Tuesday, 11 June 2013

How to eat healthily at work...

Sorry for not posting in a week or so, I have returned home for the summer from uni and have been back at work full time and going back and forth to uni to sort bits out. Anyway, being at uni is so easy to organise meals as you are home for the majority of the day, you can be creative with food especially lunch. The one thing I hate about working full time, is the lunch restrictions. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg at the canteen and I don't want to eat their horrible greasy disgusting food. So I have to take in my own. I make sure I prepare it the night before so I am not rushing in the morning before the gym. The only thing I make in the morning is my protein smoothie, just so its fresh and hasn't separated so I can drink it straight after my workout.

So here is a little sneak peek into the food i take everyday.

I usually have granola, yoghurt and fruit for my breakfast. Sometimes I will have fridge oats or porridge depending on how I feel. I just really like the freshness of granola and yoghurt.

At the moment I am heavily into big salads for lunch. I mix it up with avocado, chicken, salmon etc. The basis of my salad is always mixed leaves and spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, mixed seeds and cottage cheese. I like the cottage cheese almost as my dressing, its full of protein and gives the salad a different texture. I like to cook my chicken with the skin on but I take it off before eating as it really isn't that good for you, however tasty it may be.

I always take lots of fruit with me or carrot sticks etc for snacking. I find the more snacks take in the more choice I have and the less likely I am to snack on the biscuits and cakes. But overall, I think the key is preparation. Make ahead and then you have no excuses not to eat healthily.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My week through a lens 2...

Top Row - Stranger in the sky, Work night out, Heart in my drink
Middle Row - Steak dinner, Apple Munchies, deer in my garden
Bottom Row, Ready to go out, Meal at Jamie Olivers Restaurant, After my Half Marathon

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Walking on sunshine...

I am extremely extremely pleased to say i completed my first half marathon in 1 hr 50mins. Not bad when my target was 2hrs 10mins. I found it extremely tough as it was boiling hot with very little wind and for the last 6.5miles it was a gradual up hill climb. I timed my run on Nike+ but it says I ran slightly less than 13miles even though the course was accurately measured at 13.08miles.


 I felt really strong for the first 6miles as it was more of a sheltered trail run, it was actually a pleasure to run. But past the half way point i really struggled and had to really pull it together to keep going. But overall I am thrilled and just wonder how well I would have done in kinder conditions.
For anyone scared to take part in a more competitive run, I found it really helped push me harder when running with other athletes and also keeping pace with them throughout. Also everyone was so nice and I continually heard words of encouragement from other runners and tried my best to offer words in exchange.

Now on to the next challenge, after putting my feet up and enjoying this sunshine.

If you were thinking about entering a race... don't think... just do it!!

xx

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Sunshine salad...

I am a huge fan of salads. Many people find them boring or not filling enough but think the complete opposite. Yes, if you are just going to have some leaves, a tomato and a cucumber on your crazy quest to be a stick, then you will find your blood sugars crashing and find yourself starving within half an hour. I on the other hand cram my salads full of yummy goodies so that each mouthful is nutritious and enjoyable. 
This was a post workout salad I ate today for lunch. Some people think I am strange because I put fruit with various different ingredients, i have a huge sweet tooth and I find that blueberries on a salad really make it more enjoyable and break up the taste a bit. They are also full of antioxidants and are brilliant for your hair and skin. I don't believe in depriving your body of anything, so diets lacking in fruit are a big no no for me. They may have sugar in them, but it is naturally occurring and in moderation, they help to indulge your sweet tooth and provide a varied diet.
Salad ingredients:
-spinach
-cucumber
-tomatoes
-avocado
-chicken
-cottage cheese
-blueberries
-seed and nut mix
-homemade lemon and rosemary olive oil

What ingredients make your perfect salad? Don't forget to follow my blog and I would love to hear from you guys reading :)

xx

Friday, 24 May 2013

Benefit 'They're Real' mascara review...

I recently bought Elle magazine and the freebie this month was a sample of the new Benefit mascara, 'they're real!' I am a self confessed make up snob and would rather save up and buy myself the product I feel really works than buy several products that are often cheaper and less effective. My current favourite mascaras are Diorshow Black out £23 by Dior and surprisingly Extreme volume mascara £2 by MUA at Superdrug. I tend to use the MUA as my everyday mascara and the Dior if I am going out or dressing up slightly more. 

