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Sunday, 1 April 2018

Easter Guilt? Diet Culture - My Healthy Living Tips

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Happy Easter and happy start of April! Whether you read this post on Easter Sunday or in the weeks afterward, it's still very relevant. I've been pretty alarmed this week to see so many articles about how many calories are in Easter eggs, how many burpees it takes to burn your Easter egg off (yeh, seriously) and oh just how damaging that Creme Egg is for you... I'd love to say I'm shocked but I'm not, these are typical scare/clickbait tactics from damaging news corps and it has to stop. It's damaging. It's dangerous and we already live in a world where we are anxious over health and many of us, have bad confidence days. Let's be honest, it isn't going to stop because people seem to get a kick when it comes to preying on the vulnerable and making people feel guilty for enjoying their lives. Today I'm gonna give my thoughts on this so let's talk about Easter guilt and why we need to banish it. Let's look at my healthy living tips to live by too. 

80/20 - I live by the 80/20 rule, I always have. This just means I eat well 80% of the time and then the other 20% I don't deprive myself. Deprivation is really bad, if you deprive yourself you'll only end up binging and feeling unhappy. I once gave up carbs. Yup. I've been there and I'm speaking from experience. I was so desperate to look better for a shoot that I went a whole two weeks without carbs. Worst week of my life. Don't do it. This was before I was educated on carbs. CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. I eat carbs EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are new studies coming out all the time that say this. Whilst I am not a nutritionist, I highly recommend checking out a few ladies who are experts in this area: Nics Nutrition, Hazel Wallace, Rhitrition, Alice Liveing + Carly Rowena as they are always busting myths like this and can give you solid evidence and facts on these things. 

Weight - I couldn't tell you what I weigh. I don't even want to know. Why? It sends my mind into over-drive and makes me feel bad. I'd become addicted and obsessed with a number on the scales. A number on the scales does not define you, your worth or your health. When I want to assess my body (which isn't very often, I haven't stepped on scales for well over a year) I step on the Boditrax machine at my gym (David Lloyd) it assesses fat, body weight, muscle etc so it gives you an accurate reading. You may think you've gained weight but actually, once I checked and I'd lost fat but gained muscle. I do think some fitness plans are good as they tell you to take a before and after photo, I actually think that's a better way to do it than measuring your weight. My best friend did this when she was seeing a PT, the scales were going up but after 12 weeks the before and after photos were incredible and proved that she had massively toned up even though the scales weren't saying so. Again, I know it may help some people but I find the scales a really old school way of measuring well, anything. Keep the scales for your baking. 

Ban The Word Diet - I do not believe in the word diet. I have 'dieted' way too many times when I was in school and became sad, binged and deprived. Eating well and working out is a lifestyle choice rather than a restriction. My biggest mantra is eat better not less and move more. 

Little Steps - When it comes to eating better, not less and moving more, it's all about little steps. Grab a diary and break your week up. When can you work out? When really works for you? Can you get the stairs over the elevator? Can you get off the bus one stop earlier? Try up your water intake, have more veggies, clear your cupboards out from stuff you're grabbing every day and refresh it with less sugar for example. There are small things you can do that will make a big difference when they add up. 

It's A Lifestyle - So what do I mean? Well, once you make eating well and moving more part of your every day life, it no longer feels like a chore. It feels like part of your lifestyle and it's just normal. I go to David Lloyd and going to my PT every Monday and a Blaze Hiit class (the best class I've ever been to) at 4pm on a Saturday is now part of my lifestyle. It feels weird not doing it. It's all about figuring out which lifestyle that works for you. 

Make It Fit - Life is busy, we all have hectic schedules and I live for a week where I can gym all week but for most of us, it isn't possible. It really is all about figuring out what works for you. Is it easier to fit in a lunchtime workout? A workout straight after work? Or a workout at 9pm? Are you more of an early bird? Figure out a schedule that will actually work for you. Is it doing a 20 minute HIIT when you get out of bed four times a week? You can work it with your schedule, it sometimes just takes a bit of pre-planning. 

What Will You Stick To? - Figure out what kind of exercise you will stick to too. Is it running before work? Do you prefer swimming? Yoga? So many people message me and say they dislike the gym but many gyms are no longer male orientated, scary environments (mine isn't anyway). My Mum hated the gym but then I introduced her to David Lloyd which is more of a beautiful, comfortable and luxurious country club and she adores the Zumba classes, whereas I prefer Spin and Blaze. Try something out of your comfort zone and it might just become your new favourite. It's about getting there in the first place and trying it, what's the worst that can happen? I've been going to spin for years and now it's part of my routine. One 45 minute class and I feel ready to go. Nothing pushes me harder. The reason I paid for a personal trainer? Same reasons, it pushes me out of my comfort zone and because I've paid and booked in every Monday, I have to go. It's only once a week, but it teaches me so much and kicks my week off perfectly. No excuses and you know what? I'm seeing results. I feel amazing in my mind and body and that's what matters, my wellbeing is at an all-time high after every session. The same goes for food, what works for you? Is it eating at the work canteen? Is it taking your own food in? I'm on the go a lot and I know exactly what to pick up health-wise at each store now on my commutes to ensure I'm eating goodness on the go. 

