Sunday, 24 November 2013

Winter Warmers - Delicious Home Made Soups

Hey Lovelies,

I just love a nice hearty soup after a long day at work or even during lunch, but all those ready soups you can buy are not that tasty. I do miss some flavour in them and I'd love them to be thicker/creamier. And do you really know what's in them?

I've had a few colds already this year during which I started cooking my own vegetable soups with the veggies I had at home at that time and which needed to be used anyway. I am amazed with how quick these soups are done and how little ingredients you need to make them. Also you don't really need a proper recipe as it's all up to you how you want it. There is nothing really you could do wrong with it. Anything goes ;-)

I think that soups can be really very filling and you can make a lot to either freeze or eat a few days in a row or feed the whole family. And you know exactly what's in it.

There are so many different types of soups you can make. The one I made last time and which I'll tell you about now is a soup with the following ingredients:

1 small pumpkin - any type is fine
2 big carrots - no need to peel them just chop off both ends and wash them
1 medium or big size Onion
1 tomato
2 celery stick - I had them left over
1 or 2 garlic gloves

You could also add a few potatoes - which I love to do as well but last time I did not have any at home, the way you cook it is the same way actually, you just have to boil it a bit longer at the end.

1) Wash the pumpkin and cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and cut it up into chunky cubes - no need to make them very small. There is no need to peel the pumpkin either, but that's up to you; Chop all the other vegetables, again no need for the to be very small. Don't forget to chop the garlic.

2) Put all the ingredients on a baking tray season them with salt, black pepper and any other  of your favourite seasoning. Sprinkle a little bit of olive oil on top of the vegetables and mix them up a bit.

3) Put the Veggies in the oven, turn up the heat and bake them until they're soft. Put the temperature on 220° or even more and use either the Fan or the Grilling function. Leave it in there for about 20 mins or if they are not soft enough a little bit longer. It's OK if they are not fully cooked as you'll still boil them after.

4) Now, after you've taken out the tray, put everything in a big pot and add vegetable, chicken, lamb or beef stock - all up to your personal taste. I, to be honest prefer beef stock. - Add enough stock to cover the vegetables plus a little bit more, if you want the soup to be thicker you don't need that much more but if you prefer it more liquid then I would add enough for the vegetables to slightly swim in it. Bring all this to a boil and shimmer until the vegetables are extra soft and absorbed the flavour of the stock.

5) Once you're happy with the texture turn of the heat and take the pot of the stove.

6) I normally use a hand blender to purée the vegetables. Sometimes I miss a few chunky bits but that's OK I don't mind that. 

Once you blended it, you're done! That's how simple it is. ;-)

If you want more flavour feel free to add it after. I normally use a lot of black pepper and some chilly flakes, but beware don't use too much as it might be too hot then.

I once also added a little bit of sour cream and Gorgonzola. Mhhhmmm that was delicious but not that healthy any more.
If you decide to add any dairy products, I would not add it to the whole batch of soup. Take out the portion you want to eat put it on a low heat in a smaller pot and add the "special ingredients" only to that portion. The soup will last you longer without the dairy products.

I also find that the soup is much better heated up the next day, so it's great to prepare it the day before while you can do something else and no need to worry about cooking your lunch the next few days.
This is a soup I made with Broccoli, Potatoes, Sour Cream and Gorgonzola and black Pepper of course
If you make a soup like this, you'll know exactly what's in it and you really have the flavour you want. Whenever I make a big batch of that soup, I feel so happy and proud and I can't wait to eat it the next day.

Mhhmmmm enjoy cooking and eating it!

Did you think that making soups like this would be that easy?
What is it you like to eat during the cold seasons or when you're ill?

Gisi  XXX

Halloween Outfit and a Great Party - just a short post!

Hello all,

I cannot believe it's been almost a month ago now since that Halloween Party.

I have promised to put up pictures and write about my costume. I'll make it quick and short I promise.

I went as a Cheerleader Zombie and loved it. I never ever dressed up like that so I was really excited and my friend who helped me with my make up did a really really great job with it.

We had a few things which did not go according to plan, but hey that's just how it goes. At the end of the day we had an awesome night!

The only thing I must say is, please do not take the fake blood off like I did. I took a make up removal wipe and just wiped my whole face with it. Spreading the red colour all over my face and it made it harder to get it off. So the next day I looked like I burned my face by staying in the sun for too long. UUUUUUps ;-) Next time I know just to wipe that one particular area and then use baby oil, face scrub and finish off with an oil free facial wash. Luckily all was gone by Monday morning.

I so can't wait to dress up again soon!

What did you dress up as?

Gisi XXX

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Who comes up with all these horrendous diets????

Hello everybody,

Sitting here watching a programme on the UK Channel 5 “Got Thin – Got Fat again” makes me sad angry and confused.

