So firstly I must apologise for my blogging hiatus. Now that the summer holidays have come to an end, I finally have some much needed routine back in my life.
If you have been following my Instagram stories, you’ll be aware that in January, I set myself a challenge of losing two stones for my holiday in July. I’m proud to say that I achieved this! Let’s not mention that I gained a few pounds on holiday due to excess eating and copious cocktails. However now that we’re back into a routine again at home, my healthy eating has kick started again.
If healthy eating is something you’re considering, I would urge you to push yourself and do it. Start making steps today, it’s the most rewarding thing you can do for both your body and mind. There’s something incredibly empowering about taking control of what you put into your body and once you’re on a roll with it, it gets easier and easier.
That first week or two is always the hardest. It’s so easy to put it off for another week, month, year….. If you can just stick to your healthy eating plan for those initial couple of weeks, you’ll not only see your weight reduce on your scales, but you’ll feel proud of yourself and most likely, you’ll feel great. That drive will see you strive continue your healthy choices.
Anyone can lose weight, forget about all the fad diets you may have tried in the past. The healthiest and most sustainable way lose those pounds is gradually, consistently and without depriving yourself.
Set a realistic goal
Whether you want to lose one stone or several, set yourself a target that’s achievable. It can be tricky to know exactly what that means, especially if this is all new to you. 1-2lbs per week is entirely achievable, sustainable and more importantly, safe. That may seem like a slow process initially, but just think of how that equates over six months! What you may notice is, in those initial few weeks you may lose a lot more as your body adjusts and then it will most definitely slow down. Don’t let that dishearten you. Weigh yourself once weekly, in the morning before you eat breakfast and mark your progress from that as your weight will fluctuate throughout the week.
Download a calorie tracker
There are lots of different ways to document what you eat, you may prefer putting pen to paper. Do whatever works for you. There are a plethora of apps out there to help you document what you’re eating and to help you stay on track. I recommend My Fitness Pal. It’s a free app which will be your best friend during your journey. Start off by putting in your weight and height along with some other information about you and your ultimate goal. It will work out exactly how many calories you should eat per day to achieve your goal. I ate 1250 calories per day and consistently lost 1-2 pounds per week. Now you’re ready to start! Do not put it off anymore, if you’re reading this now, you’ve already taken the first step to becoming healthy and happier!
What you will quickly realise when your calories are restricted is that you have to cut out the little things you would normally enjoy such as that can of coke you have with your lunch and the kit kat you have with your cup of tea at night, as before you know it you’ll have made a hefty dent on your calories with empty food that isn’t going to fill you up. I had three healthy meals per day and keep one small snack for the evening. I will link the blog to my favourite healthy meals here. I have never deprived myself, a typical day’s eating would be scrambled eggs with one slice of wholemeal toast for breakfast, a jacket potato with tuna for lunch and a stir fry loaded with vegetables and whole wheat noodles for dinner. This would leave me some calories in the evening for a cup of tea and a cereal bar. I will do further blog posts on a healthy eating plan and meal recommendations to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied. If you feel hungry, you’ll become miserable and reach for a Dominos. They key is finding those foods that keep you full. Although I don’t follow a Slimming World’s plan, I follow lots of their recipes and highly recommend them. I have linked some here.
The very worst thing you can do is NOT plan ahead. Always know what you’re having to eat that day. If you are ravenous after work, it’s too easy to raid the crisp packet cupboard, therefore you have to be prepared! Make your plan for the week ahead, ensuring that you’ve stayed within your calorie count.
Stick to your plan religiously in the first few weeks
Here’s the secret, if you stick to your calorie count, it will work 100% of the time. If you sneak a bar of galaxy into the bath with you, you’re going to feel like it’s not working when your weight stays the same. The only person you’re lying to is yourself. Eventually you can relax it a little, but those first few weeks are so important, keep on track!
