Mood and Diet

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I haven’t written a blog for a month but I am back now with a new topic – How our mood can effect our diets, mainly focusing on stress and anxiety.

Whatever life we lead, we will at some point suffer from stress. This effects peoples diets in one of two ways:

  1.  You comfort eat or eat your pain away. When taken to the extreme this is classified as an eating disorder and actually a psychiatric condition.
  2. You don’t eat or under eat. Anorexia is the extreme in this case and a well known eating disorder.

Both 1 and 2 have serious effects on your diet whether they are extreme cases or not. Most people would assume that 1 is far worse than 2 (when thinking about your weight) but that is not necessarily true.

When you are in a good mood you often feel motivated and unstoppable. The more you do the more you can do. You see results, you’re excited to get back to the gym and push yourself. It is a positive cycle, you push yourself to do good and so you achieve good.

When you are in a bad mood you need to try and stop the negative cycle. The less you do, the less you can do. A week eating badly has a knock on effect and the impact can last a lot longer than anticipated.

We all have unique lives and at some point we may all suffer from one of the below:

  • Relationship problems – breakup, divorce, arguments
  • Money worries
  • Exams
  • Work stress
  • Family problems

My personal experience:

When very stressed I can get so absorbed and involved with the issue at hand that I actually forget to eat. As I have trained myself to work out at least 4 times a week and it is now habit but this means I have to be very careful. You should not go to the gym if you are not eating properly. It can be very dangerous causing muscle waste and can lead to weakness and passing out. The immediate effect will be that you loose weight and for some this might seem like a quick way to achieve your goal. Please take note that this will not last, you will not be able to exercise properly, in the long term it is not realistic, you will be skinny but not fit and most likely in a few weeks time over eat to compensate having the opposite effect.

This is why it is so important to focus on health instead of the focus being vanity – looks and weight loss. What is the point of looking fantastic if you don’t feel fantastic. To be honest this isn’t really possible anyway as when you loose weight in the wrong way you often look ill, your skin suffers, you are not toned and look gaunt in the face and I am certain this is no ones goal.

Try and use these difficult times and turn them into something positive. Remember god will only put you in situations that you can handle and they are there to make you stronger. If you are eating properly you can release the stress in the gym and turn those negative feelings into positive ones as when you work out you release endorphins (feel good hormones). Whenever I am down I head to the gym, have a really intense session and often feel great afterwards. I use the gym as a place of therapy and happiness.

Whatever is consuming you don’t let it get in the way of your goals, it simply isn’t worth it.

Just chill like this cat 😉

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Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

 

 

 

Sweatlife Festival 2017

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On Saturday I attended The Sweatlife Festival in Tobacco Docks. It is a large health and fitness event that had many of the famous workout studios attend. It is a great place to go and give classes a try before you buy. You also get the opportunity to pick up some free class tokens for the real thing if your lucky.

The full list of attendees can be found here – https://thesweatlife.co.uk/whats-going-on/

Ticket cost is £30 per person, I found this to be quite reasonable as just one of these classes alone can cost on average £20 so if you do two you have already made your money back.

I was lucky enough to get myself some free tokens for Kobox, Un1t and Psycle and I will most definitely try them all so look out for the reviews to follow.

It was a very good event for trying classes as there were so many choose from throughout the day, however there was very little food and equipment wise. I was very excited to have the opportunity to try new foods, learn about different health supplements, shakes and unfortunately this wasn’t possible. There was also a very limited choice of food,  many of which were not particularly healthy options so we left to get something to eat outside of the venue, which was a shame.

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I attended a yoga class by Helen Russle Clarke. The room where we did this was very large and the class itself was almost full. Despite the venue being extremely busy and all the comings and going of the event you were still able to switch off and enjoy the class. It was a good 45 minute session that involved lots of core strength training. I really enjoyed the class but I would say that if you are not a regular in yoga it can be a bit difficult as Helen directs you using the proper yoga names of poses which not everyone is familiar with. I can imagine normally, in a smaller class this wouldn’t be a problem, but when the class is very large it can be difficult to see how to get into each pose safely and in the correct way.

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All in all it was a great day out but the event does need some improvement.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

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The Facts about Fruits

Most people believe that fruit is super healthy and if you eat as much as possible of it, you are bound to loose weight and are a super healthy individual. The truth is, it is both healthy and unhealthy and everything in moderation is alright. Fruit contains plenty of fiber, minerals and vitamins that are really beneficial in any diet but most fruits contain a very high sugar content. Too much sugar, no matter where it comes from can seriously impact your weight, health and physical appearance.

