Social Strategy

When you are trying to stick to a calorie deficit social occasions can be tough and you need to decide on a strategy to not let one day or night out derail your progress.

Below are some ideas of methods you could sue to exercise a bit of damage limitation and still enjoy yourself.

  • Check out the menu beforehand

Have a look online at the menu before your night out and plan what you will eat, that way when you are there you are less likely to over order or order things you haven’t accounted the calories for.

  • Fill up on salad / veg

Aim to include some salad / vegetable items with your meals to help fill you up whilst also keeping calories down.

  • Avoid the bread basket

Perhaps you really like bread, in which case knock yourself out and have some.  But if you’re only eating it because the bread basket it’s extra unnecessary calories.

  • Mix your drinks

Not in the way you think.  Mix water in between your alcoholic drinks to help limit calories through drinks.

  • Eat beforehand

If the social occasion isn’t specifically based around food you might want to eat beforehand so you can easier control how much you eat.

  • Save calories during the week

If you want to stay on track but still have a big calorie night out you could consider creating a bigger calorie deficit across the week so you have extra calories to use on your night out.

  • Eat something you really enjoy

If you going to eat more calories than normal you may as well pick something you are really going to enjoy, that way you are more likely to feel satisfied and less likely to overeat on other elements of your meal.

  • Pick an activity that doesn’t involve food and drink

When planning days or nights out try and plan activities that aren’t just based on eating and drinking.

Over Eating

We all have days when we over indulge – whether that be food, alcohol or both.  It’s not a case of trying to never do that because that would make life pretty miserable.  We can however choose to respond more positively to these over indulgences so we don’t sabotage our results in the long term.

So what do you do if you’ve had over indulged?

Do drink more water

Depending on how you over indulged you may be dehydrated, but regardless extra water will make you feel fresher.

Don’t do extra exercise

Avoid using exercise as a punishment for over eating as this will create a negative association with training, plus if you have a hangover exercise isn’t really what you want to be doing.

Do use the extra calories to fuel your next workout

Whilst you don’t want to add extra training in you could use those extra calories to push yourself harder in your next scheduled workout and come out feeling really good.

Don’t starve yourself

Punishing yourself by drastically reducing your calories in the days after will create a negative cycle of eating.  You could look to slightly reduce your calorie intake for a few days subsequently (couple of hundred calories max) but reducing what you eat dramatically to make amends will only make you feel worse.

Do eat nutrient rich / dense foods the next day

Eat foods that will both fill you up and make you feel good the next day, making you feel better without starving and allowing you to mentally get back on track.

Don’t skip meals

By the same token don’t purposefully skip meals to try and compensate.

Do Move on

One bad meal or day doesn’t define your diet overall, so rather than punish yourself for it look at it as a day / meal you enjoyed and focus on the next day / meal instead.

Don’t scrap the rest of the week

Try moving on straight away instead of saying well I may as well start again Monday now.  This essentially ensures damage limitation.

 

Jump 4.2 – Week 2

Today I’m entering week 3 of Jump 4.2.

Yesterday I finished two weeks of eating a Paleo based diet and having spent last week reviewing my TDEE I am about to embark on a week where I track my calorie intake to help me see where I am food intake wise and hat I need to change to stay on track.

I do feel quite comfortable on a Paleo based diet and have in the past done 4 days on / 3 days off for long periods of time, so for me fourteen days wasn’t too tough, although weekends are still tough when you are used to being able to relax your diet a bit and social occasions require thought and planning if you want to stay on track.

The reward for sticking to it however was worth it.  Yes I’ve lost  little weight (around 4kg but my weight fluctuates a lot anyway so this number doesn’t mean lots) and my body fat went down whilst muscle mass increased (according to my scales I would add so again take that as you will depending on how you feel about scales).

More importantly for me I feel better- less bloated, more energetic and like I’m fully back in the habit of eating homemade, fresh food over processed foods.  I think you can see a difference around my waist and I feel like my skin looks brighter.

Today I’ve had toast with my breakfast (which also contained plenty of protein and veg) and a really nice slice of homemade coffee and walnut cake courtesy of a colleague, my lunch has still essentially been chicken and veg.  Mentally I’ve noticed how much I’ve enjoyed adding foods back into my diet without feeling guilt, instead focusing on how much I’ve enjoyed what I’ve eaten today.

