What I eat in a week

Hey Everyone! Todays post is a little peek into what I tend to eat as a student on a budget but also as someone who is leading a healthy lifestyle. I am not on a diet in any way (which you’ll be able to see clearly from the food I eat), instead I try to eat healthily with good portion sizes whilst making sure there are some treats in there because yo girl needs something to look forward to otherwise ‘Moody Molly’ makes a reappearance (as my family know too well).

Tuesday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Wednesday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Thursday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Friday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Saturday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Sunday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Monday: Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner

Tuesday (today): Breakfast – Lunch -Dinner is to be decided

Snacks and desserts:

So as you can see there are a lot of repeated meals (mainly avocado on toast which I’ve been LOVING lately if you can’t tell already) because this is not only useful for using up any leftovers but enables me to stay on track of my healthy eating as I form a sort of routine so I know what I’m having and when. This is also so that I can avoid the almighty dangerous stage of starvation where you literally eat everything and anything in sight because you can’t wait/ be bothered to cook anything; you’re that HANGRY (yes thats right hangry, the angry stage of hunger!) Yet this ‘routine’ of eating is not necessarily super strict by any means as you can see from my food diary, I had lunch out on Saturday and I had dinner out at TGI Fridays on Monday. But even though I enjoyed meals out this is not to say that you can’t still be healthy, as at TGI Fridays I opted for a small salad (which I know many people would be like ‘why go out and have a salad? but honestly this salad is A M A Z I N G) and sweet potato fries on the side which is a healthier alternative to having a burger and fries. You see I’m all about making healthIER choices, note the emphasis on ‘IER’ because I’m not about to cut out all the nice sweet treats that give me ultimate satisfaction, because thats not a life that I want to lead. So yes I do have 4 biscuits for dessert (with a glass of milk, whilst feeling like a right little kid) and yes I still have pasta, sausages, popcorn and many other normal foods, because you can eat all that and still be healthy. Its all about MODERATION, the word everyone hates (including me because sometimes I do want to just devour a whole 200g Cadburys bar) but ultimately moderation is key to leading a healthy lifestyle.

10 healthy swaps for the foods you crave

So it’s been a long bank holiday weekend filled with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate thanks to Easter and the joys of Easter eggs. But now the joy of chocolate has subsided and you’re back to work with the harsh reality of knowing how many calories you’ve consumed over the past few days. So you might be thinking right lets start a super strict diet that cuts out all sugars, carbs and basically anything nice. While this might work for some people, this definitely does not work for me as I’ll be really good for about a week or so and then the cravings start to kick in and in the end I just give up, resulting in a massive binge of anything sweet and naughty basically. Then I’m right back where I started in the first place. Instead I prefer to take the more controlled and healthier route while still allowing myself some treats from time to time as I know my body and I know that I can’t live without sweet things. Cravings are my worst enemy so here are a few healthier alternatives to my ultimate mouthwatering foods.

  1. Chocolate for hot chocolate. Now the reason this is number 1 is because chocolate is something that I crave pretty much once a day and I can amazingly trawl through whole 200g bar in one sitting (which isn’t really that amazing now I think about it because it’s not good for my body). So instead of devouring a whole bar of chocolate I get my chocolate fix with a hot chocolate instead as they contain a lot less calories but you still get to taste that chocolatey goodness.

2.  Ice cream for frozen yoghurt. Everyone has the same two best friends in this world and they’re called ‘Ben’ and ‘Jerry’. This is the king of all ice creams, the best of the best and they just keep getting better with all their new and exciting yummy flavours. But I’m not here to promote ice cream, instead if you fancy something cold and creamy why not try frozen yoghurt. Frozen yoghurt is a great alternative, there are so many flavours, even chocolate! Just make sure you scoop a reasonable portion into a bowl instead of eating out of the tub because we all know eating out of the tub means finishing the whole tub.

