Assessing your diet is an important part of health

Pump up your diet


Do you seem to have come to a standstill with your diet, then you need some fresh ideas to pump it up. Your personal trainer can review your program to see if there are some changes that could be made, or you could try a few tweaks yourself.

Perhaps you are including too many processed fat free and low fat foods, they often are loaded with sugar, to compensate for flavour that may be missing when fat was not included. Sugar is not only high in calories but has no nutritional value and adds to our addiction to sugary foods, which doesn’t fill you up and leaves our bodies craving more. Try to avoid the processed low fat and fat free products, try having the regular versions and having a bit less, or if you have time, make your own meals and then you are in complete control of the amounts of sugar included. For a pick me up, try a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt, both contain protein which helps balance blood sugar and energy levels.

Try bumping up the protein in your diet. A gram of protein contains less calories than a gram of fat, and protein is more satisfying to your body than either fats or carbohydrates. Your protein intake need not just be in meat but also plant based proteins, such as beans and lentils, which also provide fibre and other important nutrients. These plant proteins are lower in calories, high in fibre and your body has to use energy to break them down.

Did you know that the part of the brain that deals with the sensations of hunger and thirst are very close to each other, so it can be easy to confuse one with the other. It is important especially when dieting to stay hydrated, it can help you to feel the need to snack less and avoid overeating.

Think about what you are eating. First of all try to plan out your meals, thinking about them in advance and even preparing them if possible, this will stop a lot of hungry, junk food eating. By planning the meals you will also have more control of the amounts you are eating. Also try keeping a food diary, as the amount you eat is often an underestimate. When you do have your meals, always set aside time when you will sit down, take your time to eat, paying each mouthful attention and tasting the food you are eating, and with no distractions i.e. the TV, phone, computer, and learn to notice when you feel full, it takes time for the brain to send that message through and mostly you are probably full before you stop eating.

Evidence has shown that exercising outside and turning the thermostat at home down slightly could increase your levels of energy burning, exercise and shivering seem to stimulate the fat burning.

Not all calories are created equal! By focussing on just how many calories you are consuming you lose sight of the nutritional value of the food. Your brain is 60% fat and the omega 3 fats which are found in oily fish are important it it as they ensure the connections between the brain cells work effectively. Low levels of omega 3 have been linked to depression which in turn can be linked to overeating.

Sleep deprivation can reduce and even undo any benefits from dieting and can even make you gain weight. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. In a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite it also seems to stimulate cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Research showed that sleep deprived people choose sugary, fatty foods rather than healthy options as against those who were allowed to sleep the full time. You will also be less motivated to exercise and unable to resist temptations of unhealthy foods if you are missing out on your sleep.

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