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Festive ways to get fit this winter #SHhealthyhabits

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Eat, drink and be merry! I've definitely been doing all three of those and with party season in full swing there are some surprising ways you can burn excess calories without compromising on fun. Christmas is both busy and a time of indulgence, so it’s especially difficult to stick to healthy habits. There are plenty of fun seasonal activities that could help you keep up your fitness regime this winter and I'm going to list a few to get you inspired to move more this winter.

I recently tried ice skating for the first time since I was a teenager. Ice skating requires constant movement, which makes it a great way to burn hundreds of calories per hour. It's also a fun way to get outdoors in the winter, but indoor ice skating rinks are another way to enjoy this activity all year round.

I was terrified, thought I was going to fall over for the entire session but I gave it my best shot. I think I probably burned loads of nervous energy calories. I know I'm all too guilty of cooking up huge carb filled meals at this time of year, adding some Baileys to my coffee and neglecting my bike when its cold and wet. I really enjoyed getting out of the house, having fun and getting some fresh air.

If you want to find out more about how many calories winter activities can burn head over to Simply Health who have made a guide to festive ways to get fit.

Other fantastic calorie burning winter activities include:

Walking - Why not take a long brisk walk after a heavy Christmas dinner? There are plenty of places to walk and if you add in a hill you’ll see greater benefits. Walking in snowy conditions is also tougher and will therefore provide a greater calorie burn.

Hit the dance floor - Christmas parties often end up on the dance floor and if you're out with friends don't lurk around the side, have a great time and dance the night away. You could easily balance out a glass of wine this way.

Gaming - I don't mean be antisocial and play in your Xbox all day boxing day. Get the Wii fit out, Just Dance or any of those games and interact with your family members and have fun whilst being more active.

How do you keep fit during the winter? Got any top tips for staying active over the festive period?

5:2 diet with LighterLife Fast

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

I've always had an issue with my weight and this blog documents my ups and downs regarding weight loss. Getting to grips with it in a way that easily fits in with my busy lifestyle is a constant struggle for me. Now that I'm older a combination living with a partner who likes rich foods, attending fun foodie blogging events and a baking hobby mean that I can pile the pounds on quickly if I have a hectic few weeks without noticing.
I've been following a diet plan on and off for about 6 years with some great results but counting points and weighing food can be very tiresome, I was really pleased to be chose to take part in a three month trial that will do away with any fuss or worry.

I'm sure you have all heard of the 5:2 diet, also known as the Fast diet – but just in case you haven't here is a quick overview. The idea behind the diet is that you eat normally 5 days a week (healthily, not scoffing too much) and then fast the remaining two. On the fast days you quarter your calorie intake, it is advised that you eat 600 calories and get your RDA of key vitamins and minerals along with fibre and protein. The two fast days should not be taken consecutively.
The reason I was drawn to the 5:2 diet was that dieting 2 days a week seems a lot easier to follow and fits in better with my lifestyle than tracking what I eat 7 days a week. It allows me to work out on the days that I am not fasting and to still enjoy eating out or unexpected drinks and not feel guilty about treats. I was a little worries before starting that I wouldn't be able to concentrate at work on 600cals a day and that I would feel tired. Trying to figure out what to eat for just 600 calories a day but feel full would be a headache but luckily there is now a solution – LighterLife Fast, which is now exclusively available at Superdrug.

On a fast day, it’s almost impossible to get all your recommended daily allowances (RDAs) of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs if you were to prepare meals yourself. LighterLife Fastpacks are specially formulated nutritional food options that contain all the protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals required.
The idea behind LighterLife Fast is to make life easier on those fast days providing you with four LighterLife Fastpacks  for those 600 calorie days.

The new range starts at £7.99 for a box of four Fastpacks.  The Fastpack options include:

    • Savoury meals such as Spaghetti Bolognese and pasta carbonara
    • Porridge – the breakfast favourite!
    • Four delicious shakes – vanilla, strawberry, banana and chocolate
    • Four scrumptious meal bars in nut fudge, crispy peanut, cranberry & raspberry and toffee flavours

    I chose porridge for breakfast, pasta cabonara for lunch and spaghetti bolognese for dinner. All options were tasty but smaller portions than I would normally eat. I found a few things really helped me with the plan, one of them was to add the water to the food a little at a time when cooking and stir a few times. They turned out much better using that method. I also added black pepper to the cabonara and a dash of cinnamon to the porridge to add to extra flavour.

    The peanut bars were a great snack, they were large and filling and had a hint of chocolate. Very tasty!

    I've been following the LighterLife Fast plan for two weeks now and I've been very pleased with the weight loss results:

    Week 1: -2lbs
    Weeks 2: -2.5lbs

    I was pleasantly surprised with the results. As you can see from my instagram stream I really don't hold back on my non-fast days. I've gone out for afternoon tea, cooked a bonfire night feast and had cheese fondue and still manged to lose some weight. I've got two weeks until I go to Budapest and really want to lose another 4lbs before going so I'm going to be a little more restrained on my non-fast days to ensure the weight keeps on going down.

