Those of you who know Andrew and I know how much we LOVE our training! Currently we both work out about 5-6 times a week with a mixture of cardio (running/walking), bootcamp and weights. We are both members of Step into Life which is an outdoor training programme and we work hard as a team to juggle our training around our kids and other commitments. We know how difficult it can be to fit it in (especially with the kids) but we understand how important our training is and we support each other so that we can both get it done.
When I was talking to Andrew about writing about exercise on The Shrinking Hubby he wanted me to emphasise how much he loves training in a group. Training in a group outdoors is social (we have met some GREAT people!!!), so effective and motivating, the class sizes are smaller than in the big gyms and you get a hearty dose of fresh air (did you know you burn more calories when you train outdoors?? BONUS!).
Weight loss is really about 90 percent nutrition and 10 percent exercise, however there is no underestimating how wonderful regular exercise is for your body and mind. As well as the scientific health benefits of regular exercise , I always find that exercise increases my energy levels, lifts my mood, gives me some release from day to day stress and and tones my body!!! If I am ever stewing over anything, there is nothing like taking myself for a run/walk to work over the issue and clear my head – it’s magic!
When Andrew started his weight loss journey there is NO WAY that I would have believed he would be 7 years later training with me for the Tough Mudder this September (oh yes we are both INSANE!!!!). I used to drag myself out of bed for early morning spin and boxing classes and he would roll over and keep snoring!!! What a shame that now that we have our 3 girls and can’t train together anymore we have to fight with each other for those precious 6am time slots! Training together now is a rare treat!
Here are 5 great tips to help you get started on an exercise plan …
1. Start gently – try walking/swimming and don’t underestimate it for it’s fat burning potential!
Walking is so great for weight loss. Yes you burn more calories when you do a high intensity work out, and the benefits of weights to tone up your body are amazing (muscle burns fat even when you aren’t training!). But when you are walking, you are in a ‘fat burning’ zone, so your body is using its fat stores as energy. Plus walking is so easy to start a training regime with, it’s free, it’s easy to fit into any schedule and it is very effective!
I can tell you that Andrew did not throw himself into a spin class at 150 plus kilos, or start running 10 km daily. He started with long walks and he swam laps at the local pool. He would set himself exercise goals at the beginning of each week – e.g. this week I will go for 3 walks and 2 swims and he had me to hold him accountable! Once he had lost a bit of weight he joined a gym. Initially he felt he wasn’t fit enough to even attempt a spin class but he sucked it up, got on a bike and after the first session he was hooked!!!
2.It is best to walk on an empty stomach so you are burning off fat rather than food! So first thing in the morning (before breakfast) is perfect!
3. If you can walk for at least 45 minutes you will get better results (as after 30 minutes you are in the fat burning zone and your body will be attacking those fat reserves). A brisk walk in the fresh air is such a lovely way to start the day and a great opportunity to get into a good head space.
4. Be committed!!! You know that you will feel amazing for it so don’t even let yourself talk your way out of it! (be aware that our minds can be very persuasive – ignore the negative thoughts – you CAN and WILL do it!!) I still write my regular training sessions in my diary each week. That way I am making a commitment to myself to attend. I have managed to train as soon as each of my babies was 6 weeks old, some mornings I train as early as 5.30 so that Andrew and I can both fit a session in before work. For those of you who have weight to lose, there are NO MORE excuses! The best thing you can do for you, your body and your sanity is to get moving! Trust me – it will be the best change you can make for yourself!
5. FINALLY , don’t be put off by a bit of hard work. I mean, training is not supposed to be EASY!!! Results come when you push yourself!!! I’ll never forget doing a bootcamp one day, it was really tough, I was pushed to my limits and absolutely finished! John, our trainer, said those magic words – ‘Ok we’re nearly done, just run to the end of the field and walk back, and let’s have a stretch!!!’ (Oh how I LOVE those words – let’s have a stretch!!!). I turned to a girl who had just started training with us who was struggling and said ‘THANK GOODNESS that’s over – wasn’t it awful?!’ She looked at me in surprise and told me that she thought I had been loving it and was feeling terrible because she was hating it! Oooooh nooooo, trust me, I hated every minute of that session, but the exhilaration I felt afterwards was worth every minute!!!
