Tag: diet

The dreaded “Holiday Weight”

January is the time of year when some of us will set a new years resolution, and it’s not uncommon for these goals of “lose weight” or “get fit” to be at the top of the list. So why is it, that only after a mere 6 months later, only around 8% of us will have managed to stick to those resolutions?

“Lose weight”, in itself, is a vague term. How much weight? How quickly? How am I going to achieve this? The way to success is to set yourself an achievable goal with tangible results. “I want to lose a pound a week, and my end goal is to lose half a stone. To do this, I’m going to cut down on the amount of fatty food I eat, and make sure I take a 20 minute walk around the town three times a week.” Avoiding overindulgence at Christmas will also put you in the right frame of mind to start 2023 off right- don’t set yourself up for failure by jumping on the scales  and berating yourself for the amount of mince pies or cheese you enjoyed, this is only going to make you feel worse! A positive attitude towards health and weight loss is important to ensure success.

Christmas weight is, in itself, no harder to lose than any other weight. In fact, research suggests that sudden weight gain (the average person gains around 2lb between November to January) is easier to lose than weight that has been put on gradually, over several years. So why do we tend to put on weight over Christmas? A lot of us indulge in the occasional treat every now and then, but at Christmas we tend to indulge in fatty foods more frequently than we do throughout the rest of the year. It’s not just the food we need to think about, but the amount of alcohol we consume over the festive season- a 250ml glass of red wine contains around 230 calories. A few pints of beer soon adds up to a significant calorific intake at 170 calories a pint. Perhaps this is why dry-January is so popular to counter-weight the calories.

Turkey is a low-fat, high protein meat source so provided you can resist the temptation of the fatty skin on the outside, that won’t add inches to your waistline either so keep on enjoying those leftovers. Planning meals is key to ensuring you get the right nutritional balance to give you the energy for a jog, cycle or swim. There are plenty of apps to help you plan your calorie intake for the amount of exercise you do – here’s some suggestions.

The traditional post-Christmas walk is also an excellent idea, and it might surprise you to know that this has a solid research backing. Even just a 15-minute walk after a meal can improve digestion, helping to avoid the dreaded post-Christmas-dinner-bloat, and it will also reduce spikes in your blood sugar levels, which is excellent if you are a diabetes sufferer. Adding a post-lunch or dinner walk to your daily routine is also a great opportunity to catch some rays of sunshine to help boost your mood.

Winter walk suggestions in Amesbury courtesy of Komott.

Remember, always wear correct footwear when walking especially if icy underfoot!

Couples Coaching

Have you ever started a diet, only to be foiled by your other half or best friend reaching for the chocolates? Perhaps you’ve tried to start running but your running buddy lost motivation.

We’re delighted to announce a new service in response to popular demand:Couples coaching sessions, designed for two people to benefit from life coaching.

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Winter health immune system healthy stay well cold flu influenza nutrition hampshire emsworth chichester exercise fitness

Six top tips to boost your immune system

A winter cold might seem inevitable, however you can take action to boost your immune system and minimise the risk of picking up a bug this winter. Here are six quick tips for staying well as the mercury drops

Go outside

Get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible – There’s not a lot of sunshine this time of year so a walk at lunchtime can be a great way to get as much sunlight as possible. Vitamin D3 drops may also be helpful to counteract the effects of a lack of sunlight. Not only that, but sunlight will also help beat the winter blues and keep you feeling well this winter.

Stay Active

Regular exercise can help keep stress at bay, boost your immune system, control your weight, improve your mood AND burn off some tensions that can creep up on your family with long periods cooped up indoors. Try a family walk after dinner to spend some quality time together and keep activity levels up.

Wash your hands… A lot!

Cold and flu germs are easily passed through hand-to-hand contact. Make sure you regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and avoid sharing public objects where possible.

Get enough sleep!

