One You Blog

Healthy meals

Easy To Make, Healthy Meals

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Meal planning can be difficult enough, without having to make sure that each meal is balanced and nutritious. So we’ve used the NHS’ Eatwell Guide to put together some simple, healthy meal ideas for you.

Breakfast ideas

Starting your day with a great, healthy breakfast will set you up for the day and help you feel good. By adding a couple of different fruits to the mix you’ll be well on your way to your 5 a day before you’ve even hit 9am!

Overnight oats

Most of us don’t want to be spending much time cooking in the mornings; we’d rather spend the extra time in bed. Therefore going for something like overnight oats, which (clue is in the name) you prepare the night before, is a great option. It also allows you to add whatever fruit, seeds and flavourings you like, so you’re not likely to get bored of it quickly.

Porridge and berries

Cooked in the microwave or on the hob, porridge couldn’t be easier to make; just pop some milk and oats into a bowl. According to the NHS’ Eatwell Guide, 1/3 of our diets should be made up of starchy carbohydrates. And porridge, being wholegrain and high in fibre, is a great way to get this. Also you can throw on some fruit and maybe a bit of honey for a bit of extra flavour and nutritional goodness.

Scrambled egg

Similarly to porridge, this can be made in the microwave or on the hob. It’s up to you whether you use the whole egg or just the egg whites but if you have high cholesterol you may be best just sticking to the egg whites. To make your scrambled egg healthier, only use a small amount of butter and pair it with some brown whole grain toast.

Avocado and poached egg

This one does take a bit longer to prepare so maybe best saved for a weekend treat. Add a bit of lime and chilli to top up the flavour if you fancy. Avocados have increased in popularity over the past few years and are now considered a superfood, boosting close to 20 different vitamins and minerals in every serving.

Top tip: Having fruit for breakfast every day can become expensive! So why not give frozen fruit, such as berries a try? Not only is it cheaper to buy, it also reduces the amount of wastage from fruit going off.

healthy lunch

Lunch ideas

You should be aiming to eat 600kcal for lunch to ensure that you’re fuelled for the rest of the day. Your lunches are likely to be slightly different during the week vs at weekends, since most of us are limited to microwave friendly meals at work.

Fishcakes

According to the Eatwell Guide, we should be eating at least 2 portions of fish a week, but if you aren’t very confident in the kitchen that could be a bit of a challenge. So fishcakes are a lovely, easy way to get some fish into your diet, and they’re also nice and filling.

Omelette

Unfortunately probably only viably when we’re at home, omelettes are incredibly easy and cheap to make. Pepper, mushrooms, sweetcorn, ham- throw in whatever you fancy because it’s pretty difficult to go wrong with an omelette. If you’re typically low on dairy in your diet, this is a great way to give it a bit of a boost without having to drink a glass of milk. And just in case still feel like you need some more vegetables, a side salad will go really well with it.

Red pepper and tomato soup

Ideal for a workday, you can easily get two of your five a day in with a nice soup. If a bowl of soup on its own doesn’t feel satisfying enough though, you can add a wholegrain roll.

Jacket potato

One of my personal faves, jacket potatoes are great whatever the weather. Eat them with tuna and sweetcorn in the summer for your low fat omega-3 fix, or with baked beans in the winter to provide you with high fibre, high protein goodness. Once again, if in doubt, throw on a side salad.

dinner

Dinner ideas

Once again, you should be eating roughly 600 kcals at dinner time. This may come as a surprise, because for many it’s their biggest meal of the deal, so it’s important to exercise portion control in the evenings.

Cauliflower pizza (it’s not what you think)

Got a fussy eater in the house? Replacing your classic dough pizza based with a cauliflower base could be a game changer. The cauliflower is thoroughly blitzed in a food processor so nobody will be able to tell the difference! You can either buy your base ready or made or have a go at making them yourself. Then all you need to do is add the toppings and maybe some veggies on the side.

Prawn, tomato and spinach spaghetti

We don’t typically consider pasta to be a healthy meal, but swap out the creamy sauce and throw in some vegetables and it can be! Spinach is the ideal veg to add due to its superfood qualities and then add some tomatoes and prawns/shrimp to add some great flavour.

Chicken tikka masala

Curries don’t need to be unhealthy, just leave off the naan and poppadoms! However, if this is a step too far, you can pop the poppadoms yourself. You can buy uncooked poppadoms and cook them in the microwave. This makes them so much healthier it removed the frying stage. Try to go for a chicken or turkey curry because these meats are nice and lean, making them healthier options than lamb and beef. Then serve your curry with some wholegrain rice and throw on lots of vegetables.

