Mindset and Confidence, Nutrition

6 Most Frequently Asked Women’s Health & Fitness Questions Answered

I thought I would put together a blog post answering the most frequent questions I have been asked down through the years. I hope it helps you. If you have any other questions, just put them in the comments box below and I’ll get back to you.

Getting fit and healthy is simple, but tough to stay motivated, disciplined and consistent, if you don’t keep things simple or have the right tools and strategies to lose weight, get fit and stay there.  Quick fixes and diets don’t work. You think at the time do. You get into this really strong zone, that you think you’ll be able to stay in. ‘Why didn’t I give up carbs years ago, this is great!’ And then before you know it, you are piling on the pounds. If you want to lose weight and get fit, you need to focus on being healthy, not restrictive.

What Is The Best Way to Lose Fat?

You can lose weight of course by giving up carbs, going high fat and high protein, doing the keto, giving up meat, dramatically cutting calories. But the question is, how long do you want to lose weight for? Do you want to be in good shape all your life while only gaining a bit over holidays? If that’s the dream, then I’ve got the answer for you.

Eat from all food groups, give up nothing. Eat healthy during the week, eat 3 meals and 2 snacks. Keep alcohol and treats to the weekend nights. Workout for 30 minutes, 5 days per week and move your body during the day. If you’re stuck at a desk, make sure to get a walk in also. Do the right type of training, that will help you lose weight, particularly if you’re a woman over 35. Drink lots of water every day and you”ll soon be feeling amazing in your clothes, and feeling so fit and healthy with tons of energy.

What Should You Be Eating To Be Healthy?

All the major food groups, including good fats and protein. I’d stick to full fat and eat nothing that is low fat, or low in sugar. All those ‘half the fat, half the sugar’ things are a load of BS, you’re best off sticking to unprocessed, healthy food. Keep alcohol and treats to the weekend. Eat like the older generations did and have 3 meals and 2 small snacks in between. Aim to have your dinner early enough in the evening and make that the last time you eat in the day.

How Often Should You Work Out?

Before we moved online, back when Inspire was a gym, we had clients coming to us for 2-3 one hour sessions.

Since we moved online, we do 30 minutes, 5 days per week and the results have been ever better. Just 30 minutes a day of the right type of training will get you into the best shape of your life.  Doing the right type of training is key. If you’re a woman over 35, and you want the most enjoyable and effective training program, do interval training with a mix of core work and strength training. The results you get will be phenomenal. Smaller waistline, you’ll fit into your clothes well, you’ll have tons of energy and feel amazing too.

How does exercise help mental health?

Exercise helps mental health by reducing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing your endorphins. FACT. You’ll feel better about everything INSTANTLY, once your session is done. Imagine that? You could feel better RIGHT NOW if only you worked out. WOW. Do the right type of training to tick all the boxes and that gives you the most bang for your buck. Interval training with resistance with core work.

How can you get and stay motivated to exercise?

You don’t. You build it up like a habit. You stick to the same days and the same times and you make it a non-negotiable. You keep going. You treat it like medicine. You workout whether you’re in the mood or not. The real work is working on your mindset the whole time so that you keep working out.

What type of training do you need to do to lose weight?

I love this question so much because the answer is so easy, yet the weight loss industry complicate it so much! Broken down, you do resistance training to build lean muscle, which raises your metabolism and turns you into a calorie burning machine. You do interval training to burn fat and raise your metabolism also, and you do core work for a strong core and a flatter stomach.

I hope you found this helpful, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

You can download recipes, my 7 day workout series and my 30 day Fast-Track to #FEELGOOD Program in the free tools section of my website here

To your success,

Jessica Cooke

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Nutrition

What Diets Work, What Diets Don’t and Why

Any diets that make you cut out food groups don’t work. And remember if something isn’t long lasting, it hasn’t worked. So if you’ve dropped 3 stone, but gained it again quite quickly, thats a fail. And that’s a big problem with the big diets like Keto and Atkins. You do them, you lose loads of weight and it all goes right back on, with the little gift on a now slower metabolism.

