Healthy Lifestyle Update #5

My weight has fluctuated this month which has been frustrating. Instead of having my usual cheat meal on a weekend before drinking, I have been having unhealthy weekends which are stunting my healthy efforts during the week. However even though my weight has been going up and down my total weight loss is now four stone and two pounds. Only losing two pounds this month isn’t great but reflecting and writing this update has given me the push to refocus.

Last week I went back to the gym and surprisingly my knee held up pretty well. I expected it to hurt a lot the next day but it was fine so I want to get back to going three of four times a week. Even though it has been a mixed bag for me month, I feel motivated to make progress at the gym and carry on losing weight. It has been nice to feel more confident and this weekend I bought some new clothes. Whilst I still don’t fit into everything in high street stores, it is nice to be able to walk into shops, see something I like and be able to buy it! It sounds silly but it really is refreshing!

I have three and a half months until I go back to university for my final year and I would quite like to lose another stone before I go back. It’s time to refocus and make the gym a habit and hopefully carry on making progress!

I have received some really nice comments from people in my personal life and other bloggers about how my updates have been helping and inspiring them to lose weight. I never thought that would happen and it is incredible to know my posts may be helping someone! I recently published a post discussing different healthy alternatives I have incorporated into my diet but thought I would give a few more general tips that may help anyone wanting to lose weight but not really knowing where to begin.

Track what you eat

You may be surprised at the nutritional content in foods advertised as healthy so keeping a diary of everything you eat can help you understand the science behind what you are putting into your body. Apps such as MyFitnessPal can be extremely helpful, allowing you to scan barcodes to quickly know the nutritional content of the foods you are eating. I tracked what I was eating for around two months using MyFitnessPal. Logging in each day was sometimes tedious but the app soon learns the food you eat regularly, speeding up the process. My iPhone also automatically synced my step count into the app which gave me a rough idea of how many calories I had burnt once I had entered my height and weight. You can also add in any other exercise you do and enter your weight at different points giving you a general idea of how you are getting on. Whilst apps can be helpful remember they aren’t 100% accurate so take the results with a pinch of salt!

It will take time

I remember seeing a picture years ago saying it takes one month for your friends to notice a difference in your weight loss, two months for your family and three months for yourself. This is surprisingly accurate as people who see you less will notice differences faster. We are always going to be harder on ourselves but remember changes won’t happen overnight but if you keep pushing forwards you will soon start to see progress!

Take photos to track your progress

When I look back at old photos I am shocked with how big I was. I have a long way to go but having old photos is a good reminder of how far I have come and can be really motivating to keep pushing on. Take photos at regular intervals so you can document how your body is changing, you will be surprised how quickly you start to notice differences.

Only weigh yourself once a week

It can be easy to become obsessed with the number on the scales particularly once you start to make progress. Your weight will fluctuate from day to day and know the number on the scales is not the be all and end all. Aim for feeling healthier and better within yourself and your weight loss should follow. However I do believe weighing yourself once a week can be a good guide to tangibly track your progress. I use the same scales each week when I wake up on a Saturday morning – make sure you weigh yourself on a flat, hard surface avoiding carpet. Keep a note of how much you weigh so you can track your progress over time!

Be realistic

Every person is different so finding the right diet and exercise balance for you will take time. I avoid carbs because it suits my low-energy job but others with more physically demanding jobs will need carbohydrates to keep them going throughout the day! Find what works for you and remember losing weight really is simple. Eat healthily and move a bit more and you should start to see progress! If you don’t feel like you want to go to the gym right away, start off with taking the dog for a walk or set yourself a goal of how many steps you want to do each day. Little changes will be easier to stick to and you can build up what you are doing over time. Also remember one unhealthy day won’t undo all your hard work so don’t be too hard on yourself!

Find out what works for you and stick at it, it will be worth it in the end! See you next month for another update!

