Friday 15 June 2018

Summer is round the corner, meaning you have probably been bombarded with articles and sponsored media about getting in shape for summer and what your body should look like for you to be 'allowed' to be in a bikini. It's a problem when magazines and the media tell us what we should be doing with our bodies, BUT it is perfectly fine for you to want to look your best and be confident when it comes to getting semi-naked (depending on the beach) in the hotter months. Now with that little disclaimer out of the way, I want to talk to you guys about body confidence, living a balanced lifestyle, and having a healthy diet without compromising on all the good stuff.  


So to backtrack a bit, this time last year I was coming to the end of my university degree and even looking back at my 4 years at university my eating habits changed a lot from first to final year. My flatmates can tell you that during freshers fortnight my diet consisted of crackers with jam, cereal and ready meals. I did attempt to make some home comforts such as Rosto and Paella, but for me I think it was I didn't like cooking in a crowded kitchen and well, couldn't be bothered. Luckily by final year it was just me and my friend Meg, so I enjoyed cooking dinner whilst drinking a glass of wine in my  silk robe with my records playing pretending I was a 50s housewife. Even though my eating habits got better, I still took various trips to Lidl every week to stock up on prawn crackers, ready meal mac n cheese and kinder buenos. When my sister came to visit in the beginning of June we decided we were going to embark on our healthy diet so we'd look less flabby in time for our return back to Gibraltar. We quickly found out eating healthier was more expensive, at least if you want to have avocados and salmon often - but we'll leave that debate for another blog post. 

Fast forward a year I've actually stuck to that and lost between 10kg-12kg and managed to keep it off, bar the odd fluctuation whenever I go travelling and can't say no to anything. For me, once I'd reached my goal weight it was the case of how do I stay like this but lose fat/build muscle? I became a bit worried with the fact that if I increased my calories back to 1800 or so I'd balloon back within a week. Obviously, that hasn't been the case, and I can say I still manage to sneak in chocolate in to my diet pretty much every day and remain in shape. Do I eat salads everyday? no. Do I drink coke and a packet of crisps every afternoon? no. The key is to find a happy medium that's actually sustainable beyond your 'diet' period. Here are just some of tips for the way achieving a balanced healthy lifestyle.


Be realistic with your goals.

Having a salad for dinner every night might work for you for a few days, but if that was me I'd be satisfied for an hour and then be raiding the Oreos. If your goal is to lose weight, then just because you've lost 2lbs the first week doesn't mean it's going to happen every week (for a number of factors). MyFitnessPal loves to tell me that if 'everyday were like today I'd weigh X in 5 weeks', but in reality there are going to be things that get in the way and probably a bit of backtracking. Don't let this be disheartening and instead give yourself adequate time to reach your goals. 

Follow a diet that you can stick to long-term. 

The military diet, Atkins etc are all plans that can work for you if you're trying to lose a couple of pounds for an occasion, but most of the time the plans won't stick after. Something like 'intermittent fasting' is a great lifestyle to adopt because you're essentially just changing when you eat and not so much what you eat. It works because your body isn't constantly working to process your food so when you're not eating for a period of time it actually goes off to target your fat. 

Prepare for your 'cheat' meals.

I'm a bit of a spreadsheet freak, so yes I do have a chart to plan what I'm going to eat most of the week. Firstly, because it makes grocery shopping a lot easier and secondly I can plan for meals out and the 6 Gin & Tonics I consume on Friday nights. In doing so I can try and eat relatively well before/after the occasion to not make a massive dent in my fitness/food regime. In a perfect world, I would also exercise on my cheat day but this usually falls on a Saturday and the last thing I want to do when I'm hangover is head to the gym. 

Enjoy the exercise you do.

Going to the gym 5 times a week isn't for everyone, I've got to the point where I enjoy going because I can have uninterrupted youtube time on the treadmill or unleash my built up anger (kidding, kinda). I tried going to gym classes and found I didn't really like following people and I am rather uncoordinated and prefer to do my own thing. 

Don't deprive yourself of anything. 

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you have to say no to everything that has refined sugars forever. You're more likely to fail if you think that you're never going to be able to enjoy pizza again or a bar of Galaxy. As I said, I eat quite well during the week and then on Friday's and Saturdays allow myself to be a bit more lenient with myself, and that keeps me motivated. The same with eating out, I'm the kind of person that won't say no to chocolate cake if it's offered even if I'm meant to be on a diet (oops) but it's not like I get offered double chocolate Nutella filled cake everyday!

Have a routine. 

It's easier to stick to something if you incorporate it into your daily routine (and you're less likely to avoid it). When I first started going to the gym i'd use any excuse to not go, whereas now I jot down in my day planner when I'm going and what I'm doing, so I'm not wasting my time there either. It's important not to try and be superwoman either, I once tried to fit in 5 sessions into a very busy week and found myself arriving at the gym tipsy after meeting a friend for 'one' drink, bad idea that is not to be encouraged.

Be comfortable in your own skin (and clothing). 

Last but not least, is whatever you are doing in your life, in general and body wise, make sure you are comfortable in what you're doing and that you are aiming towards your own goals, not what Bella Hadid's are or the ones Glamour sets for you. On the topic of comfort, I'd like to talk to you guys about a brand called BoudaVida who I have collaborated with on this post.

BoudaVida are a fitness clothing brand that supply everything you need to run, kick, stretch and lounge in. What's best is that every time you buy something from Boudavida they donate 5% to female athletes, charities, clubs and projects. So your purchase 'not only makes you feel great, it means you are helping more women and girls get active and improve their health and wellbeing'.

This spirit crop (now £25) and zoom leggings (now £40) are the perfect duo for pretty much any sort of activity. The best thing for me is that it has an elastic waistband which means I can run on the treadmill without pulling them up every 2 minutes! I also checked to see it was squat proof, and ladies it passed the test. I'm small chested so I don't requite a lot of support, but it definitely keeps everything in place either way.


Would you say you live a balanced lifestyle? What is your guilty pleasure? Despite the title, it would have to be Oreos or cheesy garlic bread for me!


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