anxiety, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Don’t say ‘goodbye’ to January

Many people today may have just experienced their last ‘dry’ weekend after pledging to stay clear of alcohol for January, giving their bodies a much needed detox after a month of festive drinking and over indulgence.

If that is you I’m guessing you’re feeling more energetic, especially after the better sleep you should be experiencing. You may also be noticing your skin is clearer, and feeling less bloated and whether you weigh yourself of not, you’ve probably dropped a few pounds.

I would guess you’re currently feeling pretty awesome. Especially with the added sense of achievement. So if you are reading this and this is you, a massive WELL DONE

But, why stop now? Before you arrange a big night out next weekend, or a weekend blow-out, think for a minute how you’re feeling right now. How does your body feel? Your mind feel? Acknowledge the changes which have occurred in your life over such a short space of time.

I’m not suggesting anyone reading should completely kick the drink and sign up to a life of sobriety. Like everything, it’s fine in moderation. But now could just be the perfect opportunity to become more mindful of alcohol consumption and how it affects us both mentally and physically.

But along with staying dry this month, more than two thirds of us will have also started the year in the gym, with the intentions of making this the year we really will live up to the ‘New year, New you’ motto.

But research shows that by the end of January, over a third of us will have quietly cancelled our sparkly new gym membership before even working up a sweat.

With this in mind, what I would really like to do is to encourage anyone reading this who made that promise to change their lifestyle this year, to stick with it. Keep to your goals. Keep aiming for that healthy lifestyle you want to achieve. If you’re looking at your body and thinking you’re not seeing the differences you’d maybe hoped for, that’s because you haven’t given yourself enough time. We’re a month into a year. Four weeks. A healthy weight loss round about now would be around or just over half a stone (2lb a week is a healthy average, possibly more in the first week as we lose water). You’re not going to be seeing abs yet if that’s your aim.

But physical changes aside, this is not all about changing your body, but changing your mind. Have you found over the last four weeks you have woke up feeling happier? Less stressed? More confident? Less anxious? If you’ve been hitting the gym or taking part in some kind of physical exercise either high or lower impact, your answer should be yes to all of these

I’m not going to bore anyone with facts, or statistics but I will share that one thing I’ve learned over the years and found I’m really good at is completely pulling myself apart. I had a knack and skill of being self critical. I’d even do it through humour.  (I still do, but it’s mainly tongue-in-cheek)

However, I’m REALLY pleased to say, that I am now the very proud owner of a little thing I’ve lacked most of my adult life called confidence. I mean I’m still not going to walk into a room full of people and spark up a conversation (Urgh, I’m still shy) but just a ‘this is me, this is my personality, this is my body, this is how I carry and convey myself, and I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me’ sense. There is nothing more liberating than feeling comfortable in your own skin

I’ve gained it through taking control of my life. By eating right (there is often a slight blip once a month. Any girls reading this may be completely with me on this) and I exercise regularly. I’m not even sure of the last time I felt depressed, or down, or sad. I think it was probably around a year ago. I do have the occasional ‘episode’ where I feel I just need a good cry, into a bag of Maltezers usually, but again, what can I say except I’m a woman and I’m sure I’m not alone.

So tomorrow, don’t start February, but continue January. Don’t feel as if you need to drink at the weekend to have fun, you don’t. Don’t ditch the gym membership, or miss classes. Sick with it. Your life will change if that is what you really want.

I also want to point out that I have nothing to gain writing this. I’m not endorsing any products, sponsored or paid by any gyms. I’m speaking from personal experience. I just want to offer words of encouragement and inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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anxiety, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting

Man Down

Things have been a little bit hectic since my last blog. My hubby has been poorly and a trip to his doctors Thursday morning led to an overnight stay in hospital, and an emergency op that night. I had to stay at home with the kids so I had a really anxious day waiting for news. He went straight to the hospital from the doctors with a very low phone battery and no charger. Meaning contact was going to be very brief. Until a nurse realised the situation Friday morning and kindly gave him a charger.

So I spent two days last week at home on my own with the kids. Feeling very worried and stressed. I didn’t really eat anything for those two days. Being anxious I had no appetite at all.

But he’s recovering really well and feeling much better now, but will be off work for a few weeks unfortunately, due to the nature of his job.

We obviously missed a PT session, and I couldn’t go my Thursday Clubbercise double. However, I did make it Friday night. I needed that hour and as it was a later class. the kids were ready for bed when I left so it was no problem for Andrew. I was able to go Sunday morning, too. I’m not sure how much the class did for me physically as my head wasn’t really with it and I don’t feel I put my all into the routines, but it definitely helped relieved some of the anxiety.

