Lent – probably the hardest 40 days.

So I thought if I put it on here it will help me stick to my lent promise. So I have a sweet tooth so what I’m going to try and give up is biscuits and cake. I was going to the whole hog and quit chocolate too but oddly when contemplating my powers of self control . I realised I have less self control when it comes to cake and biscuits and would happily stuff my face. Plus my grandparents especially my Nana is a keen baker and does force freshly baked cakes under my nose.

So here goes 40 days without cake and biscuits ! My sweet tooth isnt going to be happy ! Let’s do this !


Hello I’m Helen and I’m a snacker

So I’m a snacker. I LOVE food but good food , none of this processed rubbish. I’m a snacker I like eating all day everyday. However , I make it healthy.

Mid morning snack: a small pack of raisins

Mid afternoon: chilli crackers

After dinner snacks: 2 gluten free , low sugar biscuits

I also eat healthy meals as well !

For breakfast I have museli or porridge with agave nectar

Lunch : homemade soup with a slice of rye bread toast and a pear

Dinner: Salmon with bulgur wheat with broccoli and spinach

I just love food way too much! Over and out !

So this fitness thing seems to be working

A relatively short post. With my new perspective of health and fitness I’m proud to say my fitness is improving. Today I decided instead of my usual cardio session at the gym I would go on a 2 mile run. Wow! I massively surprised myself I managed to do it in just under 14 minutes  I have never done this before my times have always been about 8:30 a mile!  Yes I was tired afterwards but not absolutely popped. I’m so proud of myself and so happy I’m making small marked improvements !

Happy Wednesday everyone !

What is healthy ? My new perspective ! (Feel free to comment, share experiences and your own perspective)

So I am writing this from my laptop although,  this may not seem a big deal for many of you – for me it is! This is because I normally write my blog posts when I have a few spare minutes so normally on my travels into university. Anyways, that is slightly irrelevant to the post I am wishing to share and get your views on.

When I first started this blog, it was mainly with the intention of recording myself and by publishing it to you lovely people it would make me to stick to my regime of ‘healthy’ eating and exercise. So, I set myself the 6/7 week challenge of doing this. It worked I did the full 6/7 weeks. However, my intention I feel became a little warped. My aim was health. I like many other girls my age and of many other ages continuously feel the pressures to be societies idea of health, skinny. Some would argue I was skinny before. I weighed 7st 7lbs (48kg) I am 5ft 1. However, to me this still felt slightly podgy. So over the 6 weeks I religiously ate a strict calorie controlled diet . It started with a controlled 1200 calories and exercising five days a week , doing cardio, using the resistance machines , lifting free weights and attending pilates classes. I was losing weight and my stomach was becoming flatter but I didn’t feel I was getting my desired result. My goal, was to get to 46 kg, however this came and went and this was due to a complete drop in the calories I was consuming. I dropped my calorie allowance to around 700 a day while I was still doing exercise five days a week. This had the desired effect , by the end of the 6 weeks I was down to 44.4 kg so 7st.  My BMI was 18.5 and I was skinny, possibly a little too skinny. I could start to see my ribs, I had a thigh gap, my stomach was very flat and I felt fragile rather than strong, but this is what I wanted right ? This should make me happy ? I am not going to lie, having a very flat stomach was nice however, I had lost all shape. I was also not happy, I was stressing over calories, exercise and limiting my food.

You could say this became a dangerous obsession and I wouldn’t argue with you, had I more weeks where I could control everything as closely as I was , I am sure it would have spiralled into something unpleasant.

So what is my new perspective on health. Well I am still 5ft 1 …. sadly. However, being 20 I don’t see this changing. I am 46 kg and my BMI is around 19. I am still being mindful with what I eat and making healthy choices. I eat, reduced sugar museli for breakfast, I have fruit and veggies for my snacks, I have healthy home made soups for lunch and fish for dinner. Despite this, I am not going to turn down the occasional chocolate or cookie. I don’t obsess so much over my weight for the past 3 weeks now I have been around 46 kg and this obviously my ‘natural’ weight. I still go to the gym and exercise 4/5 times a week. I still want that flat stomach but when I go I concern myself with fitness and strength, I push myself with HIIT and lift heavier weights, I perform new ab, legs and arm workouts (no pain no gain, is definitely true here.) I don’t obsess over calories as much any more; saying that, I am not going to have a big mac and wash it down a large milkshake …. that just makes my skin crawl with how bad that is nutritionally.