So get moving and enjoy those endorphins!!!
In my opinion being organised and prepared is KEY to a healthy lifestyle so with this in mind, I thought I’d share a great tip for meals (and snacks) on the run.
I always try to incorporate some protein in every meal (including snacks.) Protein is so helpful for weight loss and weight management! We have been trained to think that if we don’t eat a good carbohydrate we will still be hungry, but it is protein that satisfies us and keeps us feeling fuller for longer. HOWEVER protein can be a tricky thing to incorporate in our busy schedules (it’s much easier to grab a piece of fruit or a packaged processed snack). That’s why I make sure that we always have a supply of cooked chicken (bite sized pieces) in the fridge (or freezer) as it is a perfect and versatile protein to use.
I buy the Macro chicken stir fry strips, but chicken breast chopped up is just as good (always try for organic or free range chicken). I season with a bit of salt, pepper and herbs (currently LOVING sumac!). There are so many yummy spice blends on the market – check out the Herbies spice range! Add a bit of garlic infused olive oil to a large pan and fry the chicken in batches until nice and brown. (You can do 2 or even three packs at a time and freeze half if you are time poor during the week.)
Here are some great ways to use your chicken:
- It’s really yummy straight out of the pan on its own – a perfect snack! ( a serve is about 100g) I like it with a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkling of chilli (great for the metabolism!)
- Chicken salad. I mix some leafy greens (I love woolworths baby spinach and beetroot mix) with cucumber, capsicum, tomato, avocado, a tiny bit of feta and a sprinkling of chia or sunflower seeds. Shake some olive oil and apple cider vinegar as a dressing. Delicious! Apple Cider vinegar (make sure you buy the Braggs brand with ‘The Mother’) is well researched for it’s medicinal properties. It aids our digestion of food and helps with bloating.
- Chop up and add to an egg white omelette with some red onion, spinach leaves, capsicum and mushrooms and a tiny bit of feta cheese.
- Throw it in a veggie soup to add some protein.
And one of my favourite meals – my quick and tasty
Toasted Chicken and Cottage Cheese Breakfast Wrap
This is one of our favourite breakfasts but would also make a great lunch!!!
You will need:
1 mountain bread wrap (mountain bread is the best thing ever, hardly any calories, all natural and so versatile. I like using the spelt version which is new as I don’t love eating wheat, but the rye ones are also good.)
A handful of your pre-cooked chicken pieces
A tablespoon of cottage cheese
A quarter of an avocado
A handful of salad mix (again I love the baby spinach and beetroot mix from woollies)
A small tomato sliced
(anything else you fancy – Andrew likes capsicum and a drizzle of pesto, I like mushrooms, you can also use smoked salmon if there is no chicken on hand etc etc …)
Spread the cottage cheese and avocado on the mountain bread. (Be gentle as they are very thin and break easily). I like to mash my avo and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Then add the other ingredients.
Looking good (and so fresh no?) …
Finally, roll gently and toast for a few minutes in a sandwich toaster.
And … Voila!!!!
It isn’t easy to eat with your hands so treat yourself to a knife and fork!
Such a great way to start the day!!!
Enjoy+ Add New Category
So it was Andrew’s birthday last week and I was all set to make him a healthy roast lemon chicken for dinner with roasted cauliflower, eggplant and steamed asparagus but he requested my Spicy Lamb Mince instead.
I have been making this lamb mince for years – used to serve it with risotto and toasted flatbreads – so many naughty carbs!!! The way we eat it now it is just as delicious and much healthier served on a bed of mixed salad greens with a dollop of hummus (yummmmo).
