All about balance

In these modern times it feels like we are all juggling lots of different thing to maintain a balance in our lives and sometimes things become unbalance.

Following on from my last post about the last 18 or so month, an area which has been out of balance is my fitness time.

We all have the same hours in the day and how we spend these hours is our choice, I remember someone saying to me that you can’t make time for activities (That’s physically impossible to make time) however you can find time if we look hard enough.

For the last 18 months my fitness routine/time has taken a back seat, I haven’t done this on purpose really it’s just I’ve allowed other things to fill my time and I guess this is a reason why some people find it so hard to exercise.

The main thing that has taken up my time more is my business, which in some ways is fab as it feels like I’m slowly but surely making headway towards what I want my business to be and I know that sometimes things have to be sacrificed to achieve other things. However I also know that doing fitness for me this is Crossfit and running that these actually help me to perform better in business.

The world of Health and Fitness has gone bonkers in recent years, I qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2002!! Wow I didn’t realise it was THAT long ago, that does make me feel old!! Fitness was still quite a new things in terms of gyms/health clubs that appealed the mass market and were open to everyone. The benefits of doing fitness to improve health have long been recognised!!

Then social media happened and somehow health and fitness turned into posing on Instagram (using filter & photography tricks to look better than you are), body image & body shaming, restricted diet (chicken, broccoli & sweet potato) and very little about health!!

My belief is that we should find an activity/exercise that we can do that helps us to live our lives better and improve our health rather than just to get a six pack or guns (biceps).

My chosen exercise is Crossfit (What is Crossfit?) which I absolutely love most of the time, it can frustrate the hell out of me at times but ultimately I go back for more every time.

One reason I love it so much is as soon as I walk into the box (what we call the gym) I forget about all my challenges and focus on what I need to do to get me through the workout, therefore improving my mental health, it’s my escapism/release!!

Another reason I do it is that it improves my physical health!! I do it as I like to feel fit, I like to know that if I needed to run for the bus I could, or if I needed to do some DIY or move furniture around my house I could.

The by product of the above is weight loss!! From when I started my Crossfit journey in July 2014 to about about Jan 2017 I’d lost a total of 25kg (3.9 stone) however, in the last 18 or so months I’ve put on 13kg!! Now I don’t really care about the weight as it really DOES NOT MATTER in the scheme of things but it kinda does as being a “healthy weight” is good for long term health.

Last July I hit an age milestone and went for a Well Women check up at my local doctors surgery with the practice nurse, after all the test were done I was told my risk of getting any of the big killers (serious disease) was put at 0.45% this was the lowest score the nurse had ever seen, however the one section of the check where I didn’t get a green was my weight. And yes I know they use the BMI chart to track this and we all know the flaws of using this as a stand alone measure but ultimately I know in myself that I need to lose the weight that I’ve gained over the year as it will help me to achieve long term health. But the truth is that I actually need to lose fat and this will take time and discipline to do.

My focus is always on my health and if I ever do get a six pack to be proud of I will know that I’m in a place where my health/weight will be best it can be!!

So like before when I did my crossfit diaries I’m going to be sharing my FAT LOSS journey with you not only to keep me accountable but also to hopefully inspire you to think about what you can do to improve your health!!

I won’t be living off chicken, broccoli and sweet potato but I will have to look closely at my food habits and see where I can make improvements. Food and eating is part of what I do as a business and I want to prove that you don’t have to restrict your diet to achieve health related goals!! Will I be calorie counting and balancing my macros? Hell No, life is too short for this, however I will be making sure that the majority of the food I eat is nutrient dense rather than calorie dense!

My diet will consist mainly of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, beans and pulses and nuts & seeds, as well as the odd piece of cake (it’s good for the soul).

The main thing that I know I may struggle with is maintaining my energy due to poor sleep. This is mainly caused by stress, anxiety and mild depression as well as being overweight!! So exercising more will hopefully help with the sleep issues too!!

I know there will be days that I won’t feel like doing anything, my body will ache from the last workout I’ve done and work is calling, so the manta below is going to put at my desk to remind me to keep going!! This is a life long journey but getting started is the 1st small step along the very long road!!

 BRING IT ON!!

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Healthy Pack-ups

Having to make your child’s lunch in advance five days a week can be a challenge sometimes especially if you want to make it healthy as it’s easy to send them to school with a sandwich, crisps & a chocolate bar or piece of fruit!! And when you get the lunch box back at the end of the day to find the fruit is still in there, a bit more bruised but still un-eaten.

adult-lunch-ideas-with-family-fresh-meals

The key to coming up with healthy pack lunches is variety, so the child doesn’t get bored but also helps them to try new foods. Also theme lunches are a great way to get your child interested in food so it could be themed around countries of the world, calendar events, colours; the only limitation is imagination.

Sticking with the traditional sandwich well sort of try experimenting with:

Different types of bread – Sundried tomato, herb & garlic, olive, wholegrain, multigrain, seeded, rye, sour dough, ciabatta, pitta

Wraps/tortillas – You can easily make these yourself but if time is short, there are many varieties available at all the major supermarkets

Scone based sandwich – I remember mum sending me to school with a three cheese scone & some cherry tomatoes & it was delicious

English muffin type bread – any these can be homemade or bought, the cheese ones are especially lovely

Savoury muffins – cheese & bacon, sundried tomato

So that’s the bread sorted what about fillings:

It doesn’t matter what you fill the sandwich with but the one principle I’d stick to is to ensure there is some protein within the filling – protein helps you stay fuller for longer & and releases energy slower (so you’re less likely to get a sugar high).

