Health & Fitness Guidelines I live by

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I don’t believe in ‘short-term’ diets. I decided to make a lifestyle change two years ago and have been pretty good at sticking to it apart from the occasional holiday/depression ‘feasting’. I was on such a high when I first fell in love with health & fitness that I reprogrammed my brain and changed my eating habits completely. There are a few things I live by when it comes to being fit and healthy – they are:

– Eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism going. Even if it is something small like a fruit.

– Never skip breakfast as it kick-starts your metabolism.

– Drink lots and lots of water. I used to have a problem with this, but as time have passed I’ve actually come to love drinking water. We consume a lot of hidden sugars and calories through the drinks we have during the day – the rule is simple – if you are thirsty, have water. It makes you feel good and healthy. When I have a headache, I now reach for a bottle of water rather than pain killers. It works 80% of the time.

– My plate usually consist of 50% vegetables & salads, 30% protein and 20% carbohydrates,

– I don’t believe in cutting out carbohydrates from your diet.  I tried this and by day 5 I could hardly function at work let alone work out afterwards. I believe in choosing the right carbs for your body: replace white rice with brown rice, potatoes with sweet potatoes, etc. BUT, everything in moderation.

– Although I absolutely love bread and pasta, wheat is just really bad for you. It is not supposed to be, but with time, wheat has been changed and turned into a mixture of chemicals rather than a healthy ingredient/meal. I try not to eat bread, but will allow myself a slice every now and then. I also try not to eat packaged bread bought in supermarkets (like Sasko or Albany) as they have been produced with hundreds of preservatives and chemicals to make them last longer. Fresh bread if any.

– I try to stay away from condiments and sauces that you can buy in any supermarket as they usually contain sugar, corn syrup and all kinds of nasty additives. I would rather eat a dry chicken breast that put that in my mouth. Or I’ll make my own sauce.

– Fruits are good, but also have them in moderation as they contain fructose.

– I don’t believe in low fat anything. Usually when a product has the label ‘low-fat’ all over it, it just means that there are more chemicals or additives that shouldn’t be there in it.

– I try to have my last meal before 7pm at night.

– I prepare my food in advance. Being unprepared is the biggest mistake you can make when you are trying to eat clean. If you don’t have food with you, you end up buying from the shops, which usually means that you’re not eating a balanced, healthy meal.

– I do cheat. I’m a woman, I love chocolate. And I still have social activities. I go by the 80/20 rule – eat healthily 80% of the time, and cheat 20%. Believe me, it is really difficult to cut all sweets and treats out of your diet completely. You will crash and burn – I sure have. Keep it casual. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself & just try your best. Try to pick the healthier option like 80% cocoa dark chocolate instead of a sugar-ridden bar one.

– I only use olive oil when preparing meals. I don’t really use butter at all, and have stopped using sunflower & canola oil a long time ago. Olive oil is much healthier.

– Fish > Chicken > Meat

– Soy is a dangerous little ingredient that creeps into most foods in the shops. Look out for that. The simple rule is – byy organic foods and make your meals yourself. It’s easier to stay away from the bad stuff that way. And you will feel nourished and fuller after every meal.

– And then, the most important one of them all – train 4 – 6 times a week. Vary your training to cover all aspects of fitness to optimize your progress and performance: strength training, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness.

I’ve also learnt a few lessons along the way that I always keep in mind:

– You will fail. You will crack. It’s okay. Just make sure that you get back up and at it.

– Don’t be too hard on yourself – any progress is better than no progress.

– Don’t push yourself too hard. I’ve done this and pushed my body to its limits – training 3 times a day, 6 days a week. Rest is when muscles grow – when progress is made.

– Commit or quit. You can’t do this for a few months and when you’ve reached your goal go back to the way you used to live – you’ll just pick up all that weight (and a little extra) and lose all your progress. It may take a while, but try to make it a lifestyle change. That means you’ll ALWAYS be feeling & looking great, not just for a few months.

– Find someone to do it with you – I am very fortunate that my fiance is just as healthy as I am. if he weren’t, I probably would have given up a long time ago.

– If you’re not doing it for yourself, don’t do it at all – you will fail.

And then, the one that stands out the most for me:

Be proud, but never be satisfied. 

These are just a few things that work best for me but every person has different things that work for them. it’s trial and error until you find them but once you do, it is so much easier to keep going and stick to your lifestyle change.

Stay healthy!

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