I know you’re  gonna make it Finding your exercise routine a bit boring?  hard to get motivated?  Sergeant Sixpak is here to help by shouting  encouragement to keep you going to his favorite sounds
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if you can get yourself a stainless steel pressure cooker ... good for taste ... good for saving time ... good for the planet CHECK THIS OUT MY MAN! http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx is reheated pasta less fattening? see http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29629761 is tumeric a new “wonder food” see http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29361351
to lose weight, to feel better about yourself, and eat more healthily most people need to eat the right foods in smaller quantities and less of the “bad” stuff.  to quote MIchael Pollan’s famous 7 word mantra  Eat Food Not too Much Mostly Plants Not always that easy but the Sergeant does’nt believe there are many shortcuts to this basic premise ... but that does’nt make it all bad. For more nutitional guidance see the nhs choices website at   www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eatwell- plate.aspx Most guidance advises to eat less high fat, high sugar foods, particuarly those high in saturated fats like red meat, pies, cakes, sweets, biscuits and pastries. Beware starchy carbohydrates Eat more fruit, oily fish and vegetables. as well as the food we eat, the way we eat is also important, many experts suggest the following as a good plan for eating: EAT SLOWLY chew your food and enjoy, this gives time for your stomach to recognise food has arrived - its very easy to eat quickly, still feel hungry and then eat more and then feel very uncomfortable and bloated EAT AT A TABLE SITTING DOWN where you can, sit at a table to eat, snacking on the move piles on the pounds. Ideally sit and have a meal with family and friends as much as possible. DON’T EAT TOO LATE BEFORE BED (if you can!) particuarly heavy carbohydrate based meals but if you do try and keep portion control sensible
Some of the Sergeant’s favourite Recipes simple but tasty ... yum yum All the recipes below are quick to prepare, tasty and nutritious - they have the added bonus of mostly being pretty inexpensive too! Steaming Chicken, Vegetable and Noodle Broth Pasta and Mackeral Chicken Stir Fry Spicy Bean Soup Simple Tomato Sauce with Pasta Tasty Lentil Soup Smoked Mackeral with Wholemeal Toast
Steaming Chicken (or just veg) noodle broth - takes about 30 minutes ... mmmm! Ingredients I x breast chicken - cooked or raw - thinly sliced egg or rice noodles - left to soak (or boil) in boiling water for about 5 minutes (see packet for detail) Garlic - 1 clove sliced spring onion (or leek) chopped at an angle about 1cm long 2cm knob of unpeeled ginger cut into thick slices 1 ltr chicken or veg stock Soy sauce / fish sauce Lime juice Optional  A small handul of savoy cabbage / kale / greens / spinach - pretty much any green leaf veg that you have - sliced thinly Brocoli - florets quartered (if you want you can also finely slice the stalk - quite a nutty taste) Carrots sliced thinly or in thin sticks Thin sliced fresh red chilli Bunch coriander Garlic - finely sliced Salt / Black Pepper to season Directions Pour boiling water over the noodles, leave for 5 minutes and drain (or according to packet instructions) Put your hot chicken or veg stock in a saucepan add the garlic and ginger, bring to boil add your chicken and veg (or just the veg) and cook for a couple of minutes or until cooked through. add flavour with a splash of soy sauce or fish sauce and a sprinkle of lime juice to taste Put the drained noodles into individual bowls and spoon over the broth, garnish each bowl with thin sliced red chillis, finely sliced garlic and chopped coriander to individual taste
Pasta and Mackeral with Brocoli - takes about 10 minutes Ingredients Pasta of choice - spagetti, penne, farfalle and fusilli are all work - about 75g -100g per person (a couple of handfuls) Tin of mackeral fillets in Tomato sauce (Princes mackeral fillets in spicy tomato sauce is particuarly good and Marine Stewardship Council certified www.msc.org) Generally one tin for two people (can stretch to 4 people if needed) Brocoli Olive Oil, garlic, dried red chilli optional Directions Heat a saucepan of water, when its boiling add a pinch of salt and add pasta - cook according to directions In a saucepan or non-stick frying pan If you have time fry up a finely chopped shallot or small onion for 2 to 3 minutes in a small spoonful of olive oil and then add a crushed clove of garlic (and if you like spicy a dried red chilli, seeds removed) and fry for about another minute taking care the garlic does not burn - less is more in this case! and add the tin (s) of mackeral - heat through gently till warm if you can steam, if not boil, a couple of florets of brocoli per person for about 4-5 minutes Drain the pasta quickly (ideally there will be a small amount of cooking water left and pour the pasta back into its saucepan add the pan of mackeral and mix together till the pasta is well coated with the tomato sauce. Serve with a small amount of grated cheese, black pepper and the brocoli.
