9 fail-safe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays

9 failsafe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays header

The holiday season can be particularly challenging for those of us who have specific goals and are eating to a plan in order to reach them. There’s endless temptation from festive food and beverages. People gravitate to celebrations and often find food that they associate with nostalgic feelings of Christmas moments gone by. There’s also the marketing machine that churns out an array of new treats every year. The struggle is truly real this time of year.

Although there is endless temptation and ways to come off the rails of your eating plan or diet over the holidays there are things you can do to minimise any of the festive fun derailing your plan and stay on track to achieve your goals.

Related: The best instagrams to follow for diet

  1. Have a plan

    It’s important to have a really specific plan in the first place. You might be on a program like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, you might simply be tracking your macros or even following a Keto eating plan. Start out by having a plan of how you’re going to stick to it. I do this once a week on a Sunday – looking at the week ahead I figure out where I might have special holiday functions or lunches and what opportunities I have to stay on track.

  2. Your Meal Tracking app is your best friend

    I’m a huge fan of MyFitnessPal and whatever app you use to track your food, it’s super important to do it over this period because it’s easy for little things to sneak their way in. After all of the lunches, cocktail parties, morning teas and Carol in the office receiving a share hamper the calories add up quickly.

    I also highly recommend planning your day before you start so if you want to include that after work glass of wine or a treat here or there you have your plan for the day and you know your calories will fit. There’s nothing worse than logging it all in at the end of the day to find you ate well over what you wanted to.

  3. Read the menu before you go

    If you’re going to a restaurant or even somewhere for after work drinks, check the menu before you go. Order what works for your plan and try not to nibble at anything else unless you have room for it in your plan. If there isn’t anything on the menu that suits, you can always call the restaurant and see what options you have.

  4. Alcohol – decide what you’ll have and stick to it

    Those sneaky alcoholic calories are a huge factor in holiday season weight gain. You might smash the eggnog, have one too many whisky’s with grandpa or have every glass of champagne handed to you at the Christmas party. Unfortunately these are fun but empty calories. The best course of action here is to decide how much alcohol you’ll have at any function, log it in your meal tracking app before you go and stick to it. That way if you want to have a few extra wines you can eat a few less calories throughout the day to accommodate.

  5. Remember what your goals are

    Remembering your goals every day is a great way to mentally prepare yourself to stick to the plan. This might mean that over the holidays you need a little extra encouragement. Adding some inspo pictures to your phone background or around your desk will help with this. You’ve been working so hard towards them so a progress pic reminder is also a great tool to help you with this. Do you know what it will be like once you achieve them? Visualisation is such a powerful tool – if you have a few minutes to spare visualise your goals and how you will feel once you’ve achieved them!

  6. Let everyone around you know you have a plan

    Sometimes it takes a friend to give you that extra encouragement that you need. Sometimes it’s your friends that are offering you that extra glass of champagne or piece of Christmas Cake. Letting everyone around you know what your goals are for the holiday season will help with sticking to the plan. If people know you don’t want extra alcohol they may think twice before they offer or, if you’re struggling to say no to that extra treat a friendly reminder might be all it takes to stay on plan.

  7. You can recreate holiday recipes in a healthy way

    I’ve been researching this a lot lately. I’m committed to a healthier me and that means finding alternatives to some of my favourite meals to support my dairy intolerance. I know this won’t always be possible especially for the Family Christmas meal where others will be cooking for me. However, I do a lot of baking in the lead up to Christmas, I usually make a Christmas Cake, Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread and I have a favourite Christmas dessert that contains a lot of cream.

    This year I’ve had to find alternatives in order to accommodate this. There’s plenty of alternative recipes that will come up in a quick google search. I’ve also been curating my own on my Clean Eating Over the Holidays Pinterest board, take a look for some great ideas.

  8. Have a plan for Travel

    Holiday travel can be extremely stressful on top of that sticking to your eating plan in airports and gas stations isn’t easy. The key with this one is to have a plan before you go – decide on what snacks you would like to take with you and pack them into your bag so you’re not tempted by drive through or airport burger bars. If you’re flying long haul; look at the meal options on your flight and request what suits your plan best.

    It’s not just the journey but the destination – research what you’ll be able to do to stick to your plan once you get there. Can you go to a supermarket straight away? Are there any cafes that cater to your meal plan in the area?

  9. Don’t restrict yourself too much

    Restriction leads to binging later on so the key is ensuring you don’t restrict yourself too extensively. If you want to have some of your favourite childhood treats – do it! Log them in your app and plan them in. Also, on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving or whatever celebration you have where your family comes together – plan to be unrestricted. You can reduce your calories over the days following but I distinctly remember a tweet from Kayla Itsines last Christmas that said to enjoy Christmas with your family. That’s what I intend to do and you should too!

Do you have any other great eating plan tips? Let me know in the comments!

9 failsafe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays

9 fail-safe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays pin
9 fail-safe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays pin

10 things to expect your first time at the gym

10 things to expect your first time at the gym heading

Going to the gym for the first time can be scary, daunting, emotional and challenging all at once. Knowing what to expect before you walk in to a gym can be the difference between deciding to go or not to go. I’ve put together a list of 10 things to expect on your first time at the gym to make it a little less challenging for that initial workout.

Related: How to join the gym that’s right for you 

  1. You will need to take a towel and a water bottle.

    Taking a towel and water bottle to the gym is an absolute must. Not only should you put your towel down on the equipment to create a barrier between you and other peoples built up sweat (gross!), you should have a towel to wipe your own sweat whilst you’re working out.

    A water bottle means that you have the opportunity to hydrate throughout your workout. Staying hydrated and consuming enough water daily is important when it comes to reaching your goals so make sure you don’t forget your water bottle. Most gyms also have fountains where you can refill your bottle throughout your time there. I’ve often found this is super convenient if you decide to do more than one class or do a class and then lift some weights for a double session.

