The danger of low-calorie diets

Hands up who has been on a low-calorie diet
to lose weight?

Yep me too.

And who has lost weight pretty quickly
while on it and then put it all on again afterwards?

And again, me too.

Having been through every fad diet out
there I’m now preaching the benefits of doing a bit more research and learning
what your body needs before you start depriving it of anything. Continue Reading…

It’s All A Balancing Act

This morning at 07:15, my alarm went off so that I could get up for circuits at 8am. Except I didn’t get up, I had no energy, couldn’t open my eyes and all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. Which is what I did. 

When I finally woke up the first thought that went through my head was ‘I must be coming down with something’ until seconds later my stomach started rumbling. Painfully. Ah ha, I thought, I hadn’t eaten enough after circuits and boxing last night. That bowl of tomato, lentil, leek and cabbage soup just didn’t cut it.

And this made me think. I spent years of my teenage and early-twenties life equating feelings of hunger with something to be proud of. A rumbling stomach meant that your body was burning fat rather than food and was therefore making you skinny. When I was dieting I’d skip breakfast, have vegetables for lunch and a small dinner, keeping myself going with caffeine whilst trying to exercise and ignore the feelings of dizziness. Yes I was skinny but I wasn’t healthy…. 

Fast forward a few years to my realisation that I hadn’t eaten enough. It’s a very fine balance for me at the moment as I am still trying to lose the last 5lbs whilst reducing body fat and increasing muscle definition. However, if I don’t eat enough food then I don’t have enough energy to work out efficiently and build muscle. 

It’s all a learning process at the moment while I figure out what I need to put into my body to get out of it what I want. And my brain needs to go through an advanced training programme where I work on the fact that when it comes to food, less is not always better. Watch this space… 

Back to the grind

I’ve just spent the weekend in Brighton with some great friends and my lovely boyfriend and I completely relaxed my diet and exercise regime. I ate:

– Crisps

– Chocolate

– Biscuits

– Curry

– Bread

– Rice

– Ice cream

Oh and I drank rather a lot of prosecco in the sunshine…

But rather than feeling guilty about any of it as I would have done last year, I relished it and enjoyed every single mouthful. Sometimes you just need a blow out!

However, it’s back to the grind this morning with an intense 45 minutes circuit session at my favourite place in East London, London Fields Fitness Studio followed by some delicious chocolate protein oats with chia seeds and berries. It’s time to shift that last stubborn bit of weight and tone up for summer…

Rise and Shine Breakfast Recipes

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt over the last few months is the importance of having a good breakfast every day. It kickstarts your metabolism after 12 hours of not eating, it wakes your brain up and it gives you the energy to get through the morning. I can’t function without breakfast these days!

Here are 4 of my favourite recipes, all under 350 calories…

1) Bircher Muesli

– 50g gluten free oats

– 1 x grated apple

– Splash of apple juice

– ½ cup fat-free natural yogurt

– Fruit to serve

Mix the oats, grated apple, apple juice and yogurt together in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning add whatever fruit you prefer and serve.

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2) Simple Fruity Oats

– 25g gluten free oats

– ½ cup fat-free natural yogurt

– ½ grapefruit (or 1 cup of the fruit of your choice)

Mix together all of the ingredients and devour.

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3) Quick Berry Oatmeal

– 25g gluten free oats

– ½ cup frozen berries

– Teaspoon of cinnamon

– Teaspoon of agave syrup (to serve)

Mix the oats, berries and cinnamon together with enough water to make the mixture runny. Microwave for 1:30, squeeze on the agave syrup and enjoy.

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4) 3 Ingredient Pancakes 

– 1 x ripe banana

– 2 x medium eggs

– ¼ cup berries

– Teaspoon of cinnamon (to serve)

– Teaspoon of agave syrup (to serve)

– 2 x rashers turkey bacon

Mix the banana and eggs into a lumpy batter and stir in the berries. Cook like a normal pancake in a greased pan (I use 1 cal olive oil spray), flipping only when the top side starts to cook as well. At the same time grill the turkey bacon. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon and agave syrup. 

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The siege is over

It’s been 5 weeks. 5 frustratingly demoralising weeks.

But finally I have taken a step off my weight plateau and lost my first pound in 5 weeks. I’m still 6lbs away from my goal weight but I’ve accepted that these last few pounds are going to be the most difficult to lose. I’m trying to focus more on how I feel and look which is helping but after spending my entire life looking at numbers on the scale it’s tough to step away from using that as a measure. 

To remind myself of how far I’ve come, I made this:

That’s 14lbs (1 stone) down and 2 dress sizes *dance of pride*

To blitz this last bit of weight I’m ramping up my exercise do include more cardio and hiit workouts with my trainer. I’m also going to up the amount of protein I’m taking in by trying out Maxitone Sculptress protein powder to replace 1 meal a day (probably breakfast) accompanied by some fruit. 

Wish me luck! 

My 30 day paleo challenge – an egg too far

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have noticed that for the past 30 days I’ve been trying out the Paleo diet, so called because you have to eat like a caveman.

Luckily that doesn’t mean eating ancient species of rodent but rather you eat unprocessed, natural and ‘whole’ foods.

Anything dairy is out as are grains (including legumes, so no green beans or mangetout. Sob) leaving you with a diet of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts (but not peanuts as these are a legume) and seeds. Healthy natural fats such as avocados, olive oil and coconut oil are allowed.

So here’s a typical day’s worth of food on my paleo diet:

Breakfast

1 x smoothie (banana + blueberries + mango + spinach + coconut water)

2 x hard boiled eggs (whites only)

Lunch

Mixed salad with poached salmon, beetroot and pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of lemon juice

Afternoon snack

Handful of carrot sticks with a teaspoon of natural almond butter

Dinner

Lean turkey marinara with sweet potato wedges and steamed greens

 I decided to take on this paleo challenge after an incredible 2 weeks in India where I did nothing but eat white rice, garlic and cheese naan bread and paneer curry….

I felt fluffy, out of shape and wanted to get back on track. The first 2 weeks were easy as my motivation levels were high. I enjoyed all of the fresh food although eating out was very difficult when places weren’t flexible with their menus.

The final 2 weeks were much more of a struggle. I really missed plain yogurt, cheese and quinoa which normally form part of my everyday balanced diet. I ended up slipping a couple of times (one of which consisted of half a bag of kettle chips and 5 chocolate hobnobs but let’s not talk about that…) because I got frustrated that I couldn’t join in on family celebrations and eat some of the delicious food that had been prepared. Plus I was definitely over eggs. So many eggs.

All in all, after 4 weeks on the paleo diet, I hadn’t really lost any weight but I do feel leaner. My energy levels didn’t drop too much and I even managed to figure out how to bake paleo cookies to satisfy any sweet cravings. I think this diet would be good for those who want to build lean muscle but because of the higher fat content (from nuts, avocado etc.) it might not be such a good weight-loss diet.

However, I’m going to keep aspects in my diet, such as the healthier paleo treats and the morning smoothies.

 Next up, the 30 day pescatarian challenge… GOODBYE MEAT!