Exercise month – How is it going?

So last week I posted a video on Facebook about how my wellness challenge for this month was exercise! If you watched the video you could probably tell that I wasn’t best pleased about doing this wellness challenge.
This is a genuine challenge for me. Healthy eating didn’t seem so bad as there’s so much you can do to make healthy food taste delicious. But with exercise, you definitely have to go through the motions.
I’ve started my regime gently. So currently I’m doing Pilates three times a week. It does feel great once I finish but I’m glad to be finished…haha.
I know I can exercise as I’ve done it before and have gotten great results. Exercise  has benefited my mental health too.
The answer is simple. It’s obviously going to be hard at the moment because I’ve not exercised properly for a year. But I need to practice what I preach and continue. I have fallen into bad habits but replacing them with good habits is definitely going to be worth it in the long run!
The point of this blog is to be honest about the process. It’s not easy but I can do it.
I hope this blog has helped with those of you who are working through your own wellness challenges too.
Until next time,
R

Happy Healthy Eating

Hi everybody,

I hope you’re enjoying your St Patrick’s weekend so far.

I just wanted to keep you updated on my healthy eating challenge. How am I finding it?

So after my cleanse I felt great. I had more energy and I felt lighter. I also fitted in a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn for two years!! Great. I have since been making a conscious effort to ensure that I’m eating healthily where I can. I’ve been batch cooking tasty and healthy food.

However, this week my jeans have started to become tight again. I suppose I have neglected eating as ‘healthy’ (in the traditional sense) as I could have done. But I actually don’t feel guilty. For me, eating healthy does not mean cutting anything I enjoy out of my diet. What it does mean is eating everything in moderation and mindfully too! So for instance, this week I’ve had a cold and yesterday I was craving carbs! So I had quite a lot of cheesy mash potato amongst other things. That’s ok. But on reflection my plate size was pretty big and I ate so quickly that by the time my brain caught up with my body to tell me that I was full, I was actually more than full!!!

So what does this mean? Well I don’t think we can actually define what healthy eating is. It all depends on a case by case basis. Traditionally we have been told to eat our carbs, veg and protein within a certain proportion. We are told to drink 2 litres of water a day and to eat five pieces of fruit. But then newer research suggests that each person’s gut digests food in a unique way to them and it’s all about how our gut digests food and then eating the most appropriate food for ease of breakdown. Confused much? Yes.

I’m not feeling guilty about the food that I’ve been eating. And for me, well I don’t think certain daily recommendations are appropriate due to my limited mobility. But what I’m actively going to do moving forward is to stick to what I initially set out to do. Cutting down on my portion sizes and eating everything in moderation. It’s time to replace old eating habits with new ones so that I can be happier and healthier!

How are you getting on with your wellness challenges?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Until next time,

R x

To cleanse, or not to cleanse? That is the question!

Hi everybody,

Happy March!! So this month my wellness challenge is healthy eating. Spring is around the corner and I want to get more active too but before I do, I know that I need to sort out my eating habits.

However, before I get into the full swing of healthy eating, I have been weighing up whether or not I should do a cleanse. Now, as a Health Psychologist in Training, I’m quite cautious about promoting such things. I often see cleanses advertised in the wrong way. The primary message being to lose weight quite quickly which is a completely dangerous message to portray. In the media, there are constant body shaming messages and healthy people can end up believing that they are at an unhealthy weight. However, after a lot of thought I’ve decided to give it a go.

I’m not doing this cleanse to lose weight and I’m not advising you to cleanse to lose weight either. I am aware that by doing this cleanse I will inevitably lose weight but I am also aware that the weight loss will not be permanent, once the cleanse is over.

The reason why I’m cleansing is to re-educate my body on portion sizes. As a disabled person, I’m not moving around as much as my non-disabled peers yet I eat the same portion sizes as them. I know I don’t need to eat as much because I’m not burning as much but I’ve built up these habits over a number of years and it’s time to re-gain ownership over my eating habits.

The cleanse I’m doing lasts for 9 days and I’m eating very healthy food in between as well as doing Pilates. I know that this will set me on the right path for the future and if I’m incorporating more healthy food in my diet, as well as being cautious of my portion sizes, I should not need to do another cleanse again!

So the mission for you guys this month is to send in your favourite healthy recipe ideas! Take pictures of your meals and make the experience of eating as fun as possible – healthy eating does not mean boring eating and I shall cover that in my next blog!