I know it’s easy to say ‘well I’ll stick with it’, but that’s the trap you fall into, and it’s not healthy, you never do, and if it you did, it would be a life long obsession of staying away from carbs.

Intermittent fasting I am not a fan of either. It makes you focused on food again. Every day, every week, you’re adding, subtracting, and working things out. A bit like counting your Macros. I mean we’re not competing in body building competitions, why on earth do we all need to get so detailed?

Low fat oil that you spray on your pan… what’s that about? Are you going to get fat from a teaspoon of olive oil? Low fat butter, low fat milk… pointless… go with the full fat.

Giving up bread, not eating starchy carbs, what’s it all about? Losing weight?

Are all your food decisions based on weight loss?

What if you focused on being healthy? And eating 3 meals and 2 snacks? And moving more. And being a good role model to whoever is watching your actions. What if the poor body image stopped with you and you didn’t pass it on your kids or loved ones.

What if you ate your meals and enjoyed them?

There is a healthy life beyond counting calories, points and syns. You can get a good body image. You don’t have to jump on the scales. You don’t have to make your daughters or sons think it’s all about how you look.

Striving to be healthy is really, really cool because you get to live your life with passion. You get to workout, eat well, enjoy life and not worry about the small things that aren’t important.

When are you going to start loving your body?

When are you going to accept yourself as you are?

When you are healthy, you can look in the mirror and say ‘this is me’. When you’re healthy, you don’t strive for more health, you’re just healthy! When you’re always striving to look different, it never, ever stops. All it takes  is one comment or one bad photo to make you think you are fat. When you’ve got a good body image, you can say ‘Wow I don’t like that photo’ and it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t shake your belief in yourself, you just got a bad photo!

When you have a poor body image, you can feel any way about yourself at any given point. You can feel slim, and literally the next day feel fat. But that is not rationally possible to be both in such a short space of time. With a poor body image, you’re constantly changing how you feel about yourself.  And the horrible thing is, it’s all so fragile. All it takes is one throw away bad comment from someone, and BANG, you feel awful and it could take weeks to recover.

With a good body image, you know who you are and you’ve accepted yourself. You know deep in your heart who you are, and can look in the mirror and love yourself. You’re thankful for being alive and healthy. You know exactly where you stand with yourself. You know what you look like, you know the workouts you do, the food you eat, and you’re happy.

The lovely thing about that is that no one can take that away from you, only yourself.

I hope this helps. Please remember that life is short, and it’s really not that important how you look. Healthy is key, and yes, being clean and wearing nice clothes is great, but after that, can you learn to accept the beautiful body you have been given that is carrying you through this world?

Love,

Jessica Cooke X

P.S. You can grab lots of free stuff here

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sugar
Nutrition

Simple Tips For Dealing With Sugar Cravings

OK so straight up my goal is never to be skinny, it’s to feel good and fit well in my clothes. I love feeling fit and healthy! I love it so much, it’s my favourite feeling in the world. I love going for a run without being crazy out of breath, I love being able to do a sit up, and I love doing squats! I love the feeling it gives me so much.

It wasn’t always this way. I smoked for ten years and when I lived in Paris, I drank almost every night for 5 years. I’ve had a complete breakdown, gained and lost 3 stone twice, and had post natal depression, so I feel pretty able to talk about cravings and how to get rid of them.

I’ve coached women now for 12 years, the first first six years it was just myself, and then I built a team and called it ‘Inspire Fitness’, which is what we are now… and I love it! I love helping women feel good, get fit, healthy, and watching them progress, grow.. and falling in love with being healthy.

With the tough stuff I’ve been through in my life, I’ve realised that anything is pretty easy to conquer once you’ve mastered yourself and your emotions… and once you’re committed to change.

The hardest part is committing. Getting past that point of pre-contemplation/contemplation. You can stay at that point for years. At that point, everything is too tough/too hard/I can’t do it.

Once you get into decision/commit/action time, there’s no stopping you. Why? Because you’ve made the decision. You’ve spent a lot of time on your ‘why’, and you’ve spent enough time/too much time in the contemplation phase.

