Monday, 2 May 2016

There's Always Room For Improvement!

Hi there friends and welcome back to the awesome blog of destinyyy.

Or not.

Maybe just the awesome blog of health, fitness and FOOOOOOD.

Either way.

:P

So I'm a perfectionist. If I can do more, I will do more. I expect more from myself everyday and if I don't meet the high standards I unknowingly place upon myself, then I will simply work twice as hard to ensure I do.

It probably stems from my upbringing, whereby getting an 80% in something didn't just mean an A and a job well done. I was told that this reveals there was room for improvement. There was an opportunity for me to do better and so should work harder next time.

I suppose this (as from-the-heart as it was) advice started to ingrain itself into my head and now pings up every time I do less-than-stellar in something.

Woah- this just got deep.

Funny, because this is not a deep post! nope, this intro into my life was simply to introduce today's topic which is there's always room for improvement... when it comes to health.

If I were to ask my past self one year ago today if I thought I was mega healthy I would reply with an emphatic YES! And my current self would in fact agree that I did have lots of healthy habits, food choices, exercise and good ways of looking after my body a year ago today. But then I think about how far I've come to this present day. I eat a heck of a lot more veggies (if that was even possible), I've figured out ways to incorporate at least two servings of veggies into my breakfast. Yep, just breakfast. I've found exercises and workouts that I enjoy so much and push me to limits I didn't even know I had and I take a lot more time now to rest and look after my body than I ever did in the past.

Sure I was healthy. But I've come a long way since then.

A great example of this is just having a look at some of my breakfasts past and present:
In the past:
A simple bowl of oats with peanut butter:
Today:
Grate some zucchini in there, bubble it all up and you can't even taste it! (Just adds more volume so I get a huge bowl of oats! Happy days!)
In the past:
A smoothie made with banana and other frozen fruit:
Today:
Smoothie made with a ridiculous amount of leafy greens, frozen zucchini, frozen fruit, soaked oats
This was literally the biggest smoothie I've ever made! I chucked in a big handful of frozen zucchini, 1 chopped, frozen banana, 1 big handful frozen mango, around 3/4 cup soaked oats and chia seeds in almond milk (10-15 mins soaking), huge handful of kale and huge handful of spinach, 3 big scoops of greek yoghurt and water- whaz!
So good!

I've also taken to craving veggies for lunch and have been known to devour a whole plate of raw veg sticks and homes (and I mean a WHOLE stacked-full-of-veg plate) because that's what my body knows it thrives on and feels awesome eating!

I mean this just looks so good to me right now! I could eat this daily!!!

So what is my purpose with this post? It's to show that our health is a constantly changing, developing and potentially improving thing that always has room for us to do a little better, to love our bodies a little more- and this works both ways; not just eating a whole lot more veg, but if you are too obsessed with healthy eating, it could be letting go every now and then, enjoying a veg-less lunch of a grilled cheese sandwich and doing just as much for your mental, emotional and wellbeing health that a big ol' salad would do for you nutritionally! (definitely something I have to remind myself sometimes- health is a long term picture, not just one meal changing everything- both good or bad!)

And in the end I wanted to link it all to this picture I saw on Instagram the other day and just had to save and share it with you all:

It just hit me right in the face how true this was and I think made me more aware and happy to fuel my body with the nourishing foods I know it needs to feel amazing!

This time when I tell myself; 'Steph, there's always room for improvement!' I'll happily nod my head in agreement because you know what, there always is but I will always know that I will never reach perfection, there's no 100% in this test of life- and that's absolutely fine!

Your thoughts:
Do you ever look back at your past eating/ exercising/ health habits and think how far you've come?
What are some sneaky ways you sneak extra veg into your meals?
Fav smoothie concoction of recent? Mine is just anything FILLED with fruit- fruit is so delicious!

I hope you all have a ridiculously awesome day, recognise all the times you smile (it's a lot more than you might think!) and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Friday, 29 April 2016

Links I've Been Loving!

