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Childhood Obesity; Stamp It Out!

Obesity is an issue. It is affecting children and adults alike and EVERYONE needs to play their part. It is time to stamp it out. It is strangling our already struggling health service and it is something we can proactively stop.

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Jamie Oliver  has been working tirelessly on the topic of childhood obesity, getting parents, schools and Government to sit up and take note.

And here is his latest war cry to Theresa May.

What causes a child to become overweight or obese?

Medical reasons can sometimes play a part in childhood obesity such as under active thyroid glands however the vast majority of children become overweight or obese due to consuming more calories than they use. The 3 main areas of concern are:

Genetic:This may play a small role in the ability to gain weight however it is unlikely to be a major reason as genetics, over the years, have not changed substantially to warrant the kind of increase we have seen in childhood obesity.

Behavioural: These play a much larger role in childhood obesity and include food portions, take away meals (types of food), increased sugar content, decrease in outdoor activities (or even sporting activities in school).

Environmental: Children are affected and influenced by their surroundings so if they are around people with poor eating habits they are more likely to fall into the same pattern. Also children have longer periods of time away from the home environment (pre-school clubs, school, post school clubs, etc) and are more likely to be eating on the go.If healthy foods are not prepared & packed for them they are more likely to be snacking wherever they are.

How do you know if your child is overweight or obese?

There are established guidelines based on Body Mass Index (BMI), as used for adults. BMI uses height and weight to determine the category of the child and the rule of thumb is If you child’s BMI is greater than 85 percent of children who are same age and same-sex (boy or girl), then your child is overweight. If the BMI is greater than 95 percent, then your child is obese.

How can you prevent your child becoming overweight or obese?

Prevention will always be better than cure. The key things to consider are the types of food your children eat, the frequency and volume they eat and the amount of activity they are participating in on a daily basis. Consider variety, fruit & vegetables as daily additions, fewer sugary products and where possible, family time meals. It is also essential for them to have 30 minutes of daily physical activity (and that does not include the thumb workout on  gaming devices or mobile phones!)

Our children’s health matters; they are the future; let’s help them have a long and healthy one!

Childhood obesity; stamp it out!

One Life, Live It Well,




The Great Escape!

Finally, we have some sunshine here in the UK! Now it’s time to perform the great escape out of your home and into nature to get fit and increase your wellbeing.

In truth getting outdoors is a good thing in any season but summer makes it a lot easier (unless you hate the heat of course). That said, get your sun block on and wear a good cap to protect your skin.

Here are some handpicked outdoor activities that burn up calories and have great health benefits whilst ensuring you have some fun:

Hiking: it improves your cardio respiratory fitness (heart, lungs & blood vessels), aids better quality sleep, reduces depression and burns up to 370 calories per hour (based on a 154 lb person)

Cycling: improves joint mobility, improves posture and coordination, increases muscle strength and flexibility, works the major leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, gluts and calves) and burns between 75-670 per 30-minute session depending on weight. Check these guidelines:

  • Recreational, 5mph: 75-155kcal
  • Moderate, 10mph: 190-415kcal
  • Vigorous, 15mph: 300-670kca

Golf: it keeps your heart rate up, in turn increases blood flow to the brain which can stimulate and improve nerve cell connections. It can also improve vision, reduce stress and burn up to 1000 calories in a single game (if you walk, not cart, and carry your own golf clubs!)

Gardening: is a great stress reliever, builds hand strength & dexterity, has been found to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma, gives a lift that positively impacts mental health & depression and of course calories are burned; click here to see what each gardening activity burns.

Playing With The Kids: the most significant benefits are time with your kids and having some childlike fun; who can get too much of those? No one! Check out the calories burned having fun times with the kids!

So make the great escape today and live a healthier life!

To your wellbeing,


Mind Your Language!


It only takes one poorly phrased comment on someone’s weight (‘don’t eat so much, you’re putting on weight’, etc) to affect their self image and feelings around food for years to come.

A number of studies carried out have captured the impact of unhelpful language when referring to weight, in particular that of parent’s to their daughters. In one retrospective study, a parent’s comment about their daughter’s childhood weight was found to relate to her weight and body dissatisfaction as an adult.

Some Key Points from the research:

  • A woman’s dissatisfaction with her adult weight was only related to the extent she remembered her parents making any comments about her weight, but not about how much she ate – even though both were positively related to her BMI
  • Even among ‘normal-weight’ young women with similar weights, those who recalled their parents commenting about their weight were more dissatisfied with their body weight

But there is a lesson for all of us to take from this research. In a world where we are told freedom of speech is essential and that honesty is the best policy (both of which I agree with), we still need to remember that people have feelings and that contrary to nursery rhymes (“sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”), words do hurt.

This is a simple rule to remember: Think Before You Speak!

Mind your language and use your emotional intelligence when speaking to and with people in all circumstances but most definitely when referring to health & well-being issues.

Health & Respect,



8 Ways To Manage Mindless Eating

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Questions: Do you notice when you are eating? I mean consciously notice? If you had to fill in a food diary at the end of the day how accurate would it be? If you ever watched Secret Eater’s you would have seen how delusional people were about the food they ate daily)

What I have come to realise is how easy it is to eat mindlessly, to pick at food throughout the day paying little or no attention to what it is, the quantity or the content. It is mindless eating, usually brought about by our emotions; the desire to feel better.

When we are stressed, bored, tired, angry, anxious or upset we tend to reach out for a reward or pick me up. Unfortunately, no amount of food can truly satisfy our emotions. There might be a temporary sense of relief but it is likely to pass and end up with us feeling guilty… and so the cycle repeats itself.

