Tag: Food

Christmas Guilt Free – here is some advice!

Christmas doesn’t have to be a blow out. It is a time to celebrate with friends and family. Enjoy the festivities, the food and drink, the company and the catch ups. None of this is bad for you or something to feel guilty about, have Christmas guilt free.

Food Choices – Christmas guilt free

Be mindful of your food choices and portion size perhaps but do not feel any guilt. These special festive foods may only be around at this time of year but there are plenty of days over the festive time to partake of them. It’s not necessary to eat them all ‘now’ or in excessive.

Giving yourself permission to enjoy them will help you to partake of them in a more rational way – eat them when you want or wait for another time. Beat the binge, starve “diet culture”. Ok this won’t happen overnight but perhaps now is the time to consider addressing your attitude and motivation towards food, fitness and body image. Let’s come back to this next year, for now have fun and find happiness in your choices. Stop beating yourself up, this fuels the binge/diet cycle.

Drink Choices – Christmas guilt free

Christmas guilt free
A great alternative to mulled wine

You don’t have to turn to drink to have a good time. Raise a glass or two by all means, but drink plenty of water too. It’s amazing how great it is not to lose the precious holiday time to a hangover, to remember that conversation you had with a loved one or how that heated debate panned out. Too many times, in the past, I’ve struggled to remember what I said and hoped it wasn’t offensive or misplaced. This article in The Guardian looked at a range of alcohol-free drinks and some literature examining sobriety. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/26/millennials-discover-mindful-drinking-non-alcoholic-festval

This website http://girlandtonic.co.uk/ may also give you some inspiration and help on cutting down or stopping drinking alcohol.

christmas no guilt
No alcohol red wine that tastes good

Activity Choices – Christmas guilt free

Finally, keep moving. Helping to tidy the wrapping paper, playing with the kids, carrying to and from the dinner table, washing up, so many little opportunities to keep active why not take them. I always prefer to take a walk after my Christmas dinner I’d rather aid the digestive process than immediately flop on the sofa ……I’ll do that later. Hey why not play some games too, charades or famous people or even a game of cards. All so much more fun and inclusive than the TV.

christmas no guilt
After a good walk!

Do you have any advice to have Christmas guilt free?

Have you read my recent blog on the festive season stress’ ? This may also help to make Christmas guilt free!

Thanks for reading and Happy Christmas!

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

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I did Dry January in 2017, read it here

Do you want to be happier in your own skin?

I am currently participating in the pilot for a new programme – Unity – from Julia Buckley. I confess I am a long term fan of Julia’s online gym. I have been a member for nearly 4 years having “discovered” her through her book The Fat Burn Revolution. With which I started to see some great results, and loved her ethos and approach to health and fitness.

online gym

4 years on, at 58 I’m probably and most importantly the healthiest, but also the slimmest and fittest, that I’ve ever been and you could be too! No matter where you are starting from Julia’s new programme Unity will help you get in the right mindset to impact your health. What could be more important than that?

Unity programme pilot

I am currently part of the pilot group for the Unity programme, which is aimed at you if, in Julia’s words;

  • “you simply want to find a happier way of “being” in life”
  • “you want to get more comfortable in your own skin”
  • “you struggle to stay consistent with healthy eating”
  • “you still haven’t got to a point where you’re happy with your fitness levels and/or the condition of your body”
  • “you to dip in and out of fitness” or
  • “ if you’re feeling like you want to reconnect with your body”

I jumped at the chance of trialling something that might help you, and be able to have some input into shaping it.

What does Unity include?

I believe a lot of people fail at their fitness and food goals, and thus their health due to their mindset or mental attitude. The Unity programme which incorporates workouts, a food log and mindset work sounded fabulous. I know Julia’s work work’s! so I was excited to join this pilot.

The Food Log

The food log is mostly about when we eat, why we choose to eat then, why we choose those foods and how we feel about this food: before, during and after eating it. It is not about weights and measures, macros or calories.
This log is sent to a qualified nutritionist weekly and feedback is provided. You can ask specific questions or request advice too.

The Mindfulness Work

Julia records online chats which are aimed to make you THINK about the programme as a lifestyle shift, a life change rather than a short term programme to be completed, achieved and moved on from. The chats encourage you to be mindful about your eating, your movement and probably most importantly how you use language both about yourself and others. How you describe yourself and your actions, making you think about how this may have a destructive affect on your intentions or goals. It is provoking, stimulating, challenging and rewarding. This work is, to me, the most important of the programme, hoping to address self sabotage and a failure mentality. It’s not easy, but the Unity community helps to discuss and expand this work.

