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Friday, 26 December 2014

Tubby Girl on the Run to be a Fit Girl

Tubby Girl on the Run to be a Fit Girl
My Journey so far!

Back in School I used to be good at PE, I was always involved in lots of different sports right from a young age. I used to be on the Netball team, go swimming, was on the Athletics team-I was a good sprinter and long jumper and even took GCSE PE. I always had a slim physique, I could even say I was fortunate enough to have a rather Athletic one. But once I went to Sixth Form and University I don't really know what happened...I guess I lost my Mojo with exercise.

I stopped exercising and started eating a lot of junk food, fast food, easy food!!!
I got what I like to refer to as Tubby!!!
I was sluggish, tired and felt horrible in everything I wore and generally unhappy with my body!
This went on until the summer of my 1st year of my Undergrad.

I got sick (swine flu or something) and had no appetite and was in bed for a week. This kick started a spiral of unhealthy habits. I stopped eating virtually anything for the next 6 months, I guess you would say I was anorexic! I also began to go the gym and developed an unhealthy relationship with exercise! This coupled with a poor diet meant that I may have looked a lot better than I had done but in effect was probably just as unhealthy as I was when I was a little Tubby. I lost over 5 stone in the space of 4 months! I would not recommend this!

Eventually I began eating again and stopped exercising; this meant I piled the pounds back on and was back to were I started! Tubby and sluggish.

It was a couple of years later when I chose to go back to University to complete my Masters. I decided I needed to make a change! If I had any chance of doing well in this degree I needed to be in a healthy place both physically and mentally. I have learnt over the years these come hand in hand.
I did it properly this time round, I didn't set a deadline of when I needed to be a certain weight by like I had in the past and had always ultimately failed. I just made small simple changes to my diet and lifestyle which were manageable!

I started cutting out the unhealthy food and replacing it with wholefoods. I got rid of the junk food and the fast food and replaced it with wholesome unprocessed meals!
Eventually this lead me to follow a Clean Eating Diet. I use the word 'diet' to refer to the food I eat rather than a meal plan to loose weight on, as it is a lifestyle rather than a 'diet' .

I also decided to take up running again, i'd run a few 5km and 10km races and a couple of half marathons through the last couple of years. Never trained for them, but always managed to do ok in them. I wouldn't recommend that either though, you always finish knowing you could have done better, not picked up the injury's and enjoyed the race more if you had actually trained for them!

When i'm running it always makes everything seem better somehow, the exercise does me good both physically and mentally along with lots of fresh air!
Plus the excess Tubby Girl weight literally drops off me!
I have so far lost 3 stone since starting to make the few small changes to my lifestyle and diet. 
Everyone's noticed the difference, I have more energy, my complexion is better and obviously I look a lot better physically.
I noticed the changes too; less lethargic, fitter, better breathing and sleep!

Second time round now and i'm determined to do it right and keep going...its a marathon not a sprint! A lifestyle choice not a diet!
I have chosen to pursue a diet which is as clean as possible, this means to me a wholefood and unprocessed diet! 
Along with regular exercise...even if i'm not training for a half Marathon! It means i'm able to keep   fit and healthy!

I'm about to start training for my next half marathon, the Liverpool BTR half marathon in March. I'm excited because ill be ready for it this time!

As a student for me it's important to be fit and healthy, so I can do well in my degree but also to be well in myself.
To keep that Tubby Girl on the Run to being that Fit Girl!

So, here's to that sub 2:00 half marathon and that Distinction in my Masters!

Remember, It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice!


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Intimidated by the gym????

Gym Intimidation

So, I don't know about you but there are so many times when I feel intimidated by the thought of the gym. 
Thoughts run through my head such as, people are gonna laugh at me because i'm so out of shape, people will look and think she hasn't got a clue what she's doing, someone will want to use the machine i'm on and get annoyed, It can literally be an endless list.

Recently, I have just got back into a regular routine of going to the gym, and i'm glad because it's only been a coupe of weeks but i'm already starting to see the changes :)!!
However, one of the big hurdles was getting back the confidence I apparently lost, i'm not 100% there yet but definitely feeling more comfortable.

It sounds ridiculous doesn't it, being intimidated by the gym, but I have begun to realise lately that it's more common than I thought. This makes me a little sad because it will mean some people will just not go and therefore not feel the amazing benefits due to this intimidation. So I thought i'd write a post to share my thoughts and how i'm managing to overcome them.

I used to work out a lot about 5 years ago and was in pretty good physical shape. I never felt intimidated in the gym (except for that first day when I met the instructor and he put my mind at ease) I always felt like it was ok to be there and that I was just doing my own thing, in my own little world I guess. This lasted about a year, and then for some life reason I fell out of love with the gym and evidently lost a lot of the physique and fitness I had gained.

