New year, new you… You’ve heard it all before, right? Kickstarting 2018 with healthy new habits can help shape a positive year ahead, but it only works if you follow good advice and set realistic goals.
With that in mind, we asked seven fitness influencers to open their refrigerators and share the contents, along with insight on maintaining a healthy mind, body, and soul. You won’t find any crash diets or fitness fads here – just sound and honest advice about how to make food work best for you.
Find out what’s in the fridges of some of the world’s healthiest bloggers, and get ready to be inspired about starting your own personal foodie revolution in 2018.
Alex Gildea, Personal Trainer
To me, a diet is about providing your body with the right fuel you need to feel your best every day. Everyone has different lifestyles, but for me simplicity is key. Diet is often associated with restriction rather than balance, which often leads to a short-term fix rather than a long-term lifestyle change.
Myself and my partner have a no specific diet, we just keep it simple. We always try to cook from scratch to ensure full control of what goes in our bodies.
A typical weekly shop consists of fresh vegetables, fruit, and well-sourced meat and fish. We keep it balanced with foods such as grains, pulses, whole wheat pasta, and rice. We also try and keep it vegetarian once per week. We both have very busy work schedules, so the balanced meals we make help to keep our blood sugars stable, thus keeping our energy levels high.
Rarely do we stock up our fridge with processed foods, but during the festive period that might change as we eat out more and are often cooking for others. However, we do balance this out by keeping active during this time. Having this relaxed and balanced relationship with food has allowed us both to maintain a healthy and lean physique for well over 10 years.
As we enter the new year, people often see this as their time for change and jump on the latest diet fad, which almost always preaches restriction over balance. With so much information available, people can often become overwhelmed, which can lead to confusion and, often, giving up. So, here’s my five tips for staying motivated, which will last you a lifetime.
Alex’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Keep it balanced
Eat meals that include good sourced proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fats. This will help keep your energy levels up and your mindset more productive.
- Fuel yourself
Food is fuel. It’s not about filling yourself up for the whole day, it’s for the next few hours before you eat again. If fat loss is your goal, eat smaller portions on a regular basis to help keep your metabolic rate high.
- No such thing as ‘cheating’
Cheat days are only needed if you rely on restriction rather than control. If you want it then eat it, but just make sure the next snack or meal is a good one.
- Forget ‘fat-free’
‘Fat-free’ doesn’t mean healthier, as it’s often replaced by sugars and sweeteners that make you crave more. Read the nutritional labels so you know which products are better than others.
- Love it for the long term
Food and exercise should go hand in hand. Don’t continue bad food habits and expect your workouts to balance it all out. If you eat better, you’ll feel better, which will help you train harder and recover quicker. It’s a lifestyle, so enjoy it.
Get more of Alex’s advice at www.gildeafitness.com.
George Lloyd, Fitness Model and Bootcamp Trainer
Training effectively is essential. However, diet is the main variable in achieving a healthy lifestyle and appearance. Nutrition for me has varied and changed in parts over the years, but the foundation I follow has always remained consistent. I am a strong believer in finding methods that work well for you and sticking to them.
Certain diet plans may work for some exceptionally well and others not at all – it’s all about finding what works with your body. The fitness industry is saturated with so many different diet plans and quick fixes that it becomes almost impossible to find what works for you.
Typically, my diet consists of high proteins, high fats, and low carbohydrates on a regular basis. Depending on my schedule or training regime, I will adjust these accordingly. The protein sources I tend to stick by consist of lean meats, such as turkey or chicken breasts, as well as a lot of fish and seafood, such as salmon, tuna, and prawns.
have recently started to prefer a more pescatarian diet over my previous preferences of meat, just because I feel fish reacts better to my digestion and skin as well as providing a lean protein source that’s low in calories.
In terms of the carbohydrates, I keep everything wholegrain. Again, wholegrain is great for digestion and gut health and is also an effective partner to the lean protein sources going into my body. My main intakes of carbs tend to be as soon as I wake up, with some oats, almond milk, and banana or blueberries, and then again straight after I have finished training to replenish the glycogen stores in my muscles.
Don’t be afraid to really pile on the veg and greens when it comes to lower carb meals. This will keep you fuller for longer and satisfy those sugary cravings that most people come across straight after consuming a meal.
George’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Keep it simple!
Diets are daunting enough without all the added complication of measurements, macronutrients, and so on. Just find a simple plan that works for you and never leave it!
- Take each day as it comes
One thing I have found with past clients is that they take on a 90-day diet plan, find it far too intimidating, and give up. Take each day as it comes, forget 90 days or any duration and just say to yourself “this is my lifestyle now and it’s continuous” – there should never be a day limit.