I always think i look a bit albino without mascara as my eyelashes are so pale and my eyes end up fading in to my face. So i pretty much will always wear mascara even to the gym. For this reason it is important for mascara to be waterproof, long lasting and have strong colour... a tough challenge for the Benefit newbie.
However, I can say I am very very impressed. Even though just a tester, the packaging is luxurious and sturdy, a treat to open. The little tube encloses the brush which is an artistic masterpiece. There are hundreds of long and short bristles meaning that even the shortest of lashes get a good coating of mascara. My favourite feature of the brush is the slightly rounder tip, which enables easy application to lower lashes, something I always struggle to do without a serious touch up job afterwards.
So anyway here are the before and after pics, please excuse my eyebrows, I took these literally on my way out of the door to get them sorted.
Before
After
Even though it is slightly pricey at £19.50, I am definitely going to buy myself the full sized mascara after the tester runs out as it is the perfect mascara to wear even whilst working out. You can buy it at all Benefit counters and online on the Benefit Website

Don't forget to follow if you like my blog :)

xx

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

to be inspired...

http://pinterest.com/zolakt/fitness/

I think its important to remember that just because you want to look a certain way, you need to look at the progress you have made so far. Make each achievement a big deal. It will give you the inspiration to keep going.

So get up and do something active... you will feel so good afterwards.

xx

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Last run before the race

So I completed my last long run before the half marathon on Sunday. To be honest to start with I felt pretty terrible, heavy legs and very lethargic. But after a few hill sprints I came in to my stride and really enjoyed the run. I managed just under 10miles running at a 9min mile. So pretty chuffed. 
Post run still smiling!
I have started using the Nike+ running app and so far absolutely love it, I may do a review after a few more uses. However today when changing my music I managed to pause my run so It says I have done a mile less than I did but oh well.

Took a few progress shots today. I am really starting to notice real muscle definition in my stomach and its much flatter bellow my tummy button. It gets bigger during the day but definately less than it has previously since the Gluten Free era. I still want to work on my obliques the dreaded muffin top but that  whole band around my torso is a real problem area.
Please excuse the poor quality, I wanted to quickly take a picture before my run on my phone!
On another note, my beloved Asics are coming to the end of their life, I feel a lot more discomfort down the sides of my feet post run and pressure under the ball of my foot, a sure sign they need replacing. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am loving the look of new Nike Free 5.0 just because they look so funky, and my dad always says if you look and feel good, you will perform good! 

Anyway let me know, Iv also noticed I am getting lots of new visitors to my blog everyday so feel free to follow me or post any comments :)

xx

Friday, 17 May 2013

Twinings Peppermint tea review...

As you all know, I suffer from a gluten intolerance. Its not severe enough for me to check every single label however I stay clear of breads, pastries and wheat flour in general. If I do eat these foods, I end up feeling sick, lethargic and just rubbish in general. However my main reaction to gluten is severe bloating and stomach cramps, I can eat dinner and end up looking 8 months pregnant. Not only does it look awful, it is horribly painful and uncomfortable. I have a pretty sensitive stomach to food and tend to bloat after I eat in general, which really bugs me after all the hard work I put in to working out and eating clean. My quest is to find a solution, and if not a solution, just something that helps with this horrible bloating.

I have recently started taking Acidophillus tablets, which are filled with healthy bacterias for your tummy. You take them once or twice a day and it is supposed to build the good bacteria levels up in your tummy in a few weeks. I have been taking them for 3 weeks or so now and can't say I have really noticed a difference, but I will stick with it for a while longer. You can buy the tablets in lots of health stores but my favourite is Holland and Barrett as the staff are always really helpful and nice.

My next weapon in tackling the bloat is Peppermint tea. I have done quite a bit of research and it seems to come top on helping sufferers of IBS and other related digestion issues. I popped to Asda and bought both Twinings Peppermint tea bags and Twinings Digest tea bags.

Iv only tried the peppermint so far and am really impressed. They cost £1.29 for 20 bags and have no added nasties or unnecessaries, just pure peppermint leaves. I made it the same way I would green tea or black tea, by boiling the kettle and infusing the bag for a few minutes.

The taste is lovely, I was expecting it to be more 'mouthwashy' but it is really refreshing and calming. I have been drinking it after eating my dinner and sometimes lunch if I want my tummy to settle. Im actually very very impressed so far and will keep using this after meals. I will review the Digest bags after I have tested them too.

Does anyone else suffer with digestion issues and have solutions??

Monday, 13 May 2013

My week through a lens...

My first ever week in pictures post...


