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.

My 3 Go-To Snacks

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Hey guys, welcome back to my blog. In this post, I’m going to share the 3 snacks I alternate between in a week. I always aim to be completely honest with my content, because I believe that transparency is necessary especially with health/fitness influencers. So, as you can tell, my snacks are loaded with carbs. Now, let me first say that carbs are not the enemy, it is true that some bodies thrive on a higher-protein diet, but that does not mean everyone will or that carbs are evil. I love carbs, they make me happy and they fuel my workouts which is why I have them in every meal. You can easily add more protein to these snack ideas with a few tweaks, but anything works as long as you’re using whole foods with real nutrients.

#1. Banana Toast

I love this combo, it’s something I’ve seen my family have plenty of times and I am here for it. You may think carb on carbs is scary but it’s a great pre-workout snack, especially when you’re going all out. I sprinkle some cinnamon on top and if you want you can add almond butter as well. You can use any type of bread you like, but I always have gluten free bread, I either bake it (here is the recipe) or buy this one.

#2. Banana Coffee Smoothie

I’ve talked about this one a couple of times and you can find the recipe here. However, a few alternatives that I’ve been liking are cacao-coffee with raw cacao powder and cacao nibs and vanilla protein. I also have a new recipe coming up so look out for that.

#3. Popcorn

I love popcorn, it’s salty and crunchy and just fun to eat. This is my usual late night snack; I use raw popcorn kernels (I like this one), pop it in a small saucepan with a little bit of olive oil for 5-10 mins or until the popping slows down and sprinkle in some Himalayan pinks salt or garlic salt.

That’s it for today’s post, it was a quick one but I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to know what are some of your favourite snacks so let me know down in the comments. Please follow and like for more recipes and health posts, 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 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 

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe

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I’ve tried to make healthy hot chocolate multiple times but never got the recipe right, from it being too sweet to having a powdery after taste. However my many trial and errors finally led to the perfect mug of cocoa and the best part is that it’s super easy to make, you don’t need a frother or any special ingredient.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste)
  • 1tsp honey (or agave syrup)
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk ( I used almond, you can use any plant-based milk as well)

STEPS

  1. Pour 1 1/4 cup milk in a blender and let it blend while you prep the chocolate
  2. Mix 1/4 milk, cacao, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat.
  3. Whisk the chocolate over low heat until it starts to thicken.
  4. Turn off the heat when the cacao is creamy and whisk in the frothed milk.
  5. Top with cinnamon or cacao powder.

There it is! The easiest, perfect hot chocolate recipe. You can definitely make this recipe vegan if you like by switching out the honey. I hope you try it out and follow for more recipes like this one. Thank you for reading xoxo.

Healthy Konjac Noodle Soup

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Konjac noodles, also known as Shirataki noodles are made from the fibre of the root of the Asian Konjac plant. They are 97% water and are extremely low in calories and carbs, which make them ideal for weight loss. Moreover, since it is full of fibre, it keeps you fuller for longer and studies have shown that it has prebiotic properties that improve the gut flora.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 portion of konjac noodles
  • 100g of chicken breast or beef
  • 1 cup chopped bok choy
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1tsp lemon zest
  • 2tbsp chopped spring onion
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sliced red chilli or chilli flakes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

STEPS

  1. First heat some olive oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic paste and chilli and stir until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the cubed chicken/beef and sauté until browned, this is when you can add any other ingredients you’d like such as mushrooms, broccolini or carrots. Add any spices as well as salt and pepper.
  3. Add the stock and let it simmer on medium heat.
  4. Drain the noodles and rinse them in water. Heat a pan on medium heat and let the noodles dehydrate for 5 mins or until all the water has evaporated. Stir them regularly to prevent them from shrinking if they’re cooked for too long.
  5. Add the noodles into the soup and the bok choy, close the pan with a lid for a few minutes so that the bok choy wilts, but does not overcook.
  6. Lastly add the spring onion and lemon zest.

This is one of my favourite recipes to make on the weekends, so I hope you try it out and follow for more healthy recipes, xoxo.

Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

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Entering into 2020, we all are pumped to achieve our resolutions and strengthen our fitness goals, however 2019 did end with the holidays, which means that we all fell a bit off track in some way or the other. Most likely, we ate a little too much or partied a little too late, but that doesn’t mean we let go and say “Oh well, 2021 is gonna be my year!” NO! This means we brush it off and pick our hangover, sugar-coma selves back up, so here’s how you can do it.

Step 1: Get Rid Of The Guilt

One thing to understand is that it’s normal to want to enjoy the holidays and indulge once in a while, but it’s also normal to feel guilty. However, feeling guilty for eating something considered “bad” is toxic for your mind and journey, so stop searching for “how to get rid of a cheat meal?” Instead ask yourself “Does feeling guilty reverse what happened?” No it does not. So allow yourself to enjoy what you ate and the festive season, knowing that fitness is a lifestyle and it isn’t going anywhere.

 

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Step 2: Be Active

It’s important to stay active even during the holidays, but if you didn’t, that’s alright, the time is now. However, jumping straight back into the gym might not come naturally so start small such as going for a morning walk/jog and doing some at home workouts. You’ll find that engaging your body will trigger the desire to get back to your full out workouts, because motivation is temporary and unrealistic but habits are not.

