Skip to main content

The Battle Of Living A Healthy Lifestyle

To weigh or not to weigh? That's the question I am asking myself these days. I'm talking food by the way, not my body weight (we'll get to that later in the week!)

For a while now I have been in the habit of reading the nutritional values on packets for the calorie and fat content. I've become aware that I've turned into one of those women you see in the supermarket who reads the packet of every item she picks up, one of those women I used to spot, feel sorry for them then call them a saddo for being so consumed with what they were eating. How times have changed, I'm like a walking-talking calorie content reference book nowadays.

In recent weeks, following the nutritional information provided by the Fight Camp trainers, I have stopped counting calories and weighing out my portions. It's a surprisingly hard habit to break. It goes against everything I have programmed myself to do. I now go with how much noise my stomach is making and stop eating once it shuts up!! I binned the processed foods a while ago so I generally know what I am putting into my body these days. When I look at packets nowadays, I'm checking for things like vitamins, protein, saturated fat (fat is not always a bad thing, but saturated is a no-no!), salt and sugar content.

The thing about nutrition is that there is so much conflicting advice out there, total information overload at times, so much so that it can be hard to sort through the drivel and get to the important stuff. I've been doing lots of research on the topic, and at times it gives me a headache. Too much info can sometimes be a bad thing! But then there's the adage of who do you believe? I am definitely no nutritional expert and I can only give my own opinion from personal experience.

In one corner you have the classic slimming club banter. Whether it's points, checks, red/green days, they all claim that you can lose weight and still have your treats. I think this one works for a lot of people who don't want to have to sacrifice all of the things they enjoy. But for me it was too slow and incredibly frustrating, and half the time I felt like punching the class managers face (anger management maybe?!!)

Then there's the faddy diets. Cabbage Soup, magic slimming tea, Atkins, Baby Food, Miami something aruther...the list is endless. They each have their 5 minutes in the spotlight until the next magic mix or celebrity endorsement comes along. I think everyone is aware by now that these should be a no go area, they might be a quick fix when you get desperate, but they are not sustainable and can do more damage to your body in the long run. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt which I returned because the results were rubbish. I tried a couple of them in previous years and they made me ill and/or irritable and as soon as I started eating normally, the weight would pile back on and I would end up heavier than when I started. Not good!

What to do, what to do?!

All we really want is someone to tell us what we should be doing. The things is, we already know what we should be doing.

The world that we live in and the lifestyles we lead work against everything we strive to attain. Career, social life, family, home, studying, we spread ourselves pretty thin to try and fit everything in, so when are you supposed to fit in your exercise? Human's nowadays want it all, and why shouldn't we?!

Walk into a supermarket and you are faced with the ridiculously cheaper processed food alternatives, which in comparison to the more expensive naturally-sourced fruit and veg produce, fish, meat and poultry, you can see why so many people opt for the products which in the end contribute to the countries diet/weight related illnesses and diseases. When was the last time you saw a multitude of BOGOFs in the fruit and veg aisle? The special deals all focus around fizzy juices, frozen meals, crisps, sweets, basically, everything that we should not be consuming. My food bill has almost doubled since I started eating more healthily. I now opt for going to places like Aldis and Lidl to buy my fruit and veg, which I find often has a much better variety, value, quality and lasts longer. There's a general lack of green grocers, fishmongers and butchers in my area, but in speaking to friends and colleagues, even if you do have them on your doorstep, often life gets in the way and we opt for the convenience of a one-stop shop at the supermarket.

If you want to lead a healthier life style then you need to battle through everything else that is working against you. You have to want it enough and fight for it! It's no good saying you want to be healthier and fitter if you can't be bothered. Sitting on you ass thinking about it isn't going to get you to the place you want to be. Action People! The truth is, it takes a hell of a lot of effort and hard work.

Even once you have done your shop, and your fridge is packed full of greens, meats and fruit, there's the question of what to do with it. Time is something that I am always short of when it comes to preparing and cooking meals. By the time I get in from work, tidy up, basically do whatever needs to get done, I just want something quick and easy. Again, this is where lifestyle battles against you. I get why people fill their trolley with frozen, microwave and ready prepared meals, it's convenient and easy, I know because I used to do it all the time. No hassle, don't even need to think about it, just come home, stick it in the oven or microwave, and as if by magic dinner is ready!

If you want to make a change and start eating more healthily, you need to fall in love with food and cooking! Maybe you have never had the opportunity to try cooking a meal from scratch, preparing all the ingredients and creating some magic on the hob! But I recommend everyone give it a try. Usually, all it takes is a bit of imagination and taking the plunge to give it a bash. With cooking I think some folk are scared of failure, but its the same for everything else in life, if you don't try you will never know how good you are. You will probably surprise yourself, maybe you are the next Jamie Oliver in the making!

