So, why am I STILL blabbing on about my new year’s resolutions when it’s February?
…because I am STILL sticking to them and am determined to continue to do so! Also, I figure if I share my journey of chasing my goals, maybe I can give you ideas to help you achieve your’s. Maybe, you’ll even feel less alone as I share the honest truth of my ups and downs on my road to success. If you’ve fallen off the bandwagon of your resolutions already, and trust me I’ve done it many times in the past, maybe this post will encourage you to pick yourself up and try again (bonus points to you if that awesome Aaliyah song is now stuck in your head.) It’d be an honour if this post helps you in any way.
In this post I’m going to share the changes I’ve made in my life which I’m hoping will help me achieve one of my biggest goals for the year – to lose weight and tone up so I feel better in my own skin and like how I look in photos more. As someone whose weight has fluctuated A LOT ever since hitting puberty, I know what is takes for me to stay slim. It’s the very basic principle of eating less (especially when it comes to junk food) and exercising more. When life gets busy, I get lazy and before I know it I’m madly untagging Facebook photos where my [insert body part here] looks big. As I mentioned in my 2015 resolutions post, I utterly exhausted myself in 2014 so I got super lazy when it came to health and fitness. I’ve spent my summer break putting some simple new habits in place which should keep me on track when life gets busy again. Here they are in no particular order:
- Preparing a weekly Menu Plan, Food Preparation Schedule and Shopping List every Sunday before doing the groceries.
As Ashy Bines (and Benjamin Franklin, as Google taught me) says (or said in Franklin’s case), “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” and I couldn’t agree more. You know what it’s like, you get home from work after a crazy day and inspect the dinner options in the fridge. You have no defrosted protein options and nothing but a lone, squishy zucchini greets you in the vegetable compartment. Suddenly take away seems like the best option. Or, you’ve finished dinner and feel like something sweet. Luckily your house is full of chocolate/chips/ice cream and you eat until you’re stuffed while watching a ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ marathon. To avoid these moments of weakness YOU HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR THEM and have healthier, easy and delicious options at-the-ready. This is why I plan my meals at the start of the week. Sure, it takes the spontaneity out of life a little, but the time and money I save is oh so satisfying.
An example of a past weekly meal plan
It’s very easy to create a table in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages with the days of the week listed down the side and meals/snacks listed across the top. Apple Numbers even has an awesome Meal Planner template where you can just fill in the blanks (pictured above.) Every Sunday afternoon I find the time to sit down with this template open; a list of the protein, veggies and fruit currently in my fridge, freezer and pantry; and my iPhone with a Shopping List app open.
Variety is the spice of life so I am constantly looking for new healthy meal and snack options. Some of my favourite recourses for finding new recipes are:
- Ashy Bines Clean Eating Recipe Book. You can learn more about it here.
- The Healthy Chef Website.
- Organise Yourself Skinny Website.
- The Body and Soul lift-out in the Sunday Herald Sun
- Google! Seriously! Put the word ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ before any of your favourite meals, click search and you’ll find someone has probably already posted a recipe for it.
I make sure I also have my recipes on the table or computer screen so any items I don’t have in the fridge, freezer or pantry can go straight onto my shopping list. There’s lots of fancy shopping list apps out there but I love ‘ShopShop’ because it was free and by tapping the screen you can cross items off as you buy them, which I find just as satisfying as crossing items off a good old-fashioned paper list. I never leave my house without my phone so switching to a shopping list app has prevented the frustration of leaving my list at home and forgetting half of it.
Eating healthy can be tough because using fresh ingredients usually involves a lot of preparation such as defrosting meat and chopping-up vegetables. This is why I look at my weekly schedule (which for me is in my iPhone calander) and work out the days when I have time for prep and when I haven’t. I make a list of the prep I need to do each day. For example, preparing two dinners on one night because I know I won’t have time the following night or chopping-up certain vegetables the night before a long work day. Living this way can be tiring but it will keep me on track and away from the temptation of take away after a long day of work.
