Sunday, 26 May 2013

HealthyStart: How I changed my diet!

Hey guys :)
Welcome to the first of my new series of posts that will focus on healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, being active and my weight-loss progress!
At the beginning of this year when new years resolutions rolled around (once again), I told myself that I was finally going to start taking my health and fitness seriously and make the resolution stick, unlike most years where come the first of February I throw whatever I have been working on into the 'too hard basket' and start the year feeling unhappy with myself, unfit, and just not the best version of myself that I can be.
This year I am happy to say that things were very different :)
I started this year with the desire to find out the best ways I could take care of my body through healthy eating. This involved me searching the internet and very soon becoming extremely overwhelmed by the amount of different diets advertised and how they were the 'best and most healthy for you'. This lead to a lot of confusion for me as every diet seemed to have its own set of evidence to claim that it was the best. I read about the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, Raw Foodism, Vegetarianism, Veganism, the list stretched on and on and on!
I have followed many diets before - the fat blaster shake diet, celebrity slim rapid shake diet, no carb diet, reverse pyramid diet, taking fat burner pills - all of which left me hungry, cranky, and not loosing any weight! Most of the time, after doing these 'diets' and having them not work I would be SO FRUSTRATED! that I would end up comfort eating and putting ON weight. Not a good or healthy way to be living life!
What I decided to do to get started was get back to the basics.
What kind of foods did I know for sure were good for me? Fruits, Veggies, Fish, Lean Meat, Nuts and healthy fats like coconut oil(in moderation of course!).
What foods did I know where bad for me? Processed foods like chips, lollies and biscuits, diet foods e.g. diet yoghurt, fad diet foods, energy drinks, sugary drinks, maccas!, dairy (full of hormones which aggravates my acne- many people don't believe the two are linked, but you can read up on that for yourselves)
The foods that I noticed as being good for me were all close to their natural state and full of vitamins and healthy natural fibre. They were all bright, fresh and tasty unlike much of the crap I was putting into my body before (McDonalds, Doritos & Pizza Shapes to name a few) which was full of additives, artificial colours & flavours, high GI carbs and full of FAT! I had constantly been feeling tired and run down and it was really no wonder, with my body trying to digest its way through all the rubbish I was piling into it. My acne was terrible, really cystic and inflamed and painful, my hair had no shine to it and was really dry and unmanageable. All these side affects had become a part of my life and I had started to see them as normal. I resigned myself to the fact that I was tired due to my uni/work schedule, my hair must just be 'naturally' limp, dull and dry and my acne must have been solely caused by my polycystic ovaries.
I decided that I was going to train myself to enjoy fresh and natural food again and wean myself off sugar and salt, which were part of almost all my meals in quantities that were far too high. I took to the internet once again, this time not to confuse myself with complicated diets, but to look for recipes and ideas that were filled with these amazing fresh ingredients and were good for my body.
After my first shopping trip, I came back with a huge haul of fresh foods including:
Chilli's and other herbs to flavour my food
Vinegar for making dressings
Other assorted fruit & veg
Green tea
Chicken Breast
Lean Turkey Mince
Coconut Oil
Chia seeds
Healthy, Low gluten and Low calorie bread options - I love mountain bread rye and corn wraps, only 70 cals a piece and you can fit a whole lotta yummy healthy fillings inside them :) !
After coming home and trying most of the fruit and veggies that I once thought I 'didn't like' I realised that I did in fact like them and my dislike was only due to being younger or the way they had been prepared when I ate them! (Fresh/steamed>Boiled til mushy) I began experimenting with wraps, salads and other different ways of preparing these healthy foods together in ways that still tasted amazing. There are literally SO MANY amazing resources out there nowadays for healthy and clean recipes that there is NO WAY people could consider fruit & veggies & other healthy foods to be boring or bland.
No excuses!
I noticed many things start to change after I changed what I ate;
1. My hair! Instead of being limp and dry with an oily scalp, my hair began to regulate itself a lot better, developed a shine and was a lot less frizzy
2. My skin cleared up SO MUCH! Previously I would have constant acne covering my cheeks and under my jawline(it sounds gross but its true!)
The one thing I realised through all my failed diets and through this new lifestyle change is that the pressure from other people will never keep you motivated to continue, nor will expected quick results, expecting things to be simple and easy, or expecting that once you have gotten to your goal weight you can just stop and go back to your old lifestyle. It just WILL NOT WORK!
You need to be very realistic when you start a new lifestyle like this - which means expecting setbacks, knowing it won't be easy, taking your time! I know that every now and then I am going to cave and have something I love like a cupcake, and that is okay as long as I keep on track the other 95% of the time :) Something else really helped me was writing down my goals and why I wanted to change how I ate and exercised, and why it was important to me. I also took progress pictures before I started so I could measure my results, it is extremely rewarding when you are taking weekly progress pictures to see how your body is changing :) you can notice changes that you may not notice by quickly looking at yourself in the mirror every day.
I knew that to change my body, I needed to adopt healthy exercising habits as well. I had been through the period of uni break over summer where I went out to eat with my friends all the time and spent most of my remaining time lying on the couch, catching up on movies and tv shows. This of course is what contributed to my weight gain so I knew this had to change!
I had joined the gym the year previously, but had only stuck with it for a couple of months due to the fact that all I did when I went was walk/run on the treadmill, or go on the elliptical machine. I thought that weights were 'just for guys' and that they would give my already pretty up and down frame more bulk and make me look manly.
This time I'm taking a totally different approach. Instead of walking on the treadmill for half an hour and burning maybe 200 calories, I ramp up the incline and jog, as well as doing HIIT cardio - where I will walk at a moderate pace for 2-3 minutes, then run hard for 5 minutes, repeating these intervals which allows me to burn 400 calories in 1/2 an hour - doubling the effectiveness of my 1/2 hr spent on the treadmill. I am also including weights into my routine using both dumbbells, barbells and machines.
I now go to the gym 4-6 times a week, depending on how busy my schedule is and how my body is feeling :) 5 months on and I have managed to keep this up! Now I enjoy going to the gym and enjoy the feeling after I have worked out hard because I know pushing myself is going to get me the results I want and a body I am happy with :)

Now I have my health and diet under control, I feel so much better. I have realised through all this that it takes an inner motivation to be healthy to keep up a healthy lifestyle. As I mentioned, many times I had tried 'quick fixes' and crash diets to bring my weight under control, but ended up feeling sick and miserable. I realised that to truly look after yourself and keep healthy, it is important to fuel yourself with healthy foods to have the energy to be active in life.

I wanted to write this post to try and help motivate others to make some healthy choices for their lifestyle. After posting some of my workouts onto my instagram, I found that instagram has a fantastic 'fitspo' community full of motivating and supportive people helping encourage each other to reach their lifestyle and fitness goals. It definitely was motivating for me to receive positive, encouraging comments on my photos and I really want to help encourage the same kind of community in my social networks like here on my blog! If I can motivate even one person or help to encourage someone to make their lifestyle healthier then that would be fantastic for me!

I would love to hear you guys sharing your opinions on what kind of healthy lifestyle/exercise posts you would like to see from me in this healthystart series, since my aim is to share and motivate all my blog readers! So far I have planned some nutrition plan reviews and recommendations, as well as posts with my favourite workouts and healthy recipes. Let me know what you guys think! :)

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