From carnivore to herbivore

Growing up I don’t ever remember having a real ‘thing’ for meat. I’ve never ‘craved’ the traditional fry up, or a good bacon butty. Personally, bacon was only good for me if it was ridiculously burnt, basically black and crispy. I remember being about 9 or 10, and sitting at the family dinner table, and gagging on some gristle in my lamb or beef. Maybe this is where my aversion to most meats came from. Heading into my young adolescent years, I mostly only ate chicken, or highly processed sausages and bacon. Even chicken could make me cautious. You know those little bits of chicken that are really hard and slimy in your mouth? Yeah those. Every time I would eat chicken I would be worrying about finding one of ‘those’ kinds of pieces.

Being highly allergic to animals fur (I’m talking epipens and swollen tongue), I never found myself being an animal person. I never had any pets as a kid (other than the neighbours tortoise who would wander in), so I never really bonded with animals.

That being said, I don’t think there is enough education regarding agriculture and animal welfare in society today. When my Mum would say ‘it’s lamb tonight’, I didn’t even think about what that actually meant.

We grow up with our parents reading us books about baby animals and the cute little noises they make. Going to farms to feed the animals and feeding the ducks at the park. Yet, they end up on our plates with our beans and waffles in the evening. It’s the strangest concept that we teach our minors to think baby animals are cute, but then serve them up for dinner.

I guess I was a little naive. I just went along with what society told me. ‘Free range’ meant the chickens had plenty of access to sunlight, could stretch their legs & make little chicken friends. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. It’s easy to think ‘it’s nowhere near as bad as all that’, especially when you haven’t really ever explored the idea of animal welfare.

I’m not saying that 100% of animal farming results in cruelty. However, ultimately, these animals are dying in order to end up on our plates. You wouldn’t dream of eating your beloved pet dog or bunny rabbit, so why is it ‘acceptable’ to eat another animal?

I’m not forcing my plant based / vegan opinions onto you, merely asking that perhaps you do a little research into it, particularly methods of factory farming. I do not hate people who eat meat, and I certainly do not judge. It’s just nice to fully hear both sides of the story, don’t you think?

Lou xx

Advertisements

January Round Up

I cannot believe that January is already over, and we are already freely heading into the realms of roses and overpriced dinners (Valentine’s Day must be a flower massacre).

January has been such a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I made some very difficult decisions regarding my career, as well as my personal life. I made a big decision to hand in my notice on my first day back in the office after Christmas. For very real and personal reasons, not just because I couldn’t be bothered! This was so hard for me as I genuinely loved the company and the family I had at work, but the job wasn’t something I was passionate about. What should have been a typical 4 week notice period, turned out to be 7 days of work and an unfair, immediate dismissal. I took that really hard, and it felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, but what hurt more was that I was made out to be the bad guy, when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I’m still fighting this decision now, but I think it’s going to be an uphill battle.

I thrive off of routine, and the last few months have been all over the place, with Christmas break, Prague and not working. To most that probably seems like the ideal, but it’s not something I can say I love.

That being said, January has not been all bad. In fact, I would say I’ve made quite a bit of progress.

Here are my 5 positives for January:

  • Consistency with drinking water. I have managed to stick to drinking 3 litres of water every single day, even whilst I was away in Prague.
  • Fully vegetarian/plant based. I have 100% been vegetarian for the entire month of January. I even finally took the plunge and voiced the topic with my Mum.
  • Exercise. I kick started my exercise again, and I am even investing in some better gym equipment for at home. My Nan vey generously gave me some money for an annual membership, but, I am trusting my gut and something didn’t feel right, so I didn’t join.
  • Blogging. I love creative writing, and I am proud of the fact that I have managed to upload 4 blog posts this month, given that I abandoned this platform for a year or more!
  • Coffee. I managed to stick to my goal of not drinking any coffee for an entire month, and I didn’t find myself rocking quietly in a corner somewhere, result!

