If you have been following me on Instagram and have paid attention to my stories, you would know that I started my Whole 30 journey last month. As, I am now a proud graduate it was only natural for me to share my journey, my learnings and of course the results with you all. 

I must admit that I started on this journey with a lot of trepidation. Diets have never interested me and the idea of restricting certain types of food has never compelled to the foodie in me. However, several of my friends tried this last year and they swore that it has completely changed their relationship with food. 

This intrigued me, since the last three years, I have noticed that my stress eating habits had spiralled out of control and no amount of Crossfit, yoga, running and walking was helping me. I admitted to myself that no exercise can outdo a bad diet or like in my case a slightly bad diet.

As I said, I do not have a bad diet as such; thanks to my women-only fitness group,  Crossfit box, an Instagram full of my athlete friends, health bloggers, coaches, yogis, bikini competitors and whatnots, I have managed to stay motivated with my workouts and 75% clean-eating. But despite all that I was not seeing the results, I was hoping for. I knew I needed to change something and re-visit my food habits. Enter Whole 30. 

So, what is Whole 30?

Whole 30 is all about eating real food. The program was created by wife and husband duo, Mellisa (Hartwig) Urban and Dallas Hartwig in 2009. They are certified sports nutritionists who first co-authored the book “It Starts with Food” in which they argued that all our health problems start with food and hence having a healthier relationship with food can help us to manage most of the conditions or even break away from bad habits. 

Whole 30 and how it helped me to overcome emotional eating

In the book (pictured above, yes I read it cover to cover), they clearly mention that Whole 30 should not be taken as a weight-loss diet, in fact, you should not even step on scale or measure yourself during the 30 days but really understand your relationship with food and how it might be affecting any issue you have. 

Now, my research (before starting this) also threw many critics of the program calling it too extreme, likely to affect your social life and random and bizarre grouping of banned food. (more on that later, fact-checked here). 

My friends who did this earlier swore that it has helped them re-define their food relationship, tame the sugar demon, manage stress and generally be happier. So, I weighed the pros and cons and as it is only for 30 days, I decided to give it a go. 

One key criterion to do this program is you have to commit for the entire 30 days, so if have a little slip or cheat day, you need to start from square one. So yes, there is no half-ass(ing) this one. There is a line of tough love in the book, “Quitting heroin is hard, battling cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee, black, is.not.hard”. Making this line my mantra, I powered through. 

What’s allowed and what’s not allowed in Whole 30?

The rule is to eat the above- mentioned items and food that are natural and unprocessed.

You can eat vegetables (even potatoes), meat, eggs, seafood, fruits, plenty of good fats from fruits, oils like olive, coconut, or avocado, nuts and seeds. 

You can also eat ghee (clarified butter, as milk proteins, gets destroyed in the clarification process), coconut aminos, green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas (as they are more of a pod than a bean), dates (exercise caution as they are high in calories) and vinegar.

You should completely avoid for 30 days the following things: 

  1. Sugar and sweeteners. Including the “healthy” options like honey, coconut sugar, agave and jaggery. 
  2. Alcohol (even for cooking) and tobacco. 
  3. Grains and pseudo-grains like rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, corn, buckwheat etc. 
  4. Legumes like kidney beans, lentils, peanuts (including peanut butter), chickpeas etc. 
  5. Soya or soy forms like soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy lecithin. 
  6. Dairy including cheeses, yoghurt, creams etc. 
  7. Carrageenan, MSG and Sulphites. 
  8. Paleo treats even if the ingredients are Whole 30 complaint. 

It is also advisable to not snack between meals if after a meal you feel like eating a sweet, ask yourself, should I rather eat another round of the meal? If the answer is yes, then eat another portion of the meal. If it no, then it is just a craving. Most cravings would pass within 3 minutes (this, in fact, is true, as I learnt). 

My breakfast was mostly eggs, nuts, a teaspoon or two of nut butter with fruit. Dinner and lunch was mainly chicken or fish with plenty of vegetables. For snacks, if I had it was a fruit or a date. I took my coffee with almond milk or black. 

