I’m Back!

I haven’t updated my blog in a good while so I thought it was about time I came back.

I’ve been trying to really focus on my lifestyle and do more studying about nutrition to increase my knowledge and so I actually have a good argument to put forward on here.  I have to admit that I could have put more effort into my lifestyle and food choices in the past months but hey I’m human, I make mistakes but I hold my hands up and learn from it.

After having the summer off work, going back at the start of September was a massive shock to my body.  I’ve noticed my energy levels have dropped, I’ve become tired, I’m hungry a lot more than usual, I want to eat all the things I shouldn’t as they will make me feel worse and due to work load, I’m stressed quite a bit.

Now I seem to have tackled my stress levels by meditating.  I’ve recently downloaded an app called Headspace and I’m currently using the help on there to get me started.  At the moment it is working and I am benefiting a great deal from it as it clears my head and relaxes me.  As for the other problems I’ve noticed, I’m working on fixing them with my diet.  I am once again starting a food diary to properly monitor what I am eating and I am making better choices on my weekly meal plan.  I am trying to cut out the most obvious foods that could cause these problems like bread, pasta (anything with gluten really), sugar to stop cravings and so I don’t have a sugar crash at any point during the day! And a couple others.  I’m adding more vegetables, protein and cooking everything from scratch (something I tend to do anyway).

I will monitor any changes this week and make any necessary adjustments for next week.  I will keep you updated with what happens and hopefully I will notice a difference.

Thanks for reading

Nicole 🙂 x

 

P.S. If anyone has any topics they wish me to discuss or look into please feel free to contact me or comment.  Thanks again!

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It Happens At Least Once!

So this week’s post is a tad late…I have been really busy with work and organising a surprise party for my dad that I just haven’t had time.  I’ve decided that this post will just be me admitting how terrible my food choices have been over the past week.

The majority of food that I have ate have been: chippies (takeaways), processed food or buffet food.  I’m not going to blame time for this, even though I haven’t had much to prepare / cook food, I am blaming myself and my body.

I have just craved bad food!  You know that one week where your body doesn’t want anything good for you because it will not satisfy in the slightest?  Yeah that had happened.  It’s not often that I go through times like this but when it hits, you definitely know about it!  I even apologised to my trainer – “this week has been awful I apologise but I just need to eat everything and it needs to be bad” – she completely understood which was great.  It seems to be more of a woman thing rather than a man thing probably down to our oh so lovely hormones…

This seems to have an effect on my sleeping pattern.  As I am currently off work I can basically get up whenever I want (I still like to get up early as I feel the later I get up the more the day has been wasted) but I’m finding it hard to get to sleep earlier and wake up earlier and when I do wake up I just want to sleep again.  If you have read any of my earlier posts I mentioned that changing my diet and lifestyle had a big impact on the way I felt it also had an impact on my sleep.  I found it easier to sleep of a night and get up of a morning.  Every time I eat something I know I really shouldn’t I notice the different effects it has on my body which again falls back to another post about listening to your body and realising what it wants / needs and what really isn’t that great.

I’m starting to get back to me again even though the sleep is still getting there!  But I should be back to reality by next week ready to go back to work all refreshed.

I’m currently working on some other posts so I’ll try and finish them and get some more posted in the next week for having a giant gap between the last one and this one.  Also thank you to everyone who got involved in the poll on the ‘Crash Diets’ post.  The results came back with more people saying they weren’t a fan of crash dieting, RESULT!

See you soon 🙂 x

Crash Diets

You know you have all jumped on the crash diet band wagon at least once… maybe twice or maybe you have tried them all!  But did they work in the long term?  No of course they didn’t.  The problems with crash diets are; they are a short term fix and very damaging.  Now if you’re like me and you want that body to be proud of, when you get there you want to keep it not borrow it for a month or two and give it back.  The way to do this will blow your mind! …are you ready!!??

 GOOD, CLEAN, FRESH HEATHLY FOOD AND EXERCISE

 Amazing right, who would have thought?  We are so warped by shops, adverts and even by Scientists with their studies that we don’t realise the way forward is just eating clean, fresh food and leaving the processed garbage in the freezer section in Asda (other supermarkets are available) and getting your backside off the couch for 30 – 60 minutes.  What would you rather have: a juicy steak with sweet potato wedges / fries and veg of your choice or a Weight Watchers hot pot? (Again, other products are available) I’m taking the steak and sprinting! Well power walking / jogging.