Diets people have tried to lose weight,……. WHAT??? Who comes up with all that? Why don’t we try to educate people in a different way? I hope that this programme opens some people’s eyes!? Not just people who need to lose weight but also the skinny people who still think they are too fat.
I have been worrying about my weight ever since I can think. In my secondary school all my friends were slimmer and prettier. We were really close friends that time but I always felt like the ugly fat one and was actually surprised some times that they are friends with me.   We were the more “popular” group. I knew I was not the prettiest but I wasn't that ugly either. This was the time I started worrying about my figure. 
I know now I was never fat and I was really active as well. I wish I’d know now why I felt like that!? I was never that insecure to not go to the Lido or indoor swimming pool and wearing a bikini or swimsuit but I was also never really happy about it either and tried to cover up when I could so people couldn't see my belly…. This was always my problem zone. What was I worried or insecure about???
I now think that I actually had a nice figure. I was never that big kid who needed to lose weight and I was always active. Even back then I LOVED dancing and music more than anything in the world. My Secondary School was a “Music School” and music was on a daily curriculum. 
Singing was never my strength but dancing I knew I was good at. 
Since the tender age of 6 I started to go to this dance classes with my sister and her best friend (who’s mum created this dance group for kids). I am not sure how to describe this dance group,.. it was with a partner and more like folk dance – at least that’s the translation for it. It was great fun and I used to love to go there, we had Christmas and Easter events. We travelled around Austria a bit and even made it to Switzerland for 1 event. Thinking back, this was a real great time. During those special parties we did playback shows as well and this is when I realised I like to perform ;)
I never really followed this dream about becoming a dancer as life got in the way and I became a teenager and too cool for all this. But I still continued to take part in other activities and cycled almost every where.

Back to horrific diets. Why do we do this? Why do we constantly try to be slimmer and prettier than others?

It makes me so so sad that there are so many overweight people out there who don't get educated or the right help they need, I wish I could help each and every one of them. I cannot imagine how they feel? I can only try as I felt terrible about my weight a lot of times and I still do some times. I am so insecure about this. 
I don't know many people who never ever complain about their weight and are just happy the way they are. This is sad as this is what the society made of us and I feel like it's getting worse, as Kids as young as 8 probably already count calories. Taking away their childhood too quickly.

Sometimes obese people cannot take any blame on their weight. They might be ill, we don't really know and we should never judge them.
Yea, genes do play a big part in it I suppose, but we are also responsible for our own actions.
We don’t know why people are bigger or extra skinny. Some peoples' metabolism is just extra good and works extra hard.
You also just don’t know what’s going on in their life. But by judging them or commending on their weight and putting them down we don't make it any better either.
This picture is the only picture I have which shows me at my heaviest I think. Not sure how heavy or big I was. This was after 1 year in America. People used to ask me if I was pregnant! I never ever showed this to anyone as this is how much I am embarrassed of it.

I still remember a few comments I got sometimes and to be honest those people were my friends and probably meant them to be funny but I took them to my heart and didn't tell people about it and just got on with it. I never forgot about them though. I am still scared that people say horrible stuff to me about my “ugly face” or  my “fat belly”.

I must admit though that losing weight did help me with being more secure and happy. I get more attention now from men and I love it.;) 
In the past few year since qualifying to become gym instructor I also learnt that there are so many different people in this world and not everybody has to look the same or has the same taste. People which I think are pretty and look great might not look pretty in other peoples eyes. People who I think have a great figure might look too skinny to others.

And people who invent those diets make it harder for us to love us as we are as they almost make us feel like we have to do a diet. Diets make us more sad and I feel like a massive failure if I can't even last a day. And that makes me even more upset.
Why do you think we Yoyo with our weight and normally put on more then we lost after a diet? I don't think it's healthy and no one will ever be able to follow through a diet for the rest of their lifes.

Eating only cabbage soup or only everything which has the colour red for a few days is not the answer to our problems. I believe it makes it worse. 

When I used to start a diet all I wanted to do during that time was eat everything else but what I was supposed to eat. Suddenly I wanted to eat a bar of chocolate or a bag of crisps. And I don’t really like snacking that much normally. So my brain went on a strike, and I got upset, because I couldn't even do the simplest thing and be strong. I never lasted a week probably not even a day on a diet. Apart from when I did weight watchers, but oh how did I hate the beginning. You can ask my friends how much I was crying when I saw how little I was actually only allowed to eat a day. I changed my lifestyle and starting running. It didn't take me long to get used to this and I started to enjoy it. This made me realise that there is only so much fuel a body needs and the rest is just too much to absorb or digest.
As I already said, at the same time I did Weigh Watchers I also started to train for my first marathon.
Doing all this exercise on top of counting calories and watching very carefully what I ate helped me lose all the weight I had to ( according to them - calculated at the beginning of the programme). But guess what,…. I still felt like I needed to lose more and that my belly was so so fat again!? What!? I wish I was back there again.
This is me a few years ago, and guess what,.. I felt actually fat!?
I heard about a few of the crazy diets and all I can say to it is,…. Why would you do that to your body? What does eating grapefruits all day have to do with losing weight and get ting healthier and happier!? 
I am also far too busy to concentrate on cooking and shopping for all these special diet foods. And who wants to eat when they have to only what they have to according to a magazine or book?

