Easter Survival – Week Beginning Monday 15th April 2019

 Not long until Easter, and we’re all looking forward to a long weekend and, of course, to traditional Easter foods … hot cross buns, roast lamb for dinner, and plenty of chocolate in between.

Have you found yourself thinking “I may as well give up the diet for a few days; after all, it’s only one weekend?”

Here are some tips about enjoying Easter without letting your health and fitness suffer:

  1. Don’t start Easter too early. It seems like the shops have been full of Easter goodies for months. Hot cross-buns are stacked everywhere, along with Simnel and chocolate cakes, and shelves upon shelves of chocolate eggs. People have brought boxes of chocolates or cakes into the office or when they visit you and you figure just having one or two won’t hurt – you know that’s fatal!
  2. Set a rule for yourself: no hot-cross buns before Good Friday and no chocolate eggs before Easter day. The wait will make the treats seem even more special and the first hot cross bun of the year is a great way to celebrate Good Friday and begin the long Easter weekend.
  3. Spend on quality rather than quantity. Most supermarkets have hot-cross buns on offer at the moment but do you really need twelve so-so buns for just you, or you and you partner? Instead of buying multipacks, by one or two really good buns.
  4. The same principle applies to chocolate. Rather than grabbing the small children’s eggs, have something gorgeous and a bit decadent. There are some amazing hand decorated eggs now available and even I have to eat something that beautiful slowly!
  5. Make the most of your bank holidays by doing something active. The four-day weekend is a great chance to be a bit more energetic than usual. A walk or cycle ride with your family helps everyone stay active, and if you have children, don’t just sit and watch at the adventure playground, swimming pool or ice-skating rink. Remember Saturday class will still be running even if there are no classes on Good Friday or Easter Monday.
  6. If you’re going away for the Easter weekend, have fun exploring somewhere new. Go everywhere you can on foot; you’ll no doubt come across some hidden gems that you’d not have noticed from a car.
  7. Get straight back into your usual routine.The biggest risk to your healthy eating is not the indulgences of the four-day weekend; it’s the opened chocolate eggs in the house, the leftovers from big family meals, and the inevitable return to work (and the unwanted Easter chocolates that colleagues keep trying to palm off on you). Try getting back to your healthy ways/normal way of eating from first thing Tuesday. Take a healthy packed lunch to work, fit in some exercise and plan something light and easily digested for dinner, to give your body a chance to recover from sugar-overload.

Why do you come to class? A little survey. – Week beginning Monday 8th April 2019

We need your help.

  • We need to raise the profile of certain classes and tell people about what we do.
  • In order to do this I have put together 4 questions which we would love for you to answer.
  • If you feel comfortable having your name (first name only or whole name or just initial) on our marketing then please put it at the top of your sheet.
  • The four questions are:

What is the problem/challenge that coming to Philippa Aldridge Fitness solves for you?

What reservations (if any) did you have before coming along to your first class?

What is it like to be part of Philippa Aldridge Fitness?

What’s the one best result you have got from coming to Philippa Aldridge Fitness?

  • We realise that for some of you it may have been a very long time ago when you first came to class so feel free to leave a question out if you so wish.
  • There is space to add anything else that you would like us to know.
  • Please take the slips home and bring them back next week or feel free to complete them at the end of class. Please return completed slips to your cashier or instructor.

We hope that this survey will give us some quotes we can use to market our classes and to spread the word further about what we do and how we help people.

Thank you in advance.

The Super Splendid Spring Spectacular – Week Beginning Monday 1st April 2019

  • Starts Monday 1st April and finishes on Monday 13th May 2019
  • Draw will take place on Wednesday 15th May 2019 so please make sure you hand all completed booklets by then.
  • You need to fill in name and dates on front and back.
  • The idea is to get the squares/points (inside the booklet) signed off for doing various things.
  • All points are doubled.
  • Also you can obtain 20 points for sharing any of our FB posts regarding our classes
  • If you don’t want to deliver the leaflets then please ask return them rather than throw them away.
  • If you want to deliver more than 25 leaflets then brilliant! – you get 20 points for every 25.
  • The whole point of this spectacular is to help keep you coming to class; it’s a bit of fun; you can win prizes; and it helps us to spread the word about our club which inevitably maintains its longevity.
  • This year’s “bribe” is not Mini eggs (people moaned last year that I gave out chocolate) but a night time tea bag to aid sleep; a mint tea bag to aid digestion and a little bar of chocolate as a treat.
  • Thank you, as always, for all your help.

