I would say I am finally getting to the point where I am fairly happy with my weight and my body. I think it’s pretty difficult to be completely happy with your body, and I still have a few body worries that haunt me. However, on the whole, I am doing OK.
I wanted to write a post about how I stay healthy, because I really enjoy what I eat and the exercise I do. Also, I am fed up of hearing about all these crazy diet and exercise regimes. You don’t need to go on a popular diet to lose weight, you just need to learn how to eat right.
There’s no need to cut out any of the major food groups, or restrict yourself to a certain type of food. There’s no short cut to living a healthy lifestyle. Most of these crash diets are not sustainable as they are impossible to carry out on a long term basis.
I am not a health or fitness expert, but I am extremely active and I have an interest in healthy eating. Before I met my partner (who is a personal trainer and rugby coach), my diet was bloody awful. I wasn’t classed as overweight at all, but I certainly wasn’t healthy. What’s worse, I actually thought my diet was pretty good. I had no idea.
I would get ill on a regular basis, suffering from coughs and colds every month or so and have no idea why. I had serious digestion problems and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was causing them. Of course I considered my diet, but it took me a long time to get to the bottom of things.
After moving in with my partner I gradually started to change my diet. When you live with someone you pick up on their habits, and he definitely had a positive influence on me. It took some persuading on his part for me to cut out certain things, but I got there in the end. Now I feel like I really know how to fuel my body and eat things that agree with me.
I have had some additional motivation to get my weight down recently. I don’t want to lose weight because I want to be thinner, I am trying to get under a specific weight category for my kickboxing competitions. In order to get to where I want to be, I need to lose 5kgs. So far I have lost 2 or 3 kgs (depending on what time of day I weigh myself) and I have 2 more to lose.
Here are the things I do in order to maintain a healthy diet.
I try to avoid refined sugar as much as possible
I don’t buy sugary foods or have them around the home, because I know won’t be able to resist eating them. Sugar just makes me feel rubbish, and I instantly feel bad after I eat something super sweet. My taste buds have adapted and now I don’t particularly like really sweet foods.
I eat dark chocolate. When I get that occasional craving for something sweet or a naughty treat, I reach for my trusty dark chocolate. I admit, it’s quite bitter and it does take some getting used to, but now I prefer it to milk chocolate. I go for 85% dark chocolate where possible. Another option if you want a sweet treat is to make a guilt free homemade hot chocolate using pure cocoa powder, oat milk and a dash of honey.
Here is an example of a no sugar fail…
I don’t eat bread
I am not saying everyone should cut out bread, for me this is a personal decision. I just don’t really need it in my diet, and it gives me stomach issues so I tend to try and avoid it. It’s very difficult to not eat bread when you are out and about, because most places only sell sandwiches, but there are ways around it. If you don’t want to cut out bread, try healthier options such as wholemeal, rye bread and sourdough.
I avoid soft drinks/fruit drinks/squash
These sneaky drinks contain sooo much sugar its ridiculous. I used to buy those refreshing drinks from M & S, the mint and white tea one was my favourite, but they are tiny and still contain about 7 grams of sugar (need to check on that, feel free to correct me). Fruits drinks and smoothies are pretty bad too. Some smoothies contain more sugar than a can of Coke.
I eat clean, basic meals
Instead of making extravagant meals with rich sauces and large amounts of cheese (boy do I love cheese), I have stripped my meals back. I try and choose a form of protein, throw some vegetables in and maybe some carbs too. So a standard clean meal would be chicken with broccoli and sweet potato wedges.
I still have to cook a few more interesting meals here and there to keep my boyfriend happy, but if I am cooking for myself I opt for the basics. It’s quite hard at first because these meals are very bland, but after a while you get used to it.
I cook everything at home – no microwave meals
I very rarely have microwave or instant meals. On the odd occasion where I am in a rush or exhausted I might have one, but on the whole I avoid them. Most microwave meals from Sainsbury’s contain at least 600 calories. They are pack with loads of salt, sugar and preservatives and are generally very bad for you. As much as possible I try to cook everything from scratch.
Where possible I prepare my food in advance
It’s a pain in the arse preparing food in advance, but it is so worth it. Not only does it save you £££, you are far less likely to make unhealthy choices while you are out and about. It’s so hard to eat healthily, especially when you are on the go.
I get really frustrated with the ‘food to go’ that is on offer at service stations and even supermarkets. Most of it is a load of crap. It’s especially difficult to find something healthy when you don’t eat bread. Even the pre cooked chicken at Waitrose and M & S is stuffed with unhealthy amounts of salt.
I don’t buy things that don’t serve a nutritional purpose
Something that I bare in mind when I am food shopping is, what nutritional purpose does this item of food serve? Crisps? Basically just fat, salt and air. Cereal bars? Mainly just slabs of sugar. Pick your food based on the nutritional purpose it will serve and you will end up with a shopping trolley filled with far more useful and healthy stuff. Although I have to add that I am no angel, I do have slip ups and sometimes can’t resist a treat here and there.
I eat really well in the week, and relax a little at the weekends
I don’t restrict myself too much, the occasional treat is needed otherwise life would be no fun. It’s very depressing maintaining a super healthy diet and not having any treats. The only people who really have to be that strict are bodybuilders and people entering beachbody competitions, and that’s certainly not me. I don’t have the dedication for that. Eat well in the week and then let yourself go a little.
I have tried mindful eating
What is ‘mindful eating’ you ask? Well you know how most of the time when we eat we just wolf our food down without really thinking about it? Mindful eating is the exact opposite. You actually think about what it is you are eat, what it tastes like, how it feels in your mouth and how it smells. Literally don’t think about anything else other than the food that’s in your mouth.
This is not only a much more enjoyable way of eating, because you appreciate the food you put in your body, but you also end up eating less. You are aware of how much you are eating when you practice mindful eating. Try and you will see what I mean.
I (try to) only drink alcohol at the weekends
OK so there are a few exceptions but on the whole I only drink at weekends. It can be tempting to open a bottle of wine mid week, but then I just end up having a few glasses each night to finish off the bottle. So I wait until the weekend and I can enjoy it more and feel less guilty.
I use protein shakes
I can’t survive without my protein shakes these days. They are perfect for when you are in a rush and don’t have time to prepare a proper meal. If I can’t handle my usual poached eggs with vegetables for breakfast I will opt for a protein shake instead. They are also helpful for working towards specific fitness goals and if you need to increase your protein intake. I order my protein shakes from https://www.focusperformance.co.uk/
I drink plenty of water infused with lemon
I just can’t get enough of this stuff at the moment. My boyfriend keeps telling me off for leaving lemons in glasses and in the sink. It’s just such a refreshing drink, especially first thing in the morning. It also makes water way more interesting.
I used to drink squash all the time and this is my health alternative. Lemon has a number of different health benefits, it helps maintain your immune system, it’s rich in vitamin C, it aids digestion and it’s great for your skin. Swap your morning tea or coffee for a glass of hot water with lemon.
Hope some of these tips help. xoxo
Image by Monocromia Photography.