The Workouts

And the workouts? Well there are six available, nothing is compulsory; all can be scaled to work for the beginner or the advanced level of fitness. They range from yoga type work, to weighted sessions, cardio and great full body-weight workouts. I believe Julia may change this a little in the released Unity programme, providing both beginner and advanced workouts.
I love the workouts and generally find time to fit them in, they are only about 30 minutes long. But you are not failing if you don’t do them.

The Facebook Group

A closed Facebook group enables Julia to deliver the chats and receive feedback. Unity programme members post their questions or concerns, their achievements and their plans, their learning and discoveries. The comradeship of this group is fantastic with members supporting one another, virtually high five – ing the wins and promoting discussions (see the Mindfulness work above).

So what do I think?

I am currently half way through this pilot programme and I think it has an enormous amount to offer. Particularly for those who find it difficult to achieve their health and fitness goals. It will make you look at things differently and it will (hopefully) be the key to the change you deserve.

It’s time to take some responsibility for your health and wellbeing and the tools within this programme are a sure-fire way to help you take the right steps. There is no quick fix, don’t even look for one or be conned by the hype around the latest fad. It’s time to make the changes slowly but surely.

Sign up to Julia’s email list to hear more about the full launch of the Unity programme in January.

And don’t just take my word for it read The Everyday Warrior’s blog post too here

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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Read my blog post about The Four Pillars of Good Health here

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Do you find the festive season stressful?

Festive season stress

December is fast approaching and many people find the looming festive season stressful: family dynamics and arrangements, gifts and money, food and entertaining can all be contributors, on top of all your usual day to day concerns.

My family are no different. Since my divorce, many years ago, my daughters have alternated Christmas between their Dad and I. This year, now they are in their late twenties and with bf’s families to factor in, my eldest breaks the tradition! She wishes to host Christmas with her sister and bf, her bf’s parents and me and my Dad, all invited for the day (giving me two consecutive Christmas’). I’m not complaining!

Here are my thoughts on dealing with the stress’ of the festive season.

Family arrangements

I have previously found that it is the making and settling of these arrangements that are the most stressful thing at this time of year. Once these are made I can settle to making preparations.
Ensuring everyone is happy with the plan, no one feels excluded or left out and no one is forgotten can involve clandestine conversations and diplomacy second to none!

Festive season
Festive fun with my Sisters and Dad!

Gifts

My younger daughter is saving hard for a house deposit and wants to limit her Christmas spend. She is good with her money and will achieve this. I limit my spend on the people I buy for, which now number around 10 people, and I budget for £10-20 per person on all but my daughters. Making sure I have the money to do this and not running up a credit card bill are important for me.
I also ask my daughters for a wish list, just like their letter to Father Christmas. That way the money is well spent and not wasted on unwanted items.
Shopping early. shopping online, planning your purchases and sticking to it, keeping track of your spend and keeping to your budget will make for a happier time, with less stress both now and when the credit card bill arrives in January!

festive season

Food

The Christmas festive season is a wonderful time for good food and entertaining. But we neither need to over indulge or spend a fortune.  Like at any other time of year – meal plan, portion control and make from scratch. This goes for your everyday meals to Christmas lunch to the Christmas drink drop ins. Don’t be tempted by the many and varied foodstuffs on offer in our supermarkets, when did a Panettone, Stollen, Christmas cake and Mince Pies all become a requirement for us to have at Christmas?
Be savvy with leftovers. A good turkey can be made into many things here are some great ideas!

Do you have any tips for a peaceful festive season?

Looking for ideas, help or inspiration for Christmas on a Budget? Then just put Christmas on a Budget or Christmas Food on a Budget into Google and lots of useful and interesting things will pop up!

Last year I blogged about why I was excited for Christmas, read it here, most of it still applies 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Further reading on Stress Awareness here

Have you wondered if your Mindset may help you deal with some of life’s stress’? Have a read of this

Do you plan to have a healthy later life?

I am not a medical expert, this post is my thoughts and beliefs on a happy, healthy later life, and not expert opinion or advice. I have included links to professional bodies which may help you.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” Carl Bard

How are you approaching old age?

I believe it is important and indeed our responsibility to look after our bodies and stay healthy.  I appreciate that for some genetics may play a part in your health and mobility, you can still affect your health outcomes to some extent. Our mental health will impact our physical health and I appreciate this can be a huge hurdle for some. The MIND website has some great information and support for mental health problems.