One Day Will Not Make You Gain Weight - Just like one day in the gym will not reduce your size overnight/make you hit your goals, one-day eating will not make you gain weight. The majority of us work out well/eat well most of the time so it's totally fine to have a day off. Granted, one day in the gym gets you closer to where you may want to be (we all have different body ideals and that is 100% okay) but I always remind myself that one pizza and a few gins on a Saturday night really aren't going to make me gain weight in the long run, not when it's mixed with a good lifestyle 80% of the time. I use a diary and tick off the days of the week where I gym, big deal if I have one week off, it's not the end of the world. It's about getting back on it. 

Don't Work Out Due To Guilt - I've been there, I've said it and I've felt it. I've had a pizza and felt the need to run it off. I've had an Easter egg and felt the need to run it off. Heck, sometimes it works in my favour as my inspiration when I can't be bothered to head to the gym but I do think we need to stop associating food with guilt. I know it's easier said than done (again, I do often struggle with it) but it is totally okay to eat your Easter eggs, drink your gin and have a pizza. Just get back to the gym when you're ready rather than dragging yourself there because you feel obliged because you allowed yourself to enjoy yourself. It's an odd one because I feel the most inspired after Christmas with my workouts, sometimes over-indulging almost helps me get back on it, I feel ready to smash the gym and get out of my sluggish phase after overeating, so I guess if it inspires you then so be it but use Easter/time off as a way to reset your body and mind. Time off is important. 

Work Out Guilt - I often get myself into this dangerous spiral where I feel guilty for not working out, I then feel guilty for eating *badly* (I say it in stars because we all have a different opinion of what bad eating is - I love Pringles and NO-ONE is ever going to stop me eating them). I totally understand the guilt thing. We live in a world where we are seeing people ramming the calorie content of BLOOMING EASTER EGGS AND CHRISTMAS DINNERS (the two biggest seasons of enjoyment) down our throats and expecting us to 'earn our calories'. Amongst all of this, I try so hard to remind myself that it is okay to have a day off the gym and it is okay to eat chocolate and pizza. I work out hard and I've been working out hard for years, I often have weeks off but so what, sometimes real life comes first and we can all get back on it when we are ready. Life is for enjoying. 

Never Regret Something That Made You Smile - I'm a big believer in never regretting something that made me smile. As cliche as it is, life is about balance and moderation. If you had a pizza on a Saturday night, rather than feeling guilty (I know it's easier said than done because food guilt is real for many of us, I often get it too) and you enjoyed it, then so be it. That's totally allowed. It's important to remind ourselves that if we are happy, then why not. I know it's a bit of a sad way to look at it, but on your death bed, are you gonna say 'I'm really glad I didn't have that pizza on the 24th Feb'? Unlikely. Moderation really is key. 

Be Patient -Working out and eating well is a long process. Results do not happen overnight and mostly, I doubt people who get results deprived themselves of everything they enjoy for a year. Take it steady. Be kind to your body and mind. If you need some chocolate. Have it. If you need to go on a run. Have it. I read somewhere that it takes 12 weeks to see real changes in your body. 

Moderation and Balance - Final things to take from this? Moderation is key. I've always enjoyed this quote by Rachel Brathen: “Balance is key. In everything you do. Dance all night long and practice yoga the next day. Drink wine but don’t forget your green juice. Eat chocolate when your heart wants it and kale salad when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday and walk barefoot on Sunday. Go shopping at the mall and then sit down and meditate in your bedroom. Live high and low. Move and stay still. Embrace all sides of who you are and live your authentic truth! Be brave and bold and spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence and patience and modesty and peace. Aim for balance. Make your own rules and don’t let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs.”

So there we have it, please don't be counting the calories of your eggs this Easter, please don't feel as if you have to do 100 burpees after *oh goodness* ENJOYING your Sunday Creme Egg. Yes, I do look at saturated fats and sugar in the majority of my foods but I do not count calories and I CERTAINLY am not going to look at the fat, saturates and calories in my Easter eggs, just like I wouldn't in my birthday cake or my Christmas dinner either. I eat well 80% of the time and I work out hard. We are entitled to enjoy our food. Life is for living and enjoying. I am the biggest believer in good nutrition, green juices and working out a few times a week, it's my passion and always has been. I am a big lover when it comes to loving and nurturing our bodies but I also know that we can burn ourselves out, run ourselves into the ground and feel pressure to look good, eat well and deprive ourselves. I also know that one Easter egg? It isn't the end of the world. Enjoy it. Remember: life is for living, just do it with balance and moderation.

How do you feel about this topic? 

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Lots of love, Em x

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