Hello there beautiful people!
Welcome back to the insanely minuscule corner of the blog-O-Sphere that holds my little corner of a blog fillllllled with way too many food pictures and recounts of my hunger and love of running and love of anything nut butter...

And with that, today I have included some of the awesome-ness of those other crazy food/health/fitness lovin' bloggers out there who too have their own personal little corners and have amazing talent in writing the heck out of their own passions!

So, sit back, relax, probably get something to eat/drink because I'm always an advocate for something delicious to tantalise your tastebuds whilst you divulge in the line-up of good reads from around the web!

Food:

funfetti cake batter breakfast bake

Flourless Chocolate Blender Muffins

These Layered Smoothies Are Probably the Most Gorgeous Foods We've Ever Seen

Cinnamon roll greek yogurt pancakes

Healthy Blueberry Breakfast Crumble

Fitness:

7 Reasons You Shouldn't Work Out Today (Really!)

Do Elite Runners Ever Lose Motivation? HECK YES!

This 12-Year-Old Accidentally Runs Half-Marathon, and We Reevaluate Our Lives


Health:

Does Eating At Night Actually Make You Fat?

How I Manage Stress

Good, good reads:

What I Hate About the Fitness Industry

Let's Get This Straight: Emotional Eating Is NOT Bingeing

Eating Disorders and Control

6 Insanely Popular Ways to Waste a Life  -Gosh this one was an eye-opener!

 How I Started Blogging Full-Time

I hope you found some interesting links in the list and I'll be back tomorrow with a delicious post full of food and happiness (because food is happiness right? P.S. I thought I might mention how cold I am right now after drinking a HUUUUUUGGGEEE green smoothie for breakfast just then! Gah!! :D) Bye for now friendly friends!! :D Eat something delicious!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Why I love HIIT

Hi friendly friends and happiest of Mondays to you all!

I hope you all had a wonderful breakfast to make Monday that much more sweeter (I know I'm about to; hello creamy mango smoothie and home made peanut butter granola straight from the oven that I'm about to pause this post for in approximately 2 minutes when my internal spidey-senses cooking-senses tingle. :) and are ready to conquer this week like the ultimate awesome-sauce fighter you are!

Now, on the topic of being an awesome-sauce ultimate fighter... I wanted to talk about something that makes me feel so bad-ass and strong and amazing and no, for once it is not running (even though running fills me with so much happiness and motivation). It is actually HIIT (high intensity interval training)
You've probably all heard of it before, or at least heard the word before but I reckon not many people actually know why it is so effective (me included!) so I did a little internet browsing and was pleasantly enlightened with the many benefits of doing a high intensity interval training workout!
To be considered doing a high intensity workout, you'd be simply alternating between intense bursts of activity and periods of less-intense activity/ complete rest (see source) And yes, whilst the approximately 30 minute long workout is super convenient (especially during school mornings to get an effective workout in) it is actually the way it makes me feel that keeps me coming back for more.
Before I get into that, however, let's look at the science that backs up this method of exercise!
As well as increasing aerobic capacity a heck of a lot quicker and more effectively than long periods of endurance training, but your body's repair cycle is kicked up immensely meaning your body is still burning fat and energy the full day following a HIIT workout (which explains the post-HIIT workout hunger I've been feeling!!
'Every square inch of my body is sweating. I’ve been working out for only 15 minutes, and I’m not sure my legs can take any more. They are shaking uncontrollably. Later, I sit down to dinner, and my arms are so exhausted I can’t seem to pick up my spoon.'

This is just a little caption from a post about HIIT training by Bethany Brookshire, that I think perfectly describes what a HIIT workout feels like.

Now, you may be thinking; that sounds awful, truly awful! Why would anyone want to feel like that- but I'm telling you people, post intense exercise exhaustion is one of the best 'pains'/ exhaustion I know I- and many other people- have experienced.
I now it sounds, looks and probably will fell crazy for your first time- but I assure you, that exhaustion soon becomes a longing- a craving- that satisfaction that you've just done something ridiculously hard and the results are beginning to show on your body.

