Health & Fitness Haul: Gracechurch Centre


With the ‘new year, new me’ mantra of January firmly behind us, and the revelation that it’s actually new year, same old nap-loving, pizza-scoffing me, I recently found myself in need of some fresh motivation. And by motivation, I of course mean a kick up the un-toned booty to get myself back on the health and fitness wagon.

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7 Things I’ve Learned Since I Stopped Eating Meat

Vanity Claire blog

Yes lads and lasses, you read that title right: I, the self-proclaimed chicken nugget queen and girl who once had a reputation at work for eating pork pie for breakfast (one time might I add, but some reps just stick with you), have stopped eating meat. It was a change I’d been slo-o-o-wly moving towards for a while, but for the last couple of months I’ve gone cold tofu and kicked my meat habit.

Okay, I can almost hear the eye-rolls from here. But I’ll kick off by saying that this isn’t intended to be a preachy post where I try to urge you all to start milking almonds – instead, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve noticed since making the change from meat-eater to things-that-are-shaped-like-meat-eater. View Full Post

Holiday Diet Review: GoNutrition, Eat Water & Nakd Bars

Ahoy there pals! So we have something a little different for you today, as I’m going to blabbering on about the recent diet that I’ve been on in preparation for my holiday. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or hot water and lemon if we’re being really healthy), but I’ve been using a few products that I for one was really interested in prior to my diet so I thought I’d share my experiences of them in case others are curious too.

I have a few disclaimers as I know this can be a bit of a controversial subject, but in the interest of not boring you to death in the first few minutes, I have popped these at the bottom of the entry for y’all. Now that I feel comfortable enough that nobody is going to sue me, here is a breakdown of what I’ve been eating on a typical day:

Eating 1

Breakfast: Protein Shake

Okay, if you’re anything like me then you’re probably sick to death of hearing the word ‘protein’, as every single gym bore on your Twitter probably harps on about it at least 8 times a day (as a side note, people, STOP UPLOADING PHOTOS OF YOUR SHAKERS. Nobody – I repeat, nobody – cares). With that being said though, protein shakes are something I’ve been enjoying for around 18 months now. I initially started off having them after the gym as they’re most commonly used, but I then moved to having them for breakfast occasionally too. Some protein shakes can be crazily high in calories for those who are trying to bulk, but if you get a diet option then these can be around 100-250 calories per serving.

I’ve previously used one by a brand called PhD, but GoNutrition recently sent me their Go Diet Whey* to try out so that’s what I’ve been having lately. I have the Triple Chocolate flavour which is honestly delicious – very smooth and creamy when mixed with water. You can use milk if you want your shake to be a bit thicker, or add oats to really bulk it up. I find it just fine with water though.

GoNutrition also sent me a host of other goodies as you can see in that picture too – they stock everything from protein mousse and protein cookies to protein balls (ooer)(they’re actually crunchy snacks, minds out of the gutter people). I also wolfed these down over a couple of days, which wasn’t strictly great for my low calorie plan as they’re not diet products – but who can resist protein balls?!

Eating 2Lunch & Dinner: Eat Water’s Slim Pasta, Rice and Noodles

I’ve been wanting to try the Eat Water range for AGES. For those who haven’t heard of it before, the range – that includes noodles, pasta and rice – is made from none of those things really, but actually from “Juroat, a secret recipe made from a blend of Konjac flour and special oat fibre”. They’re essentially fake noodles/pasta/rice that have a teeny tiny amount of the calories of the real stuff.

As I said, I’d always been intrigued but had been put off by the price tag (one packet can cost you over £2 at Holland and Barrett and you only get 1-2 servings out of that). Eventually though, I decided I just needed it in my life and so I placed an order from Amazon which worked out slightly cheaper – they do mixed packs like this one that contains a variety for you to try.

Personally I am a FULL convert to Eat Water. The pasta is probably the one I like least – there’s nothing unpleasant about the taste, but the texture is a bit rubbery so you know you’re not eating pasta. However, if you always have it on your fork along with the tuna or quorn or whatever you’re eating it with, as well as a healthy dose of your chosen sauce, then it’s absolutely fine. The rice and noodles I both liked a LOT. The rice just basically tastes of nothing, which I also find true of real rice, but helps to bulk up a boring bit of chicken substantially. And the noodles are also absolutely fine in stir fries. All three felt just like regular carbs to me and kept me as full. WIN.

