You CAN eat chocolate and lose weight: How I lost 100lb by being smart with food

Many people think losing weight is all about eating salads and being hungry most of the time or that they’ll have to cut out their favourite foods forever. BUT, I have lost 100lb while still enjoying my favourite foods and treats because I am clever with my food choices.

I don’t believe in banning favourite foods because there is no way I could last without pizza, chocolate or biscuits. For the whole way through my weight loss journey from May 2015 to today, I have tracked my calories to ensure I am in a calorie deficit (apart from cheat days) so if I eat a donut (around 200 cals), I would look to see what I can adjust for the rest of the day, for example I wouldn’t eat the snack I had planned for later on or I’d have a smaller dinner etc. This can be done by using apps such as Samsung S Health, My Fitness Pal or even by reading food labels and using a pen and paper!

The best way to do this is by calculating your daily allowance in terms of your macronutrients (macros)*. Macros are the breakdown of the food we eat and includes carbohydrates, fat and protein – in order to follow a macro tracking approached diet you need to be eating a combination of each of these but once you have worked out your own macros, you can eat what you like if it fits into your daily allocation.

Let’s break it down. A typical 170lb 5ft 4″ female looking to lose body fat and is moderately active can have 1767 calories per day with a split of 177g carbs, 177g protein and 39g fat. For this approach to work effectively, you need to hit these macros every day consistently, but as this method is flexible it’s not that difficult AND you can still enjoy your favourite foods.

So how do I still eat my favourite food?

Let’s talk chocolate! Your body doesn’t eat a chocolate bar and think ‘oh I’m eating something naughty I will gain weight’ it recognises the macro breakdown of the food. For example, let’s compare a handful of cashews vs a small bag of malteasers:

  1. 30g serving of cashews: 174 cals, 14.3 fat, 9 carbs, 5g protein
  2. 37g bag of malteasers: 187 cals, 9.2 fat, 22g carbs 3g protein

The results here from both snack options show that they have very similar macros, so while you may be inclined to go for the nuts because they are the ‘healthy’ option, once you take a closer look into the nutrient breakdown you can see you can actually eat the chocolate instead. Of course nuts are still a good choice and they do contain a higher amount of protein and fibre which help to keep full for longer but don’t feel like you have to go for the nuts because they considered healthy. Which would you rather eat? I know I’d go for the chocolate.

Serving sizes

With a macro tracking approach (or even just if you’re calorie counting) it’s important to measure and monitor everything you eat. I bought a cheap electronic scale from Amazon and I weigh EVERYTHING! It’s so easy to eat too many calories if you don’t realise what you’re eating. For example, while nuts are considered a healthy option, the recommended serving size is 20-30g which is a small handful. If you grab a big bag and snack your way through it, you could end up eating 500+ calories of nuts in one sitting.

A typical day of food for me:

  • Breakfast – overnight oats made with 100ml almond milk, 10g chia seeds, 1 scoop of protein powder and 40g oats, topped with 75g raspberries – 350 cals
  • Snack 1 – arla protein yoghurt 140 cals
  • Lunch – 150g chicken breast with seasoning of choice, roasted veg, spinach 335 cals
  • snack 2 – apple or blueberries and Hartley’s 10 cal jelly 70 cals
  • Dinner – lean chilli made with 5% fat mince beef, kidney beans and black beans for extra protein and fibre, served with 125g long grain rice – 500 cals
  • Snack 3/pudding/post work out treat – Grenade bar or other protein bar/cookie, piece of chocolate of choice, biscuits/ice cream – up to 300 cals

Ok, so I don’t eat chocolate or cake every day, but if I fancy something I can make it fit into my daily macros and not feel guilty. My go to treat is a Grenade protein bar melted in the microwave for 15 seconds.

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What do I do if I go over my macros?

This does happen occasionally, particularly if I’m enjoying a bigger treat than usual on the weekend, but it’s OK, it’s not a big drama and it doesn’t ruin progress as long as a bad day doesn’t turn into a bad week…

Let’s say I have around 100 calories left for the day after I’ve eaten and logged all my meals so I plan to eat 2 Fox’s crunch cream biscuits with a cup of tea after dinner and end up eating 7 (easily done they’re the best biscuits ever invented!), that means my inital plan of eating 120 calories worth of biscuits actually means I’ve eaten 420 calories instead.

This means I will have gone over my daily allowance. In many instances when people overeat they tend to feel guilty and do excessive amounts of cardio to burn off calories. For me, I will adjust and monitor my macros for the following day (or few days if I go over by a lot), so if I’ve eaten 300 calories too many today, I will eat 150 less tomorrow and the next day to balance it out throughout the week.

This approach does work well for most people however it does mean you need to be consistent with measuring your food portions, logging what the food and drink that you have consumed and it means you need to be wary of serving sizes on packages. Like I always say, weight loss is a personal journey and there is not a right or wrong way to do it, it’s about finding what works for you and what will last long term – the most important thing to remember is that results don’t happen over night, it takes days/weeks/months of consistency so if you’re trying out a new method, give it time and keep going!

