Nutrition Mum

Nutritionist and weight-loss specialist, our Nutrition Editor Local Mum Angelika Cutuk-Short blogs for us on everything to do with nutrition


December 2018

Help, I’m hungry! 21 tips on how to avoid food temptations this Christmas...

Over the past ten years I have gathered many tips on food temptations and how to avoid them. Here are 21 of my favourite tips that I would like to give to you to help you when hunger strikes! Have a go, you have nothing to lose…except a few pounds. Even if only some of them work for you, it will make a huge difference to your waist line! And please, drop me a line to tell me which ones worked for you, or not. I would love to hear about your successes and challenges. 

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1. Pandoras box.  Please, Please the first thing you really must do when starting out on any get fit goals or simple trying to trim up for that special occasion. CLEAR YOUR CUPBOARDS! of most of your temptation foods (you know what food I mean)!  By throwing out (giving it away) you are making a commitment to yourself to make a change.

2. Keep busy. I think the nail is smacked on the head when you find yourself too busy to think about food. Sometimes we confuse hunger with boredom, and we often eat mindlessly when bored - I know I did!  Go for a quick walk around the block, or if it’s too cold put on your favorite dance song (Eye of the Tiger works for me each time!).

3. My tummy rumbles.  Scientist have found that hunger pangs seem to come and go in waves. So, it won’t get worse and worse, but instead in a little while, you won’t actually feel quite as hungry as you did! Just ride the waves… nothing bad will happened to you! Oh yeah, have a glass of water and wait five minutes. 

4. Fasting fit.  Still talking about hunger; James Scott got lost while hiking in the Himalayas for 43 days. His only food at the time was a few caterpillars daily. He lived! I am not recommending eating caterpillars, but going without food for a while (intermittent fasting) can really help you in many ways. 

5. Sugar rush!?  Sugar cravings are a big issue when trying to be healthier. When craving hits - try taking chromium tablets.  Studies have shown that chromium can normalize blood sugar levels, improve blood sugar utilisation and decrease the bodies insulin requirements. Chromium can help people with a sweet tooth to.

6. Keep well hydrated. At least 2 liters of water per day. The big problem these days is dehydration. People often confuse thirst with hunger! People think they drink enough water! But the majority of us don’t! Drink up! Teas and coffees also count. Please download the water intake app (‘Drink Water’ or others) – only then you’ll track down your true water intake! 

7. Lemon aids.  Water with lemon helps with food digestion and aids weight loss. Warm water with lemon, fresh ginger and honey is the best thing to have first thing in the morning, ideally on empty stomach. This concoction is detoxifying and it will increase your metabolic rate.

8. Caffeine fix.   Drinking green tea and coffee (in moderation) will also increase your metabolic rate and burn some extra calories. Try to cut down on milky coffees or adding sugar, simply half them.   

9. Warm yourself up on a cold night, with soup. Soups (any of them) contain a large amount of water and will fill up your stomach, which sends the message to your brain that you are full! Soups are brilliant if your goal is to be healthier.

10. Get Minty! Brush your teeth when you start to feel hungry! Also rinsing your mouth with mouth wash will have a similar effect as well as nibbling on a few Tic-tac or minty sweets!  Minty things work for some people by removing cravings and curbing their appetite! Are you one of those?  Try it, you have nothing to lose and super fresh breath to gain. Put that toothbrush, tooth paste, mouth wash or Tic-Tac in your handbag - NOW! 

11. Fruit is better than chocolate. When you are getting the taste for that sweet treat of yours - have some fruit. Fresh or dry fruit is good for you and contains much healthier natural sugars and fiber.  Bananas contain potassium and magnesium and is shown to be a mood enhancer similar to chocolate.  The same goes for dates - packed with potassium, magnesium, niacin, B-6, iron but half of the calories of chocolate. 

12. Be a super hero.  Eat plenty of proteins; chicken, fish, eggs and cottage cheese. Your body doesn’t store proteins in the same way as carbs, therefore no excess calories will be stored in your body. Proteins also fill you up for longer and build up your muscles.

