Balance shift work and your diet (Night shifts and weight gain)


ImageI have recently started working night shifts and I found it a real struggle both on psychological and physical level.

I am a typical dinner skipper and I’ve been replacing my dinner with healthy snacks, salads and soups for about 2 years now, but obviously you won’t survive the entire night on just one soup. 

I have been working for only two weeks now and I’ve gained 2 kilograms just from eating at night and not being used to it. I’m still exercising 4 times a week during the evening before my shift – but that doesn’t seem to boost my metabolism too much. I’ve tried to give it a good thought and find ways to adapt my diet to shifting work without having to gain weight. 

The worst is when your shifts are constantly jumping from day work to night work (that’s what happens to me) – because your metabolism goes bananas and slows down dramatically. Actually, this has been quite a challenge for me also cause I can’t do nothing about the shifting work and about my metabolism. Another ugly side of shifting work is that you’re constantly craving sugary, salty and energy boosting snacks that are of course causing nothing but weight gain. For all those of you who experience this – I feel for you, we’re in the same boat! 

Here are some ways through which I tried to balance my diet and eat healthily during the night and try to avoid snacking on unhealthy stuff:

– I started packing my own lunch/dinner which consists of big chunks of vegetables and ham or chicken and eggs. The most frequent lunch components are: bell-peppers, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, beans, egg, chicken, ham and low-fat cheese. The advantage of these ingredients is that you can mix any kind of salad out of them which is at the same time delicious and healthy. I am sometimes replacing the meat with tuna, salmon and some nuts  and I usually use olive oil or low-fat yoghurt as dressing. 

Now the reason why I have mentioned the “big chunks” of vegetables is because if you cut your vegetables in bigger pieces, you will feel fuller faster and you will most likely eat less. 

– Another trick for avoiding unhealthy snacking is replacing them with soup powders that are easy and fast to make and contain not more than 120 calories per cup of soup. You can buy these in any grocery store, they don’t cost anything and drinking them will take your hunger away and make you feel full again.

– My last trick is drinking a glass of fresh fruit juice or (if you don’t have it near by), a glass of green tea with lemon. Tea is a good hunger ditcher and it gives you energy.

– Last but not least, if you’re still hungry after a while, you can snack with an apple, orange or banana. They contain healthy sugars and they will most certainly take your hunger away.

Even though all these tricks might be very useful in keeping your weight stable, you shouldn’t forget about exercising. At least 3 days a week should be your norm ,especially when working irregular shifts. Sport keeps your metabolism running especially in this changing sleep schedule. 

I am still struggling as well, it is difficult and unpleasant to stay up during the hours when most of the others are sleeping. For those of you who really care about their diet and weight, I can assure you that these tricks will work for you. 

Keep yourself away from unhealthy snacks because during the night they tend to have a stronger negative impact on your body than during the day.

Stay calm, stay focused! Have a good shift everyone!



Health benefits of breakfast and more



To be honest I myself am not a perfect healthy- breakfast eater because breakfast for me, is the time of the day when I allow myself some of the “forbidden” things to eat. Sometimes I even forget about the healthy oatmeal, eggs or bacon and I replace it with candy, pancakes and loads of honey – I confess. Has this happened to you too?

The question is, how important is it really to eat a healthy breakfast and how does it affect our body during the day? Well, as usually, I am going to share my own observations on this. For instance let’s imagine a healthy breakfast: a lot of protein (which means: eggs, low fat bacon and peanut butter for me), some complex carbs: beans or oatmeal and minimum fat. After having eaten that I’ve noticed that I have considerably more energy during the day than if I stuff myself with cookies and sugary cereal.

Another benefit of eating a healthy breakfast is more power (way more power) during your workout. I’ve noticed this by a positive change in the duration and speed during my workout (just for the record: I am a runner). As for the energy level during the day, it is undeniable that I tend to snack less and eat a smaller portion for lunch if I get a complex breakfast in the morning. 

I have also read a couple of articles with researchers saying that people that ate healthy breakfast on a regular basis, lost more weight over a longer period of time than those that didn’t. Now I personally cannot approve if that is exactly true, but I can surely say that you do have more energy during the day once you eat a proper breakfast. 