I can’t lie and say that this was the start for 2018 that I was hoping for. I really want 2018 to be my year, where I finally address all of my suppressed issues, and actually start living a life that I am happy with. January is always a very testing month, and there is a lot of pressure to achieve our ‘New Years resolutions’, and storm forward with our goals. I just think, that life is (often), a very long journey for all of us, it isn’t an overnight fix, and it most definitely isn’t always going to ‘go to plan’. So many shitty things happen all the time in life. I know that I will probably never look like I did 4 years ago. I know that I will probably never run another half marathon. I know that I will probably never deadlift 90kg again. For so long these things have been dominating my mind as ‘my goals’. I would say ‘I want to run another half marathon’, or ‘I want to be that strong again’, but actually, those goals were representative of the way my life was at the time. When I was strong, I was fully immersed in the gym. When I ran a half marathon I was fully immersed in my running. I’m not in ‘those’ places anymore, and you know what, that’s okay. I talked about this and how my life has changed in my January goals blog, but I am in a very different place now. Now I want to pursue new goals.

With that being said, here is a round up of my February focus:

  • Focus on stretching. I am hyper mobile anyway, but I would love to be able to do the splits, or find yoga actually relaxing, and not feel like a headless chicken during my ‘practise’.
  • Increasing my exercise output. Yeah I have started working out more, but I can’t honestly say I have given it my all. Getting myself going was great, but now I need to focus on my consistency.
  • Fasting days. I like playing around with new methods for my health and fitness. I’ve been doing research around fasting and intermittent fasting for a while now, and I would like to incorporate 1 -2 fasting days per week.
  • Work on my mental happiness. Not because I am completely crazy (my boyfriend would beg to differ), but because I need some new methods of relaxation. Exercise has been a good outlet for me, but I would like to find something that isn’t based around getting a sweat on.

So, maybe not the positive round up I was hoping for, but hey it’s only been 4 weeks of the year so far. If I am learning to do anything, it’s realise that there is a lesson to be taken from every situation. I’ve got tonnes of ideas lined up for this blog, as well as some personal business goals I would like to pursue, so stay with me on this one!

Here’s to February guys!

 

Lou xx

 

 

 

 

 

Create Your Own Timeline

How often do you compare where your life is, to where all your friends are? How much time do you lose to worrying about whether or not your life is where it ‘should’ be at this point? What is your marker for where your life ‘should be’? Is it having lots of money? A family? Two kids and a dog? What imaginary markers are you using?!

Let me start by saying, I get it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think like this anymore. I think it’s only natural when life events are thrown down our throats all the time, that  these thoughts cloud our head. I have lost count of how many times my family have asked if I am still looking to buy a house soon, and not rent my place. This is literally a topic that is brought up whenever money is discussed. What’s even more frustrating, is how easily led I am by their words. I go away thinking ‘sh**, I should be saving as hard as I can so I can buy a house in the next year’. Realistically, that’s not my main focus. Realistically, that’s not on MY timeline, that’s on theirs. Let’s be even MORE real right now. How often does this stuff happen ALL of the time!?

God I love my parents to death, and I have the utmost respect for them and everything that they have achieved, and I know they only speak from a place of love and security for me. It’s just really hard to be brutally honest with them.

I have been thinking a lot about how many imaginary markers I have in my head, of things I ‘think’ I should have achieved at ‘my age’. I am about one of three people who is yet to have a child from my year group at school. That bothers me. Writing it out, it seems so totally stupid that that is even something I give my time to thinking about. Why does it even matter?! Is having a child going to make me think I am keeping up with the ‘acceptable’ timeline of events? Does it mean I am ‘on course’ to living the idealistic life? 

It’s all just total sh**. 

Realistically, even when I have a house, that isn’t going to make my life feel ‘whole’, That isn’t my magic marker moment in my life that makes me think ‘I did it!’.

The secret? Your timeline is your own. The way you live your life is your own. Maybe you don’t purchase your first house until you’re in your mid thirties. Or maybe, you never buy a house. Maybe you spend your whole life travelling the world and soaking up every culture you can, or maybe you never leave your home country. Maybe you have three kids before your 25th birthday, or maybe you only start trying in your mid thirties. Or, maybe you never have any children.

