The last month for me has been about getting healthy! Summer is not far away now so I thought I better kick myself into shape so I feel healthy and good. After indulging a bit too much this winter I definitely was feeling a little bit more ‘padded’ than usual… So time to fix it & embrace the 80/20 diet again by healthy eating, limiting alcohol to weekends only and getting myself into a fitness routine!
I have always liked doing the occasional reformer pilates classes to tone up so when one of my friends mentioned she does the Bootcamp Pilates Beach Body package every year, I thought I’d join her to get my bikini ready. The package includes 16 classes to use in six weeks which means you have to do about 3 classes a week to ensure you get the best results.
Being Dutch means that me & a bike pretty much go hand-in-hand. As a little girl I learned how to bike and there was no looking back after that, because growing up in the Netherlands means you use your bike every single day! And even now that I live in London; I have a big Dutch bike that I use as my main form of transport around the city. I bike to work every day and will avoid using the tube where possible. I only really take the underground if it’s pouring down with rain or if I am planning to have a few drinks that evening ;)
However, I still don’t see my daily commute or biking around London in the weekends as exercise. Sure, it keeps me healthy and it’s a lot better for me then just sitting on the bus or tube, but I still don’t count it as a workout. No lycra outfits for me on the bike – just my regular clothes, and by that yes I mean even skirts and heels; the true Dutch way! Now when it comes to exercise it’s no surprise,being a bike-lover and all, that I am a big fan of spinning as a way of keeping fit. The high pumped energy of a spin class is a great workout and will definitely make you feel the burn. But a few months ago I discovered something even better….let me introduce you to my new fitness obsession; Psycle!
January has been all about health for me! Doing Dry January has meant I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since New Years Eve and I have been eating very healthy and trying to fit some form of exercise into my week at least 3-4 times a week. Because I am still struggling with my knee injury I have also been looking at different ways to exercise and yoga and pilates are some of classes I have been trying.
When it comes to yoga, I haven’t done much of this in my life. Last year I tried some sessions of Bikram Yoga because some of my friends swore by it! However I wasn’t a huge fan – I found the 90min sessions a bit too long, too boring and too hot. But the strengthening results and the relaxing, warmth and stretching aspect I did enjoy. So when I came across the concept of Hot Pod Yoga I was instantly intrigued.
“Hotpod provide pop-up hot Vinyasa Yoga classes – an intensive and balanced physical workout, restoring calm and clarity in a soothing environment. The (not too hot) 37°c heat warms the muscles and aids flexibility as well as making the heart work harder.”
The sessions are only 1 hour long and whilst the heat not as intense as Bikram Yoga, you will still work up a sweat because the ‘Vinyasa flow’ Yoga is a lot more active.
“The classes combine a real aerobic and cardiovascular workout with meditative and relaxing elements. Sequences of active and passive postures rebalance the body, strengthening weak spots and easing tension. Blood flow to muscles, ligaments and organs is increased and the body benefits from better flow of energy. So as well as toning muscles and aiding weight-loss, the postures purify and heal the body and mind.” Oh and they say you can burn up to 700 calories a class…uhh yes please!
The other difference about Hot Pod Yoga is that the sessions are held inside their unique pop-up studios. The portable studios are like blown up big tents with glowing walls, making it all cosy and warm and dark to really get you into a lovely tranquil environment to practice yoga. Let’s step inside shall we?
This is Dionne, the lovely trainer in their Notting Hill location. Some of the poses she manages to do are hugely impressive but who knows maybe after a few more sessions I will get a better and a bit more balanced too! I have done two sessions so far and have really enjoyed it. I’ve been going to studio in Notting Hill (not far from my house – how convenient) but they also offer classes in Brixton, Hackney, South Birmingham and Swansea.
Another bonus is that you can book online to attend a class and that their classes are quite well priced; starting from £12 for a single pass or only £9.60 when you buy a pack of 10. For a full timetable of classes, prices and further details, visit www.hotpodyoga.com.
Have you had a healthy start to January and does this Hot Pod Yoga sound like something you’d be keen to try?
