…. “Fad diets may change your weight, but exercise will change your body”
Fad diets are one of my pet peeves.
The ‘cabbage diet’ or‘shake diets’ are obviously going to get you quick weight loss (not fat loss).
You are consuming very minimal calories & STARVING your body of nutrition.
I’ll never forget the Special K ‘drop a jean size challenge’… A bowl for breakfast + lunch or dinner for 2 weeks… Really?
These diets are designed to grab your attention.
People are getting fast results, on the scales, just from eating something different.
I get it, it seems like an easy way to results, right?
We all love the latest craze, so I don’t blame anyone who tries these without knowing the facts.
So, this is how they work:
You deprive yourself of proper nutrition, your body responds by dropping weight quickly, you then eat normally again…and boom! Your body puts it all back on. PLUS MORE. Most fad diets cut out a major food group e.g. carbs or fats. After the diet, your body is no longer used to consuming those nutrients, so it holds onto anything you do eat in case it’s starved again!
If you struggled with food before the diet, it’ll be even harder for you now.
Your body will be super sensitive to certain food groups after cutting them out.
We all have a friend who has used a fad diet. They’ve said how much weight they’ve lost and how easy it has been. Then we see them weeks later and they’re even bigger than before!
Stop chasing results without hard work.
I promise there isn’t a winning formula for fat loss.
Keep it simple – “eat well, track your food and increase your exercise”
Start 2017 the right way and the results will stay, I promise!
“The average person gains 7-10lbs over the festive season!”
Here are my top 10 tips to avoid becoming a part of this statistic:
1. Make smart choices
If you know you’re eating out, plan ahead and be smart with your food & alcohol choices! There’s no need to miss out if you choose wisely.
2. If you eat more, train more
If you know you’re going to be eating more calories that day, then it’s time to burn more calories! Add a little extra into your workout to compensate for the additional intake.
3. Don’t use ‘oh well, it’s Christmas’ as an excuse
At Christmas we all want to enjoy ourselves and let our hair down, but don’t waste a year of hard work‘just because it’s Christmas’… It’s easy to stay smart with your choices over the festive season.
4. Limit your ’empty calories’
Empty calories are those high in calories, but low in nutritional value. I know the boxes of celebrations are VERY tempting (I find this so hard myself!!). I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat them, just be sensible and controlthe amount you’re having. If you know you struggle to say no, avoid having them in your own home!
5.Be the designated driver
This is a hard one, but it’s something I always try to do myself. If you know you’re driving, then there is no temptation to drink those additional calories (trust me, these add up!). You don’t have to do this for every event, but with the HUGE amount of events we all have to go to at this time of year, even driving to half of these will help (and it’ll save you money!!!).
6. Share your leftovers
Are you always left with food at your house after big events? A fantastic way to avoid eating it all is taking it to your local food shelter. This is a win win – you’re giving back to those who need it and stopping yourself from eating it all!!
7. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself
Although it’s great to stay on track over Christmas, be realistic and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You still have to have a happy lifestyle and enjoy time with your family and friends.
8. Beat the buffet temptations
Are you also tempted when you go up to a big buffet of party foods? (I LOVE PARTY FOOD!) Don’t panic, just pick a smaller number of healthy choicesrather than piling the plate with ‘1 of everything’!
9. Enjoy this beautiful time of year with the family
Rather than forcing yourself to get in the gym when you really don’t want to, get active with the familyinstead! Put your wellies and coats on, then enjoy a winter walk in a picturesque location! You’ll feel great and you’ll be spending that quality time with your loved ones.
10. Start your 2017 health related resolutions NOW!
Why wait until January? I’m not saying you need to be super strict at this time of year and don’t be hard on yourself for slipping up. But using help from the tips above, along with some will power, you can get a head start on 2017and feel great throughout the festivities!
I was racking my brain trying to think of the best possible example of goal setting and how this can be one of (if not THE most) effective tool to achieving your goals.
In September 2014, my husband completed an Ironman in Tenby, Wales. This is renowned for being one of the hardest events you can do. If you don’t know, this is what it includes:
Swim = 2.4-mile (3.86 km)
Bike = 112-mile (180.25 km)
Run = Full 26.22-mile marathon (42.20 km)
All raced in that order and without a break…. crazy, I know!