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If you are anything like me and love fruit it would be impossible to cut this out of your diet and also quite inadvisable. Despite the sugar content, you do not want to miss out on key nutrients and we all need a bit of natural sugar to keep us going. I would recommend that most fruit is consumed before 12 o clock when your digestive system and metabolism is most active. I would also recommend that if you follow the ‘5 a day’ rule, which is actually now ’10 a day’ that more than 50% of this is vegetables.

Please believe me when I say, you could be the healthiest person and not eat one bite of processed food but if you are eating too much fruit you can still gain weight!

There is a saying that if you eat certain fruits they burn calories. You cannot eat a piece of chocolate cake and then eat 5 grapefruits and hope that this will counteract the cake. The fruits below have certain enzyme qualities that speed up and assist the way we break down food. This allows your metabolism to work at its optimum rate. These fruits are best consumed after a large meal:

  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Berries
  • Papaya

Fruits that are best avoided or eaten least often due to very high sugar content are:

  • Cherries
  • Pomegranate
  • Grapes
  • Mangos
  • Figs

This is only  based on sugar content and each one of these fruits do have their own qualities and benefits.

Bananas actually contain the most amount of sugar and are high in carbs but these provide a lot of healthy energy in the morning. I would not recommend having a banana in the evening and certainly no more than one per day. The trick to consume less sugar is to eat bananas before they are dark yellow, the yellower they are the more sugar they contain. This is why dried fruit contains so much sugar  – the riper the fruit the more sugar it contains, (stay away).

The facts broken down:

Apples – We have all heard the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and it is some what true. It reduces the risk of lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer, especially the red apples.

Bananas – contain  a lot of potassium which helps with good nerve and muscle function.

Blackberries and Blueberries – contain many antioxidants, these help prevent cancer, and studies have shown the blackberry extract to assist with curing lung cancers.

Peaches – Very high in vitamin A, this helps to boost our immune systems and fights off disease and infection.

Raspberries – These contain various acids that help protect you from contracting cervical cancer and consuming them regularly can help cure colon and esophageal cancers.

The list of benefits continues and you can find our more information in this artical I found on Canada Living – http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/article/the-top-25-healthy-fruits-blueberries-apples-cherries-bananas-and-21-more-healthy-picks

Please do not be fooled by juice bars, natural juices and dried fruit as these are extremely high in sugar and shout be completed removed from any healthy diet. This will protect your weight and your teeth.

Just remember everything should be consumed in moderation and this is just a guideline to make you more mindful when choosing your healthy snack.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

First Workout

Firstly I want to say congratulations as you have completed the first hurdle. You have got past the ‘I should loose weight’ or ‘I should make a change’ to ‘I am going to make a change’. So many of us sit on our sofas complaining about being over weight, tired, or not looking that person on Love Island but what are we actually doing about it?

When you have decided you are going to do something about it, that is fantastic but there are many hurdles ahead. On my first day going to the gym I felt like I didn’t belong there at all and had very little confidence. I didn’t think that I fitted in as I didn’t know how all the machines work, I wasn’t physically fit, and simply felt like everyone was thinking ‘what is she even doing here’. Now I am a regular at the gym and I can guarantee that no one is thinking these things, in fact they probably don’t even notice you because they are too wrapped up in their own workout and fitness regime. Everyone in the gym has one thing in common, they are there to better themselves and we all respect each other for that no matter what stage of the journey you are at.

Despite me preaching this to you I know it can still be very intimidating and a way to build your confidence is to start off with home workouts. With the internet there are so many youtube workouts that are accessible for free and many require no equipment. I would suggest purchasing some dumbbells to help you out and prepare you for the gym but that is a matter of choice as there are so many very effective body weight workouts available to you.

I used to do 4 – 5 HIIT workouts a week. This was very time effective as you only need to workout 30 minutes a day. It also increases your fitness level and you can learn new exercises and practice technique within the privacy of your own home. You can stop and start the sessions at any point and you don’t need to worry about being out of breath and doing things wrong. I worked out at home for a good 2 months before actually entering the gym and when I finally got to the gym I had a good understanding of what I needed to do and the confidence that what I was doing works.

