5 Tips on Eating Healthy

healthy living
Healthy Habits

Hey guys, welcome back to the blog! Today’s post focuses more on how to eat healthy and keep yourself accountable. It’s unrealistic to think that establishing a healthy lifestyle is without its ups and downs. Even though it seems like most of us have it handled, it’s easy to lose track of life and our eating habits, especially in lockdown. Although I stuck to eating dairy and gluten free foods, I didn’t feel as good about my nutrition a few weeks ago. I didn’t feel like I was having balanced meals and I found myself binge eating almost every night. I wasn’t eating for fuel or because I was hungry, I was eating out of habit.

A month ago, I gradually started to get back onto my previous eating habits and slowly started seeing changes in my mood and energy levels. Since my goals are different to everyone else’s, these tips aren’t based on any particular goals such as weight loss or fat loss, although they are beneficial for them as well. Rather than that, these tips are useful to implement if you want to start or get back to eating healthy. My advice is to implement the ones you see fit to your lifestyle, so here they are…

#1. Food Substitutes

You don’t have to deprive yourself to eat healthy, you can simply substitute or adapt your favourite foods for healthier options. Substituting doesn’t necessarily mean less calories it means choosing foods you know will fuel you and that are wholesome with less processed ingredients and more nutrients. For example, substituting regular pasta with chickpea or lentil pasta, regular chocolate with a vegan/sugar-free alternative or choosing popcorn or pop chips over regular potato chips. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy food, in fact after cleaning up my nutrition again, I found that I’ve enjoyed my meals more because they are more mindful. If you want more substitute ideas, check out my post on a sample grocery list.

Food Substitutes

#2. Intermittent Fasting

One habit I’ve gotten back into is intermittent fasting and it’s helped me a lot with binge eating. I opted for 16/8hr fast and it’s been useful for stabilising my nutrition, because between 7pm till 11 am the next day I don’t focus on food and it’s sort of liberating. Of course, if you suffer from critical binge eating then this method may not suit you, however if you need a technique to keep you accountable then this one might be worth giving a try.

There are many videos explaining the different methods of intermittent fasting; 2/5 day method, 14/12 hr method etc. You can find one which suits your lifestyle better and remember to start slow. It’s counterproductive to try out too many habits at once and if you take it to the extreme you might find yourself burning out. Remember to go at your own pace.

Intermittent Fasting

#3. Intuitive Eating

Even in a calorie deficit, I like to eat intuitively and choose the meals I feel like my body needs. Some days I feel like I need more food than other while some days are more carb focused and that’s ok. Eating healthy does not mean forcing yourself to eat broccoli and steamed chicken everyday, instead choose things that will fuel your body and make you feel good. Most of the time I enjoy carbs in every meal and sometimes I have breakfast for dinner, it’s all about listening to your needs. Now if you feel like your body is craving fries, try making them in the oven or air fryer instead of buying regular ones.

The whole point of intuitive eating is also eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Don’t feel like you have to eat because it’s a certain time only because you’re hungry. If you feel like your hunger cues are messed up, try drinking water before and asking yourself if you’re actually hungry or if you’re bored or stressing. However, listen to your body and never deprive yourself if you’re hungry.

Intuitive eating

#4. Accountability Partner

I found that finding someone to accompany you in your journey to healthy eating is very beneficial. Not only can you keep each other accountable but you have moral support. When I started intermittent fasting, having someone join in made it much easier, we both would break and start our fast together. Your partner doesn’t even have to be living with you, it can be a friend over the phone or it can be your digital community.

Accountability

#5. A Healthy Eating Mindset

If there’s one thing I want you to take from this, it’s that the key to eating healthy is achieving a healthy eating mindset. This isn’t a 2 week diet or 1 month plan, these are small steps you can take towards a healthier lifestyle. So if the words in your head are ‘restriction, no carbs, and no fat’ then you’ll be doing more harm than good. The last thing you want is to start labelling foods as bad or good because you can have the foods you enjoy, banning them is not necessary.

Also, don’t assume that once a person assumes a healthy lifestyle that they’ll have the perfect diet all the time. It’s normal to lose track every once in a while, don’t be too hard on yourself you’re only human. I want you to have fun with it, this shouldn’t be a punishment, learn to create your own healthy lifestyle.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and let me know your healthy eating advice/habit down in the comments. Please like and follow for more posts like this one and follow to join the journey to living a healthy lifestyle that’s realistic. Thank you for reading, xoxo!

3 Fitness Myths

healthy living

Hey guys, I thought I would address one of the major problems in our society today regarding women and young girls. I’m sure that, just like me, you grew up with the idea, that losing weight was the best possible thing to happen to a girl. Being told that we lost weight was a compliment and it made us feel better about ourselves. We were fed the ‘diet mindset’ by society and the media, throughout our lives and we ended up fearing our weight and food. That mindset is still very present and it is still destroying the mental and physical health of so many girls. DISCLAIMER: I know that simply saying these things won’t solve our problems, it will take a lot more to do that, however I do hope to increase its awareness.

