Fantastic fish oils

HEALTH:

When the words oil and fat are mentioned, dieters tend to run for cover. However, what many fail to realise is that the essential fatty acids found in oily fish produce hormones that regulate digestion and insulin production.

Insulin reduces fat used for fuel instead promoting fat storage, so by choosing the right fats, you can actually boost weight loss.

EXERCISE:

Studies indicate that a combination of moderate exercise and regular consumption of oily
fish can help to significantly reduce the total proportion of fat in the body, particularly in
the abdominal region.

It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids increase the elasticity of blood vessel walls and flow of nutrients to muscles during each workout. Exercise equivalent to taking a 45-minutes three times a week appears sufficient to produce this benefit.

NUTRITION:

For a healthy, omega 3-rich snack, try blending one 125g can of mackerel fillets (in olive oil), 1 tbsp cooked chickpeas, 1tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp chilli flakes, 3 tbsp chopped parsley and the juice of 1 lemon in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper and serve as a pâté on ryvita or oatcakes.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Hearty reasons to get fit

HEALTH:

If you’re lacking enthusiasm, try making a mental list of all the ways that keeping fit can help improve your quality of life and increase your life-span.

Just thinking about all the amazing things you’ll be doing for yourself can be incredibly motivating; no matter what might be on your list of cons, they’re sure to be outnumbered by the pros.

EXERCISE:

According to research, physical fitness might be even more important than weight loss when it comes to protecting your heart.

54645Experts say that regardless of your Body Mass Index, if you’re physically fit you’re at reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.  So never let your weight make you feel self conscious about visiting the gym- every trip you could be increasing your life span.

NUTRITION:

One of the most commonly used vegetables is iceberg lettuce, which doesn’t provide many nutrients due to its high water content.

To get more benefit from your lunch, try replacing lettuce with salad leaves that really pack a punch – such as baby spinach, kale or watercress. These taste delicious and also provide valuable vitamin A and folate, the heart-healthy B vitamin.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Beat the plateau

HEALTH:

Feel like you’ve hit a wall with your progress? A plateau can be a common – and very frustrating – occurrence in a weight loss programme.

However, it is important not to become discouraged if you feel you’re not dropping the pounds quickly enough; you can soon get back on track by making some minor alterations to your routine. Whatever you do, don’t give up!

EXERCISE:

One of the best ways to overcome a weight loss plateau is through regular changes to your exercise routine.

By alternating your physical activities (being sure to include both aerobic exercises and weight lifting in your plan) you will both burn calories and build muscle. This can help compensate for any decrease in metabolism associated with your weight loss so far.

NUTRITION:

Try to eat smaller portions more frequently and never skip meals: taking the little and often approach can lead to a temporary boost in metabolism, whereas going without food only slows things down.

It can also help keep your blood sugar levels constant and prevent sugar cravings from creeping in and stalling your progress even further.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Good fat, bad fat

HEALTH:

We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free, low fat options in the snack aisle at the supermarket. But how healthy are they really?

When fat is removed, more sugar is generally added to improve taste and appeal to consumer’s taste buds. An excess of sugar in the diet triggers the over-secretion of our fat storage hormone, insulin; so while our low-fat options have steadily increased, so have obesity rates.

EXERCISE:

High intensity interval training – involving a mix of intense effort followed by bouts of recovery – is one of the most effective ways to burn excess body fat in the gym.

To get the most out of an interval session you must ensure that you really push yourself, then ease right off during the recovery periods. Try a 2:2 work/rest ratio to start with and then gradually decrease the length of your rest periods as your stamina improves. You will soon see the benefits.

NUTRITION:

Are you fat-phobic? Essential fatty acids actually help to balance the key hormones that exert control over your weight and should never be avoided.

To increase your essential fatty acid intake, up your intake of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines. If you’re vegetarian or not keen on fish, take a good quality essential fatty acid supplement (such as Eskimo 3 stable fish oil or Solgar’s fish oil concentrate) or try adding a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to your morning smoothie or mixed into dips and salad dressings.

© Sarah West Nutrition