  2. There will be a changing area with lockers.

    There will be a place for you to get changed and showered including a space for you to store your things. I suggest when you sign up and take your initial tour (before your first workout) you ask how the lockers work – I’ve been to gyms where you had to take your own lock, many gyms have number coded locks or locks that are activated by your gym membership card.

    The exception to this is small personal training studios and some of the new, smaller crossfit style gyms that have become popular in recent years. If you’re attending one of these gyms check what facilities they have before you go for the first time.

  3. There will be trainers on the floor.

    There will be trainers walking the floor who are there to help you. If they’re not with a client feel free to ask them questions. I do recommend following a workout program like the Sweat App or there are some great training videos on instagram. If you’re not keen to venture in to the gym cardio or weight area just yet, sign up for some classes – my favourites are Spin and Reformer Pilates.

  4. Expect that there will be a weights area, don’t be afraid of this.

    Even if you don’t want to give the weights a go on your very first time at the gym try and transition to this as soon as you can. Don’t get caught in the cardio bunny cycle of just doing cardio classes every time you go and reap the benefits of weight training as soon as you feel comfortable. There will be totally ripped gym-goers wandering around in here, don’t let it intimidate you.

  5. There will be a scale.

    My old friend. Every gym generally has a scale or body scan equipment and if you work with a PT or sign up for a challenge they will want to weigh you. I find the body scan a great yardstick of how I’m going at the gym and use it weekly. The thing to remember is that it’s just a number and progress isn’t exclusive to the scale.

  6. All the equipment you need will be there for you.

    Everything you need will be at the gym. There are some instances in which I suggest you DON’T use the provided equipment. Boxing Gloves and Yoga Mats are the things that I really recommend you get your own. Mostly because no one wants to put their hands into gross boxing gloves that thousands of others have used. The same philosophy stands for Yoga mats, you’re all over them, sometimes in hot and sweaty environments. I also own my own mini-bands for band workouts, mostly because I just like to have my own.

  7. You will be surrounded by people who are #fitspo

    There will be plenty of people at the gym who have been doing this much longer than you have. They might be stricter on their diet or just come to the gym way more often than you do. Don’t fall in to the comparison trap – you’re on your own journey and you need to stay true to that.

  8. There will be opportunities, and you should take them.

    The gym is a place where they want you to succeed. You’ll be surrounded by opportunities to try something different and reach your goals. Often gyms will run free challenge programs for members and there’s always new classes to try. Take as many opportunities as you can to reach your goals.

  9. There will be days you don’t want to come.

    After your very first workout chances are you’ll be super motivated and keen to go back. However, not every day is like this; there will be days when it’s cold and raining, days when you’re sore and days when you just can’t face it. That’s okay and even the most motivated of gym-goes goes through this. Take every day as it comes, be kind to yourself and listen to your body.

  10. Expect that you’ll never regret a workout, especially your first one.

    Even though you won’t always want to go, you’ll never regret a workout. Each workout is one more step towards your goals.

Well done for taking the first step and signing up to a gym, hope you have a great first visit! Let me know how it went in the comments below!

If you’re new to the weight loss and fitness game – I’ve been watching a Youtuber who has a series that is super honest about diet and exercise. I would highly recommend checking out Boo’s videos.

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10 things to expect your first time at the gym pin

10 things to expect your first time at the gym pin
10 things to expect your first time at the gym

Laser hair removal for beginners

laser hair removal for beginners heading

If I could choose one thing that I’ve done recently that has absolutely changed my world, it’s difficult to choose. I’ve recently gone and got Botox for the first time (game changer!) but also I’ve decided to ditch razors for good and I’ve had laser hair removal treatments. I distinctly remember asking my mum for a razor to shave my legs long ago and I’ve been somewhat faithful ever since. I say somewhat faithful as I have had a number of waxing sessions over the years also. Laser hair removal is quite the game changer and now I go many weeks without having to shave or have another laser session.

Related: A beginners guide to getting botox

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical or beauty industry professional. This post is basic information only and you should always consult a professional before deciding to get laser hair removal treatments.  

Why I decided to try laser, and you should too

Deciding to try laser actually isn’t a big decision at all. You’ll have a consultation with your laser technician before your first session and if there’s anything you feel uncomfortable about you don’t have to go through with it. If you think about how much time you’ve wasted shaving in the shower, it’s a no-brainer.

Unfortunately I was a slow learner in this space and it took me a little longer. Laser hair removal wasn’t really on my radar until 2017, before that I was faithful to shaving and waxing. Sure I had seen laser hair removal on episodes of the Kardashians but living in a smallish city it wasn’t overly common and the cost was high. I never considered it until I moved to Sydney and one of the girls at work suggested I give it a go. Her exact words were “It will be life changing”. I wasn’t so sure and didn’t make an appointment straight away.

Eventually I was at home one morning and I had run out of razors, there was just a dodgy rusty razor sitting in my shower. Decision made and I made an appointment.

The basics

Laser hair removal is hair reduction for long periods of time. Generally with 6-10 treatments you can effectively reduce the hair that grows safely and any part of your body can be treated. The laser looks for your hair and zaps the hair follicle restricting future growth. This works best on people with light skin and darker hair. If you’ve been tanning it doesn’t work well so a technician may turn you away if you’ve been tanning.

You shave the night before, go for your treatment and then you’ll need to avoid excessive sweating and swimming for 24 hours following your treatment. Following your treatment you may have to apply a soothing gel for a couple of days as your skin may be a bit red and sensitive.

When I first tried laser in 2017, I only went to three treatments before I lost interest and stopped – although my hair was reduced it continued to grow and by the time I started treatments again this year my underarms were basically back to normal.

Does it hurt? The word laser is scary!

It depends what you consider to be painful. Personally I find waxing far more painful than laser hair removal but in certain areas it can feel like you’re being flicked with a rubber band. I have recently extended the time between my sessions and it can sometimes hurt a little more when you return after leaving it a bit longer. Personally I find it hurts the most around my ankles and under my arms. My husband has recently had treatments on his face and he said it sometimes hurts above his top lip.

