Thursday, 23 August 2012

Health and Fitness - The Melanie Method!

If you ever watch my Youtube channel you'll know this was covered in my latest video (and therefore look away now!), but for those of you who prefer to read rather than listen to me ramble on, I thought I would quickly go over what I've been doing recently to try and get myself healthy!

I feel like I should also do a quick disclaimer here to say that I am in no way a health, diet or fitness expert, and I am only doing this to give you a little insight into what I do to make myself feel better - as per the usual lectures you get before fitness DVDs etc, please check with a doctor/expert before embarking on any radical diets or fitness regimes!

As much as I would love to have a body like Megan Fox (pre pregnancy), recently I have been trying to exercise and eat healthily just to feel better about myself - i.e. doing more cardio than toning exercises.
From my recent (rather moany) Twitter updates you will know that I've been on a rather emotional rollercoaster recently, and I have found that exercise (which releases those feel-good endorphins!) has helped 'stabilise' and set me up for the day.

I try and do a little bit of exercise every day where possible, whether it's jogging using my app or just taking the dogs for a walk - it all helps!

At the moment i'm not doing so well healthy eating wise - chocolates, biscuits and sweeties are my downfall, and at dinner time I do tend to have naughty things like creamy mashed potato! - but I try my best, and on a daily basis, my typical 'diet' - which I try to record on my My Fitness Pal app (free from iTunes) to give me a rough idea of how good or bad i've been!  - is as follows:
  • Pre-exercise snack - glass of cranberry juice (sugar free) and a banana
  • Breakfast: Branflakes with a small handful of allbran mixed through and semi skimmed milk
  • Mid-morning snack: Another piece of fruit, such as satsumas, or some yoghurt. I also try and snack on brazil nuts and oatcakes if I get hungry.
  • Lunch - Soup (recently it has been cream of tomato, which isn't the best, but it is one your 5 a day!) and some buttered brown bread - got to have pleasure somewhere!
  • Mid-afternoon snack - apple slices and peanut putter. It's amazing - try it!
  • Dinner - usually somethng chicken based (as long as someone else prepares the chicken...!), such as chicken curry with onions,mushrooms, peppers, and wholewheat carbs such as brown rice.
I also drink a ton of tea (it is my weakness) and usually as my pre-dinner snack I have a bit of chocolate and a cup of tea (then wonder why I get heartburn!), but I also try to drink my recommended 2 litres of water a day - it really does help.
I LOVE carbs, and could never imagine my life without bread or pasta - it would literally be torture!

I would never class myself as one of those 'athletic' girls (I HATED PE at school), but I suppose looking back on my life I have always been fairly active, whether it be horse riding when I was in my teens (lugging water buckets and hay bales is great for your arms!), or even just walking everywhere and taking the stairs when I was a uni.

Nowadays, after a period of inactivity (maybe 6 months or so!) I have been trying to get into jogging.
If you want to try it, I strongly recommend (presuming you have an iPhone or smart phone!) you download an App like I did, such as the Get Running or Couch to 5K apps which are available for free.

These build you up week by week until you are able to run 5k (roughly 2.5 miles) without stopping to walk at all in between. Currently (despite doing it for a couple of months!) i'm on week 4, whereby you run for 3 minutes, walk for 1.5 mins, run for 5 mins, walk for 1.5 mins and repeat.
You can also listen to music at the same time which helps!

I am incredibly unfit, so I found it really tough in the beginning, but it's definitely getting easier, and it really spurs me on every time I manage to run that little bit further. I'm not quite Jessica Ennis but i'm getting there!
When i'm at home I also like to do workout DVDs (especially when it's horrible weather outside), and have quite a collection - i'm a sucker for the newest celebrity workout craze!

My favourites are the 30 Day Shred and also anything yoga based, such as the Total Yoga DVDs which I got in Poundland for (you guessed it!) £1 each!
I try to do my exercise first thing in the mornng, not only to get it over and done with (as i'm less likely to do it in the evening - so lazy!), but because it gives me energy and sets me up for the day.