Winding back to September 2013, Andy had never ran long distances, he had only just bought his road bike and he had never swam properly. I can honestly say the most swimming he had done was on holiday in a small round pool, he would breaststroke a few laps and be done!
Andy is very easily persuaded and he is always up for a challenge! My step dad had previously completed one and wanted to improve his time, so he mentioned to Andy about doing it with him. My husband didn’t take long to sign up to the challenge (I can imagine it would take me a lot longer to think about this!!).
Andy had 11 months to complete the training for this big event. This is where his strong personality and determination came into action! He sat down with my step dad and SET GOALS.
He had to think about what was holding him back;
he can’t swim that well
hasn’t ever done a triathlon before
doesn’t have the gear (wetsuit, trackers, clothing etc)
doesn’t know about the correct nutrition
his fitness levels weren’t up to the mark
He then worked out how to fix these;
he booked a course of swimming lessons
he planned to do 4 smaller triathlons leading up the big event
he went shopping for the gear and researched what he needed
he done his research and practiced his nutrition on every training session
he trained VERY hard (weekends become early lake swimming and long bike rides)
Through careful planning, setting lots of little goals and a lot of hard work… Andy completed the Ironman. A challenge most people would think was too big to do in 11 months. He actually finished in a very good time and smiled the whole way around, I felt so proud watching him….I think I was more tired than him at the end!
The moral of this blog is to show you that no goal is too big. It takes a goal that scares us to change us. This way of thinking can work for ANY GOAL. Just follow these simple steps:
Set yourself a HUGE goal – something that scares the hell out of you or you think isn’t possible (this doesn’t have to be health related) – e.g. lose 10 stone, run a marathon or buy a house in 2 years
Ask yourself these questions;
what does it take?
what’s holding me back?
how will I achieve this?
Work on those areas – find solutions to them (don’t just let them scare you), then set yourself lots of little goals to lead you there, e.g. lose 2lbs per week for 70 weeks, aim to run 1 mile first or save £200 per month
Don’t let a huge goal scare you, embrace it and let it drive you!
You may think that consuming minimal calories will help you to lose weight. This is NOT true.
Consuming too little will actually have the opposite effect on your body. You may achieve a rapid weight loss to start with, however, this will be short lived as your body goes into ‘starvation mode’ and begins to store excess fat as an energy reserve.
It is essential to consume the amount your body needs for everyday activities, having too little will reduce your energy levels, result in you not being able to train effectively and decrease your metabolism.
TOP TIP: Consume a diet of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. Fuel your body and stop starving it!
2. You’re doing the wrong exercise for your goals
Do you find yourself doing endless amounts of cardio, but you’re still not managing to achieve the body you are aiming for?
Try adding weights and resistance workinto your training. When you do weights training, your body will continue to burn calories long after you finish your workout to help with muscle recovery.
Once your muscle mass has increased, this will increase your metabolism. You will then burn more calories everyday just from having more muscle!!!
I regularly hear people saying ‘I don’t want to get too big’. Don’t worry, you don’t have to look like Schwarzenegger to achieve this. Just a small increase in muscle mass will help provide you with a better looking physique and a quicker metabolism. It’s a win win!
TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to lift weights. Build some muscle to burn more calories.
3. Not drinking enough water
Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. This is why it is essential for us to drink a sufficient amount and allow our bodies to function effectively.
Research has shown that we actually BURN CALORIESpurely by our bodies digesting the water we drink. Our metabolic rate can increase by up to 30% after consumption. Drinking colder water requires more energy (calories) due to the body having to heat it to body temperature!
Thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Increasing your water intake can suppress your appetite and reduce the feeling of hunger. Drink a large glass of water before meals to help you from consuming unnecessary calories.
Aim to consume 2-3L per day, depending on your body composition and exercise levels. If you have more muscle and you’re more active, increase your consumption!
AND… Other benefits include: better skin, reduced tiredness, feeling more alert, increased brain function and reduced headaches.
TOP TIP: It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and can help to suppress your appetite if consumed before meals.