To find out more about macros and to work out your own, you can find some more info here https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm

For more weight loss inspiration take a look at my Instagram page by clicking here

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Instagram: @healthyfit_chloe

*Source: https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm

 

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My top ways to stay MOTIVATED!

Staying motivated can be tough! Here are my top tips to increase motivation:

Surround yourself with positivity

It’s easy to get disheartened if you don’t see results as quickly as you’d hoped, or if you think about how long it could take you to reach your end goal. What is important is to try and always remain positive and see the good in every situation.

  • Get rid of the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary – if you’re telling yourself you can’t do it, you will most likely give up because you believe that ‘you can’t do it’. Tell yourself you can and you will do it!
  • Rather than thinking how far you have to go, think about how far you’ve already come. Whether you’ve made the decision to lose weight/get healthy and you are just starting your journey or you’ve already lost X amount of pounds – be proud of where you are and how much you have already achieved.

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Set goals and write them down

Recent studies* show that those who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who do not write them down. I have written down my goals for a couple of years now because to me, if it’s in your head, it’s just an idea, if you write it down, it has become an action, something you’ve committed to and therefore you are more likely to achieve it.

Additionally, having a goal to work towards is important (even really small ones that may seem insignificant but you’ll feel amazing when you reach them). I usually set 3 big goals at the start of the year – often a mix of fitness/health goals but also career goals – and I also set monthly/weekly health goals which are smaller and somewhat easier to reach, e.g. be able run an extra km on the treadmill, drink more water, reach my daily steps, reflect on the week etc. I find goals really useful for self development and providing an extra push. For tips on goal setting read my blog Setting Achievable Goals.

Think about why you want it

Why did you start losing weight? Was it to feel good for a holiday or other occasion? To be able to wear whatever you want? To run in the park with your kids? Or just to improve your overall health? Whatever it was that got you motivated to lose weight in the first instance, think about that and don’t lose sight of what you really want.

I have a whiteboard in my bedroom where I write down my goals, stick a couple of motivational quotes on there that I like and also a transformation picture of where I started vs where I am now. I see this every single day and it gives me such a buzz knowing how much I have achieved since the very first day!

Enjoy the process

Part of the reason I have remained motivated for so long now is because I enjoy what I do. I look forward to planning my meals, doing my food shopping and cooking, I look forward to experimenting with exercise and trying new workouts and getting stronger and of course I enjoy all the results from the process!

If you are looking at weight loss as a chore you will find it difficult to stay motivated for long. The best thing to do is experiment and find what you like, if you get bored eating salad for lunch then try something tasty that you’ll enjoy like a chicken wrap with seasoning and low fat/calorie sauce or tuna pasta salad, or salmon and cous cous – you don’t have to always eat salad to lose weight! Similarly with exercise, find something you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick to it long term and look forward to it.

Use the journey to learn about yourself to continually improve and develop.

Remember that you won’t see results over night, keep going! Stay consistent, trust the process and believe in yourself! For more tips on motivation and reaching your goals, follow me on Instagram @healthyfit_chloe

*Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2014/04/08/why-you-should-be-writing-down-your-goals/#3d67c1213397

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100lb weight loss! Instagram: @healthyfit_chloe

 

Exercise and Weight Loss

When it comes down to weight loss, healthy eating is key, however, exercise is also an important factor. As well as helping to burn fat and lose weight, exercise can be a great way to socialise, meet new people, relieve stress and boost your mood while increasing fitness and getting stronger – it should be a reward for what your body can do, not a punishment for eating too much or trying to burn excessive amounts of calories.

If you’re a beginner, going to the gym can be daunting. There’s lots of equipment that you may not be familiar with and it can be intimidating when regular gym goers are there and look as though they know exactly what they’re doing. Don’t worry, everyone gets nervous but we all start somewhere, even the lean, muscular pros were beginners at some point so don’t let this put you off. Anyway, 99% of the time, people are too busy concentrating on themselves to worry about what others are doing so don’t be afraid to try something new in the gym and if you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment – just ask someone.

However, don’t go to the gym because you feel like you have to – If you don’t want to spend an hour on the treadmill, then don’t do it, find something you enjoy instead! This could be walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, weight lifting, boxing, yoga, anything – if you’re moving then you’re exercising! Also, finding something you enjoy makes it so much easier to become part of your lifestyle and therefore makes you far more likely to continue with it in the long term.

fafd9a8f92a261c570c0586c9c9627a0--exercise-motivation-quotes-fitness-quotesKeep things simple

Don’t over complicate things, you don’t need to do hours and hours of work to see results. Start off small and build up gradually, even just by increasing your steps and going for a walk can help to get those calories burning. For example, walking 10,000 steps per day can help to burn 400-500 calories which equates to 1lb weight loss over the week – so don’t underestimate reaching your daily steps.

Even a 30 minute workout can get your heart rate up and burn fat. If you still aren’t quite sure about going to the gym you can create your own circuit at home in your pajamas with no equipment by combining a mix high energy movements such as burpees, squats, sprinting on the spot, lunges, star jumps, press ups, etc. Try doing each exercise for 30 seconds and having 15 seconds rest before the next move, complete as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes = workout done! Once you’re feeling more confident with these circuits, you can then add kettle bells, dumbells and barbells to get your heart rate up even more!

