eat healthy as a couple
Health & Nutrition

How to eat healthy as a couple? 10 Tips from the Expert

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 9, 2017 0 comments

Eating healthy as a single is relatively easy. Less stress and less “problems” to look at, allows you to focus on the quality of the nutrients and on the amounts and portions in every meal. The struggle begins when you start a relationship and other problems get in the way and start reducing your capacity to focus on your diet.

How many people do you know that when they started dating or when they got married, noticed a weight increase? I believe the answer will be the majority. Lets see what actually happens and give you some tips on how to dribble the weight gain.

It all starts in dating, usually couples favorite ride is the movie theater, with right to popcorn, soda and chocolate. Dinners with pastas, pizzas, wine and other tasty foods, become the perfect tour. After they decide to get married and live together, preparations for marriage begin. It is such a rush, stress, concern for everything to work out, that this anxiety ends up being discounted in food, either in excess or in fasting, which is also a mistake. After this point they start living as a couple and all the habits and diet they were used to before changes completely.

According to some specialists men have a tendency to consume more food than they really need in the main meals and woman have a tendency to the consumption of foods high in calories like ice-creams and chocolates out of the main meals which will affect each other negatively.

That is the main cause of weight gain in couples when there is no control from both sides to avoid it. The man tends to store the fat in the belly and the women more in the thighs and butt. This excess of weight can impair confidence and self-esteem, as well as cause obesity-related physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, just to mention a few.

Knowing all this you should start prioritizing your other half to “build” a healthier diet as a couple and fight the bad habits that both of you brought to the relationship and that can cause problems for each other.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Get together and find out a list of foods that are healthy and that can suit both tastes
  • Make a shopping list for the week. This will help you keeping track of the diet and will control the excess
  • Go to the grocery store together but not when you’re hungry. Eating before shopping reduces the chance of buying unnecessary foods rich in calories and poor in nutrients
  • Try to get more natural foods without pesticides or chemical additives
  • Avoid buying packet snacks, stuffed biscuits and candy
  • Read product labels, see the nutritional value, product ingredients and expiration date. The less saturated fat, chemical additives, colorings, sugars and sodium, the healthier the product is
  • Avoid all the sodas and juices. Rich in sugars, they will not bring any health benefits to your diet and they will extremely increase the calories in your daily count
  • Avoid buying ready-to-eat foods, give preference to separate ingredients and prepare to cook at home, so you know exactly what you are consuming and also ensuring proper hygiene during food preparation
  • If you are both at home on the weekend and feel like eating something different, choose a healthy and practical option. For example: instead of ordering pizza or fast food, make a home-made pizza with low-calorie ingredients that you might have in your kitchen
  • Help each other preparing the “work meals”. Instead of eating in the cafeteria of the work place or the vending machine, make some healthy sandwiches in the morning or even the night before. There are so many possible combinations that I’m sure you can find several that can suit both tastes. Suggestions: eggs, white cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, turkey breast, lean turkey, shredded chicken, sliced meat, raw vegetables and nut butters.

Healthy Diet

Last but not least try to increase the number of calories burned. A daily walk in the park, practice of a sport that you both enjoy or a gym training together will make a huge difference in your calorie balance and bring you more energy and happiness, making the bond between you both stronger and healthier!

André Ferreira
Fitness Manager
Fitness First, The Lakes Dubai

Health & Nutrition

4 Easy Diet Switches to Drop Sugar for Good

posted by FitnessFirst Team April 18, 2016 0 comments

Hooked on sugar?  It’s not hard to be considering the physiological response sugar can have in our bodies.  Sugar provides a quick burst of energy, can stimulate mood and satisfy cravings, but these effects are short-lived.  Sugar highs are followed by sugar lows that can trigger the complete opposite reaction, leaving you feeling fatigued, moody and craving more sugar.  The best defense against sugar is to cut if from your diet, after all sugar is nutrient poor and calorie-rich, and continually eating it only leads to health issues long-term.  Making a few simple diet switches can help you cut out sugar for good.

1. Switch Juices to Water

You might think that drinking juice is a better choice over soda, but this is not the case. Juice maybe natural but it’s also full of sugar, and lacks the fiber that you get in the full fruit version.  You will also end up getting about 5 to 6 servings of the fruit in a single glass versus eating one piece!  Instead of reaching for juice to satisfy your thirst, drink water and plenty of it.  Water can help fill you up without the added sugar.  Have a hard time just drinking water?  Add slices of lemon, lime or make a water infusion with slices of citrus fruit, cucumber or even strawberries.  And if you still want juice, mix half juice and half water or sparkling water to cut calories and sugar.


