Motivation - it can be very hard to keep that "let's do this" attitude as strong as it was on day one! So here are a few things that I find help.
- Remind yourself why you started! Usually I tend to see a photo of myself where I think 'oh dear, is that really how I look?!' So on days where I feel lazy and start to question why I started it all - I go back and have a look at that photo! Or, another option is to have a photo of you looking your best and happiest and pin it to your fridge!
- Try not to overthink it. Have your day planned and just stick to it. Avoid thinking 'if i didn't go to the gym I could have some time to chill and watch an episode of ....' You should already have time each day scheduled for quiet/relax time - but that can wait till after you've sweated it out at the gym!
- It can help a lot if you can get as many house-members on board. Either this, or have at least one person to help motivate you to get to the gym and share tips on clean, healthy eating. BUT be careful, as great as a fellow health-nut is, they can also be your downfall. Just because they have decided maybe to give up doesn't mean you have to - stay true to YOUR goal.
- Set aside small and realistic goals. There is nothing worse than that feeling of your goal being unattainable. You will end up being disheartened. Take it week by week, that way if you feel you've had a very successful week and you deserve/need to treat yourself, you can, and then start fresh the following day.
- Most importantly, do not beat yourself up about not reaching your goal. It is unhelpful to compare your body/progress to others. Take it at your own pace, try your best, and if you can, enjoy it as much as possible. Your healthy journey may not be full of sugar and parties, but look at what it IS full of - nutritious food, energy levels, euphoric feelings, sweaty gym sessions, progress, and feeeling generally good about yourself.
- This might sound a bit narcissistic - but looking good while you workout is bound to give you that extra bit of confidence and motivation. Before going to bed I pack my gym bag and it's always fun deciding what to wear! So before you start go and treat yourself to some hot gym gear. Penneys and H&M have a great selection and at affordable prices. My favourite is obviously Sweaty Betty wear. Im hooked!
Food - they say in order to get in shape its 70% diet and 30% workout. Therefore, unfortunately, (and from experience) you have to mostly concentrate on clean-eating in order to get the results you want!
- I think the most important thing is to have prepped your food. If you don't know where your next meal is coming from (or when) you're very likely to say 'fuck it' I'm starving - and go for the kit kat! I always either make extra dinner so there's left over food for my lunch the next day, or just make a big pot of food Sunday evening so that I get a few lunches out of it.
- Breakfast is my favourite meal and starts my clean eating mind-set first thing. Because this month I've reduced my calorie intake slightly, I have one fried egg (in olive oil) instead of my usual two, and fry mince or boiled cauliflower with chilli flakes. My coffee is always had with cream which I allow myself as my one cheeky treat every day! Protein is essential to start your day - stay away from carbs!
- Are you really hungry? There are so many times throughout the day that I say to myself "I'm STARVING," but then I think "am I really?!" Usually if i take a minute to think is it my belly or my head talking - it's usually my head playing devil's advocate! Bottles of water and tasty herbal teas are my little helpers! In saying this, try not to let yourself get too hungry. Your meals should be good portions of nutritious food that fill your belly. Our worst enemy is letting ourselves get hungry - one sight of a dairy milk or a whiff of donuts and you're a goner!
- Either you feel like you deserve a treat, or you're bored with the everyday plain chicken and broccoli - my go-to is The Little Green Spoon blog. Endless delicious recipes for when you have a few extra calories to spare!
How often to workout/do weights?
- When and how often you work out is a personal choice. I like to try and have a balance of cardio, weight-lifting and yoga in my fitness regime. At the moment, I do 3-5 days in the gym a week. I circulate between upper and lower body days and then I love including a fun strong man session. My time on the yoga mat is falling short :( but its important to tell yourself that there are only enough hours in the day to fit it all in, so therefore I'm not stressing and am feeling happy with my 3 practices a week.
- Take rest days. Its really important to re-boot and give your body a rest. If you're super dedicated, on your day off maybe go for a hike or do a gentle yoga practice.
- PS. It has taken me years to get where I am and working out is something I enjoy and need for mental clarity. Please workout as much as YOU feel you can or need.
- Fish oils: Firstly, taking fish oils daily increases your body's insulin sensitivity which means that the cells can deal with insulin better, helping with your reaction to carb intake. Secondly, modern day diets provide us with an excess amount of Omega 6 and Omega 9 which are pro-inflammatory. Omega 3 found in fish oils is anti-inflammatory and this means that the bodies stress levels are reduced and we are more prone to losing fat.
- Magnesium (chelated) - Magnesium is one of the main minerals found in our bodies but unfortunately it is almost always depleted. This supplement is responsible for every chemical reaction in the body including metabolising food and absorbing key vitamins. On top of all this it is a natural stress reducer (cortisol hormone) which is known for storing fat especially around the midsection of the body. Lastly, it aids in problems with sleep and insomnia (which leads me to another key point further down). Basically, magnesium is the god of all supplements!
Apple Cider Vinegar Tablets - Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight. Several studies suggest that vinegar can increase satiety and help you eat fewer calories.
Always have healthy treats on hand. These are my go-to if cravings are too much to bear! You know when you deserve a little something.
- There's no question about it, what you eat and how you exercise are two significant contributors to the overall success rate you see. But after that, its important not to overlook some of the other contributing factors. To put it very plainly, the quality and quantity of your sleep effects all bodily functions - muscle recovery, gym performance, metallic reactions, leptin (energy hormone) and ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels. Basically there is no bodily function that is not effected by sleep and it is definitely one of the main components in weight loss.
Don't feel just because you're eating clean means you have to bring the iron fist down on yourself continuously! You deserve to have some chill time and see friends (also a good chance to gloat about how great you've been doing!). There are so many healthy options in restaurants and any I've been to have always been so obliging when it comes to substituting carbs for greens! You CAN eat out and eat clean :)
Wearing my favourite Sweaty Betty Defy Gravity leggings.
Lastly, I would like to say that I may be an expert at making all of this look very easy, Instagram, with it's filters, chosen angles and edits is extremely deceiving in displaying everything in the perfect light. I would like to stress that I too have days when I give up, when I feel bloated and there are even days when I sit on the couch and play sloth! In saying this I am extremely lucky that I LOVE leading a healthy life, and 99% of the time working out is the best part of my day. But that doesn't mean your efforts are any less than mine. Remember, this is YOUR healthy journey. Don't compare!
These photos were taken on the 2nd of November. They're not great quality - sorry! Im actually happy with how I looked at the beginning of the month. But it's always fun to challenge yourself, and adding extra greens and effort into your daily routine can't hurt, so lets see how much changes!