2 years ago when I first began losing weight, I would go for lots of walks. At the time I felt a little self-concious in the gym and was more comfortable to focus on my steps and I loved it, I looked forward to going for a walk and I almost had a competition with myself to beat the previous day’s steps. I also added cycling and swimming into my exercise routines and I did some basic home exercise DVDs. Now, 2 years on and leading a more active lifestyle, I really enjoy weight training in the gym along with some some cardio circuit training (and the occasional crossfit workout challenge if I’m feeling particular energetic!). Exercise has become a huge part of my life, I make sure to move my body everyday, if I’m having a rest day from the weights I will still aim to reach my steps to stay active. I love the physical results achieved from exercise, but also the psychological results are huge too – the feeling of completing a really tough workout is very rewarding, particularly when thinking about what I can do now that I couldn’t do 2 years ago or even a few months ago.
TIP: Write down your workouts so you can look back in a few weeks/months and see your improvements.

Motivation

If you are struggling with motivation to exercise, try something new, for example try a new class like Zumba or Clubbercise or perhaps try joining a new group/fitness centre. Try getting a workout partner to go running with or even buy some new gym clothes – my colour coordinated outfits definitely motivate me to go to the gym!

Additionally, if you are still struggling in the gym with your workouts or if you are just unsure of what to do in the gym, I would suggest trying a personal trainer. Having a personal trainer gives you the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try lots of new things which really helps to improve confidence.

Why I would recommend personal training:

  • Gives you an extra push in your workouts
  • Educates you about how to get the most out of your workouts
  • More likely to work harder with someone guiding you than you are on your own
  • Likely to try new things in the gym that you wouldn’t have tried on your own
  • Helps to reach your fitness goals
  • Meet new people and form friendships

Remember…

Don’t compare yourself to others, some people may enjoy a 10k run but for someone else, it could be the world’s worst nightmare! We all have different preferences and fitness levels, focus on doing what is best for you and your goals and have fun while getting fit!

For workout ideas and inspiration follow my Instagram page here.
You can also find me on Facebook here.

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Follow my 100lb weight loss journey on Instagram @healthyfit_chloe

Training with ShapeU: My Personal Training Experience.

In May 2015 weighing 250lb, I decided it was time to lose weight. From May 2015 to March 2016 I lost 5 stone (70lb) in weight and felt amazing! I continued to try and lose more weight, however, due to my busy lifestyle at the time – I was finishing University so I was writing a dissertation, sitting several exams, celebrated the end of Uni and went on holiday – I found it difficult to lose any more weight and I reached a plateau which hindered my motivation.

I decided I needed an extra push, I felt like I had achieved all I could on my own and I needed a new challenge, something to push me out of my comfort zone and really test my limits. I had done some previous research on personal training and I had often thought about getting a personal trainer but I finally decided to take on the challenge. I found Sophie online when I was searching for personal trainers in Nuneaton and came accross ShapeU Personal Training. We met for a trial session where she introduced me to one of her leg sessions (Sophie is well known for her killer leg sessions!) and straight away I knew personal training with her would something I would enjoy. I signed up to a 12 week transformation plan in September 2016 in the run up to my Gradutation ceremony. The plan included 2-3 training sessions a week and a weekly meal plan which was a great insight into nutrition and helped me to understand the types of food I should be eating – this was particularly good as people often think they need to eat very little to lose weight but I actually ate more than I had previously done and it was all amazing food!

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Before training with Sophie, the only experience I had with using weights were using 5kg dumbbells at home in the front room doing exercise DVD’s. I didn’t really have the confidence to use weights in the gym as I didn’t want to look silly if I did something wrong. Additionally I didn’t really push myself enough in my workouts, despite me thinking I was working hard, so when I started training with Sophie I learned how to get the most out of my workouts and now I can write a full training plan for all of my workouts and I feel confident in everything I do in the gym.

My 12 week transformation came to an end on 24th November and it was great to see the results. In the 12 weeks training with Sophie I lost 14lb and a total of 10.5 inches from my body:

Waist – 2 inches
Hips – 2 inches
Thighs – 2 inches
bust – 4 inches
arms – 0.5 inches

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12 week progress (September 2016 before weight training – November 2016 12 weeks into training)

After the 12 weeks was over, I continued to train with Sophie at least once a week, sometimes twice and we’ve now been training together for almost 1 year.

Training with ShapeU has been a great experience; I’ve met so many likeminded people and had the opportunity to attend fitness events and days out with the team which is so much fun. It’s such a great atmosphere to be training with others and it’s a big motivator to continue in your own fitness journey when you’re surrounded with other inspiring people.

Since training with Sophie I have become so much more confident in my own abilities and I have overcome several fears. For example, I used to be afraid of box jumps and I struggled to manage to do even one (it really isn’t that scary but something in my head seemed to stop me jumping onto the box) but with Sophie’s continuous guidance and encouragement I overcame that struggle and I now incorporate them into my own workouts without any fuss and actually enjoy them!

It will soon be coming up to 1 year training with Sophie and I feel like I have learned so much about weight training, fitness and nutrition. I’m really glad I introduced weights into my exercise routine as it has opened up a completely new way of training which I enjoy and has really made an improvement in my weight loss and overall fitness levels. I feel strong and confident and I love it!