2. Switch Simple Carbs with Complex Ones

Simple carbs like white rice, pasta and bread are loaded in sugar!  These simple carbs can spike blood glucose levels leading to a release of insulin, whose primary job is to quickly clear the blood of glucose, shuttling it to either be stored in muscle or fat. Once the blood is cleared from glucose, energy levels fall and hunger and cravings can increase once again.  The problem with this constant energy high and low is that your body’s storage capacity becomes limited and instead of burning off those calories, the body starts storing them in your fat! Switching your simple carbs for complex carbs that are high in fiber and lower in sugar can decrease blood glucose spiking and reduce sugar cravings, since they take much longer to digest versus simple carbs.  Complex carbs include non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and squashes, lentils and beans, or whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal or quinoa.


3. Switch Carbs for More Protein

Eating a diet that provides more protein and less carbs can help keep hunger and sugar cravings in check.  Protein has a satiating effect in the body that can reduce appetite.  In fact one study showed that eating a high protein snack of yogurt led to less hunger and delayed eating by up to 30-minutes compared to a high carb chocolate snack.  What’s more, eating the high protein snack led to eating 100 less calories at later meals.  Following a diet that provides at least 40% protein will help control hunger and reduce appetite while also helping to maintain lean muscle.   Pick lean proteins such as lean cuts of red meat, fatty fish like salmon, chicken, turkey, whole eggs, or non-fat dairy like plain non-fat Greek yogurt.


4. Switch Processed Foods for Whole Natural Foods

Processed foods are often laced with simple carbs and refined sugar.  If you’re eating any processed products like crackers, cereals, white bread, or pasta then you’re definitely taking in extra sugar you don’t need.  Instead of eating processed foods, switch to eating only whole natural foods that do not contain added ingredients.  Instead of pasta try spaghetti squash or a hearty side of vegetables.  Realistically you should be able to purchase all your food from the exterior perimeter of any grocery store, where all the natural fresh foods are located, and avoid the interior aisles where most boxed processed food is located.

By Lauren Jacobsen
Nutrition Director for Kcal

10 Steps to help you detox SUGAR from your body

Tips to make Mums Happy and Healthy
Health & Nutrition

Tips to make Mums Happy and Healthy

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 21, 2016 0 comments

MOTHERS are the most valuable members of a family because they are responsible for setting the tone and caring for everyone else. One thing mums have to remember, though, is that they are worthy of care and respite, and no, they don’t have to escape their family to get it. Taking care of yourself is the key to looking after your family. If you eat correctly you will look and feel your best.

Healthy Woman

  • Maintain a healthy body weight, and remember to start with eating clean, and moving your body.
  • Variation and moderation is key: include your favorite food in small amounts, to help you control your cravings.
  • Eat breakfast. Even ifyou are busy, you can’t just skip meals. You need to get your metabolism going in the morning by eating breakfast. This early meal helps control your weight and gives you energy for the rest of the day.
  • Boost energy for quality protein, which is an essential part of ahealthy diet, and it is important to vary with different sources like: fish, chicken, turkey, dairy, and plant based protein sources.
  • Healthy fats are good because they supportyour mood and brain function whilst helping you maintain a healthy weight. Healthy fats include: nuts (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin,sesame seeds) and fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel).


Healthy Bones

  • It’s very important to have healthy bones because women have a higher risk of osteoporosis, mainly due to pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • The key is to get enough of the nutrients that support bone health.
  • Calcium: the recommended daily allowance varies from 400 to 1200 mg/day. Good sources include dairy, leafy green vegetables, oatmeal, tofu and almonds.
  • Magnesium: the recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 500 to 800 mg/day. Calcium is activated in our body once it is finished with magnesium. Sources include: leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cucumber, green beans, celery, pumpkin and flax seeds.
  • Vitamin D: aim for 400 to 1000 IU daily. You can get vitamin D from about half an hour of direct exposure to sunlight, and from foods and supplements. Dietary sources include: salmon, egg yolk, shrimps, and fortified milk.


Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails

  • Remember the condition of your hair, skin and nails are a sign of your health
  • Protein is essential for healthy hair and skin. All of our endings in our body (hair and nails), are protein based. Protein is crucial for healthy hair and nails.
  • Iron is essential for your hair health, as the hair follicle and roots are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply.
  • Vitamin C is a great antioxidant that help protects the body from the free radicals.
  • Omega 3 is an essential fat in our body that we can’t make. It provides the oils that keep your scalp, hair and skin hydrated.
  • Zinc, Selenium and Biotin are very important minerals for hair and skin health.


Healthy Tips to make mums happy

  • Write down your food intake. 
  • Exercise with your kids.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time.
  • Drink more water.
  • Avoid eating your kids’ meals if they don’t finish.

Banin Shahine
Nutrition Manager
Fitness First Middle East

4 Dietary Ways To Balance Hormones Naturally
Health & Nutrition

3 Dietary Ways To Balance Hormones Naturally

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 7, 2016 0 comments

Hormone Imbalance and Nutrition

There is a great correlation between healthy balanced eating and hormones within the body. Whatever you’re eating is either helping the production of hormones or hindering it.