Getting rid of late night snacking, and eating sugar mid-week is life changing. It’s a game changer.

Eating sugar/junk food/crisps etc holds you back. It stops you getting any sort of results and you walk around feeling constantly bad about yourself. For me, it’s like carrying around a little black cloud around all day. You eat well, you workout and then BOOM, after dinner, you act like a difference person. What helped stop me drinking and smoking and eating sugar mid-week was this:

Sit with your emotions. I went through a very painful time when I stopped smoking/drinking and started working out. I cried after every session, and found it extremely difficult mentally to get through a session. I was so weak mentally to workout, if that makes sense. But I stuck with it and I came out the other end. You’ll come out the other end too. Stronger.

We all have bad days, every single one of us, when we sit on the couch and eat crap. But the rest of the time, you CAN sit there and not eat something. You CAN. Walk around telling yourself you can’t if you want, but you can. You have to develop a decisive voice in your head that can control your emotions. You have to learn to sit there and be at peace with yourself or you will be at this for the rest of your life.

You need to find happiness in a warm room with a good program on, or enjoy how a cup of tea feels after a long day. You need to take away the control food has over you, by being strong and getting in control yourself. Find joy in simple things.

You need to figure out what you want. Who are you now? Are you fit and healthy? Do you love working out? Do you love eating healthy food? Chances are you’ve changed since you last asked yourself this stuff. Then go and align your actions with who you are now.

We have thousands of thoughts that run through our brain every day. Know that you don’t have to listen to them all.  Most of them aren’t important, don’t take them so seriously.  If your brain is telling you to eat sugar, tell it to feck off and think of something else. There’s no need to give such importance to every single thought.

Tony Robbins teachings have changed my life. I’ve been to two of his seminars and it was life changing . I’ll finish this with one of his quotes:

“Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant.” Tony Robbins

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, please comment below if you’ve any questions or would like to get in touch.

Jessica Cooke

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Nutrition, Fitness Tips

Discover How To Stay In Shape, In Control and Feeling Good Over Christmas (and still take time off to do what you want!)

People on average gain 7lbs at Christmas. That’s absolutely fine if you’ve been feeling in control all year, and you are able to bounce back quick, but for so many women I know, this feels really stressful for them.

2019 may have been the year when you got into the best shape you’ve ever been in, or you may only recently have started to lose weight. You may have just gotten fit for the first time ever in a long time, so the thought of going back to where you were, fills you with dread.

I completely get this. When I had a bad relationship around food, I alway went back to square one at Christmas. And you know what the reason can be for this apart from the obvious?

That you’ve worked so much on the new you throughout the year. You’ve built in good habits around your routine, and slowly but surely you’re feeling in control. But the new you hasn’t experienced Christmas yet, so you’re only used to your old habits. You approach Christmas the way the old you did, and you don’t even really think about it.

You know what though? You can feel good over Christmas. You can enjoy all the lovely stuff, go out more, indulge more than you’re used to and still feel good in January. You mightn’t be exactly 100% the way you felt pre-Christmas, but you’ll be very close.

I know exactly what works, all you need are a couple of rules of engagement, a few simple rules that you can follow, and you’ll feel good, and more importantly, in control, over Christmas.

Here are my rules of engagement that work every single year:

  1. Take time off from working out:  25th, 26th, 27th and 28th. Get a walk in those days.
  2. Take time out from healthy food plan: 25th, 26th and 27th.
  3. Back fully on track with everything on the 28th.

4. Do Tabata interval training for 16 minutes, every day. I say every day because I love to exercise. It surprises me so much that people would drop this, as it’s the ONE thing that will leave you feeling more capable, in control and happy over Christmas. If you can’t bring yourself to do this, workout every second day.

Exercises like Lunges, Squats, Press-ups, Skipping are best for tabata style training. It’ll help blow the cobwebs away, and keep you feeling good. Nothing beats coming back into a warm house, cheeks rosy, after a workout in the cold, in the garden.