So, whilst Andrew recovers, there will be no gym for at least 4 weeks. I know I could go alone, but he’s my training partner and it doesn’t feel the same without him. And with him being off work we need to cut back on spending for a bit. Obviously I’m still going to be going to Clubbercise. I don’t just go to burn calories, I go for fun and I need that. It’s my sanity (and social life).

This last week has really got me thinking about the importance of being in good health. I was worried sick when Andrew told me he would be put under a general anesthetic during surgery. Obviously any medical procedure carries a risk, but luckily he had the fact he is well within the healthy BMI range, physically fit, and a non smoker or drinker on his side. Had he been overweight, unfit, a heavy drinker and smoker, he would have been at major risk of complications during surgery and be looking at a much longer recovery period

With all this in mind, my ‘diet’ this week has became even stricter. I feel my focus is less about the outside and more about the inside. I’m far more concerned about my health than my appearance now. I don’t want to be at risk of any kind of illness or conditions now or in the future. I want to be in the best physical health I can be for my children, and my husband.

I’m now making extra effort to make every single meal from scratch. No cereal for breakfast, no bread, no convenience cold pasta meals picked up for lunch time from the supermarket. I’ve spent so many hours in the kitchen this week, making and preparing meals.

An average day now consists of eggs, scrambled or poached, wholewheat pasta, chicken (even to snack on), protein shakes if I’m struggling for protein or after exercise, fresh fish, brown rice, veg, lots of veg.

pasta

chicken

 

salmon

But NO shop bought ‘healthy’ snacks. You know the kind. The ‘low fat’ crisps, biscuits, cakes. No justifying a bar of chocolate with ‘I’ve done 4 hours exercise this week’.

I made chocolate protein brownies today. They didn’t turn much like brownies. I think I may have followed the recipe wrong and they turned out slightly too gooey to turn into anything other than a splodge. But a chocolate splodge. A really tasty chocolate splodge.

mix

splodge

So after my many failed attempts of a diet, I know I have got this now. My aim isn’t to ‘look good for summer’. It’s to be healthy all year round and for the rest of my life

image

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, special needs, wellbeing

So I clearly can’t blog daily. But I’ve had a really hectic weekend. My hubby spent all day yesterday in hospital after feeling ill most of this week. He’s had a virus, but by saturday morning it was getting worse so he thought it best to go get checked out.

Obviously having two young children, I had to stay at home with them. There was no phone signal at the hospital, or wifi so I couldn’t get in touch with Andrew to find out what was happening and he couldn’t contact me, so I had an anxious few hours. I did the one thing that’s really not a good idea and googled his symptoms, then started to fear meningitis.

Oh and the central heating decided it wasn’t gonna work, so I had that to stress about too.

But thankfully he’s feeling much better today, but it feels a bit like we haven’t really had a weekend as he’s spent most of thisafternoon in bed. And I had a lonely saturday night infront of the tv with no one to talk to :o(

I hardly ate with stressing out yesterday, which i know isn’t good, but I have today.

We’re also having a diffucult time with my oldest daughter since returning to school. For anyone reading this who hasn’t read my blogs about her, she was diagnosed with autism last year. The diagnosis wasn’t a shock, we expected it. But she can be quite a handul, and her younger sister copies her behaviours so it’s often like having two children on the spectrum.

Jessica lives her life at a million miles and hour and want’s everything done instantly. She’s ready for school each morning an hour and a half before transport even arrives to collect her. And Christmas morning, she asked at 7.30am if Christmas was finished yet, and if it’s Valentines day next? Not sure why a 7-year-old would even be interested in Valentines day, but it’s Jess and she loves occassions.

She did seem to calm down and stop the demanding and shouting, and running around the house over the holidays, but she’s back to being her hyperactive self since going back to school. So it can get a bit mentally exhausting. If it wasn’t for having things in my life now which I enjoy and keeps me sane, I hate to think how I’d be feeling tonight.

I’ve done the usual 4 Clubbercise classes this week, my last one being thismorning, and it’s great to be back. I have found them more tiring than I usually do, particularly the first one on thursday, but I’ll get my energy levels back up again in no time (hopefully)

I’ve ate nothing I shouldn’t have this weekend, absolutely nothing, which I’m really pleased about. It’s so easy to justify something fattening just because it’s the weekend.

So this weekend has threw things at me which I may have resolved in the past with overeating. I didn’t sleep too well last night worrying about Andrew, but I was still up and ready for Clubbercise at 9.30 thismorning. I knew if I didn’t go, I’d only lounge about, and then regret not going, and feel crap.