Training wise I’ve largely stuck to my normal training routine, although where I’ve had time I have tried out some of the sessions (I’ve done three so far), and these have been challenging but fun.  I like the fact they have all taken less than an hour to complete and that each one has a clear focus and is easily adaptable to your own current fitness levels and equipment availability.

There is also a strong mindset focus each week and this week the focus has been on morning routines.  I have long felt I need to work more on my morning routine as I often feel rushed in the morning.  This week has made me realise that in order to get my shit together in the mornings I need to get a better night time routine to help me get to bed earlier ad get a good night sleep so I’m less desperate to snooze come morning.

A week with a trip to Edinburgh and being away from home over the weekend wasn’t the best week to get into regular night and morning routines but this week I am making it my one goal to really develop a more positive morning routine.

The thing I like most about this programme so far is being able to read through the downloads and listen to the audios and videos when it suits me rather than having to be in a particular place at a set time.

All in all I’ve enjoyed the first fortnight and am looking forward to week 3, and to keep me accountable I will update you again next week!

Jump 4.2 – Week 1

This week I started two weeks of Paleo based eating.  I’m currently on day 5 and feel like I’m starting to get into a rhythm with it.  The first couple of days I find hunger always hits a little no matter how much I eat and I often feel a bit of a drop in energy as my body adjusts to not having some of the things it’s used to.

I’ve tried to keep my meals varied with eggs, chicken, pork, salmon, different vegetables, salad and fruits as well as nuts and so far haven’t missed chocolate too much- although all the nice cakes and biscuits people keep leaving in the kitchen at work don’t make this easy!  Thankfully I normally drink black coffee so the lack of milk isn’t too much of an issue.

The reason I’m doing this is that I’ve decided to work through the 8 week Jump 4.2 Programme with Ricky Long.

I’ve trained with Ricky for a couple of years and his coaching has always extended beyond simply giving you a training plan, so he has encouraged the formation of numerous habits and mindset shifts for me in that time.

This has allowed me to be in a position where I am able to be involved in helping support those who are going through (and have previously gone through) Jump.

I realised however that what I haven’t yet done however is actually fully work through the full 8 weeks from start to finish in the format and order the programme lays them out in myself.  This is something I felt would be both useful in allowing a greater understanding of the challenges within the programme so I can provide more support whilst also continuing to work on my own mindset, habits and fitness.

I haven’t started the workouts or mindset work as yet but plan to get going with that this weekend.

I’m committing this down on my blog to hold myself accountable to you for the next 8 weeks and plan to keep a regular diary of my progress on here over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions about what I’m doing please contact me and I’ll be happy to answer anything you may want to know.

How to Eat Well Whilst on Holiday

There are countless ways to cut calories during a holiday: Drink spirits instead sugary cocktails, balance out heavy foods with salads and vegetables, have a soft drink in between each alcoholic drink, avoid deserts, skip breakfast.

Just so you know – I’m on holiday and I’m not doing any of those things.

Food isn’t something you should have to think about all the time, and when you’ve saved for a well deserved holiday restriction on your diet shouldn’t be part of it.

If you don’t want to totally reverse your recent results that’s ok – you don’t have to go crazy and eat everything in sight, but equally you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying all the amazing food and drink available whilst you are away.

What’s the hardest thing in the land of fitness?

What’s the hardest thing in the land of fitness?

Working out how to train?

Working out what to eat?

I don’t think so.

For me it’s accepting that you will never be perfect.

You decide to start something – training for an event, looking to drop a dress size, whatever it may be.  You have your plan in place and you’re committed to doing it.  Day one does well, so does day two, then day three something comes up and you can’t eat what you planned or miss a training session and suddenly it all feels like it’s unravelling.  Fast forward a week later and you’ve completely dropped your plan and feel like you need to start again.

It’s so easy to fall into this trap.

It’s why so many people don’t reach the goals they set themselves.

A lot of us are very bad at accepting that one slip up doesn’t really matter.

I’ll admit this is something I’ve always been bad for.  I’d start the week ready to have a totally perfect week and get to Friday upset with myself that it hadn’t happened.

Then I learnt (OK I had drummed into me) that PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST.

BUT.