Are you tired of putting on weight? The story of four hormones! – Monday 18th March 2019

  • Are you tired of putting on weight? The problem could be that you are just plain tired!
  • Did you know that women who are deprived of sleep have been found to eat an extra 228 calories in a day and pick fattier snacks - is this you? If you sleep for five or less hours a night it means that you have more time to eat but there is more to it than that!
  • Losing sleep affects your metabolism which means that you have less energy to burn off calories. If you even miss sleep for one night your metabolism can be lowered by as much as 5 – 20 % the next day.

Let me tell you the story of four hormones; good and bad.

  • Introducing hormones Ghrelin and Leptin.
  • Why do we overeat when we miss sleep? It can be down to two hormones – ghrelin and leptin.
  • Ghrelin – stimulates our appetite
  • Leptin – tells our body we are full
  • If we have too little sleep – we have too much ghrelin making us crave food and too little leptin causing us to not feel as satisfied when we are full.
  • Bad combination leading to weight gain! Try to get a better balance between them.
  • Let me introduce another hormone - Cortisol
  • Lack of sleep raises the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ in our body and can lower our blood sugar levels (increasing insulin resistance).
  • The combination of these both factors can lead to fat retention and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • But we can fight back with another hormone – melatonin - a good hormone!
  • A good night’s sleep could be the answer to being slimmer!
  • To get a good night’s sleep we need to raise our levels of melatonin which is a sleep inducing hormone (comes from serotonin).
  • Some ideas to get more melatonin:
  1. Avoid stimulants – say no to alcohol, caffeine and even dark chocolate as they stimulate the brain and suppress melatonin levels. Definitely after 3pm but preferably after 12 noon. That means drinking your alcohol before noon!
  2. Balance blood sugars – eat three meals and two snacks (optional) each day.
  3. Boost your serotonin foods and so in turn increase melatonin: turkey, lean red meat, bananas, tuna, shellfish, brown rice, oats and nuts and seeds.
  4. Switch Off – turn off the tv and unwind ½ hour before bed. Destress with a cup of camomile tea before bed and keep a notebook by the bed to write down anything bothering you.
  5. Get lots of magnesium as this can help serotonin production and control insulin. Include foods like dark green leafy vegs, spinach, kale, legumes.
  6. Turn off the lights – keep the bedroom as dark as possible
  • So sleep tight everyone tonight –try to get a balance between leptin and ghrelin, reduce cortisol and lots more melatonin! Perhaps it will also help us drop those pounds quicker too.


There are many ridiculous myths in nutrition. The “calorie myth” is one of the most damaging. It is the idea that calories are the most important part of the diet, that the sources of those calories don’t matter.

“A calorie is a calorie IS a calorie,” they say… that it doesn’t matter whether you eat a 100 calories of chocolate or broccoli, they will have the same effect on your weight.

It is true that all “calories” have the same amount of energy. One dietary calorie contains 4184 joules of energy. In that respect, a calorie IS a calorie.

But when it comes to your body, things are not that simple. The human body is a highly complex biochemical system with elaborate processes that regulate energy balance.

Different foods go through different biochemical pathways, some of which are inefficient and cause energy (calories) to be lost as heat.

Even more important is the fact that different foods and macronutrients have a major effect on the hormones and brain centres that control hunger and eating behaviour.

The foods we eat can have a huge impact on the biological processes that govern when, what and how much we eat.

Here are 6 proven examples of why a calorie is NOT a calorie.

1. The Thermic Effect of Food

Different foods go through different metabolic pathways. Some of these pathways are more “efficient” than others.

The more “efficient” a metabolic pathway is, the more of the food energy is used for work and less is dissipated as heat. The metabolic pathways for protein are less efficient than the metabolic pathways for carbs and fat.

Protein contains 4 calories per gram, but a large part of the protein calories are lost as heat when it is metabolised by the body.

The thermic effect of food is a measure of how much different foods increase energy expenditure, due to the energy required to digest, absorb and metabolize the nutrients.

This is the thermic effect of different macronutrients:

  • Fat: 2-3%.
  • Carbs: 6-8%.
  • Protein: 25-30%.

Sources vary on the exact numbers, but it is clear that protein requires much more energy to metabolize than fat and carbs.