The point is, no matter how you decide to live your life, please do not let anyone else dictate your timeline. Your timeline is your own. Live the life that makes YOU happy. Do the things that make YOU happy. We are all so concerned with making everyone else happy, that sometimes we forget to make ourselves happy. I am so bad for this. I hate upsetting my parents, so I find myself doing things their way, even if it isn’t the way that I would have done it. Life is easier that way. Life is easier doing things someone else’s way.

Listen to how ridiculous that sounds. 

My whole point, is that do not let anyone tell you when and where you should do things. The best thing about life, is that we all choose to live differently. That’s what makes us so diverse. That’s what makes seeing other cultures so exciting. That’s what keeps us original. If we all did the same things at the exact same times in our lives, the world would be a very boring place.

Always do what makes YOU happy. Ultimately, you have to live with your life choices, and you have to decide the path your life takes. Always always always, be unapologetically you.

Lou xx

A Healthy Trip To Prague

I have just returned from an amazing 5 day  trip to Prague, and what a beautiful city it is! Unlike most city breaks, this one will not break your bank, or leave you feeling empty on return.

We were lucky enough to catch the tail end of the Christmas market, which meant the whole city was a shimmering display of pine needles and twinkling lights.

Praha 1.jpg

 

One of the biggest appeals for me for visiting Prague, was the picturesque red roofs that the majority of the city has, and the stunning views across from the famous Charles Bridge. This really is a postcard city, in both winter and summer, with a rich history and beautiful architecture. We had the added bonus that the main tourist hot spots were not overcrowded due to their peak season being over, which meant we were easily able to manoeuvre down the narrow little side streets, and take gorgeous shots of our surroundings.

Praha 2.jpg

I was amazed at how easy it was to find healthy vegetarian restaurants in Prague, that didn’t just dish up a salad of rocket and tomato! I have made it my aim that every city break we take, I now do my research before I go into amazing healthy places to eat. There is a really handy little app called ‘HappyCow’ that shows you exactly where all the vegan and vegetarian food spots are in your area, and I definitely made use of this whilst we were away.

I definitely became addicted to hummus and pitta. I think I had it every day for the 5 days we were away, and possibly even twice on some occasions! Nothing beats homemade hummus, and trust me, once you’ve tried fresh, the shop bought will never taste the same. One of our favourite places to eat was a place called ‘Maitrea’ which also has a sister site in the city called ‘Lehka Hlava’, simply translated into ‘Clear Head’. Now, my boyfriend is not a veggie by any means, but he LOVED the food at Maitrea so much, that we ended up going back twice! Generally on a ‘traditional’ menu, the vegetarian options are few, and often, vegan dishes are non existent. Here, the options were pretty much endless, and the restaurants vibe was stunning.

Praha 3.jpg

Praha 4.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding raw healthy desserts was also a breeze. One to definitely check out was a place called ‘Cacao’ situated right next to republic square, which was where the majority of the group bus tours set off from. Not far along from this, was a little raw vegan cafe called ‘Raw Cha’. It was not fully visible from the main road other than the sign on the wall, so be sure to go down the little side street to find it. The menu was limited (as to be expected with a raw cafe), but all the portions were hearty and looked delicious. We enjoyed a raw vegan dessert here, and even the boyfriend loved it!

Why is it that every country in Europe, seems to be a hive of hidden health spots, with every restaurant and cafe serving delicious healthy meals, and even stocking soy and almond milk. Even when we popped into the local Irish Pub (seriously, is there an Irish pub EVERYWHERE in the world!?), they didn’t stock almond or soy, yet the bar next door did! I can never quite wrap my head around how one of the biggest power countries in the world, we can be so behind with the healthy movement of the continent.

My final, and possibly most amazing meal, was at a relatively new restaurant/cafe called ‘Fat Cat’. Let me tell you, the portions here did NOT disappoint! It was our last day, and we wanted to use up the remaining currency we had (we had so much left over as everywhere was so cheap!). They had a decent selection of vegetarian meals, but, as it was lunch time, I only fancied a sandwich, rather than a big plate of food. It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Praha 8

The ‘Fat Cat’ was so named, BECAUSE of their larger than life portions. I ordered the ‘veggie cat’ which was a sandwich filled with peppers, carrot, courgette, rocket and hummus. Alone it doesn’t sound all that incredible, but as you can see from the pictures, it was HUGE. If you ever come to Prague, this is definitely a place to visit if you want value for your money.

