My health and fitness journey: How I lost over 20KG in 6 months (My secrets)

Hello beautiful people,

It’s finally Monday, how is the start of the week treating you? I hope it’s going amazing so far!

Today I have a super juicy, heavily requested post that I never in a million years thought I would share on my blog. For the past year, some of the most repeated questions I get in real life regarding my appearance include “you’ve lost SOOO much weight, how have you done it?” “Have you been going to the gym?” “How do you find the motivation to exercise everyday?“, “What do you eat?” .

DISCLAIMER: Before I start, I’d like to say this post is not encouraging you to loose weight or change the way you look in order to become “healthier”. By any means. In this post I basically share my health and fitness journey, and my results, and hopefully will encourage you to make conscious decisions and pursue a healthier lifestyle.

BACKGROUND + MY MOTIVATIONS

Let´s go back to the beginning. I’ve always been slim. I’m quite tall (around 5’8” ft) and during my teenage years my weight would always range between 60-65 KG (132-143 pounds).

Exactly two years ago, I moved in with a friend that had HORRIBLE eating habits and let´s say I adopted them. I stopped exercising, and we literally had take-away EVERY DAY. YES. JUNK FOOD EVERYDAY. Im sure you’re wondering “how the hell did you guys afford take-away every day?“. Well, my housemate, who was NOT a student (therefore no student budget, duh), would order a huge pile of junk food that could last us for days. We would also cook so many “microwavable meals” and “ready to eat food”. I would also spend the entire day at uni/work, and never really prepared anything to take with me: I would have sausage rolls, meal deals, burgers, etc. pretty much everyday for lunch. I stopped going to the gym (not for any reason in particular, but because I thought I had NO time) and I was too lazy to cook or whatsoever. One day I weighed my self, and the scale showed 96KG (around 211 pounds). I had gained around 20 KG in a period of 7 months or so. I actually did not give a damn because you don’t have to be a certain size or weigh X amount to be attractive, it’s a freaking feeling of confidence, which I had.

One day I was at the beach with my best friend, and realized I was preaching about self-love yet I was not looking after my body and health. I was tired of not having energy. I was tired of always being tired. I promised myself I would look after my body and show myself the love I deserved.

In summer 2018 I joined a new gym and asked my mum to help me control my food. I had developed really bad eating habits where I would eat and eat with no self control.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I am eating real good and exercising I feel so freaking confident. I started to adopt new habits and suddenly had so much more energy, my stamina levels went all the way up and I started to get stronger and stronger. Weight loss came within as an add on. It was not planned at all. Self-love is self care, and do you really love yourself if you’re constantly putting so much rubbish into it? I think you have to get to a point where you’re literally fed up and believe “enough is enough” and desperately need a change. You need to do it for yourself. You need to be your own why.

Without further do, here are some of the 7 steps I adopted in order to pursue a healthier lifestyle that brought 20 KG of weight loss in 6 months.

1. EXERCISED FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

A “fasted state” means doing exercise when your body is in a fasted state, which means your body is no longer processing food. In other words, working out on an empty stomach. If you’re anything like me, working out on a full stomach may leave you feeling a bit sick.

There are pros and cons, and you should ultimately do what’s best for you. Some people can eat before a workout and feel amazing, others can’t. Some studies actually claim that exercising first thing in the morning could potentially help your body burn a greater amount of fat. If you have eaten a large meal before your workout, a portion of your blood is helping your digestive system process your food. This means there will be less oxygen available to your muscles which can reduce your body’s availability to burn fat. Working out on an empty stomach means your body can deliver great amounts of oxygen to your muscles and help you burn more fat.

However, if I wake up super hungry or feel like a need a little boost of energy before my workout I reach for light food. This includes: a banana, some dates, nuts or an apple.

When I started my health and fitness journey, I actually did not enjoy working out at the gym on my own, so I would join classes at the gym every single day. Classes are so fun, and there’s so much to choose from. You can even decide when to go since they run all day long, so you are able to choose the most convenient time for you. You are going to burn so many calories and get that heart rate going.

2. MEAL PREP

When you’ve had a busy day or been stuck at work all day long, it’s easy to convince yourself you should run down the street and pick up a pizza or order an Uber Eats. But if you have a healthy meal waiting for you in the fridge, you can defeat the temptation. Meal prep-ing is a game changer. Whether you have a super busy schedule or you’re just chilling at home, meal prep-ing will ensure that whatever you eat, it’s going to be healthy. REMEMBER: 80% diet and 20% exercise!! You can exercise everyday but f you don’t eat accordingly, you won’t see as many results. I personally like meal prep-ing for different reasons:

1-Meal prep-ing can help you track you calories, macros, vitamins, etc. You know what you’re eating because basically its you who cooked it. You can ensure that you are eating the right type of carbohydrates (I will get into this later), the right amount of protein, healthy fats, calories, etc. which will help you reach your fitness goals.

2-You will save sooo much money by preparing your meals in advance. Eating unhealthy is literally more expensive. If you want me to dedicate a post about meal prep-ing and share my favorite ideas (veggie and non-veggie) let me know.