I can liken it to running in that crazy way us runners love to put ourselves through miles and miles of running and exhausting our legs and yet it feels so good!
An increase in oxygen consumption, a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes (preventing accumulation/ worsening of insulin resistance), increase in muscle endurance and many benefits to cardiovascular health are just some of the scientifically proven benefits of HIIT and I've gotta say, that doesn't sound half bad to me!

So if I can do a workout that takes merely 30 minutes or less, leaves me with the same euphoric exhaustion and 'pain' of a 20km run and gives my body all those amazing benefits whilst doing something I actually find quite fun... why wouldn't I jump on board the HIIT train??

And where do I find my HIIT workouts? Mainly on Blogilates YouTube channel!! She's done a few regular HIIT workouts and she also has a playlist of her own PIIT28 (Pilates Intense Interval Training- goes for 28 minutes) That will leave the sweat dripping down your face and you crying out for more!
There are so many other HIIT workouts online and on YouTube that you can try out yourself- that's just what I do. Today I did the PIIT28 full body video and was read-faced, sweaty and happy! And as I was doing the training, I noticed the toned appearance of my arms, the strength in my core and the fatigue that didn't set in until the very last round revealing the strength and endurance I have accumulated over the past few weeks of doing HIIT training. Happy days! :)

So yes, I am definitely an advocate for HIIT training and think everyone should give it a go- of course that kind of intensity should not be done on the daily (max three times a week) and don't be disheartened if you're sweating and can't breathe after the first move of the first round- it's meant to be extremely intense- just do what you can and you will get stronger!!

Your turn:
Are you a fan of HIIT?
Any PIIT28 fans out there? Fav video?
What did you have for breakfast? My smoothie and granola was DELICIOUS!! (great post intense workout fuel!)

I hope you all have a magical day ((yep, magical. Just go with it;P) do something you love, listen to your body and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friends! :D
 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Hungry And Proud Of It!

Happy Friday friendly friends!!

Who's excited for the long-awaited weekend! (even though I'm on holidays and weekends haven't existed for the past two weeks! ;P)

Anywho, let's put that excitement into good use with the writing of this post in which I talk about my hunger. Again. Can you believe it!?!

Ha Ha, yes I know, I do seem to go on about feeling ravenous and then not so hungry and then a little bit hungry and then hangry and then rungry and ya-da-ya-da-ya! But today I want to talk about how I've come to the conclusion that I'm not and never will be ashamed of my hunger, because you know what it means? It means I'm burning the nutritious fuel I'm feeding my body efficiently and properly and my body is a healthy, functioning, energy-burning machine!
Now, I've written a bunch of posts about honouring your hunger, listening to your body, the consequences of ignoring your hunger signals etc. etc. And yet day after day I'm faced with real-life circumstances of people who restrict and restrict their food intake because they believe a magical number some computer-generated calculator has come up with, or a weight loss magazine has told them or their own misinterpreted calculations have revealed is the amount of energy they have to be eating.
The diet and fitness industry has truly taken it in their strides to develop this restrictive, low-kilojoule, low-energy approach to eating which, yes, does yield results desired but at what cost? At the cost of fatigue? At the cost of increase in injuries, a decrease in muscle development a reduction in fitness and training goals? At the cost of a loss of a menstrual cycle? A disruption to efficient metabolism? I could go on and on but I feel we all get the idea.

Everyone requires enough fuel to function and prosper on a day-to-day basis. Heck your body's resting metabolic rate ( the minimum number of calories your body needs at rest to fuel its metabolic activity, for example to maintain functions such as heart beat, breathing and temperature) is already in the first thousands of kilojoules- and that's basically doing nothing!

Add in housework, walking around, studying (yep, thinking uses a lot of energy!!), lifting shopping bags, flicking through magazines, climbing stairs, talking... and we haven't even got to daily exercise yet! So if you are in fact a person with a resting metabolic rate, doing normal everyday things and then you add on top of that high intensity or tough workouts (or any workouts for that matter) you're body is requiring quite a bit of fuel to function at it's optimal.

