not cyanide!). The phytonutrients decrease the levels of free radicals that are linked to wrinkling (yep, I mean ageing), and disease!

  • They Help to Fight Cancer! 

I keep saying Phytonutrients, but there is one particular, ellagic acid, that has been proven to have anti-cancer and genetic material protection capabilities. It also helps to encourage the body to seek out and destroy harmful or damaged cells, like cancer cells. This is called Apoptosis. Im not kidding, its like having a little miniature Army in your body killing off all the bad guys!

  • They are mini Painkillers!

Blueberries contain something called Salicylic Acid, which is like a natural Aspirin. Salicylic Acid is also know to thin the blood, a bit like Aspirin! Got a headache…. Pass me the Blueberries please!

  • They Make us Feel GOOD!

Blueberries are known to increase the production of Dopamine. Dopamine is a brain messenger, and can be quite low in Parkinsons Sufferers. They can also have a good effect on lowering stress.

  • Improved Memory & Motor Skills

Researchers have concluded from studies, that the compounds found in blueberries may reverse some age-related memory loss and decline in motor skill.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am off to the Supermarket to stock up on Blueberries. But before I do run off (and seriously, my keys are in my hand ready to go NOW!), here is a great recipe for a breakfast smoothie that you can use.

Recipe:

  • 1 Whole Banana
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen Blueberries
  • 1 cup of Greek Style full fat Yoghurt

Combine all ingredients together in a blender or smoothie maker, and blend for a few minutes until smooth and lump free. Serve into a glass and enjoy!

 

If you have enjoyed this blog, or found it interesting, please show us by liking and sharing it. You can also follow us to see more blogs as and when they are published, or follow us on Social media, using the links to the right. If you have a favourite Blueberry recipe that you love to use, then please share it with us. And please feel free to comment below. Happy Blogging 🙂