New Years Resolutions & why not to keep them (all of the time)

Happy new year! This time of year is always an interesting one. People take the time to reflect on their habits of the year just gone and try to figure out what they want to change to make the coming year even better than the last.

One of the most common resolutions is to “get fit”, or “eat clean”. This is one of the trickiest there is. A lot of people who will choose for this to be their main goal for the new year, will try to do it in almost an impossible way. They will completely stop themselves from eating anything ‘unhealthy’, i.e. depriving themselves of a lot of their favourite foods. Or they will set themselves hugely difficult goals like exercising 6 days a week. This is unrealistic and will leave you feeling crappy, unless you have unbelievable willpower and unlimited free time.

The deprivation isn’t the bad part, stopping yourself from eating chocolate, junk food etc. is in the end, a good thing. What is bad is the guilt that comes when you have a slip up. Most likely there will be a slip up as habits don’t change over night. If it does occur, not only will there be guilt, but a lot of people will feel useless and like they will never be able to do it. A lot of people will then give up and feel there is no point trying again. The key is balance which may take a while to find, but is definitely worth the struggle.

Stopping yourself from over-indulging will definitely help your journey to being healthy easier in the long run. In the end, not having chocolate/chips/cake/etc. stops the cravings. However, my point is that if you do find yourself having that muffin or croissant, don’t feel bad about it. Enjoy it and then be even more motivated to be healthy the rest of the week.

Don’t let your new years resolutions be hard to keep. Ease them in. Instead of “get fit”, why not try to start by trying to walk more, going to the gym once a week, then twice a week, then three times and see what routine will work for you. Not only what will help you achieve your resolution, but that will leave you feeling happier and healthier inside and out.

My new years resolution was to read more and watch more documentaries. It is safe to say that it is now 11 days into January and I have yet to do any of this. However, when I finish binge watching all of Gilmore Girls it will be the first thing that I do (…probably). Do I feel guilty that I haven’t done this yet? No, because it is ONLY 11 days into January. I have the whole year to achieve this!

You won’t see big changes in your habits, appearance or anything overnight. New years resolutions take the whole year. Give them the whole year to take shape and enjoy every minute of it! And don’t forget balance is key. Work out during the week, and allow yourself a break and a burger.. and maybe even some chips. In my case, I will be watching Gilmore Girls until I feel like a documentary, or picking up a book…

In the end, the most important thing is your happiness. If your new years resolutions aren’t leaving you happy, rethink your habits and see if there is another way to reach your goals while still allowing  yourself to have a fun, happy year.

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How to avoid the Freshers 15

For those of you who don’t know what the ‘Freshers 15’ is, it’s the weight supposedly most people gain (15 pounds) when they first go to university. I can vouch that this is a thing that does happen. I gained 12 pounds in my first term of university, felt awful, developed IBS, binge ate and binge drank thinking I was invincible and that my metabolism was so fast that I would never gain weight. Sadly, I was incorrect.

But with the weight gain came a loss of confidence and embarrassment so I am writing a few things I wish I had been told before I started at catered halls, to help me avoid this.

CocoPops at breakfast will not keep you full and is not nutritious in any way. 

Every day in halls I would help myself to two big portions of CocoPops, thinking nothing of it. Really, I was hungry an hour and half later and did not give my body any nutrition when I woke up, which is very important. It’s best to avoid the cereals, stick to bread and nut spread or eggs, bread and veg. The sugar will not help you focus in lectures and cereal disguises eating a large number of calories (unhealthy ones) in a small portion.

Avoid fruit juices, hot chocolates and mochas (in excess).

One of my biggest errors was mimicking all the boys in my halls and having about 2 hot chocolates at dinner after a desert and huge meal, along with 3 glasses of apple juice or more. Opting for water will help keep the calories under control and stop you from eating excess sugar. Especially when you will probably go on to drink later that night filling your body with even more sugar. Avoid it where you can so you can enjoy yourself elsewhere! I’ve always preferred eating my calories to drinking them anyway!

Drink squash as a mixer.

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*Disclaimer* actually water in that bottle… this is before my disco pants no longer fit me in first year. They didn’t last too long haha…

It is best to avoid cokes, lemonades etc. as mixers. Even if they are the light versions, fizzy drinks slow your metabolism and seeming as first year life will consist of alcohol nearly every night of the week, best to help yourself out by having squash and water as a mixer. It will also help to hydrate you as you drink, making those hangovers a little better and the ability to go to lectures in the morning ever so slightly improved.

Try to avoid drunk food as much as possible.

Luckily I managed to overcome this feat eventually, but it took me a while and I would still have some every now and again. I’ve always found I feel so much better when I don’t buy drunk food after a night out and honestly the next day you also feel so good about being able to restrain yourself. Having said that sometimes you might just need nuggets or a Taka Taka, and that is perfectly okay. However, as you go out so much in first year, the temptation is there nearly every day, so best to try avoid it as much as possible.

NEVER FEEL GUILTY.

The worst thing about gaining the weight for me and what facilitated it was the guilt I felt. I would eat a dessert nearly every night, eat huge portions, always have more if I could, and afterwards I would feel horrible about myself. Go out feeling bloated and unattractive. That was by far the worst part. You are allowed to indulge, just make sure that when you don’t have your parents there helping you to control the indulgence, that you don’t let it go too far. But, if it does,
just think to yourself, it doesn’t matter and you’ll be better tomorrow. That is the most important thing. Going to Uni is hard, it will take time to learn how to take care of yourself, just make sure you enjoy your time and it will all work out great!

The most important thing to take away: You will probably gain weight. There is a huge change in lifestyle that will shock your body (for most). But, if you do, it’s totally normal and will be easy to lose. Don’t stress, enjoy yourself and get drunk and have fun.

And you WILL have fun and probably not listen to any of this. Then you’ll have a list you’ll want to make to tell people when it’s all over for you. GOOD LUCK!

Everything in moderation

Recently, someone sent me something from Instagram which got me thinking:

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By all means, good for her… but something about this really aggravated me. I find that Instagram, although it is a great community with lots of positivity can also help to spread some negative feelings in some people. If I had seen this over a year ago, when my relationship with food was still slightly unhealthy and I felt constantly guilty for overindulging with some chips after a night out etc. I would have felt so awful.

People frequently ask me how I ‘stay so healthy all the time’. I am healthy on a day-to-day  basis but I think the view of ‘healthy’ that is enforced by posts like the above is quite unrealistic, and not necessarily what ‘healthy’ means on a broader scale.

To me, being healthy is learning balance. Admittedly, it is much easier for me to resist temptation because I can’t have dairy and this is in most ‘naughty’ foods. However, the one thing that keeps me healthy is allowing myself to eat what I want and making sure I’m not depriving myself from anything. This means allowing myself wine when I go to the pub and not going crazy in the gym the next morning because of all the extra calories.

The above post, although in the caption she does ensure people know that by no means  everyone else needs to live their life in the same way as her, preaches this almost ‘unhealthy healthy’. People need to find out what works for them and makes them happy on their own. You should never feel guilty when you’ve overindulged one day in terms of food and drink. Instead, you should just enjoy it and then feel good when you’ve had a good day. In the end enjoying what you do is the most important thing, life is too short to care about the consequences of a pizza.

This has been quite ranty and I suppose my main point of this is that to me, healthy is everything in moderation and making sure you’re happy. That means eating your fats, carbs and protein and fueling your body in a way that will make you feel good about yourself. Healthy does not mean zero carbs,  zero fats and zero alcohol, it means a good balance of everything and doing what works best for you.