Top tip: Try adding some chickpeas into the dish as well because they count towards your protein intake and have some great health benefits!

Roasted vegetable pasta

If you try to stick to Meatless Monday, a veggie pasta could be great. Meals without meat or fish often leave people feeling hungry and unsatisfied after finishing, but adding roasted vegetables will do the trick.

healthy snacks

Snack ideas

It’s time to put down the biscuits and pick up some healthier alternatives.

Rice cakes

There are so many different flavours of rice cakes available that you may be happy to eat them plain. Alternatively, you could try them with a bit of spread and/or some fruit or veg.

Mixed nuts

Nuts are brilliant for your heart health as well as being packed with vitamins and minerals. They are high in fat though, so stick to just a handful.

Dried fruit

Dried fruit is great if you’re craving something sweet. An easy one to snack on at your desk or on the go, and with a smell than is unlikely to cause offense to those near you- ideal! Try to eat it with other food though to avoid damage to your teeth. Limit yourself to 30g per day though because any amount over this doesn’t count towards your 5 a day.

Hummus with vegetables to dip

Not just good for when you have guests over, hummus with vegetable sticks is great for that afternoon lull and is really good for you too!

Top tip: aim to keep your snacks below 200kcal total

diabetes prevention

Diabetes explained

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What is diabetes? Watch this video to find out more:

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 58%

Weight management – a higher body weight causes your insulin to perform less effectively. This means that sugar from foods cannot be easily converted into energy we need.

A few simple things you can do:

  1. Skip sugary drinks – empty calories and no real nutritional value;
  2. Control your portion size – ensure that you get enough energy without over-filling and eat variety of foods (we need it all!);
  3. Fill up with fibre – fibre helps to feel fuller for longer so you don’t overeat; 5 a day of fruit and vegs, wholegrain products, pulses;
  4. Choose lean meat – bake instead of frying, steam instead of boiling;
  5. Stay hydrated – water helps to stop overeating.

Physical activities

Staying active helps to maintain healthy weight and overall good health; both physically and psychologically.

Physical benefits:

  • Strengthens bones and joints
  • Helps with weight loss

Psychological benefits: 

  • Reduces stress
  • Improves sleep
  • Relieves symptoms of depression

Smoking

The effect of smoking on the arteries in our bodies is very similar to the effects of high levels of glucose in blood. Both cause damage to the arteries, increasing the likelihood of fatty deposits; this narrows the arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow through. Someone with diabetes is already more likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which also cause arteries to narrow, making it all worse. Smoking in some cases can double the likelihood of a person with Type 2 diabetes developing heart disease, stroke or circulation problems.

Alcohol

Alcohol  can contain a lot of empty calories, which can lead to weight gain. To help keep health risks from alcohol at a low level, it’s safest not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. In a nut shell, remember that a lot of heavy drinking can lead to raised blood pressure and also it dehydrates your body, preventing you from sleeping properly. In the long term, alcohol can also lead to certain cancers and heart disease.

If you think you may be at risk of diabetes and would like help to make lifestyle changes, we can help you to Move More, Manage Your Weight and Be Smoke Free.

How to quit smoking, and stay quit, during lockdown

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Quitting is a process; take it one day at a time. Withdrawal symptoms can feel unpleasant and uncomfortable, but it’s important to remember that they are only temporary and are definitely not life-threatening. And most importantly, bear in mind that there’s no such thing as ‘just one cigarette’…it’s the new beginning for your smoking habit.

Tip 1 – Get support

It’s proven that getting a support from the stop smoking service gives you higher chance of success. You have an access to behavioural support from a professional adviser and also access to pharmacological treatment which can help reduce withdrawal effects. People around you are a great help too, friends and family members who you can talk to and seek ideas of how to cope with triggers. We all know an ex-smoker!

Even during the lockdown you can keep in touch – use all ways of communication you can to reduce your sense of isolation and to get support you need at the moment. Calls, texts, Whatapp/ Messanger, Facebook, Instagram…you name it but they all give you the ability to talk, to see each other and to stay connected!

Tip 2 – Addiction vs habits

Smokers continue to smoke because of the nicotine. Nicotine causes the addiction, however you can get help with overcoming cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. That’s where the stop smoking service comes in hand. However, do not underestimate the power of habit, it is enormous. Knowing your triggers can help you be prepared for the fight. Making a list of things you can try when you have the urge to smoke is a great help.