An article which I came across on the Daily Mail Online a couple of weeks ago inspired this week’s post.  It was called ‘Why crash diets may be GOOD for you. New research turns accepted dieting wisdom on its head’.  I personally would LOVE to know where the wisdom is, if someone can help out then please do!  This is due to a recent study in Australia that claims “rapid weight loss was more effective in the short term than a gradual, sustained approach”.  That’s great but not everyone wants a ‘short-term fix’ some of us are in it for the long haul; what about us?  I may not be a slim Jim yet but I am getting there.  Ever heard ‘slowly slowly catchy monkey’? Well it’s right.  It’s not just about losing weight it’s changing my lifestyle, finding who I am and just generally becoming happier, that’s not going to sort itself out with a quick short term fix.  It is a relief that I am not the only one who does not agree with this article judging by the comments from other people.  Two of my favourite ones because I stand by both of them completely are:

The thing that annoys me most about the topic of weight loss is that people are always looking for quick fixes and want to lose weight ASAP! Ignore the latest ‘diet fad’, stop popping pills that claim to ‘speed up your metabolism and burn fat’ and eat healthily and get off your bum and do some exercise! The results will be gradual but sustainable in the long run. It’s not rocket science but we are so lazy these days people aren’t prepared to work hard for the results they want!”

 &

 “The problem with any form of quick fix crash weight diet is that they are still only addressing the symptoms of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle rather than the problems causing it. You can make sustainable long term weight losses and improve your health if you are prepared to make the long term changes that are needed. I would not advocate any meal replacement powder, juice, or whatever, whether it’s the Cambridge diet or Herbalife, save your money- unless you prefer eating artificial meals over real food, and are able to make the necessary adjustments to your diet (and stick to them) after the diet ends.”

This article can’t make its mind up.  If you read it, it appears to be pro rapid weight loss and against it.  I’m glad that I am not the only one that seems to spot this as one of the comments say “The Daily Mail’s health reporting is a confused mish mash of conflicting advice”.  At one point it states that a Professor Finer believes the answer lies in appetite-suppressing drugs to help with weight loss maintenance once someone has slimmed down through diet.  Pills for life once I’ve made the achievement of losing weight great way to celebrate and boost confidence!

Speaking with other people about this topic you realise a lot of people want this short term solution for a wedding, holiday, party etc. which I can understand but, what I can’t understand is why they would put their bodies through it over and over again when they can make the effort to change their lifestyle and diet habits now and not have to bother with the latest craze when a special occasion arises.  I personally feel it’s because people can’t be bothered to put in the effort or it could be they don’t know where to start.  I will admit it is hard to get started when you don’t have a jar of glue about nutrition and what you read on the internet or in a book / magazine can be confusing and conflicting but this is why I have started this blog; to help people in this situation as I have been there myself!

Again the real answer is just eating right, if you changed your lifestyle around who’s to say the weight will come back on.  I’m slowly losing weight but none of it is returning – even though I do have my “fat” days where I feel like a blimp – and I intend to keep it that way.  Crash diets to me are just the lazy option.  The people who want change but cannot be bothered working for it – get off your backside and stop encouraging other people to do the same!

See you next week! 🙂 x

 

What Works For Me

You might want to get yourself a cuppa for this one!

This is just completely my opinion, what works for me might not work for you but it might help give you some ideas.  I had to work really hard to train my body to eat 3 meals a day which I now find really easy along with snacks to keep me going.  I will list at the bottom some varieties I have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, not all though because as if this isn’t long enough already!

What I eat is the most important thing for me to focus on.  Doesn’t matter how much exercise you do, nutrition plays a massive part in keeping healthy, fit and losing weight.  I can’t see Jessica Ennis living on salad everyday of her life can you?  Now I know I don’t have any qualifications in the topic (yet! I have just started an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor course) but as I said at the start it’s completely my opinion and in my opinion everyone is different and require different amounts of protein, fats, carbs etc.  Eating chicken and broccoli might seem great for the hench fella at the gym but does it work for you?

