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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Enhancing my nutrition - here's how


So, many of my mummy friends and fellow fitness fans have been asking me what all the fuss is about regarding this new nutrition drive that I’m undertaking, what I’m actually doing and why. What is Isagenix, does it really work and how?

Well, in short, over the next few weeks, I’m going to find out. If I’m honest, I need some more happy in my life and, while the exercise and mindfulness is working wonders, I’ve been looking for some added ways to improve my overall wellbeing. So, I’ve decided to look at my nutrition, with the aim of achieving a better lifestyle moving forward.

I can’t stress enough how getting the right fuel into your body makes all the difference, while a diet full of toxins, in addition to the likes of smoking and heavy drinking can make you feel like absolute shite (to put it bluntly). I mean, how can you expect a diesel car to run well if you put petrol in it?

But the thing is, I do like a drink of an evening (don’t most overworked Mums?) …. And because the thought of completely giving up everything that I enjoy sends me cold, frankly, I have been looking at ways to help my body by putting more of the right stuff in, while not taking (all) of the bad stuff out.

So, here’s what I’m trying in the lead up to Christmas to see how much better it makes me feel. This is in addition to HIIT four times a week, while reading more into mindfulness and focusing on the positive influences in my life.

Cleanse day – twice a month

 
A cleanse day involves not eating all day, but taking on the right amount of nutrients your body needs through specially formulated liquids, with the odd little snack added in.
It’s a great way to flush all of the toxins out of your body, strengthen your immune system, support your vital organs and give your liver a break.
And I was pleased to say, in the days after, I felt a real boost, both to my focus and positivity along with a reduction of fatigue and a visible improvement to my health.

Products required for a cleanse day include the revitalising Nourish for Life drink and Ionix Supreme – a shot which you can take every morning to manage stress and enhance wellbeing throughout the day.

I also used the Amped Hydrate drink, as I like to work out most days – so this helps replenish the vitamins, electrolytes and water that your body loses during exercise.

I LOVE ISAGENIX E-SHOTS FOR EXERCISE!
 
 

And then this brings me onto the Isagenix e-shot…
Sometimes when I exercise it feels like wading through cement. But exercise is something which needs to be done regularly in order to maintain healthy levels of fitness.

That’s why I love the e-shot – because it’s like giving yourself an energy boost before exercise with none of the nasties in it. Essentially, it’s made from caffeine, but this is naturally sourced plant based caffeine, which comes from green tea and yerba mate, both of which are considered to have much better effects on the body than tea and coffee.

So, you get the alertness and boost, without the headaches, shakes, or dips in energy afterwards.

Here are some of the other products I’m trying:
 
 

IsaLean Shake – people often have these when they’re looking to lose weight, or maintain it. Personally, while weight loss isn’t a massive thing for me, I quite like the thought of swapping the midday crisps and biscuits for a milkshake which contains only the right nutrients. So I thought I’d give this a go to see how replacing the naughty food with the right stuff can help.

IsaMove – there has been lots in the press lately about how people aren’t getting enough magnesium in their diets. This in turn can aid depression – something which is big on my agenda to tackle. Taking this daily supplement before bed helps support the body’s natural functions overnight, enabling it to better absorb nutrients, recover and repair from the stresses of the day before.
 

So, that’s it – the reasons why I’m focusing on nutrition and how I’m planning to do it!
Will feedback over the next few weeks on how well it worked and in the meantime, if you would like to know more, give me a shout or get in touch with my scientist buddy Lynsey Stuart at lynzagenix@gmail.com, or via her Facebook page – aptly calledLynzagenix.
 
 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 13 November 2017

My journey - the road to happiness and self improvement

I've been battling depression since childhood. It probably comes as no surprise. 
After I had my babies, post natal depression joined the party too. 

It's easy to feel like a failure when you suffer from something that people can't see, but if there's one thing I've learnt, it's that the only person you ever need to impress is yourself. 

