Body & Fitness

How to live a healthy life without sacrificing treats or Netflix

It's all about balance.

If you’re under the impression that a healthy life exclusively means hitting the gym six times a week or ensuring your diet only contains low-fat/low-carb foods, you’d be wrong.

While looking after your body and feeding it nutritious foods is wonderful, living a healthy life doesn’t mean cutting out the foods and activities we love – it’s about balance and moderation. You don’t need to forgo your Netflix binges or that glass of wine you love to have on Sunday afternoons – after all, do we really want to be healthy if it means giving up everything we love? Absolutely not.

It’s okay to say to yourself: “I’ve been really healthy today; I’ve been on a long walk, made an effort to get my steps up and eaten nutritious food all day, now I’m going to have a slice of cake and watch Suits for a while.”

To help us find a balance between eating well, exercising and activities and foods that aren’t exactly good for us, Now To Love asked registered trainer, nutritionist and co-founder of Voome, Amelia Phillips, about living a healthy – but fun – life.

Many assume being healthy means five days a week at the gym and calorie counting. If we honour our body’s needs (exercise, nutritious foods) can we still have treats and Netflix binges?

Yes you can have your treats and couch time! The biggest trap I see people fall into is the all or nothing approach to health. One week they’re training six days and eating lettuce, the next week they’re at the bar having thrown it all in.

Balance, or what I like to call consistency, can be hard because it’s a bit boring. You’re doing something but maybe not shooting the lights out. This consistency is the absolute key to a long and healthy life.

You don’t need to psych yourself up and be charged with motivation, you just have to be a little organised, disciplined and balanced in your approach. Ask yourself ‘is what I am doing sustainable?’ If the answer is no, then you might be falling down the all or nothing trap.

What exercises do you suggest for women who don’t have a lot of time on their hands?

Bodyweight exercises and functional cardio moves are the BEST exercises when you don’t have much time. Bodyweight exercises such as burpees, pushups, dips and reverse pullups all work pretty much every muscle in the body making them super time efficient.

Functional cardio moves are exercises that get your heart up firing whilst working your muscles in a way that mimics the real world.

Weighted deadlifts, squats, cable work and kettlebell moves are just a few of these big bang-for-buck moves. Twenty minutes of these can give you better results than a one hour spin class.

A lot of women have sugar cravings around 3pm or after dinner. Do you think we should honour the craving and have the cake/icecream or reach for a healthy snack?

You’re speaking to a self proclaimed sugar lover so I totally understand the after meal sugar craving! The key is to find healthy alternatives that still satisfy your craving. Stick to under 200 calories as a guide.

My go to treats are 70 per cent dark chocolate squares dipped in herbal tea, home made chia pudding, home made rice pudding, air popped popcorn mixed with a small amount of coconut oil and coconut sugar (melt in a pan and it caramelizes over the popcorn), and fruit and yoghurt.

What advice can you give to women who are struggling with motivation thinking “I’ll never get to where I want to be” in terms of their ideal bodies/eating clean?

1) Play the long game. Whilst short term rapid results are fine, remind yourself you’re in this for the long term. You are creating life lasting habits which means a more balanced approach.

2) Don’t rely on motivation: Motivation doesn’t last. Consistency does. And what breeds consistency is organisation (plan your week), and discipline (go to bed early, cook from home more etc).

3) Focus on performance goals not just body shape goals: How many pushups can you do in a minute? What’s your fastest 1km time? Weaving performance goals into your program is really rewarding and will pick you up on those weeks when the scales are not your friend.

Amelia Phillips is a registered trainer, nutritionist and co-founder of Voome. Check out Voome’s Kickstarter Program led by Amelia or connect with her on Instagram.

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