 

Praha 9

Regrettably, I was unable to finish it, and due to strict airport control I couldn’t even bring this wonderful creation with me. We had a shared starter of hummus (which equally looked like it should serve a small tribe), as well as the veggie sandwich, and the boyfriend had a double stacked burger, with cheese and bacon fries. All of this came to a grand total of £12.00. That’s it. You’d be lucky to get one main meal for that in the UK. The value for food over there was amazing. We even managed to have a three course meal, two drinks and water for £22.50. 

 

Prague is a beautiful place for a city break, and having spent 5 days here, I genuinely believe you could see most of what the city has to offer in 3 days alone. I always like to keep track of my steps when travelling around a city, and I averaged around 10km per day, and that was leisurely strolling. If you are efficient with your time, you can see all the major tourist attractions within one day, and not have to spend a penny to do so!

For now, it is back to normality, and the countdown begins to the next adventure in a few months! Poland!

 

Lou xx

 

 

Hello 2018!

Hello 2018!

August 11th 2016?! Wow, has it really been that long since I last posted on this blog?! My life has changed so much since then, and that is part of the reason why I absolutely love blogging. It’s my little space in the world where I can just completely be myself, and write whatever I want, whilst actively using my posts as a mini diary of how my life has changed. Life is like a river, no matter how difficult the passage it takes may be, it always keeps flowing, and I feel that is a reflection of where my life is at.

I would certainly say that my life has substantially changed since I created this blog is 2014. My focus has shifted from health and fitness being all I could think and talk about, to finding some (slightly off) balance in my life. The gym is not the only place you will now find me, in fact, you’re more likely to find me at the cinema, at home reading a book, or in a far-off destination. I am in a much healthier, stable and empowering relationship, and in 2017 I finally flew the nest. Now I have bills, lots of washing, and my very own hoover. I am officially an adult.

I am very much, still a health and fitness junkie. I think if you cut me open, you’d still find a soul drenched in the health and fitness world, only now, I have so many other interests too. 2016 was the year that I got into the best shape of my life. I didn’t realise this at the time, because I am a typical girl, and always see the flaws not the highlights. I was so in tune with my body, my nutrition and my exercise.Blog 6

 

Being a PT has been the highlight of my career so far. If being someone’s inspiration to ‘get fit’ doesn’t motivate you to do so yourself, I don’t know what will!

 

Blog 7As much as being a PT was tough at times, the buzz you had from teaching a class of 30 people was absolutely incredible. That is something that I will always be proud of, from growing up as the shrinking violet who was always shrouded in self-doubt. I DID THAT. DAMN GIRL.

Alas, I said goodbye to my dream job as a PT and class instructor. For a mixture of reasons really. I expect self-doubt played a huge role in my decision, but also some paperwork mix ups sealed my fate. I am starting to believe, that everything happens for a reason. Whether that is true or not, it sure does help you to overcome negative situations. Even more bizarrely, I ended up working in an office! I became a 9-5, desk bound hermit, and boy has that been a mental challenge! I took my 10 years of freedom at coop for granted. Finding yourself bound to your desk is tough when you are used to being so active in your day job. That being said, my waistline also suffered. 2017 was the year for insulation layers. Winter is coming after all. Having the freedom in my two previous roles to go to the gym at convenient times always made fitting in my workouts easy. Working the ‘traditional’ hours meant saying goodbye to this freedom. Slowly I found myself no longer going to the gym, usually because of the standard excuses ‘it’s too far’, ‘I am too tired’. No, I was lazy. I found myself leaving work and feeling tired, even though I had done nothing but sit down all day. LAME.

Eventually I cancelled my gym membership altogether. I had bought myself a fly wheel spin bike for the spare room at home, and brought my kettlebells from my previous nest. I genuinely thought I would find the motivation to train my own ass. Who knew better than a PT after all?! It wasn’t all bad, I did exercise, not regularly or as much as I needed to. You forget that going from ‘active’ to ‘desk sloth’ sure slows your metabolism right down!