4 Things I Have Learnt On My Placement Year

A conventional nine to five job might not be for me
My placement has been my first experience of a traditional nine to five job office job and whilst I have enjoyed my job and got on well with my team I don’t know if it is what I aspire for in the future. Knowing my placement is only for a limited time has been helpful on days when I feel unmotivated as I know I will be going back to university soon. However, the prospect of graduating and having a mundane office job where I sit at a desk all day staring at a screen fills me with dread. I still don’t have an answer when people ask me what I want to do with my life but I’m learning that I shouldn’t be in such a rush to figure it out. I have plenty of time to explore different avenues, make mistakes and learn along the way!

I want a job that incorporates creativity
I decided to begin blogging as my job didn’t have enough creative elements. Whilst I build websites with my team in numerous different languages there are guidelines we must stick to and our content management system has limitations with what it can achieve in terms of design. Blogging has allowed me to write content on different topics and I have been lucky enough to borrow a camera from my manager, learning more about photography. Trying new projects in my spare time has shown me I would love a job that incorporates creative elements. I would love to learn more about design with Photoshop and other programmes and continue to improve my photography.

I want to go travelling
I look forward to exploring different career paths in the future and hope to one day find a job that I love. But before I enter the world of work for good I’ve decided I would like to go travelling for a year or maybe more. I have been in education my whole life so I think embracing the freedom that comes with lack of structure or restricted holiday times will be exciting.

Every person I have spoken to has told me to go for it either saying they had the best time of their lives or they have always regretted not going. Realistically I don’t think I will ever get a better moment in my life to be able to go travelling. When I graduate I will have little responsibility holding me back. I haven’t made any concrete plans so far but I think Australia and New Zealand are on the cards with some stops around South East Asia as well. I would also love to explore some of America as I loved New York when I visited. For some reason the thought of having an apartment in Brooklyn and getting the subway into New York City each day sounds incredible!

A positive attitude is imperative
I have worked with a range of people over placement year from all walks of life who are motivated by different things. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is how valuable a positive attitude can be. In every job there will be frustrating aspects whether it be mundane admin jobs or software not working correctly but it is how you react to these situations that matters most.

In my second year of university I frequently focused on the bad aspects of my course allowing it to overshadow the parts I enjoyed and I definitely think my productivity and efficiency was affected. Being exposed to negative attitudes on placement year was a bit of a wakeup call for me. Moaning about something not working isn’t going to fix it. Arguing with people who cannot change the situation won’t lead to a different outcome.  I have become more aware of how my attitude can affect others and affect the motivation of my colleagues. Whilst some have called me naive and told me my positivity will fade over time, I hope I continue to take a more positive and efficient approach in my final year of university and into my career.

If you liked this post you may also like What The Interview From Hell Taught Me or Employee Of A Month!

Five Easy Healthy Alternatives

At the beginning of the year I set myself a resolution to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. So far I have lost four stone and have been discovering different alternatives to incorporate into my diet when trying to avoid unhealthy foods. Before I get into my recommendations, please can I point out I am not a nutritional expert by any stretch of the imagination. Everyone’s bodies are different so what works for me may not work for you! You should strive for a healthy balanced diet and remember everything is in moderation – it is okay to treat yourself!

Craving Pasta?
If you love pasta or noodles then you could consider swapping over to Bare Naked Noodles or Slim Pasta. These alternatives are high in fibre and low in calories and can be added to all different types of meals. The only downside is they are slightly more expensive than your normal pasta products but I have grown fond of them whilst pursuing a healthier lifestyle as they are filling and versatile.

Is Spaghetti Bolognese your favourite?
A lot of people enjoy a rich spaghetti bolognese or warm chilli con carne made with beef or pork mince but these meats can be high in fat. Try going for lean mince for a healthier meal! Another alternative is lean Turkey mince or Quorn. They can add a different flavour dynamic and are lower in fat and calories. Try different mince and see which is your favourite, you may be surprised!

Love a stir fry or a nice steak but trying to avoid oil?
It can be easy to forget that oil can add extra calories and fat content to your meals whilst adding very little to the flavour. If you’re cooking a steak you could try using Fry Light which boasts just one calorie per spray. However it does burn up quickly so you may find it easier to use when cooking at a low heat. Whilst Fry Light can be a lighter option I regularly use water as a replacement for oil. A small splash of water will stop most ingredients from sticking to the pan and can be great when mixing different herbs and spices. Whilst it may seem odd at first, try using water and see what you think!