(N.B. If you are considering a cleanse, it is very important to speak to a health professional beforehand).

Until next time,

R

Thank Goodness It’s Friyay! (TGIF)

Hi everybody! Happy Friday!!! How’s your week been?

So I wanted to write this gratitude blog about Friday! We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ (TGIF). And having practiced gratitude this month this phrase actually sits uncomfortably with me (even though I still enjoy Katy Perry’s song!). For me, this phrase demonstrates how we can end up being in dead-end jobs or having mundane routines and the only time we look forward to is Friday afternoons, when we are watching the clock, waiting for the day just to be over so we can get ready and enjoy the weekend. And this actually makes me very sad. I think sometimes we forget how precious life is and if we are preoccupied with getting the week over and done with, then something is wrong.

I’m not saying weekends are not great. Of course they are. But I think we need to turn the TGIF phrase into a more positive one. I’m choosing to say ‘Thank Goodness It’s Friyay!’ – Yay for the Day. And every day should be as much of a ‘yay’ as it can possibly be. Cheesy but something I truly believe. There is beauty to be seen everyday and when we can, we need to step back to notice it.

So how can we do this when life sometimes feels like a struggle? How can we re-phrase these phrases?

Oh no, it’s Monday!
Yay – brand new week to start being productive and taking part in new experiences.

Hate this traffic.
Thank goodness I have access to transport and I can listen to the songs on the radio for a bit longer.

I just wish this building work was over and done with.
The building work is going to be worth it as our house will be beautiful!

My family are really annoying.
I’m so glad I have family around me who love and care about me.

——

These are a few examples of gratitude and if we can list at least three things to be grateful for each day, we will notice more positive things around us.  Each day should have a ‘yay’ in it as life is too beautiful to not notice the good.

If you are feeling quite low about your life at the moment it might be worth seeking the support of a health professional to see how things can be improved. If you are experiencing low job satisfaction and feel like life is getting mundane then maybe it’s time for a change – looking for a new job, seeking a new hobby etc.

I hope this blog has helped. Happy Friyay and enjoy your future days with the ‘yays’ ahead!

Until next time,

R

Everyday love – Happy Valentine’s Day

Hi everybody! Happy Valentine’s Day. So I was originally dreading writing this post as I hate V-Day! I’ve always hated it. Single or in a relationship – it’s probably one of the most annoying days of the year! Bitter? Not at all….

So like I said I was dreading writing this. I’m single, and I was going to try and write something witty about how being single is awesome and relate that to gratitude considering my ‘wellness challenge’ is to focus on gratitude this month. But that’s why I had writers block! I just felt my blog would have been forced, writing something like ‘before you look for love, you need to love yourself etc…’ we’ve heard it all before. If I’m honest with you too, I’m quite content in my skin and I don’t need a man to validate this. It would be nice to have a companion but that will happen in time and it’s not my sole focus in life at present.

So why am I writing this? Well I am actually a true believer in love. Not just romantic love. And being focused on gratitude has heightened this experience of love and appreciation.

I have been so busy recently; continuing my training in Health Psychology, concentrating on You Own It as well as setting up another business on the side. Those are my choices and I’m genuinely happy with what I’m doing but I know I’ve been in my own little bubble and have neglected friends and family. The beauty of being self-employed is that I can not only choose how I work, but more importantly WHERE I work. For instance, whilst writing this blog I’m sat in my living room with my family. Probably not the most ideal in terms of on my iPad writing this, but being physically close makes all the difference.

And practicing gratitude has made me appreciate life more. When you focus on the good things in life, you actually begin to realise how beautiful life is. This is what I mean by everyday love, having appreciation for yourself, those around you and your experiences in the world. This doesn’t mean being that you deny difficulties but it helps with appreciating with true joy on things you do have.

So, what am I grateful for this Valentine’s Day:
– That I have awesome friends and family who love me and vice versa
– That I’m content in my own skin and position in life
– That I have the comfiest bed ever!

Let’s practice love and gratitude whenever we can. Not just for Valentine’s. You Own It would love to hear your stories as to how you’re spending your day (and month) and what you’re grateful for!!!

Until next time,

R

Yay for the day!

So welcome to February! The second month of the year. This month my wellness challenge is to actively practice gratitude.

What is gratitude?

So, in a nutshell the act of gratitude is to be ‘thankful’ for the experiences that occur in our lives. Gratitude involves us stopping to take notice of those simple pleasures in life. It is easy for us to get caught up in the rigmarole of life and as humans we can tend to pay more attention to negative experiences. However, when we actively practice gratitude we shift our focus from what’s lacking in our life to what’s present in our life.

