Health Diary Week 5: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

All Moving in the Right Direction (Finally!)

Image: Annca from Pixabay

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

… I’m going to jump straight in here – I’m feeling totally thrilled that all my results moved in the right direction this week. My weight reduced by 2 lb and fat by 0.7%. What I need to do now is figure out what I did right, so that I can keep doing it!:

My week 5 results compared to the start & last week (all good – finally!)

…So, I drew up a summary table to clearly see what I’d consumed and physical activity for the week (yep, getting a bit nerdy again!).

Week 5: Food intake & physical activity

Alcohol

The difference between this week and the previous ones that immediately came to mind, was a much lower alcohol intake – I only had one rum (a double) with Saturday’s dinner, compared to many vodkas or wines in previous weeks. Since alcohol is so calorie-dense, seven calories per gram (fat has nine per gram)[1, 2], I clearly need to track my alcohol intake more closely in future!:

Image: Daniel Reche from Pixabay

Exercise

The other factor that probably attributed to my weight/fat loss was the amount of physical activity I undertook. I walked (not fast, just casually) for about five hours and spent four hours on planned exercise (circuits and exercise bike) – that’s nine hours total! Unfortunately, I injured my wrist (I can’t pinpoint exactly when – it’s a hypermobility[3] thing), so I’m currently limited on some exercises – no boxing-pad work (my favourite) or anything else placing pressure on my wrist. Despite that, I was able to incorporate alternatives that still gave me a decent work-out, so I’m hoping this won’t affect me massively or for too long:

Image: Video stills from Fitness 4 U Fareham
Me on the boxing pads station at circuits in 2016

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices and identify any tweaks I could make to improve my nutrition…

I ate a good amount of freshly prepared food, which I find can help to keep calories down, because you know how much fat or sugar you’re adding.

Breakfast:

For breakfast, I had fruit salad three times – a good start to building towards my 5-a-day fruit and veg[4]:

Fruit salad ingredients: strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango & kiwi fruit

Lunch:

Lunch generally involved some form of salad (including My Typical Salad) – the tastiest lunch was a recently discovered Shawarma (Soya-based) Kebab. The great thing about this meal was that it was a decent source of fibre, incorporating wholegrains and salad. Why is this important? – Because fibre is crucial to health – in the UK, only 4% of women and 13% of men in my age range (19-64) reached the recommended 30 grams fibre[5, 6], so we literally need to add it in at any opportunity!

Shawarma kebab: You can’t really see the Shawarma soya protein, as there’s so much salad crammed in, but it all tasted amazing and was filling.

I love Vegetable Risotto, so I was happy enough to eat it three times for dinner, having made a batch load. However, my dinner highlight was fajitas, another fibrous meal if you use wholegrain tortillas and vegetables (I had mixed bell peppers, mushrooms and onion, as that’s what was in the fridge):

Pre-wrapped fajita: Mixed veg, tomato salsa, guacamole & iceberg lettuce in wholegrain tortilla – I had 2 of these!

Snacks:

The great news for me was that I had chocolate snacks without any dire consequences. I used ‘swaps’ to lower sugar/saturated fat content – raw chocolate-coated goji berries, instead of chocolate bars and raw cacao hot almond milk drink instead of hot chocolate – hot chocolate can contain ten teaspoons of sugar[7], sometimes a lot more! My favourite savoury snacks are hummus and wholegrain pitta or rice crackers, decent sources of plant protein and fibre:

Image: Samir Biscevic from Pixabay

A Positive Week

It’s been a great week results-wise and I’m hoping I’ll keep moving in the right direction – but I’m going to keep experimenting to figure out what I can get away with, so keep watching this space…

Week 6>>>
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References

1. Alcohol Change UK, Ca. 2019. Alcohol and calories [online]. Available from: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-and-calories.
2. NHS, 2016. Calories in alcohol [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/calories-in-alcohol/.
3. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes? [online]. Available from: www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes.
4. National Health Service (NHS), 2018. Eat Well: Why 5 A Day? [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/why-5-a-day/.
5. Public Health England and Food Standards Agency, 2018. National Diet and Nutrition Survey Results from Years 7 and 8 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2014/2015 to 2015/2016) [online]. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/699241/NDNS_results_years_7_and_8.pdf.
6. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Summary of Key Findings from the NDNS Report of Years 7 and 8 (combined) [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritioninthenews/new-reports/ndnsyears7and8.html.
7. Diabetes UK, C. 2019. How to cut down on sugar [online]. Available from: www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/carbohydrates-and-diabetes/how-to-cut-down-on-sugar.

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2 thoughts on “Health Diary Week 5: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

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