I started with writing a food diary every week and sending it to my trainer.  On days where I didn’t feel great or lacked energy we looked at the food I ate on them days and tried to spot a pattern.  I found that eating bread, pasta etc. made me feel really bloated and tired.  I’ve put this down to not being able to eat a lot of carbs and gluten.  So I stopped – I occasionally have pasta but not often as it’s nice to change it up a bit.  Once I started spotting these patterns it was easier to build a meal plan around these issues.  I would recommend starting a food diary to anyone as it helps monitor what you are eating and how it affects you whether it’s good or bad.

What to eat for breakfast wasn’t a big issue at first it was more eating breakfast.  It’s the most important meal of the day and I would skip every day and wait until lunch or even dinner to eat.  I started off small with a piece or two of fruit and worked my way up to fish, yoghurt and chocolate muffins – yum!

Due to where I work I found lunch difficult to mix up as I am only allowed fish or kosher meat.  I started off with tuna salad every day for lunch and felt like I was going to turn into a lettuce.  I started trying different fish and eating it with cous cous, stir-fry, veg, sweet potato mash and rice.  I became more creative with my food and made stuffed peppers / mushrooms.  I still find it a bit hard to come up with something different but I like to try new recipes which keep me going.

Dinner – favourite meal of the dayJ – was the easiest for me to think of unless my mind went blank but luckily my trainer was just a text away!  This is where I tend to eat the most veg as I hate eating it cold for lunch and I get to treat myself to proper meat (chicken, steak etc).  At the moment I am obsessed with sweet potato wedges, I absolutely love them so I have them pretty much every day.

Since changing my lifestyle I have noticed a lot of changes to my appetite, mood, energy levels, and mentality.  My appetite has increased massively and I find myself trying new things more often.  This has also helped my energy levels as well as drinking as much water as I can which I’ll admit isn’t a lot but I’m trying every day to increase my water intake.  I’m a lot more positive about things and don’t get upset / stressed over the little things anymore; I am able to shake it off *cue Taylor Swift lyrics popping into your head*.  I really enjoy my workouts and feeling the pain the next day, you know you’ve done something right when you can’t walk up / down the stairs without looking like you’ve had an accident in your pants.

Some varieties of what I have to eat:

Breakfast:

  • Yoghurt with fruit, oatcake / protein bar (my uncle makes smashing protein bars, take a bow ginge!)
  • Fish with asparagus
  • Chocolate muggins (and before the grammar police correct me I mean muggins not muffins as they are made in a mug)
  • Boiled or scrambled eggs

Lunch:

  • Fish (mainly white or salmon) with cous cous, stir-fry, rice, asparagus, boiled eggs.
  • Stir-fry
  • Stuffed peppers or mushrooms
  • Tuna pasta

    With the majority of my lunches I add some protein from beans (kidney beans, butter beans, white kidney beans or chilli beans).

Dinner:

  • Steak / chicken / fish with veg, sweet potato wedges, rice noodles, stuffed mushrooms
  • Tuna / chicken pasta
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Pea & ham soup (Nans is the best)
  • Scouse (can’t go wrong!)

Dinner just depends on what I feel like eating when I get home.

Snacks:

  • Humous with rivita, carrot sticks, peppers
  • Almonds
  • Fruit
  • Oatcakes with peanut butter, banana or both

Above are just some examples for a general picture.  The best thing to do is plan what to eat and to know what is available in your fridge, freezer and cupboard.  I plan my meals for the week every weekend as this is when I tend to go shopping so I need a list of what to get or I’ll forget – memory like a sieve I swear.

I hope this can help some of you but if would like to know anything more you can always contact me.

Nicole 🙂 x

Where I Am Now & What I Want To Achieve

Two-parter!

Where am I?  I would say I am probably at the half-way mark or just before.  I still feel I have come a looong way from the girl that wouldn’t go outside her own front door to the girl that leaps out in such a majestic fashion! (You know you have done it at least once!)

I can honestly say that I am much happier now and so far I have dropped 2 – 3 dress sizes.  I’ve never been one size; I’ve always been in between sizes which is a MASSIVE pain.  This whole thing hasn’t been easy and I’ve had my downfalls and setbacks along the way but who hasn’t?  Making mistakes, learning from them and getting back up again makes us human, how else are we supposed to learn?