3-You will save so much time. I realized that one of the reasons why I kept eating unhelthy was because I was literally out all day long and felt like I had no time to cook, so I would eat anything on the go. If you meal prep, you can carry your food container everywhere with you and also when you get home after a super long-busy day, you’ll find something good to eat at home.

3-SWAP THESE FOODS FOR THOSE INSTEAD

Whatever food I eat, I make sure it’s meaningful and it’s actually going to help and support my body.

I do roughly track my calories, because since I’m a vegetarian I like to make sure I am eating enough. Remember, this should not be a diet, it should be a lifestyle where you make conscious decisions. These are the foods I no longer take and instead, I’ve included into my lifestyle their healthier versions:

Juices. Next time you buy a juice from any store, I invite you to check the ingredients, and you will realize the amount of sugar you’re putting into your body. Now, sugar is not the evil. However, I’d rather include sugar from natural sources such as fresh fruits than processed beverages.

I literally use to have juice every single day for breakfast. I suggest you swap these processed juices for a homemade smoothie or a freshly squizzed orange juice. These contain natural sugars from whatever fruit you used and it’s an easy way to add vitamins into your diet.

White bread, white rice, white pasta. These contain very little nutrition. I can only speak from my own experience, but the moment I cut these, I noticed I finally started to burn belly fat. Try wholegrain bread and pasta, quinoa and brown rice instead.

The main purpose of carbohydrates is to provide energy. Most carbs get transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy. Others, can be stores as fat for later use. Whole carbs are unprocessed and contain plenty of fiber and are generally healthy. These include: whole fruits, legumes, sweet potatoes and whole grains. On the other hand, refined carbs have been processed and their fiber has been stripped out. These include: pastries, white bread, white rice and others.

Breakfast cereal. Again, I’ve always enjoyed breakfast cereal. However, it’s full of sugars and most of it has no nutritional value or whatsover. Don’t get me wrong, once in a while I do still enjoy a bowl of my favorite cereal. However, I would not make it habit. Try swapping these cereals for oatmeal. I personally take rolled oats every morning, fully raw. Oats are extremely beneficial for you: super high in fibre and loaded with carbs that slowly release into your body, giving you so much energy.

I personally soak them in coconut/almond milk for 30 minutes or so (whilst I am getting ready), and then add my favorite toppings; strawberries, bananas, blueberries, chia seeds, peanut butter, etc. Literally you can make your oatmeal completely different every day and it tastes delectable.

Dairy milk. I was not a vegetarian or followed a plant based diet when I started this journey. However, I stopped drinking dairy milk a while ago since it made me so bloated. Funny enough, when I gained all that weight and kept feeling tired, I was drinking dairy milk everyday.

My favorite alternatives are: coconut, almond and oat milk, which have more flavour and are also super low in calories.

Processed meats. Whether you are plant-based or not, processed meat is simply not good for you. There are multiple studies that warn about the relationship between these and different illnesses such as colon cancer and heart disease. Processed meat contains so many harmful chemicals and ingredients. These include: sausages, ham, salami, chorizo, bacon, etc. Again, this whole health and fitness journey should be about putting your health first, and getting rid of anything that no longer serves you.

4- MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THAT FIBER

Long story short, fibre is divided in two categories: insoluble and soluble. They differ on how they interact with water in your body.

Soluble fiber, which mixes with water, slows down how fast the stomach releases food into the gut. Eating more soluble fiber can help you loose belly fat and prevent belly fat gain. Sources of solubles fiber: oatmeal, legumes, sweet potatoes and fruits.

For more info: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fiber-and-belly-fat#section5

5-HAVE PLENTY OF SNACKS WITH YOU

Now, here’s a question, who says you cannot have snacks whilst pursuing a healthier lifestyle? Of course you can, but once again, make sure they are meaningful and add some sort of nutritional value into your diet. My favorite ones are: apples with peanut butter, rice cakes with peanut butter and sliced bananas, protein shakes and bars, nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashew-nuts).

6-HAVE A CHEAT DAY

It’s all about balance girl! I won’t ask you to say bye to junk food forever, howeverrrrr, as you get into this lifestyle you will crave healthier food more and more, and you’ll naturally stop reaching for junk food. A pizza once in a while will not ruin your results, I promise you. Also, having a cheat day helped me reduce my food anxiety tremendously without feeling “guilty” afterwards. Having a regularly scheduled cheat day each week can help you prevent binges and reduce cravings. I like having it on the weekends, which is when I mainly chill with my friends or go out.

7-ENJOY THE JOURNEY

Remember, this should not be a diet, it’s a freaking lifestyle. Enjoy this process, at the end of the day you are doing it for yourself, and you are giving yourself the love you deserve. Accept and embrace yourself first, and always make changes from a place of love. I can guarantee you if you don’t like yourself now, you won’t like yourself either when you loose or gain X amount of weight, or when you have an hourglass figure. Self-love starts now!!

Anyways lovelies, thank you so much for reading. I am going to leave it here because following my notes, I could literally continue forever. Let me know if you’d like part 2!

If you have any more questions, you can reach me on my social media.

Until next time!

A xx

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