5. While doing tabata interval training, by virtue of the fact that you’ll be doing lunges/press-ups/squats, it means you’ll also be keeping your muscles! And by that I mean that you’ll be keeping up with your resistance training. And don’t forget it’s the resistance training that keeps your lean muscle mass, keeping your metabolism high.

5. Pick your one vice. Be it alcohol, or sugar or carby food, best not go hell for leather on all three. I like to pick one. So if you love sweet stuff over Christmas, don’t go over board with starchy carbohydrates. Pick your one favourite vice, and work at avoiding the rest.

6. Remember what it is that you want. I used to find myself eating chocolates because that’s what you do over Christmas right? Until I discovered that I actually feel happier when I don’t. Not everyone loves to binge out over Christmas on chocolate. If all of your friends/family do that, it doesn’t mean you have to be like them.

There are so many people out there who just don’t want to eat sugar over Christmas. This ties back into the new you thing I was talking about earlier. Maybe the old you loved that, but is it genuinely what you want these days? If it is, happy days, but think about it a bit more, before you automatically do it. Maybe you’ll find you don’t enjoy it as much as you used to.

Other small nutrition tips that can help: (only do this if you really want to stay as you are over Christmas)

  1. Avoid butter
  2.  Eat lots of protein and veg
  3. Take the skin off
  4. Avoid potatoes
  5. Avoid dessert
  6. Avoid carbohydrates after 5pm

I hope this helps, any questions please comment below.

Jessica X

P.S. I made a Christmas Survival Kit Cheatsheet for you, click on this link for instant access

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Healthy dinner recipe
Nutrition

Healthy Dinner Recipe: #FEELGOOD Chicken Teriyaki

When I was three stone overweight, I didn’t know any healthy recipes or how to cook.

I didn’t  know how to take care of myself properly. I’d be happy with a sandwich that I’d throw together after a long days work. Having recovered from a complete breakdown, I learned the single, most important thing is to take care of yourself.

Food plays such a huge role in your mental health and your dress size. If you don’t have at least five healthy recipes, that you can turn to after a long day, you’re going to find it difficult to lose weight and stay consistent.

I highly recommend you learn off at least five, or store them somewhere accessible on your phone. These can be your go-to healthy recipes. Every time you cook, make double and freeze the rest.

After a few weeks, you’ll notice your mood improve. You’ll find it easier to follow a healthy food plan too.

The ingredients and how-to are in the video, I hope you enjoy them.

Here’s my gift to you, my 17 quick and easy dinner recipes.

Jessica X

 

 

 

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Healthy dinner recipe
Nutrition

Healthy Dinner Recipes: Tasty Tuna Burgers!

I love tuna. Fresh, tinned, whatever ways it’s served, I can’t get enough of it. I find it so easy to have as a snack too. It fills me up, it’s simple to eat, and with a banana (not together though), it’s a perfect post-workout snack. This  is one of my favourite healthy dinner recipes. It’s so quick,  it only takes a few minutes to prep.

The key to success, staying consistent, feeling good and fitting great in your clothes, is to be organised, and have healthy dinner recipes to hand. I can find you so many simple recipes, but you’ve got to stock up your house with simple, go-to ingredients, so you’re not stuck.

It’s the times your stuck that you can undo all your hard work. You’ve got to re-enforce your healthy habits, so it becomes just a part of your life.  (Find a list of my top healthy habits here).

Having 10-15 healthy dinner recipes that you can rustle up quickly, will save you a lot of stress in the long run.

If you’re avoiding starchy carbohydrates for your last meal, which if you’re trying to lose weight, I recommend you do, you can eat all the meals I recommend, with a salad, and feed everyone else the same dinner, but with rice, potatoes or pasta, instead of salad.

You don’t need to cook lots of different meals for everyone, just learn some simple recipes, that aren’t packed with starchy carbohydrates.

I hope you enjoy this one,

Jessica X

 

 

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healthy dinner recipes
Nutrition

Simple Healthy Dinner Recipes: Broccoli Fritters

This dinner recipe is so quick and easy and one from my library of healthy dinner recipes that I keep close to hand, so I don’t get caught out.

