Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting Fit & Staying Fit (even when you're not 100% disciplined)

(Press 'Read Article' on the topo Regina George gif: It's a lot easier to read from there.) 

Heeey guys! This is a wordy post that talks about fitness & health and some tips I have rendered useful and an amazing help over time. To be frank, fitness is a regime that requires strenuous commitment and while that's true, you can't just go super extreme on your first day. And honestly, you just can't stay super extreme for the rest of your life. When you're trying to do it in the long term, it becomes harder and harder to stay on the extreme clean eating and hard exercise path. What has made it easier for me, though, are these mantras and tips that kept me motivated especially when I wasn't feeling too much into it.

I guess I've been a partial, intermittent 'fitness nut' since I was about thirteen and read my first Seventeen magazine: discovering the workout section; and it was then when the thought that my thighs were fat and unattractive firstly manifested and bubbled through in my mind - even then when in reality they were pretty much skeleton thin. I started comparing my legs to the ones of the girls who were photographed working out in the magazine, and that's pretty much where it all started. That's how twisted and unattainable things can be when you're unhappy with yourself. And then those thoughts went from bad to worse and there was a point where I was just really really unhappy about my body and then I gave up, I was like what the heck and ate a lot and went through puberty and now I'm stuck with this body I have now. Which isn't bad to me, but I wouldn't really mind being leaner and stronger.

 I've gained an ample amount of fat & lost a substantial amount of strength & muscle after the no-workout, eat-all-you-can december holidays  - hahah. So I've made a NY resolution to lose some weight (for the first time ever). My weight is always really stable. It either goes up as I grow taller (along the years) and even if I workout hard or eat really badly it just stays the same at 100 pounds forever.



-Regina George. Well, in my case, five.

So yeah. My short-term goal is just to lose weight for the heck of it and lose fat everywhere. I feel that weight loss and fitness shouldn't be solely about attaining a covetable, cynosural look by itself; My ultimate goal is just to feel happy with myself I guess. To feel strong. To be strong. To look in the mirror and be satisfied and not have to flex my abs to see them and not have to try and shrink my legs in every photo. And to be able to beat up 2029402 rapists and a dragon (preferably one that's voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch hheh) at once like some Chinese warrior. Yesss.


Over the years of Tumblr-ing as a fitspo (damnshesfit.tumblr.com) and also scouring the internet and following fitness icons and attempting, stopping, and restarting again my quest to become super healthy in the long term without being super extreme, here's a list of ( realistic ) tips I made to acquire that elevated status as physically fit & healthy: 


1. Make yourself healthified treats! 

Remember, you can have treats on a daily basis too! It's also best if you made them yourself - I've discovered an interest in cooking/baking things because of fitness - it's just amazing that you can almost make everything healthy. Some healthified version of things may actually come to taste even better than the whole versions. Honestly, making these things make me feel super good about myself and also it makes me feel a lot better about the whole eating clean thing. It's not just about eating salad and oatmeal for every meal - you can have basically anything you want, but in a toned down, lower-calorie option. Here are some of my absolute favorite, easy-as-fudge recipes or websites: 

#1 - FLOURLESS, SUGAR-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, BUTTER/OIL-LESS WALNUT BROWNIES. 

Okay so I really lovelovelovelove brownies so when I found this recipe I was so ecstatic! I made these about thrice before and they are amazing! Taste-wise, they are as good as normal brownies. Also, they are so incredibly, impossibly simple to make. 

And from that brownie recipe, you can create cupcakes from the almost the same batter without much variation too! 










#2 - THE LARGEST PANOPLY OF ANY DESSERT, HEALTHIFIED. EVER. 
Chocolatecoveredkatie has been one of my favorite to-go dessert (not even considering health or not) website ever since I've discovered it. She has so many cookie, oatmeal, cupcake, bar, blondie, brownie recipes that you'd probably be making more than you want. SO AMAZING. Everything tastes so good and fudgey and cakey and real. 

Because what's better than healthy fast food? 

