Sunday, 23 June 2019

How to get past the "what's the point?" feeling - staying motivated

Image result for how do i stay motivated

Setting up Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods has been a mixture of emotions, actions, and feelings.  There has been highs and lows, euphoria and frustration.

As many know, it was born following a couple of quite deep depressions for Lazza. Mental Health issues hit many of us. Understanding the need to keep pushing forward, and then finding that self confidence to do so, is not easy.  And I type from experience..  I still go through the "what's the bloody point?" feelings. "Why am I bothering?" pops into the head. And it loves to eat away at your brain.

Staying positive, and believing life is great, can feel as if it is unreachable. But that's why we direct people to the growth mindset mentality. Taking action is imperative.  Here are a few ways to try and stay motivated - there are others in the pic above too. I hope this helps some - they helped me.

Set "your" goals
It may sound obvious, but make sure that the targets you want to reach are yours. It is very easy to fall into the trap of pleasing others. If you want to lose weight, for example, then set realistic time deadlines, and be proactive in your approach. But only do that if you want to. If you are happy with your weight, but others are pushing you to change, then maybe you need to look at talking to them about how you feel.  This goes for all situations. You are in charge of your own happiness.

Picture the end result
Research has shown that it is good to visualize the end result of your targets and how you will feel when you get there. Realise things will take time. Do not get disheartened if things go slowly. Maybe you are out of work and applying for jobs, but are not getting interviews. Don't worry. Keep pushing, It will happen. But if you give up, or applying for less jobs, then chances will also go down.

Break the target down
Sometimes your dreams can be big. But then they look unobtainable. So break it down into smaller chunks. HMHB have helped people who are going through substance abuse issues, and looking to get back into life. Start treating every week as a success. Set a small target for the following week, and build that up. That can be with nutrition changes, then fitness changes, then volunteering, then back into work and life. If you look at the end target as a long way away, look at how you will get there. You can achieve many small successes on the way to the big one.

Be accountable with positive people
Surround yourself with people who appreciate your targets and will encourage you. Remove yourself from people who are looking after their own needs in detriment to yours. That can be hard. You may have friends you really like. It may even be family members holding you back. Decide what is best for you. Remove yourself from negativity. I appreciate that is not easy. But as human beings, we thrive in positive environments. Just one small compliment can change your whole day. The same as one nasty comment can ruin it. Which would you prefer to help you? But give as well as take.

Be organised
A simple thing of having a tidy flat/house can help you. If you wake up and there are many chores to do, you immediately feel overwhelmed. Look around your home. Ensure dishes are done every night so you do not wake up to a dirty kitchen. It's a simple task. Clothes are not on the floor, the bathroom is tidy. Walking into a tidy room is heart warming. That does not mean you need to be obsessive. We all have "lived in" rooms. But that does not mean it has to be messy. Sort that out first.
Then organise you life the same. Treat it as your flat. Tidy up the messes. You need to be proactive.

If you cannot control it, stop worrying
We all do it. Let's say you have an upcoming medical appointment. Until you get there and hear what is said, there is nothing at all you can do. But we still allow it to eat us up as we think about all the bad things that can happen.
Obviously prepare as much as possible, but don't sweat about things you cannot control, A friend of mine is always worrying about upcoming football matches his team are playing. He stresses himself out. But he can do nothing. We have enough to do making our own decisions about our own targets.
Really it is the "what if" moment. If you can do nothing that affects this, try and relax and see what pans out. Then you can decide how to react to the situation.

Seek out positive
Try and look for uplifting stories and news. It's incredible how they can make us feel good. Much of the news is all centred on negative and bad. That can drag your mood down. With social media allowing us great internet access, there are some fantastic stories and videos that put a smile on your face.
Our Ajani course always starts with a video to put a smile on faces. Happy people are more likely to stay focused, achieve better results, and look for further challenges than those who are negative, according to a great deal of published research.