I know you’re all so busy juggling your careers, while taking care of everyone you love, trying to fit everything in,  and eat healthy at the same time.

You need something quick, healthy, and that doesn’t require too much thought. It can be a good idea to build up a list of healthy dinner recipes as your go-to.

These broccoli fritters are perfect, and they’re vegetarian, which is another quick win too. They can be great as a snack, I bring them into work when I know I have a long day ahead. They stop me from wanting to eat the whole fridge when I finally do get home. 😀

I only lost the 3 stone I gained for good, when I changed my whole approach to healthy eating.  I was going around in circles for so long. It wasn’t until I changed my whole approach to weight loss, that I finally lost weight, and kept it off for good.

I haven’t counted a calorie, point, weighed food, or myself, in years, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. If you’re struggling to lose weight and keep it off, it may time to try new ways, learn new habits and challenge your whole approach.  We tend to find change difficult, and we like to stick to what we know, but this will only keep you where you’re at, and stop you from progressing to the next level.

Free yourself from the shackles of what the weight loss industry want you to do. Eat healthy, find healthy dinner recipes  that you love, workout and work on your mindset.

Jessica X

 

 

 

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Healthy Habits, Nutrition

How late night snacking is stopping you from getting results… and worse!

That’s me to the right, desperately struggling, so self-conscious, I was wearing a scarf in summer when it was so hot. I was working out every week, and eating well during the day, but when I got home and got onto the couch, I’d eat a few packets of crisps, and biscuits.  My reward at the end of a long day. It took me a long time to break this habit.

Sugar is so addictive, the feelings it gives you instantly are amazing. The pull for sugar is so strong after a crappy day.

But you gain weight so quickly when you late night snack or drink alcohol mid-week, especially mostly around your stomach and your face. And there’s no point kidding yourself that you’re so good during the day, as if that’s supposed to make you better than someone who happens to do their bad eating, during the day.

That’s the lure of late-night snacking. You’ve had the healthy breakfast and salads, and workouts, and it doesn’t feel as damaging. But if that was the case, why wouldn’t you pull out that same amount of bad food during the day and eat it then? I’d say the thought disgusts you!

You only need a few sugary snacks to eat an extra 500 calories a day. So let’s say you’ve two small packets of crisps and a miniature bar. OK, that’s an extra 500 calories. So let’s say you do that 4 days a week, but one or two of the weekend evenings, you really indulge. The usual, wine, meal out etc. So that’s 3,500 calories extra per week. That is the exact pound of fat you gain, or for some, you don’t lose.

If you want to lose weight, you’ve got to be really straight with yourself.

If you don’t, you’ll feel like you’re ‘struggling to get results’. But you’re not struggling to get results, you’re struggling to make the right food choices, and there’s a massive difference.

Late night snacking makes you feel like you’re failing. You’re doing all this super work during the day, and sabotaging it all at night. Here’s a few things that work for me when I’m desperate:

  1. Manhattan Popcorn:
  2. Going to bed:
  3. Saying NO to myself:
  4. Having a few mandarins:
  5. Going to bed (this really works a charm :-))
  6. Having a cup of hot water (try it, it’s actually really soothing, no lemon though)

But that’s the list! I don’t recommend having a healthy snack apart from a little fruit because that’s called over-eating, and you’ll only get frustrated. So you’ve got to work so hard at giving up the lat night snacking and sticking to your guns,

Jessica X

 

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Nutrition

Why counting calories and points will always lead to failure (5 simple ways to start eating healthier right now!)

I remember back when I was a teenage, going through a phase of counting calories. Thank God it didn’t last. It was so depressing and it never made sense to me. Healthy food seeming unhealthy i.e. having a huge amount of calories… unhealthy food, in terms of the amount of calories in them, appearing healthy. Maybe it was thanks to my upbringing, but it just seemed, and still does seem, a cracked way to eat.

The truth is, we all know how to eat healthy. You don’t need to check the back of a packet to tell  you if it’s unhealthy or not.

Sometimes I feel we place all our unhappy emotions on food, instead of facing the real, underlying issue as to why we may be over-eating.