Another important aspect is of course that preparing a healthy breakfast is time-consuming, and many of us prefer spending another 15 extra minutes in our bed instead of preparing ourselves a good breakfast. Here are some quick tips and alternatives for a healthy and easy breakfast. They work for me at least:

– always keep some boiled eggs in your fridge

– always keep some sort of veggies in your fridge – any kind would do

– forget about cereal

– keep whole-grains in your drawer – bread, bagels, crackers 

– fresh fruit for breakfast can be very filling. The recommended fruit is: oranges, apples, banana, grapefruit, grapes. 

– yogurt mixed with nuts, dried-fruit or fresh fruit is a great option 

– keep low-fat bacon in your fridge. If it is smoked you don’t even need to cook it 

– smoked salmon will be a great source of protein too

– a glass of milk will complete your meal and make you feel full

Just stick to the rule that you can make a sandwich out of anything. None of the things mentioned above need preparation and long-time cooking, therefore it will take you approximately 5 minutes to make yourself a healthy and filling breakfast. This little morning effort will fuel your day and benefit your body (at least from my own observations).

And please don’t forget to hydrate yourself! Hydration is sometimes more important than food! Don’t waste time for making your tea or coffee, just pour yourself a full glass of water and there you go! 

I hope this was interesting to read, and I am looking forward for your remarks. 

P.S – Next time I would like to talk more about low-fat products. Are they really making the difference and is it really the low-fat that makes you slim down? If you’re interested, please stay with me. 😉 


Why I changed my name!



For a quick update, I decided to change my blog title from “Fitness and Nutrition” to “Running and Slimming”.

I decided to do so because I mainly practice running as my workouts since it is my favorite sport, and because I really love to post facts, tips and own experience about dieting and slimming. I’ve been running and dieting for almost 2 years now, and I know a lot on these two topics and I would like to go deeper into details, be more specific and precise. Believe me, I have some things to tell you!

Moreover, I decided to touch the beauty topic for all the ladies and from now on I’ll be posting tips on how to keep your skin, hair and nails in a good condition – I hope that will be useful too.

For those of you who are still interested in these topics, please feel free to follow and support. I will do my best to be a dedicated blogger and post regularly! I hope you will enjoy 😉

The overeating problem and it’s been a while…


Update for my followers – if you’re not a follower you can skip this!

I know it’s been a while..been quite busy graduating from university and launching my career – quite an exciting and difficult moment at the same time. BUT, I’m not here today to talk about my laziness, I am here to inspire you, update you and finally hope for your forgiveness for not being a dedicated blogger.

A quick update on my healthy lifestyle routine – I’m still exercising 3 to 4 times a week, still eating healthy and still staying fit. My weight hasn’t shifted ever since I’ve been posting here, and I’m staying at 60kg at a height of 176 cm. I have been so passionately convincing you to stick to your habits and be perseverant in your diet that I would have been the biggest douche if I didn’t practice what I preached!

Now let’s get back to business!

Even though I’ve been away for a while, my interest for discovering new aspects of a healthy lifestyle hasn’t faded even a little. I’ve been visiting a lot of diet/fitness blogs were most of you “strugglers” are very concerned with the OVEREATING trouble. Most of you are posting questions like “How often can I overeat?”, “How much can I overeat?”, “Can I overeat once a week?”.

The truth is, if you’re scheduling specific days in your calendar on which you’re planning to overeat – you’re already setting yourself up for failure! You’ve only adapted a healthy eating lifestyle when you actually stop bothering about food.

Now let’s leave the theory and get to practice. I’ll give you an example from my personal life. When I’ve just started changing my food habits and I tried to eat healthier foods in a smaller portion, I used to think about overeating like daily, seriously. I used to tell myself “once a week is ok” and on that specific week day the grocery store suffered from an unexpected attack where some of the junk food shells were cleared out by me. What happened next? I gave in, I loved it and I hated it 2 minutes later. Luckily, later I realized what my biggest problem was.

For those of you who are wondering, I do think that planning on overeating once a week is not ok. The mere idea of “planning on overeating” is not ok in general. What you should really do is change your mindset! Talk to yourself! Try to genuinely fall in love with healthier foods and drinks and find them taste just as good as the unhealthy ones.

I’m sometimes comparing the food habit change to a breakup recovery. You’re craving, crying and hating but eventually you get over it. Relating this to food and drinks, you can be sure that you will always crave junk food if you allow yourself to eat it. Likewise, you will crave carrots, bananas or apples as a snack (for example) if you keep eating them for a longer period of time. Your body has the powerful ability to adapt to ANY kinds of foods and drinks that prevail in your menu.