Ultimately, I feel healthier , I feel in control, I feel happy. I still have a thigh gap and a 24 inch waist but I am enjoying myself. So my new perspective. What is healthy ? To me: it is about seeking a balance of physical fitness, eating the right things to deliver a healthy and happy body and mind.

Fad diet is not so fab

So I hold my hands up I tried a fad diet , the infamous cabbage soup diet. Here’s my honest verdict: it was awful. Yes I lost a whole pound (I haven’t got a lot to lose) but it was soul destroying and here’s why.

1. There is no variation.

If like me you like variation in your diet and like cooking with fresh ingredients , this is not for you. When it is not the holidays I eat a healthy diet , with fish , chicken , veggies, fruits , grains and wholewheat carbohydrates (mainly pasta ) . So not being able to cook myself something , which I believe brings a lot of the enjoyment to living a healthy lifestyle is lost as there is no room for experimentation.

2. It’s expensive for a limited budget

I know this may seem silly as you would think how is that possible. Here’s how. To do the diet properly it requires a lot of fresh fruit (when you are allowed it) and fresh veggies. Sadly as most of us know to get fresh stuff it can be a little pricey. Also as each day changes as to what you can eat you can’t just simply plan meals therefore, increasing the cost.

3.  No little luxuries.

Even though I do eat healthy I also allow myself some little luxuries. Normally , in the evenings while chilling out I have a couple of Nairn biscuits (check them out) they are gluten free, low calorie and low sugar biscuits and I have these with a cup of tea. I also love snacking on dried fruit as mid day snack such as dried apricots however, this was also of the agenda. Then the low fat fromage frais I usually have was absent this week too :(.

4. Hungry and tired

So this diet works due to it being so low calorie. However , as its low calorie and low carb too you will find yourself exhausted ! I found this often. However for me this wasn’t good because as anyone knows part of living a healthy lifestyle means that exercise is important but with such little energy it just felt like a slog rather than something I usually enjoy.

5. Not a proper breakfast

This actually weirdly really annoyed me. In the mornings I love tucking into a bowl of cereal such as bran flakes, museli or porridge. However , these were also absent and I hated waking up to bloody cabbage soup, so much so I occasionally missed breakfast a big no no .

6. Food waste

So I study environmental geography at univeristy. I’m also passionate about conservation and food security issues. So I’m feeling very annoyed with this. As I didn’t eat as much cabbage soup as I probably should have  this means there is fair bit of waste. Not only this but because I was unable to plan my meals and therefore my weekly shop, it is difficult to minimise food waste.

7. You will want to snack

Because I haven’t been able to eat normally all I want to do is snack.

So if you want to lose weight and get healthy , don’t do this !!! For these reasons and all the others you will find out there.

I’m very much looking forward to tucking into my porridge tomorrow morning . Making healthy varied choices and not eating another mouthful of the cabbage soup.

Adios Christmas stuffing and hola 2015

So Christmas and New year was a right food fest ! I started out with good intentions I promise I did. As I didn’t have a gym at home to use I went walking every day using my Christmas pressie to myself a fitbit so I could get my 10,000 steps in and my 30 active minutes. I also tried to eat healthy despite a fridge stocked of Christmas chocolate and mince pies. So far so good. Then …. I went to America on a cruise double whammy !!! So it was a major eating fest although again I tried to make healthy choices and exercise when I could.

Anyways the end result was a weight gain of 3 lbs and 1/2 a inch around my waist.

So what does this mean. Back on the exercise machines, lifting weights and eating healthy. So I’ve started my routine with a detox. Low sugar , low carb and lots of veggies and water.

