Recently I've been noticing a growing trend in the blogasphere about weight loss, fitness and dieting. Since the start of my teenage years I have really struggled with my body image. At the age of 14 I finally found out I was lactose intolerant so my weight began to drop off once I cut out dairy products as my body reacted terribly to them and was basically shutting down my digestive system, causing me to put on weight. It was a stage in my life I was so self-conscious and has, to this day, left me quite body conscious and I am quite strict with myself when it comes to what I eat and my exercising; although I always give myself breaks and enjoy my food else what would be the point of living?! Anyway, I wanted to help some of you out with your weight loss journeys and share with you some hints and tips about staying happy whilst you get to that goal weight. It's so important to not let it rule your life and to do this because you want to be a healthier you, not because you feel pressured into it by society, family or even the image you see in the mirror. It must be for YOU. Here goes :)
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, believe it or not, 80% is what you eat and 20% is how active you are. I've heard so many people (I've been a culprit of this myself) say 'I've just ran 5k I can eat what I want now!" No no noooo no no. My boyfriend is a personal trainer in the army and is pretty obsessed with all things fitness & health but he's really opened my eyes into bad habits people have when it comes to the big battle between food vs. exercise. They have got to work in harmony and not against each other. Just by cutting down on sugar, unnecessary carbohydrates (like switch white bread for wholegrain) and bad saturated fats (grease filled foods) and eating natural foods, you will straight away feel so much healthier and start to see a difference in your body without even exercising more.
Also, I went through a tough patch where I limited myself to 1,500 calories a day and had to get to the gym at least 4-5 times a week to burn an extra 500 calories off. Your body goes into starvation mode when fed less than 1,200 calories a day. This is really bad as it means your muscles aren't getting the right nutrition & your body will start to store fat from anything you eat as it doesn't know when it will next be fed. This is why statistics show people will put on over 2 stone by yo-yo dieting throughout their lifetime. It really isn't about how little you eat in a day, it's about WHAT you eat. Let me show you some of my favourite snacks at the moment...
This stuff is heavenly. Now, I'm one of these people who bloomin' loves her sweet stuff. After a big meal I'll always be like 'grr I need something sweet to top this off'... This stuff is perfect! A handful of dried mango gives you the sugar kick but these sugars are natural so are broken down so much easier by our bodies in comparison to manufactured sweeteners or artificial sugars which our bodies where not designed to cope with.
I absolutely LOVE green tea. This stuff is scientifically proven to boost weight loss and speed up your metabolism meaning you can process food much more efficiently without it turning to fat stores on your body. Also, green tea is known to lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce cholesterol, prevent tooth decay & slow down the deterioration of alziemers & parkinson disease sufferers!! I mean come on, why wouldn't you drink it?! Ok, ok, I know, at first it is a bit of a new taste which many people don't like - it's got quite a woody after taste but I powered through that and now I actually find myself craving it. I have about 2-3 mugs of the stuff a day. Not only is this getting me to drink more water but I'm filling my body full of greeny goodness!
This is one of the most disputed, argued about and discussed topics out there. In my opinion you cannot exercise wrong. Just get up and go, get that heart beat raised and sweat it out! I have always been quite active as I have danced since I was 3 years old but in the recent years I've wanted to increase my fitness and sculpt my body using other means of exercise. I've tried so many things! I took up running for a while but my asthma means I really struggle to breath in the winter months, cycling bores me, swimming - I mean, where's my iPod?!? - yawn! My kind of thing is an energetic aerobic activity or something like pilates where I can feel my core always working and I can barely move my arms and legs afterwards. That way I feel like I've accomplished something haha. For example, tonight I'm trying out Body Maxx for the first time at my local gym. This class is based around the use of hand weights and aerobic activity meaning you add extra resistance to all movement, toning your entire body whilst getting a cardio blast, calorie burner.
Another form of exercise I recently discovered is Tabata. This Japanese technique of short bursts of intense exercise separated with 10 sec rest bites is scientifically shown to increase fitness much faster than other forms of exercise as your heart is under quick, intense bursts of cardio meaning your heart has to adapt and quickly increase the fitness and agility of your body. Now, you should always change up your workout to shock your body into never getting used to a certain thing, but this Tabata sequence I have stuck to religiously; I am so puffed out after 12 minutes it's ridiculous. I feel like I've been on a 40 minute run. This says it will take 20 minutes but by cutting out the rest between sections you get a serious workout in just 12 minutes of your time. You'll need to fit in another 20 minutes to shower afterwards though I tell you now!!
There is so much out there guys! Pinterest is a seriously great place to get some fitness and health inspiration. Just type in 'health' or 'workout' in the search bar and tonnes of images come up with new workout ideas, inspirational quotes and loads more to help every individual with their own weight, health and lifestyle mission! Also check out Cassie, the inventor of Blogilates; she is so funny and it's like working out with a friend.
I am only a click of the mouse away if any of you need any motivation, advice or just someone to talk to about all this stuff. I honestly understand how impossible it all feels sometimes but you just have to find a way that is YOU and makes you totally happy.
Loads of love, as always.
x Abster x