Sip it, Sip it Good!

My Top Tips for Keeping Hydrated All Year Round!

IMG_4263

So we all know that we need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep our system healthy, happy and hydrated….but how many of us actually do it?

Some of the main reasons people are not meeting their daily water intake is a) failing to pack and prepare a drink bottle and b) they don’t actually enjoy drinking water.

IMG_4269

Set yourself hourly reminders:

Either using the memo feature on your phone or downloading an app such as ‘Waterlogged’ to help spur you on and remind you to keep on sipping.

Set yourself a challenge:

I like to set myself a daily challenge, aiming to drink 4 refills of my bottle while I am at work to help keep my mind on the drink and to keep myself accountable.

Keep it handy:
Always bring water! Wherever I go I am sure to take my trusty water bottle with me. There is nothing worse than being stuck somewhere feeling parched with that oh so frustrating headache beginning to take charge. If you work at a desk always keep a glass or bottle handy while you work. To help you sip throughout the day.

IMG_4251

Style it up:

Ok so you are probably not going to want to carry around that old school sports bottle with the chewed lid or that scrunched up Mount Franklin bottle now are you? I recommend investing in a quality bottle that you can carry everywhere you go. I love this one from Made by Fressko. BPA free, inbuilt infuser for tea, roots and spices, stylish compact design and made from completely organic materials! There is no way I am leaving this bad boy behind!

Add some Flavour!

Here are some great summer flavours                       IMG_8182

that will motivate you to drink:

Infuse these fruity combinations overnight for the best effect.

  • Lemon & Ginger
  • Blueberries and mango
  • Watermelon and lime
  • Cranberries

Or put on the kettle and help beat the winter chill by enjoying a nice warm glass of infused water or tea;

  • Lemon & Ginger
  • Mint leaves
  • Apple Pie- sliced apple, ginger and cinnamon

Hormonal Balance and Weight loss

FullSizeRender

Hormones play a big role in the way our body functions and affectively have a huge impact on your overall health. This includes weight loss, weight gain and fat storage.

Yes a lot of it does have to do with genetics but our hormones (and in effect our lifestyle) can also influence the way we store fat, where it is distributed around the body and issues such as cellulite.

But it’s not just about weight!

Hormones are chemical messengers that play stimulus to all the main bodily processes; Growth and development, Metabolism, Sexual function, Reproduction, and Mood.

If you have symptoms like fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, PCOS or other issues, chances are you have hormone imbalance.

In saying this, If you suffer from any of these symptoms I recommend referring to your GP in order to get an accurate diagnosis.


Tips For Achieving Hormonal Balance

The good news is that you can naturally improve hormonal balance just by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

Below are some tips on how you can improve hormonal balance:

  • Swap long cardio sessions for short sprint or HIIT sessions

Exercising for long, extended periods can place a lot of stress on the body, (metabolic functions/ energy systems and fat burning) putting your hormones into overdrive. In contrast sprint training and HIIT will get you into that fat burning zone without placing prolonged stress on your body.

  • Include weights and body weight training in regime

While extended cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting and body weight training can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. There are many examples of this type of training on my Instagram page

  • Eat your Healthy fats (avocado, coconut, chia seeds)

Your healthy fats/ Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the best ways to boost testosterone or female hormones. Cholesterol is needed for formation of healthy cell membranes and is a stimulant for all steroid hormones (progesterone, estrogen, FSH, ect). We cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats. Yep! Saturated fats aren’t always evil…

  • Avoid man made fats (margarine, vegetable oil, canola oil)

Your body needs natural (omega 3 fatty acids- healthy fats mentioned above) in order to produce hormones and rebuild cells. When we give it these unstable man made fat (Omega 6 polyunsaturated) it is forced to use them instead, which not only impedes the process but may also lead to cell mutation.

  • SLEEP

Now this one it so important! Getting your recommended daily amount of shut eye (8 hours) can do so much in regards to balancing out your hormones and just makes you feel so much better!

  • Stress less

Physical, mental and emotional stress -all cause major spikes in cortisol, one of the main attributors to fat storage. Have some down time and be present…. So much easier said than done I know but even a simple meditation or stretch video on Youtube can do wonderful things for lightening your mood.

  • Try adding natural hormone enhancers such as Maca root and Cacao to your diet.

Maca- Is a root vegetable with a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. It is also great for PMS, increasing fertility, and improving skin.

Cacao- The magnesium levels found in cacao means that it supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones!). You can also just use magnesium supplements in your diet (found in both tablet and liquid form).

  • Limit your ‘white foods’ (white flours, sugars, etc.)

White flours, simple carbs reek havoc on your insulin levels, a hormonal spike that nobody wants.