Because, at the end of the day, when all's said and done, we enter this world on our lonesome and we leave exactly the same way. 

I've blogged a lot in the past about the importance of being kind and unselfish. And it's something I still, and always will, stand by. But, what's the point spending your life helping others, when you're neglecting to help yourself? What good does that do for the world around you? 

Of course, getting the help you need is vital for your own well being - wherever that help comes from, whatever form, or combination it takes.

 

So, let's start from the beginning. Five years ago I felt heavy, unfit and unattractive - it tends to happen when you've had a rugrat or two. So, I began the journey to lose weight and hopefully in the process boost my self esteem.

A couple of years ago I ramped it up and managed to lose two stone, thanks to a combination of HIIT and the 5:2 diet. (What I didn't realise at the time was that phase 1 of my self improvement journey had begun). 

Phase one - fitness

In the last few years I've grown massively in love with exercise (well, to be fair, it's a bit of a love/hate relationship) - I quite often hate it when I'm doing it, but afterwards it feels amazing. 

As well as the physical improvement to my health and appearance, I never cease to be amazed by the positive energy and mental boost that a regular fitness routine can bring - and I swear it helps manage depression no end. 

Three to four times a week for the last few years, I've been doing HIIT and Pilates and, up until very recently, I've felt amazing both physically and mentally. It's one thing to lose the weight, but maintaining it through a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise is the key to continued feelings of health, wellbeing and positivity.

Then, a few months ago, I lost a much loved friend from my life. Someone so important and massively influential to me and my children, that their sudden absence was a catalyst for a complete return of the depression, along with strong feelings of low self worth and loneliness, that were worse than I'd ever experienced before.

So, I could have gone two ways. One, the dark route, or the other 'lets try and fix this' way. Of course, because I have two little dependant critters to take care of for the next few years, the first was never a practical option. 

There were two ways to go about the 'lets fix this....', both of which were good ideas.
 
Firstly, the help of a medical professional is always advisable, so a trip to the doctor was a good plan. Secondly, there are ways to help yourself - and the great thing I realised was that this had already begun with the fitness.

 

Phase two - mental and spiritual development

The exercise was helping with my state of mind anyway, enabling me to feel more positive and happy, thanks to the feel good endorphins which were being released every time I worked out. 

But, in light of recent events, I needed more, and this was where good friends and a couple of really amazing mentors stepped in to teach me about mindfulness and ways to manage the different parts of my mind to help myself feel better from within. 

Here I was able to address my feelings of sadness and low self worth, through books such as Prof Steve Peters' 'The Chimp Paradox' - an exceptional publication which seemed to understand my thought processes and show me the most positive ways to deal with and adapt them. To this day, mental and spiritual improvement remains an ongoing phase of my life. There are up days and big time down ones, but generally things are on the up. 

The next book I'm looking forward to reading is "The Four Agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom," by Don Miguel Ruiz... This, again, has come highly recommended to me as a way to help myself rediscover the happiness and love that I lost.

 

And then this brings me on to the newest way to help myself on the road to self improvement: 

Phase 3 - nutrition

I realised that the good effects of exercise and spiritual development are hindered by allowing an overspill of toxins into your body. 

Don't get me wrong, it's great to let loose and have the odd treat or night out. But, when you're using them to self medicate, that's different.  It's pretty much the most unhelpful thing I could do to myself.

Binging on cakes and sweets, while allowing myself to use alcohol as a crutch to numb the pain was stopping the healthy changes to my lifestyle from having the best possible effect. 

So I'm just about to begin on phase three - the path to better nutrition - in the hope that it will positively benefit the first two phases. 

And with that I've discovered Isagenix... A nutrition system that helps you to feel better in yourself, more energised and healthy, while getting a good night's sleep in the process (something I've been missing a lot lately).


