Wow we are really feeling the love in the Size HH office this afternoon, thank you all so much for your support for the project and for all your fabulous comments and reviews on the book so far! I will try not to be mushy but you are amazing and I am in awe of hearing about how you have been implementing parts of it into your own life.
‘Fast Fat Flush’ and ‘detox yourself thin’, just a few ads I’ve seen for some products that look pretty convincing if you are looking to lose weight. Plenty of celebrities have jumped on the detox bandwagon so it must be good right?
Marketers have done a brilliant job of jamming it into our minds that we can drink a certain tea, or take a few tablets in order to detoxify yourself and shed pounds easily. So is it really that simple? Is detoxing the way forward for healthy weight loss?
Before our official Size HH paperback launch in the UK this spring, we wanted to give our online community the most useful advice about women’s health, weight loss, body image and everything on similar topics. So, we decided to take part in the famous 30 Day Blogging Challenge, hosted by Birds On The Blog’s very own Sarah Arrow, to get loads of our information out to you in just one month! We are all about living good and feeling great, so our passion is to keep you as well informed as possible.
Here is a round up of our best blogs from last week for you to take an info fix, plus a few useful links for some healthy recipes and feel-good sites we have enjoyed in the last week…
The secret has had us all talking about the law of attraction. So, is it really possible to attract your ideal body through the power of thought? We had to investigate…
Size HH: The Most Enviable Size To Be. It’s a bold statement to make right! Find out why it’s true and how you can jump on the Happy & Healthy bandwagon too.
There are lots of myths and inaccurate information out there about metabolism. It is an important subject so we had to share the facts so that you can make the best of your own metabolism and feel better than ever.
If you have wanted to stop using as much cow’s milk but not sure which other milks to try, this article may help you decide which ones could be right for you.
Here you can find out why comfort eating becomes such a strong habit and how to change it with some useful advice from Mindset Trainer, Caroline Ferguson.
No carbs before Marbs? Find out why cutting out all carbs from your diet to lose weight is a bad idea if you actually intend on leaving the house during that time…
Tips to make any meal that little bit better for you and how to get the most nutrients from your meals, from preparation to cooking and serving.
Other useful links
If you want to see more tips from Mindset Trainer, Caroline Fergusons you can do so here.
Anandi Sleep Guru – Our sleep and yoga expert Anandi is a fountain of wellbeing information and well worth following if you want a better night’s sleep in this busy world.
The Glasshouse Girls – There are some very interesting chat topics on this fabulous blog site if you enjoy a thought provoking read! We love a tasty recipe too so had to share this divine Spanish chicken recipe with you from Lady Lolita.
Have any links to great articles on these topics? Feel free to share in the comments!
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Following on from our blog, ‘how to make your favourite meals healthier’, which talks about taking any meal and making it healthier just by adding extra nutrition, we wanted to give you a few more ways to buff up the healthiness of your meals. From preparing the food to actually eating it, there are a few things you can do to make it that bit better for you. So here goes…
- Always wash your fruit and veg to release some of the pesticide residue
- Trim fatty edges off meat and bacon, and go for loin cuts of meat that are usually less fat
- Keep skins on fruit and vegetables where possible
- Instead of buying pre-cut vegetables, get the chopping board out! Preparation burns calories and help works up a proper hunger for the meal rather than just opening a pack and throwing in.
- Cut the veggies into bigger chunks rather than tiny pieces though as it gives you more chewing to do. The more you chew, the easier you can digest the food and the fuller you will feel.
- Try not to overcook pasta because the longer it is cooked for, the higher GI it has. This means it releases more glucose into the bloodstream and gives a bigger insulin release than pasta that has not been cooked as long. Not great for those trying to be healthier or lose excess weight.
- The healthiest way to cook potatoes is boiling (not over boiling) and with the skins left on.