The lockdown has definitely changed people’s lives in many ways, many of our usual routines have gone already so use it as an opportunity to also change your daily smoking routines. Keep your brain busy with activities you enjoy, you’re interested in or always wanted to do but the time wasn’t there and stay occupied!

Tip 3 – Treat yourself

It’s your achievement! You need a tap on your shoulder and reward, make sure you think about ways of celebrating each mile stone however small it may seem. It can be as simple as a few minutes of meditation or ‘me time’ whatever it means to you. Stay relaxed!

More info on:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/

Tip 4 – Weight

Stopping smoking can contribute to a small weight gain. However, putting a lot of weight is a result of calories intake. When people stop smoking, they compensate with food usually with unhealthy snacks).

In a current lockdown situation, it’s even more important to keep a close eye on WHAT you eat and HOW MUCH you eat because many people overeat due to boredom. If you think you eat more, then just make sure that you increase your physical activity so your body has chance to burn the excess of calories off. Use YouTube to find the right type of exercise for you – yoga, bodyweight workouts, HITT training, cardio workouts or simply go walking, gardening or cycling. There’s plenty of exercises you can do on your own at home with no equipment. Exercise has been shown to be one of the best ways to cope with cigarette cravings.

Would you like our help? We offer a free Be Smoke Free programme to help you on your quitting journey

quit smoking

Quit for Covid-19

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Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in England

Smoking (including shisha, cannabis, or any other substances) is a highly addictive habit and tobacco is carefully engineered to deliver a steady dose of nicotine to your brain. This causes the release of feel good chemicals that can reduce feelings of anxiety or stress.

With the constant news coverage and changes to daily life in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, quitting smoking may feel more difficult than ever, but it’s important to remember that smoking for stress reduction is a myth and that smoking actually increases feelings of irritability and anxiety.

The health dangers of smoking are well documented, even without considering the added risk from COVID-19, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in England with one in two smokers dying from a smoking related disease.

Some of the key risks include:

  • Smoking causes 16 types of cancer including mouth, liver, pancreatic, stomach, bowel and ovarian cancers and is responsible for up to 70% of all lung cancer cases.
  • Smoking increases your risk of stroke by 50% and doubles your risk of a heart attack.
  • Smoking can cause infertility and impotence.
  • Smoking increases the risk of lung infections. Smokers are five times more likely to get flu than non-smokers and twice as likely to develop pneumonia.

Smoking harms your immune system leaving you less protected against COVID-19 and all viruses like it. As a result, this puts you at a higher risk of respiratory infections which are likely to last longer and to be more serious than they would be for a non-smoker.

Research is showing that smokers are more likely to have complications and are sadly more likely to die from COVID-19 than non-smokers.

The single most important thing a smoker could do, would be to stop smoking, not just for this virus but for all respiratory tract infections”.

Dr ruth sharrock, Respiratory Consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead

The rapid spread of COVID-19 means that quitting smoking is now more vital than ever to reduce health risks and to prevent our healthcare service coming under further pressure as it works to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As many non-smokers are also on lockdown with someone who smokes and who may have reduced access to smoke outdoors, it’s also important to consider the impact that your addiction may have on those around you.

You’re putting your children at risk

Breathing in second hand smoke increases the risks of all diseases caused by smoking and children who breathe in second hand smoke are at increased risk of chest infections, coughs and even meningitis.

You may think that smoking out of a door or window will reduce the risk of second hand smoke, but around 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and as cigarettes contain Carbon Monoxide (CO), a colourless, odourless and highly dangerous gas, no matter how careful you are, those around you will breathe in the poisonous fumes.

The ‘Today is The Day’ website can give further information on protecting those around you.

The best way to reduce the risk for yourself and those around you is to quit completely and the fantastic news is that your body starts to heal just 20 minutes after you quit. If you quit by the age of 40 you will reduce your risk of death from smoking by 90%.

  • After 20 minutes your pulse rate will return to normal.
  • After 8 hours Nicotine and CO levels in your blood reduce by more than 50% and your oxygen levels have returned to normal.
  • After 48 hours there is no Nicotine or CO in your body and your lungs start to clear out tar and other debris.
  • After 2-12 weeks your circulation will improve making physical activity easier.
  • After 3-9 months your breathing will improve as your lung function increases by up to 10%.
  • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer drops to half that of a smoker.
  • After 25 years your risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.