So here’s hoping for a better week.

depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

How to make the change

Over the last few months I have realised why I’ve failed to maintain the healthy lifestyle I’ve wanted. The only changes to my life I made in the past, was my diet. But this isn’t about changing your just diet, and needs more of a holistic approach.

I’m finding I’m gradually falling into the healthy lifestyle I want, and a lot of things have happened naturally. My thought process and the way in which I look at food and exercise has changed completely. I’m now in the mindset I’m not investing so much time, effort, and money into exercising, to undo all my hard work with a McDonalds. Rather than I’ve workout out for an hour so I can justify a mars bar.

Listed below are a few tips which I find will help you change your lifestyle. Things which I’ve found myself doing

SET THE RIGHT KIND OF GOALS

I didn’t really make any goals last year. The only goals I could think of were goals such as ‘lose 2lb this week’, or ‘lose 8lb by’ whatever date. I’ve done goals like that in the past when I joined weight watchers, and would spend the whole week worried I wouldn’t achieve my goal set by the leader, or even myself. And felt a failre if I hadn’t.

Make goals more about achievements. Aim to do a charity event in the summer, such as Stampede, or Color Rush, for example. Train for them. Start by running a small distance and increase the distance each week. Set target distances, in a timeframe.

goals

You’ll get a much bigger buzz out taking part in an event, whilst raising money for your chosen charity, than losing a pound in a week. But remember to keep your goals realistic

SWAP POUNDS FOR INCHES

Ditch the scales and concentrate more on your inch loss than weight loss. If you’re working out and eating right, you’re changing shape and no doubt feeling great. Why should it matter what the scales say?

After only a couple of weeks will probably also be noticing change in your confidence, and general mood and be feeling a lot more positive.

inches

CONSIDER PERSONAL TRAINER

Everyones initial concern is the cost. But think of it like this. If you enjoy a takeaway and a few bottles of wine, or beer at the weekend, if you’re getting serious about your health you’ll be cutting those out, why not use the money for a PT instead?

To reduce the cost, train with a group of friends. The more of you there is, the cheaper the cost per person.

I know it’s cheaper to join a gym, but without someone there to push, motivate and support you, are you really getting a full workout?

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

Look out for people who use Facebook to talk about health and fitness and either follow or add them, or ‘like’ pages which may inspire you. Share recipe ideas on your timeline, motivational quotes, blogs if you have one.

At the minute with it being New Year my Newsfeed has a lot of people tagging themselves at various gyms or classes, sharing food pics etc, which I’m finding motivational. Do the same as it may be motivating others

Use Instagram to find and share recipes (I’m not too Instagram savvy, I’ve only used it in the past for the filters).

Use twitter to…I don’t know. I don’t like twitter much but I’m sure it can be helpful. Use the #, you can’t go wrong with a # on twitter. It could be useful for finding classes in your area.

It’s strange how you can actually feel support from people just over social media.

JOIN AN EXERCISE CLASS

But don’t just use it for exercise, see it as something fun which you look forward to.

If you can’t get any friends to go along with you, go alone. It may feel daunting at first but you’re there for yourself, not anyone else, so don’t rely on always needing someone else to go along with you.

regret

Talk to and get to know other people in the class. I’ve found this happens naturally and 8 months in and I look forward to seeing some of the girls each week.

Find a class which suits. If you go along to one and don’t enjoy it, don’t be put off, maybe it’s just not the class for you. There’s so many different classes to choose from at the minute, it’s about finding the type of exercise which you enjoy.

MAKE MORE FRIENDS

I know there is a saying keep your circle small. I don’t agree with that. Find and spend time with people who share your interests, support your goals and who bring out the best in you.

friends

The more, the better. It may even be worth re-evaluating your friendships, if someone doesn’t support you or trys to hold you back, are they really a friend?

POSITIVE THINKING

Don’t use the words ‘I can’t’, because you can. If you’re thinking about trying something new, or making a change, do it. We all have the ability to be absolutely whoever we want to be, so don’t be held back by ‘what if’s’ or fears.

best

 

 

 

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

Back in the game

Today I’m feeling much more like I did before the end of last year. Before all the crisps, and the chocolate, and the cakes, and the takeaways, and the Kir Royale and Bucks Fizz (yes, I know – I live life on the edge).

Eliminating all the above and going back to a clean diet, that awful bloated feeling in my stomach has gone, my energy levels have increased, and my skin is looking so much better. I noticed I was looking colourless. And my skin was dry. I blamed it on my foundation. I was wearing the wrong colour. (Even thought I’ve been using it for about 2 months). But it’s the change of diet, reverting back to old habits, and not drinking enough water. However, whilst moisturing last night, I noticed my skin felt smoother and I have more colour in my cheeks.

