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Live In the Now.

Recently I’ve been thinking about my motivation towards university, as admittedly it’s been a lot lower than what it usually is. Although this doesn’t worry me, because I know my determination will see me through, it made me question why I feel the way I do.

The other day on my Instagram I read a quote which made a lot of sense to me;

If you are depressed you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious you are living in the future. 
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”


― Lao Tzu

I think there is a lot of truth in this, especially as I have been feeling anxious recently due to deadlines, dissertation uncertainty etc (all things which concern the near future). When relating this back to my own motivation levels, I think it can be said that I’m living in the future, instead of appreciating where I’m currently at. I’m so excited and ready for what the next chapter holds after uni, that sometimes it negatively affects how I’m viewing the present moment.

Living in the future is something I think we all do at times, especially if you’ve been in full-time education for what feels like a lifetime! As much as I have enjoyed my degree, I do believe that our education system encourages anxiety due to the silent pressure and expectation placed upon students to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives upon graduating. I’m very much somebody that when I have a goal in mind, it’s all I think about. Although this can have its benefits, it can also cause anxiety and a lack of appreciation for where I’m at now.

Of course, living in the future doesn’t just relate to education, it’s far broader than this. Every year most of set new years resolutions (goals which we believe will better ourselves or another in the future), we work hard and save for something we want in the future, we do so much to benefit our future selves.

But what about now? 

It’s so important to stop, take time out, and reflect where you’re at now. Having goals and a future incentive to work hard in the present is great for motivation but we have to know when to stop living in the future. A little appreciation for where you’re at now will go a long way! This is exactly what I’m trying to do – I have a clear plan for what I would like to do when I graduate, and I’m so excited to get to work on making this a reality, that I feel it’s becoming a distraction to what I’m currently trying to achieve.

Just live in the now – you never know what will happen tomorrow or next week and that’s the beauty of it. The future might not be all that it cracks up to be, and then you’ve set yourself up for a lot of disappointment, whereas right now we have the power to make each day exactly what we want it to be. Look forward to the future, cherish the past, but most importantly live in the now…

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Comparison – the thief of joy

I think this is something we are all guilty of…

It’s so easy to open up Instagram and compare yourself to the first person that comes up on your feed. You may not even notice you’re doing it, I think half the time this is something we do subconsciously, and then wonder why we don’t feel any happier after spending half an hour scrolling endlessly through our feeds.

For me, I believe social media is great depending on how you use it. Of course, you will feel like you’re not working hard enough on your goals if you’re comparing yourself to a model on Instagram who does this for a living. It’s no wonder social media will make you feel inadequate, in turn lowering your self-esteem and self-confidence. It begs the question, why do we continue to use it in this way?

I am all for social media, apart from its tendency to encourage self-scrutinizing comparisons. I think it’s a great way to connect with others and open yourself up to many opportunities, however, I do feel strongly about the way in which we use social media. By becoming more optimistic users I feel we could reduce some of the issues and feelings that Instagram and other social media can cause. For example, optimistic use could be using it to provide yourself with inspiration, motivation, and connectivity. When you know how to use it in the right way, it really can be an amazing community to be part of.

Moreover, I think another crucial step is to have a social media cull and ask yourself do the accounts that you follow make you feel good and provide you with motivation? If no – bin them, you don’t need the unnecessarily high standards on your timeline giving you ammunition to alter your self-image.

Yes, there will be days where you compare yourself, even to those accounts that you find inspiring, but I think this is an inevitable risk we take by signing ourselves up to social media. My main point here is to be aware of how you use social media, and if you need a break from it – take one. Ultimately, you are in control of the way social media makes you feel and that there are solutions to overcome this. We are all on our own journies, we are all doing enough, and we all need to focus on our own personal growth and stop the comparison. You are who you are, irrelevant of likes and followers, and you should embrace every part of you.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Overcome Homesickness at Uni

This is something that I really didn’t think I would experience.