Top Row - Nutella popcorn, spicy chicken and squash curry, Lara and I all dolled up
Middle Row -  stroking the donkeys in the New Forest, New scarf, Avocado and bacon salad
Bottom Row - Aubergine Parmagiana, Ready to go get my dancing shoes on, homemade mini milk

Friday, 10 May 2013

Popcorn...

Sorry I have been absent for a week or so... had loads to do to finish uni etc etc. I have literally 5 minutes ago submitted my final piece of work for the year, scary stuff. 

So with this week being hectic, I have tried to remain on the gym train and keep my diet as healthy and regular as possible. But I find it hard at these times to not reach for the

chocolate. If i am craving something, I can't stop thinking about it until I have it so often I will try to skinnify the unhealthy cravings with slightly better versions. My latest obsession is popcorn. Its a brilliant healthy snack and really filling if you make your own.

I used to be a sucker for Butterkist or the Blockbuster Butter versions but scared myself with the content and the price. I bought my own little pack of popping corn and set about creating a yummy chocolate variety. I used a large pan and sprayed with olive oil and heated for around a minute. I then added the corn just covering the bottom of the pan and waited for it all to pop. Whilst it was popping i melted 1tbsp of Nutella in the microwave and used this as a chocolate drizzle over the popcorn. 

So although not super healthy, it is a much skinnier version if you need a cheat treat. They say that air popped popcorn has around 30calories per cup once popped. Obviously this will be slightly more with the fact i used olive oil but I only used the smallest amount of oil and shared the bowl with my boyfriend. 

Popcorn would be a perfect snack to take to the library in a little container or just to munch whilst at work when everyone is tucking into biccies with their tea! Im a serious convert... going to look for more recipe inspiration, maybe a salt and vinegar (my absolute favourite combo) style one instead of crisps. 

Mmmm got my thinking cap on now!!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

nothing but a jeans thing...

So summer is just around the corner and its the dreaded time of year where you start to flash the flesh. Summer holidays mean you are in swimming costumes and bikinis and prancing around in shorts and t-shirts. This just gives me more motivation to stick to the healthy eating and exercise and I up the amount of squats and lunges etc I incorporate into my workouts. I definately want to try and work off as much cellulite as possible before wearing my denim shorts.

Another piece of clothing that many are wary of, are white jeans. I think you go from a dark dreary winter wearing lots of black and denim jeans so white denim can be seen as a bit of a shock. But when I was out shopping the other day, I came across this gorgeous pair of tribal print white jeans. I am in love with them, they were I think £22(ish) in Zara.

They have just the right amount of stretch so they feel comfortable but also ping back into shape. I hate going through the day and your jeans end up feeling like they are about to fall down. I have silly long legs so they were a tiny bit too short, nothing a roll up won't sort. The pattern really draws away from the super white scary jean look that puts many off, so they are a pretty good in between jean.

Michael Kors watch and Top from a random boutique in America


Old shoes - Urban Outfitters

Scary Face
I do think they will last over autumn and spring too with boots and a jacket as i don't feel terrified that I will drop something down me and ruin the look... it usually happens just after I have left the house.

On the exercise front, I am feeling very proud of myself, I have achieved the superman at pole fitness and taught myself what some people call the full moon, but I'm not brilliant at remembering the names. Anyway i am pretty chuffed :)
Full Moon
Superman





Friday, 26 April 2013

Protein cookies...

I really struggle to get protein in my diet. It's one of those things that I am always working on but I just love vegetarian food (even though I do eat meat) and don't eat enough nuts etc. I bought some protein powder, but my God it tastes vile. I thought it was the powder but it turns out to be every powder. I just can't stomach them as a shake. I'v started adding a full or half scoop to porridge and my refrigerator oats and it really is keeping me fuller for longer.

I have such a sweet tooth that I though I would bake protein cookies. Im not a fan of the packaged protein bars and these cookies are brilliant as a quick breakfast or mid afternoon snack. I haven't loaded them with the powder but the nuts and seeds definately make up for it. 

When I eat cookies, I like them to be gooey, moist and breakable. Nothing worse than a cookie that wants you to break your teeth as well as pile on the pounds. Iv researched a few recipes and kind of combined my own. I like to work in cups just as it saves washing up compared to bowls and scales so here it is:


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups of oats (i use old fashioned)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce (you could add in a little apple juice for a slightly tangier taste)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Designer Whey French Vanilla)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (i only had around 1/6th so topped up with flaked almonds)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruits (raisins, apricots, cranberries all work well)
I basically chucked it all in a bowl and mixed well. It was quite a sticky consistency, if yours turns out too runny, just add in some more oats and stir again.

