So I'm feeling rubbish again. Obviously this time of year there are lots of bugs flying around but at the moment they all seem to be attracted to me. While I haven't been confined to bed it's been enough to prevent me from exercising since Saturday which is very frustrating. I therefore gave last night's turbo training a miss and will have to see how I'm feeling tomorrow for the Thursday's swim session.

While I haven't completely gone off the rails, my calorie counting has also been a little lacklustre, perhaps caused by the fact that we were away for the weekend so it was difficult to assess my calorie intake. Perhaps because I ended up drinking too much red wine on Saturday night.

I was aiming to make it through a bit more of January before I succumbed but c'est la vie. On a brighter note I've still lost around half a stone since the beginning of the year so need to try and keep my motivation levels up.

Anyway, seeing as next Monday is dubbed the most depressing day of the year - when most people have given up on their New Year Resolutions, don't have any money and still have two weeks until payday etc - the British Dietetic Association has put out some tips on how food can help boost your positivity at this depressing time of year.

1) Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar levels which can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and craving sugar.  Planning regular meals and small snacks will avoid these danger points in your day.  Choosing foods that have a lower glyacemic index will help fill you up and sustain your energy levels for longer as they your blood sugars stay stable.  Try adding beans and lentils to dishes, choose 'oaty' dishes like porridge or muesli and add a low fat yoghurt to your lunch.

2) Whole grain carbohydrates are not only lower in glyacemic index than the white versions but they increase the amount of tryptophan than enters the brain, resulting in more mood enhancing serotonin being produced. Include wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, and wholegrain cereals at meals, try adding pearl barley to soups and bulgur wheat to salads.

3) B vitamins play a vital role in energy release.  Therefore eating more of these will help improve your energy levels, lifting your mood.  121 Females taking a thiamine supplement reported improved mood, a clearer head, increased energy levels and better cognitive function.  Folate is another micronutrient that has been shown to be linked to mood through blood samples taken from 58 men.  Eating more green vegetables, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers will boost your thiamine and folate levels.  Wholegrain cereals are also fortified with these nutrients.

4) Iron is well known to be linked to fatigue and low energy.  It's lesser know that there is also a link to poor mood and concentration.  Topping up your iron will boost that feel good factor.  Include red meat, dried fruit, green vegetables and wholegrains in your diet.

5) The Mediterranean diet contains plenty of fruit, vegetables nuts, fish, olive oil, cereals and some red wine.  Eating these foods is associated with better mental health scores.  So making sure you are meeting the 5 a day recommendation for fruit and veggies, go wholegrain with your cereals and sticking to healthy fats such as olive oil, oily fish and nuts really can work.

So I hope you took note of all those interesting titbits. Guess it's time for some more red wine.


The greatest hits...