Wonder Woman Fitness

Posts Tagged ‘food

The Carbohydrate debate

 

Good carbsbad carbs

Much debate has been documented and reported that carbs are bad for you, carbs make you put on weight.  Confused?  Well let me explain a little bit.  In this blog I will explain the good sides and the bad sides to carbs and why some are important to your diet.  So if you are confused about whether carbs are good or bad for you then read on……

 First things first some carbs are not bad for you!!!  However choosing the right kinds of carbs is very important for health, wellness and even weight loss.  So heres the science, the human body uses carbs most efficiently for energy production (as opposed to fats and proteins).  So there really isn’t any reason to avoid carbs but there is a big difference between the normal, wholesome good carbs we are designed to eat and the unnatural (although tasty) highly processed refined carbs.  These bad carbs are contributing to a health crisis in the forms of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

 Choosing good carbs is the key to looking and feeling your best, simply put if your diet is based around healthy, natural carbs rather than the unhealthy processed carbs – you will feel the benefit.

 Please remember that carbs give you energy and provide many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health, see the right ones are good for you.

 Good carbs are unprocessed carbohydrates in their ‘natural state’ or very close to their natural state.  In other words they have been minimally altered by man or machine i.e. not out of a packet more like out of the ground.  Pretty much all ‘leafy’ green vegetables and fruit are good carbs.  Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds are also included in the good carb category.  Finally wholegrain cereals including wholegrain breads and pastas are also ‘good’ carbs in moderation.  These types of carbs provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than bad carbs and in their natural form they contribute to long-term health gains, appetite control and sustained energy levels.

 Reason you should be eating good carbs:

  • High in fibre – helps you stay fuller for longer
  • Low GI: low glycemic index which stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin
  • High in nutrients
  • Low ‘energy-density’: which provides sustained energy, promotes healthy weight loss and long-term weight management

 To sum up what good carbs are, have a look at this list below (picture 1 at the top of the blog):

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fruit (try to not consume to much though as they contain a lot of natural sugar)
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole cereals, breads, cereals, flour, pasta and rice
  • Oats
  • Root vegetables

 Ok so onto the bad (boo!!!!) carbs.  These are refined processed carbohydrates that have all or most of their natural nutrients and fibre removed in order to make them more consumer friendly.  Most baked goods, white breads, white pastas, snack foods, sweets and soft drinks fit into this category.  Bleached, enriched white flour and white sugar are the most common ingredients used to make bad carbs.

 These carbs are harmful mainly because the human body is not able to process them very well.  Most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels.  Insulin production is thrown out of sync as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a bad-carb based meal (i.e. white pastas, white bread etc).  This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels – a big reason you feel tired after eating these bad carb meals.

 Examples of bad carbs and sugary (simply carb) bad foods (picture 2 at the top of the blog):

  • Biscuits, pastries and cakes
  • Pizzas
  • Sugary processed breakfast cereals
  • White bread, flour, pasta, rice
  • Chocolate
  • Honey and jams
  • Jellies
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Soft drinks
  • Sweets and snack bars

 So if you believe that good carbs make you fat please read on.  Obviously bad carbs will make you fat especially in the form of sweets and chocolate but good carbs gram for gram contain less calories than fat, protein and alcohol.  Please remember that eating too much of any food will lead to weight gain, regardless of what food you get your energy from.  Also keep active.  If you are aiming to lose weight then by all means swap your bad carbs for good carbs but hit the gym, get yourself active in the outdoors as this will speed up the weight loss process and increase your energy levels, fitness levels and confidence.

Tips for healthy eating:

  • Your daily diet should be a balance of good carbs and protein
  • Base each of your meals on a complex carb such as potato, sweet potato, wholemeal bread or pasta and include vegetables.  Ensure your protein is lean also
  • Use high fibre wholegrain cereals as part of your breakfast or wholemeal bread for your toast
  • Large carb meals will make you sleepy and slow so save a big carb meal for the evening
  • Cut down on the amount of refined white flour products in your diet, such as white bread, pizza, pasta and rice.  The refining process produces a simple carbohydrate and many vitamins and minerals are lost.
  • Remember fruit is naturally high in sugar as are fruit juices and smoothies so limit these to your diet.  Choose more vegetables to gain your 5 a day.