And yet a typical 'healthy' lunch in the health and fitness industry might look something like this:
I'm not going to hide around the plain truth of this; that is not enough food for your body. Do you know why you are having cravings and dizzy spells and disrupted focus and a fatigue in your muscles when you try to work out? Do you know why if you eat a little more than normal, or have a 'cheat' meal (as many people on diets like to call indulging in something you truly desire- which is not cheating!!) you feel big and bloated and like you've gained a couple kilograms? Do you know why you're unhappy with the way you're eating? It's because you're body's unhappy- it's calling out to you, giving you obvious signs that it's suffering on the limited energy it's being given and crying out for help.

I know it's fine and dandy for me to go along and say all this because that's the easy part. The hard part is actually having the courage to properly fuel one's body and so I thought it might be beneficial to give you a little insight into the types and sizes of my meals to present an insight into how much fuel I believe my body needs to succeed!

A typical sized lunch for me consisting of a big batch of boiled brown rice (hellooo alliteration! Say that 10 times fast! :)), steamed peas and corn, raw chopped tomatoes, a grilled veggie patty toen up and all topped off with a little Mexican salsa:
 Huge bowl filled with so much goodness and tastiness:
 And I specifically wanted to include this lunch because on this day I was more hungry than usual and after eating this grand-sized lunch I was a little peckish a short time after this!
 The fuel was going straight in and being used up immediately!!
 Now, I include this breakfast from a couple days ago because it was probably one of the biggest breakfasts I've had... ever and it did strike me halfway through eating if I could really eat all this:
 A big green smoothie made with frozen banana, frozen kiwi fruit, frozen zucchini, kale, sp;spinach and greek yoghurt with a side of choc protein oat truffles:
(I used oats, oat bran, cheerios and nut butter as well as the protein powder and cacao powder)
Post-blended smoothie:
Breakfast!
 I definitely did manage to finish the whole thing and was quite full but then, again, my tummy was grumbling again a few hours later for a big nutritious lunch to follow!!
 Energy in- burning it up!!
 And these truffles were just so, so good!!
 I'm using the Sunwarrior choc protein blend at the minute! So tasty!)

Finally I want to talk about this breakfast:
 You've all seen it before, numerous times, with different spreads inside and different fro-yo flavours to go with it but here's something you didn't know:
 When I first started making my beloved nut butter and banana toastie I could never for the life of me finish the whole thing and would end up leaving the majority of crusts. However, today when I made this toastie? I was still a little hungry after finishing it all. No I don't look too much different to when I first started making these, in fact I've probably leaned out and toned up a bit more with all the strength training I've been doing (not just straight cardio running!) and it's probably that extra work on building up my muscles that's been making my body scream for the fuel it so requires!
And I'm just so grateful that I am hungry. That I can eat a HUUGGEE breakfast and be just as ravenous as ever for a beautifully nutritious lunch. And that's the key here. Sure you can fill up on fried, fatty, cholesterol raising junk but I promise you that is not the food the body thrives on and if you want to restore the trust between you and your body and return to a beautifully functioning metabolism that burns through the fuel you give it- then eat the stuff it desires- wholefoods, good foods, nutritious foods.
This be me trying to hold up my camera after gaining those guns (doing some weightlifting :P)- the shakes were real people!!)

So I hope you all gained a little insight form this post and realise just how much fuel your body really needs and when you reach that happy equilibrium with your body, you too will be extremely happy to feel that rumble of your tummy telling you it's time for a feed!

Your turn:
Have you struggled with restrictive eating? I know I have!
Do you think your metabolism works efficiently? 
Do you ever look back and think of how your past self would lose embarrassingly to you in a food eating contest? I definitely do!!

I hope you all have a lovely, lovely day filled with happy times. Be aware of the good stuff that happens and smile, because those people who you accidnetally catch eyes with and they smile are the best people to keep around! Bye for now friendly friends!!

P.S. Eat something delicious!! :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

What I Would Tell My Younger Running Self...

