I’m not going to lie. My “living clean for 2015” challenge has been tough so far. On paper, it’s not rocket science. I just needed to be eating right and finding the time to work out every day. Simple, right?
Wrong. I soon discovered that a lot of foods that might have looked perfectly innocent and healthy were more often than not riddled with high amounts of hidden salts, sugars or carbs – and the majority of “fast result” fitness DVD workouts were prescribing a life of hard-core, fast paced cardio that would probably be enough to make my heart explode right out of my chest.
I decided not to go with the Oliver Twist method of getting back into shape. I wasn’t going to start weighing my food, I wasn’t going to become an amateur nutritionist in my spare time, I wasn’t even going to punish myself with hours and hours of gruelling workouts. I was simply going to use good old common sense. Unfortunately, as savvy as I like to think I am about my diet and fitness (considering I was a strict and very athletic Pescetarian for 13 years) health experts were contradicting themselves with conflicting revelations on a near constant basis – which confused the shit out of me. I mean, which whey is the right way?
(Do you like what I did there?)
Luckily I found a few blogs, Instagram accounts, books and websites that were actually very helpful when it came to figuring out how the fuckety fuck to navigate this healthy lifestyle minefield. Mostly because the people running these sites actually knew what the hell they were talking about. Which helps.
This website / blog is quite frankly brilliant. They review fitness apps, give you workout tips and ideas, have a section for ‘Quick and easy’ healthy meals, post smoothie recipes and write articles about how to fit exercise into your busy daily life. Greatist is well written and relatable. A go-to for anyone trying to make either little or large changes to their lifestyle.
Superhealthfoodie / Healthycleantimes – Instagram
The above are Instagram accounts that will give you loads of ideas how to keep eating healthily and swerve your diet out of the boring health food “Not another salad, I beg of you” death-zone that comes before a pizza binge. They post recipes for Cacao protein chocolate chip buns, healthy breakfast sundae’s, salads and a tidal wave of chia puddings and smoothies I’m dying to try. Nothing they post or recommend looks or sounds boring.
When I first came across this site, I’m not going to lie. It scared me. I thought to glean any form of use from what lurked within you had to be able to bench-press an elephant. I had no business here! How wrong I was. This website completely changed my perception of the bodybuilding community. The people running this site are experienced healthcare professionals, Olympic athletes, nutritionists and personal trainers. They post effective step-by-step workout regimens based on your health and fitness goals. Worth trying.
The ‘Deliciously Ella’ cook book / Deliciouslyella.com
This book is jam-packed with brilliant healthy recipes anyone can try their hand at. Ella promotes a positive attitude towards food and encourages wellbeing and health. It’s not about living on a diet of mung beans and drinking goat wee for the rest of your life. It’s about eating well, realising that food is NOT the enemy – and feeling full without any saturated or processed junk sneaking back onto your plate.
Health and Fitness – Pinterest
This is a Pinterest board for everything health and fitness based. You can find exercise print-out sheets to give you inspiration / guidance for your next workout, recipes, workout clothes, interesting articles, motivational pictures, nutritional advice – almost everything you can think of!
SuperFoods by Julie Montagu
This is another book that I have come across lately. It sounds scary, like you’re about to have a basket of vegetables and goji berries forcibly shoved in your face – but fear not. This really is a flexible approach to getting more superfoods into your diet. Mothership gave me a bowl of the Courgetti spaghetti and I loved it. I had two bowls of the stuff and I don’t even like courgette. Granted the smoothies, juices and spiralised vegetables won’t be for everyone. But it’s worth trying, surely?
Popsugar fitness – Youtube
This is a very cool channel that always has different sorts of new workouts on it for you to try. The ‘Beyonce sexy dance’ workout, zumba, HITT sets, Pilates, ballet body barre, bikini body ready workouts… they also talk about nutrition. It’s a bit camp, a bit girly – but you know what? So what? I like it.
So far I have seen quite a few differences in myself physically since starting this fitness challenge. For starters, I had been forced to cut my hair really short after a terrible haircut and I was losing hope that I would ever see my long hair ever again. It was brittle, split easily, taking forever to grow even a few inches… But now? Check it out
Also, my skin – which has struggled with debilitating acne since I was eight years old was starting to clear up thanks to a mixture of healthy diet, twice daily Neutrogena cleansing routine, drinking two 1.5 litre bottles of water every day and using Isotrex gel every night before bed.
I still get the odd breakout – but I am confident that (with a little more hard work and patience) I might finally have these facial explosions under a bit more control.
As for exercise? To be honest my evening workout was getting sidetracked by the mountain of other shit I have to do as part-time housefrau / stepmother and fulltime PA. So, in order to rectify this I’ve been doing an hours workout in the morning before I leave for work. I can do weights, legs, core – or just go for a jog. The rule is, I HAVE to do at least an hour every morning. And if I don’t then I need to make up for it in the evening.
I never thought I would be joining the ranks of those sad acts who get up ridiculously early to jiggle up and down, lift weights and drink cups of lemon slices in hot water before work. And yet – here I am, queen of the sad acts, reporting for duty.
I have been printing off exercise sheets from Pinterest as useful workout guides for me to follow. This is very helpful considering I’m now staggering around bleary eyed each morning trying to negotiate my way into a sports bra without dislocating both arms. All I know is that I feel is achy. Very, very, very achy. To the point that if I listen very carefully I can actually hear my muscles stifle a scream every time I move.
The upshot is that there’s a definite hidden ripple of muscle going on in general. I also feel more flexible and far less breathless when I climb stairs. I may still be grumpily hunching over my computer for most of the day, but I don’t feel like such an old lady when I get up again. I’m not dramatically clutching my back or complaining loudly about my knees anymore. I’m also drinking more water. Now that I’m doing a morning workout I’m getting through two 1.5 litre bottles of still Buxton mineral water without even blinking. I drink one before work and one during the rest of the day. I even keep notches on the bottle to marker the time so I can tell if I’m drinking enough.
Sometimes I put a mint tea bag in the bottle to ring the changes and give the water a bit of flavour without adding any sugary syrups. Sure it tastes like diluted mouthwash but it’s worth it. I’d rather be drinking a french martini … however sacrifices must be made.
I hope at least a few of my more visible muscles get here for summer – because I really, really, REALLY want to wear cute summery clothes this year. Things that call for a bit if midriff. Things that you might see an Abercrombie and Fitch model wearing while posing wistfully in a field of wildflowers, suggestively licking a 99.
Everyone’s gotta have a goal – and I guess this is mine.