Monday, 25 August 2014

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Well its been a fair few weeks since I last posted. I think its safe to say I've been on a self imposed hiatus, trying to evaluate whats actually important to me in life and what I want to write about. This may seem like an odd statement seeing as the title suggests that this is in fact a diet post, but I've noticed lately that more than ever, when I get so busy and let my eating habits slip (and when they slip, they slip badly) my whole life seems to follow into a kind of chaotic state.
First thing that's worth noting, just to set the context : I've got terrible willpower.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'd rather sit on my sofa than go for a run. I wish I was one of those people who loved going to the gym, but the truth is it bores me half to death. I'd rather be doing something, actually anything, other than step onto a treadmill. Of course, I enjoy the rush of endorphins after a bit of exercise just like the next person. But I know that I can cheat and get a similar effect by eating a bit of chocolate. This is ultimately my problem.

All things considered, I should probably be morbidly obese. But about a year and a bit ago, I decided that after the best part of a decade of half hearted dieting and going to the gym, followed by eating cheese then getting nowhere, that I was just going to bloody well get on with it and do it. I am an all or nothing person. I threw myself into a juice cleanse for a week, and then I followed this with two more weeks of combining juicing with home cooked meals, cutting out all white bread, white pasta or white carbs in general. I lost just over a stone, which is all I really wanted to lose - but it made a huge difference to me. (Then I went to America for a bit and discovered savory pancakes, but that's a whole different story).

After about ten years of saying 'I just need to lose a stone or so and I'll be really happy with my weight' it took some kind of inner revelation for me to just get on with it and actually do it rather than continuously fail. It may not sound like a great deal of weight loss - it's not much to lose, but it really changed the way I felt about myself. I felt able to wear the clothes I wanted to wear but didn't feel confident wearing before. Most importantly, the weight stayed off too, for about a year, despite my gallivanting and pancake eating adventures.

Everyone has different methods when it comes to merging a busy life with a healthy life. But I've learned that for me, the true secret is that you NEED to stick to a change in diet for at least three weeks, and try and be strict with it. After that, the odd camembert sharer is OK (although, as a general rule I don't share camembert). The reason this is important is because your body adapts to your new weight. They also say that after 21 days of doing something it becomes habit and a part of your new way of thinking. After your body has adapted to its new weight, your metabolism tends to keep you there, unless you're really really naughty.

Over the past month (and after a few more gluttonous adventures) my scales are tipping again a bit. This has spurred on my personal mission for finding ways to eat well and stay healthy, when you also work like a madman and can't afford a personal chef. Initially I went back and did a week juice cleanse again to set me back on the straight and narrow. It made me feel great, and I was full of energy. I made it to day 6, lost 8 pounds, then accidentally left the cable to my juicer over a hob and burnt a hole through it. I dare not plug it in now. Consequently, partly due to this, and due to a couple of days in Ipswich and a boozy wedding, I fell off the wagon and regained most of the weight I'd lost a week later. It is always best to aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week, but I find that when I eat healthily and do the following, my body loses what it needs to and that's OK. The most important thing, whether you lose weight or not, is just that you feel better in yourself, and it's taken me quite a long time to realise that this should be my main priority. Here are the steps I am taking to get myself back on track;

1. I am eating more vegetables, soups, and salads.
2. I'm generally forcing myself to walk everywhere rather than be lazy and catch the bus.
3. I occasionally dip into home exercise. I used to be great and go to the gym 4-5 times a week but those days are gone now (see above, terrible willpower). I actually find Results With Lucy to be the best, and I've tried a few different ones now. Very simple and easy to follow.
4. I'm buying a new juicer, and incorporating juices for breakfast back into my regime.  One a day is enough though for a long term healthy lifestyle. Throw some spirulina in too and your body will thank you!
5. Most importantly, and this is probably the key, I'm trying to not spend so much time judging myself.

