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The importance of setting goals

One thing that I have learnt since I started taking my fitness seriously, is to never underestimate the importance of having a goal to focus on. Time after time I would aimlessly wander into the gym and do the same thing every day (cardio, of course) and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. I now know this was because I hadn’t considered a specific goal to focus on, and so I wasn’t working towards anything.

Since setting myself goals (both aesthetic and strength) I began to notice improvements with my body and mind. My long-term goals have been to improve my strength when lifting, strengthen my abs, and of course work on the booty. With these goals in mind, I started researching as to how I could achieve them. However, I do understand that it’s not as easy as that, with so much conflicting research it requires trial and error, but you will eventually find a way of achieving your goals that is best suited to you. With my long-term goals in mind, I will then make a mental note of what I want to achieve in the short-term to help my progress towards the goal e.g to deadlift/squat a certain weight.

If this method isn’t for you, you might consider setting yourself ‘SMART’ targets. This is a way to set a goal that encourages you to deconstruct your goal to make it more achievable;

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to think about the ways in which you can achieve it, measure your progress, and keep on the right track to reaching your goal whilst ensuring it is manageable. The key thing here is how you interact with your goal – it’s something that you should be investing energy and focus into.

I know some people may think that having a goal takes the fun away from getting fit and staying healthy, but I love how flexible you can be with your goals. They can be long-term, short-term, generic, or specific, the important thing is to have something to work towards which will help you to see those results! My experience is that a goal helps to keep me motivated as I’m so determined to achieve it.

Setting yourself a goal also has other benefits, such as providing you with a sense of achievement, and helps you to keep track of your progress by forcing you to see how far you’ve come – something we could definitely all acknowledge and appreciate more!

To wrap this post up, if you’re not seeing the changes that you want to get I would seriously recommend coming up with a long-term goal or area to focus your efforts on, then work out how you are going to achieve this by setting attainable short-term goals to keep you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – July 2018

What a fab month July has been (although slightly worrying that I’m halfway through my uni summer break already). I wish this weather will never end, as everyone is in such high spirits for once (so long as you don’t mention the World cup!)

I found some different goodies this month, so I hope there is something here that takes your fancy.

1) Marmite Cashews38152756_2082056911868557_620041695261622272_n

Don’t knock these before you’ve tried them! I personally am I marmite fan, however, I know you will either love it or hate it :’). I think the marmite goes so well with the cashews making them very moreish (marmite fans be warned). Whatsmore, they also have all the benefits of Marmite as it contains B12, folic acid, and niacin.

38036784_2082056688535246_8191318574179024896_n2) Kind Bar – Dark chocolate nuts and sea salt

I picked this up from Sainsbury’s as a pre-workout snack, and it was so good! What with all the protein and energy bars out there today, this one really stands out to me, due to it’s simple and raw ingredients. Each bar contains 5.6g of protein and over half the bar is made from nuts. I’ve tried the peanut butter one which is also just as good!

3) Deliciously Ella Energy balls38227006_2082057235201858_4958439228112371712_n

You can’t get more raw than this! These energy balls only contain six ingredients and with the most part being made from dates. They also claim to be a source of copper, which is good for energy levels and so they would make a perfect pre-workout snack. The pack consists of 5g of protein which isn’t much at all, but I think the main purpose is to provide you with energy as opposed to protein. In terms of taste, they are very rich and 6 is most definitely enough!

38001549_2082057661868482_7957675853674971136_n4) Women’s best protein bites

These remind me of mini grenade bites, and so I like them a lot! I haven’t actually tried any of the women’s best range, but these were so good! They are so chocolatey, so you can get away with having a few and still feeling satisfied. To me, these are a great alternative to chocolate as they are low in sugar and high in protein and plus the packaging is so pretty :’)

 

5) Ape coconut bites38195959_2082057771868471_2795826459027963904_n

These were purchased from Boots and they are unlike anything that I’ve tried before. The best way to describe them is like a crunchy, creamy crisp! In terms of ingredients they only contain coconut, tapioca starch, and sea salt, so no nasties lurking here!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

We aren’t all self-obssesed…

Probably one of the most important blog posts that I’ve written, and I think this is something that needs to be said. Along with the fitness lifestyle comes the association that those who dedicate themselves to living this way, are self-centered, self-obsessed, and vain. Here’s why this simply isn’t the case.