Choose your laser provider wisely

I personally find the pain very minimal but I have spoken to people who have found it a little more painful. I think this comes down to selecting your clinic well. The best clinics have the best machines with the latest technology so that the treatment is quick and with minimal pain. Personally, I wouldn’t just go anywhere for this and I researched my choice of clinic before I made my first appointment.

Have you taken the leap into laser hair removal or are you a faithful shaver / waxer? Let me know in the comments below.

laser hair removal for beginners pin

laser hair removal pin
laser hair removal pin

How a juice cleanse can help you lose weight

How a juice cleanse can help you lose weight

Last weekend a friend and I did a juice cleanse. It was a challenging three days of literally only drinking juice and eating nothing. However, although it was challenging I learnt a lot about my habits and gave my body a much needed reset.

A juice cleanse isn’t for everyone and I certainly won’t be attempting another any time soon but I really needed to do something – I’ve been consistently losing weight for a number of months, and then, it just stopped. Boom, plateau.  I really wanted to reset my system and change my habits around food. Two of the girls in my office had been juicing so I thought I would try it.

Doing the juice cleanse meant that I did lose some weight but most importantly it gave my body the opportunity to reset and detox.

Related: The best instagrams to follow for diet

Choosing the cleanse

Being the researcher that I am, I took all of five minutes to read this Harper’s Bazaar Australia article on the best three juice cleanses – I considered for a moment but my friends and colleagues had been doing the Orchard St Cleanse and so I thought I would start with that one.

If you’re looking at doing a juice cleanse you don’t have to fork out cash for pre-made juices; if you have a Ninja or similar blender in your kitchen you can actually make your own. There’s a number of resources online that will give you recipes to do this. The pre-made juices were quite costly and came in at about $80 Australian Dollars a day, per person. You can save some serious change if you were to make these at home. Although, the Orchard St ones had some pretty incredible herbs in them so it may be a slightly different experience.

Following a personal training session at the gym on Saturday morning I visited Orchard St’s Bondi cafe – there was an array of yummy vegan food on offer but I was there for one thing only – to pick up my three boxes of juice. I loved the style of the cafe and the apothecary theme, it made me feel like I was being super healthy.

Orchard st bondi cafe

The Orchard St cleanse is made up of 6 Juices per day plus a lemon water that you should have in the morning before anything else in order to cleanse your liver. We chose our own juices based on what the girls in the office said were the best ones but Orchard St also have set programs of recommended juices.

My favourite every day was by far the morning Smoothie, the Mylk to finish the day and the detox tea (which had a bunch of Chia seeds in it so it felt like you had eaten something). We mixed it up a bit and had different juices every day but had the same Mylk and detox tea daily.

Juice cleanse juices
Daily juice line up.

Day 1: Wasn’t actually that bad

My juice cleanse experience on Day 1 wasn’t too bad considering I had been dreading it for the days leading up to the cleanse.  I had been to the gym in the morning but didn’t eat and waited until we picked our juices up to have any juice. I actually think this was my saving grace on Day 1 because I could have the juices so close together and there wasn’t any long periods without having some juice.

The Orchard St packaging says ‘sip mindfully’ so I was attempting to do this all day, drinking slowly so I didn’t constantly feel hungry.

Orchard st bottles

Day 2: The day I would have eaten anything

Day 2 is where it really fell off the rails for me. I was crazy hungry in the morning, I still went to the gym and lifted some weights but I feel like this was a big mistake. On the afternoon of Day 2 I was feeling quite sick, I had a headache and I would have eaten anything just to feel like I was eating something.

I googled the development of feeling unwell and as it turned out, this is quite normal for some people on day 2. Great – not sure why I didn’t google this sooner.

Day 3: Let’s just get through this

Day 3 was actually the best day. It was Monday so I was working and I had diligently taken 4 of my juices to work. At this point, I was well over the juice cleanse situation but I was keen to just power through it. The worst part was actually in the evening, after I had finished my last juice which was a delicious Mylk called Peace Mylk, by then I just wanted to eat but I couldn’t until Breakfast the following day.

How does this help me?

I’m not saying you should drop everything and do a Juice cleanse this weekend. You need to take in to account what your goals are and your personal situation. The juice cleanse makes you lose water weight – most of it returns as soon as you start to eat food again. However, if you’re looking for a bit of a reset, this is potentially something you might wish to explore.

I would also recommend you watch this youtube video from Cassey Ho from Blogilates – she’s recently also done a 3 day juice cleanse and talks through her results.

Overall, I think the cleanse has benefits for weight loss but these are more long term and it comes from using the cleanse to reset your body and kick start some additional weight loss. Since the juice cleanse I’ve also incorporated some more cardio into my workouts and have decided to change my diet to make it even cleaner. It really was the boost that I needed.

Have you done a juice cleanse recently? Did you do one for more than three days?

Tell me about it in the comments below!

How a juice cleanse can help you lose weight

A beginners guide to getting Botox

a beginners guide to getting botox

Are you finding those small lines on your face are just that little bit more annoying? I certainly was. I have that combination of super light skin, probably not enough sunscreen over the years and an over 30 ageing situation.

It was mostly in the last year that I really started to notice lines on my face. They were starting to get deep and super noticeable which I personally hated. To me, that was losing my youth and something I wasn’t prepared to let go of yet.

When I first started to notice the lines a few years ago, I was mid-twenties and indifferent to anything I needed to do to look after my skin, I actually wrote a blog post on my old blog that was really popular entitled “Should I get botox” – I’ve since deleted that particular blog but that’s where the Internet Archive steps in – you can read it here.

Two weeks ago, I decided it was time and I phoned and made an appointment with a cosmetic injector. This wasn’t before I had done copious amounts of research and started following some of the places that specialise in Botox and Anti-Wrinkle treatments on Instagram. Mostly so I knew what I was in for, following the accounts really pushed me over the line so if you’re thinking about this I would highly recommend doing the same.

