One Year, Five Stone

If you follow me on Instagram you will have recently seen a photo I posted showing myfive-stone-weight-loss-ben-redgell weight loss progress I made in 2016. It hasn’t always been easy but I am pleased with the progress I have made and I’m looking forward to carrying on losing weight in 2017.

I think the New Year is a great time to reassess your habits and set new goals for the year to come. When I went back to university in September my healthy eating didn’t go to plan as much as I had hoped but the new year has given me new motivation to get healthy, drink more water and go to the gym a lot more. My graduation is likely to be in November and I want to look the best I can so I can look back at photos and be happy with the way I looked.

I have decided to stop eating carbs again which I did for around seven months last year and saw great results. Instead I will fill up on lots of fruit, veg and meat. I may try and introduce porridge to my breakfasts to give me fuel for the day but I don’t particularly like it and am enjoying smoothies at the moment!

I’ve also decided to seriously cut down how much Diet Coke I drink; I can easily go through a big bottle a day and have decided it’s time I need to cut down. I began this a bit last year and I started getting a lot of headaches when I began cutting down which showed me I might have been addicted to the caffeine more than I thought. Instead I will be switching to water or squash and only drinking Diet Coke as the occasional treat or when I drink alcohol.

If you are considering losing weight or getting fitter this year I would say go for it. Skip the fad diets and work out what works for you. In my mind losing weight is simple, avoid processed foods and opt for healthy options and do a little more exercise and you should start seeing results. But I know it isn’t easy and it takes a lot of will power and self control to choose healthy options, particularly if others around you are eating unhealthy foods.

Set yourself small goals that are achievable. If you have followed my blog or instagram for a while you will have seen that I like to measure my weight loss in bags of sugar and it was extremely motivating to track the progress I was making in a visible way.

I would also advise taking a picture of your beginning weight, even if you are never going to share your progress, just so you can see for yourself the progress you have made. I never thought a year ago I would be sharing progress pictures of my weight loss but I am a lot happier and confident today!

Finally I want to wish you good luck! Why not see if you can lose a bag of sugar this year?

If you liked this post you may also like Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or My Clothes Were Making Me Fat

 

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Healthy Lifestyle Update #7

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I weighed myself the other day and realised I hit my sixth bag of sugar meaning I have lost over 30kg! My current weight loss stands at four stone, twelve pounds and I’m excited to shed two more pounds so I can hit five stone!

I feel like I am back on track with my diet and gym routine now but have recently decided to make a few changes. After chatting to my housemate about my current structure of strict weekdays and weekends off, I realised I was letting my weekend get out of hand, cramming in as much unhealthy food as I could manage before going back to healthy eating on Monday. I’m worried this is really slowing the progress I could be making so I’ve decided I am going to allow myself three cheat meals over a weekend giving me room to have a nice breakfast, lunch and dinner! Hopefully this should stop me going mad and eating everything in sight.

I’ve been having loads of smoothies recently in the mornings for breakfast using bananas, smoothie-over-carbs-ben-redgellfrozen raspberries and blueberries and any other fruit I can get my hands on. I’ve also been introducing wholemeal pasta and noodles into my diet which taste exactly the same as the usual offerings. I still drink a lot of Diet Coke which probably isn’t great for me but I will face my addiction one day and cut down (but today is not that day)!

I’ve been going to the gym with my friend Liz who has shown me a load of new sets to try which focus on my arms and abs. I also asked my Dad to search the garage for the old weights we used to have which he sent down with my sisters when they came to stay so I can use them on days I don’t go to the gym.

All in all I am feeling really positive going forward and cannot wait until I can say I have lost five stone this year! I’ve been thinking about how much more weight I would like to lose before the year ends – ideally I would love to hit six stone but that might be over ambitious but I can only push forward and see where I end up!

To keep up to date with all my over-edited healthy food pictures you can head over to Instagram and find me at chinsnomore. Or if you prefer twitter, my username is also chinsnomore!

Have a great day!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy My Typical Workout or if you’re interested in veganism head over to my friend Laura’s blog: My So Called Vegan Life

 

 

 

 

My Typical Workout

I have finally got round to signing up to the gym which I can use whilst I am in my final year at university and thought I would tell you about a typical workout. I’m excited to get back into the gym again but if any of you have advice on anything I should add in or how I could get more from my workouts I would love to hear!