Hello there beautiful people!
How are we all today?
Fabulous?
That's what I like to hear! (or make up in my mind as your response ;)

Now, today I would like to have a little d&m with both you guys and my inner self about some advice I would give to my younger, more naive, inexperienced, just-starting-out runner self. Because, let's be honest, we'd all do things differently when we first started running after all the trials, errors, injuries and problems we obstacle-hopped in our past.

So without further a do, this is what I would say to little 14 year old Steph; a newly starting out runner with a growing love for the sport, combined with absolutely zero knowledge of what she was doing (wow, didn't even mean to distance myself entirely from this girl- I just think I've come a long way since then I guess!).

1. Steph, you need to start out slow. Everyone does. It's just how running works. Do not get angry or frustrated then you get pooped after running for merely 3 minutes- you ran for three minutes straight- CLAP ON THE BACK FOR YOU! Celebrate all the little achievements you see- focus on them, not the negatives you 'think' you're experiencing!

2. Please, please, please, whatever you do, don't push your body to breaking point. Learn to listen to the signs and symptoms of your body crying out for a rest. Running for 3 days plus will end up wreaking havoc on your body. Notice fatigue and allow your body to rest. Rest days are essential- YOU. NEED. THEM. 

Your body needs them. Your mind needs them. if you want to continue loving running, you need them and if you want to stay fit, healthy and become a better runner in the long run (pun intended) you need to rest!!
3. Fuel yourself sister! No matter how long, or how tough, or what time of day it is- if you've just gifted yourself with a run, have a little something to eat!

In saying that, you're a teenager, a growing teenager who runs and needs extra nutrition and some extra kilojoules to keep your body fighting on. Don't be afraid of food- you need a lot of it! Eat a lot of it!

Today's post-run fuel (breakfast) of a big almost-empty-jar of crunchy PB stuffed with warm cherry cheesecake steel cut oats!

4. And I'll say it again, Steph, don't be afraid of food- if you're hungry it's just a sign that your body needs it, needs the fuel to properly recover and resisting that hunger can only lead to problems (think injury, colds/flu, mental unhappiness etc.)
 Feed the beast! I find big ol grilled sammies do the trick quite nicely:
 Stuffed with a grilled veggie patty, grilled eggplant, capsicum, mushrooms, tomato, spread with hommus and topped with kale- into a sandwich press for a few mins. et voila!
 Also, big fresh sandwiches work too!
 Or open faced sandwiches topped with hommus, avo and poached eggs with a side of cherry tomatoes and two deliciously sweet and juicy small oranges:
5. And on top of that Steph. You're a teenager. You're a teenage girl. You're a teenage girl who doesn't eat meat. You're a vegetarian, teenage girl, who runs. Girl- you got to get your iron in!!
 And the best way I can think of doing that is whazzing a big bunch of both spinach, kale and frozen zucchini up with 2 frozen bananas and a side of warm peanut butter granola for breakfast!
 I shall suffer through this 3 veg breakfast! (Boty this was so delicious!!)
 :)
6. And finally Steph (probably most importantly) one potato is not enough:
You need at least three different types, like in this bowl of goodness:
 Purple sweet potato, white sweet potato and regular baby potatoes roasted up in some olive oil and devoured cold for dinner.

Puuurrrrpplleee:
Ok, so maybe not the most important point for you, little Steph, but probably the most enjoyable when you let g of those ridiculous food rules of yours and just enjoy a big bowl of cold potatoes for dinner with a tall glass of soy milk and be happy with how it makes you feel :D!

Love yourself, love your body and love to run because I never want you to lose that love in place of something negative and energy draining- running is a blessing, let's hold it dear to our hearts for many, many years to come!!

Your turn:
What's the mos timportant thing you would tell your younger running self?
Favourite post-run breakfast?
How many potatoes do you do? ;P

I hope you all have a truly lovely day, think of all the blessings in your life, appreciate them and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS (your body needs it!) Bye for now friendly friends!! :D
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