So here goes …

Week 7

So final week of uni and exams ! Woop Woop. However, this means one thing, no gym. I’m a little concerned as I dont want to see my all hard work , slowly disappear down the drain due to Christmas eating and a lack of exercise ! I’m trying to remind myself to let go its Christmas. I’ve put some barriers in place to try and help. 1. Trying to do some form of gentle exercise a day 2. Stick as best I can to a healthy eating regime 3. Drink only water and herbal teas 4. Get my sister to be my motivational partner /gym partner . When she has days off work she’s lending me her guest pass 4. Buying myself a early Christmas present of a fit bit so I can see all my activity in front of me ! 5. I am also buying new work out gear and a iPhone running case so I can exercise in the great outdoors.

I feel stupid for feeling this anxious but I have invested so much I don’t want my hard work to vanish, especially as my family stock the fridge of chocolate !

Any tips on what I could do would be gladly appreciated. Or even any personal experiences of surving the Christmas period ! Thanks in advance

Me again! Day 6&7 week 6

So the weekend , we meet again ! So as has been for the last 6 weeks the weekends are my rest days …. Rest days … Haha! It has been non stop ! Because of this I’ve somewhat abused my eating , which I feel pretty lousy about to be honest.

Day 6

I had porridge for breakfast , then as I didn’t finish work until late so had to grab a late lunch or as I like to call it; linner. I had soup and toast , then had a juicy juicy pear. Then I had to cram in some revision before shooting off to babysitting ! When I got back , I had a much needed cup of tea and 2 nairn biscuits.

Day 7
I had porridge for breakfast , then again had another late lunch as I had sort out a new work contract. So it was homemade soup again with toast. Then on to more revision , it is never ending I swear. After completeing my revision for today , I had a light snack of some fruit . Now I have just finally got into my pjs and chilling in front of the TV with a couple of biscuits and water as I’ve had too much tea today to get through revision …. The struggles of a student.

Anyways, tomorrow is a new week and the last Monday of the Christmas semester ! So what have I got planned ? Well getting the eating thing under control and what a better way to do it ,  by having another Christmas dinner of course. I’ve got my work Christmas dinner tomorrow at a Italian restaurant and I can’t wait. I LOVE Italian food so much ! Plus it will round the day off nicely from a early gym start to extreme cramming.

What I have learnt : I’m a mess of stress, bad habits and I need to get my act together ! Come on Helen ! You’ve got this !

I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth ! A quick catch up

So , I think the title says it all.  Well this week , has been stressful. All week I have been revise cramming for my exam which I had today. Yeah , it went… Okay ! 40% all the way ! So although , I’ve gone radio silence , I haven’t ditched the routine altogether, although I have had to make it a bit more flexible.

So Tuesday to Thursday (day 2- day 4) I have been good eating well, going to the gym and working hard. However, today being my exam day I let things slide as I think I would have gone a bit crazy if not. 

So , when I say I have been bad today I mean I’ve been a little more indulgent than usual. I had breakfast of porridge, then a poached egg sandwich for lunch with a pear. Then I got back from my 3 hour exam , I needed some me time a few little luxuries . I so far have had , a glass of wine with my dinner spaghetti bolognese with a small amount of wholemeal pasta. Now I’m watching Jonathan Ross, with a hot chocolate and a twix. I think I’ve earned it, this week has been a tough one . Only 5 days until I’m home.

What I’ve learnt: occasionally you need a few luxuries.

Day 1 week 6

So it’s my last full week at uni ! Yay! However , this also means my last full week with access to the gym 😦

Anyways as it was Monday, it was my weigh in day. I was dreading it to be honest after my indulgent days , however , the scale has been kind. I have no idea why or how, but I’m not questionning it. Any suggestions why this may have happened will be truly welcomed as its a bit baffling.

So. I’m now down to 45kg , my waist is 24 inches, hips 33 inches and leg circumference: 19 inches. My body fat is approximately 15% .
What I did. It was my HIIT day so I did my usual cross trainer routine for 30 minutes. Then did some weights focusing on my legs, arms and core.

To eat, I had porridge , a poached egg sandwich , a small pack of kiddies raisins , salmon stir fry and a low fat fromage frais . Then as I had finished all my revision I relaxed with a cup of TV and 2 nairn biscuits .

What I have learnt: I cannot put rhyme and reason to this weeks weigh in , especially as it has been my biggest weekly drop and its been my most indulgent week.