I have a great example with coke! I haven’t been drinking cola for at least 5 months now. Whenever I wanted a sip I told myself it was not good for me and that water was way better. After a while I just forgot about it and stopped craving for it. 5 months on, I decided to give it a try -I took a sip. Believe it or not,  it just didn’t taste good to me. I’ve become so used to the plain taste of water that when I had a sip of cola it just seemed too sweet, redundantly sweet to drink – I didn’t like it anymore.

Having said that, you can be sure that this will happen to any kind of drink and food and even portion size that you adapt. If you keep eating a smaller portion than you’re used to for a longer period of time, it will eventually satisfy you – quite logical I know, but a lot of people don’t get that and give up! My biggest advice is: don’t try to force a healthy food/drink item on yourself – try to find healthy  foods and drinks that you genuinely love. Substitute your unhealthy options with them and stick to them. And again, remember to talk to yourself. All your troubles come from your mind and not from your body. Become a friend with yourself, and I promise that if you just talk to yourself and give it a thought before opening another bag of crisps – you will very likely change your mind!

Just for the record: I haven’t visited McDonald’s for at least 1 year and I haven’t had a glass of cola in at least 5 months. I haven’t been craving for them either. Believe it or not but I am completely happy and satisfied with my healthy food options and I enjoy them just as pleasurably as I enjoyed the unhealthy ones. And what about the overeating habit? – It eliminated itself. At the moment I cannot stuff myself with a lot of food anymore just because it will make me feel sick. I’m not able to eat a full bag of crisps anymore just because my satiety comes way faster than before. If I do occasionally overeat, it is not an eating festival or a grocery store attack anymore just because my attitude to food has changed.

I must admit, this takes time. It won’t take 1 month or 2, it will probably take a year or 2. During this time, you will probably feel guilty a lot of  times, you will question yourself a lot  and probably shift in weight. But if you learn to talk to yourself and if you learn to stick to your choices, you will get there! My weight has shifted throughout the year as well – I’ve lost and gained in average from 2 to 4 kilograms, but I never stopped trying. For the last 6 months, my weight has remained stable, and I stopped caring so much about food. I used to weigh in daily and go bananas when I saw weight fluctuations…now I weigh myself once in 2 weeks and my weight hasn’t changed since. I do eat more sometimes, everyone does – but a single fat meal is not going to make you fat, right?! So leave the guilt aside and keep on working on yourself!

I hope this has been helpful. PLEASE feel free to comment cause your comments will motivate me to create new articles! Thanks for listening. Goodluck everyone!

4 most common “healthy” foods to AVOID!


EMD-ICON-SQ-LARGEThanks to food industries‘ multi-billion advertising campaigns many of us have been fooled to eat food products that carry the “healthy” label. Unfortunately, some of these products are only healthy on the label, but in fact, they could be contributing to making us fat. Today, I would like to discuss some of these products and show you that what is believed or advertised as “healthy” is not always true. 

If you’ve noticed that despite of your healthy diet you’re still gaining weight, you could be lured by those “healthy” labels and low fat products.

Before we start, I would like to point out one very common “crime” most of us commit. Whenever the label of a product states that it is “Fat free” or “Reduced fat”, most of us tend to eat 50% more of that product just because it seems healthy, and should logically have less calories. Well my friends, this is a dramatic misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. In fact, the amount of fat in a product doesn’t necessarily mean that the product has less calories. Food industries tend to compensate the fat in “Fat free” or “Reduced fat” products by adding sugar and other food enhancers that have the same amount of calories as the fat does. So, as a result, your “Reduced fat” yogurt or chips may have exactly the same amount of calories as the ones with a regular fat content. In order to avoid this mistake, always read the calorie content of the product and check the sugar and carbohydrate amount stated on the label instead. 

As you’re more informed now, I would like to show you which products you should better avoid or eat in smaller amounts even though they carry the “healthy” or “organic” label. 

