Sunday, 28 April 2013

I've got Soul, but I'm not a soldier...

Dorothy Perkins blouse // Warehouse trousers // Topshop shoes

Say hello to my Topshop sale purchase - these pretty new pointed, studded flats! What more could you want in a shoe? Seeing as the British summer is still playing hide and seek I paired them with trousers and a plain white blouse for a casual shopping/dinner date with Gordon. I bought a long black blazer in Primark on the day and chucked it on to smarten up the outfit for dinner. After much deliberation we ended up eating at Soul in Aberdeen...

Soul is a restaurant/bar/casino set in a grand old looking church on Union Street and is definitely an interesting setting. This was the first time I'd ever stepped foot in the place, even though I'd heard good things in the past. It's quite dark inside, with lighting from candles and the bright stained glass windows decorating the walls. The music seems loud at 1st but then it is technically a nightclub so what do you expect? Before we left the loud music was replaced by an acoustic guitar playing singer which was a million times better! Anyway, I started with a peach(?) Bellini and the baked camembert which was tasty, despite the massive calorie count (oops). Gordon had duck spring rolls - I had a bite and they were so good!

For main Gordon had the Soul Burger with bacon, which looked gorgeous! I went for the pulled pork skillet - it wasn't what I expected, but was so much better! The pork was honestly amazing, although there was far too much for me. It could probably of fed 2, if not 3 people. But oh my god it was good. I'd definitely recommend trying it, just don't have a starter first! We had no room for pudding so washed it all down with a classic Cosmopolitan. My fave! The staff were friendly and we were really pleased with the service and atmosphere overall - so much that we might pop in again next weekend!

If you get a chance you should really try the food at Soul :)


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Health Kick - Update #2

Something I've had to tell myself many times over the years!

This weeks lunches...
Smoked salmon with cottage cheese & salad on sweet chilli ryvita // warm quinoa salad // peanut butter & banana on toast

Try to have a good variety of foods for your lunch and plan ahead if you can! I've sickened myself of smoked salmon already so only had that one day this week. On my day off I prepared the quinoa salad which I'm still not quite sure if I liked or not but had 2 days in a row anyway. And the banana and peanut butter on toast? That was a "quick, grab anything!" kind of day. It was probably my favourite lunch of the week though haha. Leftovers from the night before are ideal for days like this so you can still be good without the effort of preparing anything in the morning.

Beef stew with broccolli, cauliflower & red cabbage // (world's smallest piece of) lemon sole with sweet potato fries & peas // clean chicken enchiladas // what was meant to be an omelette

If you can prepare meals that will last you more than 1 night, that's a definite boost. I made the stew and the enchiladas on nights that I had no exercise classes, when I had plenty time to cook them, so that I could just reheat them the next day when I can't be bothered to cook after kettlebells! This week I also attempted my 1st ever omelette, which as you can see, was a disaster. It tasted ok so I suppose it wasn't a complete fail?

Cucumber & Morrison's Nume reduced fat Piri Piri houmous // American goodies

Snacking has been my downfall this week - my mum and dad are just home from America and arrived with arms full of chocolatey peanut buttery goodness! Despite my unhealthy take-away end to the other week I still got good results at my PT weigh in on Wednesday, but I'm not sure I'll be so lucky this week after all those M&Ms.

Exercise has played a good part again this week - kettlercise on Tuesday, personal training on Wednesday, swimming on Thursday and the gym on Friday and Sunday - so hopefully it's helped to combat the sugar overload!

How's your week been? 


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Health Kick

Since my clean eating post last week I've seen loads of healthy/exercise/diet blog posts floating around, along with heaps of instagram pictures etc - it's been great for my motivation! If it's helping me then I figure I'm as well carrying on with my health kick updates, and hopefully they'll keep others motivated too! I'll start of with my diet (by which I mean my daily intake of food, and not "I can't eat that cake, I'm on a diet"). I've tried to keep up with the clean eating as much as possible but I'll admit I've not been perfect. Sorry in advance for the not so pretty pictures, they really don't make my meals look appealing.

Sunday night was smoked mackerel with sweet potato fries and brussel sprouts - minus the bloody fish bones it was a decent enough feed!

Monday night was cajun spiced chicken breast with brown rice and asparagus. Probably one of my favourites but Gordon moaned about the "plain, dry rice". Hmph.

I promise this is much tastier than it looks! Turkey, flavoured with paprika, with "savoury quinoa" and broccoli. The quinoa is basically savoury rice, but obviously with quinoa instead! I prepared a big batch on my day off so it just needed heating up. I took the leftovers to work for my lunch a couple of days (handy for busy lives eh) and got a few workmates hooked on it too.

On Wednesday I had the time to make some veggie chilli (swap the mince for different types of beans!) and served it with brown rice again. For some reason I decided to make it fatty by adding cheese... oops. So good though!

