How To Fix Easy Weight Gain And Difficult Weight Loss

Easy weight gain and difficult weight loss? Today’s blog post is about why gaining weight is so easy, but losing weight seems so difficult.

Although there are some people who struggle with trying to put on weight, the majority face the battle of trying to keep it off. Many times we find ourselves working so hard to lose the weight for months, and yet can pile on the pounds within a few weeks.

So how is that fair?! And why does it happen? Unfortunately I can only help with the second question!

Why Does Weight Gain Happen So Easily?

In an ideal world I would love to say if it isn’t your fault, but in this particular case, it is your own previous self who has caused this issue for you. Unfortunately it’s not the extra doughnuts or cake that you ate last weekend. Instead it’s your fat cells that have formed.

What Are Fat Cells?

This process begins in your infancy through to your early 20s where the number of fat cells in the body increases. When you start consuming a high-fat diet, your body reacts by producing white fat cells or adipose tissue. Once you hit mid-20s your body maintains and protect the fat cells you have created over this time period. This then becomes your homeostasis condition and what your body recognises as ‘normal’.

These fat cells will then remain and can grow or shrink based on the type of diet a person consumes. After we have created these fat cells even if we go on a diet we can only shrink them, but they will not entirely disappear. As a result, if we ‘fall off the wagon’ it is much easier to put on the weight again because these fat cells will easily return back to a ‘normal’ size again.

Now you might say, we are all doomed. However, there are many other contributing factors which can help or hinder this weight journey and the process that comes with it.

weight gain fat cells

Are Diets To Blame For Weight Gain?

One of the reasons many people struggle with weight is the never-ending dieting culture we live in. Magazines are constantly trying to give us new ways to lose weight, to name a few including Atkins, Keto, Paleo, Cleanse, etc. The list goes on and on. When you follow these diets you are essentially ‘starving’ your body of what it is asking you for. As a result when you go back to eating ‘normally’ your body will either start storing this food in case you decide to do another diet, or will make you eat more in order to make up for the shortage. Many studies have shown the hunger you feel after a diet is up to 3 times stronger, and so you will overeat to compensate for this increase in hunger.

How Does Mindset Relate To Weight Gain?

Many of us have tried these diets and not managed to stick to them. But why is this the case? Your mindset has a MASSIVE part to play in this. Normally when we diet it’s like a switch in our brains. Once we start a diet, we tell ourselves we are ‘on’ and work really hard to stay on track. But as soon as we are ‘off’, the majority of people will binge eat and ‘treat themselves’ for working so hard. These types of diets can be a quick fix over a short period of time, but they are not built to be sustainable food choices. Neither in terms of keeping the weight off, nor continually doing for months or even years.

In order to stick to a diet it needs to be sustainable and affordable food choices that we could follow or revert back to easily. In my opinion that isn’t a ‘diet’, it’s a lifestyle. And finding a food lifestyle which works for you can be challenging, believe me. There are so many factors to consider including physical movement, exercise, country, religion, culture, accessibility to raw materials, finances etc.

What Is The Best Course Of Action?

My advice would be to try and see what you are consuming in the day, and when you are consuming them. Many of us enjoy evening treats but this might be the underlying issues. I think everything should be eaten in moderation and so eating lots of salad won’t fix the problem. On the other hand, limiting the desserts and snacking will. Trying swapping in healthier fruits and veg to replace daytime snacking. And if you read my blog post last week you will know how important it is to stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water will definitely help you to stop overeating and help you build better long term habits.

I would also say that it is possible to follow a healthy lifestyle and not give up all the cultural food you are eating. Try adjusting ingredients for healthier alternative so that you can still enjoy your food in a better way. Moreover, making more homemade food and maintaining control over portion size and ingredients will be much more beneficial than eating out. Always remember that eating out is a treat, and so it shouldn’t be indulged in too much.

Try This Behavioural Science Hack!

I love giving you little tips and tricks you can use as home which are well known behavioural science concepts. An easy way to reduce food intake it to use a smaller plate. The smaller size will trick you into thinking you are eating a large amount of food and this can instantly help you to stop over eating. 