Pop the oven on at around 180C and while that is warming up just leave the mixture to infuse all the flavours and spices. 

Once heated, line a tray or 2 with baking paper and spoon the mixture on. I like my cookies slightly larger so use a table spoon but its personal preference. Press them slightly flatter so they cook all the way through and then put in the oven for around 20 - 25 mins depending on size. They do not spread out so you can place them pretty close on the tray. 
nice and golden

chewy gooey middle

When cooked bring them out to cool and place on a wire cooling rack then tuck in. I love this recipe as it makes the kitchen smell awesome!

I reckon there are tons of changes and additions I could make. I would really like to do a maple syrup infused cookie. Next time...

Monday, 22 April 2013

Before and now motivation...

Loads of people ask me how I stay motivated to get down the gym or go for a run 5 or so times a week. I'm not going to lie and say I just love getting out of bed early so much that its easy, because its not. 

I have fluctuated in size from around a 12 to an 8 many times, at the start of uni I put on around a stone and a half and was really really unhappy with how I looked, I know I wasn't obese but I was unhealthy eating anything and not caring about what was in it. I joined the gym but thought if i was going i could still eat rubbish, didn't lose any weight or muscle tone and ended up not going.

Over the first summer and with a holiday on the way, i decided I really wanted to tone up and feel good about myself, so i got outside in the countryside and ran. When I got home I would do sit ups and squats etc and slowly I began to see a change. It took me two months to put on the weight (Pretty impressive i know) and around 9 months to lose it. That was motivation enough for me to keep the weight off and if anything really change my diet and exercise to look fit not thin.

BEFORE:


 NOW:

Since Transforming my diet and exercise I am so much healthier and happier, my skin is better, I'm not so tired and I have more energy. There are still little bits that I can improve, like my chocoholic tendencies but its all a journey.

Iv tried evening exercise, i'v tried classes, afternoon exercise, going in the evening, before dinner, after dinner. You name it, I have tried it. What works for me is just getting up that little bit earlier and getting it over with.

Reasons to exercise in the morning:

  • There are no excuses except you are tired. Then if you skip it, you feel guilty for the rest of the day.
  • It leaves your evenings free to do other fun things.
  • It gives me energy and wakes me up
  • I feel like I should eat healthily for the rest of the day.
Basically exercising in the morning is my motivation to stay healthy. I know if i leave it to the evening, I won't go. The only evening exercise I will do is a class or group exercise like football or pole fitness. I know my lie ins and excuse days are the days I plan for rest. So it may take a while to work out what suits you best but once you have found it and the results become more and more obvious, the motivation will come without any effort.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

super super food...

I love salads but I hate lettuce. I also find that bags of leaves tend to be expensive and very small. But, I have found an alternative with many more uses. This alternative is the much loved food of Popeye, spinach.

It is so versatile, I personally love it raw straight from the bag dipped in cottage cheese. This works really well if you roll them up like a stick and dip as they are quite sturdy leaves. I also like them in wraps, as my salad leaves or just as a side to pasta dishes etc. If you are not a fan of raw veggies and leaves, they are also yummy wilted with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt, mixed with other veggies and even within dishes like omelettes or sauces. If thats not enough to tempt you, you can often pick up a huge bag for around £1.
www.artsjournal.com

Iv done a little bit of research into why spinach is so good for us and basically it is packed to the brim full of nutrients.

  • It came out top of a poll of the Worlds healthiest vegetables as it is high in phyonutrients and flavanoids which give us antioxidant protection.
  • It has been proven to help against oxidative stress related problems, bone problems and cancers.
  • It is a huge source of Vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and manganese.
  • Its also very low in calories.
My next step is to try it instead of leek sheets in a lasagne... well we will see how that one turns out soon. So pop to the shops, grab a bag of spinach and tuck in because you can never be too keen on greens.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

to be inspired...

After a slobby couple of days of eating rubbish and feeling rubbish I had a brilliant gym session today and have eaten lots of yummy meals. Dinner tonight was sausage with roasted veggies and broccoli, made me feel like i was having a lovely sunday roast minus all the baddies.

So don't let a few bad days knock your confidence... jump back on and work that little bit harder!

http://pinterest.com/zolakt/fitness/

Saturday, 13 April 2013

beer pong and a late night curry...

