It’s been a couple of months since I did a personal health and fitness update (though I have been posting about other health and fitness related things) which is odd in a way as food and exercise have dominated my mind an awful lot over the last few weeks. I actually don’t really know where to start with this update as I have a mix of things generally to chat about as well as some more specific updates to share. I’ve decided to break them up a bit… like little chicken nuggets sized updates (mmm.. chicken nuggets…) Also – make sure you read to the end (or scroll to the end if you’re feeling lazy!) for the chance to win a rather snazzy Brita Fill&Go water bottle to help with your own health and fitness goals!
I feel like every week that goes by I learn more about myself , especially in regards to my attitudes towards myself and to my general wellbeing. One thing I have realised over the last few weeks is how much I think about food. This isn’t exactly news, but I’ve recently come to notice it more than ever. Along with thinking about food and eating, I also spend a lot of time thinking about how much I exercise, body image and so on. Here are the sorts of things that occupy my brain throughout the day, which I’ve categorised into helpful, and unhelpful thoughts.
[x] “I want to exercise more”
[x] “I will go running tomorrow”
[x] Thoughts about healthy recipes I could make
[x] Feeling determined to eat healthily/’eat clean’
[x] Trying to work out healthiest choice from meal options
[x] Constantly thinking about next meal
[x] Craving sugar and thinking about chocolate
[x] “I shouldn’t have eaten that”
[x] Feeling guilty about things I’ve eaten or missed exercise opportunities
[x] “I can’t be bothered to go running”
[x] Getting upset at what I look like/current body shape
[x] Feeling envious of bodies and fitness regimes I see posted on instagram
[x] Feeling angry at myself for not having any willpower
[x] Wanting to check the scales to see how much weight I’ve put on when I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t
I have so many more unhelpful, negative thoughts than positive ones and the unhelpful ones are what occupy my brain for the majority of the day. I know that I need to snap out of this negative cycle and I’m determined to try and do so over the next few months. I know I keep banging on about mindfulness and yoga but I’m hoping that both will assist in this goal.
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The 5:2 diet
One of the things that has made me realise how much I think about food is the fact that I started doing the 5:2 diet a few weeks ago (this week is my fourth week). I decided to start more as a lifestyle choice than a diet choice, which might sound odd – this month I’ve been away from home for every weekend and there have been so many social engagements that have involved food that I felt I needed to retain a bit of control and find away to balance things out. I know several people who have seen great success with the 5:2 diet so I thought I would give it a try, and though it’s been challenging, I’ve definitely found it rewarding. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal on ‘fast days’ (days when you limit your calorie consumption to about a quarter of your TDEE – mine is 477, they recommend around 500 for women) to try and limit my calorie intake effectively and still find things I can eat. A typical fast day has been something like:
Apple // Light Babybel // Two ricecakes with low fat Philadelphia // Buffalo cauliflower with 0% yoghurt dip (I use the recipe listed but without the butter and hot sauce)
OR 1/2 carton Covent Garden Skinny Soup // Light Babybel // Roasted asparagues with Bird’s Eye chargrilled fish
Over the four weeks I’ve not particularly lost any weight, but I’ve managed to maintain the same weight which I’ve seen as a positive amongst a calendar of meals out, takeaways, beer garden ciders and a minor addiction to Cadbury’s Mix Ups. Obviously my goal is to find a balance where I’m ‘eating clean’ on non-fast days and maybe having only a few treats here and there, and hopefully a monthly of mainly being at home will allow me to get back into a normal routine. Food occupies my brain even more than normal on a fast day – even though it’s only one day of denial I find myself dreaming of chocolate and sugar-y treats all day on a fast day – the other day I actually went to bed dreaming of pancakes and maple syrup! I’m hoping that as I get a bit more used to it this will start to decline!
Exercise has been a bit of a mixed bag for me over the last few weeks, with some definite wins and some areas I need to improve on. I have been doing yoga almost every day, from either a few stretches to a full routine with a yoga video. It definitely makes me feel a lot better. Exercise has been limited over the last week or so however as I fell up our outside step in the back garden last week and bruised my knees and shins, and then fell again on Tuesday night, re-injuring my right leg (I am such a clumsy sausage!) The bruises on my right leg are so bad that it hurts to walk let alone run, so that’s off the cards for a few days. Once its healed I’m committing to doing something every day, either:
[x] Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown
[x] Go for a run
[x] Thursday night Fight FX class at our local gym
[x] 30 Day Shred Workout
[x] One of the free Kayla Itsines workouts from the Bikini Guide
We have a new gym opening near me in July that looks absolutely great, so I’m holding out on taking out a new gym membership until then, so the next few weeks will be focussed on home workouts.
I’ve been road testing some new healthy snacks over the last couple of weeks – the Multipower Nature’s Power Bars.
I was sent a few different flavours to try and I am pleased to report that they are absolutely delicious, so tasty considering they are a really healthy snack – with only 2-4g of fat per bar, and full of natural ingredients (with no processed sugars). My favourite by far was the ‘salty cocoa’ flavour, which is the perfect mix of sweet and salty. The cranberry and strawberry flavour is also amazing. I’m now saving my pennies to buy a case of the Salty Cocoa bars, though I don’t see them lasting long!
My friend and I ran the Nike ‘We Own The Night’ 10k in London a couple of weekends ago and it was great. We managed it in 1:04:05 which is a minute off my last 10k time which is great. We were hoping to get a sub-1 hour time but there were literally thousands and thousands of runners and it was impossibly to keep a consistent pace. We also ended up at the back of our time group meaning we had to do a lot of awkward overtaking and running on the grass, so there was no way we were going to be able to consistently run the km times we were hoping to. What’s most important though is that it was loads of fun, and we had a great weekend away in London.
Brita Fill&Go Bottle Giveaway
Brita have launched a great campaign this week called ‘Pour O’ Clock’. Their research has shown that 4pm is the time when most people reach for a sugary treat, and instead they’re encouraging people to reach for a glass of water rather than a chocolate digestive. Keeping hydrated is absolutely crucial for your general health and wellbeing and thirst can very easily be mistaken for hunger, so reaching for a glass or bottle of water when you’re craving a snack is a good way to find out what your body actually needs (and avoid those extra calories you don’t!). They’ve also kindly given me one of these rather swanky Fill&Go bottles to give away – they’re perfect for keeping on your desk to make sure you keep hydrated throughout the day. I have a plastic tumbler I keep on my desk, but frankly, the amount of times I’ve knocked it over and soaked my keyboard/notepad/files, a bottle is a much more sensible idea!
As always, use the Rafflecopter to get your entries in, and good luck! I’m going to be roadtesting one of these bottles too and trying out the Pour O’ Clock 4pm water stop, so I’ll be sharing how I get on with keeping hydrated at work too.
Sorry this update has been so long, I’ve had a lot to share! How are you getting on with any health or fitness goals? How do you stop thoughts of food and feeling guilty about not exercising or eating naughty foods from dominating your brain?