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/

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

to be inspired...

The beginning is the hardest part... working hard and looking good will become motivation in itself once we start to see results and feel healthier. Keep Going!!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

kick start...

So the other day I made a huge batch of homemade granola. Im a big porridge fan, and fan of oats in general but I do want a change occasionally. What I love about granola is that its sticky and crunchy and sweet and also really filling. I would much rather have a bowl of that that a bowl of Frosties.

I was looking in the supermarket and all of the shop bought varieties seem to have loads of added sugars and were also really expensive, this all combined lead me to making my own so I thought I would share the recipe.

I made some flavoured oil while it baked


300g rolled oats (I like to use the big old fashioned ones)
50g sunflower
50g pumpkin seed
50g flaxseed
50g flaked almonds
50g chopped walnuts
50g desiccated coconut
100g dried berries (preferably no added sugar) I used cranberries and apricots
1tsp vanilla extract
3tbsp honey
125ml maple syrup or 75ml apple juice ***

Pre-heat your oven to 160 C and line a big baking tray with baking paper.

I personally find it easier to combine all of my dry ingredients (except coconut and fruit) together in one bowl and then my sticky ingredients in another. This enables me to make my granola pretty clumpy rather than little bits. Then gradually mix each bowl together so it all combines and there are no huge sections with none of the honey mixture (this happened to me before)

***If you want to use apple juice, I would suggest soaking the oats in it for an hour or two before baking or adding any other dry ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the tray and spread out in a thin layer so it goes crunchy. If the layer is too thick, the bottom half wont cook as much but that may be personal preference. Pop it in the oven for around 15 - 20 mins before taking out, adding in the coconut and fruit, mixing well and putting back in. At this point you may want to drizzle a bit more honey over the top, but i like to add mine after when im actually eating it. Bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden. Be careful not to over cook as the coconut tends to brown too much and not taste sweet.

Let cool on the side before breaking up into your granola pieces and store in an air tight container. It should last you 2 - 3 weeks and contain around 15-18 servings if you don't eat it all in one go... its pretty moreish.


I like to serve mine with a bit of natural yoghurt, honey and fresh fruit and it keeps me full until lunch.


Saturday, 6 April 2013

to be inspired...

I really struggle to have the dedication it requires to exercise later in the day. Unless I am attending a class or group exercise, I like to get up slightly earlier and exercise in the morning. I find that I am more alert during the day and have a reason to eat healthy. 

You may find waking up early hard, but think of all the spare time you will have in the evening, whether it means getting home earlier from work or just having longer to make a nice healthy dinner.

Try it and see how this suits you!

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

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sushi sushi sushi and a little bit on nutrition...

Although I am pretty active, my nutrition has not always been the best. I have a huge sweet tooth, huge as in I could eat pudding for breakfast, lunch, dinner and still have room for a chocolate snack. Although I try to eat healthy meals, I do snack and I do feel hungry a lot. Because of this and the fact I want to be in tip top condition for leading an active lifestyle, I went to see a nutritionist.

I think this was probably one of the best things I have ever done. Some of the tips I picked up:


  • Drink loads of water
  • Eat more protein - I need to try and eat protein with every meal, which at the moment I am really lacking. This supposedly will help me to feel full for far longer.
  • Carbs like pasta and bread can be replaced by lots of green veg like spinach and broccoli as they too have carbs in them.
  • Try to limit the really sugary fruits like grapes and strawberries.

These are just a few to start with but already they make sense and seem really easy to achieve. As well as this, I am going to keep a food diary. This really helps me to see what I am eating and how I feel afterwards. I can see what my body likes and doesn't like. Its really important for your body to get all of the nutrients it needs from whole foods, the less processed the better. This is because there is less of a chance for the food to be chemically altered or added to.

Salmon, avocado and cucumber rolls




So anyway today, My boyfriend and I made sushi for lunch! One of my favourite foods. Im sure we could make it healthier by using brown rice, but the fillings were extremely healthy and filling. I chose a california roll with salmon, avocado and cucumber and the inside out rolls with low fat cream cheese and avocado. Will had a spicy tuna filling in all of his. It was actually really really easy to make and would be a lovely alternative for sandwich lovers or a nice addition to a lunch salad. 

Spicy tuna rolls



Wednesday, 3 April 2013

food glorious food...

I believe that in order to work out and live to your healthiest and happiest potential, it all begins with food. What you put inside you affects your outside. 

Recently I have been slightly intolerant to Gluten, especially bread, biscuits and pastry which ultimately means I am trying to find ways to avoid and replace these food items. I find this so hard because I am a complete Carboholic. This first truly healthy week has been pretty hard so far. I am craving carbs, sweets and just food in general and a lettuce leaf does not replace a whopping great big cookie. 

However I have been coming up with some tasty meals. On Monday night my boyfriend and I attempted a cauliflower crust pizza. The flour was made from cauliflower... I know I couldn't believe it either. Aside from a minor mishap with the pizza sticking to the baking parchment, it was delicious. I will do a step by step guide soon actually as it was so easy.

Tuesday was a minor set back as we went away for the night and had a brilliant meal out, but I tried to stay healthy opting for duck and veg with a small side of potatoes. But it needed to be done as we don't get to go away very often. And then tonight, we made quinoa burgers. My first experience of quinoa and again really delicious and extremely filling. It probably helps that I'm not a massive meat eater but even my Meat loving boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed it. So all in all a big thumbs up.

Not too much in the way of exercise this week so far but being away for two days made it difficult but lots of walking and sightseeing helped on the stay fit quest.

Quinoa Burgers

Cauliflower Pizza
I actually am really loving trying new recipes and ingredients. Im even making my own granola which is in the oven as I type! Crazy.

If you make one change this week... try a new ingredient or recipe to inspire you.
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