Getting ready for the diet…..that is, the major lifestyle overhaul!

Delicious. Lettuce with BBQ pork filet and pickles cucumber.

The 31st of December will see the old year out and the new year in. On January 1st we all have gritty determination to follow our new year’s resolutions…. Have you ever sat down in December and reviewed your list – ticking them all off as “done!”
The transition of 31st of December to the 1st Jan is just another moment in time, so what gives us the added optimism that THIS moment will bear the rewards we have obviously sought but not found?

I was in the supermarket planning my New Year’s eve meal. Traditionally the day before a diet, it is tempting to have an all-out blow-out, stock piling all those favourite extravaganzas, as we don’t plan to see them again for a while.

But…have you ever wondered why we feel hungrier the morning after a big meal?

A complex combination of factors regulate our appetite. “Appetite receivers” in the brain consolidate and analyze neurological, hormonal, mechanical and psychological signals, and hence the unwelcome awakening of hunger consciousness.

Best explained by, they give this explanation:

Brain Centers

Your appetite centers are located in the nuclei within your brain stem and hypothalamus. The cells in these areas respond to your blood glucose level, to nerve impulses arising from your gastrointestinal tract, to various hormones, including ghrelin, leptin and thyroid hormones, and to numerous other stimuli. Fluctuations in hormone and blood glucose levels impact your appetite in a predictable fashion. For example, a falling blood glucose level or an increasing ghrelin level stimulates hunger, while rising glucose or leptin levels suppress your appetite. Insulin influences the levels of many other appetite-regulating factors.

Insulin and Appetite

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas in response to consuming a meal. Insulin stimulates the cells in your liver, fat tissue and muscles to absorb glucose and then to burn it for energy or store it for future use. As insulin drives your glucose level downward, your pancreas and adrenal glands produce counter-regulatory hormones, such as glucagon and epinephrine. The appetite centers in your brain are stimulated by falling glucose levels and counter-regulatory hormones, making you feel hungry again. Thus, the more insulin your pancreas produces in response to a given meal, the greater the subsequent rebound in your appetite.

When you eat a meal at bedtime, particularly one rich in sugars and other simple carbohydrates, you generate an insulin surge from your pancreas. Upon retiring, this insulin begins pushing glucose into your cells, a process that continues as you sleep. During the night, a continual drop in your blood glucose stimulates the release of counter-regulatory hormones, leading to stimulation of your appetite centers. Unless you get up in the middle of the night to satisfy your appetite, you will be hungry upon arising in the morning.

Considerations – The factors that regulate your appetite are not as straightforward as was once believed. The interactions among ghrelin, leptin, insulin, glucose, thyroid hormones, growth hormone and other determinants of hunger or satisfaction are intricate and only partially understood. To confuse matters further, sleep-inducing hormones, such as melatonin, exert their own influences on your appetite, and changes in sleep patterns can alter the way your brain responds to hunger signals. If you are trying to control your weight, the timing and composition of your meals could impact your success.

This is what I want to learn more about during my 2017 journey.

In the meantime, in the supermarket,  I put back all the naughties on my NYE list, and decided I don’t need a moment in time to start the diet. I can make a delicious and light celebration, that everyone will enjoy, not feel deprived and I will wake up on Jan 1st ready to CONTINUE rather than start….

I will post my healthy NYE pictures and recipes during the first week of Jan!!


Glorious Chocolate


My dear friend LOVES dark Lindt chocolate – with chilli. One square with an espresso coffee- heaven!

That is, until we started to analyse the ingredients. Lindt 85% is 584 calories per 100g, making a single square 58. On the pleasure calorie ratio this is a bargain! The chilli chocolate is 538 calories per 100g – seemingly even better with five whole calories fewer per square!

Then what’s the problem?!

Well, on closer inspection, chilli chocolate has 48grams of sugar per 100g – yes! That means that almost half of that cube of chococalte is sugar. When weighed up against the pure 85% cocoa chocolate which has only 11g per 100, the chilli, or sea salt varieties have lost their bite.

Next step……I am going to experiement with adding my own chilli or sea salt! Watch this space!!!

Four days until the New Year….

Time to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year to come. Reading about the loss of George Michael saddens me, as I reflect on a year which contained so much loss. High profile celebrities were dropping like flies – and too many died too young. Prince, Bowie and Michael are just a few who shaped my youth and were taken too young. Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne made me giggle – and still do. The world was blessed by their presence.

On a personal level I lost my closest friend in April, a blow from which I struggle to recover. Whilst George Michael had a history of drug taking and a lifestyle in opposition to longevity, my dear friend V, simply had unfair, bad luck. She was a paragon of healthy living and a nobel fighter. Never was one so undeserving of being taken so soon.

So looking forward to the New Year – I take advice from the good and learn from the examples of the weak. I reflect on my own goals, but hope to chunk them down into units which will allow me to achieve – and sustain…..

Here we go…..!

Chain Reaction 2017

This blog site is somewhere to share ideas, news and articles, but essentially with humour and fun!

I hope to share ups and downs then support one another as we set, achieve and celebrate reaching goals.

  1. Diet
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Emotional wellbeing
  4. Fun

Come along for the ride!

We each have a metaphorical chain around our neck!

It made of positive and negative links.  Each link is a piece of baggage – good or bad, past or present, but each one can be polished and shaped up for the future! Our mind, body, wellness, friendships and spirituality are all intertwined. For example, carrying extra weight is linked to having little or low self-esteem. This prevents us from wearing or doing things that we would like to – such as sunning on the beach or achieving a sporting goal. Having low self-esteem links to negative thoughts, moods swings, negativity and depression.  Sometimes we cling on to friends who may not have our best interest at heart, and spend too little time with people who make us feel good!

Positive links include: Some feel-good factors rely on other people’s input:

  • A hug or a compliment
  • Getting praise at work or a promotion or pay rise
  • Getting praise at home – for a meal well cooked or a pretty flower arrangement

Many, in fact most, we can influence ourselves. –

  • Achieving a goal – no matter how small – writing thank you letters, finishing the washing up before “Game of Thrones” starts on TV…..Ticking off an item on a to-do list!
  • Improving your health – following through with regular check-ups or making small amendments to your life lifestyle can have big and immediate effects on your life.
  • De-cluttering life – sorting out a cupboard or reorganising the kitchen. Filing overdue paperwork…
  • Selecting the people around us – people in our lives can be classified as “drains” or “radiators”  – no explanation needed !– I am sure you know what I mean! We need to hold on to the radiators and let go of the drains!
  • Taking “me time” – whether you want to finish a good book or meditate, it takes effort to make it happen.
  • Saving money or reducing debt – economise, consolidate, budget and managing money is not an obvious skill, but effective management can reduce stress and anxiety about debt – or allow saving to hit a goal!