I am so independent, and I couldn’t wait to get to uni to have my own freedom to live exactly the way that I wanted to live. BUT in the first few weeks, I felt so homesick that I seriously considered quitting uni altogether. I would get the train back home every weekend, and would absolutely dread it come Sunday when I had to travel back. It’s when you are put in a situation like this that you appreciate all the things and people that you feel lost without.

In my opinion, starting uni is one of the hardest things to do as you become so accustomed to having a long summer off, doing what you want when you want, allowing you to get somewhat complacent, then suddenly September comes and so many changes arrive all at once. It’s not just the moving to a new area, it’s all the things and loved ones you are forced to leave behind, the new friendship groups you have to make, getting accustomed to how uni works (making sure you don’t miss the dreaded 9am 😉 ) and getting involved with that uni lifestyle. On top of this, you have freshers week which as fun as it is, it is very exhausting …sleep deprivation and homesickness definitely do not go hand-in-hand!

To me, homesickness is not a sign of weakness and I think everyone experiences it to a degree when they first start. I think that is where half of the problems occur as people don’t know how to deal with it, and will often turn to other coping mechanisms (especially alcohol) in hope to overcome this, but that is the worst thing to do! I think it’s best to acknowledge it, accept it, and understand it – you will feel like this at times, it’s perfectly normal when going through a major life change such as this.

I’m now in my second year, and I haven’t felt like this at all! I always feel a little lost when I first start uni after summer, due to the extreme contrast of seeing loved ones every day and then suddenly once every three months…But I learned last year how to deal with these feelings and I’d like to share them with you ❤

1. Home is everywhere

If you truly look and are mindful of your surroundings then reminders of home can be found everywhere. I came to uni with stuff that would help me feel connected to home such as photos, ornaments, candles etc, anything that will make you feel grounded.

2. Stay Connected with your Family

I think students think when they come to uni they have to paint a perfect picture to their loved ones that everything is okay, but that is simply not the case. I certainly didn’t, I made it very clear to everyone how I was feeling and they all helped me so much and made me feel very anchored. My mum actually sent me up a mindfulness book to help me overcome this. I was always Facetiming my family, friends, and my pets :’). Use whatever social networking helps you, I used Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and these all really helped.

3. Talk to your flatmates.

Everyone is in the same boat as you! When I felt bad I would always talk to my flatmates about it. However, I think the key thing here, is that you don’t compare your experience to another’s – we all experience the same event differently, and just because someone may not be feeling as homesick as you, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel it at all.

4. Go home

Failing all of this, then go back home and visit those who you love! Touch base for a few days and you will feel so much better and refreshed on return. Uni will certainly make you realise how much you value your family and friends (and a nice home-cooked roast…make sure you binge on them before you come to uni because they will be very missed :’) ).

Although overcoming homesickness is mostly about finding what works for you, I hope you can adapt some of my tips to help you out! Uni is a great thing to do and it will open up so many doors and opportunities for you – make sure you enjoy every moment, as it will go by quicker than you think.

Thank you for reading, and I hope this was helpful.

Jazzy B ❤

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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 ❤

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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 ❤

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How to Stay Organised at Uni

Uni is 50% organisation and 50% hard work. If you manage to stay organised, and on top of essays, presentations, and exams…I can assure you, you will be fine!

What with exams only a few weeks away for most uni’s, I thought this post would be very relevant. It is crucial to stay organised, as there is so much you have to think about at uni, that it can get really overwhelming if you don’t. Although organisation can take some time to do, and feel like a chore at first, it soon becomes part of your routine. Also, the organisation helps you to work effectively which is definitely key when you’re trying to manage your time.

Here are a few of the ways that I stay organised at uni…

1.Plan your week

I do this using a desktop sticky-note app. I write down when my lectures are, what time I plan to go to the gym, and any other events or activities I have planned for the upcoming week. This really helps me to visualise what my week will be like so that I can allow extra time for things such as revision and coursework. As my lecture times are constant, I hardly have to update this so its a low maintenance way of staying organised!