Additionally, using a red plate instead of a white one can instantly help with this process. Colour psychology has shown individuals intake less food when eating out of red plates. You can read my post on IGGI to learn more about your food biases and this intriguing product.

That’s all for today folks! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any comments let me know, I love to hear from you all!

Is Water Really As Important As They Make Out?

If you have ever read articles on how to be healthy, they will normally recommend you drink plenty water. While this is very helpful advice, it doesn’t really explain why or how to implement this behaviour change.

Why should we drink water?

The human body is made up of about 60% water. As a result we need water to help our bodies in many ways including physical activity, consumption of food and to remain hydrated. The common recommendation is to drink 8 glasses of water, with each glass being around 237ml (8×8 rule). It is important to try and consume this over the course of the day to achieve maximum benefit. This can be water in its purest form, or through water based drink like tea. Although water can be found in other drinks, many of these contain caffeine and large amount of sugar. Therefore above all, pure water is the easiest and healthiest option.

What is water hydration and dehydration?

Hydration is a state where ones water level are sufficient and they are not experiencing any symptoms of dehydration. On the other hand, dehydration can occur when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can cause a range of issues to your body and so it is important to keep your water levels up. If you are dehydrated you can experience feeling thirsty, feeling dizzy and lightheaded, feeling tired, dry eyes, mouth and lips. A very obvious indicator of dehydration is the colour of your urine. A dark yellow and strong smell indicates dehydration. As well as this, urinating very little can be a result of lack of fluids in the body.

What are some of the health benefits of water?

1. Higher energy levels and brain function

Your level of hydration can significantly affect energy levels and brain function. For example, studies have indicated even mild dehydration can impair brain function in many ways. As well as this dehydration can impair mood and cause headaches due to a lack of energy. In addition, people may feel overly tired and lack the motivation to do physical activity. Your body is in a sense trying to slow you down and stop you moving in order to preserve energy. By ensuring you have enough fluid intake you can ensure these energy levels remain high and improve brain functionality.

2. Helps maximise physical performance

When you are hydrated, your body uses this water to regulate your body temperature. in other words, when the body is too hot it releases sweat to cool you down. This is more noticeable when it is a hot day, or when you are experiencing high levels of activity through physical movement and exercise. However, when the body is dehydrated it cannot regulate the body temperature as effectively, reduces in energy and you can lack motivation. This will cause the exercise to become more mentally and physically challenging. In order to maintain the best performance level you should be having water during and after your physical activities.

3. Aids weight loss

I often have people tell me that they have a constant habit to eat food throughout the day and that they cannot lose weight. Many people will feel ‘hungry’ all day and will respond to this feeling with food consumption. Upon some enquiry, I have found a lot of the time, many people only drink 1-2 glasses of water a day. As a result, they mistake this feeling of thirst for hunger and in turn cause more problems for themselves. Water can also increase your satiety levels and boost your metabolism rate. Furthermore, the time of day when you drink your water can also be very effective. By drinking water half an hour before meals you can help with remaining hydrated as well as helping to control consumption levels. Consequently, this increased water intake can help reduce your weight gain.

How to I increase my hydration levels?

In my opinion, the best way is to implement new habits into your life in order to try and increase the level of fluids you intake on a daily basis. We can use behavioural science techniques to try and build new habits and continually improve on them.

When trying to form a new habit, many of us face the ‘Intention-Action gap’. This is a gap where an individual has the awareness, intention and knowledge but lacks the ability to adopt these new habits. This in many cases is due to forgetfulness, which results in people reverting back to their old bad habits of not drinking plenty of fluids.

What do I need to do to form a new habit?

Make it Automatic

A habit needs to become something that is an automatic and unconscious response. Meaning that it needs to feel effortless for us. As humans we want to have the easiest life using the least amount of effort. By making drinking water like second-nature, we can easily increase our water intake.