Plenty of sleep will not only keep your immune system working well to keep you healthy, but it will also help avoid feelings of sluggishness that can be caused by tiredness and a lack of sunlight.

Stay hydrated

It’s just as easy to get dehydrated in winter as it is in summer (when you can “see your breath” in cold temperatures you’re actually seeing water vapour being lost from your body) You will be more susceptible to colds and flu when you’re dehydrated.

Food is fuel

Boost your immune system by getting your daily dose of five-a-day fruit and veg. Fill your body with healthy nutrients, fresh fruit and vegetables rather than carb-laden foods and you’ll be well equipped to avoid winter bugs.

And if you do catch a cold? Try taking zinc. A 2013 Cochrane review showed that taking 75mg of zinc a day helped shorten the duration of symptoms- By Day 5, 70% of people taking zinc lozenges (not spray!) had recovered from the common cold, compared to only 27% of people taking placebo. It’s thought zinc may stop the cold virus from multiplying and taking up residence in your nose and throat. It won’t prevent you catching a cold, but it can shorten the duration you’re poorly for.

Guest Blog: Calcium and Osteoporosis

Is Calcium supplementation alone always the answer in Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a multi-factoral disorder and nutrition is only one factor contributing to its development and progression.  Calcium supplementation is usually suggested yet we routinely exceed our dietary intake of calcium and therefore we shouldn’t be deficient on the modern diet.

Turning our attention to the nutrients that aid calcium’s absorption and retention, namely vitamin D and magnesium therefore seems more necessary as well as considering other lifestyle factors that could be depleting calcium stores.

Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D so having your levels checked with a GP is a good place to start when you are considering bone health.  The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from your diet and it also maintains serum calcium and phosphate concentrations which enables bone mineralization.  If you don’t have enough vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed from the diet and the body will take it from its stores in the skeleton.  This process weakens existing bones and prevents the formation of strong, new ones.  Vitamin D is found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel (no more than 2 portions a week) as well as fortified foods.  Sunshine is also needed to synthesise vitamin D through the skin and just 10 minutes a day on your face and hands can be enough to increase your stores over the Summer (although please take precautions if you need to). Once you have had a test to determine your levels your GP can also recommend a vitamin D supplement to raise your levels.

The Role of Magnesium

Magnesium works with vitamin D to control calcium levels.  Magnesium is calcium’s pair in nature and it is the dietary ratio of these two minerals which ensures calcium absorption and retention.  If too much calcium is taken in the diet it suppresses the absorption of magnesium which results in calcium deficiency!  This ratio is exaggerated in the modern diet when tends to be high in calcium and low in magnesium rich foods.  For example in fish, there is 8mg of calcium and 26mg of magnesium whereas in milk there is 116mg of calcium but 12mg of magnesium – whilst milk contains more calcium it will be poorly absorbed due to the lack of magnesium.  Magnesium is another mineral that we are usually low in as the levels in our soil are depleted and most magnesium is found in the outer coating of grains which is removed during refining.  In addition, calcium is usually added to wheat which upsets the ratio again.  Start increasing your intake of magnesium rich foods by eating legumes, nuts and wholegrains so that the calcium you are eating can actually be absorbed!   Magnesium supplements are usually poorly absorbed but there are companies that make magnesium flakes that you can put in the bath (not Epsom salts) which are not only great for aching muscles but your body only absorbs what it needs from a more natural form.

Other factors to consider are sugar, high salt consumption, high protein intake, tea, coffee and alcohol which can wash away dietary magnesium so you must also consider these factors if you want to improve your bone health.  For your information, too little protein in your diet can be associated with poor recovery from osteoporotic fractures so make sure you include good quality protein at every meal.

What else can I do to help?