- Add in herbs and spices at any opportunity for extra nutrition
- If you are sautéing or stir frying, use good-for-you oils such as coconut oil, olive oil (not extra virgin) and nut oils etc
- Steam wherever possible – If you don’t have a steamer, simply fill a pan with around an inch of water (half inch if the pan is not deep) and place a colander or sieve inside making sure it won’t touching the water when it boils. (tip some out if necessary). One your veggies are in the colander, don’t shove too many in at once or they won’t cook, bring the water to the boil, put a lid over your pan and turn the water down to a simmer. That’s it, leave them there to steam and keep checking to see how they are doing (careful when lifting the lid, the steam will be intensely hot). Cooking times will vary for each veg and to your preference
- If you do boil vegetables, use the water as the base for a healthier homemade stock or gravy
- Grill or bbq meat where you can rather than fry (lean grill machines are also great)
- Sometimes it’s better not cooked at all, add some raw snacks and meals into your when you can, or at least just lightly cook some of your vegetables so they remain crunchy rather than soggy
- Pressure cookers are great for busy people that want to eat healthy. You can throw a bunch of ingredients in there in the morning and when you return home, dinner is waiting. Plus it’s a very healthy way to cook using minimum water so the nutrients remain in tact as much as possible
- Stir fries are quick, tasty and fab. They are also an opportunity for more omega 3’s if you cook in healthy oils and you can easily have variety of veg, sprouts, beans and other good stuff in one meal. Remember not to over-fry to keep the vegetables nice and crunchy with the nutrients in tact.
- Always strain the fatty juices from mince meat
- Dish up on smaller plates to avoid over portioning
- If you use seasonings like salt, try pink Himalayan for extra nutritional benefits and superb taste. Dried seaweed (available from many Aldi supermarkets now) is also a good alternative to salt with some excellent health benefits.
- Spoon off any fat residue from the top of stews and broths before serving
- Make your own home made dressings for salad with a glug of extra virgin, a splash of your favourite seasonings likes salt, pepper, garlic and a splash of lemon juice
- Avoid eating poultry skins (yes I know all the tasty things seem to be on the outside of chicken wings and legs and they are fine every now and again, but if you eat this type of meat regularly, your body will thank you for not eating the skin every time.
- Drink water with meals instead of sugary pops and juices. Not only is it zero calories and great for you, it also helps all the nutrients in your food to do their jobs properly. For instance, fibre needs water to work properly.
So there we have it, our tops tips for making meals that little bit better for you. Have any to add to the lists? Feel free to share in the comments below! You can find lots of other useful tips on our Facebook page.
We have all heard about a no carb, or low carb diet to lose weight. Cutting back on certain types of carbohydrates can help you lose body fat and weight on the scales because it’s these types of foods that can easily tip our balance in favour of fat storage (you know the types, donuts, muffins, fries etc.). So yes it does work, but my gosh is it a tiring and restrictive way to shape up if you try to cut them all out! Thank goodness there is another way and it involves enjoying delicious comfy carbs, although possibly not the ones you expect…
It wouldn’t make sense to cut out all carbs from your diet, they are one of your body’s main source of energy and are important for several health reasons.
Before we look at the type of carbs our body needs, let’s quickly take a look at what they actually are;
There are three different types of carbohydrates:
- Sugar (natural or artificial) is found in things like jams and condiments, soft drinks and juices, fruit, many breakfast cereals and all the other sweet stuff we know about. It’s fast digesting and provides a quick burst of energy.
- Starch is made up of many natural sugar (glucose) units bonded together and is found in food that comes from plants such as potatoes, corn, pumpkin, peas, beans and lentils. Starchy foods provide a slow, steady release of energy throughout the day.
- Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants. It doesn’t provide an energy boost directly, but it does help eliminate waste build up that causes fatigue, so it can help with energy levels indirectly.
Many people are surprised to find out that carbs are more than just bread and pasta. Which leads me on to, what type of carbohydrates should we be filling up on if you want to lose weight healthily?
The healthiest types of carbs
Breads – Wholegrain, bran, rye, and sourdough bread
Wholegrain rice & Risotto
Whole wheat pasta
Wholegrain cereals without sugar
Peas, lentils, red kidney beans, chickpeas
Fresh fruit such as peaches, apples, pears, cherries, coconut, plums, grapefruit, grapes, banana
Yoghurts with no added sugars or sweeteners
Dark chocolate (over 60% cocoa)
Soya products (if no allergies)
Vegetables including tomatoes (yes I know technically a fruit), mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, fresh corn and many more.