My scientist friend Lynsey told me about it a while ago, and I must say, I was impressed. People use it the world over to aid in weight loss, give increased energy, or offer a boost to their fitness routine. So what harm could getting the right stuff into my body for a change do? 

I've decided to give Isagenix a go and over the next month I will be feeding back on the difference it is making to my life as a busy mum, in addition to the exercise and spiritual journey. I'm also going to try and cut down on the booze... (I said try!!)

The box arrives later this week, so watch this space! And in the meantime, find out more about Isagenix through Lynsey's shop :)

Axx

Saturday, 17 June 2017

How tragic events of late are changing me

Sometimes it’s so easy to exist in this little bubble of loveliness that we create for ourselves, completely oblivious to the world around us.

But, in recent times, whether you live on a remote island or in the heart of the city, it’s hard to miss some of the life changing and terrible things that have been going on.

I’m not even talking of the atrocities of Syria or Middle Africa - these images and news stories in particular, more horrific than ever. What I’m talking about is the stories closer to home.

Tragic events unfolding in London and Manchester. Stories which now, on a regular basis, make us hold our children that bit closer at night and remember to tell them more than ever, how much we love them.

Attacks happening left, right and centre on people, innocent people, who did nothing more than to just try and co-exist on this odd little planet of ours.

And worse still - attacks on young ones. Mindless violence that makes your stomach feel like it could escape through your mouth, while you dissolve into an endless torrent of disbelief and sadness.

Amidst all this, it’s had me wondering, why on earth do some still fail to drag their heads out of their own arses and start putting others first?

Why is it so hard to understand that our actions impact the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of others?

From the smile at a stranger on the street to the helping hand, or the friendly compliment, moment of chivalry at a road junction, or act of charity, given with the aim of bringing light to the lives of people who are wondering where it’s gone.

I’m not going to bang on much more about being nice, because, while I think that it’s in us all, some just forget they have it (or conveniently forget).  But you know me, I always try to find the positive.

And, what I will say, is that among all this I see moments of beauty, kindness, love and light. People changing the lives of others, simply for the sake of helping those less fortunate than themselves.

It’s that which gives me hope. That which makes me believe we can fight this scourge of evil. Not through hatred, but by carrying on regardless, like our grandparents and great grandparents did before us.

By believing in what we stand for, by setting the best examples and showing the world that no matter how dark things get, our spirit and resolve will never be weakened.

Live life, love and be happy. Bring this light to others, be enlightened and fulfilled.

Stop trying to be something you aren’t, allowing others to shape the way you think and act - and let yourself be happy in who you are. Kill anger and hate with kindness, positive action and thoughtfulness – it works loads more, I promise.
 
 

 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Why I’m still loving this baby blanket six years on…


When I first became a mum I was clueless. Not just the ‘never done it before’ clueless, but the ‘didn’t even realise babies needed to sleep a lot and only drank milk’ clueless. And they didn’t come with an instruction manual either. 

As I write, I’m actually wondering right now how, with sleep deprivation added to the rabbit in the headlights type bewilderment, that my baby managed to stay in the land of the living, but somehow we got through it together. (Tougher than you think, these babies, clearly!)

When my first born came along, the poor little thing was blighted with a milk allergy and eczema, something which I had kindly passed on to him, being asthmatic and prone to allergies myself. I found out at the time it was called atopy.

Sadly in the months leading up to the medical professionals discovering his allergies, it led to nasty patches of eczema all over his body which would weep and bleed, leaving a very unhappy and uncomfortable baby. (Little did I know at the time that the milk allergy was causing him pain on the inside, as well as the horrible eczema that I could see). Totally distressing for everyone concerned.

Anyway, in among the total life change and getting used to having a little person to keep alive, I was overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and family, who provided me with gifts that I could really use. We’re talking babygros, vests and blankets, muslin squares and bibs – all of the kind of things that a new mum really needs.

And one gift which stuck out in particular was a pot of organic nappy cream and a beautiful bamboo baby blanket from Natures Purest.
 