First of all, I feel that there are far worse things that someone can dedicate their time to, and a healthy lifestyle is by no means one! This lifestyle is seriously misunderstood, and although it may appear that going to the gym frequently, being mindful of what you eat, and generally investing time in your own health and wellbeing, is ‘self-obsessed’, I question if this really is the case? Arguably, a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming and requires a degree of focus, but I don’t feel this warrants a person being considered ‘self-obsessed’ for trying to become a better version of themself. This to me is a fault in our society, that we feel the need to comment on another’s healthy lifestyle just because it is different to our own.

Having taken my fitness and health seriously in the past two years I have seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to your life, not only do you feel physically energised, stronger, and fitter, but I feel this way of life does wonders for your mental health. Exercise is a proven way to help better manage stress levels, it can also act as a distraction from anxious feelings as during your workout you are essentially practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present and forgetting about any worries.

However, in truth, I think the stereo-type manifests from what people see online, and by this, I mean certain Instagram accounts. Admittedly, Instagram is full of ‘progress pictures’ posted by fitness influencers and accounts, which involve sharing the physical progress that someone has made. This is where I feel confidence gets confused with arrogance. I understand the importance of progress pictures as, depending on your fitness goal, the scales only show an increase due to the muscle mass gained (especailly if you are into weightlifting). Therefore, progress pictures make a great solution for this as they give you a physical reference to compare against to see how you are doing in relation to your goals. Moreover, when you live, eat, and breathe this lifestyle it can be very hard to notice your own progress as often we can become so fixated on a goal that we forget to recognise the milestones that we have passed. Below are two progress pictures that I took. The righthand picture was taken in my first year of university, and the lefthand picture was taken towards the end of my second year. If I didn’t take these two pictures, I wouldn’t have recognised just how much my body has changed over the past two years.

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Personally, I see no wrong in sharing your achievements through progress pictures when it comes to fitness, as it is so much more than an ‘arrogant’ picture, it’s symbolic of the hours of time and effort that someone has put into this lifestyle, and this should only be encouraged.

I guess the main point of this post was to give an insight into the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I feel this dedication should only be encouraged rather than tarnished as arrogant and self-obsessed.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – June 2018

Thank you, UK for actually giving us a nice summer this year! This is the first summer that I’m actually thankful that I’ve booked a holiday for later in the year, so to make the most of this lovely weather! Overall, June has been a pretty good month…and not a bad football score either (not including the recent match… still all to play for yet! :’)). Also, I’m currently on my summer break from uni, so stay tuned for some interesting blog posts. Let’s get into this months foodie finds…

1) Livias Kitchen Nugglets36357148_2012027658871483_2468014707953369088_n

Probably my favourite Livias kitchen product that I’ve tried! I love the raw chocolatey flavour that they have and that they have no refined sugars in them. They are coated in chocolate also, making them so tasty.  I would definitely give them a go if you are looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet cravings! If you’re looking to buy these, I got mine from Sainsbury’s, but Boots also sell them.

36224627_2012028325538083_1544847028532543488_n.jpg2) Tesco Naan Crackers

I am so obsessed with these things, and I’m not sure why as they aren’t exactly anything special :’) They literally are crackers that taste like Naan bread…I think it’s because I love the flavours of Indian cuisine (especially naan bread) so these were bound to be a winner from the start. I have tried both the multiseed naan crackers and the tandori crackers and both are divine. For £1.35 I would give them a go, and see if you become as obsessed as I am :’)

3) Pikelets36320218_2012027678871481_2544576571633565696_n.jpg

I had never heard of these before and had to give them a try. They are a cross between a pancake and a crumpet but taste more savoury than a pancake with the texture of a crumpet. Overall, I’d say they are very plain tasting but the concept is novel!