I believe that if you really want to lose weight do it the healthy way. Look at your lifestyle. 
Do you really think that drinking alcohol every day has no impact not only on your health but also weight? Shouldn't we do sports because we like it and not just because we had that chocolate bar that day?

Or, do you have time to cook all these diet foods you see in magazines or books sometimes? I don’t plus I also don’t have time to eat every 3,4,5 hours of the day. But I am trying to listen to my body more now. And if I go out for dinner,.. of course at first I am scared and think,….. OMG what should I eat I don’t want to be fat and I certainly don’t want to work out even more, even though I do love sports. I do try not to go out for meals that much at all anymore, but if I do I indulge! Why not? I don’t want to spend my money on a salad, especially when the price is the same as the other main meals and you could make this yourself for much much less if you’d prepare it at home. So when I go out I eat. Do I feel bad about it sometimes afterwards? Of course I do, but I am no angel and I do deserve a treat sometimes as well. WE all deserve a treat.
But we need to be honest to ourself. In order to change our figure and improve out health we do need to be honest to ourselves and also others. Admit when you over indulged in anything. It’s no biggy and it does not mean that all your hard work is lost and because of that you can eat rubbish all day every  day again. The next day, you’ll just try to not snack at all or eat a soup instead of pasta. Or simple just reduce your portion. We can all do it. It’s all in our minds. I really believe that. I can talk,… I feel shit as well and when I then drink a few days in a row and eat horrible food on top of it I just want to hide behind a coat or anything to not show my body. I also envy my skinny friends who’s metabolism is so good they can eat whatever they want. But this is just not me, also not everybody is built to be a size 4, 6 or 8 and to be honest all I want to be is a healthy toned size 10. I learnt to love my curves. I just don’t want them to be wobbly and this is what I am trying to work on.
I am scared to gain weight once  I am pregnant (if I ever find anyone who wants a baby with me ;)) not not being able to lose it again. I am struggeling with my weight and know that according to my genes I will be bigger. But I won’t use that as my main excuse as of why I am not a size 8. It is the truth and I do believe we are not meant to all be as skinny as the stars on TV or in the magazines.

I hate it that all you see is them, but what you don’t see is that they have no other life than that. I don’t really want to know what they eat all day and how much exercise they have to do to keep that body. Looking at Christina Aguilera when when gained all that weight after giving birth and going throught the divorce showed me that they are also just normal people like we are. I alsways loved that woman and I wanted to be like her. But when she got that big, I was a bit happy. And I feel bad to submit it… I don’t know which size she was on but might have been bigger then me and I felt like “Ha, once I am skinnier,….” ;) I probably wasn’t and she still looked better then me. And she looks amazing now. She must have gone through a rough exercise regime and the worst diet ever. But remember she probably had a cook and a nutritionist who knew exactly how to get it off and get her back into her “old” body. I am a bit jelouse of her, as she can afford all this.
All these thoughts made me realise that I want more about this topic and help  educate people about just changing life style and getting into exercise and start a healthier lifestyle the slower way. Remember it didn’t just happen during the night that the weight gone up like that. So we cannot expect to lose it over night.
I am still so shocked about all these random diets people come up with, I wouldn’t even know what to eat with half of them!? What is the Grapefruit diet!? Is it what I think it is? Do you really just eat that all day? I mean Grapefruits are nice, but really all day!? No,.. I will never do that,.. ever! And the cabbage soup, is just something else. Is it really worth eating this? Do you enjoy that?
Wouldn’t you rather enjoy cooking a steak or trying new things? Like buying as steamer and try new recipes invent new recipes. Educate yourself about healthy food and change your life slowly? I do believe that everyone can do it, but it is always easier when you have someone supporting you.
For me it’s easy as I don’t have a family and can cook and eat what ever, when ever I want. But even if you have a family, since you have to cook already, why not make something nice, I am sure if Kids grow up like that, they will also get used to it and won’t get too unhealthy or big either.

I wish I could help each and every person who suffers from low selfesteem or thinking they are too big. It's like being trapped and not knowing how to get out of this mess .... No matter how much weight you lose, you still want to lose more or you just don't know how to keep it there and go through terrible things just to keep it there.