Think about why you have your goal
There are many reasons why you set yourself targets. At HMHB, we encourage people to set themselves a weekly realistic target on four different fronts - nutrition, exercise, routine and health. They can be simple - like an extra piece of veg a day, or five minutes of HIT a day, or even just getting out of bed at a certain time every day. And each week then change. But first decide why you want to do that. It could be to lose weight, to make your children/partner proud of you, to learn something new every day. Set your why, and then you have a reason to push yourself.

Be Consistent - maintain
This is crucial. Nobody lost weight by eating an apple. Nobody put on weight eating pizza. But whatever your target, whatever your goal, you need to be patient and keep going. So many give up on targets because of time.
It may feel like climbing a mountain, but if you keep going steadily you will eventually reach that peak. It is inevitable. But if you trip up, don't allow that to let you fall down again. Just keep pushing forward, plugging away.

HMHB says - look, there are no guarantees when it comes to life. It can sometimes feel like you are always coming up against a locked door. You make progress, but then something comes along to knock you back.
But unless you do keep going, nothing will ever happen. They say people get lucky - but that's just because they pushed themselves into that position.
Life is tough - we know it. Push on. Believe in yourself, even though it may appear impossible.

Friday, 14 June 2019

How do I look after my Brain?

Image result for human brain

We are all walking miracles. To be honest, it should be an impossibility that we function as we do. But somehow, complex life has evolved on this planet, and our species has become the dominant force on Earth.

Much of that is down to our superior brains.
The brain is one of the largest, and certainly the most complex, organs in the human body. IIt is made up of more than 100 billion nerves that communicate in trillions of connections called synapses.

The brain is made up of specialized areas:
The "Cortex" is the outermost layer of brain cells - and it is where thinking and voluntary movements begin.
The "brain stem" is between the spinal cord and the rest of the brain. Basic functions like breathing and sleep are controlled here.
The "basal ganglia" are a cluster of structures in the centre of the brain, which coordinate messages between other brain areas.
The "cerebellum" is at the base and back of the brain and is responsible for coordination and balance.

The brain is also divided into several lobes - frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital - and these deal with problem solving, sensation, memory, hearing and visual processing, among many other things.

So it is crucial we look after our brain. How do we do this?

Your brain needs a steady supply of energy, but it can only get this from a type of sugar called Glucose. This comes from the carbohydrates you eat. But some carbs are better than others. These include wholemeal foods, pasta, porridge and pulses, all of which take time for your body to break down, so release their glucose slowly and steadily.  Other carbs, like chocolate, biscuits and sugary snacks are sadly not good for your brain. They release their sugar so quickly that your brain will peak and then crash afterwards.

Your brain needs a good supply of oxygen, and it can get this through exercise. Movement and flexibility is great, and being fitter pumps the oxygen-rich blood through every capillary. Studies show that exercise improves focus and the memory capacity. Lack of it can age the brain prematurely.
It also needs to stay hydrated, so water is essential.

Finally, although scientists are not sure why exactly, sleep is great to allow the brain to put itself back to order.

HMHB says:  we are constantly told that a healthier lifestyle is good for you, but this is exactly the reason why. Our organs and bodies rely on the nutrients in our diets, the energy we get from our food, and the exercise we complete daily, to stay healthy and keep us alive. What a great reason to make changes to your life!!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Want a flatter belly?? Here is some advice.

Image result for want a flat stomach clipart

I was going to put pics of me - bu my belly bigger
so I am following this advice

There is a misconception that doing "crunches" and "sit-ups" will get rid of your belly flat. Sorry, that is not so.

It seems contradictory to ignore your core but the fact is that these exercises are simply a waste of time when it comes to shedding stubborn fat around your midsection, or defining your abs. That is because you already have a six pack - you just cannot see it.  Shedding the fat just reveals it.

You cannot specifically target "belly fat". Sorry, Your body decides itself where it will burn fat. What you need to do is burn off excess calories and maintain a healthy lifestyle around diet and exercise.

So let us concentrate on fat loss first.