In 10 months of training with Sophie I have lost a total of 18.5 inches from my body and further loss of 30lb taking my overall weight loss to 100lb.

Waist – 4.5 inches
Hips – 4.5 inches
Thighs – 3 inches
bust – 6 inches
arms – 0.5 inches

 

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10 month progress (September 2016 – July 2017)

Why I would recommend personal training:

  • Gives you an extra push in your workouts
  • Helps to stay on track
  • More likely to work harder with someone guiding you than you are on your own
  • Likely to try new things in the gym that you wouldn’t have tried on your own
  • Helps to reach your fitness goals
  • Meet new people and form friendships

You can see more of my fitness journey on Instagram @healthyfit_chloe. You can also follow Sophie here and find out more about Shape U Personal Training here.

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Instagram: @healthyfit_chloe 100lb weight loss

100lb weight loss: How did I really do it?

How did I do it?

Since May 2015 I have lost 100lb naturally (7 stone 2lb/45kg). I have not had any weight loss surgery, taken any ‘magic’ pills or shortcuts, I have lost all of my weight by following a healthy balanced lifestyle consisting of lots of healthy food and plenty of exercise. I count calories and log all of my meals in a food diary to ensure I am in a calorie deficit over the week (meaning that I make sure to burn more calories than I consume, allowing my body to be burning fat resulting in weight loss).

As well as leading a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and exercise, I also firmly believe that a healthy mind is just as important. Even 2 years ago weighing 250lb, I believed in myself. I knew I wanted to lose weight and I knew I could do it! Having self belief makes you far more likely to stick to your plan and achieve your goal. Additionally, having the ability to pick yourself up after a bad day is important, as an emotional eater myself, I understand the temptation of going home after a bad day to binge eat in order to feel better, however this is a temporary solution with both mental and psychical damages in the long term.

This journey was not easy so I won’t position it as all fun and smiles. In two years I have faced many challenges, had several setbacks, laughed and cried (sometimes all in one day!) Some of which I will explain throughout this blog.

What do I mean by balance?
I’ve mentioned before in other blogs and on Instagram that I follow an 80/20% lifestyle and I always have done since the beginning, this means that for 80% of the week I eat healthy and for 20% I enjoy a treat. This works for me as I still like to enjoy meals out and sweet treats and lets be honest we can’t be 100% all year round.

What balance looked like for me 2 years ago when I started losing weight:
Saturday was my weigh day (at home) and also treat day so I ate whatever I wanted on Saturday evenings (literally anything I fancied) sometimes a meal out but usually a takeaway pizza, bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate and I wouldn’t log it or feel guilty. I’d make sure to get straight back on plan on Sunday morning or occasionally I would sometimes have a small treat on Sunday night like leftover chocolate from Saturday or tea and biscuits. From Monday I would then be 100% on plan for the duration of the week. One night of eating a lot of food didn’t ruin my progress as long as I didn’t continue to over indulge for the next few days and I ensured that I was in a calorie deficit for the rest of the week.

What balance looks like for me now:
I still follow an 80% 20% lifestyle but I am more strict with food (mostly because I have been good in the lead up to my holiday but also because I’m trying not to use food as a reward so I’m having less cheat meals). However, these days I don’t plan my cheat meals so much, I just have them when I fancy them usually every few weeks or so dependent on my social plans. I try to opt for ‘clean’ cheat meals where possible such as homemade burgers or protein pizza, then I save my remaining calories for puddings such as pancakes, protein bars, protein cookies or homemade protein ice cream.

Even now I am quite flexible – If I over eat on my calories on a meal or treat, I will simply adjust my calories accordingly, for example I won’t eat the snack I had planned for later on in the day or I will eat less the following day to balance out my calories.

I currently track macronutrients (macros) to monitor my daily food intake which means that I try to stick to a set amount of carbs, fat and protein each day. I have been eating around 1600-1700 calories, 180g carbs, 50g fat, 150g protein and I aim to burn 500+ calories a day – meaning that I’m in a calorie deficit. My exercise routine is based on 5 weight training sessions per week, daily walks to reach my steps and 3-4 short cardio sessions a week (e.g. 15-20 minutes of interval sprints on treadmill 30 seconds sprint 30 second rest at the side). Find out more about macros including how to set your own by clicking here.

Now I have reached my overall weight loss goal, my next goal is fitness, muscle building and strength so I will be increasing my calorie intake and reviewing my general food and exercise plan in order to reach my next goal.

Why I don’t like ‘diets’

I hate the word diet! To me, a diet gives the impression of a short term fix, possibly before a holiday or other occasion when people want to feel good before going away. While a quick-fix diet may provide you with a quick weight loss in a short amount of time, it’s likely that all the weight lost will be gained very easily and very quickly. A diet also has a negative stigma attached to it, for example I often hear people say ‘I can’t have that I’m on a diet’, or ‘I have to eat salad because I’m on a diet’ restriction or banning of your favourite foods can lead to a relapse and binge eating. My advice is eat healthy, get active, drink water and enjoy your favourite treats in moderation – again going back to the 80/20 view – so eat your veggies and protein but if you want a cookie, have it!

