Siobhan Byrne: Why skipping meals is recipe for ruin
Your metabolism will not thank you for erratic eating patterns, says our fitness expert
Last week we looked at some of the reasons why you may not be succeeding with your clean-eating plan, and this week I will look at some more obstacles which may be standing in the way of you gaining control over your diet and eating habits.
Are you eating frequently enough throughout the day? If not, you are setting yourself up to devour the contents of your fridge as soon as you get home.
Granted, we can all be busy during the day - sometimes too busy to notice that we may have missed a meal. Perhaps you deal with this by having a quick coffee to help suppress your appetite?
Some people may think that skipping a meal means you can consume extra calories at the next meal. But this is a disaster for your metabolism in the long term.
One of the main reasons to eat small balanced meals every few hours is to fire up the metabolism. Skipping meals and then later gorging on a lot of calories in one go can cause your metabolism to slow down over time.
You may have been able to get away with these habits in your 20s, but your body's metabolism is less tolerant in your 40s and older.
For most people, the evening presents the biggest problem. After a long, hard day, the temptation is to sit down, relax and treat ourselves - and to do that with food and drink.
To help control this, and avoid that just-through-the-door dash to the fridge for a carb hit, have your dinner already made and waiting for you when you get in, either stored in the fridge or simmering away in a slow cooker.
Try eating in the kitchen or dining room, rather than on the couch where you may be more likely to snack.
If you fancy an evening treat, eat healthy, low-calorie ones which you and your kids can enjoy. Don't fool yourself that one small treat won't hurt - a pint of beer can be equal in calories to a doughnut, and a glass of wine equal to a slice of chocolate cake.
Many are happy to enjoy a few glasses of wine, yet would be horrified to think of eating a few slices of cake in one sitting.
So think twice before downing that beverage or sweet treat. You may find that a few hundred calories is all the difference in achieving the shape and fitness you really want.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week
Focus on abs and core
1/ Start by leaning on your elbow and on the side of the foot with one foot on top of the other. Hold in side bridge position with your hips and shoulders in line.
2/ Then simply dip at the hip towards the ground and return to start position. Repeat all reps on one side before changing sides.
1/ Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and hands to the sides of your head.
2/ Then lift your head and shoulders off the floor while also bringing your knees in to your chest, allowing the knees to meet the elbows. Lower back down to start position and repeat.
1/ Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat and your hands on your thighs.
2/ Then lift your head and shoulders off the floor and slide your hands up to your knees. Keep your feet flat throughout. Then lower your head, shoulders and hands, and repeat.
1/ Start in the top position of a push-up with your arms straight.
2/ Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor while at the same time bending one knee and bringing it to your elbow with your foot off the floor.
Push back up to the top position and repeat with opposite leg.
3/ For a more advanced exercise, try the crawling version - start with your right knee at your elbow, immediately extend your right hand out to crawl, then bring your left knee towards the left elbow and repeat the move.
Health & Living