Tuesday, 8 June 2021

4 Ways You Can Conquer Obesity This Year

 Gaining weight can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you lead a busy life, it's very possible that you'll grab the quickest meal available so that you can get back to work. Fast foods, on the other hand, are generally high in calories and low in nutrition, and if you live a sedentary lifestyle, you're bound to gain weight. Then came COVID-19, which forced everyone on the earth to stay at home, which may or may not have helped your weight problem. Whatever your motivation, if you've decided to make a positive change in your life, congratulations! You've already taken the most difficult step.

Consider keeping a food diary

It's easy to lose track of what you're putting into your body, and things that seem healthy on the surface may not be as healthy as they appear. For two weeks, keep a food journal, noting the calories consumed beside each meal. Remember to include snacks and non-water drinks in your calorie totals at the end of each day and week. You'd be shocked how many calories a little chocolate bar can load into your daily quota! Once you’ve seen where your shortcomings are you can make positive changes to your meal plans.

Exercise your problem areas

One of your motivations for losing weight could be to feel more confident in your own skin, and there's nothing wrong with that! Everyone has problem areas they want to fix, whether it's flabby arms, bulging tummies, or big legs. When you work out, focusing on your problem areas will help you notice improvements much faster. You could try new and alternative workouts such as the Aussie pull up to focus on your arms, or find a new stomach fat busting technique to keep your exercise exciting. What happens when you see the results? You're even more inspired to stick to your new healthy lifestyle!

Meet your water quota

Water is crucial to health, and the average person should drink 2 litres of water each day (more if you exercise) to stay hydrated. Even if it's only once a day, replacing fizzy drinks, coffee, and other unhealthy drinks with water will make a huge difference in your weight reduction, fitness, sleep, and even skin. To help you stay on track, you can download free applications that remind you to drink a glass of water, or you can use water bottles with prompts to help you consume more water.

Turn regular activities into exercise

Finding time to exercise can be challenging, especially if you have a career, children, and a home to run, so try to include exercise into your normal routines! If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk while working, try out some of these desk exercises. Alternatively, look into buying a standing desk, or a standing desk adapter. Other chores, such as cleaning your home or straightening up your garden, can be turned into exercise by dancing to music, moving considerably quicker than usual, or even adding weights to your arms and legs.

With these tips, mindful eating and motivation levels high, you can conquer obesity this year!

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Date Night: Creating An Extra Special Evening For Your Other Half


     2020 and 2021 have been fairly unexciting years for many people. With the world recovering from Covid-19, going out and enjoying yourself has been very difficult for the last year or so, and this has left a lot of couples feeling the spark leaving their relationship. Of course, though, there is no reason that being stuck at home has to stop you from enjoying a date night together; you just need to make the effort to make it happen. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key steps that can be taken to create an extra special evening for your other half.

The Entertainment

     Having been stuck at home for so long, most people have just about exhausted the entertainment that television and movies can offer over the last year. Thankfully, though, there are loads of other forms of entertainment available, giving you the chance to spice this up. Playing a game together, listening to music, or going for a walk are all great ways to make your date more interesting, but you will benefit from doing some research to find options that will appeal to the person you love.

The Food

     Food is always one of the most exciting parts of a date, with the special occasion giving you an excuse to enjoy something that you usually wouldn’t have the time or budget for. There are loads of recipes available online for those that want to cook, though you could also choose an option like being able to order restaurant-quality seafood to your home. Catering like this will make it easier to focus your attention on your other half.

The Mood

    Setting the mood for a great date night can be a challenge when you live a busy and stressful lifestyle. A lot of couples find themselves arguing and getting upset when they try to do something nice together, and it’s worth working hard to avoid this on your date night. Forcing yourself to adopt a happy mood is a great way to achieve this, as this will quickly rub off on your partner and they will find themselves smiling no matter what.

A Special Touch

     Date nights offer a chance to show your partner how much you care about them, but you need to work hard to achieve the best results with this. Coming up with an extra special touch for your date will be a good way to do this, with gifts being a good go-to if you can’t think of anything else. Finding a meal that was important to your partner when they were a child, hiring a musician that they like to play, or using the chance to refurbish your engagement/wedding rings can all be great ways to make your date very special.