Create Cues

Secondly, every new habit needs a cue. Most habits are triggered by cues, and we can use these cues to increase our daily intake through the day. Many people will have notifications on their phone telling them to drink water which is a great way to have constant reminders. Alternatively, you can buy a water bottle! I have many of these and find that having the water bottle on my desk is a visual cue for me. This in turn reminds me to drink the water when I feel I need it.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Habits need to be repeated in order for them to be effective. The exact number of days it takes to form a habit can differ, but is it important that for a prolonged period of time we repeat the behaviour until it becomes a normal part of our lives. But how can we encourage ourselves to continue repeating a behaviour?

Treat yo self

Rewards! By rewarding yourself for repeated behaviour you can trick your brain into automatically wanting to carry out this behaviour. This is understood from B.F Skinner’s experiment and operant conditioning, where the consequences of a response will determine how likely the action will be repeated. Therefore, by rewarding yourself every time you drink water, you can increase your chances of repeatedly doing it. This doesn’t mean you eat a chocolate bar every time you drink water!! Finding something that words for you is important, like 5 minutes to sit down, or pausing work and going outside etc.

Invest in a water bottle!

I, like many others, used to struggle with water intake and constantly trying to increase it. Since I bought a water bottle it has been SO much easier. I work for a water bottle company called Ion8 who’s bottles I use for all my beverages and they are great! Here is a picture from my hill walk below!

Simply Delish Brings You An Exciting Cookie Decorating Kit

Simply Delish, Wolverhampton

Today’ review is for a DIY Cookie Decorating Box for a Wolverhampton based company Simply Delish.

Simply Delish reached out to me via Instagram just before Easter for a review of their DIY Cookie Decorating Box.

I was really excited to see the contents and how it arrived. The box pictured below arrived in the post, and I was so surprised by what I found inside.

Simply Delish Packaging

The goods arrived in a flat packed brown box which I opened up to reveal the contents above. I thought the look and feel of the box was really nice, especially with all the  bright colours. Unfortunately during transit some of the cookies were broken. Due to this, I was left with 2 / 3 cookies that I could potentially use to decorate. This is definitely something I would keep in mind when ordering again and perhaps something to improve!

Overall I thought the packaging was lovely. The egg theme tissue type paper added a lovely pop of design to the box. Furthermore, I liked that all the components were individually wrapped to prevent contamination and keep the box tidy too.

Simply Delish put in a lot of effort with the handwritten notes detailing that was inside the box. Additionally, I really loved the fact that it was personalised just for me too! I definitely think more companies should do this sort of thing!!

Simply Delish Food Review

Although this is mainly being promoted as a DIY box, I have to say that the cookies themselves were delicious. I thought they were baked perfectly and has a light and butter flavour which I loved.

The buttercream was a lovely addition to the box and the flavour wasn’t too sweet, so it was a great to enjoy as a treat after having fun decorating! In addition, the sprinkles and carrot shaped decorations were the perfect size for the cookies sent. Finally, I liked that there was a range of colours and I think young children would love this!

Overall Rating

This is a great idea for kids and young ones who want a bit of cookie decorating fun. I am quite impressed with the box overall and I certainly would recommend it. It was unfortunate that some of the cookies broke so maybe not the best for long distance deliveries!!

Customer Service: 8/10

Food Taste: 9/10

Food Packaging: 7/10

Overall Experience: 8/10

Connect with Simply Delish

Instagram: @simply_delish.x

Location & Delivery

Location: Wolverhampton, England
Delivery: Across the UK

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Fasting, The Astonishing Benefits Of Ramadan And Mind Discipline

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and one of the most important months in the Islamic Year. It lasts for 29 / 30 days and is a time of year when fasting occurs. During this time Muslims around the world give up consuming all food and drink (including water) from dawn until sunset.

Why are Muslims fasting?