 

36258397_2012027892204793_3033838703165308928_n4) Hartleys Cloudy Jelly 

I saw these in Tesco and as the flavours sounded different I wanted to try them out! I picked up the raspberry lemonade and the elderflower lemonade flavours. My favourite flavour was definitely the elderflower one as it wasn’t too sweet, but both make perfect summery flavours.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Dinner, Recipies

Edamame Pasta Dish

I’ve recently become so obsessed with using pasta alternatives such as edamame or black bean spaghetti! I prefer it to whole wheat spaghetti, as it actually offers nutritional benefits such as 22g of protein per 50g (amazing!) plus it’s also lower in carbohydrates, with only 16g per 100g.  Also, it is gluten-free, vegan, and a great source of fiber! Basically, I have come to love the stuff and so I really wanted to share a yummy recipe with you all so you could give it a go too!

This dish is one of my absolute favourites to make because it is quick, simple, and budget-friendly. You can find the pasta alternative in most supermarkets such as Aldi and Tesco, if not you can buy it online from Holland & Barrett.

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Ingredients:

  • Edamame or black bean spaghetti
  • Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red or white onions (diced)
  • Garlic
  • paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Basil (fresh)
  • Olives
  • Spinach

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Method:

  1. In a frying pan sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes and fry for a further two minutes
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the spaghetti (this cooks very quickly, and so it should only take between 5-8 minutes
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to to the frying pan
  4. turn the heat down to a lower setting, and add all other remaining ingredients and spices
  5. Serve and enjoy!

(I also added mushrooms and mangetout to my dish!)

Macros:

  • 319 calories (per serving, sharing the mackerel between two dishes)
  • 14.9g carbs
  • 10.2g Fat
  • 31.9g protein

 

You can also add any other veggies to this dish such as broccoli or top the dish with avocado, which also works really well. I hope you enjoy this healthy pasta dish,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

My Weekly Food Shop

As Sunday is my get-sh*t-done day, I thought I would share with you what my weekly food shop looks like, so if you follow my Instagram (@jazzy_b_fit) you’ll realise just how simple it is to make the meals that I cook. As I’m a student, I try to keep the cost of things fairly low, and I’ll spend anywhere between £18-£25 per week which covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and my snacks. Typically, I do my shop in places like Aldi or Asda as you get so much more for your money. My shop this week came to £25.65, which also included some extras that I don’t usually buy. I try to do a balanced and healthy food shop full of lots of fruit and veg, and a few yummy treats of course ;).

I always plan my meals from Sunday to Sunday, as I find meal planning reduces food waste and is cost effective. This is my meal plan for the coming week:

Dinners:
Monday – Corriander-lime grilled tuna steak with avo-cucumber salsa
Tuesday – Garlic mushroom chicken quinoa
Wednesday- Spicy chickpea and quinoa bowl
Thursday – Moroccan red lentil and tomato stew
Friday – Mackerel pasta
Saturday – Leftovers
Sunday – Cashew and Chicken Stir-fry

I’ve broken my shop down into protein, fruit & veg,  snacks, and carbs.

Protein:

You won’t find any meat in this pesci’s trolley…only fish and vegan sources of protein here! The most expensive thing here is the tuna steaks at £2.99, but in comparison to meat this is so cheap, plus it contains a lot of protein. The mixed nuts are mainly for snacking on, as they are high in good fats and of course, protein.

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Veggies:

As you can see, a majority of my food shop is fruit and veg! As well as using this for lunch and dinners I will tend to snack on things like avocado on toast with chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.

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Fruit:

I think fruit is also great to snack on and makes a great addition to porridge. The lemon and limes are for flavoring up some of my mid-week dishes. This is typical of the fruit that I will buy on a weekly basis, as its relatively cheap and versatile.

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Carbs:

I will only buy grains and carbs when I need them, and this week I didn’t really need much. Although I’m looking forward to trying the edamame spaghetti which has 22g of protein per serving! I’ll use the bread as a post-workout snack with peanut butter and banana or topped with smashed avocado.

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Thank you for reading and happy Sunday-shopping,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – April 2018

April saw sunny weather, my first cheerleading competition, and lots and lots of uni deadlines. But, I still managed to find lots of goodies for you this month…definitely, a chocolatey theme going on this month! ❤

1) Tesco Dark Chocolate and Peanut Bar 31369537_1922746384466278_7023050850775859200_n

This makes the perfect on-the-go snack and is also a great post-workout snack due to the high-ish protein content from the peanuts. Compared to other cereal bars, this one is good in terms of sugar, containing less than 7g per bar. The flavour is really nice if you like that peanut and dark chocolate combo (which I definitely do), but it is very chewy.