     Giving your partner the night of their dreams is something that many people want to achieve. Date nights offer a good opportunity to do this, especially in the wake of the restrictions you’ve both had to face over the last couple of years.

Monday, 1 March 2021

5 Steps To Take To Boost Your Mental Health

    Recently, mental health awareness has grown in leaps in bounds. People are more sensitive to mental health and illness and are willing to engage in talks to promote their solution. It would help to be careful about your mental health by learning how to care for and improve your mental health.
    Sound mental health - the engine that drives your body's functionality- is vital for your daily sanity and organization. Therefore, you need to take stringent measures to ensure your mental health is always in tip-top form. Though it might be hard to achieve this condition due to the daily challenges and stresses of life, you can take various precaution measures that will help you balance your life and maintain a stress-free life.
Understand Yourself
    Many people are ignorant of knowing who they are: it is shocking to learn that even most adults cannot describe themselves. You need to learn and examine yourself to know your strengths and weaknesses.
    Spending time alone will most likely help you to learn more about yourself and your "inner voice". It is an excellent time to look yourself in the mirror and ask some tough questions that will help you discover yourself. Once you know your triggers and the place where you can find your peace, it will be easier for you to identify and deal with any issue that arises.
Acknowledge Your Struggles
    You should be honest with yourself and pick out factors that trigger your mental stresses. If you cannot find the courage to seek these triggers, you can see a therapist who will help you bring these issues to the surface. Talking about these issues will help you tackle them and get them off your back.
Speak Out
    You can also find a confidant or a therapist who will help you get your daily stresses off your mind and chest. When choosing your confidant, who can double up as your partner, ensure you choose one with good listening skills.
    Please do not hold on to issues that are weighing you down. Try to solve the issues or forget about them. Though it may be hard to let go, it is necessary to take this step for the good of your mental health.
Refresh Your Mind
    You need to ensure you find a way of refreshing your mind. People often use workouts, yoga, hikes, nature walks, and training to relax after work. It takes your mind off your stresses and teaches you how to be calm and patient within the storm.
    You can also try taking personal trainer courses that will help you to impact your workouts and relaxing moments positively. By learning these trainer courses, you will be able also to form and head smaller workout groups in which you can share and improve each other’s lifestyle.
Find Your Calm Place
    For you to survive the numerous daily hustles, you need to identify your 'calm place'. It is a place where you can recollect yourself by dealing with your current stressful situation or deciding to let go. It can be an activity, a person, a game, or a simple conversation that resets your moods and feelings back to normal.
    In conclusion, you should strive to know how to care for your mental health. It is an essential life skill that will help you maintain sanity and calmness in your life.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

What Really Helps With Hay Fever?

Please note that this post is a paid advertisement for allergy awareness.
Please also keep in mind that I never post anything that I don't personally support or believe in.

How hay fever comes about (and what to do about it)

This post addresses the following points:

  • Cold vs hay fever: What symptoms point towards hay fever?

  • How does hay fever come about (and what does our body want to tell us with the symptoms)?

  • How can hay fever be influenced by our diet?

  • What really helps against hay fever?

Cold vs Hay Fever: which symptoms suggest hay fever?

   Many hay fever symptoms are similar to those of a flu-like infection (e.g. sneezing, runny nose, cough, difficulties with breathing, scratchy throat, watery eyes, tiredness). This means that hay fever is initially often taken for a cold.

How does hay fever come about?

   You can think of hay fever as a mix-up and internal miscommunication. In other words, your body's immune system falsely classifies pollen as a threat that antibodies need to fight. Because of this mix-up, the body releases histamine, which then triggers the symptoms that can lead to major discomfort. The result is watery eyes, frequent sneezing, increased mucus formation, redness and itching.

What does our body want to tell us?

   The often annoying symptoms are in fact a sensible reaction of the body: The mucus formation flushes pathogens out of the body, and redness is a sign of better blood flow to the affected parts. This in turn means that immune cells can be transported more efficiently and faster. The itching draws more attention to the affected area so that possible inflammation cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, our body does not know that hay fever is not a real threat, but rather a mix-up.

How is hay fever diagnosed?

   If this is your first time suffering from hay fever symptoms, it is recommended to see a doctor. You will probably be asked a few questions first:

  • How long have the symptoms been going on for?

  • How do you experience the symptoms?

