Friday, 31 January 2014

A work in progress: getting fit and healthy.

If any of you have read  my earlier post about my new year resolutions you will all know that one of them was to try and become a much healthier person in general. I feel as though so many of us go on short term diets that don't really work out for the long term, and having tried this myself I know it can be the most De-motivating situation ever.

On account of this I decided that I wanted to really work at trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle rather than set myself unrealistic short term goals like losing weight or getting a six pack. I think the reason so many people struggle with this issue is that they don't think about it seriously enough or set themselves goals they can actually achieve. Instead, they worry about eating a chocolate bar while they are supposed to be on a diet, and feel enormously guilty when they don't make time to go to the gym.

As unexpectedly as ever the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year are going well so far and I'm actually finding it easier and easier as time goes on.

Here are some of the things I've been doing:

Eating a healthy balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This sounds like a really easy thing to do yet is something so many of us forget. I'm pretty sure there are many of us who skip breakfast or 'grab something' on their lunch break. I have started to set an alarm on my phone to make sure I eat regular meals, and not only that but I have also been planning my meals the day before, and as a result I actually feel excited and look forward to eating them. Even on the days I have work I will prepare fresh salads or wholemeal sandwiches the night before to help keep up my routine.

Being healthy 80 percent of the time.

Because lets face it, saying no to dessert all the time is depressing. We need to keep some of the foods in our lives that we enjoy and indulge a little now and again. If I am craving a chocolate bar by resisting the urge I am only making myself more likely to over indulge when I eventually do give in to my cravings. So instead I have proposed that instead of denying myself to go for dark chocolate which has more nutrients and try to  eat only a few squares. I want to be in the mindset that its okay to have a little bit of what I fancy every now and then as long as I try to put good food in my body the rest of the time.

Using vegetables to fill my plate.

I'm extremely lucky with this one because I actually really enjoy vegetables, and have been trying to eat as many portions as possible with lunch and dinner. I have found that by substituting the empty carbs with freshly cooked vegetables I feel fuller, less bloated and have bags of energy. And its such an easy way to make sure your body is getting proper nutrients from the food you put into it.
Drinking lots of water.

I always carry a bottle of water with me wherever I go, and for the past month I have been swapping fizzy drinks for an icy glass of water with fresh strawberries and lime wedges (delicious!).
Make exercise part of your routine.

 This wasn't too difficult for me as I actually really enjoy exercising, however I lacked motivation. I just found it hard to make an effort to go all the way into town to go to the gym, so instead I signed up to a few Zumba classes a week, bought a few work out DVDs and started going on walks, which I am hoping to turn into runs in the near future. After I got back into it with Zumba I started signing up to different classes which were much more intense. It really is such a good idea to plan to go to something you enjoy every week whether it is yoga or a dance class as you look forward to it and it doesn't even feel like working out. I also found that I am more motivated when I am surrounded by other people trying to get fit, not to mention it is a great way to meet new friends!

Limit your alcohol intake.

Most people love alcohol, and I am certainly no different, however, with alcohol comes calories and hangovers and with hangovers comes cravings for sugary, salty foods. I'm not saying I never drink alcohol, but I have started to enjoy drinking more now that I limit myself to a few gin and sodas. By not over indulging in alcohol I spare myself a hangover (and my dignity!), and find myself fresh as a daisy the next day.

Only buy healthy foods.

If you don't buy it you can't eat it, and although most of us like to have sweets stashed away for a duvet day it is important not to make it a part of your routine. Buying only healthy foods encourages you to eat healthy as you no longer have the temptation of unhealthier foods.



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