Coffee – friend or foe?


I was recently asked by a member if tea had less of a negative effect on our arteries than coffee and was soon after asked by a colleague if they should drink more coffee to improve their health! With the ever changing headlines about coffee, you’d be forgiven for not knowing if you should down 10 espressos a day or stick to herbal tea. So here I’m going to talk about what you need to know – is coffee your friend or foe?


Three Years On

Three CandlesTo begin, some maintainer’s statistics…

Weight that I decided to maintain at: 85.0kg (13st 5)
Average weight since getting to my target: 83.2kg (13st 1)
Average weight in the last month: 82.1kg (12st 13)
Away Eating days in the last month: 7
Average daily steps in the last month: 12,641

The last month included a holiday, and a very special one for me, because it was a walking holiday. We used to have walking holidays when we were a lot younger, but they have been impossible for the last thirty years, because of my increasing weight. So it was a real pleasure to do one again. OK, it was not the Pennine Way, but we walked a total of 80 miles (about a quarter of a million steps), in great weather and in gorgeous scenery.


The Low-down on Bacon

Bacon There’s just something about bacon isn’t there? It taste like nothing else and the smell of it cooking is one of the most irresistible smells on earth. I’ve even witnessed it turning two, not one, but two vegetarians into meat eaters – not ideal I’ll admit, but it just highlights the power of bacon! To celebrate International Bacon Day we’re taking a closer look at this tasty meat…

Where does bacon come from?

Hopefully we all know that bacon comes from pigs – but if you didn’t, then you’re welcome! There are various cuts of bacon which can come from most parts of a pig’s body including, but not limited to the back, shoulder and belly. What makes bacon different to say pork belly, is the fact that it’s cured. The desired cut of meat is typically cured with salt and other flavourings. It’s this process that gives bacon its unique and delicious flavour.


Summer Shape Up Challenge Round Up


In case you’ve not heard about the Nutracheck Challenges, I’ll explain.

I’m Emma, Nutracheck’s nutritionist. To help members with their weight loss, I regularly set up team challenges in the forum. The aim is to help you stay motivated by focusing on achieving the mini tasks I set you to do each week. These might be around food, or exercise, or motivation. Some challenges are short – just 2 weeks, others can run for 6 weeks.

The way it works is that you sign up in the forum and pledge how much weight you want to lose over the challenge. I then allocate you to a team, so you and your team mates can help keep each other motivated. Each week you report back on your mini task results and I tally up everyone’s weight loss from your accounts. The team that gains the most points through weight loss and mini task points throughout the challenge wins. Sometimes there are prizes! Everyone is welcome to take part – see below for details on the next challenge if you think this sounds like something you’d enjoy!

Summer Shape Up Challenge

The Summer Shape Up Challenge was an epic 6 week long challenge that tested members both physically and mentally! This challenge was very exercise focused so members were tasked with hitting at least 10,000 steps every day throughout and also completing an exercise circuit routine 5 times a week. As well as this I set a different mini task focused around motivation, willpower and food choices each week to keep everyone on their toes!

Fancy giving the weekly tasks a try? Check them out below:

Week 1. Every day this week, find your favourite motivational quote for the day and share it with your team mates.
Week 2. Have some fruit / veg with every meal / snack.
Week 3. Complete a task every day this week that you have been putting off.
Week 4. Swap one food item every day this week for a healthier alternative.
Week 5. Do some positive self talk every day this week.
Week 6. Try 4 new vegetables this week.

For extra details on each task click here.

Round Up

Over 100 members signed up to take part and the dedication from all was amazing. We had 10 teams with names based around sporting events!

Summer-shape-up-challenge-rFrom the offset Team Badminton stormed ahead on the weight loss front, losing a collective 29lbs in week 1. But it was Team Archery who took the top spot with weight loss and task points combined, thanks to a very impressive effort on the exercises and mini tasks. Team Archery – who nicknamed themselves ‘The Archers’ – had a great rapport from the start, and gave each other fantastic support to help everyone stay on track.

As the weeks went on Team Badminton refused to give up their top spot as weight loss champions, and by the end of the 6 week challenge they’d lost a combined 62lbs. Amazing! Unfortunately for Team Archery, mid way through the challenge some Divers came powering through and kicked them off the top spot. Team Diving stormed ahead with task points from week 4 onwards, and kept their cool to claim gold in week 6. Well done Divers!