Most people feel the greatest confidence when on the treadmill. Please do not spend hours on this, in fact 20 minutes is more then enough. When in the gym focus on weights and bodyweight exercises in order to see changes in the shortest amount of time. I would say 90% of the time spent in the gym should be completely away from all machines. Why use a machine to assist you when you body can do the work itself? Especially women, but also men do not need to lifting weight that your own body cannot support itself.

The most effective and simple exercises to start off with are listed below:

  • Walking up hill on the treadmill
  • Interval sprints
  • squats
  • Lunges
  • Press ups
  • Crunches
  • Bent over row

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After mastering these you can do more advanced training and exercise. Isolate muscle groups on certain days of the week and see your results improve even faster.

Keep motivated and don’t give up, you will get there as the method never fails if you have determination.

Instagram – Keziakco

xxx

 

Treats

The question on most dieters minds is when are they going to get to enjoy the food they loved so much before their diet began. On what day can I have that slice of cake? How much ‘bad’ food can I have without ruining all the progress I’ve made?

There are many options for people to follow and advice all over the internet. Please take extra caution when following this information as it varies. It is dependant on what you want to achieve, how quickly you want to achieve it and what you see as enjoying a treat.

As I promote this as a lifestyle and not a diet it is crucial that  you are not waiting for a treat day every week and seeing food as a reward. This ultimately ruins everything you worked for as this mindset is keeping you in your fat and unhealthy ways. Sugary, fatty and synthetic foods are not a reward and you simply setting yourself up for failure and not to mention, harming your body in the process.

We are all human and of course it is not realistic to go through life without indulging in what we most enjoy and for most of us we all have that favourite food that is not on the diet plan. When dieting it is evident that the majority of days in your life will be on plan and avoid unhealthy choices, the so limited days where you do eat what you enjoy, please do not waste this opportunity. Many of us snack when we are hungry and select the easiest option – crisps, sweets, cake (you name it). When you are starving you do not think about what you are eating and often do not enjoy it. Why waste a treat when you are unable to enjoy it. In order to avoid this meal prep is essential as this means healthy options are never out of reach.

When I have a treat I make it count. I save it for a celebration like a birthday, wedding, holiday, special restaurant, or when baking something. For example, last summer I worked really hard but when I knew all my holidays were over and I had a day off from work I ordered a pizza and I have to say it was a great feeling. This was one greatly appreciated treat meal after 3 months of low carbs, exercise and no treats. Not only did it taste better than ever but it was almost guilt free.

If you absolutely live for unhealthy food this will be very difficult for you and you must try to focus on reconditioning your brain in order to achieve your goal. Some people are more left-brained so more analytic and need a pattern to follow. In this situation you can follow this rule that is respected by many olympians:

12 days following your diet followed by the 13th days as a ‘cheat day’. I recommend  a cheat meal not day as this will only make the 14th day harder for you. Every 4 days on your diet your body makes an upgrade to its metabolism, improving itself and your health. After it has done this 4 times it is enough to remove everything bad out of your body, 4 x 4 = 16 days so if you consume a cheeky pizza or piece of cake on the 13th day your metabolism is in its optimum week and can remove the negatives from your body. This really does work and is scientifically proven, but please do not count days, and add dates to calendars etc. Do not live to eat, eat to live.

Despite us all enjoying a treat now and again the real reward is how you feel, your health, your appearance and your confidence.

This is a little something I created on the weekend for my one off treat (I only had one). Contains ALOT of sugar! BEWARE!

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Please find the recipe here – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143083/fresh-fruit-flan/ (but instead of a flan I made meringues. Meringues recipe –http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/french/meringues Enjoy, but not too many please 😉

Instagram – keziakco

xxx

 

 

Daily Protein

When I first started my ‘new lifestyle’ or as people like to call it ‘diet’, I found it very difficult eating the correct quantity of protein. This was due to making many common mistakes, many of which are listed below:

  • Consuming too many carbs and too many of the wrong carbs
  • Not eating enough and eating the wrong things
  • Not doing any food prep so having to buy food on the go
  • When I was hungry I would choose easy instead of healthy

I ate a huge amount of bread. Bread is easy to eat for meals and snacks and its very tasty. You don’t have to wait for it to cook and takes minimal preparation. Due to my thyroid issues I now eat non/minimal break (maximum once a week). It just isn’t necessary in my opinion and something that is very easy to cut out and you will notice  the difference in how you feel and look.

Preparing your food in advance is a great help, as when you get really hungry or need a snack, you have a healthy meal ready and waiting. This is particularly important at work or on the go, especially during that 3 o clock slump we all get. It can also save you a lot of money when you plan in advance.