 

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Step 3 : Clean Eating

The family Christmas dinners are over, now concentrate on eating at home instead of outside. It’s not necessary to weigh everything you eat but tracking may prove useful, try it for one or two weeks until you can eat intuitively, because that is the ultimate goal. Remember that food is meant to fuel your body so implement whole foods and take a break from the processed stuff.

 

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Step 4 : Set A specific Goal

It’s a new year, so don’t be vague about what you want. “Get fit” or “Lose some weight” are not definitive goals, they’re shallow, meaningless thoughts. What you should do is decide on a number such as “I will lose 5% of my body fat in 4 months” or a particular skill such as being able to do pull ups and set the deadline. If we don’t visualise the end of the finish line, we’ll never reach it. It’s good to keep a fitness journal, a physical or a digital one; there is something striking about the feel of an actual tracking journal, but digital ones also have benefits such as reminders. Alternatively, you can get an accountability partner, be it family/friends or someone in the same fitness group, for example on social media.

I hope this blog post helps you to get back on track of your fitness goals, these are the steps I am currently taking to do so. Thank you for reading and please leave a comment and follow for more xoxo.

 

The Stages Of Weight Loss

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There are many stages and approaches when it comes to losing weight and getting fit, some of us are stuck in one stage and give up, but what we must realise is that sometimes the only way out is through. You must have heard this at least once, there are no shortcuts, there are no quick fixes, however there are scams, plateaus and burnout, along with results and the incredible high of progress. So let’s dive in to the stages I have personally noticed in others and gone through myself.

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Stage 1 : The Diet Obsession 

Let’s admit it, we’ve all been there. You just decided to lose weight and you go online determinedly searching for the best 2 week diet plan… well here’s the punchline – IT DOES NOT WORK – it only gives temporary results and long term stress. Many of us have an on and off  relationship with this stage, but we should all just break up and move on.

 

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Stage 2: Cardio Junkie

Better but not by much. At this stage, we’re still pretty knew to the whole concept of weight loss but this is where we lose a ton of it. Why? Because we pack on the cardio and monitor our food. I started with the treadmill and bicycle, boring, I know, although it did help shed the weight cause I was spending more than I usually did. I also ate super clean, but only in my opinion at the time since I hadn’t figured out what eating clean really was. I thought I was eating clean but I was still having processed foods that didn’t fuel me.

 

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Stage 3: Losing the Gym V-card 

Hello strength training and extreme food monitoring. This is where I tried out the Keto diet (not for me) and calorie tracking. Here is where the stigma around working out is broken and stress about food is built. I realised cardio was not enough and weights were my friend, soon to be bestfriend, so I started strength training but I still wasn’t sure what I was doing. Also tracking and weighing my food led to food being reduced to numbers and it was highly stressful, I was unhappy all the time. I became obsessed and felt guilty if I didn’t track or exceeded my calories. I had lost all the weight I needed to at this point but I now wanted to lose body fat.

 

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Stage 4: Prime Time

This is where I fell I am at right now and it is bliss, but I have to say that I didn’t reach here alone, I had help and great advice. This is the most mentally healthy stage, food is now your fuel, no more tracking or weighing food. I eat when I’m hungry and I eat clean, and there are times that indulge, but the most important thing is I am fully aware of it. Working out has never felt better, in other words, I push hard but I don’t beat up myself about how many calories I’ve lost or about taking rest days, I just embrace every workout as a chance to exert my all into it. This is where progress is slow but significant and long term.

 

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Stage 5 : Finish Line

Funny thing is… we never reach this one, because it moves along with us. This is your goal, the perfect, ultimate result of your fitness journey, but this is the point that you realise there is no finish line, because this is your lifestyle now. The more you go along the more your goals change and you will keep having new ones even as you accomplish them. There is no perfect, you will always find more to want, even when you think you’ll be happy once you reach this weight or that body fat percentage, you will be but it will not stop there. This is the forever stage.

 

These stages took me 3 years… it was not easy. However, not everyone goes through these exact stages, some people have gone straight to strength training or other forms of fitness, but this pattern is highly common in people trying to lose weight. I hope this post was helpful in giving you clarity on your fitness journey or in any way possible, thank you for reading.

Golden Milk Latte Recipe

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This amazing recipe is a nutrient dense, caffeine free and totally delicious drink to curb those coffee cravings and boost your gut health. This latte contains turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties, improving digestion and skin health. It also contains cinnamon which lowers blood sugar levels and has antimicrobial effects, as well as cardamom which is great for the liver and is packed with antioxidants. In other words, this is one powerful latte! So here’s how you can make it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 – 1 cup almond milk (or any milk)
  • 1/2 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom or 5 pods
  • 2/4 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp erythritol/stevia blend (or any sweetener of choice)

STEPS:

  • Combine 1/2 a cup of milk to 1/2 a cup of water or use 1 full cup of milk.
  • Whisk in the spices and sugar while on medium heat.
  • Bring to a simmer. Strain the milk into a mug to remove any undissolved spices.

 

Other Optional Ingredients:

  • Ginger
  • Lemon zest
  • Ground Black pepper

 

Let me know down in the comments if you do try out this recipe. Thank you for reading and please like and follow for more recipes like this one, xoxo.