It is not too late if you are in midlife or even old age, don’t accept illness or dis-ease, choose a fit, happy and healthy later life. The choice is yours. I believe your mind plays an enormous part here.  It is important to learn to love yourself (read my blog on self esteem), be proud and you’ll find this makes it easier to look after yourself.

Functional Fitness for a healthy later life

Healthy later life – Start today!

However old you are – THINK “It doesn’t matter about yesterday” – whether you ate a pack of doughnuts or sat around all day – everyday is a new day and a time to make a change or do something differently. Take a walk, consider what you are eating, and take 5 minutes to contemplate the day/year or anything really.

Choose a good balance in your diet, lifestyle and activity and your body will reward you with less illness and dis-ease. The NHS Choices website may help.

The Menopause

Women will experience hormonal changes during the menopause which can sometimes have very debilitating effects and a knock on to your overall health and self esteem. I believe it is important to recognise the signs and take expert advice to help reduce any associated risks such as heart disease or osteoporosis  – this post has lots of good ideas for a healthy later life. Take a look at this great website from The Menopause Doctor a GP and Menopause Expert  www.menopausedoctor.co.uk.

 

My Dad is 90 next month

healthy later life
Soon to be 90!

His garden is full of fruit and veg that make their way either to his table, his freezer or a jam or chutney. His freezer also boasts cuts of meat and game; he buys half a lamb from the butcher and is gifted pheasants. The only quick or “ready” food in the freezer  is oven chips and ice cream. He cooks his meals from scratch and bakes cakes or tarts regularly. As well as tending his garden he will try to take a daily walk, weather and knee permitting. He is certainly an inspiration or is that an aspiration!

Food for thought

I hope this post has given you something to think about, perhaps even inspired to choose to start to make a new ending. I hope so.

Checkout my 4 Pillars of Health blog post here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

and my Functional Fitness blog here https://www.jenafitlife.com/?s=functional+fitness

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Osteoporosis – What do you know about it?

Osteoporosis is the condition whereby you are more likely to break bones, from falls or bumps, as the bones have weakened. Bones lose strength as the bone cell renewal is outweighed by the cell loss.

To explain that further, bones are living tissue and like all cells repair and renew continually to maintain healthy bone tissue.  Until we are in our 30s the repair and renew is in balance. Then as we get older the balance shifts …..less renewal. There is a point at which this bone mass decline results in osteoporosis. Your Doctor can make an assessment and has diagnostic tools for the condition.

In the UK Osteoporosis affects 3m people. 1 in 3 women have broken a bone due to osteoporosis in her lifetime (wrists, hips, spine most common).  For females besides ageing the “thinning” of bones is also impacted by genes, body weight, smoking, drinking and the menopause.

In the menopause with the oestrogen levels dropping, this leads to greater bone mass reduction making bones less strong. During the first 5 years of the menopause a woman will lose 10% of her bone mass and so increase their risk of developing osteoporosis. Read my experience of the menopause here.

What helps?

 A balanced diet!  Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones.  Sources of calcium are

  • Milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Calcium-enriched milks such as soya, rice or oats
  • Fish that are eaten with the bones in, like tinned sardines.
  • Leafy green vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, watercress, kale
  • Beans and chick peas
  • Some nuts and seeds

Vitamin D (sunshine) is important for bone health as it helps to absorb calcium (see above).  Our bodies create vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. In the spring and summer if you go outside for at least 20 minutes, three times a week, every week  most people will get enough vitamin D from the sun. You can’t get adequate vitamin D from the occasional sunshine holiday!

Foods rich in Vitamin D such as fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, cheese, egg yolks, red meat, liver and foods fortified with Vitamin D (some cereals and dairy products) will also help boost the correct levels of Vitamin D.

pillars of good health - food
Eggs – a great food!

 

Stay mobile! Regular exercise is important for all adults. Weight bearing exercise and resistance exercises are great for bone health, improving bone intensity, bone strength and preventing osteoporosis. As we get older it is important to maintain balance and strength,
keep functionally fit!

Weight bearing exercises;

  • Walking
  • Running, dancing, skipping
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Yoga
  • Aerobics

And resistance exercises;

  • Press ups, bodyweight moves
  • Weight lifting
  • Gym weights
  • Resistance bands

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis you must take advice from your Doctor before undertaking a new exercise regime. I belong to a great online gym which offers these sorts of training, take a look here

Walking boots
My trusted walking boots

 

Also quit smoking and reduce you alcohol intake! For more information and advice check here 

And finally consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Many studies have shown that HRT can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. The best resource to read more on this is here.

