Tag Archives: lifestyle

My Route To Health & Fitness…

Being a lover of health and fitness isn’t necessarily about having the best body, it’s about getting to know yourself, your strengths and limitations, working on them and loving them.

There are so many fitness blogs and Instagram’s out there, we are spoilt for choice, but I want to share my personal fitness story as each and everyone is different!

Below is me now, and I am searching for a ‘before’ picture to compare… easier said than done because I just used to delete all the ones I didn’t like – but – there’s bound to be one somewhere so watch this space.

Up until I was about 18/19 I didn’t have a clue about fitness. I knew that over eating and low exercise would eventually have an impact on my health, but I never really took an interest until I started reading about Nutrition and Weight Loss when I was at uni. Around this time, my uncle also passed away of a heart attack, aged 50, which shocked me into thinking about the control I had over my health, and the impact I have on my own body. To be honest when I started it was in dribs and drabs at first. I joined a weekly Zumba class with my mum, just because, and still wasn’t really cautious of the food I was eating – but I saw a slight change in my body, which quickly gave me the buzz that most talk about – you see the results and get ‘hungry’ to continue!

My mum has been a slimming world member since I was little, so just out of curiosity I started to pick up little bits of info from her, and the booklets. (The great thing about Slimming world is that you don’t deprive yourself of food – you just learn to control how much you are eating, and slightly modify fat and carb intake.) I did this over one summer whilst at uni, and I saw results probably after the first 3 weeks, my clothes fitted a lot better and I felt a lot better after eating. I didn’t get the bloat or cramps, which I now know is probably from a mixture of bread/carbs and sugar.

Naturally with anyone that looses weight (I think I lost about a stone all in all) there is a chance that you will start to loose muscle if you don’t exercise. When I saw results, I lost interest in exercise and put all my energy into eating the right foods, watching my carbs and fats. At the time this was fine for me, I didn’t really have the knowledge that I could sculpt my body in a way that I wanted to, I was focused on loosing fat (perhaps like a lot of women are).

Eventually after becoming complacent with a strict food regime, I joined a gym. After loosing weight, I realised my body shape may benefit from toning up. I have naturally always had muscle in my legs, but my upper body strength was weak, and I had no definition in my abs. The gym was daunting at first. I hadn’t worked out before, apart from doing generic abs bums and tums videos from YouTube, or going for a 20 minute run. Weights? It was scary. The first few times I went to the gym, I stuck to the running machine like glue. I would do a 40 minute run, sweat buckets, shower and go home. I wouldn’t step foot in the weights area. I didn’t think it would ever be for me. I had no idea how it could be beneficial, so I just wrote it off.

I think one of the ways social media can have a positive impact is in cases like mine and others who are able to look up different exercises or training ideas. Through my blog, which is like having access to an entire world of people willing to share their own stories – I started to read a lot about fitness and working out, nutrition and looking after your body. I took notice of positioning when doing weights, how to use food for fuel instead of greed, and how to combine a mix of cardio and weight training to create the look you wanted.

I know I said at the beginning of this entry that being involved in health and fitness isn’t all about how you look (and its not) – but it certainly helps to fuel you, it isn’t a bad thing to start to love yourself!

And it grew from there. One day I picked up free weights, trying out exercises that I had seen on blogs and videos. Then I moved onto using more of the gym equipment, squat rack, lat machine, leg press. Eventually if there was a bit of equipment in the gym I hadn’t tried, I was all over it. (I probably looked like a fool half the time). But like anything, the more you practice, the better you get.

Throughout this time, I’ve also had one of the best realisations, something that before I would have said in passing or agreed with as a general assumption without really realising what it meant for me – ‘Nobody is perfect’. Typing it now I do feel like a cliche, but nothing has struck me more. Everyone is perfectly flawed in their own way. Everyone has their own insecurities, parts of them they wish they could change, but no one has it all! Going through my ‘loosing weight’ stage, I wished the weight would come off of my legs – even now they are the biggest part of my body (just with a bit more muscle and a lot less fat), some things you just can’t change – embrace them.

(To be Continued…)

 

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Berry & Honey Muffins

I absolutely love baking, and working full time means I rarely get to cook for my own pleasure, it’s usually just a rush to eat something before the day starts or when I come home in the evening. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to incorporate baking, cooking & experimenting with my favourite foods throughout the week instead of waiting until the weekend.

As well as being a lover of everything sweet, I am also health concious and do try to modify traditional recipes so they suit the eating habits I like. Simple things like using natural honey and cinnamon instead of sugar, oats and brans instead of flour all make a difference in a recipes nutritional factor.

