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Cut The Crap...Focus On What Works

This week, I have questions. And I demand ANSWERS! I hear all these supposedly "healthy lifestyle" recommendations and I get it, I'm sure I'll feel great doing them, it'll change my life, I'll live forever....blah blah blahhhh....

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But that's not enough. I need to know what actually happens when you start these new habits. So I've picked 5 classic recommendations that fly around and I've been experimenting with what happens when you start up these bad boys and asking "Do They Actually Work or Are They BullS**t?"


As you can tell, a very professional analysis to come.




Number 1: What Happens When.....You Start Strength Training


What's The Claim: Strength training enhances your quality of life and improves your ability to do everyday activities. You'll also notice fat loss, better cardiovascular health, bone health, better mood and of course, bigger muscles.


How To Do It: Did you know it's actually recommended that all adults do strength training at least twice a week according to the NHS. Accordingly to the NHS website anything from carrying shopping to full blown weight lifting sessions count.


What Happened: Ok so full disclosure, I've been strength training for around 8 years now so I'm a bit biased BUT what I can tell you is that I 100% notice a difference in my overall health, fat percentage and especially aches and pains. I used to have incredibly painful knees and avoided putting any kind of weight on them. But when I started strengthening my legs, especially hamstrings and glutes, it just disappeared. Mood wise, there's nothing more satisfying than a strength session. It just makes me happy. But it's not just me...talking to others who strength train, they would never go back. It's helped them lose weight, feel happier, reduce pain and support their general health.


Does It Actually Work or Is It BullS**t?: As discussed, I'm biased, but this 100% works. Not even a shred of doubt.


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Number 2: What Happens When... You Cut Down Alcohol


What's The Claim: Cutting down alcohol or giving it up completely can, in the short term, lower blood sugar, reduce things like headaches and fatigue and it can also aid weight loss. Long term, our liver function can improve and reduce naughty cholesterol.


How To Do It: We have all heard of units, men & women are meant to limit to under 14 units spread over 3 days according to NHS. But to be honest, I have no idea how many units are in anything, but this calculator is actually really handy if you wanna add it up!


What Happened: A good way to start cutting down is to switch out alcohol for low or no alcohol options, which I was surprised by how many good alternatives there were! If you love a beer, great no alcohol options are Big Drop, Corona 0% and Free Dam Beers. Gins, well this was harder, the ones I tried just tasted like syrup so I just stuck to tonic, but they tasted nice. Wine...well this was not so good. The 0% red wine was not great, Nozecco was yummy but it was more like a tasty juice. I'd buy it again, but I could easily just buy a nice cordial and mix instead.


Does It Actually Work or Is It BullS**t?: I can definitely say that mood wise and sleep wise I noticed a HUGE difference. Weight wise....not crrraazzzzy for me but for my husband who did it too, he lost 3kg so..... It was worth it as I definitely made better choices and was able to actually do stuff at a weekend inside of lying down hoping the hangover goes away.



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Number 3: What Happens When... You Go On A Low Calorie Diet


What's The Claim: Most specifically, the 1200 calorie diet for this one. The obvious pull towards this is FAST weight loss but it can also reduce bad cholesterol and blood sugar.


How To Do It: Limit your diet to only 1200 calories and exercise so you're in a huge deficit to lose weight fast. Track your food and choose low cal options.


What Happened: Well, this was horrible. I was starving, I felt tired, sick and ended up binging in the evening on 4 out 7 days. I had to calorie count to the letter which took time and I had to turn down ALOT of food I really like. I was prettttyyy hangry too. I didn't have enough energy to do my workouts which seemed a bit silly. Maybe I'm just not cut out for it, as it works for others, but it seems it's not easy to stick to in the long term. You'll lose weight without a doubt, but it's not a sustainable amount to live off.


Does It Actually Work or Is It BullS**t?: In my opinion, bullc**p. It was a random number of calories, not specific to me, I definitely didn't manage to stick to it and my exercise routine just fell straight off. I couldn't keep it up so if I had lost anything, it'd pile straight back on.



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Number 4: What Happens When... You Hit 10,000 Steps A Day


What's The Claim: "Studies using the 10,000 steps per day goal have shown weight loss, improved glucose tolerance, and reduced blood pressure from increased physical activity toward achieving this goal" Source 10000steps.org


How To Do It: Use a step counter to track your daily steps, replace journeys with walking, go out for walks or regular breaks in the day to get up from your desk and move around.


What happened: This was a hard one to experiment with for myself as I SWEAR by walking everywhere, so I'm going to use someone who went from 900steps a day to 8000 steps a day. The difference was huge. A boost in mood and energy, increase in weight loss (8000steps burns between 250-430 calories) and better sleep! It was a great way to finish a work day to go for a 30min walk and clear their head.


Does It Actually Work or Is It BullS**t?: If I could make people do anything from this list, it would be steps. It's just so good for you, mentally and physically. We are designed to walk. Grab those shoes and get going, no excuses.



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Number 5: What Happens When... You Cut Out Carbs


What's The Claim: Biggest claim is you'll lose weight, most specifically water weight, reduces your appetite, less bloating and reduced blood sugar levels.


How To Do It: Cut out carbs, most of these diets name things like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and beans.


What happened: *Sigh* Well, this was a toughie. The first thing I noticed was how tired and weak I was. I did notice my "bloat" disappeared after while but god I felt rubbish. There was also a slow down in digestion, to put it nicely. I just had no energy at all. I wasn't "hungry" but I definitely reached for more sugary things to perk me up.


Does It Actually Work or Is It BullS**t?: Right, this is a big controversial topic because I know people swear by no carbs, but personally I found a lot wrong with it. What about the complex carbs like whole grains, pulses and sweet potatoes that help to regulate blood sugar? I get why you lose weight because carbs are 30-50% of your food a day so yeah cut that out and you will! But I don't think its sustainable and I missed pasta. So for me, I think a well balanced diet with complex carbs is the better choice for sustainability and general health.


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If anyone has any other health trends they want to know about...let me know! I'm happy to be a guinea pig for the greater good.


My main takeaway from this was really....be active, eat balanced. Let's not make it more complicated than that.


Laura x








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