It’s easy to focus on food, it’s an easy thing to obsess about, and it takes your mind off WHY you’re eating bad food, WHY you’re bingeing, WHY you’re late night snacking and can’t seem to stop.

Turning to slimming clubs that count calories or points takes you so far away from reality. They teach you to focus more on the food, and don’t focus on fixing what the actual problem might be. It becomes a game, you wear it like a badge. How much weight have you lost this week on the program? How much have you gained?

Oh look at this sin free cheesecake I can eat. Everything is about EATING, when really it should be about maybe learning how to eat less, or eating the right stuff.

They focus on keeping you hooked, fuelling the food obsession, the end game never in sight. They want you to be obsessed with food, that’s the only way it works for them. But I feel you need to learn how to become less obsessed with food. And I feel, that’s where true success lies. You learn not to turn to food for comfort, you learn what your triggers are, you fix the problem, you grow as a person, you find other outlets.

You PROGRESS.

With that in mind, I want to share with you really simple tips to start eating healthier, that will help you #FEELGOOD and fit better in your clothes.  I feel this is all you need to focus on, and if you find it too difficult, or can’t seem to stick with it, something else is wrong.

It could be;

You’re working too much and leaving long gaps between meals (you’re not taking care of yourself);

You can’t stop late night snacking (you’re eating your emotions, something is wrong)

You’re not eating breakfast (you’re not taking care of yourself, why is that?);

You never find the time to prep (you’re putting yourself last);

and the list could go on and on. They are the REAL problems, that’s what you need to focus on.

Tips I swear by:

  • 3 meals and 2 snacks… You’ve just got to do it. It stops you from being starving, at all the wrong times. You get into a good routine, you fuel your body, you look after yourself, you take time out, you feed yourself properly.

 

  • Avoid starchy carbs for last meal. Love this one, always have. I just love the easiness of this. Get all your carbs in during the day and have protein and lots of veg for dinner.

 

  • Two litres of water every day. Don’t eat your thirst.

 

  • Keep the snacks protein only.

 

  • Eat regularly (every 3-4 hours)

 

  • Indulge at weekends (You’ve got to live!)

 

Jessica X

P.S YOU HAVE GOT THIS

 

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Woman relaxing in park
Fitness Tips, Nutrition

5 Great Fitness Tips for Every Woman Over 50

Getting in shape can be quite challenging at the best of times, but once your metabolism starts to slow, and your muscle mass decrease, it can be even harder. Not knowing the right things to do for weight and fitness, can make it extremely frustrating, and this is when a lot of people quit, thinking it’s too difficult.

With a few simple but effective tweaks to your fitness and nutriton plan, you can get into great shape, feel good, and be fit, toned and healthy. I’ve outlined some of these below, hope it helps. X

 

Lift weights.

So important if you want to get in shape and stay in shape. Cardio alone doesn’t work. If you want to be strong, with good lean muscle mass, and a high metabolism, you have to lift weights.

Building strength with weight training is possible at any age, and some studies show women in their 70’s building significant muscle by lifting weights 2-3 times per week.

Walking. 

Combine walking with weight training, and you will have a simple and effective way to get and stay, in shape after age 50. Any aerobic exercise (cycling, jogging, swimming) is great for maintaining lower levels of body fat and improving flexibility and overall body tone. It will also help loosen out your muscles after lifting weights.

Do interval training.

It’s fun, effective, and the best thing you can do for fat burning. It goes so fast, it’s short, and will help your metabolism increase. You’ll burn a lot of calories, in a short space of time. It’s a brilliant mood booster, and will leave you feeling amazing.

Do core exercises.

Poor core strength can lead to a domino effect of other physical aches and pains due to poor body mechanics and poor alignment. Do core exercises as part of your workout, and it will strengthen your back and stomach muscles.

Eat enough protein

Many women aren’t getting enough protein to maintain muscle mass. Protein is the major building block of the body, and because it isn’t stored, it needs to be replenished regularly. Make sure you eat enough fish, eggs, nuts, meat, beans and pulses.

 

Hope this helps,

Jessica X

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