3. Sweets for dried fruit or just fruit. Sweets are something that I never seem to crave but if I come across some then I end up eating and eating until the bag is finished; I simply can’t stop. So to tackle this I introduce to you my favourite snack ever….. DRIED FRUIT and more specifically dried MANGO! I am obsessed with dried mango because it genuinely does taste like sweets without all the added rubbish. Yes I am aware that dried mango and other dried fruits can be a little high in sugar but its a whole lot better than eating an entire bag of Haribo. But if dried fruit isn’t your thing then just simply go for normal fruit instead as this should satisfy your sweet tooth cravings and you know what they say if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple then you’re not hungry at all.

 

4. Crisps for crackers/carrots and salsa dip. If you’re craving crisps then you’re craving something crunchy and perhaps salty, so to overcome this you need something that will fulfil this texture and satisfy your needs. My answer to this is either crackers or carrots dipped in salsa (or without salsa if you prefer). Now the reason behind salsa and not sour cream and chive or any other creamy dip is tomato based dips are a lot better for you than the creamy ones. As for the crackers, I tend to use are either multigrain crackers or melba toasts which are great for that crunchy texture. I usually limit myself to 4 crackers or 1 carrot so that I’m not over dipping.

 

5. Chips for roasted vegetables. This swap is not only a healthier alternative but can be a cheaper alternative too which is always a bonus. Instead of buying frozen chips and wasting more valuable freezer space why not buy a load of veg bung it in the oven to roast with some herbs and olive oil and you got yourself a pretty good healthier alternative. Whether it be broccoli, peppers, onions, sweet potato, butternut squash or carrots, you can chuck practically any vegetable in there. This is also a great way to use up any veg that might be going off and avoid waste. So not only is this healthier and cheaper, it also helps the environment.

6. Pizza for tortilla pizza. I LOVE pizza. Whenever anyone asked me the famous get to know you question of ‘What’s your favourite food?’ My answer would always be pizza and still always is pizza. But unfortunately it isn’t the healthiest thing on the menu so to overcome this and satisfy my pizza needs I make tortilla pizzas which was a household fav when I was at home. All you need is a tortilla wrap (wholemeal is preferred), tomato purée, cheese (low fat or not any at all if preferred) and then any toppings you like.

 

7. Cake for banana oat cakes. If you’re a banana fan then this is the swap for you! There’s nothing complicated about banana oat cakes, its just bananas and oats, mash them together and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes and thats it! (I added chocolate chips to mine which is naughty I know but its all about balance and moderation)

 

8. Biscuits for popcorn. We all know biscuits are one of those snacks where you can’t just have 1 or 2 because it always develops into 4 or 5 until suddenly the whole pack is devoured. To battle this biscuit devouring, swap this for popcorn but be careful not to eat the whole bag of popcorn too. Take a handful or two and pop it into a bowl then put the bag BACK or buy a multipack of popcorn if you don’t trust yourself in the portions department. The propercorn sweet coconut and vanilla is one of my favourite flavours of all time!

 

9. Pancakes for banana oat pancakes. Another swap for you banana lovers. I love bananas they’re so versatile and you can use them as a basis for so many recipes whether they’re ready to eat or ripe, plus they’re pretty cheap. So instead of loaded maple syrup pancakes, why not make a banana oat pancake drizzled with honey and some fruit for toppings. All you need is banana, oats, eggs and baking powder, mix it all up and fry it in a pan until golden brown.

 

10. Burgers for veggie burgers. Last but not least if you don’t want your last meal of the day to be a heavy one then swap your normal burger for a veggie burger. I was always skeptical of vegetarian food before trying vegetarian bean burgers which are honestly so delicious and have a lot more flavour than anticipated. My recent favourite bean burgers are from Morrisons with their spicy bean burgers which kind of taste like a samosa in a weird way but I love them.

 

*Disclaimer. I’m not saying any of these alternatives are the most healthy option but these are healthiER alternatives that work for me and satisfy my cravings. This is always open to interpretation as its just about finding what works for you and your body. We’re all unique so what works for one person may not work for another, just do YOU.