Today was Berries & Honey Breakfast Muffins (or a snack), I can make these on a Sunday and enjoy them for an on-the-go breakfast throughout the week, as they will keep for 5 days in an airtight container. So here’s the recipe, which can be adapted with different fruits and flavours depending on your taste :)

Ingredients

2 Large Ripe Bananas
250g Porridge Oats
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
2 Tablespoons Natural Honey
1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1-2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberries
Raspberries
(Make it as fruity as you want!)

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease a 12 dip muffin tray.

In a blender, add the oats, bananas, Eggs, Greek Yoghurt, Peanut butter, and Honey. Blend until almost smooth (a few chunky bits will just give the muffins extra bite).

Once blended, pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and chia seeds.

In a pan, add half the blueberries and raspberries that you want in the muffins, and heat up until runny. Once hot, marble the fruit through the Muffin mixture.

Spoon the mix into the muffin tray. Add the last of the berries on top, as these will slowly soften whilst in the oven.

Place into the oven and cook for 15 minutes! (Check and 10 minutes and then leave them for an extra 5).

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

Simple Spaghetti From Scratch

Ingredients

6 Large Eggs
600g Italian 00 Flour

Method

Empty flour onto a board (you can use a bowl if preferred) and make a dip in the centre. Beat the Eggs and then pour into the dip.

Slowly working from the inside towards the outside of the dip, mix the eggs with the flour, running the mixture through your fingertips.

Repeat this until the Eggs and flour have combined and you have dough!

Knead the dough thoroughly, as this will allow the ingredients to develop to make the perfect pasta.

Once finished (your dough should be a silky texture) you will need to leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before rolling it out and fashioning into shapes.

Some people like to use a pasta machine, I do have one at home, but this can be done the traditional  way.

kitchen-aid-pasta-maker

If you do have a machine, then take a lump of dough (no bigger than an apple) and run through the machine – it should be on the widest setting. Do this for all dough and repeat the process 5 times.

Tip: Make sure you dust with plenty of flour so this doesn’t stick, keep sprinkling if you see it getting stuck.

This rolling process means you are working the dough, the ingredients are combining and perfecting your pasta.  If you can, try to work through all the width settings on the machine, as this will ensure you pasta is stretchy and lump free.

Once you are satisfied, roll the dough through the machine into a rectangular shape, then fold in half, and in half again until you have a square of dough. For the final time, run your ready made square through the machine until you have got a long golden piece of dough!

Now – you can choose the shape and width you like. Cut and shape away! Try to do this within a minute of rolling out the final piece.

Tip: If your dough becomes too dry, this is an indication that you may need to stop playing around with it, pasta dries out very quickly.

After either hang on a spaghetti tree or place on individual trays.

Cook and Enjoy!

Elena xxx

 

13/09

I just started reading a new book by Sam Red (@authorsamred) ‘She who is Unto Herself’ and it’s been one of those times where you feel like you were meant to pick up a certain book at a certain point in your life. Sam writes about self-empowerment and mindfulness. The practice of living completely in the present moment without regretting the past or fearing the future. I have to say, even though I’m only a third of the way through it’s aiding my thinking of ‘life’ in a whole new light.
Sometimes we become stuck in the rut of acting a ‘Victim’ to our experiences, when really the way we conduct ourselves in certain situations is our own choice. Without trying to get too personal, earlier in the year when my dad was diagnosed I couldn’t help but ask all the questions like ‘why him?’ and ‘why now?’ which I guess is only natural. Everybody deals with things in a different way but towards the end of his treatment I started to think about how him & I should live our lives according to this, and instead of being vulnerable to the situation, I let it empower me. ‘She who is Unto Herself’ states that painful life circumstances, which we all face at one point or another, lead us into a higher state of consciousness and honestly I couldn’t agree more.

I’m still not sure why it takes a kick up the backside, putting our noses out of joint for us to realize that we need a change. Humans are creatures of habit after all, but sometimes changing is a hell of a lot easier than staying the same – scary – but ultimately easier. Sometimes things can hold you back, ideals and expectations, that vision that presents itself in your head of how things could be. Holding on because you think it will make you happy is actually what is making you unhappy because you are not accepting where you are in your present. And you can apply this manner of thinking to any trials or tribulations in life. Obviously my dad becoming ill is far from ideal, but being strong for others and adding value to their lives is really what creates the difference from being a ‘victim’ and instead allowing those things be a catalyst for your own happiness.
Remember that you can take positives out of anything. Realization of realizations are real, I thought I had already accepted the fact that everybody has one life, a certain amount of years to do as they please, extraordinary or otherwise. But again and again life likes to remind me that we really don’t have shit guaranteed, you could take your last breath tomorrow and all that matters is how you live now, and that includes how you think about yourself and others inductive of your happiness.

Buy the book here on Amazon
Sam’s Blog