Who doesn’t want a healthy reproductive system, healthy immune system, balanced hormones and glowing skin? The consumption of nutrient dense foods will open your hormonal production pathway.

The body doesn’t produce all the hormones needed correctly or sufficiently for the body on its own, therefore it create hormone imbalance especially in women which leads to a lot of complications.

Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Some of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalance include:

  • Chronic Fatigue: are you always tired?
  • Acne: cookie faced?
  • Mood Swings: yoyo moods?
  • Diminished Libido: no mojo?
  • Weight Gain: big boned?
  • Memory Loss: who are I?

3 Dietary points to balancing hormones:

1.Clean Lean Protein (not fried) with every meal

Typical Others
Beef Quinoa
Fish Lentils
Poultry: Chicken or Turkey and Eggs Spinach

protein-meal2. Healthy fats (portion control)

Typical Others
Olive Oil Avocado: helps absorb and use nutrients
Nuts and Seeds Coconut Oil: contains lauric acid, helps with hormonal production and helps combat bacteria and viruses in the body
Egg Yolk: contains choline and iodine, important for making healthy thyroid hormones Raw Butter or Ghee

nuts-almonds3. Antioxidant rich veggies (don’t over boil)

Classification Examples
Dark green veggies Broccoli, spinach, cucumber and kale
Brightly colored veggies Bell peppers, tomatoes
Starchy veggies Sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips


Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal and be in balance, when given the nutrients they need to flourish. Your body is your temple therefore always strive to make it habitable.

Olufemi Olugbemi
Fitness Manager
Fitness First Abu-Dhabi Mall

Eating healthy when on the road
Health & Nutrition

Eating healthy, when on the road!

posted by FitnessFirst Team December 28, 2015 0 comments

Remember the last time you raised a toast, ‘One for the road’! Well, if habits make a man then groom yourself into travel-experience enhancing hacks that will not toss your toned body and hard-earned fitness through the window.

Staying healthy and keeping diet on the track while on the go can be difficult but, read on as Fitness First brings you tips to stay fit while traveling.

Plan ahead in time

A little bit of homework goes a long way to help you plan your schedule and food. You do come across fast food joints a plenty when discovering a new country but they offer limited choices. Opt for a grocery store instead that offers whole and healthy foods like fruits, nuts and salads. A supermarket with a salad bar may not offer you a brownie but will sure earn you brownie points. Home-made snacks like nutty bars, energy bites etc; let you have access to food at all times. So, there’s no skipping meals there!Binge on tasty and heart healthy foods:

Binge on tasty and heart healthy foods

Avoid giving in to temptations. Maximize clean eating like meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits and consciously junk empty calories like processed grains, carbs and aerated, sugary drinks.

Eat less, eat more

That precisely means you should be eating small quantity at frequent intervals. In this way, the body never stores fat for later consumption. It is also easy to burn calories taken in by regular meals rather than loading in one single sitting. Eating too much at one go can also make you sluggish and sleepy, beating the purpose of your vacation.

Raise protein intake

When in need of energy for a long hike, a long drive, or a day at the beach, stoke your body with high-quality, lean protein found in any animal and dairy product. Eating the right amount of complete protein for your weight and activity level stabilizes blood sugar (preventing energy lags), enhances concentration, and keeps you lean and strong.

Keep sipping on water

Yes, water is essential and a life saver! Our body needs water for virtually all of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush the body of toxins, keeps the skin fresh, and reduces the appetite. It will also keep you hydrated and aids in avoiding travel lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and junk-food cravings. Believe it or not, many of the unhealthy cravings we experience on the road can be satisfied with a refreshing drink of pure water.

Get picky about choosing restaurants

Select places with a full menu. Not only does that allow you to customize a healthy meal but also take in cooking requests like trimming off visible fat from meat and poultry.

And while we are still at the restaurant, it might just help to keep the following in mind:

  • Select steamed or fresh vegetables and broiled or baked meat instead of fried foods. Roasted or poached fish and meat are also preferable to fried food.
  • Watch your salt intake and use the salt shaker on your table sparingly.
  • Choose the lunch portion, when possible. Lunch portions are usually half the size of dinner portions, but most are still enough to fill up the average diner.
  • Look for pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces, which are generally lower in fat and calories than cream-based sauces. This applies to soups, as well.
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea with your meal, and avoid soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Most restaurants offer bottled water.
  • Skip dessert. Eating a single slice of chocolate cake after your meal can negate all the healthy choices you made when ordering your dinner. If you really need dessert, ask if the restaurant serves a fresh fruit bowl.

So while you sift through the ‘Lonely Planet’ to lay your sight on the next destination-to-be; remember these simple tips and never forget, ‘Moderation is the key’!

Happy vacationing!