I should probably begin by setting out what I hope to achieve from going to the gym. When I first signed up the guy setting my gym program asked me what my goals were and I simply said to lose weight but I realise now it goes a little bit deeper than that. I would of course like to carry on losing weight, particularly around my chest, stomach, hips (love handles really) and thighs. I also have worried in the past that I would get excess skin from losing weight so if anyone has any advice on how to prevent this then that would be great! I think losing weight at a sensible weight and doing a range of exercises and weights should help to prevent too much loose skin but if anyone is more of an expert please let me know!

I would also like to improve my strength at the gym, in particular building muscle in my arms. It sounds silly but I think I already have fairly big muscles in my legs (at least in comparison to my arms) because I was carrying around so much weight when I was a lot bigger. But there is still definitely room to improve, and I would like to lose weight on my legs and build my strength – particularly because I sprained a ligament in my knee this year and it still sometimes hurts or aches.

So with that in mind my current workout usually consists of the following:

  • Warm Up – Walking on an incline for at least ten minutes, usually increasing the steepness as more time passes. Before I came to uni I was slowly beginning to introduce running, running for one minute, then walking for two which was hard work but wasn’t as bad as expected – I was worried about how my knee would cope. I like to get up to 100 calories minimum in my warm up (I know they are only guides on the machine but it’s nice to have something tangible to measure a workout).
  • Weights – After I’ve warmed up I then used a number of weight machines, two that focused on legs and six that focused on arms. I would do 15 reps in a set and make sure I did two sets on every machine.
  • Cardio – I would normally always use the cross-trainer to get my cardio in. I like that you get into a rhythm and it wasn’t too intense on my knee. I would generally do 200 – 400 calories worth depending on the time I had.
  • Warm Down – Walking on the treadmill, beginning on an incline and slowly reducing the steepness until I am walking on flat ground at a slow pace. I would generally do around 50 to 100 calories for my warm down.

As you can see I like to measure my workouts in calories so I can have an idea of how much I have burnt. I would generally warm up for just over ten minutes, spend fifteen to twenty minutes on the weights, twenty minutes to half an hour on cardio and then ten minutes warming down. I normally always like to make sure I burn at least 400 calories in a workout with weights on top – thinking about it I have no idea how many calories doing weights burns!

I haven’t been to the gym properly now in over a month but am excited to get back into it and begin my usual routine. I think I may also get another program set to see if the trainers suggest any new machines to try! If you have any advice, comments or even good gym playlist recommendations I would love to hear from you!

Also let me know if you enjoyed this post because I may include more posts like it in the future! In the mean time you may also enjoy Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or my most recent Healthy Lifestyle Update!

Have a great day!

Healthy Lifestyle Update #6

When I look at old photos of myself, I can’t believe I let myself get that big and there is no one else or anything to blame other than myself. Whilst I still have a long way to go, I’m happy with the progress I have made and am determined to keep going. My end goal is still my graduation in 2017 which gives me roughly a year to lose weight and tone up.

After finishing my placement I had roughly a month off before I came back to uni and my eating and diet definitely suffered without a structure. Working each day meant I had breakfast, a snack bar, my salad for lunch and dinner each day and it was easy to follow. Going to the gym after work also became part of my routine and meant I was going three or four times a week. However as soon as I finished placement I got lazy and let myself have far to many days off from eating well and doing regular work outs.

I’ve been back at uni a week and as expected went out a lot so didn’t pay much attention to what I was eating. However I am back on track this week and will be signing up to the gym as soon as I get my student card through so should soon be feeling like I am making progress again soon. I’m worried about final year at university too. I’m not in uni regularly and instead have to manage all my work so I will need to be careful to ensure I don’t let uni work become an excuse to skip the gym. As long as I am organised and committed I should be able to work out regularly and get my uni work done.

I’ve also made a few changes to my diet after chatting to my sister and a couple of friends. I’ve begun reintroducing carbs to my diet and have bought brown rice, wholemeal pasta and couscous to have with my evening meals or salads. I don’t regret being strict with myself for the majority of my year because cutting out carbs, junk food, cheese and other unhealthy options did work. I think the shock did me good and going cold turkey stopped me slowly slipping back to my old ways. But that isn’t to say I haven’t fallen of the wagon a few times a long the way! I didn’t expect it to be plain sailing and I’m sure the next year won’t always be perfect either but I’m back on it, I’m back blogging and am excited to throw myself into the gym and carry on changing my body for the better!

So hopefully the next few months will see me writing about the progress I have made and maybe I will post more about my diet and workouts along the way? If you don’t follow me already, you can find me on Instagram at chinsnomore where I post a lot of my meals if that is something your into!

If you liked this post you may also like to read about my weight loss tips or five easy, healthy alternatives I use in my diet!

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!

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!

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!