#1: Muesli/Cruesli/Cereal – Muesli bars or muesli for breakfast have been always considered one of the healthiest things to eat. People tend to believe that if those goods are healthy, they can have more of them. A regular 40 gram portion of muesli has about 200 calories, plus you’re probably eating it with milk –  so add another 50 to 60 calories to it. As a result, one portion of muesli has around 250 calories, and from my own experience I can tell that 40 grams is a rather decent portion. People tend to eat 70 – 90 grams of muesli with milk, which adds up to 500 calories per portion only for muesli. im_healthy

#2: Yougurts – With fruit flavors, cereals,  jam – there are hundreds of yogurt variations that claim to be super healthy. In fact, most of these yogurts have a huge amount of added sugar to them in order to make them taste better. A regular cup of fruit yogurt with cereal has the same amount of calories as a crispy doughnut. It’s all about our perception of those things – doughnuts are seen as unhealthy and fattening and yogurt must be good for you. Try to avoid sweet yogurts even if they have attractive fruit pieces in them. Buying a cup of plain Greek yogurt and adding freshly chopped fruit to it will be way healthier for you than eating the processed factory yogurt with God knows how many taste enhancers and sugar in it.

#3: Juices – I know that for some of you this is a reality check, but juices are not as diet friendly as they seem. One 150ml bottle of multivitamin juice bought in the “healthy” section of the supermarket has the same amount of calories as a serving of chocolate cream cake. Again, always look at the calorie amount and not at the attractive package that says “organic”, “fresh” or “healthy”. Juices have a lot of sugar in them – both fresh juices and factory juices. It will take you about 12 apples to make a 150ml bottle of apple juice, so by drinking it – you’re drinking the sugar content of 12 apples – Think about it! Instead of drinking the juice, I would suggest eating the fruit alone. The same applies to  “beverages”. Supermarkets offer a wide range of fruit beverages, and they are called so, because they only contain a tiny-tiny amount of fresh juice in them – the rest is sugar, sugar and more sugar. organic-logo

#4: Supermarket salads – These are my favorite topic of discussion, because people have no idea how fattening these salads can be. A regular supermarket “salad to go” can have the same amount of calories as a Big Mac from McDonald’s. Why is it so? Because of the sauces that go with it and because of the preparation method of that meat that goes with it. If you’re having a chicken Caesar salad, it will probably be accompanied by a Caesar dressing and fried pieces of chicken that have been stabilized with chemicals to make them taste good. The truth is, all together your salad will have about 500-550 calories, which is quite a lot for a salad. Be careful with “salads to go”, and the best way to avoid the redundant amount of calories is by NOT adding the sauce that goes with it.

I hope this has been a wake-up call for some of you. Always read the labels carefully instead of getting fooled by the catchy label! And don’t forget about exercise! If you know some more of such products, please feel free to share!

Cheers x

The truths behind binge eating disorder – how to stop!



I am sure that most of us suffer from it either occasionally or regularly and in fact, binge eating is considered one of the most common eating disorders of the modern nation. I must admit that there is no magical pill against binge eating, and the purpose of this article is to show you that the cure lies in your mind!

There are a few causes for binge eating, and since I’ve experienced it myself, I am more than willing to share how I feel about it. 

1. First cause for binge eating is due to your consuming desire to lose weight. If you’ve been on a very strict diet for a while, and you feel hungry for most part of the day, you are very likely to experience binge eating at times. You’re holding yourself to a strict dieting plan that causes more harm than comfort, and at some point you snap and eat enormous amounts of food.

2. Another cause for binge eating could be your emotional or mental attachment to food. This happens when you’re thinking of food about every minute of your day, and it becomes a major, if not the most important part of your life. Usually, binge eaters that have emotional attachment to their meals stuff themselves with food without even properly chewing it, or feeling the taste.

Now I have experienced binge eating due to restrictive dieting and I know exactly how it feels. It makes you happy at that point in time, and 10 minutes later you are bitterly regretting it. There is only one way to get rid of this – think before you eat, and eat wisely. Start a balanced diet, combined with exercise and a variety of healthy foods. Eating 3 proper meals a day will prevent you from experiencing wild food cravings that will cause binge eating. 

The situation is slightly different for emotional binge eaters. They do feel a strong attachment to food, and it will take a lot of effort and self-control in order to break that attachment. The problem with emotional binge eaters lies in their minds rather than in their bodies and they do tend to fill up their emotional appetite rather than physical. Since this issue is complicated and requires some guts and a good dose of self-control, I would like to give all emotional binge eaters some genuine advice and encouragement. 

