Five bad food habits you need to stop!

Another fantastic article on Runner’s World that I thought was worth sharing with you. These are 5 bad dietary habits that are easy to do and very common. It’s important that you stop them ASAP if you want to keep your performance and energy high!

  1. That daily Starbucks: Or coffee in general. It’s always easier to start your day with a huge coffee and plenty of sugar, but you will pay for it later when your energy levels drop big-time. Shocking stats: Research shows that the most popular ‘blended coffee drinks’ in the biggest coffee chains contain on on average 239kcal – that’s a good 20 minutes on the rowing machine! AND, drinking one a day will set you on the path to gain one and a half stone within a year! Try and drink green tea, it’s full of anti-oxidants that counteracts damaging effects of the free radicals released when you exercise.
  2. Skipping breakfast so you can have a lie-in:Everyone does it! However, your liver uses loads of energy stored from the previous day to keep you going in your sleep, so by the morning there’s nothing left. It’s important to eat a decent breakfast to keep you going through the day, such as porridge or eggs on toast.
  3. Improperly fuelling your daytime runs: It’s important that you fuel your body after you have been running. You need to eat a decent amount of carbs within 30 minutes of completing your exercise in order to restore your glycogen levels and stop your blood sugar from getting too low. If you add in some protein too, it boosts protein synthesis. A ham sandwich or beans on toast would be ideal.
  4. Bingeing on biscuits: Everyone loves a sugar high! However, it’s followed by a low and a large drop in energy levels. If you swap the biscuits for a more nutritious snack like nuts or yoghurt, you will keep your insulin and sugar levels stable. There’s also less risk of them being stored as fat.
  5. Getting on the beers: Beer, wine and spirits all hinder your rehydration. By having one-too-many at the pub after exercising, you will end up with a worse hangover and your performance will suffer the next day. Try to have a glass of water in between each drink to keep you hydrated and prevent the dreaded hangover!

So there you have it: 5 dietary bad habits that can stop you from feeling your best when you’re exercising regularly.

Cheap and easy – healthy thai green curry.

This is a first for me, I’m not really a cooking expert, but I thought I’d share this with you seeing as I basically live off it. It’s my easy-peasy thai green curry:

Ok, I know what you’re thinking – it looks like crap. But a) my phone camera is awful, and b) I’m not a bloody masterchef – I don’t really think about presenting my food. Putting this on the blog was an after-thought. However it does taste delicious, so please have some faith in me. Also, it’s clearly not very green – I’m sorry but I have no explanation for that.

So here’s what you need:

  • Chicken – enough for however many people are eating it.
  • 1 or 2 tsp Thai green curry paste – I use this one.
  • Onion, chopped – However much you fancy really.
  • Stir-fry Vegetables – You can put anything you want in it really though.
  • Philadelpia light cheese – 120g for 4 people. Divide as applicable.
  • 4tbsp milk – Again, divide as applicable.
  • Noodles or rice – I prefer it with noodles, but it’s just as nice with rice.

(As you can tell, I’m not really one for measuring. I normally just put a rough amount of everything in. It depends on how hungry you are!)

And here’s how you do it:

  • Heat a large, non-stick pan and add the chicken, curry paste and onion.
  • Fry for 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken is totally cooked.
  • Add the stir-fry veg for 2-3 minutes until cooked.
  • Add the Philadelphia and milk and stir until melted.
  • Serve with noodles or rice.

That’s it. It’s so easy! You can see why it is basically the staple of my diet. ALSO, be careful with the curry paste, some are hotter than others. Either way, your sinuses will certainly be cleared after you’ve eaten it!

Each serving (without rice or noodles) is roughly 300 calories, so it’s not unhealthy either!

I might not be super-chef of the world, but please take my word for it. This tastes fantastic.

10 (healthy) foods I couldn’t live without:

I LOST ANOTHER 1LB THIS WEEK! That’s 4lbs in two weeks. I’m very happy with myself, especially seeing as I had a major binge on saturday involving pizza, KFC, cookies – the whole works. All that hard work at the gym definitely paid off. Unfortunately, I’ve been getting major pains in my shins again, so that writes me off the treadmill for a little while. Doesn’t mean I can’t use other machines though!

