Recipe: Aubergine with Lamb and Pomegranate

Super tasty low-calorie meal (rocks in at 490 per person) which will fill you up for sure!

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 2 Aubergines halved lengthways
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 200g lean minced lamb
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • Parsley, Chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Place the aubergines in a roasting dish skin side down. Lightly cover with some of the olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and spices cook on medium for about 8 minutes. Add the meat, pine nuts and puree, stir and cook for a further 8 minutes. Just before the end stir in the pomegranate seeds.

Remove the aubergines and top each half with the lamb mixture. Pop back in the oven for a further 10 minutes and then serve with some chopped parsley!

Enjoy!!

(recipe from the 8-week blood sugar diet by Dr Michael Mosley)

 

Breaking through the Wall

Today I ran for my longest interval run so far, which included a stretch of 12 minute running. Now I know to some, 12 minutes may seem like nothing but to me, it’s a huge leap forward from just 4 weeks ago when I was just doing 1-minute intervals and getting super tired out.

Through this training, there have been some runs where I’ve really struggled and often the thought slips into my mind that I want to stop. It starts off small and slowly but surely, after every single step it gets louder and louder until your internal voice is begging you to stop and just sit down and give up all this running lark.

The odd thing for me, though, is that so far, it’s not won. Not once. In the past when I’ve thought I should get fit I’d go out for 10 minutes, tire myself out and then never do it again. My body rebels and made me feel stupid for even trying and might as well say “oh just get back on the sofa and order that garlic bread you like”. In the past 5 weeks, though, something has changed and I’m ready to keep fighting back.

The thing is, I think this time has been different as it feels as though I’m running to get my life back. I know that sounds very dramatic but in a way it’s true.

Since late last year, I’ve been actively looking for full-time work as the freelancing work is not really turning out as expected. The people I work with are great but finding work is inconsistent and when you have grand ideas of buying a house and starting a family, you really need something solid and a healthy regular paycheck. My job hunting had been lazy at best, maybe one or two applications a week with the dullest cut and paste CV and Letter you’ve ever seen. I threw my hands up wondering why I was getting no responses but deep down I knew that my heart wasn’t in it and I was applying for roles that were of no interest to me. When money is the only driver, making any actual connection to what your doing is very difficult.

Mid-January and I decide to kick off my fitness program and site. The first week was tough, slow and made me feel extremely unfit. However, week 2 starts and I start to feel better mentally. I can feel those endorphins after the runs. Maybe I’ll have another look at those job sites. Maybe I should tailor my letters to these employers directly.

I started to realise that after every run, I have more energy. I feel like I have more time to focus on me. Of course, I’m enthused about my own progress running, but I’m also enthused when I sit at my desk and do work, look and apply for jobs and generally day to day I’m ready to handle what comes my way.

When it comes to running, and I want to stop, I know that if I stop, I won’t feel good for the rest of the day. I won’t be able to finish projects I’m working on. if I stop I won’t get those Jobs I applied for. So I push on through. It works. Every time.

I’ve managed to train my brain to fight back and prove to myself that if I get healthy and achieve what I’ve set out to do, then all the other things I want will follow suit. Now I’m not saying it’s all mystical and that it will work, but it’s a damn sight better than sitting on the sofa, sipping cups of coffee and thinking I’ve got everything in the bag.

As I started this post, today I ran in the wind and rain thanks to Storm Doris and didn’t stop. I stuck to the plan. And even though I got home soaked wet through, frozen and red raw, I felt good. I warmed up, hammered that jobs site and got these thoughts out of my system.

So next time you feel like you want to give up, push on through. Keep going and be persistent and consistent. It’ll pay off, and maybe that attitude will trickle into other parts of your life. One change here may open many other doors down the line and I guess you’ll never know till you give it a shot. Halfway into my 5K plan feels like the best thing I’ve ever achieved and I can’t wait to see where I am in another 5!

Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch with any thoughts and questions you might have! Happy to hear from you 🙂

 

Cheers,

Andy

My Running Gear

Picture of my Running Gear

Don’t be fooled by all these fitness adverts or fitness/fashion blogs.

You don’t need to be wearing the latest gear to start making a difference and get fit. No amount of Nike ticks or Adidas stripes on your shiny new clobber is going to make any difference to those first weeks and months on the road or in the gym.

I thought I’d do a post on the gear that I’ve been using in my first 4 weeks of my fitness journey in the hope that it inspires you to raid your wardrobe and get out there. (Unfortunately I know this is very male-centric so I can’t give any top tips on leggings or sports bras other than they’re probably vital and come in many various colours) – Edit:  Although with my lovely manboobs, a sports bra could be really handy! A Bro-Bra? The Bro’ob Tube? …..

My stuff ranges from the cheap to expensive and you’ll see why as we go. Truth be told, the cheap side is the actual nuts and bolts of running, the expensive is my unhealthy obsession with gadgetry!

