Get forever fit and fabulous with our realistic, sustainable life plan
Having a stand-off with a stick of celery? Accidently (on purpose) lost your gym kit? A few days in and already your good intentions are looking shabby. You’re not alone. Six out of 10 Brits give up a new diet after six days*, leaving us to conclude that most diets don’t work.
This is where Fabulous’ eating and exercise plan, which you’ll never give up comes in. The reason you won’t quit? It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life – a practical, look-and-feel-amazing way of life. All you have to do is combine our food, exercise and life rules to get the body and healthy lifestyle you want. For keeps…
THE FOOD RULES
*Sugar is your real enemy It’s fattening, accelerates ageing and leads to fluctuating energy levels. Healthy eating is all about a low glycaemic (low GI) diet as it keeps your blood-sugar levels steady. Don’t panic, GI isn’t as sciencey as it sounds. We all need glucose to fuel our bodies and the best sources of that energy are low-GI foods as they take longer to digest, keeping blood-sugar levels steady. High-GI foods include cereal and refined carbs, such as white bread, rice and pasta, and are digested at super speed so send blood-sugar levels soaring. Instead, opt for the brown varieties of your favourite foods.
*Follow the 80/20 rule This means that 80 per cent of what you eat should be healthy, and for the remaining 20 per cent you can bend the rules. So you can have one cheat day a week when you eat whatever you fancy. Or you can spread it out daily, having one small treat and being really good the rest of the time.
*Never skip meals Ditching breakfast to “save” calories is a false economy. Missing meals actually slows down your metabolism, leaving you much more likely to over-eat as your body thinks it needs more food than it does when you actually do eat. To keep your metabolism fired up, have breakfast within an hour of waking and eat meals at regular intervals. Don’t go for more than four hours between meals or snacks.
*Your five a day is the minimum Mix it up with at least two portions of low-GI fruit like kiwis, plums, peaches, oranges and apples, and three portions of veg such as aubergines, red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and peas.
*Booze is allowed Alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Yay! Avoid high-sugar drinks such as rosé wine and alcopops. Dry white wine and a good-quality red are better choices. But vodka with soda water and fresh lime is the ultimate tipple, as the soda helps rehydrate you, and the lime adds a vitamin C boost.
- Blueberries are a great low-GI treat, as they’re loaded with anthocyanin, which alters the activity of genes found in human fat cells, making it more difficult to put on weight. Berry good!
Here are seven days worth of meals to make you healthier…
*Scrambled salmon Scramble 2 eggs with 70g smoked salmon. Serve with wilted spinach and a drizzle of olive oil.
*Smoothie Blitz 100g frozen berries, 2tbsp soy yoghurt, a splash of almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and 60g oats.
*Not-so-full English Grill 1 Quorn sausage, 2 large mushrooms and 2 plum tomatoes. Serve with 1 poached egg.
*Power porridge Cook 60g whole rolled oats with almond milk. Add 1tsp cinnamon, 100g blueberries and 1tbsp sunflower seeds.
*Veg out Mix 1 pinch each cumin, thyme, turmeric and salt, add a splash of water, then set aside. Break up 150g firm tofu and stir over a medium heat for 10 minutes with water. Add diced pepper, mushroom, onion and broccoli. Once the water has evaporated, add the spice and cook for 5 minutes.
*A large handful berries.
*1 mini tub low-fat houmous with cucumber, carrot or celery sticks.
*20g dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids).
*6 walnut halves and 1 small pear.
*1 small tub plain soya or coconut milk yoghurt.
*1 small apple, sliced and spread with a thin layer almond butter (a low-GI spread).
*A protein shake powder drink, such as Spiru-Tein, £18.99, Tesco.
*Mixed pepper frittata For 3 servings, fry 1 small, finely chopped red onion and 3 peppers in a splash of water. Drain, then spray olive oil into the pan to coat the veg. Tip in 6 beaten eggs, cook on a low heat, then crisp under the grill. Serve with salad.
*Seafood shindig Mix 150g cooked seafood with 1 red pepper, finely sliced, 1 handful rocket leaves, 8 black olives and a sprinkling fresh parsley. Dress with 2tsp olive oil, 2tsp lemon juice and season.
*Soup shop Buy a fresh vegetable soup, such as tomato and lentil. Make sure it contains less than 300 cals and 12g sugar per serving. Serve with 2 oatcakes.
*Fish “cakes” Remove the skin of a smoked mackerel fillet and mash. Mix with 1tbsp olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spread over 3 oatcakes and serve with beetroot and mixed leaves. Vegetarians can substitute the mackerel for houmous topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
*Crayfish combo Finely slice ½ apple and ½ small bulb of fennel. Mix with 1 large handful salad leaves and 100g crayfish tails. Dress with 2tsp olive oil, 1tsp wholegrain mustard and a splash white wine vinegar. Vegetarians can swap the crayfish for 30g cashews.
*Roast salad Spread a thin layer of pesto on 3 slices beef. Serve with salad leaves, tomatoes and mixed peppers.
- Want a healthy lunch on the go? Pret A Manger No Bread Crayfish & Avocado sandwich, is a great choice, as it only contains 203 cals per pack and less than 1g salt.
*Cajun chicken Blend paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and dried sage. Coat 1 skinless chicken breast (or Quorn fillet) in olive oil, then spice mix, and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with sweet potato wedges and broccoli.
*Mushroom pizza Fry ½ onion and 2 cloves garlic. Add 1 chopped leek, ½ tin tomatoes and 1 pinch dried oregano. Spray 2 large Portobello mushrooms with olive oil, and grill. Top with tomato sauce and 30g goat’s cheese. Return to the grill until the cheese has melted.
