Well, what do you even know about that?

Ah, the amount of times I hear this whenever I talk to people who think I was just magically born fit.

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Newsflash, I wasn’t. Even though I have never been severely overweight, I sure know what it is like to try completing a run with 15 kg extra on my body. I know what it is like to crave something so bad that all you do is constantly look at the cupboard where you know it is hidden. And I for sure know what it is like to throw up of exhaustion after a workout session, struggle with every single thing in the gym, and feel like you are getting nowhere.

The treadmill has been my worst enemy for years. When I decided to go to the gym every day at the age of 19, I remember I told my personal trainer then that I absolutely hated the treadmill, and would never use it. It still has its limitations in my world, but he helped me find a way to efficiently use it to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. I was once also one of those ‘I don’t want to become big and bulky’ kind of girls, who wouldn’t do weight and relied on pilates followed by a bag of candy. Yeah, that didn’t work either.

I know what it is like to mentally argue with yourself to not eat that chocolate bar until it is Saturday, and I know what it is like to make excuses to stay on the couch instead of going for a walk or going to the gym. I can still remember how I, in high school, hated the feeling of putting the gym clothes I’d been carrying around all day on, to exercise, when I’d rather be at home watching Home and Away (yes, guilty pleasure right there), and I can remember the frustration of not seeing the number on the scale drop.

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‘It’s too hard to count calories, I wish I just knew everything like you do’. I don’t. Well, I didn’t. I spent a few months tracking the food I ate, estimating the amount of nutrients in various types of food, and learning how much I can eat of one good thing compared to how little I can eat of a bad thing. It just has to be done. I don’t count calories anymore, I don’t track my fat or carbs, and I don’t religiously control what I eat. But for a while, you might have to do that. It’s a learning process, and you need to trust that process. Trust that it works. The only thing I attempt to track is my meal frequency, my protein intake, and I always make sure I drink enough and eat enough fruit and vegetables. Every meal, every day. My favorite thing when I’m hungover is actually an apple. And then ice cream (but let’s not talk about that now).

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‘It’s hard to eat 4 healthy meals a day’. Excuses, excuses and more excuses. It is only as hard as you make it. Sometimes I cook my meals for the next day at 10.30 pm, whilst I’m so tired I could fall asleep in the frying pan – you need to make it important. Prioritize. Even if some of my meals literally consist of random vegetables and eggs in a box, it is still food. And you can’t always expect to eat gourmet meals on the run. Nutrition is important, no matter what it looks like.

My point here is, that I’ve struggled too. I’ve been annoyed, frustrated (still happens actually, true story), upset (yeah, we all know that story about how I cried when I’d gained 2 kg…), and I’ve argued with pretty much everyone about my way of eating and exercising. I’ve drowned in sweat, I’ve failed at eating the right food, had candy on a tuesday for lunch, injured myself a ridiculous amount of times, struggled to get up in the morning, tried quick-fixes, gone for runs with guys who run 50 times faster than me, I’ve been convinced that sit-ups were the right way to get abs, I’ve starved myself, I’ve overeaten, I’ve not listened, I’ve felt critiqued, and I’ve hit the wall because I haven’t listened to my body.

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But from all this, I’ve learnt to be healthy, happy and confident.

I have people say they want to look like me, and it is so important to emphasize that this has taken me a few years. My body fat didn’t just drop in a month, it has solidly been dropping a couple of percent every 6 weeks for over a year and a half. I’ve lost about 2kg or less every 6 weeks.  I’ve consistently increased my fitness level, and I’ve worked hard. In fact, I’m still working. There are still thousands of things I don’t know, which is why, even I, branch out for help. I still get so sore I can’t walk properly, I still look at myself in the mirror and see the same person I saw 2 years ago, I still die running intervals, and I still doubt myself from time to time, but I also know that I’m doing something right, I’ve never felt this healthy. Ever.

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When my clients tell me about nasty comments from boys, or negative friends who will try to put them down for trying to change their lifestyle, I can always relate. People don’t like it when other people do it better, or when other people try to change. Particularly if it means changing into the healthy gears, and not drinking alcohol every weekend, followed by a midnight-snack at McDonalds and a Sunday junk food binge. (The whole, ‘you have to live a little too’ tends to float around quite a bit).

