Thursday, 20 September 2012

College Survival Guide.

A recent study has shown that one in four freshmen gain 10 pounds in the first semester of college. Although this study focused on first year college students, I think that this weight gain can be seen across any college year.

The question is why are college students gaining such an alarming amount of weight ??

The weight gain is generally due to a decrease in physical activity, limited food choices in canteens, increased snacking and an increase in high calorie drinks such as lemonade, sugary coffees and alcohol. 

College brings a hectic schedule to a person’s life, long hours with little breaks means that students are grabbing convenient packed food that can be eaten mid lecture. A hectic timetable also leaves less time for exercise with lectures and independent learning, students have to prioritize. I believe that exercise is a priority, it is important to take time to exercise for your physical and mental health.As well as the packed timetable, college is also filled with social events and social events usually equal FOOD! Most college canteens serve fast food. Fast food, while laden with calories, it is cheap so it appeals to the budget of a college student. Studying for long hours often leads to sugary snacking, blended with coffee drinks. These staples in a college student’s diet even though these items often pack more calories than a regular meal. For example a Mocha contains on average 340 calories while a Latte contains 200 calories.

How can weight gain be avoided I hear you ask, well here are some tips which have helped me to stay on track.·         

Do not skip breakfast: Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. This is the first meal of the day and kick starts your metabolism, it also decreases over eating throughout the day.·         
Watch portions: Pay attention to food choices and portion sizes in the canteen. Ask is there a half portion available.·        
Make smart choices: Choose foods that haven’t been deep fried, go for whole grain instead of processed foods. High fibre foods help to manage weight by increasing the feeling of fullness with fewer calories and they also keep blood sugars steady to relieve frequent hunger.·         
Pick lean protein:  Choose lean cuts of meat like turkey, chicken, beef and fish. Soya beans and reduced fat cheese and butter will also help maintain a slim waistline·         
Choose fat wisely: try to avoid unhealthy fats from fried foods and sweets. Choose healthier fats from nuts and seeds.·         
Drink low calorie drinks: Try swapping regular lemonade for the diet alternatives, opt for unsweetened coffees or teas. Drink 1.5 litres of water a day.·
Exercise: It is important to do some sort of exercise five times a week, if that means going on a walk/jog joining the gym or a club then do it.

Armed with an informed game plan and some effort, any college student can avoid weight gain, but don’t forget to have some fun!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Holiday Blues

Starting weight: 9 stone 1.6 pounds
Previous weight: 8 stone 5.6 pounds
Current weight: 8 stone 5.6 pounds

Well it is official I am back to reality and currently have the holiday blues. I have been struck down with a kidney infection and have just finished a course of antibiotics. I have literally been house bound with not an ounce of energy. I am shocked that I have managed to maintain my weight. After being sick this week I have realised I am not a good patient and I am going to do everything in my power to stop it from happening again. That means I will have to take some sort of supplement to ensure my body can fight off any potential infections. This is going to be extremely difficult for me as I cannot stand supplements, I have a huge problem trying to stomach them, but if it stops me getting sick I am willing to give it a try.

Vitamins and minerals are an important part of a healthy diet and have a large effect on a person’s overall health and well being. Vitamins are an essential part of our diet as our body does not produce them naturally. I am going to run through a couple of vitamins and minerals which you should consume on a daily basis.
Vitamin A: Maintains health of skin, bones and teeth, promotes immune function and vision. Food sources include fish, eggs, cheese and dark green vegetables.
Vitamin B: Assists in the function of a healthy nervous system, necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates, lipids and protein. Food sources include whole grain and nuts.
Vitamin C: An antioxidant, aids iron absorption and wound healing. Food sources include citrus fruit.
Vitamin D: Assists in bone and teeth formation, aids the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Food sources include fish, cheese and milk.
Calcium: Play a vital role in the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, essential for normal blood clotting and muscle, heart and nerve function. Food sources include milk, cheese, eggs and wholemeal.
  Iron:  Necessary for haemoglobin formation. Food sources include red meat, fish, corn and beans.