That’s a hell-lot of Do’s and Don’ts is this even worth it?

How Whole 30 helped me to overcome emotional eating. Standing on a brown floor wearing purple leggings and blue workout vest.

ABSOLUTELY! I followed it to the T and I am so glad I did! In the Whole 30 book, the duo mentions that what we eat creates hormonal reactions which usually causes most of the conditions we have. 

To reiterate, my goal was not just to lose weight, but deal with the larger issue of stress eating, mindless snack (especially on sugary stuff). I also wanted to deal with adult acne (I have been suffering from this for the last 2.5 years), PCOS, thyroid, dysmenorrhea. I suffer a bad case of period pain; often I have had to call work sick, not go to the gym and eat Ibuprofen 3 times a day. While regular exercise has helped, I still depend on painkillers. 

Within 2-3 days, my skin started clearing (although it was hubby who mentioned it, I took it with a pinch of salt! but he was right),  my periods went unnoticed, I felt energetic (for the most part), did not crave chocolates and did not use painkiller even for a day! 

My clothes started fitting better, I hit several Personal Bests at Crossfit and I did lose weight. Overall, I lost 3.5 kgs and a whopping 9.5 inches. The weight loss might not sound big but the needle had not moved for me for over a year. 

And what about my relationship with food and general happiness?

Once the first ten days were done, I felt better, happier and less anxious (the Tiger blood mentioned in the book is real). 

The book mentions that on the tenth day, one would experience extreme tiredness. This was because the body experiences the worst of sugar withdrawal and the best way to combat this was to rest and sleep more. 

I have certainly become a more mindful eater. I read labels carefully and “listen” to my hunger signals.  If I am truly hungry I eat “whole food” instead of junk including the healthier ones like protein bars.  I do not know if I have really defeated the sugar demon but at least I can manage it better. 

My biggest win from this is my healthier relationship with food and not taking comfort in junk food/sweets, during stressful moments.  

Resources:

  1. Whole 30 website
  2. Whole 30 book
  3. Official Instagram
  4. Whole 30 recipes Instagram
  5. https://lifehealthhq.com/

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As a self-confessed shopping addict and fashion lover, I must say shopping for me is the greatest pleasure-seeking activity! I shop–when I am happy, when I am frustrated, when I have had a bad at work, when I have had a really good day and sometimes just because I can. The other day, after a cleaning spree, channelised by watching Marie Kondo on Netflix, I realised that I actually have clothes enough to fit a little town. This made me uncomfortable.

This discomfort is amplified when I read about how fast-fashion is destroying the planet. If you have been living under a rock for all these months and have missed these reports, here are some sobering facts:

These numbers are staggering and if the fashion industry and fashion lovers like me do not take this seriously, we would just end up contributing to this problem more.

I have taken a conscious decision that I would stop impulse shopping and only buy things I genuinely need. The key thing I would ask myself before buying a garment would be: Will I be wearing it at least 20 times? The other thing, I have promised myself is that I would restyle and recycle clothes. I am actually quite excited about the restyling element because it means really expanding my style creativity to come up with various looks without buying anything.

breton top style

So, this is exactly what I did whilst on holiday recently. Instead of buying “at least one new piece of garment for the holiday” I decided to restyle my old Breton (striped) top. This is an old one and you can see how I wore this few years ago (pictured above). Breton top is one of those classic style items which every woman should have in their wardrobe simply because they are versatile.

This time, I wore the top with a skirt and red boots both which I bought last year.

So, you see you do not have to keep buying stuff in order to be fashionable/stylish/trendy/happy. I know this promise to buy something only if I really need it, is going to be a tough one but I am determined to make it work.

And yes as I just showed you, you can be stylish and save the planet too because hey it’s the only one we got.

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked the post. Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter .

Running isn’t a sport for pretty boys (and girls)…It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. It’s the frozen spit on your chin and nausea in your gut. It’s about throbbing calves and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It’s about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with. It’s about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there’s not a single soul in sight to cheer you on. Running is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fibre in your legs, mind, and heart is turned to steel. And when you’ve finally forged hard enough, you will have become the best runner you can be. And that’s all that you can ask for.” 

From The Gift – A Runner’s Story, Paul Mercer

Basingstoke Half Marathon 2018 what running has taught me about life

I have never been an athlete or a runner ever in my life. Needless to say, I never thought that I would actually be able to participate in and finish a half marathon even in my wildest dreams. So, last Sunday (7th Oct) when I finished my first half marathon in a mostly hilly terrain of Basingstoke, Hampshire in 2 hours and 35 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised.

I have always liked doing things that are out of my comfort zone and running has always intrigued me. So, I took up this challenge of running a half marathon just to see what I am made of.

Last year, I took up running seriously. Earlier this year, I  started training for the Basingstoke Half Marathon. During this process, I realised that there is more to running than just putting one foot in front of the other; running teaches you a few important things about life and builds your spirit and character.

You can achieve anything as long as you are willing to work for it:

As I mentioned earlier, I am not a natural runner. Running was not just difficult for me; it was impossible. But hard work, discipline and sheer stubbornness to achieve something are the essential qualities you need to achieve anything in life just like in running.

Believe in yourself and be your own cheerleader:

You will have many naysayers who will try to bring you down, the worst naysayer could be your own negative voice. Cut it out, tell it to shut up! Belief in your self and that can do mentality is the first step to actually being able to do it. Life is a marathon and some of it will have to be done alone, so it is important to love yourself to love the process. Simply put, be your own cheerleader.

Basingstoke Half Marathon 2018 what running teaches you about life

Setbacks are inevitable but Perseverance pays off:  

Injuries, tiredness, a beaten up spirit, these are some of the things I’ve experienced in and out of running. Every time I found myself down (sometimes, despite my best efforts), I got up, dusted myself, healed and carried on. It was not easy but giving up would be have been worse.

Be Proud of your Body:

Like many other women, I have been conditioned to not love my body and be obsessed with its shortcomings—the mummy tummy, the cellulite, the scars. But when I had my daughter four years ago, I finally realised the enormous power of the female body. Its ability to split in half to push a tiny human being and to heal itself is truly wonderful. Training and running the half marathon has made me more respectable, loving and prouder of my body because you realise that your strong legs and an even stronger mind can literally take you places.

It’s Your and only you Race:

As adults, we love comparing ourselves to others and vexing ourselves endlessly. Sure, someone would be faster, better, have a more of runner’s body, is more successful than you but running teaches you that is your and only your race. Enjoy it, cherish it and make it worthwhile. Comparing yourself to others simply steals the joy.

As I said, Running teaches you a lot about life. If running has helped please share your story in the comment section.

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If you have been following me on Instagram, where I post-exercise videos and fitness tips on an almost daily basis, you would know that I am a proper gym rat. So when  #TeamAaptiv approached me to test their fun and convenient programs, I jumped at the chance for a much-needed change-up in my routine.

The training game can be a very lonely game, whilst most gyms offer umpteen number of classes, for me given my crazy schedule, it is not possible to attend those classes. Also, working out in a mirrored room packed with Spandex-clad people all trying to synchronise their moves to Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you, is something I would definitely pass.

Whilst I do not mind being the lone Wolf at the gym, I do admit that occasionally I need the motivation to give it my best, to keep going and just to learn new things. Enter Aaptiv, an audio-based fitness app that gives you a boutique fitness class right in your earbuds. Each “class” has a trainer who will take you through the programme and you can get the work out at a gym, home or outside with the touch of a button.

The Workouts—

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv has a range of training programmes that you can try from outside running, strength training, HIIT, yoga to meditation. Each category has plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced level athletes (that’s you gym rat!). Each plan is colour coded for your convenience—green is for beginners, yellow is for intermediates and green is for advanced.