Anyway, here are 10 foods that I couldn’t live without on my diet:

  1. Fat-free yoghurts: These are my addiction! Luckily, I can eat as many as I want, so they are always a useful snack to have in the fridge.
  2. Mattessons Fridge Raiders: These are the shit. They are basically little bits of 100% chicken breast, meaning they are full of yummy protein and perfectly fine to eat! Only the roast flavoured ones though – the others have loads of not-so-good flavourings on them.
  3. Pepsi Max: Ok, it’s not a food, but it’s still amazing! It helps to curb my hunger and has no sugar in it. When it’s not on special offer, regular diet cola will do.
  4. Stir-fried vegetables: are amazing. Especially with lots of soy sauce. Now I am eating a lot healthier I start to crave them. They basically go with every meal.
  5. Oranges: The master of all fruits. They might not be as filling and nutritious as bananas, but they taste a whole lot better.
  6. Baked beans: You can have them with anything! Toast, jacket potatoes, even straight out of the tin with a spoon.
  7. Porridge: I have come to the conclusion that this is the best breakfast ever. It always keeps me filled up and starts me off feeling fab. Flavoured porridge > normal porridge.
  8. Super low fat noodles:  Only the super low fat ones. You are comitting diet suicide if you think you can eat the regular ones all the time. Luckily, the low fat ones I can eat as many as I like.  An incredibly decent snack when you have the 3pm munchies.
  9. Pickled onions:Or eggs. Any kind of pickled food. I looove them! Unfortunately, they aren’t so good if you are planning to go out on the town that night.
  10. Mug shots: So easy and quick, and a lot more filling than any cuppa soup. AND the whole range has less than 3% fat. Just don’t get the creamy ones.

All of these are great things to eat if you are trying to lose some weight or make your diet a bit healthier.

Here’s a list of 5 things that you would NOT give me if you had any care for my health and wellbeing, and if you didn’t want a punch in the face:

  1. Cake: It’s fantastically amazing and makes me incredibly happy. But then incredibly sad about an hour later.
  2. Chocolate digestives: My biggest weakness. I have been known to demolish a whole packet in about 10 minutes.
  3. Pizza Hut buffet: Never take me there. Or any kind of buffet for that matter. ‘All you can eat’ means you have to eat as much as you physically can – I see it as a challenge.
  4. Pringles: Once you pop, you can’t stop.
  5. Sweets: Any kind really, but especially fizzy ones.

Ten most common weight loss mistakes:

I found this excellent article on Runner’s World and thought I’d share it with you, in a bit more of a condensed form. Runner’s World is an excellent site – it’s not just about running, there’s loads of weight loss tips and recipes on there too. So here are the ten most common mistakes that people make when they are wanting to lose weight. I must admit I used to do a few of them!

  • The fat-burn zone:  Running slowly to stay in the ‘fat-burning zone’.

The body might use up more fat when you are jogging rather than running hard, but the amount of calories you burn during your workout will be lower. Your metabolism increases after your run for 24-48 hours, depending on how intense your run was. Even if you aren’t burning as much fat at the time, you will burn more in the long run by working harder.

  • Weight watching: Going on the scales every day.

You need to look for long term trends rather than fluctuations. Your weight can change from day-to-day due to water retention etc. Weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day. Remember: muscle weighs more than fat, so you may be getting slimmer without losing weight.

  • Popping pills: Taking appetite suppressants or pills to increase metabolism.

Research has failed to provide any conclusive evidence that these pills actually work. Also, if you read the packet it says that they work in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. So what’s the point?!

  • The after burn: Not eating after your run in the hope that you will burn more fat with the metabolism increase.

Research shows that if you eat a combo of protein and carbs after you run, you recover better and increase your performance next time. You’ll end up being leaner in the long term.

  • Running for treats: Rewarding yourself with unhealthy food after your run.

You won’t make any changes to your body if you run for half an hour then have a massive chocolate bar. Remember it’s a lot easier to consume calories than burn them! Just think of what all that hard work is for. Is it really worth it for a measly bag of crisps?

  • Running on empty: Going on a run first thing in the morning without breakfast.

You can eat as much as you want the night before, but it will all be used up by the next morning from keeping you alive in your sleep. Your energy stores are low, so your body will go into starvation mode and you won’t get the metabolism increase. AND your performance will be affected. Eat breakfast! I normally have porridge, but something like beans on toast has loads of slow-release energy to keep you going.

  • Cutting calories: Eating a super low calorie diet in the belief that your body will have to use up its excess fat.

The body will go into starvation mode. It reacts to the situation by clinging to all the fat in stead of burning it for energy. Your body will burn more when it is fuelled properly.

  • Energy drinks: Using energy drinks to fuel short runs.

You shouldn’t have to drink these if you are eating sufficiently before your runs. The energy stored in your muscles from this should keep you going for up to two hours of exercise. You only need these energy boost products if you are planning on running for longer than this.

  • Reducing fat intake: You want to lose fat from your body, so you lose it from your plate.

