This is a bit of a follow up to the first blog post I ever did, ‘My Fitness Journey’. I have since had requests for a further post that addresses eating as well as workouts. I am not a physician, personal trainer, nutritionist or any other ‘official’ fitness person. I just got sick of feeling tired, unmotivated, sluggish and avoiding mirrors. I have not been perfect in my journey, far from it actually! Nonetheless, I have made noticeable changes to my health and physique.
Like many people, I do not have issues with working out, I have a difficult relationship with food. Bad food usually equals bad workouts, weight gain and negative moods, so it is a vicious cycle. From childhood I was fed processed sugary food and my body has always been addicted to it. When I first started on the health train, eating copious amounts of veg, salad and whole grains made me feel depressed. I was not used to it, the withdrawal affected my mood and the healthy food did not taste good. When you eat processed, sugary food you bloat almost immediately and I missed having that overly full feeling. You also crash once the sugar high has disappeared which is what makes you eat the whole pack of biscuits. I was told time and time again that the gym is pointless if you do not feed your body correctly. To stop myself feeling overwhelmed and reaching straight for the chocolate, I decided to figure out if there was anything healthy I actually liked.
So here is what I eat when I am being good. I cannot list everything so I am just going to state my favourites and the ones I feel have assisted my new healthy lifestyle. Like everyone else I tend to fall off now and again, usually when I am hormonal. This is not an issue providing the majority of your food is healthy and you maintain 3-4 workouts a week. That may sound like a lot but it is only four hours out of 168! To put on 1lb of fat you need to overeat by 3500 calories a week. So once you get down to that goal weight/physique it will be easy to maintain providing you don’t binge eat, eat secretly or consume really bad stuff like fizzy drinks (eww I can’t even look at one these days!). Just to be clear…a can of coke has approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar!
So…sweet potato quickly became my first best friend. You can make roasties, crisps, boil them, mash them, have them whole and the best thing is they go with any meal. All I need on them is salt and pepper! For breakfast I dip them in poached eggs, at lunch time I have them whole with tuna and for dinner I like to make wedges and lean turkey burgers. On a Sunday they can replace your white mashed potato. They are a much better option than white potatoes because they contain less starch and have double the vitamin C. Click the link here to see the other health benefits of sweet potato. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/9-reasons-to-love-sweet-potatoes.html
Pasta. Oh pasta. My all-time favourite meal before getting healthy was bacon, pasta and cheese. I really do not miss that meal though as the bloating that came with it made me believe I was carrying twins. If you love pasta then the easiest and one of the most beneficial changes you can make is eating wholegrain pasta instead. It may taste grainy at first but you will soon get used it. Whole grain pasta is less processed than white pasta so you get more nutrients per cup full. Your body also releases the energy from wholegrain pasta more slowly meaning you are full for longer and it will effectively fuel your workouts. I like to make a clean Bolognese with whole-wheat pasta, homemade sauce and lean mince or tuna pasta with tomatoes and peppers. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/wholegrain-pasta-vs-regular-pasta-3476.html
Broccoli has become my king of foods. For someone who does not really like greens I can eat all the broccoli in the world. I would never have known this though if I hadn’t taken the time to try different foods that I wouldn’t usually eat. You have to be willing to make the changes because sitting and moaning about it means you are not trucking forward! Always steam vegetables if you can so they retain their nutrients. I have this steamer which was very cheap and it works fabulously. http://www.argos.co.uk/product/2497958
Where possible I try have broccoli every tea time, as it helps detoxify the body, prevents inflammation and it is also a source of protein. With it I have chicken or salmon and then whole grain rice and quinoa. Occasionally I will blend it up with spinach leeks and a cheeky potato to make a super soup.
So that is a quick rundown on simple changes you can make to main meals without living off leaves. Another issue though is snacking. That afternoon binge gets us all at some point and reaching for the choccies will ruin your abs (trust me I know!). On good days I opt for carrot sticks and hummus, natural yoghurt and berries, bananas, ryvitas with tuna and tomato or myprotein foods that I purchase now and again. The myprotein brownies are very yum and if you are desperate for chocolate they are a good way to satisfy your craving.
The last thing I did was swap tea and coffee for fruit tea. In all honesty this is where I fall down the most because I LOVE BREWS! I am British after all. Nonetheless, too much caffeine will make you wired. If you are not a fan of the Green Tea (many people seem to hate it), try the berry ones which are more like warm juice. And of course, still drink as much water as you can. Don’t let that pee turn yellow. If it does then your body is dehydrated. Having a large water intake will make you look younger and feel more energetic, as all the toxins are being constantly flushed from your system.
This blog has made me realise…I really should take my own advice!