Hey guys, Aisling here! Hope you’ve all been enjoying my posts so far. Today I’m back with something a little different, and I’m hoping this will be the start of some new and exciting content for the blog.
When I spoke to you all on Snapchat a few weeks back, I asked our followers to choose between some different topics such as my current top 5 makeup products, which you can read all about and I also mentioned a blog post based on my current fitness/ healthy eating plan and a lot of you seemed interest in hearing about that too, so that’s what I’m going to do today.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my weight and body image. Since my early teens I have been surrounded by pictures of beautiful, slim girls all over social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, and always wished I could look like them. I sat in the car yesterday and heard an ad on the radio for a ‘Brazilian Bum Lift’ and ‘Tummy Tuck’. Everywhere we go there are advertisements, posters and pictures featuring gorgeous women, brainwashing us into thinking we too will look like that If we buy this particular detox tea or have that surgery, so no wonder we strive to be like them.
Newsflash!! We will never be like them, but what is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! We as women need to learn to love ourselves for who we are and strive to be the best that we can be, not what other people say we should look like. I think that is one of the reasons fitness and health blogging has become so popular in recent times, as there has been a huge shift in people’s mentality towards their bodies and diets, with people becoming increasingly more body/ health conscious. And for the most part, I think this is great. We have come a long way from years ago where people posted only air brushed photos of themselves on social media and in magazines, in perfect lighting and made up within an inch of their lives. Nowadays we get a slightly more realistic look into people’s lives and at people’s progress as ‘healthy’ has definitely become the new ‘skinny’.
With groups such as slimming world proving to be hugely successful for people in achieving a newer, healthier lifestyle through these groups teaching them about the importance of home- cooked meals and a more active lifestyle, we are seeing more and more people taking an interest in their health and striving towards a healthy body weight.
I have taken many unhealthy approaches to losing weight in the past, ranging from skipping meals altogether to an obsession with exercising without giving my body the proper fuel and nutrition it needed. I have looked at myself in the mirror several times and hated my reflection and I have cried myself to sleep because I thought I could never be ‘skinny’. I know that sounds ridiculous now when I look back, but it allows me to understand the struggle faced by young girls nowadays who are exposed to these images and ideas from a frighteningly young age, and why they feel the need to compare themselves to others who they feel are ‘more beautiful’ or ‘have a bigger bum’. I used to be that girl.
Thankfully, I have come a long way from my younger, far more naïve self and now have a far healthier approach towards my weight loss and efforts at altering my body composition. I’m doing it for me, not because I want to look like ‘your one’ off Instagram. Long gone are the days where I starved myself, exercised religiously on little food and let calorie counting take over my life. Mind you, this didn’t happen overnight. It is only in the last few months I have really educated myself about healthier ways to achieve my goals and began on the road to achieving what I want. I think this happened for a number of reasons, one being a change in my physical health and what I can and can’t eat, which I will talk about another time, and another being a surge in the number of empowering, healthy and educated people I have started to follow on social media who provide a real insight into the real process of overcoming weight struggles and developing a healthy lifestyle that’s right for you.
Anyway, having said all that now I will get into the real topic of this post: What am I doing to stay healthy and get fit? This might disappoint some of you, but I have no ‘secret’ or ‘quick fix’ to share. This has been, and continues to be, an extremely slow process for me. Nevertheless, it is one that I am enjoying and I am embracing the small changes in my body along the way. I would be lying if I said everyday was good, or that I am 100% dedicated at all times. I still like to go out for drinks with my friends, eat a take-a-way on the weekends or have those biscuits with my cup of tea, honestly I probably still indulge in these even too much!! But I have come a long way from where I started, and that I am proud of.
I joined my local gym in January and haven’t looked back since. I usually aim to go at least 3 times a week, and I do a combination of weight training, cardio and classes such as spinning and circuit training. I have enjoyed reaching new personal bests and seeing definition in muscles that weren’t there before! My weight training includes squats, dead lifts, dumbbell rows, chest press, leg press to name but a few where I am aiming to target specific areas. For cardio I normally use a treadmill, cross trainer and the dreaded stair master.
When It comes to food, I still have a lot of improvements to make. I try to eat as cleanly as possible, and have begun incorporating much more protein rich foods and fruit and veg into my diet. A typical days food for me includes:
-1) a bowl of fruit (1 banana, a handful of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) with chia seeds and some low-fat greek style yogurt, 2) a bowl of porridge, or 3) low sugar fruit and nut granola for breakfast.
-1) A slim wholegrain bagel with roast chicken pieces, lettuce tomato and light mayo, 2) some wholegrain rice with chicken breast or 3) a home- made salad with lettuce, an egg, beetroot, tomato, spring onion and low cal salad dressing for lunch.
-1) Chicken breast with broccoli, carrot and sweet potato, 2) a lean beef stir fry with broccoli and green beans in soy sauce with rice noodles or 3) turkey burgers with green veg and sweet potato.
-Snacks would include rice cakes, nuts, greek style yogurts and low sugar protein bars.
With these foods I have began upping my water intake and aim for 2 litres a day, sometimes more. It is so important to keep hydrated especially when exercising and it’s also great for flushing the toxins out of your body. To make it easier to drink I pop in a slice of lemon and lime, and there you have it! I am no expert in the area of nutrition, I’m just giving you an idea of what sort of foods I generally eat. That is, of course, leaving out my love for crisps, chocolate and the local chipper which I also visit far too much!!
As I said, I haven’t looked back since I started my journey to becoming a better version of myself in January, but having said that, recently I’ve noticed a plateau in my results. I’m feeling a bit de-motivated and after a few bad days and some time off plan, I’m looking for something new to challenge me and get me motivated again. That’s why I’ve made the decision to join a popular 12- week online fitness programme. All will be revealed soon and I will announce it over on Snapchat (UN: shapesndshadows) giving you the details of the programme and why I chose it considering there is so many out there to choose from. I plan to document the whole process, including before and after photos and measurements. I hope that this is something you will all be interested in reading about.
I know this has been a long one guys so thanks for sticking with it! Please send me on any feedback you have and let us know if these kinds of posts are something you like to see!
Until next time,