31354662_1922745437799706_5028719251150602240_n2) Tetley Mango and Passion Fruit Green Tea

I love finding new summery flavours of green tea. I’ve tried so many but thought this flavour duo was quite novel. In all honesty, this just tastes like fruity green tea, nothing too special. However, it still makes a nice alternative to ordinary green tea.

 

3) Siro Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.31265279_1922746327799617_8837376084648394752_n

Amazing. I love that companies are coming out with more sugar-free alternatives, especially with things that you would least expect such as this! Considering they have no refined sugars in, I think they taste incredible. I love to crumble one on my porridge in the mornings as they are so good. I highly recommend these!

31381231_1922745734466343_4619370827316461568_n4) Rhythm 108 Praline Bar

I’m always on the lookout for healthier alternatives to chocolate, and this one certainly comes close. It contains 47% less sugar than your average chocolate, it’s also vegan, gluten-free, organic…basically everyone can eat this! I couldn’t taste the difference between this and a normal chocolate bar, seriously good!

5) Doisy & Dam Chocolate Snaps31434445_1922746417799608_7271810365808181248_n

Definitely saving the best for last. Wow. I know there has been a lot of hype about their chocolate, but I thought it was just another fancy dark chocolate brand filling the shelves. Most definitely not! I love their creative flavour combinations, this one was maple, pink salt, and toasted rice – honestly one of the best dark chocolates I’ve ever had. I will be getting another lot soon, as I ate this pretty quickly. Plus the packaging is so pretty too. Please give this a go!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

Yes, food really does affect your mood.

When you think about what effects your mental health, the typical answers are stress, self-esteem, and relationship issues, to name but a few, however, we often underestimate the impact that food has on our mental health. When you consider the science behind it and the growing evidence that food has a greater effect on our mental health than we give credit for, I think we could all check what we are fuelling our bodies with.

There is no doubt that what we eat has an impact on our mental health, this link has been proven repeatedly. A review of studies looking into the issue of diet and mental health found that regular consumption of a Western diet (a diet consisting of highly processed and sugary foods) increased the risk of depression (O’Neil et al., 2014). Moreover, a poor diet is proven to impact biological mechanisms that are commonly associated with depression such as impacting the immune system and altering the levels of certain brain proteins potentially leading to depressive symptoms (O’Neil et al., 2014). This further strengthens the link between diet and mental health.

Moreover, some of the factors that contribute to poor mental health, such as stress, have been proven to influence food preferences. For example, a study by Kandiah, Yake, and Meyer (2006) found that when participants were not exposed to stress they made healthy dietary choices 80% of the time compared to when participants were exposed to stress, which they made healthy food choices only 33% of the time. This highlights an issue, the fact that something like stress can lead to poor mental health, yet when we experience stress we tend to eat unhealthier options, also negatively impacting our mental health. Therefore, healthier dietary choices could break this cycle as evidenced by Ansari, Adetunji, and Oskrochi (2014) who found that when fruit and vegetables weren’t consumed on a regular basis, there was a greater association with experiencing more depressive symptoms for both males and females.

Although there is little research on a diet that has been proven to reduce the likelihood of depressive symptoms and promote better mental health, there have been studies conducted on specific foods. For example, the following foods have all been linked to better mental health when in their raw form; carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit (Brookie, Best & Conner, 2018).

I hope you found this an interesting read,

Jazzy B ❤

References:

Kandiah, J., Yake, M., & Meyer, M. (2006). Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women.  Nutrition Research, 28(1), 118-123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2005.11.010 

Ansari, W.E, Adetunji, H., Oskrochi, R. (2014). Food and mental health: Relationship between food and perceived stress and depressive symptoms among university students in the United Kingdom. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22(2), 90-97.

O’Neil, A., Quirk, S.E., Houseden, S., Brennan, S.L., Williams, L.J., Pasco, J.A., Berk, M., & Jacka, F.N.(2014). Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A Systematic Review. The American Journal of Public Health, 104(10).