First of all, it is important that you find the root cause for your binge eating. There must have been something in your life that has caused you to start filling out your emotional frustrations with food. Once you figure that out, it is important that you resolve your emotional issue with some counselling, support of your friends or talking to your beloved ones instead of addressing it to food. You must understand that emotional problems have to be solved through emotional actions and food doesn’t have anything to do with that.

Another important aspect that you must understand, is that through this eating disorder, you’re severely harming your body and your health. Most of us want to live a long, healthy and happy life, and you should sometimes sacrifice your food preferences to more healthy food options for the sake of your health. 

Last but not least, you must understand that there is much more to life than food. Think of the things that you’re not able to enjoy or the things you’re missing out on because you’re stuck in a vicious circle of binge eating. You’re not happy about yourself and you’re not able to do a lot of things because of your addiction – is it really worth it? Think of whom you can become and how many things you can experience once you start learning to control yourself and compromise your food choices.

I sincerely hope this has given you some encouragement and should you require any further advice, don’t hesitate to ask for it. 

Cheers everyone!


How I ran my first half-marathon! weight loss and exercise together!



I finally made it! My first 21.1 km or 13.1 miles are ticked off the list. Today I wanted to talk about how exercise affects your appetite and your weight loss supported by scientific facts as well as my own experience. I am also going to give you some useful tips on how to make your cardio workouts more efficient and build your resistance.

First things first, so let’s start with weight loss implications that exercise has on your body. Surprisingly, what I’ve noticed from my own exercise routine is – the longer and the more intense my cardio exercises are – the more calm my appetite is. This can be explained scientifically – when you’re exercising, your body releases hormones that suppress your stress, exhaust and appetite. Moreover, exercising in the morning has proved to be a tool for a goodnight sleep, which can also facilitate weight loss. Last and the most straight forward benefit of intense exercise is the fact that you’re burning your fat tissue.

After having completed my first half-marathon, I was expecting to be starving afterwards. To my own surprise I wasn’t craving any sweets, fatty foods or junk. All I had after my exercise was a slice of chicken breast (oven-baked) on a brown-bread toast and two apples. Believe it or not, I wasn’t hungry after this quite decent dinner. During my run I’ve managed to burn 1301 calories of which around 150 grams of pure fat. Here are the details:

ImageNow I will have to repeat myself again and say that if you’re aiming at losing weight fast and efficient and be able to maintain it over a long period of time – running is my first recommendation to you. Let’s quantify this in order to be more precise: If you run 4 to 5 times a week, for about 30 to 40 minutes per run, you are going to burn, in average (from 400 to 500 calories). Of course it depends on your weight and height, and this is just and approximation. Well, assume those 500 calories burnt per run, times 4 times per week – you are going to burn around 230 grams of pure fat per week! This sums up to nearly 1.1 kg (or 2.6 Ibs) per month of pure fat. This is purely from running, and of course if you’re supporting this with a balanced nutrition, the weight loss is going to double at least. 

Obviously your weight loss and fat burn depends on your current weight, height, intensity of exercise and diet routine, and my example only illustrates a very decent exercising regimen. 


If you’re just in the beginning of your exercising journey, you should make sure that your body gets protein, fiber and complex carbs that will give you the strength during your exercise and help you build muscle after. Some examples of such foods are: bananas, peanut butter, brown-bread, chicken, fatty fish, beans, oatmeal, milk, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

I would strongly recommend not exercising really late in the evening, since that can prevent you from having a good night sleep and thus impede your weight loss process. 

What you also have to take good care of is not letting yourself loose on your diet after your exercise. I know that the feeling of achievement is a good feeling, however don’t ruin it with sweets and snacks. 

In order to build up more resistance during your cardio workout, I strongly recommend NOT running too fast and rather extending the length of your run. Breathing is the most important factor in a successful cardio, so chose the speed at which you can breathe easily with no effort. Your heart should beat calmly, and try to maintain the same running pace over the entire workout. 

For more resistance I also recommend doing a 10-15 minute stretch out after you’ve completed your workout. This will relax your muscles and help the toning process. 

I am going to post a separate article on how to prepare for a half marathon/marathon, since I am in the process of preparing for it at the moment. For those of you who are interested, just hang on here. 

I hope this has been helpful! Cheers everyone!