Overall across the 6 weeks all 105 members lost a collective 29 stone – that’s the same as losing a Pony!


Sign Up For The Next One – Autumn Activity Challenge

If you like the sound of this and think you’d like to be part of a team in the next challenge then why not sign up today!

The Autumn Activity Challenge starts on the 3rd October and runs for 2 weeks. This challenge is a fast paced activity based challenge to give us all a boost as the days get shorter and cooler.

I’ll be setting a different task every day of this challenge to keep you all on your toes, as well as tracking weight loss success!

To sign up with a weight loss pledge for the 2 weeks: Click here

Hope to see you there!



The Power of 10% Weight Loss


Very often when people decide to lose weight, they set their sight on their final goal – but if you have a lot to lose, this can be a long way off and the journey feels quite daunting which is not great for keeping yourself motivated. So our advice is to set your weight loss goal in a series of mini steps – 10% is a good amount to aim for each time.  It also means that your success along the way is acknowledged positively.  It’s really important to celebrate all your success – every pound (or kilo), half stone, stone!  We tend to be quite dismissive of losing just a couple of pounds, but actually, volume wise, it looks like a lot!

What you may not know is how just how valuable losing 10% of your body weight is if you are overweight.  So for example if you weigh 15 stone – 10% would be a loss of  1.5 stones. It might not seem like much in the whole scheme of what you’d like to lose, but don’t underestimate the positive effect this has on your overall health.

10 health benefits of losing just 10% of your body weight:

1. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
2. Reduced insulin resistance
3. Reduced blood pressure
4. Increase in levels of good cholesterol in blood
5. Reduced triglyceride levels in blood
6. Improved sleep
7. Reduced inflammation in body
8. Improved mood
9. Improved movement capabilities
10. Increased immunity


Why 10 is the magic number for weight loss


This autumn, we’re focusing on the power of 10 to help you reach your weight loss goal.


10 weeks

If you’re keen to get back on track after the summer break and drop a few post-holiday pounds, join us for our 10 week challenge.

10 weeks to lose 10lbs (at least) – that’s a clothes size smaller.

Just keep in mind each day the number 10;  10 minutes for food tracking and 10,000 steps a day exercise.  A simple but powerful combination.


10 minutes each day

We asked Nutracheck members how long it takes to keep their food diary each day. The answer was 10 minutes or less. This is no time at all to take out of your day to help you achieve an important goal like losing weight.

It doesn’t matter whether you track what you eat as you go, or at the end of the day, or even in advance. The most important thing is that you get into a habit of spending a few minutes each day thinking about your food choices and being mindful of exactly what you have eaten.
Here’s a mini challenge. To kick start your weight loss this autumn, aim for an unbroken run of 10 days continuous food tracking. The result will speak for itself.


10,000 steps a day

Most of us have heard of the 10,000 steps a day target. Chances are that many of us don’t manage this in our daily routines. So your challenge is to focus on achieving this target every day over the 10 weeks.  We all have busy lives, so a good place to start is to consider your typical day and think creatively about ways to build in a few more steps.  To give you some ideas, read a blog by our Super Stepper – NC member Dippyem. You can also get some fun ideas from this Fitbit article.

Of course this assumes that you have an activity tracker to count your steps. If you don’t, we strongly recommend buying one – it’s such a powerful motivator to be more active. There are loads to choose from.

You can get an exclusive £10 discount off Fitbit when you buy through the website.


10% weight loss makes a difference

When you select your goal weight, you’ll notice that Nutracheck shows how much this is as a percentage weight loss. This is important for two reasons:

1) To help you set a realistic goal.

We recommend setting your weight loss target in steps of 10%. It is far more motivating to set mini goals and work to this and then reset the next, than to set a big target that can seem a long way off.

2) Losing just 10% of your body weight when overweight is enough to make notable improvements to your health.  Check out the list below.

10 health benefits of losing just 10% of your body weight:

1. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
2. Reduced insulin resistance
3. Reduced blood pressure
4. Increase in levels of good cholesterol in blood
5. Reduced triglyceride levels in blood
6. Improved sleep
7. Reduced inflammation in body
8. Improved mood
9. Improved movement capabilities
10. Increased immunity

Read more about these 10 valuable health benefits and what is going on in your body to cause the changes,