Sometimes you will require an extra boost of vitamins and that is where multivitamin products come into play. The vitamin market is enormous in Ireland and September is a busy month for sales with children heading back to school. There is so many to choose from and it can be quite overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. I would advise you to go to a health store as the staff are trained on all products, they are very helpful and will give you a supplement to suit you and your lifestyle.
Here is an example of a vitamin which may be what you are looking for, this is a pretty mainstream one and a health store will more than likely offer an alternative to the branded products.

Centrum Advance 
Centrum Advance is a complete daily multivitamin and multimineral supplement with specially balanced nutrient combinations to help support your health needs and busy lifestyle. It supplements your diet and lifestyle by containing all the essential vitamins and minerals recommended on a daily basis. You can benefit from taking Centrum in the following ways:
Energy: Vitamins B1, B2, pantothenic acid, B6 and the minerals phosphorus and magnesium help release energy from food to contribute to your overall health and well-being.
Immunity: Antioxidant vitamin C and the mineral zinc help to maintain a healthy immune system.
Looking Healthy: Vitamins A, C, E and the B vitamins help maintain healthy-looking hair and skin.

Try a multivitamin for yourself and see does it have an effect, if there is a chance it reduces the likelihood of getting sick, I'm game!

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Starting weight: 9 stone 1.6 pounds
Previous weight: 8 stone 7.2 pounds
Current weight: 8 stone 5.6 pounds

Well have I got news for you! Instead of being whisked away to Belfast/London for a week I was taken to NEW YORK, talk about an unbelievable surprise. I think I am still in shock. New York is one of those places that I have dreamed about going to all my life, it was amazing. I am still on cloud nine. I am jetting off to Paris tomorrow for another amazing trip. I’m ecstatic even though I am completely unorganised and running around the house like a mad woman.

To my surprise I managed to shed a few pounds in New York, I am sure this is down to the fact that they put the calories on the menu. This was a real eye opener and really helped to make wiser and healthier options. I also could never fit dessert in which is usually my down fall, portion sizes are the same as here but my appetite was messed up with the heat and time difference. Paris will be harder to stay on track with all the lovely bakery’s, of course I will have a treat but I will try not over indulge. Walking around sightseeing is great though and keeps the pounds off. It’s so much easier to vegetate at home than when you are on a city break, all you want to do is be outside walking around absorbing in the atmosphere. If I could Id never come back off holidays. But sure I may as well enjoy this week before I get into my fitness plan. All good things must come to an end after all.

à bientôt !

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hard Work And Determination.

Starting weight: 9 stone 1.6 pounds
Previous weight: 8 stone 8.6 pounds
Current weight: 8 stone 7.2 pounds

So the big day has came and gone, and what a wonderful day it was. It seemed all my hard work had paid off and I was thrilled with the outcome. My birthday was so special and the fact that I believed I looked well was really the icing on the cake. I have reached a point were I am happy with what I see and feel I am a healthy weight.

To celebrate my birthday I am being whisked away by those closest to me, tomorrow I head to Belfast on Thursday to London and then 4 days after I return I am going to Paris. This means I will be dining out quite a bit which is always risky business when trying to watch your figure. But as I said I am happy where I am and maintenance is my main goal now. I will try to opt for the healthy options as this weekend I have over indulged. You certainly can have your cake and eat it!

This is what it all came down to, not to shabby  if I do say so myself  :P

My main objective for when I come back from holiday is to increase my fitness level. Although I am fairly fit I would like to be at a higher level. I am going to look in to joining a gym or maybe a class something to keep me focused and offer me support and encouragement when I need it. This certainly will be a greater change than losing weight for me. I am getting older now I have to think of long term health after all I am told its all downhill after you turn 21, if I can run back up that hill Ill have the last laugh!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Get Fit Or Die Trying

Its not a weigh day for me yet, but I thought I would pass on some exercise links I have found and have been doing. Gym membership is expensive and I feel you can get the same results by yourself if your motivated. These ten minute workouts are great because you do not need and equipment and can do them pretty much anywhere in the home, they are  tough and you can feel the results. There is many to choose from on I am aiming to tone my stomach and inner thighs and find that these ones really give me a push. Give them a go and let me know what you think. Just remember to stretch before and after the workouts to minimize the aches the next day, top tip!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Tick Tock

