Holiday Health

This weekend, Libby and Caitlin,  from the Jane Plan office, were fortunate enough to take a weekend break to Devon, to escape the busy London bustle and soak up some sun (finally!). Going away with friends, especially at this time of year, can mean inactive days of lying on the beach, ice-cream, and Pimms. Holidays and mini-breaks are times when it becomes easy to lose sight of your weight loss goals, setting you back a long way. Fortunately, we’ve put together a few handy hints and top tips for going away, to ensure you come back from your holiday healthier (and happier) than before and maintaining the ‘bikini body’ that you’ve been working hard for . These tips are small and easy swaps, that will hardly affect your holiday but will have a positive effect on your weightloss goals.

IMG_0350.JPGThe ‘English Riviera’ is a
perfect spot to catch some Vitamin D when the sun is shining and enjoy an afternoon at the beach. Here are a couple of our beach-side tips to ensure a healthy break by the sea.


1. Skincare
Ensuring you always wear suncream is an essential part of keeping your skin healthy and avoiding long term damage. We would recommend SPF30 but this can vary depending on skin type. Keeping yourself hydrated in the sun is not only important for your weightloss goals but dehydration can also cause serious damage to your skin. Finally, both of us said goodbye to our foundation for the weekend and let our skin breath- the salt in the sea can do wonders and we would highly recommend! Although skin does not seem a priority to weightloss, it adds to your overall image and self-confidence, as well as also being an indicator of your general health!

2. Exercise
Although we may all love an afternoon lazing about on the beach, this lack of activity can sometimes affect our weightloss goals. We have to admit we did our fair share of lying around but there are ways to ensure this isn’t detrimental. The latest craze with our friends is ultimate frisbee, an easy game for any group to play.

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A small stint of exercise for 30 mins a day, be it a game like this or going for a beachside run, can not only be relaxing but also ensure you are staying on target. Running on the
beach is much more challenging than any paved surface but rewarding, burning up to 30% more calories.
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3. Routine
Being away from the office, be it for a weekend break or a holiday, can often mean we lose  our daily routine by way of relaxing. Although we would recommend trying to get more sleep, maintaining a routine in some capacity can be helpful for keeping on track with balanced meals and a healthy lifestyle. We would recommend, even if you are getting out of bed later, to try and keep to some sort of schedule and ensuring you are still getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

4. BBQs
In reference to our recipe this week, grilling on a BBQ can be a healthier and a much more enjoyable alternative in the summer, particularly to frying. Although at first look, a BBQ may not seem healthy, we have put together a few tips and tricks to ensure you can enjoy the sociable and al fresco aspect  whilst striving to achieve your weightloss goals!IMG_0133

  • Meat – Fresh meat and fish is always the best, and we would recommend monopolising on your location, looking out for good local markets or fishing ports, particularly on the coast. The leaner the meat the better and avoiding fattier parts of any animal is advisable.Moreover, ensuring the use of herbs and spices, when marinating the meat, can mean a stronger taste and therefore it is much less likely you will overeat!
  • Veg – Grilling Veggie Kebabs is a great addition or alternative to any BBQ- we used peppers, mushrooms,courgettes and red onion! Making some healthy salads to go with your BBQ can also mean less meat being consumed, as a side of salad will fill you up! See our recipes and social media accounts for salad inspiration.
  • Bun Free- Avoiding bread with your BBQ can be a healthier alternative, to cut down on calories. If this isn’t possible, we would recommend a wholemeal and seeded bun!
  • Ketchup- For those who can’t resist, a perfect way to ensure a healthier ketchup is to make it yourself! We fried some marinated onions and chopped tomatoes and then blended it together with a dash of oil.

5. Sipping Pretty
If you’re soaking up the sun all day, it’s very easy to become dehydrated. Not only can this be dangerous to your health in the heat, staying hydrated is very important when aiding weight loss. We made sure to always have big 1.5l water bottles on us at all time, meaning that we were able to quench our thirst whenever we needed. By drinking at least 2l of water a day, the rate at which you burn calories is increased. It’s also very easy to confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger. So before you get tempted to reach for an ice-cream, drinking some water and waiting 10 minutes can ensure you’re not snacking unnecessarily!