4. Consuming too many ‘EMPTY calories’
Weekends are a time to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves. BUT, this doesn’t have to mean ruining all of our hard work through drinking & eating the calories we burnt that week!
Too much alcohol can bring A LOT of calories. Not only through what you’re drinking, but through the ‘end of night’ greasy foods, morning hangover foods and lack of training the next day.
There’s no reason you can’t enjoy yourself with a couple of drinks, but this MUST be controlled in order to achieve the results you want. If you find it hard to cut these out, you have to ask yourself – Do I really want those results???
Think about what could be holding you back and remember “Weekend Calories DO Count”.
TOP TIP: Everything in moderation. If you’ve increased calories IN, then increase your calories OUT.
5. Fad diets (grrrr….my pet hate!)
Crash dieting is NOT GOOD. I don’t know any of these diets that would actually benefit you in any way. PLUS, the negative effect these have on your metabolism is HUGE.
Cutting out any form of nutrition from your diet will of course have quick effects visible on the scales. But these will be very short lived.
The minute you begin to consume those foods again, your body will HOLD ONTO THEM!
I know many people who have tried crash dieting, they’ve had a rapid loss of weight and thought “WOW, it really works!!”
The minute these people have stopped this diet and begun consuming foods like before, they have put all of the weight back on….PLUS MORE!
Ignore those people who say they’ve dropped 20lbs in 2 weeks from a fad diet of shakes or soups. Just know that this will not lastfor them.
TOP TIP: Eat smart and train even smarter. Your weight loss results may be slower, but you’ll be achieving more effective results and THEY WILL LAST!
I have been working with my client Caroline for over a year now. Throughout this time we have worked closely together in order to help her see food and exercise more positively. At times this has been very hard, I had to completely adapt my approach as a Personal Trainer in order to understand what Caroline was going through. We have now got to a place where Caroline has progressed so much that she would love to tell her story in order to help others who may be going through something similar. This was very hard for Caroline to do, but she now feels ready to openly talk about everything. I am very proud to be a part of this journey and to see how well Caroline has done to overcome her past. Keep going Caroline, I’ll support you all the way!
Caroline Cassels- My Story
I have been sitting here for hours trying to think of the best way to say this because there isn’t an easy or simple way to say what I want to say. The weeks leading up to Christmas are probably the most stressful for me – more so than the summer. I am talking about “perfect body” syndrome and it’s not only me who has to deal with this torment.
Only a few of my closest friends and family are aware of this and, after four years, I am ready to come out and tell my story, set out my fears and explain why I am only saying this now.
Anorexia is one of the biggest killers of all mental illnesses and it is so misunderstood by a large percentage of the population… and I am only one of the many suffering with this illness.
From the age of twelve I went to boarding school and hated every moment of it. I was not ready to be away from home. I went to boarding school because we lived overseas and the country we moved to had no secondary school English language education. I met some amazing friends along the way. Sadly not all of us keep in contact, but I haven’t forgotten the memories we shared.
When I was 17, my friend and I wanted to shift and “tone” some unwanted weight and wanted to look good for the upcoming summer. We both did remarkably well and in four months we transformed our bodies and felt great. It was also a time of maximum pressure as we studied for our A Levels. I was struggling and didn’t think I was going to pass any of them. I felt I needed to take control of something. Enter exercise and food.
I started working out to an exercise video with my friend. But, while she did it “normally”, I did every single day with no rest, sometimes even twice a day. It then made sense to control my food and I started weighing every single gram of cereal, potato, grain of rice and I didn’t even notice I was doing it. I was consumed by food. I isolated myself from my friends. I would never eat with them in the dining room. Instead I bought the lowest “Count on Us” meals from Marks & Spencer, lock myself in my room and eat each bite reluctantly, limiting myself to 800 calories a day. I wasn’t able to think properly. My creativity disappeared, my personality vanished. I didn’t laugh. I wasn’t myself anymore. While all my friends were with their boyfriends, out on dates or with their friends shopping, I was worrying about my body and how I looked, feeling like a failure. I didn’t even notice guys anymore. My sex drive had gone. I didn’t care about boys. All I was fixated on was food. I became obsessed with it and banned all the “bad” foods. So, instead of treating myself, I thought looking up menus online would make me feel better, but it only made things worse.