So in just 6 days I’ve lost the water which was causing bloating (unfortunately the extra chub remains for now), improved my skin, and given myself a much needed energy boost. Just by cutting out fatty foods and increasing my water intake, and doing just 20 minutes of exercise a day.

Last night I had my first PT session since early December. I felt quite nervous. I was worried I’d lost all my strength with having such a long break from all exercise (4 weeks is a long time for me now considering I do 4 exercise classes a week also). I was even worried my gym gear would be very noticeably too tight. I was worried I would pass out just walking up the many flights of stairs to even get into the gym.

I had nothing to worry about. The strength hasn’t gone anywhere, and my determination was even stronger last night. As exhausting as it is, I’m there for an hour – one hour out of a whole week. It would be silly to not give it my best.

body

For anyone wondering what you should expect with a personal trainer, I’ll give a brief outline of what my sessions are like

The sessions are me, my husband, and PT Matthew.

The exercises are all either floor exercises, or using weights. There’s no tread mills, no exercise bikes, no cross trainers. But that doesn’t mean there’s no cardio.  Just thirty seconds with the battle ropes gets your heart racing as much as any cardio exercise would.

Matthew has a plan of what exercises we’ll be doing each session. We’ll either target a particular part of the body to concentrate on ie legs, or sometimes do whole body.

Each session usually includes 6 exercises. These are either split into three and three, or three sets of two exercises.

Each set of exercises is done in reps.

So Andrew and myself may start with the leg press and do 12 reps, then move on to the other two other exercises, and rotate around the equipment, weights and sometimes reps increasing each time.

Confused? I am too. It’s pretty simple in principle, but putting it in writing is a different concept.

The hour is tiring, very tiring and challenging. But I’m finding now that my adrenaline is increasing throughout the hour, and it’s that and the encouragement and support off both my hubby and Matthew which often gets me through each set if I start to think I can’t do any more.

I don’t want to say ‘I can’t’ and I never want to refuse to do anything. I’m there to push myself so if Matthew thinks I’m capable of doing the exercise set out for me, I can do it.

Obviously Matthew is there to answer any questions, and offer advice. I’m learning more and more about nutrition and I’m taking it so much more seriously now than I was when I started back in august.

So that’s what my sessions include. Obviously each personal trainer may differ.

I should also mention the feeling I get upon leaving the gym is amazing. I have such a sense of achievement.

Thismorning I’m not aching anywhere near as much as I thought I might be. I feel like I’ve had a workout, but I like that feeling. I feel back on track now and the right track back to a healthy lifestyle.

And tonight I have 2 hours of Clubbercise which I’m really looking forward to. An hour tomorrow night, and again sunday morning.

2016 is going pretty great so far

 

 

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

Day 5

I didn’t blog yesterday as it was pretty much the same as the day before – 20 minutes exercise and I ate well. Really enjoyed the salmon, and carrot, pepper and wholewheat vermicelli noodles I made for dinner. It’s one of my favorites but I hadn’t made it in a while. I’m going to really make a conscious effort to have more fish in my diet.

Today I woke up with more energy than I have been doing over Christmas. I’ve actually felt more energetic all day. I’ve been drinking lots of water over the last few days (I’m really bad for remembering to drink water. How can anything so simple ever be so difficult to do?!?).

I made two ingredient pancakes yesterday, those ingredients being just egg and banana. I didn’t like them, but my two girls loved them. So thismorning after a 20 minute workout (cardio), I made protein pancakes.

They’re simple to make, just 25grams rolled oats, one scoop protein powder, one banana, two eggs all thrown in a blender. I added some almond milk as I think I added too much of something and the batter was far too thick. Then fried in a pan as you would a normal pancake. Ideally they should be fried using coconut oil.

I had them with Greek yogurt, they’d be great with raspberries or strawberries. I made four small pancakes, felt full after them, and didn’t eat again till lunch time (I’m terrible for snacking between meals, but I don’t reach for healthy snacks)

pan

I’m back at the gym tomorrow. I haven’t been for three weeks. I did plan to go over Christmas but with both me and the kids taking our turns being ill, it didn’t happen. So I’m quite excited, but also worried it’s going to kill me

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

Title – there isn’t one

Started the morning with another 20 minutes of exercise, rowing machine again unfortunately, but I did also have a little dance in the kitchen whilst making my breakfast. Everything counts

I attempted to make the time go faster this time by listening to music on my phone, rather than watching a music channel. That way I could sing along to music I actually like, rather than the likes of Little Mix and Olly Murs yesterday. I need motivational, fast paced music. So that made it a little less painful, and the time did seem to go quicker.