In the unhealthier days Andrew’s requests would have been crumbed lamb cutlets fried up and served with fried rice, or takeaway pizza, or a huge creamy pasta or a big burger with the works and fries undoubtedly followed by a big tub of ice cream! For him to request this much healthier meal on his birthday as a celebration meal is an indication of just how far he’s come.
I have added diced eggplant to this recipe as we love eggplant and I am always looking for ways to bulk up a meal with veggies. If you aren’t partial to eggplant just leave the whole eggplant process out – will still be delicious!
I usually double the recipe and freeze half – it’s a great alternative to takeaway to have on hand!
Please try it and let me know what you think – it is seriously yummy!
Spicy Lamb Mince
You will need
2 onions finely diced
1 kg (2 pounds) Lamb mince
1tablespoon olive oil (I love using garlic infused olive oil for dishes like this)
3 cloves garlic (or 3 teaspoons crushed garlic – I love the spiral organic crushed garlic)
2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (can get this from Harris Farm, or delis)
50 g (1/4 cup) toasted pine nuts
Bunch of fresh mint
Good quality store bought hummus (love the PilPel brand – just make sure there are no nasty additives …)
Bag of mixed salad greens (love the baby spinach and beetroot mix from Woolworths)
For the Spice Mix
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground all spice
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried mint
Slice the eggplant lengthways and lay on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt (I use celtic sea salt for this kind of thing – don’t waste your murray river pink salt!) Leave for about 10 minutes. Once your eggplant has started weeping (see pic below) get some more paper towel and wipe the salt and the juices off. Then cut into small cubes and set aside.
Heat up a large pot and add the olive oil. Throw in the chopped onions and garlic. Sprinkle some salt and sauté until transparent. Add the eggplant and toss it with the onion and garlic until cooked through. Add the lamb mince and mix together. When cooked, throw in the spice mix and pomegranate molasses and cook until the flavours come together.
Toss through the toasted pine nuts and the chopped fresh mint and then it’s done!!!
Serve on a bed of salad greens, with a dollop of hummus. It ain’t a pretty dish but it tastes AMAZING!!!!
We have learned so much on our journey so I thought I would sum up the top 10 things that have helped us and share them with you. I will elaborate on these in the coming weeks and of course there is so much more information to share. I do not claim to be an expert in nutrition, and I’m not qualified to give medical advice on such matters. I am simply sharing with you what works for Andrew and I.
Here we go …
- Diet drinks are TERRIBLE! Stop drinking them NOW!!! When we started seeing the food coach Andrew was drinking up to 6 cans of diet coke per day – as soon as he cut it out he noticed a difference on the scales!!!! Drink plenty of water or sparkling mineral water instead. A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime in sparkling water is a refreshing alternative to those nasty chemicals which confuse your body, make you hungry and ultimately inhibit your weight loss. If there is one thing you ever take away from my ramblings it is this!!!
- Sugar is the enemy. When I was growing up we were always taught that fat was the problem when trying to lose weight but in fact good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and nuts) in moderation are actually really good for you, sugar on the other hand causes lots of problems not least of all weight gain and is hidden in so many foods.
- Eat as cleanly as possible – check the ingredients of food you buy – avoid artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, flavour enhancers, SUGAR and sweeteners. You will be surprised where you find these nasties …
- Enjoy a healthy breakfast every single day!!! Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day – I have always found that eating a good breakfast results in better habits throughout the day.
- Keep eating!!! Not eating will not help you lose weight in the long term! Starving yourself tells your body to hold onto everything in case it never gets food again!!! Rather eat a good breakfast, a decent mid morning snack (containing protein preferably), lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner. You will be less likely to feel hungry and your body’s metabolism will work more effectively.
- Move!!! Whether it be a brisk walk, light jog, weights session, or a bootcamp your body will love to get moving. I find it much more effective to exercise first thing for many reasons, but it really doesn’t make a difference when you train as long as you get moving! Although at the end of the day most of your weight loss will come down to nutrition, the benefits of those feel good endorphins released when training will make you feel happier, healthier and more inspired to treat your body the way it wants to be treated!