Fancy something sweet?
I prefer savoury but everyone fancies something sweet once in a while. When craving chocolate or sweets I often reach for some sugar free jelly or Angel Delight with no added sugar. These low calorie options can be perfect for satisfying your sweet craving and with a number of flavours to try you can mix it up without getting bored!

Do you love bangers and mash?
Most people enjoy a sausage sandwich but sausages can be high in fat and full of unhealthy ingredients. I’ve recently tried vegetarian sausages and was surprised with how good they were! They cook very fast so can be perfect when wanting a quick and easy meal and are lower in calories and fat content than meat sausages. Whilst I wouldn’t have them all the time, every now and then they can make a nice, healthy change!

Do you have any healthy alternatives that you enjoy?
If you enjoyed this post you may like my Healthy Lifestyle Updates!

Lady Chastity and Bubba Gump

On Sunday my friends took me to London for a birthday surprise. We arrived at
midday and headed to Carnaby Street to look around a few shops and I finally tried Five Guys. Even though it almost cost my whole student loan just for a burger, fries and a drink, it was delicious. Plus they had one of those drinks dispensers which let you have whichever flavour you like. It’s ridiculous how excited I get over being able to add cherry or vanilla flavouring to my Diet Coke.

After lunch they told me we were heading to Clapham Junction for my surprise. We arrived and after a short walk ended up at a pub called The Four Thieves and my friends told me we were doing an escape room experience. We sat down and two men were walking around in old fashioned clothes staring at everyone. Shortly after, we were led upstairs and into a dark room where we told we would soon be entering the room that Lady Chastity died. We were told she owned a vineyard and had died in a fire after going mad and we had an hour to work out how to unlock the chest that held her last bottle of famous wine.

Lady Chastity

It was really dark in the room and there were a lot of creepy noises and flashing lights but it was so fun trying to work out each clue along the way. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to unlock the case in time so didn’t win the bottle of wine but it was great fun nonetheless. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone if they were visiting London anytime soon. You might be a lot smarter than us and actually be able to unlock the chest and win yourself a bottle of wine! Afterwards we headed back down to the bar to grab a drink and sit in their pub garden for a while before heading back inside to their games room which had a brilliant race car track and classic arcade games.

Once we left The Four Thieves we headed back to Waterloo and caught the tube to Leicester Square to go to Bubba Gump. My friends had told me we were going to London and I had begged them to go to Bubba Gump because it was my favourite restaurant in New York. My friends told our waiter it was my birthday so I had to stand up whilst all the waiters sang a song at the top of their lungs. I have honestly never had better service or food. Our waiter Harold was brilliant and we ended up staying in there for three hours making our way through their drinks menu.

I realised in London how much I love cities. When I was in New York I loved how busy and fast paced the city was and London is very similar. Everywhere you look there is something different going on and I feel like it would be hard to get bored there. When we finally came out of Bubba Gump and walked back through Leicester Square it was still packed and I loved how all the different lights lit up the square even though the sun had gone down.

It only takes me about forty five minutes on the train to get to London so I really should go more often! I’ll be going up in June for #BloggersBall and in July to see Beyoncé at Wembley!

What is your favourite thing to do in London?

Doughnuts Through A Macro Lens

A few weeks ago it was my birthday so I picked up a pack of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the office to celebrate and thought I would take the opportunity to practice with the macro lens with so many different colours and textures on offer. I have struggled with the macro lens as it is extremely sensitive to movement and it can be difficult to stay still when the camera and lens are quite heavy. After sorting through all the blurry shots and touching up a few of my favourite pictures on Photoshop I was quite happy with the final results!

Which doughnut would you choose based on the pictures below? 

Chocolate Chips Ben RedgellSugar Ben RedgellChocolate Doughnut Ben RedgellWhite Chocolate Ben RedgellSprinkles Ben Redgell

If you liked this post you may also like Things Got Weird and Getting Back Into Photography!

