As a personal trainer, usually one of the first questions I am asked is, “How long do I need to diet?” This is basically a nice way of asking, how long do I need you to train me? How much is this going to cost? Or secretly, how long will it take for you to whip me into Victoria Secret model shape?!
Well I am going to be the one who gives you THAT annoying answer—“It depends on YOU.”
How long you are going to need diet depends on many factors:
It also depends on how much weight you want to lose. As you can imagine, it doesn’t take the same time to lose 1 stone as it does 10 stone. Although that would be amazing!
How good are you at staying on your diet and are you disciplined to work for it? If you skip a workout here, have a cheat meal there, it will take you longer to reach your goals. You need to be PERSISTENT! What may take 2 months of dedicated gym workouts and diet, may end up taking 3-5 months if you lack this quality. And that depends entirely on YOU!
As you can see, there are no definitive answers. It could take years depending on how much weight you want to lose. You didn’t gain the weight in one week and you won’t lose it in a week either. And as you GET OLDER, it TAKES LONGER to lose the weight unfortunately.
Be patient with your body. We all go through seasons of change in our lives. When you first start a new nutrition and exercise program, you are motivated and dedicated. The weight initially falls off which is extremely exciting, so you continue. It’s when the weight stops falling off and you hit the dreaded PLATEAU that can cause you to lose your patience and fall off your diet.
DIET can be a nasty 4 letter word. To most people, it carries a negative connotation. But really the word 'diet' only refers to WHAT YOU EAT. So in reality, you have been following a diet your entire life and will be following a diet FOREVER. Gasp!
So here's a helpful hint: stop viewing it as a DIET and start thinking of it more as a LIFESTYLE CHANGE!
If you chose to adapt a Paleo diet for instance, it is a forever lifestyle. Because Paleo is a lifestyle diet and believe it or not but has just as much to do about movement as it does eating. See what I eat in a day on Paleo.
If what you are doing is working, you are comfortable with the diet, and pleased with the results, keep it going! If it doesn’t work with your lifestyle and isn’t sustainable, then STOP. Again, it depends on YOU as an individual
In the end, you need to do what is best for YOU and your physical well-being. You need to work on being consistent with your activity level and stick to it. Be sure to pick an activity that you LOVE or try NEW activities.
The best diet is the diet that works for you and your lifestyle and how you eat and view food. Stick to nutritious food and nourish your body.
And ultimately if your biggest concern about going on a diet is when you can come off it again, I would recommend having a huge overhaul in the way you think about healthy eating and start working on that first!
If you are located in London & you need my VIP training to help get your booty in shape, Let's talk. Or if you need to get your diet in order, I can provide nutrition coaching or a consultation.
Listen to your body and take care of it. Be YOUR BEST self!
This weekend I celebrated my 31st birthday by making a solid promise to myself.
I look in the mirror most days and start criticising.
I look at the extra weight/the handles/the flab and criticise myself for not eating better or training harder.
I look in the mirror and see my frizzy, unkempt hair drowning my makeup-less face and I start criticising myself for not making more of an effort.
I look at the dark circles under my eyes, the heavy bags full of anxiety and stress and criticise myself for not knowing how to slow my mind down.
I look at the ring-less finger on my left hand and criticise myself for not having made that spiritual connection yet.
I look at myself, too closely and see all the cracks, the mistakes and the flaws and start criticising myself for not being perfect.
And I’ve had enough of it! I’m tired of being my own worst critic when there’s plenty of room to applaud and celebrate too.
So I made a promise; that for every fault I notice, I have to notice something great about myself too!
I’m not promising that I will stop criticising myself overnight and changes will be easy. But I’ve promised to cut myself some slack.
I fucking deserve that!
And you do too!
So even though society tries to tell me that I’m nearing ‘the end of my prime’, I’d like to argue that I’ve only just entered it.
My prime is not about how I look to others. It’s about how hard I love and accept myself despite how I look.
And so I ask you:
Will you join me in my promise?
The honest to God’s truth of how to make eating healthy feel less like a chore is to EAT HEALTHY.
You thought I was going to give you some magic solution? That’s coming later.