There are many ways to improve your chances of quitting:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as patches, gum or lozenges can be used to deliver Nicotine to your body without harmful chemicals and are free from most stop smoking services, available on the NHS with a prescription or available to buy over the counter in supermarkets and pharmacies.
  • Champix and Zyban are prescription stop smoking medications that block the action of Nicotine in your brain and help to reduce cravings.
  • E-cigarettes are not a stop smoking medication and although they are not harm free they are thought to be at least 95% safer than smoking.

For more support with stop smoking medication see NHS Smokefree Medicines and for advice on e-cigarettes see NHS Smokefree E-Cigarettes.

Only 3 out of 10 people that quit ‘cold turkey’ without support will quit successfully. You’re far more likely to quit smoking for good with the right support and people who use a stop smoking service are 4 times more likely to quit compared to those that go it alone.

Although support face to face is not currently possible there are plenty of resources online and many services are running a remote option. You could also follow @QuitforCovid on twitter or at ‘Today is the day’ for more information on quitting and details of twitter clinics with smoking cessation experts.

If you’re going to give up smoking, this is the time to do it.

We provide a free Be Smoke Free service, offering advice and support during your quit.

Stress free Family

Stress causing you to gain weight?

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How common is stress?

In the UK, stress is unfortunately extremely common. In fact, according to a recent survey, “74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope”[1].

Why does it cause weight gain?

When you’re stressed your body releases the hormone cortisol. This hormones prepares your body for “fight or flight”, which is okay in small doses (such as a shock), because once the stressful situation is over your cortisol levels will return to normal[2]. However, chronic stress can lead to overeating since Cortisol is also an appetite stimulant. In addition to this, you may have a tendency to reach for comfort food when you feel stressed, since as the name suggests, many people find sugary food comforting. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that 46% of people say they eat too much, or unhealthily, during times of stress[3].

What are the symptoms?

  • Tight muscles
  • Irritation
  • Feeling overwhelmed and out of control
  • Increased blood pressure
old woman stressed

How to reduce stress?

Work related

44% of people attribute their stress to their workload[4]. If this is you, speak to your manager, since lightening your workload could also be beneficial to them. Last year it is estimated that 12.8 million working days were lost due to work-related stress in the UK[5], which suggests that reducing your stress levels would reduce your sick days.   

Take control

Find the source of your stress and try to think all of the possible solutions to your problem. Then create a to do list to ensure you stay on top of all the jobs you need to do, and are able to manage your time efficiently.

Stressed group

How to manage stress without comfort eating?

  1. Talk about your problems- it can help you to see the situation more clearly and identify solutions. You may also find that your friend or family member has been through a similar situation.
  2. Exercise- this stimulates the production of endorphins, which makes you feel good, and reduces the levels the body’s stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. In turn this helps you to feel calmer[6].
  3. Avoid caffeine- it increases alertness and adrenaline, which can increase anxiety and nervousness.
  4. Sleep- this can be difficult during stressful times, so avoid caffeine and alcohol since these can disturb your sleep. Instead, take a warm bath before bed; this will help with help you to relax and will leave you feeling more calm before bed. It’s also important to make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
  5. Play with/ stroking pets- it can increase the production of oxytocin (a stress-reducing hormone) and reduce the production of cortisol.
  6. Eat healthily- instead of reaching for comfort food, choose herbal tea, fish, nuts and fruit.
  7. Deep breathing- stress often makes your breathing shallow and irregular, by taking slow, deep breathes you will enable more air to flow into your lungs and this will have a calming effect.

If you’d like to make positive steps to a healthier you to help combat stress, you can call us 020 8885 9095 on or register online to get tips from our qualified health coaches and nutritionist


Meet Naomi, our Health and Wellbeing Coach

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This month, we interviewed our Health Coach Naomi. Find out what she had to say about her background and why she would recommend us.  

What did you do before you became a Health Coach here?

My background has always been teaching/ coaching.  I worked as a Health Trainer under Public Health for 3 years and a Further Education teacher for 5 years before becoming a Health & Wellbeing Coach, which I have been doing for over 4 years.

What programme do you work on?

I deliver Adult Weight Management sessions that run for 12 weeks and provide follow-up support at 3, 6 and 12 months post-completion.  I also provide a 1-1 confidential advice on Alcohol Reduction.

Why should people join our programme – what benefits could they gain?

Our programme is very informative and interactive. It provides people with the skills to make healthier lifestyle changes through behavioural change techniques, which encourages people to realise and acknowledge the impact their lifestyle can have on their health.