My biggest obstacles and how I overcame them

As I mentioned above, a weight loss/fitness journey is not easy. I’ve had several challenges to face and it really is a complete mental battle. That being said, it’s how you approach these challenges and overcome them that is important. I’ve listed below the biggest challenges I have faced over the last 2 years and my ways of overcoming them.

1) Binge eating

I previously had a very bad relationship with food. I could eat a pack of biscuits, large bag or block of chocolate, large bag of crisps all in one sitting just as a snack and I would often secretly eat in private (looking back, I’m not even sure why I did this). This was the biggest factor for me in my drastic weight gain throughout my teens and when I decided to lose weight I knew the binging had to stop. Even in the early stages of weight loss I had episodes of binges, often when I would be having a ‘cheat night’, for example I would have a pizza for my cheat meal sometimes with a side of fries and garlic bread, but then I would ‘need’ something sweet afterwards so would often have a bar of sharing chocolate then raid the cupboards because I thought ‘I’ve started eating now I may as well continue’. This is still something I am working on, even today, however it is a lot more under control now and I manage it with positive thinking and self belief.
Overcoming binging:

  1.  Move on – the worst thing to do is dwell on what happened and overthink about the situation, it’s already in the past so move on and leave it behind you.
  2. Drink water – stay hydrated the following day by ensuring you drink plenty of water, this can also help to reduce psychical hunger and reduce the chance of further binging.
  3. Be kind to yourself – you’ve had a binge but that’s ok, it was one day, it doesn’t define you and it won’t hold you back. Tell yourself you can overcome it because you are strong and do not put yourself down or punish yourself.
  4. Focus on getting through that day – don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or next week. Think about that day only and do this daily.

2) Thinking ahead too much

2 years ago at a weight of 250lbs I desperately wanted to be thin as soon as possible. Realistically, weight loss takes a long time as it is a journey not a race, however, being overweight was tough and as soon as I decided to lose weight, I wanted to lose it immediately. I originally had set an overall goal of 66lb to lose, but I didn’t set a time limit, the time will pass anyway so I thought I may as well work hard and reach my goal despite how long it would take. The process can’t be rushed and sometimes the longer it takes isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it helped me to learn a lot about myself including my ability to pick myself up and keep fighting through the tough times.

3) Working in an office

Working in an office means I am often surrounded by cakes, biscuits, sweets and other tempting goodies. Sometimes I will have a small treat but most of the time I resist and stay on track. What I find most difficult about this is the comments I receive from others. For example, if they notice I haven’t eaten a treat they will say ‘Chloe why haven’t you had one?’, there is almost peer pressure to eat something just because everyone else is (which sounds crazy but it’s true!) Don’t fall into the trap of eating something for the sake of it or due to peer pressure, if you don’t want it then don’t eat it – in 5 minutes other people won’t even remember if you have eaten their cake or not! Another tip which I find useful is to say ‘no thanks I don’t eat that’ rather than ‘I can’t eat that’ which implies you’re not allowed or your restricted, saying ‘I don’t’ implies that you are in control.

4) Social life

Life is constantly moving and we are all busy – this can sometimes be an issue if you’re trying to lose a few pounds however you can’t sit inside all day every day avoiding the outside world! You can still lose weight and have a social life. At the start of my weight loss I still went out for meals, drinks, parties etc, I just monitored what I ate and adjusted the days calories accordingly. 2 years on, I don’t have meals out as much, however if I do I will opt for high protein low carb meals such as a chicken salad, fish and veg, etc and drink water. Sadly I have lost touch with several people throughout this process as I don’t spend all my weekends in pubs/bars/clubs anymore, I don’t go out for meals as much and I will spend most evenings in the gym because I enjoy it. Other people may not understand your goal and therefore might not appear as supportive as you would like them to, don’t let this stop you from doing what you want to do. If you want to go to the gym rather than go out for a meal, your friends will understand, at the same time don’t give up your social life to lose a couple of pounds, life is all about balance.

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My biggest tips for weight loss

  • Don’t over complicate things – weight loss and fitness is a process, but there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do it – it’s a personal journey and it’s about finding what does and doesn’t work for you
  • Be consistent – I didn’t lose 100lb in a week, it takes time, work hard and be patient and the results will come
  • This is about being healthy not ‘skinny’ – I do not agree with detoxing, juice diets, low calorie plans etc (believe me I have tried them all in the past and they don’t work), this is about fuelling your body right in a healthy way to lose weight safely and naturally
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – all of our bodies are different, some people can lose 4lb a week, some will lose 1lb. Focus on your own journey, every pound adds up.
  • Don’t rely on the scales – our weight fluctuates daily therefore the scales can read heavier but it’s unlikely that you would have gained weight. Use other methods such as before photos to use in 4, 6 or 8 weeks time to see the changes that the scale won’t show. Additionally, a pair of jeans is also a good way to measure weight loss – try to listen to your body and the way you feel rather than relying on what the scales are showing
  • Write yourself a plan – set a plan for the week for your meals each day and your exercise plans, this way you’re fully prepared for each day
  • Set small goals – even weekly goals are useful and can help to push yourself and continually improve. This could be to do with weight loss or non scale related such as improvements in the gym, feeling more confident, etc.
  • Reward yourself – I always reward myself for reaching my goals, this is a big motivator and keeps me on track to reach the next ones. It could be a new pair of trainers or a new outfit etc, be careful using food as a reward, as much as I believe in treating yourself, you don’t want to celebrate losing 1lb by overeating.
  • Be positive – this also helps to stay motivated! (read my tips on staying motivated on another blog – Motivation: Positivity is Key)
  • Don’t give up – it can be hard, you might get disheartened if you don’t feel any different, you might want to give up and go back to old habits, but stop, take a breath, remind yourself why you want this AND KEEP GOING!