Since then I’ve had so many questions from girls in my circle about the process; “What is it?”, “did it hurt?”, “what will happen to me”, “wow you look 10 years younger”. In today’s post I’ll answer some of these questions.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. This post is basic information only and you should always consult a medical professional before undertaking any kind of procedure. 

What is botox and what does it do?

Botox is a brand of a muscle relaxer that is made from a bacteria. When injected by a medical professional, in the right spots botox relaxes your muscle and prevents it from moving and thus prevents it from crinkling your skin. Lines soften and fade or can be prevented from forming in the first place.

There’s no magical age or stage of life when botox is first recommended – it really depends on the individual and their individual skin. I chose to go because I was starting to notice my lines more and more. A different reason might prompt you to visit, I had also had a number of conversations with the girls on the reception desk prior to booking a consultation with my cosmetic injector.

The botox process

The process is very straightforward. You should have an initial consultation with a cosmetic injector who should be a Doctor or a Registered Nurse. It goes without saying but please ensure you engage a professional for this process, too many things can go wrong if you get some random girl that used to work at a beauty spa. It’s also illegal (in Australia) to be administered botox without a prescription.

In your consultation you’ll talk about the areas you want treated and your injector will explain any risks associated and what their recommendation is in terms of treatment. Following this, if you decide to go through with the treatment they will prepare your prescription (in my case this involved Skyping a doctor as I had a Registered Nurse as my injector), draw on your skin to identify the injection sites, prepare the botox and begin.

Don’t expect to see results on the day. Botox doesn’t kick in straight away so you have a 4-10 day wait ahead of you before it really starts to kick in.

Let’s be real, does it hurt a lot?

Honestly, it doesn’t really hurt. I was promptly handed a squeezy ball before treatment started and I only found myself giving it a hard squeeze in the most sensitive location on my forehead.

You feel the needle pierce your skin and it stings a little when the product is going in.

I was a little sore for the next couple of days, my injection sites bruised a little bit (which is completely common) and some people get headaches when the botox kicks in a few days later.

What happens after I get treatment?

I wouldn’t plan on doing anything immediately after – I’m not sure if it was my pale skin but you could see a slight redness around where I had the injections. I even talked my husband into going to the supermarket for me because I thought it would be that noticeable. Arrange your appointment for a time when you can go straight home.

You can’t exercise for 24-48 hours after, at the risk of moving the botox from your treatment areas – following your botox treatment you can relax for a couple of days.

The effect will last around 3-5 months, so assess when you would like your next appointment based on your personal results.

I’m so happy with the results across my forehead and frown lines, in a few weeks I’ll be going back to have my crows feet done. Please tell me about your experiences with Botox in the comments below – are you thinking about it? Have you already had it done? What did you think?

a beginners guide to getting botox

A beginners guide to getting botox

The best instagrams to follow for workouts

the best instagrams to follow for workouts

Instagram can be a great resource for quick workout videos. The nature of posting videos of workouts to Instagram means that the posts need to quickly take you through the exercises and they’re perfect for when you’re in the gym. These are, in my opinion the best instagrams to follow for workouts.

Related: The best Instagrams to follow for diet

I know instagram isn’t the first place you might think of when looking for great exercise and workout programs. The videos posted can often be from high end personal trainers, just by following their account you get a snippet of what their celebrity clients pay so much for. Instagram is also a great place to find workouts aimed at women, I find this can sometimes be tricky if you’re just googling.

Ashleigh Jordan (@ashleigh_jordan)

Ashleigh Jordan uploads great targeted fitness videos to instagram all the time. She puts the targeted muscle groups on the first slide of the carousel and I’ve referred to her workouts many times in the gym but also when I’ve been on vacation and needed some inspo while in the gym. The videos show you exactly how to do the exercise and on what equipment at the gym.

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LEG DAY STAPLES 🍑💪🏼 . TAG a friend! . On my heavier leg/glute days, there are certain exercises I ALWAYS do because for me personally, I feel as though they work those muscles beautifully 👌🏼 . I wanted to share some of my leg day staples with you guys for you to try! 💁🏼‍♀️ . 1️⃣Split Squats 2️⃣Superset: Hip Thrusts/ Single Leg Glute Bridge 3️⃣Superset: Deadlifts/Glute Lifts 4️⃣Weighted Step Ups . @brettstir 🎥💕 Outfit: @justpeachi *RESTOCK COMING THIS MONTH* details to come 😊 _____________________________________ #fitfam #fitness #fitnessmotivation #fitnessjourney #workout #workouts #workoutroutine #workoutmotivation #workoutvideo #legday #legdayworkout #glutes #glutesworkout #squats #squatbooty #healthylifestyle #happiness #positivevibes #saturday #weekendvibes #diettips #fittips #citylife #pittsburgh

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Kelsey Wells (@kelseywells)

Kelsey Wells is a SWEAT trainer of Kayla Itsines fame. She created the PWR program on the SWEAT app and also a post-pregnancy program. Her instagram is always full of great workout snippets which are helpful even if you’re not a subscriber to the app.

 

Cassey Ho (@blogilates)

Cassey Ho is the founder of Blogilates, I actually referenced her videos in my 2018 Guide To Working Out with Youtube post. She posts great workouts that you don’t need a gym for, they’re heavily pilates based which are actually super challenging even if Cassey makes it look super easy!

 

Melissa Alcantara (@fitgurlmel)

Melissa Alcantara is famously the trainer responsible for Kim Kardashian’s 2018 body transformation. Under the Instagram name @fitgurlmel the body builder shows her daily workouts. It’s workout inspiration at it’s finest.