Furthermore, our programme is not just a weight loss programme. It also promotes a sustainable healthy eating lifestyle that benefits general health.

Why would you recommend this service to others?

Our programme is free and delivered by qualified coaches/ advisers. The programme itself, was designed by nutritionists, psychologists and fitness experts. I can testify that it works based on real-life accounts from my participants. Personally, I would encourage people to give it a try as knowledge gained is never wasted, and therefore you have nothing to lose.

exercise

Exercise for energy| how does exercise boost energy levels?

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Tiredness or fatigue may be your go-to excuse for not exercising. If this is the case, we  have some good news; exercise has actually been found to increase your energy levels.

In fact, exercise has many benefits to physical and mental health including:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced stress and tension

increases Energy

The amount of energy you have is a direct result of your diet and the number of mitochondria your body produces. The more active you are, the more mitochondria your body produces.

“For example, the more you exercise aerobically, the more mitochondria the body makes to produce more energy to meet your needs” says nutritionist Samantha Heller[1].

This means that, contrary to popular understanding, the more energy you use, the more your body will have available.

This may seem hard to believe if you’ve experienced fatigue after high intensity training. However, you may have noticed that a couple of hours later your energy levels picked back up and you felt more energised. This is because it takes some time for your body to produce the extra mitochondria it needs. To avoid this post training lull you can start with low-moderate training instead and build up.

The evidence:

A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reported that inactive people who normally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% and decrease fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise[2].

Improves sleep quality

Not only does exercise increase your energy, it also improves your sleep quality. It helps you to fall asleep faster, get better quality sleep and deepen your sleep[3]. This means that you’ll feel more refreshed in the mornings.

Try to exercise at least 1-2 hours before you go to bed. If you exercise any later, the production of endorphins, and the high that it leaves you on, could leave you struggling to sleep[4]. The increase in body temperature that exercise causes could also have the same effect.

Reduces stress

Regular aerobic exercise has been found to decrease tension and elevate and stabilise mood[5]. This is in part because when you exercise your brain produces endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that make you feel good[6]. Therefore, exercise is a great remedy for stress.

Exercise that requires deep breathing is particularly good for relieving stress because deep breathing triggers the body’s relaxation response[7]. Consequently, it is unsurprising that yoga and Pilates are known to boost ‘calm energy’[8].

If you want to start exercising more, our Move More classes are a great way to get fit in a social environment. We offer a variety of different classes such as Pilates, Zumba and Outdoor Fit. View our full class timetable or sign up to Move More to try one of our classes.



pancakes

healthy pancakes for shrove tuesday

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Pancakes don’t have to be unhealthy. In fact, with just a few simple substitutes they can be transformed into a healthy, nutritious meal.

If you’re looking for small changes, start with swapping your plain flour for wholemeal or buckwheat flour. Substituting semi-skimmed or full fat milk for skimmed milk is another easy way to make your pancakes a bit healthier. Or even using Greek yogurt to top your pancakes, rather than ice cream or cream.

However if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, we’ve got your Shrove Tuesday meal sorted! We’re stepping away from the traditional and making things a bit more interesting…

Main

Make your Shrove Tuesday main both delicious and nutritious! Crepes tend to be lower calorie than American pancakes,but are less filling, so it just comes down to personal preference.

zucchini pancakes
mushroom pancake
banana pancakes
peanut butter crepes

Need more help making healthier choices? Manage Your Weight is a free 12 week weight management course.

Pilates with Sunny at One You Haringey

What kind of workout is pilates? Your questions answered

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We asked Sunny Skorik, our Pilates instructor at One You Haringey a few questions about how Pilates benefits your mind and body.

Sunny Skorik - Pilates coach

1. Is pilates a good workout for weight loss?

Absolutely YES!

Practicing Pilates can be beneficial for your health and healthy weight maintenance.
Firstly, by doing Pilates, you tone up loose connective tissue around your joints and bones. 
There are some positions that require you to hold them for 20-30 seconds. Pilates is a great reason to strengthen weak parts of your body and get rid of flab.

Pilates also has some amazing health benefits:

  • improves your flexibility
  • increases your muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
  • balances muscular strength on both sides of your body.
  • enhances muscular control of your back and limbs.
Stretching - Pilates

 2. How many times do you need to do Pilates to see results?

To maximize results, you should practice Pilates for a minimum of two times a week.
Regular Pilates practice can help with posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility. Expect to feel taller, more elongated and energised after just one session. 

3. Which is better; yoga or Pilates?

One of the main differences between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga can be used for improving the flexibility of the body and it will also gradually increase the flexibility of your joints.