Pulled meats are easy as can be made in advance or are leftovers from a meal

Homous or other bean based dips make a great alternative to butter or spread, if you’re child isn’t keen on them, try adding red pesto to it to make it slightly sweeter.

Cheese – a good protein source but high in saturated fat, so try grating it up and mixing with grated vegetables such as carrot.

Mini meatballs with a tomato sauce – you could get your children to help you make these, cook the night before & then slice in half, add to sandwich with a little sauce for flavour. These work really well as a pasta salad too.

Use lamb mince to make mini kofta balls and make a minted yogurt dip to go with it.

Marinate chopped chicken in a barbeque sauce, cook as you would for a barbeque and then serve with a yogurt and tomato dip and salad.

pack-up

Animal source – Meat, fish, poultry, diary, egg

Vegetable source – Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu, quorn

Alternatives to sandwiches:

Rice/pasta/couscous/bulgar wheat salad: A handy tip to add more flavour to these without the need to add mayo or other sauces is to cook in a light stock (Chicken or vegetable).

Anything goes here really with flavours, chopped up or grated vegetables and of course some protein!!

Greek – feta, olives, cucumber & minted yogurt

Rainbow – Red, yellow, orange & green pepper, grated cheese

Italian – Tomato, basil & mozzarella (use pesto to flavour it)

Vegetable sticks & dip or pate is another idea to add variety:

Vegetables that can be eaten raw:

  • Peppers
  • Carrot
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mange Tout
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Peas

Roasting vegetables can be used to add interest to sandwiches or salads:

Onions, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines

Root vegetables are also lovely roasted & can be used in a salad:

Carrot, butternut squash, sweet potato, mini potatoes.

Sweet stuff

Most children like yogurts especially fruit ones but most shop bought fruit yogurts are quite high in sugar, I would personally recommend that you buy natural yogurt and then add your own flavours to it, this will be cheaper too and more adaptable!!

Here are some ideas for fruit compotes which can be used in a variety of ways but make a great homemade fruit yogurt:

Mixed berry – mixed frozen berries, stewed in a little water and something to sweeten it, I use agave nectar but honey or sugar is fine, just don’t make it too sweet or you could use apple juice to do the job of the water & sugar.

Rhubarb on its own or with a little ginger if you’re children like it – same as above but using fresh rhubarb when in season

Apple & berry – use the mixed frozen berries with some chopped apple and again the same method is used as above

Apple & raisin

Pear & dried friut

Spiced apple – chopped apple, mixed spice and then use the same method as before

Peach & apricot

Tropical – Use the tropical fruit mix and stew gentle like above, you probably don’t need to add any sugar to this one though

Either mix them before you put in the lunch box or let your child make their own (A bit like a branded two part corner yogurt)

Homemade flapjacks or granola can be used to add texture to yogurt and another snack for children to munch on.

My food and nutrition philosophy

Food and nutrition are my life, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t read an article about the latest nutrition research or about a new ingredient/restaurant or food trend!! It what makes me tick (literally!!).

Over the years it’s been interesting to observe the way that food and nutrition has become such a massive talking point in the media, it probably always has been but recent it feels that we are now bombarded by it, cookery and food tv programmes pull in huge audiences week in, week out and nutrition & health stories fill our social media feeds too.

I’ve been a qualified nutritional therapist for over 9 years now and had the honour of studying at the world renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition founded by Patrick Holford. (www.ion.ac.uk)

Our health is priceless and something most people take for granted until they lose it, we have one body which we need to see us through from birth to death but yet we abuse it until breakdown, get frustrated when it doesn’t work how we want it to or stops us from living the life we want.

So here’s my philosophy you about health, nutrition and food!!

ALL food can be GOOD for you and ALL food can be BAD for you!! Even the healthiest of foods can be bad for you if you eat them in excess!! So I aim to eat as many different foods as possible which means that I physically can’t eat too much of anything.

The old sayings “A little of what you fancy does you no harm” and “everything in moderation” are really true here.

I’m a realist when it comes to food and nutrition and there are times when I eat cake, chocolate and other foods which aren’t the best for you and guess what I NEVER feel guilty about this either, eliminating or restricting certain from your diet will only make you want them more!!

Food guilty quote

I believe food should be seen as the wonderful positive life giver that it is and enjoyed for that reason!! Food gives the energy we need to live our lives; certain foods will make you feel different so it’s about learning to listen to your body and recognise the foods that might not suit you.

On a physiological level we are all the same, the same organs and the way we process food but we are also unique in the way that the body responds to the food we eat. For example, I know that I’m quite sensitive to certain stimulants such as coffee and liquorice, I don’t avoid them completely as I like both of them but I do make sure that I don’t eat/drink either after a certain time of the day so that it doesn’t impact on my sleep patterns.

We are very lucky in this country (UK) to have such a vast selection to choose from and should use this choice to eat a variety of foods; this also helps to stop the boredom of eating the same foods all the time.

Nourish quote

I just try to eat food as close to nature as nature intended (Some call it eating clean) and to eat in season so that I can support local producers!!

Life is for living, food is for eating!! ENJOY