6. Alcohol
Long lazy afternoons, BBQs and sun all go hand in hand with summer classics like Pimms. While there’s no harm in treating yourself once in a while, it’s worth bearing in mind that a 300ml glass of Pimms can have up to 180 calories! Moreover, by starting drinking early in the day, it’s easy to clock up several glasses in a single afternoon, leading to lots of empty calories. When following Jane Plan, we advise that you cut out alcohol completely. That said, one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is balance and there’s no harm in treating yourselves once in a while.

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Swap Lemonade and Pimms for Sparkling Water

If you’re going away for a week or so, we’d suggest you pick a particular evening where you’re allowed to have a drink. By saving yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy that cocktail or glass of wine a great deal more; plus you’ll avoid piling on the pounds as the week goes on! While we were away, Caitlin and I were able to avoid drinking our calories by filling up jugs of sparkling water with fresh mint and strawberries.
This is a great swap for calorie-laden cocktails, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out!

7. Snacks
Come mid-afternoon, it’s easy to be tempted by a trip to the ice cream van to cool off. However, with 280 calories in a Magnum Classic and nearly 18g of fat, this can set you back a long way when trying to lose weight. Luckily, there’s a range of simple swaps you can make, meaning it’s still easy to enjoy the sun without feeling guilty! For example, frozen grapes are a delicious bitesize snack that are low in calories and great for cooling off. Moreover, a portion of 80g has only 54 calories and are full of antioxidants, making them an ideal summer snack. Watermelon is also a brilliant alternative. With high levels of vitamins A, B6 and C and high water content, it’s a refreshing and healthy option. You could even try popping a lolly-stick inside a slice and freezing to make your own ice-lollies!IMG_0231.JPGWe hope these tips prove useful and you can find ways to incorporate these handy hints into your lifestyles as much as possible. Whether in sunnier climes or staying at home this summer, eating healthy even in the heat is easier than you think!

Caitlin, Libby and all the Jane Plan team xx

 

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The Best Bikini For Your Body

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Bikini season is upon us and this year I am facing it with a new approach, instead of the age old question of how do I get my body to look good in this bikini? I am turning this on its head and asking does this bikini make my body look good?

All body types are different so there is no way that we are all going to look fabulous in the same style or cut of bikini. I have identified the main body shapes below alongside some helpful advice to help you to be able to find the best bikini to suit your body.

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Curvy

Description: This is the ladies who have a fuller bust, thighs and bottom.

Bikini Advice:  Use this summer to embrace your curves by using colour blocking or high waisted bottoms to really highlight and show off your curves.

Pear Shape

Description: Hips wider than your shoulders?  Then this makes you a pear shape.

Bikini Advice: When shopping for bikinis your focus should be balance. The aim is to draw attention away from the bottom half and towards the top half to balance the body out. In bikini terms this means two tone, go bold with a patterned on the top but ensure to stay plain on the bottom.

Inverted Triangle

Description: This translates as top heavy; your bottom half is smaller than your top half with little definition between the waist and hips but with wider shoulders.

Bikini Advice: When looking for a bikini, go for a structured top and look to draw attention to your bottom half so opt for colour on the bottom and stick to plain on the top.

Athletic

Description: A simple straight up, straight down.

 Bikini Advice: If you fit into this category then you want to create the illusion of curves. The best piece of advice for this body type is go wild with frills, prints and ruffles! Or if you are feeling brave why not even try a tie-side bikini bottom to really create those curves.

Now, let the bikini shopping commence and remember ladies, this summer make confidence your ultimate beach accessory!

Time for a Berrylicious Summer!

Hello everyone,

Despite the dreary UK weather, June is here and summer is upon us!

Here at Jane Plan, the excitement of summer began the arrival of our weekly fruit basket. Usually we just receive the standard – apples, bananas and grapes, but this week we had our own little ray of sunshine in the form of berries.  Berries are one of the healthiest foods there are and they satisfy the craving for a sweet treat so having them in the fridge or fruit bowl helps to reduce the temptation of any naughty nibbling!

Berries are full of antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage and can help to reduce the risk of contracting a wide range of diseases, with this in mind why not check out some of the berries we have been loving and try them out for yourself!