That sounds odd you think. Yes, it is sort of a catch-22. You want to eat healthy even when You don’t “feel like it” all the time and want to make a habit, but to make it less so, you say I need to eat healthy.
The thing is in order to make something a habit, whether it is eating healthy or exercising, waking early, or anything for that matter, you need to stick to doing that “thing” for at least one month.
Your body is the same way and it is very adaptable. Within a certain amount of time, your body will adapt and actually start to crave the healthy foods you are feeding it. So, when you veer off course and eat crap food, what happens?
Your body starts to feel lethargic. Your body will revolt physically. When you were once feeling energetic, now you will start slowing down. You may have sleep disturbances, get headaches, or even feel queasy at the thought of the old food you used to eat.
Your body is saying, “don’t give me that junk!”
THIS is where you need to get to, to make eating healthfully feel less like a chore, and you need to first make it a habit by sticking to your diet, I'd recommend for at least 30 days. This gives your body a chance to detox and reset.
I have said it many times. The magic ingredient and the easiest way to help you achieve this goal is by PLANNING AHEAD.
When you come home from work tired and have to prepare a meal, it becomes a hassle. What am I going to eat? Do I have all the ingredients? What’s quick to make because I am STARVING NOW. And this really causes anxiety and makes it easy to veer off your course. You start shoving your mouth with anything in sight.
So now imagine you planned your meals for the week. You may have even gone as far as cut your veggies ahead of time. Or perhaps went wild and cooked a large pot of soup that you froze ahead of time in smaller portions. You come home relaxed, knowing what you are eating. All you have to do is heat it up or assemble the ingredients. Voila! Dinner is served and you are enjoying your healthy dinner completely hassle free!
Which do you prefer, a stressed-out evening of binge eating or a relaxed evening after a healthy meal? A body that is providing you energy throughout the day or constant anxiety, headaches, and constipation?
You need to Learn How to Respect Your Body and take care if it. It’s the only one you’ve got!
Try this for 30-days. What's the worst thing that could happen? Your body may start to love you!
To get a glimpse into what a typical day in the life of what Zahra eats, you can take a look at this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/1OSHGTUhCQ0. (While you are there, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more videos)
And if you need personal help getting your diet in order, I do offer Nutrition Consultations and Online Nutrition Coaching. For more information on that, contact me here: https://www.thehealthyhijab.com/store/c2/Online_Plans_and_Products.html
I would love to hear from you! What are your challenges with eating healthfully?
Is it the planning? You don’t know what to eat or what is healthy for you to eat?
Drop me an email and let me know!
How often do we hear, “I am so busy!” I couldn’t possibly do that.
One of my very first discussions with my clients is their schedule. I have two VERY IMPORTANT questions in particular.
“When will you go to the gym?”
“When will you meal plan and prep your meals for the week?”
And today I am asking YOU, “when will you find the time to do these things?”
Are you using time as an excuse not to exercise and eat healthy?
Well if you are, I am calling you out on your bull***t!
Do you want to know how you can ‘magically’ create more time in your schedule to do things like exercise regularly?
The first thing you need to do is analyze your time for time wasters and rabbit holes. Do you ever get on Facebook to scroll the feed and all of a sudden 2 HOURS HAVE PASSED? It’s super common for most of us to do this but for me, I noticed I had a much bigger culprit: my telly!
I realized that even though I may not have been watching it, it was white noise in the background because IT WAS ALWAYS ON. It was causing me to get distracted and therefore I was performing my work tasks slower than I normally would have if I had shut it off and focused more.
What was the solution? For me it was not turning on the tv. I realized that it wasn’t giving me joy and wasn’t adding anything to my life. So, I tried an experiment. I turned off the tv and limited it to 2 shows a day or even every other day.
Do you know what happened? I felt lighter. I got my SHIT DONE. I regained time that I thought I had lost and increased my productivity in my business. My mind was clearer and now that I had clarity, I could plan what I wanted to do in my business and do what gave me joy in my life.
After 6 months, I ended up getting rid of it because I no longer missed it. Instead I made space in my tiny apartment for things that I really wanted and used.
