So here is a little run down of some of my favourites from the past few weeks! Hope you enjoy
The Happiness Project By Gretchen Rubin
I have spoken before about how much I enjoy listening to audible books whilst on the go, makes me feel like I am accomplishing something during what would usually be dead time. This month I downloaded and have been listening to ‘The Happiness Project.’ I feel like a review of this book could be a separate blog post by itself as I feel like I have so much to say about it!
No I am not unhappy, in fact I am not sure what actually drew me to this book, but I am so so glad that I did purchase it. I have been recommending it to so many people.
Gretchen, the author and narrator of the book decided to embark on a 12 month happiness project to determine what true happiness is. She herself wasn’t unhappy, but thought that there must be ways in which to make herself happier. Each month was dedicated to different resolutions and tasks. These varied from love and marriage in February, leisure and play in May to mindfulness in October. I don’t think there is one chapter which I didn’t enjoy.
At the beginning of the book she also set out her ‘Twelve Personal Commandments’ which included ‘Be Gretchen’; ‘Let it go’; ‘Identify the problem.’ She also told us her Secrets of Adulthood; ‘People don’t notice your flaws as much as you think’; ‘What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you;’ ‘Try not to let yourself get too hungry;’ are just a few of my favourites which spring to mind!
The very first chapter, January, had me making small changes to my lifestyle straight away! Things like decluttering your apartment (*bedroom): so I went through all my gym clothes, was ruthless and threw out anything I hadn’t worn in the past month. Don’t postpone any task which takes less than a minute: i have been doing simple thing like putting my plate in the dishwasher instead of just putting on the side; filing away my recipes instead of leaving in a pile to do at the end of the week. ‘Act the way you want to feel’. This was a big one for me this month, any time I felt down or tired I would go have a word with myself (usually in the toilets at work) and it would actually work. We are in charge of our own feelings, we only have ourselves to blame if we are in a bad mood. So I have been really working on trying to not let things get to me and be in charge of how I feel, and so far I have been seeing really good results.
Throughout the book there are so many words of wisdom, some which got to me so much that I would actually pull the car over and make a note of them in my phone. You may see a few of them over the coming weeks in my ‘motivation Monday Instagram posts!
“never start a sentence with the words ‘no offence’”
“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”
“…arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate. – enjoy the process”
“To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.”
I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It makes you really question how you live your life. What are you doing to make yourself a happier human being, but also make those around you happier. I also feel like it is a book which I am going to have to listen to again as there will certainly be key points which I have missed, but also I want to enjoy it again and see if I have taken anything away and made a part of my own lifestyle.
Because ultimately isn’t happiness what we are all after?
At only 80 calories a piece these are a perfect little snack if you fancy a sweet treat. But a little hack which I have been doing with them this month is to pop them in the freezer. This way I have a serving of ‘ice-cream’ without the temptation of eating the whole tub! If you take out and leave on the side for a couple of minutes before eating, the texture becomes less ‘icey’ and more reminiscent of your usual frozen yoghurt/ice cream.
I have also tried the milky bar and mint aero versions! The milky bar one is lovely, but personally found the aero mint one a little but artificial in taste and the texture remained icey as you ate it. Still a good treat though!
Aldi Sea Salt Dark Chocolate and Lindt Coconut Intense
I have chocolate every day without fail. It is one thing which I will not remove from my ‘diet.’ It is usually in the form of a square (or two) of dark chocolate right before I go to bed, and one of my main sources of fat. The usual go-to bars have been Lindt 85% or the individual bars which you can get from Aldi, which again are great for portion control.
But this month has seen me add a couple of new bars to my collection. I am a huge fan of anything ‘salty/sweet’, so when I saw the ‘Sea Salt Dark Chocolate’ I had to pop some in my basket to give it a try. For one bar it is 130 calories (2g Protein; 13g Carbs; 8g Fat). It is so good. It is slightly higher in carbs than fat, which is a bit unusual for dark chocolate, but hasn’t swayed me from adjusting my macros to fit it in!
I saw the Lindt Coconut Intense bar for the first time in Sainsburys, and i got a little excited once again! It was on offer for £1.50 so no excuse not to get some to try! I used to absolutely hate coconut flavoured anything, but I guess as we get older our tastes mature and it is now one of my favourite flavourings. This chocolate isn’t just coconut flavoured, it has actual fleas of coconut in it. So, so delicious. Get some if you see it!
A square is about 10g which comes to about 53 calories (0.5g Protein; 4.7g Carbs; 3.4g Fat), and 1 or 2 squares is plenty, promise, even coming from a chocolaholic like myself!
Freeze-Dried Strawberry and Pineapple (The Snack Organisation)
I am always on the lookout for new and exciting snacks to try. I spotted these in Tescos for £1 each. They are 100% natural , with no added oil so are suitable for vegetarians and those of you which are gluten free. Per serving which is the whole packet, they are 67 calories which is mostly carbohydrates. I prefer the strawberry ones, but both are lovely. I have been having just a couple sprinkled over some fruit and yoghurt for an extra tang and crunch rather than just eating the bag in one go. Just livens it up a little…the simple pleasures!
Front raised reverse lunges
I used to do this exercise quite a lot during my leg day sessions, but it had been forgotten about amongst the many other leg exercises which I have saved up in my exercise archive. However a couple of weeks ago I brought it back from the exercise graveyard and gave it a go, and boy did I know about it for the following few days! Major leg doms occurred! It is great as gives you a bigger range of motion than just a standard flat lunge, and targets a different part of your legs to the more common rear elevated lunge.
You want to have your whole foot up on a step, and then lunge backwards, stepping slightly out if you struggle with your balance.
You can do with or without a weight. I personally did a dropset; 8 reps on each leg holding a weight in each hand, before dropping the weights and doing a further 8 reps each.
There isn’t just one way to do a lunge!
Deadbug ball holds
Another exercise favourite which I have been loving/hating this month is this strangely named Abs exercise. The regular dead bug just involves laying on your back and holding your arms straight up and your legs at a right angle in order to target your core, this is pretty hard in itself. Now trying adding a medicine ball into the mix!
By holding a medicine ball between your elbow and your knee you are seriously intensifying this exercise and the effect on your abs. 15seconds and you will be done! May take a little getting used to the balance and coordination aspect but it is worth the extra hassle! Give it a go!
Another month wrapped up! With me going to Indonesia for the majority of August I am so intrigued to see what my favourites list will include next time!
Love Abi xxxx