In conclusion

Diet, sleep, physical activity, relaxation (see my 4 Pillars of Health blog) are all so important for the best health outcomes…………….so let this be your badge of honour  ” BE less busy”.

Further reading

https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoporosis.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Osteoporosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Osteoporosis – what do you know about it?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

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A Great Month on a Budget!

SEPTEMBER – What a great month!

I did lots of different things and spent very little! Buoyed up by my fab August Bank Holiday camping trip, which was full of great budget fun.  I was ready for a fun September!

It may have started ominously as on the 1st I headed over to my ex’s (see my link to blogs below *) to liberate my two lovely acers and a stone sink.

One of the acers re-potted – I hope they survive

My car was laden, I managed to re pot the tree’s and settle them in. The sink is very heavy, as luck would have it my Sister and Brother-in-law were visiting my Dad on the 2nd. I popped over for a coffee and managed to re home the sink at my Dad’s with their help.

The Stone Sink – rehomed!

Sunday 3rd My youngest daughter and I went to Birmingham to the first Eat.Move.Thrive. Wellbeing Festival (£22) , read all about that here

Thrive Festival
Eat. Move. Thrive.
Speakers venue

Friday morning ladies tennis coaching (£11) resumed on Friday 8th after the summer kid’s clubs were complete.

Tennis coaching venue

Saturday 9th I was excited to be able to go to the Leicester City v Chelsea football match, a freebie utilising my daughters’ bf season ticket whilst they were away. A great match, brilliant atmosphere but the wrong result Leicester losing 2-1.

Leicester City Football Club

Autumn TV has kicked in, as the night’s draw in it’s nice to find some good drama to view. I like to have something to tune into at around 9pm for an hour or so.  Some of my favourites are Victoria, Strike, Safe House, Liar, Doctor Foster, Rellik and Cold Feet.  Some of these have been infuriating, confusing and brilliant, not always in equal measure. What have you been watching?

Saturday 16th another free sporting event, this time a trip to Leicester Tigers rugby to see them play Gloucester. I was lucky to be asked by a longstanding massage client and friend to accompany him as his carer (his usual carer being away). He has fabulous seats; I could smell the grass and a couple of the Tigers tries were scored right in front of us. This time the result went the right way with Tigers winning 24 – 10.

Leicester Tigers score a try

Monday 18th thanks to Nectar points a “free” trip to the cinema. My friend and I went to see Victoria & Abdul. Ummm I’m probably quite glad I didn’t pay good money to see this, it was well acted but very light, easy watching. Dame Judy is always great to watch tho’.

Saturday 23rd I had another massage client turned good friend coming for dinner. It was lovely to cook for someone else and we had a good catch up and natter. I think I’ll do a blog post on the meal I cooked and the low cost of it! (less than £4 for 3 courses, excluding pantry items)

Thursday 28th was a meal out at a local pub, well actually the Thai restaurant attached to the pub! A good pint and a fantastic green curry (£15) in the great company of some of the ladies I used to worked alongside at the local CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau). It’s lovely to have caught up with them now I’m back in this area, and I’m now included on their regular meet ups.

Saturday 30th finishing the month off in style! A charity abseil 20 meters down my local church tower , this was scary but fun, the views from the Tower were great, the descent slow. Firstly I dislodged my shoe and had to dangle to get it back on before I could start to drop down and then I was a little to slender to glide down with ease! I’ve posted a video over on Instagram if you’d like to see it!  I raised over £100 towards the new roof required after the lead was stolen from the church roof.

Just before my abseil descent

On top of all this my daughters have decided to train for a 10k in November and I’ve elbowed my way in to join them! So training has started, 15 miles covered since 20th September, longest run 3 miles so far.

So a pretty social month – I’ve not included a few social dog walks, tea and coffee dates (£10) , Sunday morning tennis (£60 per annum)  and Wednesday nights choir (free).  This has all been achieved on a very tight budget too, less than £60 spent (excluding transport)!

And to top it off I won some undies courtesy of Suzi at Alternative Ageing and  Icon Undies

Icon undies

Do you have any suggestions for some great budget fun?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

‘* Life update blogs here:
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/the-hit-has-hit-the-fan/
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/up-hit-creek-2017/
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-waters-part-1/
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-water-part-2/

 

EAT. MOVE. THRIVE. Wellbeing Festival

EAT. MOVE.THRIVE. Wellbeing Festival BIRMINGHAM  September 2017

I heard about the Thrive Festival through The Doctors Kitchen (aka Dr Rupy Aujla) on Instagram (@doctors_kitchen)  – the power of social media!

