Making Healthier Choices

Living in London is not a scenario conducive
with clean living. The dirty air, abundance of public transport and
presence of a fast food restaurant in every fourth building doesn’t
exactly scream healthy. And you guys know from my Instagram that my
levels of restraint when it comes to burgers and cupcakes are less than
zero, so it’s only understandable that since moving here last year, I’ve
definitely felt a lot less fit than I did before starting uni.

A
few months ago, I made a decision to make a few changes in my everyday
routine, when I was stood at the top of the steps in a tube station
struggling to get my breath back (we’re talking maybe thirty steps here,
so nothing major), to improve my fitness levels, and shift those few
extra pounds that had tagged on to what we will call my burger belly.

Now
don’t get me wrong, I haven’t made any drastic changes, I’m not a gym
bunny and check my Instagram, I’m still eating burgers, but I have lost
just over six pounds since the beginning of October, and my general
fitness is now much much better. Anyway, I thought I would share with
you the little changes that I have made, that have made such a massive
difference.

Exercise

Exercise is practically
a curse word in our flat. We prefer nice words, like “brownies” or
“champagne” or ‘Domino’s” or “double cheeseburger with bacon, grilled
onions, barbeque sauce, mayo and a large side of onion rings”. But
unfortunately, you can’t improve your fitness levels without a bit of
exercise, so I’ve kind of taken matters into my own hands.

Before I moved to London, I was dancing three to four nights a week, alongside going to the gym,
swimming, and taking yoga classes, so I was really really active. In
London gyms are ridiculously expensive, and most don’t offer classes,
and very few offer swimming pools. Also, I really don’t have the time to
travel across town every day, I’m way too busy with Uni, Interning and
Blogging for that! For that reason, despite looking round several gyms, I
decided not to join, and I have developed my own fitness regime, that
fits easily into my day to day life.

I’ve never been a
massive runner, I’d rather use the cross trainer in the gym, or take my
dog for a long walk along the beach, but since I’m now gymless, dogless
and beachless, I have had to compromise. On mornings when my boyfriend
leaves early for Uni (normally twice a week), I’ll walk with him to the
tube station, and then jog the long way home (very long way, like I’m talking half an hour to an hour versus 10 minutes) throwing
a few sprints in there too, just to get the blood pumping. This is made
a lot better by a good playlist on my beloved iPod Nano, the promise of
a Naked Juice when I get home, and my Nike Free Runs 7.0. I got these
trainers ages ago now, and they still look brand new (not an indication of how much they’ve been used, I swear!).
They’re really lightweight trainers, with great arch support, they’re
really comfy, and aren’t they cute! For trainers I mean…

So that alone isn’t really enough, so I got online and ordered a yoga mat, they’re super cheap on Amazon, or TKMaxx often has good ones for a reasonable price. I spent a little more for one that was longer than average (since I’m pushing 5″11 these days) and a bit thicker. This comes in handy for so many things, and I try to spend an hour on the mat every day doing something. What I do totally depends on what I feel like doing. Sometimes, I’ll play the playlist from the BodyBalance classes I used to go to, and spend 50 minutes doing that (it’s a blend of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi), or I’ll stick on YogaSync.Tv on Youtube and do a few yoga videos. I also love the Blogilates videos on Youtube, they really make you ache the next day, but in a good way! Why pay for a gym membership when Youtube is home to a thousand great fitness videos. I’ll normally do this in the morning since I always feel more awake afterwards!

Water

Don’t you hate it when people say drink more water? Don’t you hate it when people like that are right? Well they are. When I’m home, I drink so much water now it’s ridiculous. I keep a big glass on my desk, and I add in slices of lemon or lime, or mint leaves depending on what I have in the house, since it’s been proven that adding that can help detoxify your body and speed up your metabolism. Plus, it makes it so much easier to drink large quantities of water! This kind of works two fold for me, firstly, I get all the benefits that come with drinking water, my skin is clearer, I don’t feel bloated often, you know what water does, but also, because I’m drinking so much water, I don’t really drink anything else. Other than the occasional smoothie or cup of tea, unless I’m out for dinner, I don’t drink anything else at home other than water. Less calories and less sugar, and sugar makes me feel super sluggish.