I also liked the fact that they have both 10-15 minute programmes and 30-60 programmes as well. As I said earlier, the app is designed to get you going and having even 15-minute programmes which pump your heart in no time is essential. As a busy mum, this feature is my personal favourite, sometimes despite your best intentions you just do not have time. So, getting even 10-15 minutes of work out can help immensely. I am a big believer that training/exercise is the best stress-buster and therapy hence I make a point to do something even if it is for 15 minutes.

My favourite, however, was their meditation playlist. After a busy and hectic day at work, where I am usually fighting fire and doing other awesome things, my mind (needless to say) goes on an overdrive mode. And most nights, instead of getting a good sleep I end up twisting and turning, with all the thoughts in the world coming at bedtime. And let me tell you from experience: stupid ideas come from a tired, unrested mind.

Meditation is proven to calm oneself down, clear the cobwebs in mind and energise you from within. Problem is…well, it is not easy to keep still and reflect…at least for me. I have been trying to make meditation a regular practice before sleep but always fail hence Aaptiv helped me immensely in achieving this goal.

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv: a boon for new mums—

When I had just had my daughter, I found it extremely difficult to get any workout in for days (Getting grips on how to handle a baby, the tiny new person in your life is a challenging exercise in itself and there is no shame in accepting that). Aaptiv has a section designed especially for new mums—stroller workouts. Their stroller workouts are short (20-25 minutes), making it easier to squeeze one into a hectic day, and because they use the pushchair there is no need for a babysitter.

When my daughter was a baby, stroller workouts was something I did very regularly. Getting out, with your baby, even if it is 20 minutes helps both mum and baby immensely. We all know news mums risk getting postnatal anxiety and depression (i have been there) and it is important that new mums can get enough support to get this done in their new-changed lives.

In a nutshell—

Aaptiv, in a nutshell, is a great app to use if you are looking for motivation, new training programmes and new tips for fitness. My only criticism about the app is sometimes it is very difficult to understand a move when it is only told to you. Human beings like visual cues and if you are a beginner some of the instructions get lost in translation. But you can easily overcome this challenge by carefully listening to the instructions few times before fully understanding and executing it.  For £9.99 per month, you can become a member and access all the workouts without any limits. Unsure still about Aaptiv? You can try it for free with Aaptiv’s 7-day trial.

This post is sponsored by Aaptiv but opinions are my own.

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I have been MIA for quite a while and to be honest this time around, I really had more than few things on my plate. We moved to our new place (yiee to that) and almost immediately there was series of sickness but all said and done, we are now settling in and enjoying our brand new home. Before moving in, the hubby and I would spend most of our time discussing about interiors, how to do the rooms and other million little things about making a house, home. One of the key things, I wanted was to have little cosy corner by the window, where I can star gaze, read, write and get lost in my little bubble. However, considering I am a world of paradoxes I also wanted this cosy corner to have a vibrant, sassy feel to it. Enter: Modern Map Art. 

 

Modern Map Art was founded in 2016 by Jennifer Beck, designer and world traveller who wanted an avenue to combine her two loves–art and traveling. Jennifer plunged into this idea after returning to LA post her honeymoon across different cities and continents. The traveling not only increased her understanding of different cultures but a deeper appreciation of different cities. At that time, she wanted to turn this understanding and appreciation to art and thus Modern Map Art was born.

 

Oxford Modern Map Art

 

“I’m not an artist by trade, but I love simple design. World History is my background which helps to understand how cities are formed,” says Jennifer, the woman behind Modern Map Art.

Oxford Modern Map Art

Jennifer might not be a technically an artist but her designs definitely scream modern art to me. After a lot of thinking, I realised the cosy creativity corner at my home would be the best place to use Jennifer’s Modern Map Art featuring Oxford–one of my favourite cities in UK. 

 

Oxford Modern Map Art

 

Map Arts have a spirited and chic feeling to it. And if you are a travel lover who want to turn your travel stories into a keepsake, then it is certainly something you should consider to spruce up your room or office. 

Find out more about Modern Map Art or follow them on Instagram

Thank you Modern Map Art for Sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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