I hope this is useful if you’re just starting your weightloss journey or if you just wanted some insight in general. Find out more tips, healthy recipes and workouts on my Instagram @healthyfit_chloe

Weight Loss – Where to Start?

As we are fast approaching summer and bikini season is just around the corner, many people want to lose a few pounds to feel their best for their summer holiday. This can often involve a ‘quick fix’, low calorie diet for a short term period just to see results, however these are the type of diets that are not successful. The safest and most effective way to lose weight is simply to live a healthy lifestyle.

Lately I have been receiving a lot of questions about how to get started when losing weight. Honestly, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do it – it’s a personal journey. Nonetheless, it can be daunting at first so I’ve put together some tips of how best to get started!

Start small

Don’t get carried away too soon and scare yourself. There’s no rush so just relax and take your time. Start with small changes such as increasing your daily steps, set a limit of how many steps you want to walk per day and aim to meet that goal as many days a week as possible. Additionally, making simple swaps can really make a difference: Replace your afternoon chocolate bar for a banana or some unsalted almonds or try Nakd snack bars. Swap sugary drinks for low calorie zero sugar drinks (or even better, water!), try zero calorie sweetener or flavour drops instead of sugar in your coffee and add more fruit and veggies to your meals.

If you aim to do something healthy every day such as cutting out sugar, reaching your step goal or water intake goal, these small changes can eventually add up to big results.

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Plan ahead 

Most of us are very busy these days with little time in the evening to be cooking healthy or complicated meals, meaning that sometimes a takeaway or ready meal (or sometimes skipping meals altogether) is the most convenient option. Planning ahead makes it easier to stay on track, write down your meals for the week so you know what you will be having in advance, this means no panic buying of chips at lunch time or last minute rushing to cook dinner.

Where possible I will organise all my food for the week ahead. On Sundays and Wednesdays I prepare my food for the next few days and leave in Tupperware boxes in the fridge – I wake up, grab my food and leave the house knowing I am prepared and on track for the day!

Be kind to yourself

So you’ve worked out you want to lose 20lb, great! The worst thing you can do now is criticise yourself by saying ‘I need to lose 20lb because I look horrible’ or being negative by saying ‘it’s going to take ages to lose this weight’. If you use negative words you won’t get very far with making self-improvements. Surround yourself with positivity, say to yourself  ‘I’m going to do this for me’ and ‘I can do this’

A hard part of weight loss is staying motivated, you need to rely a lot on yourself to stay motivated throughout the journey. Being positive and encouraging yourself will significantly improve your motivation – read my other blog Motivation:Positivity is Key for more ideas around staying motivated!

It’s not a diet

Don’t label this as a diet. Diets make us think of a short term, low calorie plans that most of the time we give up after 2 weeks because our bodies are not getting the nutrients they need. Instead, think of this as a healthy lifestyle.

I often receive comments from people while I’m eating a chicken salad and they say ‘oh are you on a diet?’ I reply ‘no I just eat healthy’. I don’t label it as a diet because they can often give a negative impression, as though we are restricted and we can’t eat anything we like, so we have to just live off salad for weeks. Wrong!!! A healthy lifestyle consists of a balance of protein, fat and carbs and yes you are still allowed a treat on the weekend!

Don’t restrict yourself

Following on from the point above, the reason most diets fail is because we have it in our head that we can’t eat certain things. I like to follow the 80/20 rule. I eat clean 80% of the week and 20% I will allow a treat of something I reallllyyy fancy (usually custard creams or pizza).

It’s all about balance, one bad meal isn’t going to make you gain weight just as one healthy meal won’t make you lose weight so don’t punish yourself for eating a treat. You need to find that balance of allowing yourself a treat when you want it but getting back on plan afterwards. For me at the start of my journey I would eat well Monday to Friday and have a pizza and wine on Saturday night, then a sweet treat of choice on Sunday after the gym, by Monday I was ready to get back on plan – this worked for me but it’s all about find out what works for you.

Experiment with exercise

I often get asked about exercising during my weight loss. I have exercised since the start of losing weight because I found things that I enjoyed so I actually wanted to exercise. As I said in my first point, start small. I started off with walking several times a week, then bike riding and swimming and then I began classes such as Clubbercise and Zumba as well. Now I mainly do weight training and some cardio. If you don’t enjoy sitting in the gym on the machines, try something different, an exercise class, a dance class or home dvds until you find something you enjoy – looking forward to exercising will make it so much easier to stick to in the long run!