  • Avoid toxins

BPA, Parabens, Pesticides found in everyday items such as plastics, teflon, household chemicals and even unwashed fruit can totally mess with your hormones. Check the label for BPA free when purchasing water (or do not leave your plastic bottles exposed to heat or light), replace teflon cookware that is peeling and wash your fruit and vegetables with vinegar (sounds strange but it is the most effective way of washing the wax off).

  • Fix Your Leptin

Leptin is a hormone that regulates hunger and metabolism. We can create a deficiency and resistance in our leptin levels by consuming too much sugar or processed foods, skipping meals or by skimping on sleep—which can result in more food cravings and a slower metabolism. The fix? Eat whole foods, steer clear of sugar, don’t over-exercise, under-eat and get some sleep.

Leptin is such an interesting topic! I really recommend reading up on it if you are interested in metabolism and weight loss.

Remember if you have any queries feel free to comment on here or contact me via email.

My Top 5 Tips for ‘Achieving Balance’

 image-3

1. Efficiency is key

 If there is one thing I believe in it is “quality over quantity” particularly when it comes to training. There is no need to spend hours of your day working out. Thirty minutes MAX is all you need if you’re not afraid of a little intensity.

High Intensity Interval Training, Strength Circuits and Speed Based Cardio Workouts are my favourite ways to train. I love this type of training because it is a quick and effective way to boost your metabolism and condition your muscles without placing to much stress on your body!

This type of training works at such an intensity level that it sends your metabolism into overdrive due to an increase demand for oxygen consumption and energy in your muscular cells. So much so that you are still burning fat up to 48 hours after your workout! Pretty neat huh!

Train hard and train smart.


2. Variety

Interested in a new training technique, recipe or superfood? Give it a try! Trying new things will not only help keep you interested but it will also keep your body guessing.

Variety is important in a fitness program because it allows you to challenge your body on a consistent basis and overcome  the potential to ‘plateau’. A plateau happens when the body has become accustomed or used to doing the same repeated exercises over and over again . Spicing up your training regime or increasing your intensity will place new demands on the body, engage new muscles and in effect increase your metabolism.

The same goes for food! If you are eating the same foods at the same time everyday your body will begin to learn a pattern. As a result your metabolism will adapt by storing the consumed energy and fat and only burning what it knows it needs! You want keep your metabolism on it’s toes!


3. Lose the guilt

I find guilt to be one of the most detrimental things to a persons health. If you don’t workout or eat as healthy as you would have liked it is definitely not worth beating yourself up over. This can have far worst consequences to both your physical and emotional health.

Focus on what you have done that week and what you plan to do the rest of the week.  Also if you do make the decision to have a treat or skip a workout than back yourself, you made the decision for a reason now move forward.

Remember health and fitness is lifelong and it won’t last if you let it take over your life and control your happiness.


4. Get your friends and family involved

It is much easier to stick to your guns and make positive lifestyle changes if you have the support of those around you. Lets face it, workouts are much more enjoyable if you have someone to motivate you and what’s the fun of making that raw strawberry cheesecake if you have no one to share it with! Try to get your friends and loved ones interested your healthy lifestyle by getting them involved and making it fun.

Here are a few suggested ways you can make healthy living more social;

– Set a day where you can workout with family or friends

– Organise a walk/coffee date

– Attend a healthy cooking class together

– Bring healthy alternatives to parties or social events

– Call a friend on days when you don’t feel motivated

It is important however to try to not be too pushy. You don’t want to annoy people… (something I need to remember next time I’m trying to force feed coconut oil to my boyfriend).


5. Make the most out of every meal

For some of us eating the perfect, nutritious, organic, home cooked meals everyday just isn’t possible. Unfortunately factors such as time, cost and access can play a big part on what we eat, especially considering how expensive some ‘whole foods’ can be. What I have found that works for me is picking and choosing the specialty foods I buy for a certain (such as coconut oil, maca powder and cacao) and keeping the rest basic, choosing cheaper healthy options like brown rice, brown bread, wholemeal pasta, seasonal fruits & vegetables, canned tuna and legumes, eggs, nuts and buying my lean meat in bulk.

Another strategy I take is to try to eat as many nutrients in the day as I can and aim to make the most out of every meal. An example of this maybe adding spinach to a smoothie, adding vegetables to each of your meals, using avocado instead of butter or sneaking in some protein by adding quinoa, nuts and chickpeas. Aim to choose foods based on the nutrients they provide your body rather than what is low fat or low calorie.

In saying this I think it is also important to choose foods that will fit into your lifestyle and if that means eating the odd treat here and there then so be it. Like most I enjoy the occasional treat like pizza, chocolate and going out for drinks with friends. These are some of my favourite things in life and I’m not about to cut them out. For me it is a matter of just trying to be as healthy as you can, whenever you can.