Last year I changed how I eat and exercise (and still maintaining a year on) and at the start of the month an old friend of mine asked if I'd help them start 2014 differently for her. I leapt at the opportunity and said that I'd message her every day for two weeks to help kickstart her journey.
After getting a few messages like, "I am now in jeans from before I was pregnant! So happy...I have lived the last 5 months in leggings or tights or damn it maternity clothes!" and "I feel amazing!" I thought I'd share some of the messages we exchanged.
Over on instagram a few of you gorgeous ladies tell me you've found my journey worked as a kickstart to start their own journeys which is amazing, so perhaps some of these tips may help.
Remember, I am not trained or qualified in nutrition and fitness. I'm just sharing my own thoughts and experiences.
Tip 1 - Get inspired. Buy a fitness magazine, browse pinterest or instagram or just plain ol' google. I found instagram so helpful at the start. Take your own before picture, in underwear.
Tip 2 - Ban fake foods. No diet foods or pretend food like cup a soups. Just 'proper' food. Base almost all meals around a protein. Food should be nutrient rich. Focus on nutrient rich, and no counting calories.
Tip 3 - Don't fear hunger. I used to eat when I wasn't hungry, just so I wouldn't get hungry later. We live in a world where this simply isn't necessary. If we get hungry we can get food. And even if we had to wait another hour or so to get home and eat, our hunger will never be that terrible. I had to stop bulk eating like a hamster.
Tip 4 - Plan 'safe' snacks. When we have too much choice, we panic and food becomes stressful. Take steps to plan snacks and food on the go that we can happily eat. I love nuts, fruit, eggs, nine bars, NAKD bars.
Tip 5 - Reflect on how your body and your food choices make you feel. Are you happy, proud, embarrassed, weak, strong, healthy? We really need to understand why we want to make changes, to make sure we never go back.
Tip 6 - Get moving! Making our bodies stronger and fitter is so empowering. It doesn't need to cost anything. I challenged my friend to 5 days of 30 day shred (free on youtube) to have a quick boost.
Tip 7 - Reflect on how food is sold to us. The fact that we reward ourselves with crap food is not an accident. It makes people billions of pounds. Treating myself with fats and carbs just isn't a treat. How they make my body feel isn't a treat. The amount of fat my body could carry isn't a treat.
Tip 8 - Plan take aways and restaurant choices. I don't mean to the exact item, remember no calorie counting here. Just know where you can enjoy the experience with little stress about what to eat. I know that Asian food choices are good for me, or egg based and soft cheese based meals. I know what sort of places only serve carbs and fried foods and won't be as fun for me. At the pub I have dry roasted nuts rather than crisps etc.
Tip 9 - Focus on adding in, rather than taking away. Can you add more veg to a meal? Can you add more protein to a plate? I've never eaten more and better than this past year. It means I feel enriched rather than deprived.
Tip 10 - Cut the cake. For my last birthday we had strawberries rather than a cake. I used to eat a slice of cake with almost every coffee I had in a coffee shop. We often eat cake when we're not even hungry. Mother Rockette used to offer me cake almost every time I visited her. She doesn't bother anymore, but she usually has some fruit or nuts to offer instead. I very rarely have cake now (I had a slither at Christmas) and don't miss it!