Chicken Stir Fry - takes about 15 minutes Ingredients (serves 2 - double for 4) - takes about 15 minutes as everything cooks quite quickly it will help to have all the ingredients prepared and ready to add Rapeseed Oil, Vegetable Oil or similar - about a teaspoon 1 Chicken breast diced small or in strips  - can use cooked or raw chicken but cook longer if using raw meat till met is fully cooked through (follow usual raw meat hygiene) spring onions or white onion sliced ginger (sliced small or grated) garlic (sliced or crushed) Red Chilli (optional) pretty much any green veg sliced thinly e.g. brocoli (cut in quarters), cabbage, kale, carrots (sliced thinly or cut into strips) beansprouts etc teaspoon of sugar a good splash cider or rice vinegar soy sauce Directions Heat the oil on high heat for about 30-60 seconds, turn heat down to medium hot Add ginger, garlic, chilli (if using) and spring onion, stir fry moving around for about 30 seconds add the chicken and fry until cooked through, add sliced veg and cook for another 2 minutes keeping everything moving until all cooked through, add sugar, a good dash of soy sauce, a good splash of vinegar and cook for another 30 seconds. Serve straight away with boiled rice.
Spicy Bean Soup - takes about 30 minutes warming, tasty - lots of veg in a small space - spice according to your taste taste a good one for a pressure cooker! Ingredients Olive Oil or similar Garlic - about a teaspoon crushed or finely chopped 1 x onion chopped 1 x dried or fresh chilli or chilli powder (about half a teaspoon) basil / bay / oregano (any or all are optional but nice to have) Tomato Puree - teaspoon if you have it but not essential 1 x 400g tinned Plum Tomatoes Tin kidney beans (or any similar tinned bean) 1 ltr veg stock  2 x teaspoon sugar big teaspoon paprika if you prefer something a bit hotter and spicier (the Sergeant does!) add some chilli powder A good handul of savoy cabbage / kale / greens / spinach - pretty much any green leaf veg that you have - chopped Salt / Black Pepper to season Directions Heat saucepan and then add oil on low/medium temperature, add the onion fry and for a few minutes until golden and then add garlic, chilli and herbs cook on low / medium heat for another 2 to 3 minutes (don’t let the garlic burn!) add tomato puree, paprika (chilli powder if using) and sugar cook for about 30 seconds stirring gently to combine flavours Add the hot stock with tinned tomatoes, greens and 2/3 tin of beans (add all the beans if you prefer a smooth blended soup) - cook for 15 minutes. Take off heat and either leave and eat as is or whizz to a thick soup with a blender and then add remaining beans - add a swirl of thick yoghurt if desired and enjoy
Simple Tomato Sauce with Pasta - takes about 15 minutes easy and tasty Ingredients Pasta of your choice about 75g per person Tablespoon Olive Oil or similar Garlic - about a teaspoon crushed or finely chopped - add a pinch of salt and leave for about a minute basil / bay / oregano / red chilli (any or all are optional but nice to have) Tomato Puree - teaspoon if you have it but not essential 1 x 400g Tinned Plum Tomatoes Teaspoon sugar Red wine vinegar Salt / Black Pepper Directions Boil a saucpan of water, when boiling add a decent pinch of salt then pasta and cook according to instructions (an idea to cook for about a minute less than packet instructions) Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the garlic, and one of the optional herbs along with optional chilli if you like a bit of heat. When garlic is brown but not burnt add the teaspoon of tomato puree being careful that hot oil does’nt spit. Stir into the mix, add red wine vinegar and sugar and cook off for about a minute Keep everything moving so does’nt burn. Add the tinned tomatoes, stir until all is mixed and leave on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whizz round with a hand blender being careful not to splatter yourself with delicious but messy tomato sauce. Drain the pasta leaving just a bit of the water and mix in the tomato sauce or serve pasta and sauce separately according to preference. Nice served with peas - fresh or cooked from frozen - they’re both nice and a bit of grated cheese
