I have had quite a few messages lately asking the type of food that I eat to stay in shape and how I maintain my diet, as to quote a few of my friends “because you definitely eat girl”. And they’re right, I do. I love food.
Firstly I just want to clarify a few things upfront. I am not a nutritionist or expert, and anything said in this blog is purely based on my own opinion and experience.
Fitness and nutrition is a marathon, not a sprint
So I’m sure you’ve read a number of blogs and articles that talk about fitness and nutrition being a journey rather than a destination. Before you eye roll into next week and hit the x in the top right, bear with me. As I used to think it was a load of rubbish too, but I have to admit there is some truth in it!
I won’t beat around the bush here. Cutting entire food groups and embarking on fad diets, doesn’t work long term. Sure you might lose weight at first by cutting calories, you’ll also probably feel tired, lethargic, grumpy, be prone to breakouts and feel pretty low on energy too. But who cares right, as long as you drop a few pounds? Fast forward a few months, the weight is back on and you feel like you’ve failed, yet again
Been there done that, got the bloody T-Shirt
I know because I’ve been there – I spoke briefly about those new years resolutions I’ve made in the past, cutting sugar, banning carbs etc and it’s just not sustainable. It was actually when I was in therapy for anxiety and depression that I learnt a lot about how important diet can be for your mental health. Well, I mean it figures that my rollercoaster mood swings weren’t to be helped by surviving on salad and then binging on pick a mix and prosecco.
One of my favourite quotes that came from my hun @SophJButler who is a revelation btw – if you’re not following her you absolutely should be. The quote was “you wouldn’t drive a car without any petrol, so why would you try to fuel your body with nothing?”. Which is just about the truest thing I ever read. I feel like growing up, you’re bombarded by picture-perfect celebs and fad diets and it’s SO easy to get wrapped up in calorie deficient diets and what the Love Island crew are living on this week (I can promise you it isn’t detox tea angels).
One of my pet peeves is companies like Bootea, Skinny Coffee, Juice Plus that latch on to young girls insecurities, bolstered by reality stars to promote weight loss. Sure you might lose a bit of weight with the whole laxative effect (god knows what they actually put in these products). But the moment you go back to a normal diet again (bc you can’t live on tea huns) you’re right back where you started. No amount of pyramid scheme sorcery will help you to lose weight and maintain it – the only thing that actually will is a healthy balanced diet.
Carbs are not the enemy
Since the Atkins diet became popular, some years back, the poor old carb was seen as a bit of a pariah. To be avoided at all costs, just like the drunk aunt at parties. I too was guilty of banishing the carb and would avoid bread, pasta and rice like the plague even cutting gluten because of “the bloating”. Newsflash: Unless you have an actual intolerance, it’s probably not the carbs that are making you bloated. Ok if you smash a Domino’s every day it’s not going to do you any favours – but some brown rice or a little pasta with your lunch isn’t going to kill you or “ruin your progress”.
You are what you repeatedly do
You know the phrase – and it stands to reason that if you constantly eat processed sugary foods day in day out, chances are, it’ll show in some way or form. Be it, in energy levels, on your skin, or your body.
Temptation limitation is a big thing for me, I won’t buy fizzy drinks/crisps/biscuits during the week. Because I will eat them just because they’re there, whereas if I’m craving a snack and all I have is strawberries or some nuts, I’ll eat those instead. My metabolism isn’t that of an 18-year-old and yes I workout quite a bit, but diet is equally, if not more important than fitness, its a partnership. One that works best when these two things are in tangent.
Back up lunches are where it’s at
What was it, fail to plan, plan to fail? Another trusty phrase that was drilled into me at uni (that I ignored mostly tbh). But when it comes to planning food for the week, it really really helps to plan ahead. I plan my meals for the week and nearly always bring my lunch to work – so I can’t be tempted with pub lunches or those amazing duck wraps from Pret. I also try not to eat takeaways in the week, I see these as a treat so these are reserved for weekends.
If you’re eating lots of fresh fruit, pulses, protein and healthy fats 95% of the time, why can’t you have the odd chocolate bar or Mcdonalds? I won’t call it a “cheat meal” because I can’t stand the negative connotations that go with it.
Guess what, I eat burgers and chocolate
Yep. If I’m really craving something – I’ll eat it. Life is too short. Personally, I don’t think demonising food groups and not eating certain things for months on end, actually helps at all. Everything in moderation – I can practically see the smug expression on my mums face, as this has always been her top bit of advice.
So what do I typically eat in a day?
- Brekkie: Greek yoghurt (FAGE) with a banana and flaxseed
- Lunch: Quorn chilli or chicken with broccoli and brown rice + half an avocado
- Snack 1: Nuts – I am OBSESSED with the salt and pepper nuts from Tesco, they are divine
- Snack 2: Apple (w/peanut butter) or a protein shake
- Dinner: Chicken stir fry or steak and veggies w/sweet potato mash
- Snack 3: Greek yoghurt (FAGE) with strawberries and peanut butter
I strongly believe that nutrition should be taught in schools, our bodies are where we live and the fact there is still so much talk about food, in terms of calories and syns rather than nutritional value seems a bit crazy to me.
There’s no quick fix to losing weight and maintaining it. I think the main thing I’d like to put across in this post, is just to be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Enjoy your food, get some exercise and where possible make healthy choices. Balance your diet and for lord’s sake don’t feel bad about the odd takeaway or chocolate bar. As my little sister Alex used to always say, YOLO!