1.DIETS ARE THE HOLY GRAIL

I want you to think about how many times you’ve said ‘I am going on a diet’ in the past. Just saying those words gave you a feeling of relief, but why is that? Growing up as young girls we are led to believe that the slimmer or the skinnier you are, the better. Moreover, we are duped into believing that skinny equals healthy. I remember when I was overweight and would go for a checkup, doctors would always tell me to lose weight. However, no showed told me the right way to do so and I delved into the world of endless diets. Long story short, none of them lasted long or had lasting effect.

One thing we need to establish and preach is that food is not the enemy. Instead of banning foods and being afraid we need to have a healthy relationship with them which takes time. That means making the healthy choices most of the time and indulging occasionally, but most of all knowing that ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean punishment or steamed broccoli everyday. You don’t need a cheat day once a week or the guilt of enjoying food you love. Our main goal should be a sustainable healthy lifestyle. I want you to view the food you eat as energy for your workouts, because at the end of the day, that is how your body processes it. You need energy to lose weight and thus food.

2. CARBS MAKE YOU FAT

Now it is true that some bodies react better to carb intake than others and low-carb diet can make you lose weight however carbs do not make you fat. Let’s break down why you may think carbs make you fat. When we eat carbs, our body breaks it down as glucose, thus rising our blood sugar and our pancreas in return produces insulin which signals our cells to use up the glucose. 50% is used by our brain and our muscles and liver store the glucose as glycogen, so as you can see, extreme low carb diets can have a debilitating effect on your health and muscle growth. Finally, the rest of the glucose is stored as fat, which is why people are afraid of carbs.

However, know which types of carbs are best for your body. Stick to complex carbs such as oats and quinoa and avoid simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar and provide little to no nutrients. You do not have to eliminate carbs completely from your nutrition, it isn’t sustainable and besides carbs release serotonin (your happy hormone) so don’t deprive yourself. There is only one way you can put on weight or fat and I clear that up down below.

Now, let’s get the gist of all of this. The only way you can lose weight is through a caloric deficit through nutrition or increased physical activity, similarly you will only put on weight/fat if you are in a caloric surplus. If you are working out; combining resistance training with some form of cardio, your body needs the carbs and the calories. Someone who is not active at all would require the same caloric needs. The key thing to understand is that no one’s nutrition can be exactly the same and you will have to change your nutrition throughout your fitness journey.

For example; right now I am trying to build muscle in my end goal to have a lean physique. Which is why I am in a slight caloric surplus and it’s a carb fest for me (I am literally having a bowl of overnight oats while writing this). In a few months, I will slightly decrease my carb intake simply to help my body burn fat faster (your body will still burn fat if you are working out, regardless of your carb intake). I am definitely going all out on my workouts but I am enjoying the process. I like to call this lean bulking.

3. WEIGHTS MAKE YOU BULKY

This is one I hear pretty often and I have to confess that I used to believe that as well when I was younger. Many women believe that if they pick up a dumbbell that’s heavier than 2kg, their muscles are going to puff up in 2 seconds, but that is not the case. For a woman to be able to bulk up like a man, she would need a ton of supplements/drugs. We don’t have the levels of testosterone that men have, therefore lifting weights will not give you a manly physique, instead it’ll help you lose fat and achieve a lean build much faster.

Lifting weights has done a lot for my physical and mental health. We’re led to believe that we need to override on cardio to achieve our ideal body, but I call that torture. I do incorporate cardio into my workouts in the form of HIIT training but I mostly focus on resistance training. One thing to takeaway from this is to try out different types of workouts and choose the one you enjoy doing, not the ones you dread.

Let me know your views or other myths down in the comments. The main objective is to create a healthy community and encourage this mindset. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please like and follow for more, xoxo.

Should I Track My Calories?

healthy living

We all know that a calorie deficit is needed to lose weight, but is it a good idea to track your calories? I am currently not tracking my calories, but I did track vigorously for more than 6 months in the past, and in my case, it wasn’t the healthiest experience. I became obsessed, foods became numbers, and I tracked every morsel of food that went into my mouth. Before tracking, I would suggest ensuring that you have built a wholesome relationship with food. The best advice I was given is that ‘food is a fuel’, it isn’t the enemy so stop being afraid of it, instead use it to achieve your goal.

Do NOT track calories if you have/had an eating disorder or if you have an inclination towards it.