Several (failed) attempts at getting back into the gym followed over the years. Each time I noticed I became more and more intimidated by going to the gym, the equipment, my form, what exercises I should be doing, I've got fat and look silly, you don't know what your doing, your so unfit its just pointless even trying, etc, etc, etc!

In reality, I do know what i'm doing. I have the knowledge I gained from working out in the past with an instructor and the training programmes he used to write for me. I know they work, I just need to find the confidence to stick to them...because I can do anything I put my mind to.

That's when it dawned on me, the more I allow the gym to intimidate me the more all these thoughts will become true and nothing will change.
Each time I go I have to go through the same thought process...you will only get fitter, healthier, better, more confident if you go to the gym. 
What I had to do was just dig deep and walk through those gym doors and think you can do this
And, if I am unsure of how to do something I just have to ask someone, the instructors are really nice and helpful- after all its what they are there for!!

If i'm honest, no-one else there cares anyway, they are there doing there own thing and probably not paying any attention to me anyway. And even if they are, who cares? This is My journey, My fitness, My health, I'm here for me not what anyone else thinks of me!

So, just go in there and own that place. The more often you go, the more comfortable you will become. The fitter you will get, the better you will get, the more confident you will become.

Remeber. It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice!!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Roasted Sweet Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

Recipe for My Roasted Sweet Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

I've never made a soup before, however with the cold nights drawing in and the thought of getting in from Uni after a long day and cooking not sounding so appealing I thought i'd give it a go.
I'm so glad I did, this is amazing, even if I say so myself :p!!!

It is really easy to make and once cooled just poor it into some Tupperware and put it in the freezer ready for those days when you need a little bit of a warm hug in a bowl :)


Ingredients

3 x Sweet Red Peppers
1 x Large Red Onion
12 x Ripe Tomatoes 
Olive Oil to drizzle
Salt & Pepper to season
500ml Stock (I used Bouillon Powder)

Recipe

1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees
2. Chop the onion, red peppers and tomatoes into chunks and place on a baking tray
3. Drizzle with Olive Oil
4. Season with Salt & Pepper
5. Toss it all together & then evenly spread out on the tray
6. Roast in the oven for 30/45 minutes, it can vary so check & when slightly charred they're done
7. Once done take out of the oven and prepare your vegetable stock, follow the pack instructions
8. Now all you need to do is put it into your food processor until its to the consistency that you like


Here's the roasted vegetables once they had come out the oven, they smelt amazing!!!




The recipe made a lot of soup, I managed to get enough for 4 x 250ml tubs and 3 x 150ml tubs plus my supper for that night.

There's also my Leek & Potato Soup in the photo there, recipe will be up on blog soon!!

Happy Souping :)

Remember, It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice!


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Protein Balls Recipe

Protein Balls - A Quick Post-Workout Refuel

I was beginning to have a few issues with post workout eating as sometimes I just don't have time to ensure I eat something immediately post workout. 

Reading around lots of people suggested protein bars/balls! There are some great ones out there like the Trek Bars, Bounce Balls or even the +Myprotein range to name just a few. You can go to most supermarkets nowadays and find them or to your health food shops or online. But as always penny's are few and far between, so as yummy as they all get reviewed they ted to be on the slightly expensive range for me.

Ergo I decided to make my own :) and boy am I glad I did, for a fraction of the cost they are gorgeous!!!!!!!




Ingredients

1 Cup of Oats 
2 scoops of protein powder (personal preference +Myprotein Natural Vanilla  Impact Whey)
1/3 Cup of Honey
1/3 Cup peanut butter (i used @MeridianFoods Crunchy peanut butter)
Designated Coconut for a slight covering


Recipe

Simply put all ingredients (except coconut) together in a bowl
Fun part using your hands mix it all together until well combined
You may need to dd more honey if its not quite binding as you want (drizzle slowly small amount goes far)
Then break off an amount you desire (usually enough to make an inch size ball) and roll in your hands until smooth and round!
If you wish roll in some designated coconut and store in an airtight container!!

This made 8 for me but it depends what size you want them!!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have Post Workout, let me know what you think :)!!

Remember, It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Eating Clean on a £20 Budget...The results

Well firstly, I'm sorry it took me so long to write this...first few weeks back at uni are definitely busy ones!!

The challenge was to eat clean for a week on a budget of £20...it definitely sounded easier than it was I have to say!!

I think the main difficulty I found with it was not being able to add additional flavors into the food that I was cooking!!! 
Like my porridge; I would normally add cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and anything else I  fancied but I chose to not use any Food Cupboard items and instead use solely what I was able to buy for £20!!!

One thing I was worried about was some of the food going bad before I could use it; this was not a problem...I am forever amazed how well the fresh fruit and Veg from +AldiUK keeps.