Here are two of our new current summer favourites:

Strasberries

strasberries

As the name suggests these berries are half way between a strawberry and a raspberry. Grown specifically for their yummy taste, these little berries combine the ultimate summer tastes so therefore are perfect as a snack or thrown into porridge or as part of a smoothie.

Pineberries

pineberries

 These little berries are the original strawberry hybrids, they look like a strawberry but taste like a pineapple. Their unique appearance and tropical flavour is a whole new taste sensation which also counts as one of your five a day!  This delicious summer fruit really pushes your berry boundaries and revamps your summer fruit bowl.

It is safe to say these berries went down a treat with the Jane Plan team and gave us all that feel good summer feeling, so go ahead,  try it for yourself and kick start your berrylicious summer!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx

 

How I Beat The Bloat

realistic tummy photo.jpg

Hello everyone,

With the prospect of joyous summer holidays just around the corner, it’s a great time to consider how to look and feel our best, even if our travels only take us as far as our back garden. Unwanted weight around the waistline can make the thought of the hot weather seem daunting, so I’ve given some thought to how to enter this summer feeling a little trimmer. Although it can be easy to get ahead of ourselves and start daydreaming of shedding all the unwanted fat on our stomachs, it’s important to remember that you can’t target weight loss from a specific area on your body; it’s natural for women to put on weight on their hips and lower body. However, a conscious decision to make healthy lifestyle changes is the best way to go about shedding from those key areas.

Identify Food Intolerances

A great first step is identifying any food intolerances you may be unaware of, as these can contribute to inflammation and insulin resistance. They can also have wider health implications, such as raising stress hormones, so don’t ignore the signs if you suspect a gluten or dairy intolerance. This is also true of alcohol, our favourite way to hinder our diet; eliminating it from the offset of a diet will shrink your calorie intake and eliminate the bloat that follows one too many glasses of Pimm’s.

Go back to the basics

The essential mentality to remember when perusing any weight loss goal is to maintain consistency. It’s best to start with the basics: replacing processed, high sugar foods with lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and heart-healthy fats. This lifestyle change will transform your diet from one which caused weight gain and a lack of energy and nutrients, to a diet that will truly aid your weight loss, and improve your overall health.

Cut down on sugar

Limiting fructose, the sugar that mainly occurs in fruit, will prevent the liver turning fructose into fat as a result of being overloaded. Fructose will indicate to your brain that you’re not satisfied, which will probably lead to overeating and large portions. Cutting down on fructose will leave you feeling fuller for longer, and will contribute to a less fattening diet!

Get exercising

Along with the sunshine may come the inclination to get outside and be more active: cue high intensity interval training, the most effective form of cardio. This involves short spurts of intense exercise followed by less intense recovery periods, a method which has been shown to burn fat faster. Interval training also has positive effects of your metabolic rate, giving your metabolism a boost for up to 2 days after the workout, meaning your body is working extra hard at burning fat for that time.

I hope you find these tips useful in time for Summer!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx

Why you shouldn’t skip meals or snack at night

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This week a Jane Planner emailed us asking whether she’s ‘allowed to eat carbs after 4pm’. Whilst it seems like a slightly unusual question I can only imagine where it’s coming from. The media seems more and more focused on not just what we eat, but when. Some say eating 6 meals a day is better than 3 large ones, others say that  dinner should be the smallest meal of the day and breakfast the largest. Sadly there’s a lot of conflicting information about when you should eat, and how many meals you should be having each day, so I thought I’d try to cut through the confusion and answer some common questions about timing your meals.

  • Will I lose weight by skipping meals?

It’s so tempting to think that skipping lunch three days a week will cheat your way to reducing your calorie intake, but you shouldn’t skip meals! It might sound contradictory, but skipping meals may actually be connected to abdominal weight gain, because fasting can make your liver insulin resistant. This may mean that your body doesn’t stop producing glucose, and if you aren’t using up this extra glucose as energy, the bad news is it turns into fat, resulting in weight gain.

  • How many meals should I have a day?

Eating every 3-4 hours helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and can control sugar cravings and hunger, so you’re less lilely to snack or overeat.

  • Is there anything wrong with night-time snacking?

Nutritionists still debate night-time grazing, but it’s best to avoid snacking at night. Food gives you energy and eating just before going to bed can disrupt your sleep and lead to digestion problems.