 

What does research suggest?

Research demonstrates that those who actively practice gratitude have a greater quality of life. A large study demonstrated that those who kept a gratitude journal (a daily list detailing things for which they were grateful for)  reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, motivation, optimism and energy. They were more likely to achieve personal goals and experience lower levels of depression and stress.

It has also been reported that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by 25%, improve our immune system and strengthen our personal relationships.

 

But life can’t be that great all the time?

The act of practicing gratitude is not a veil of disillusionment. Life can be tough and bad things happen. However, gratitude heightens our attention to what we have in our lives as well as us being more appreciative of the good things in life.

 

How can we practice gratitude?

Like mindfulness, when we practice gratitude we should pay attention to our senses and actually try to be quite playful! For instance, going for a walk and paying attention to the heat of the sun on your back, the breeze on your face, the crunch of the branches under you feet, the smell of the air, the texture of a tree trunk! We could then actively be thankful that we can experience such a simple pleasure and that we can have the opportunity to do such activities.

There are many ways you can practice gratitude. If you type ‘gratitude’ into any web search you’ll be given a whole host of ways. The way I’ve decided to do it is by taking taking 10 minutes or so out at the end of the day to journal 3 things that I’ve been grateful for during the day. I’m calling this journal, as well as my series of gratitude blogs, ‘Yay for the Day.’

Feel free to tweet your gratitude thoughts using #YFTD!

I hope this blog has intrigued you and you join me on my gratitude journey. I’ll keep you updated by Facebook as we progress through the month and I look forward to hearing all of your stories!

Until next time,

R

Be more like Remy – Mindful Eating

Hi everybody and welcome to the second week of our mindful eating blog. How did you get on with your mindful eating last week? Remember to join me via my Facebook live at 12 today for our #MindfulMondayMunch.

Today we are going to go a step further and look at the techniques associated with mindful eating. Whenever I think of mindful eating, I think of the Disney film, Ratatouille. Now, if you’ve not seen this movie, then I suggest that you watch it as it’s a pretty fun film. The premise of the movie is based around a rat called ‘Remy‘ who becomes a chef. Remy is the only member known to the rat community who enjoys preparing, cooking and eating food. His other family members eat mindlessly. They are scavengers. They eat to survive and that’s it. Remy on the other hand appreciates his food. He knows that good food is hard to come by and therefore appreciates it more when he finally gets it. He searches for the finest ingredients, and his senses are so involved when he prepares and cooks and finally eats the food. And once he finishes his food, you can see he is content and satisfied! His rat family don’t understand his passion for food at first, they think he’s a bit of a weirdo. But eventually, they get used to it and also appreciate food too.

I think ‘Ratatouille’ is quite clever. It draws parallels to our world. We often eat mindlessly and can be somewhat like scavengers, gobbling our food, just for survival, whilst we are rushing to get to our next meeting! I was certainly like this when I was working in London. I would often grab fast food in between meetings, usually in a taxi, whilst rushing to be on time for my next meeting. When I look back on my pictures from then I realise how unhealthy those habits were – I look unhealthy in my old pictures and that’s because of how I mindlessly ate my food!

Check out this scene from ‘Ratatouille’

I absolutely love this scene. This is how our relationship with food should be and here are the ways you can achieve the mindful yet fun and exciting emotions that Remy experiences – you never know, it might be your best meal yet! People around you may find it strange at first but perhaps you could show them this blog so they understand what mindful eating is about.

Why do we eat mindlessly?

A lot of us may not be aware that we mindlessly eat. This is due to ingrained habits that we have learnt overtime. Here are some examples of mindlessly eating:

– Confusing hunger and thirst

– Emotionally eating

– Eating because we are bored or tired

– Not truly recognising whether we are actually hungry

– Allowing ourselves to get too hungry

– Eating too quickly

Mindfully eating

It is important for us to learn to break the ingrained, negative habits that were mentioned above if we truly want to embrace mindful eating. I would rather break those habits than constantly yo-yo dieting and allowing myself to have an unhealthy relationship with food. I don’t want to be cutting a lot out of my diet. This means eating everything in moderation and being as prepared as I can with the food that I would like to eat.