Total energy expenditure is your greatest ally against belly fat. You have to get your body to use more energy when you are resting - as this continues to burn calories. However, as you get older, the total amount of energy when you are resting decreases.
Both lifestyle and genetics play a role. Movement is obviously important, and varying aerobic exercise is terrific. Walk at various speeds (try and get out of breath) and use hills, for example. The right exercise can cause an "after burn effect" that can last for hours, which allows you to burn more calories when you are resting.

Swap fat for muscle
Did you know that for every pound of muscle you add to your body, your body uses up to 50 more calories a day while at rest. Replace the fat taking up space on your arms, your extra chins, those moobs, and on your belly, and replace with lean well-defined muscle on legs, core, and arms and you will burn extra fat just sitting down.
For ladies, they need not worry about looking muscly, as they have different testosterone levels to men. But reducing fat can take just 20 minutes a day - as long as you look to eat a healthy diet too.

Do efficient work-outs
As you get older, lifestyle changes. There are additional stresses and problems.  But that is no excuse to ignore your body and what it needs. Nutrition and exercise does decline - and this adds pounds of fat onto us.
We are also fighting our own metabolic slow down.
Just 20 minutes of intermittent exercise, focusing on core, legs, and arms - some high intensity interval training - will make the difference. Work with friends, in a group, or on your own.
Be patient, and maintain. You may not see a difference for several weeks, but your body is gaining from day one.

Kale - What is it and why should we be eating it?

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Kale - is very high in nutrients and very low in calories, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

It is a popular vegetable and a member of the Cabbage family. There are many types, and the leaves can be green or purple, and have either a smooth or curly shape. The most common type is called Curly kale or Scots Kale, which has green and curly leaves and a hard fibrous stem.

According to "" - a single cup of raw Kale (around 70 grams) contains:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A (actually it is high in betacarotene - which the body turns into Vit A)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • plus amounts of Vitamin B1, B2, B3; and Iron and Phosphorous
  • It has 33 calories; 6gms of Carbohydrates and 3gms of Protein
Kale contains very little fat, but a large proportion of the fat in it is an Omega 3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid

Kale, like other leafy greens, is very high in antioxidants.
These are substances that help counteract oxidative damage by fee radicals in the body. Oxidative damage is believed to be among the leading drives of aging and many diseases including cancer.

It also contains flavonoids Quercetin and Kaempferol, which have powerful heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects

Kale is extremely high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant that has many important roles in the body - including the synthesis of collagen the most abundant structural protein in the body. A cup of Kale has more Vitamin C than an Orange.

Kale contains substances that bind bile acids and lower cholesterol levels in the body. Steamed Kale is particularly effective. One Study found that drinking Kale Juice every day for 12 weeks increased the HDL (good) cholesterol by 27% and reduced the LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10%.

It is a terrific source of Vitamin K. This nutrient is critical for blood clotting, and does this by activating certain proteins and giving them the ability to bind calcium.

Kale is high in Lutein and Zeazanthin, nutrients that have been linked to a drastically reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

HMHB says:
Adding Kale to your diet is simple, and as you can see from the above, very beneficial. Put it into salad, or use in recipes. You can make Kale chips. Or put into smoothies.

At the end of the day, it is one of the healthiest and nutritious foods on this planet. It makes sense to use it as much as possible.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

HMHB Simple Guide to Sugar

Image result for glucose fructose sucrose lactose

There are many types of different sugar, but we are going to look at the "big four". We will look at others, such as maltose and galactose in a different entry.

You've probably heard the terms fructose, glucose, lactose and sucrose before, and you may know that they're all types of sugar. But do you know how they differ from one another, or whether some are better for you than others?

Sugar is very much linked to carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates are classified into two basic groups, complex and simple.

Complex carbohydrates are composed of multiple simple sugars, joined together by chemical bonds. The more chains and branches of simple sugars, the more complex a carbohydrate is and in turn, the longer it takes to be broken down by the body and the less impact it has on blood sugar levels. Examples of complex carbohydrates include wholegrains such as jumbo oats, brown rice, spelt, rye and barley.