A matter of personal preference really, but there have been some 'key items' that I have been wearing recently, not least a good sports bra!
I have a couple, but my favourite 'hold me in' one is actually from George at Asda and cost less than a tenner!

They do say that for running, the more natural the better (increased padding can lead to damaged knees), but I personally like to wear something quite sturdy, and invested in a pair of Reebok 'Runtone' trainers, from the Easytone range. I can't really vouch for the toning effect, but they're comfy, and if they help tone while I run then that's an added bonus!

In terms of workout clothes, I used to just wear an old cotton t-shirt and some jogging bottoms, but I always scour TKMaxx and Sports Direct for 'proper' discounted running or workout gear, and have bought a couple of Karrimor vest tops that help whick away sweat and moisture from the skin, making the whole process a bit more 'pleasant' (if that's possible!).
And as silly as it sounds, I am more inclined to feel more confident to go out jogging if I 'look the part' - I do like my little coordinated outfits nowadays!

As disgusting as sweating is, I actually like to get a good sweat on, as it shows i've had a proper workout, and wearing these sexy numbers under my jogging trousers, the Zaggora hotpants, have definitly helped!
Not unlike wearing a wetsuit (they make a strange rustling sound when you walk too!)

Soap and Glory 'Sit Tight' works in a similar fashion to the hotpants in that you rub the cream into your thighs/bum, and with the aid of your body temperature when you sit down, heats up and helps firm your skin and hopefully reduce cellulite!
It's what I would consider quite pricey for a cream at around £14 from Boots, but I believe it works, and really like it, and will continue to use it until I have a bum like a netball player!!

The final item may be considered cheating somewhat (please don't judge me!), but I have been taking Semtex from jstJodie (Jodie Marsh's brand of supplements etc) for the past month or so, as they are formulated to provide energy and aid weightloss by increasing your metabolism.
I haven't noticed any side effects, and to be honest I can't say i've noticed any difference in my energy levels, but a few people have remarked that i've lost weight - despite not eating the best!

When this tub runs out I am going to see how I get on for the next couple of weeks, and if I find I am struggling without them i'll reorder (very begrudgingly - they do cost around £30 for a month supply!)

Optional extra: Furry jogging companion

Do you have any diet or exercise advice or tips you could give me?


  1. Well done Melanie, I love these sorts of posts, funny I was gonna do an exercise post of my own! I find oatcakes great as an in between snack because they're crunchy, which is great if you have a craving for something crunchy like crisps but they're made of oats so give you slow release energy! I used to be a real fitness freak and a bit of gym bunny but ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has stopped me in my tracks :( but from what I used to do I would recommend you do some light weights as well, this means you're not only losing fat but gaining muscle, which is a bonus because the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn! You don't need to go out and get special equipment, a tin of beans in each hand will do and you can even do bicep curls while watching the TV! Hope some of that helps, though I'm not sure I'd take advice from me as I'm a complete couch potato these days lol!

  2. Firstly well done on having such a good routine! I need to get back into exercise as I know it releases endorphins which help make you feel better too, which is always a bonus! Definitely going to download some of those apps you suggested! Will be handy to shock myself into realising how much I eat!!

    Secondly, I agree with the girl above about the weights. My mum got me a set of 3 sizes (0.5kg, 1kg and 1.5kg) from Sainsburys of all places! But I've also seen that set in TKMaxx too. These are really handy for the 30 day shred as you can increase the weights with the weeks as well. but I do sit and do bicep curls whilst watching films too! Very handy and toned my arms nicely quite quickly! (Tins of beans were ok for a while but I kept forgetting to put them back...I think that's why my mum brought the weights for me!)

    Hope you see some great results from all your hard work :) xxx

  3. I stole the S&G Sit Tight from my mum just to try out, the heating sensation is really unusual! I'm not sure about how well it worked for me though! I also use My Fitness Pal too (for gaining wait though) it's a really helpful tool and I love the barcode scanner, it makes keeping healthy easy to squeeze in during the day! <3