*Spicy salmon Bake a salmon fillet for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Chop ½ small avocado, ½ red onion, 10 cherry tomatoes and 1 red chilli. Mix with 2tsp olive oil and lime juice. Top the salmon with the salsa, and serve with roasted courgettes, peppers and 2 heaped tbsp brown rice.
*Fake spag bol Make a bolognese sauce using 150g Quorn mince, garlic, onions, tinned tomatoes, herbs and black pepper. Make courgette “pasta” by cutting courgette with a vegetable peeler to resemble tagliatelle. Boil for 2 minutes until tender, drain, drizzle with olive oil and serve with the sauce.
*Lettuce tacos Fry 100g minced beef or Quorn. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and a little water. Simmer until cooked. Serve taco-style in iceberg lettuce with a topping of tomato salsa (as with the spicy salmon).
*Stuffed squash Halve 1 butternut squash, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, season, sprinkle with oregano and cook for 40 minutes. Mix 75g quinoa, 30g feta, 25g pine nuts, 5 halved olives and 1 sliced spring onion. Spoon on to the squash and bake for 10 minutes. Serve with spinach, rocket and watercress.
THE FITNESS RULES
*Team up to stay on-target Friends and family are a great resource when it comes to achieving a fitness goal – they will help keep you motivated as you’ll be sort-of competing with them at the same time as having someone to chat to about your keep-fit plan. Alternatively, for a personalised pep-talk, download Gym Buddy, (£1.99, iTunes). This motivational app will support you in your new fitness plan by monitoring your goals, progress and workouts to ensure they’re working out well for you.
*Make a workout mood board After the initial excitement of getting fit fades and the realisation that you’re not going to buff up overnight sets in, it’s natural to want to give up. Don’t! Instead, make a collage using pictures of your friends and celebrities that have bodies and healthy lifestyles you admire, then stick it on the fridge. The pictures will re-start your motivation whenever you have a wobble and reach for the fridge. Plus every time you feel like giving in, ask yourself: “Why am I doing this? Don’t I deserve a healthier life?”. The answers will kick you up the bum enough to get going again.
*Set yourself realistic targets Seven hour-long workout sessions every week is unsustainable. Much more realistic is to give the 10-Minute Routine (right) a go once a week, then build up your regime until you can do it at least three to five times every week. This is much more manageable, especially if you have family/love/life/fun commitments that you need to work around. Add in dance classes, a few laps of the pool at lunchtime, or a fun game of “It” in the park with your kids or mates, to keep things fresh too.
For even more information and tips, check our Jéan and Team Fabulous doing the 10-Minute Routine, below:
The 10-Minute Routine
Skipping Borrow your kids’ skipping rope or pick one up from your local toy shop. Jump-skip, freestyle skip or do both for 30 seconds.
Mountain climbers Start in a push-up position, with your weight supported by your hands and toes. Bend your right leg until your knee is under your hip, while your left leg is outstretched behind you. Then quickly swap your leg positions, as if you’re climbing speedily up a mountain. “Climb” for 30 seconds.
Glute kickback Get on all-fours with your back flat and hands shoulder-width apart. Exhale and raise your right leg, keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, until your thigh is parallel with the ground. Hold for 1 second, squeezing your bottom muscles as you do so, then slowly lower your leg back to the ground. Repeat with your left leg. Do 20 steady reps on each leg, which should take you around 90 seconds.
Towel row squat Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, grab a towel. Hold at either end, twist it, then hold in front of you until tight. As you bend your knees, suck in your tummy, squatting until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees bent over your toes. At the same time pull the towel towards you in a rowing motion. Hold for 1 second, push the towel out, and straighten up. Do 20 reps, this will take you about 90 seconds.
Cross-body crunches Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor and put your hands on your temples. Contract your abs, exhale and curl up. Bring your right elbow and shoulder across the body and lift your left knee to touch the elbow. Hold for 1 second, inhale and go back to the start. Do 15 reps on each side, which should take 1 minute.
by Kim and Jéan
You’ve got the food and fitness theory down. Now here’s how to fit it all into your hectic life…
*Sleep Snooze time is massively important. Research has found that lack of zzzs can make you feel hungry when you’re not, as cortisol, a hormone that controls appetite and stress, is released**. Sleep loss may also interfere with the body’s ability to break down carbs leading to high blood-sugar levels. So get your duvet hours in. Aim for seven or eight hours of sleep a night, treating yourself to more when you feel run down or hungover.
*Get out of the “excuse” mentality You’re on holiday, you’ve had a great day, you’ve had a bad day… If you look for excuses to not eat the right foods or skip exercise, you’ll always find one. Instead, focus on opportunities to do positive things for your body. At a restaurant, order a side of vegetables not chips. If a colleague is going for a walk at lunch, join them.
*Hangovers aren’t fun Dehydration makes you want sugary drinks, and your drop in sodium levels leaves you craving a salty Bacon & Egg McMuffin. But your body needs to be rehydrated and have its salt levels upped the right way to get your metabolism back on track. Drink lots of water and tuck into our Not-so-full English. Go for a bike ride to get your blood pumping, which will not only burn booze calories but help your body get rid of the alcohol toxins more quickly. Don’t like hangovers? Don’t get drunk.
*Plan ahead Eating out is tricky, but you can still stay strong. Lots of restaurants list their menu online, so decide on the healthiest option before you arrive, and don’t open the menu when you get there. When going to a mate’s house, let them know in advance that you’re on a health kick. Good friends will be supportive. Bring a healthy side dish along with you. Alternatively, plan dinners out into your week’s cheat day.
*Keep a good-deed diary Every day jot down what you’ve eaten, what kind of exercise you’ve done and how it made you feel. Studies found people who kept a detailed account lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t***.
*Balance the breaks in your routine Do an extra workout before a big night out. And if you’re going away, look up where the closest gym or park is before you get there. Good luck!
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