On Mother’s Day in 2011, when my parents came back to the UK, I organised at three course lunch out with my family. I had planned to go to the gym straight afterwards and burn off all that I had eaten. Instead, this was the day my illness came to the surface and became real. I stepped on the treadmill getting ready to do my 20 minutes of intense running. But, because I had pushed myself so hard all the days before, my legs were in agony and I couldn’t run. I didn’t want to run. I didn’t want to be in the gym. I could feel my eyes watering and there I was, standing on a treadmill on a Sunday afternoon in a busy gym, crying. The Personal Trainer who was on duty pulled me off, sat me down to tried to figure out what was wrong. He knew something was wrong, but I chose to look the other way.
Once my A Levels were over, I had a three month summer break. Most people had the best summer of their lives. I had the worst. My eating disorder got worse. I started going to the gym every day for 3 hours a day, burning every calorie I consumed. I was 48 kg, weak and weary. My mum then took me to our GP to see what was wrong, I explained and all I remember her saying was, “Do you think you have a problem?” It was then, after 9 months of mental and physical destruction, I finally admitted to myself that I had an eating disorder.
Admitting that I was and I am anorexic was the hardest thing to do. But little did I know that the road to recovery would be even harder: challenging myself everyday with foods that I was terrified of, aka “fear foods”. My mum would plate up my dinner and I would shake and cry at that extra piece of chicken she put on my plate. There were times when I felt it would be easier if I just ended everything. I thought that if I didn’t exist I wouldn’t have to cope with the voices in my head telling me that if I eat, I would get fat. I thought that nobody would care if I died. Who would come to my funeral? That dark period lasted the whole of the summer and is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You are isolated, alone and fearful of everything.
Once the autumn of 2011 began, I had a place at a secretarial collage in London. This was the best thing that had happened to me that year – a fresh start. But my demons seemed to follow me wherever I went, never leaving my sight. Christmas came round very quickly and the drug that I heavily relied on, the gym, closed for two weeks for refurbishment. Now, for most people, they would have used it as it a time to rest their bodies. But I needed the gym, I needed it to breathe and to calm myself down. So I ended up taking a temporary gym membership at the local gym for those two weeks.
This was, without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to me. This is where I met the love of my life, James. He was handsome, kind, talkative, funny and just a nice person to talk to. He didn’t care that I was sweaty or my hair was in a mess. He saw me. I had never felt so special before. It was me he was looking at. After a year of being friends, we finally became a couple. I had never been happier, with someone who loved me just the way I am.
I told James about my eating disorder and that I was still in therapy. He was so kind and understanding about everything. But there were still obstacles that would come my way. I was still unhappy with my body and wanted to change. James was himself a Personal Trainer at the time and recommended one of his colleagues to me. I learned a lot about the fitness industry, nutrition and the body. I felt great, but I was still strict with my food.
That summer James and I went to Miami, Florida, for a holiday. Miami was renowned for its fitness lifestyle and beach bodies. I thought I could handle it. After my change with nutrition and exercise I thought I looked great. James said I looked fantastic. I took one look in the hotel mirror and was reduced to tears. At 17% body fat and a decent amount of muscle, I hated the way I looked. I refused to step out of my hotel room for 2 days. James and I argued most of the time. I honestly thought that was it, our relationship is over. But he reassured me how good I looked and that there is no such thing as the “perfect body”. I know that if someone hasn’t been through the same thing, they will never understand what you go through, but the support was what I needed the most.
A year later, and I am sitting here writing this, with my bowl of Total Yogurt and apple and on the phone to James, who is now away at Uni. Writing all this makes me realise how much I have gone through and how far I have come. But it isn’t only me who is going through this. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year (boys and girls – yes, boys too!). Anorexia is the biggest killer of all mental illnesses. It’s such a misunderstood illness. People think we are seeking attention. But they couldn’t be more wrong. We want to please everyone so much that we forget about ourselves. When life doesn’t go the way we planned, we need to control something – and the easiest thing to control is food.
Most people don’t have a healthy relationship with food. Those who are striving for the “perfect body” usually do it either by cutting calories, going on low carb diets, etc. When you start to obsess over it, it controls your life and it becomes your life. I have still have my moments now and then and, even when I have deprived myself of so much, I then binge on anything that I can get my hands on. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to stop.