Starting weight: 9 stone 1.6 pounds
Previous weight: 8 stone 8.6 pounds
Current weight: 8 stone 8.6 pounds

I am going to keep this short and sweet as I am feeling sick at the moment, after catching a bug it is invading my body rapidly and making me feel like awful. I have had another no loss week, although I am happy to remain the same. These last two weeks have been busy with study and I have ate out several times.I did not restrict what I ate when dining out and allowed myself to have what I wanted. I could do this because I have increased my exercise, I now walk for 90 to 120 minutes at least 4 times a weeks. This has helped me maintain my weight loss, even with some bad choices. With all the extra exercise it is important to increase your diet/fluid intake to maintain energy and overall health. I find it very hard to increase my fluid intake and find I can only do it if I add a flavour to the water, it is a good trick.

Here is a recipe I tried for dinner during the week and found it very tasty, try it out for yourself.

Chicken fillet
Red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Side salad
Chop sticks

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Chop vegetables and chicken fillet into large cubes. Push the chunks through the chop stick in any order you like. Place them in an oven proof dish with some olive oil and seasoning, cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Finish on the grill pan to crisp up the vegetables. Serve with a side salad and enjoy.
On reflection it was a shame to stay the same this week but I am starting to feel confident in my skin and am happy with the way I look and that is the most important thing. I have checked my BMI and it is healthy so any more weight loss or toning will be a bonus. The plan for the next two weeks is to prepare for the big day itself, I can’t believe it is almost here. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Truth Hurts

The other day I came across an article in the Metro and I was completely shocked by the big bold statement that was right in front of my eyes. It screamed ‘Burger meal is a full day’s food’. I knew that a burger meal was not the best option in a restaurant or take away but I was absolutely gobsmacked at the realisation of this. As I read on I was informed that almost one quarter of an adults consumed food is prepared outside of the home, and one in four people admit that they eat fast-food once or twice a week. These numbers terrified me and made me realise how important healthy eating is.

As I walked around the buzzing city centre, I began to observe the shoppers. Instead of looking at their sense of style as I would usually do, I looked beyond the clothing and noticed the frame they were hanging on.  To my horror I noticed that almost every third person was overweight, I wondered to myself do they know the health risks they are imposing on themselves. I then began to think of the reasons behind Irelands expanding waist lines, and as I opened my eyes everything became clear. Meal deals in local stores have a lot to answer for, in these hard times everyone likes a bargain, so if you see a poster offering a lunch deal for less than 5euro you are in the queue like a shot. I decided to look into this matter and try and calculate the calories within these meal deals. The first deal I came across was a can of coke, a mars bar and a packet of Tayto crisps for 1euro, this clocks up an outstanding 604 calories. The next deal was a chicken fillet roll with three fillings and a bottle of coke for €4.50. A plain chicken fillet roll without butter or fillings can vary from 600-750 calories. The last deal I came across was any size pizza for 10euro, and horrifyingly the calories for a 6 inch plain cheese pizza was 620 calories. These are three examples of deals which should be avoided or eaten with extreme caution, after all these deal could be consumed for lunch or a mid day snack, and they take a huge chunk out of your daily allowance. These meals are generally not balanced and contain high portions of carbohydrates and fats and little fibre and vegetable. Although they are high calories foods, they usually contain empty calories and wont keep you full and energised for long periods of time. They contain huge amounts of sugar and will increase your blood sugar levels for a short time and then blood sugars will decrease drastically leaving you feeling tired. These are only three examples of the low priced high calorie meals out there, there are many more that a consumer should be aware of, try look beyond the price.

Back to basics, use this as your healthy eating guide.
It is widely known that if a women’s waits is greater than 32 inches and a man’s greater than 37 inches there is an increased health risk as does a BMI of 25 plus. These health risks include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and various forms of cancer. Is this the future for Ireland, convenience over health? Its time people open their eyes and realise that this is a real issue, stop the self destruction. 

Measure your waist and see if your at risk