Diet

Like I said, I haven’t given up my burgers, and I don’t plan to, what’s the point in being slim if you can’t eat the foods you enjoy? I try to live by an 80:20 rule, if I’ve eaten well throughout the week, I don’t begrudge myself an indulgent dinner at the weekend, or a midweek cupcake pick-me-up. It’s everything in moderation, right?

The biggest changes I’ve made have been things like eating breakfast. I’ve always been awful for eating breakfast, it’s never been my favourite meal of the day. I try to make a conscious effort to eat something for breakfast everyday now. If I’m at home, I’ll generally have a heap of organic, pro bio vanilla yoghurt, and then I will chop up whatever fruit we have in the house, add a handful of granola (I’ve even been making my own!) and some dried raisins and cranberries, and if I’m craving sugar, I’ll drizzle a little honey on top. If I’m in a rush, I’ll just have a yoghurt at home, and then take a Naked Juice or some fruit for the tube. At weekends I have been cooking things, mostly to encourage my boyfriend to eat breakfast too. I’ll usually have a little scrambled egg with either a slice of wholewheat toast, or a cheeky slice of bacon, or if I’m feeling particularly fancy, I’ll make gluten & dairy free pancakes and serve them up with heaps of fruit.

Lunches aren’t really a problem for me, I generally have a big bowl of salad, or soup with half a toasted wholewheat pitta, so I haven’t made any changes there. My biggest problem has been snacking throughout the day, it’s my biggest downfall when I spend all day in the flat! I’ve kind of gotten around this by just editing what I have in the flat. I don’t really buy crisps or biscuits anyway (except the occasional bag of Monster Munch), but now if I get peckish mid morning, or before dinner, I will reach for things like fruit, yoghurt, Crunchy Nature Valley bars, Edamame, dried cranberries and raisins, a big glass of fresh juice, or vegetable crisps (I love the beetroot and sweet potato ones!). Whole Foods is also your friend when comes to snacks!

Dinner is also really easy, because I just make sure I cook everything now. I was always a sucker for ready meals, and the boy has Italian roots, so if we did cook it tended to be pasta. Now I try to stick to the meat and two veg rule, I’ve been cooking roasts at the weekend with copious amounts of veg leftover, in case I don’t have time to cook dinner in the week. I’ve been making things like beef casserole, ham and asparagus risottos, chicken wrapped in bacon with veg, stir frys, or sweet potato and chilli sauce salads, that sorta stuff. I don’t ever eat potatoes after lunch because otherwise I just don’t burn them off. If I crave sweetness after dinner, I’ll have a little bowl of mango sorbet, or fruit. 

Since generally, most of my meals are fine, I do go for lunch with my friends, or order a two for tuesday every now and then, and I let myself order whatever I fancy, even Beyonce has a cheat day! 

I try not to get caught up in calorie counting, or weight watching, since I’m not trying to lose weight, I just wanted to get healthier. I do weigh myself once a week or so, just to keep an eye on things, I have a lovely pair of scales from, Ozeri* that make weighing yourself super easy. They can be set to stones or kilograms, and they are really really accurate. I love the design too, they look super sleek in my bathroom, and they are really reasonably priced too, you can find them here. I also record all my exercise and diet into this gorgeous Diary from Paragon Books, but that’s mostly to keep track of recipes, and also to figure out what foods don’t agree with me.

So that’s it really, I know it reads like a lot, but I don’t really feel like I’ve changed much in my day to day life! I hope this helps if you are looking for a way to feel a bit healthier, and feel free to share your tips and tricks and experiences in the comments!

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  • beautyinjapan

    You have so much willpower! I think when I manage to leave home I'll probably dabble in a vegan diet as I generally feel quite good when I have followed one for a few days, but there is too much temptation and pressure at home.Danniella Josephine xxx

  • Hollie Galvin

    I've found this post so helpful. Since ditching my car I've been walking everywhere, even to work which is a 45 minute walk. I like to get out for at least an hour a day now, I just need to get my eating habits healthier which is something I never stick to!

  • Jaye Rockett

    Haha I didn't to start with! It's taken a long time for it to become routine! I know the feeling, it's definitely been easier since I moved out! xxx

  • Jaye Rockett

    Such a good idea! I walk a lot when I'm at uni cause I don't fancy driving in London but I'm terrible for jumping in my car when I'm back home, especially when it's cold!