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The 'you are what you eat' experiment (Part 2)

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This is a guest post by Caroline Jepson (@PatsyJ) and is the second article in the ‘you are what you eat’ experiment series.

When Rob first asked me whether I would be interested in doing a ?you are what you eat? style experiment by each keeping and comparing food diaries for a week, my first thought was ?I might come across as a bit of a loony!?. ?I?m not, honest, I just have (I think) a relatively healthy approach to my ?diet? and exercise regime.? I firmly believe that daily eating habits are a question of mind over matter and anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to, which applies to adapting daily eating habits.? I have very little time for anyone who complains about being overweight but then continues to eat junk food and never exercise.? Ultimately, it is not rocket science.

I work in the centre of Sheffield in a large firm with a fantastic caf? which is a daily temptation!? I?m a lawyer so I completely understand the pressures of a demanding job, working long hours and how some days can just fly by.? I suppose the biggest difference between me and Rob is that I don?t have children or a husband (wife in Rob?s case!) and I suppose I have the luxury of creating spare time just for me.? I also know that my current lifestyle will need to change when I (hopefully) meet someone but for now, it suits me.

I feel I should point out that I never diet.? In fact I really don?t like the word ?diet? as it can bring so much disappointment when it all goes wrong.? I do however, firmly believe in healthy eating and I live by the rule ?80% good, 20% bad?.? I don?t think that any food is bad for you in moderation and I never deny myself anything to eat or drink, but the truth is I much prefer healthy, wholesome foods.

My daily food regime does change though, dependent upon what I am trying to achieve from a physical point of view.? At the moment, I don?t have a physical goal so I?m being more careful about what I eat which will reflect in my food diary results.? For this to make sense, let me explain a little more.? I took my blackbelt in kickboxing 4 years ago and during the 9 months or so when I really upped my training, I had to completely change my diet.? I was eating a serious amount of carbs and protein every day.? I ate so much pasta and chicken that I started to look like a pasta spiral, but I was putting my body through 6 days of hard physical training and without the carbs I simply wouldn?t have had the energy to even crawl into the Dojo every night (I was also working full time and studying for my final law exams?that was a dark dark time I can tell you!).? But that was character building on a massive scale and I suppose it was that experience which taught me that anything is achievable (as long as you set your mind to it).? I also did the National 3 Peaks Challenge (climbed Britain?s 3 highest mountains in 24 hours) in September 2009 and again, carbs is what saw me through the training and the challenge itself, although mentally that wasn?t as tough as fighting for my blackbelt!

My training regime isn?t as intense now as it was then so I?ve drastically reduced my carb intake; I now try to make sure that I eat more protein and less carbs.? I currently train as and when I want to and not because I absolutely have to.? Some of my regular followers on Twitter may think that I have a (slight) addiction to going to the gym but exercise is a big part of my daily lifestyle and so I tweet about it (amongst other things!).? I have always had a very positive mind set to training though and I generally won?t go more than 2 days without doing some hard training. ?I?ve been ?on a break? from my kickboxing training for the past year although the Dojo is in my blood and I will return to my martial art training once I find a path I want to follow (I want to concentrate on improving my traditional style of Wado Ryu but that could be a whole different blog!)?.at the moment, I am concentrating my efforts on coaching kids which requires a different mindset altogether!

My training therefore at the moment is centered around going to a ?normal? gym about 4 or 5 times a week (Ponds Forge in Sheffield).? I know this might sound a lot to some people, but that is my way of ?relaxing?!? I therefore tend to eat what my body needs in order for me to achieve maximum results from my training.? I eat certain foods everyday and you will see from my food diary that my eating habits Monday to Friday don?t vary that much ? that?s the 80% (ish) good part!? Don?t get me wrong, I?m not strict all the time and, for example, at weekends if I want a takeaway then I?ll have one (20% bad part).? I drink alcohol, I eat chips and chocolate, but only in moderation.? I never gorge and if I have, say a curry, rice and naan bread on a Saturday night, then Sunday will have to include an hour of cardio workout to burn off the previous night?s excesses.? I believe that I am a healthy weight for my height (56kg, 5? 5?) and I despise this ?size 0? trend which seems to be a trend with young girls.

Rob and I had to giggle last week when I told him that during a road trip to Blackpool one day, I had to make a loo stop at a McDonalds but then sat in the car park eating a homemade salad!? The irony didn?t escape me and my stomach did say ?Just go and have a burger for gods sake!? but the mindset takes over and says something else and, like I said at the beginning, its all a case of mind over (belly) matter!

I hope you find the food diary results interesting?please check back later in the week when Rob and I will have finished our 7 day diaries.

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