The past two days have been really hectic for me. Friday involved a 2.5 hour commute to London for an internship interview before coming home and having a huge group of my friends come to visit me for one of their birthdays. This meant lots of drinks, dancing, beer pong, singing, greasy food and hangovers. 

I did pretty well eating during the day, I tried a new recipe for refrigerator oats as my breakfast and it was delicious... definitely will be eating it again and it kept me full until my train journey home. I then had a delicious moroccan chicken cous cous salad for lunch and risotto for dinner. But going for a full blown curry at 2am was an unexpected regret of the night. I have truly felt ghastly all day today, naan overload. 
Two of my best friends that came down!
My dress is £35 from Mango, I think its going to be really versatile because its a lightweight material and a good length. The ruched waist meant I could tuck it up a bit to shorten it for the night but during the day it is a bit longer, it will look lush on holiday with a tan.

Today I have not wanted to move from the sofa, so have stayed in doing uni work and napping. A real duvet day. I then had pizza for dinner and sweets. I'm not going to beat myself up for completely letting go and eating whatever I wanted because, 


  • firstly I don't agree with never allowing yourself treats occasionally. I know personally that if I stop myself having something then i just crave it more and end up gorging on rubbish, so letting yourself have that little treat just in a smaller quantity keeps me sane. 
  • Secondly I believe that life would be extremely boring without a little bit of luxury occasionally and you would miss out on so much. 
  • And thirdly, all the wheat and rubbish food has made me feel sick and pretty yuk all day which has given me huge motivation to jump back of the health train tomorrow. Sometimes you need a reminder that the treats aren't always treats, you need to remember why you gve them up in the first place.


So anyway here is the recipe for the oats, a super duper easy breakfast that you can make the night before to grab and go in the morning. There are so many different possibilities for flavour combinations that it will take a while for me to get bored. I found the original recipe at The Yummy Life blog, its such an amazing blog with hundreds of recipes which I am sure I will be trying very soon. I made the maple and blueberry variety but i made it with frozen blueberries and I used almond milk, I also sprinkled some mixed seeds on top for extra goodness.
http://www.theyummylife.com/Refrigerator_Oatmeal
Remember tomorrow is another day so get up and get healthy.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

feel the difference...

So I have pretty much been gluten free for 2 weeks now and wow do I feel better. I have noticed how much flatter my tummy is from not bloating after every meal, I have loads more energy and the biggest thing i have noticed, is that I am not craving the carbs that make me ill.

I'm not craving bread, cereal, potatoes or any of the processed wheat products, even my biscuit addiction has subsided. Hopefully this will continue. I had my first night out in around a month and felt really confident about going out and not feeling bloated and I managed to skip the chip shop on my way home (always a mission for me).

I often wear skirts or dresses that skim my tummy for the bloating reason but hopefully soon this wont be an issue. My outfit was pretty much all from Topshop with New Look shoes. I really like the pink of the skirt but it definately needed the black belt to make more of a focus of the skirt.



Tonight for my dinner, Steak with loads of spring greens. I don't always feel the need for typical carbs like potatoes or rice with my dinner as there are carbs within vegetables and especially rich greens.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

run along...

Im a huge fan of running and i like to run mid distance, half marathons. Many people see running or jogging as a really daunting prospect but I believe that anyone can run it just takes different people different lengths of time to feel confident to run.

It is common for people to put up guides on starting to run, which states you should walk for 1 min then run for 1 min and slowly build up. Personally I don't think those guides work as everyone improves at different rates. So i have compiled a few tips on starting to run.


  • Don't be nervous about being seen. No one will be looking at you thinking why are you running.  Most people will either be thinking your crazy for wanting to exercise instead of sitting in front of the TV or they are thinking 'good for them getting out there and getting in shape'
  • Make a good playlist of upbeat songs to run too, which will take your mind off feelings of wanting to stop.
  • Take a little bit of water with you, not too much as you don't want it swilling in your tummy but enough to stop your mouth drying.
  • Set a nice route with plenty to see rather than just a straight road, maybe include a common, playing field or park into it.
  • Don't be afraid to stop jogging and walk for a minute if you need to but try to jog for as long as possible.
  • Don't set an unachievable target. When I started running I would go on shorter jogs, for say 20-25 minutes and slowly build up.
Even now I have some days when my body just does not want me to run and i end up walking a lot more than usual.

Hopefully this gives you a little bit of confidence to start running even once a week to diversify your exercise regime.
http://pinterest.com/zolakt/fitness/
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