So…

My Running Clothes… Picture of my Running Gear

Firstly, I grab any t-shirt I have lying around. The older the better really. I will sweat into this thing so much and destroy its armpits beyond compare so not my favourite The Verge shirt for sure (plug!)

I have a long sleeve running top I picked up from Aldi for about £6. It’s great, has reflective material on the back and is really breathable whilst keeping me warm.

My shorts are just an old pair that I think I acquired from an old housemate of mine many years ago. Basic men’s running shorts with netting to keep your valuables safe at all times! The shorts have two zip pockets which are adequate to hold my phone in one and keys in the other.

In this weather, gloves are valuable and so is a good woolly hat if you have one. Usually depends on the temperature, but my gloves have been on for every run so far and it’s nice to keep your fingers toasty when bobbing about at 1 or 2 °C.

Topped off with a real bright white pair of cheap running socks from Primark for a couple of pounds.

Shoes …

New Balance Trainers for Running

I picked up this pair of New Balance running trainers years ago from I think TK Maxx in Manchester for about £20. They’ve never really gotten much use but I’ve always thought they were super comfy and as I knew at the time, from a pretty reputable maker of running shoes.

Shoes are vitally important and I know most blogs or advice columns would advise you to go to a running shop and get fully fitted etc before putting foot to road. If I’m honest, I don’t really have the money to drop on an expensive pair of shoes and I firstly wanted to make sure that I was committed to this journey before I really invested any money into it. Once I think things are progressing where I’m actively running 5K on my own a few times a week I’ll explore a new pair, but for now, these bad boys have done me no wrong. Super super comfy and fit great!

Gadgets…

Now I’m going to preface this bit again by saying that you need none of this to do what I’m doing at the moment. I’m just a bit of a gadget fiend and I love having all the stats of my runs and intervals available to me on my down days. I find it super interesting.

Interval training could be done with any normal watch as long as you can remember what you should be doing at what time.

First off is my phone. I have an iPhone 6 which fits snuggly in my pocket and runs my Runmeter app. The Runmeter app is a bit of a fuggly looking thing, but works really well and the stats and customization aspects to it are endless. I got it as it looked the kind of thing that in the future would be really useful even if I’m just using the bare bones of it now. This app also sends data to my Apple Watch which displays my intervals and stats through the run. It’s great as I don’t have to keep looking at my phone to see the timers and gives me other info like heart rate and pace so I can keep slow and know when I’m rushing. It also gives you GPS tracking so you can see on a map where you ran and the different speeds on the intervals. I’ll do another post about my watch as in it’s day to day use, its health features really can spur you on to get out of your seat and be active.

Lastly, I have a pair of JVC running headphones that we’re about £6 on Amazon. They are an over the ear clip which means they are super sturdy and I can just listen to a podcast while I’m jogging about. The good thing is that they allow enough ambient noise through so you don’t feel like pedestrians, other runners or traffic are sneaking up behind you and you can still be very aware of your surroundings. They also let the Runmeter app give me voice notifications of when to run and walk so I don’t need to be glued to my watch for those instructions.

So as I said, the basics are pretty cheap and as I found, I already had most of what I needed hanging around the house!

That’s one less excuse you can use for getting out there!!

 

Day 18: Snow Running and End of Week 3 Update

Today was my last run of week 3. It snowed. It snowed a lot!

 

I really struggled with the idea of having to go out in it. It was going to be freezing cold, slippy underfoot and a half hour of misery and drenched clothes.

Oddly, something in me kicked me to get my gear on and get out there. Normally this would just not happen in a million years, but in the last few weeks, I have been more inclined to push through those little mental blocks you try and put around yourself.

Yes, the 5 minute warm up walk seemed to go on for way too long, and I was already collecting enough snow dust to become a mobile snowman. In the first  3 minute run stretch however, it felt great. I was keeping cool and keeping steady underfoot and it was pretty exhilarating even though I wasn’t really going at any considerable speed.

I imagine it to be similar to running in the rain and letting the elements help you rather than letting them put you off.

15 minutes into the run and quickly the snow started stopping and the sun burst through. It was awesome.

What did I learn? That the elements should not stop you from getting out there and putting foot to the road. It was just what I needed for the end of the week and a real good kickstart to the weekend! You’ll always feel better for getting out there and exercising, and every time you do, the next time becomes just that but easier!

Week 3 upped the game a bit in terms of intervals, as the runs went up to 3 lots of 3 minute long runs. They felt long at the start of the week, but today (and probably helped by the weather) it breezed by. It’s astonishing how in the space of 5 days, that first struggle is so easy by the end. I can’t wait to see how that progresses over the next few weeks as they again increase steeper in difficulty.

Lastly, I’ve started a page detailing the training plan I’m following that I’ll update at the start and end of each week with any tips I think you’ll need or things I wish I knew at the start. Hope it helps you kickstart your running or exercise goals!

Thanks again for your time, video update coming next Monday and any questions feel free to get in touch!