So from now on, when you think of carbs, think of these lot above! This of course is not a comprehensive list, but something to think about…
You can read about this and more in the Size HH book available here.
Have any more healthy carbs to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
One of the main things that stands in our way when we aim to eat healthier, or do more exercise, is our habits. From the things we buy, to the way we cook. Even how we eat is effected by habits. If you have become aware of an unhealthy habit you would like to change, the good news is, no matter what age you are now, you can let go of old bad habits if you want to.
Here is a snippet from the Size HH book from Mindset Trainer, Caroline Ferguson giving some valuable tips on how habits are formed and how to change them.
“During your lifetime, you develop thousands of habitual ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Habits – good and bad – are continually being formed, strengthened and weakened. But why does it happen, and how?
You brain contains 100 billion nerve cells (neurons) which make connections with thousands of other cells. Whenever you do, think, or feel anything, electro-chemical impulses zip down a chain of interconnected neurons at up to 120 metres per second (nearly 270 miles per hour!).
When a nerve impulse travels down the same chain of neurons several times – as happens when you repeatedly think a particular thought or behave in a particular way – those neurons cement themselves together and form a ‘road’, which allows the repeated thought or action to happen more easily and become automatic. Those roads are known as neural pathways. Another word for a neural pathway is a habit.
Repetition isn’t the only dynamic at play in the creation of habits. When you mix repeated thoughts and actions with emotions, habits develop more quickly and more deeply. Whether the emotion is positive or negative, the presence of feelings like happiness, joy, anxiety and guilt sends a signal to your unconscious mind: “This is important, pay attention.”
This emotion factor is the reason why comfort eating can exert such a strong grip. When you eat a food that’s high in fat and sugar (such as sweets or biscuits), your body releases feel-good chemicals that are as powerful as heroin. If this happens when you’re feeling unhappy or stressed, the high can temporarily lift you out of that dark place.
Your unconscious mind files away this information and the next time you feel down, it sends a message to your body in the form of a craving for sugary food to lift your spirits. So you have a repeated behaviour paired with powerful feelings, which results in an emotional eating habit being formed.
The problem is that after the high comes the crash, as your body is flooded with insulin to metabolise the excess sugar. You plunge straight back down again – even lower, in fact, because now you’re throwing negative feelings like guilt and shame into the mix, due to feeling bad about your loss of control.
Why, you ask, would your mind deliberately create a habit that’s not good for you?
Unfortunately, the part of your mind that governs comfort eating isn’t rational and doesn’t make the connection between eating sugary foods and the crash that inevitably follows.
The bad news is, once a neural pathway is formed, it’s there for life (which is why you never forget how to ride a bicycle, regardless of how little time you spend on two wheels). But the good news is that you can weaken the old, not so good habits by consciously choosing to form new, beneficial habits in their place. So what was once a fully-fledged, unhealthy ‘road’ (habit) in your brain, can now become more of an overgrown dirt track that you don’t visit very often! All you have to do is make a new healthier ‘road’, or habit instead. Remember, one at a time. “
So how do you form a good habit?
Following on from our previous post about dairy milk and how healthy it is, we wanted to give you the low down on plant milks and the benefits they can give you.
No faffing around, let’s start with one of my personal favourites;
Coconut milk – This delicious, creamy milk is made with grated flesh of the coconut, soaked in hot water, and then strained to produce the delicious milky liquid. Popular with vegans and lactose free lovers, coconut milk can be used very widely in cooking, desserts, drinks and smoothies. It’s rich in essential fatty acids making it a super drink for the skin, brain and body when used in moderation. Too much of anything is not good remember. Coconut milk is also rich in fibre and magnesium, making it my top choice for plant milks. The downside? It’s moreish! (We will do a quick video on making home-made plant milks soon)
Almond milk – If you have ever wondered how anyone manages to ‘milk’ an almond you were probably left confused! Almond milk is made similar to coconut milk; squished up, peeled almond nuts mixed with water and left to soak, then strained. Some supermarket brands add sweeteners, thickeners and preservatives. If you want to have a go at making your own, more natural almond milk check out this neat video and use raw almonds for best results. Almond milk is a fab, low calorie dairy alternative over breakfast cereals and to use in creamy smoothies and cooking. The downside? Apart from the artificial bits and bobs which may be added, it’s not nearly as nutritious as you may imagine coming from such a healthy nut. I was disappointed to find out Almond milk hardly contains any protein or many other nutritional benefits.