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Success consists of failing over and over again without losing enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill : : First time doing snatches 🏋🏽‍♀️ A few things my fitness journey has shown me…1️⃣you are no better than anyone else only different 2️⃣you will be a beginner over and over again if you want to keep learning 3️⃣ you are only as strong as you tell yourself you are 4️⃣ you will feel and look stupid af but you will get it and then who’s the stupid one? 🤔 Outfit: @gymsharkwomen @gymsharktrain @gymshark @deuce_gym with @jjarel : : #mondaymotivation #motivation #fitfam #fitmom #fitspo #fitness #fitgirl #fit #fitnessaddict #love #beautiful #learning #weightloss #gymtime #crossfit #fitnessjourney #success #goals #bodygoals #fitspiration #fail #training #inspire #inspiration

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 Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines)

I couldn’t do a best of post without the queen herself! The creator of the Bikini Body Guide and subsequently the SWEAT app Kayla’s instagram is constantly updated with workouts. Not only does she post workouts but there’s plenty of transformation inspo and mindset advice.

I love how instagram can dish up my daily dose of fitspo and just by following a few accounts I can shake up my work out. Do you use instagram for workouts already? What are some of your favourite workout accounts? Let me know in the comments below!

The best instagrams to follow for workouts

The best instagrams to follow for workouts

The best instagrams to follow for diet

The best instagrams to follow for diet

I love Instagram but it can be a challenging place. It’s hard to filter all the people that flood the grid with thinly veiled sales pitches and mis-truths. The best instagrams to follow for diet is a collection of just that, those instagram accounts I really trust to give me information and help me find that sweet spot for fat loss.

The Fitness Chef (@thefitnesschef_)

The Fitness Chef is a great account to follow, he’s an online Personal Trainer and his account is full of hard and fast nutrition tips with full calorie counts of items like all the burgers on the menu at Burger King and some great calorie comparisons. He subscribes to flexible dieting whilst staying in a calorie deficit for fat loss which is such an achievable method.

Comparisons like the below are a great reminder to be mindful of the things we’re eating.

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Tag a mate who needs some help preparing their work lunch 🤝 – – The prawn salad on the left is not bad as much as my prawn flatbreads on the right are not good. Instead, they are what they are – a source of energy and nutrients. – – One happens to have significantly more energy than the other across a similar volume of food. Consuming high calorie foods is not bad, as long as you’re aware of your overall energy intake in relation to your goal. – – Both these options contain protein, carbs and fat, but the main difference is shown in the fat values. On the left; 38g = 342 calories of fat, compared to 10g on the right = 90 calories from fat. The inclusion of additional protein on the right also balances it’s macronutrients more evenly. – – At the end of they day it’s up to you. The likelihood is that preparation of meals at home gives you 100% control in making them suit your goal. Whereas shopping at lunchtime gives you less control in finding something enjoyable which also suits your goal. – – Make sure you are aware of the bigger picture (daily calorie intake for your goal) and apply that mindset to the smaller pictures (each meal or snack). Eat what you enjoy, but always be aware and informed on what you consume. – – Here’s the recipe for the right hand side: – – 1️⃣ In a bowl, mix up 150g of cooked prawns, juice from 1/2 a lime, black pepper and dried coriander. 2️⃣ Chop up 1/4 of a bell pepper and add to 2 folded flatbreads, along with a small handful of spinach in each. 3️⃣ Add the prawns to the flatbreads (75g in each), put in the fridge and take to work the next day. – – #thefitnesschef #worklunch #mealprep #lunchideas #lunchbox #lunchboxideas #losefat #caloriedeficit #eatsmart #balanceddiet #highprotein #caloriecomparison #prawns #portioncontrol #caloriecounting #mfp #workfood #nutritioncoach #fatlosstips

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He also does great lists of popular fast food items with calorie counts, he’s based in the UK so it’s always best to check calorie counts for your country on an app like myfitnesspal or on the website of the venue you plan on eating at.

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Tag a McDonald’s lover, hit save and keep both you and your friends informed on the calorie values of this bunch of the franchise’s items. – – Whilst most McDonald’s item’s ingredients lack the quality and nutrient density of a whole foods, I think most of us already know this. But the pertinent thing here is that people enjoy Macdonald’s. And people will consume their items now and for years to come. This is evident by the ferocity in which Macdonald’s has dominated the fast food market for decades. – – Therefore, instead of lambasting somebody (or yourself) for choosing a Big Mac over a kale salad, why not become more aware of what consumption of their food means in simple terms. Perhaps this awareness will consequentially mean that a higher quality food is selected instead in order to fit your plan better, or simply that you are more aware that you can actually fit these items into your current, flexible diet. – – As you can see, I’ve listed these items in singularity, but when combined into a meal (and with a sugary drink), the calorie value can rise fairly high for the volume of food consumed. – – That said, what’s your go to? If you have one at all…? If your despise Macdonald’s, feel free to comment “McDonald’s can get f*cked” 😉😬😂. – – #thefitnesschef #mcdonalds #bigmac #fatloss #fastfood #calories #caloriedeficit #losebellyfat #mcflurry #mcmuffin #nutritioncoach #fatlosshelp #fatlosscoach #burgerlover #mcdonaldsbreakfast #losefat #fatlosstips #eatsmart #nutrients

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Related: How to find a gym that’s right for you

Equalution (@equalution)

Equalution are ‘body transformation experts’ – they meal plan for their clients based on flexible dieting and the 80/20 rule. Equalution post great calorie comparisons on their instagram account. I actually used their services for a while during the start of my weight loss / fat loss journey. Their instagram is great and they’re consistently showcasing great flexible dieting ideas and calorie comparisons.

