6 tips to help plan and commit to a healthy lifestyle

Working up to 40 hours a week or more can make it difficult to find time to work-out and make healthy choices. No one says it’s easy but there are things you can do to help yourself to make it happen. We can all spend hours making a schedule, some of you may even enjoy colour co-ordinating a pretty timetable, but what good is a plan if you don’t stick to it? At #FITGIRLCODE, we work with the fact that one rule does not fit all. Try applying some of these practices to your life that will enable you to plan and commit to a healthy lifestyle.

1. Meal planning

First things first. Still haven’t tried to prepare any meals or snacks in advance for the busiest days? Having a list of food that you need to buy when you go grocery shopping is the least that you can do but have lunch and dinners jotted down too. Buy ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes and make meals big enough to give you leftovers. That way dinner and lunch for the next day is sorted out. Get started with the art of ‘meal prepping’ which will definitely save you some time during the week. Of course, you have to plan time to work this into your schedule but doing it will create so much more space in your overall weekly schedule and will make it so much easier for you when the going gets tough.

2. Get a little help from your friends

Make a pact with your best fit friends that demands the first one to cancel on your workout, has to take everyone out for lunch. Getting other people to hold you accountable for your actions can be one of the best ways to change something that you don’t like. Agree on a forfeit that will encourage you to stick to your word, because integrity is important and we don’t want to be unreliable. Remember that your BFFF needs you as much as you need them, they will keep you going when you want to quit and you need to be there to do the same for them. If you do decide to cancel and not to go, your friends might then decide to give the workout a miss too!

3. Stop prioritising

“Madness,” you say. “I’d explode. There is simply too much to get done!” Prioritising is often encouraged but exercising is likely to keep getting moved down on the list of your priorities each day when you have a busy schedule and responsibilities where other people depend on you. It is recommended by the World Health Organisation that adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 times a week (read more here). This is something we have known for some time, so why do we keep prioritising other things before our health? Treat all tasks equally because being healthy is your responsibility to yourself and those around you in order to perform everything else.

4. Book a ‘workout appointment’ one night before

The weekly schedule you currently live by has probably been established for some time so its no wonder that a new 5 day work out plan is difficult to stick to. Our lives are busy enough otherwise we wouldn’t need to plan to work out, so it’s important not to overwhelm yourself by looking too far ahead. Each night, a least two hours before your head touches the pillow, check your schedule for the next day. Just like you would do if you were making an appointment at the dentist or the with the doctor, see where you have time to ‘go’ (either to the gym or at home) and enter it into your calendar. Then, don’t look at it again until the morning. Once you have done this, pack your gym bag and put it in the car or beside your jacket to grab on the way of the door the next day. Scheduling your appointment well before you go to bed may also help reduce thinking about it as you try to get to sleep so you don’t dwell on all the other things you think you should do tomorrow instead.

5. Minimise Your Options

Decide one activity, class or exercise and one time slot to do it. When planning your day it might seem like a good idea to have back up plans when things don’t go how they were was supposed to, but I think doing this ahead of time actually provides you excuses to not commit to what you set out to do. Having no plan B emphasises the importance of plan A. When activities have a fixed place in your day so you know exactly when it is going to happen and you can tell others around you; this potentially increases the chances of things going according to plan! Put minimising your options into action a different way by changing into your work out clothes soon as you get home before sitting down on the couch. Taking a break to recharge is a good idea but if you change into clothes that you can exercise in, it means working out isn’t just an option but your plan A.

6. Define what a healthy lifestyle means for you

A healthy lifestyle is not purely setting time aside to work out 4 times a week and choosing to bring carrots sticks and humus instead of cookies for an afternoon snack, it is a way of living that promotes optimum physical health. Acknowledge that making more movement part of your daily life, is essential for healthy internal organs and well being. In the past humans hunted their food but now the most that some of us walk is from our house, to a car, to a desk and to the bathroom or kitchen between times. Thinking about how often you are stationary throughout your day may encourage you to realise that a brisk walk after work for 30 minutes is actually essential, rather than optional, to keep your body functioning properly. If you really don’t have a solid 30 minutes spare then there are lots of opportunities to make a healthier choice every day. Think about how you travel to work, could you take the stairs rather than the escalator or get off of the bus a stop early?

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Life is unpredictable so we need to nurture our mind as the tool to cope better with a busy schedule rather than a back up plan. Striving to adapt your attitude when the unexpected occurs will allow you to become resourceful and creative in getting your heart rate up one way or when all of the above fails. The ability to do this will also mean that you can say yes to an impromptu dinner date with friends, because this is part of a healthy lifestyle too. Making your mind flexible will help to avoid the ‘on-the-wagon’, ‘off-the-wagon’ mentality because your body is the only wagon to take you on your journey called life.