A couple of not perfect things in an otherwise positive week won’t derail my progress.

Now, I get if you are on show prep or similar and a few days out then a slip up could make a massive difference.  But if you want to feel good on the beach in a couple of month times and go over your calorie goal one day in a week it really isn’t going to matter that much.

As people we tend to focus on the negative over the positive.  So there could be 9 great things about our week and one bad thing and you can almost bet your life we will spend more time thinking about that one negative.

So how do you get the results you want?

You accept that things don’t have to always go to plan for progress to happen.  If in a week you miss one training session but have two really good ones, those two good ones haven’t been cancelled out by missing the third.  If you’ve eaten everything you planned most days but on Tuesday had a cake, that cake hasn’t cancelled out all the nutritious stuff you’ve also fed your body.  If the last month felt really really positive but this week you’ve felt a bit off that doesn’t cancel out last month.

In the same way people say one healthy meal won’t make you slimmer or one exercise session won’t make you fit.  Well nor will the cake make you fat or missing that gym session and going to the pub mean you’re back to square one.

Find your goal. Make your plan. Then stick to it?

Nope.

How about:

Find your goal. Make your plan. Do it as best you can and when life gets in the way don’t start again just keep going and do what you can.

Not as catchy so probably won’t catch on but might mean you’re a little more likely to hit those aims.

After the Happy Ending

People thinking reaching their fitness goal is hard, and don’t get me wrong it is.  If you want to drop 2 or more dress sizes or lose several stone starting from nothing and doing that can be very hard indeed.  It involves making changes to your lifestyle, creating new habits and keeping doing those things week and week.

Getting to your goal feels brilliant. People will notice the change, you will feel brilliant.  But what happens after?

The challenge is that the motivation to keep to healthy habits can be strong when you keep seeing the scales go down or having to buy smaller trousers, but at some point you reach where you want to be and those visible motivators come to a halt.  Of course you still need to do all those things to maintain the goals you’ve reached but now you don’t have the initial goal to motivate you.

In my mind – the initial transformation is tough. What comes after can be tougher (it’s a bit like what happens after the Happy Ever After moment in films).  Now you don’t have the oh wow moments to give you that push.

Mentally, this can be challenging.  If you’ve ever lost a lot of weight you may have had the same (I admit not overly healthy) struggle to not just keep on going.  I got to my aim and just kept on pushing to lose more – it can almost become an addictive feeling.  Of course eventually I realised it was in no way sustainable to keep losing or stay the size I had reached and still eat cake (or well eat really) plus I had discovered weights.  But several years on i do sometimes feel in a bit of a limbo.  I don’t need to lose weight but I’m not as small as I once was and keeping yourself on track and motivated when you’re in that position isn’t always easy, in fact it takes a massive change in mindset and rethinking of your goals.

If you’ve reached your initial goal and now feel at a bit of a loose end, you’re not alone and it’s not unusual.  New goals can be formed but you also need to give yourself a break for not being sure how you feel once you have reached your goal because reaching a goal is really rarely the end of a story.

How Realistic Are Your Expectations?

Last Saturday I got my eyelashes tinted for the first time.

I always get my eyebrows tinted at the same time as getting them threaded but have always chickened out of getting my eyelashes done because I hate anyone going near my eyes.

The thought of no more mascara was appealing though! So I bit the bullet.

Result? Highly disappointing!  Half my bottom lashes are still blonde and I still need to wear mascara.

I don’t think it was the eyelash technicians fault.  I have very very very blonde eyelashes and in hindsight it was unrealistic to expect them to go super black and noticeable (although I also have blonde eyebrows and these always look very noticeable after tinting – serial killer like in fact – so you can see why I thought they would!).

The issue was my expectations.  I expected results that were unrealistic for my natural colouring.  I considered trying again next month and seeing if it perhaps came out better, then I stopped myself.  Why would I waste more money on something that isn’t likely to give me the results I desire – not because the product is bad because it just isn’t suited to me.

How often do you do this with your diet or training?  You see a solution advertised somewhere and think that could give me all these amazing results.  Then it doesn’t work, you’ve lost money and still aren’t where you want to be.

Now sometimes this could be because you invested in a product that is basically a fad (diet pills, shakes etc.).

