Source: Nike Women
I haven't done a health and fitness post in a while, because I feel I haven't been the healthiest person lately - eating chocolate bars, not watching my calories. Not always a bad thing, but I've been feeling sluggish, which isn't good. A few of my excuses include: but it's winter, it's cold outside, I'm tired, I'll start next week, I don't care - I just want it! Well, it's time I stopped with the excuses! You should too!
When I'm feeling as unmotivated as I am now, the best thing for me to do is to figure out some goals, take a 'before' photo (and look at past progress photos!) and work out a plan.
For the month of July, apart from a couple of days (this Saturday is my birthday party, and I'm heading home for my actual birthday) I'm going to start eating clean, and cutting back on sugar and alcohol.
• Clean up my eating - fresh, whole foods only, no preservatives.
• Cut back on my sugar intake - including in coffee and tea. Slowly ween myself off it and take it down to 1/2-1tsp in coffee and tea. Only bittersweet dark chocolate allowed occasionally.
•Limit alcohol intake to two days this month - my party and my actual birthday. Opt for non-alcoholic, low sugar options for work drinks. Avoid the nibbles.
From August for 4-6 weeks, I am going to go completely mucho on this body. Clean eating, no alcohol, exercise 4 times a week, I'm going to get some abs for summer, damn it!
• 1 tsp sugar a day - one coffee in morning only.
• Gluten free all month.
• No alcohol.
• Medium- to high-intensity workouts 4 times a week.
• All clean foods, no preservatives.
Reading food labels is such an important thing - my friend commented on the fact in that Green & Blacks organic chocolate, the ingredient list is only 5 things, while in cadburys, the it's closer to 20-30 ingredients, most of which you can't pronounce.
Another thing I have noticed with myself, and others around me, is this false advertising thing of 'low fat' being good for weight loss. This is completely false! Fat is such an important component in our diets - protein and fat together help satiate you and make you feel full for longer. Companies who have 'low fat' on their labels, tend to up the sugar content in such products - because taking the fat out of something makes it taste awful. What happens when you have excess sugar in a product? Your blood sugar spikes, your body produces insulin, and then it plummets, making you hungry again in an hour. Eat full fat products - though the calories may be higher, you won't need to eat as much to feel content!
I would also caution those who use artificial sweeteners. These can upset your stomach, and I think that having normal sugar is probably better in the long-term. The amount of chemicals in these sweeteners is terrifying, and if you can go for a natural option like cane sugar, honey, agave or stevia I would be much happier - even if these have a few more calories, they're better for you in the long haul. I'm pondering on buying some agave syrup as the smallest amount is said to be very sweet and you don't need a lot to sweeten things. I'm not a huge fan of the taste of stevia, and I love honey in my tea.
If anyone else is keen to do this challenge with me this month - let me know how you're going in the comments/on your blogs! It will be fun to have a group of people to help motivate each other!