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28 April 2016

10 Things We Hate About Bloat - No. 8

Posted by Valentina from FTT

8. "Well, I'm definitely not 21 anymore..."

I’m Danielle, and I’m FTT’s resident health freak- but I wasn’t always this way. Like most girls in their early 20’s I didn’t pay too much attention to my diet and went to the gym more to socialise and check out the hotties than to actually exercise. To be honest, I didn’t really even get bloated in my early twenties. But now I’m 27, I feel like one piece of cheese adds a pound, and dessert is not an option unless I have a loose fitting outfit on standby for the next day. Well, I'm definitely not 21 anymore...

I would look back at photos from when I was younger and wish I had the brazen confidence I did 3-4 years ago to go out in a cute crop top without thinking everyone was looking at my tummy. I resigned myself to the fact that I was getting older and it’s just part of life that your body gets harder to maintain than it used to be. Most of my friends were experiencing the same thing, so I just accepted that bloating was a part of my life now, and those few extra pounds were going to be part of who I was.

But over the last couple of years I’ve developed a passion for hitting the gym and a couple of sports that I never thought I’d enjoy. I try to do a workout, even if it’s just a walk on the beach with a friend or a Sunday morning yoga session, at least 4-5 times a week. I know that’s a lot for some - but I started just doing 1 or 2, and as I found more things I enjoyed doing (there were lots of things I tried that I didn’t like, bye Zumba) I had more to squeeze into my schedule.

With all the activity has come a big shift in the foods that I eat - they do say abs are made in the kitchen! It hasn’t happened all at once, but slowly I have been making big changes in my diet. It started with swapping out white bread, pasta and rice for brown, making smarter snack choices and the big one - meal planning and prepping.  I know, you see those super organised people who make their meals for the week on a Sunday and think, ‘Oh that’s so much work, I don’t want to waste a whole day cooking.’ I thought the same. But if you’re clever about it, it doesn’t have to take so long and your body will thank you for it. One of the best changes I have made is preparing my lunches and breakfasts for the week on a Sunday afternoon.

Every weekend I go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients I need to make 5 days worth of lunches and breakfasts. I’m currently going through a chickpea and pumpkin curry phase, so I make a big batch of that and divide it up into 5 separate container for each day of the week. For breakfast I cut up a whole lot of fruit - my favourites are strawberries, apples, raspberries, pineapple and white grapes, and divide that up into containers too. On my way into the office on Monday morning I buy a fresh loaf of bread from a nearby bakery and have toast with my Activate tea first thing in the morning while sitting at my desk and going through my emails. I take my fruit to my desk in the morning too, but I usually get so busy that I don’t finish it until around 11am.

I have a ‘snack drawer’ in my desk too. This is filled with a variety of healthy snacks so I’m never tempted to duck out and buy a chocolate bar. I have nuts, mini packets of popcorn, dried chickpeas and healthy muesli bars. Strangely, I find the more snacks I have in my drawer the less I get hungry. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true… Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Don’t think I don’t treat myself though! I love to bake delicious cakes and treats for those around me - some healthy, some not so much. It’s all about balance! Combining my healthy eating habits with my workouts, and of course my Flat Tummy Tea - bloating is a thing of the past and I’m in better shape now than I was when I was 22, though I think I’ll leave those cropped tops back in 2010.