Alongside this (it does get better I promise), towards the end of 2017 I transitioned into a vegetarian diet. I have a love and appreciation for animals, but that was not my sole purpose for the change. I have never eaten a variety of meat. I usually stuck to your white meats (chicken, turkey), and the occasional beef burger or pork sausage. I wouldn’t say it was a struggle to give it up. I definitely didn’t go cold turkey (ironic), but the plan was always to be a strict veggie/plant based eater by 2018.

Blog 10.jpg

I actually enjoy eating this way, and surprisingly by boyfriend does too! I think the common consensus is that veggies just eat salad and low-calorie popcorn, when in actual fact, there are tonnes of amazing recipes out there! I even signed up for ‘veganuary’ (not because it’s the latest ‘fad’ or ‘trend’), and surprisingly I am excited to see how my body feels at the end of the month.

 

I was lucky enough to travel with my lovely boyfriend. We visited Barcelona for 4 glorious days in September, and it was pretty perfect. I got to see things that so many may never get the opportunity to, and I am very grateful for the life and opportunities I have.Blog 1

We took a family holiday to Cornwall, laughed and ate too much, whilst watching the world go by overlooking a harbour. I visited Winter Wonderland in London, and went on rides that mentally I didn’t deem safe (how do they go up overnight?!) and had my first Bill’s breakfast (the real deal). I experienced Thorpe Park’s Fright night which was amazing, and I survived the zombie apocalypse that seemed to have only hit the island. I binge watched way too many Netflix shows (if you haven’t seen ‘Stranger Things’ are you even okay?), and swung from a tree like a monkey at Go Ape.

I have so many exciting things lined up for 2018, I can’t wait to keep travelling the world and learning more about myself.

I am determined to make this year amazing, physically and mentally. Nothing will be ‘cured’ on day one, and habits don’t fade out easy. It takes patience and consistency, and boy am I ready for it!

 

Here’s to 2018! Let’s do this!

Lou xx

 

 

 

Becoming A Personal Trainer : What I Have Learnt

If somebody had told me 4 years ago that I would train to be a personal trainer, I would have probably passed out from laughing. Not only was I extremely unhealthy, but I was carrying some timber, and NEVER went to the gym. My first ‘memory’ of the gym, was going with my best friend, and we had a programme to ‘follow’, which concluded with med ball sit up’s, toe to toe. I never really enjoyed it, but it was a social event for me at the time. I do however vividly remember often driving to the gym, sitting in my car and having a massive internal debate with myself about how much I REALLY needed to go. More often than not, I would leave without going in, and head to McDonald’s, and that’s not even an exaggeration. I was stuck in the viscous downward spiral of always starting the diet Monday. Why do we do that? It’s not like our bodies have any clue what day it is, it’s all a mental process. I knew how unhappy I was with my weight, and I knew exercise was always going to help, yet still I couldn’t shift my butt to the gym! 

Fast forward 4 years and I’m now a personal trainer, working crazy long hours, covering 14+ classes per week, as well as fitting my own training in between. I absolutely LOVE how my life is right now. I spent so many years in the darkness, not knowing what to do to make my life better, to feel happy. I can’t imagine doing anything else now, and I want to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry. 

I personally think that you are constantly learning as a personal trainer, not just in terms of exercises for clients, but even how to handle yourself as a business. Because that’s how you need to look at yourself, as a business. You work for yourself, you decide the rules and the hours, and the money is only going to come from working hard. The moment you go self employed you need to be prepared to put the hours in. Business isn’t just going to fall into your lap, you need to get yourself out there and work at it. When I first started out in the industry I didn’t know all that much about business, or even the best approach for PT, I had to learn on my feet. The first few months are tough, you need to be putting in the hours, getting to know customers at the gym, meeting the morning, middle and night time people, often resulting in 12 hour days. Just having your profile up on a board in the gym isn’t going to be enough to guarantee you clients. You need to get yourself out there, be approachable and friendly, and have a great knowledge of training. 