 
 
This is a company which prides itself on producing a range of baby accessories, clothes and toys which are completely chemical free, so that parents can be sure they will be kindest to a newborn’s skin. The organic nature of the products make them perfect for children who are prone to allergies.

In the past I always believed that organic cotton would be scratchy and uncomfortable, due to the absence of the softeners and other chemicals. However, I was really surprised. Not only could I use this breathable cotton blanket to keep my baby warm while he slept, in the knowledge that his skin wouldn’t react to the material, but it was and still is luxuriously soft too.

In doing their extra bit for the environment, the attractive box that the silky smooth blanket came in was made from recycled card, which was finished with a pretty hand tied bow.

I still have the blanket six years on, despite most of my baby stuff having hit the loft for posterity or made a trip to the charity shops. This is something I really don’t want to part with, even after all this time and it still makes a nice snuggly blanket for when my poorly boys are having a day off on the sofa.

If you’re looking for a gift to give parents of a new baby, then this squares bamboo greeting blanket is really worth a look. Find out more at www.naturespurest.co.uk

Friday, 2 December 2016

Beating the darker times

In a rare and brief dalliance with daytime television today, I came across an interview with Terry Waite.

It was a name I hadn't heard of for many years, but one I had always remembered, because of this man's amazing strength and tenacity in enduring five years of torture and captivity at the hands of Beirut terrorists.

In the brief snippet on ITV's This Morning, this humanitarian and author was a true inspiration and the words he said that struck me most were these:

"If you allow anger to fester, then ultimately it will end up doing you more harm than those you feel the anger towards.."

In no way could I compare my own experiences to this outstanding man, but yet I realised that this powerful statement could apply to and help every single one of us. Even down to lesser circumstances, such as my dad's road rage and me telling him that only his stress levels would be affected by his rant.

The quote also applies to pain and the way we deal with it. If someone hurts you, whether intended or not, the only way to deal with it has to be to let it go.

Earlier this week my heart broke into many pieces and for a time my life went black (and so did my Facebook profile). Life felt pretty effing sh1t (yes my potty mouth diminishes drastically in the written word for some absurd reason).

But, quickly, I realised the negative contribution that allowing myself to hurt for long would cause. Yes, crying is good, releasing the pain is good. But, dwelling on it or allowing it to fester can only be bad.

So here are some of the ways I've picked myself up off the floor this week and hopefully they might help you feel a little more positive through the dark times too.

  • Exercise - (had to be first now didn't it). I still get a load out of the feel good hormones that exercises produces, so I upped my weekly workouts from three to six and felt better for it.
  • Be silly - act the fool, whether on your own or with friends. In my case it was doing a really silly, loud and crazy version of rockabye baby with my children. It made them laugh their heads off and me smile too.
  • Give yourself something to look forward to. Whether it's a night out at the weekend, shopping trip, or couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day.
  • Be nice - it's so easy to feel bitter, but hate and resentment only serves to make you feel worse more than anything.
  • Keep telling yourself good stuff. Be your own biggest fan. Find stuff that's good about you and keep reminding yourself about it, until you believe it.
  • Catch up with friends. Laugh, joke, have fun.
  • Be pragmatic - look at what you have got, rather than focusing on what you haven't and make the most out of it.
  • Get outside - yes, it's been flipping freezing lately, but wrap up warm and get out for a good walk, take some good, deep breaths and feel your soul cleanse.
  • Do something nice for someone. It always makes me feel better anyway.
  • Dance like no-one's looking. Stick on some crazy tunes and really go for it. Go on, you know you want to ;)
So what do you reckon? This is how I picked myself up this week and what I'm going to keep doing until the pain starts to ease and I don't have to think about how I'm going to feel good anymore.
If, like me, you've found yourself wanting to close yourself off in a dark room and cry your heart out for days on end, maybe try these instead?


