Fighting the fat: my healthy-ish journey (plus diet and fitness tips)
Fighting the fat: my healthy-ish journey so far (plus diet and fitness tips)
So I’ve mentioned before that I’m on something of a mission to banish some belly fat (and other areas) that has crept up on me slowly over the last three years (definitely post-marriage).
Anyway, I thought it pertinent to share you a quick update on where I’m at.
Full disclaimer: I’ve not stuck to a super strict regime, and the bouts healthy-ness below are punctuated with a few social events and the odd Hob-Nob biscuit. I am but a mere human, and a greedy one at that.
In the process, I’ve been introduced to a few products my some very helpful PRs, and I’ll share my thoughts on them too.
So here’s what I’ve been up to and the diet and fitness tips I wanted to share with you…
This is something I never thought I’d hear myself say. I pretty much hated running my whole life. Almost as much as I hate early mornings.
So if you told my 20-year-old self that I’d one day be getting up at 9am on a Saturday and running around the park, I would laugh in your face. Yet here I am.
It’s obviously super-helpful that hubby is doing it with me. Truthfully, I’m not sure if I’d be fully motivated to go alone.
We only go once a week, and I can only muster about 1-2kms. But that to me is progress. Major progress.
I’ve even bought some cute running shoes, which is obviously a better motivator than the trainers I’ve had since uni (proof itself of how much of a running-phobe I am).
Running tip #1 – build yourself up to it. Don’t expect to go from 0 to 60 without any shin-ache. I made the mistake of going from practically stationary to full on sprints, and it wasn’t big or clever.
Let your body gradually get used to it. Slow and steady really does win the
Diet and fitness tips alert!
Running tip #2 – Mix it up. Jogging slowly for up to an hour isn’t much fun. So it’s good to break it up with bursts of jogging, followed by faster running.
This makes for a more interesting workout, and I also feel it makes me workout more efficiently. I always like to run faster for the last home stretch, with the bench at the end of the park proving to be a huge motivator.
Running tip #3 – sip, don’t swig, water.
The temptation is to go crazy and glug on water when working out, but taking small sips is the way to go.
I was sent the Bobble Insulate bottle below, which keeps water cool for 24hrs, which is perfect as there’s nothing more annoying than lukewarm water when you’re sweating buckets. Even better, the stainless steel bottle doubles up as a flask for hot drinks. Bloody brilliant.
This Green Water Bobble bottle keeps your drink cold. If you’re bored of water, a healthy juice shot could be a happy substitute. Very LA, I know.
I was sent these Organic Ginger Shots, which contain ginger juice, apple juice, water and nothing else.
Ginger shots drink – an alternative to water. Way healthier than a processed shake. However, the ginger fiery-ness nearly blew my head off, though my husband liked it. So if you can take the heat, it’s a good sub for h2o.
I mentioned this in my earlier post, but I practice yoga at least three times a week. I watch the super straight-forward Shilpa Shetty Yoga, which is perfect to do at home and fits around my daily routine.
There is the full 40 minute workout, or a 10 minute version for when you’re short on time. As I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now, I do feel leaner and more toned.
Diet and fitness tips alert!
Yoga tip #1 – Give yourself rest days.
Everyone’s body is different – some of us love to get up and do yoga every single day. And some of us don’t.
I clearly fall into the latter. When I enthusiastically tried to do yoga for the second day running, AFTER my weekend jog, I suffered strong stomach pains. I think I stretched too far, and I was off yoga for a week.
You see, your body needs to rest and recover after exercise to help your muscles repair and tighten. So going the whole hog is sometimes counter-intuitive. Alternate your days.
So the biggest thing I’ve learnt is, moderation trumps dieting every time.
The problem with strict diets is that they are super unsustainable, and the moment you ease up, the weight comes back on.
The second thing I’ve learnt is that healthy eating is tricky to balance with a social life. I was doing really well until I had three back-to-back consecutive meals out with different friends.
And even though I had smaller portions than normal, it pretty much kyboshed my routine.
But instead of crying about it, I’ve come to accept that there will be those ‘cheat days’, and an easier rule of thumb is this, don’t eat crap in the house.
So here’s what I’ve been having:
Healthy, but filling breakfast
While I’ll treat myself to a poached egg on seeded toast on the weekend, in the weekday I need something quicker. Now I make my own citrus porridge, and generally avoid shop-bought cereals as they contain insane amounts of sugar.
However, I was pleased to be introduced to Lizi’s Granola, which is a low in sugar (less than 4% per pack) and packed with seeds.
I’ll often have this with fruit and yoghurt, and while initially it took getting used to, I now don’t miss the syrupy sugary-ness of standard granolas.
I’m surprising myself with this one. I figured that skipping the carbs would leave me famished. But if you pick the right alternatives, you’re not left hungry at all.
I’ve been having courgette spaghetti (or courgette), and even had a protein packed prawn, mango and avocado salad.
As long as there is some form of protein in the mix, you can feel full minus the usual pasta, potatoes, rice or bread.
Yes, you should still be having fats. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been oil pulling for a while now, well I’ve also experimented with eating teaspoons of the stuff (hey, Miranda Kerr does it too).
The key thing is to go for 100% raw organic coconut oil. So I’ve been using Vita Coco’s range. I’ll soon be experimenting with using it in cooking too, so watch this space!
From experience, I know that you can maintain a healthy weight and flat stomach by eating normal home-cooked meals, as long as you cut out unhealthy snacks.
You see, snacking is the secret diet killer. When you feel hungry between mealtimes, the temptation is to go for a quick fix, and usually it’s an unhealthy one – i.e. a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar.
So one of the things I’ve changed up is what I snack on.
I pretty try to avoid snacking between mealtimes, but if I must, I’ll grab a handful of almonds, which are filling and full of good fats and nutrients.
I received these scrummy almonds from California Almonds, who also provide handy snack tins so you can take a portion of almonds to work or snack on-the-go. Way classier than a sandwich bag or oversized Tupperware.
After following my fitness and healthy eating plan, without compromising myself too much, I’m feeling fitter and leaner already.
Like I say, the results aren’t dramatic, but hopefully by doing it the sensible way, they’ll be lasting.
What are your best diet and fitness tips? Share your thoughts with a comment below…
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About the Author
I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!