OK let’s talk diet. Now to be honest, I reallydespise the word diet. Dieting is horrible and no fun at all. There are so many diets out there; think no carbs and all protein, weight watchers, restricting yourself to only eat soups, counting calories, or maybe some crazy lemonade juicing detox?! You name it and most likely you or one of your friends are bound have to tried one of these at some point to lose weight.
Just like any other girl there have been times in my life where I have struggled with my weight. I either have felt unhappy about how I look or feel or was just keen to lose those few extra kilos to feel good in a bikini or try to squeeze myself back into that favourite pair of jeans! We all constantly feel the pressure to be thin and many of us of girls think (too much) about what we ‘allow’ ourselves to eat or feeling guilty for having that piece of cake.
And now that is my main problem right there; I LOVE FOOD! Eating cakes and chocolate, going out for dinners, fun nights out drinking cocktails or indulging in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream when at the movies. I just wouldn’t want to imagine my life without it. And most people know you could pretty much wake me up for a perfectly warm oozing chocolate fondant any time of the night! So as a real foodie the thought of some restricting diet just doesn’t work for me.
Now I am no expert (so this is just my personal opinion and experience) but for me I have given up on diets. Diets can be soul (and body) destroying. These days my focus is all about being and staying healthy. Diets are hard because when you restrict yourself, it makes it easy to fall of the wagon. For me I have found the best way to lose weight and keep the weight off is more about a lifestyle change. A wise man (my dad) once told me you can eat ‘everything in moderation’ which pretty much explains my diet. So here it is. I don’t diet, I eat healthy….most of the time!
Because if I ate healthy all the time; my life (and me included) would be no fun. But if I treated myself to too much naughty food all the time then I’d be an unhappy fatso. So when it comes down to it, it’s all about balance! This brings me to my ‘diet’ – the 80/20 diet.
The 80/20 diet is super simple; The idea is to eat healthily for around 80% of the time and then you are feel free to eat the foods you love for the other 20% of the time!
What I try to do myself is to exercise and eat very healthily during the week and then I relax and treat myself at the weekends. But the 80/20 rule also works for me on a daily basis. Say I’m having something naughty like a greasy burger or cheesy pizza for dinner, then I’ll have a light breakfast & maybe a salad for lunch. Plus I will try to ensure I work out or go for a run the day before or the day after. It’s all a matter of balance, balance, balance!!
This way I have learned not be too hard on myself. For example when I go away for a weekend, I always want to try all the amazing foods from that country! So I treat myself and I ENJOY it (without the guilt) because I will balance it out by upping my exercise sessions and eating correctly before and after my trip! So just think; after couple of naughty days, just be good for the rest of the week. Très simples!
Victoria’s Secret model, Miranda Kerr also follows this diet saying, “I adopt the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy and organic, 20% indulgent and that works for me and my body personally. I indulge occasionally and avoid counting calories.”
Being good (80%) for me looks like this;
Fill up on lots fruits and vegetables
Exercise at least 30min a day
No ready-made meals
Drink lots of water
No starchy carbs for dinner (think pasta, rice, potatoes, white bread)
Eat healthy fats like salmon, avocado and raw nuts
Cutting out sugar, cakes and candy
Breakfast & lunch include healthy foods like porridge, sushi, eggs, butternut squash, quinoa, salads and soups.
No alcohol during the week
Plenty of sleep
I probably don’t have to explain what being ‘bad’ (20%) looks like. You can use your own imagination here but for me it looks a little something like this….
YUM!!! See, I never want to have to give up these delicious things and with the 80/20 diet I don’t have to as long as I just remember to balance it with healthy living. I love cooking and baking so on the blog here I will continue to share my favourite recipes for naughty treats but also some healthy recipes I use on a daily basis to give you some inspiration for the 80% part! People often ask me how I stay healthy/skinny and I hope this post helps or can inspire you in some way. In the end I feel it is all about loving yourself and your body and making a lifestyle choice to be healthy and fit instead of starving yourself to be a size 0!
LOVE your body
and repeat FOR LIFE”
What a great formula to live by. Life is too short so you may as well enjoy the ride right? Happy Hump Day everyone :)