Rice milk – You may have tried the popular Rice drinks available now, they come in may forms and flavours and are a delicious creamy treat of you like that kind of thing. Standard rice milk though is pretty bland and low in fat but can easily be used as alternative to dairy. It doesn’t contain as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk, but it does contain more carbs, and is often fortified with various vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D and iron. There are many different brands of rice milk available, many will be sweetened to improve the taste.
Oat milk – This milk is another one that can be made easily and inexpensively at home. It is naturally free from saturated fat and cholesterol as well as being high in fibre so it’s a fab choice for people looking to lose weight healthily. Shop bought oat milk has a subtle creamy taste so ideal for cooking with and using as a base for white sauces, or just to enjoy as a nutritious drink. If you choose to make your own, you can adapt the flavour and texture to how you like it.
Soy milk – The most protein rich of all plant milks and lactose free, soy milk can make a great alternative to dairy for some people. However, There is a lot of debate about whether soy milk is good for you or detrimental to women’s health. I’m not going to go into the fine details because it could possibly do with its own post, but if you enjoy soy milk or interested in it, I would personally go with organic, unsweetened soy milk. It is the genetically modified soy beans that are causing the controversy and because many people have a soy allergy. If you don’t eat many soy products everyday such as tofu etc then a little organic soy milk should be a benefit to the female body. It comes down to you and how you feel and consuming things in moderation with a healthy, balanced diet! There are plenty of great plant milks out there to choose from if soy doesn’t float your boat.
Hemp milk – Another not so common milk and made from natural seed and water, hemp milk is absolutely packed with essential omega 3 & 6 goodness (our bodies can’t produce and must take from food) and naturally free from cholesterol and sugar. It is generally easily digestible and promotes healthy skin, hair, nails and immune system. Hemp milk can be purchased in many flavours such as vanilla, chocolate, or plain and used just as widely as dairy, in tea and coffee, over cereal and in cooking/baking. The taste is different to dairy of course but still creamy and who knows, you may even find you like it better. Organic varieties also available.
So there we have it, our top plant milks! In part 3 of our ‘Milking It’ blog series, we will be looking at goat and sheep’s milk compared to cows milk. What is your favourite kind of milk? Let us know what and why in the comments below!
Most of us have heard of metabolism and roughly know that it’s connected to weight loss and weight gain. You may have even seen various adverts persuading you to buy super amazing products that promise to boost your metabolism, turning you into a fat burning goddess. So, should you be trying to raise your metabolism in order to lose weight?
Let’s start by looking at what metabolism actually is…
Putting it simply, metabolism is a nonstop group of activities working in balance to complete essential jobs in our body. There are two main activities that work together to form our metabolism; one works on storing energy and building tissues, known as anabolism, and the other converts food and drink (calories) into energy to use for our daily lives, this is called catabolism. They make quite a team!
The rate at which your body does this calorie to energy conversion varies from person to person and determines whether you have a fast, slow or average metabolism.
Your metabolism is affected by a few things;
- Genetics (Passed on in our DNA, some people can be born with metabolic disorders)
- Age (As we age, we tend to do less exercise which slows the metabolism)
- Sex (Men generally have slightly faster metabolism than women)
- General health (some illnesses can affect metabolism)
- Food – Calories – the type of food you eat will govern how many calories you are consuming. If you consume too many calories and don’t burn off enough through exercise, it will lead to fat storage.
