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The next tip to keep those energy levels up: get some sunshine. A deficiency in vitamin D can make you feel both tired and depressed. SAD (seasonal affectation disorder) is common especially in winter and can stem from both lack of vitamin D and gloomy days. Some foods contain vitamin D, like oily fish, eggs and meat. However it’s hard to get sufficient amounts from food alone. Your body can make vitamin D but only if it is exposed to 15 minutes of sunshine. So outdoors is the place to be; if it’s cloudy like it so often is in winter in the UK try for 2 lots of 15 minutes a day. A walk is great but why not combine your vitamin D dosage with some endorphin producing exercise in the form of a run?
Not only does being outdoors burn more calories than exercising inside but you will get some vitamin D too. Fortunate then that at Diets Don’t Work we do home visits for personal training and make it outdoorsy as often as possible, come rain or shine!
Next in our series on how to boost energy levels: listen to music. If you find that your energy levels are flagging then get the radio on or listen to your iPod for a bit. This works especially well in training. Even though our personal trainers mainly do home visits in the London and Windsor areas, we often take a small music system along or use a client’s to get the tunes going. This also has the advantage of not having to listen to the gym’s awful raving music selection. Research has established that music heightens motivation and stimulates interest because it syncronises both the left and the right sides of the brain, which in turn helps you to feel more alert. So get hopping just like John Travolta!
Sometimes we come across personal training clients who have the unusual problem of eating the right things, just in the wrong quantities. Of course increasing the metabolic rate through proper structured exercise is a great weapon in the battle of the bulge, but eating is just as important. Your weight is after all a two sided equation. Getting a visual idea of how much should be on your plate can be really helpful, so try these tricks.
Each meal should contain 5 different food groups: a low glycaemic carbohydrate, some vegetables, some lean protein, a good unstaurated fat, and fibre.
To get the portion size right try matching your portions to the same size as the following:
1 – the biggest item on your plate should be a good quality lean protein like grilled chicken or fish. This should be about the same size as an i-phone.
2 – although your carbohydrate should not be processed, we do live in the real world, so rice (brown is better), potatoes (sweet are better) and wholewheat pasta are certainly OK and also have the advantage of being easy to make.Try to make this group the same size as a cricket or tennis ball.
3 – The vegetables should be the same size as a small bar of soap. The greener and leafier these are the better; these leafy vegetables are packed full of minerals and nutrients but are low in calorie density.
4 -The amount of fat should be about the same size as a matchbox. Remember that this fat will most likely not be a stand alone food group but will be contained in the other foods on the plate. A great source of good fat is plant oils that are liquid at room temperatures, so you can always use these as a dressing.
5 -The meal should also contain some fibre. This would be the equivalent of a chalk cube that you would use on a pool table. Again this will be included in the vegetable portion of the meal, and will take care of itself provided that you have chosen good leafy greens.
Remember also that having water or a squash that is not filled with sugar can really help make you feel fuller too. Eating slowly also helps. Good luck!
Childhood obesity has become a big worry not just in the United States but also here in the U.K. Many campaigns have been launched to try and tackle the problem; the Let’s move! campaign as endorsed by Michelle Obama and the change4life that we have here in the U.K. Both of these schemes focus on the premise that obesity (or, on the other side of the equation, being slim and fit) is solely caused by too many calories going in and not enough going out. As we are constantly telling our personal training clients you can’t deny the laws of physics; if energy out is more than energy in there will be a defecit, so there will be loss of fat.
Unfortunately the problem in our modern society is slightly more complex when it comes to children. The energy in energy out approach is convenient as it does not demonize any of the food industry, but it fails to understand the role of insulin in the regulation of fat accumulation. As insulin levels go up in the blood stream so does the amount of fat that we store. Insulin is triggered by foods high in sugar (or with a high G.I.) just like the processed carbohydrates that are in many popular children’s snacks. Thus the more refined and easily digestible the carbohydrates – think fizzy drinks, bagged snacks, ready meals etc – the more insulin is produced. So to tackle child obesity we have to demonize the industries that produce these foods. Big food companies will not like it, but just as drink driving and smoking have become (read “been made”) socially unacceptable it must be achievable to do the same to the high G.I. industry too.