4 everyday habits that make your boobs sag

Gravity is a force that sadly can’t be reckoned with, especially when it comes to boobs. Small or big, they won’t stay the same forever I’m afraid. But there are a few every day habits which could be speeding up the process. Breast tissue ages two to three years faster than the rest of your body so you might want to quit any of these habits that are impacting the perkiness of your pair! 

Some people just have damn good genes when it comes to boobs. But whether they’re big or small, they’re mostly made of fat on top of your chest muscles and supported by your skin. It’s then down to the collagen in your skin that keeps it supple and this affects how much it creases and stretches over time. This is why collagen is one of those words banded around all of the time in adverts for anti-wrinkle cream! It make your skin appear ‘younger’ because the inevitable is, with every birthday your body naturally makes less of it. So even if you’re like me and part of the, “my boobs aren’t small, they’re low in fat” crew, boob droop is as much about your skin as it is about the volume of your boobs so listen up.

1. Crash Dieting

Yo-yo dieting which leads to big fluctuations in weight in a short period of time can leave the ladies empty. When you lose a large amount of fat (the filling of your boobs) without giving your skin the time to adjust and shrink with them this could result in your boobs feeling empty. Gradual weight loss reduces the chance of this and moisturizing your body all over, every single day will help keep your skin hydrated and elastic so that it’s easier for the skin to bounce back.

2. Wearing an unsupportive bra

So many people wear a bra that doesn’t fit them properly. The more that your boobs are moving around daily, the more the skin is strained to keep ’em in place. Dainty lace bras might be the latest fashion trend but if you’re going to be moving around then it’s probably not the best style to wear as you’re skin will be doing the job that the under-wired bra was invented for. When it comes to working out, did you know that your boobs actually move in a figure of eight motion when you run?! So yes, running and other high impact exercises that involve jumping up and down cause extra stress to the skin but don’t think that gives you an excuses to stop with those jump lunges just yet Fit Girls. Oh no. The benefits of exercising really outweigh the cons and keep you healthy and youthful in other ways. The solution? Get yourself multiple sports bras that make you feel extremely secure and minimize the ladies jumping too!

3. Smoking

It can’t be avoided mentioning when talking about premature aging of the skin. An effect of smoking is that it decreases the blood flow to all parts of your body. For your boobs, let’s just say this means that the skin is less well nourished as less blood is going to the skin’s surface increasing the rate at which it ages!

4. Sun exposure

An elderly woman who looked at least 20 years younger than she was, once told me the sun was a woman’s worst enemy. That sounds extreme but she chose not to sunbathe for most of her life, revealing this to me as THE secret to youthful skin! Exposing the skin on your chest to UV rays without sunscreen stretches out the collagen and leads to extra sag.  Now I’m not suggesting that you stay inside all through summer or jump from shadow to shadow when the sun is out but leaving your skin unprotected from sun’s rays will damage your skin. Not to mention of course that you might get burnt and then the damage is more than aesthetic.

Get to work on your pair by trying Yola’s boob boosting exercises to help keep your pair perky. Fit Girls take care of their body in every sense of the phrase, it’s just not about what your boobs look like. So if you’re guilty of any of these habits, it’s probably time you ditch them because they’re not doing your health much good in other ways! 

Meat balls with couscous

In my search for lunch box recipes – as an alternative for the daily sandwich lunch, I would like to share these meat balls with couscous with you which is also suitable to have for dinner. It also reminds me of that one time in work where I had to sit on my own in an empty office with the window wide open as the smell of garlic reached all my colleagues. Ah well, I promise you, these balls are tasty to the max!

Meat balls with couscous

  • 2 portions
  • preparation: 20 minutes
  • cooking: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    • Ketchup, 1 tbs
    • Handful of parsley
    • Paprika powder, 1 tsp
    • Cumin powder, 1 tsp
    • Bread, 1/2 slice
    • Minced beef, 200 g / 7oz
    • Olive oil, 3 tbsp
    • Chopped tomatoes, 230 g / 8 oz in tin
    • 1 Medium tomato
    • Water, 90 ml / 3 fl. oz
    • Couscous, to serve

Process:

  1. Put the egg, onion, half of the garlic, ketchup, parsley, paprika and cumin powder in a large bowl.
  2. Soak the bread in water, then squeeze to drain. Break it into small pieces and add to the bowl.
  3. Mix in the minced beef until it is well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Wet your hands and form small balls from the mixture.
  5. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over high heat, then carefully add the meatballs.
  6. Fry the meatballs for 3 minutes on each side, then remove from pan.
  7. Place the tinned and fresh tomatoes, water and the remaining garlic in a saucepan.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Gently place the meatballs inside the saucepan and bring to boil.
  10. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare coucous according to the instructions on the packet.

In your lunchbox arrange a layer of couscous and top with a portion of the meatballs.

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~ Enjoy Your Meal ~ Eet Smakelijk ~ Bon Appétit ~ Selamat Makan ~

~ Njang Swietie ~ Itadakimasu ~ Tom Ka Kung ~