There are a range of reasons why Muslim fast. Firstly, the obvious being it is a commandment from god. As 1 of the 5 pillars in Islam, it is a fundamental part of the Muslim faith. As a result, Muslims all around the world come together for this month. It is considered an act of worship for the believers. Consequently it allows them to spiritually connect with their God thereby attaining taqwa (God-consciousness). It provides the opportunity for individuals to exercise virtues such as patience and self control. This is obtained by abstaining from food and drink as well as all other desires whilst fasting. As well as this, it helps Muslims to be appreciative of the blessings they have. Thereby feeling compassionate towards those less fortunate and in need.

Is there any science behind it?

There have been multiple studies on the effect of intermittent fasting. Harvard medical school have suggested the benefits include reducing weight and belly fat, reduce insulin resistance, reduce stress and inflammation, heart health, cellular repair, brain health and lifespan. Naturally this can be applied in helping a range of conditions including PCOS which I covered last week.

Since intermittent fasting consist of not eating for 14-16 hours and only eating in a 8-10 hour window, it is a little different from Ramadan. Ramadan has a dawn to sunset fasting time, and this can vary depending on when Ramadan is in the Gregorian Calendar. In addition, this changes based on where you live in the world.

Are there any health benefits?

Building on this, studies have shown that entirely removing food and drink has remarkable effects on the body. Reduced meal frequency helps prime the body to lose fat. Furthermore, fasting for 30 days has seen to reduce level of LDL cholesterol and anxiety. These are majority risks for cardiovascular diseases, and so it is argued that Ramadan helps to prevent heart issues and boost health.

Adding to this, fasting for as little as three days can help the immune system of individuals. Researchers found with fasting the body started to pump out brand new white blood cells, which helped the immune system to combat diseases also.

There have been some studies that have suggested that cancer may also be helped with fasting. A study using mice with cancer tumours showed the tumours reduce at a greater rate when fasting and chemotherapy were coupled, rather than the chemotherapy alone. However, this is still an area which requires some scientific study.

Can I incorporate fasting into my daily life?

There has been a recent phenomenon which many people have been adopting known as the 5:2 diet. This is a diet where individuals fast or eat around 500-600 calories for 2 days of the week and the other 5 days eat normally. However this is not a ‘new’ concept for lots of Muslims. The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) would fast on Mondays and Thursdays, and so many Muslims follow this in order to replicate his actions. With these fasts, you can reap the benefits of fasting on a weekly basis thereby improving your health.

Does fasting improve mind discipline?

It is agreed that fasting can help boost your brain, with the benefits been seen in mental well-being and spiritual focus. A study by scientists in the USA found that this mental focus achieved in Ramadan increased the levels brain cell production thus improving brain function. Furthermore, the reduced production of the cortisol hormone means that stress levels are greatly reduced during and after Ramadan.

If you remember my blog post on self control and sticking to diets, I discuss our chimp and our human. The chimp wants instant gratification (like a child) but the human will be more willing to wait for the long term gratification (like an adult). Muslim believe that each individual has a Nafs which can be translated as you ego or inner self. This Nafs has lowly desires which can either lead you to good or bad. With the constant desire we have around us, Nafs can lead us towards that which is not good for our mind, body and soul.

One of the ways to control the Nafs is through fasting and it is advise to do when one is struggling with lowly desires. If we relate this to eating behaviour, fasting can help individuals to control their chimp (child) and ensure that their human (adult) stays in control. As a result the individual can make more logical decisions around what food they eat and how much of it. Fasting can therefore help to reduce weight and encourage healthy eating on a daily basis.

Why not give it a try!

Since Ramadan has just started, if you are not already fasting, why not give it a go? There are many health benefits to be reaped, and you can keep your Muslim friends company too!

Have you tried intermittent fasting, 5:2, or Ramadan fast? Let me know in the comments below or via!

PCOS & Food: The Hidden Potential of Mind Management

Today’s blog post is a slightly different approach as I am focusing on the particularly interesting topic of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This was a request from one of my subscribers who has this condition and wanted some tips to help her. I think it is important for all of us to be aware of how we can help ourselves or others with conditions like these.

