If you read my post Why Life Begins at 30, you’ll will have read that, following the birth of my first child, I got fit and lost weight. In fact, I got into the best shape of my life. This was mostly down to running. A lot.
I need goals and incentives to keep me on track so I signed up for a half marathon and trained, and trained, and trained. So, after the half marathon was over, I no longer had an incentive to train and my good habits slipped a bit. I’m not going to say I completely fell off the wagon – I didn’t decide to move my bed next to the fridge and just sit there binging on cheese, cake and chocolate all day……but I did get back into Nutella. In a big way.
As a result, funnily enough, I slowly started gaining weight again.
So I decided to get back on the fitness train.
After all, I believe that it doesn’t matter if you slip. You can get back on track provided you know HOW you have slipped and can identify which bad habits have crept in. Then you plan small, manageable steps towards a new, realistic goal. (I’m all about the goals as you will have seen in my post about money saving success.)
So I’m now well on my way to getting back to where I was and that’s without signing up for another half marathon (thank god.)
How have I done it? I have 5 of the most amazing health and fitness tools at my disposal and I would recommend that you investigate them because they are great.
If you’re struggling with your weight (and general fitness), these will change your life.
I got a Fitbit Charge 2 three weeks ago and I’m already OBSESSED with it.
I chose a pretty looking one (as displayed in the picture above) so that I can wear it all the time even if I’m dressed up, but they come in a variety of colours so go have a look.
Fitbit (and associated app) features:
- tracks your resting heart rate to monitor general health
- tracks your heart rate 24/7 to identify when you are in fat burn or high intensity periods during exercise
- counts the number of steps you take
- tracks the calories you’re burning so you know how much you can consume and still lose weight. In other words, yes you can have that cupcake.
- tracks how much good quality sleep you’ve had
So without you even needing to input any data, you’re able to monitor your health and exercise and set personal goals such walking 8,000 steps or burning 2,000+ calories every day. The watch gives me lots of encouragement and the ability to link in with friends so that I can compare my movement with theirs try to out do them!
The motivation has been incredible because within days, I had changed my habits and was getting the stairs at work rather than the lift, walking to the shop to get lunch rather than driving, and I started to drink from a glass rather than a big bottle so that I would take more trips to the kitchen.
Also, side note – it’s really interesting if you’re a mum. I work four days a week and spend every Monday at home with my toddler who of course I chase about all day, as well as doing washing and other chores. And even though I don’t do any actual exercise on those days, I walk LOADS and burn so many calories which just proves that being a mum is phy-si-cal!!
The other thing is sleep monitoring. Why does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? Well it has some kind of psychological effect on me because if I wake up and think “Oh my god I’m exhausted” and the Fitbit says “Well actually you’ve had 7.5 hours sleep”, something inside me goes “DONG! I feel better, I’ve had enough sleep and I’m ready to tackle whatever the day will throw at me!”
Possibly the best feature for me is how accurately it measures the calories I’m burning when I’m exercising. Most machines ask for your weight, gender and age and then give you a rough figure for calories burned but because the Fitbit measures your heart rate too, it’s factoring in how fit you are at that precise point in time and giving you the accurate data for number of calories burned.
The second thing that has helped me get back into shape is actually something that helped me last time, and that is an app that helps you monitor calorie consumption – myfitnesspal. Not only does it have records of the calories, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and salt content of every food and branded item I think that probably exists (so logging a food diary is easy), but it also syncs with the Fitbit app so when I log what I’ve eaten in this app, my Fitbit records adjust accordingly!
It really works for me in terms of keeping to calorie limits (even with treats) and by recording my weight as often as I like, I can keep on track with my goal.
While I do enjoy my vegetables, I don’t tend to eat a LOT of them. So a really good way of getting them into my diet and simultaneously replacing carbs (which is important when losing weight) is to use the spiralizer to cut them into pasta or noodle form!
There are so many incredible recipes using spiralized food at Inspiralized so I recommend you have a look.
Favourite spiralised dishes of mine are courgette pasta, carrot noodle salad, and sweet potato pizza bake. YUM!
The spiralizer comes with a number of different blades so that you can cut your food in different ways and it really is very simple to use. Simply chop off both ends of whatever vegetable you wish to use, then position it inside the ‘contraption’ and rotate the handle until you’ve gone through the whole vegetable. It’s really quite satisfying….
There is a famous saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I can’t say I agree with that but it’s certainly the most important meal to me when I wake up.
To make sure I start the day in the best possible way, I’ve invested in a Nutribullet so my first meal of the day is in smoothie form.
In it I put:
- frozen chopped spinach (for iron)
- a few frozen berries (for antioxidants)
- a banana (for potassium and energy)
- some flaxseeds and goji berries mix (for vitamin E and calcium)
- baobab powder (for its vitamin C properties)
- and Belgian chocolate flavour Diet Whey powder (for a protein boost)
This not only fills me up until lunchtime, but also gives me a big head start on my 5 a day. PLUS I can make it as I’m heading out the door in the morning and drink it on my way into work! Efficient or what?!
The final piece of my health and fitness must have toolkit is access to Youtube. I don’t think I need to explain what this is but perhaps the extent of free fitness programmes and guides available on its archive will surprise you. You can get tutorials of every kind of fitness known to man on there!
While running will always be my preferred form of exercise, I recognise the value in doing a variety of others during the week to ensure I’m getting the most benefit from every move I make.
Here are two gems that I recommend you look into:
- Yoga – Yoga with Adriene. She’s bubbly, GORGEOUS and a great yoga teacher. Highly worth trying.
- HIIT – Jillian Michaels. You may know the name from TV’s Biggest Loser but she’s a very successful personal trainer in the US. Her dvd is actually available on YouTube and at 20 minutes a session, there’s no excuse not to fit her programmes into your weekly routine.
And that’s it. My must-haves and they’ve helped me a great deal. What helps you to lose weight and keep fit? Is there a new sport or kitchen gadget you’d recommend? Please comment below!