- Find a workout partner
Training with a friend will motivate you to train harder.
- Attend fitness classes
I teach at Barry’s Bootcamp in London and taking part in the classes myself has forever changed my perspective on fitness. Class environments have a supported, communal feel, and this will really motivate you to push yourself further.
- Don’t be afraid to fail
Most people never start a diet or training plan simply because they are afraid to mess it up, give up, or look silly. Just go for it. If you fail, you know that it wasn’t for you and you can re-assess and try a new angle. I have been trying to find the right diet for years now and I’ve only just cracked what works for me! Take your time and enjoy the process.
Follow George on Instagram for more fitness tips and inspiration.
Matt Law, Model
My line of work requires me to maintain a consistently lean and athletic physique, and I need to be photoshoot ready at all times! Achieving this in a healthy and sustainable way requires balance and discipline. Crash diets and quick-fix approaches to weight loss are not the answer – balance is key. A diet must be sustainable.
It’s better to gradually learn a new, healthier way of eating, as opposed to dropping weight quickly with a fad diet and then realising you don’t have the tools or knowledge to maintain your slimmer or healthier body. I try to stick to a consistent diet. When I have the occasional treat or dessert, the next day I’m back to eating what I know my body responds best to.
My typical diet consists of a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, and fish, as well as clean carbohydrates such as sweet potato and brown rice. It’s so important to ensure you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins and minerals you need from your diet. Where possible, I try to eat organic produce.
Typically, I eat oily fish, such as salmon, once a week, and lean meats or white fish on the other days. I try to have at least 1 plant-based day a week, replacing animal protein with plant based high-protein substitutes such as black beans or lentils. This is good for the environment and good for your body, too!
The products you see in my fridge are a good reflection of the fresh produce I prefer to consume. I don’t buy in bulk, but rather enough for a few days. I travel a lot, so this suits my schedule, and the added benefit is the food I’m eating is fresh. Seasonal vegetables are a good option, too. They tend to be cheaper and you can sometimes pick up boxes of mixed seasonal vegetables.
The most important thing to remember is not to fall into the most common January trap and crash diet for three weeks only to find you’ve burnt out and headed straight for the leftover Christmas treats! Again, balance is key.
Matt’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Don’t over or underdo it
Over-exercising and under-eating might seem like it’s working wonders to begin with, but it’s only a matter of time before the body burns out and you’ll undo all that hard work by binge eating all the things you’ve missed.
- Go cold turkey
Cut out all the treats you crave. Instead, fill up on healthy foods and nourish your body with nutrient rich foods. It takes approximately 21 days to break a habit – you really won’t miss all the processed foods you’ve been eating.
- No cheat days
All you’re doing by having a day off from your regular diet is reminding your taste buds of all the bad foods they’ve missed! Wait until you’ve reached your goal, then slowly introduce the odd treat.
- Think of spring
It’s so easy to get consumed by the cold and never-ending feel of winter. Spring is just around the corner, and what better way to greet it than with a fresh face and a healthier you.
- Exercise at the weekend
Get up on Saturday morning and start the day with a good workout at the gym. Having a couple of rest days in the week is a better idea than leaving it for the weekend.
Follow Matt on Instagram for further inspiration.
Chessie King, Fitness Trainer and Presenter
I believe that the contents of a fridge say a lot about a person. From experience, I know that if I buy something naughty and have it in the kitchen, I will simply eat it straight away! So, I pack my fridge with goodness. I don’t eat meat, but plenty of fish, tofu, chickpeas, and veggies. I don’t label myself anything like veggie, vegan, or flexitarian, I just eat mindfully and make sure my fish is well sourced.
My favourite, easy-to-make healthy breakfast is avocado with smoked salmon in a gluten free multi seed pita. If I’m in a rush, I love a shake, with a banana, oat milk, peanut butter, oats, cacao powder, protein powder, and ice. I always have kale in my fridge to make kale crisps. I drizzle them in olive oil and salt before crisping them up in the Aga – delicious!
Instead of coffee, I have a pre-workout Matcha, which I whizz up with oat milk and ice in the blender. I always have my Symprove in the morning, which has helped me to reduce bloating. I love oat milk and brown rice milk, so always stock my fridge up with these, but I don’t take multivitamins or omega-3 because I get these from my meals.
Omega-3 is crucial for growth development, especially brain health, and a minimum of two portions is required per week. I love eggs, which are rich in Omega-3. Up until three years ago, I used to think the egg white was the healthiest part and wasted the yolk. But the yolk contains all the goodness and vitamin D. I love scrambling egg and tofu together with brown rice and broccoli, then adding a little honey, tamari, sesame oil, and mixing it all together to make a healthy teriyaki dish.