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition that affects how a women’s ovaries work. The NHS identifies there to be 3 main features of PCOS including:

  • Irregular periods meaning your ovaries do not regularly release eggs
  • Excess androgen meaning there are high levels of ‘male’ hormones which can lead to physical signs of excess facial and / or body hair
  • Polycystic ovaries causing your ovaries to become enlarged and contain underdeveloped fluid-filled sacs (follicles) around the eggs. These sacs are often unable to release the egg and so ovulation does not take place.

If you have 2 or more symptoms you can be diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS affects about 1 in 10 women in the UK and although it is difficult to know the exact amount of women, it is a prevalent and very common condition. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown to doctors currently, but there is a general consensus that it can run in families.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

The symptoms usually appear in your late teens or early 20s and they can include:

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Difficulty with getting pregnant as a result of failure / irregular ovulation
  • Excessive hair growth – usually on face, chest, back or buttocks
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
  • Oily skin or acne

PCOS can also be related to development of health problems later on in life such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

For the remainder of the discussion I have chosen to focus on the symptom of being overweight. There are ways in which our food choices can combat this to an extent, and therefore avoid future health conditions as much as possible.

What causes PCOS weight issues?

PCOS can often cause abnormal hormone levels in the body including high insulin. In many cases women are insulin resistant resulting in them having a very high insulin level.

Being overweight or obese also increases the amount of insulin your body produces.

What is insulin and insulin resistant?

Insulin is a hormone that controls the sugar levels in the body. The role of insulin is to allow cells of the body to take in glucose and use them either as fuel or to store them as body fat.

If an individual’s body becomes resistant to insulin it will try to cope by producing more insulin. As a result it is possible that there can be a build-up of insulin levels in the blood. With the over production of insulin it is difficult to use it all as fuel, and it can lead to excess fat storage.

Insulin resistance can make it extremely hard to lose weight and many PCOS sufferers struggle with this.

However there are food choices that individuals can make that can help rather than hinder these PCOS symptoms.

What foods should I add to my diet?

Below I have created a diagram showing the types of foods that if added to insulin resistant diets can help with PCOS and weight. This is described as a low glycaemic index (GI) diet in which the body digests slower. As a result the insulin levels rise less and slower than they would otherwise.

What foods should I avoid from my diet?

In the next diagram I have listed some of the items to avoid. In general foods highly saturated in fat and sugar should be avoided. Obviously the reality is that it is impossible to completely remove them from your diet. It is important to remember that everything should be consumed in moderation and where you can reduce intake, try doing so.

I would like to say that I am not a dietitian or expert on what is the best alternatives. My understanding is that if you make switches like white bread to brown and milk chocolate to dark, these will definitely be helpful. I think it is important to eat alternatives rather than cut food out of your diet, and again remember eat everything in moderation! 

The behavioural science behind this is much the same as my other articles relating to dieting. Training your System 1 & 2 can help immensely and remembering to focus on long term goals rather than short term gain.

Don’t fall for the marketing tricks, check your labels when you shop, and try to make more pro-active choices. Remember that having a growth mindset is just as important as making the initial choices. This mindset will help you keep in mind that you are in control of your food choices and you can change them in order to help yourself.

Check out my Indian Chickpeas with Poached Eggs recipe featured in the image below for a high fibre and anti-inflammatory meal!

I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post today. If you have any other topics like this you would like me to cover, feel free to leave it in the comments below. Alternatively, email me on

I love to hear from you!

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Mariam OkhaiCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy




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How to make delicious and chewy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. With a soft centre and melt in your mouth peanut butter flavour!


  • 226g slightly salted room temperature butter

  • 260g smooth peanut butter

  • 135g granulated sugar

  • 200g lightly packed brown sugar

  • 2 tsp (10ml) vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 270g plain flour

  • 4g bicarbonate of soda

  • 265g milk chocolate chips


  • In a bowl mix the slightly salted butter until smooth.
  • Add in smooth peanut butter and mix well until fully combined.
  • Combine in both types of sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and mix in. Then add in the eggs one at a time. Ensure each wet ingredient is mixed in fully before incorporating the next.
  • Sieve in all of the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and mix until just combined and resembles a dough mix.
  • Add in the chocolate chips and ensure they are evenly distributed into cookie dough mix.
  • Using a spoon, place 50g size balls onto a baking tray, ensuring they are 2 inches apart
  • Preheat the oven to 177°C
  • Place trays into the fridge and allow to cool for 30 minutes. During this time the oven will reach the correct baking temperature.
  • After 30 minutes, place the chilled cookie dough ball trays into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cookies and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes in order to set.
  • Once set they are ready to enjoy!


