Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Small Changes You Can Make for a Healthier Lifestyle

So let's face it, Winter is pretty much here. Summer is over and so is my summer body, if I ever had one to begin with. It's cold, we all feel like crap and all we want to do is hideaway under a blanket until the sun returns. But deep down I know that doing that will make me feel worse, so instead I'm trying to take baby steps to be healthy, positive and get some happy endorphins flowing.

By no means am I a health expert or someone that spends hours at the gym each day or cuts out gluten, dairy, meat, sugar or any kind of other fun stuff from my diet. I've been lucky to get away with being naturally slim my whole life so I never saw the point in making an effort to eat healthy or exercise - why eat a carrot instead of a chocolate bar when chocolate won't make any difference to my weight?- but then I recently realised how unhealthy I was starting to become. Firstly, my skin was terrible, I was constantly bloated because of my poor diet and I could rarely concentrate at work and felt sluggish during the day. Changing this didn't mean a complete overhaul of my lifestyle, but just small tweaks that had a great effect in the long run...

Get Moving

Exercise doesn't have to be scary and it certainly doesn't have to be something you perceive negatively. Find something you enjoy and stick with it. I prefer working out in groups for motivation and encouragement, which is why I love the WeTrain sessions in London. I've also recently joined The Castle Centre gym, part of Everyone Active, and attend their group fitness classes after work.

If you can't afford a gym membership or find it difficult to slot in classes with your schedule, the best thing you can do is put on your trainers and go outside. Some people hate the idea of running but you don't need to push yourself - just go for a walk and maybe even break out into a jog. I enjoy running but would never class myself as a "runner". Nevertheless, don't be put off by anyone else. I run a few times a week and go entirely at a slow pace but you always feel a million times better for it afterwards.

I also find the best motivation is to set yourself a challenge or sign up to something in the near future and work your way up to it. Next year I will be running the London Winter Run 10k in February. I haven't run a 10k in a LONG time, but knowing I will have to do it in a matter of months is giving me the motivation I need to start preparing for it. 

As part of my preparations I will be attending a run club led by fellow blogger Elle from Keep it SimpElle (you can find out all about the running club here). If you fancy entering the London Winter Run, there will be opportunities to win a space during the run club or if you sign up directly you can get £3 off with the discount code SIMPELLE3

Swap snacks and up the Veggie intake

One of the simplest moves you can make to your diet is to add more vegetables. I recently went to a walk with nutritionist Alice Mackintosh who said your plate should usually be about half vegetables. Even buying bags of frozen peas and peppers and throwing them into my chilli or spag bol when I'm cooking is a great way to get an extra portion of veg.

I love to make smoothies first thing in the morning and you only need a small amount of ingredients for a delicious and healthy smoothie. My favourite is spinach, banana and coconut water. Instead of buying fresh coconut water I recently tried out Coco Minerals from Proto-Col, a powder form of the coconut water drink. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals and you just add a scoop to water to make a rehydrating drink. It is a much cheaper alternative than buying regular coconut water!

Proto-Col also have a supplement called Green Magic which is a powdered fusion of natural super foods, providing you with the nutritional equivalent of seven portions of fruit & veg.

Kick the bad habits

While it's good to treat ourselves once in a while and have 'cheat' meals, it's also important to look at where our bad health habits lie and try to cut them out. Eat chocolate every day? Try to cut it down to a couple of times a week? Rarely cook and opt for takeaways and ready meals? Start planning your meals for the week and set aside time to bulk-cook and prep your meals in advance. Are you a smoker? Try to kick the habit. There is plenty of support available and while you are in the process of giving up a lot of people find vaping is an alternative that helps them to quit. Vapelux is a site to buy e liquids online uk.

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