The smallest of gestures will help plant the seeds in a potential clients head, and within a few weeks you may find them seeking you out for PT. I remember observing a lady who was incorrectly performing a tricep extension on the cable machine. I had seen her in a few of my classes, and I slowly approached and suggested a slight change in her form which would give her better results. She was really happy to have the free advice, and a few weeks later I found her coming up to me asking about personal training. 

You can have various approaches to PT, some people prefer to be pushy, really enforcing the benefits of PT and the need for multiple sessions per week, but this is something I know I currently lack the confidence level for. I personally don’t believe that you want to come across as being too pushy with potential clients, as the results should be the main focus, not the guarantee of money. 

I definitely made some school boy errors over my first few months. My first being not taking payment up front from my first client. We arranged for a block of 5 sessions, and she would pay me on the day, but the hour before the session was due to begin she cancelled. Needless to say, I always take the money up front now, and if they choose not to show then that is their own issue, not mine. 

The consultation period with a client is where you really get a chance to sell yourself as a business. This is the part where you explain all about the benefits of having a personal trainer. When I first started out, I had a folder with my par-q forms, and a list of my prices and packages. 
Don’t be afraid to be fussy with your clientele. What I mean is, you don’t have to take people on for the sake of it. Having clients is great, but if you don’t get any enjoyment from training them, or they have a huge goal fast approaching and they aren’t training with you more than once a week, and they never train alone, how much can you really help them? Personal training is about ensuring clients reach their goals. A client who only commits to training with you once per week, isn’t realistically going to achieve their goal, which ultimately means they won’t feel they benefitted from your services, they wouldn’t recommend you to their friends, and you’ll feel demotivated because your time was also wasted on the programming. I’ve slowly started to realise the importance of ensuring clients fully commit, and train 2/3 sessions per week with me. It’s not just about the money, it’s about guaranteeing results which is only going to aid you as a business. 

You will have good days and bad days. I think every PT out there has fallen into that ‘lul’ at times, where you forget to plan your sessions, end up forgetting your clients goals, and not taking the time to put a plan in place. I’ve come to realise that’s all a natural part of the process. I found the best thing to do, was schedule in your working hours. Generally, your hours of work will be early mornings and evenings, leaving you a large chunk of the day free. Allocate a few hours during the day where you totally focus on your work. Plan your PT’s, evaluate their food plans, sort out your schedule etc. I really found a benefit when I started to do this, and I write myself check lists of things to complete within that hour. That way, you feel far more prepared when you next see your client, and you feel you’re delivering a better service. 

Being self employed is a very scary experience. Although the money is extremely good, the nature of the work means it is never guaranteed. Make sure you set yourself up a business account, so you can really monitor your funds. Often when you have block bookings, intermingled with one off sessions, it’s hard to work out just how much money you are earning on a monthly basis. To begin with I would spend the money far too quickly, whereas in my previous job I had to wait for 4 weeks.   It’s easy to forget that clients may not stay with you forever, so really keep an eye on your funds, and be sensible with your expenditure! 

I’m still relatively new to the industry, and I really am learning new things on a weekly basis. If you are planning on taking a career in the PT industry, then I hope you found these points helpful. Don’t be fooled into thinking it will be easy money with minimal hours of work, the reality is very different. However, seeing your clients get results, and receiving positive feedback is the best feeling in the world, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 
Lou xx

How To Start A Healthy Lifestyle

 One of the hardest things I think we all experience when we try to revamp our life, is where the hell to start! Immersing yourself in the world of health and fitness can be 100% overwhelming, particularly when everybody has a different opinion on what’s ‘healthy’ and what isn’t. The key thing to remember, is that everybody is different, and each body differs from another. If you spend your life waiting for your favourite IG account to post their latest meal so you can recreate it, maybe stop and think for a minute. Yes, they may be in cracking shape, and you may want a body JUST like theirs, but eating the exact same way that they do, isn’t necessarily going to give you results.