13. Go green.  Eat as many green leafy vegetables as you possible can! Go crazy with broccoli, kale, green beans, brussel sprouts… They are high in fiber, low in calories and will bulk up any of your meals. 

14. Give your food your full attention.  Focus on your food and eat slowly at meal times - chew every mouthful at least 20 times. The brain takes 15 minutes to get the message that your stomach is full. So, if you eat too quickly, your stomach will fill up before your brain knows you're full and you’ll end up eating too much. See what you can do at your next meal? Don’t eat while watching TV or on the phone, you have no idea what you are putting in your mouth.

15. Avoid temptation! Never go food shopping when you're hungry - you know this one right! Always write a list and stick to it. You are much stronger than you think! 

16. Cook big, make spare! Cooking in larger batches will save you time. Also, if we have healthy food in the fridge or freezer, we are much less likely to eat junk food. Cooked food can usually stay in the fridge for two or three days. Let the food cool to room temperature for two hours before refrigerating - if left longer bacteria might start to grow. If you don't think you'll eat leftovers within three days, freeze them immediately.

17. Prepare your work lunch box the night before. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to eat well. You are in control! Shop meal deals can be good also. But choose wisely, salad lunch with quinoa, chicken, salad and veg are fab. However, the sauce that usually comes with it has loads of calories! Advice: do not be afraid to cut that sauce in half, the lunch will still taste great and you’ll cut hundreds of calories off!

18. Have a healthy relationship with food. Don't try to deny yourself the foods you enjoy or feel bad if you occasionally succumb to temptation. For example, if you say to yourself ‘’I will never eat chocolate again!’’. Your brain will think ‘’Eat that chocolate now!’’. It’s same as saying a child ‘’Do not run!’’, what they actually hear is run. Unfortunately, our brain does not hear the word ‘’NOT’’ very well at all! So, have a bit of your favorite chocolate. Few squares will actually satisfy your needs and make you feel better. You’ll stay on your daily calorie target and most importantly you won’t feel guilty!

19. A picture tells a thousand words. Every time you eat or drink unhealthy take a photo and post it on your Facebook or other social media, or if you prefer every time you eat something healthy post it there. A printed picture on your fridge works similarly! This shows your accountability to the cause.

20. Eating is a social thing - so involve someone close to you (your bestie or member of your family) on the journey. It’s much more fun that way.

21. Change the way you think about food. If we do not change the way we do things (eating in this case), we will be getting the same results we always have! Food is your good friend. We would die without food. Fact! Again, moderation and healthy food choices are your best allies here!  Studies have shown that people who successfully lost weight and maintained their ideal weight are the same people who learnt how to change both their eating habits and their attitude towards food.  Your time is here and now. Enjoy your journey of change. If you get stuck - No worries, I am here to help you.

Keen to lose weight for the Christmas party season?
Here’s seven practical tips

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1. Listen to your gut
A well-known saying, right? But what does it mean? Our gut instinct is very powerful innate feeling that has been developing throughout thousands of years of evolution.  But for some reason we stop listening to it! What to do?

• feeling hungry – don’t just go and grab a crisp or chocolate especially if eaten one hour ago! Lot of us eat out of boredom or because of stress or just out of habit rather than from true hunger. Consider asking yourself the following questions before grabbing a snack: Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I thirsty? Am I sad? Am I bored? Is eating the only answer?

• lot of us confuse thirst with hunger. Test for you. Feeling hungry? Have a pint of water, wait 3 min and see how you feel – if hungry afterwards eat.  

• had a big dinner at the party last night. You don’t feel that hungry in the morning. Skip the breakfast. It’s ok. This way you will balance out calorie excess and lunch will taste much better.

• we are so scared if our tummy rumbles these days – but actually scientists found out that when our tummy rumbles our body is switching from burning carbs (glucose) into burn fat!  Now, I am not necessarily encouraging tummy rumbling here, but just want to say it’s not bad thing and from time to time let it rumble.