Simple carbohydrates are either monosaccharides (one sugar molecule) or disaccharides (two sugar molecules). They are digested quickly and release sugars rapidly into the bloodstream. The two main monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. The two major disaccharides are sucrose (composed of glucose and fructose) and lactose (which is made up of galactose and glucose)

 Image result for glucose


What is glucose?
Glucose is the primary source of energy your body uses and every cell relies on it to function. When we talk about blood sugar we are referring to glucose in the blood. When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into units of glucose. When blood glucose levels rise, cells in the pancreas release insulin, signalling cells to take up glucose from the blood. As the cells absorb sugar from the blood, levels start to drop.
The nutritional profile of glucose
The glycaemic index is a ranking of how quickly foods make your blood sugar levels rise after eating them. High GI foods are very easily broken down into glucose. Glucose is the defining standard and has a GI value of 100.  Glucose alone does not taste particularly sweet compared to fructose and sucrose. 
How does glucose affect your body?
Research suggests that, as glucose stimulates insulin release from the pancreas, it also results in the release of two other hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is known as the appetite suppressor and ghrelin the appetite increaser. It is thought that lower GI foods (such as wholegrains, proteins and those lower in glucose) suppress ghrelin, therefore regulating satiety


Image result for fruit 
What is fructose?
Fructose or fruit sugar, is a simple sugar naturally occurring in fruit, honey, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is very sweet, roughly one-and-a-half times sweeter than sucrose (white sugar).  Because of the worldwide increase in the consumption of sweeteners - in soft drinks and foods containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - fructose intake has quadrupled since the early 1900s. 
The nutritional profile of fructose
Fructose is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion and has no impact on insulin production or blood glucose levels. Consequently, its GI value is much lower, on average around 19. It was once thought this made it a good substitute for table sugar, but there is now a growing body of research to question this. 
Sweeteners such as HFCS have a higher GI value due to the presence of glucose. It has been suggested that it is the glucose content of these sweeteners that may have contributed to the increase in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. (sweeteners are artificial sugars).
How does fructose affect your body?
Fructose is handled by the body in a different way to glucose as it is metabolised in the liver. As a result, blood sugar (glucose) levels do not rise as rapidly after fructose consumption compared to other simple sugars. When you eat too much fructose the liver cannot process it fast enough and instead, starts to make fats that are carried in the blood and stored as triglycerides- the body's main form of fat. Studies have shown that the consumption of large amounts of fructose may lead to increased appetite by impairing the body's ability to use insulin and to suppress circulating ghrelin (the appetite-stimulating hormone).
While most diabetics cannot tolerate sucrose, most can tolerate moderate amounts of fruit and fructose without loss of blood sugar control. Research is yet to show any detrimental health effects of moderate consumption of fructose as part of a balanced diet.


Image result for white sugar
What is sucrose?
Sucrose is crystallised white sugar produced by the sugar cane plant and can be found in households and foods worldwide. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose and is broken down rapidly into its constituent parts.
The nutritional profile of sucrose
Due to its glucose content, sucrose has a GI value of 65. As it is made up of glucose and fructose, the latter is metabolised in the liver and holds the same issues as those mentioned for fructose above. Due to its glucose content, sucrose does lead to an elevation in blood glucose. Diabetics should therefore be mindful of foods containing sucrose


Image result for lactose in milk
What is lactose?
Lactose is a sugar found in milk. It is a disaccharide made up of glucose and galactose units. It is broken down into the two parts by an enzyme called lactase. Once broken down, the simple sugars can be absorbed into the bloodstream. 
The nutritional profile of lactose
Whole milk has a GI value of 41 and is considered to be a low GI food. It is broken down slowly and helps to increase the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. Some people experience lactose intolerance– an inability to produce the lactase enzyme that breaks down milk. Lactose intolerance can lead to diarrhoea, bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms

HMHB Conclusion
The current recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are that only 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added, or 'free' sugars. This equates to approximately seven teaspoons (30g) for an adult. To put this into perspective, one can of fizzy drink may contain seven teaspoons or more, so it's easy to reach the recommended daily amount, especially when you consider the sugar added to food that you don't see.
Eating excess sugar can lead to weight gain, which increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Your body needs sugar, but you have to control its intake