Happy eating, any questions please feel free to leave comments.

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Train with me

I need you!!!!

 

Train with me

Train with me

Do you think your training is going well?  Is it pushing you hard enough?  Want to try something different?  Ok then, I need you to read this and to do this.  I am basically trying to get you moving by giving you a training session a month to try and stick to.  They will be based on weights, intervals, pyramids etc all sound scary but all fun with a wee bit of hard work thrown in.  I will also give a 3 day ‘diet’ to have a look at and to follow, not for the whole month though just a max of 5 days to help with your training.  The idea of this is to show you different ways of training and to see how I train.  I will be giving beginner, intermediate and advanced options so all abilities can do this.  Give it a go what do you have to lose?  If done right the only thing you will lose is a couple of pounds or more.  Keep active………….

Session 1: Intervals

This is ideally suited to the treadmill as you will work harder, but it can be performed on the bike, rower or X Trainer.  All I will say is each session is 20 minutes in total so you should be pretty tired at the end of the session even if you are a beginner.  Also it can be performed outside if you have a hate or a fear of treadmills just make sure you have a stop watch.  Do the interval sessions at least 3-4 times per week.  If you are following a weight program do that alongside this, actually I highly recommend that you do follow one.  Remember to have your rest days to recover.  The next session will be weights based so it will work with this one nicely.

The beginners session:

Time  
2 minutes Brisk walk
30 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
45 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
90  seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
90 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
45 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
30 seconds Jog

The Intermediate session:

Time  
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog

 

The advanced session: (To be completed with an incline of 2-4%)

Time  
60 seconds Run
30 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
45 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
60 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
45 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
30 seconds Sprint

Repeat this session twice if you dare!!!!!

Diet:

Try this for 3-5 days.  It has limited stodgy carbs so if you are used to them you will find it hard but keep with it.

Meal Food
Breakfast 2 scrambled eggs

Ham

Handful of spinach

Snack Low fat hummus

Celery and carrot batons

Lunch Ham and avocado salad

Salad leaves, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, ½ avocado and ham

Snack Cooked Chicken

Mixed seeds

Dinner Lean meat (chicken, fish, pork, turkey, steak)Roasted vegetables
Snack Small amount of low fat cottage cheese
Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner mmm

You can’t fight it as it’s almost upon us but it is almost Christmas and with Christmas comes food glorious food.  I personally love Christmas as I get to eat so much good food and spend time with family and friends.  However too much over indulgence can cause you to gain a few pounds and make it harder to get back into training/shape in the New Year.  So ask yourself this would you like to be a Christmas cracker or a Christmas pudding??????

 A Christmas cracker?  Then read on how to tweak your dinner and cut the calories but not the taste.  Also try my 12 days of Christmas exercises to help shed any unexpected pound gain.

  • The meat:  Try to stick to turkey as your main meat, as it is one of the leanest meats out there
  • Stuffing:  Be careful with bought stuffing as they can be full of stodge, salt and you may be tempted to add butter for a better taste.  Try this variation to trim down on the calories:  Crumble a stale loaf into breadcrumbs, mix with an onion, large bunch of flat leaf parsley, 200g streaky bacon, all finely chopped.  Add the zest of one lemon,1 – 2 beaten eggs and black pepper to taste.  Shape into balls and roast in the turkey juices until browned and crisp.  Add some chopped apricots into the mixture to boost your immune system, ideal to fight the winter colds
  • Cranberry Sauce:  Best if you can to use fresh cranberries and make your own sauce, since bought sauces can weaken the berries natural powers of fighting infections.  Try this recipe its better for your immune system and it is healthier.  Simmer 250g fresh cranberries an a pan with 50g caster sugar, the zest and juice of a large orange and a tablespoon of port (optional).  After 10 minutes leave to cool. 
  • Roast Potatoes:  Potatoes are great when you are exercising as the body converts the starch of white potatoes into glucose ideal for energy.  However if you are not exercising it will be converted into fat, so watch out.  However a Christmas dinner would not be complete without roast potatoes so just have less and as an alternative try this:  Peel and roughly chop carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnip.  Parboil for 10 minutes before roasting in the turkey juices or in olive oil for 30 minutes.  Try walnut oil if you are using oil as it is tastier and healthier.
  • Gravy:  Unfortunately gravy lacks any nutritional value.  But you can try this alternative if you like.  It contains Miso which helps increase your muscle oxygen intake through zinc.  Fry a diced onion and clove of garlic, reduce the heat add two tablespoons of water then stir while gradually adding three tablespoons of unbleached cornflour.  Add 1 ½ cups of red wine, then increase the heat and stir regularly for about 10 minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons of miso and leave on a low heat for 5 minutes to thicken.  Most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking but for those of you who do not drink you can substitute the wine for cranberry juice or cherry juice.

