The Healthy Eating Weekend Plan
When it comes to the weekend, any plans of eating healthily over the week tend to get thrown out the window causing metabolisms to slow, sugar levels to rise and weight gain. We’ve teamed up with the scientists at Myvitamins.com to bring you a ‘Healthy Eating Plan’ for the weekend that addresses the common dietary mistakes people make and reveal the nutritional tips and specialist vitamins and minerals you should be incorporating in your diet to help ensure you get the results you want.
Swap: Croissant with butter and jam
For: Cinnamon porridge oats with blueberries
Studies show that what we eat for breakfast can affect everything from our mood, cravings and energy levels for the rest of the day. It has a lot to do with our blood sugar levels because when we eat a carbohydrate high in sugars such as a croissant with jam and butter it can cause our blood sugar levels to rise and fall dramatically. This then brings about certain hormonal changes in the body that can cause us to crave other sugary snacks and also leave us feeling tired and lethargic. A breakfast of cinnamon porridge oats and berries on the other hand is perfect for regulating blood sugar levels, stopping cravings and keeping the body slowly energised throughout the day since the low glycaemic index carbohydrates supply a slow sustained release of energy, the cinnamon has been shown to control blood sugar levels and the nutrient dense blueberries contain a natural compound called flavonoids which help to jump-start and nourish the metabolism.
Swap: Tea and chocolate biscuits
For: Green tea and an apple
Whilst there are certainly benefits of drinking tea such as the antioxidant properties, there isn’t when it comes to the added sugar, milk and chocolate biscuits. That’s why it may be better to substitute your normal morning tea with green tea and an apple since green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which as well as being associated with a number of health benefits such as helping to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and reduction in the risk of cancer, it’s also thought to be responsible for the fat loss properties of green tea by increasing your body’s ability to use stored body fat as energy. Also just one apple contains 95 calories, has zero fat and cholesterol, contains crucial vitamins such as vitamins C, K and B6 and is high in fibre to help keep you fuller for longer. Alternatively you can buy Green Tea Extract Capsules.
Swap: Pepperoni pizza
For: Cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado and salsa
Pizza dough is a high glycaemic carbohydrate which means it causes blood sugar levels to rise, insulin to be released and therefore causes your body to store fat and this is only made worse by the fact you usually eat your lunch whilst sat at the table doing nothing physically active. But research shows you can still burn calories even whilst you sit there as long as you ditch the pizza for something healthier, like a cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado and salsa. This is because studies show cayenne pepper can increase the body’s metabolism by 25%. Plus avocados contain the enzyme lipase, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down fat that is stored in the body.
Swap: 30 minutes of slow jogging on a treadmill
For: 15 minute of High Intensity Interval Training
According to research published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011, regular steady state exercise such as ‘walking and jogging at a moderate intensity disappointingly has led to negligible weight loss.’ This is because scientists believe slow endurance training like running at a low speed can mobilise fat on the body but not actually burn it. That same journal however stated how a method of training called High Intensity Interval Training not only required less time to perform, but also was far better at burning body fat and increasing the metabolism so you continued to burn calories even after you’ve finished at the gym. High Intensity Interval Training simply involves working at 85% of your maximum work rate for 30 seconds (e.g. sprinting or very quickly cycling) followed by 100 seconds working at 60% of your maximum heart rate (e.g. jogging or cycling slowly) on and off for 15 minutes.
Swap: Cheese burger
For: Grilled wild salmon with chickpeas, kidney beans and white beans
Salmon is a great source of the essential fatty acid Omega 3 which studies have shown can increase the body’s ability to burn fat by ‘up-regulating’ the efficiency of the mitochondria to burn fat. The mitochondria are best described as the powerhouses of our cells and put simply when they work better, we burn more fat. Fortunately for those who don’t like fish you can get Omega 3 in your diet in supplement form and 60 soft gels of Omega 3:
Swap: Spaghetti Bolognaise
For: Spanish omelette with chopped green vegetables and peppers
Your metabolism slows down when you sleep so any excess carbohydrates or calories you eat at night will be stored as fat whilst you sleep. That’s why it’s important your last meal of the day is a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie and high protein meal since this will ensure all your hard work at the gym isn’t undone overnight.
8:00am: Morning run without breakfast
One way of increasing the amount of fat you can burn is by going for a 30-45 minute first thing in the morning without eating any breakfast. What this effectively does is force your body to use stored fat as energy since your body has gone 8 hours without eating (whilst you sleep) so your muscle glycogen levels and insulin levels are low and glucagon levels are high, put simply this means hormonally your body is in the perfect state to start burning fat. So to do this wake up in the morning, get hydrated with a glass of water but don’t eat anything. Then go for a 30-45 minute run and then you can eat your breakfast.
Swap: Toast and marmalade or chocolate spread
For: Fruit smoothie made with Acai Berries
The basic principle of losing weight is to use more calories than you eat, but often people will make the mistake of not eating enough nutrient dense foods to keep their metabolism and other normal bodily functions running efficiently. That’s why it’s important to ensure you eat enough fruit since it contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes that keep the body nourished despite the calorie deficit. One of the most nutrient dense foods to receive huge media attention in recent years due to celebrities such as Oprah and Brad Pitt using them is Acai berries. Rich in antioxidants, omega fats, phytochemicals and vitamin A, B1 and C they are considered by nutritionists to be a great addition to any diet.
Swap: Toast and marmalade or chocolate spread
For: Whole wheat crackers with almond butter
Research conducted at Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain found that the healthy fat content in nuts produced very good satiating effect in those looking to lose weight. Therefore having whole wheat crackers with almond butter as a mid-morning snack will help stop cravings, reduce hunger and more importantly prevent any lapses in your diet.
Swap: A chocolate bar
For: An orange
Now obviously chocolate isn’t great for you but perhaps less obvious is the fact oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, which has been shown to promote the production of Carnitine in the body, which can break down and oxidize fatty acids in the body.
Swap: Fish and chips
For: Lean beef steak with steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower
Scientists have found that a specially fatty acid known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) found in beef can actually increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Scientists from the I-Shou University, the study took 63 obese subjects and randomly assigned them to receive daily supplements of CLA (3.4 grams) or a placebo (salad oil) in a milk product for 12 weeks. Results showed that after 12 weeks of supplementation participants in the CLA group displayed average decreases in bodyweight of 0.7kg, BMI of 0.31 kg/m2, body fat mass of 0.58kg and fat percentage of 0.6%. Unfortunately CLA is only present in beef in small doses and not the effective 3.4gram dose mentioned in the study above, fortunately 60 soft gels of pure CLA are available from Myvitamins.com for £7.99.
Image taken from www.vogue.it