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Weight Loss

7 new ways to LOSE WEIGHT

Our BODYOLOGIST blogger Helen Foster has the inside knowledge on brand new weight loss fixes that make it easy to drop the pounds – hot off the launch pads. Trust us, your body needs this info

Fitness Buzzword: FOBBING

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The more you walk the better which is why we love the idea of a new initiative called Beat The Street. In this, ‘Beat Boxes’ are placed in various areas in a neighbourhood. People signing up for the challenge get a fob which they touch on the box every time they walk past one. Each touch earns points which can translate into funds for a local cause. It’s running right now in Birmingham’s Parks. Next year they launch in Newham – but companies, schools, local councils etc anywhere in the UK can apply to start a scheme in their area by emailing


TomTom small

Normally jewellery needs to be sparkly to make me happy – but my latest love is pink and plastic. It’s the new Tom Tom GPS watch – claiming to be the fastest at picking up GPS signals on the move, and the easiest to operate.  You can use it running, walking, cycling – and even swimming. With settings like ‘Race’ where you can aim to beat a time or ‘Zone’ which allows you to stick to a training heart rate it’s an excellent product for anyone trying to improve fitness. Find at

Amazing Food Alert: 14-CALORIE CHOCOLATE


I repeat. Fourteen – one four – calorie chocolate. Called Choc-Shot it’s a liquid product made from cocoa and fruit sugar designed to be used as a base for things like hot chocolate or on top of yogurt – but I’ve been eating it off the spoon to satisfy my nightly chocolate fix and it’s good. Fourteen calories is the amount contained in a 5g/1tsp serving. My top tip – pour it into a proper measuring teaspoon and put it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. It makes it taste like the inside of a truffle – and it takes a bit longer to eat! £3.59 at Tesco, Morrison, Waitrose and Ocado.

Try this: DESK GYM


Working from home is lovely – but it makes it very easy not to move. According to various gadgets I often do less than 1000 steps a day. For last couple of weeks though I’ve been trying the Office Fitness Mini Bike, £83.82 at This fits neatly under your desk and allows you to pedal while you work. Sadly, the layout of my desk means I can’t type and pedal at the same time (I bash my knees on the keyboard shelf) but I can delete my inbox, do research, surf twitter and file while pedalling. I also do the odd burst when I need a mental break. The result has been around an extra 30 minutes of exercise in my day – and an aching butt each morning. See my longer review at

The App Combo We Love: CHOP’D + OROGO 

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Central London folk: You know you should go to Chop’d for a tasty freshly prepared salad for lunch – but the queue, the time, the effort. Behold, my impatient friend – salad makers Chop’d have teamed up with takeaway service Orogo to create an app that allows you to order your salad via your phone and pick it up when you get there. It’s genius. Download the Orogo app at the App store (iphone only right now) – and get ordering. For more app news, check out my App-tober challenge – 30 fitness apps in 30 days at


The Paleo diet is huge at the moment but one of the biggest criticisms of it is that it can be hard to fit into a busy life – no wheat, no dairy, no additives etc can make it tricky to grab fast meals – and can see you spending your whole weekend batch cooking a week’s supplies. If that sounds familiar a new range of Paleo ready meals from might help. Created by two Paleo eating men (with the aid of chefs who’ve staffed restaurants like Noma!) it provides meals you can heat and eat that fit all the regime rules – and taste really good. Prices start at £40 for a five meal package – perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.


dna kit run

We’ve already covered genetic testing to determine which fitness regime you should be on here at Healthista (read our story about tests such as DNA Fit, left), but you can also be tested to determine which diet suits you. However, there were concerns. What if when people got a result that indicated their genes predisposed them to struggling with their weight, they just quit trying to tackle it entirely? New evidence says that’s not true. A trial at University College London found being told they possessed an unhelpful variation of a major obesity gene actually reduced the blame people felt when diets didn’t work potentially boosting their motivation to work at things.


Doesn't bacteria look pretty under the microscope - and no, we can't identify the type from this picture (we're geeky but not THAT geeky)
Doesn’t bacteria look pretty under the microscope – and no, we can’t identify the type from this picture (we’re geeky but not THAT geeky)

These are a type of gut bacteria and while they sound like something you might wish to cultivate with their cuddly sounding name that’s not the case. Firmicutes are excellent at extracting calories from your food – if you have too many of them you gain weight more easily. Latest research has found that high fat, high sugar diets cause firmicutes to thrive while a diet low in saturated fat and high in fruit and veg makes it more hospitable for another type of bacteria ‘bacteroidetes’ which don’t convert calories so well. Seems it really is true that if you eat clean you get lean.

helen foster headshotHealthista’s Bodyologist Helen Foster blogs daily on all things health, fitness and diet related at  Follow her on Twitter @healthehelen 

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