HOW/WHAT/WHY : WHY HEALTHY CHOICES AND LIFESTYLE ARE IMPORTANT

Thursday, July 10, 2014


| Your body is a temple, but not as cheesy as that |




Helloooo everyone !

Okay, so the little selection of quotes above may be a bit OTT however I have heard them over and over, and sometimes it just drives you a little mad....

I have had a right old journey with healthy eating and looking after myself. It's been good and bad, informative and inspiring, and now I want to talk about why being healthy is a lifestyle - not a fad. I have a lot to say about food and nutrition and I know a lot of it has been said before but there's no harm in promoting something that is sustainable and good for you !

Firstly, diets of all sizes and types will only work for certain people but you should also consider the fact that a sudden change isn't the best way to attack a food/weight problem. It can be too drastic and can lead to you putting weight back on or indulging in a severe craving - I lost weight when I was 17 and put it nearly all back on because I ate to prove I wasn't scared of food, which aren't good choices at all because I was eating healthy but to stay slim, not so much about looking after myself as I was also eating pizza and bread etc.

Extreme diets are never healthy too. It's taken me about three years to realise this, and I'm so much better and clearer on my diet for it. Slim Fast, Juicing, Cabbage Soup or the Lemon Drink diets, they all require a strict removal of carbs, protein and nutrients - not so much Juicing as the veg and fruit contains all the nutrients and minerals needed, however it is a liquid diet at the end of the day.
If you need to lose some pounds, Slim Fast does work however it simply is a meal replacement and is made up of chemicals to keep you from being hungry. It'll shift your stuff (trust me) but it is not stable long-term. At the time I would not believe anything else except Slim Fast would work - fear is a big player in wanting to stay slim, and it's not a good feeling to live with - but now I've seen 5 day detox programmes that contain all natural food to help kick 5-7 lbs from your waist in no time. Wouldn't you rather help your body shift the unnecessary with help from nature and not chemicals ?
I also now don't believe in starving yourself to be slimmer or to maintain weight. The 5-2 diet may have some positives but it was recently revealed the test subjects were all men who all lose mass quicker, so it's debatable as to whether it works. Even as a fan of drinking juice, my recent three-day-cleanse left me low on energy, dizzy and cranky. I'd rather have a juice as a snack and eat my three normal meals for nourishment than constantly think about all the food in the world.

The best way to approach healthy eating, weight loss, and nutrition is by making gradual alternative choices. Let's start with the 'extreme'; you eat white bread, pizza, fizzy drinks daily or weekly, don't drink a lot of water or do any exercise, the best thing for you to do is to make product swaps - swap your white bread for wholewheat (I don't say granary here as it sometimes contains white flour), pizza for a homemade vegetable flan minus the cheese, fizzy drinks for sparkling water and some natural cordial or lemon slices, and sweet treats for some dark chocolate and frozen yogurt.
If you want to go one step further I'd suggest : rye bread, sweet potatoes, brown basmati rice and quinoa for carbs; spinach and kale for iron and calcium; feta only for cheese, 0% fat natural yogurt, granola and fresh fruit for desserts with some little dark choc nibbles, and plenty of fresh veg.
You can't make someone suddenly cut out a food group, it is not only torture but not good for your body !

The more you switch the healthier products, the easier it is to switch to even healthier and alternative goodness. You can experiment with soya, almond milk, tofu, avocados, and supplements like spirulina, chia, flax and wheatgrass - I'm yet to try that one. Changes are easier when you do them at a good pace, for example maybe you want to now stop eating butter, decide this tub is your last and buy some coconut oil, almond butter or avocado to spread on your crackers or rye instead. Having it there when the tub is done will make you reach for it more instead of caving and buying more butter.

With all diets and different lifestyles, you will get critics and you will get support. I won't lie and say it's plain sailing, because there are some people who won't 'get' your decision to give up the wonderfulness of bread or heaven forbid you tell them you don't eat bacon anymore.... There are people who want to be skinny but won't do anything about it, so moan at you for being so healthy to almost make you feel bad for eating a bowl of quinoa and veg - I'm wagging my finger at you now saying no, do not let them make you feel bad for doing something from a conscious decision. They haven't learnt how to get past that first hurdle, so just say a polite 'I just really like eating natural products', and continue your run over other hurdles such as what fruit to put in your smoothie tomorrow morning.
You may also find yourself critizing others for not being healthy, and you can't really do that (I say it, so I should really do it). I've seen people loads say 'oh I have the healthy eating down' - really ? I didn't know pasta and vodka was the new thing to help you satisfy your body. Sigh, that's the kind of thing you shouldn't really be saying of others, because they might just not be in the right place yet to fully commit to chia bowls and cucumber water.

The next thing that usually goes with healthy eating is exercise - don't go rushing into weights and running, you really need to build up your strength and ability. It's so important to prevent muscle injury by taking it slow, and to also stop you from throwing in the towel three days in. I started with 10-minute routines on YoutTube, dabbled in the 30 Day Shred (it's too hard for me personally, but as I get stronger I will try it again) and now I do a mix of walking to build up into a jog/run and Blogilates. After many times of jumping straight into the monthly calendars, I just took it back to basics - remember, being a beginner and working at basic level is not something to be ashamed of ! You made the decision to try, and that's amazing - and I found it easier at the end of the month to go into the monthly routines and work harder.
Also, don't beat yourself up if you have a few days off. I had a week and a half off recently (travelling and being ill) and I came back to my routines with a significant lack of power which knocked my confidence, but I realised I had been so crazed on working out everyday and saying 'I need to workout today, I need to exercise' that I was finding it something I had to do. I mean, you should exercise but you should also enjoy it. I currently do every other day minimum, and if I do extra then go me !

Exercise also shouldn't be done for an event - sure, if you already workout take it up a notch for a wedding or holiday, but don't start just to get to the beach a bit smaller, eat loads of crap and then come home and sit on the sofa again. The whole point of this post is that healthy living is a lifestyle ! Start a month before your holiday, maybe do some moves on holiday, and come back home wanting to continue with your efforts. It's also important not to overwork to reach an unrealistic goal, so no attempting of 1000 crunches every night for abs and a flat stomach - abs are shown in the kitchen, which sometimes I question as I eat like a rabbit and do lots of core work yet I've only just got a line down the top part of my core after 4 months of regular exercise - I guess it shows we are all made differently.

The main reason I wrote this is because I think sometimes we all forget that no two people are the same; what works for you may not work for someone else. For me, I love my vegan-alkaline lifestyle because I always feel good and nourished plus it allows the treats to feel even more good. You may love meat too much to give up but also love eating loads of stirfry, and that's good too. I love blogilates, pilates, yoga and dancing as it works for me, but you may not be flexible and prefer weights and boxing as your exercise. Everyone has a preference, and everyone has an opinion. When it comes to healthy choices, we should be careful what we recommend people do because it may cause a backlash or a serious problem.
The general consensus from nutritionists and trainers is that you shouldn't eat processed foods, refined carbs or sugary products and instead drink lots of water and natural clean produce, but not to restrict yourself as you may find it hard to maintain your eating habits (the 80-20 rule). An hour of exercise 5 days a week is great, but 30 minutes still works too. Don't exercise and live off smoothies to be thin, exercise and eat well to be nourishing to your body, to care for your muscles and to make yourself a stronger version of who you were yesterday.

Let me know what your view is on healthy lifestyle in the comments or tweet me (you can follow me also ;) ) and what your daily lifestyle consists of. Granted I'm no specialist but if you want tips or advice I'm more than happy to help :)

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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