Thursday, 7 January 2016

Coming out of the Comfort Zone

I have to admit, I have really struggled to get motivated following an indulgent Christmas and New Year.

During that weird week between Christmas and New Year, where you have no idea what day it is, it's nice to stay in your pyjamas and watch films, and eat one too many biscuits with your tea. I think it is good for you to take that break from the world of work and play. However, it's easy to slip out of your usual routine and those bad habits can creep back into your lifestyle, and they can be so hard to break.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all the lovely turkey sandwiches and chocolates, but I made sure I kept myself active too. I made sure I went to the gym that week to try and stop me from slipping back to my old ways. I had a lot of fun with my gym friends, going to new classes to keep things interesting.

This week I was back to my usual early gym routine - the 6.30am class - and I really struggled to get out of bed. I didn't actually make it out of bed on Monday morning for the 7am spin class.

I do have a lot on my mind this week which has stopped me from getting a good sleep.  On Friday, I am embarking on a trip that is completely out of my comfort zone and a trip I would never have done back when I was less secure and confident.

Myself and three friends are going to India for the Dumball Rally, which will see us and over 100 other crazy people, drive from Chennai to Goa in just 8 days in a fleet of Hindustani Ambassador taxis!  It'll be gruelling and will be an eye opening experience but we have already raised nearly £3,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust! I wanted to do something memorable, rather than just lying on a beach for two weeks, to celebrate my 30th birthday.

I tend to get very anxious before doing anything new or going anywhere new, and this has definitely been the case this week!  Exercise has helped me feel more level but I have been comforting myself with chocolate and the odd glass of wine. I just hope the change of environment will bring me out of it.

If you would like to donate to support us on our trip across India, with all money going to Teemage Cancer Trust and Nepal Earthquake Appeal, please do so here:

Stay tuned for updates from India and wish us luck!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Under Pressure

There's a hell of a lot of pressure at the start of a New Year to make huge changes in your life in the hope of achieving the 'New Year, New Me' goal. Inevitably, most of us will fail half way through January because of the stupid amount of pressure we've put ourselves under.

When it comes to food and drink, the list of 'give ups' normally consist of:

Alcohol, chocolate, bread, cakes, crisps, takeaways,  cheese, biscuits etc...

So after spending a month enjoying ourselves in the lead up to Christmas and New Year we are now going to spend the next month denying ourselves, during the most depressing month of the year.

Over the years, I have lost over 8 stone. That didn't happen in a month, 6 months or even a year. It took time, hard work and plenty of will power. There was no magic diet, just adopting the simple 'move more, eat less' philosophy. I now love learning more about the foods we are putting into our body and what foods I should be eating to give me fuel for my lifestyle.

I think where many people go wrong is the simple fact of putting too much focus on the food that you shouldn't eat instead of the foods that you can eat. If you're going to suddenly deny your body and mind of little treats, you're only going to want them more.

When I want to get back on track with my healthy eating, I  move away from the brown foods and bring back some colour. Less of the pastas, breads, pastries, cereals, potatoes and more veg, fruits, pulses and salads. Your plate should resemble a rainbow rather than a muddy puddle.

Just remember not to completely deny yourself of any food group, just eat less of them. You will feel better physically and mentally in the long run if you bring a bit of balance into your life. And a little bit of what you fancy doesn't hurt.

I will let you into a secret.... I went out with my gym friends for dinner this week and we had a naughty main and a naughty dessert. Lots of burgers and sundaes filled the table along with a glass of wine or two, and we all really enjoyed indulging.  None of us felt any guilt just very full! We work hard at the gym so we can have our moments of indulgence and it was a treat... Treats definitely keep you motivated. Just remember not to eat burgers and sundaes every day, and you will be fine!

And speaking of the gym, how about we put some focus onto the fun, sporty activities you could take up to get the much-needed endorphins pumping round our bodies during this miserable time of year. Your mind will thank you for it! With the dark nights and an empty bank account, it can be far too easy to slump in front of the TV.  Getting into sport doesn't have to be expensive...  Get some friends together and go out running and do some boot camp style exercises in the park together - 'Give me 50 squats!' You get the idea... Get your bike out and go for a cycle; go out for a power walk first thing in the morning; and if you do have money to spare, sign up to a gym and join some classes. 

A healthy lifestyle doesn't have to feel like a prison sentence. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself in the process. Discover what you enjoy doing and have fun - I feel motivated and energised by going to my early morning gym classes, whereas others might prefer an early morning jog or swim instead. Or a lie in!

 Discover the healthy foods that you enjoy and find some delicious recipes. This time of year we crave comforting dishes such as spaghetti bolognaise... Try this healthy alternative - make spaghetti out of courgettes and a sauce out of turkey mince to cut down on the fat content and processed carbs.
Try a baked sweet potato filled with roasted vegetables instead of your usual jacket potato, beans and cheese.

If you are struggling, please get in touch for more ideas.