  • When and under what circumstances do the symptoms occur (will the symptoms get worse outdoors? Better after rain?)

  • Is there a family history with allergies?

   If the doctor suspects an allergy, a “prick test” usually follows. Allergen-containing solutions are dripped onto one of your arms, which can then get into your body by lightly pricking the skin. In case of hypersensitivity, an allergic reaction (reddening) occurs within approximately 20 minutes.

   An alternative to the prick test is an allergy blood test. Certain substances in your body, so-called immunoglobulins, are activated by an allergic reaction. These are proteins that are actually responsible for fighting parasites inside the body. Doctors recognize these immunoglobulins E by an increased IgE value. You can also find home allergy testing kits from reliable suppliers, especially helpful during the pandemic when you should be limiting outside contact.

When is hay fever season?

   Generally from February (hazel) to September (various grasses, ribwort, mugwort), depending on which pollen triggers your allergy. Apps such as the pollen forecast app offer a good overview of the current pollen count at the respective location. You can download it for free from the app store. If you want, you can even receive warnings as soon as the pollen you have defined appears at your location.

What really helps against hay fever?

There are basically 4 different ways to combat hay fever:

  1. Avoid contact with the pollen

  2. Treat symptoms (with medication or home remedies)

  3. Desensitization (hay fever vaccination)

  4. Diet change

Here you find a brief introduction to the individual options:

Option 1: Avoid contact with the pollen

   While it is not always possible to completely avoid contact with the allergenic pollen, there are a number of things that can help minimize contact.

   For example, you should make sure that you ventilate sensibly. Between 6 and 8 a.m. the pollen count is lowest in the city, in the countryside between 8 p.m. and midnight. The rest of the time you should keep the windows closed as much as possible. Alternatively, you can use protective grilles for the windows. These ensure that pollen does not even get into your apartment. The disadvantage: The fleece material doesn't let pollen through, but that also means less light and above all hardly any air!

   Once the pollen is in the apartment, regular cleaning helps against pollen flying around. Besides that, air purifiers help to greatly improve the indoor climate for allergy sufferers, especially at night.

Further tips to help avoid contact with pollen:

  • Pollen filter for the car

  • Special filters for the vacuum cleaner

  • Change clothes after entering the house and do not hang up outside to dry

  • Shower in the evening to remove pollen from the body or hair

  • Blow your nose using a nasal douche

Option 2: treat symptoms

    There are now countless medications and they all vary in effects. Below are brief introductions to the most common groups. For detailed information or questions, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Medicines that are taken as preventatives:

    There are nasal sprays and eye drops with the active ingredient cromoglizic acid, which are taken preventatively and prevent the release of histamine and other inflammatory substances. However, these take 1-2 weeks to work and should therefore ideally be taken before the first symptoms appear. They are therefore not suitable for hay fever newbies.

Medicines that relieve specific symptoms such as watery eyes locally:

    Nasal or eye drops with the active ingredient azelastine help to alleviate the symptoms after about 15-30 minutes.

Medicines for general allergy symptoms:

    Cetirizine and loratadine help as antihistamines against allergy symptoms by weakening the effect of the body's own histamine, which, as explained above, triggers the symptoms. Loratadin is recommended for working people and children in school because, unlike cetericine, it does not have a tiring effect.

If nothing else works:

    The active ingredient mizolastine requires a prescription but can be an alternative if nothing else helps against hay fever, because according to various testimonials it is particularly effective. However, you should discuss details with your doctor.

    In the case of severe discomfort, nasal sprays containing cortisone or, if necessary, (depot) cortisone injections can also be helpful. These lead to an immediate swelling of the mucous membranes and are also anti-inflammatory. However, it is recommended to not use the cortisone-containing nasal sprays for longer than 4 weeks at a time.

Also a salt inhaler can bring relief. The salt particles have 2 positive effects:

  1. They remove fluid from the tissue in the airways and make the mucus softer, which in turn soothes the mucous membranes.

  2. They prevent the growth of microorganisms and kill germs, which supports the immune system.

Option 3: Desensitization or “hay fever vaccination”

   During desensitization, the body is gradually accustomed to the allergenic substance by injecting the allergen under the skin in a very diluted form and slowly increasing doses over a longer period of time. As an alternative to "subcutaneous immunotherapy" (under the skin) there is "sublingual immunotherapy" (under the tongue: tablet / drops).