- Preparation is vital to a healthy diet! At the beginning of the week write down a food plan –what are you going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks? When making healthy and delicious meals is it possible to make double and freeze half? Having delicious home made meals ready to go in the freezer will save you from resorting to unhealthy takeaway at the end of a hectic day.
- Drink lots of water (ideally filtered)– at least 2 – 3 litres a day, especially if exercising. Water is everything to our bodies, and you will notice a huge difference when you drink more water if you haven’t been drinking enough. When we are dehydrated we feel tired, lethargic, hungry and unwell. First thing in the morning drink a glass of water with some fresh lemon squeezed in. It is a great detoxer and a refreshing energising start to the day.
- Avoid starchy carbohydrates after lunch. Try and eat dinners that do not contain carbs such as potatoes, pasta, rice and bread. Instead load up on veggies and protein and you will notice a change super fast! If you really feel like you need carbs at night swap the starchy carbs for low GI options such as sweet potato or legumes.
- Get enough sleep!!! We need at least 8 hours sleep a day in order for our bodies to regroup and recharge and not getting enough sleep has been scientifically proven to negatively impact weight loss – with 3 young children sleep is golden in our house!!!
It’s also really important to concentrate on your goal – what is it that you are really seeking to achieve for yourself. It’s much easier to work to specific goal than a vague idea of one. Is it a pair of jeans you want to fit into, a special occasion coming up, an event you want to train for, your fat percentage? Concentrate on working towards that and know that you can do whatever you set your mind to!!!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and I look forward to your feedback, don’t forget to click on the follow tab so that you can follow me via email ….
Have a great week everyone!
It’s hard enough to stick to a healthy eating regime when eating out at restaurants or at friends let alone when entertaining at home!
I love entertaining, and throughout our healthy eating journey Andrew and I have gathered lots of recipes and ideas for entertaining at home that are healthy,simple – yet really quite impressive and of course very yummy (remember I said that Andrew and I don’t like to suffer too much in the food department!!!).
A couple of weeks ago Judy Davie (The Food Coach) popped in for lunch. She hadn’t seen us since Andrew had his operation. I agonised over what to cook for our food mentor and decided on the recipe below. The salad comes from a good friend of mine Robyn who runs Mimis Kitchen. It is fabulously easy to make, goes beautifully with BBQ’d salmon (or chicken if you aren’t a fish person).
Most of the work is done in the oven (and by hubby on the BBQ) which leaves lots of time to chat to your guests rather than fussing about in the kitchen…
BBQ Salmon with Lentil, Haloumi and Green Spinach Salad
You will need …
4 pieces of Salmon. (I buy the Decosti’s Huon Salmon pre-packaged in the fish section of Woolworths for ease. I like skin on, but skin off is obviously fine too).
1 Bag English Spinach Leaves
150-200g Green Beans (topped and tailed)
1 Packet Haloumi (broken into bite sized pieces)
1 Tin Organic Lentils (drained and rinsed)
Sumac (optional but very tasty), paprika would also be nice …
Jar of good quality store bought pesto – better if found in the fridge section.
Shake juice of 1 lemon, a splash of olive oil (2-3 TB) and a dollop of Dijon mustard in a jar with salt and pepper.
Make a few cuts in the skin of the salmon, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put aside until ready to bbq. (Andrew did these below – don’t they look great?!)
To make the salad, place beans and haloumi on a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with pepper and sumac (or paprika) – don’t forget haloumi is quite salty already. Bake in a medium oven for 15- 20 minutes or until the haloumi is deliciously golden.
When cooked, put the spinach in your salad bowl, scatter the lentils over the top and then finish of with the beans & haloumi. Drizzle with dressing.
Told you it was easy!
To BBQ the salmon, Andrew cooks it about 4 minutes each side (medium rare). Serve Salmon with a dollop of pesto, wedge of lemon and the salad – delicious and very healthy!!!
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