In order to manage my daily protein I checked my macros on MyFitnessPal and you protein intake should be a minimum 20% of your diet. This doesn’t seem like a lot but can be challenging especially when finding snacks that don’t take you over your sugar limit. Great snacks to eat filled with protein are:

  • Billtong
  • Nuts
  • Protein shake
  • Protein bars
  • M&S packet of ready to eat chicken/ ham
  • Greek yogurt
  • Boiled egg
  • Edamame peas
  • Chia pudding

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These are some different protein filled snacks I have tried and my review:

  • Maxi Nutrition Pro Max Milk – you can purchase this from Maxi Nutrition

It contains 30 g of protein which is very high for a snack product so excellent for boosting protein content. It tastes very sweet but a nice flavour to it, similar to a strawberry milkshake. It contains 16.5 g of sugar which is very high for a snack item. I would recommend this for taste and protein but its far to high in sugar. I would consider this snack to be more of a treat item, certainly not for daily consumption.

It contains 20g of protein, still very reasonable for a snack item. It tastes nice but does take some getting used to. It is rather chewy and has a chocolate but synthetic flavour. If you enjoy the taste it can be consumed daily as there are only 3.3 g of sugar in these. Almost guilt free 😉

This has 9 g of protein and contains 13.5 g of sugar. Despite it being labelled a protein bar  this is far from guilt free. This is a one off treat item and should be treated the same as having a biscuit. It tastes like any regular chocolate covered flapjack, very good!

  • Chocolate Caramel Protein Bar GEN P – you can purchase from Maxi Nutrition

Similar to the above, it only contains 10 g of protein. It tastes very sweet and synthetic – similar to a Mars Bar (not that I’m complaining). It contains 11 g of sugar so watch out for this one as well.

Always read all the ingredients when purchasing ‘healthy’ products as their marketing is out there to fool us.

My go to health bars are now Grenade Carb Killa bars. As the name suggests, they are high in protein and low in carbs.

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Lots of tasty flavours, over 23 g of protein per bar and as little as 1.4 g of sugar. Not only do they taste like regular chocolate bars but they are also extremely feeling and cut out cravings. I definitely recommend!

Instagram – keziakco

xxx

 

 

Vegetarian Dinner

I believe in the importance of not eating meat every day of the week. Some people might find this tricky, but try not to eat it every lunch and dinner for the benefit of your health. Various studies have actually revealed the following results due to eating less meat:

  • Weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced chance of getting diabetes
  • Reduced change of getting cancer
  • Healthy skin
  • Smell better
  • Increases happiness
  • Increases energy

I personally couldn’t be a vegetarian as I enjoy meat, I would find it extremely difficult to get my daily allowance of protein and not to mention the cost of the foods I would need to buy to maintain my health. I think for most people they do not have the time and money to commit to this lifestyle and most of us enjoy a ‘cheeky Nandos’ now and again 😉

However, if you could cut out meat all together or simply reduce it here are some of negative points of consuming meat that you would be avoiding:

  • Meat puts a lot of strain on your colon and your brain contributing to things like Alzheimers disease.
  • Build up of unwanted hormones
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • E.coli and other bacterial infections
  • Shorter life span in comparison to a vegetarian

Below is my Wednesday vegetarian dinner, a combination of healthy vegetables, seeds and feta cheese, inspired by fitness expert Clean Eating Alice.

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As the colours show, this dinner is filled with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need and it is extremely filling. The sweet potato is there as a healthy carb as I went to the gym today.

Ingredients:

  • Rocket
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Peppers
  • Tomatos
  • Asparagus
  • Feta
  • Sun flower seeds
  • Lemon juice

 

All of this mixed together in a bowl with salt and pepper to flavour.

Enjoy, stay healthy 🙂

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

Fat to Fit in 14 days

From following my tight fitness schedule, being motivated and letting nothing get in the way I was able to reduce my weight but most importantly change my body shape and image for the better in 14 days.

Please see the two pictures below – they are from August 2016 and 14 days apart.

Photo 1 06/10/2016: Drinking for 7 days straight, minimal exercise and eating anything and everything whenever I like.

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As you can see, I am what you would call squishy, you can see I have no definition. You can see that my belly and legs are soft and bumpy – this is due to the excess fat and probably water retention from too much salt intake. I put on a lot of weight on my face as well so it is a lot rounder than it is today.