As soon as I have finished my Menu Plan and Meal Preparation Schedule, I print them out and stick them on the fridge so I can check them whenever I need too. Also, having them on the fridge makes me feel INCREDIBLY guilty if I slip-up and I’m determined to follow the plan for the next meal or the next day.
It is important to know your food weakness or regular cravings and organise healthier options as part of your food preparation schedule. For me, I have a massive sweet tooth, so I make healthy muesli bars and muffins and always have a jar of Stevia Hot Chocolate on standby.
- Allowing myself cheat/treat meals
I refuse to live the rest of my life feeling deprived and tempted to binge eat, so I schedule my cheat meals in advance and savour every bite. Scheduling my treats insures that I don’t overdo it or try to sneak them in every day.
I’m sure you’ve heard of all the benefits of staying well-hydrated so I won’t list them all here. I make sure that I drink two to three litres of water a day and I carry a reusable BPA free drink bottle wherever I go. I also believe in the power of Alkaline Water and I love my Kangen Water machine. You can learn more about Kangen Water here.
- Scheduling workouts as if they are appointments
We all live busy lives and personally, if an event isn’t in my iCal (iPhone calander), it doesn’t exist. Why should workouts be any different? I’ve created workout events in my iCal which repeat weekly and set alert alarms for one hour before. I also include a short description of what I’ll be doing at the gym in each iCal event so I have a plan of attack and use my workout time effectively.
For me, the trickiest part of scheduling my workouts was figuring out when I can realistically get to the gym. If you’re thinking of setting time apart on the same days/times each week for your workouts, you need to have an honest conversation with yourself. Make sure you at least ask yourself the following questions (feel free to swap the word gym for park, bootcamp, lounge room, backyard, or wherever it is you work out):
- At what time of the day do I enjoy working out the most?
- Can I fit in a workout at that time of day (including travel time)? If not, when is the next best time that I can fit a workout in?
- Will I need to go to school/work/uni straight from the gym and am I comfortable doing that?
- What do I need to bring to the gym so I can go straight to school/work/uni? (Clothes, towel, toiletries, lunch, books etc.)
- How will this affect my morning/afternoon/evening routine? How will I need to shuffle other activities?
- How many times do I want to/can I workout? Which day will be my rest day?
If you find this list a little crazy, that’s cool, maybe I am a little crazy! BUT, I have failed at getting to the gym SO MANY TIMES and some of the reasons why were due to crappy scheduling. I know myself better now and I know that my workouts need to be in the morning or early afternoon so I’m not too tired to enjoy them and, with my current work schedule, I don’t deal well with getting-up before 6.30am. I also can’t stand showering and getting changed at the gym, so I need to allow time to go home and get ready for work. My schedule is working well for me so far, so give my crazy questionnaire a go. Give yourself no room for excuses to skip a workout. Honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to self-talk.
- Surrounding myself with inspiration and fitspiration
Find a motivational quote that cliques with you, or an image of your dream body type (make sure it’s a realistic goal ie. if you’re short, you’ll never wake up with legs that go for days no matter how hard you workout and eat well; trust me, I’ve tried). Stick this image or quote anywhere that it could motivate you; such as on your fridge, in your wardrobe or set it as your phone and/or computer wallpaper. My fitspo is an image Kourtney Kardashian before babies because she is short and curvy like myself so I feel her body type is a realistic goal. I’ve put a picture of the beautiful celebrity on my fridge; on the box of junk food at the bottom of my cupboard and on the drawer where I keep my gym clothes. Her image reminds me that no matter how much I want to eat that ice cream or chocolate bar or avoid that workout, I want to feel fit and healthy much more. I also follow lots of clean eating, health and exercise pages on social media to ensure my newsfeeds are full of good influences.
Thanks for reading this post about how I’m making my resolution to get fit and healthy a reality. Comment below if you have any other ideas for me, I’m certainly not an expert! I hope I’ve given you some good suggestions on how to tackle your diet and fitness goals.
Till next time,