5 Tips on Eating Healthy

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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!

Something New is Coming…

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Hey Guys, welcome back! Reflecting on everything, I realise that I started this blog almost 4 years ago and while the journey has been long and challenging, I am glad I never gave it up. We are still a small community and I hope with time we can grow to reach and inspire more people.

However, I appreciate every one of my readers, which is why I’ve started on a new project. You can already guess what it’ll be from the image above and I hope you will still be here when it is finally ready. I will be creating a recipe book with all of my gluten and dairy free recipes and much much more!! I will also be giving out the first few copies for free but for a limited time only, so make sure you follow the blog and follow me on instagram @healthboss_blog to know when it comes out!

What makes this recipe book different from all the others is that it is tailored for people who are just starting off with their new healthy lifestyle as well as people who have many allergies. When I started suffering from several food intolerances and allergies, I felt frustrated because most recipes consisted of ingredients that I couldn’t have or that were too complicated. The recipes in this book are easy to make, the ingredients are simple and meals will be categorised by the amount of time/effort it takes, but majority are quick and easy. Many of them concentrate on sweet treats and desserts so let me know if there’s any recipe you’d like to see down in the comments below.

Moreover, I want to show people that balanced eating can be affordable and simple and that you don’t need the latest diet app to help you eat intuitively. What’s great is that you will be able to tailor these recipes to your liking. I want to stress that your dietary needs are yours and yours alone, so adapt any recipe to your needs.

Thank you for your support, I will still be uploading new recipes and tips on the blog but the ebook will contain a lot more as a mix of recipes and real life advice. I am not a licensed dietitian or trainer, but I am a normal foodie who understands that eating healthy isn’t as straightforward as people make it sound but I make it work. Thank you for reading. Please like and share with others and stay connected for the next update, xoxo.

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During Lockdown

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Lockdown has been tough on all of us and just when we thought it was over, it came back to slap us in the face again. This is the second lockdown we’ve gone into and I have to admit that it’s harder than the first one. We find ourselves stuck in the house, unable to go to the gym or get our steps in (unless you luckily have an at-home gym) and thus we’re mostly inactive throughout the day. This means that our energy expenditure lowers significantly and you may be worrying about putting on weight or losing your gains, but I want to share a few ways that you can stay healthy during lockdown. However, I’d like to preface that these tips can be helpful even out of lockdown, for example if you don’t have access to a gym. These tips are from personal experience only, so adapt them to your body and your needs.

Let’s get started…

#1. Don’t Stress About the Little Things

We’re already dealing with enough stress during lockdown and we don’t need to add any unnecessary stress onto that. So worrying about losing muscle or putting on weight is not going to help, because there is nothing wrong with either of those things. Most of us, including me, stress too much about things that won’t even alter our lives, however I don’t want to belittle these emotions because they are very real and hard to control. I still want to reassure you that those things don’t matter in the long run.

#2. Do What You Can

It can be hard to stay active during lockdown, but you can find ways to use up your energy through home workouts, yoga, dancing, skipping rope or any way you’d like. Simply find a way to keep your body moving, it will help you feel much better both physically and mentally.

#3. Trust Your Body

Sometimes you need to trust your body to regulate itself, for example when I got into lockdown, my appetite decreased along with my energy expenditure. So if your body is asking for food don’t deny it, restricting yourself will not help, but if you feel like you’re constantly binge eating and things are going out of hand then you might want to try implementing some structure into your day like intermittent fasting.

#4. Mental Health Matters

Do not neglect this aspect of your life in such critical moments, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take time to unwind because if you’re working or studying during lockdown, the boundaries between productivity and relaxation are blurred. Do not punish yourself for overeating or not exercising either, the best thing to do is to start back up the next day as you usually would. Punishing yourself only puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body.

#5.Be Mindful of Your Nutrition

Lastly, being more mindful of the things you consume will help you stay healthy during lockdown, while eating something that doesn’t form part of your usual diet isn’t going to harm you, try to have wholesome meals as much as possible, ensuring you’re having carbs, protein, healthy fats and veggies. If you want to binge eat a pack of chips, make sure you’re doing it intentionally as in actively deciding that that’s what you want to do instead of mindlessly eating, but also make sure you have healthier meals throughout the day.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, please like and follow for more and follow my Instagram @healthboss_blog for more food pics and recipes.

Check out How to eat Healthy on a Budget!

3 Fitness Myths

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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?

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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

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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

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#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!

Banana Coffee smoothie Recipe

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This simple recipe stemmed from my love of coffee and smoothies, it is vegan and gluten free. The flavour was exactly what I wanted, so if you’re tired of your usual smoothies and need a caffeine kick, give this a try. It can be a breakfast, snack or a pre-workout meal in my case, the best part is you can modify it by adding any vanilla protein powder you like.

I like adding cacao nibs and chia seeds at the end of making my smoothie because it adds fibre and nutrients, but also because I enjoy the texture. If simply drinking a smoothie is fine for you then you can omit this last step, but personally like the crunch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2-1 cup almond milk (or any plant-based milk)
  • 2 tsp instant coffee or 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs or cacao powder
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2-1 Scoop protein powder (I used Organifi’s Vanilla)

STEPS:

  1. Blend frozen bananas, coffee, almond milk, protein powder and cacao nibs in a powerful blender. (I used my nutribullet)
  2. Pulse your blender if needed.
  3. Pour in a glass and mix in the chia seeds.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost, thank you for reading. Feel free to like and follow for more recipes like this one, xoxo.

3 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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Breakfast is definitely my favourite meal of the day, so much so that I have breakfast for dinner at times. Breakfast can be identified as a morning meal but really it’s whenever you have your first meal of the day as you are breaking your fast. I like to workout in the morning so I need proper fuel before that and I usually alternate between these three meals during the week, they are filled with clean, nutrient-dense ingredients and they are pretty easy to make. So here are my weekly Go-To’s…

APPLE PIE OATMEAL

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any plant based milk)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 small apple diced or grated (without skin)
  • honey (or any liquid sweetener)

Method: – Let your oats cook on the stovetop with the almond mill and water, add the cinnamon and apple after 1-2 mins. Once the oatmeal is cooked top it with honey, cinnamon and apple slices.

HEALTHY FRENCH TOAST

What you’ll need:

  • Gluten Free Bread (You can find a recipe here)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • Coconut oil/ Butter (non-dairy free option)

Method: – Combine the egg, almond milk and vanilla, heat your frying pan and spray some coconut oil. Dip your bread slice into the mixture and place onto the pan. Cook evenly on both side on a low-medium heat until the sides are golden brown. Top with fruit and honey.

CHIA PUDDING

What you’ll need:

  • 2tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • honey or any liquid sweetener

Method: – Leave the chia seeds to soak with the milk and vanilla overnight. The next morning top it with some fruit, coconut flakes and nuts/seeds or with some granola, here is the recipe if you’d like to try it.

I hope you enjoyed this post and try one of these recipes. Thank you for reading and please like and follow for more xoxo.

Photos from Unsplash 

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

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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!