How often have you sat in front of the TV watching Masterchef, Gordon Ramsay, whoever the TV chef is, and watched them make something that you've thought "Oh that looks good!" and been tucking into a ready made meal at the same time!! That happened to me around the time when I started to make changes in my diet. I was sat there eating a piece of frozen breaded chicken (I say it was chicken but who knows what was in it) with some frozen potato type thing while I was watching Masterchef . I remember sitting there and wondering how I had gotten so lazy. I used to love cooking and experimenting with food.

While it may not always be convenient, cooking is something that I have fallen in love with again. I love spending a few hours on a Saturday afternoon making something a bit special. My favourite things to cook at the moment are meatballs and roasting chickens in some nice fresh and tasty marinades.

And cooking fresh food can be convenient. When I do have time through the week, I'll make extra portions and freeze them; things like chilli, meatballs, curry, chicken in some kind of sauce. I'll take a portion out the freezer in the morning and it will be defrosted for me getting home and all I need to do is reheat and make something nice to go on the side. I've recently started roasting a chicken on a Sunday night and I'll use the meat throughout the week to make super quick and easy salads, omelettes, chicken noodle soup, stir-fry. All it takes is a bit of planning, and if you are sitting there thinking 'sounds good, but sounds like too much hassle', like I said, living a healthy lifestyle means you need to make an effort.

And try something new. People can get into the habit of cooking the same things every week, you can get stuck in a rut at times. It does you good to experiment with the food you take time to cook. In recent months I discovered Coconut Oil for cooking with, it doesn't overpower the food you cook in it, just makes everything extra tasty and it's better for you!

I've recently been reading a lot on info on the Paleo lifestyle, some people refer to it as a diet, but from everything I have read it is more of a 'way of life'. It is also sometimes referred to as the 'Caveman Diet'. I was really surprised when I started looking at the different foods people eat who follow the lifestyle. Lots of fats (naturally derived fats which are classed as 'good fats'. Who knew such a thing existed?!). Meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes things like grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. The recipes I've found have had my mouth watering, and it is something I am thinking of giving a seriously good try. Only thing I am struggling with is the thought of giving up dairy products. I love my milk! Just Google 'Paleo', I've found lots of blogs and websites dedicated to the topic.

I will be putting up some of the recipes I use to keep my taste buds guessing, so keep an eye out on the 'Recipes' page.

Also, if anyone has any questions or would like to see a post on a particular topic then drop me a line.

Speak to you all soon xxx

Comments

Will said…
Amazing blog Sara, you are turning into a online pep talk for lazy people lol
Food is definetly the hardest part bout any regime and I think when you get that nailed and start experimenting with food thats when you notice massive differences.
Keep up the amazing work :)

Will x

Popular posts from this blog

3 Months in - What real progress looks and feels like!

So I check in with my nutrition coach Simon every week. I weigh and measure myself, take outputs from my fitness pal to send onto him, and let him know what is and isn't going well. He keeps a eye on how my nutrition is moving along and will advise on any adjustments he thinks I need to make, as well as answer any of my questions. As the weeks are moving along I can see that this routine is as much for my benefit as it is his. It gives me a window to ponder, recognise and record my progress.

On average I lose around a pound to a pound and a half a week. Some folks might think that's not much, however, that pound and a half signifies so much more than just the weight on the scale. Anyone who has done a diet or slimming club where a weekly weigh in is involved will know that they generally measure your progress on the scale alone. In my experience I would lose a few pounds one week, zero the next, put on, lose a few... you get the idea. No consistency, up and down like a yo-yo..…

My 5 tips to breaking the 'treat' cycle!

Hands up if this sounds familiar....

"I've worked really hard, I deserve a wee treat. Mmmm there's crisps in the cupboard, or ice cream in the freezer. Oh I've been really good I could have a wee bit of both."

Escalates to ...

"I've had a really hard day, can't be bothered cooking, i'll just treat myself to a wee takeaway!"

Escalates to ...

"Life is shit I need a treat. This 1kg jar of Nutella followed by the family size share bag of crisps should do the trick, and if I don't feel better after that there is the slab of chocolate in the cupboard!"

It is a slippery slope. I know, I've been there, sat on the sofa surrounded by the crumbs of evidence!

One treat can quickly lead to the downfall of not just one week but all of my efforts. For me, what I eat is the biggest mental battle when it comes to trying to lose weight or break years of bad habits. The temptation to slip back to your old ways is easy.  In the past I did it beca…

Balanced nutrition on a budget

I think there is a common misconception that good nutrition or a protein rich diet can be overly expensive. However, it is entirely possible to eat an abundance of food that is both nutritious and tasty and be spoiled for choice.

I used to assume that a high protein diet would be really costly and for a long time I ruled out even considering it as an option because of that.

I don't have a lot of spare cash at the end of the month so I was determined when I started doing this a few months ago that I make savings somewhere so I sat down and had a good look at:

what I was spending on my food bill each weekhow much was going to wastelooking for ways that I could minimise costs and waste.
I started out by doing a tour of the various supermarkets and comparing the cost and the quality of each shop over a period of four weeks. I even looked at local shops and butchers to see what was available. In an ideal world I would have the time to go to different outlets for different items to max…