Option 4: change in diet

   The right diet can significantly reduce hay fever symptoms. The reason is obvious: hay fever produces histamine in the body, which leads to swelling of the mucous membranes. If you take in additional histamine through food, the symptoms get more severe! On the other hand, if you avoid it, the histamine level is lower overall and the symptoms are weaker. Incidentally, foods that contain the active ingredient quercetin are particularly helpful. This is because it works like a natural antihistamine and helps to lower the histamine level in the blood.

Avoid foods that contain histamine:
vinegar, yeast, sausage, canned fish, mature cheese (e.g. ripe Gouda), sauerkraut, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, avocado, legumes, mushrooms, strawberries, citrus fruits, bananas, kiwi, pears, papaya, nuts, chocolate, cocoa, soy products, juices and soda.

Eat foods that lower histamine levels:
capers, onions (especially the outer rings), blueberries, apples, broccoli. Of course, you have to pay attention to possible cross allergies. People who are allergic to tree pollen are sometimes allergic to apples, for example, because the allergens are similar.

How can you prevent hay fever?

   Hay fever cannot be prevented for good. However, experience shows that early and slow habituation to various potential irritants can have a preventive effect. The environment around children should therefore never be too sterile. Holidays on the farm can also help to strengthen the immune system of children. In addition, there is no harm in maintaining a healthy intestinal flora. Antibiotics, for example, quickly throw this out of balance, because both good and bad bacteria are destroyed. 



Below is a short summary of the 7 most important points about hay fever:

  1. Avoid allergens (a pollen count app helps)

  2. Open windows at the right time (city: morning, country: evening)

  3. Shower in the evening, wash your hair and hands regularly during the day

  4. A nasal rinse and air purifier for the bedroom ensure restful sleep

  5. Eat little food containing histamine, but a lot of histamine-lowering food

  6. Choose medication carefully and educate yourself on alternative options

  7. If the stress becomes too much: Talk to your doctor about desensitization

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Lockdown Workout Ideas

   With January being the traditional yearly workout boom and the impact of yet another lockdown in the UK, it means that many people who are starting new fitness goals need to think outside the box and look for other ways to work out as opposed to signing up for a gym membership.

   Not being able to hit the gym shouldn't put you off finding ways to workout and motivate yourself. Far from it, it means you have to be more inventive when it comes to finding workouts you enjoy and can do within the constraints of a national lockdown.


   Couch to 5K is a popular app that helps people get off the couch and move more. Aimed at getting you into running in a gentler, easier way, the C25K apps available for both Apple and Android phones can help you to move more without the pressure to be at the top of your game instantly.
   For this, you will need some suitable equipment to get you started. Headphones to listen to the app each day. Suitable running trainers and comfy clothing. Some people may find they need to use suitable eyewear especially for the low winter sun so investing in running sunglasses or even just getting replacement oakley lenses for your existing sunglasses to help you combat the glare from the sun when you are out.


   Head out to your local beauty spots for a walk. Download a playlist, podcast or even movies and tv shows to listen to on your walk, but using what is free and available in your local area will not only allow you to get out when everywhere else is closed but to also get some much-needed exercise, clear your head and regain fitness levels too. Make a list of everywhere you can reasonably explore while staying local and then make it your aim to visit as many as possible.

Online Exercise Programmes

   Joe Wicks is undoubtedly the UK's favourite PE teacher right now. and the good news is, you can join in even without children, or you can head to his Youtube channel to check out his many free workout videos to follow each day.
   If Joe isn't your cup of tea, then searching online for free workout programmes will throw up a plethora of options for you to choose from and allow you to get moving. From free dance classes, yoga, pilates and the more vigorous HIIT workouts, you will be spoilt for choice. All you need is some motivation to actually get going and you're on your way!

Open Water Swimming

   This activity has been booming since the closure of many local swimming pools. There are many health benefits of open water swimming and you will likely find many individuals and clubs in your coal area you can join to get you started. In the winter, it takes a brave soul to dip their toes into the cold waters of the UK coastline and waterways. However, once you have gotten over that initial shock you can take part in a swim treading water or simply enjoying the feeling of being out in the open water.