Feeling anxious? Your waistline could be to blame
Do you wake up each morning feeling uneasy and find it tricky to stay calm and relaxed?
In the UK women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety than men, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Although anxiety can be caused by a number of factors a new study suggests that the amount of abdominal fat a woman has could increase her chances of developing anxiety.
Here are simple ways to shift those extra pounds from your waistline, which not only can help you squeeze back into last year’s swimsuit but it may also lower your chances of suffering from anxiety…win, win!
1. Get your mind ready for weight loss
“Yoga can increase mindfulness and individuals will become more aware of what they are eating and make better eating choices, which will certainly help weight management,” explains Maija Kivelä, Yoga instructor at the new holistic wellness boutique, Maître of Thyme (www.maitreofthyme.com).
2. Leave those left overs
“If the night before you had oven-cooked salmon with herbs and a green salad, then having the leftovers for breakfast is not a bad idea… but if you indulged in pizza or fish and chips, then maybe rethink the dinner leftovers as a breakfast option. It is essential to start the day with energy and a clear mind to sustain activities throughout the day. Choose foods rich in fibre, antioxidants, and good protein and fats. A healthy and fulfilling option can be poached or scrambled eggs on a piece of whole grain bread and a freshly made green juice,” explains Martina Della Vedova, Nutritionist at Natures Plus naturesplus.co.uk.
3. Plan your way to better health
“I would advise using a weekly meal plan that keeps the fast foods and ready-meals to a minimum. By planning meals, buying fresh produce and keeping cupboards well stocked with staples like eggs, brown rice, couscous, tins of beans, and sardines, you won’t fall short of healthy ingredients. I can always manage to rustle-up a wholesome family meal without too much trouble if these ingredients are in my cupboards,” suggests Nutritionist at Quest Nutra Pharma, Alix Woods.
4. Use crockery
“Crockery is not just good manners as we have been taught, it is also a tool to measure food quantities. In fact, we don’t just eat with our mouths and stomachs, the visual part of it is very important too. Our eyes and brain prepare our bellies on what to expect. Using smaller plates for example is helpful when you want to control your portion size, or using coloured crockery that contrasts the food colours give a chance to the brain to better see how much we really have in the plate. Studies have shown that using crockery of the same colour as the food will result in bigger portion choices since the colours blend and it is more difficult to objectively estimate how much food we put on our plate. Try it at home with friends and family: it works!” advises Martina.
5. Not all chocolate is the weight loss enemy
To soothe sugar cravings for chocolate lovers swap a chocolate bar for a couple of squares of raw chocolate, rather than gorging on milk or white chocolate. “Raw cacao – the unroasted form of cocoa, used to make raw chocolate – is rich in nutrients including magnesium, which we need for healthy muscles and bones. One really helpful nutritional benefit of raw cacao is that it is a powerful source of chromium. Chromium is a mineral that has been shown to reduce sugar cravings and improve insulin function in the body. For a cacao solid bar try OMBAR 90% Cacao £1.99, ombar.co.uk,” advises Cassandra.
6. Perk up your digestion
Our stomach is made up of good and bad bacteria, called gut flora, which has a controlling influence over many important body functions, including metabolism and fat reduction. However, lifestyle habits such as eating sugary foods, feeling stressed and drinking alcohol can all contribute to damaging our gut bacteria.
So how can we balance it? A healthy gut is made by limiting the bad bacteria and encouraging the good one to grow. “Feed the good bacteria with fibrous foods and plenty of probiotics, which you can find in fermented foods (Kombucha tea, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and apple cider vinegar are all examples of probiotic-rich superfoods that balance your gut flora) or include a supplement in your diet. Look for the one with different types of strains of bacteria, such as GI Natural by Natures Plus (www.revital.co.uk £23.75). Probiotics may help to reduce the number of calories you absorb from food,” advises Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
7. Snack smart
“Snacking is important as it maintains the metabolic rate and staves off awful hunger pangs, which can sometimes lead you into temptation. The key is to snack often, but ensure that you are eating healthy snacks in small portions,” explains Alix.
“Lotus seeds contain more protein and less carbohydrate than similar snacks such as popcorn. This means they could be better at filling you up for the same amount of calories – and better for supporting blood sugar balance,” explains Cassandra.
Try Karma Bites (£1.59, www.karmabites.co.uk ) for a tasty, guilt-free snack, made from popped lotus seeds, which come from the revered lotus flower. Karma Bites are available in a range of flavours, including Himalayan Pink Salt, Wasabi, Peri Peri and Caramel.