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Lifestyle, Top tips, Weight loss

How To Break a Weight Loss Plateau

How To Break a Weight Loss Plateau

How To Break a Weight Loss Plateau

If you have ever embarked on a weight loss journey, you have more than likely come across the dreaded weight loss plateau. This can be frustrating to dieters, particular since it seems to come from nowhere, stalling weight loss efforts that may previously have being going well.

So why do weight loss plateaus occur, especially when you’re doing the same things that made you lose weight in the first place? Here we’ll explore some of the reasons weight plateaus happen and what you can do about it.

Reasons For Hitting A Weight Loss Plateau

To break through your body’s weight set point means understanding what might be working against it.

Decrease of Metabolism: Adaptive thermogenesis is the scientific term for what happens to the body when calories are reduced. Essentially, over time, the body adjusts itself to fewer calories and eventually the metabolic rate drops.

For instance, let’s say you eat 2000 calories in your diet then reduce it to 1,500 calories. It makes sense for your body to grab the 500 calorie difference from your fat reserves, except (unfortunately) it doesn’t work that way. Studies have shown that the body simply adjusts itself to surviving on 1500 calories. This is the body’s way of intelligently preserving itself, great for survival, not so great for your waist line.

Food intake increases: Being on restrictive diet day in and day out can cause a major increase in appetite. This can lead to scenarios when binge eating may occur, causing the calorie deficient for that week to be lost through overeating.

Water weight returns: In the first few weeks when losing weight, there’s usually a rapid drop in water weight. This water is lost as the body utilises carbohydrate stores as glycogen (sugar). Since carbohydrate intake goes up and down day-to-day, it’s not unusual to gain some of that water weight back.

How To Break A Plateau

While it’s good to know why weight loss plateaus occur, it’s even better to find out how to reverse it and start losing weight. Below are some of the methods that are tried, tested and effective.

Lose the Weight slowly: Although it’s exhilarating to see the pounds fly off, fast weight loss usually correlates with fast weight gain. Try to lose no more than 1% of your total body weight per week, which is usually 1-3 pounds.

Change your fitness routine: To take your daily exercise routine to another level, try varying your exercise routine. This means your body muscles don’t get used to working out in one particular way.

Re-feeding: While it may sound counterproductive, you could actually lose more weight by increasing calories. For example, once a week increase your calories by 10-20%. This can stimulate the metabolism which often helps to break a weight loss plateau.

Try Orlistat to increase loss: This is an over the counter weight loss medication vouched for by thousands of people. How Orlistat works is by stopping the absorption of fat in the gut. This allows it to pass through the body undigested and, in turn, reduce the overall calories absorbed by the body.

If you are having an issue with occasional overeating, Orlistat is an effective way to stay on track and continue losing weight, even on “cheat days”.

Final Thoughts

A weight loss plateau does not have to spell the end of your diet. The tips above show that with a few tweaks it’s possible to continue dropping the pounds. Try one or two and see what works best for your lifestyle and body.

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Sardine families: to move Or to extend?

Sardine families: to move Or to extend?

Sardine families: to move Or to extend?

Is your family starting to feel like a family of sardines? If you are struggling to find the room you need in your home, you might feel like you are becoming more and more like sardines living in a tin with each passing day!

So, what are the solutions to making more space for you and your family? There are certain tips you could try but, at the end of the day, the better options for creating permanent space are to move house or to extend your current one. This is certainly a huge decision to make no matter which option you decide to go for. Are you struggling to figure out which one would be best for you and your family? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Sardine families: to move Or to extend?

The Costs

One of the main things that will probably sway your decision will be the costs involved. Over the past few years, property prices have continued to rise, and they are now at an all-time high. Buying a bigger house may well depend on if you can afford to. Extending will certainly work out cheaper, but may still end up in the region of £60,000 depending on the side. If you call a builder, such as detaildevelopmentsltd.co.uk, they will be able to quote you a price for the work. It’s worth contacting a few different building companies to see who can offer you the better price.

Planning Permission

No matter what type of extension you would like added onto your property, you will need to get official planning permission for it. You need to start the application for permission before you begin any work. Otherwise, you might have to remove the extension if permission is denied, and this will cost you a lot of money! If your local planning office refuses to grant you permission, then you might have to start thinking about moving home instead…

A New Area

Moving into a bigger home saves you from all the hassle of having to hire builders and other labourers, and you won’t have to live in a building site while they get to work on your extension! But you will need some time to adapt to your new home, especially if you move to a new neighbourhood. If you can only afford property prices in certain neighbourhoods, you need to make sure that moving there isn’t going to affect your kids getting to school or your daily commute. If the journey to school and the office is going to increase dramatically, you might be better off staying where you are and enduring all the building work that comes with an extension!