For me, the three week rule works. My body adapts to the weight and then I relax a little on my diet, but by this point, I want to eat the good stuff and I'm less drawn to the bad stuff. When I'm juicing or eating more vegetables, I feel a huge noticeable difference in my focus, my work, my happiness, and my life. I just don't understand why, even armed with this knowledge, I still find myself surrounded by a load of refined sugar and junk food sometimes!

What methods do you use to incorporate healthy living, especially in busy lifestyles? I would love to hear your suggestions :)

Friday, 8 August 2014

Small Achievements, and the Little Friday link up!

I am now officially in my late twenties. This is a fact. At 27, I convinced myself I was still in mid twenties territory, or at least teetering on the border, but having just celebrated my 28th birthday, there's no denying it now. One of my friends yesterday told me she was getting botox at the weekend, and it made me consider it. Should I be doing the same? Are we all obsessed with stopping the passage of time? It seems like no time at all since I was running down the garden naked in nothing but a bobble hat (I am referring of course, to myself at roughly four years of age, and not the unfortunate incident last year where I devoured several bottles of wine to myself) or playing on the swings in the garden. Life was much simpler then.

One thing that I have noticed, is that all the little things about being younger now seem golden. I miss family holidays, and somehow, it's taken me over ten years to realise these rituals might be gone for good. We always went to parts of the countryside every year,  and, not being old enough to go down the pub, I remember feeling a bit bored sometimes, but I realise now that the benefit of this was that we had to talk to each other and spend time together (or in myself and my sisters case, usually fight). I remember being fifteen and sitting cross legged on the side of the water fountains in the shopping centre with my best friend, talking for hours, and I remember so well my first major heartache. Emotions seemed almost stronger back then, before I'd learned to put any barriers up and protect myself or prepare myself. There are so many other memories, some that would seem unimportant, but all of them form the rich tapestry of my own life to date, and I'm so thankful for them.

This is not my usual sort of post, but sometimes self reflection is important. Like many others I have tried all kinds of methods to tap into the elixir of youth and stay young forever, such as juicing, trying to curb my vices, experimenting with all kinds of face creams (I am also utterly convinced that by the time I'm 40 modern science will have invented a way to reverse the clock. They're working on nano technology right?) But in between what I am sure is a shared fear with others my age about crossing the threshold into a state of being fully grown up and mature, I know that it's so important to remember to be grateful. Age is a gift. The passing of time and the introduction of wear and tear, dark circles, and lines are gifts. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. The ability to get older, to continue learning and experiencing life, is a beautiful thing. Sometimes we're reminded of our own mortality, as I was the other week when someone I once knew passed away suddenly. It puts things into perspective. I welcome each day and I have always lived my life at the risk of burning the candle at each end, I'd like to think I try and make the most of it.

With that in mind, I've a checklist of things I'd like to achieve by the time I reach 30. Look at it as cosmic ordering if you will. Putting this list out there might just help me to achieve it. So here we go;

1. Grow the project I manage and make the work sustainable. I've been trying to do this for some time, but only recently have I developed the business plan to a place where I feel really positive about this.

2. DJ overseas - Mainly I just take on gigs here - but now I'm learning production and becoming more creative with my mixes, I'd like to keep working on it and eventually travel with it. Why not?

3. Be working on new creative projects - and take a show to Edinburgh! I completed an MA in Theatre a few years ago and have been commissioned to develop work in the past few years, but I need a new project to sink my teeth into. I'm acting in a local play in Sept, but I hope I'll be working on other projects in years to come.

4. I want to pass my driving test.

5. I want to explore and see more of Asia, Japan and China. I think this is realistic, since we're going to Singapore in Oct and Japan is next on the list :)

6. I want to develop my business ideas to the next level. I'm guilty of talking about things a lot and sometimes not acting enough. I have plans in place and I want to have developed them in two years.

7. I want to be able to hold a conversation in Spanish!

What are your key goals? I'd love to hear them!

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Ash (Follow Here!) // Morgan (Follow Here!) //  Alice (Follow Here!)

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Happy Little Friday Everyone!

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