Friday, 25 March 2011

Top tips

I love it when I get feedback on the NITC blog as it means I can make it more helpful for all of you. So in response to your feedback I'm going to start including some more tips and tricks - little changes to your diet and lifestyle that can make a big difference.

The first one is something I suggest a lot to my clients who need to give up coffee. They often visibly wince at my suggestion that they should cut down, let alone give up, their coffee habit. So instead of getting them to cut down I give them this rule to follow - every time you feel like a cup of tea or coffee, drink a full mug of water first and wait 15 minutes. If you still feel like a tea or coffee after this time then you can have it.

Nine times out of ten the client comes back having dramatically cut down on their caffeine intake and expressing surprise at how easy it was.

For anyone interested in the science behind this, a lot of fatigue, particularly mental, is due to dehydration. So by drinking water you may simply alleviate fatigue by rehydrating yourself.

How about if you're feeling all virtuous having already become caffeine free .. Well this trick is also very useful in counteracting unnecessary snacking or grazing. I'm certainly guilty of snacking when I'm bored, or not recognising when my feeling peckish is actually my body wanting water. Thirst can often manifest as hunger as most healthy food has a high water content (up to 60 per cent in fruit and veg), so eating healthy foods can help alleviate dehydration. This can make it hard to tell if you're hungry or thirsy.

So if you feel a bit peckish, rather than having a proper stomach hunger, drink a cup of water and wait 15 minutes - if it's genuine hunger you'll still feel hungry, and if you don't then you just needed water - you may be surprised how often it's the latter.

This trick also works to stop over-eating - we've all been there - you're at a bbq or buffet and the food is so scrummy you end up having seconds and thirds. Once you start eating past your appetite you won't have any signals to stop (well until you feel sick and bloated but by then you've eaten way too much). If you realise you're over-eating, have a large glass of water and wait 15 minutes, after which point you're very unlikely to feel like eating more.

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