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Whether in your coffee ☕️, on your cereal 🥣 or just as it is 🥛 MILK DRINKERS LISTEN UP 💡 How many calories in your choice of milk⁉️⚠️ Switching to lighter variations in something you may have once, twice or multiple times a day is a good way to reduce your overall calorie intake. One area that many people fall short in caloric reduction is liquids – like milk 🥛 . Just because some edibles are liquid it doesn’t bypass energy intake and the need to be aware of it. 💥Our top tips for milk ✅ Choose skim or non fat milk if you’re choosing regular milk ✅ In the case of almond milk go for an unsweetened variation ✅ Watch your portion size (for liquid calories it can be quite dense) ✅ If you’re looking for a dairy free alternative soy (or almond milk) is lower than lactose free or coconut. Fun fact: Most soy milk brands are also fortified with similar levels of calcium to dairy milk. Some, including Sanitarium's, also contain vitamins D, B2 and B12, potassium and phosphorous! ⭐️FINAL HOURS FOR THE PRESALE20 DISCOUNT CODE FOR THE 8 WEEK CHALLENGE COMMENCING MONDAY. Link in bio 👉🏼Will your body be the next we transform⁉️📧info@equalution.com

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Carter Good (@cartergood)

Carter Good is an online fat loss coach and his instagram showcases motivating and informative posts about fat loss and diet. Sometimes they’re the little snippets in my feed that change my mindset just when I need it.

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First off, Can we take a moment to appreciate the number of tiny pizza emojis I crammed into this graphic? 🍕❤️ ⠀ Anywho, I motha-flippin’ love this graphic. It perfectly illustrates two of the biggest “whoopsy-daisies” folks make when they’re trying to lose weight… ⠀ The first mistake is on the left ❌ —> thinking that occasionally eating something “bad” or unhealthy is going to undo their hard work entirely. ⠀ The second mistake is on the right ❌—> thinking a few “good” or healthy meal will fix their evening and weekend overeating. ⠀ Here’s the Truth ✅: what you do MOST of the time is waaaa… *takes sip of coffee* …aaay more important than what you do SOME of the time ⠀ And that goes for both the “good” and the “bad.” 👌 ⠀ In other words, don’t freak out over the occasional pizza 🍕 or ice cream 🍨 or chocolate 🍫 or whatever. Instead, focus on hitting your nutrition targets and eating nutritious foods 🥗🍎 the majority of the time. ⠀ Bonus point if you can fit a few slices of Za into your daily targets w/o going over 😉🍕 ⠀ The same goes for occasionally eating healthy foods… ⠀ Don’t assume eating a salad 3-4 times a week will magically solve all your weight loss woes 🥗👎 ⠀ What you do most of the time matters most ⭐️ – If you want to make real, lasting changes to your body, then you need to find a comfortable balance between eating “fun” foods and foods that are going to benefit your health in the long run. — ⠀ ⠀ #cartergood #weightloss #losingweight #diet #dieter #dieting #nutriton #fatloss #healthydiet #weightlossplan #fitness #weightlosssupport #weightlossstruggle #nutriton #nutritioncoach #fatlosscoach #weightlosstips #weightlossjourney #salad #pizza #pizza🍕

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Lady Lolas (@lady.lolas)

Katie Lola’s is all about balanced nutrition and encouraging others to healthy meal prep. Her meal preps are fantastic (yes, she shares the recipes!) and she showcases meal prep from her followers every week.

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I originally started meal prepping to manage my IBS. Prepping my lunches meant I was guaranteed access to food that wouldn’t give me cramps or make me feel tired and bloated. I still have a sensitive stomach, however a combination of prepping and regular visits with a gastroenterologist and nutritionist have helped me to significantly improve my gut health and minimize my IBS flares. Prepping also saves me so much money and I’ve found a real passion for cooking and creating my own recipes 😍. It makes me so happy to see you guys trying out my creations! Remember to use hashtags #LLmealprep, #LadyLolas and tag me when you post your prep and or try one of my recipes so I can share your creations on my story xx . This week’s prep includes: . . 💛BREAKFAST – almond, coconut flakes and chia seed overnight oats with fresh strawberries. . 💙MORNING SNACK – Home set soy vanilla yoghurt with mixed nuts and a piece of fruit. . . 💜LUNCH – Quick and easy vegetarian wraps! I will add the full ingredient list on my website www.ladylolas.com soon. For next week’s lunch I’d like you to share in the comments section below a dish that you love, but wouldn’t necessarily know how to re-create into a healthy prep? I’ll choose one of your suggestions and create a new recipe to share with you next week! . . 💚AFTERNOON SNACK- @thecleantreatsfactory peanut butter protein ball and @tropeaka salted caramel shake. . . ❤️DINNER – team @hellofreshau 😍✊. Use code ‘KATIE40’ for 40% off your first box.

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Finally I can’t pass up an opportunity to send you to my instagram accounts! I have two @in_amandaland for travel and pretty things and @amandadoesweights for all things gym and fitness.

Look out for my next post in this series – The best instagrams to follow for workouts and let me know in the comments below if you have some great diet instagrams I should add to the list.

Related: The 2018 guide to working out with YouTube

the best insta grams to follow for diet

 

How to join the gym that’s right for you

How to find a gym that's right for you

I’m on a fit and strong journey to find my strongest self. Although I’ve had a number of missteps, one of the worst so far has been wasting a year of my life because I joined the wrong gym. I really wanted to share my experience and write a post about how to find a gym that’s right for you because it’s so important and makes such a difference to getting results.

I moved to a new city (hello Sydney!) at the end of 2016 and although I knew that I wanted to join a gym straight away I took my time to familiarise myself with my surroundings. When I was ready I had already researched the gyms that were close to home and work and I knew roughly what they provided.

One Saturday morning I toured the nearby gyms, visiting each location and receiving a tour of the facilities and equipment. The tours usually included a breakdown of rates and what you get for your money at each gym. I decided to do this around New Years Eve also so most of the gyms had some kind of special rate to lock you in for a 12 month contract.

I chose the gym I liked and I retuned after work on Monday to sign up for my membership. I got 7 days free and then I was locked in for 12 months.

The gym was a great facility with up to date equipment, plenty of space and it was only a short drive from my home. There were classes, personal trainers and everything that I needed to be successful.

It wasn’t long before I realised the gym was great on the surface but it just wasn’t for me. This resulted in me showing up sporadically for a year and walking on the treadmill for the best part of an hour then towards the end of the year I stopped going altogether.