As I live in South Leicestershire Birmingham is “on my doorstep” and with no other plans for Sunday 3rd September I booked an early bird ticket. Only £5 with a goodie bag thrown in! What was not to love.

The Thrive Festival promised to be;

“A one day food & wellness festival carefully curated with LOVE to celebrate the very best of wellbeing where you can meet & learn from some of the biggest and most respected names in the wellness industry. Bringing nutritious and delicious fun to the heart of Birmingham.”

The format was a great idea, with a modest entry price and then paying for any speaker sessions you wished to attend, also reasonably priced. An all-in ticket was available too.

Thrive Festival
Thrive Festival – some of the fun!

The speakers were;

“An exciting and inspirational speaker line up of some of the UK’s foremost influencers in the food, fitness and wellness scene”.

There were indeed a couple of people I really wanted to listen to The Doctors Kitchen GP Dr Rupi (see above) and Laura Thomas  – a Registered Nutritionist who I’d know of through her Don’t Salt My Game podcast , a great listen if you interested nutrition, food,  eating  and wellness.  Laura was speaking along with Plant Based Pixie, a plant-based veggie food and lifestyle blogger, scientist and nutritionist (MSc).  I booked on to these two sessions.

Other speakers  there including Dr Megan Rossi (gut health), Hollie Grant ( Functional Fitness “Strong not Skinny), Mary Lynch (sustainable food policy), Lauren Ames (Business Mentor) and Daniela Lawler (Children’s nutrition).  So lots on offer.

Fitness tasters & Wellbeing Markets

In addition to the speakers there was fitness taster sessions including HiiT, hooping, yoga flow, hot pod yoga, physiolates…. There was a great indoor market  with local and national wellness brands including handmade chocolate, clothing, cereals, seeds, cake and much, much more. The courtyard street food market was offering coffee, juice bars, matcha lattes and some great foods. A full list and links to contributors can be found here http://thrivefestival.co.uk/

My youngest daughter accompanied me and we arrived as the event opened, sadly it was a bit of cold, damp day but that didn’t spoil the event’s spirit. Although I could have done with an bigger sweatshirt!

Thrive Festival
Eat. Move. Thrive.
Urban Wellbeing & Food Festival

Plant Based Pixie and Laura Thomas

At 11.15 we listened to the Plant Based Pixie and Laura Thomas who questioned whether;  Has Wellness Made us Healthier?   The presentation analysed some of the wellness industry claims and debunked some of the myths. This slide showed why this matters:

Thrive Festival
Laura & Pixie’s message on debunking myths in the wellness industry

Here are some things I took away from this session, most of which I knew but you may not and they stand as a good reminder;

  1. Products claiming detox benefits – don’t fall for the marketing blurb/scams our kidneys and liver are designed to detox our bodies and do a perfectly good job! Read more here .
  2. Your body doesn’t know your foods! It doesn’t know if you’re eating a burger or bircher muesli, a doughnut or kale, What you body does know is the chemicals you have nourished it with and how it will process them, some foods being harder to process and having a more taxing effect on the body. Biochemistry!!.
  3. Gluten free – only people diagnosed medically as coelic really need to be gluten free. Gluten free foods are expensive, low in fibre and deficient in micronutrients and reduce the diversity of gut bacteria http://www.plantbased-pixie.com/dont-go-gluten-free-unless-coelic/ and  https://www.newscientist.com/article/2123995-that-faddish-gluten-free-diet-may-be-raising-your-diabetes-risk/
  4. How expert is your expert Nutritionist? This article explains  who are the professionals in the UK to give nutrition and dietetic advice. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/laura-thomas-phd/how-expert-is-your-expert_b_14270310.html
Thrive Festival
Thrive Festival – Laura Thomas and Plant Based Pixie

Following this session we had a browse around the Thrive Festival market sampling things like porridge, chocolate, brownies and kombucha. We then headed for the street food for a coffee and some peanut butter on toast with delicious toppings. We only wanted a snack as we had booked on to a yoga session at 13.15.

Yoga Flow

We joined a Yoga Flow session led by the lovely Sara from www.barefootbirmingham.com it was a great session. My daughter is a complete beginner and I am a regular Yoga with Adriene participant. We both found the session challenging and relaxing in equal measure. My daughter found the benefits of yoga lasting for several days!

