I never thought I'd be writing about this on here, it's not usually something I would share, but as we're here I might as well do it properly... so here's the list of things that I do to try and have a balanced and healthy lifestyle
1. Cut out most sugar and processed foods.
This is so hard, but its so worth doing... Thomas and I followed a pretty strict diet the first time we tried this and it worked really well. Major things we've cut out are: diet coke (ouch), white foods (bread, pasta etc), processed meats, ready meals, pre made sauces, most cereals and yoghurt (the sugar in these is unbelievable) and things like crisps, cakes and chocolate in our lunches.
Realistically, though a strict diet isn't 100% maintainable when you love chocolate, cake and eating in restaurants as much as I do, so rather than cutting out all sugary foods completely I...
2. Treat myself to one thing a day.
Whether its a cake, a chocolate bar, a pint of beer or even a sausage roll (oh pastry, you terrible temptress, why must you be so bad for us) I try and just have one of anything of these a day. I actually enjoy these things so much more now and I really look forward to choosing a treat each day - though I have been surprised by the number of times that chocolate has lost to other things (like picking a starter instead of a dessert, or a light fruit dessert instead of chocolate cake... who am I?!)
3. Eat lots of vegetables and drink lots of water.
I will admit that I find these really easy as vegetables are my favourite food ever (especially roasted, yum!) and I love water too.
4. Do an exercise I love, that makes me feel good and do it every day
I've tried lots of different things - running, step machines, aerobics... but the one thing I've always come back to is yoga and walking. Everyday I walk and every day I do at least 15 minutes of yoga and honestly, its the best feeling ever, even if I just do the one 15 minutes routine, I feel so much better for it. I think its important to love an exercise rather than making yourself do it - I never have to talk myself into yoga as I always want to do it, whilst running I have to build myself up for (even though I do enjoy running most of the time).
5. Find your balance for love - not hate.
One of the things I've realised with diets or exercise is that people hate their bodies - they want to get rid of the bits they hate - but hate is never a good motivation for anything, ever. And often, even if they do achieve their goal, there is still something else they hate, so they're never happy. Honestly, I'm just as guilty in doing this as anyone else and it's only within the last month that I've realised that I used to treat exercise and healthy eating as a punishment to myself rather than as a reward. Once I realised that, I started to make changes immediately. I started to treat myself, rather than completely deny myself anything. I also started doing an exercise that I loved, and that has made such a huge difference, both to my attitude and my results. All of a sudden my body is my temple because rather than forcing it to do things that made me unhappier, I'm treating it like the amazing thing that is is and not denying myself either.
I've slowly realised that if you really want to make a difference to find your balance and be healthy - then you have to do it for the right reasons. Do it because you love your body and because you love yourself, do it because you want to look as amazing as you are, not because you want to look better than someone else, or because you think you'd be happier if you were thinner. Do it because you deserve it, because you are amazing, and your body is equally so - it houses you, it takes you from one place to the other, it keeps you safe, it nourishes you and it - and you - are capable of more than you can imagine.