Don’t complicate things

Keep it simple. This is a basic science, by feeding your body with the healthy food it needs and staying active, you will see results – just be patient.

Consistency is Key

Be patient! You won’t see or feel changes over night because this is a process, it takes time. The first week can be tough and you’re likely to want to give up BUT DON’T! After the first week you will start to realise that you are in control, the week then becomes a month and eventually this will be a routine and part of your lifestyle day in day out.

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Remember:

  • This is about being healthy not ‘skinny’ – I do not agree with detoxing, juice diets, low calorie plans etc (believe me I have tried them all in the past and they don’t work), this is about fuelling your body right to lose weight safely and naturally
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – all of our bodies are different, some people will lose 6lb on their first week, some will lose 1lb. It doesn’t matter!! Focus on your own journey and becoming the healthiest version of yourself
  • Don’t rely on the scales – take before photos to use in 4, 6 or 8 weeks time to see the changes for yourself, a pair of jeans is also a fantastic way to measure weight loss -try to listen to your body and the way you feel rather than relying on what the scales are showing
  • Be positive – this also helps to stay motivated! (read my tips on staying motivated on another blog – Motivation: Positivity is Key)
  • Don’t give up – it’s hard, you might get disheartened if you don’t feel any different, you might want to suddenly binge eat everything in sight, but stop, take a breath, remind yourself why you want this AND KEEP GOING!

For more weight loss tips, exercise videos and healthy food ideas, go to my Instagram page here.

Motivation: Positivity is Key

Current weight loss: 5 stone 6lb (34kg)

People ask me how I stay so motivated all the time, truth is I have days where I don’t want to workout or eat healthy. Sometimes I want to get in bed, put Netflix on and eat a box of donuts, but I have many goals which keep me motivated and help to me be disciplined.

In May 2015 when I decided I wanted to lose weight and get healthy, something had changed in my head. My mindset was focused on my goal, I knew I wanted to lose weight more than anything and that’s where my motivation came from – you have to really want it to be motivated.

The initial excitement will keep you motivated to begin with, then the results you see and feel will push you even further until it becomes habit and dedication that keeps you going.

15 months ago I couldn’t walk up the stairs without needing a rest at the top, but I didn’t let that stop me, because I knew that one day that wouldn’t matter. I began with slow walks and swimming, I built up to cycling and cardio at the gym, along with a few classes (Zumba, body combat, clubbercise), more recently I’ve started HIIT training and over the next 12 weeks, I will be having Personal Training sessions to really push myself to be the best that I can be. The results that I see and feel are what keep me motivated, I am constantly seeing improvements and it makes me feel incredible.

Anything is possible when you put your mind to it – you really can achieve anything.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Positivity is key

The biggest mistake people make when trying to lose weight over a long term period is to think about how far they have to go, how long it might take and how much effort it’s going to need. The best way to approach it is to think about how far you’ve come, be proud of yourself and stay positive. Take each day one at a time, don’t think about next month or next week, think about the next 24 hours and how you’re going to use them – the rest will follow!

Many people don’t believe in themselves like they should, they tell themselves they can’t do it (sometimes without even trying), however what they don’t realise is that your body can do almost anything, it’s your mind that you have to convince. So next time you’re in a situation where you think you can’t do something – believe in yourself and tell yourself you can do it!

It sounds simple when I type this, it absolutely is hard work, however, the reality is simple. If you eat healthy, work hard and remain consistent (and positive!) – you will see results and they are 100% worth the hard work.

Of course there are times when I don’t feel motivated, sometimes I don’t exercise for 3 days, sometimes I’ll eat too much pizza or drink too much wine – I’m only human! It’s ok to have those days, it’s what you do after those days that is important. Rather than punishing myself for the workout I didn’t do, or the food I ate, I just forget about it, move on and focus on the next 24 hours ahead of me.

My top ways to stay motivated:

  • surround yourself with positivity
  • believe in yourself
  • be kind to yourself
  • set goals (even really small ones – you’ll feel amazing when you reach them)
  • remind yourself of how far you’ve come
  • think about why you want it
  • remember that it doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop
  • be proud of yourself – you are amazing

Feel free to ask me any questions about my weight loss and fitness journey. Click here to follow my journey on Instagram

No Crash Diets, No Pills, No Wraps – Just a Healthy Lifestyle

As 2015 comes to an end, I decided to write a blog of my weight loss progress so far, since May I have lost 4st 2lb (26.2kg, 58lb) and I’d like to share my journey so far with you.

Why did I Start This Journey?

2015 has been an exciting and rewarding year, however the start of the year was not so great. In January I felt tired and sluggish all the time and had been suffering with terrible headaches on a daily basis, sometimes lasting all day with paracetamol having very little effect on the pain. After various tests over a 4 month period it was determined that my headaches were being caused by high blood pressure due to my weight.

On May 18th 2015 I decided it was time for a change, I was not particularly unhappy with the way I looked on the outside however I knew that I was very unhealthy on the inside, so I wanted to do something about it – since that day I have never looked back!

