|From an over indulgent Christmas 2014 to last month – teeny progress but a huge change in my legs and stomach.|
We’ve all been there. We’ve all been on one those horrendous alcohol-fuelled benders followed by a large pizza from Chick-o-land on the way home and a nasty headache the next morning. As much as I hate to say it, this was how I spent the majority of my first year at university, trying to keep busy to stop myself from thinking about how much I desperately wanted to be back home in familiar surroundings in my nice, clean house with my parents there to help.
Looking back now it was a terrible way to live and my body did not thank me for it. I constantly felt ill and run-down, I ballooned to what felt like the size of a whale and I was just generally so unhealthy. What made it worse was that after going on a big night out I spent the next day craving all the junk food and sugary snacks in the world. Team that with the fact that I could barely cook beans on toast and we have a serious problem here.
Last year I made the conscious decision to start looking after my body properly. I learned to cook healthier things (aka. microwave packets of vegetables instead of pizzas) and, over time, have learned to make much healthier choices and feel so much better for it. Since choosing a healthier lifestyle I have gained so much. I’ve worked hard to get into shape and have finally felt body confident, I have realised just how much will power and determination I have and I have really surprised myself in terms of my fitness levels. Don’t get me wrong I still fall off the wagon now and again, but generally I have come a long way from the days of eating micro-meals and junk food on a daily basis!
For today’s post I thought I would share with you some of the changes I made to get in shape and to lead a healthier lifestyle, which is quite hilarious considering as you’re reading this I am probably sat devouring my third chocolate Easter egg of the day (it’s my cheat day, okay?!). I know that health and fitness is a massive thing now and while these may just seem like like the tiniest of changes, they really do make a huge difference!
1. Ditch the sugary stuff
Seemingly obvious, right? I have a massive sweet tooth and love biscuits, cakes, sweets, chocolates – nom nom nom – but over time I have cut them down dramatically and honestly the cravings go away. I can now go for weeks without candy and snacks and it makes such a difference. You don’t feel sluggish and don’t get that gross, sick feeling in your stomach after pigging out on a whole packet of biscuits. In place of those sweet snacks I opt for fruit (which is just as tasty) or some fresh yoghurt and it’s so much more filling and much better for you too! Also, ditch those fizzy drinks. I now drink water or fruit juice if I really fancy something with a little taste.
|Pretty views of my local river whilst out for a walk – clears the mind!|
2. Go walking
Honestly, there is nothing better than a stroll out in the fresh air for your body as it gets your blood pumping, clears the head and just generally makes you feel a million times better. It’s also great for stress relief, so those of you who are currently under exams/dissertation stress and in need of a little break head out for a little walk for an hour and just see how much better you feel. Did you know that walking for an hour burns almost 500 calories? It’s great for weightloss and great for the mind too!
3. Join a gym class
Anyone else find the gym really boring? I absolutely hate going to the gym and slogging it out on the treadmill or cross trainer to burn calories. I literally move through the motions feeling bored and wishing the minutes away, so last year I started attending gym classes. I started by going to classes like Zumba and Legs, Bums and Tums with my mum and friends and since then have gone through the whole timetable at my local leisure centre! Now I attend a different class almost daily ranging from muscle classes where you do resistance training to circuits which is super intense and involves lots of running and intense cardio (burpies, anyone?). It’s a great way to motivate you and to meet friends and honestly I am so so impressed with how my fitness levels have improved since attending. When I went to circuits the first time I had to do less than everyone else because I simply couldn’t keep up and now I feel like one of the front runners, with even the instructor being impressed by my improvement!
4. Combine cardio with weight training
If there’s one way for me to destress it’s to do some resistance training. I absolutely love it! I never used to venture into the weights section of the gym as it was filled with muscle men grunting and staring at their reflection in the mirror but now it’s my favourite part of the work out and leaves you with such a buzz! It can be nerve wrecking at first so I learnt different weight exercises to do through the gym classes and now do those in the gym on the days where I can’t make it to a class. Weight training really tones the body and is vital for weight loss. It burns calories, boosts your metabolism and makes you stronger in terms of your physicality and your self-esteem.
|No carbs but so tasty!|
5. Cut down carbs
I love carbs – pizza, bread, pasta, potatoes, cereal.. give it to me! As of September this year I decided to really get myself in shape and have really tried hard to limit the amount of carbohydrates I eat. I now eat them for breakfast – usually cereal or porridge for lots of energy – and normally have toast or a sandwich at lunch time because no matter how hard I try I just cannot give up bread. I rarely have them for my evening meal though and instead opt to have lots and lots of vegetables as they are so filling and don’t leave me with that horrible bloated feeling afterwards.
6. Get a decent night’s sleep
I used to be so bad at this! I was practically nocturnal, going to bed at ridiculous hours and having to drag myself out of bed to be in university by 11 o’ clock. Now though I am in bed and sleeping by 11pm/midnight and my body clock wakes me up by 8am most days so I can get up easily and am ready to start the day. Getting into this sort of routine has helped incredibly and I manage to be so much more productive with my day. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep does for the body and mind!
7. Set realistic goals
When I first decided to start being healthier I wanted to jump from a size 10/12 to a size 8 in a week and, let’s be honest, that wasn’t going to happen! This left me feeling really disheartened and generally annoyed with the world and it wasn’t until I realised that benefits come through after weeks of hard work that I started to make mini goals for me to achieve. It started with limiting myself to just a few sweets a day, then to twice a week and now to keep it up for as long as possible until I finally cave. I also try to hit my goals of walking 10,000 steps a day by using my Jawbone tracker and to not snack between meal times!
8. Be positive!
This mindset is fundamental for living a healthier life. I’ll admit that I’m a worrier and get very anxious about things not going to plan and I can generally be a right Negative Nancy, but trying to de-stress, be calm and look at the brighter side of life has really benefited me greatly. I’ve gotten rid of people who cause me negativity in my life and I’ve just started to look at everything in a more positive light and you know what? I feel great!
9. Baby steps
Whether it’s choosing to go for the new potatoes instead of chips whilst out for food with friends or walking to work instead of catching the bus, every single thing adds up and these changes will soon make a huge difference. Get up, get active and take each day as it comes and you’ll be leading a motivated, carefree and positive lifestyle in no time.
These are just a few of the little changes I made to get myself in a much healthier state of body and mind and the results speak for themselves really. I’m in no way an expert but I have dropped from a size 10-12 to a size 8 (and that’s over about a year as it’s only been the past six months that I have really got my ass in gear) and feel so much more body confident. I also feel so fresh minded and have a more positive outlook on life. I do inhale a massive slab of chocolate fudge cake drizzled in custard now and again, but a little cheat won’t hurt! Try these tips and see what you think! 🙂
How do you live a healthy lifestyle?
Lots of love,
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