Firstly, I want to say that I am not a nutritionist and have no qualifications in diet and fitness, however, over the years I’ve learnt a lot along the way.
I’ve found a lifestyle that works for me. I don’t do faddy diets; short-term diets don’t work; well not for me anyway, as once you stop the diet and go back to how you were eating before, you end up back where you started. Being healthy is a lifestyle change, you have to commit to it. Yes, I have treats and I don’t starve myself, I eat well but I don’t feel, ‘guilty’ after eating a KFC or Nando’s because I only eat it once in a while and really enjoy it when I do.
I was always quite lucky when I was younger as I was very slim. By the time I reached 21 the weight started to creep up and I started to become aware of what I ate. Years of drinking, smoking and junk food was taking its toll. At almost 6ft I could get away with putting a bit of weight on, but I didn’t feel happy in myself, I lost my body confidence, I looked ‘fine’ I just didn’t feel, ‘fine’. Something had to change. I decided to quit smoking (I wasn’t a heavy smoker, more social) but either way I was done with it. I still drank at weekends with my friends on nights out but would opt for the less sugary drinks, but lets face it, alcohol is alcohol regardless. Now I just drink occasionally; I can’t deal with hangovers!
I think drinking plenty of ‘plain’ water is a good place to start, I drink 2 litres a day. I really notice when I’ve not drunk enough, my eyes become dry and I get headaches. Drinking plenty keeps you hydrated and your skin looking radiant. I keep my caffeine intake down. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Coffee, but one strong dark Coffee a day is plenty; I’ll be bouncing off the walls otherwise! I also love Green Tea so I’ll have 1 or 2 a day. I don’t drink any fizzy drinks or fruit juices because of the insane sugar content. The ‘diet’ version you say? In my opinion, it’s just as bad.
A Typical Breakfast
- 1 sliced Avocado or 1 Mackerel Fillet with 2 Eggs scrambled (No milk or butter) Just a pinch of pepper. Pop in the microwave for 2 minutes. I sprinkle chilli flakes on top but this is optional. This is a quick, easy and tasty breakfast. Sounds super dull, but it’s so tasty.
- 2 Quinoa Rice Cakes with Mashed Banana and a drizzle of Honey
On days I work out I need more energy so I opt for Oats:
- 1 Sachet of Original Oats
- 180ml Coconut Milk
- Half a cup of Blueberries (full of antioxidants)
- Pop in the microwave for 2 minutes then sprinkle with:
- 2 tbsp Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Mix
- 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
Alongside this, I’ll have my Hot Water with a slice of Lemon and an Americano with a splash of Coconut Milk.
I like a light lunch so It’s usually either:
- 1 can of Tuna or 2 Egg Salad with a splash of Balsamic Vinegar and some mixed Herbs (no dressing or oil)
- A handful of salad leaves
- 4 Cherry Tomatoes
- Half a cup of Cucumber
- A small bowl of Homemade Vegetable Soup with 2 Quinoa Rice Cakes (no butter)
- Leftover Roast Vegetables reheated
- Baked Salmon seasoned with Dill and Lemon or Baked plain Chicken
- 2 Cups of Roasted Vegetables
- Half a Cup of Wholegrain Basmati Rice & Quinoa
- Baked Sweet Potato
- 1 can of Tuna (plain)
- A handful of mixed Salad Leaves
- A splash of Balsamic Vinegar
- Mixed Salad Leaves
- Oven cooked Mushrooms and Tomatoes (no oil)
- Honey Dijon Mustard
- Homemade Spaghetti Bolognese with Wholegrain Pasta (using 5% fat steak mince)
If I’m making a ‘Treat’ meal, it would usually be once a week if at all. I’d make something like Lasagna, a Casserole with Mash or Enchiladas.
In the warmer months I change the Vegetables to Salad and have cold Oats, but pretty much everything else stays the same.
I don’t tend to snack in the day, but if I do feel peckish I’ll grab a piece of Fruit or some Brazil Nuts. Evening time is where I crave more sweet things so I simply don’t buy it. If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. It stops you raiding the fridge and cupboards. I just avoid them aisles at the supermarket. When I get to the checkout I feel so much happier loading my ‘whole foods’ rather than a packet of biscuits that will give me 10 minutes of happiness and then regret eating them after. Dark Chocolate is a better alternative and as it’s rich you tend to eat less. 70% Cocoa is my favourite. 90% is a little too much for me!
I don’t think you should let food rule your life but I think its good to be mindful.
I do go out for dinner occasionally and I will eat what I fancy on the menu as it’s only once in a while, but I usually have a starter and a main and drop dessert and have a glass of wine instead.
Finding healthy foods that you enjoy and don’t get bored with is really important, you are more likely to go and grab ‘unhealthy’ foods if the thought of your ‘boring’ dinner isn’t something you are looking forward to. I’ve been there!
I work out 3 or 4 times a week, 45 minutes a time. I do a bit of Cardio but mostly weights as I’m trying to tone up. I don’t go to the gym anymore because I just don’t like going. I prefer to do it all at home. What I would have spent on half a year’s membership I spent on a home gym instead.
Small changes really do make a big difference. It’s about what works best for you and your situation.