How are you going to fit in exercise over Christmas?  Well, why not try the 12 days of Christmas exercise?

 Do this little challenge in the lead up to Christmas and allow yourself to over indulge on the day.  The idea being that you do one exercise after another until all the exercises are done for example do 12 then onto 11 etc it should take you about and hour and a half.

Enjoy

 12 days of Christmas exercise circuit

12 = 12 minutes on the treadmill – brisk walk with incline or a fast run

 11 = 11 reps at a heavy weight on the leg press machine or a free weight squat

 10 = 10 full or ¾ press ups

 9 = 9 reps at a heavy weight on the lateral pulldown machine or a cable seated row

 8 = 8 minutes on the bike.  Cycle as fast as you can with level 5 – 8

 7 = 7 reps at a heavy weight on the shoulder press machine or free weight shoulder press

 6 = 6 reps at a heavy weight on the chest press machine or free weight bench press

 5 = 500m on the rowing machine rowing as fast as you can at level 10

4 = 4 x 25 ab exercises (choose a hard exercise and complete 4 x 25)

 3 = 3 x 20 tricep dips

 2 = 2 x 10 full burpees

 1 = 1 x 30 minutes minimum on a cardio machine of your choice

Holidays - Spain

This is the life!!!!

Hi folks, as you can see I have been away on my holidays, I am just back with a new blog for you, enjoy 🙂

Healthy eating

The Cleansing Diet

Like most people and certainly most women I battle with my weight be it wanting to lose a few pounds to a bit more. I only ever want to lose a bit of weight so I am lighter to carry my huge bulk around my runs and also when I enter my first triathlon in April I would really like to be 10kg lighter, we can but hope.

The problem I have is I love my food. No I really do!! I live to cook and more importantly I love to eat so there lies my problem there isn’t a food I won’t eat!!! I also have a condition which is called Ulcerative Colitis which is a life long condition of the small intestine. At its worse it can really be a debilitating condition as you are constantly at the toilet and you can suffer from pains and discomfort. However I have had this condition for almost 6 years and I am living an active, happy and normal life. I can still eat, drink and exercise. Although, recently I had a flare up of my condition which meant being put on a course of steroids by my GP. Now I am used to doing this however I thought that maybe if I can change my diet and cleanse my body it would help my body heal better and save me having to take more medication. Plus steroids make me look like a hamster lol [Symbol]

The following blog is about my experience on a cleansing diet. It was not specifically designed for ulcerative colitis sufferers, it is taken form a book called ‘Clean and Lean Diet’ by James Dugan. In this book he talks about what foods are toxic to your body and what are the best things to put in your body. Now I do not usually read or follow ‘diets’ but this book really made me think about what I put in my body and I read it from cover to cover. So if you are intrigued read on and I would recommend this to anyone who suffers from IBS, Ulcerative Colitis and also Chrome’s Disease and also anyone who would like to cleanse their insides and maybe lose a few pounds in the process. I would recommend that you do it for no longer than 7 days though. Enjoy [Symbol]

Day 1:

I am having nutritious food but I am completely craving carbs. All I want is to eat a whole loaf of bread with some real butter [Symbol] I am not missing fruit however I am suffering from headaches which could possibly be from carb withdraw. Hoping that day 2 is going to be better, not really enjoying this. I cheated tonight as I had a cereal bar when I got home the carb craving was so bad but apart from that I followed the plan.