Let's all relax and enjoy life much more! It's seriously to short.... Get a friend to support you. Think how you want to make yourself feel better. Get out there with the kids and play in the park or go for a walk. Join a running club anything will help you fee happier.

What are your thoughts on that? What's really the ideal look? Are we crazy and driving ourselves even more crazy.

I would love it if you could you comments on this topic.

Gisela xxx

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

My Mums Birthday and Halloween

Hi Everybody,

October is usually a very tough month for me and I must be honest I haven't celebrated Halloween at all in the last few years. All I did was celebrate my Mums Birthday to honour her. Autumn reminds me so much of being back home and spending a lot of time with my family. Going for long walks in the park and starting to spend more time indoors.
Back home in Austria, Halloween was never really celebrated. I think it only came to Austria about 12 years ago, and even then it was not celebrated like here (UK) or in the USA. I remember we used to go for walks in the evenings and eating Goulash and drinking the first mulled wine of the year. We even carved Pumpkins with the smaller Kids and put them up in my Aunties garden.

On the 31st October we have a "special day" in Austria. If you go the bank to empty your piggy bank that day you'll get a free gift ;) I am not sure exactly why on that day and who came up with it. I just remember doing this every year. It's actually very cute when you go with Kids. They are loving it. We start putting money into the piggy bank the very next day and then it's always a very big surprise when you go and put your money into the machine and they tell you how much you saved since last year. Every child knows about this day and the whole of October is basically just about this. Primary school teachers talk about it and sometimes even people from the bank come to school and you can bank your money there on that day. I don't know if every school does that but I remember mine did it every year. It's a great tradition. I love it when the kids get all there piggy banks together and get all excited while their money is being counted. Great memories! And the best thing.... the next day is always a Bankholiday!;)

The 31st October is also my Mums Birthday. Unfortunately I cannot spend and celebrate this day with her any more as she passed away in February 2011. I since almost hate this day. As it's such a big date you get reminded everywhere of it. As soon as the summer is over everything is full of Halloween stuff and that I associate with my Mum and it makes me really sad and miss her even more. It's very hard to explain how you feel. But I will not get into this too much. I just want to say that she was a great person and I wish I could show her what I have achieved. All my friends are amazing and keep supporting me in any way they can. They even went to church with me in February for her death day anniversary. I must say that was a really bad experience for all of us, as I did not choose a nice one. So unfortunately I think this is something they won't do for me any more. 

This year on the 31st I will be teaching both of my classes and am not planning on going out to celebrate this time. But I am excited to teach my classes and then celebrate Halloween on the 2nd November with a few of my friends, we'll be dressed up and spend the night in a bar dancing and drinking. It's going to be my first proper Halloween party. 
My outfit only just arrived today and I am so so excited to get dressed up :) Not going to say as what yet. I'd rather show you in my next post.

How are you going to celebrate Halloween?

Gisi XXX

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Training at Home


As much as I love going to the gym, I also hate it. It's too expensive and there are too many people, but when I don't go I miss it.

It's not that you have to talk to any of the people in there but it is kind off intimidating when you do your exercises and people might watch you or walk past. Puts to much pressure on me ;) Probably no one even looks at me, as every one is caught up in surviving there session and making the best out of it. 

I relaxes me though and gives me time to think about things and actually be in my own world with my own music for a while and I get some quality "me" time. It also does make me do my exercises properly and without stopping. 
It's a big commitment for me to sign up as sometimes I just can't go for a week or more in a row, plus I really like to try out different classes which they don't offer in gyms.
Every year just after Christmas I sign up to the gym to go a few times, then get lazy and cancel the membership after a few month again. 

I find it easier to exercise at home, as it doesn't waste that much time with travelling and getting changed and all. Only thing is I get distracted very easily, so I have to switch of my phone and also the TV.

It doesn't cost much to train at home. You can get some small equipment to make it more interesting too. I think if you have kids, not enough money or simply just want to save money but still stay in shape or tone up then training at home is a really good alternative to the gym. 
Make yourself an exercise plan and get into a routine. Try to change it once in a while so it doesn't get too boring.

Me and my flatmate want to get some home trainers, so that instead of just sitting TV we can do some exercise and enjoy each others company this way. 

First we want to get a rowing machine. You can sit and just push backwards and forwards and still watch telly. Also it doesn't make too much noise, so we won't annoy the neighbours.

Before I trained to become a fitness instructor I never really liked to use it as no one explained it to me and I did not want to look like a fool in the gym. but now I do it for 10 minutes to warm up and I really feel great afterwards. It makes you work really hard.

The rowing machine requires you to use many major muscle groups which means it is an effective way to raise your heart rate and increase your oxygen uptake (VO2 Max). 