    Have you ever tried the 5:2 diet? Would you consider then LighterLife Fast method of 5:2 fasting?

    *LighterLife Fast has sent me a months worth of their Fastpacks to try and document my experience. 

    #RealJuice with Philips and Madeline Shaw - Weekend juice recipes

    Tuesday, 4 November 2014

    Juicing seems to be buzz word this year in the  health community but taking part in a juice detox can actually not be that good for you or your health. Philips are campaign for #RealJuice and want to encourage people to ditch bottled juice in exchange for one fresh juice a day rather than an extreme detox.

    I am currently following the #RealJuice plan created by Madeline Shaw (Millie Mackintosh’s nutritionist) and Phillips. You can read more about the plan and my first 5 days following it here but I've shared the weekend recipes below.

    Here are a couple of tasty recipes from the plan that you can try yourself at home:

    : Hangover helper juice - 3 medium-size tomatoes, 3 stalks of celery, 1 peeled lemon (or less according to taste), 2cm of ginger, 1 jalapeño pepper (seedless), 1/2 a cucumber

    This is a spin on the classic bloody mary and the ginger and pepper gives it a real kick.

    Sunday: Classic cleanse juice - 3 carrots, a beetroot, an apple and two stalks of celery.

    Beetroot contributes to cleansing of your living, helping to reinvigorate your body. It was a little too earthy for my tastes so I simply added another apple. Delicious!

    Which of these juices sounds the most tempting to you?
    Have you tried any of the juices from the first five days of the plan?

    #RealJuice - 7 Day Juice plan with Philips and Madeline Shaw

    Monday, 27 October 2014

    It's a big trend with A-listers to use juice cleanses to try and shed some weight and get glowing skin  but Madeleine Shaw (nutritionist who has worked with Millie Mackintosh and Louis Smith) says that having a juice a day alongside your regular diet can have lots of health benefits. There's no need to replace every meal with juice, you can have one a day and still see some big changes. - 'Juicing for me is a way of life. It's amazing how all of the goodness contained within a freshly made juice can fuel a workout, beat that afternoon slump or to help you sleep,' she said. 
    Freshly made fruit and vegetable juice is packed with nutrients and a easy way to get your 5 a day but be warned 'If you are always on the go then it may seem like an easy option to grab a bottled juice. However, shop bought juices actually lose many of their nutrients over the course of their long shelf life due to the pasteurisation process. Plus they tend to be fruit-based making their sugar content 
    higher,' As explained in my previous post I've been taking part in the #RealJuice Philips plan which encourages people to drink a juice a day. I was really looking forward to upping my fresh fruit and veg intake and juicing for the first time.

    I've been following a 7 day plan created for me by Madeline Shaw and here are the flavour combinations from the first five days:

    Madeline Shaw's 7 juice plan - Days 1-5

    Monday: Glowing greens juice - 3 stalks of celery, 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 pear, 1/2 cucumber, 1 peeled lemon (or less according to taste), 1 handful of parsley

    Tuesday: Pre-Workout juice - 3 carrots, 1 beetroot, 2 handfuls of parsley, 2cm of ginger

    Wednesday: 4pm Pick me up juice - a handful of spinach, 5 romaine lettuce leaves, 1/4 a cucumber, 4 stalks of celery, 1 lemon, 1 apple, 2cm of ginger and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

    Thursday: Stir & purr sleep tonic juice - 1 green apple, 7 strawberries, 15 de-stoned cherries, 1/2 a cucumber

    Friday: Watermelon cooler juice - 1/4 of a watermelon, 1 peeled lime (or less according to taste), 1 handful of fresh mint 

    I was really worried about drinking the glowing green juice, I've never had a juice containing vegetables before and I HATE celery but the lemon and cucumber meant it was really refreshing and I actually enjoyed it. The green juice helps you get glowing skin as cucumber contains silica which maintains skin elasticity and pears contains vitamin C which helps fight free radical damage to your skin. I have to say that after a week of juicing my acne had improved slightly and I felt like my skin was less dull.

    The Watermelon Cooler was definitely my favourite juice of the week, it was so refreshing and just what I needed after a long week in work. The smell of fresh mint filled the house and this is going to be something I make a lot in the summer.

    I'm not sure that I would carry on juicing 7 days a week because some days I'm out 8am- 8pm with the commute, work and yoga but I'm going to make sure I don't waste any fruit and juice it and make a few of the glowing green juices a week because I noticed a big difference in my complexion after drinking those.  If you have any juice flavour combinations you think I should try please leave them below.

    Philips and Madeleine are going to be hosting a Google+ Hangout Monday 27th October at 1pm. (TODAY) Madeleine will be talking about the Philips Campaign for Real Juice, giving her top tips on juicing and offering advice on how to incorporate juicing into your everyday life, rather than using it as a quick fix detox. She will also be able to answer any questions you have on juicing or nutrition in general, provide any advice you might be after so make sure you get involved.