Sugar Detox: Starts this Sunday, 5th January

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a great Christmas, with a chance to relax, unwind and spend quality time with friends and family.

Seasonal excesses can leave many of us feeling a little bloated and lethargic. Not just because of too much turkey and Christmas pudding. Did you know that for the majority of us, a month of eating differently and a change in routine can alter the nutrient balance in our bodies. That, coupled with winter’s lack of daylight and less exercise, is a recipe for sluggish systems and often low moods.

So the Fit School team have created a Sugar Detox plan. It’s a 10 day, online plan and it starts this coming Sunday, 5th January (Sunday will be a bit of a preparation day so you can hit the ground running on Monday, 6th). It costs £15 for Fit School members and £20 for non members.

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Over the course of the 10 days, the plan will help wean your body and mind from the sugar hit over the last couple of weeks. For some, the increase in sugar started as early as December! So here’s why we have created a Sugar Detox.

The three main nutrient groups in our diet are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

We consume these nutrients in varying ratios. Here are some common sources:

Carbohydrates

  • Fruit;
  • Vegetables;
  • Cereals;
  • Grains;
  • Milk;
  • Alcohol (see note below *); and
  • Anything containing sugar.

 Carbohydrates can be further broken down into the following:

  • Starch;
  • Sugar; and
  • Fibre.

*Alcohol is a separate group all to itself. You get all the calorific effects of a carbohydrate (the side effects of simple sugars) and none of the benefits (despite some blood thinning properties – although you can get these from other sources).

Here is a breakdown of how one Fit School member’s diet changed over the festive period.

Pre-Christmas Average December December with drinks/sugar
Carbs 45% 63% 62%
Protein 30% 12% 8%
Fats 20% 25% 30%

So the big change is increased carbs in the form of sugars, less protein (except Christmas day) and more saturated fats (from processed foods).

The calories in the three examples were roughly the same but to explain why counting calories isn’t always beneficial, below you can see the calories just from food.

  • Pre Christmas – 2000
  • Average December – 1750
  • + drinks and sugar – 1400

Even though the calories were roughly the same, up to 600 calories were now being consumed in the form of refined sugars or alcohol which you can’t readily use. In our experience, this kind of nutrient change tends to result in little actual weight gain you might grow a muffin top and feel generally flabby. If the ratios change as they have above and you consume more calories, you will put on weight as well.

We generally exercise less in the winter, since we are less motivated. So unless you adjust what you eat, you will put on weight. Christmas then compounds the issue. You’re feeling lethargic and your clothes are tighter by January.

So this detox is to get your body back to a point where you are looking and feeling great. It will require some will power and also some support. That is why doing it in a group will help you keep going. Our golden rule with trying to create a new habit is you must not take something out of your lifestyle without putting something back in. No doubt you derived some pleasure from eating or drinking the things that you did over the festive period. So it is essential that you replace the pleasurable part of these activities with healthier alternatives. For example, drinking nothing but water for a few days is probably okay, but by day three, you’ll find that every fizzy drink you walk past will be talking to you!

We will provide:

  • Low sugar recipes;
  • Protein rich meals;
  • Healthy carb recipes; and
  • Exercise guidance.

These will all be posted daily in our Facebook group. If you have any questions, we will also do our best to answer them so you understand what we are trying to do.

Want to sign up? All you need to do is email us at fitschoolessex@gmail.com and pay £15 (for members) and £20 for non-members before Sunday via our PayPal account: fitschoolessex@gmail.com.

See you there!

Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist and journalist. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing at http://www.alittlefitter.com.
Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.
TWITTER: @fitschoolessex
FACEBOOK: ccfitschool
WEBSITE: http://www.alittlefitter.com

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Ease back to health: Getting bootylicious

So the sugar fast is holding for me, with the help of green tea, raspberries and pears.  And I’m already feeling better for eating well. It reminded me that great food, good moods and exercise all go hand in hand.  As soon as I made the decision to eat better, I remembered to take my supplements, like vitamins, probiotics and omega oils regularly and I suddenly had the urge to get strong again.

So I’m starting with the booty.  I’ve always had one but it disappeared after Isaac. Lots of sitting on it and not enough deadlifts mean my bottom has lost its former glory.  In the past 24 hours I’ve seen three images that have inspired me to get squatting again.  I’ll share them.

Firstly, this is possibly the worst picture of a squat I have seen in a very long time.  It was featured in a Marie Claire gallery about how to get toned legs. Never squat like this (this model clearly doesn’t) and do not bother with this teensy weights.  I will NOT be doing any of these:

Instead I will be doing lots of these. Babies know how to squat. They do it all the time and their technique is perfect.

And very hopefully, all these squats will make my booty look like this:

But until that happens, I’ll at least be able to run better, walk safer and improve hip and lower back stability so I can be pain free with a nice booty 😉

Sticky chicken thighs with roasted veggies and cherry tomatoes.

I’ve always been a fan of the humble chicken thigh. They’re full of flavour which lends them perfectly to curries and strong flavours; they’re great in the slow cooker; they’re deliciously juicy simply roasted – and to my mind far superior to the humble drumstick which can be a bit sinewy; they are toddler friendly because they become so soft after slow cooking; and, in these budget conscious times they are way cheaper than breast meat.

Hubby, Isaac and I do our best to eat together where possible, especially our evening meal. This one pot meal (an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver recipe) suits all our tastes. Isaac can nibble away at all the things he likes and of course, it’s totally adaptable to what you like or indeed what you have in the fridge! Think of it like a nutritious box of Quality Street. Everyone has their favourite bits.

Boost the nutrients in this dish by including lots of sweet potato, beetroot, carrots and tomatoes.

Sticky chicken thighs with root vegetables and cherry tomatoes (baby and toddler friendly).

Serves 2 and a bit with leftovers for lunch the next day (depending how hungry you are)

Handful of new potatoes, scrubbed

1 large or two small sweet potatoes, peeled or scrubbed and cut into chunks

2 or 3 cooked beetroot in natural juices, cut into wedges

A packet of cherry tomatoes, preferably skinned

Oregano (fresh or dried)

Olive oil

Red wine vinegar (balsamic works too)

6-8 chicken thigh fillets (chopped into finger sized pieces – you can use whole thighs too)

Salt and pepper to taste (you can add salt later if you have little mouths to feed)

Method:

Boil the potatoes for around 10 minutes, if you’re using sweet potatoes too you can add these to the spuds.

Put the chicken thigh fillets in an ovenproof/hobproof casserole and cook them over a medium heat until they’re sealed and nearly cooked.

Add all the remaining vegetables and potatoes to the pan and toss around in the chicken juices.

Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, a good splash of the vinegar, oregano and salt and pepper. Then give all the ingredients another mix.

Put the casserole dish (lid off) in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees, Gas Mark 6) for 40 minutes until cooked through and golden.

Serve with a big bunch of watercress on the side x

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