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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Refreshing My Body & Mind This August #EmsChallenge - Fitness & Health Challenge

Hello hello. So, a few days ago I decided I wanted to push myself this month, push myself to be stronger, healthier, fitter and generally just feel better about myself. I've realised that being fit and healthy is about way more than how our body looks, it's about how we feel. It's about our minds too. Nothing busts stress more than getting some fresh air, nothing beats the endorphins I get from exercising. We all get into those ruts, I'm definitely in one of those right now. I don't know what's got into me recently, I guess it all started last year when I was living in Matt's student house and we couldn't cook in his kitchen as it was so dirty so we had to eat out most nights. I've always been good at making conscious 'healthier' choices with my food but it's much harder when you're constantly on the go. Looking back at the last few months, I haven't had a solid base and really am constantly on the go which makes sticking to my gym routine and my healthy eating really tough. I live here, there and everywhere and usually out of a suitcase. I need a kick up the bum so I've decided to start #EmsChallenge. If August goes well, I'll do a few throughout the year. I didn't want to copy off Vegan January and I didn't want to just do a Vegetarian month because they're really personal things to each individual, instead, I'm gonna try my own challenge, I'm gonna talk through some things I'm gonna do this month and then you guys can tailor it to yourselves. The key is, write it down - for some reason, I feel like I have to do it then. I tweeted and lots of you said you were interested so here it is, an August challenge to refresh us all and motivate us. I think it'll keep me motivated, keep me on track and hopefully I'll see some results and mainly, feel confident in my body and mind. See this as your monthly refresh, a mind, body and soul challenge. P.S, whilst I've got you, click here and sign up to my new newsletter. It goes out every Friday morning full of random bits and bobs just for newsletter subscribers. I'd love to have you. Now, let's go.


Goals:

New month new me isn't usually my style but anything that's gonna get me motivated is key. A new day is a fresh start and the hardest part is getting started. We always say 'I'll start tomorrow' and never do. Well, today is the day. I think using a new month for a challenge is a really good thing. In January, Matt and I did dry Jan and we felt incredible for it. I go to so many events and constantly find myself with a glass of something in my hand, that's gonna stop this month as it doesn't make me feel good and I certainly don't need it. I do not believe in deprivation, not ever, but there's a different between balance and over-indulgence every day for 4 months. America, you ruined me. I had the time of my life so wont beat myself up about it but I need to take control back now.

In a Rut - I really think the best way to get out of a rut is by setting goals, challenging yourself and sticking to a plan. It usually means you're more likely to succeed.

Why? - So why do I want to do this as a challenge? You don't have to join me and you certainly don't have to do everything I'm doing, fitness and diet is a really personal thing and whilst I may find cutting sugar out easy (I won't haha) you might find it tough. Pick and choose genuinely achievable goals for you. 

Better Together - We really are better together which is why I want to use the #EmsChallenge hashtag to push you all. Chat with other people doing the challenge, chat with me, tell me how you're getting on. You're not in this alone, we are a team.

Little Steps Make Big Differences - I always say in all my health and fitness posts that little steps make the most difference. For example, taking the stairs every day, not drinking fizzy drinks. They seem like tiny things but they do make big differences and they set your lifestyle. Once it's part of your lifestyle, it's easier to stick to. I think that's why I was so on it in my final year of Uni, I lived in a house with a beautiful kitchen, I went to spin every morning and had so many vegetables in all my meals, I was well and truly in control. I also lived with two super fit house mates who constantly ate well and worked out. It definitely helped. 

topshop ribbed crop bikiniShop the bikini online here / and here / and here / and similar here. 

You will need: 

I thought I'd put together a little list of things you need to do this challenge but first and foremost, you just need yourself. YOU GOT THIS.

- A positive outlook - Be positive here, you can do this challenge, you never regret a workout and you never regret eating well. With perseverance, motivation and will-power, you got this. The hardest bit is getting started and you're reading this right now, so hi, welcome!!! You are fabulous. 

- Print this off - If you need and tick it off when you've achieved something. It helps. 

- Water bottle - I'm upping my water intake because I do not drink enough water so will be monitoring it with a water bottle. For example, if I have a 1 litre one I know I need to drink at least two of them.

- Diary/calendar - When I'm on a serious health kick a calendar and diary helps me so much. I tick every day I work out or put a little dot, for some reason it inspires me and I can track when I've had really good weeks. 

- Never weigh - If you ever read my blog post about why I don't use the scales  you'll know that I just don't believe in weighing myself. A number on the scales doesn't define you so don't focus on it. I never have, I couldn't tell you what I weigh. I suggest taking photos of body as it's about how you feel in yourself. Remember, your body usually looks different in the morning than in the night. I'm usually a bloated mess before bed. 

- The challenge - I'm not saying this challenge is about losing weight, this is just a general health and mind overhaul challenge, something I'm doing to get myself back on track, something for my mind, wellbeing and my body. I'll be nourishing it, looking after it and if I see changes in my body, that's incredible. I read somewhere that it takes 4 weeks for you to see a difference and 8 weeks for other people, changes don't happen over night, just like pizza doesn't make you gain weight over night. 
So if you like this, hopefully it'll set you in good stead for the rest of the year!