The Doctors Kitchen

From the yoga session we were straight into The Doctors Kitchen session with Dr Rupi, a GP with a mission to bring positive food intervention to medicine, aiming to teach GPs more on nutrition, elevate their knowledge and enable their conversations with patients.

Dr Rupi advocates evidence based food and lifestyle medicine (whole foods), here are some of the things I noted;

  1. Nutrition – Mediterranean style diet with whole foods could be more effective than medication for some conditions. Read some of Rupi’s blogs here
  2. Inflammation- driving diabetes, depression, chronic illness looking at your lifestyle in terms of food, mindset, sleep and movement could help.
  3. DNA / genes -research shows that micro nutrient deficiencies (in some cases) will improve assisting the switching on and off of  how the genes manifest themselves.
  4. Lifestyle changes can help reverse chronic disease like type 2 diabetes.

Dr Rupi recommends high fibre, nutrient dense foods and to eat colourful with a plant focused diet. This is not an expensive option – be pragmatic. Shop wisely and use markets.

He also highlighted that sleep is important to good health, in the evening switch the blue light on your phone, have a digital detox 2 hours before you go to bed. Tune in with your circadian rhythm, it works best when you are sleeping well.

Sleep and food are the “winning formula” along with mindfulness and exercise. With the latter Dr Rupi says you need to challenge your body in different ways and there are many different portals to access a variety of exercise options.

The final point made by the Dr Rupi was that although the World is hyper-connected it is also disconnected (not eating around table) not to mention the effect of plastics on our planet and sourcing food more locally. The Doctors Kitchen concluded that science is complex,  but the solution is simple: back to basics!

End of the day

Thrive Festival
Eat. Move. Thrive.
Speakers venue

We ended our day at the Thrive Festival after this session. We had thoroughly enjoyed our day, would highly recommend the Festival and we will return next year!

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Have you read my blog about the 4 pillars I belief you need to consider to improve your health.

4 Pillars for Good Health

Bargain weekend away in North Devon

I’ve just had a bargain weekend away, spending less than £140 for 3 days and 2 nights in North Devon.  Ok, ok we were camping and we did borrow a big tent and we do have a car to transport us about BUT I have included our petrol costs.

Camping

My daughters (in their 20s and paying their own share), my dog (Rufus)  and I had the most fabulous break over Bank Holiday weekend in North Devon. We chose to camp for a couple of reasons;

  1. We needed to book for the Bank Holiday weekend but didn’t want to lose too much money if we chose not to go because…
  2. We wouldn’t go if the weather was going to be bad!

So we booked 2 nights at the Little Roadway Farm campsite near Woolacombe, all in this cost us £56.

The Journey

Our bargain weekend away began very early Saturday morning, to steer clear of the Friday traffic and to avoid putting up an unknown tent at the dead of night:). We traveled from Leicestershire to Woolacombe, with a quick coffee stop at the lovely M5 Gloucester services (a family business, a farmshop and no franchises) . We’d prepared some overnight oats (in jars) for the journey, these were a nutritious travel breakfast.

We arrived at the campsite at about 10.30 as the dew was disappearing and the sun came out.  The campsite, although fully booked, was not crowded we had a choice of location on the site, which was not huge but was green, pleasant and the facilities were good. We managed to put up the tent in not much more than 30 minutes.

Bargain weekend away tent
Our pitch!

Woolacombe

All unpacked, we headed off to walk the 1.5 miles to Woolacombe for a well earned drink and some lunch. Woolacombe beach has the Trip Advisor Award for Best UK Beach 2015 and 2016 , it is a large beach, very well equipped and it was busy as the day was warming up.

Bargain weekend away walk to wool
The walk to Woolacombe

The beach may be good and dog friendly but the town itself was a bit too (tacky) seasidey 🙁 for us! Lots of buckets and spades, arcades, ice creams, crazy golf……..all the good stuff! The walk back across the fields was lovely. We chilled at the tent, basking in the glorious sunshine before changing and heading off to Ilfracombe for the evening.

Bargain weekend away Wool
The view over Woolacombe

Ilfracombe

We parked the car near the small harbour surrounded by cliffs and met Verity! the controversial Damien Hirst statue that stands at the entrance to the harbour overlooking the Bristol Channel over to South Wales. What do you think of Verity?

Bargain weekend away Verity
Verity by Damien Hirst

Before dinner we had a wander around the town and hit upon the Beer Festival, right up my street so a local ale overlooking the sea was enjoyed. We had booked into the Blacksands Bistro for dinner , a family run bistro serving homemade, locally sourced, honest food. We sat outside, so Rufus could stay with us. As it gets chilly in late August evening the chiminea was lit and blankets provided (we didn’t need the latter).