2. Do not eat late!
I know this is a hard one to swallow, but after 8 pm our metabolic rate is slowing down rapidly as we are getting ready to chill and do very little – so really no point getting loaded with food that won’t be used up… I am talking after-dinner snacks (biscuits, chocolate, crisps you know which ones!).  Have to say, unless you are a physically active person, the majority of excess food consumed around that time of the night will be stored as a fat! So what can be done when after dinner hunger strikes:

• have a big mug of tea, any tea is good to fill up our tummy (obviously check your caffeine tolerance and sleep – but you know this already). Teas like peppermint (good for digestion), camomile (calming effect), fennel (reduces flatulence), red bush tea similar to English tea but no caffeine are all great

• simple popcorns lightly salted or plain, few handfuls

• kiwi fruit is known to aid sleep

• banana, contains magnesium which will calm the active mind

• glass of milk or Greek yogurt 

3. Eat proper dinner around 6.30 – 7.30pm 
I know this is not always possible but see what you can do to bring it close to those times? 

4. Eat three nutritious meals a day and eat it Big!
Too often I find with my clients, they are simply eating too little at actual meal times and end up snacking shortly after! It’s contra productive, in most of the cases. OK, bowl of Spag Bol should be around 400g serving (~550 calories) and adding a side salad will bulk it up (please click here to see my Spaghetti Bolognese recipe). What is not recommended is a second or third helping or smothering in Parmesan!

5. Physical activity 
Corny as it seems, it really is essential to help us lose and maintain our weight. I am not necessary talking a gym membership or expensive equipment, perfect if you got it, but:

• dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise ball, exercise bike. Most of us already have those somewhere in the house, under the bed possibly – use it! Start with only 5 min!

• any, and I mean any form of faster movement or good stretching first thing in the morning will make huge difference to your body and mind. Try this; put the radio on and dance to your favourite song while the kids are having porridge…it’s fun. Your kids might get a bit confused for the first time, but they will get used to it. Recently I started doing ‘Sun salutation’ set of yoga poses 3 minutes every morning – honestly such a huge difference in energy and it simply reshapes my day. And I do this straight after getting up and before leaving my bedroom…if I leave the bedroom there is a chance, I might not come back to do it!?

• walk!  Simple, cheap and easiest way. We tend to forget this one because it’s so simple. But simple ones are usually the best ones.

6. Set your goals and write them down: ‘’Where do you see yourself in 3 or 6 months?’’ ‘’How does it feel?’

7. Plan ahead:

• your weekly shopping (please download free shopping list)

• your weekly meals

• your meal next day

• clean your cupboards

• let your friends and family know that you are making some changes – they will respect you for that

Truth of the matter is, if we don’t change something, we will be getting the same results over and over again.  So yes, do get excited about your new changes which will lead to a happier and fitter you and have fun on your journey. 

For more on weight loss tips and solutions contact our Nutrition Editor Angelika at her private practice in Sutton or visit her at Westcroft Leisure Centre Carshalton on Wednesdays 2-8pm. Appointment booking essential. 

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Angelika Cutuk-Short
Nutrition Coach
mobile: 07899948682

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About Angelika
Angelika is a nutritional therapist and weight loss coach. She is a great believer in Intermittent Fasting (The 5:2 Diet) and Detoxing as a form of staying fitter and living a healthier life. She practices what she preaches as well as recommending it to her clients for over a decade.

She has a Masters in nutrition and is a qualified NLP practitioner. She combines nutritional science with motivational NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) coaching to change bad habits and introduce new good ones that will serve you better. She is passionate about food and posts her food recipes on social media regularly.  She also recognises the importance of behavioural changes which are paramount in successful weight loss.

Angelika has given radio interviews and written articles on intermittent fasting as a form of food reduction (the majority of us, simply eat too much!) and in 2016 worked with her local council on a healthy eating on a budget project. She has worked in the health industry since 2007 working as a nutritional adviser for Planet Organic and General Nutrition Centre (GNC) as well as running her own private practice.

She is a full member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), she gives advice you can trust.

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