#3 - FLOURLESS, LOW-CARB, LOW-FAT, LOW-CAL PIZZA. 
I don't know how you NOT know who Cassey Ho is, but check out her website for amazing Pilates workouts that are so fun and also the easiest healthy recipes ever. (Banana ice cream, burgers, crepes, all kinds of pancakes, etc) 

Or if you don't mind eating a little more carbs, you can just make whole-wheat tortilla pizza. Bake the tortilla or pita bread 'crust', and slather some tomato-based pizza sauce and toppings and bake! 










#4 - HEALTHY BURGERS (& baked sweet potato fries)! 
These are great for breakfasts/lunches - like those McDonalds' McSausage thingies. Except you just whole-wheat buns/pita bread/bread and make your own grilled patties with ground turkey/tuna/salmon/chicken/veggies/even black bean or buy them frozen and use low-fat cheese and add a fried egg if you want, then add as many veggie toppings as you like. And you can do this for any kind of burger you want. The calories are pretty low & it's easy to make and it's something you can eat on most days. Add a side of sweet potato fries & just melt

#5 - Protein Pancakes

One of my favorite ever foods that work for every meal of the day - pancakes!!! 

I hope this subsection convinced you that you really, really don't need to sacrifice all your favorite foods in order to eat healthy. You can search for so much more in these websites: 
skinnytaste, blogilates, chocolatecoveredkatie, Tumblr, and the list goes on. 









2.  Keep a fitness journal.





















I have this 365 journal that someone gave me out of the blue, that I use to log everything I eat and all my workouts, my measurements, stats, my sleep, my feelings towards the aforementioned, hydration, etc. It's pretty useful. I just started this year. I also have this motivation technique in which I award myself RM10 every day I exercise and RM10 everyday I eat clean. By awarding myself, I mean allowing myself to use that amount of money. It's pretty helpful, though. When you look back and realise how well/badly you were eating. How hard you worked. How much you deserve a little indulgence. It really keeps you going.



3. Sleep enough. 

Like everyone always yaks about - you do need eight hours of sleep a night. Six, at the very least. Your body needs to repair cells that are torn during your workout - and it does that only by resting and with adequate rest. Besides, sleeping enough increases the hormones that control your appetite so it'll be easier not to eat everything you see. So yes, go ahead and stay in bed the whole day if you want (until gym time).


4. Try as far as possible to eat clean. 

I know it's difficult but fresh is the way to go! 

Dieting, to me, is the HARDEST part of getting fit ever. I'm just a very extreme person. I either eat everything I want, stuffing my face with the fattiest, indulgent foods ever or I eat next to nothing everyday. And I can't do moderation. I can't eat like one cookie and stop. It's either I don't, or I eat the entire box. Yeah. That's bad. But I'm learning to cope with it. It's taking more time than I want but like yeah. Fitness is a long journey. It doesn't end with a workout program, nor does it end with your 'goal weight'. It's alright to binge, it's alright to eat dirty once in a while. That's how you cope with it. Besides, I'm also trying to eat cleaner because it'll help clear up my skin and y'know, eliminating junk does clean up the insides of your body too as well as your face, hair, dark circles, etc. So that's another motivation. 

But just so you know.. dieting isn't just about calories. It's what you take into your body. It's what your body can assimilate, and make use of, from the nutrients you supply your body with. You could eat a 1200 calorie diet of Diet Coke and sugar and processed shit and lose weight - but your own body would be the one suffering from lack of nutrients, and thus slow metabolism. You would lose weight, but probably you'll lose a lot more muscle mass & bone density than fat. It won't be pretty, trust me. So take note of your macros and where your calories come from in total, not just calorie intake! And be aware that your body isn't designed to eat most of the stuff that's in most processed foods. So when your body doesn't use it, it just accumulates as fat. And not just that - they are very very harmful to your health, possibly carcinogenic, even, as a whole. So stick to natural and organic ingredients as far as possible.

