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.

What are you exercising for?

Some Norwegian blogger has stated that anyone who exercises and eats healthy is only ever doing it for the looks. Girls to be skinny, guys to be muscly. And I can, to some extent agree. It all usually starts with the desire to look good, never really to feel better, BUT as you learn what your body is capable of and how it reacts to various types of food, I dare claim that you keep doing it because of the way it makes you feel on the inside.

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Sure, these past weeks I’ve been as little motivated as you can ever imagine, but because I’ve found a way of exercising that I like, and made it a routine, I’ve still been doing it. New after I started working is less exercise hours during the week. I no longer do 9 sessions, but 6, as the cardio I used to do during the evening has been swapped for running after my clients all day long. I know what it’s like not being able to do anything, when all you really want to is to exercise. Knees, ankles, back, shoulders – you name it, been there done that, and it sucked. 4 months of only walking because the upper body didn’t wanna co-operate, but I still got out of bed and walked. Every day. Because I like the way I feel after moving my body, and I don’t like the way I feel when I know I’ve been dodging what I’m meant to do.

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I also know what it’s like to be 15kg heavier and dreading putting on tight clothes, and I don’t ever want to go back there.

IMG_4666So yes, a part of me is exercising and eating healthy because I want to maintain what I’ve worked so hard for. But the bigger part of me is exercising and actually loving vegetables because of the way it makes me feel, all I want is a well-functioning and strong body that is injury and pain free. Sure, I’d love to be able to do pull-ups (veeeery slowly getting there), and other cool Instagramable stuff, but if that means that I’m gonna go back to not sleeping because my shoulder joints are inflamed, then no. I’ve found a balance in my life, and I like it that way. Having that said, I had 3 cheat days this weekend, so yes – it is possible to not be healthy, even for me, and I kinda freaked out, but it didn’t turn me into the Marita that I was a year ago – all it did was give me bad skin and made me feel like shit, but there’s nothing a little bit of fruit and vegetables can’t fix, right (yes, I’m joking).

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Anyway, my little sister requested a cookie recipe.

Mix 2 eggs, 1-2 ripe bananas, almond milk (other milk/water), raw honey (not necessary) and PB2 or peanut butter. Add rolled oats, baking powder, sesame seeds, chopped dried figs, almonds (or other nuts), dates, a sprinkle of sea salt, raw cocoa, chocolate protein powder, cinnamon, cardamom and ground ginger. Form the dough (it’s meant to be a bit sticky) into cookies on a baking tray, put them in the oven on 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and voilá, soft, chewy cookies that probably won’t last more than a day because you will eat it all.

Silent killer MSG + knowing your nutritional needs

Do you find that you always overeat whenever you have tacos? Or what about that frozen pizza you thought you would never be able to get through on your own, all of a sudden disappeared? Or all those Pringles and Doritos, ever finished a bag of those on your own? I know I have. And not only once.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a salt, chemically converted into a flavour enhancer. It is found in most processed food, and causes both weight gain and obesity as it damages the appetite regulation center in the brain by causing leptin resistance. Now, leptin is a hormone that controls how much you feel like eating. When eating products containing MSG, the urge to continue eating never stops. In other words; you overeat, your stomach hurts and you feel sick. In a way, MSG fools the brain by enhancing the flavour of the food, making you think it tastes amazing. It stimulates the excessive release of dopamine, which creates a drug-like rush providing a tiny sensation of well being, and it is obviously addictive. Which is why you keep coming back for more, and end up eating too much. In this process, brain cells are also being destroyed. MSG has also been found to cause inflammation and abnormality in the liver.

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I’m actually surprised by the amount of products out there, containing MSG. It’s pretty much impossible to escape, and I do therefore suggest you buy REAL food and prepare it at home. If you try a period without MSG in your diet, and get used to the taste and flavours of natural food, you’ll instantly notice when you go back to eating it. The taste is so chemically enhanced, and you’ll just never feel satisfied.

Instant soups and gravy, spice mixes, salsas, dips, sauces, sausages, processed cheese, chips, gelatin, yeast food, supermarket-breads, taco-kits, frozen pizzas, pre-made burgers, most restaurant food, take-away.. The list is again, endless.

As with anything, tiny bits in moderation does no harm. But if you eat tacos three days a week, have sausages every Saturday, eat lollies every day, and throw in a frozen pizza for your hungover-Sunday, then you’re not really having small amounts anymore.

These ingredients always contain MSG:

Autolyzed Yeast Calcium Caseinate Gelatin
Glutamate Glutamic Acid Hydrolyzed Protein
Monopotassium Glutamate Monosodium Glutamate  Sodium Caseinate
Textured Protein Yeast Extract Yeast Food
Yeast Nutrient

And these ingredients tend to contain MSG:

Flavors and Flavorings Seasonings Natural Flavors and Flavorings Natural Pork Flavoring Natural Beef Flavoring
Natural Chicken Flavoring Soy Sauce Soy Protein Isolate Soy Protein Bouillon
Stock Broth Malt Extract Malt Flavoring Barley Malt
Anything Enzyme Modified Carrageenan Maltodextrin Pectin Enzymes
Protease Corn Starch Citric Acid Powdered Milk Anything Protein Fortified
  Anything Ultra-Pasteurized  

I can’t stress the importance of knowing/recognizing the ingredients of what you eat. Eating healthy isn’t hard, it simply requires a little bit of planning, a little bit of effort and a little bit of will-power. If you want it bad enough you will find a way, if not, you will find an excuse. Whenever I eat unhealthy food, my body reacts within an hour. My stomach aches and I feel SO bloated. It’s usually not worth it.

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I was starving on the go this morning and ended up buying a protein smoothie and a müesli-bar due to lack of planning. Put it into my ShapeUp-app and woooow, 1000 calories. In a large smoothie and a müesli bar. Hidden, useless energy much? You could eat ten bananas for that! It’s okay because it was just a once off thing, but think of those people grabbing that as a “snack” on their way to work every day. Been keeping track of my calories lately to sort of make sure I eat enough on the days I do double gym-sessions, and for a good reason too – yesterday I was 1400 calories BELOW what I should have been. Now I don’t want food to become a crazy obsessive thing in my life, it is what it is; nutrition, but I’m not gonna force myself to eat another 1400 calories on top of the 4 proper meals I’ve already eaten. If you’re full, you’re full. It’s obviously not good to deprive your body of 1400 calories every day, so I will try to increase my portion sizes instead.

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I also just wanna remind people that obsessively counting calories and checking your weight is not the right way to go about things. It’s a great idea to calculate the amount of calories your body would simply to stay alive, aka BMR and RMR; BMR is your basal metabolic rate (during wakefulness), while RMR is your resting metabolic rate (during sleep). You can do that here. This is of course only a pointer in the right direction. And instead of obsessing with what you weigh, get your measurements and body-fat recorded regularly, it is way more accurate and way more motivating when you see that changing! Remember; muscles weigh more than fat.

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