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Our table reservation at Blacksands Bistro

We ordered a cocktail whilst we perused the menu, which had some lovely choices and local produce.

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Blacksands Bistro Cocktails

I chose a trout and cous cous dish, the girls had a cured meat platter and a chicken dish, all very delicious.  Our food was fabulous; the dessert choice was limited (and expensive) so we opted for a locally made ice cream en route back to the car.

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Blacksands Bistro 🙂

Our first night’s sleep went well, I was a little chilly but not uncomfortable. We all had to get up in the night for a wee, not ideal! Rufus was a star and slept soundly. We were woken early by the cockerel and the cows on the nearby farm.

Croyde

Sunday morning – our plan for the day was to drive to Croyde for brunch, have a walk and then find a beach.  We sat outside at The Stores and feasted on avocado on toast with a side of bacon, slugged down with a good coffee.  We watched the world go by at this busy corner of this lovely village.

Bargain weekend away Croyde
Sitting outside The Stores Croyde – Sunday brunch

Later we then walked directly towards Croyde Bay, near a campsite that looked more like a festival site with tents tightly packed in. The sun was up and it was heating up, people were flocking to the beach, not dog friendly.

Bargain weekend away Croyde Bay
Croyde Bay – crowded beach

Our plan was to walk along the coastal path up to Baggy Point (National Trust), from here we could see Woolacombe beach, it was also very busy, although the end near Putsborough Sands appeared quieter. The walk was glorious with great views.

Bargain weekend away wool bay
From Baggy Point across Woolacombe Bay

We headed back down to Croyde and dropped into Blue Groove for a drink, a popular place but plenty of space at this time….everyone was on the beach!

Putsborough Sands

We decided to head for Putsborough Sands, only to find parking was £8.50!!! After a little deliberation we agreed that between us for a full afternoon on the beach it didn’t amount to much. We were right it was worth it, although it was busy and there were lots of dogs, which we didn’t mind!  We walked along the sands and found a relatively quiet spot. We’d changed into our swimming costumes in the public toilets (new and very clean) so we spread out our blanket and settled down to read, people (and dog) watch, play with Rufus and enjoy the sun.

Bargain weekend away Puts
Putsborough Sands

The sea was bracing but we all went for a swim, including Rufus., we soon got in and got used to it. More chilling and an ice cream, left us feeling exhilarated and chuffed with our day.

Back to Croyde

That evening, after a change of plan, we were short of eatery options – Bank Holiday Sunday and we hadn’t booked! We headed back to Croyde and ordered Pizza from the pop-up pizza guys from Stoned, wood fired pizza ovens and great pizzas. We ordered 3 different ones to share, bought some drinks from The Store (see our Brunch) and had a feast.

Bargain weekend away pop up pizza
Stoned pop up pizza at Croyde

Lynton and Lynmouth

After a more comfortable night, we awoke to more brilliant sunshine, great for tent packing! We began to get packed up and whilst the tent dried out we had bacon butties from the campsite store. They were excellent and a bargain. Tent dry and car packed we headed off for a morning and a cream tea “lunch” at Lynton and Lynmouth.  Lovely picturesque villages “where Exmoor meets the sea”.

Bargain weekend away the Lyns
Lynton and Lynmouth

A cream tea had been on our list of things to do on this break and we hadn’t yet achieved it, as we wanted to be heading home before 2pm we decided that it’d be our lunch. The Pavilion came highly recommended we weren’t disappointed.

Home again

We hit the road, beat all the holiday traffic and were home before 6pm. We did miss another unbelievable afternoon’s sunshine and beach opportunity but both the girls were back at work at 8am the next day.

Bargain weekend away homeward
Rufus on the journey home

A great time was had by all, a bargain weekend away and we talked of making it an annual mother and daughter trip. The weather really helped to make it, we ate at some highly recommended (Trip Advisor) places and stayed at a top notch location, all for less than £140 each. North Devon is beautiful well worth a visit and we’ll go back to explore more of it.

Thanks for reading.

Do you have any bargain break suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

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For more information about me and my message click here

More family and outdoor swimming fun here

Another bargain break from earlier this year 4 days/3 nights in the Peak District for under £200!

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5 low cost ways to be healthier?

Would you like to be healthier? Do you think you can’t afford it?