Resistance exercise (weights), in conjunction with the above dietary measures, can also have a beneficial effect on bone health as it increases bone density and reduces fractures.  These types of exercise works by putting tension on your muscles,  which puts pressure on your bones, which respond by creating fresh, new bone.  If you encounter pain or problems whilst exercising, be sure to let your chiropractor know so we can review your exercises and technique.
I hope this article has shown that whilst calcium has its place in managing osteoporosis and bone health, other factors are also necessary and should therefore also be considered once osteoporosis has been diagnosed but more importantly for its prevention.

This information is supplied by Registered Nutritional Therapist Nicola Russell from the Way to Eat, Midhurst.

To visit Nicola’s website, please follow the link here: The Way To Eat

T: 01243 379693
E: acorn@acornhealth.org.uk
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HotYoga: This Girl Can!

I like to practice what I preach, and so when I saw the “This Girl Can” campaign from Sport England, I thought it was about time I tried something new!  I grew up playing team sports, and freely admit I am much more comfortable charging around a lacrosse field in sub-zero temperatures than I am in a yoga studio, particularly one that is heated to a tropical 40 degrees, yet that’s exactly what I did yesterday.   I had heard a number of my patients mention hot yoga in Chichester, so after a brief chat with Natalie the owner, we went along for our first session.

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga postures with breathing exercises, and the temperature of the room is designed to warm and ease your soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) to allow a deeper stretch, as well as adding a little bit of mental challenge to the exercises.  Anyone who thinks that yoga is a bit of deep breathing and a gentle stretch- think again!

Our clinic manager Rhiannon is already a bit of a yoga bunny, so she kindly accompanied me for moral support.  It may surprise you to know that chiropractors can suffer with back pain too (mine is related to one-too-many falls off a horse) so I was hesitant about contorting myself into the bizarre postures that I’ve seen yoga fans perform, envisaging a few days of the inevitable grumbling lower back pain and achey I’ve-done-a-workout shoulders afterwards.

90 minutes? 40 degrees? We must be mad!  However, fuelled with images from Sport England’s advert of women looking exhausted but triumphant, I decided that I wanted to be one of them and was determined to give Bikram a go.  Trying something new and totally different was a little nerve-wracking (“What on earth is a tree pose? Who is savasana and why do they keep asking her to lie down?”) but after a while, and with some gentle advice from the instructor, I managed to get the hang of the exercises.

There’s a moment when you’re exercising or trying to get fit, where that little voice in your head tells you “It would be so much easier if you stopped”, or better yet “You really can’t do this. You’re never going to look like that girl over there so why bother?”  Ignoring that little (or not-so-little) voice in your head is the real challenge.  For me, that little voice kicked in after about an hour, when I caught sight of my red, puffy face in the mirror and realised that no, my leg really doesn’t bend that way.  So I took a break. Yep, I stopped, sat down, reassessed, and watched everyone else sweating and stretching away.   This Girl Can is encouraging us all to “wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgment is a barrier that can be overcome.”  So when I sat down in a sweaty heap on my mat, a part of me expected to receive the inevitable raised eyebrows or smug “I’m-fitter-than-you” smirks.  But no, not ONCE did I feel embarrassed about it, or lazy, or feel like a failure.  I was amazed to receive a smile and a wink from the instructor, the girl next to me gave me a relieved s
mile and then plonked down on her mat for a minute, and the chap at the end of the room mouthed “You ok?” to me.  That was when the dawning realisation came to me that we were all there trying to acheive the same thing- relaxation, fitness, flexibility, and I’m sure a few other things too!  There was no shame in taking a break (yes, I got back to it a few minutes later) as we were all supporting each other to help get through what was a challenging activity!

Taking breaks when it becomes too much allows you to establish where your limits lie, and gives you an opportunity to identify problem areas that you might want to work on in the future.  We all have to start somewhere, so whether you are an exercise addict already, or just want to try and get back in to shape, try something new, bring a friend with you, make it social and fun, or do like we did and go to Bikram and make it sweaty!

We conquered HotYoga, and although I am a little achey today, I know I’ll be going back.  Because this girl can!


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