Friday, 18 November 2016

Compliments to complement your day

As you all might have gathered from my constant banging on about exercise, getting in a good workout is one of my favourite things to do. And Pilates of an evening I find is a great way to de-stress and set yourself up for a good night's sleep.

So, following a Pilates class recently, I was all ready to head home for my cup of green tea and bed (oh, how my halo chokes me), when another lady who had been in the class approached me. Out of the blue she said: "You really are good at this. I was watching you do some of the exercises and really hope I can do them that well one day."

Just like that. A random compliment from a stranger, who then disappeared into the night without a by your leave. And do you know what? She probably has no idea, but it made my night.

You see, these days, it's so easy to go about our lives oblivious to those around us and even if we do notice something nice about someone, it's rare that we say it. Perhaps, people assume that if you look good, that you know it already, or, if they tell you something nice, then you might wonder what they're after.

But personally, I think I speak for the majority of people who don't have the benefit of walking round thinking how amazing we are and when someone says something nice it can make all the difference to our confidence and self esteem. At least for the next five minutes or so, anyway.

That compliment doesn't have to come from a stranger either. All too often people get so used to seeing their friends and loved ones around them and forget to say when they're looking particularly nice or have done something particularly well.

A compliment isn't a guy staring lasciviously at your boobs, or some sycophant saying what they think you want to hear in order to gain grace and favour. Like with the lady at Pilates, it should be an observation, made freely with no hidden agenda. Something that simply is what it is. And it's these kind of compliments which can make all the difference, not only to the individual, but to society in general. Because genuine niceness and decency is infectious.

It's for this very reason that I compliment my children when they've done something good, or made an effort too. It's in the hope of a brighter future. One where it's ok to be nice to others, to smile, to be happy and make others happy with no personal gain, other than the knowledge that you've done something good.

So, instead of keeping yourself to yourself, why don't you dish out a few genuine compliments today and see how much better it makes you feel!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

It's ok to say how you feel.. It really is!

Been thinking a lot about honesty and transparency these days. Ever since I became a mum, while being a lot more comfortable talking about things like poo and willies (so much so that my non parent friends cover their eyes and ears), I've also seemed to develop a thicker skin. And I think it might be a mummy thing.

So much stuff goes over your head when you've got ten million things to think of and remember at once. Jokes, insults and blatant truths are nowhere near as shocking or offensive as they used to be and I've found myself so much more adept at laughing stuff off.

I think it's something to do with just not having the time to be bothered. And let's face it, when you've been in labour and given birth in the most undignified way, there's not much after that that's going to floor you either.

One thing I do value these days above anything else isn't hiding your feelings for the sake of politeness, but honesty, openness and transparency. Whether I like what I hear or not, I value the fact that people are honest with me.

You don't like me? Fine, I can handle that! You think something I did was wrong or misguided? Do feel free to tell me, because I value your opinion and truly believe that you have a right to feel the way you do. (Unless you're a 70 something tutting at my child for making the slightest sound, as though all those years back your children really were seen and not heard... Really? Were they? I think you might be going a little senile in your senior years my dear 😁)...

But in all honesty, I prefer people to be real with me, no matter what it is they have to say. Wonderful examples of this are my friends, Michelle, Hayley and Ang. Yeah they can be down right offensive at times, but it's their opinion and honesty that comes with it that I value more than anything. It's also the reason why I love them so much. None of it is malicious and there's no back stabbing, in fact 99% of the time we have a laugh.

These are people who would much rather let you know their thoughts than tell other people in the roundabout hope that it will finally make its way to you and I just wish everyone was like it.

All I'll say is be confident in your opinion and if you can back it up with reasoned and intelligent argument, why feel scared to express it?

Honesty, transparency and openness are my buzzwords for this year as I truly believe that taking away the underhanded nature of backstabbing will help people be happier and more positive all round. Ditch the negative vibes, express your problems, deal with them and move on. Problem solved.