Techniques

1. Preparing meal plans in advance

2. Eating little and often to keep our blood sugar levels in check

3. Questioning whether we are actually hungry when we think we need to eat. You could be dehydrated

4. Ensuring that you eat in a calm environment- e.g. Finding a park to go to in your lunch break

5. Paying full attention to your food – like Remy – this involves looking at your food, noticing the sound of it, noticing the smell, eating slowly and noticing the flavours in your mouth.

6. Chewing your food properly, until it has a smooth consistency and putting down cutlery between each mouthful

7. Stopping eating before you become too full. If you still feel hungry 20 minutes later then eat some more

8. Enjoying your food. Like Remy, we should experience satisfaction and joy whilst we eat!

Some people like to carry a journal with them when practicing mindful eating so that they can note down their thoughts and feelings pre, during or post practice. This is what I’m doing and will reflect my journaling through my blog next week!

We recognise that it can be difficult to start this habit so you could give yourself the target of at least trying one mindful mouthful for each meal and then increasing this as time goes on. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you enjoy every moment.

Thank you for reading today’s post.

Have an amazing week.

Until next time,

R

Quit the dieting, embrace the eating!

Hello everybody!

Welcome to You Own It. I’m so excited to be writing my first blog for the website and I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

So as you have probably read, each month I will be setting myself my own personal wellness challenge and it would be amazing if you guys could join me. If you don’t fancy doing the same challenge as me, then feel free to choose your own wellness challenge and keep us updated by social media.

I don’t know about you but I was so gluttonous over December and I really need to sort out my eating habits for January. But one of the things that I disagree with is dieting. Dieting is not a long-term solution for weight management and when I have tried dieting before, I have lost my love for food – that’s not exciting is it? So if I’m not dieting, how can I learn to manage my weight, eat what I like and feel healthy? Well, after doing my research, I have decided to focus on mindful eating.

If you are on Facebook then please accept my invitation to join me for #MindfulMondayMunch via Facebook lives over your lunch break from 12-1pm on these dates: 16th (today), 23rd and 31st January. If you cannot join me live, you can always re-watch the video at a later time. During the lives, I’ll be mindfully eating and demonstrating how you can do it too!

What is mindfulness?
So before I explain the concept of mindful eating, I thought it would be a good idea to explain what mindfulness is as that’s the principle which mindful eating is based upon.

Research describes mindfulness as an awareness of what’s going on internally and externally and being ‘present’ in each moment. We live in such a high-paced society that often we ignore the world around us and don’t stop to notice it. We can get so caught up in our own thoughts and emotions and often this can lead to negative health habits or behaviour. Being ‘present/mindful’ encourages us to use our five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and sound. Once we begin to slow down to take notice of these things, it can lead to positive changes in our perceptions towards ourselves, others and the world.

What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is a fun and healthy way to maintain a positive relationship with food. It is NOT a diet and focuses on the way we eat food rather than what we might choose to eat.

Mindful eating involves us being fully present when we eat our food and requires us to give our full attention to that activity, without being distracted, so that we can truly  enjoy the experience of eating. It’s not just about the way we eat either, it can extend beyond this in terms of how we prepare our food and taking pleasure in this activity.

Why is mindful eating important?
Research has shown that when we mindfully eat we are more likely to be in tune with our body’s needs and not binge-eat or overeat. If we’ve struggled with our relationship with food in the past, it may also help us to find our love and appreciation for food again. This makes eating food a relaxed and happy experience which can create positive emotions as well as fulfilling our physical need for food.

How you can begin to eat mindfully?
I’m going to go into more detail about the techniques of mindful eating next week but here are some pointers to get you started on your mindful eating journey:

– The next time you go shopping, choose foods that are rich in colour, have different textures and smell great.
– When preparing your meal, make sure you are fully engaged with that activity. Turn the TV off, put your phone on silent and enjoy the cooking process.
– Lay the food nicely on your plate and take pleasure in what you’ve created.
– Sit down to eat, free from distractions.
– Before taking in a mouthful of food, notice the colour of it, how it feels and how it smells.
-Put your utensils down whilst eating your food and chew slowly. Give full attention to how the food feels in your mouth, the texture and notice the flavours.
– Enjoy your meal. This should be a fun experience and the slower you eat, whilst giving your full attention to eating, means that your body will indicate to you when it is satisfied and you’ll get fuller quicker!!

Your turn!
So have a go. Let us know how you get on. You might love it or it might not be for you. Either way, I hope  you gain something from this experience!

I hope you have an amazing week.

Until next time,

R