And they for sure don’t like it when they see that the determination and hard work is starting to pay off. Particularly not if they know that whilst you have been out there working your ass off and making healthy decisions to get the results you want, they have been lazy, making excuses for themselves not to do it. Trust me, you’re better off ignoring those people. You don’t push your banana in their face, why should they push their crap food in your face?

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Ps. I had a ‘bad’ pizza (for the first time in several months), ice cream AND chocolate this weekend, and you know what, I haven’t put all that weight back on, indulges now and then are fine. Things take time to build up, and it takes time to break it down. That’s why we start building the summer body after summer, not right before summer.

 

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The difference between succeeding and failing

Warning; similarly to when I posted an entry about Australian guys, this entry might offend someone. Please remember that I’m often sarcastic, and don’t take everything I say deadly serious.

When it comes to being healthy, working out, and meeting our goals, some work hard and get results thereafter, others look for shortcuts, and see minimal results.

The difference between the one getting the results and the one barely getting results is that the ones with results never lie to themselves. They know if they’ve been eating bad or skipped a gym session, and will make further choices based on that decision.

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If a person getting results is out and about, and forgot to bring a snack/food, he/she will not go to the nearest fast-food joint to buy food, he/she will instead head to the nearest supermarket/health food shop/fruit shop to stock up on bananas, nuts, and other nutritious snacks. There is never an excuse for making poor food choices!

You will see a person getting results eating this

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not this

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when in need of a snack during the day.

Someone seeing results will find a way to buckle the cravings, i.e make dessert healthy, and therefore eat dessert every day. This person is also likely to have one bad treat now and then, because they know that one bad meal once in a while won’t hurt them. Treats 4 times a week, on the other hand, will.

A person with results will go for a run even when the legs feel like heavy blocks, just because it is Monday and Monday is the day to run. If the weather is bad, this person will find a way around it. There is never an excuse to skip exercise!

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The very same person is also likely to go for walks, happily take the stairs, and pay attention to the choices they make during one day. He/she will not make poor choices in the supermarket

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and will not eat a protein bar of 400 calories and a Boost smoothie packed with sugar and more calories than a normal dinner, after their workout, even if they want to. He/she will know that a banana and a proper meal is more than sufficient, and be satisfied knowing that they are nourishing their body properly.

He/she will also know that the fewer ingredients a product has, the better it is for you. And that the first ingredient on the list is what the product contains the most of.

It will be common knowledge that sugar, gluten, yeast and sodium are products we should try to refrain from to a greater extent, and that eating enough of the right food is important to be able to stay away from the bad food.

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The dedicated type of person, is also the kind of person to see results. My housemate has ankylosing spondylitis, in other words a chronic form (meaning she’s stuck with it for the rest of her life) of arthritis causing inflammation in the joint that joins the hip and the spine. She went from being super active to stuck in a hospital bed in no time, but is slowly learning to function again. Despite being very limited in terms of what she can do, she gets up at 5 every morning, rides her bike for 20 min to the gym, to either do rehab and stretch, go in the pool or do the limited amount of weights she is allowed to. If she can, so can you. 

A person with results will know his/her limitations. He/she will understand when to suck it up, and when to stay at home in bed. The rule is; if it hurts from the chest and down – stay at home, if not – sweat it out in the gym.

The person getting results will be ‘cheating’ with the food the person not getting results is eating on a daily basis. Your daily toast and bowl of pasta is my guilty pleasure once a month.

The successful person will know that dedicating time in the gym is only the start. Anything is always better than nothing, but the results most people want are not going to come unless a proper diet is acquired. Why waste your time on endless hours in the gym, only to come home and eat food that your body can’t use to rebuild what you just broke down?

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The person getting results will, however, also be the one understanding that everything has to be balanced. He/she will understand that it is all about the lifestyle change, not a quick fix or a temporary diet, that it is a journey in which he/she will fail, but learn from those mistakes and keep going. He/she will find a way to be healthy, get fit, but also ‘live’ their life. It’s never all or nothing, it’s about finding the way that works for you.

Foodie talks

That incredibly sad moment when you grab the wrong lunch box in the fridge. This

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was meant to be cauliflower-crust pizza. Yes, I was very sad.

Prepare yourself for a little bit of a food ramble. My life is hectic, I swear every hour of my day is booked, and I have now had to skip a day of uni to be able to catch up with uni assignments – oh the irony.

