Days of our lives

Or my life, at least. Thought I’d give you a little look into what my oh so glamorous life looks like these days, simply to prove my point of how easy it is to exercise and eat right if you prioritize it.

This picture pretty much sums up my predicted future.

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But let’s talk about right now. Planning is the key. I always make sure I buy enough vegetables and fruit, this is what last Sunday’s shopping looked like. (I also got eggs, and I’ve got turkey, chicken and fish in the freezer).

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I’ve been starting my day at 5.15 to either go to boot camp or to the gym, looking feisty and fresh as I do so well. Week 7 of boot camp was hell, and my body felt so heavy, I was worried it was gonna stop moving at one point.

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I’m then typically in a hurry and have about 45 minutes to do all that necessary girl stuff before I have to leave the house again. Breakfast at 7.30 (usually eaten whilst putting make up on or packing food for the rest of the day) – porridge of rolled oats, water and cinnamon, topped with a banana, peanut butter and whatever else I can find in the kitchen, a boiled egg, and omega-3 and magnesium pills swallowed with water. Oh, and some green tea – if I have time.

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After a couple of hours at PTA Global, I’m hungry again, and it’s snack-time. My go-to-snack these days have been cookies made by mixing an egg, pb2, almond milk and a ripe banana with oats, coconut, almonds, a couple of vanilla stevia drops and chopped figs and nuts. And I’ve gone carrot-crazy, pretty sure I eat about 5 a day, if not more.

Followed by more information about the world of exercise comes lunch. This week has been full of salads as I roasted sweet potato, normal potato, pumpkin and carrot and a couple of chicken breasts in the oven to keep in the fridge when quick fixes for food was needed. Never a meal without dessert, I always keep fruit nearby.

IMG_5165That lunch box was topped with spinach, avocado, mango and cucumber after the picture was taken.

At PTA Global we do a lot of exercise throughout the day (duh, it’s personal training, can’t demonstrate or learn without moving the body), which requires a little bit more energy for the body to make it to the afternoon gym session. Coconut water (the ones without added sugar of course) and another piece of fruit has been my thing the past week.

Considering that I’m already wearing workout clothes (and if I’m not too tired to function from the morning session), I travel directly to the gym again. Push through a sweaty cardio session, and straight home for dinner.

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A sweaty Marita means a hungry Marita, and the tuna-crust pizza I tried the other week has for sure become one of my favourite dishes. Try mixing a bit of curry powder in the pizza base. No tuna flavour, guaranteed.

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After a bit of showering and stalking people online, I do of course need dessert (yes, again), and a protein smoothie is never wrong. Frozen blueberries, banana, protein powder, almond milk, cinnamon and coconut – can never go wrong with all of that in one mix.

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I also make sure I drink about 3L of water a day.

Rather than my 9 usual gym sessions this week, I ‘only’ did 7. By the end of friday my body felt like a heavy bag of sand, and I figured there was no point pushing it beyond that. I also shortened down my evening cardio sessions, and sadly missed going to body balance. My leg session on friday before my fitness instructor practical assessment was, however, magnificent. I haven’t done a high-rep leg day in ages, and it was good to be reminded that light weight and many repetitions kills too – I’m still sore.

Oh, and I’ve had a few dinners looking like this ..

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I guess I’m once again trying to prove that it doesn’t have to be difficult to stay healthy. No one has to go as crazy as me, but I know that I don’t like doing weights in the afternoon, so I’d rather pass out at 9 every night to be able to get up early and get my usual morning session out of the way. Yeah it’s been tiring, and yes it has required me to pre-pack my lunch the night before, but I feel so much better when I eat right and exercise.

Right around the corner from PTA Global, they have Prahran Health Foods, and that place is like heaven. They have everything! Even the wraps I’ve ordered my dad to send me all the way from Norway! I’m not an advocate of protein bars, but everyone keeps talking about the famous Quest bars, and I’ve never bothered ordering them from iHerb because you have to order like 12, and I’d sort of like to taste one and see what they are like before ordering an entire box, but I’ve never found one in Melbourne. Prahran Health Foods had pretty much every flavour, and I’ve gotta say, I’m impressed. I hate the whey protein taste, and I do in general not like protein bars, but the Quest bars actually taste nice. They are the best protein bars I’ve ever tried, and the ingredients are a lot better than that of what you’ll find in a normal supermarket. Having that said, I still think you should reach for a banana or another type of fruit when in need of energy. There’s a reason why they’re referred to as protein chocolates.

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But honey, you need a little bit of sugar

Yes you do. The natural kind. Not the kind found in candy. Not the kind found in your artificially, processed cereal. And not the kind found in your soda or orange juice. You need the natural sugar, or glucose, that your body makes from the food you eat, such as fruit, complex carbs and vegetables.

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Author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and DiseaseRobert Lustig, explains that sugar is addictive. In humans, fructose (commonly found in artificial and processed food) lights up the reward center in your brain called the nucleus accumbens on MRI; however, after repeated exposure, the reward center lights up less and less, and you will be needing more and more to achieve the same effect. Fructose has effects on the reward center similar to alcohol; and can implement a “vicious cycle” of consumption and disease. Thinking of chronic diseases, evidence links sugar directly to heart disease, type 2 diabetes or cancer.

But fructose is found in fruit?!?! Yes, it is. But fruit also contains magic amounts of fiber, making the fructose harder to absorb. Little amounts of fructose is not dangerous, large amounts is, as it may overload your liver being consumed and absorbed at once – and we do not want that, do we?

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Discover good nutrition compares natural sugar to artificial sugar:

An average orange has about about 3 teaspoons of natural sugar and a cup of strawberries has less than two teaspoons. And on top of that, you’re getting 3 grams of fiber, a full day’s worth of vitamin C, antioxidants and some folic acid and potassium – and it’ll only cost you about 50 or 60 calories. By contrast, a 0,5L coke will set you back about 225 calories and, and will for sure not be supplying any antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or fiber. You’ll simply be enjoying carbonated water, artificial color and flavor, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 grams of added sugar. So what sugar did we say we wanted again?

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Line, my fellow Norwegian, highly enjoys her sugary poison and would probably never give up her treats. But she recently decided to give up sugar on weekdays. It has been a week and she has succeeded, claiming that this will continue next week too. She says it was hard the first days, but found solutions to the late night snack cravings; smoothies, bananas, other fruit, loads of chewing gum, and homemade granola. Accidentally putting candy in her mouth mid-week, thinking it was sugar free, put a little nervous breakdown to display, but she concluded “it didn’t count”. Has she noticed any benefits? The initial candy cravings disappeared after a few days. “If I can do it, anybody can”, she says.

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Now, my rule is having a candy-day once a week, Line’s is more.. quitting it Monday-Thursday. But we all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

We know where the obvious sugar is found, but for some reason people tend to think that other processed food is free of sugar. It is not. ABC Health and Wellbeing suggests to stay away from:

  • sugar-laden breakfast cereals – some of these contain up to 30 per cent sugar (breakfast cereal review here). Despite claiming to have enough fibre to get you through the day, they contain the wrong fibre that is full of phytates – substances that bind essential minerals and take them out of the body, and thereby steals your much needed minerals.
  • premade meals and sauces (yes that includes your baked beans and canned soup).
  • supposed ‘health foods’ such as muesli bars and other snacks found in the health food section.
  • spreads including jams and sugar-free fruit spreads, as well as less obvious suspects such as peanut butter.

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How about we try to limit our sugar-intake to once a week guys, read the labels of your food, choose the ones with ingredients you actually can pronounce, and maybe we get to save our bodies from a couple of internal inflammations too.