If you still aren’t sure whether it is better to move to a bigger house or extend your current one, you should check out other articles such as budgetbreakaway.co.uk/to-move-or-to-extend-that-is-the-question/. Just make sure you do plenty of research before you make your decision. That way, you know it will be the right option for you!

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Debt, Top tips

Do you know how to handle debt?

Do you know how to handle debt?

Do you know how to handle debt?

There isn’t a person alive who isn’t in some way concerned about their finances. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, your financial situation is always going to present certain limitations on your life and the way in which you can live it. You may not be able to spend as much money as you would like on luxuries or perhaps you simply aren’t in a position to save money. Of course, for some, it’s much more serious than that. Some people are in a position where their financial situation means that they’re constantly in danger of not being able to afford their energy bills, food, or even to live in their homes. These kinds of issues are incredibly serious, and many people don’t how to help themselves avoid them.

However, there are some things that people can do to avoid this, potentially catastrophic situation. Unfortunately, since you can almost never get something for nothing, many people find that the solutions to their finances problems often involve debt. Whether it’s a loan from the bank, remortgaging, short-term cash loans, or credit cards, many of the ways in which people are able to pay off any large financial obligations can land them in pretty significant amounts of debt.

Of course, debt isn’t always bad. In fact, it can be pretty positive at times. After all, many people find that a small monthly payment is far more manageable that a single large payment. Not only that but paying off your debts can even help improve your credit rating. Of course, that doesn’t mean that debt is always good. In fact, too much debt can leave many people financially crippled and completely unable to pull themselves out of it. To help make sure that doesn’t happen to you, here are some ways that you can manage borrowed money and hopefully avoid falling into a bottomless pit on every increasing debt.

Only borrow what you can afford to pay back

 Do You Know How To Handle Debt?

This might sound a little odd to some people. After all, why would you need to borrow money if you could already afford it? But this isn’t really how debt works. After all, most of the time people end up borrowing money not because they can’t afford something overall, but because they can’t afford it at that particular moment in time. This is why payday loans exist. They are designed to tide you over for a week or two until you get paid and can then pay off what you owe.  Or, at least that’s how it should be in theory. Far too many people end up miscalculating how much they can actually afford to borrow instead of thinking carefully about what their monthly income can stretch to. This leads to them being unable to pay off their debts and slowly building up more and more interest over time, not only costing themselves money but also destroying their credit score in the process. Think carefully about how much you’re borrowing, how long you’ll be paying it back for, and how much the payments are. Then, balance that against your monthly income and how much you can afford to remove from that amount. Only then can you truly figure out how much to borrow.

Never buy luxuries on borrowed money

One of the biggest issues that are facing modern households is that much of their household debt has been accrued through the purchase of luxury and non-essential items. This is part of the reason that so many people were left financially crippled following the financial disaster of 2008. There are plenty of experts who fear that the amount of spending on credit that people are doing in recent years is leading them down the same path. One of the most dangerous things that you can do is to think of credit cards or loans as free money to use on luxuries. Not only is this incredibly short sighted but it also causes you to massively overestimate what you can afford. It’s all fun and games until the end of the month when a huge credit card bill appears on your doorstep, and you’re in no position to actually pay it back.

Keep a clear budget

Do You Know How To Handle Debt?

If you want to be able to pay off your debts, then you simply can’t afford to be in a position where you’re not keeping close track of your money. Far too many people seem to think that their money will handle itself and that they don’t need to track it carefully. Having a budget is one of the most important things that anyone can do on a financial level, but for those in debt, it’s even more important. You need to be able to look carefully at whether or not you’re in a position to pay certain things off or not. It will help you know whether you can borrow money and how much, not only that but you’ll be able to more closely manage your spending so that you’re not spending money that you need in order to pay back debts on something frivolous. Your budget should be as detailed as possible. Any regular payment, no matter how small, should be included so that you can keep the clearest possible track of where your money’s going and when.

Only borrow from trusted sources

It’s a sad fact of life that there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to take advantage of desperate, frightened, and vulnerable people in order to make money. Because of that, you should exercise as much caution as possible when you’re trying to find somewhere to borrow money from. This is especially important in the internet age where it is far easier than ever for criminals with ulterior motives to manipulate and trick unsuspecting people into getting into bad debt. Make sure that you do as much research as possible on any organization that is lending money. If you can’t find multiple sources of verification that they’re legitimate, steer clear. Stick to things like banks and other established organizations. Sure, there are risks when it comes to borrowing from banks too, but they are certainly far less significant than borrowing from random companies. Remember: if someone is offering you a deal and it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Never cover the debt with more debt!