Our lives are like that too. When you remove the time stealers and instead replace it with things that are important, you in turn, become happier and more productive.
So here’s what you need to do; take a critical look at your routine or schedule. Journal your days by keeping track of your time. What tasks are you doing and how long are they taking? Should they take that long? If I really focused and was uninterrupted, could I do it faster?
Ask yourself these questions and then take a look at what you wrote with a critical eye. Are you using your best time blocks to do you most productive tasks, rewarding tasks, or tasks that need concentration?
You need to do the appropriate tasks at the appropriate times so you can make the most of the time that you do have.
Just to review:
1. Journal your time for a couple of days writing down your schedule and tasks.
2. Critically look to see if you are using the time appropriately. Ask yourself, when I have an hour of quiet time, am I doing a task that requires my concentration or could I do that task while I am folding laundry, for example.
3. Find the time wasters and joy stealers. GET RID OF THEM if possible!
4. Create a new schedule with tasks scheduled at the best times.
5. REWARD YOURSELF with an extra workout, trying a healthy new recipe you didn’t have time to make, spend it on some self-care “me time”.
When it comes down to it, you will find time for the things/tasks that are MOST IMPORTANT to you.
So now getting back to that time you don’t have to work out, when is your next workout scheduled?
When will you be meal planning and prepping for the week? Send me a note and let me know where you “found” the time!
To my judgemental Sister,
Thank you for your comment on my public social media page. Thank you for taking the time to find something you consider to be a flaw in me and highlighting it for all to see.
From the moment I started my venture as a visible non-hijabi Muslim entrepreneur, you have been there.
You have made your presence noticed and made sure I understood your disdain for me.
At times it is easy for me to shake off your negative comment. After all, I don't know you so your opinion of me means very little to me.
But there are still times when your comment upsets me. Times when it makes me angry or sad. And in those times, your comment stays with me for days - like a bad flu I can't quite shake off.
What upsets me is not your attack of me. As I said already, your opinion of me is not relevant to me. The upsetting part is your need to try to publicly 'shame' other people. Your need to point out the flaws of others. And your apparent need to feel better than others.
And you do so with very little regard to how your comment might make the person/people on the receiving end feel. Not everyone has thick skin, Sister. Not everyone can shake things off easily. And for some, your comment might be the last drop in an already overflowing cup.
You know exactly what you're doing when you write your comment. You may try to excuse your action as a mere observation or a genuine request to help. But deep down inside, you know it is petty and judgemental. And what's more; you know it's wrong.
“O you who have faith! Avoid much suspicion. Indeed some suspicions are sins.” [49:12]
It also upsets me that in a time when people are fighting for inclusivity on a global scale, you're so willing to shun me out because my Islam looks different to yours.
It hurts me to feel the need to remind you; there's more to being a Muslim woman than wearing a hijab.
I almost lost my faith once. I moved away from Islam. I diverted and went down a path that gave me no peace.
I have been lucky so far - Allah chose not to close my heart to Him and his blessings. I can only pray that He continues to enlighten me and make my journey closer to Him an easy one.
Although I may not look like you, talk like you or act like you I'm still your Sister in faith. And as such, I hope you can learn to respect me for our commonalities rather than disapprove me for our differences.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
[…] I swear by Allah – there is no God but He – one of you may perform the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is naught but an arm’s length between him and it, when that which has been written will outstrip him so that he performs the deeds of the people of the Hell Fire; one of you may perform the deeds of the people of the Hell Fire, till there is naught but an arm’s length between him and it, when that which has been written will overtake him so that he performs the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters therein.”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim, Narrated by Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud]
I'm not writing this post to shame you. I'm not even writing this to try to lecture you.
I'm simply writing this because I have hope that perhaps you might come across it one day and that reading it makes you reflect before leaving a negative comment anywhere else.
Trust me when I say, I'm on your side. I face the same evils as you. So instead of fighting me, join hands with me so we can stand strong against our common enemies.
*This is not a letter to a single person, rather it's for all my Muslim sisters who have taken the time to write something negative on mine or anyone else's social media page.