I found that although the gym seemed like it would be great for me – the attitude of the staff and personal trainers wasn’t supportive, the weight room was intimidating for women and they didn’t do anything to alleviate that. Classes, even though they were on a great timetable never had availability or any booking system so although I wanted to try Spin and Barre, I could never get a spot because the people that went already had an ongoing book out of the spaces. Honestly, I probably could have complained about the situation but at this point I was disheartened and disengaged.

Coming from someone who has made this mistake, and really this was just the most recent iteration of this particular error here are my suggestions in finding the right gym for you:

Understand what you want in a gym

The first step in finding a gym that’s right for you is understanding how you will use it and what you want to get out of it. Are you looking for a gym that you can prioritise weight-training, cardio or yoga? Or are you looking for a gym that you can balance a number of different disciplines? The gym you’re looking for might not be traditional, you might flourish at a Crossfit gym or F45 instead.

The importance of understanding this early in the process is key in finding success when you do eventually make a commitment. If you’re in the very early stages of your fitness journey you may not know how you want to work out or what kind of work outs will be best for you, each gym will provide a trial generally 7 days in length but sometimes a bit longer, if you’re unsure at any point undertake trials at multiple gyms although this won’t show you how the gym will be in the long term, you’ll get an idea of how the gym operates and what the workouts and equipment is like.

Related: The 2018 Guide to working out with YouTube

Take a tour of potential gyms

Touring potential locations is an important step in the process, especially if you are able to do this at the time you would go and work out during your normal routine. A tour provides you with the opportunity to gauge how busy the gym is at the time and take a look at the equipment, extra facilities and changing facilities.

The gym staff should take you through the packages available and talk to you about a free trial so you have the opportunity to try first before making a more substantial commitment.

During these tours it’s important to ask a lot of questions like availability of Personal Trainers, what facilities are included in your membership, safety measures for when the gym is unmanned if there is 24 hour access and anything you might want to know about the locker and shower facilities.

Consider all the variables

Although it seems obvious but before you land on a gym considering all of the variables will help ensure you make the right decision. One of the reasons I went with my failed decision was purely on cost – I compared it to a far superior gym and because it was slightly cheaper I decided to go there instead. Although cost is a factor when deciding, to set yourself up for success this shouldn’t be the only factor you consider.

Think about how accessible the location is; do you feel comfortable with car parking and the location at night and is it easy to get to early in the morning?

What’s the general vibe of the staff that you’ve noticed?

What’s your deal breaker?

Ironically the gym that I’m at now where I’m finding all of my results was one of the locations I had initially considered, actually it was the one that I decided not to pay for because the cost was a little more than the brand I chose instead.

Now, I wish I had made the decision to just spend a little more money in the first place – I wouldn’t have wasted an entire year of my life trying to make something work that was never really right for me.I know now that my deal breaker was a number of things but mostly the support I was getting back from the brand I chose wasn’t enough for the commitment I made in sweat, money and time.

Now, I’m working with a Personal Trainer, I go to some fantastic classes, I train in the weight room and I’m more inclined to put more in to the gym myself because I get so much more out of it.

So before you decide: What’s your deal breaker?

how to find a gym that's right for you

 

How to transition back into real life after travel

how to transition back into real life after travel

 

The transition back in to real life after travel can be extremely challenging, often this period of time immediately following travel can be filled with emotional ups and downs, not to mention the inevitable jet lag that you’ll be fighting for the first few days.

If you’ve been traveling for an extended period of time that might mean emotional highs of seeing your friends and family when you return, doing the things you love in your hometown and eating the food that you just can’t get anywhere else. Unfortunately this can be followed by the emotional lows of everyday life once the bills start to roll in and you’re job hunting or back to work again.

If you’ve gone on a vacation or holiday the reality of being back to the daily grind can be just as challenging. Once the suitcases are unpacked and you’ve eaten the last of that special chocolate you picked up in the South of France you can actually feel quite down, a huge contrast to the massive high of going on vacation in the first place.

Keep yourself busy

In the days and weeks following a return from travel it’s important to keep busy. If you’re not returning to work straight away ensure you’re spending your time actively doing tasks to keep your mind active. You’ve just come from a period of extreme activity by visiting new places and having new experiences so keeping your mind active is an extension of that.

This could be as simple as creating a photo book or video of your travel memories, leaving the house and going to the movies or simply catching up with some friends over drinks. Whatever you choose to do keeping your mind active will ensure you’re not thinking about the reality of the everyday and give you something to look forward to doing if you’ve returned to work straight away.

Make plans to try something new

Making plans to try something new after travel really gives you something to focus on straight away. Planning to start a new hobby or sport is a great way of staying focused on exciting things that you can be doing in your normal, non-traveling life and gives you something to keep your mind off the fact that you’re not currently sunning yourself on a beach somewhere beautiful.

Soaking up all of the new cultures and experiences while you travel has likely sparked your interest and given you some inspiration in this area so now is the time to put your plans in place so you can action them!

Book something else

This is one of my most highly recommended transition actions. Book something else. Decide where you’re going next and book it.

There’s nothing better and more motivating than having something else to look forward to. The best part is you don’t actually have to part with your cash in order to do this straight away – you could simply make a decision as to where and when you’ll be going and start researching that destination or book a hotel with book now/pay later just ensure you can cancel it in case you change your mind.

In addition to this, it doesn’t have to be on the scale of the travel or vacation you’ve just returned from. It could be as simple as a weekend away from the city in the next few weeks or a short road trip to somewhere new.

Doing this in the first few weeks of returning to real life really gives you something to look forward to, a new countdown and something to plan for.

Consider your diet

It might be a little strange to bring up diet as a transition point however I actually think this is really important. It’s likely that if you went on vacation you may have tried to lose some weight before leaving and reduced your calorie intake, followed by eating whatever you wanted whilst you were away from home because, you’re on vacation! Calories don’t count on vacation!. The swings in terms of what you’ve been eating and drinking can be extreme and it’s easy to fall in to a position of not really caring once you leave your vacation.