My sister had given us some of her homemade sweet potato and bean burgers so we had them on Thursday, on wholemeal buns with salad... and ruined with nachos. Oops. Again. It seems I get worse as the week goes on. On Friday we ended up getting a calzone and chips from our local take-away, but I did redeem myself last night by using up the left over bean chilli - this time served as burritos!

As for the exercise I've done pretty well, if I say so myself! I had last weekend off work so spent Saturday morning at kettlercise, Sunday in the gym, swam a mile on Monday, Kettlercise again on Tuesday night, had a personal training sesh on Wednesday, dragged my ass to EPIC on Thursday, had Friday off (too busy stuffing my face with takeaway!) and then did my personal training "homework" on Saturday night. And of course there was the usual daily dog walk. Phew!

So far I've gained 2lb of muscle and lost 2lb of my overall weight. My body fat percentage dropped from 30.6% to 25.9% in the space of a week, which I'm pretty chuffed with! Fingers crossed everything keeps going in the right direction.

Have you been exercising this week? What was on your menu?


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Clean Eating - My 1st Attempt

In my last post I mentioned that I was on a bit of a health kick. I had my 1st meeting with my personal trainer on Wednesday, which was a bit scary but exciting at the same time. To keep costs down, myself and 2 workmates had decided to do it together. The training is less personal as its divided between the 3 of us but we all have the same goals at the end of the day - to lose fat and build muscle! - and we can help each other through it. We didn't get any training done on Weds cause we spent so long going through our weight/body fat percentage/metabolism etc and discussing diets (we really don't shut up - I don't think he knew what he was letting himself in for!). I still got loads out of the session as I now know what I should be eating and when. The other plus side of doing PT with my workmates is that we can help each other to avoid the biscuits in the staff room! Anyway, this diet chat got me thinking and I've decided to give this clean eating thing a go. Rather than a diet, where you are point/calorie counting, clean eating is basically a mantra that revolves around eating only natural, unprocessed foods - such as fresh fruit & veg, whole wheats and lean cuts of meat, such as chicken and turkey. I'm not saying I'm going to stick to it 100% (not sure where I'd even get almond butter?) but I'm going to try my best to stick to the main rule of this lifestyle.

I think I now have a better understanding of what my body  needs in the nutrient side of things too. Obviously I'll get a lot of the vitamins and minerals I need from the fruit and veg, but I need to make sure I get enough carbs too. Carbs are essential to give my body energy - so I should eat enough of them to fuel my day, rather than cut them out all together. Swapping white bread, rice and pasta for wholewheat varieties will make sure I'm getting the right kind, and eating them earlier in the day (breakfast/lunch) will allow me to burn them off as I go about my day! Protein is needed to repair the muscles that are 'damaged' after working out, and the best way to get this is by eating poultry/fish, so I'm going to try and use them in my evening meals. Quinoa is a wholegrain which is rich in protein, so it'll also be used later on in the day as a substitute for rice.

I'm going to try and make evening meals that are made up mostly of protein (chicken/fish/beans) and fresh veg with only a small portion of carbs. This is proving to be a hard task for me because most of my meals usually revolve around pasta, rice or potatoes - and usually covered in some sort of unhealthy sauce or gravy! I've stocked up on veg but find they can be quite boring and tasteless without sauces, so to keep my meals as natural as possible I'm going to try and use different spices and seasoning for flavour. Hello, my name is fiiive spice!

Cottage cheese is commonly used in the clean eating lifestyle, but I decided to go for Quark instead. Quark is a soft cheese which is ridiculously low in fat (thumbs up!) and is also richer in protein than carbs! It has a bit of a sour taste but if you like cottage cheese you'll probably get on just fine. Apparently people also mix it with milkshake powders, such as Nesquik strawberry flavour, and eat it as a fat free alternative to yoghurt. So far I've had it with salad and smoked salmon and quite enjoyed it.

My fruit bowl is filled so I can have my usual banana and stawberries with breakfast, and snack on grapes and apples. I've also been having cucumber sticks dipped in low fat houmous as a snack and I bought my 1st ever grapefruit today, which I love! Grapefruit is full of antioxidants and vitamin C and has been proven to lower cholesterol, so I think I'll buy them more often! 

And there you have it - my very 1st attempt at shopping to eat clean! The key is to make sure all the items have as minimal ingredients as possible - for example on the back of the smoked salmon packet, it says "Ingredients: Salmon. Salt, Sugar." Not quite perfect, but close enough. And definitely avoid anything with ingredients you can't even pronounce! Hopefully by doing this along with exercise I'll see some good results. I'll be trying to keep my blog up to date with my progress and maybe do a weekly round up of my meals so keep an eye out for that! If you have any tips or advice on eating clean, or just a healthy lifestyle in general, then please do let me know :)

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