Whereas, Pilates focuses on trying to relax muscles which are tense and provide strengthening of the numerous muscles of the body.

Pilates works from the centre of your body outward. Pilates uses toning and strengthening components/exercises to increase joint mobility, build supple and strong body muscles.

Yoga is more about stretching of the tight muscles. Stress relief, meditative approach.
Overall, the biggest difference in Pilates and Yoga is the ultimate goal you want to achieve.

If you’d like to become more flexible, Yoga would be best to try. If you’d instead like to tone up and strengthen muscles in your body, then try Pilates.

Pilates reduces back pain

4. What are the mental benefits of doing Pilates?

Pilates is incredibly powerful in providing a place for your body to relax, rejuvenate and release tension.

Pilates for Stress Relief used on a daily basis will calm your mind and relax your body. The main benefits of Pilate for your mind are:

  • Using your Breath to Find Mindfulness in Movement
  • Stress Management and Relaxation
  • Improving Memory and Brain Training
  • A Tool in Treating Depression or Anxiety

Pilates help to balance muscular strength

5. Can Pilates help back pain?

Totally! Pilates decreases back pain! It will also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, loosen up tight hips, hamstrings (muscles back of your legs) and calves.

All of these aspects contribute to tightness, resulting in a Painful Back. By practicing Pilates, you will be able to help ensure your back pain subsides and will disappear over time.

If you’d like to try Pilates, One You Haringey offer free Pilates classes with Sunny. You can sign up to our Move More programme to register for your free classes.

stop smoking

Does going cold-turkey work?

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quit smokingWhat is going ‘cold-turkey’?

Quitting ‘cold-turkey’ is when you withdraw from smoking completely, rather than gradually cutting down. This method is often the most appealing for first-time quitters, but is not always suitable. It’s important that you choose the method that will work best for you.

Quitting cold-turkey has been found to significantly increase your chances of abstaining from smoking in the long run as opposed to quitting gradually[1].

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within the first 7 days of quitting and going cold turkey gets you past this point quicker than quitting gradually[2].

Smokers save an average of £1500 a year when they quit (based on £128 a month being spent on cigarettes)[3].

Withdrawal symptoms are often more severe when using this method because the body has to adjust quickly[4].

Only between 3% of people who try to quit cold-turkey, without help, are successful in quitting[5].

To improve your chances of quitting, and gain extra support, you can join a quit smoking service. Be Smoke Free offers one to one as well as group session support during your quitting journey.

cigarette cravings

What happens to your body when you go cold-turkey?

When you quit smoking, the nicotine withdrawal can cause several unpleasant symptoms[6]:

  • intense cravings for cigarettes
  • nausea
  • feeling down
  • increased appetite
  • cough or sore throat
  • restlessness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • trouble concentrating
  • changes in bowel habits
  • irritability
There are several ways you can counter your withdrawal symptoms and improve your chances of abstaining;
  • Make plans with non-smoking friends and family. Their support will help you through the process.
  • Exercising or doing other activities can reduce your nicotine cravings, relieve withdrawal symptoms and boost your mood.
  • To cope with your increased appetite and cravings, make sure you have lots of healthy snacks available. Foods that keep both your hands and mouth busy like carrots, pretzels, and apples are a good option.
  • You may develop a cough and/or a sore throat so having cough lozenges to hand may be helpful
  • It is may also be beneficial to buy over-the-counter medication in case you experience nausea and other flu-like symptoms.

tips for quitting

What if going cold-turkey isn’t for you?

Going cold-turkey certainly isn’t for everybody, but don’t worry because there are alternatives out there.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is available for free on the One You’s Be Smoke Free programme and helps to reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms by providing a low level dose of nicotine.
  • Prescription stop smoking medicines are a popular aid to quitting. Champix has been found to double your chances of quitting successfully.
  • Zyban is another prescription medicine that reduces withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke.
If you’d like some free support to help you quit smoking, why not try our Be Smoke Free programme where you’re four times more likely to quit than if you go it alone. Find your nearest clinic and start your journey to becoming smoke free.

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/quitting-smoking-overnight-better-than-cutting-down-gradually/

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/quit-smoking-cold-turkey

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator

[4] https://www.verywellmind.com/i-quit-smoking-cold-turkey-this-is-how-i-did-it-2824494

[5] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/stop-smoking-coping-with-cravings/

[6] https://www.healthline.com/health/quit-smoking-cold-turkey#withdrawal