The summer is here, everyone is getting the shorts out, and bikini shopping for their summer holiday away, and you cannot help but feel like you are not quite summer body ready yet. I know how it feels, and I too was in that very same position. Until one day, I decided to change that. I wanted to feel healthy, fit and full of energy all the time! I had tried the diets, the juice cleanses, various therapies. However, I was either not seeing any results at all, or just feeling hungry and lethargic all the time. How can it be so easy for so many people, but such a challenge for me? I knew it was time to make a change.
I am going to share with you, how I got fit and lost 6 kg in just 7 weeks, and started to feel full of energy, felt happy with myself, and looked great too! Also, you will be surprised to hear, I did this all without a nutritionist or personal trainer, just research, and dedication. I hope this will inspire you to try, so you can see and feel the difference yourself.
So, let us start with one of the vital parts of trying to lose weight. Your diet. For me, I used to eat whatever I wanted. I love food, drinks, and snacks. I am a real foodie. I never wanted to lose weight before because I would not want to sacrifice the thing I love most in the world! Food!
Then I realized, I see all these models eating big plates of pasta, and pizzas and burgers, so how do they get away with it? Well of course, the key to keeping any healthy balance is that everything should be in moderation. Now that I am at my ideal weight, I can afford to treat myself to something delicious and a bit naughty once or twice a week.
I started gradually, any drastic change is hard to maintain, and you will be more likely to give up if you try to change anything too dramatically.
Try starting by cutting out all sugary drinks, anything fizzy, or cut down sugar in your tea and coffee. Try not to drink a lot of juice, I drink one small glass of freshly squeezed orange juice each morning, to make sure I am getting my vitamin C, but definitely, 100% stay away from fizzy drinks. The amount of sugar in one can of fizzy drink is nearly 10 tablespoons, imagine that in your tea, or piled up in front of you, the idea of eating all of that is simply disgusting, so why do it in the form of a fizzy drink? Moreover, if you go out to drink, try swapping spirits and mixers for wine, or the ultimate diet drink, Gin and Tonic!
One of the more important parts of staying healthy is to drink water! Drink one glass of water before every meal and make sure the first thing you do in the morning is to drink a glass of water. This makes sure that your body stays hydrated and will help with so many things like good digestion, and improve your metabolism.
One of my healthy lifestyle saviors is green tea. Green tea contains nutrients and anti-oxidants that actually help you to lose weight by speeding up your metabolism. I do not know exactly how it works or what is in it, but it is a miracle drink. I feel noticeably more energized and healthy when I am drinking at least 3 cups of green tea a day.
Now when it comes to the food side of things, this also does not have to be as difficult as you think. It is not all about only ever eating salad or something ridiculous like that. For me it was about finding a routine that I liked and was easy to stick to, still incorporating food that I love, while trying to reduce my calorie intake. In order to effectively lose weight, you really need to be consuming less calories than you are using in a day. The average woman burns around 1700 calories a day and a very active woman can burn up to 2200. I do not have that much time to exercise in my day, so my workouts are short, but I do try to walk as much as I can, whether it is walking to work or taking the stairs instead of the lift. Therefore, I try to keep my calorie count around 1400. I started to notice the weight come off after about 1 month, so try it, and if it is very easy, reduce it! If you are finding it difficult, up it a little, and work on getting it lower.
Here is my average daily meal plan, so you can see a breakdown of how I get my calories every day.
- Breakfast – Half an apple, half a banana, a slice of watermelon, a cup of muesli, one yoghurt – (430 kcal)
- Lunch – 2 Slices of brown toast, one avocado, one tin of sardines, one large tomato – (485 kcal)
- Dinner – Bowl of lettuce, Cup of spinach (both boiled) 150 grams tofu, 1 large egg, soy dressing (339 kcal)
- Snack – fruit or granola bar (100 kcal)
When you factor in a few cups of coffee or juice, you have around 1400 there. When I spoke to my doctor, he told me that it is best for metabolism and weight loss, if you eat a very big breakfast, medium sized lunch, and small/light dinner. As I adopted this habit, I realized, I was not feeling hungry, I felt lighter, and full of energy. It is a common misconception that your biggest meal of the day should be at dinnertime, but this is not true. This means your body is working excessively hard to digest a heavy meal late at night, when it should be doing this all throughout the day. I would also recommend not eating after 8pm, of course this depends on what time you go to bed, but you should leave at least 3 hours after eating, to go to sleep.
This is not really a crazy diet plan; it is just some small changes to your lifestyle that will really make a difference. Have a look at some recipes and meal plans of around 400 kcal that you can add into your routine. Also, try to eat at more or less the same times every day, this keeps your body in a routine, and will digest much easier.
Now, the other crucial part of getting fit and losing weight. Now you could if you wanted to, only lose weight by dieting, but for me, I saw amazing results by just factoring in a little bit of exercise each day.
I know its hard to find the time to exercise these days in our busy lives, but, I’ve found a really amazingly effective way to get your exercise in, without expensive gym memberships or personal trainers. My phone is my personal trainer!
I started by having a browse on the internet and app store, to see if I could find some free apps for tips on what exercises to do. I tried running but it was putting a lot of strain on my knees. So, I found a little set of apps, called ’30 Day Challenge’. I really wanted to work on my tummy and slimming down my thighs. They have an app for every area you want to work on! You can also choose your level, so starting from beginner to advanced, you can go at the speed you want to. Each day it tells you what to do, and how many times, with a little animated video so you know what to do. It takes around 5 – 10 minutes for each area, so for me I can do it as soon as I wake up before work, and straight in the shower. This has made such a huge difference in toning my body, I actually have abs now, and I could see them within the first two weeks! It is amazing.
I also found that instead of jogging, skipping rope is an excellent way to keep fit and burn calories. It puts less strain on your joints, and only costs a few pounds, does not take up any space, and you can do it practically anywhere!
There is also scientific research to show that you only need to do 7 minutes of exercise every day to lose weight. So, I downloaded an app called 7 minute workout! It combines various different exercises, like star jumps, skipping and jogging on the spot, for 7 minutes. You work up a sweat, definitely, but it is not too heavy on the joints. I know how hard running can be! Now you might not believe it, but I genuinely started to see results after a few weeks. People were really noticing the difference, and I felt amazing too.
This method really for me is about making some small lifestyle changes. It is not a drastic fad diet, that you will probably put the weight straight back on from. It does not leave you starving, or aching from hours in the gym. It is a healthier and better way of living. You will notice the difference in the way you feel before the difference in the way you look, but keep at it and this will come later.
I now feel so confident when I am walking on the beach in a bikini. Where I had wobbly bits before, are now replaced with firm toned muscle. Good-bye cellulite, good-bye fat rolls, I now can see a toned, flat tummy, and a natural glow. I have dropped down a dress size and I do not feel self-conscious anymore about wearing tight fitting dresses.
It only took me about 2-3 weeks to get used to the lifestyle changes, and it really happened quite gradually, starting with drinking lots of water, to eventually having my new routine, of plenty of water, good diet, exercise, and enough sleep. I also did not find I was missing anything. The thing is once you have healthy lifestyle, you can definitely indulge from time to time, I usually allow myself Sundays off, take rest from the exercise, and order yourself whatever you want from your favorite restaurant. You deserve it, have a day off, after all, you probably already look fantastic. Moreover, being happy is the key to being healthy.
I can only say that this method has worked wonders for me, and I plan on living my new lifestyle not only for the way I look but also for the way I feel too!
So, good luck on your journey!