Posted in Diet, Exercise

No Exercise Nightmare?

As somebody who usually tries to interweave exercise into their schedule, the thought of two weeks without ANY exercise (even walking the dog) seemed like a nightmare at first. However, after having some keyhole surgery of the gynecological variety, this two week ban was absolutely what, just a week ago, I was faced with.

My initial reaction was shock and horror – surely I would turn into a blob if a didn’t keep up at least some attempt at exercise? However, the actuality has been far from the truth.

For the first few days I was, understandably, not too aware of eating or exercise; being topped up on a range of pain-killers and the aftermath of a general anesthetic put paid to any anxiety regarding those two concerns.

Once I’d come around enough to know who I was (a slight exaggeration), I began considering the fact that, without movement as an option, the only area I could really focus on was what I was putting in my mouth. This became a revelation because, of course, alongside not being able to move came a necessary absence from work. Without work came a massive reduction in stress and timetable occupation- thus creating the head space for me to:

a) really focus on an eating plan

b) implement it without distractions

One aspect that I felt was important for me was portion control. I’m not a fan of weighing everything out (who is?!) but felt like I needed to be aware of how much food was the right amount, especially if I wanted to lose a little weight. To help me with this, I decided to explore the Weight Watchers points allowance system. I had tried Weight Watchers in the past and found it really helpful. At the time, I became a fully paid up member and attended the weekly meetings. This time, I just wanted the guidelines rather than the support or the products, and found http://www.healthyweightforum.org/eng/calculators/ww-points-plus/ helpful as it allowed me to calculate the points that I would need, as well as giving a reminder of the general principles.

I discovered that I needed 26 points a day if I wanted to lose weight, with an additional 49 which can be taken on any day throughout the week, allowing for indulgence within parameters.

“But how do you know how many points each food has?” I hear you cry. Well, I found the Protracker app on my iphone (for around a £2 one-off payment) which offers a diary that lets you record your consumed foods and reduces your daily and weekly point allowance accordingly. To track the food, you can either input the dietary information manually or, if the product is already stored, scan the barcode of the food that you’re consuming and it includes the information for you. The brilliant thing about this app is that it is linked up to the WW Points system, so sticking to the system is simple!

To start with, it is a bit of a faff to scan or enter the information, but as you continue using it, I found that most of the foods I ate tended to pop up again in my menu at some point, so sourcing their information had already been done. Once a ‘bank’ of foods has been developed, it becomes a much more efficient process.

The end result has been that I have had ‘real food’, not processed, I have had a clear idea about the quantity that I should be eating and I’ve felt a sense of achievement in sticking to my points allowance.

Having the head space to decide on and begin to implement an eating plan has been such a bonus, and, with one week of recovery left, I am just left to consider how I ca gradually introduce exercise into life, whilst maintaining my eating, and going back to work…how hard can it be?

Posted in Diet

Paleo diet

Whilst the physique of the characters above don’t really represent the idea behind the Paleo diet, I enjoyed the joke and felt the ‘hunter-gatherer’ nature thing was relevant for the diet, as it is based upon more natural ways of eating (long before agriculture became the norm).

Whilst out on a walk recently, I was talking to my boyfriend about how annoying it was that I felt I was working out and eating fairly cleanly but not really seeing any results.

Now firstly I need to explain that I’m definitely an instant results kind of person. I throw myself into a plan, be it for a couple of weeks, a month and a half, and when I don’t instantly see mega changes I become disheartened and disillusioned. I imagine I’m not the only one that feels this way though….

As a result of one of these conversations, my long-suffering and ever-awesome boyfriend suggested that I try some weight training if I wanted to see quicker results, and pointed me towards the following article on Nerd Fitness.

I read through, was inspired by Staci‘s story, and thought, ‘what the heck’ I’ll give it a try. If you want to know more about my journey into strength training, read here.

If you take the time to read through some of Nerd Fitness, you’ll also see that they’re very pro-Paleo, so, after doing a bit of research and looking into my options I decided to give it a bash. In very simple terms, this is the gist of my understanding of the allowed and not allowed.

In fitting with natural eating from yonder years, you should eat:

-Protein

-Vegetables

-Fruits

-Nuts

As they are a less natural (and less beneficial to your body) source of energy, only developed after agriculture and convenience food commenced, you should avoid:

Refined produce of any kind (including but not exclusive to; sweets, crisps, donuts, cereal bars, pizza, fizzy drinks etc.)

Grains

Dairy (other than in infancy)

(If you want a more in-depth explanation, which I’d highly recommened if you were considering taking this on yourself, I’d suggest reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson or The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf.) I’m right at the start of this, but I’ll keep you updated on the progress. Here are some of the things I’ve been eating.