Low fat, high protein, low carb… None of these fads and diets work. They might make you lose a few pounds before your holiday, but they will never help you achieve a sustainable healthy lifestyle. I strongly disagree with juice diets and ‘skinny teas’ – I’ve tried everything back when I wanted to be the ‘skinniest’ I could be and didn’t have the education I have now.
I have found what works for me and absolutely love food. It’s so important to enjoy food, and to actually sit down and eat instead of eating on the go. I love cooking for friends and family, instead of getting take out. Food brings people together!
Chessie’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Make a list
Don’t make resolutions: make a tick list for the year instead, and include all the things you really want to do.
- Try something new
Experiment with new recipes, don’t just stick to the same meals. Breaking bad habits is easier when we adopt change and introduce ourselves to new things.
- Get buy-in from your partner or housemates
It’s always so much easier when the people you live with are trying to make healthier choices too, because then you’re not tempted to join them on a late night, stuff-your-face food session!
- Walk everywhere
Try to get moving as much as you can. Go for walks on lunch breaks and weekends – even start walking to work, if you can.
- Take up the challenge
Sign yourself up for a new challenge this year. Get a group of you together and train for it, whether it’s purely for fitness or for a charity that’s close to your heart.
Keep up to date with Chessie’s antics via Instagram.
Deni Kirkova, Personal Trainer and Journalist
I’m a big believer in a 360-degree approach to diet. And by that, I mean seeking out food which tastes good, makes you feel good, and does good for the planet. As a vegan, my diet is 100% plant-based. Animal products haven’t passed my lips since 2015 due to ethical reasons, and as a happy coincidence I’ve never felt or looked better, nor been so into food and creative cooking.
Predominantly, I try to just eat raw food like fruit, lots of veg, and some nuts. Smoothies and whole fruit make up 40-50% of my diet on a good day. After watching Food Matters, my eyes opened to the wonders of eating more raw and organic foods. I fill my smoothies with all kinds of fruit and veg but most of the time there’s banana and spinach as a base.
I’ve been adding peaches, plums, cashews, and almonds, as well as avocado for intense creaminess and silkiness. I blend my smoothies using ice cold water from the fridge, and I also add maca and turmeric for an energy boost and anti-inflammatory benefits.
I used to be obsessed with macros as a bikini fitness model, but now I don’t count them, even if I do have some protein powder at times for an amino boost. Nowadays, I’m all about getting micronutrient dense foods tightly packed into my diet. Is it sweet and does it make me smile? Is it full of vitamins and minerals?
Even if it has what some might call ‘a lot of fat or sugar’, as long as it’s part of a balanced diet and lifestyle, it’s all good. It’s all about finding that balance, so I’m not afraid of carbs and will have a pasta dinner when I feel like it.
I love raw fermented kimchi and sauerkraut for gut health and de-bloating, which are both staples in my fridge. Hiding behind it is some falafel, which I have with hummus as an on-the-go meal. On the bottom left are some oats, which I’ll have as porridge for breakfast or brunch, usually with protein powder and soy milk.
The vegan butter on the top shelf may go on some wholegrain granary toast, because – yes – I love bread! Happy, kind, and healthy is my mantra.
Deni’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Get SMART
Make SMART goals: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
- Determine your goals
Have short, medium, and long-term goals to work towards so you can motivate yourself up to the big one with your preceding achievements!
- Don’t obsess
Set intentions and work towards them but don’t become obsessed or too tightly attached to a very specific result. You don’t want to burn out or beat yourself up if you’ve achieved something amazing, even if it’s not the exact thing you wanted.
- Make happiness a priority
Play motivational music, start a gratitude journal, listen to some self-development audiobooks, and take up yoga twice a week. Self-care comes first, because once you love yourself as you are you can nurture yourself to consistent progress.
- Write it down
Physically wiring down your goals and plans will make them more real. First, write down your dreams and then break them down into steps so you can gradually make them come true.
Vicky Hadley – Personal Trainer, Blogger and Fitness Model
I have probably tried every diet out there, from paleo to juice diets, without much luck as I struggled to work out which diet worked best for me. I used to find food so complicated and restrict myself from ‘naughty foods’ with the fear of gaining weight. I suffered with intolerances to gluten and dairy, which caused a weakened immune system, meaning I struggled to break down certain foods because my gut wall was so damaged.
Finding a passion for health and fitness and a balanced diet really helped me understand nutrition and feel glad that I spent so long trying to find a diet that worked for me. I ended up learning so much about myself and my body and finally ending up where I am now: healthy, happy, and balanced.