Anyway, when life is so hectic that you pass out at 9.15 on a Saturday night, all you can do is cherish your body (yes, pun intended). I may not have the time to cook healthy food for hours each day, so I make sure that I stock up on fresh produce, lean protein and fruit when I actually have some spare time. The dishes created might not have a name, come from a recipe or even be remotely exciting. But it is healthy, it provides my body with energy, and most importantly – it never EVER comes from a can, a box, a frozen package or a fast-food place. Cook your own food, know what you eat – stay healthy. It is as simple as that.

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Try reading the label of a can of iced tea, should only contain tea and water/ice cubes – guaranteed that the list of ingredients exceeds that, and it will be packed with sugar. What about a box of pre-made guacamole? For sure more than just avocado, lime, garlic and coriander. Or a can of tomato soup? High in sodium, high in sugar, high in preservatives – and very low in nutritional value and vitamins. Making your own soup takes about 10 minutes, search the internet, suck it up – and do it.

I normally never buy bread or crisp bread, but for the occasion of a tapas-night, I had to. Spent 30 minutes reading labels, trying to find a gluten-free bread with as little ingredients as possible, and boy was I surprised – the manufacturers add so much crap to bread! Most of us have tried baking our own bread, and we all know that there is no need to add apple juice or preservative A, B and C, to make a healthy bread. Just keep in mind that the food might not be healthy, just because it is labeled gluten-free, sugar-free and fat-free. Something else has usually been used to substitute those ingredients.

It is also fully possible to have a completely healthy girl’s night in (okay maybe ignore the chips and the crackers, remember; no one is telling you that you have to eat the bad food on the table).

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Because I very rarely eat carbs like quinoa, rice, couscous, and bread, this night may have made me look slightly pregnant

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On the note of preservatives. I’ve been testing pre-workouts due to my lack of energy in the gym. Bad idea. Pre-workouts are often added ingredients that no one should ever put in their bodies. Pre-workouts are, in fact, banned in Norway. (And so is any candy that is coloured blue, but that is another story). Let me demonstrate

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These pictures don’t even justify what happened to me, or what I looked like. Already in the car (10 minutes after I drank it), I told my boyfriend that my heart was hurting, and I kept scratching my skin. Got to the gym, looked in the mirror, and my skin was covered in massive red patches, and I was all flustered and dizzy. Also had pins and needles in pretty much every limb of my body. Even though it made me look like this at the end of my workout

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And let me burn this many calories

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I just don’t think it was worth it. No more pre-workout for this little Norwegian.

I’ve had a few days where I’ve either forgotten to bring dinner to work, or been too lazy

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The important thing is to note that this does not happen often, I dare say that 3 out of 4 weeks are close to perfect when it comes to my food.

I am a blog-nerd, and I’ve been reading health and fitness blogs for years, but it is not until I realized that the food and suggestions that they posted to their blog was what they ate all the time, that I understood how I could change my own lifestyle. I can’t remember the last time I ate ‘normal’ pasta, pizza or burgers, or the last time I had anything canned (as in meals, I use canned tomatoes, beans etc) because that’s just no longer a part of who I am.

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I went to Yong Green Food on Brunswick St this weekend, and had this healthy little gem

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No bad ingredients, no allergens. Happy Marita. Everything on their menu is healthy (and cheap), so I suggest anyone who has the chance heads there ASAP.

I often get asked about protein bars, supplements, protein shakes etc. My only advice is; buy the ones with as little ingredients and sugar as possible. Nothing that the supermarket sells! The only protein bar I can personally approve of is the Quest bars (you can get them from iherb.com, or a couple of health food stores in Melbourne), as they never leave me bloated or feeling sick. But remember, this is still a chocolate. 200 calories – about 20 minutes on the treadmill. If you are trying to lose weight, consider where you want to get those 200 calories from, what’s going to fill you up the most?

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Favourite flavors; white chocolate raspberry, double choc chunk brownie and cookies and cream.

My client, Julijana, has started mocking the ‘just do your repetitions’ face that I give all my clients when they don’t want to do what I’m telling them to

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As if you wouldn’t do another set of squats to that face.

I’ve also made a Facebook page for this blog to make it easier to keep up with posts and motivation for you guys 🙂

Should you not be sick of my endless writing yet, have a look at my article about Personal Training here.