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Here are some tips that I like to consider when I’m working out:

  • When I can’t be bothered to get up and head out to the gym I do ‘Blogilates’. This is a YouTube channel run by a girl called Cassey Ho, she makes 5-20 minute videos that encourage you to work out with her.
Blogilates YouTube channel

Blogilates YouTube channel

  • Do what you enjoy, because you’ll want to go back to it. If you get bored switch it up to keep your body guessing.
  • Make sure that you stretch. This is so important as it will help your muscles to grow and repair. It also helps to shift the lactic acid, which if left to build up will cause painful muscle strain.
Stretching with weights

Stretching with weights

  • It’s important to eat before and after working out. I find I need the energy especially if I’m doing vigorous cardio work. Afterwards I try to eat something that has protein in as this will help to speed up the muscle growth and repair.
  • If you are running make sure your trainers fit you properly so you are not damaging your feet and legs.
Gym trainers

Gym trainers

  • Take advantage of your metabolism after you’ve worked out. This is when it is at it’s fastest so you can sneak in a naughty treat and it will break down a lot quicker than usual.
  • Make sure you are sweating, if not you need to work out harder!
Sweating after a hard work-out.

Sweating after a hard work-out.

  • Have rest days and don’t overwork your body, this is very important because your body needs time to relax and repair.
  • You need to listen to your body, if something hurts and is causing you pain, stop.

All images sourced from ‘Getty Images’

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So many of us seem to forget everything we know when we eat out. The term ‘eyes bigger than your belly’ comes to mind. Here are a few tips that I find useful when I eat out:

  •  Don’t ‘save yourself’ because you know you are going to be eating out later. By skipping meals to perhaps ‘save calories’ you will be ravenous which could end up with you over ordering or getting something you wouldn’t normally. Be sure to eat regularly just as you usually would.

Self-serve buffet’s are very tempting.

  • Instead of ordering chunky chips with your burger, get the side salad instead. You are already treating yourself to the yummy burger and your body will thank you afterwards.
  • Salad dressings and sauces are normally ridden with calories and saturated fat. So you may want to consider asking for these condiments on the side so you can monitor how much you are using.

Dress your salad accordingly.

  • If you can’t quite manage to finish your meal due to the large portion sizes don’t be scared to ask for a doggy bag. You can save it for the next day and not feel like you have overindulged.

Store your leftovers in the fridge.

  • It’s always good to see if you can find out which restaurant you will be going to ahead of time. This way you can check out the menu online beforehand and make sure you get everything you want out of the meal.
  • Lastly don’t be afraid to be assertive and ask. If you want to switch something that you see on the menu you are entitled to.

Scraping the plate clean.

All images sourced from ‘Getty Images’

We all deserve a treat once in a while and what better way to indulge yourself than with chocolate chip cookies. Most supermarket cookies are packed with additives, sugar and lots of other nasties that personally I try to avoid. It’s always best to make your own treats so you can keep an eye on what is going into them.

Mixing bowl ready to be licked clean.

Mixing bowl ready to be licked clean.

I have managed to find a recipe that contains no added sugar, is gluten free and suitable for vegans. Not only that but you won’t need eggs or flour, what I will say is you need to get your hands on a can or two of chickpeas (garbanzos).

You are probably thinking the same as what I was thinking when I first heard about chickpea cookies. ‘Gross!’ However you need to try it before you make your judgement. Considering the only unhealthy ingredient is the chocolate chips, this is perfect for healthy food lovers.

Freshly baked cookies straight out of the oven.

Freshly baked cookies straight out of the oven.

These cookies are crammed with tons of protein and fibre so you can feel good after eating them. I would recommend eating them when they are first baked so they are warm and gooey. I have adapted the original recipe I found to suit me and you can too. There are loads of possibilities and choices to try out. Try substituting the dates for things like banana or even prunes. You could also swap oats for flax seed.

Store your cookies in an air tight container so they keep longer.

Store your cookies in an air tight container so they keep longer.

Ingredients:

  •  2 cans of chick peas (well-rinsed)
  • 136g oats
  • 300g pitted dates
  • 4 packs of stevia (sweetener)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp oil (coconut, veg)
  • 136g chocolate chips
  • 240ml milk
  • 60ml unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees / Gas mark #4. Grease and line your baking tray.

This recipe is simple, once you have weighed everything out, combine all the ingredients with the exception of the chocolate chips into your food processor and blend. You are looking for a smooth result, where the dates are unable to be seen and the mixture combines naturally. Once you have achieved this, add the chocolate chips in and take a teaspoon/ dessert spoon (depending on the size you want). Scoop the mixture with the spoon onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes and then leave to cool for 15 minutes.

All images sourced from ‘Getty Images’

My first tip/task for you this week would be to take a picture of everything that you eat. I know it sounds ridiculous, but this is actually really important. Even just the conscious effort of taking a picture of your food, stopping. And having to hold your appetite for five seconds. It all makes a big difference and every week you can see what your diet was like.

Pepperoni pizza

Pepperoni pizza

There are lots of apps that can help with this, ‘The Eatery’ being one of them and ‘Meal Snap’ the other. Even if you don’t have an iPhone you can just take pictures with your camera/camera phone and download them onto your computer. Set up a folder and insert all the images of the meals that you have eaten in the past week/month.

Chicken and vegetable penne

Chicken and vegetable penne

If you eat a doughnut on Monday, you can remember you’ve eaten that until Friday when you can have another one. You’ll start gathering information about yourself and just truly learning what it is you are eating. You have to be honest with yourself and take pictures of the good meals that you eat and the really crappy meals that you eat.

Bowl of crisps

Bowl of crisps

To be fair, it’s not really any different than writing a food diary, but to me this just seems a whole lot easier. So I urge you to try this for a week and write below in the comments how you get along!

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

All images sourced from ‘Getty Images’