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • It’s often hard to discern your exact caloric needs, which can affect tracking and your goals.
  • Lower calories does not always mean weight/fat loss, undereating inhibits your goals.
  • Studies show that it isn’t beneficial for women to decrease their calories below 1400.
  • Calorie Trackers are often inaccurate.
  • Even ‘healthy’ calories can lead to weight gain, if in a surplus.
  • Everyone’s caloric needs are different!!
  • Your body needs energy to burn energy.
  • Instead of focusing on how many calories you burn in a workout, focus on how it makes you feel or you will never enjoy it.
  • When tracking it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re eating less, which will also dampen your goal.

When Should I Track?

I believe that you can meet your goals without tracking, I started making progress and building muscle when I stopped worrying about the calories. However, it does matter where the calories are coming from. If you are just starting on your weight loss journey, I wouldn’t advise you to track but to replace processed, unhealthy foods with whole foods. If you are well advanced in your progress and you’ve hit a plateau then it might be beneficial to see where you are in your caloric intake.

If you must track, I’d suggest:

  • Tracking simply once a week to see if you are still on course with your caloric needs.
  • Avoid tracking throughout the day, instead do it at the end of the day.
  • Don’t have cheat days, instead eat in moderation or follow the 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of your nutrition consists of healthy whole foods and 20% consists foods you love.

My perspective on losing weight or fat has shifted throughout the years. I’ve definitely made mistakes but they have led me to where I am right now. The biggest shift has been my mental health and overall happiness. I used to view my workouts with the idea of how many calories I would burn, but now I do it to gain strength. I no longer fear or ban foods, but sometimes we need help to view things that way. I had someone that triggered that shift for me and I hope I can help you in the same way. Thank you for reading, please like and leave a comment, xoxo.

Healthy Food Staples

healthy living
Healthy Grocery Staples

When trying to eat healthily, it’s easy to get confused by the variety of products on the market. Many foods are marketed as being ‘healthy’ but are often not; brands use words such as ‘low fat’, ‘low carb’, ‘high in protein’ and ‘low calorie’ to entice us into buying their products. However, these foods are often filled with several unhealthy ingredients. For example; protein bars are marketed as a healthy, ‘high protein’ snack, but are filled with sugar. This is why it’s important to always read the ingredients.

It will get easier to choose which foods are best for you with time, but to make it simpler, here are some whole-food staples that are widely available and versatile. These are gluten and dairy-free but I’ve also listed foods (italicized) which I don’t include in my nutrition due to allergies.

CARBS

  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • GF bread
  • Potato Gnocchi
  • Veggie Pasta

PROTEIN

  • Chicken Breast
  • Lean Beef
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chickpeas

FRUITS & VEGGIES

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Spinach/Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers

OTHER

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Organic Honey
  • Unsweetened plant-based milk

I hope this post is useful in helping you tackle the basics of eating balanced, please follow and let me know what you think. Thank you for reading, xoxo.

3 More Healthy Breakfast Ideas

healthy living, recipes

#1. Avocado Toast

I’m sure you’ve seen this meal a few times on instagram and from health influencers and that’s because it’s a quick and wholesome option, providing essential healthy fats, protein and carbs. I find this one to be a great pre-workout meal as well and the method is pretty straightforward so here’s what you need.

INGREDIENTS

  • Gluten Free bread (or any healthy alternative of choice)
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 2 Eggs/ turkey slices/ salmon
  • S+P / chilli flakes

#2. Healthy Pancakes

You might think healthy pancakes can’t be real but they are. After making this recipe a couple of times, regular pancakes just don’t do it for me anymore. These ones are gluten, dairy and sugar free and they contain healthy fats, complex carbs and protein. Here’s the recipe. You can make them high protein if you’s like.

#3. Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowls have been the trend of healthy breakfasts right along with avocado toast, as they should be. You can basically fit any fruit and even some vegetables into a smoothie bowl, plus it’s a great alternative to simply drinking a smoothie and you get your serving of micronutrients in. This is also a great vegan option; my latest addiction has been coffee smoothie bowls but you can make any variation you’s like.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2-1 cup Frozen banana chunks
  • 1/2 cup Frozen fruit (berries/mango/pineapple)
  • 3-4 tbsp plant-based milk
  • Nut/seeds (chia, pumkin, cacao nibs, almond butter)

Hopefully these have given you some new inspiration for your breakfasts and let me know what your go to breakfast is. Thank you so much for reading, please follow and like for more, xoxo.

Check out more healthy breakfast ideas here!

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it…

Uncategorized

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it.

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it.
— Read on fitnessmaniac.fitness.blog/2020/04/20/what-is-skinny-fat-and-how-to-get-rid-of-it/

Definitely a post worth reading if losing fat is your goal and a great blog to follow no matter where you are in your fitness journey!