  • Using smooth peanut butter holds the cookie better. Any supermarket peanut butter will do. I used Sainsbury’s smooth peanut butter.
  • If you are in a hurry you can reduce the cooling time to 10 minutes, but the cookies will spread a little more. Make sure to put the oven on before you start if this is the case!
  • If you wish, prior to adding in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, whisk them together in a separate bowl.
  • In order to get even size cookie dough balls, use an ice cream scoop to measure them out.
  • You can use a mixture of milk and dark chocolate chips if you prefer the cookies less sweet.
  • On serving, add some rock sea salt on top to add a third dimension of flavour.


Blossom Bakery Treats You To A Special Easter Box

Blossom Bakery, Dundee

Today’s review is for an Easter Box for Dundee based company Blossom Bakery.

Blossom Bakery reached out to me via Instagram asking me to review their Easter Treat Box. Obviously I love a treat so I agreed! The owner arrived with two boxes of goodies which I have featured throughout the review. I will discuss what was contained in the boxes, and thereafter give my opinion of each treat individually.

Blossom Bakery Products

The first box contained three Easter eggs. Each contained a different Easter inspired filling to try as listed below:

  • Cookie Dough Easter Egg
  • Crème Egg and Brownie Easter Egg
  • Oreo Cheesecake Easter Egg

The second box contained the following:

  • White Chocolate Easter Bunny Smashbox
  • Milk Chocolate covered Strawberries

Blossom Bakery Packaging

The packaging was two white boxes as shown above. Without a doubt, I think thing the products were presented well. Moreover, I would be happy to have these gifted to someone as an Easter weekend treat!

Blossom Bakery Review

Blossom Bakery Box 1

Overall I really enjoyed all the products I was sent. 

Firstly, let’s start off with my favourite. The Oreo Cheesecake was smooth and tasted really rich and creamy. As you may know, I’m not a massive cheesecake fan. However, I would definitely order this for a friend or family member who loves a bit of cheesecake.

The brownie and crème egg combo was a very new and interesting one. Best of all, I felt like I got three mini desserts in one! The brownies were very rich so I only managed one of those, but together it was a really interesting flavour.

On the contrary, I wasn’t a massive fan of the cookie dough cheesecake. Normally I love cookie dough, but this one tasted a little hard so it was my least favourite of the three.

Blossom Bakery Box 2

The smashbox was a really fun food item to receive. It was a surprise as I wasn’t expecting to receive a smash box. I haven’t ever tried one of these and so I was really happy to receive it. The white chocolate was lovely and the box itself was quite thin also. I have seen many videos of people being unable to smash the box due to the chocolate being too thick. Thankfully, it was not the case here and there were Crème eggs and Malteser bunnies inside!

Finally, I am a bit of a chocolate strawberry connoisseur. In other words I have eaten many in my time. As a result, I am VERY fussy about my chocolate strawberries. For that reason I was willing to be quite harsh in critiquing these. I have to say I was in love with these ones. The chocolate was perfect and the balance and amount of covering was lovely. Furthermore, the strawberries inside were fresh and sweet too. Love, love, love this and I would definitely consider ordering a box of these on their own! 

Overall Rating

I think this company did a great job with their products. The time and effort put into each element was very clear to see, and the owner was lovely too!

Service: 9/10

Food: 8/10

Packaging 8/10

Overall Experience: 9/10

Connect with Blossom Bakery

Instagram: @blossom_bakery.x

Location & Delivery

Location: Dundee, Scotland
Delivery: Currently across Dundee

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