 Do You Know How To Handle Debt?

One of the most tempting things that a lot of people do is to panic and use more borrowing to cover the payments of existing debts. While this might seem like a good idea in the moment, it’s the worst thing that you can do. All you’re doing there is digging yourself further and further into a hole where there is nothing but more and more debt. As hard as it might seem, you’ll be better off with things like saving bit by bit or working extra hours for a little more spare cash. Adding more debt onto what you already have is going to make life much, much harder. Of course, this is not the same as consolidating your debts. There are plenty of situations where you’ll be able to combine your various debts into a single monthly payment. Not only does this make a huge amount difference to your mindset, since you no longer feel like you’re drowning in debt, but you may also be able to reduce your monthly payments overall. You may end up paying your debts for slightly longer, but for those who are worried that they wouldn’t be able to make the payments at all, that’s a pretty fair trade.

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Property buying, Top tips

8 Important things to look for before buying your beautiful new holiday home

8 Important things to look for before buying your beautiful new holiday home

8 Important things to look for before buying your beautiful new holiday home

You’ve worked hard for years, your little babies are growing up, and you’ve decided that now is the time to invest in a holiday home. Finding real estate abroad is an exciting time. If you have a culture or special place that you love to travel to, making your home-from-home official by purchasing property there can set you and your family up for a lifetime of beautiful vacations.

Not only will purchasing a new holiday home allow you to have a reliable and beautiful place to holiday, in the long run, it will save you money in accommodation fees. You’ll also only be limited by how long you can stay in that country on a holiday visit, as opposed to how long you can afford hotels for. If you improve the property over months, you might also increase the property value. This makes a great asset worth much more when you sell it in your retirement. Investing money in real estate can be one of the best ways to have a hard, stable money saving resource.

No matter what you enjoy, long strolls on the beach or extreme winter sports, the checklist you need to assess your potential new property with should be thorough and without flaw. This list will help you do just that. Without further ado:

Location

The obvious first place is, where would you like to relocate? Somewhere new or somewhere you’ve visited for years? Think about this carefully. A holiday home will likely be with you for years, maybe even decades, so you need to both be so fascinated with the culture you’re locating your house in that you’re willing to spend the next years learning about it or find somewhere you consider even more intriguing to locate. If you really enjoy extreme winter sports and you purchase the holiday home in your mid-forties, it’s likely that by your sixties playing extreme winter sports will not be a good idea, or even desirable.

Consider this long-term viewpoint over your initial desires. Property is always an investment, no matter the practical uses, and you want the most bang for your buck, both in resale value and utility. If the country you’re hoping to buy the property in is likely about to suffer an economic collapse, maybe hold off for now. Do plenty of research and forecasting, and try to pick the wisest option. You’ll be sure that you have the most sensible property you can have when you think in this way.

Size

With the foresight stipulation in mind, you should assess your size requirements. Are you planning on bringing your children and pets to the home, or your entire extended family or work colleagues? Are you purchasing it so your children can one day have parties there with their friends? How often are you going to visit it?

All of these questions happily contribute to the size requirements of any property that you are hoping to buy. What might work for you this year might not work for you five years down the line. Also, take into consideration the value of the property. Will it be worth purchasing a larger property now while the currency conversion rate is competitive so the size will pay off as a large investment when you come to sell it? This might justify purchasing a property that’s slightly more than your needs would first suggest.

Competitiveness (Desirability)

How desirable is the home? What are the amenities like? Are you going to use these amenities? Having a swimming pool in a property isn’t particularly worth paying for if you’re only going to spend Christmas celebrations there. However, if you’re of the mind that you’ll let the property out during the time you’re not there, this can actually be a great amenity to have.

Websites like Airbnb allow you to provide tourists with a holiday destination and get a return on your investment. It’s always good having a form of passive income and provided you maintain the property well with trustworthy cleaning services, you might have a handy little cash cow.

This is also ethical for the destination you’ve purchased the holiday home within. This is because an empty property being paid for by someone abroad doesn’t provide accommodation or tourist investment in the local community, but letting it out will because it will constantly be in use for tourists spending their hard earned money abroad. This might not mean much for your pocket, but the locals will surely appreciate it.