More great benefits of the rowing machine:

1) You burn more calories then on a stationary bike, because it uses so many muscle groups (about 600 calories an hour)
2) It works your whole body, I can even feel it in my abs and lower back.
3) Low impact exercise - easy on your joints especially your knees
4) Improves your aerobic fitness (great cardiovascular training)
5) Relieves stress (but most of the fitness machines you go on will help you with that)

The second "home trainer" we'd like to buy is something more unusual. It's a magnetic stand for the "outdoor" bike. It's a machine which makes your "normal" bike into a "Spinning" bike. 

These magnetic bike trainer stand comes in different styles and with different functions but they are all more or less the same. The price for these vary a lot. Just like with any other home trainer i suppose.
I will get mine off Ebay, I think, but Amazon sells them as well. I even saw it in Halfords the other day. The ones I was looking at cost about £60 Pounds. But I have not yet decided on which one to get.

It won't replace the good old Spinning® bike which I love so much, but is a cheaper alternative to it. I already have a bicycle which I never use and before I sell it I'll use it indoors instead.

Other equipments could be the exercise ball, small weights, exercise bands or you can simply just use your own body weight. I would also definitely get an exercise mat, as it is more comfortable when you do the exercise on the floor.

But I guess it always depends on what sort of training you're after. If you really want to bulk up, you could get those weight benches and very heavy weight. I would rather got the gym for that though. 
There are so many different things you can do from home or even in the park. And it really doesn't cost the world.

And if you are not sure which exercises you should or could do or how to do them, there are so many fitness DVD's already and after you done them a few times you'll remember the exercises and can do them by yourself.

In my class which I teach on Thursdays (Legs Bums and Supple Strength), I try to show and explain the exercises properly so that people could go and try them at home again.
I recently started to do the fitness DVD from Tracy Anderson. I got this DVD set for my Birthday from a really good friend and I must say I LOVE it. I am using a few of these exercises in my class now and I feel they are really working. My whole body is soar after I did the whole 50 mins.

Tracy trained Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna and loads of other celebrities.

I really want to be like her one day :-)

I am planning on doing a few posts on exercises for a specific areas, So you have more variety for your workout at home.

What is your favourite exercise? Do you train at home or prefer the gym?

Gisi XXX

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Curing a hangover

Hey Everyone,

Just in time for the weekend. 

Even though I am into my fitness and healthy eating I  also like to let myself go a little sometimes.  I try not to drink during the week (as you know from my weight loss post) but every other weekend I like to go out and have a good time. And unfortunately as it so happens there is usually a bit of alcohol involved.

As much as I enjoy the night before and vow that I will never ever drink again the next day, I keep doing it again and again. But I figured out how to quickly get over a hangover.

My hangovers depend on the drinks I had though and the worst for me is white wine and Jaeger-bombs.  My head feels like it's exploding and I can't even lift it as I would fall over and can't keep my balance at all. It's not funny at all and I know drinking is really not healthy. We all know that, why are we still doing it? I really don't know.

I am able to have fun without alcohol as well by the way. :)

I hate the feeling the next day, I usually wake up early as well and can't seem to get back to sleep even though I might have only slept 4 hours. This is driving me crazy. 
So when I get up and I feel like falling down again, I usually drink as much water as I can, but even that sometimes makes me feel so sick and I prefer squash or anything with sugar in it. 
All I actually just want to do is eat the biggest fry up or a Burger with loads of chips (fries). But then usually my healthy side of the brain kicks in and tells me to remember the calories from all the drinks the night before and the calories I would get through eating all that junk food on top of it.

Just like every year on my birthday (August), I had a great party with awesome people, amazing food (BBQ) and too many drinks. As always, I felt guilty the next day and pretty hungover (actually felt too sick to even lift my head off the pillow). As soon as I got up I drank as much water as I could and even juice but my head did not get any better. So I had to do what my flatmate and friend (big sister) Christine kept telling me to do for years and years, drink chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or make yourself a nice soup with noodles or vegetables inside. I know that's really not what you want to do at that moment, but it did help me and my friends that day big time.

Back home in Austria, I remember we always had soup for lunch on a Sunday, so I guess that's why I never felt that bad after a night out, but never noticed it. I just thought it is getting worse with age. ;)

That Sunday I was so desperate, I was willing to try anything but because I was naughty with alcohol and food the night before I really wanted to cure this hangover in a healthier way.
And after the soup (and a bar of chocolate -  I have to lift my mood somehow), the spinning in my head vanished and I no longer felt sick.

As soon as I felt better I went for a short run. Call me crazy but that's so worth it. Trust me, any sports is on of the best cures for a hangover. I have done this a few times before, back in the days when I trained for my first and second marathon.

