Friday, 5 September 2014

Real girl's guide to eating healthy and staying fit

As you have probably seen from my recent blogs, I have been lucky enough to have an excellent summer – I partied away at hideout festival in Croatia, I finally got round to doing my PADI in Phuket in Thailand (read the blog post here) and over the bank holiday weekend I went to Ibiza with the girls (check out my thoughts on Ocean Beach Club here).

However, I also managed to get food poisoning (thanks undercooked squid) and had a really bad allergic reaction (thanks salt water in Jet apartments).

So now things are back to normal and I am getting back into my routine, I went to kick boxing for the first time in SIX WEEKS and I surprised myself – my fitness was still there. I must note here though that I had forgotten ALL my sparring techniques and totally freaked out when faced with sparring… and cried! In my defense, someone throwing a punch to your face can be pretty scary! #iamsocool

Anyway though, I am also pleased to say that over the summer I haven’t lost my fitness, and what’s more I haven’t put on one single pound and my clothes aren’t feeling any tighter. I think I have finally cracked that “healthy” is a lifestyle, and fad diets don’t work! It isn’t about dieting to get into a bikini and then binging on holiday and piling it all back on again! This is just a cycle of yo yo dieting.

On this reflection I want to share with you my top tips that work for me in maintaining a “health is a lifestyle” attitude and staying fit at all times… but all with a pinch of realism. This is a real girl’s guide!

I like to be healthy and fit and enjoy knocking up new recipes but I also love to eat out at least 2 times a week, have a cocktail addiction and like to do other things at the weekend other than bake quinoa and sweat it in the gym. Sure, I would love a 6 pack but then again, I love experiencing all on offer and tasting a bit of it all!

It is about balance but hopefully these tricks can help…

Real girl tip 1: always have breakfast
Don’t even think about stepping outside and commuting to work without a decent breakfast. Wake up that ten minutes earlier to get a decent breakfast down you, this will rev your metabolism, keep sugar levels from spiking (and then heading for the nearest sources of sugar) and help keep your energy up. Basically this will set you up all day.

porridge - 2 min in the microwave! 

Real girl tip 2: eat smaller meals, more often
I like to eat three smaller meals and several snacks throughout the day. Yes you read right, I said “snack”. But I do mean healthy snacks here, like carrots sticks and hummus or protein shakes, not half a pack of McVities hob nobs and a bar of dairy milk.  

smoothies are a great snack!

Real girl tip 3: drink plenty of water
I am bit of a water monster, and I gulp down about 4 liters of the stuff a day. This might be a bit too much for most, but make sure you get at least 2 liters a day. It will help flush through toxins and sometimes we confuse thirst for hunger. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. This is particularly important when on holiday, busy or under stress.

Real girls tip 4: make healthy dinners in bulk and freeze
I hate processed ready meals and have only had one in the whole of my life. Whilst I appreciate we are all pushed for time, it really doesn’t have to take that long, even if you are cooking for one. When you make meals, make more than one potion so that you can freeze them for a later date. Works particularly well for curries, soups and chilli con carnes.

Real girl tip 5: fill up on protein
A lot of girls shy away from protein in a fear of bulking up, but don’t be! It fills you up and helps build lean muscle, and we all know muscles weighs in more than fat. Most health experts recommend about 45grams of protein for the average woman but I have read a lot of articles lately that say double this is ok! We are all different, so listen to your body (and seek professional guidance if you’re dieting).

try to eat a colourful diet 

Real girl tip 6: get active
Even if you can’t exercise, say you’re on holiday, then try to be active where you can. Walk around the sites, get active with some water sports or go for a pre breakfast dip in the hotel pool. I admit that when we were in Thailand I only managed one exercise session but we did stay active – an afternoon rock climbing in the heat helped me burn up to 550 calories per hour! Also, even if you can only manage one jog the whole holiday, once is better than nothing!!!

head to the park and get inspired to use what you can! 

Real girl tip 8: it is ok to indulge
…but don’t binge. What is the point of living life if you can’t have a little of what you want? It is ok to have a little of what you want, be it the chocolate cake or English fry up, just try not to make it a habit. And if you want a taste of the cake but not all the sugar, then perhaps you can share a portion with a friend?

caught red handed! 

Real girl tip 9: watch the sugar
Back in January I enrolled on a nutrition course and one of the things that really stuck out for me was the negatives of sugar and how it is sugar, not fat, that is the culprit for the tire around my midriff!  So don’t count the calories, watch your sugar in take! I could write a whole blog on this but try and cut out refined sugar, by reducing your intake of sauces, don’t have fruit after 4pm, opt for natural yoghurt over flavoured, skip the fizzy drinks etc.

Real girl tip 10: plan food and drink and dining out
Don’t just use your diary for organising your social and work like, use it to organise your meals. If you know you’ve got a particularly heavy weekend of eating out and drinking, then make a more conscious effort to up your vegetable in take during the week, or if you know you’ve got a carb heavy meal out on Wednesday, then make your meals lighter on the carbs in Thursday. This will helpfully break the damaging “diet” mindset which results in binging and starving sets, and instead looks to a long term healthy eating approach

X x X 

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