I’ve never really been motivated to get healthy & fit for the right reasons – more often than not my only motivation was to look “good” in a bikini, and this was by any means necessary. “Healthy” wasn’t really part of my vocabulary. However, for the past 7 months now health & fitness has become a bigger part of my life – I’ve made adjustments to my entire lifestyle and I’m so glad I have. Along the way, I’ve started to (through experience) debunk myths I previously believed in and rituals I previously followed. And now – as you do – I’m going to share a few nuggets I’ve learned that have really made an impact…
Traditionally when I’ve gone to the gym, I’ve done nothing other than cardio and a bit of ab work. I never even set foot in the weights section as I was convinced lifting weights would “bulk me up” and give me “manly” features; plus, my one and only concern was to “have a flat stomach”, why would I have needed weights for that? It was actually at a Virgin Active blogger’s event that I learned cardio wasn’t all I thought it was cut out to be, actually, they told us not to be “cardio bunnies”. When I began on my journey this time around, I started coming across a bunch of girls on Instagram that primarily do weight training, and I was astonished at how effective this way of working out seemed to be. Obviously – I started weight training and wondered where it had been all my life! Whilst I used to absolutely dread the gym and even feel sick thinking about it – back when I would spend the entire session on the treadmill – now I actually look forward to training when I know I’ll be lifting and utilising the equipment. And that leads seamlessly onto one of the most important things I’ve learned about health/fitness – do what suits you. The thing about working out is that it’s actually very easy to enjoy – it releases a hormone called endorphins which is literally a feel good drug – so it’s all about finding what works for you. People are different: some are academic, some are creative; some people couldn’t care less about fashion, some care so much they’d get custom made high quality T-shirt printing. What works for you? Is it yoga? Pilates? Weight training? Running? Find your very own personal “zen”.
I remember being in my university’s library once and reading an article about Kim Kardashian supposedly losing all of her baby weight by following the Atkins diet. A quick google search and I found that the philosophy behind the Atkins diet was to restrict carbs and load up on fats instead. So – I did just that. I’d seriously restrict my carbs and absolutely pile on the fats – I’d eat a whole rack of ribs for dinner and feel no kind of way because I didn’t have any carbs with it! I convinced myself that any sort of carbs whatsoever were terrible for me and tried to restrict my carb intake to no more than 50g a day. I realised I was going wrong where, at some point in my current health and fitness journey, I decided to download My Fitness Pal. I’m not one to count calories but I just wanted to get a better idea over what I generally put in my body. I realised I was going way overboard with the fats and was delighted to find that the recommended carb intake was healthily way more than I was used to (and who doesn’t love some good carbs?) I definitely have felt a lot healthier and less sluggish managing my diet in this way – at the end of the day it’s all about balance. To me, a dinner of rice, meat and veg > a dinner which only consists of a rack of pork BBQ ribs and nothing else. Ladies, carbs are not going to kill you.
Photos: Marianna Olaleye
In my darkest times, I’ve coming very close to buying these so called skinny coffees, or flat tummy teas, or whatever else there is under the sun. I even once had product in my basket ready to purcahse but I decided against it when I went to google the longer term effects of the ingredients and the results weren’t very flattering. There was actually a time I was contacted by one of these companies and they were going to send me a near endless supply of these products if I just advertised them on Instagram now and again. At first I wasn’t interested in working with the company due to previous experiences, but I was feeling so down about myself and my body one day that I actually agreed to go along with it. Luckily, before any information was exchanged (and any products sent), I again decided against it but this time it was because of my readers/followers. Sure, at that moment I didn’t care about the fact that it was a quick fix (in no way long term) and that the ingredients were fairly dodgy, but I didn’t feel comfortable promoting this to my followers when I knew deep down that I wasn’t totally comfortable with the product. Patience and consistency are more important when it comes to living an all round healthy lifestyle (and I am still really practicing the patience thing) – eat right and train hard and that will give you your desired goal in time.
Tough turning away from free supply of a diet product..but going to do right by my body (& followers) by doing things the natural way ??♀️
— Kemi Akinboyewa (@_skylish) March 19, 2017
The current health and fitness journey I’m on is just that – a journey. It’s a lifestyle now to eat (fairly) well and to train hard and it’s not because I want to obtain a summer body for the beach in July (and then forget about it afterwards). In the past, it was never a “journey”, it was a – “oh sh*t, I’m going on holiday in 2 months, I need to lose weight” kind of thing. Usually when I got to this point I would do something I’d never recommend – I just wouldn’t eat that much. When I went home this Christmas my parents told me that in my final year of university they worried over weather the exams were getting too much because I’d lost a considerable amount of weight – but the truth was that I just wasn’t eating that much in that period. I’d eat a sausage and egg bun for breakfast (and cut the sausage into a quarter), I’d have a yoghurt for lunch (yes, ONE yoghurt), and have a very, very tiny pot of rice and chicken for dinner. My average daily calorie intake wasn’t even touching 1,000. If I was hungry I’d feel some sort of twisted satisfaction because I thought it meant I was losing weight. This time round, although my mind did wonder back to that quick fix, I realised that I really couldn’t even do my job right if I didn’t have the correct fuel, and also, I was so done with “quick fixes” and yo-yo dieting – so I did what I should’ve always done – I tweaked my diet (less burgers, more veggies) and kept up the calories. These days, I am so satisfied after every meal and if I feel hungry I’ll grab a snack. Restricting your diet is ultimately bad because you are damaging your metabolism – it’s not sustainable, it’s not healthy and you shouldn’t do it! Food is one of the best things in the world – why would you want to miss out on that?!
I used to passionately hate the gym, and I thought that healthy eating = constant hunger, however in these past 7 months I’ve started to learn a lot. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling better and healthier than I ever have before.
*Sponsored post – all opinions are my own of course