You don’t want to restrict essential fats from your diet as well. It’s fine to restrict saturated fats, but you still need to eat monosaturates which you get from things such as oil and nuts. These help your body to recover after runs and maintain performance.

  • Working at 110%: Training super hard and fast.

You need to make sure that your body gets the occasional rest day to help muscles repair. By overtraining you are not only putting your muscles at risk, but you can create hormone imbalances. I usually have 3 days on and 1 day off so that my body gets a break.

So there you have it, my condensed version of the 10 most common weight loss mistakes. As I have said before, the most important thing to stick to is a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. It’s really that simple.

10 things to pass the time at uni (or whenever):

Most people think that uni is a combination of a massive piss-up and lots of hard work. It is. But, a lot of the time I spend sat around doing absolutely nothing. It can be a boring existence. So if, like me, your find yourself sat around in your room going a bit crazy, I have devised a list of 10 things you can do when bored:

  1. People watch. It’s always fun laughing at unfortunate and strange looking people out your window. You might catch a good fight if you’re lucky.
  2. Go out and buy 10 magazines, then sit in your cave reading them. Real-life ones are always good – you can laugh at other peoples unbelievable misfortune, and know that being bored is miles better than having a boyfriend with two heads.
  3. Read other people’s blogs! It’s always nice to get feedback, and it’s easy to find interesting and amusing things that can keep you occupied for hours.
  4. Eat. Anything and everything. Find things that are about to go out of date – it gives you an excuse to eat them, and you can say you are saving the environment by cutting waste.
  5. Exercise! You might not feel like lacing up your trainers and going out in the cold, but you feel so good after. Half an hour you would have spent wasting away on Facebook you are using to make your body feel good.
  6. Learn a language. Today I learnt 8 new words in Spanish in 20 minutes thanks to Argzombies and his excellent link. Worth a read.
  7. Call all the freephone numbers on the back of food packets and generally be annoying. It’s childish but fun. And free.
  8. Go for a walk. Fortunately I live near the beach, so it’s always a good place to go.
  9. Go to the pub. Always a fail-safe option. However you need friends to go with you, unless getting on the beers alone is your type of thing…
  10. Internet shop. I can look at new clothes I’d love for hours. But be warned: if you are skint, it won’t make you happy. You might be occupied, but you will just be sad at all the things you want but can’t afford 😦

Time for a lifestyle change.

After getting on the scales to complete my registration at the doctors this morning, I realised that I need to make a serious lifestyle change. Not only do I now weigh the most I ever have, but I weigh more than my mother, who is 43 and 5ft 8. (No offence Mum)

It’s time to banish the boredom eating, late-night binges and drunken takeaways, and actually get a grip. Starting today, I’m going to make a lifestyle change and lose 2 stone.

Slimming World is one of the best diets I have done. You don’t get results as quickly as you do when going on one of those fad diets, like ‘get a bikini body in 2 weeks’ or ‘drop a dress size by friday’, but it works. Not only do you lose the weight, but you keep it off, and your appetite and eating habits do change. Slimming World is about food optimising, not cutting out significant chunks of your diet. None of this ‘no-carb’ crap, where you end up getting headaches and feeling awful, and then proceed to put double the weight back on after you finish the diet. You can also afford to have a sneaky chocolate bar every now and again…

Another thing I have found when dieting, is that reading magazines does not help. Every month there seems to be a new diet that can see you go from an average size 14 to Kim Kardashian in a week. Let’s face it – it’s not going to happen. It’s just another title on the front cover to get you to buy their magazine. Take this example, the Juice Master 7lbs in 7 Days diet. If you do this diet, you might lose 7lbs in 7 days, but you are going to have a week of feeling shit. When you do start eating in the week after, your body is going to cling on to every single carbohydrate and gram of fat that you have been depriving it of for the past week. The results may come quickly, but they are never going to last in the long-term. It will just end up being a miserable week and a total waste of time.

I am well aware that several of you out there are thinking, ‘Why don’t you just get off of your fat ass and do some exercise?’.  I couldn’t agree more. A combination of diet and exercise not only helps you to shed weight quicker than any diet can do alone, but it also make you feel better inside, and ultimately more energized. The thought of rolling out of your warm bed to put on some trainers and head out in gale-force winds is far from appealing, I am well aware of that, but once you get the ball rolling it is really easy to keep it up. I was running 5 days a week, until shinsplints ruined my life and exercise plans for the short-term future.

If you want to lose weight, my advice is to ignore anything magazines tell you, and just get a grip. A combination of healthy eating and exercise is by far the best thing you can do for your body, it just takes patience and perseverance.