I really enjoyed managing to stick to the budget and still had some food leftover which is frozen and will keep for other meals in the very near future. This in itself is the way I have managed to stick to eating clean on a budget is being able to create a food cupboard essentials which initially seem to cost you more than desirable but once you have them allow you to turn the cheapest most basic food item into a gorgeous meal.

So some tips I learnt from doing this challenge;
  • Plan, Plan and then plan a little more! I would not have managed to go into a shop and stick to £20 if I had not walked in with a pre-planned shopping list.
  • Create a meal plan for the week, this will firstly help with the above point but will also allow you to waste less fresh food by incorporating it in the beginning of the week.
  • Frozen Food is your best friend; it is usually cheaper and lasts for a hell of a lot longer meaning you don't have to worry about it going bad/to waste.
  • Having a well stocked food cupboard is essential if you want to eat-clean on a budget and be able to put more variety into your meals.
  • It is possible to do, however whether I could stick to that for longer than a week is debatable.

So, from this I have decided to have a £20 shopping budget however this time I will also be able to use the food cupboard essentials that I have in already.
This is what I actually do, and some weeks don't need to spend £20 on food (which means I can stock up on those essentials ;p )!!

I will post my food cupboard essentials shortly along with a weekly shopping list and meal plan for a £20 food budget which also uses those said food cupboard essentials.

Remember; It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Meal Plan for £20 Eat Clean Shopping List

Now that you the shopping list is ready to go, here's what I will be making for the weeks meals:




The difficulty with eating on a budget (particularly only £20) is that there is going to be a lot of repetition of meals, so its about splitting them up throughout the week and being a little inventive.

I have also created the meal plan using JUST what was on the shopping list and nothing else, normally I would usually use a lot of items which I already have in my 'Essential Store Cupboard Items' (post to be written shortly). However, I understand that not all students would have this already and so created this meal plan which would allow them to eat purely on £20 a week.

Please understand that I am not a nutritionist or professional in anyway, I am merely trying to give some Healthy Eating inspiration to those that are wanting it and only able to do it on a budget.


A Little Explanation of The Meal Plan

Porridge- I do overnight oats so that's 1/2 Cup of oats to 1 Cup of Milk in a bowl overnight (speeds the cooking process up in the morning, great for when in a hurry)

Yogurt & Fruit Bowl- This is 1/2 cup of Yogurt and 1/2 cup of frozen berries (defrosted the night before) or make into a smoothie to mix things up

Omelette- This is 2 eggs and a splash of milk 

Salad- Each lunch Salad also includes 1 hard boiled egg and the egg salad on Tuesday is 2

Veg- This works out at just over a 1/4 of a bag each meal 

Sweet Potato- I was a little disappointed with the size of these as normally they are able to be used individually however for 69p I cant complain. Just divide how many you have by 3 for the meals.



So here goes a week of Eating Clean on a £20 budget, I will post at the end of the week how it went :)

Please post any comments below or tweet me @YourMBC 

Remember It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice

£20 Shopping List

Well I did it, I managed to create a Weekly Meal Plan and a Shopping list with ALL ingredients costing just £20.26
All thanks to +AldiUK 

I manged this with a number of different resources and an evening of planning (quite enjoyable as i was watching Magic Mike at the time as-well).

 I chose Aldi as it is my closest supermarket, within walking distance so I don't have to think about transport. Not only saving the pennies but also a good bit of exercise as well.

I was aware of a blog post by @TheKitchenShed which had managed to do a weekly family budget shop for £60 from Aldi 
This was really useful as it allowed me to see certain food items that Aldi stocked which are Clean-eating and would allow me to stick to a budget.

I also used a website to check prices of products
http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/

Finally, I used AldiUK website to see what their Super 6 fruit and veg and their meat offers for the week.
This is a really great way for you to try lots of different fruits and veg whilst being able to stick to a budget.

So here it is, the shopping list for a weeks meals @ £20

Shopping List

Fresh
Plums £0.69
Apples £0.69
Sweet Potatoes £0.69
Cucumber £0.45
Iceberg Lettuce £0.45
Mixed Peppers £0.89
Chestnut Mushrooms £0.69

Dairy
2 x Yogurt 500ml £0.90
S.Skimmed Milk 4pint £0.95
2x 6pack Eggs £1.78

Meat
British Diced Chicken £1.99
Turkey Steaks £2.59

StoreCupboard
Porridge Oats £0.75
Tinned Tuna in Brine £0.49

Frozen
Tuna Steaks £2.99
2x Vegetable Medley 1kg Bag £1.78
Mixed Berries £1.49



Okay, so it totals £20.26 but i'd say that's near enough!