Healthy Lifestyle Update #4

April has a been a mixed month in terms of pursuing a healthier lifestyle and weight loss. It was my birthday so that meant I gave myself some time off and enjoyed meals and drinks with friends and family to celebrate my 21st. I have only recently got back on track so am currently still feeling slightly guilty for all the unhealthy food and drink I have eaten. However when I reflect on the month as a whole, I have eaten healthily and managed to continue the low carb diet. My total weight loss is now 4 stone exactly which meant I hit my fifth bag of sugar this month!

Five Bags Of Sugar Ben Redgell

This month I got bored of my diet, particularly with dinner. Cereal for breakfast doesn’t particularly bother me as I’m normally in a rush to get to work so grab a quick bowl then head out the door. Lunch always consists of salad which admittedly is really boring some days. Usually it consists of lettuce, baby spinach, tomatoes and cucumber – sometimes I will add chicken if I bother cooking it the night before but normally it is just the four main ingredients. Generally though I don’t struggle too much at work because I know I don’t have unhealthy options in my bag or in the cupboard that I can go grab, which removes the temptation.

Although dinner gives me the most options as I have the time to prepare what I like, I was preparing the same few meals most days which got a boring. I didn’t look forward to dinner, it was more something to get out of the way and to satisfy my hunger. Whilst my meals didn’t taste bad I was getting bored of having the same thing over and over again so I went out and bought a load of different herbs and spices which I have been using on a trial and error basis. My current favourite is paprika and garlic chicken or turkey steaks. My dad has also been helpful in trying to get a range of vegetables for me in an attempt to vary my diet. I have also been having fruit with yoghurt and a bit of granola chucked on top for pudding quite a lot which I’ve enjoyed.

Unfortunately I haven’t been back to the gym. I’ve wore my knee support for a few weeks and was icing my knee regularly and it has started to improve. But if I still overstretch it, bend it or put it in a slightly different angle it tells me off. I fell up the stairs the other day chasing my dog because I was going too fast and must have been at a funny angle and it gave way leaving me to faceplant.  It’s frustrating knowing I am paying for a gym membership which I’m not using but I don’t really want to go to the doctors because I feel like they will just tell me to rest it and ice it which I already know. If anyone has any good tips on how to get your knee back to normal that would be great! I think I need to stop being lazy and walk the dog more because at least then it will be moving and hopefully strengthen back up over time.

A mixed bag this month really. I still feel fat and its hard knowing there is a hell of a long way to go until I hit my goal but at the same time I know I am making steady and consistent progress and just need to persevere. I’m sure everyone gets days where they feel like this sometimes when trying to lose weight so I’m not worried. Some days I feel a lot slimmer and I loved being able to buy my shirt for my birthday in a 2XL rather than a 3XL. Oh well, onward and upwards!

See you next month for another update!

21st Birthday Celebrations

A 21st birthday in the UK is an odd birthday. In America, it opens up your world and gives you a lot more freedom to drink, gamble etc. but in the UK this happens at 18. However we still see it as a big birthday, almost like you are becoming an adult properly and eighteen through to twenty was just a practice run. It’s quite an odd day because in a way it holds little significance in terms of freedom to do new things; the only thing I can think of is being able to teach someone to drive now but on the other hand I feel like our westernised culture takes it’s cue from America and still sees 21 as a big milestone.

With that being said, I had a brilliant weekend celebrating with friends. On Friday I went bowling and out for a meal with my friends where we spent far too much money in the arcade. Also I came last at bowling so clearly they didn’t understand you are meant to let me win on my birthday. On Saturday I went on a night out and had everyone round for pre-drinks before meeting some of my university friends out. My friend’s mum surprised me with a delicious Nicki Minaj birthday cake and it was brilliant to have everyone together although I was not feeling fresh when I woke up on Sunday.
On Monday I went out for a meal with my best friend from university where we tried to eat a meal made for a family of four at Frankie and Benny’s but unsurprisingly we were defeated. The final birthday celebration was a trip to Thorpe Park. It was really quiet so there was no queuing times so we got off and walked straight back on to the Saw ride three times! Luckily, the weather was really nice and warm apart from a random bit of snow! Waller also did very well at all the kiosks so we made Hannah walk around carrying a stupid amount of toys all day.

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Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes and celebrated with me, it was a brilliant birthday! I guess now I’m 21 I need to get a grip on my life and be a “real adult”?