I still follow a gluten and dairy-free diet, but I’m a very flexible dieter. This means I track macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) which works extremely well for me. I eat a mostly plant-based diet using proteins such as beans, tofu, legumes, and nuts, but I do eat fish, eggs, and, on the very rare occasion, lean meats. I particularly love sweet potato and butternut squash, as it’s filling without causing the bloating that some grains do!
I use fruits and vegetables with a vegan protein powder and superfoods to make protein smoothies. My current favourite is a chocolate protein powder blended with a dairy free milk, such as almond milk, and spinach with frozen banana and frozen berries. It’s so delicious and you don’t even taste the greenery!
I don’t really have cheat meals. For me personally, as I follow a flexible diet, I choose foods I love every day and turn them into ‘naughty foods’. So, if I was craving ice cream I’d freeze some bananas and blend them up with chocolate protein powder and end up with a healthier chocolate ice cream – trust me it’s amazing!
Or, if I wanted a pizza, I’d go to a supermarket and get a gluten-free base and buy the ingredients to make one at home. It ends up being cheaper and healthier, and you don’t get the lethargic feelings afterwards.
Vicky’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Only eat binge foods on meals out
If there’s a food you find that you binge on (for me it’s bread!), only treat yourself to that food when you’re out for a meal. Don’t eat it at home, and then you can really enjoy it without bingeing.
- Out of sight, out of mind
Try to put your food away in a cupboard, only leaving out a fruit bowl. If you can’t see it, you’re less likely to eat it!
- Eat as close to nature as you can
It’s really important to make sure the majority of your diet comes from natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than processed foods.
- “Failure to prepare means preparing to fail.”
I still swear by this quote, which I use with my clients. Try and give yourself time to prep your food the evening before. This way, you’re less likely to slip up when you buy food.
- Hotter, healthier, happier
I know it sounds cheesy, but it really works – before you go to binge, ask yourself: “Is this food making me hotter, healthier, or happier?” If the answer is no, you know what to do!
Steph Elswood, Health Blogger and Dancer
My diet is mostly plant-based. Animal agriculture is a huge contributing factor to the damage of this planet and for this reason I eat mostly vegan, which means I consume no meat, eggs, milk, or cheese. As a result, my fridge is always packed with colourful fruits and veggies. Every week I have my staple ‘go-to’ fruits and vegetables. These include courgettes, ginger, avocados, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, strawberries, and blueberries.
I use these in most of meals and snack on fruit. I make curries and stews a lot – they’re warming, delicious, and save me from this cold weather! I have dates that keep for longer than most fruit, and buy beetroot in a vacuum pack in case I ever fancy it. To mix things up, I find other vegetables that I don’t use as frequently. For this week, I have chosen a butternut squash, which I plan to make into a pie!
I’m often asked how I get enough protein. Many plant-based items are packed full of protein and when you combine some together they create a ‘complete protein’, meaning a protein source that gives you an adequate proportion of all 9 essential amino acids.
Examples of this are pita and hummus, peanut butter on wholegrain toast, or rice and black beans. I think I’m addicted to hummus – it’s always in my fridge! I also use coconut or almond milk for coffee, cereal, and smoothies. They are my two personal favourites. One of my favourite snacks is coconut yoghurt with berries, so that’s always stocked in my fridge.
I know what you’re all thinking: this fridge looks very healthy and boring! I also love rice, pasta, bread, and other things that don’t live in the fridge. I wouldn’t say that I have a cheat day per say, but I do allow myself treats when I fancy them. Things like Oreos, Biscoff spread, dark chocolate and even certain kinds of Ben and Jerry’s are vegan, so there’s plenty for me to cheat with!
Steph’s top 5 tips for 2018
- Set realistic goals
If you currently only go to the gym once a week, there is no point in suddenly forcing yourself to go seven days a week. Be realistic and aim for three days instead.
- Make one diet change at a time
Fad diets, skinny teas, and detoxes after Christmas aren’t sustainable for your body or your mental health. Instead, invest in sleep, exercise, nutrition, and hydration. I would recommend making one or two little swaps or changes a month, until this becomes habit.
- Be kind to yourself
We all overindulged around the Christmas period, so if you have put on a few pounds or feel a bit soft around the edges, don’t beat yourself up. Take a moment to remember the fun you had and the memories you made.
- Don’t let the gym intimidate you
There are so many newbies kickstarting their exercise journey. Pre-plan your workouts and walk in with confidence. No one will question you – they’re all too busy concentrating on themselves!
- Focus on your happiness
After the excitement of the holidays, it’s easy to feel flat when going back to ‘real life’. Spend time focusing on you and your own mental health. Write three things a day that were a highlight or that you’re proud of. If you find yourself having a down moment, read back some of your highlights.
Follow Steph on Instagram for more food and fitness tips.