With the right Personal Trainer and being given a balanced diet, I have finally found my peace with training and food. That is why, in the summer of 2016, I have chosen to compete in a bikini competition (a bodybuilding competition, but a more feminine category) to prove that I don’t have to starve to get the perfect body (my idea of the perfect body, that is – no one else’s) and to gain confidence in my appearance.
Anorexia is no longer an illness, it’s a part of who I am. I still have my moments where I binge on food and then punish myself the next day or, in time of stress, I go back to controlling my food. But it’s a journey that I am a part of whether I like it or not.
I guess my message is to get people to understand anorexia and eating disorders in general. I am not going to lie: they mess you up big time and it won’t go away. But you learn how to deal and cope with it. I can’t stress enough that the “perfect body” doesn’t exist – even for men! A muscular guy wants to look bigger than he actually is, because he doesn’t think he is good enough. Mental illness affects more men and women than people realise. So when someone comments on how people look in photos or about their weight, I hope they really think about whether their comment is going to help that person or destroy the only bit of self-confidence they have.
I hope this has given an insight into anorexia and why my fitness journey and my promotion of food is so important to me. I am not here to preach, but to make people aware how common it is and to help others feel there aren’t alone – because they are not.
I was lucky and privileged enough that my parents could pay for private treatment and send me to a brilliant treatment centre, The Surrey Centre. My therapist and my dietitian were the best people I could have asked for to guide and support me through my journey. Not only did they help me, but they also helped my mum with how to handle having a child who has anorexia. I could ring them 24/7 and they wouldn’t mind. I can’t begin to thank them enough for what they have done for me and how much they are helping other girls and boys who are in the same position I was in three years ago.
I also need to say a massive thank you to my parents, brother, family and my boyfriend. You have always been there for me when I needed to cry, talk or just to listen and console me. I didn’t think it would be possible to return from, but I managed – and it’s all thanks to you. But in particular the one person who I cannot thank enough, is my mother. Throughout this whole journey she was the one who started it with me and helped me through my darkest times. She is not only my mother but my best friend. She came to counselling sessions with me, listened to me when I needed her to and came through for me when I needed her the most. She brought me back to life and, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. So mum, thank you, for everything.
Please show your support to Caroline by sharing this in order to help others who may be suffering, let them know they are not alone!
This is a nutritional YouTube series I have created along with Joseph Webb at JW Training to educate those who find it ‘boring to eat healthy’. These videos are designed to give you ideas of meals you can make which stick to our diet plans, but still enable you to eat the family favourites like a yummy burger and chips! Yes.. All of these recipes are ‘clean & healthy’!
We now have over 20 videos to give you new ideas for the kitchen; snacks, dinners and sweet treats are all covered in this series!
Deluxe Nutrition is a supplement company that I represent. I started working with them following last years Body Power event in Birmingham. I tried their free samples and loved their products! The taste was great and the breakdown of them was even more impressive. They have such a great selection of supplements on their site, I really feel they give me that edge to my training and diet. If you’re training is very intense, you need to make sure you’re providing your body with the optimal recovery to continue training to the same level each day. The supplements I currently use within my diet include:
100% Protein: A scoop of chocolate flavour in my porridge is my favourite!!!
2 x CLA: Helps to boost your metabolism
1 x Multivitamin & Mineral
1 x Omega 3
2 x Razorwire Thermo Lacerate: Fat burning/Pre Workout gives me a morning kick start
2 x Razorwire Thermo Lacerate
1 Scoop BCAA Powder: Added to my drink for before and during training
1 Scoop 100% Protein + 1 Scoop BCAA in a shake
3 x ZMA: (30mins before bed) Aids with recovery throughout the night
1 Scoop Casein: Slow release protein to help me recover whilst I sleep
I also add various protein flavours to food throughout the day and create recipes with them (check out my instagram ‘@kimberleyskelton’, Kim’s Kitchen or my Deluxe Nutrition blog for the recipes!). My favourite at the moment is a scoop of Lemon Cheesecake Protein in a Fat Free Total Greek Yogurt! This is lush!