My tips for curing a hangover:

1) Drink loads of water before you go to bed. Hydrates your body and especially your brain. (drinking alcohol dehydrates your body a lot - that's why you get head aches or dry lips the next day)
2) Drink a pint of squash when you get up, followed by some more water.
3) Make yourself a nice portion of clear soup. Either drink a pint slowly or eat it as a soup with noodles or vegetables.
4) Drink herbal tea.
4) Get out into the fresh air, this will also lift your mood.
5) Sweat out the alcohol. Go for a run, as bike ride, to the gym or anything else that gets you sweaty. You might not want to do that right now but you'll feel a hundred times better after and can have a nice long nap without feeling sick.

6) If nothing work I'll take pain killers. ;)

If you want to know more about what alcohol can do to your body, please visit Drinkaware. Please drink aware and be careful it can have long term effects on your body.

How do you cure your hangover? 

Gisi xxx

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Weight Loss

Hey lovelies,

I would like to share one thing which is always on my mind and I spend a lot of time thinking about and working on. Healthy living and losing weight.

I am very good in giving advise and helping people to lose weight or change their diet and healthy lifestyle  But when it comes to myself, I am hopeless  Don't get me wrong, I do eat healthy and am active, but there are so many things that keep me from my "dream" body.
This is the body I thought I wanted to have
Looking at this picture now makes me think, do I really wanted to look like this? I mean it looks really nice and lean/toned but also like a lot of hard work and I don't want to give up my whole life to look like this. Maybe I am wrong and I would not have to give up my whole life for this, but probably most of it. Also, my body frame is not made for a body like this. Plus, I really like having boobs and I think that training to be like this, I will also not have them any more. Is all this dieting and pushing yourself to the limit really worth it? 

I wish I would be a professional sports person, like volleyball player or runner, sprinter,... but I am not. I work in an office 40 hours a week and in my spare time I am teaching group exercise classes, taking part in classes myself, working on boosting my fitness business and trying to see my friends. If I really wanted to work on a body like that, I am not sure when I would find the time to sleep.

When I was at my heaviest, I was really really unhappy and embarrassed to show my body. All the weight I have gained went straight to my belly and arms, and these are the areas I am most sensible about now. But I guess everyone has this one part of their body, they feel like everyone looks at. I felt really unfit at that point and didn't have the motivation and knowledge to change anything, but I knew I had to in order to lift my mood.
So I joined Weight Watchers®. Through them I realised how important it actually is to eat a smaller portion and how many calories certain types of food have. It did help me a lot and made me a lot more confident. I also started running during that time. And to be honest I didn't even realise how quickly I lost all that weight. And after I stopped training for a marathon I gained a bit of weight again and my body shape changed. But I know how to keep it under control now. It seems to be a constant battle. But also it's a big learning curve. I learnt a lot through those years, and really want to share all that with you and maybe I can change a bit of your life!?

I envy people who do have a super hot skinny body. They can eat what they want and don't have to worry about putting on any weight. But that doesn't mean they are necessary healthy. Being able to binge eat and drink and not having to worry about fruit and veg, doesn't make you healthy. They area just lucky to have a great metabolism and amazing genes :-)

I prefer being healthy, and curvy but toned, then unfit and unhealthy. I must say, I hardly ever got ill when I did all my training for the marathon.
Hiding my belly well.
I am not a size 6 or 8 and most probably never will be, but I have a great stamina, strong core and a strong mind which got me through the marathon.

But enough about me, here are a few tips which I believe in and which can make your life healthier and maybe even lose a few pounds. These are a few things which helped and still help me.

First thing you should do is think about what you want to do, set yourself a realistic goal. Think about what you want to change about your body.

1) In order to improve your health it is advised that you do any sort of rhythmic movements of your major muscle groups 5-7 days a week for 30 mins accumulated during the day - meaning, taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking instead of taking the bus or car. Anything really which gets you a bit out of breath and a maybe a little bit sweaty, like when you have to run for the bus. Doing this doesn't cost a lot or takes up a lot of your time and can already make a huge difference.

2) Drink water instead of fruit juices or fizzy drink. If you want flavour as water is boring, add some fresh lemon or orange juice (home-made).

3) Keep a food diary for a week, writing down everything you eat, even if it's a mint or chewing gum. Also water, juices and coffee and tea. This helps you to figure out what you might be doing wrong or what you're eating too much off and maybe also how many calories you're eating. Be honest with it, you're only lying to yourself if you leave things out.

4) Reduce your salt intake. You only need about 6 gramms per day. I admit, this is one of the hardest things to change. And I am sure I still have too much salt in my diet. But a good tip is, stop snacking on crisps, try not to eat ready meals and don't add too much salt when you cook. Use other spices which can also add flavour to your food but are healthier for you. I love black pepper and a bit of curry powder or even chilli powder.
Read more on salt here.