Utility

Not only do you need to purchase a holiday home that’s suitable for your needs as has been listed above, but you have the added contingency of making sure it’s perfect for your family. If you have a newborn, making sure the property is correctly insulated can prevent them from catching illnesses they’re susceptible to. Do you plan to invite your friends to stay? Extra beds for them and their children are a must too. Consider every single use you might have for this property, and plan around it.

Legal Ease

How easily can you purchase it? Are there any stipulations in the contract? How is the land, and how are the foundations the house rests on? Could the house use some work before you can declare it ‘home-worthy?’ This is your chance to pour over the contract before you sign it. Make sure there aren’t any nasty hidden costs or repairs you need to make that the property sellers are neglecting to tell you.

Maintenance

How much maintenance does the property need every year? If the location experiences heavy rains or snowfall, upgrading the drain or roofing structural integrity might be a regular occurrence. Factor these contingencies into your long-term and short-term cost and planning decisions that you make. A cheap property might not seem so cheap when you have to pay $6000 a year keeping on top of it. This includes little things like pool cleaning, general cleaning, security or insurance payments if you let the property out year round.

Security

How secure is the property? If you’re going to let it out, you have a responsibility to keep those letting the house safe. Of course, they are also responsible for their own sensible self-protection, but making sure the house has adequate security features like strong locks, secure windows, and even CCTV coverage can help keep you covered and insured if any legal ramifications were to take place as a result of robbery or damage.

Insure the property effectively with a great package that prepares for any eventuality, even freak occurrences. For example, if your home is near surfing destination, don’t rule out the possibility of freak waves damaging the boundaries of your property. Take a little time thinking of the ‘what-if’ scenarios, and you’ll receive better peace of mind for the attempt.

Value Fluctuation

Check out the trends of buying power in the area you’re choosing over the last fifteen years. Check the news of the country it’s in. Make sure the country is stable, the economy is secure, and the holiday home market is thriving before you make a purchase in that area. This will give you plenty of foresight and predicting power to ensure your investment isn’t subject to negative value fluctuation if you needed to sell.

There are many things to look for when purchasing a holiday home, but on the whole, you’ll know when the right one presents itself. This property buying instinct seems ubiquitous among people who are genuinely searching for a home, and finding somewhere to enjoy your free time with your family is no different. Make sure you read over all the contracts, use your best sense and right feeling, and you’re sure to find the holiday home of your dreams.

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health, Lifestyle, Safety, Safety tips, Top tips

Making your home safer and healthier

Making your home safer and healthier

Making your home safer and healthier

Your family home should be a safe space. It should be a place where you can bring up your kids to be healthy happy adults. Unfortunately, for too many of us, our homes are far from being the safe havens we would imagine. They’re filled with potential dangers like boiling water, toxic substances and dodgy wiring that could potentially make us sick or cause an accident. So, even if you think your home is a pretty safe, healthy place to be, it’s worth doing what you can to make it even healthier. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Check Your Hot Water Heater

We all know that leaving young children alone in the bath is a bad idea because they could drown, but few of us think too much about the possibility of scalding, Unfortunately, many kids are burned by too hot bath water each year, and although most of them are not too badly affected, some will experience significant injuries. That’s why, if you have a baby or toddler in the house, it’s a good idea to check the temperature of your water heater. 120 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal because temperatures above that could scald a child in as little as 5 seconds!

Secure Your Windows

It’s shocking, but thousands of children each year are injured falling out of windows. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to install window guards on any windows that could be accessed by small children. Of course, you want to be able to open your windows quickly in the case of fire, so you should look for guards that are quick-release, just in case.

Remove Asbestos

It’s unbelievable how many homes and sheds in this country still contain asbestos. Once a popular building material due to its fire-resistant properties, asbestos is known to cause a range of devastating illnesses, including lung cancer and asbestosis. If you suspect you may have asbestos on your property, it’s important that you call in the professionals to remove it safely from your home.

Look Out for Faulty Wiring

Making your home safer and healthier

Faulty wiring is a disaster waiting to happen. It can cause fires and electric shocks if left unattended to. Tell-tale signs of faulty wiring include flickering lights, circuit breakers, and fuses that go out on a regular basis, switches that give off shocks and burning smells. If you notice any of these things, call in a local electrician to take a look. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your family’s safety, after all.

Decorate with Chemical Free Paint

There’s nothing more satisfying that freshly painted walls that are all clean and new. Of course, the average can of paint contains all manner of toxins, which h won’t exactly do you or your family much good when breathed in. If you want your home to be as toxin free as possible, it is, therefore, a good idea to use eco-friendly chemical-free paint. Sure, they’re a little more expensive, but they’re so worth it, if only because you don’t have to put up with that horrible paint smell for days after decorating.