Log everything in your app
By everything, I mean even the olive oil you’ve cooked your chicken in, the butter you’ve spread on your toast, even the orange juice you had with your cornflakes! What will happen very quickly is your weight will gradually decrease, consistently, and once you’ve lost just a few pounds you’ll feel utterly amazing! You’ll be so motivated to continue knowing that you’ve achieved that is a short space of time and this will give you the drive to keep going! I’m not going to lie and say I stuck to my calorie intake every single day without fail, but I tried my very hardest. Weekends are certainly the toughest but remember this won’t last forever! Once you hit your target you can begin to enjoy those little treats now and again and maintain your weight.
Load up on healthy snacks
Fill your cupboards with healthy snack options. So that when you’re feeling peckish there’s always going to be something there to keep you going. I love cereal bars, rice cakes and fruit. I cannot live without a biscuit for my tea at night, so I have ginger nuts and rich teas as these are below 50 calories each. I also adore the little cakes from The Skinny Bakery. They are usually around 40 calories each and boy do they taste amazing, especially when you’ve cut out a lot of your sugar intake and snacks during the day. It comes back to my previous tip – always be prepared. Have a banana in your handbag when you go shopping. Never let yourself become so hungry that you’ll cave and grab something out of quickness and convenience!
Stock up on essentials
You’re going to need a few key foods and ingredients in your home. For example, sweetener instead of sugar and skimmed milk instead of full fat. My next blog post is going to detail my top ten must have food items which will be coming up soon. You’ll be amazed at the calories you can cut out without having to compromise on taste! Make these healthier choices a lifestyle change.
Choose Low fat options for everything
Now before I mention this, know what to look for in your food labels. Low fat yoghurts can often be laden with sugar and it’s worth looking out for this as it can be deceiving. But there are things which I have daily which I’ve made the permanent change to low fat/low calorie. Essentials like bread, cheese, margarine and even sausages! There are so many tasty alternatives out there that you will become used to very quickly! Think of it as saving money, if you cut the calories from your thick farmhouse loaf and choose a lower carb bread, you’ll have some calories left over to enjoy something else.
Make a visual representation of how much weight you’ve lost
When I had lost nine pounds in the first few weeks, not many people had noticed. But I felt so much healthier and more positive in my own mind. But I remember thinking
‘I’ve lost an entire newborn baby in weight’
Now my daughter Sofia was a BIG baby, 9lbs 3oz to be precise. Her little face was so chubby. That coupled with her thick black hair made her look like she had been born with different heritage, it makes me laugh so much to look at her newborn photos – what a chunk! Now my point is, I lost the entire weight of her within the first month and it really helped me to see just what I’d achieved. Say if stacked up 9 lbs of butter – that’s a lot butter. All of that fat is now gone! You could even have a little jar on your kitchen work top and put a counter in for every pound you lose. These little things are so uplifting and motivating, not to mention disappointing if you have to take one of those counters back out of the jar! And can I just add, Sofia grew into her face within a few weeks….
How many of us have the time and money to go to the gym regularly? I know I’m not motivated enough to do that. I don’t really enjoy exercise. However what I do love is going on long walks with the children. I also make a conscious effort to take the stairs instead of an elevator, for example. Making small adaptations to your lifestyle add up. There are so many fantastic videos on YouTube to help you keep fit. I recommend Yoga with Adrienne and The Body Coach. We all have thirty minutes to spare in the evening for some gentle exercise. Put on some music, shut the world out and get going!
No such thing as falling off the bandwagon
Do not be too hard on yourself if you have a night out and end up having a giant kebab on the way home. You’re only human. However, what you mustn’t do is allow that to undo all of your good work. It’s a one off and isn’t an excuse the continue that same way of unhealthy eating into the next day and beyond! Get straight back on it! Take control of your life and always remember how wonderful it will feel slipping back into those jeans that have been hidden at the back of your wardrobe – No amount of cake tastes as good as feeling good! And remember…..
‘Eating one takeaway wont make you fat, just as one salad wont make you thin’