But sometimes it’s because you signed up for something that could work for you but your ambitions are just not realistic.  You can get leaner, gain muscle but some things about your body will be difficult or impossible to change.  Therefore you might actually be getting results but you don’t see them or appreciate them because they aren’t the ones you envisaged as your ideal body.

My eyelash are too fair to be tinted the way I would like them to be.  I could continue to get them tinted in different places month by month in the hope I one day find the perfect place.  Or I can accept I need to use mascara if I want visible eyelashes.

You could chase after the ideal figure that you have in your head, trying diet and training plan after diet and training plan. Or you could find some eating and training habits that work for you and make you happy and enjoy the results you get from this.

Free Recipes!

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my stories over the last week, where I’ve recorded what I’ve been eating.

Most of the time I try and eat food I’ve made myself at home and I’ve had lots of messages asking me for the recipes of the meals I’ve been posting.

I love this so if you ever want to know how I made something DM me and I’ll let you know (some of my favourite meals have come from seeing random pictures on Instagram and asking the person posting how they made it!).  And if you don’t follow me on Instagram it’s @heather.sherwood

Recently some of my meal ideas have been coming from Chris Ward of Ward Fitness, a Personal trainer from Liverpool, who offers a service where you get 15 new recipe cards emailed to you each month for just £5 per month (a mixture of smoothies, breakfasts, main meals and snacks).  Being honest I can easily spend a fiver on chocolate without thinking so for me this is one of my best value purchases each month as it gives me ideas for things I wouldn’t normally try and make and has made me more adventurous in trying out my own ideas too.

Given that I’ve had lots of requests for recipes I thought it might be nice to share a few of the ones I’ve really enjoyed with you here (Chris has given me permission!).

So here are four of my favourites for you to try.

Steak and Chicken Paella

Sticky Chocolate Nut Energy Balls

Pear and Blueberry Smoothie

Pumpkin Chilli

I’m not the best cook but I’ve found all these recipes simple to follow, plus none of them are time consuming (I generally manage to food prep for the week in about 2 hours) so if you are looking for inspiration I can highly recommend giving this a go.

Follow @wardfitnesspt message him any questions and if you want to get your own set of ideas emailed to you every month you can sign up here.

15 Recipes for £5

If you do give any of these recipes a go let me (and Chris) know how it goes!

My Favourite (Fitness) Websites (and why)

My Protein

Affordable protein and supplements with quick delivery times and regular offers.

My favourite product is the Whey Protein Powder in Vanilla which you can use in cakes and smoothies as well as on it’s own. I’m not a huge fan of protein shakes and tend to use them as an addition when I need a quick boost of calories and / or protein but I am a fan of adding protein powder to homemade muffins, energy balls and smoothies so a plain flavour like vanilla works well as it complements most recipes.

Added bonus if you do like drinking them as a stand alone drink and want to experiment this product comes in a wide variety of flavours so you don’t have to get bored.

I also really like their seamless leggings rangewhich have a gym shark feel without the same price tag- definitely squat proof, look good and are super comfy and long (useful for long legged people like me)!

Check them out here – My Protein

Muscle Food

Good quality meats for an excellent price (and let’s face it meat is expensive).

Buy one of their bulk packs and freeze!  I like the chicken in particular because it doesn’t shrink when cooked!

They also do nice protein packed cheat style meals (like protein pizza) – now generally if I’m going to have a pizza I’d prefer to have a full on stuffed crust loaded one, but if you want to get the taste at a fraction of the calorie cost these could be a good alternative.

Check them out here – Muscle Foods

They have also recently started doing a meal prep style offering where they deliver your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks weekly and also provide you with workout plans and an online support group.

You can opt to get 5,6 or 7 days worth of food.

I haven’t tried this so my opinion on this service i purely based on looking through their website.

I think I would want to add some extra vegetables and fruit to this plan personally (and tend to prefer and recommend homemade / freshly made meals wherever possible) and I haven’t tried the exercise plans so can’t comment on them, but if you are struggling to meal prep and find yourself buying a lot of your meals off the shelf / living off ready meals this could be a possible way of staying in control of your calorie intake that is quite cost effective.

Have a look below.  They are currently offering £10 off your first order using the code UNTHINKABLE

Muscle Food Meal Prep

What are your favourite fitness product websites and why?