5. Get a Tumblr fitspiration account.

Can't stress this enough. Seriously though. Being a part of an ever-increasing community that has similar fitness and health goals as you, sharing and reblogging all inspiring photos, infomercials, recipes, motivational quotes, bodies to look up to.. It's exhilarating to always have a steady influx of motivation where you need it, when you're feeling a bit sluggish and bloated, I guess. It's a really good pick-me-up. The best thing is, that us 'fitspo' bloggers are so ready in giving sound advice to newbies and people having trouble. All you have to do, really, is ask. If you don't want to sign up for an account, here are some of my absolute favorite accounts you should definitely follow and check regularly. 
thefitspo (Shu Cean's), damnshesfit (mine), runningismyboyfriendtobeshreddedasfuckfitsportgirlfastgirlsdoitwellfuneralformyfat, muffin-toplesssunnystrongallylifts.

6. Be realistic & accept yourself as you are.


I used to do it for mainly aesthetic reasons because I didn't feel like I looked good, but now I realised fitness is much more attainable, and in a sense healthier, if you don't keep images of other women's bodies as our goals. I mean yes, looking at pictures of pretty, lined abs and toned legs and Victoria's Secret models is amazing motivation but we shouldn't just strive to exclaim "Oh my god, can that be me?" at each one (though yes at times I am guilty of doing that too). It's good to dream, but not to such a huge extent where you are literally working out and eating clean for the sole goal to look like them. It's unrealistic and frankly it's just disappointing if you're expecting to turn out with a body looking like exactly another. Because it's not going to happen, really. What you can hope is that you turn out like yourself, but improved as somebody who really truly accepts their own bodies and flaws. Not one who exchanges their flaws for something that you perceive as perfect, when in reality, you already are. #smooth That's just my philosophy on getting fit.



Make short-term goals as well as long-term ones. They keep you grounded and focused.

7. Workout shorter but do more intense shit.

If you find it hard to get motivated to workout, I suggest you do the Focus T25 workout program. Currently I'm doing it. I'm on the third week now and it's going pretty great. It's a workout by Beachbody and Shaun T's the trainer in this one again. I've done (and not completed) Insanity, Insanity Asylum and Insanity Asylum vol. 2 before and I've loved them all. I think T25 is the best for now 'cause it just keeps you focus and in the mood for 25 minutes - you don't feel the need to stop even if you're dead tired because it's so short and quick and still super intense. You don't feel like stopping because you get that mentality that there's ONLY 15 minutes left. ONLY 10 minutes left. ONLY 1 minute left. So you'll keep pushing on. You never feel like it's draggy or super long. So it just seems like the best one to me, because it packs like a 40-60 minute workout within that 25 minutes. And you make sure that you do your best in that short amount of time.


Also, WEIGHT LIFT occasionally. More muscle equals higher metabolism so higher fat burn. And weight lifting is also a pretty intense cardio workout for me. 

There are a plethora of other short intense workouts like Blogilates HIIT workouts, bodyrock.tv, Nike Training Club workouts (download this app on your iPhone), sprints/jog/walk combinations and a lot more on YouTube etc. If that doesn't work for you - just find what you like. I'm just personally not someone who particularly wants to spend 3 hours on a treadmill.. I'd probably be bored to tears. But you can do anything. Rock climbing, ice skating, inline skating, swimming, dancing, long-distance running, whatever. You're your own person. 

8. "Fall down seven times, stand up eight."

I really believe in this Japanese/Chinese saying. You're gonna stop working out for a few days or a few weeks or a few months, you're gonna say, "Fuck it," and eat that Big Mac or those cheese fries or that huge ass lasagna. You are. AND IT'S PERFECTLY FINE. It's not cheating, because this isn't a game. It's a journey and you're going to eat badly once in a while in order for you to stay sane and happy. You're gonna have to rest your body for a while. Can't stress this enough. You just need to relax and let yourself recover. But you're gonna come back in and you're gonna kill it once more. Control yourself, but know when you have to loosen your reins. That's how you survive.



So yeah, that's it.
 Feel free to ask questions or  anything. I'm not a qualified anything; I'm just offering tips which have made fitness easier and funner for me.

x
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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