Banana ‘Nice’ Cream (vegan)

healthy living, recipes

Craving ice cream but not the guilt that comes with? This recipe is definitely for you. ‘Nice’ cream is a great low calorie, vegan option that takes little time to make. The best part is you can adapt this recipe to your taste so that you don’t even taste the banana.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Frozen Banana (I used sliced ripe bananas)
  • 1-2 tbsp plant-based milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder

Optional

  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs
  • liquid stevia or agave syrup

STEPS

  1. Using a powerful Blender (I used a Nutribullet) blend the frozen banana until smooth. Add 1-2tbsp of almond milk to ease the process and pulse it at first.
  2. Once smooth, add any spices, flavourings and cacao nibs and blend further. The cacao nibs reinforce that chocolate flavour.
  3. Spoon the Nice cream into a bowl and top with granola and fruits or any nuts and seeds of your choice.

Other good flavour combos are Acai and frozen blueberries, coffee and cacao nibs, strawberries and coconut flakes. I hope you try out this recipe and let me know how it goes. This is great for dessert or even for breakfast! Thank you for reading and please like and follow for more delicious recipes, xoxo.

Healthy Banana Oat Muffins

healthy living

These healthy muffins are a great breakfast or snack option. They’re delicious and soft, gluten, dairy and sugar free. This recipe makes for 3 servings but you can easily double it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2-3/4 cup oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional

  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 1tsp pumkin seeds / any seed
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

STEPS

  1. Blend the banana, egg, oats, cinnamon, vanilla and protein powder in a blender.
  2. Spray a cupcake pan with some coconut oil or line with cupcake moulds.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the moulds and top with any seeds or fruit you like. Some good options are; chia seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes…
  4. Bake at 180ºC for 10-15 mins, use a fork to check and if it comes out clean then it’s ready.

I hope you try out this recipe, thank you for reading and please like and follow for more healthy recipes, xoxo.

How To Deal With Physical Setbacks

healthy living

Be it an injury or limitation, physical setbacks are sometimes the most trying on not only our fitness and health lifestyle but on your mental health as well. Lately, I had to take some time off due to a physical injury for the first time ever and it was hard to go through, which is why I decided on writing this blogpost…

Tip #1 Try to remain active in any way possible

Unless you are severely injured or on bed rest, it’s beneficial to be active, if not immediately then when you feel slightly better. However, please remember to consult your doctor about your injury and what kind of physical movement you’re allowed to perform. If you have an arm injury for example, you can still go for walks and train legs.

Tip #2 Start small

I had a back injury a few months ago and did not work out at all for 1 month and when I started again, it was only walking and a few arm workouts. When you’re recovering, do not rush into your workout, you will only hurt yourself more, take it easy for at least a week, you will gain your strength again due to your muscle memory.

Tip #3 Nutrition

Do not try to severely cut your calories to make up for not working out, you will only slow down your metabolism. On the same line of thought, do not binge eat your stress away, instead stay constant with your healthy eating habits, your body needs it to recover.

Tip #4 Breathe and Don’t fret

The worst thing for me was the guilt; I wasn’t active for a month and I was afraid that I was losing muscle and progress and that all my hard work would go in vain. But that was clearly not the case, I built my strength back up in 1-2 weeks and got stronger. So don’t let the stress get to you and keep your mind busy with other things such as; reading, music, art or anything that interests you and is stimulating for your brain.

Hopefully, this helps you during your recovery, thank you for reading and please like and follow for more posts.

Healthy Grocery Haul List (Quarantine 101)

healthy living

During our current global situation, it’s often difficult to get a sense of staying healthy when stocking up has become the main priority of a lockdown. This is why I made this grocery list, to help you save time and have a good structure of what to buy. This is what I based my grocery haul on so here it is.

PROTEINS (easy to store/freeze so stick to your usual)

  • Chicken Breast
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Fish- Salmon/canned tuna
  • Beans/chickpeas
  • Plant-based meats
  • Protein Powder

CARBS

  • Quinoa
  • Gluten-free Pasta/ veggie pasta
  • Potatoes/ sweet potato
  • GF flour for baking bread etc.
  • Oats

FATS

  • Milk – almond, oat or any plant-based milk
  • Olive oil/ Coconut oil/ Avocado oil
  • Almond Butter
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts…
  • Seeds – pumkin, chia

VEGGIES & FRUIT (Buy mostly Frozen)

  • Bananas (easy to freeze)
  • Frozen fruit- berries, mangoes
  • Broccoli
  • Baby carrots
  • Stir fry veggie mix
  • Spinach

SNACKS

  • Popchips
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit/nut bars or protein bars (Lara, Quest, Rawbar)
  • Dark chocolate (Sweet switch)

ADD ONS

  • Coffee/ teas
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Honey or any sweetener of choice
  • Carb Smart Chilli Sauce
  • Carb Smart 1000 island dressing

I hope this is helpful in any way possible, you can add or leave out anything from the list and customise it for your own needs, this is just to give you a basic guideline. Thank you for reading and stay safe, xoxo.