The Perfect Diet

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With the “New Year, New You” movement in full swing people tend to be extremely conscious of what they are eating. It is amazing that everyone is being mindful of what they are putting in their bodies and keen to improve their relationships with food. The problem is that the approaches chosen to do this tend to be extreme or restrictive.

Most people give up on their New Year resolutions by February, which is why I’m not a fan of them (but that is a whole other blog post topic for another day). 

With so many fitness and nutrition ads plastered all over television and social media I thought it might be helpful to address a few things.

Firstly there is no such thing as the perfect diet. There isn’t one secret ingredient or a miracle weight-loss cure that will enable you to shed several pounds overnight. Anything that promises rapid weight-loss or claims to “boost” or “kick-start” your metabolism is most likely a load of bull. 

Secondly just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. We are all different and unique. Just because an approach or a lifestyle choice has worked for one of your close friends or someone you admire doesn’t mean it will work for you. Eating the same foods or amount of calories as your favourite IG model or YouTuber won’t yield the same results. 

Thirdly eating well doesn’t have to be complex nor does it mean eating foods you don’t enjoy. Far too often we over complicate things for ourselves which leads to us feeling overwhelmed. Eat foods you enjoy in a manner that will both help you achieve your goals and stay consistent in the long-term. 

I’m a big believer in balance when it comes to nutrition. This is tricky to define because a balanced approach will look different to everyone. What is balanced for one individual may not necessarily be balanced for another. 

It might be a case of trial and error until you find what works best for you, but if you can’t see yourself sticking to the approach to nutrition that you have chosen in the long-term, then you are doomed to fail before you even start. One of the main reasons that drastic approaches (i.e. cutting calories to an extremely low-level) don’t tend to work is because they are not enjoyable and more importantly unsustainable.

The key point I want you all to take from this post today is to make sure that you enjoy the approach you take and that it allows you to be consistent in the long-term. 

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

Why You Shouldn’t Diet This Christmas!

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Whenever there is a special occasion or a holiday (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.) I always notice that people become more aware of that they eat. This is natural given the typically indulgent nature of the meals we consume during these brief periods. 

My issue with this is that I feel that people become so concerned with what they do some of the time  (such as the food they eat on these holidays and special occasions) instead of focusing on what they do most of the time (which involves what they eat the rest of the year). 

I do understand that for many there may still be anxiety around food and these kind of events so here are a few tips which may help:

  1. Eat what you want
  2. If you don’t want something don’t eat it
  3. Stop when you are full 
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Enjoy the time spent and the memories created with friends, family and loved ones

Ultimately unless you are prepping for a competition or an event you shouldn’t be afraid of enjoying yourself on Christmas. Stop focusing on and stressing about what you eat on days like Christmas  and instead start focussing on what you are putting into your body the rest of the year, because its what you do most of the time that determines your results. 

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Review: Simply Simon – Peanut Butter Balls

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When it comes to sweet vs savoury, I’m team sweet. For that reason I always ensure that there is something in my meal prep that will satisfy my sweet tooth. Recently, though I found that I kept eating the same things. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy what I eat, but variety is the spice of life and I want to make sure that I don’t get bored with my food. I spoke to my good friend Simon and he supplied me with these amazing peanut butter balls in the photo above. 

Initial reaction: I felt that they were quite small, but was happily surprised at how filling these little guys were. I had three of them a day and not only did they satisfy my sweet tooth but they also helped give me a cheeky afternoon energy boost.

Texture: The oats on the outside of the peanut balls provides a nice crunch to compliment their soft gooey interior (trying my best to sound like one of the judges on Masterchef here).

Taste: If you like peanut butter these taste phenomenal.

Macros Per Peanut Butter Ball:

Calories: 71

Fat 2.3g

Carbs 12.2g

Protein 2g]

Simon also provides meal prep as well as cooking classes. You can find him on instagram @simplysimonchef or check out his website http://simplysimonchef.com 

If you’re interested (you’d be crazy not to be) be sure to get in touch with him. 

I know you’ll enjoy these as much as I did.

Jay xx

Raspberry, Cinnamon & Nutmeg Protein Muffins

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You guys have asked and I have listened. Here is the recipe for my delicious raspberry, cinnamon and nutmeg protein muffins with dark and white chocolate chips.