Starting your healthy lifestyle is something that can be as simple as switching your can of coke, for a bottle of water. To many that’s the easiest switch in the world, but a small switch to some, is a milestone to others. In order to make these switches sustainable, you must take them at your own pace, and slowly integrate these healthy choices into your life, so it becomes just that, a lifestyle. Create new habits for yourself, so that soon enough it becomes instinct. The biggest tip I could give anybody is to STOP putting yourself on a diet. Instead, think about making healthy options out of choice, whilst still enjoying foods that you love. The reason I loved IIFYM so much, was because I loved being able to eat my veggies, and still have chocolate at the end of the day if I wanted it. Now, after years of counting calories and macros, I am much more comfortable adopting a clean eating lifestyle 80% of the time, whilst still indulging in foods that I love 20% of the time. For me, this is something that I am comfortable with, as I know it works for me, I see results, and I value how my body looks and feels on the inside, so I eat clean to aid with that notion. The ironic part is, I spent years thinking I had to be following the diet that all my other fitness friends were doing, or the other big names in the industry. For a good portion of time I did just that, but I have always stuck true to what I know and the ways that I enjoy eating. I post the meals that I enjoy, which is why you don’t often see shots of amazing stacks of waffles, ice cream or cakes, because generally I don’t eat a lot of these things. And that’s purely what works for ME. Some of the biggest names in fitness count calories, others track macros, and some eat clean. All of them look amazing, and the important thing to remember, is that all these people follow the type of method that works for them. It’s that simple. Everyone has a period of time that’s trial and error. I would say I had a good 2/3 years where I tried out a variety of things, before reaching this point of being happy to trust myself and my body, and eat intuitively and ‘clean’. If you are just embarking upon your fitness journey, these are some of my top tips:

– Ditch the fizzy drinks. They are laced with sugar, and the diet drinks are no better. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, or you don’t know what it’s for, then do you really want to be putting it into your body? Instead, go for water. A small switch that’s going to make a lot of difference to you and your health. Aim to drink 2 litres of water per day. Evian do a good 1 litre sized bottle which is a perfect marker for your water intake. 

– Triple your vegetable intake. If you think you’re eating enough vegetables now, the chances are that you aren’t. At least 3/5 of my meals contain vegetables, and aim for dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans and peas. 

– Switch sugar for stevia. Stevia is a plant based sweetener, unlike others which use aspartame and other artificial sweeteners which are harmful ingredients. If you can’t stand the thought of tea without sugar, make this one simple swap that’s going to help your waistline.   

– Switch coffee for green tea. I don’t mean you can’t have a single coffee all day, but if you consume more than 3 cups, try switching to green tea. If you don’t like the bitter taste of green tea, add some stevia. Green tea boosts metabolism and gets you burning more calories at rest, and is a powerful antioxidant. 

– Increase your protein intake. Protein is the macronutrient that we rarely eat enough of on a daily basis, yet it is easier than you think to include it into your daily diet. Protein can be found in a variety of foods such as lean meats (chicken, beef, etc) eggs, egg whites, cottage cheese, nuts etc. Not only this, but if you’re really struggling you can buy whey protein powder and make shakes, or use it for baking. For any ladies getting worried that eating protein is going to make you ‘bulky’, I can promise you that it won’t. It’s a lot harder for us girls to gain muscle, which is unfortunate, but increasing your protein its only going to benefit your overall health. 

– Work on your portion control. Often the issue we have is that we fill up at meal times on the wrong things. Fibrous foods help us to feel fuller for longer, which is going to help you to avoid unnecessary snacking. Instead of having a double helping of roast potatoes with your Sunday dinner, fill up on the other veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots etc. Portion control is easy once you start applying it to your daily life. 

– Switch sweets for fruit. There is no nutritional value in candy sweets, but a vast amount of sugar. If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, eat more fruits, particularly berries. You’ll still get a sugar kick but with the added benefit of nutrients which you can’t get from sweets.
These are just a few simple things that you can do to begin your healthy lifestyle. These may seem like really simple things, that many of you may already be doing, but everyone is at a different stage of their journey. Fitness is highly addictive, once you start making changes you will soon find many other aspects follow. Give these a go, and kick start your healthy lifestyle!