28 Day Jumpstart Challenge – Fit Girls Guide

This past month, or rather the past 3 weeks since the 10th of August I’ve been trying out this thing called the “28 Day Jumpstart Challenge” – it’s a challenge run by the team behind Fit Girls Guide. I have not been following it 100% the way they mean you to – perhaps more around 60%. I have been finding some alternatives to foods I don’t like, I have not been working out and have not cut down the alcohol as much as they recommend (but they are American and I live in England – they have no idea about British drinking culture!!).

I very consciously went into it thinking of it as a lifestyle change more than just a diet/ weight loss plan and to use to it teach myself to eat more consciously. Few things I aimed to get from it for myself:

  1. to be more aware of what I am eating (progress made)
  2. to be more aware of how much I am eating (progress made)
  3. to eat more slowly (progress made)
  4. to take the time to sit down to eat rather than eat while reading/ working at my desk/ watching tv (progress made)
  5. to increase my protein and veg intake (sort of, needs more work)
  6. to cut down on my refined sugar intake as much as possible (sort of, needs more work)
  7. to cut down on my alcohol intake as much as possible (sort of, needs more work)
  8. to do food prep at home and not always buy breakfast & lunch (progress made)
  9. to cut down on buying cappuchinos and lattes (progress made)
  10. to cut down on coffee intake – especially after 4pm (progress made)

This is already a very difficult list to work through, especially because I do most of these things on “auto-pilot” – so the biggest challenge has been the awareness, the consciousness and the mindfulness around how I consume my food.

My favourite part: I have been making my breakfast to take in to work – delicious oatmeal, greek yoghurt and fresh fruit with a changing mix of added extras ranging between flaxseed, bee pollen and chia seeds. This is something I have never ever done before – and it has very much been a life changer and does seem to give me more energy throughout the day, I need it to become a habit and almost a reflex though.

I also realised that I tend to consume WAY more calories than I need to on an almost daily basis for no real reason other than habit/ laziness – hitting around 2000 calories a day with all my coffees and snacks and especially on weekends with the alcohol calories coming in to play.

Here is my progress over the past 3 weeks:

calorie count weeky progress week 3 calorie count weeky progress week 1 calorie count weeky progress week 2

As we can see:

  • Fridays are the big problem – this is when I go out drinking (drinks are saved under snacks because the app doesn’t have a category for it that I could find – the app I’m using is MyFitnessPal – which disappointingly keeps crashing and is not as good as it used to be)
  • My daily average calorie intake: week 1: 1700 calories, week 2: 1300 calories, week 3: 1500 calories – bring on week 4!

I have intentionally not chosen to combine this with a fitness or workout plan yet because I know that if I try and do too much all at once I will only end up giving up – so I wanted to get comfortable with the eating changes first before I throw in the gym as well.

The last time I did a big weight loss plan it was the opposite, it was ALL gym and not around my diet or food prep at all, so this time I want it to be a combination of both for a bigger change at succeeding (I did lose over 9 kgs last time, but guess what – I’ve put it all back on + a bit more in the meantime).

So now we’re going into week 4 – I intend to start introducing the gym back into my life – slowly – we don’t want another strained hip flexor like last time obviously. Wish me luck!!

It’s not just about a flat stomach…

…a high waist circumference can be a sign of having a lot of visceral fat – this is the fat that is between all your different organs. Belly fat can be a sign of increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure – and especially for the ones among us with the South-Asian genes (like myself) it can very often mean diabetes…so keep an eye on that belly!

flat stomach tips and advice

A Healthy Thing? Apple Cider Vinegar – why is it good for you?

Sometimes I go into a crazy healthy phase and eat really well and go to the gym about 5 times a week. But as said – this is often a “phase” and limited to maximum a few months. However during each “phase” I seem to discover a new thing that is supposedly apparently super super good for you in some way and then I go and get it – but often as the phase ends, my fascination with said healthy-thing ends as well. This seems to be how I’ve ended up with quite a collection of natural supplements – hello Holland & Barrett you know I love you really – so, I thought I should look into this little supplement collection to try and figure out what is really good and what maybe isn’t at all…hopefully the start of a new informative series of blog posts…here we go!

Today we’re looking at: Apple Cider Vinegar (capsules)

Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules

What: pretty much exactly what it claims to be – a vinegar made from either apples or cider – made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid.

Why: supposed to help with weight loss by curbing hunger/ appetite and creating a feeling of being full eating less.

From: you can get it pretty much at any health food store, whole foods, pharmacy or even supermarket.

Double blind tests carried out in Japan have come to the conclusion that ACV or Apple Cider Vinegar helps curb appetite through it’s acetic acid and also helps treat obesity and supports weight loss. The main known side effect when consumed in very large amounts is that it can cause Osteoporosis (and increase bone fragility). It’s not just weight loss but also overall wellbeing that seems to get a big boost from regular ACV consumption – it can apparently treat heartburn, is good for your hair, treats sore throats and soothes sunburn amongst many other things – miracle liquid much?

Supposed benefits of ACV or Apple Cider Vinegar include:

– In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.

– ACV helps to break up mucous throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. Believe it or not, research suggests that apple cider vinegar can help with allergies because of its ability to reduce mucous and sinus congestion. When reducing the effects of allergies, it can also help stave off sinus infections and their related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches.

amazing benefits and uses of apple cider vinegar