My Low Carb Diet Journey!

Disclaimer: I am not a fitness specialist and my diet is not the only way of dieting. This blog is purely a reflection of my own experience and what I do on a daily basis to stay healthy. 

If you’ve been following me since May, you’ll know that I set myself a daily diet challengeMy aim was to stay within a certain amount of calories and to track my nutrition everyday. Before I explain more about the ins and outs of my current diet, I’d like to share my overall progress so far… 

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On May 16th, I weighed 92.5kg (14.6 stones) and my body-fat percentage was at 23.8%. 25 days later (June 10th), my body-fat percentage is now at 20.9%. This was the result of a healthy diet and exercise routine. My fat mass reduced by 12% (fat tissue dropped from 22 to 17.9 kg). All in all, I lost 4.1 kg of body fat. It’s a really positive result for me because I’ve always struggled with my eating habits but sometimes you’ve got to start somewhere…

Transitioning into a lower Carb Diet

Before I talk about my diet. I want to explain what a low-carb diet means to me. From my experience, when I started, it was looking at my daily carb intake and reducing this number. 50 – 100g of carbs per a day is my ideal rate. Although, I also tried out a Ketogenic diet for 2 weeks which meant that I consumed 20g of net carbs. Net carbs are total carbs – total fibre. I will explain Keto shortly. It’s about making sure that I don’t have a carb surplus, a state when the body stores these excess carbs later on as fat.

 

How I burn fat….

To lose body fat, I’ve been keeping my calories below 1,500 a day (although calorie counting on a Ketogenic diet is slightly different). I include healthy fats within my meals. Chicken, salmon and tuna are really good nutritious dishes. Snacks-wise, I eat pecan nuts, avocado or almonds because they are natural, healthy sources of food with health benefits. 

I normally cook with olive oil or coconut oil as this is a better oil to cook with. I avoid rice or pasta, but if I do eat this, it’s normally brown rice or wholewheat pasta. I normally try and keep my plate green and include veggies like spinach, kale, spring onion, etc… I include low-carb fruits, such as avocado because it makes me feel more full and it has a range of benefits on the body.

Exercise is important too. Instead of waiting for a bus or a train, I normally walk to my designated location. I have a pedometer on my phone which tracks how many steps I’ve taken and tells me how many calories that I have burnt. Skipping is really good too because it burns fat all around the whole body. I also dance once a week which burns approximately 555 calories for 80 minutes.

 

I balance out the cardio with strength exercises within the gym. Some of the muscle training exercises that I practice are the following: sled push and pull workout, bench press and cable chest press. Sometimes, if I’m at home, I do push ups, abdominal crunches or leg lifts and this is because my initial focus was to reduce my belly fat. 

Trying out a Keto Diet

So many people have asked me what this is. It’s not simple to explain but I’ll try my best. A ketogenic diet is a diet that forces the body into a process called ketosis, whereby fats are burned instead of carbohydrates for use as energy. In order for the diet to work, you have to consume high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and very low amounts of carbohydrates. When you are on this diet, it is important to keep your carbs below 20g, otherwise it is not effective. So all in all, you eat mainly fat to burn fat. Sounds wierd right? But if you want to know more in detail, there are some useful guides all around the web. It focuses less on calories and more on the fat, protein and carb ratio.

What’s next for me?

I will keep monitoring my diet as it appears to be effective. I will keep exercising, even if it’s just going on a 20-minute walk or jogging for 10 minutes. I will probably do another blog post on my fitness in the near future so do keep a look out on my socials below.


 In the meantime, follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@markzfocus) to stay up to date with my blogs.

 

 

Learning the “Art” of French.

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It’s safe to say that 2018 has inspired a lot of us in many ways. To do something new, or to explore something quite abstract or to do something out of the blue. I have so many goals at the moment but one of them is to learn French.

I would like to become more fluent in this language by summer time (or August 2018 😆) and so I’ve set myself a daily challenge to practice it as frequently as I can.

Random Fact: I studied French during secondary school for 2 years.

Learning a language is a whole lot of fun but it can be tricky at times. That goes for any task in life. It’s a combination of staying motivated and finding the best way to express your energy into a particular interest. I’ve been using resources online or books to practice my French. Seen as it’s a hobby, the learning process is quite stimulating especially as I’m rehashing on previous knowledge so I’m basically picking up from where I left…

How do I learn French?
I started to make an effort to learn it properly in mid-2017. I normally use apps such as Duolingo or Babbel to understand the basics. Phrases like ‘Hello’ (Bonjour or Salut), ‘How are you?’ (ça va) became an obvious starting point and from  there I’ve developed it more. I used Babbel because it integrates the conversation element into the learning activity. Duolingo is a good one too because it has a ‘quizzy’ type of feel to it and is quite relaxed; it’s also free to use. For Babbel however, there is a small charge / subscription fee to access most of their content however it does come with a large selection of resources which tracks your progress and in similar to Duolingo in that respect.

At the moment, my best method of learning French is by reading books or handouts. I am currently reading ‘French in three months’ (see the slideshow below). It was quite cheap and the book is well-structured and very easy to understand, it also comes with a CD (yay).

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In addition to books and apps, I started a French Short Course at UAL – University of the Arts London. It was the beginners Part 1 course. In a small classroom with a group of other beginners, we learnt the basics. I had never really understood the importance of conjugating the verbs and the rules on the gender of nouns. To put it simply, there are a lot of rules.

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The great thing about the course was that it takes influence from French culture and art so I am learning more than just a language.

As of yet, I haven’t mastered French yet but I’ve just started the Part 2 version of the course. I hope it will guide me more with the conversational side of French and to give me the confidence to understand and speak it more fluently.

I’ll probably track my French progress in a couple of months so do follow me on here if you want to know the end result and do wish me luck!!!

Now I will leave you with this throwback photo of my trip to Paris. Taken last summer on a boat trip as I was passed the Eiffel Tower. 

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Photo taken on my android Phone :)