It is important to acknowledge your emotions and to understand what has triggered them so that you can deal with the real issue and not try to smooth over them with food.

Here are 8 steps to managing mindless eating:

  1. Have a shopping list! It seems like a small thing to do but if you go out shopping intentionally with a very specific list, you are less likely to get sucked into all the 2 for 1 and BOGOF offers that seem to appear on most of the poorest nutritional food products. Ramp up your time in the produce section of the store and greatly reduce the time spent in the processed food isles. Also don’t be sucked in by the check-out counter treats; they have been put there for a reason ‘while you wait’. If you want to eat better, shop better! And avoid shopping when you are hungry (bad mistake and one I have done far too many times – in goes the chocolate bar to fill the gap!!)
  2. Get into the habit of noticing hunger. A lot of the time we become detached from what hunger feels like because we constantly pick at food. Eat when you have an appetite but avoid waiting so long that you feel ‘starving hungry’ and reach for anything. Begin to notice what it feels like to feel hungry.
  3. Use smaller plates. Dining plates have increased in size. In 1960’s they averaged 9 inches in diameter and now the average is 12 inches; that is a lot of plate space to fill and we keep on filling it! Get back to using smaller plates in order to control portion sizes.
  4. Put the green goodies on your plate first. Get into the habit of having vegetables/salad with your meals and ensure most of your plate is covered with these items. The add your wholegrains and finally the meat or fish.
  5. Savour your food. Instead of rushing it down, take time to enjoy each mouthful of food. Allow all your senses to be involved from preparation to serving and then eating. Take in the colours, textures and aroma. As you eat allow your tastebuds to acknowledge the different flavours.
  6. Take small bites. Take small bites and chew your food! We are so used to rushing all the time that we forget the importance of digestion. Aim to chew each mouthful 20-30 times, depending on the food type. After each mouthful place your cutlery down and remember step 3.
  7. Drink plenty of water throughout your meal. Water has the capacity to give you a ‘full up’ feeling. Therefore, having a glass with each meal is a good way to give your body the fluid it needs and potentially reduce the quantity of food you require to satisfy your hunger.
  8. Acknowledge your emotions. If your emotions are getting the best of you, acknowledge them first and foremost. Before reaching for a pick me up, give yourself 10-15 minutes to think before you act. Sometimes the feeling will pass thus removing the need for a reward. And if it doesn’t, begin to monitor your emotions, what triggers them and focus on finding solutions to the causes…. Because food isn’t going to do it in the long run!

Be mindful, be healthy… because your health is your wealth!



Sugar, Sugar

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If cutting sugar out of your daily diet was easy, I’m sure we would all have done it by now.

Decreasing sugar intake takes some effort. There are obvious changes you can make like not buying bags of processed sugar however, even when you do that you are likely to seek out a replacement. For example I use honey instead of sugar but… it is still sugar even if it’s better quality! And what about the endless hidden sugars to consider; what is the answer?

The first thing to acknowledge is that sugar is addictive and comes in many forms. Consider when you eat sugary foods the most; is it when coping with stress/low moods, when looking to increase energy or just because you like the taste? If you can whittle down to your why you can identify ways to help. Better stress relievers are exercise, listening to music or doing an activity that fully engages you in a positive way (maybe a hobby, helping out at a local group, reading, etc). If your energy is low consider low sugar fruit (apples, berries), nuts or plain Greek yogurt.

Here are a few other suggestions collated from other people’s experiences of cutting down on or giving up sugar:

  1. Target the removal of processed sugar first and foremost. If you eat a lot of them aim to wean yourself off one meal/snack at a time, replacing with a healthier alternative.
  2. Reduce your sugar intake (in tea, coffee, on cereal etc) allowing your taste buds to get use to less sweet tastes. This really worked for me. I use to take 2 sugars in tea or coffee. I cut down on the quantity of drinks first and then went down to one sugar and eventually no sugar. Now if I go a day without a tea or coffee it’s not a big deal.
  3. Stop with the sugary drinks! By far one of the, if not the, worst offenders of sugar highs. Drink more water or create your own fruit shakes/smoothies. They have sugar in them but not processed.
  4. Choose fruit when you want something sweet but do not exceed your 5 a day; everything in moderation.
  5. Start learning how to read food labels in order to be clear on what you are eating. Sugar is hidden everywhere!
  6. Get into a regular eating routine. This is probably one of the biggest downfalls for people. When you are always on the go, having random meals here and there, grabbing morning coffees, it’s easy to see how bad habits set in. Be mindful about your meals and meal times – no excuses.
  7. Get your mind in the game. With the right mindset all things are possible and all habits can be changed.

In summary, find ways to cut down on the sugar, sugar; it might make a good record but it really isn’t good for your health!

One life, live it well,



Obesity: Ignorance Is Not Bliss… It Is Ignorance

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Ignoring obesity won’t make it go away. It’s here, it’s real and it needs attention from all of us.

And contrary to popular belief, obesity hasn’t manifested purely out of people overeating. The environment in which we live has played an important role. Changing work schedules and the 24 hour availability of food has certainly impacted the choices we make. Add to that the decisions made by the food industry in terms of food ingredients and reducing food quality, and you begin to understand why this issue has grown out of control.

Get reading, be informed and make sure you are making the right food choices for you, your children and anyone else you can help. If we don’t take this seriously and do what we can, who will?

9 Ways Processed Foods Are Harming People

Corporate America; Killing Us Slowly

6 Lies The Food Industry Is Feeding You

And for quality up to date information on all things health, visit The Health Sciences Academy and sign up to their super informative newsletter!

Your Health Is Your Wealth,

Yvonne & Laura