- Exercise – You have probably heard a thousand times that the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. It is true in a sense because just having fat or muscle on your body requires the use of calories to keep it there and muscle uses up more calories to keep it there. Still the presence of muscle doesn’t raise the metabolism dramatically as some are led to believe. The reason exercise works to increase metabolism is not just due to having muscle but simply because you are using more energy and burning more calories. Movement and exercise stimulates the catabolic side of your metabolism (the activity that turns calories into energy).
- Basal (resting) Metabolic rate – What is a basal metabolic rate? When you are doing absolutely nothing, like lying on the couch watching tv or in bed asleep, your body is actually still busy doing things behind the scenes. Things like; breathing, digestion, cell repair, temperature regulation etc. The rate at which your body uses calories to do these basic jobs while you rest is what makes up your basal metabolic rate.
Does snacking or eating more meals per day really speed up metabolism?
Not necessarily. Numerous studies have shown no difference in the metabolism when people ate the same calories spread over 5/6 meals per day than they did over three meals per day. So just by spreading your daily food over 5/6 meals per day instead of 3 wouldn’t automatically raise your metabolism speed.
What other things could affect my metabolism?
Hormones – Hormones released by the thyroid can alter the speed of chemical reactions in metabolic activities that’s why people with an underactive thyroid find it harder to lose weight.
Also, remember the two main activities, anabolism and catabolism? The pancreas releases the hormones needed to send these two out to work at the right time. For instance, if your pancreas senses glucose, it will fire out some insulin as a signal for more anabolic activities to start. Remember anabolism is much about storing rather than burning…Not great if you are looking to lose excess weight and it can lead to diabetes so it’s best to avoid high calories foods that cause these insulin spikes, or at least keep to a minimum. They mess with your hormones and your figure!
Calories are mentioned a lot when discussing metabolism, should I be counting them to improve health and lose excess weight?
It’s true that if you burned more calories than you ate during the day, you would lose weight for sure. However, counting calories takes our focus back off of health and back onto diet/restrictive mode, giving us more mental pressure and work to do. Many of us become so focused on how many calories, we forget to think about how much protein, carbs, or fat we should be having. I wouldn’t drive yourself mad worrying about counting them everyday unless you find it really works for you.
So points to remember is that yes you can speed your metabolism up, albeit only slightly, not vastly like some marketers will have you believe. So if you really want to lose excess weight, it’s not necessarily to focus on raising your metabolism as a quick solution. Just ensure you are eating plenty of whole natural foods to give you the right amount of energy and regular exercise to burn off any extra calories. Remember if you burn off more than you eat, you will be provoking catabolic activities and losing body fat. Weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, if you forgot all about losing weight on the scales and trying to raise your metabolism, you could give more attention to being the healthiest version of you. That is really when the magic happens…
After the success of the ebook launch in December, we have been working extremely hard behind the scenes at Size HH planning more amazing things for you this year! The first thing on our list was to publish the book in paperback for everyone who had requested it, so we are very pleased to announce it is finally here!
We will be officially releasing the paperback in the spring with a UK event and some challenges you can join in with, but until then the book will be available from Amazon, or direct from our website.
We designed the book big enough to be a comfortable read, but small enough to carry around and pop into your handbag. Imagine reading it in the bath, on the train, or even on the beach! This is a great way to start feeling and looking fabulous this year, even if nothing has worked for you in the past.
Why is Size HH the most enviable size to be?
It leads to contentment, more energy, better wellbeing and a secret inner confidence you may only have had as a child. It’s never too late or too early to start, your time could be now…
For those who have started reading already, don’t forget to join our facebook VIP readers group for daily tips, motivation, recipes and exclusive videos.
Ever since the launch of the movie and book, The Secret, the law of attraction has become more recognised and consciously practiced by millions. In the book, it talks about using the law of attraction for weight loss and attracting your dream figure. So can you really just think yourself thin? Surely that’s just too good to be true.
The law of attraction states that you can have or do anything you want if you think and feel as if you already have it, even being genuinely grateful for having it already, even if you don’t. By doing this, you would be on the same frequency as the things you desire, so you will attract them. Apparently, this includes your ideal figure.