  • When is the latest I should eat?

As a rough guide, I would try to finish eating by 8pm. It you’re fond of having a snack after dinner, be prepared with some healthy snacks that aren’t too high in sugar.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx

 

The one thing to make a real difference to weight loss is…

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Hi everyone,

This week I saw a great article in the Guardian Newspaper: Our gigantic problem with portions: why are we all eating too much? It echoed with what I’ve been saying for years – that portion sizes have increased quite dramatically even in my lifetime, and they can be far too big!

This is happening at home, as well as in supermarkets and restaurants. In the kitchen, we now tend to use larger plates and wine glasses; in the 1950s the normal diameter for a dinner plate was 25cm, now it’s 28cm! Psychologists believe that you’re more likely to eat a larger portion if you serve it on a large plate, the same applies to drinking more from larger glasses as well. We’re also being sold larger portions in supermarkets and restaurants; a study by the Food Standards Agency found that ready-meal portions have grown significantly in the last few years; a shop-bought beef lasagne averaged around 250g in 1999 but by 2008 had grown to 500g.

All this portion distortion means that you can be eating a healthy diet, but are still consuming too many calories. And the rules of weight gain are simple: if you’re taking in more energy (i.e. calories!) than you’re expending, then you’re going to put on weight. This is why when I’m asked what the one thing you can do to make a real difference to weight loss is, I always recommend cutting portion sizes by about a third.

Now this is easier said than done! Not only are we are being sold bigger portions, but a lifetime of eating bigger portions means that our perception of what a recommended portion looks like has become distorted as well. To help, here’s a list of what the correct portion size looks like:

One portion of: Equals the size of:
Rice or pasta, uncooked Tennis ball
Lean meat A deck of cards or an iphone
Fish Cheque book
Hard cheese Small matchbox
Vegetables 1 handful (about 80g)
Salad Cereal bowl
Fruit 1 handful (about 80g)
Butter or olive oil Tip of your thumb
Potato A small computer mouse

So try to bear these in mind when you’re cooking or eating out this weekend!

Jane xx

Add Asparagus Into Your Diet!

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Hello everyone,

I’ve already done a blog in praise of seasonal greens, but I thought I’d pick out my favourite veggie as it comes into season – asparagus!

Asparagus packs a nutritional punch, not only is it a great source of fibre, it also has high levels of calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. Plus it contains more folate than any other veggie. Wondering what that is? Well folate is essential in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Those neurotransmitters are responsible for maintaining and improving your mood, so they’re pretty important!

Asparagus can be pricey, but it’s unbeatable flavour makes it worth it at this time of year! Whilst imports are available all year round, British asparagus isn’t in season for very long, it’s best between April and July. So snap it up whilst you have the chance!

If you’re looking to add some asparagus into your diet, I’ve got a few recipe ideas for you!

1) Asparagus, Poached Eggs and Parmesan

Calories: 313 per serving

This is a lovely way to start the day, and will keep you full all morning! At 313 calories I do recommend that you have a lighter lunch if you’re watching the calories. Plus eggs are really nutritious as well!

Ingredients:

  • 600g asparagus
  • 8 medium free-range eggs
  • 120g Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Snap off any woody ends from the asparagus stalks at the point where they break easily and discard. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the asparagus, return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender
  2. Pour about 2.5cm boiling water into a small saucepan. Return to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-high, crack the eggs open then carefully tip them into the pan, keeping them well apart. Cook for 3-5 minutes until done to your liking. (Alternatively, use an egg poacher according to the manufacturer’s instructions.)
  3. Drain the asparagus in a colander and divide among four warmed plates. Top each plate with 2 eggs and scatter with the cheese. Season and serve.

2. Asparagus

This dish is so easy and quick to make, it can been done in 2 minutes! Perfect for lunch at the office.

Ingredients:

  • 8 asparagus spears
  • Lemon juice
  • Chopped olives
  • 5 tomatoes
  • Pine nuts

Method:

  1. Place the asparagus spears on a plate and drizzle with lemon juice. Then sprinkle with chopped tomatoes, chopped olives, and top with pine nuts.

 

I hope these recipes will help inspire you!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx