The perfect body and social media

Probably crossing the controversial line again today, but I think it needs to be done.

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How many of us follow people on Instagram that we are jealous of? Their hair, their legs, their face, their money, their insanely low body fat, their car, their dog, their toe nails.. You know where I’m going with this. Now, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of inspiration, but you can’t deny that if you’re having a bad day, and you’re constantly bombarded with pictures of seemingly perfect people with perfect lives, it’s not going to do anything but put you down.
I’ve told you before that to boost my self-esteem, I unfollowed people that made me compare myself to them, and only followed people with positive inspiration. However, lately my feed has somehow become this vicious circle of people who appear to be perfect. Add that to a 13-hour working day, not having worn makeup in weeks, yet again eating breakfast in the gym changing rooms, body fat slightly higher than what it used to be, and yet another day of wearing gym clothes and a hoody, – and voilá, one depressed Marita.
It is SO easy to put yourself down, based on what you see other people do. When I was younger, I’d always argue with my mom and say that it was unfair that I wasn’t allowed to do whatever, because “everyone else was doing it”. My mom would say “but we are not everyone else.” And she’s right, we are not everyone else. We all have different struggles, different lives and different priorities, but we need to understand that not everything we see online is the truth.
Let me show you an example.

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These pictures are taken on the same day, however in one, I dare say it pretty much looks like I have an eating disorder. We choose the way we want other people to view us, and let’s be honest – if I posted that picture on any social media, everyone would be on my back. But that’s not what I look like every day. I have a normal body, I exercise 6 days a week, my body fat might be a bit lower than others, I might eat healthier than most – but I am not sick, and I don’t want people to associate me with a negative thing.
Victoria’s Secret recently published an ad featuring their airbrushed angels, titled “The Perfect Body”. What kind of a signal does that send to the rest of the girls in this world? That ad has nothing but one body type, suggesting that that is what we should all strive to look like! There is so much more to this life, than being skinny. Being healthy is what we should strive for, not looking a certain way.

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We need to understand that the way other people choose to present themselves, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the way their life really is. You know those girls on Instagram with perfect lives and perfect bodies, and their 100 000 followers? They’ve made their body into their living. They are basically paid to look like that. So are models. And fitness girls. Great for them, and great for us if we can get inspired to stay healthy from that. But we need to be weary of it becoming an obsession.

I guess my point is, it is easy to pretend online. Good lighting, whether you take the picture when you get out of bed, after a workout, or after dinner, makes a massive difference, and let’s not forget – genetics plays a huge role in where you store fat. Hard work pays off, there is nothing wrong with trying to inspire, or getting inspired. But please don’t believe everything you see online. It has a tendency of getting to your head.

The different phases of exercise

I haven’t always enjoyed exercise. Always been active, yes, but let’s just realize that it took solid work to get to the point of wanting to exercise.

Everyone else is doing it

Growing up I did figure skating (and attempted a rather poor soccer career – only went for the post-training ice-cream), but when my knee set a stopper to that, I had to start doing something else. Bring on the spin class, pilates and the 20 minute jogs around the block.

I did spin classes every friday after school because all my friends were doing it, and I absolutely hated it. Had to catch the bus back home, and to get to the bus, I had to walk past the grocery store. What did they have in the grocery store? 5 chocolate bars for $4. Did I eat all of them on the way home? Yes.

Signed up to do pilates every thursday night with my friends. Had to walk past a candy-shop on the way there, bought an entire bag of candy to eat in the car home, ’cause pilates burns sooooo many calories.

Then I decided I was going to become a runner. I used to tell the boys living around my house that I was going to go for a run. “Yeah riiight,” they’d slam in my face. So of course, I had to go. Turns out, running was really hard, and keeping a consistent pace so that it would look like I was running when I went past their house was really hard. I also had to go past their house on the way back, so I had to make it look like I had gone very far, and had to be gone for a while. Did they ever really notice that I was out running? No.

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I want to impress

Moved away to do the IB diploma, met people who went to the gym wearing LEGGINGS. Up until then I had been wearing big Manchester United t-shirts and sweatpants. I thought leggings was extremely weird. But then peer pressure got me, and I (that be my parents) invested in a pair of leggings that I used to wear, aiming to burn 100 calories on the treadmill followed by 30 minutes of ab-exercises and maybe a bicep curl or two.

Squats with a medicine-ball in the back left me sore for an entire week, but the trainer I had told me doing them 3 times  a week would make me look hot. Potentially also did a group class of yoga. Made sure I looked reasonably good going to the gym, wore makeup, brushed my hair. You know. Spent a fair amount of time staring at the fit guys a couple of years above me training in the same gym. Followed up the MASSIVE GYM SESSION by either baking a cake, or buying cake at school. Still attempted going for runs past hot guys’s house, or said yes to going for runs with my ATHLETE friends – always a bad idea.

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Fanatic

Moved back home to have a gap year. Still oblivious to the fact that diet plays a huge role in losing weight, and nibbled on candy and cakes at work, despite eating fairly healthy meals. Got a car, joined the local gym. They had a list up saying who had been to the gym the most each month, and I made it my goal to get my name up there.

Was still a big fan of numerous ab-exercises, but slowly got the interest in compound exercises using more than one muscle group at once. Read somewhere that intervals were the way to burn fat, and started running them every other day. This is also when I got interested in split-programs. It took a few months, and my name was up on the list. Still obsessed with wanting to look hot, I decided I wanted to be on the top of that list, i.e being the one with the most visits. Christmas came around, and guess who’s name was first? Yeah that was mine. Big mistake, because now I had to keep it up there. Pretty much went to the gym every day, however despite getting stronger/fitter, my diet was out of whack and I had no idea what I was doing. Spent most of my weekends being stupidly drunk in a club.

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New conditions

Moving to Australia was a big step in my life, and I was determined to keep my fitness level up. Let’s just say that I spent the first 3 weeks being drunk and eating crap food, and when I went for my first run it almost killed me. Probably spent most of my first year here swimming in alcohol, to be honest. I did still exercise as much as I could, but the focus was still on looking good. Joined a new gym full of massive bodybuilder guys, tried to impress them and voilá, tore something in my lower back (that is still affecting my exercise today massively, lesson learnt). After a bit of money thrown at the physio, I decided I was sick of feeling shit about my own body.

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Lifestyle-change

And here we go, my favourite part of the journey. I changed my diet, was still obsessed with going to the gym, but started noticing how different the body reacted to various types of good and bad food. It’s been a struggle, and what really started with yet another quest to impress someone has now turned into my career.

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I used to laugh at those people saying exercise gave them more energy. I would even argue, “but you are exhausted after exercise, it drains you.” But now I understand. Exercise gets you through the week, it gives you something to focus on when you are tired, and it gives you motivation to master something new. I still hate spin-classes, but I’m open to trying one. Having worked my ass off trying to make a living as well as studying full-time, exercising hasn’t always been easy to fit in, or even been a thing I’ve wanted to do. But I’ve still maintained 6 sessions a week.

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And now that I’m done studying and spend some time in an office, in front of a computer? My back KILLS. No wonder office-rats out there have back problems! But guess what, I leave the office, drive to the gym (or park), thinking about how my back aches and how I really only want to go to bed, but then I get to the gym, start exercising, and the back pain is gone. Exercise has become something that I need to keep my body going, it clears my mind, and I ALWAYS feel better after. Even if I don’t come home drenched in sweat.

I use food to nourish my body. So that it can live a 15-hour working day. So that it can recover after a gym session. So that I can get up at 5 every morning and not wear makeup, because my skin still looks fine. So that my body can recover quicker when I’m going to need another knee surgery. It’s no longer all about looking good, it’s about feeling good. And I really hope you all get to experience that one day. Exercise and nutrition is medicine, start healing your body the right way.

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Ps. Sorry that it’s been an entire semester. Turns out that working 3 jobs and finishing your last semester of your degree takes up a bit of time.

Somewhere only we know

Thought I’d just show you why I love my job, and why I don’t mind 13 hour working days anymore. Getting up at 5 is all worth it when you get people like this to hang out with.

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Or when you have clients who swear at you for an entire hour, yet hug you and laugh at you as soon as the session is over. It’s for sure nothing like spending 13 hours in a supermarket, time flies!

Anyway, my lack of motivation has turned into a slight motivation again. A beach-weekend away and a killer hill-sprint session was all I needed.

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And should you wonder what a face in pain looks like after 10 competitive sprints with someone who beats you even when he let’s you get a head-start, let me enlighten you

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That was monday, my legs are still very much in pain. In fact, I have to physically move them with my hands when I sit down and want to get anywhere. Tough life.

I’m lucky if I burn between 300-500 calories during a 1hr session with myself, but these sprints…. a 7 minute light warm-up jog and 10 hill-sprints aka 25 minutes all together smashed out 400 calories all by themselves. I guess I’ve realized that I work a lot harder around people that I either want to impress or people that I respect because they are better than me.

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Also had a proper body composition scan done, and I guess I should give myself a tap on the shoulder because I am way above average. Low fat, muscular body type, well hydrated, protein and mineral levels are optimal and my biological age turned out to be 20. All this has now given me motivation to keep improving my body, work on all the…inaccuracies that I know I walk around with, and fill out the low body fat with strong muscles.

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On another note

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No one has time. Ever. There’s so much other stuff that people tend to prioritize, but why would you not prioritize your health? You’re stuck with your body forever, and you might as well make the effort to make it the best version it can be. Imagine ten years from now, when that back-pain has worsened, when your spine is twisted because you didn’t strengthen your core and you walk around with headaches all day because the past ten years you’ve been sitting in front of your computer, your TV and your Xbox, eating crap, processed food because that’s where your comfort zone is found. MAKE THE DAMN TIME. I work at least 20-25 hours a week, I’m in the last year of my degree – and if I can make time, if Barrack Obama can make time – then so can you. Get out of that comfort zone.

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photo 2 (6)And for God’s sake – eat the right food. Stop poisoning your body. I’ve forced the boyfriend and my housemate to join my 8 week health-kick. No more frozen yoghurt every weekend no matter how sugar-free and dairy-free it is. Pick one bad habit that you have, and get rid of it for the next 8 weeks.

 

 

 

 

No one has time, we make time

If anyone is wondering how that post-Christmas workout deal was working for me the first couple of weeks..IMG_5653

Yeah, I struggled. But it’s a matter of making it a routine. I know Monday means intervals, so I put my shoes on and I do it. I know Wednesday means high-rep leg day, and no matter when I have clients that day, I make sure I get it done. If Beyonce has 24 packed hours and manages to get a workout in, then so can I. We all get the same 24 hours, we just have to MAKE THE TIME.

IMG_5680Death on the way out of the gym after leg-day.

Melbourne has been fortunate enough to have a couple of heat waves, and there’s not any other place to be than the beach or directly under the aircon. When I was little, going to the beach typically meant getting ice-cream and mom bringing snacks – and I still associate the beach with that. But, considering that I will spend the entire day at the beach every day if I get the chance, that  can’t happen. Chopping up vegetables and putting it in a box isn’t hard, which means eating healthy on the go isn’t hard either. Planning, planning and more planning.

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I’ve also been practicing making rice paper rolls, let’s just say.. I’m no pro.

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The past week has been spent at work. 12 hours. Pretty much every day. Does that stop me from exercising? No. Does that stop me from eating healthy? No. Okay, so it might help that my job is to spend time in a gym – but, I still have to make the effort and actually make time for the workout. Let me just tell you right now that exercising doesn’t exactly appeal all the time when you’ve been on your feet all day, forcing other people to push through a workout. And I’m surrounded by heaps of restaurants, but I still choose to prepare my own food and bring it – that way I know what I’m eating, and I’m saving money.

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I also happen to have a fully booked week coming up with early morning workouts, work induction in the middle of nowhere, and clients at night. Which means I will be roasting vegetables and baking power cookies (oats, banana, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and egg) to simply bring along. It doesn’t get easier.

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We went away last weekend, and managed to put in a bit of incidental activity. Exercise doesn’t always have to be about going to the gym and doing bicep curls – sometimes all it takes is a little bit of fun.

IMG_5709(don’t ask, Canadians have a weird way of doing this..)

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Today is Australia day, and I wish I was out getting blind with everyone else (going on sober for over a month right now – jeez) in the perfect summer heat, but some Norwegians actually has to be responsible and get organized in terms of work. Our apartment turns into a sauna even with the aircon on, so I’ve made myself a smoothie bowl and I’m enjoying my own company. The tan I’ve built up is for sure gradually disappearing.

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Okay, another rambling blog post – but sometimes that’s all I’ve got. We made cauliflower crust pizza (you know you’ve got a good boyfriend lined up when he gets excited when you suggest cooking a pizza like that) this weekend, and just to mess up my original breakfast of oats and eggs, we combined it and made an.. oatmeal cake (and ate it before I took a picture).

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I’ve never been a person to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I decided to do it. No ‘I wanna lose weight’ or ‘I’m gonna eat healthy’ bullshit, you need to be more specific than that.

I’m going to improve my core strength. It’s terrible, and I hate working on it – which means I have to. Particularly after having played with the boyfriend and an ex-marine at work (find the video on Instagram), I’ve got nothing on them, and I really wanna look cool in the gym too. I’m also going to start incorporating using the TRX into some of my workouts, as that requires you to constantly stabilize your core.

No shopping of gym clothes until my birthday. I tend to justify hanging out at the Nike shop a little bit too much, and I just have to realize that I’m broke, and that if I want to do all the things I want to do this year, I have to be wise.

And lastly, foam rolling and trigger-pointing. I’ve had extreme head aches twice a week since I was about 12, and no one has found a solution to the problem – other than drugging me to sleep. I’m sick of taking painkillers, and I’m sick of headaches. Releasing toxins from the muscles by foam rolling and applying pressure to trigger points with that spiky yellow ball will hopefully be the solution. When it comes to foam rolling, frequency is more important than duration, so I’m trying to get it done no less than once a day, but preferable 2-3 times a day. It is probably the most painful thing I can think of.

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Also, if you’re still wondering why you should limit your sugar intake – read my article about it here.

And I’d like to congratulate my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter, Kristin, with a gold medal in the Battle of London Crossfit – let’s just say that you know you have a strong core when you can do this

The efficient 7 minute workout

Man, waking up at 5 to go to bootcamp is sooo much easier when you know the day ahead is going to bring 28 degrees and time at the beach. We did a circuit of all the things I suck at, and I’ve gotta say that my lack of upper body strength is slowly changing for the better – I no longer collapse doing push-ups, and my back has stopped struggling as much when I do leg-raises. There’s hope for everyone.

Rather than focusing on how much weight you want to lose in a certain period of time, why don’t you focus on reaching an exercise goal? Like finally doing push-ups on your toes, doing a certain amount of weight in a certain type of exercise or maybe running 5 kilometers in less than 30 minutes.

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The Colour Run a year ago.

PT-Daniel has given us a 7 minute workout that anyone can do at home. No equipment required. You might be thinking that yeah we read about this in magazines all the time, it doesn’t work. Well, it has, in fact, been proven to be just as sufficient as a weights session or a run – the key is that you have to do it right, you have to suffer for the results. No pain, no gain, right?

These exercises have to be performed at a high speed, 10 seconds rest between and with full focus to gain the benefits. You should be at a level of 8 out of 10 when it comes to discomfort. Spend 30 seconds on each exercise.

Jumping jacks

Wall sit

Push-up

Abdominal crunch

Step up on chair

Squat

Triceps dip on chair

Plank

High knees running in place

Lunge

Push-up and rotation

Side plank

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So how about you make this your goal for the next couple of weeks? It’s only 7 minutes. Do it three times a week. Or like my housemate Line, who has a thing for home-workouts, do it at night before you go to bed. She went from not doing proper push-ups at all, to simply telling herself she could – and so she did. Maybe make it a goal to see how many repetitions you can fit into each of the 30 second intervals the first time, and after 2 weeks see how much you’ve improved? Exercise is supposed to be fun!

We also got given a 7-day food plan, and I’m not going to share that whole thing with you, but in simple terms, what every meal has in common is a lean protein sourcevegetables and a moderate intake of good carbohydrates (remember, fruit, vegetables etc have carbohydrates too). Look at any food pyramid (part from the Norwegian, for some reason Norwegians are encouraged to eat a lot more bread/grains than what I consider necessary) and they will most likely all suggest a high intake of vegetables as the first priority. People tend to think that the low-carb/high-fat diet is all about eating butter and bacon, but the point of it all is an increased intake of vegetables. Yes, because carbs are cut, they substitute it with a bit more fatty food, but vegetables are still the main priority. Same for the paleo-diet, vegetables first, then lean protein.

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Even I (who can’t cook meat at all) manage to eat a protein source with every meal. Oats w/peanut butter, banana and eggs for breakfast, a salad/stir-fry/soup with nuts/egg/beans/chickpeas/chicken/fish for lunch, roasted vegetables/salad/soup with egg/meat/chicken/fish/chickpeas/veggie burgers etc etc for dinner. It’s not hard. And if I go all vegetarian (which typically happens… most of the week) for a couple of meals with no particular protein source, I make a protein-brownie or a protein-smoothie for dessert.

Basically, by making vegetables, fresh fruit, healthy oils/fats, legumes, lean protein and proper whole grains the basis of our diet, we are good to go. Refined carbohydrates, processed sugar, food with way too much added sodium (aka pre-made anything in the supermarket) and dairy products should be a minor part of what we eat (I think) as we can manage perfectly fine without them. It’s just a matter of choosing wisely and showing some willpower. You are fully capable of walking past that isle of potato chips, chocolate and lollies at half price.

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Another thing that the food plan points out is how much food you need to eat to build muscle. 5 meals a day, all pretty much looking like my dinners. Minced beef with vegetables for breakfast, I mean, come oooon. Building muscle basically means you need to eat more than you typically burn each day, but of the right food (surplus). You won’t build muscle eating white rice and drinking protein shakes all day long. In turn, leaning down and lowering the body-fat means you have to cut the carbohydrates, eat a little bit less than what you burn (deficit), but again – of the right food. Eating 3 apples and 5 oranges a day won’t do anything, but leave you starving and tired. Eat appropriate to your lifestyle and your goals. Eat to protect your inner organs and enhance the functions of your body. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

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Why consume dairy in smaller amounts?

While doing my PT studies, they keep reinforcing that exercise without the correct diet is.. well, pretty much pointless. Like my dear Norwegian Tonje said yesterday, you need to fuel a car to drive it. And for some reason, that comes as a surprise to many. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you can’t out-exercise a shit diet.

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Probs taken with 3 months between each, the first in November 2012, the last one in May 2013.

When I was visiting Norway in June/July (can you believe it’s November already?! I feel as if I was drunk at a Norwegian festival last week) we did tests for my diet. Everything was really good, part from… the dairy. Do you drink a lot of milk?, they asked. No, I said. Cheese? Not that much. Yoghurt? Ehhhhhhhhh, sort of maybe possibly greek yoghurt with apples and cinnamon every day as a snack. Yeah, you have to quit that, they said. Not just once, but several times, was my intolerance to dairy pointed out. So I had to go cold turkey and just end it all. No more greek yoghurt. Yeah I consume dairy now and then still, and it usually makes me feel sick, but it’s never the base of any of my meals.

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  • Cow-milk does not reduce fractures or strengthen your bones, there exists no scientific proof for it being a benefit – research has actually linked the consumption of dairy to a possible 50% increase in fractures. Countries with lower rates of dairy consumption also have the lowest occurrence of osteoporosis, whereas countries consuming the most dairy (Europe, Australia and USA being the worst) have the highest rates of hip fractures in the world. Researchers explained that animal protein, unlike plant protein, increases the acid load in the body. An increased acid load means that our blood and tissues become more acidic. The body does not like this acidic environment and begins to fight it. In order to neutralize the acid, the body uses calcium, which acts as a very effective base. This calcium, however, must come from somewhere. It ends up being pulled from the bones, and the calcium loss weakens them, putting them at greater risk for fracture. Vitamin D is way more important than calcium in terms of preventing fractures (however, calcium supplements alone – aka no dairy, have a proven effect on reducing the risk of colon cancer).
  • Dairy is linked to cancer and heart disease. It may, in fact, increase the risk of prostate cancer by 30-50%. In order to increase milk production, cows are given the bovine growth hormone (rBGH) – a man-made or synthetic hormone which increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which promotes inflammation and the higher the level of IGF, the higher the risk of developing cancer. Dairy is also high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attacks (and adds unwanted cellulite to your body).
  • Dairy also contributes to other health problems, such as allergies, sinus infections, diabetes 1, acne, ear infections, anemia in children ++.

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Science agrees that it is better to obtain calcium, potassium, fats and protein  from other potential food sources, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, seafood etc, as our bodies aren’t made to digest milk regularly.

Again, I’m not saying you have to quit anything. I’m not saying you should substitute everything dairy for soy (because too much soy is for sure not good either). But maybe give a couple of dairy-free weeks a go, and see how you feel? I dare bet that you’ll feel a difference once you try dairy again.

Simple tips for staying healthy every day

I keep thinking that everyone are aware of what the healthier option of different kinds of food is nowadays, but when going grocery shopping I tend to realize that that isn’t the case. Seriously, the amount of shit food people buy is amazing. Most of you probably do know what I’m about to tell you, but for those who don’t – here you go;

  • Choose the complex carbs. Eating white rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc is like eating paper – there is no nutritional value at all WHATSOEVER. The high glycemic value (GI) makes your insulin levels spike quickly, only to let them drop again and you feel low in energy and just as hungry. They are high in empty calories and do not help your digestive system in any kind of way. Wheat has no benefits.

Let me show you the difference between Australian bread and Norwegian bread.

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So choose whatever contains the most fiber. Or bake your own bread or Norwegian Knekkebrød (crisp bread). Choose oats (WITHOUT ADDED SUGAR) over any other processed cereal. Wholegrain pasta still contains a lot of wheat, but is better than the normal white pasta. If you wanna go crazy (like me), choose buckwheat or quinoa pasta. Wholegrain rice, black wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, couscous (now and then), lentils, chickpeas, beans, POTATOES instead of white rice.

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  • Eat more vegetables. Make vegetables the main ingredients of your meal. You can pretty much eat unlimited amounts of greens for any meal, as they are low in calories and high in everything else.
  • Think lean. Choose lean protein options. Sure, pepperoni is amazing on anything, but it’s not particularly healthy in terms of fat, salt or.. content. Make chicken, turkey, fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, basa fish, scampi) and lean red meat your protein source.
  • Be creative in your protein choices. Soy-products like tofu and quorn, greek NATURAL yoghurt (any yoghurt with added flavour is also packed with sugar), cottage cheese, beans, chickpeas, lentils, eggs (eggs are great!), nuts, parmesan cheese.. They all contain protein. In fact, there’s a little protein in pretty much everything that is natural.

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  • Increase your omega-3 intake. In other words, eat fish. Fish has fat that will help your skin, nails and hair look good, it’s low in calories, it’s filling, it’s high in protein and vitamins. Fish is high in Vitamin D, which is needed for your body to take up calcium (if you drink milk/eat dairy, this is particularly important as your body will need the Vitamin D to use the calcium to its benefit – otherwise you’ll be left with brittle bones). I know that this is one of my struggles, so in addition to attempting (all we can do is try) to eat fish at least once a week, I take omega-3 supplements twice a day.
  • Reduce your refined sugar-intake. Avoid food containing things you have no idea what is. Don’t eat biscuits, ice cream, canned fruit, candy, cake etc on a daily basis – those are meant to be an occasional snack, not a part of your diet. Don’t buy juice, soda or cordial, they’re all packed with sugar. Eat at least 5 different kinds of fruit a day to combat your sugar-cravings and provide your body with the needed vitamins.

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  • Eat the right fat. Olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil (the body does not take up the saturated aka bad fat from coconut oil), avocado, nuts (unsalted, preferably not peanuts), fish, etc. NOT chips, anything containing palm oil, or anything high in saturated fat. We don’t want blocked veins, right?
  • Hydrate! Your body needs enough water to carry out all its responsibilities and functions. If your body doesn’t get enough water, it will re-use whatever water is left in your already digested food – and we don’t want ‘contaminated’ water helping the regulations of the body, do we?

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  • Swap your daily caffeine for green tea/herbal tea. Green tea contains heaps of antioxidants and doesn’t stain your teeth. Drinking one coffee with milk and sugar every day on top of your daily intake of nutrition can make you gain about 5 kgs in a year (due to the milk and sugar, obviously).
  • Cook your own food. It’s not hard. It doesn’t require much energy. You can control what you put in your body. And you’ll have leftovers to eat for lunch or to freeze.

Remember to EAT ENOUGH. If you store good food – you will choose to eat the good food. It’s easy.

Oh, and should you wanna know what happens whenever I eat crap food. This is the result of three pieces of brownies. Not cool.

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Even the best fall down sometimes

Saturday was measurements-day. And it went a little bit in the wrong direction. Every time my measurements have been due, I’ve been told that things might not have changed much because I was bound to hit a plateau eventually. But I kept losing weight and I kept dropping body fat, to everyone’s surprise.  Until yesterday, my first encounter with a rise in both weight and a rise in body fat. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I got angry.

Combine a rough week with something you didn’t expect, and you’ll find Marita crying in the gym office. The one place in this world that I consider to be my place, the one place where I turn my brain off and fully focus on what I enjoy doing. But not this time, tears. Everywhere.

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Luckily, I have the best support system in the world. When was the last time you took a week off working out? Nathan asked me. I tried suggesting when I went to Noosa, but no, I worked out everyday there too. So I couldn’t remember. December 2012 would probably be the last time I had a rest-week. You even came in a did vigorous exercise when you were injured. Yeah I know, and he’s right. Of course he’s right.

So he took his time, made diagrams, explained how the body of an athlete works, how you need rest to be able to fully benefit from what you do the rest of the year, how constantly pushing limits and ignoring aches will lead to the body breaking down instead of re-building itself. And you know what the most annoying thing is? I know all this. I’m, in fact, fully aware of it.

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Here I am, telling you guys not to obsess over your weight, but what do I do? Start crying because I’ve gained 2 kg. It’s ridiculous. He had to remind me that I’m a lot stronger now than what I was 6 weeks ago, I’m pushing 80kg with my own ass, I do pull-ups with help from a person rather than on a machine, I can finally do bloody pushups on my toes. I get out of bed and go to bootcamp before the sun is even up. 2kg of fat isn’t helping me do that. My muscles are. My diet is almost impeccable, I love working out, I’m healthy. I shouldn’t be crying in the place I love the most. But I was.

After a bit of arguing, I realized I couldn’t do much but listen. I got sent home, leg-day got cancelled and for the next couple of weeks I’m only allowed to do bootcamp. And maybe yoga. No body balance, no weights, no intervals, no afternoon-cardio. I get to walk, not for the sake of the exercise, but because I enjoy walking. And the same goes for other activities, go ice-skating, you like that, he said.

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I spent Saturday being upset, trying to find a way to fool the system. Surely I was just having a bad day and could do gym again soon. But when PT-Daniel called and said they were only trying to help me, I realized there was no point doing anything but listen and comply to what they ordered me to do. All I want is a healthy body and mind.

Only a couple of days ago both housemate Line and my friend Ina told me to be careful, make sure I didn’t hit a wall or become dangerously addicted. I ensured them that that wouldn’t happen. But it did. I think sometimes we just need somebody with authority to tell us to slow down. I don’t want exercise and nutrition to be an obsessive thing, it’s not supposed to be something that controls me. It’s supposed to be my break from reality.

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I’m still trying to figure out what I’m gonna spend all this time doing now that I’m banned from the gym, but I guess the fact that I’ll be studying to become a personal trainer this summer will keep my brain occupied a bit. I’ve put my heart rate monitor away, my ShapeUp app is closed. Let’s just learn to listen to our bodies, shall we?

Mind over matter; RocFit Bootcamp Melbourne

You’d think I have enough exercise activities with my nine workouts every week, BUT I somehow ended up signing up for boot camp with crazy PT-Daniel. Doing it at 6 am twice a week sounded easy when I signed the papers, but let me tell you; dragging your sorry ass out of bed at 5 am when it is still dark and pouring down outside is a struggle. This is just about how excited I was on Monday.

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These two hardcore Norwegians have joined me in boot camp, and I’ve gotta say, working out in teams is so rewarding! I almost understand why people play soccer now. They’re both competitive, and even though I don’t really think I like to compete much, I’m pretty sure I push myself a bit harder when we’re all working together.

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Daniel is mean, yet knows when to push you and when to let you pull back. My long list of injuries/things I can’t do obviously makes me work around things now and then, but both sessions so far let me burn over 600 calories, and that rarely happens now that I’ve lost weight (the more you weigh, the more calories you burn).

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I think I can’t exercise without music, in fact, if I forget my music going to the gym, I cancel the session and go back home. But guess what, turns out I can! Boot camp is for sure just a matter of ignoring all the things you think you can’t do, and just pushing through. Getting up early is no problem if you go to bed at a decent time, and I’ve gotta say; you do feel pretty badass running around in the rain and having completed a workout by 7 am. 1 week down, 7 to go. We’ve done tests to see where we are now, and by the end of the program we’ll hopefully be way better than before. I’ll update you guys on the journey, and I think everyone should step out of their comfort zone and change their routines up. It’s healthy for the brain.

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Inspiration

Unfortunately, taking a break from real life requires a bit of catching up when you get back. I’ve almost been sitting on my ass all day long, every day, since I came home. I’ve had headaches for the past.. 72 hours, my back is aching and I’m so tired my eyes are stinging and get teary when I close them. And that is why working out is SO important to me. In spending so much time sitting still, my body needs that little hour of doing cardio or lifting weights every day. 60 tiny minutes. 4% of the day. It also needs the appropriate nutrition. Otherwise, I would crash.

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I was constantly working at uni for 7 hours yesterday, with my weekly 24-hour pounding headache in the background and when I was heading home, I was very tempted to skip going to body balance and just go to bed, I did after all smash my leg workout in the morning. But my headache doesn’t really allow me to sleep anyway, and whether I choose to go to body balance or not, my headache will still be present. So I went. And it helped. Stretching my back and all other kinds of tight muscles is probably the best I can do when I feel like I just wanna hide in the dark. Line went to spin-class with a massive headache too, and when we were talking on the way home, we discussed how much harder doing things really is when you have twenty elephants on top of your head. I guess I’m just trying to say that sometimes you have to push through and motivate yourself, but listen to your body. If you’re like my other friend, Lillian, who’s stuck with crutches and half a finger missing, maybe stay at home – but if you’re just tired from sitting down and working/studying all day; go do something.

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The other day, I was talking to Nathan, the poor guy in the gym who’s had to listen to all my complaining every time we do measurements or every time I want a new gym program, and I realized how much of a transformation he’s gone through without me even noticing. First getting to know him, he knew absolutely nothing about nutrition and probably didn’t care too much either. He’s probably one of the pickiest people I know (he barely likes fruit……), and we’ve had some interesting conversations/arguments in terms of food, i.e. I believe kids shouldn’t get sugar at footy-practise vs he thinks it’s fine. Anyway, he’s quit eating chocolate every damn day, and is now monitoring his carbs, fats and proteins. He’s even looked up what his typical food contains and calculated his average daily intake. He was saying that it doesn’t really require too much work or thinking, once you sort of know what you’re doing. And that you can eat as much vegetables as you possibly want. And he is of course right.

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I am so proud. Like, words can’t even describe how proud I am. He wasn’t really interested in trying anything new or caring about food in the beginning, and I can’t take all the creds for what he’s done, but I like to believe that deep down somewhere I did inspire him just a little tiny bit. Forcing him to try sushi was a big step for humanity. But for change to happen, you have to be interested and willing to try new things. Forcing someone to the gym or to eat things they think they don’t like is pointless if they’re happy the way things are.

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My goal with this whole thing is to inspire people. I don’t care how many I inspire, as long as there is a possibility for changing someones attitudes into something better. I get these little messages and emails from you guys all the time, and they make me happy. It boosts my confidence knowing that I can positively influence the choices you make. It is also important to me that you know I’m not always good with everything and that I have shitty days where I don’t wanna get out of bed, but that’s when good routines play an important role – you just do it, because you’re so used to doing it no matter what.

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Good girl syndrome

I keep getting emails, messages and comments from people saying that I’m so good at being healthy, like don’t I ever fail? Well, let me tell you about my weekend. Friday and Saturday. Fairly normal days. Had two smashing workouts, ate clean both days. No candy. Then. My housemate had his 21st Saturday night, so I had both wine and beer (and a shot or ten…) and I woke up feeling like shit on Sunday (as always). I then had a homemade pizza for breakfast (the only thing I can never justify buying, is a frozen pizza), chocolate and some other processed lollies in between, a whole litre of pepsi max (!!!!), ate cake straight from the box with a fork, had chips and dip, and then proceeded to order a chicken kebab plate with dips AND white bread.

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Dragged my sorry ass to the gym monday morning to get some cardio done, and boy did I look like shit. Even the guys in the gym had to point that out to me. My hair was one big dread on the top of my head, I really struggled pushing through 45 minutes with a steady heart-rate on the cross-trainer, and I swear I was sweating alcohol.

So no, I’m not always healthy. But I’m not always unhealthy either. There is a fine balance. And no need to go as crazy as I do every hungover-Sunday, that’s not particularly healthy either. And it made me feel really sick, in fact I’m still kind of suffering a tad from that food. The healthier you eat, the more you suffer when you once in a while decide to “cheat”, but I can assure you that whatever you crave tastes about 200 times better if you’ve avoided it for 6 days and finally get to eat it.

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When I quit sugar and all of a sudden had candy, my body responded by giving me a sick rash and the driest mouth ever. I remember telling Line, and she was like.. “yeah right”. Okay, she believed me, but you get the point. Then, Line quit candy on weekdays, and she has noticed her mouth becoming really dry when having candy too. Isn’t it amazing that the body can do that to you?

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And in terms of workouts, it is almost self-explanatory that when I workout nine times a week, I don’t aaaalways have a great workout. Some days I just struggle through, barely sweat and go home thinking I’ll do better tomorrow. Some days I have to lift the lightest weights, don’t even finish my sets and get a stitch just by looking at the treadmill. But then I have those days where the music is perfect, my muscles look defined, I increase my weights and I leave the gym drowning in sweat but with a smile on my face.

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There is a fine balance between everything, I don’t put all of my cheat-meals on Instagram and I don’t tell you when I completely fail in the gym, I’m trying to inspire – not to tell you everything I do wrong. And I don’t consider eating healthy to be annoying, I love eating the way I do, I love my vegetables and I love my regular breakfast of eggs and oats, it doesn’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything. I made the choice, I didn’t give up anything. I’m still living my life.

Zero calories equals healthy.. or?

I am a stalker of nature, and it should not come as a surprise that I read any fitness blog I can possibly find. I’m also very easy to influence and even easier to sell things to. So when all these fitness bloggers are praising the Walden Farms series that iHerb sells, it should come as no surprise that I had to buy their products.

Chocolate, dips, mayo, sauces, syrups. AND ALL WITH ZERO CALORIES. ‘Yum’, they all say. So tasty, so healthy, and such a great replacement for whenever you’re craving sweets.

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Yeah, they lied. What do you think Walden Farms puts in their products when they are calorie-free? Certainly not anything that your body will recognize. And unless you really really REALLY love the taste of fake and artificial food, Walden Farms tastes like crap. In fact, it tasted so horrible that I had to throw it all out.

Here in Australia everything is practically gluten-free and fat-free. Buy a bag of normal lollies and it’ll say 99% fat-free, and buy a bag of sugar-free lollies and it’ll mention something about 70% less calories. 70% less than what, may I ask? And so what if the candy is fat-free, it is still packed with sugar and other artificial stuff.

The only way to create so-called “pseudo-foods” (as in food tricking you to thinking it is actually..food, when in reality it is only a bunch of artificial makeup) is to add tons of chemicals. Adding chemicals results in depriving the food of its nutritional value, hence leaving it calorie-free. Does that mean we should be eating it everyday? N to the O, we shouldn’t. I’ve quit crap food, sugar and candy for a reason – I want to take care of my health.

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I have friends who substitute their daily chocolate with sugar-free chocolate, “healthy” protein-bars etc. Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose? Yes, I stocked up on sugar-free chocolate when I was back home, but that doesn’t mean I justify eating it on a daily basis just cause I’m craving things and they qualify as “healthy”.

Eat the real food, and keep the chocolate (no matter if it is sugar-free, healthy, calorie-free or normal) for where it belongs – the weekends.

You can’t out-exercise a bad diet

I saw this poster at my physio the other day, with a famous Australian PT, saying “6 days for hard work and exercise, 1 day for lazy mornings and breakfast in bed”, and it stuck with me. You know, whether you want to take care of your health or have a bangin’ body, doesn’t mean you’re forced to give up everything you enjoy. The amount of times people tell me that I have to “live a little too”.. Who gets to decide the definition of what living is? Those who know me have seen my cheat-meals on Saturdays, and they’ve seen the amount of candy I am able to demolish if I really want to. They’ve also seen how sick it makes me feel. And how hungover I look the following day (true story, food-hangovers do exist).

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So many people eat like shit and go to the gym, thinking that the exercise will outweigh the lack of healthy eating. But it won’t. Of course, working out should be encouraged no matter what you eat because of the obvious health benefits. It is no secret that losing weight is a matter of energy in vs energy out, but a calorie isn’t a calorie when it comes to nourishing your body. Think of your body as a car – for it to run smoothly you need to fuel it right.

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Of course it is okay to enjoy “the bad food” now and then too, but you shouldn’t be enjoying that every day. Trust me, the things you crave taste so much better when you’ve been wanting it for a week! And once your body has gotten rid of the desire to eat something unhealthy, you fill up a lot quicker when you once in a while do eat the crap food.

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A simple way to “live a little” and eat clean as well could be the 80/20 rule; i.e. eating healthy 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time. I find it easier to stick to the clean eating when I exercise regularly, and honestly, choosing the banana over the package of biscuits isn’t that hard when you know you’ve just burnt 700 calories hating life on a crosstrainer.

We’ve heard that abs are made in the kitchen, and they sure are – no matter how many sit-ups you force through, your abs are not likely to become visible unless you lower your body-fat, which is accomplished through eating the right food. I just want people to keep in mind that in the same manner as eating one unhealthy meal now and then won’t make you fat or affect your everyday health, eating a healthy meal once in a while (instead of every day) won’t make you fit or skinny or whatever your goal might be.

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I used to think I didn’t eat thaaaat unhealthy, and frankly I didn’t either, but try writing down everything you eat in a week, and I can promise you’re in for a little surprise or two. Those little “snackies” you have “now and then” suddenly turn out to equal an entire package of chips. I have friends counting the calories in the fruit they eat, instead of focusing on removing that “protein-chocolate” they think is nutritious, from their diet. Unless you eat 20 oranges a day, you shouldn’t be having to count the calories of your fruit! Even though you spend 4% of your day exercising (an hour every day), you’ve got another 96% left to make sure is on the right track. Keep that in mind.

Swimming is the new yoga

As a result of my body sort of falling apart, and my desire of staying as active as possible, I have had to explore alternative ways of working out. Post surgery on my knee, I was told to swim. As treatment for my incredibly tense back, I was told to swim. When I tore my ligament in my lower back, I was told to swim. And now that I am limping around, I have been told to swim again.

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I dare say I am as hopeless at swimming as I am at body balance. I cannot swim freestyle, I do not like getting my hair wet, my eyes get red from the water. But I still gave it a shot. Yesterday was actually my third time returning to the pool. How about that for someone who is negative to anything new and scary?!

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Better Health claims that swimming is good exercise as you have to move your entire body against the resistance of the water and you are thereby provided with a full body workout. In addition to toning your muscles and building strength, swimming keeps your heart-rate up, builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness and helps in the maintaining of a healthy heart and lungs. It has also been proven to release stress and promote relaxation, whilst improving coordination, balance and posture, as well as providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions.

22 year-old Tonje Sønneland started swimming when she was 8 and has always loved spending time in water. From the age of 13 to 16, she was swimming about 18 hours a week.

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She enjoys swimming mainly because it is a great way of working out the entire body without emphasizing the use of a particular muscle group. “To become a good swimmer, you need a strong core and a flexible body in order to get your body into streamline – the body as straight as possible to go fast through the water”, Tonje explains.

She emphasizes that a strong core is important no matter what type of exercise you choose to do, and that she is continuing to include swimming in her workout routine to further strengthen a previous back injury. “I can really feel that it helps”, she says.

health_benefits_of_swimming_xenical_effective_weight_loss_lose_weight_gain_lifeI promise to attempt swimming once a week, if you promise to give it a try.

Do I have to go to the gym THAT often?

It does not really matter what you do as exercise, but how you do it. Don’t force yourself to the spin-class that your friends do unless you really want to (that would be me), don’t run 10K every day if you’re more of an interval-runner, don’t do a 5-day split-program if you prefer working your whole body at once. And the same goes for food. Don’t force down that canned tuna if it makes you throw up (that would be me again), don’t drink that green spirulina-shake if you can’t handle the taste. You get where I’m coming from.

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I often have people asking me how I do it, and what I do – but it is so important for me to emphasize that you have to do it for YOU, that you have to find what you’re comfortable with, what you can look forward to in your “me-time”. So maybe I, and all the other girls you follow on Instagram, go to the gym more than usual. Maybe we eat things that you would never put in your mouth. Does that mean that you have to? No.

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The average person probably works out about 3 times a week, and that is more than enough if you do it right. The national recommendations for physical activity is 30 minutes every day, that isn’t really too much is it? I’m pretty sure I spend thirty minutes walking to and from the bus and to the grocery store every day, and then I work out on top of that. I’m just saying that, depending on your goal with your exercise, you might want to do it in another way. If your goal is to be shredded for Stereosonic or very muscly and defined with low body fat, then yes you are going to have to put in more effort than the average person who just wants to maintain his/her health. We all want different things, and we all adjust to that.