7 step guide to running

Today’s blog post is all about running! My relationship with running is a little bit rocky to say the least… I would say we have a very love hate relationship. But recently I have regained my love for running which is probably due to the emergence of summer weather, especially the lighter nights. I never used to like running or even walking in fact but I first started to gain an avid interest in it when I began to lose weight properly. Now I didn’t just wake up one day and suddenly I was a pro, instead I started off small and ran short distances every other day, about 1-2 miles which isn’t much but it was a starting point to progress from. Then soon enough I started to extend my distances and became a lot quicker in doing so. I would say my running style is more of a long distance runners style as I tend to stick to a comfortable speed and run at a steady pace for a longer period of time instead of short quick bursts like a sprinter. Everyone’s running style is different and unique to them, but I’m going to share with you 7 steps that help me with running. 

1. Track your progress. Tracking your progress is essential if you want to improve your running or fitness as it enables you to monitor how far you are from your goals and serves as a benchmark for your exercise regime. In order to improve and see results you need to push yourself and go beyond your limits which requires knowledge of how you’re currently performing. I find the best way to achieve this is by tracking how far you’ve run, the total duration of running and your average pace. There are two running apps that I use to help me track these variables, one is Runtastic and the other is Nike+Run Club. They’re both excellent apps but I would say Runtastic is better if you want to sync the data with other apps such as Myfitnesspal and you can even plan your routes by drawing on a map.


2. Wear comfortable trainers. Wearing the right trainers is vital when running as you need the appropriate support and comfort levels. I actually went to a place where they get you to run on a treadmill and observe how you run in order to provide you with the best trainers to suit your running style. Something that I didn’t realise is that it is advised to go up a shoe size in trainers because when you run your feet get hot (obviously) and expand meaning that there is slightly more room needed. So I ended up getting a size UK 7 instead of my usual UK 6 in a pair of Sauconys which I would highly recommend to anyone as they are so comfortable and really cushion your feet. 


3. Music. I can’t stand running or exercising for that matter without any music on because when that workout gets tougher I thrive on motivation from my upbeat music. One of my favourite upbeat artists to listen to is Sigala especially his song Give me your love as there’s such a good beat in the background to run to. Also I tend to listen to music whilst I’m getting ready to go for a run as this gets me pumped up and in the mood to go and kick it!


4. Plan you route beforehand. Just like you would plan your exercises at the gym I would strongly advise planning your running route as well. For me, the worst thing is not knowing where I’m going or when the run is going to end as this serves as a definite demotivator and doesn’t end well. Just like in the film Run fat boy run when the guy is running the marathon and hits the ‘runners wall’, this is me half way through my run wanting to give up if I haven’t planned a route because I can’t see an end to this. You don’t have to physically write down the route, just have it roughly mapped out in your head to avoid the risk of runners block.


5. Stretch. If I’m being truthful I never saw the importance of stretching before or after exercising but oh have times changed and now I see what people mean. I used to just get up and go out for runs without stretching but that really isn’t good for your bones or your body in general. So to avoid clicky knees and ankles I spend roughly 5-10 mins stretching before and after my runs. It’s nothing too strenuous or difficult, just waking up my muscles ready for the high impact that comes with running. 


6. Mind over matter. Just like I mentioned with runners block, a lot of the time the key to succes with running or any exercise is maintaining a positive and motivated mental state. I went for a run the other day and throughout the whole run I was putting myself down, constantly worried about what people were thinking of me and how I looked, which then of course made me want to just give up. But this was wrong of me. If you allow yourself to think these negative thoughts then unfortunately you won’t progress or improve. You mustn’t give in when times get tough and you mustn’t feel paranoid when running. I know it’s hypocritical for me to say this as my run the other day was a classic example of all things negative but I’ve learnt from my mistakes and now embrace it as experience.  


7. Mix things up. It’s important not to get too comfortable in your running routine as you just get used the same route and end up not pushing yourself further. To tackle this I have about 5 different routes that I run and will just pick whichever one I feel like on the day, whether that be a scenic park route or running in the city, it usually depend on my mood. Plus for each of these routes I plan out ways to extend or shorten it, to add to the variety and offer alternatives for when I perhaps haven’t got much time or when I feel like running for longer. 