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 Scoop vanilla protein powder
  2. 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  3. 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 Teaspoon cocoa powder
  5. 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 2 Tablespoons 0% fat greek yoghurt 
  8. 75 grams fresh raspberries
  9. 2 medium sized eggs
  10. 30ml almond milk
  11. 1 square dark chocolate and 1 square white chocolate

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees
  • Blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, greek yoghurt, raspberries, eggs and almond milk until mixture is well mixed and a smoothie like consistency.
  • Place your mixture into a muffin tin/cupcake moulds
  • Chop the chocolate up into smaller squares and place them on the top of the mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes 
  • Enjoy 

Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did

Jay xx

You Over-indulged! Now what?

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When I was just beginning my fitness journey I strived to be perfect. I didn’t want to miss a session or eat anything “bad” and if I did I thought the only solution was to restrict my calories and exercise more. I couldn’t have been more wrong. You should never punish yourself with exercise and by restricting food intake just because you ate something you enjoy.

In an ideal world we’ll always be able to strike the right balance and moderation, when eating the foods that we enjoy that aren’t nutrient dense. However, the reality is that we are human and sometimes we’ll have a bit more to drink than is ideal or help ourselves to a few too many slices of cake. 

So I decided to share a few tips with you guys on what to do when these situations happen:

  1. Get back on track with your next meal: just because you have overdone it on this occasion does not mean that all your hard work and discipline has gone to waste. Take the opportunity to get back on track with your next meal. Don’t just say “fuck it” and continue to binge. If you dropped your phone and the screen cracked, would you keep throwing it about to make it worse? So why do the same with your nutrition?
  1. Don’t use exercise as punishment: Just as you should go back to eating as normal without restricting food, you should continue to train as you usually would. Don’t do endless hours of cardio! Exercise is meant to be enjoyed, it should never be a form of punishment for eating things that we enjoy. 
  1. Address underlying issues: Sometimes food is used as a coping mechanism. Personally when I’m stressed or sleep deprived I tend to crave sugary things and find it harder to be disciplined. Addressing what is causing me stress and ensuring that I am getting enough sleep helps me to avoid binging and over-indulging

I hope you guys found these helpful.

Jay xx

Tips to keep your training consistency during the dark and cold months

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With the start of Autumn in the horizon and the falling of leaves comes the unfortunate end of bright warm and sunny mornings. Instead of waking up to sunshine you wake up to darkness and the sound of howling wind and rain. The long, dark and grey days start to impact your mood and you may find that it takes a lot more to get you through your daily routine (including your workouts). 

I thought I would share with you guys a few tips on how to combat these Autumn blues and ensure that you make the most of this season.

  1. Discipline = Make sure you create discipline as eliminating the dependence on outside factors (such as your mood) will give you the tools to focus on the long-term achievement of your goals so that you do what you need to do instead of what you want to do. For example create a consistent training schedule and stick to it. 
  2. Set a big goal = Setting a reasonable, measurable and realistic goal (such as improving strength or successfully performing an exercise that you’ve struggled on) will help to keep you motivated and give you something to look forward to before the end of the year. 
  3. An awesome playlist = Studies have shown that music has several benefits on the human brain which include boosting our moods, distracting the brain from fatigue and even helping in increasing endurance. 
  4. Get a training partner = Having someone to train with makes you more likely to stick to your fitness goals and also helps to hold you accountable. The right training partner can also help to increase your training intensity by giving you that little extra push. 
  5. Get involved in seasonal activities = embrace the cold and take on the elements while having fun through activities such as ice-skating, snowboarding and skiing. 

Hope you guys find these helpful 

Love 

Jay xx

The Dangers of Dieting for a Holiday

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Many people find booking a trip away a great source of motivation to finally embark or to stay on track with fitness and weight-loss goals. Is there anything wrong with wanting to look and feel your best on a holiday? Absolutely not! 

The problem is that for the majority of people trying to get into good shape for a holiday tends to lead to overly restrictive eating and quick fix approaches to nutrition and exercise. So when that holiday finally does come around they tend to binge and eat mostly all the foods that they had denied themselves, their body reacts like a sponge and then when they come back home they are heavier than when they left and are now lacking a source of motivation (the holiday). Does this sound a bit like you?

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t look to get into better shape or that you can’t use a holiday as a source of motivation. Just understand that motivation in general (be it an external or internal source) is fickle and unreliable, because it is dependent on our moods and feelings. Instead you should focus on building discipline to help you do what you need to do, especially when you don’t want to. 

Instead of using restrictive and drastic approaches to nutrition and exercise, use methods which are sustainable and will ensure that you adhere to your goals and plans in the long term. This means that when a holiday comes along you won’t feel deprived and so will be more likely to realise that you can still eat nutrient dense foods while enjoying all the treats that you holiday destination has to offer. Moreover, once you’ve returned from you holiday you will be more likely to get back to your exercise routine. 