Snacks: Fruit & Nakd bars

I’m a snacker and need to eat at least every 3 hours before I start gnawing at my own hand. Between meals I’ve been munching on fruit (bananas, strawberries and blueberries if you’re super curious) and my new obsession, Nakd bars. These are gluten free bars just made up of mushed up fruits and nuts. One of my friends tried them and said they tasted like cardboard, but I disagree – maybe I just like cardboard, who knows?

And thus concludes the overview of my recent holiday diet. I have to be completely useless now and say that I don’t own any scales so have no idea if I’ve actually lost any weight, but lowering my carb intake before my holiday has definitely got me feeling a bit happier about braving the bikini!

Have any of you tried any of these products? What are your holiday diet tips? Let me know in the comments below!

(Now onto those boring disclaimers…)

  • Firstly, I’ve purposely used the word ‘diet’ here as opposed to dressing it up as ‘healthy eating’ or anything like that – this is because my main focus the last few weeks has been cutting my calories down and limiting my carb intake in preparation for my holiday. I’m therefore aware it’s a little extreme for long-term use and it’s not what a lot of people would deem ‘healthy’ or would want to promote.
  • Secondly, this is simply what works for me and I’m not able to say whether it would work for others.
  • It’s also worth noting that I’m smaller than your average homosapian, being only round 5’2, plus lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle (read: I sit on my butt a lot) so generally I need fewer calories than the average person anyway.
  • Don’t sue me, fanks!

Outfit of the Day: NEU Apparel Gymwear

NEU Apparel Collage 1Crop top: Primark / Leggings: c/o NEU Apparel / Trainers: Adidas

Alright there lads and ladettes!

So, recently my gym game has been seriously weak and I’ve somehow ended up replacing planks for pizza and crunches for Crunchies… I was therefore SO pleased to be kindly sent a few bits to try from UK women’s gymwear brand NEU Apparel’s new summer range.

I know some people think it’s lame-o but I really think feeling good at the gym helps you to do a better workout  – surely I’m not the only one who has stropped out in a “FORGET THIS, I’M FAT AND GOING HOME TO BE MORE FAT” rage before? Oh what’s that, I am? Oh okay. Anyway, for me having nice gym gear is definitely part of that feeling good mentality, so brands like NEU Apparel that focus on fashion as well as practicality get a huge thumbs up from me.

NEU Apparel Collage 2(Sorry about the butt pic. Have I made everyone uncomfortable?)

I was in love with these neon printed leggings when they arrived, but was a little bit anxious about them being grey. Grey leggings are notoriously unforgiving when it comes to showing off sweat, and usually I steer clear as I don’t particularly want people in my gym to think I wee myself with excitement at the thought of a squat. However I’m so pleased to report that the sweat didn’t show up in these at ALL. Three cheers for merry England!

NEU Apparel Collage 3I was also sent this mesh panel boyfriend t-shirt which is honestly the most comfortable gym top I’ve ever worn. The mesh sides keep you FEELING cool, while the rolled sleeve and neon lettering keep you LOOKING cool. I hope y’all appreciate the cheesiness of that sentence; maybe NEU Apparel will want to buy it off me as their new slogan?

Overall I love the fit and style of these pieces and would definitely recommend the brand if you too like to combine your fitness and fashion. You can have a look at the full collection here while I set about getting my gym game firmly back on track in time for my holiday in July. I’ve recently ordered a few packs of Slim Pasta to try out, so let me know if anyone would like that reviewing once I’ve given it a whirl for a few weeks!

What do you all think of NEU Apparel?


Exante Low Calorie Meal Replacement Diet | Review

Ex 8

Hey there you sexpots! In our borderline obsessive mission to ‘branch out a bit’, I’ve got something quite different for y’all today. I was recently given the chance to trial a week’s worth of Exante diet products, and having read a blogger review not long ago I was intrigued to give it a go.