Breakfast: Pepper and onion omelette– clean and dice 2 peppers (I used green and red) and 2 red onions (you could use  spring, white…whatever you fancy) and chuck in the pan with a little olive oil. Cook off until slightly soft (about 5 mins) then add 6 eggs. Cook untill the egg has set at the bottom, then grill on top until the top and all the way through is set (about 5 mins each). I then cut into three portions; one for my boyfriend and I to eat and one for tomorrow.

Snacks: Carrot sticks, handful almonds (with the skin on!), fruit, fruit smoothie (we buy frozen fruit, add a combination to a container, fill with water and whizz up in the blender), boiled eggs.

Just as a note, these are potential snacks that I have had some of and may have in the future,  haven’t nommed them all down in one day 😉 Not that I couldn’t if I was going to the gym too!

Main Meals:

Quorn sausage, avocado, sugar snap peas, spring onion and ‘sweet and crunchy’ salad mix. (I’m not sure if the Quorn produce is strictly Paleo-approved, please let me know if you’re clearer, but this is how I get some of my protein and so that’s what I’m sticking with!)

Roasted Salmon, mashed sweet potato and runner beans. (whenever I’m cooking Salmon, I wrap it in a little foil parcel and bake for 20 minutes or 25 if it’s frozen, I’ve found that it keeps it really moist and stops it drying out that way! It’s also nice to put baby sweetcorn, mangetout and chilli in as the steam from the salmon cooks the veg and it’s all juicy and delicious.)

These are some ideas that I’ve had and tried so far, I’ll add another post when I have some other inspiration.

 

 

Posted in Diet

Protein lunch- Tuna steak

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I try to go carbohydrate-light at lunch times and load up on protein and veg instead. Judging by another meal I’ve posted, I’m starting to think I may be a bit obsessed with tuna steak and sugar snap peas- other types of fish and vegetables do make it on the menu.

For this meal it is really straight, all you need is:

-1/2 packet ready mixed salad leaves

-handful sugar snap peas

-3 carrots peeled and chopped into sticks

-3 spring onions

-1 tuna steak

-1 tbsp houmous

Pop salad leaves on the plate with the carrot sticks. Rinse peas and onions, chop ends of onions and chop fairly finely. Heat a tsp of olive oil in a pan at a medium heat, put tuna steak in for 3 minutes, turn and heat for another 3 minutes. This leaves it slightly rare in the middle, you can always leave it in for more/less time to suit your taste. Meanwhile, I also add the onions and peas to the pan and give them a quick nudge throughout to stop them catching. Some people may want to cook these off in a separate pan, but all in one has suited me fine thus far 😀

Bang all of the ingredients on top of the salad and carrots and add your houmous at the side.

 

 

Posted in Diet

Day one on the healthy train

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Above: Tuna steak with carrot peel (not the skin!), courgette and runner beans (fresh from my Aunty’s garden- thanks!)

I had the above meal for my tea, I feel it ticks the protein and vegetable criteria well, and it was super tasty!

For lunch I had salmon, carrots and new potato (I was feeling the need for something a bit filling).

Exercise

Went for a pretty leisurely walk with my parent’s and their dog for around 45 minutes and went to the gym in the evening and did:

-20 mins Cross Trainer

-5 x 6 Lat pull downs and Tricep dips

-50 press ups/sit-ups/crunches/Russian twists/squats

-Strengthening exercises for my knee (I’ve been out of action due to an injury for about 2 months- don’t want to ruin it now!)

So far, so good 😀 with endorphins pumping around my body, and the (slightly) smug feeling that comes from eating healthily…I’m happy to call today a success. Bring on day 2!

 

 

 

Posted in Diet, Exercise

This is me…

I was listening to a podcast on a recent journey that was talking about the merit of setting goals. So, what the heck, here’s mine:

-Get down to , and maintain 9st 4lb in weight (allowing for general fluctuation of course!)

Now, I know the pitfalls with setting yourself a weight goal, but I’ve toyed with it for ages and it feels like the right thing for me, and here are the reasons why: first and foremost it is well within the healthy BMI range for my height; I will be eating healthy, clean meals in the process; it is a personal goal that I want to reach.

I’ve tried just focusing on healthy eating and exercise before, but without a tangible goal, one that weighing yourself undeniably gives you, I’ve found it hard to maintain momentum after around a month. Hey, that’s just the way I’m made!

Anyway, that was the ‘why’, and equally as important is the ‘how’. Below I’ll list a few of the things I’ll be doing to reach that goal:

  • Exercising 5 times a week, including; gym classes, running, walking, swimming, climbing, at home circuits
  • Drinking at least 2 cups of green tea a day
  • Drinking loads of water
  • Reducing carbohydrates from lunch/tea depending on level of exercise (eg. without being ridiculous!)
  • Increasing consumption of protein and vegetables
  • Recording my weight on a regular basis
  • Taking pictures to track progress on a regular basis

So there you have it, my steps to success. I’ll keep you updated with the journey!