Archives for the month of: February, 2015

OK, so this is not really health and fitness related but since I’ve been sharing my love of writing with you over the past couple of weeks and since one of my main goals for the February ‘Love Yourself’ project was to make time for writing, I’ve decided you’d forgive me for mixing things up a little bit. One of my children’s books is finally published! I’m so excited and it was just the boost I needed to keep me motivated and inspired this month. I’ve just written a blog post about how it all began over at the publisher’s website, here, so I thought I might as well share the good news with you lot as well.

My lovely little picture book, Lilly Mae, is a collaboration between myself (the writer) and my extremely talented sister, Ruth (the illustrator). It tells the tale of a feisty little girl who lives on a cloud and changes the weather according to her moods. If you’re at all interested in children’s books and beautiful design, please do head over to our website and take a look www.lillymaebook.co.uk.

Right, there we go: shameless plug and bragging over. I shall return to well-being related posts tomorrow. 🙂

x

Advertisements

Happy Valentine’s Day. How have you been getting on with loving yourself these past couple of weeks? Is it going ok? Have you been kinder to yourself in any way?

I have to say these past couple of weeks have been great for me. Just thinking about being kinder to myself has led to so many realisations about how my behaviour and thought patterns have been making me more stressed and anxious than I need to be. There are countless things I want to accomplish but the problem is I always try to do them all at once, or I do one thing on my list and then feel guilty about not doing another thing. The result is I get more and more frantic and less and less productive until I’m not achieving anything at all.

So for me, this month has been about slowing things down and focussing on one thing at a time. Every time I feel myself getting into a state because I haven’t done something, I remind myself it’s impossible to do everything at once. By giving myself time and space to breathe and by listening to what I really want to do rather than worrying about what I should be doing, I suddenly feel as though I have more time for me and for my family. I finally have time to concentrate on my health again, which in turn is giving me the energy and lift to be more creative and productive. I’m still not calm, collected and rational 100% of the time, but I’m getting better at being kind to myself and it is truly liberating. It’s the best Valentine’s gift I could have given myself. Thank you to me!

I hope you have all been getting on just as well. Please do get in touch and let me know.

x

We’re 10 days into February already. Where has that time gone?

How has your ‘Love Yourself’ month been going so far? For me, last week was all about getting back into my writing. This went brilliantly but I was still struggling with my other goal, which was to get back into my normal healthy eating habits. We’d had a flood at my house and ended up living with my parents-in-law for two weeks. It’s incredible how not having my own space to cook, exercise and relax in can have such a massive impact on my mood and eating habits. I love my parents-in-law and they couldn’t have made me feel more welcome, but I’ve never been good in other people’s environments. I’m a home-bird and for some reason, the moment I’m in someone else’s space I start to feel out of control and anxious, which leads to comfort eating. Sigh!

But, good news, we moved back into our house on Friday and I instantly began to feel better. As part of ‘Love Yourself’ February, I’ve decided to promise myself a treat each week. Last week I’d promised I would buy a brand new clean-eating cook book and set aside a couple of hours at the weekend to sit down and read through it. So I did.

I bought the new Deliciously Ella book and made a point of starting right from the beginning and reading through the introduction instead of skipping straight to the recipes. Ella is a beautiful writer and has an inspiring story and the recipes all seem to be very simple and relatively quick to make, which is always a bonus for me. I enjoy cooking, but I don’t have a lot of time in the week so I’m always looking for healthy, but convenient meal ideas. You can find out more about Ella at her website: www.deliciouslyella.com.

I took a few recipes from Ella’s book and also decided on a few of my old favourites that I hadn’t made for a few weeks. Then I got cooking. On Sunday morning, I did the fun baking stuff with my 2-year-old. We made raw chocolate energy balls (known in my household as ‘power balls’) to go in the freezer for when we want something lovely and sweet; we made blueberry muffins from the Deliciously Ella cook book and put those in the freezer too. Then I made a new batch of sweet potato gnocchi. I usually have this in the freezer at all times as a quick meal to give to my daughter. She loves it and once the gnocchi is made it’s even quicker than pasta to cook.

That was a pretty good start, but it got even better. Yesterday morning, I made my favourite homemade baked beans (just chop up and fry onion and garlic, then add tomato puree, passata, a bit of vegetable stock and some beans. I went with cannellini beans and butter beans this time. Yum!). I also made the the quinoa tabbouleh from Deliciously Ella’s cookbook, coconut chicken nuggets from I Quit Sugar and then I made a delicious frittata in the evening. OK, I know that’s a lot of cooking but it only took a couple of hours in the morning and about 30 minutes in the evening and now I have loads of delicious food waiting for me in the fridge. Just knowing I’ve put in all the hard work and have so much good food waiting for me when I need a quick meal makes me feel calmer and more positive about being able to eat healthily throughout the week. It may seem like a chore, but I definitely think it’s worth taking a little time each week to prioritise your health because if you can get that right, then you’ll have so much more energy and motivation in other areas of your life.

x

Ps. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding stories about people who have healed themselves through food intriguing and inspiring. As well as the Deliciouly Ella blog, I have found Against All Grain and I Quit Sugar so helpful and I go back to them time and time again for inspiration. I’d love to get some recommendations from readers if you know of any other good blogs.

This morning I had breakfast. I realise this isn’t the most exciting statement to open with but I don’t usually have breakfast before going out to see my first PT client. This is because a) it feels too early to eat and b) I often like to fit in a quick workout before I go. But this morning I just felt like doing things a bit differently so I decided to use my morning to eat a healthy breakfast and do some writing.

For me, this month is all about changing some of the habits that have become so ingrained I don’t even question them anymore; habits such as always putting exercise at the top of the priority list or getting in a state when my plans get disrupted in some way.

I know I said in my previous post that one of the keys to success is a bit of planning and I definitely think this is true. However, I also think I need to learn to be a bit more flexible and less hard on myself when things don’t go to plan because, let’s face it, they often don’t – that’s life.

So this morning, rather than getting straight into my workout gear as soon as I’d packed my daughter off to nursery, I chose to have breakfast and so some writing. As the guilt began to take hold at the thought of skipping a planned workout and eating breakfast instead, I reminded myself that one of my goals for February is to write more often. As I haven’t suddenly gained more hours in the day, fitting in extra writing time might mean exercise has to take back seat from time to time. Of course, I’m not giving up on exercise all together – that would be stupid and counterproductive – but if I want the odd day off then that’s OK. So long as I continue to eat healthily, nothing terrible is going to happen to my body if I skip a few exercise sessions but I might just find the time to do all the other things I’ve been promising to do for years.

Now that you’ve made your February ‘Love Yourself’ plan, take a look at it and see if there’s anything you can do differently or if there’s a bit of room for flexibility and change in there. After all, I’ve heard that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is madness!

x