What I'm doing: #EMSCHALLENGE 

So, here we go. These are the things I'm doing this month. It's not a dry jan, it's not a vegan jan, it's an EMGUST (Em August, got it?!) and I've hand selected the things I think I need to do this month. You can do the same, or you can change it to suit your needs. EG, if you have a wedding coming up - of course you can drink alcohol. Deprivation is not something I will ever promote, I live by the rule of balance. If you eat well 80% of the time and then 'treat' yourself the other 20%, you won't binge eat. 

- No skipping breakfast - I've never been a breakfast skipper and I always say you should have breakfast to fuel your engine for the whole day ahead. Recently, I've been skipping it as I've just been so busy. No more skipping breakfast. There are studies that show you binge more etc if you skip breakfast, a good breakfast fills you up for the day ahead so I'm gonna try get as many nutrients as possible with my breakfast to start my day the right way.

- Meat free - I'm gonna try go meat free for at least the next month, personal preference. You don't have to do this and make sure you research into it as there are nutrients you'll need to make up elsewhere, so I'll be upping my natural protein levels. 

- Measure your greens -
I'm really gonna make sure I eat more greens. I used to be so good at having veggies and I'm not now so I'm ensuring I'm having greens with every meal, whether its a side of steamed broccoli, spinach or asparagus. I need veggies! 

- Up fruit intake -
I stopped eating as much fruit, no idea why and now I'm gonna be snacking on more delicious fruit, including apples because they're so crunchy and filling. YUM. You see where I'm going here? I'm putting all the goodness into my body. 

- Alcohol free - I go to a lot of events and find myself stood with various drinks in my hand all night. I've never been a big drinker but I do enjoy a cocktail and a glass of wine, I'm definitely gonna limit my alcohol in August, obviously if a wedding, birthday or festival comes up I may have a tipple or two but generally, I'm gonna try not drink this month. I feel grotty and horrible for it and I'd rather eat my calories.

- Don't count - Speaking of counting calories, just a side note: I don't count calories and never have. I look at sugar content (refined/added, not natural sugar from fruit) and saturated fat when making sensible food decisions.

- Refined sugar free at least 5 days a week -  This is a tough one for me as I love sugar. I'm gonna try and not have refined sugar for a month but I don't believe in deprivation so if you need to have it on a weekend then go for it. This isn't strict, it's just a few things I'm trying to be more vigilant of this month. Remember: foods aren't 'naughty', foods are foods, they're there to be enjoyed, just in moderation. Don't beat yourself up for eating sugar, don't beat yourself up for eating carbs. That's not what this is about, this is just me trying to have a month where I 'reset' and just try get back on track. 

- Drink more water every day - People forget this but it's so important!

- Always get the stairs - If you're on an escalator walk up it. I'm trying to avoid getting lifts and escalators, I want to use my body, use my legs wherever I can.

REMEMBER: set your own goals personal to you. These are just a few things I'm going to try this month, you don't have to do them all, you could do it for half the week. It's personal for you but do tweet me @emshelx and let me know if you're gonna join me in any of them! A good relationship with food is so important which is why I wont ever cut things like carbs out of my diet. 



This month:

This challenge isn't just about food, which I believe we should have a good relationship with so I really don't like seeing people cut out everything. It's also about wellbeing: 

Do something out of your comfort zone - Whether it's going to an event alone, jumping on a plane alone or just heading to the shop in your pyjamas. Do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Take up a new hobby - What have you always wanted to do? A boxing class? An art class? Even cycling? Try it this month!

Compliment someone once per day - It makes them feel great and you too. You could make someones day, you have the power so do it.

Make a new friend - Why not try make a new friend? There's room for us all to be friends!

Take me time - We are all super stressed, tense and busy. Set aside even half an hour a day, before bed to read a magazine, read a book or just put a face mask on. Set aside one evening a week to have a bath. Treat yourself, look after your wellbeing. 

MOVE MORE - My mantra with fitness and health is: move more, eat better - not less. This month I'll be working out at least 3x per week, hopefully 4. If you don't have time to go to a gym (I go to David Lloyd and love it) then click this link and you can watch my whole fitness playlist with loads of at-home-infront-of-the-sofa friendly workouts. 


The above are all things I'm gonna be doing too, because why not? 

#EmsChallenge 

Shop the kaftan online here.

Phew, so there we have it. To quickly conclude: this month I am taking control and getting back on track. I'm moving more, even if I don't have the time, I'll walk somewhere instead or do something in-front of my TV. I won't beat myself out if I miss workout though, I'll start fresh the next day. I'm eating better, not less. I'm gonna try limit the things I have a little too much of (alcohol and sugar) and I'm gonna take more me time, I'm gonna compliment people, spend time with my loved ones and hope to start September feeling epic. 

Who's with me? Tweet me @emshelx or Instagram and let me know what you're gonna do. Are you gonna do the Em challenge with me? Or leave a comment! Use #EmsChallenge so I can find you and we can all talk together. 


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Lots of love, Em x

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