Now I know this doesn’t sound glamorous or sexy but its simple and effective. Quick fixes lead to short lived results (if those results are even reached in the first place). Focus on building discipline and being consistent on a daily basis instead of attempting to be perfect occasionally. 

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

The Mental Impact of Food

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When we think about the effect that food has on our body, we tend to focus on the physical effects and underestimate (if not completely ignore) the mental impact food has on us (e.g. our mood, sleep and energy levels).

Studies have shown that diets which are well-balanced and full of nutrient dense foods can lead to a reduction in mood swings, anxiety and depression. This is due to the nutrients in these foods helping the brain to produce serotonin (a.k.a. the happy chemical) which among other functions helps our bodies to “regulate sleep, appetite, mediate moods and inhibit pain.” 

Studies have also shown that consumption of foods that maintain blood sugar levels can help us to stabilise our mood. 

5 Mood Boosting Foods

  1. Oily Fish: Regularly eating oily fish (i.e. salmon, mackerel and sardines) help to reduce the risks of depression and anxiety.
  2. Oats: Help us to maintain a stable mood, through slowly releasing energy into our bloodstream.
  3. Dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds: These all contain magnesium which can help boost the production of serotonin (the happy chemical).
  4. Eggs: contain nutrients which help to improve our mood
  5. Chocolate: Regular consumption of chocolate (of the dark variety) helps to boost the production of serotonin and is linked to reduced stress and anxiety levels. 

Just some food for thought (or feels).

Jay xx

Ice-cream for Breakfast: Protein Pancake Recipe

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Hey guys, quite a few of you have been asking for my protein pancake recipe so here you go:

For the Pancakes:

  • 1 scoop white chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 squares dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 scoop water (I just use my protein scoop) 

For the toppings:

  • Salted Caramel Halo Top Ice cream 
  • 1 tsp salted caramel sauce 

Method

  1. Place protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, chocolate, eggs and water in a blender and blend together until you get a smooth mixture,
  2. Place mixture in a hot pan according to the size you want your pancakes. Tip* I use my protein scoop, that way my pancakes are the same size.
  3. Flip the pancake once bubbles begin to form and then cook until lightly golden.
  4. Stack on a plate or in a bowl and top with a few spoons of the ice-cream
  5. Heat up the salted caramel sauce in a microwave for 15 secs and dribble it over the pancakes.
  6. Enjoy

Carbs: The Dark Lord of Macronutrients

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Firstly, what are carbs? 

Carbs (a.k.a carbohydrates) are molecules which are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbs are one of the three macronutrients that make up our diets. All carbs are made up of units called saccharides which form three basic carb types.

  1. Simple carbs also known as sugar
  2. Complex carbs also known as starch 
  3. Non-starch Polysaccharides (NSP) also know as fibre 

What do carbs do for us? 

Their primary role is to provide our bodies with energy, but carbs also play an important role in “the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs.” 

Why are Carbs seen as the source of all evil (a.k.a the Voldemort of the food world)?

Due to increasing waist lines of the general population in recent years, we have looked to find a way to explain it rather than accepting as a population we are over consuming food and doing less and less physical activity.  

It used to be fat that was demonised by the press and food industry. It is now Carbohydrates and sugars that are viewed as the problem. It is easy to blame sugar and carbohydrates as they are often found in the foods we overeat as well as fizzy drinks and fruit juices

So what is the point of all this info? 

CARBS WILL NOT MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT!

For many people the go to solution for losing weight is to cut carbs from their diet. Cutting carbs from your diet can lead to a large drop in weight, however, the weight lost will be made-up predominately of water and not body fat percentage. Often after a couple of weeks (if they even make it that long) people end up falling off the wagon and binge/over-eat. The end result is that they end up putting all the weight they lost back on. 

Why does this happen? 

Cutting carbs completely is not a sustainable way to diet as people will often experience low energy/mood as well as finding their food choices limiting and uninteresting. 

In fact, many studies have shown that calorie controlled diets which contain carbohydrate sources such as bread have a far higher adherence rate as well as being much more sustainable for the general population.

The take-away (no pun intended) from this blog post is that as long as you are eating in a calorie deficit, it does not matter if you are continuing to eat carbohydrates, fats or protein! 

Keep your protein high! Eat in a deficit! And you will lose weight!

Just some food for thought. 

Jay and Liam xx