A few weeks ago, I woke up completely obsessed with idea of reaching some new health and fitness goals. (Yes, that’s truly how it happened. I assume I had a dream about it but we’ll never know for sure!)
As this is a positive thing, I’ve decided not to question it and instead, I’ve jumped in with both feet and have let myself embrace them.
I’ve spoken about what my new health and fitness goals are in this video but to put it simply, I just want to be as strong and as fit as I have ever been before. I don’t want to focus on a number on the scale or a dress size, I just want to be healthy. The truth is, I don’t expect to ever reach these goals – ‘…I’m sorry, Jessica but what the f**k do you mean?’ – I don’t expect to ever reach these goals because to do so would mean that I’m done. I’d be finished and it gives me reason to stop. My plan is for this newfound love of health and fitness to be a permanent fixture in my life.
It’s now about incorporating exercise into my every day life and not just when I feel guilty for indulging – and what’s more, I want to sweat and feel it burn. I also want to fuel my body with the right amount of nutrients and calories and not feel guilty about it. I don’t want to be the skinny girl anymore, I want to be the girl who looks toned and healthy. The girl who looks like she’s worked hard for what she’s got.
So to help myself out with achieving these goals, I’ve incorporated a few things in my life to get me started. This list will undoubtedly evolve as I progress –
- Calorie and Macronutrient Tracking.
Why track calories AND macronutrients? Firstly, as my relationship with food was horrendous (again, I talk about this in my latest YouTube video here). My first step was to calculate the amount of calories I need to live this more active lifestyle. As someone who was eating on average 1000 calories a day, I needed something that would provide me an unbiased (albeit, general) number. My calorie intake is still relatively low, however, as I have put my body through the wringer (especially in the past year), I have to go with a more gentle approach while my body learns that regular meals are a permanent thing now and it doesn’t need to store everything I eat as fat out of fear that I’ll do what I’ve done so often in the past and survive off the bare minimum. I am now eating just under 1600 calories but I expect this to increase gradually over time as my body tells me it needs more.
Secondly, tracking macronutrients ensures that you are getting the right amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in your body. As someone who was plant based prior to this (and I will discuss my shift away from being plant based at a later date), I knew that I struggled with getting adequate protein in my diet. Oddly enough, I seem to get ample amounts of good fats through my diet but definitely struggle with carbohydrates and protein. Tracking all three ensures that my food intake is more balanced. I now aim for 156g of carbohydrates (40%), 117g protein (30%) and 52g of fat (30% of my daily intake of calories). I did start at 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat but it just wasn’t working for me as I don’t tend to crave carbohydrate heavy foods and prefer to have more protein and fattier foods. *I should say that when I mean ‘fats’, I’m referring to naturally occurring fat in meat or those in seeds, nuts and eggs – although I’m not one to shy away from butter.
Tracking macronutrients also helps you with a more varied diet and makes it more likely that you’re ingesting a wider range of micronutrients.
Lastly, I treat my calories as a rule when I’m under and struggling and as a minimum on my hungrier days. As I said, my relationship with food was awful and I still have my bad days. To help with my recovery, I ensure to measure all my calorie-dense foods to ensure I don’t underestimate what I’m eating in terms of volume. I don’t measure low-calorie foods like berries, melon and non-starchy veg. Yes, it does take me a bit longer to get my food on the plate but it’s something I need to do whilst I’m learning food isn’t evil.
TIP: Don’t fix what ain’t broke. As part of my research, I’ve watched a lot of body builders, fitness models, nutritionist videos etc. etc. and they all seem to use one app – MyFitnessPal – so I do too. If a food tracking app is popular, chances are it’s going to have a lot of data for you to choose from. One of my meals in recent weeks was a Vietnamese soup (and not even a popular soup) at my parents’ house and the app even had that listed as a meal option when searched. You can’t top that if you ask me!
Something to note with calories vs macronutrients – my calorie goal comes before my macronutrients. However, I use my macronutrients to help guide what food I will have when I’m hungry – e.g. I’m lacking in protein, I’ll have a protein shake. If I’m lacking in carbs, I’ll have rice crackers and hummus.
- Wearing a fitness watch.
Obviously this helps me track how active I am in my day. I started off with a FitBit but to be perfectly honest, I didn’t like the appearance so I bought myself an Apple watch which I am slowly becoming obsessed with. It automatically sends data from my workouts to MyFitnessPal and the app then adjusts the calories I need to make up for what I’ve burnt off. Again, this is just ensuring that my body is fueled properly and my hard work is going to get me the results I want.
- Incorporating supplements.
Back in the day, if I said the word ‘supplements’ it would mean things like maca and spirulina, but now, ‘supplements’ to me means something a little different. My supplements now are things like protein powder and Oxyshred and although I’m still having my greens powder every day (you can’t take that away from me), I now heavily focus on things that will either help me get my work out done or help me recover quickly.
If you follow my Instagram (here), you will know that I’ve been shopping at EHPlabs and getting into their Blessed protein range (the salted caramel is amazing), their non-stim Oxyshred (raspberry kisses flavour) and their Oxysleep (Fiji apple flavour).
- Changed my instagram accounts.
This step is important for me and my motivation. Although I still follow (and love) my fashion and beauty bloggers, I have added a bunch of fitness accounts to the mix. Seeing these when I’m just scrolling through Instagram are amazing reminders to stay on track and not let my goals slip away from under me. It’s pretty hard to be content with lying down on the couch and missing a workout when you see images of people hitting the gym hard.
Please do note that these four things that I’ve incorporated into my life are things that work for me and my reasons behind them are strictly what I believe. I feel that each thing is right for me and my situation. If you’re looking to reach health and fitness goals, make sure you do your research and experiment with what your body feels happy with.