5) Try to not eat any carbs for dinner. Also no potatoes. I try to eat eggs (doesn't matter how), baked beans, salad with chicken bits, tomatoes, olives and whatever I have at home at that time. This is really the biggest change I made and it made a great difference to my well-being even. If you think you'll then be too hungry in the morning, well at the beginning I was but you get used to it. I really must say I feel happier and healthier since I do that. But I don't manage to do it every night. Sometimes I do fancy a bit of past, well so I'll just cook some for myself and then the next day I might eat rice or even past again for lunch but then for dinner it's back to my salad. It's not boring at all once you know what you're can eat and cook. There is so much you can do without adding carbs. I will get some of my most favourite foods recipes and put them up soon.

Scrambled eggs with baked beans, baby beet root, gherkins and a side salad.
( I did not manage to eat all that unfortunately)
6) Reduce your intake of cheese and butter. This is also not very easy for me as I LOVE cheese and I used to put butter on everything, I just hate dry food. It does help lose weight though. I tried this when I did weight watchers. I really think that this was the biggest change I made at that time. 

7) It's important to eat vitamins and minerals every day, they are important in so many ways and are essential for metabolic process. I am not very good at that myself. But I do try to eat some sort of fruit whenever I can or think about it. I prefer vegetable to fruits though to be honest, but sometimes you need to cook them first in order for them to taste better. But I also eat my veggies raw. If I have too many carrots I make myself a juice. I know it has a lot of natural sugar, but it's still better then a bought juice. I also love celery and actually do grave it when I haven't had it for a while. It's really about what you like to eat and how.

8) Eat breakfast!!! It is really important and it can help you loose weight. I keep reading about it and I am and was always a fan of breakfast. I can't eat it first thing in the morning either but as soon as I get to work I make myself some yoghurt with muesli, a fresh fruit and some honey and that keeps me going and gets my metabolism started. Ideally I might should eat it earlier before I leave the house but I just don't have enough time. Try it, please!

9) Cut down on alcohol. I had a time when I drank a glass (or more) of wine almost every night in the evening with my dinner (together with my friend). I did put on weight during that time and as always it went straight to my belly and arms. And even though I worked out a lot it didn't help. The drinking made my belly very wobbly and I felt embarrassed during teaching my classes,wanting to set a good example but having a drink a day. Now I don't drink during the week at all and sometimes not even on the weekend. I feel much much better and my belly even shrank a bit. Of course I will still sometimes enjoy a glass of wine when I have dinner with my friends  or drink when I go out, but I won't be doing it on a regular basis any more.

10) Enjoy your life and don't worry so much about your weight all the time. Don't step on the scales every day. I haven't been on one since my weight watchers days. It makes me depressed. I go with the cloth theory. If the jeans get tight, I know what's happening. Scales depress me and since I am more active I do have more muscle mass and as we all know this weighs more than fat.

The most important thing is DON'T EVER STARVE YOURSELF.

I am not obsessed with healthy food or really strict with my diet but I am trying to be as good as possible as I know I feel happier when I am slimmer. 
I could talk about this all day, but I guess I better stop now and keep more stories for another time.

Losing weight should really come from changing your lifestyle for good. It does not help if you just do it for the 2 month before your holiday and then forget about it again. It is hard to get into it again after a holiday, but it's really very worth it and you'll benefit from a healthier lifestyle in the long run.

What do you do to keep fit, keep your weight or lose weight. Have you got any other tips for us?

Gisi XXX

Monday, 16 September 2013

Things to do before I turn 30 - Help please

Hi everybody,

Here I am, one month closer to my 30th and I still have not started with the list I wanted to have finished a long time ago. 
I call it the "Bucket List", just because I am not sure how to call it otherwise. And ever since I saw the Movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson I wanted to do something similar, with the only difference, I don't have that much money.
I am really looking forward to turning 30 to be honest. No one will ever believe me anyway when I tell them how old I am. People usually think I am about 21 or something like that and I most of the time I still get ID'd for buying alcohol or anything else like that.  I do get a bit annoyed by it, but I guess it's just my genes and I will be happy about this one day, but for now I am embarrassed.

I haven't started with this list yet, as I always thought there would be enough time, but it's now less then a year and I don't think there is a lot you could do in one year and with a low budget.

I do need some help from you to finish this list though, please.

If you'd turn 30 next year what would you really want to do? Or what have you done before you turned 30?

I already ran 2 Marathons,so that's ticked off the list.

Only 2 things I really do not want to do are bungee jumping or skydiving, it's really something I cannot see myself do ever.

I want to get to 30 things!