We had to delve deeper into this…
According to science, everything on this planet is just energy under the microscope. The more compact energy makes up physical things like food and drink, or the device you may be reading this on, down to energy we can’t see, such as gravity, electricity and attraction.
So if food is just energy too, does that mean I can eat whatever I want and achieve my dream body, so long as I have the right mind set and use law of attraction?
Well not exactly…
Food should be used just as wisely as any other energy. Too much of the wrong types would have a negative effect on health because we all thrive on good energy. Thinking yourself slim and eating whatever you like are too very different things, but they do have a connection.
There are physical changes that happen in our body when we think positive thoughts and feel good emotions from it. The sensations you feel when you are happy, thankful or excited etc is a chemical release in your body. It’s a powerful thing and it all starts from a thought. Many of us experience these feelings when we think about, or eat certain foods. That’s why it becomes an emotional habit because we chase more of those good feelings.
What has that got to do with thinking yourself thin?
Well, if you find yourself repeatedly visualising yourself as something you don’t like or want, such as being fat or ugly, this gives you negative emotions, creates a chemical reaction in your body and sends out a negative energy. According to the law of attraction, thoughts become things, so you could become that picture of yourself if you keep giving it emotional attention. Be the person you want to be and give your focus to that, rather than imagining and worrying about what you don’t want to be.
Visualising yourself as a picture of health and being content with your body, feeling good as you do so, will create positive chemical reactions and energy. It also creates sustainable motivation because your focus won’t be on losing weight any more but rather to just be happy and healthy.
So, how do some people manage to eat whatever they want and not put on a pound?
The difference is what they want and what you want is likely to be different, they may be eating all they want, but to you that may not be a lot. They may genuinely eat a lot and still not put on any weight, but there are probably many factors for this including metabolism which I will be talking about in a post shortly. Anyway, please forget about what anyone else is doing, this is about you and you are unique.
Everything is a choice and life is about finding balance. Too much of anything can have a negative effect. The same as too much alcohol distorts our vision and thinking, too much (or not enough) food distorts the way our body works and the way we think by giving us measurable chemical reactions. Finding balance with everything in life means you can indeed enjoy whatever treats you want because you will be balancing it with good food energy too. When we only aim for healthy rather than ‘losing weight’, the right size for our shape will come as a result. No crazy dieting needed!
So in a few senses yes you can think yourself thin (if that’s what your heart truly desires). By focusing only on yourself as a vision of health and vitality, you will automatically put yourself on the right path in your head, leading you to make healthier choices in your life. If you practice this regularly and feel good as you do so, those thoughts and choices will quickly become habits you will do without even thinking about it.
Have any thoughts about this article? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your comments below or see us over on Facebook and Twitter.
When we launched our competition last year to find women willing to share their story about finding contentment with their bodies, we were full of excitement to hear from lots of girls and women who had found it. So after the first few tumble weeds blew around our competition email box, we knew we had to reach out and find out what was going on…
What we discovered was that many of us find it a lot easier to talk about things we don’t like about our bodies, rather than the things we do and that there should definitely be more success stories from women who genuinely feel comfortable and confident in their own body!
Of course this is the very reason Eva George started the Size HH project and wrote the book, to help other women find a healthy size they are genuinely happy with.
The prize for our story sharing competition was a health provoking Nutribullet super blender to see our winner off to a great start this year! Our well-deserved winner was Carlie Bateman, who shared her story about a rollercoaster ride with weight; from being overweight and unhappy, to falling ill and becoming underweight and unhappy. Carlie managed to find her natural balance and a great mind-set that enabled her to put her health before anything and appreciate the fantastic body that she has, which ultimately led her to having a figure she has never been happier with.
Carlie and family have been enjoying making delicious and nutritious smoothies this week! ” My two young boys love it as well, it’s a great way for us all to easily eat more good stuff without any fuss, thanks Size HH!”
We have plenty more competitions and things you can join in with this year, so if you haven’t already, sign up below so you never miss a thing! Don’t worry, we don’t spam and would never share details with anyone.