I have ate very well today. Nothing exciting or which took a lot of thought or prep, so I won’t bore anyone with food photos.

After exercising thismorning I had a protein shake. We bought it over christmas after being advised which would be the best shake to not only add protein to our diet, but also assist weight loss.

 

So my hubby made it for me whilst having a shower and handed me a shaker full of really gross looking water. It tasted pretty vile, and not of chocolate at all. I was feeling doubtful I could drink it.

whey

However, upon reading the instructions of how to make it up, its 200 mils of water and one scoop of the protein powder. For some reason he decided to randomly add it to 500 mils of water. So after doing it correctly, it tasted much better. I’m not saying it was nice or anything, but it’s a small amount doing a lot of good so easily do-able. I bought unsweetened almond milk to make it with in future.

I’ve also had a shot of Aloe Gel. I’ve used it in the past as part of a detox, and it is really good and I do feel a difference when taking it, I just frequently forget.

aloe

I also tried a strawberry and cream Pro2go bar. Really, really nice. Also really, really expensive (£1.50 on offer, not sure of usual price). So doubt I’ll be buying many of them.

pro

So today is the last day of the holidays, and usually I would be feeling really sad round about now. Andrew is back at work, the girls are off school till tuesday. In the past I’ve hated the idea of going back to normality and spending my days alone and at home with the kids. But this year I’m feeling really grateful to have had such an amazing two weeks with my family. The girls have really understood and got into the Christmas spirit this year. We’ve had so many great days out over the last two weeks, and spent time with friends and family and I just feel really happy. I am focused, determined, and very excited for the days, weeks and months ahead.

Blogging is a great help and it’s like a diet tool. Seriously, if you’re going to do something you would normally give up on after a few days, blog it.

 

 

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

And so it begins..

Todays plan was to fit in some exercise. I would’ve liked to have done an hour at the gym, but we had a busy morning with the kids and my hubby was at the match in the afternoon, so I only managed to fit in 20 minutes on the rowing machine, my least favourite exercise.

We’ve had it for around 5 years and got it soon after I found out I was pregnant with my youngest so I had plans to row off all the post pregnancy weight. Until I realised how boring it is. But I stuck on mtv and did 20 minutes, and that’s me done till tomorrow morning.

I’ve ate well today. Three meals, making a red Thai curry rather than the lazy option of an occasional take away.

thai

Now the festive period and New Year celebrations are over, I’ve had a little panic over how my fitness levels may have dipped over the last 3 weeks. I’m slightly worried how I’m going to do at the gym on wednesday with my PT, and I’m convinced I’m going to need to be carried out of clubbercise on thursday on a stretcher. It’s a double – two hours and I’m doing them both. My gym gear also feels a little tighter – I hate it when clothes shrink in the wash..

But I’m not so much worried as I am excited. Although I have enjoyed christmas, and loved spending time with my family, I’m aware life is about to get hectic again, but I’m ready to get back into our usual routine and more importantly, in shape.

I also picked up a Pro2Go double choc chip cookie whilst shopping today. I’m looking for something to curb my chocolate cravings – it won’t be these.

cookie

depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, metnal health

Twenty sixteen

It’s here, a new year and I’m hoping this year will be even better than last. My aim for 2015 was the typical ‘lose a bit of weight’ goal. But as suspected, months in and it just wasn’t happening.

It took me till the summer to start shifting the pounds, and that’s only because I discovered a love for exercise. I doubt I would’ve seen any difference at the end of the year had I just ‘gone on a diet’.

So this year I plan to continue dropping the pounds, as well as building strength both mentally and physically. I’m not aiming or aspiring to be ‘slim’, or a particular weight or dress size. This is about being in the best shape I feel I can be. I want to be healthy in both body and mind.

I’m hoping to achieve and stick to this by blogging, hopefully daily. I am going to share some of my meals, document any exercise I have done, and the scariest part, take photos. I want to see how much my body (not size but shape) can change over a year if I stick to my plan.

I’m also aim to keep track of and share my mental state over the year. On the days when I’m not feeling so good, I am going to identify why, and what I do to change it. I’m curious to see just how much absolutely anyone can change over a year.

Today is New Years day, and should really be day one. Only we still have food (cheesecake, crisps, chocolate) left over from Christmas, but very little and I suspect it’ll all be gone by tonight.

So tomorrow is day 1. Tomorrow is back on a healthy diet, only stricter than it has been and hopefully I can fit in an hour in the gym, or possibly even a run. But tonight,  I’m having a bath and finishing off the vino from last night.