2. Plan your mealsdiners

I discussed more on this in my post about how to stay healthy at uni, but I swear by it! I think there is nothing more important than a good diet when you’re wanting to perform well, and often round exams it can be a chore to spend time thinking about what to eat. To overcome this, I will plan my meals so that I know my body is getting the nutrition that it needs. Also, it’s cheaper to do this, as you’re not wasting food and you’re guaranteed to eat something healthy.

3. Write down all your goals before the week has begun

To me, this is the most important one, as it gives my week a sense of direction in terms of what I want to achieve. I also find this keeps me motivated, as I have a target that I can work towards. I will simply list all the things that I want to get achieved in the upcoming week. I list them all on sticky notes on my computer, so whenever I use my computer I’m reminded of what I need to do.

4. Make a revision timetable near exams

Call me the timetable queen :’) I’ve created so many of these, that I think I have an obsession.  Sometimes I’ll create a timetable of the content that I need to cover day by day, and other times I will create a more detailed timetable of everything I need to do in a particular time frame. The timetable below is the one I am currently going by to revise for my second-year uni exams.

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5. Utilise your uni breaks

Admittedly, the least appealing one here but, it will help you in the long-run! I’m not saying that you should do a 9-5 and study like crazy on your easter/Christmas break, however, you will feel more relaxed about things knowing that you have started to write an assignment due in, or started revision for an upcoming exam. It’s all about getting the balance between feeling refreshed on return to uni, but also having accomplished something to give you a head start for when things inevitably become more stressful.

Wishing you all the luck if you have exams or dissertations due,

Jazzy B ❤

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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 ❤

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How to Feel Confident in a Gym

I completely get that Gyms can be scary places at times. There is nothing more intimidating than when you’re first starting out, and it feels like everyone else around you knows exactly what they’re doing, how to work everything, and you really don’t. But everyone feels like this initially, the key is to keep going. I’ll be sharing my tips on what makes me feel confident in the gym so you can get rid of those pre-gym nerves.

1. Realise that everyone has an equal right.

I know this sounds very simple, but once I realised that everyone in the gym pays the same amount as me, it gave me a sense of entitlement. When I first joined the gym, I found myself only sticking to cardio machines, such as the cross-trainer and treadmill, as I felt self-contained and like I wasn’t going to get in the way of those serious ‘gym-goers’. Then I realised I’m paying the same amount as everyone here, and so I’m just as entitled to use everything. This also applies to those who feel put off by the weights section…just go for it and stand your ground!

2. Plan your workout.

I think half of some of the trouble is not that people don’t know how they are going to complete their workout, it’s what this workout will entail. I never step foot into the gym unless I’m completely certain of what my workout will be, and how many sets/reps of each exercise I’m planning on completing. This gives me a sense of direction and allows me to get the most out of my gym session, plus it takes some of the stress out of thinking what to do next, as it’s all there in front of you. Typically, I’ll write my workout in the note section of my phone so I can refer back to the same workout whenever!

3. Wear something that makes you feel confident.

This could be your favourite pair of gym leggings, or some new trainers, or anything else that makes you feel good and ready to complete an amazing workout. I’m not saying that what you wear will get rid of the worries you have about the gym, but it certainly will help in making you feel good! I believe if you feel good within yourself, your self-confidence will follow.

4. Go with a gym partner

So many people do this, and I think it’s a great idea when you’re new to the gym and still figuring out how everything works, and what machines work best for you. Despite offering many benefits, such as providing motivation and checking your form, a gym buddy can help you to figure out how all the machines and equipment work. Also, this one will help if you want to venture into the weights section.

4. Focus on yourself.

Don’t forget why you go to the gym in the first place. For me, I’m there to better myself, to improve my health and fitness, and to become the best version of myself – don’t let anyone get in the way this. I really focus on the quality of my workout when I’m at the gym, my form, and so many other things, that often I lose track of my surroundings and drown out what everybody else is doing or saying. Also, I know it may feel like people stare in the gym, but they might actually be taking inspiration from your workout – just be confident in yourself ❤

I hope this has inspired some of you to join the gym, if this is the reason why you have been putting it off, and for those of you that already go, to have an amazing care-free session,

Jazzy B ❤

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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 ❤