If you read my latest blogpost on new year resolutions, you’ll know that I’ve put on a bit of weight recently. I don’t really weigh myself often, so when I eventually did at my mum’s house over Christmas, I realised I’d put on a stone. This put me in the overweight category when I checked my BMI.
It was at this point that I decided I need to start eating healthier and exercising more, for both my mental and physical health. I want to get myself to a healthy weight, especially with my wedding approaching next year. I feel that if I am to change my eating habits, it needs to be a change that I will stick to even after I’ve hit my target.
The NHS Eat Well guide
I started my research on the NHS website. This gave me tips on how much of each of the food groups (carbs, protein, veg) I should have on my plate. It also recommended how many calories I should be eating to maintain a healthy weight and how much I need to lose.
If I was going to do this, I needed a way to accurately track my progress. So, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and I can honestly say, this is helping me lose weight. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now and it tells me how many calories I can eat each day, as well as including pointers such as the levels of carbs and sodium I should be eating each day.
Eat and scan
Unlike some apps, you can use MyFitnessPal to scan the product you are eating and it automatically pulls through the nutritional data. There are a few items I’ve had to search for manually, however the process is so easy and helps me to identify where my diet needs improvement. I’ve also started weighing my food in the evenings to ensure I’m eating the right portion. It’s very easy to overeat when you aren’t measuring out your portions.
Fruit and veg galore
I have never been one to eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day. I still don’t to be honest. That being said, since going on this new health kick, I have around three portions of fruit a day and often have veg to accompany my dinners in the evening. I hardly ever ate fruit beforehand and veg was an occasional thing I’d have on my plate if I could be bothered to cook it. I think the main thing for me, is having the knowledge that they are less in calories and this means I have more room to snack as result (whilst still staying within my calorie limit).
Tracking my progress
I now have regular weigh ins and am losing around 1-2 lbs a week. The weigh ins are recorded on a progress chart which is really nice as you can see how far you’ve come. MyFitnessPal also tracks your steps and calculates how many extra calories you can have based on the exercises you have done that day. Did you know that one hour of Zumba burns 600 calories? I certainly didn’t. The great thing about this however, is that if I have gone slightly over my calorie limit for a few days, one workout essentially wipes it all out.
Zumba and weights
We all wish there was an easy, pain free way to lose weight and feel good. Despite trying things like Slim Fast shakes, a healthy diet and regular exercise is the only time I personally ever actually see results. MyFitnessPal has two sections for exercise that you can add to your diary – cardio and strength. I’ve now started doing my Zumba sessions again, as well as doing weight sessions. I do them at home as it’s where I feel the most comfortable. Sometimes I get home from work and exercising is the last thing I want to do. However, I think about one of the most memorable quotes from Mark Manson and it motivates me to get through the workouts.
“People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who run triathlons and have chiseled abs and can bench-press a small house”
It also means I can eat more.
There’s still a long way to go
I’ve only been dieting and exercising for 3 weeks but it really has made a massive difference to my mental health. When I have extra snacks and add this to MyFitnessPal, I don’t feel guilty because I know I’m within my calorie limit. I’m getting better at resisting Dominos and looking for new healthy recipes to cook. MyFitnessPal is really impacting my health in a positive way and I would certainly recommend it! 🙂