Install and Test Smoke Alarms

If you don’t already have smoke alarms installed in your home, please, please go out and buy some right now. A functioning smoke alarm really could save yours and your family’s lives at some point. You might think that a fire could never break out at your home, but most people who’ve had house fires think that too. It can and does happen to anyone so take precautions by installing and regularly testing an alarm today.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Making your home safer and healthier

While you’re buying that smoke alarm, pick up a carbon monoxide detector too. Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it’s odourless and it can creep up on you without noticing. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include a headache, dizziness, and nausea and if you are exposed to it for long enough, you could die. Protect your family by installing a detector as soon as possible.

Keep the Place Clean

I know most of us hate doing household chores, but keeping your home clean and tidy is one of the best ways to prevent sickness bugs, food poisoning, allergies and the worsening of conditions like asthma. You don’t need to keep your house spotlessly clean, but don’t neglect it either or it could become a breeding ground for all kinds of nasties.

It might seem like a lot of work, but periodically checking up on your property and making any relevant changes will help you to maintain a safe, comfortable and very healthy home.

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Lifestyle, Top tips

The essential guide to a stress-free home

The essential guide to a stress-free home

The essential guide to a stress-free home

Do you ever feel like your entire life is dedicated to keeping the house in good shape? Maybe it’s the tedious daily tasks of loading and unloading the dishwasher, or the less frequent but bigger tasks like decorating or renovating a room? Your home should be where you can kick back and relax – it should be your calm oasis in a hectic world, and it certainly shouldn’t take a majority of your time to keep it in ship-shape condition. The key here is working smart, not hard. Developing a routine which works for you, but also allowing technology, and other members of the family, to take some of the slack. If you’d like a stress-free home, keep on reading.

Develop your routine

A daily and weekly routine of tasks which are unavoidable is a great way to ensure everything gets done, without praying on your mind. Maybe the trash goes out on Mondays, you vacuum on Tuesdays, and dust on Wednesdays, and so on. Small tasks which are done every day should be done at the same time each day, such as loading or unloading the dishwasher, collecting the mail, or tidying the living spaces. This way, it becomes part of your day, requires little consideration, and you may also find that the tasks are far faster to carry out. Any sort of routine is healthy for everyone, but especially for people who are feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

The essential guide to a stress-free homePhoto credit

Keep lists

Some jobs don’t fit into daily routines, and these jobs can really start to play on your mind, if you let them. Writing them down into a list form, usually with a connected calendar, can be a great way to ensure they get done, but also to take away the associated anxiety. The list apps on smartphones such as Google Keep and iPhone’s are perfect for this, as you can keep the list with you at all times and add to it as you see fit, as well as syncing it with calendars and emails. This means that larger projects, such as cleaning the guttering or fixing the roof, is noted, but doesn’t play on your mind. Keeping a running list of important contacts for the home too. When the furnace breaks or the fence blows down, you’re not going to want to be shuffling through your emails and contacts to find the right guy to come in and fix it. Keeping all these contacts in the same place is essential for reacting in an emergency, and you’ll feel better knowing the list is there too.

De-clutter (and keep it that way)

Clutter does not create a stress-free home. As they say, a cluttered room means a cluttered mind. If you want to be able to kick back and relax in the space, you need to keep all of the mess hidden away. Not only does this create a more relaxing environment, but it also makes it easy to keep tidy in the long run, and makes it far easier to clean and keep dust-free. Great storage solutions can make this so much easier, and look great in the process. Once you’ve de-cluttered a room, make it part of your daily routine to de-clutter at the end of every day. If you go to bed with a tidy home, and wake up to a tidy home, you will find your stress levels will drop significantly.

The essential guide to a stress-free home

Let technology do the work for you

We are lucky to be alive in a booming technological time. Many of us have dishwashers, washer-dryers, and even ovens which clean themselves automatically. But there are plenty of reviews of smart home products designed to save you time online which you might not have even considered. For example, if you have pets and have to vacuum up pet hair every day, have you considered investing in a Roomba to free up that time, without compromising on the cleanliness and tidiness of your home? It might seem like a significant investment, but time is money, and if it helps to create a stress-free environment for you, it might well be worth it.

Delegate

Unless you live alone, there are other people that benefit from all of your hard work in maintaining the cleanliness and tidiness of your home. Do you think they could better pull their weight? Being able to delegate tasks to family members can really help to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Asking your kids to wash the dishes, take the trash out, or clean the fish tank gives you more free time, and teaches them valuable life skills as a bonus.

Your home shouldn’t be a stressful environment, so don’t let it!