Lentil Soup - takes about 30 minutes (about 10 minutes with a pressure cooker) easy to make, inexpensive and surprisingly tasty - makes a really warming soup. Ingredients Splash of Olive Oil or similar Green, Brown or Red Lentils (rinsed in cold water and drained - about half a cupful per person) Onion -  diced small Carrot - diced small Directions Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion and carrot. Heat on a low / medium heat for about 5 minutes making sure nothing burns. Carefully add your hot vegetable stock and your lentils, heat through for about 30 - 40 minutes (a lot less (10 mins) if using a pressure cooker) When lentils are soft use a hand blender to whizz through the soup, add salt/pepper to taste and serve with crusty wholemeal bread
Smoked Mackeral with Wholemeal bread - takes about 2 minutes this could’nt be much simpler and makes a very tasty light lunch, breakfast or supper variations add some horseradish and or service garnished with chopped chives / parsley etc Ingredients Packet of smoked mackeral fillets (plain or peppered) tub creme fraiche / yoghurt Wholemeal bread (preferably not sliced but thick cut) Lemon Optional small green, dressed salad and / or beetroot (fresh or from a jar) Directions Toast the wholemeal bread until lightly browned Zap the mackeral fillets in the microwave for about 10 seconds then coarsely mix with the creme fraiche and a good squeeze of lemon juice (ideally leave for half hour more to let the flavours develop) Once toasted you can butter the bread and serve with the mackeral fillets with salad/beetroot to side drizzle over squeezed lemon according to taste.
If you have any concerns, particuarly if starting a new exercise regime, consult your doctor first. Most advice recommends that to get the most benefit you need to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week. For full NHS advice on fitness and general health and well being see http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/Pages/Fitnesshome.aspx for those people who would like to start running but haven’t tried running any distance for a while, take heart! check out the following program very useful ... Couch to 5K http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx
Ok ... you’ve been working hard, keeping control, doing all the exercises,  you also need some time to relax, some time for the mind to slow down and relax. Meditation is a good option. Choose a quiet time and sit crossed legged on a comfortable floor or sit upright in a comfortable chair There are many different forms of meditation in most cases it means emptying your mind of consious thought, to let the worries and concerns that beset us all float away and let your mind slow down into a gentle, deep rhythm. Choose a time when for 10 - 20 minutes you are unlikely to be disturbed by kids, partners, phones etc Take your time and only go as you feel comfortable, this, like most things, is a process. A process that gets easier over time and with practice. There is no need to force results or feelings. Get comfortable Close your eyes gently and start to breathe deeply Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth Try and breath not to your chest but all the way down to your tummy expanding your tummy rather than your chest Concentrate on your breathing - feel the air flowing through your body reaching every part, Feel your breathe as a golden warming light spreading through your body, let your body relax while keeping your back straight (ish) Do this for 5 - 10 minutes Once you are comfortable and breathing gently and rhythmically picture in your minds eye a small, but strong candle flame burning brightly Concentrate on the candle flame let your mind focus on the candle, other thoughts will pop in here and there don’t worry, bring your concentration back to the flame. Do this for 5 - 10 minutes At a time of your choosing gently let the flame disappear and bring your awareness back to full and lively present conciousness. You should expect to feel more relaxed, peaceful yet filled with a quiet energy and purpose. Don’t worry if this does’nt happen straight away there are many different forms of meditation and relaxation including yoga and Tai Chi.