Brookie, K.L., Best, G.I., Conner, T.S. (2018). Intake of raw fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental health than intake of processed fruits and vegetables. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(1). doi: https://doaj.org/article/956172bb66c747b1a3efbf9a4a4d9023

Blog

Foodie Finds – March 2018

Here are my foodie finds for the month of March. For me, March signifies the start of spring and better weather (not to mention the chocci easter eggs which I hope you’re all enjoying this weekend).

1) White chocolate whey ballsFullSizeRender

These are from Bulkpowders and are amazing! The best way to describe them would be like Maltesers, but with more crunch. I love how versatile they are, and they make the perfect sweet treat and taste great when added to porridge. They cost £10.99, but you do get 500g for this price, and they are so worth it!

download2) Fellow Sugar-free cola bottles

I always see these sweets flying around Instagram, and had to give them a try. Considering they are sugar-free, gelatine free, and gluten free they taste pretty good! The only difference I found is that they were chewier than standard cola bottles, which is good considering they are free-from just about everything! You can pick them up from Sainsbury’s and Holland & Barrett.

3) Belvita Soft BakesIMG_1914

Although definitely not the healthiest thing, I have always wanted to try these and I can’t deny that they taste amazing! It’s like a cross between a flapjack and a cake with a chocolate filling, and you certainly can’t go wrong with that.

 

IMG_3370[1]4) LoveCorn BBQ roasted corn

I picked this pack up from Sainsbury’s and was pleasantly surprised. The texture was a lot crunchier than what I thought it would be, and the BBQ flavour was so intense. Also, the company uses all-natural ingredients and the flavour comes from the spices that they use, so worth a try.

5) Halo Top Peanut Butter cup Ice creamIMG_3372[1]

SO worth the hype. I don’t know how they do it, but it tastes incredible! If you love your ice cream, I highly recommend this…plus at only 320 calories per tub, it’s guilt-free. I also saw they had other flavours like cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, and classic vanilla. You need to try this!

Thank you for reading and I hope you try some of these goodies,

Jazzy B ❤

 

 

 

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Foodie Finds – February 2018

My foodie find for February, 2018! This month sees lots of goodies (mainly cookies and biscuits :’) ).  I hope you enjoy ❤

1) Weetabix ProteinIMG_1257

If you’re a fitness freak who loves their Weetabix, then this is the one for you! The taste is exactly the same, but with added wheat protein making achieving those macros a lot easier. This tastes great with blueberries, banana, and peanut butter. Also, unlike a lot of cereals, this one is very low in sugar.

IMG_12992) Alpen Jaffa Cake bars

Jaffa cakes have always been my weakness …apparently, I used to hide boxes of them under my bed as a child, like a dirty little Jaffa secret! :’D. But Jaffa cakes and fitness certainly don’t go hand-in-hand, so I was very pleased when I discovered these. They’re only 70 calories per bar and actually taste like Jaffa Cakes.

3) Aldi Brown Lentil SupermixIMG_1267

I actually only picked this up as an alternative to Quorn mince, but really enjoyed it! It contains brown lentils, peppers, red onion, and tomato. It’s such a versatile product and can be added to any dish to up the micronutrients and the protein. Also, I love the fact that its pre-flavoured, making meal times that bit easier. I used this to flavour up my Buddha bowl, but I think this would also taste amazing in a wrap, too!

IMG_15384) Siro Sugar-Free Biscuits

 

These are like guilt-free hobnobs, what is not to like? Don’t let the fact that they are sugar free put you off…they are so moreish and make a great sweet treat. Also, I noticed this brand has some other fab sugar free foods such as cookies and digestives…count me in!

 

 

5) Quest Lemon Cream Pie BarIMG_1385

Personally, I find Quest bars so hit-and-miss, and this one was definitely a miss! It tasted like lemon bathroom cleaner, and so I definitely do not recommend this flavour! I think its best to stick to chocolate flavours where Quest is concerned!

 

 

IMG_14706) Battle Oats Protein Cookie

Amazing. This has the texture and flavour of a regular cookie and contains 10g of protein too #winning ;). It tasted SO good, you need to treat yourself to this!

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