Here's what I came up with so far:

1) Have afternoon tea at the Ritz
2) Go speed dating
3) Have super toned arms and belly
4) Become a Spinning instructor
5) Help at least 2 people achieve their goal with getting fit and lose the weight they want
6) Sign up to become a volunteer with friendship works charity
7) Advertise my exercise classes and make them a success.
8) Get another Tattoo
9) Go to Liverpool for a night out
10) Plan my Party (3 in total)
11) Finish the scarf I started knitting 4 years ago
12) Fly to Hong Kong
13) Create a YouTube video
14) Go to the Buddha Bar
15) Driving a car in the UK

I really need a little help here now I think....

Please leave me loads of comments with suggestions, so I get more ideas and I can finish this list.

Remember I am turning 30 in August 2014!

What do you think I should do?

Gisi XXX

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Spinning® - My New Found Love

Hi Lovelies,

Recently I rediscovered indoor cycling or "Spinning®".

A few years back I went for my very first time. It was in the gym I had a membership with and I liked it but was not that impressed by it. I think that was around the same time I discovered I LOVE fitness and all sorts of sports and especially running so I really tried out everything.
I remember one time my friend got me a guest membership in her gym in Wimbledon (Nuffield Health) and that indoor cycling instructor was THE hottest guy I have ever seen ;) Unfortunately he was only a substitute that day and we never ever saw him again...... Anyway, back to Spinning®,..... back then I liked it but did not really enjoy it. It was all about sweating and working harder and harder and all I remember was having to change the gear constantly. I felt good after but during the session I kept wondering what I was doing here and just wanted to get out of there.
The music was not really my taste and I did not understand the instructor most of the time due to acoustic issues and the pain in my bum was not fun either the day after.

In June my friend suggested to do a group exercise class together, so she did some research on what we could do and found a few indoor cycling studios.
We decided to sign up for the £20 for 20 days introduction promotion with CyclebeatTheir studio is great and you can see it's new. They are situated near Bank tube station and offer different sorts of memberships and you can hire cycling shoes for £1.00 per visit. The instructors are really very friendly and helpful. The music is great and every class is different but a lot of fun. They also organise race nights, so it is a very competitive environment. They have screens at the front where you can see your rank.
You can only book into classes via their website, but at least you can get to choose your bike already.
If you work in central London and want to do something new I would recommend to try their special offer, like we did. It's a great experience. They do offer classes all day and on Saturday as well, but no classes on Sunday.
For me it was not worth it really as I had to come from Wimbledon to Bank, so that was not really on my way home.

We also found another Spinning® Studio in Wimbledon, the Pedal Studio. They also have a studio in Putney.They don't offer that many classes, but to be honest the amount of classes they offer is more then enough. In Wimbledon you can go to a class every morning or evening apart from Fridays.
Ever since I went there for the first time I am hooked. I try to go at least 3 times a week, but unfortunately I can't make it every week, like this week I have not even been once :(.
I love this studio, I am seriously addicted to it. It's on Elms Grove in Wimbledon just above the Bikram Yoga Studio.
They do classes on Saturday AND Sunday mornings, which is great as it gets you out of bed on the weekend. It's an awesome way to start your day. 
They also have an offer for new riders -  £12 for 7 days. And after that you can buy ride credits. The more you buy the cheaper each class gets. I have the £60 for 10 rides pass. 
With them you also have to book into a class online as they do not have a reception or anything. But if you have questions you can always contact them via email or ask the instructor directly. You cannot choose your bike though, so be there on time and you get the bike you want. There are not too many people attending these classes, which is great as it makes it more personal. But even when the class is fully booked it still isn't too crowded.
The classes are all about your heart rate so once you come in you put on the heart rate monitor, provided by them, and off you go. Your heart rate will be shown on the screens in the front, so you can work with that and the instructors always tell you where you should be at the moment and where you should get during certain periods. I must admit that working with your hear rate was a bit difficult at the beginning, but you get used to it and learn how to use your breathing properly to keep it under control.
All the instructors there are really very friendly and helpful, and I just love their music. Makes you want to sing out loud sometimes. You feel like you are part of a big family.
All I wish they would do is a pass where you could come as many times as you want as it might make it cheaper, but otherwise I think it's great value for money and I'd recommend them to everyone. I even bought my own cycling shorts and soon I want to get some shoes as well.

I keep telling all my friends about it and try to make them come along as well. Hope I'll be successful soon.

I also found out that there is an outdoor Spinning® class called Spin Out Fitness. I haven't tried them yet, but I am planning on do so. With these classes you have to have your own bike though.

I enjoy the classes so much, I am thinking of becoming a Spinning® instructor myself.

If you want to find out more about spinning and who found it have a look here: Spinning®

There is so much more I would like to say about Spinning®, but I will keep this for another post.

Have you ever been to an indoor cycling class and how did you like it?

Gisi XXX