5 May 2015

5 Easy Tips For A Healthier Lifestyle

1. Start slow
I think the biggest mistake that's made is the sudden 'I'm going to cut out this huge list of foods starting from tomorrow and exercise every day'. Rushing into doing everything in one go will often end in you feeling like you're totally hating on the change, if you're not feeling happy whilst doing it you're going to be way less motivated and are quickly going to go back to your old ways. This is why it's also important to not completely deny yourself of treats, never allowing yourself things you enjoy isn't going to go down well. I've found it much easier to change a few small things at a time, my lifestyle isn't super healthy but I do believe that those small changes can still make a difference to your health.

2. Water
I know we hear this SO many times but water really does have it's benefits and is so much better than other sugar filled drinks. I used to completely refuse to drink water, even when I was suffering sun stroke in Florida one time! However, I now pretty much only drink water on a daily basis and rarely drink fizzy drinks (I don't even crave them), I found water was one of those things that was easy to 'train' my body to like, probably due to the pretty neutral taste and non offensive texture or smell. Hot lemon water is really good too and has tons of benefits so I make sure to have a mug of this each morning. It's a good idea to always keep a bottle of water on you as a reminder to stay hydrated.

3. Switch it up
A simple way to get some more goodness in your life is to switch from white (refined) carbs to brown (complex) carbs, this goes for bread (we eat wholemeal seeded bread for extra goodness), pasta, rice and even switching to wholegrain cereal can benefit you. Personally, I think brown carbs are tastier, it's worth a try.

4. Breakfast
I've never been someone who doesn't eat breakfast, I can't function properly without it! I found ditching sugary, chocolate based cereals easier than I imagined as I found a new love for porridge. Since that day I've had porridge pretty much every morning, I seem to be able to eat the same breakfast for as long as I want without getting sick of it. I opt for plain porridge to cut down on sugar and add one whole sliced banana and a dollop of peanut butter. I team this with a mug of hot lemon water and my multivitamin (another new addition to my routine) each morning and it makes for a pretty enjoyable breakfast, allowing me to get some fruit in there as I really don't like eating fruit by itself. If you prefer variety try changing up your toppings or trying more savoury options such as a poached eggs and avocado combination.

5. Snacking
Don't get me wrong, I still crave all things chocolate and if I really want it I will have it as I don't believe in completely denying yourself of the foods you enjoy. However, I have found a few things that I would recommend to make healthier snacking that little bit easier. Graze boxes: I've been signed up to these boxes for quite a while and have a post on them here if you'd like a little more info, they're great for healthier snacks, especially when you want something to throw in your bag, their flapjacks are the best! Nakd bars: I first tried a Nakd bar after hearing so much about them and opting for a healthier lunch choice at uni; a Boots meal deal consisting of a wrap from their Shapers range, a bottle of water and a cocoa delight Nakd bar. I really didn't think I would like them to be honest as the main ingredient is dates and I have a thing with textures, dates definitely aren't my favourite in terms of that. However, I was so surprised at how nice they are! The Boots in town only stocks the cocoa delight one which I love and a berry one which never took my fancy but I was desperate to try some other flavors as I know there's a huge range so I was thrilled when Natural Balance Foods contacted me and asked if I'd like to try a mixed case of 18 Nakd bars. They have a huge range of benefits such as being dairy, wheat and gluten free and I love how they have minimal ingredients, many contributing to one of your 5 a day. They're similar to cereal bars in a way but are definitely way more satisfying, I feel as though they fill me up pretty well. I wasn't sure if I'd like the range I received as the majority were fruit based but once again I was pleasantly surprised at how much I do like them! I just wish Nakd bars were more widely available in supermarkets.

Rachael x

1 May 2015

April 2015

*10 points if you can spot me in that photo 
April was the month of eating far too much chocolate and a nice three week break from uni. I must admit, I spent most of April seriously stressing about deadlines and exams, I don't know what's happened to me, I've gone from someone who was so relaxed about exams to a serious stress head! To try and relieve the stress I made quite a few plans with friends as a few were home from uni for Easter, maybe a little too many plans and a lot less uni work. 

The Easter weekend was a pretty good one, I worked the Friday, Saturday and Monday but we had a work night out on the Saturday to celebrate a birthday and the fact that for once, we were all off on the Sunday as the cafe was closed. It was SO good to have a chilled Sunday off considering I often work all weekend, every weekend. It began with a long lie in, then my grandma visited and I had my first Sunday roast in so long, topping it off by sitting in the sun in the garden and later on, we may have gotten pizza. 

I actually finally ventured into the world of exercise classes at the beginning of April with my friend, we decided on spinning and wow, what a burn! It was named beginners spinning and I may have been a bit too cocky thinking it was going to be easy as I was kind of regular gym goer. It wasn't easy. I did enjoy it though, we just haven't been back as we were only on a short term contract whilst my friend was home for Easter. I made the most of her being home by making plans, even if they were just gym sessions or study dates, we did have a nice pub lunch one day and a BBQ too and along with another friend, we booked a holiday! We're jetting off to Barcelona at the end of June for four nights, it feels so good to finally have something booked to look forward too, any Barcelona recommendations are very welcome! 

There was a date night at our usual county pub/restaurant and another at the cinema to see Fast and Furious 7 which is incredible. I was never really that into the previous ones but Lee loves them so I went along and it totally surpassed my expectations, the ending is super emotional. We also had a catch up with our two closest friends involving a burger and a brownie at the pub followed by drinks one night and a pizza and movie night the next. The end of the month was spent frantically trying to finish my last few assignments and dog sitting Lees dads gorgeous dog, at least dog cuddles made it easier. I am now one presentation, one assignment and three exams (20 days!) away from Summer and all I can do is make multiple mental lists of all the things I want to do once I'm free. I hope you had a lovely April.

Rachael x
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