I’ll start by saying that I’m pretty sure I’m not Exante’s target audience. I’ve got a BMI of around 21 so don’t really need to lose any weight, but I’m in the midst of a health kick and have been dedicating my life to the gym and spinach (exciting stuff, let me tell you), so I was still keen to see is a diet like this could give me an extra boost. I’ve also got to admit that I’ve always been pretty cynical about these sort of systems, so was mainly interested to see whether the diet’s claims – that you stay feeling full and receive all the vitamins and minerals you need – were true or not.

How Exante Works

Exante is a low calorie meal replacement system that consists of shakes, soups, snacks and ready meals that you eat in place of your normal meals. There are three options that you can choose from depending on how much weight you want to lose:

  • Total Solution: this is the VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) option, where you completely replace your food intake with Exante products. You have three products per day, which amount to 600 calories. This is obviously an extreme diet, and is only recommended for people with a BMI of only 25.
  • Working Solution: on this version of the diet – which is known as an LCD (Low Calorie Diet) plan – you have three Exante products each day, plus one low-carb, high-proten meal that you make yourself. This should be no more than 400 calories, bringing your daily intake to 1000 calories.
  • Simple Solution: this is I suppose the ‘easiest’ of the diet plans – again, you have three meal replacement products a day, but you’re also allowed a meal of up to 600 calories.

I decided to go for the Working Solution option; I think as I don’t have much weight to lose I would have been advised to go for the Simple Solution, but my evening meals recently have only been around the 400 calorie mark anyway so I figured I’d chance it.

Ex 5 Ex 6 Ex 7The science behind the system revolves around a state that your body supposedly enters into once a LCD or VLCD is undertaken called ketosis.The calorie deficit that’s created once you’re having less calories than you need causes you to enter ketosis, which, according to the Extante website, is “a normal metabolic state… where your body will use its fat stores to produce energy”. So rather than relying on carbs for energy, you’ll be running off your own fat (there’s a pleasant image) and thus the fat will go.

My Products

I received 21 meal replacement products to last me 7 days. These consisted of 5 shakes, 2 bars and 14 soups. I definitely would have preferred to have more shakes and bars rather than quite so much soup – it was also unfortunate that about 45of the soups were mushroom flavoured, which would definitely have made me throw up into my own lap if I’d had to eat them.

Ex 4 Ex 3 Ex 2My first few days on the diet actually went brilliantly. I had a shake for breakfast, soup for lunch, a bar for a snack and then my usual evening meal (which is never too exciting anyway – omelettes and chicken salads abound).

The shakes are honestly really, really nice. They’re creamy and thick, and I liked all of the flavours I tried (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and banana). The soups are nice enough – as exciting as what are essentially cuppa soups can be anyway – though I don’t recommend blending them as suggested, as I found this made it go weirdly frothy. The bars were also really nice; quite stodgy so you felt like you were eating quite a big portion, which is much better than your standard cereal bars that can disappear in two bites.

Ex 1Unfortunately with only 2 bars and 5 shakes, this dream combination didn’t last for the full week. On 2 days I had to resort back to my trusty breakfast friend porridge for breakfast, then have a soup or 2 throughout the rest of the day. It was on these days that I got a little bored of the diet and I’ve got to say, if it wasn’t for the fact that I knew I had my evening meal to look forward to then I might have given up earlier. I think the Total Solution would be fine if you had the ready meals though, as this would add some variety.

But what about my main concern, whether I’d feel full and healthy? I have to say that despite my reservations about diets like this, I was actually full and satisfied all day. I was also going to the gym most nights, and never felt at all weak or tired like I expected I might. I also didn’t find myself having any cravings, though this might have been down to the fact that I’d already cleaned my eating up a lot in the weeks before.

The Verdict

Considering I started out quite cynical about the diet’s claims, I have to say that the products did pleasantly surprise me in the way that they kept me full and energised. While I still think that there’s no substitute for healthy, clean eating (and that this is actually pretty easy to do once you get into the habit of it), I can see why these sort of plans could be a good option for certain people who want to kick start a new eating regime.

The Exante diet plans start from £3.87 per day, making them one of the cheapest meal replacement services on the market today. If you don’t want to commit to the full plan, then you can also buy the products separately via their shop.

Have any of you tried Exante? What do you think of Very Low Calorie or Low Calorie diet plans?

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