We can’t deny it, it’s that time of year and a lot of us are wanting a change in our lives. Many are looking to improve their fitness and I have to say it’s the best investment you could ever make. Taking care of yourself is so important so good on you if you have decided that this is the year for you to get started on your fitness journey. It’s definitely not easy but not impossible.
I really disliked training and wan’t the biggest on healthy eating to start with but what you have to know that it is a lifestyle change. Your current lifestyle and habits at this moment, are something you are going to have alter. Changing what you always do out of habit is difficult, it’s your life at the end of the day, but you can do it. I know it, I’ve done it and so can you. Throughout your life you have gradually changed your life and you habits, you can do this with more awareness, do a gradual change for the better. To get started with your exercising I’ve got some tips here in a previous blog post.
In this post I would focus more on healthy eating. This is something I struggled with at first and my diet has been a journey to say the least. At first when starting out I somehow thought that if I ate less I would loose weight, but whilst I was eating less I was training more, which in hindsight seems very silly. To be honest, I was convinced that healthy eating involved some fish or chicken and a salad basically, which it does and I thought was tasty but not a sustainable way of eating everyday. It gets boring! I love food, I’m a major foodie and this was not how I wanted to live my life. You want to feel excited about your meal and enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big delicious salad but not for every single meal.
The change would come when I started eating more vegetarian and vegan meals in 2015 after watching some very eye opening documentaries. I just couldn’t bare eating meat to the same extent I did at the time and with time I increased my meatfree meals and today I very rarely even cook fish at home. I just don’t really have any cravings for meat anymore and you can very easily make vegetarian and vegan versions of your favourite meals.
One thing I was worried about was whether my body was going to get what it needs in terms of protein and such but so far I feel absolutely great. With this I started making more healthy hearty meals such as curries and chillis and I haven’t looked back since. My latest thing is to challenge myself to make vegan or vegetarian versions of my old favourite staples such as fajitas and bolognese. I’ll get the recipes up here sometime in the blog when I have time to write them down properly.
Right now I eat more than I ever have and before I would’ve felt slightly uncomfortable doing this but to get all the nutrients and to get full you need to eat more if you are eating plant based food. Plus, I’m now training more than I ever have so it makes a lot of sense my body would need more energy and fuel. And when you think about it, who in their right mind would say no to eating more food?!
Down here are my best tips to eating more healthily. Please bare in mind that I am not a qualified nutritionist or dietician so this is just from personal experience and what has worked for me. Hopefully it can help you on your way.
I would say a great way to start eating more healthily is to start moving more, with exercise your body will crave more of the good things. This is something I have noticed throughout the years. You need good fuel to perform well when training.
Embrace the greens
Indulge in greens with your meals. Make a point of always making a salad with your meals. Once you make it a habit your meal will feel incomplete without it. I love the freshness of a salad jam packed with delicious vegetables together with a nice warm chilli or curry. Yum!
Cookbooks, blogs and Pinterest are your friends
I am obsessed with a cookbooks (as you know) and now there are so many incredible books out there filled with nutritious and delicious meals to help you get inspired. Here and here are a couple of books I love. I also love Madeleine Shaw’s latest book Ready Steady Glow as well as London health café Good life Eatery’s cookbook. If you don’t want to invest or are not a massive cookbook fan, health blogs are a great place to look as well as Pinterest for recipes.
Plan your meals
This is something I need to get better at, planning my meals for the week in advance. But I do make the time everyday to make sure I nourish my body with goodness, even though it can be time consuming to plan my meals on the day or the day before. It’s important at the end of the day. It might mean a couple of extra trips to the shop but I just haven’t gotten into routine of planning a week of meals in advance. Right now it works but in the future this might to change. If you’re busy, doing all your shopping and cooking on the weekend is a great way make sure your feeding your body with the good stuff throughout the week.
Cook big batches
To make my life easier I always try to cook at least an extra portion when I’m cooking but preferably so it lasts me about three or four more meals. I love cooking big batches as it saves me time when I’m busy or am desperately hungry. Therefore chillis, soups and curries are some of my favourite meals to make. You chop everything up and throw it in a big pot and leave it to do it’s job with some stirring here and there. Couldn’t be easier and you’ve got food to last you for a while.
Change up your carbohydrates
A lot of people I know love pasta and just because you are eating more healthily doesn’t mean you have to give it up. You just need to change it up. There are so many pasta options out there for you, courgetti or spiralised vegetables is one of them. I have a spiraliser that Jamie so kindly got for me for my birthday but I would have to eat a ton of spiralised vegetables before it would fill me up so instead I’ve turned to other options such as brown rice pasta and bean pasta. I’ve tried buckwheat pasta but it’s a bit too sticky for my liking. Other carbs you can do a healthy swaps with are potatoes to sweet potato (how did I live before I ate sweet potatoes?), white bread to wholemeal or any form of darker bread such as rye bread and white rice to brown rice. Start eating other grains such as quinoa and freekeh to mix it up. It doesn’t mean you should go crazy with these carbs either but they are definitely way better for you in moderation, just like everything else.
Be prepared for hunger attacks
Always carry a healthy snack with you when you’re out and about for when the hunger strikes. It’s so easy to fall for temptation if you don’t have an emergency snack with you and the hunger kicks in. I usually carry a banana in my bag with a bag of natural nuts or a raw snack bar (Always check the ingredients list on these to make sure there’s not loads of added sugars or other nasties to them! The less ingredients the better). Some of my go-to ones are Nakd’s Nibbles (not the bars although they are a good option too, watch out as some of them have added concentrated juice in them), Primal Pantry’s bars and Deliciously Ella’s bars. Just because I know all of these have no added nasties. If you want to take this to the next level, you can always make your own raw balls in your processor, it’s super easy and a lot cheaper. I do it once in a while but am a bit lazy when it comes to this (you can’t do everything) and tend to buy them…
Find healthy versions of your favourite sweet things
Eat a raw chocolate bar with coconut sugar in it instead of your normal Cadbury bar, eat a raw vegan cake instead of a sugar loaded chocolate cake, make a juice or smoothie instead of the concentrated juice carton in the grocery stores or pay a visit to your local juice bar (keep a look out for what they add in your smoothie, some places may used concentrated fruit juice or frozen yoghurt in theirs, which isn’t the best for you to have)… I think you get the picture.
Cook from scratch
Try to cook as much as you can from scratch to be a hundred percent sure of what is in your food. There is so much hidden sugar and fat in our food these days that the best way to know what you are eating is to make it yourself. Make your own fajita spice mix instead of buying it packaged, make your own hummus and nut butter, bake your own bread. We can’t do everything due to time constraints but make a conscious effort to for instance not buy that jarred tomato sauce for your pasta and make one yourself. Your body will thank you for it.
These are just some ideas to keep in mind and I really hope this helps you on your journey. I of course love eating out, as you may have noticed, and when I’m out I try to opt for the healthier versions but don’t beat myself up if I go for anything more indulgent such as a dessert. At the end of the day we need to live as well and as long as I exercise and eat healthy the majority of the time I’m very happy. You just need to find to the combination that works for you! It takes a while but eventually you get the hang of it. Just believe and have faith in yourself.
If you have any questions please just write in the comments. I’m always happy to help if I can x