Have fun shopping and the meal plan will be posted shortly :)

Remember It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice

Sunday, 28 September 2014

£20 shopping list - Preperation

Being a student, as you are aware i'm sure, means that i'm on a strict budget. I did a little research and was shocked to see some of the statistics from a recent study looking at how increasing student debt is affecting their lifestyles. 

This study below found that students on average spend £20 a week on food, 74% saying they only cook from scratch for one meal a week.


This is a scary statistic in my present eyes, but in my past undergraduate eyes i'd say this probably looked surprising but for the opposite reasons. I don't think I even cooked one meal from scratch each week. From my experience this was due to laziness, lack of knowledge and convenience. I'm here now to try and provide other students who need a little helping hand the resources to eat clean and healthy on a budget.

When it comes to eating healthy this can be a challenge in itself, but when it comes to eating clean i'm beginning to realise its more challenging than I had originally thought. However, with a little help from the ever growing Eat Clean online community i'm getting there and actually rather enjoying myself.  

So I have decided to take on the challenge and create a meal plan, shopping list and eat a weeks worth of meals for the student budget of £20.

It's evident that shopping for a week on £20 is not going to be easy, so firstly i'm going to have to do a bit of preparation:

1. Plan my weeks meals.
2. Make a shopping list
3. Go shopping and STICK to the shopping list
4. Make sure I ave enough containers/jars/tubs/foodbags to freeze extra portions.

It's a Sunday evening and Magic Mike is on Channel 4 so this seems like the perfect time to plan my meals for the week and write my shopping list. I will post both of these tomorrow once I have successfully (said with everything crossed) been shopping and purchased my weeks food.

Wish me Luck :)

Remember It's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Nakd Bar Recipe 25p Each

I have been following an Eat Clean diet since around May 2014, however I have been gradually progressing towards this for the last 4 years. 

This was a subconscious decision to start with as it began with trying to work out what it was that was causing my stomach to give me so much grief on a daily basis. I did so by progressively cutting certain foods out of my diet 

I'm still not sure what the cause of my stomach grief is, however I am enjoying were this has taken my diet and lifestyle. In the pursuit of this I found potentially one of the great loves of my life, Nakd Bars. 


These little bars of heaven are delicious and are classed as Clean in the food world!!!
They can now be found in most of the Free From sections in all leading supermarkets and in many of the health food stores or via their website 

These bars can usually be bought for a reasonable £0.75 a bar, which when you compare to how much most would happily spend on a chocolate bar is money well spent.

As a student I am like the majority living on a very tight budget, and as many will say this does not lend it self easily to eating a healthy diet, let alone eating clean. This has caused me to find cheaper alternatives to foods that I love, which resulted in the following homemade recipe ;)


Cocoa, Vanilla, Date and Cashew Bars




Ingredients

1 Bag of Dates  
1 Bag of Cashew Nuts
1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tbsp of Cacao Powder
2 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Makes 18 bars

Method

Put all ingredients into a food processor on high speed for around 5 minutes or until they come together.
In a clingfilm lined tray press the mixture in (i found using my hands instead of a spoon worked best).
Place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Take out when chilled and cut into bars (or whatever you fancy).
Store in an airtight container in the fridge/freezer.
Unsure of a use by date, I doubt mine will last long enough to worry!




I worked them out to be around 25/30p a bar, but you could make them cheaper by replacing the Cacao powder with Cocoa Powder.

Enjoy :)

Remember its Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice




Im Going Back To University...As A Mature Student eeeekkk!!!!!!

So, I'm off to University again to study my MSc and it's a daunting thought for so many reasons; but particularly because of the massive changes in my lifestyle since I was an undergraduate!!!

I am going from a full time (well paid) job to being a full time (no pay) student...without my car!!!!
This is possibly the weirdest feeling in the world.

 I am now 25, and haven't been a student for 3 years. I haven't had to budget for food, drinks, clothes, mobile, books and everything else that comes along with the student lifestyle.

Of all the daunting things that comes with going back to university (meeting new people, finding somewhere to live, am I actually still able to write an essay, how do I enroll) one of the thoughts that is at the forefront is 'how will  I afford to continue to eat clean???' 

This is possibly going to be more of a challenge than completing the MSc itself, however I am determined to continue to make the healthy choices I have grown to love.

Back in my Undergraduate days this was definitely NOT a concern, I did not care what I was putting in my body as long as it was something satisfying and easy on the purse strings.
My health definitely showed this.

I've got a few tricks up my sleeve and one of them is this blog, motivation and all that shizzle.

I'll be posting on here and twitter @YourMBC the ways and means I use throughout my time as a Postgraduate Student trying to eat clean, hopefully I can inspire you to do the same.


Remember it's Your Mind, Your Body, Your Choice