On a completely different note, summer is slowly arriving in Melbourne (just as my thermal underwear came from Norway..) and I thought I’d celebrate with some watermelon, strawberry and lime sorbet/slushie. Delicious, refreshing and nutritious. You need frozen watermelon, a couple of strawberries, half a lime and some hot water. Smash it all with a blender and enjoy.

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I should also tell you that I cooked my own meat to perfection last night. Yes, I do eat red meat now and then too. But you have to remember that vegetables are the main ingredients in my dinner no matter what I eat next to it, not the other way around. I was told how to cook a scotch fillet over a glass (or fifty) of wine on the weekend, and I shall share it with you, just in case you are as horrible as me when it comes to cooking. Fry the steak in some coconut oil on high heat for about 3 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the meat) and let it rest for the same amount of time, wrapped in aluminum foil. When people learn that I don’t eat this and don’t eat that, they always go “but where do you get your carbs from??!?????”, there’s carbs in vegetables too guys, have you ever heard of potatoes? And I discovered something delicious yesterday, frying brussel sprouts and mushrooms in coconut oil is amazing. Just saying.

Voilá!

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That ass

I have never been much of an “ass” girl. Not that I’ve ever had boobs either, though that’s a different story. But getting interested in working out has taught me that lifting weights (in a combo with proper nutrition of course) is the way to go to sculpt your body. Not dying on the treadmill every day. Not hating on the crosstrainer every day. But building muscle. Now, I am no bodybuilder, in fact, I barely have visible muscles. But I grow stronger, I push limits and I learn. Lifting weights = more muscle = burning more energy every day = toned body.

It has been requested that I put up my program for building, eh.. “that ass”. If I could choose, there is a plethora of other exercises I would rather include in my leg-day program, but because of knees not willing to cooperate (surgery gone wrong x 2) and a torn ligament in my lower back, I can’t. And well, this ankle injury isn’t really allowing for any leg program right now. I simply have to do the things that works for me and my body. My program is as narrowed down as it can possibly get and I am very happy I still can dedicate two full workout sessions a week to my legs.

I don’t have pictures of all the exercises that I do, but I will include them anyway.

Smith Machine Squats.

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90 degree legpress, I do one leg at the time simply because I am stronger in one leg, but doing both legs at once is fine.

Hamstring curls on a machine (-13kg old picture).

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Cable kickbacks.

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Hamstring curls on a swissball (yes, I struggle too).

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90 degree wall-sits (hate hate hate).

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Calf raises either in stairs, using the smith machine w/weights or on a step.IMG_1486

And I always finish my workout with the most awkward exercise in the book; hip thrusts. Now, I know we all read fitness blogs where the girls do crazy amounts of weights with their legs, but that does not mean you have to. We all have to start somewhere and work our way up. I found this photo the other day, and see where I started with my hip thrusts. I’m pretty sure this bar weighs about 20 kg..

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And now I am (after strongly motivating myself) doing 12 x 3 of 70 kg.

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I also tend to throw in the occasional supine bridge with one leg at the time, sumo squats and squats with elastic bands if I am feeling it (and have the time).

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If I could, I would also include, deadlifts (done properly, not the way I destroyed my lower back) bulgarian split squats, normal squats with weights and lunges. Promise me that you will google the exercises (or get help) before trying them for the first time, technique is so important to avoid and prevent injuries.

When I was at my physio, we discussed the fact that so many people eliminate leg-day from their workout routine because “they already use their legs enough”. You’ve seen them. The guys at Stereosonic with chicken legs and a massive chest. We concluded that they were lazy, as working out the largest muscle group of the body can be both challenging and exhausting. Including compound movement exercises, rather than solely relying on isolation exercises (bicep curls….) will allow for building of muscle and increase in strength, whilst attacking fat and sculpting your body. Furthermore, studies show that resistance training can promote bone re-calcification, enhance tendon and ligament durability and aid in the strengthening of joints.

We should not only lift weights for the sake of our own appearance, but also to minimize the risk of injuries and to enhance performance in other sports, such as soccer, running etc.

Battling food cravings vol.2

Just popping by to tell you that despite being sick and annoyed that I can’t taste much, I’ve been creative in the kitchen again. Okay, not that creative, but more creative than soup for the third time in a row.

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In general, not being able to do cardio and having to sit on my bum all day makes me more hungry and I tend to crave bread of some kind.. Now, living in Australia means not much access to healthy bread, and as I avoid wheat, new methods had to be found. Yes I know of plenty healthy bread recipes, but my dinner today took about five minutes to put together and I needed a quick fix to my cravings.

Luckily, Norway has a bunch of great health/fitness bloggers, and I thought I’d share Dedication’s version of a microwaved bread. I had to alter mine a tad as I didn’t have all the ingredients, but it became a success! It is delicious when fresh, great when toasted and can be altered to function as a sweet-tooth fix as well.

You need:

1 egg, 4 tbs almond flour, 1 ts baking powder, 1-2 ts of psyllium husk, 1-1,5 dl of water and spices desired (I used oregano, sea salt and garlic). Mix the ingredients in a micro-safe container, put cling wrap over the box and put in the microwave for about 4 minutes on the highest power.

(I’m gonna make it into french toast tomorrow and will be adding some stevia, cardamom and cinnamon instead of the savory spices).

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My roomie Line is still going strong with her no sugar in the weekdays by the way. The cravings are slowly easing off, but she has had to fight a few battles with her own brain to avoid attacking the towers of candy she got for her birthday. The other day I found her two seconds away from putting her hand in the corner of the kitchen containing candy at 9 pm. She had in other words struggled all day to stay away and was ready to give up right before bed time (yes, we tend to pass out a tad early – getting old), and I had to be harsh and tell her to grab a banana, and she did. Today she asked me how she could make frozen raspberries into something sweet and tasty. Proud Marita.

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I never used to like bananas, but now I eat at least 3 a day. (I never liked eggs too much either, and today I’ve had five..). Feeling very sorry for myself and my ankle resulted in me wanting ice cream so I magically whipped up some banana-peanutbutter-icecream and dipped strawberries in it. Great excuse to procrastinate my uni assignments..

Anyways, you need:

A frozen banana (possibly two or three, depending on how much you want) – I was too impatient so my banana wasn’t really frozen though, 1 tbs 100% nutbutter of some kind (no, the peanut butter you find next to the Nutella at Coles is not healthy) and a tiny bit of almond milk. Smash it all with a hand blender, pour it in a bowl and top it with raw cacao and nuts of your choice.

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Just my luck

So remember how I said I’m injury-prone? Yeah this girl is currently out of order with a very bruised knee and a sprained ankle struggling to co-operate when walking. So much for monday-intervals and wednesday-legday. Or cardio in general.

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I am really annoyed with myself for opening up an old injury (again), and even more annoyed for missing out on my daily workouts. Not really being able to move anywhere but between the couch and the kitchen has left me dying to exercise, but I am trying to be patient (not my strongest feature) and listen to my body.

