I’m passionate about health and fitness. I’ve learned a lot about it through magazines, online articles and trial and error with my own body. For me, looking after myself is a priority. I only have one body and I want to keep it in good working order.
Throughout the years I’ve discovered that staying fit and healthy is all about balance. I know it’s boring but it really does come down to eating well and regular exercise. The good news is you don’t have to be fanatical about it. Once you reach your goal weight, you can afford to treat yourself without jeopardising your dress size. A blow out day here and there doesn’t hurt. In fact, a week of poor eating and no exercise won’t make much difference if you reign things in after a week. I think what happens with a lot of people though, is that treating themselves becomes a little too frequent and their waistlines expand as a result.
Food is a huge part of looking after yourself. I am a big eater. My portions are usually quite large so I keep my diet to lots of fruit and vegetables, a small amount of meat and low calorie foods like rice cakes and yogurt . Even if I didn’t eat a lot, I’d still want to eat healthily because I feel so much better when I do. It’s not just about the weight for me. It’s about how I feel on the inside. As for the apparent enemy- carbohydrates -I love them, so I won’t be giving them up anytime soon, but I do keep them to a minimum in the afternoon/evening. Find out what works for you and do your best to keep it up.
Remember, healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. I pile my dinner plate with vegetables but I make sure they’re super yummy by adding sauces or roasting them with spices. Adding dressings to salads makes a huge difference too. You’ll be surprised how delicious vegetables can taste when they’re doused in an orange/sesame vinaigrette 🙂
As for snacks, it’s a good idea to keep these to a minimum. Have something small when you’re feeling peckish but too many snacks can derail a good eating plan. Everything counts. Even that one mouthful of leftovers adds to your daily food intake.
Now for the exercise part- I think it’s super important to find an activity you love, or at least don’t mind, because you need to be able to keep it up on a regular basis. You don’t have to exercise 7 days a week but I think 3-4 times per week is needed for true heath and weight benefits.
I didn’t discover exercise until I was 25. (I was the kid that did extra study or mini golf for school sport.) Up until my early 20’s, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted, including copious amounts of Sizzler cheese bread, without gaining weight. That started to change as I got older though and I realised I’d have to do things differently if I didn’t want to pile on the pounds. My mum gave me a gym membership for Christmas in 1999 and I headed off to exercise for the first time. Luckily for me, I loved it and haven’t looked back. I started slowly, trying out the different machines, but soon discovered that running was my thing. I started running outdoors and have been running ever since.
As I said earlier, you really need to find an exercise that doesn’t feel like a chore. If you love it, even better! It could be dancing, cycling, yoga, rock climbing, group classes or a team sport. Anything that gets your heart rate up a bit. Just remember, you won’t necessarily like something straight away, so don’t give up after the first go. Try something a couple of times and if it’s still arduous, then give something else a go.
Lastly, exercise can be as much about mental health as it is for physical health. If I’m feeling low or stressed, a good solid run makes me feel so much better. It gets the endorphins flowing and I’ll always come back with a clearer, more peaceful mind. It might be worth taking up some form of exercise just for the feel-good aspect of it. It’s definitely helped me through times of worry.
Above all, be kind to yourself and treat your body well. Find that balance that makes you feel great but also makes you feel like you’re living well and not missing out on the good stuff in life……like cake 🙂
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