Due to my recent weight loss of 9lbs in 5 weeks, I wanted to do a post to share with others on how I’ve done it as I know that weight loss is what the majority of the population struggle with. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely no expert and I’ve still got a long way to go – but I’ve found a few tricks that have really helped me shift a few extra pounds without living off lettuce leaves.

I’m definitely one for trying every fad diet possible, and that includes trying and testing Herbalife, Slimatee and Bootea. In all these weight loss programmes that we watch on TV, all we hear is ‘eat less, move more’. It’s the golden rule that’s been whispered for years, yet we still try to find faster ways to do this whilst not moving off our butts. I will hold my hands up and admit that I am that lazy person – and since finishing Uni when I had so much spare time on my hands and energy to go to the gym 5 times a week and walk everywhere, I’ve now got an office job where I sit at my desk and snack, and I also now have a car which eliminates as much walking as necessary.

After my years of hard work, I piled the weight back on so easily that I was at a point where my whole confidence had gone, and all my old clothes were far too tight, skimpy, or just plain small. As a New Year resolution, my partner Dave decided to embark on a task of just bog standard eating well and working out. I was reluctant to try it with him, as to be honest it just didn’t sound great and Pizza is far too tasty – but I thought, hey why not. It wasn’t a resolution I made so if I quit, I felt like I wasn’t letting myself down too much.

We swapped out our weekend ritual of bacon/sausage and egg sandwiches for cereal or porridge, we swapped takeaways for ‘fakeaways’ (we have still had the occasional takeaway, but it’s been a damn sight less frequent than twice a week), and we got off our ass’s and did things.

I made myself go back to the gym but focussed quite heavily on cardio and begun to set myself challenges based on how much mileage I could run in what time – and tried to beat this or sustain it each time. Some days I hopped on the treadmill for 5 minutes before I had a stitch and blisters and went home, others I powered through and was running 5k every other day and feeling like I had really accomplished something. This journey has been difficult, but also very rewarding – and I’ve seen my fitness levels soar. I’ve never been a runner, but practice and perseverance really do make a difference (take it from a gal who used to pant running down the road). But I’m sure you’ve noticed the title of this article, and you’re thinking – hmm, Soph, I thought you said there was a fun way to do this? Well, there is!

On top of eating clean and my weekly gym runs, we’ve also been making something of our weekends. Ever since our 10-mile walk in the Lake District, Dave and I had a real taste for a weekend hike and decided to incorporate it into our weekend schedule every other week. These hikes don't feel like exercise, they aren't boring and we look forward to them every week! During the week of the hike, we map out a new area of where we can go – whether that’s local or a small drive away, we pack our rucksack with snacks and water and off we go. Whilst some of these hikes are tough, it doesn’t fill with me with dread like having to face an intense session on the treadmill, and we actually have a really nice chat and catch up from the week whilst doing this. Not only are we burning calories, but it’s a way for us to spend time together and see new things – without spending money. Win-win!

Now for the next part – What is this ‘LISS?’ I hear you ask? So, we’ve all heard of HIIT (high-intensity training) workouts, that consist of short sharp bursts of exercise that really break a sweat and burn calories, but why is LISS still so unheard of? I recently spoke to a friend about my weekend hikes and saying how enjoyable I was finding them, it wasn’t until she told me how great a LISS workout is that I decided to look into it.

LISS (low-intensity steady state workout) is the opposite to HIIT, in that you release energy across a long period of time – but can still really burn away the calories. This isn’t to say that LISS is better than HIIT but using the two in conjunction is a great way to burn some fat. As I mentioned earlier, I am definitely no expert in this – but you can read about it here in more detail. I discovered that enjoying a 2-hour walk and chat with Dave could be just as effective as an intense 30-minute workout session – and I didn’t feel guilty for enjoying a glass of vino afterwards.

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Eating well alongside this exercise is key, so if you’re wanting to shift the pounds, unfortunately, doing these weekend hikes alone and then still eating junk all around the clock won’t be too successful. Clean eating isn’t just salads, it’s about experimenting with new foods and seeing what new creations you can make. In another post, I’m going to tell you all about my food swaps, my ‘fakeaways’ and new things that I’ve been trying out such as my healthy breakfast bars and my under 400 calories go-to meal, so watch this space. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human, and I still cave into a pizza or Mcdonalds now and again – but the odd treat alongside better eating and exercise really is making the world of difference. I've also been tracking all of my eating habits in my Lose It! app, so that I can enter how many calories I'm consuming and burning. This encourages me to work harder as the more I burn that day, the more I can eat! As it stands (20th March 2018), I've currently lost a stone in 2 months - without starving myself or having to exercise every single day.

The proof is in the pudding!

I would love to hear from you guys about any exercise routines you’ve found to work, and some of your favourite healthy recipes! Please leave a comment below

Sophie Amelia

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