Photo 2 20/10/2016: No/minimal alcohol, no carbs, regular 5 days a week exercise pattern.

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I still do not have any muscle definition and I am by no means the picture of fitness here but there is a dramatic difference. My waist is a lot more defined and narrower. Less bloating and no wrinkly skin. I still have big legs but this takes a lot of time and effort and cannot be significantly reduced within this time period. This is simply work in progress to inspire.

In order to find out how I achieved this change so  quickly and in detail follow my up and coming blog posts.

If you have any particular questions please feel free to leave a comment and I can feature for question in a post.

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

From Fat to Fit in 15 Days

Following on from yesterday’s blog post, I just want to show you what is achievable when you put your mind to it. In 15 days I was able to loose some weight but most importantly change my body image, size and appearance within this short time.

Please see images below:

Photo 1 06/08/2016: Drinking alcohol frequently, eating everything I enjoy (you name it), and no/minimal exercise.

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As you can see, my body is squishy and undefined. You can see the bumpy skin on my belly which is simply fat squished up. This prevents you from having smooth tight skin. I am also very bloated from water retention due to intake of excess salt. I don’t have must waist definition and my posture isn’t fantastic either.

Photo 2 20/08/2016: 5 days a week exercise, drinking 2 litres of water a day, no/ minimal carbs consumed, no/minimal alcohol consumed and lots of sleep.

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This image is by no means the picture of perfection but shows a significant difference and excellent work in progress for 15 days. There is a lot more waist definition giving my body a proper hour glass shape. My skin is smooth, no water retention and wrinkly bumpy skin. No proper definition as of yet but this is work in progress and very early on in the weight-loss journey.

I hope this is some fitspiration for you all!

Instagram – @Keziakco

xxx

Motivation

Motivation is key when starting your fitness journey. In my opinion no one can loose weight or achieve that beach body if they are not really motivated to do so. This doesn’t mean flicking through a magazine and wishing and hoping that one day you will look like that fitness model. It means finding that inner strength to make a huge change in your life and follow it through day in and day out.

I believe you have to really want it in order to achieve it and most people who try and fail simply think they want it. I don’t believe that these people want it that much if they give up. If your child was in a burning building would you think ‘oh I might get burnt, better not go and rescue him’? No you would not, you would run in there and risk everything, probably get burnt on the way, but you want to save him so badly you would risk everything to do so, no matter what. This is quite a dramatic example but I feel you need to have a similar mindset to achieve, and I think this is the same with anything in life.

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At the start of my weightloss journey, motivation was harder than it is today. This is because at the start you don’t have any results to motivate you. You are simply believing and hoping that you or someone else will notice a difference after all the hard work you have put in.

I used to diet here and there, eventually giving up or having too many cheat meals to see any difference and so lost motivation on many occasions. What really pushed me was looking at a very unflattering photo of myself whilst on holiday. I was in Madrid, 42 degrees, in a beautiful rooftop hotel pool with stunning scenery. My friend took a photo of me and I was quite appalled by what I saw.  When I saw that I was larger than I had ever been before I was not happy at all, I knew I had to make a change and most importantly I knew that I would do whatever it takes.

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It is important to realise what might be unacceptable for you may be someone else’s goal. We all have different shapes, sizes, metabolisms and standards for ourselves and it is really important to celebrate each step along your journey to fitness.

Once you start to see results it can almost be addictive. One of my most motivational moments was at work. I used to get a coffee in Costa every morning from the same lady and one day she came over to my table to ask what on earth it was that I was doing as she could not believe how much weight I had lost. This really inspired me to carry on and I felt a great accomplishment with my efforts made.

They say that:

  • Stage 1: You notice some results
  • Stage 2: Your close friends and family notice some results
  • Stage 3: Random people who see you every day start to notice

Reaching stage three is a fantastic feeling! So don’t give up!

I also am a strong believer in the saying ‘do something for 3 months and it becomes a habit’. This is true in any routine you have, work, gym, a new class, studying, etc. If you do the same thing over and over again for three months, you no longer find it a strain. That’s not to say you will be skipping to the gym but it won’t be as dire as you may have thought before. This is also true for you muscles and metabolism. If you are burning and working your body and becoming fitter and leaner you are less likely to bounce back into that sluggish, squishy person you once were. Practise makes perfect.

I hope this was a bit of thinspiration for you all.

Stay motivated!

Instagram @keziakco

xxx