Now this may not seem like a big step to you but for the people who know me or can relate to my situation will understand; I have recently joined a gym.  Rewind back 15 months or so and that would have been my worst nightmare, working out in front of a lot of people in a small space was my idea of hell however, I now feel confident enough to strut my stuff and face the juiceheads in vest tops!

In the end I want to drop a couple more dress sizes and just generally become fitter.  I enjoy training with my trainer and doing the workouts at home.  I have set myself little goals to achieve along the way to help.  The first thing I have done this year is give up chocolate mad I know! It’s actually a competition between me and my manager to see who can go the longest and we both ate our last chocolate just before midnight on New Year’s Eve (my choice was a Ferrero Rocher…heaven).  I haven’t missed it at all and as we have come to a mutual agreement that raw cacao powder is too good for you so we should have it I don’t need to, brilliant – chocolate muffins and protein bars here we come!  I’m not claiming to be perfect and say I eat brilliantly and work out every day as it’s still a working progress but the whole point of this is too get better, fitter and increase my knowledge.  If I can help someone along the way then even better!

Progress

This is my progress picture (kind of).  The first picture was taken in 2012 at my Dad’s wedding. I look back on these pictures and absolutely hate the way I looked.  The second was taken at my cousin’s 18th in 2013 and the same goes for those pictures.  The last picture was taken in February this year and is the most recent picture I could find of myself to compare. This is an achievement for me and I can say I am proud of where I am now.

I’m going to go back to the first paragraph to finish off with a bit of advice:

Never let anyone define you by your mistakes; define yourself by your achievements no matter how big or small – you could have just gone for a small 30 minute walk or ran a marathon who cares, you have done something that’s what matters.  I personally find making small changes to your diet and lifestyle makes it easier for the big changes to occur.  It’s getting the routine into your head so it’s no longer something you have to do it’s just something you do.

Nicole 🙂 x

The Beginning

I was never slim growing up but in Primary School I really enjoyed sports and P.E. and got involved where I could, from joining the school football team to putting my Head Girl badge to use and creating girls’ football – a chance for the girls to play football without the boys every Friday which ended up like a real match with the boys lined up all around watching, shouting and cheering.  When I started High School it really knocked my confidence and I became quiet and really self-conscious.  It got worse and worse to the point I found it hard to go outside my front door and felt I could no longer attend school – so I dropped out.  I somehow managed to still do my GCSEs and passed but then I was stuck, I wasn’t doing anything and I had no next steps, what do I do now? I applied for college and I got a place but I still wasn’t ready and couldn’t accept it.

It took me a while to slap myself in the face and pull myself together but eventually I done it.  I took myself off to connexions for guidance on what to do.  I ended up on an apprenticeship and got a job in October 2012.  This lasted until January 2013 and I left the training company I was with as I didn’t feel they were right for me.  I then fell back into the same rut, what do I do now?

In June I took myself back to connexions and explained the situation.  They told me about a different training company and about the interviews they were holding the following week.  We spoke to them and I attended the interview.  I gained a place on the apprenticeship and started attending interviews for work placements.

I had started my first official job in the September 2013 and was still suffering with feeling self-conscious – I had been for the majority of my life, it was the one thing that would hold me back and stop me from being myself.  My manager in work would talk about her Personal Trainer and the marathons she had ran and I would think “I need one of those, I want that” so in November I went online and searched for a few Personal Trainers / boot camps / etc. and emailed the ones I liked the look or sound of.  I got replies from all of them but none of them grabbed my attention. Then I got that one reply that changed EVERYTHING…

The tone of her email was friendly and she was informative, just what I needed!  We arranged a consultation to discuss the formalities, what I wanted and to assess my fitness levels.  As soon as I seen her standing at my door (I was late as I was picking up a new phone) I knew this was going to be permanent and I would be able to train with her.  And I was right.

Since then she has become my trainer & friend and has listened to my weekly rants!  I’ve learned most of my knowledge from her and I am grateful for everything as without her I wouldn’t be where I am now, obviously it’s taken a lot of hard work on my behalf too but I wouldn’t have known where to start.  I’m blessed to have been surrounded by amazing people who have also helped me along the way.

So that’s pretty much it!  That is how this journey began, there are probably more little details that I’ve missed out that I don’t need to delve into but if you would like to know more or just possibly need someone to rant / talk to please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Bye for now 🙂 x