If we go with a thermic effect of 25% for protein and 2% for fat, this would mean that a 100 calories of protein would end up as 75 calories, while a 100 calories of fat would end up as 98 calories.

Studies show that high protein diets boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, compared to lower protein diets.

Put simply, high protein diets have a “metabolic advantage.”

Bottom Line: Protein calories are less fattening than calories from carbs and fat, because protein takes more energy to metabolize. And similarly, whole foods also require more energy to digest than processed foods.

2. Protein Kills Appetite and Makes You Eat Fewer Calories

The protein story doesn’t end with increased metabolism. It also leads to significantly reduced appetite, making you eat less calories automatically.

The studies show that protein is the most fulfilling macronutrient, by far.

If people increase their protein intake, they start losing weight without counting calories or controlling portions. Protein puts fat loss on autopilot.

If you don’t want to go on a “diet” but simply tip the metabolic scales in your favour, then adding more protein to your diet may be the simplest (and most delicious) way to cause “automatic” weight loss.

It is very clear that when it comes to metabolism and appetite regulation, a protein calorie is NOT the same as a carb calorie or a fat calorie.

Bottom Line: Increased protein can lead to drastically reduced appetite and cause automatic weight loss without the need for calorie counting or portion control.

3. The Satiety Index

Different foods have different effects on satiety. It is also much easier to overeat on some foods than others.

For example, it may be quite easy to eat 500 calories (or more) of ice cream, while you’d have to force feed yourself to eat 500 calories of eggs or broccoli.

This is a key example of how the food choices you make can have a huge impact on the total calories you end up consuming.

There are many factors that determine the satiety value of different foods, which is measured on a scale called the satiety index.

The satiety index is a measure of the ability of foods to reduce hunger, increase feelings of fullness and reduce energy intake for the next few hours.

If you eat foods that are low on the satiety index, then you will be hungrier and end up eating more. If you choose foods that are high on the satiety index, you will end up eating less and losing weight.

Some examples of foods with a high satiety index are chicken, beef, eggs, beans and fruits, while foods that are low on the satiety index include donuts and cake!

Clearly… whether you choose fulfilling foods or not will have a major difference on energy balance over the long term. Because a calorie from an egg is not the same as a calorie from a doughnut.

Bottom Line: Different foods have different effects on satiety and how many calories we end up consuming in subsequent meals.

4. Low-Carb Diets Lead to Automatic Calorie Restriction

Since the year 2002, over 20 randomised controlled trials have compared low-carb and low-fat diets.

The studies consistently show that low-carb diets lead to more weight loss, often 2-3 times as much.

One of the main reasons for this is that low-carb diets lead to drastically reduced appetite. People start eating less calories without trying.

The biggest reason for this is probably that low-carb diets also cause significant water loss. Excess bloat tends to go away in the first week or two.

Another reason is that low-carb diets tend to include more protein than low-fat diets. Protein takes energy to metabolise and the body expends energy turning protein into glucose.

Bottom Line: Low-carb diets consistently lead to more weight loss than low-fat diets, even when calories are matched between groups.

5. The Glycemic Index

There are many controversies in nutrition and the experts don’t agree on many things. But one of the few things that almost everyone agrees on is that refined carbs are bad.

This includes added sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, as well as refined grain products like white bread.

Refined carbohydrates tend to be low in fibre and they get digested and absorbed quickly, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar. They have a high glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar.

When we eat a food that spikes blood sugar fast, it tends to lead to a crash in blood sugar a few hours later… also known as the “blood sugar roller coaster.” When blood sugar crashes, we get cravings for another high-carb snack.

So… the speed at which carb calories hit the system can have a dramatic effect on their potential to cause overeating and weight gain.

If you’re on high-carb diet, it is crucial to choose whole, unprocessed carb sources that contain fibre which can reduce the rate at which the glucose enters your system.

The studies consistently show that people who eat the most high glycemic index foods are at the greatest risk of becoming obese and diabetic because not all carb calories are created equal.

Bottom Line: Studies show that refined carbohydrates lead to faster and bigger spikes in blood sugar, which leads to cravings and increased food intake.

Take Home Message

Different calorie sources can have vastly different effects on hunger, hormones, energy expenditure and the brain regions that control food intake.

Even though calories are important, counting them or even being consciously aware of them is not at all necessary to lose weight.

In many cases, simple changes in food selection can lead to the same (or better) results than calorie restriction.

3 key elements for weight loss: protein, fibre and water.

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