It’s important to establish positive habits again once you return home, so if you had a diet and exercise regimen start doing this again straight away in order to lose those inevitable vacation pounds and keep yourself motivated. The longer you leave this it’s likely you’ll regret not doing it sooner.

If you’ve been traveling for an extended period of time and traveling is more like every day life it’s likely you ate more mindfully so it’s important when you return home to not spend too long a period of time eating all of your favourite comfort foods and ensure you’re following a normal eating pattern as part of settling back in to life. Comfort food, in moderation is highly recommended! 

Related: The 2018 Guide to working out with youtube

Prepare before you go

Before you go away on vacation or traveling for a long period of time it can be extremely useful if you prepare for your arrival home before you even leave. For a vacation this includes tidying your home before you leave so you come back to a nice clean space and ensuring your laundry is done so you’ve got clothes for work especially if you’re returning to work quickly. Arranging for a supermarket order in advance is also useful so you don’t have that task to do when you’re tired from your journey.

If you’re traveling for an extended period of time this can be a little more difficult because you probably don’t know when you’ll be returning home. However this can be as simple as arranging a place to stay and a person to give you lift from the airport on your first day back that way you’re not arranging too much from another country and you can simply call them with the details.

Traveling is such a huge part of life that it can often be difficult when returning home. Do you have any top tips for a transition home? Add them to the comments!

How to transition back into real life after travel image

The 2018 guide to working out with YouTube

working out with YouTube in 2018I’m a gym bunny in that I bounce in and out of gym memberships 😂. My motivation for working out hasn’t been the best over the years. I’ve finally found a gym that I feel comfortable going to and I’m seeing results from. However, along my journey I’ve found multiple ways to workout on a budget generally when I haven’t felt like investing in my health and fitness has been a priority. One of the great tools I’ve found is YouTube.


Disclaimer: I am not a fitness professional. You should consult your physician for advice around any fitness decisions you plan to make. This guide is simply tools that I’ve found along my fitness journey in order to workout at home and save money. This blog is only my opinion and you should get professional advice.


Last year I joined a gym that I really didn’t like that much. I would go but just spend my time on the treadmill and other cardio equipment avoiding the weights room. The classes didn’t fit with my lifestyle at the time. I found the people at the gym intimidating. The gym really didn’t do much for me, I was at my doctors one day and he spoke with me about what I was doing in terms of exercise. I told him the story of my gym and how I just didn’t enjoy it. He promptly suggested I start working out at home. He and his wife had stopped going to the gym and were working out three times a week just with the aid of YouTube videos. He made a suggestion of who I should look up on YouTube and off I went.

It took me a few days but I eventually looked into the YouTube channel he had recommended.The YouTube thing really played on my mind – could I actually work out at home just with videos that I would be able to get for FREE?

My honest answer – I did do this, I’m back at the gym now with a totally different mindset and I’ve used four YouTube channels in particular to really kick start my fitness. I feel like finding these videos was part of the turning point for myself and my fitness – after finding them, I just started to get it. I still watch them sometimes and I use a number of the tips and tricks that they pass on in my fitness journey.

What do I need?

There are a few things that you will need to already have in order to workout at home with YouTube.

  • Importantly you’ll need a way to access YouTube. That might be on your TV, iPad, Laptop or Phone. Any way you can access the videos is great. I recommend a wifi connection so the videos don’t eat your data.
  • You’ll need a space that you can workout in.
  • I would recommend having some good shoes to workout in. You’ll need something to support your feet so you can safely complete the exercises.
  • Ensure you always have adequate water whenever you’re working out (stay hydrated people!).

One of the YouTube channels I’m about to discuss is a meal prep / food based channel. If you have the cooking skills it’s a great channel to watch for some tips and tricks.

Where to workout

The term ‘anywhere’ comes to mind. Let’s be real, unless you’re working out with a friend or in a park by yourself somewhere a little bit of space at home is going to be your best option.

I recommend doing the workouts with the videos in front of you and simply following along however if you know you’re going to go out and do something outside you can write down the exercises on your phone or simply search Pinterest for an outdoor workout (another great budget friendly option!).

Working out with free work outs on YouTube

There is A LOT of content on YouTube. And I’ve often searched high and low for some great videos. I recommend three channels for workouts, one for yoga and one for meal prep.

Blogilates

I love Blogilates! There’s a HUGE library of free Blogilates workout videos on YouTube. Started by Cassey Ho who has this particular way of making you feel really happy whilst you’re working out to her videos. Cassey has started her own form of pilates called PopPilates. I fully recommend you check out blogilates.com as well as the YouTube channel. There you can find printables and calendars to help you with your workouts and fitness journey. Fair warning though: these workouts look easy but they can be tough! Good luck!

Fitness Blender

“This workout is complete” are the words you’ll be longing to hear during one of Fitness Blender’s HIIT workouts. This was the channel that my doctor recommended to me. This fitness couple will have you in shape in no time with their huge library of free YouTube video workouts. Most of them are perfect for home. I recommend checking out their website fitnessblender.com where you will find some comprehensive information about their videos. They also have some programs you can purchase for a small fee.

Tone It Up

The Tone it up girls have built a huge empire and even had their own reality show. They have several workout videos available on YouTube and have some great at home workouts!

Yoga With Adrienne

Having a session at least once a week to properly stretch everything out and reset is a great addition to your fitness routine. Yoga with Adrienne is a great channel that takes you through yoga slowly and really teaches you how to do things.

Food ideas

I don’t generally turn to YouTube for food and recipe ideas. There’s plenty available on the internet as it is. Until one day I stumbled across Fit Couple Cooks and I found some amazing meal prep recipes. My personal favourite is their Healthy Pad Thai. They’ve recently released a book with their recipes and meal plans.

I really think finding these YouTube channels and starting to work out at home was a turning point for me. If this is the next step for you – I think you should take that step today.

The 2018 Guide to working out with YouTube