I hope these steps are useful. I just want to point out that I’m not a running pro but I’ve just found what works for me. This isn’t a rigid guide to running, it’s just a few steps that I’ve learnt along my journey with exercise and it’s always open to interpretation. 

Be True Be You. 

Five steps to being body confident

First of all I need to clear something up here, there is no right or wrong way to be body confident because it’s something that is individual and personal to you. Body confidence is something that I have definitely struggled with in the past and you don’t just suddenly gain it overnight. We’ve all been there when you don’t feel confident enough to wear that  dress because you’re paranoid about your tummy protruding through or that skirt because you don’t like the look of your legs. A lot of body confidence comes with age as you discover your body shape but it also comes from loving yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin. So I’m going to share with you 5 things that I’ve learnt and do to gain body confidence.

1.  Exercise. When I exercise it automatically makes me feel better about myself and so much more confident because I feel great on the inside and outside. Whether that be going for a run, a quick gym session, workout routine at home or just  simply walking it doesn’t matter just as long as its some sort of exercise. Some days I know I need to exercise to function properly as I get into this weird mood where I’m all grump and cranky until I’ve got that heart rate up and muscles pumping.

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2. Selfies. Now I know this sounds rather vein but honestly taking selfies really does help with body confidence and anyway why should it be seen as a crime to take photos of yourself!? But its important to remember that when you take these selfies DO NOT criticise yourself, instead point out the things you like about your body and the things you’re proud of because everyone deserves to be proud of who they are.

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3. Surrounding yourself with supportive, loving people. The people around you and those who influence you are so important in terms of confidence. You need people who lift you up and bring out the best in you, which even applies to people on social media. That’s why on Instagram I follow those who inspire, motivate and educate me. For example one of the accounts I actively follow is the amazing and inspiring @iskra who is an Aerireal role model promoting body confidence and embracing every body shape. If you surround yourself with positivity and confidence then this will radiate through you as well.

4. Learn to appreciate but don’t compare. Now this is something that I have only recently mastered and I admit I still struggle to stick to this sometimes. What I mean by learning to appreciate but don’t compare is that you can appreciate other peoples body shape and appearances but it is important not to compare yourself to them and even worse beat yourself up about the fact that you don’t look like them. We’ve all been there and said ‘Ohhh I wish I looked like her/him’ but I’m here to remind you that every single one of us is unique and our uniqueness should be celebrated and not used to compare or make people feel bad about themselves. Once you stop comparing yourself its amazing what this can do to your confidence levels. Now you might be thinking what about all the things on social media though? Well truth is social media can be both an amazing and dangerous platform but it essentially comes down to how you perceive it and how you allow it to influence you. I allow social media to influence me in a positive way and in turn I aim to project this positivity throughout my social media as well. 

5. Wear and keep clothes that fit you. Now I know this sounds kind of stupid and obvious but you know those pair of jeans that you’ve had for ages and are still a little too small but you don’t want to chuck them out because you might get into them one day… just chuck them out! Trust me I’ve been there with my small clothes hoarding syndrome and its definitely not healthy for you. I kept all my size 8/10 clothes for about a year even though they didn’t fit me at all, but I realised this was just me desperately trying to cling onto the body shape I used to have and not embracing the body shape I now have. This was wrong as all I would achieve was wasting 5 minutes of my time trying to squeeze my mermaid thighs into my tight fitting jeans which would then lead to me being upset  and feeling rubbish about myself because they don’t go past my knees. Great confidence comes with feeling great in what you wear and more importantly feeling comfortable in it, so get rid of those clothes that no longer fit as hard and sad as it is I know but its got to be done. Just think of it this way it now frees up more room for better clothes that actually fit!

Now this isn’t an extensive list on how to be body confident by any means, it’s just what I’ve found that works for me along my journey with my body so far. To this day I’m still learning and discovering things about myself and my confidence levels. Of course I have my up days and down days just like everyone else does, but this is all part of the learning process. There will probably never be a definitive day when you could say ‘I am totally, 100% body confident’ but this doesn’t mean you don’t love yourself or that you aren’t body confident at all, it just means you are being true to yourself; like my saying goes Be True Be You.