Food and Exercise

I have tried several low-calorie diet plans in the past and found them to be unsuccessful, I’d be hungry all the time and I’d often go back to old habits after several weeks, this time I knew I had to completely change my relationship with food. Before I changed my eating habits, I would normally eat for convenience rather than for health, at the time I worked Monday to Friday 9-5 in an office based role, meaning that during the day I had little opportunity to exercise but lots of opportunity to eat! Like most busy people I thought I didn’t have the time to make healthy meals from scratch or go the gym (although now I realise that time was just my excuse). When I got home from work I would usually have a microwavable ready meal, a takeaway or go out to a pub/restaurant. Most of the time I would skip breakfast, over-eat at lunch time, snack on some chocolate or crisps throughout the day and then over-eat in the evenings.

My new food plan consisted of a big breakfast (high in protein and healthy fats), a smaller lunch and dinner with chicken and veg/jacket potato/salad etc and 3 snacks throughout the day including unsalted almonds and fruit. I also aimed to drink 2-3 litres of water each day.

I found it really useful to log my meals on my Samsung phone, I use the S Health app (similar to MyFitnessPal) to make a note of all my meals and snacks, it would tell me the amount of calories, fat and protein that I had consumed that day. I aimed to eat between 1200 and 1500 calories a day (although this did change as time went on) and 30g or less of fat a day. Some people say when you eat less you’re hungry all the time however I found that eating a big, healthy breakfast and eating the right foods throughout the day kept me feeling full and less likely to snack on naughty food throughout the day.

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Before May this year I did very little exercise, I disliked being active and I would choose to drive somewhere rather than walk but I knew that needed to change. I started off small, I took the stairs instead of the lift, walked to the shop rather than drive and went out for a walk on my lunch break or in the evenings. As I got used to walking I started cycling as often as I could, aiming for 1 or 2 long rides a week, I attended to the gym 3 times a week, went swimming 3 times a week and in October I joined a bootcamp and now I exercise 5 times a week.

Weight Loss and Other Benefits

With the combination of healthy eating and exercise, I began to see the benefits very quickly, after 2 weeks I had lost 9 pound and this encouraged me to keep going. On average, for the first few months I lost 2-3 pounds a week, however it has now slowed down a lot with my weekly weight loss average being 1 pound or sometimes no loss at all. I’ve learned that it’s important to not let myself get upset if the scales don’t show the results I wanted as there are many other benefits to a healthy lifestyle. The benefits I have noticed are that I have more energy, I am more toned (so even if the scales haven’t gone down I have still lost inches and toned), my hair and nails have grown, my skin is clear, I am able to function better at University, my headaches have significantly decreased and most importantly I am the healthiest I have ever been!

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Motivation

I’ve been on my weight loss journey for almost 8 months, this is the longest I have ever stuck at it before! Between October and November I had lost no weight for 3 weeks in a row, that to me was disappointing because I had worked hard. Sometimes in that position, when motivation is low, it is easy to think ‘what’s the point’ and give up, this is why I surround myself with a number of motivators to remind myself why I started this:

  •   Instagram – Social Media is a powerful tool, I have used Instagram almost like a diary with my weight loss, posting updates of my results on a regular basis and I follow many other people who are also on a journey similar to mine. It is inspiring to see the results of others and it has helped me stay on track.
  • ‘Pounds’ Jars – I have 2 jars which are labelled ‘pounds to go’ and ‘pounds gone’, they are filled with small pebbles and each pebble represents 1 pound. I find this a great motivator to see how much I have actually lost.
  • Weight Loss Folder – I have created an album on my phone where I save photos of my progress, whether it be images of my food, inspirational/motivational quotes or selfies, I have found it useful to look back on when I need some motivation.
  • Comparison photos – I had lost 2 and a half stone before actually noticing any differences myself, however when I put an old photo next to a current photo I saw a massive difference and I was amazed. Since then I try to create comparison photos regularly to remind myself how far I have come rather than how far I have to go.
  • Weekly Weight Monitoring – some people weigh themselves every day, which personally I think is too much. I would recommend weighing once a week as weight fluctuates throughout the week so 7 days will provide a more accurate result. I also keep a log of my weight loss in a memo so that I know how much I have lost in total.
  • Think of it as a lifestyle not a diet – many people would say to me ‘how’s your diet going?’ or ‘are you still on that diet?’ but I don’t like to think of it as a diet, a diet implies that it’s a short term change, however a lifestyle implies it is long term which I think is more motivating.
  • ilostwhat.com – this website is really fun if you are losing weight, it gives you an idea of how much weight you have lost by comparing it to an object. For example I have currently lost 58 pounds which according to this website is the equivalent to 58,000 pennies! (Imagine carrying 58,000 pennies around all day – no wonder I was tired!)

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Although I may have made it sound easy on here, it definitely is not easy, it is a lot of hard work and dedication, but it is so worth it!

If you are starting a health journey in the new year, here are a few things to remember which have helped me:

  • Focus on being healthy not being skinny
  • Don’t skip breakfast!
  • You don’t have to eat less, you have to eat right
  • Drink lots of water
  • Believe in yourself – you can do more than you think
  • Don’t expect results over night but it will happen so don’t give up
  • Choose progress over perfection
  • Do it because you want to

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

Learn more or follow my journey here – https://www.instagram.com/chloe.longstaff/