Day 2:

I woke up feeling great today. I had no cravings and no headaches also I felt cleaner and lighter. As I did not eat any carbs yesterday (we will ignore the cereal bar!!) I did not feel bloated at all and had energy.

Day 3:

Oh no, woke up feeling terrible [Symbol] and had a sore stomach. So I decided to swap my breakfast for some porridge as a carb kick. However as I prepared my porridge I suddenly didn’t feel the need for it. This approach to food has made me re-think how food affects my colitis and how it affects how I feel. Although porridge is a healthy breakfast I knew it would make me feel sluggish and more heavy and plus it was only day 3 of the ‘diet’ I couldn’t give in yet!!!!

Day 4:

Had such a craving for something sweet last night and I did not think I had a sweet tooth lol [Symbol] It has been suggested by the author of the ‘Clean and Lean Diet’ that if you have cravings you can take Glutamine which has numerous health benefits such as: promoting the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract, may promote mental alertness and improve mood and memory, may boost immune function and fight infection, helps prevent muscle loss and most importantly if you have a sweet tooth it may decrease sugar cravings and the desire for alcohol!!!! Plus it is good for people who suffer from colitis so I will give it a go.

I was completely addicted to coffee, my regular would be 1 ½ teaspoons of coffee, 1 teaspoon of sugar and some milk, and that would be 4 – 5 times a day minimum!!!! Now I have realised that this may not be the best for me. So I have changed my coffee for some real espresso coffee (2 a day) some cinnamon (natural sweetener) and some organic whole milk and voila it does the trick I don’t seem to need anymore coffee and I sleep so soundly as I am not taking caffeine after lunch time

Day 5:

Woke up feeling great today. I was quite relieved that my weight hadn’t dropped anymore. I had lost 4lbs in 4 days which for me was too much. Still staying on track with the correct food.

Day 6:

I tried to train today and found I did not have enough energy for the type of training that I do. I think this diet approach is ideal for 6 – 12 days. People should not do this for more than 12 days as it is meant to be a clean out. If like me you exercise try not to exercise whilst doing this but only keep to the diet for max of 7 days. I know that today is my last day as I want to train now. However I will definitely come back to this if my colitis has flared up or if I have over indulged!!!! I would recommend this to anyone to at least try it for 6 – 7 days, remember though that the first few days will be very hard especially if like me you based your diet on carbs before. I will now have only one meal each day with carbs and one snack so I am not overloading myself with carbs. I will also have one cheat day a week where for one meal I can have whatever I want mmmmmm……….. and I’m sure sticky toffee pudding will be that meal [Symbol]

Ok, so what did I eat? Here it is.

Day 1 – 3:

B:  Scrambled eggs (1), cup full of raw spinach and 50g smoked salmon

S:  75g cooked chicken and raw veg mix

L:  Salad: 100g ham, ¼ avocado, raw spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, mixed salad leaves

S: Small handful of mixed seeds

D: Smoked mackerel fillet and green veg

Day 4 – 6:

B: 100g smoked salmon and chopped cucumber

S: 75g cooked chicken and raw veg mix

L: Salad as above

S: 1 tablespoon of hummus and raw veg mix

D: 100g roast chicken, roasted peppers and broccoli

Day 7 – 9:

B: 2 boiled (or scrambled) eggs, red peppers and ¼ avocado

S: 100g turkey and 2 oatcakes

L: Salad as before

S: 1 tablespoon of hummus and raw veg mix

D: Salmon fillet (or any fish fillet) with veg of your choice but no potatoes

Rules:

•Drink plenty water

•Limit caffeine intake to 2 cups of tea or coffee a day

•No alcohol

•No carbs i.e. potatoes, bread, pasta etc and no fruit

•Where there are no measurements for the food (veg, salad etc) have as much as you want

•You can do this for 2 weeks if you want but I found 7 days was enough to feel the difference

•Use this diet whenever you are feeling bloated etc (only have to do it for 2 – 3 days) as this will sort your insides out

Until next time, keep active folks…….




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