Think again – you can start to improve your health with these 5 simple steps:

  1. Commit to Walking

    You don’t need to have a fancy device to count your steps or special clothes or footwear. Choose comfortable shoes and get outside!  Walk for 10 to 20 minutes a day to get you started. ‘*   Later on you could move onto more structured exercise. You may fancy having a go at running, try Couch To 5k (http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or weights. There is lots of FREE stuff online requiring little or no equipment. I started with Julia Buckley’s online gym and you can access lots of her stuff for free here

    ‘*  “Taking at least 1 brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%” From Public Health England

    Low cost health -walk
    10 minutes brisk walking daily – low cost health!

     

  2. Drink more water

    It’s cheap, healthy and calorie free! If you don’t like plain water try fizzy or add some fruit, a slice of lemon or some no-added sugar squash. We should drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count.

  3. Eat a balanced diet

    It’s not about fancy foods or “superfoods” – like kale, avocado, quinoa ( not that these aren’t good). It’s about lowering the sugar, saturated fat and salt, cutting out processed foods. A balanced diet is eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions , find some good advice here; http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx
    Do you have an Aldi nearby? They sell great quality foods at fabulous prices and are well worth checking out. https://www.aldi.co.uk/store-finder
    I’m planning a “What I eat in a day” post soon, I eat well and I am on a tight budget.

  4. Get more sleep

    Yep sleep, and sleep should cost you nothing! Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health along with increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Read my recent post on Sleep – https://www.jenafitlife.com/sleep-pillar-of-good-health/ and set yourself up to get more and better quality sleep.

  5. What do you think? Mindset

    How you think, what you think about, how you motivate yourself, how to make something a habit ………all FREE, and all have an effect on your health. Getting control of your mind will enable you to better to control your cravings, urges and motivations, all of which no doubt impact on your health! Whether it is resisting the chocolate or ice cream or finding the excuse not to take that walk. Read my recent blog on Mindset – https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/

Will you take any or all of these steps? Do you already do this or more?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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You may like to read my blog on My 4 Pillars of Good Health https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

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Body Image – How to change your view!

Body image is all about how you see yourself, this can be very different to how others see you. It is about self esteem and insecurity not vanity.

In this fast moving, visual world where the High street, social media and magazines are full of the “body beautiful” it’s easy to be unhappy about our own body shape and be dismissive/disgruntled/disenchanted/discouraged……some sort of dis’, your choice, ….and have a negative body image. “Be more critical of what you see in the media, and less critical of yourself” from BBC Radio 1 *

Let’s not go into self destruct or overdrive. Remember we are no longer 25, we (may) have some fab kids that our amazing bodies bore and health, fitness and technology knowledge has come a long way in the last 20-30 years! If we knew then what we know now perhaps……… things would be no different 🙂

Mindset

Anyway we need to learn to love our bodies: eat, drink and exercise to honour it not to be the “body beautiful” (leave that to the kids if they insist). Every body is beautiful, we have an incredible and complex set of systems that make us function and able to live! Let’s not abuse that but shift our mindset (read my thoughts here https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/) to help us make any changes and tackle our body image. *This piece has some great advice on how to rethink your body image viewpoint.

Fuel

I do believe it’s important to fuel our bodies correctly and this outweighs any crazy exercise regime, so get this right and I’m not talking any crazy diets or regimes. I’m talking proper food, simple fresh food, cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming and batch cooking can ease time constraints. The only thing you need to do, if you want or need to lose weight, is to consume less calories than you use, known as a caloric deficit.

Movement

Later you may want and find you can take a walk or join a class. Baby steps again, but remember this is to look after that Formula 1 machine (your body internally) not to reach some aesthetic goal – this (may well) will happen as a side effect of eating properly. There is a saying 80% of Abs are made in the kitchen [even if you can’t see your abs they are there!]

Talking of abs if you feel you’ve got your eating right and you’d like to work on your body and there are many reasons for this;
– reduce health risks (e.g. heart disease, diabetes)
– maintain or increase mobility
sleep better
– help your mental health

Then start slowly core exercises like Yoga or Pilates are great for improving posture and supporting a weak back. Joining an online gym to workout in your own space, reducing time commitment and any embarrassment of a public class. Starting the Couch to 5k,will get you out into the fresh air and will cost you nothing!

Wherever you are be PROUD of your body for what it has done for you in your life, and what it continues to do. Do things because you love your body (not because you don’t)

Check out this lovely article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-401943

Another great article here too

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

You may like to read my blog on My 4 Pillars of Good Health https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

This post contains an affiliate link.

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!