After all my attempts to rest, ice, compress and elevate, I had to suck it up and go see my physio and instead of feeling sorry for me, he laughed and hooked me to an ice-machine of some kind. Anyway, my ankle will be fine eventually, I just have to ignore the pain and keep on going.

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An injured lower body does, however, not mean that I can’t use my upper body, so I’ve had help to reschedule my workouts and will hopefully be gaining some more muscle (aaaabs) and get one step closer to my ultimate goal; chin ups. We find a way to work around things, right?

Good thing I’ve injured myself like this numerous times and good thing my dad has taught me how to bandage the ankle enough to almost move normally. Okay, limping is probably not considered moving normally but you know, it works. This silly injury will set me back about 4-6 weeks, and I know I tell you to only do what makes you happy – but in this case being able to exercise in any kind of way will make me happy, so I will even include bicep curls in my program (my one enemy in the gym).

I am also still sick and cannot really taste any of the food I’m eating, so I’m pretty much eating soup and fruit every day. HOW EXCITING. No actually, it’s delicious, I just can’t taste the flavors.

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For you or for others?

Self-esteem. A girly thing. I think that most girls, at some point, go through some kind of an eating disorder. Not necessarily a severe one and not necessarily one that is making them sick, but the brain is twisted and can be evil. In fact, I find it interesting that the brain can do that to itself, that it can change what you see it the mirror into something bad, and make you harm your own body.

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We all find ways of coping with things, some better than the other. I have always misliked my legs, I never wanted to wear tight tops, my lips were uneven. I would be so disappointed if I didn’t get top grades in school. You know, typical girl stuff. I’ve had dermal fillers in my face, I’ve been to the gym too much and not eaten enough, I’ve obsessed about that number on the scale. But it’s not the right way of handling things.

I don’t know if it is the fact that I’ve grown older or the fact that I have changed my way of looking at things, but one thing is certain, I am so much more happy with myself. I don’t need the super-duper grades every time, I don’t die going out for drinks (okay I do, but that’s the following day), I walk around without makeup more than I do with makeup, the cake I baked and ate for Line’s birthday didn’t make me fat, my face is free of dermal fillers and I don’t mind wearing a tight dress (though finding jeans is still hell – jeez how hard can it be to make jeans that fit both around the waist, bum and are long enough?!).

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I’m very easy to influence, therefore I avoid pages with seemingly perfect girls, I don’t follow people on Instagram making me wish I looked like them. Instead, I follow motivational people, people who will lift me higher instead of putting me down. People with inspiring food and great workouts (and Justin Bieber, but that’s a different story). IMG_3351

Working out and eating clean has become my lifestyle, but also my therapy. It makes me happy. I wouldn’t be investing that much time in it if I didn’t gain any benefits. You shouldn’t be working out to impress others, you shouldn’t be doing it because you want somebody to find you attractive – that all comes naturally anyway, somebody once told me that a confident girl is the hottest thing there is. Didn’t believe them then, but I do now. I am so proud of my body, so happy to see what it is capable of doing (yeah yeah, I still can’t touch the floor), and when I for some reason don’t want to leave the couch, I remind myself that there are people out there wishing that they could run, wishing that they could exercise. We are doing ourselves a favor by investing in our health.

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A fellow Norwegian and I were discussing it over dinner the other day, we don’t go to the gym to look good in the gym, we go to look good after. We do, after all, live in a fairly superficial world and I don’t mind that my legs have toned up and that I’m finally starting to see a slight hint of muscle on my stick-thin arms. You’ve probably seen those girls wearing a mask of makeup, barely touching weights in the gym? And then you’ve seen that red-faced girl drowning in sweat whilst singing to her music – yep, that’s me, the catch of the day.

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We are only human, it is okay to make mistakes, we don’t wake up with amazing hair and perfectly polished skin every morning. We don’t always want to work out or do our assignments. We eat that chocolate bar, enjoy it – and go back to being healthy the next meal. We take two steps back, but then one forward again. The key to success is persistence. Listen to your body, find what works for you. Do what makes you happy.

Eating healthy is so hard.. or is it?

People always complain that eating healthy is complicated and expensive. That fruit is more expensive than chocolate. That you get more frozen, deep-fried chicken for the same prize as vegetables. That choosing the healthy option when eating out is hard. But you don’t and it isn’t. Let me present you 200 calories (to the confused Line on calories; you need about 2000 calories a day depending on your level of activity) in pictures:

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Now, what food do you think will fill you up the most? Where do you get the most nutrition from? Maybe we after all did get more food and nutrition for the money when choosing the health-benefiting food?

When it comes to eating out, you only make it as hard as you want it to be. We had dinner at the restaurant across the road yesterday and they did have an option of baby snapper fillets, grilled chicken and other healthy deliciousness, nobody is forcing you to choose the pizza or the extra side of chips. Yes, so maybe I paid a tad more for my baby snapper, but it was so good. And SO filling.

When claiming that eating healthy or joining the gym is too expensive, you are in reality only jeopardizing your own body and health. Why should you not be prioritizing buying real food? Isn’t that the one investment you should be doing? You will be paying a lot more in the future as a result of being hospitalized for your bad nutrition and/or not exercising.

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I spend about $40-50 a week grocery shopping. That is absolutely nothing! I eat at least four meals a day, and I am pretty much always satisfied. My gym membership is about $60 a month, in being there 9 times a week I pay about.. $1,66 per visit. Worth it? I think so. And you don’t need to go to the gym to work out, the nature is after all free and a perfect place for recreational activities.

I also stumbled upon a picture from a few years back.

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My amount of working out was the same, but I ate candy or cakes at work every day, I refused wearing tight tops, and believe me; running intervals was pure hell.

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Now, I don’t eat crap every day, my body-fat has lowered, my self-esteem is way better, I am stronger, I run faster and I recover faster.

Today has been one of my double gym session days, and I’d just like to give you an example of one of those days. (We did celebrate Line’s birthday at home yesterday and I did have tremendous amounts of sugar/milk/wheat-packed cake, so I’ve been slightly full today). I had my first leg day of the week this morning (yes, I have noticed the requests of my leg-program, and it will come), died and then ate the breakfast I eat pretty much every day; porridge made of oats topped with a banana, cashew nut-butter, blueberries and strawberries, a soft-boiled egg and a large cup of muscle recovery yogi tea from iHerb (use the code TBW611 and get $10 off your first purchase).

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I brought leftover pizza and an apple to uni, had a soft-boiled egg, a banana and a handful of nuts/raisins as a pre-workout snack, went to Body Balance and finished it off with a 10-minute vegetable soup (I’m starting to feel sick and soup always helps) topped with pan-fried mushrooms and turkey, and had strawberries for dessert. So simple, yet so incredibly good. And so not complicated at all!

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So, just a few tips on how to keep the clean and healthy eating affordable.

  • Buy things locally and choose whatever is in season
  • Add meat/fish/poultry into dishes where veggies are the main ingredients, thus making it last longer/for several meals
  • Cook batches of meals that can be frozen/left for a few days and brought whenever needed
  • The key to success is planning!