Healthy Living

Fitness – Getting Started!

Hey lovely readers 🙂

Today’s post is a little different from the norm. About a month ago I started writing for a lovely online blog called The Daily Quirk which is written by a great group of women, and covers all sorts of topics from films, music, and books to fashion, recipes, and now healthy living (me!). It’s a really good opportunity for me to practice writing in a slightly different style and to get my name out there as a writer.

Here is the first post I wrote for them, hope you enjoy!

We all know by now that fitness is an important aspect of our health and hardly a day goes by without new information concerning fitness being highlighted in the media. The experts aren’t lying, exercising really is key when it comes to a healthier life and on top of this it is also a pretty good tool for helping you feel a little better in your own skin. However for many people, the word “exercise” can be met with some dread. The thing is, working out should not be scary, nor should it be dull or become a huge chore. You just have to take the plunge, as nerve-wracking as that can seem, if you just get out there and start trying you’ll probably find you enjoy it!

Having been someone who danced for almost 12 years of my life, I had my exercise each week through that, and then when I stopped I had to try to figure out a way of working out regularly that I still enjoyed.

Here are a few of my tips for getting started and finding your feet:

1. Find something you enjoy doing. There is no point doing exercise you don’t enjoy doing because you won’t ever feel like working out. There are so many different fitness activities open to you and there is definitely something out there for everyone. You might prefer working out in the gym on the treadmill, jumping on your bike a few times a week, joining a sports team like a netball team, playing tennis, or you might like working out at home with some fitness DVDs. Whatever you choose, doing some exercise you enjoy a few times a week is great!

2. Get motivated. When you start exercising, have a reason in mind for why you are doing it. It definitely helps you to find the motivation to change into your workout gear if you know why you are deciding to exercise.

3. Make the time. When you have a busy week it is easy to end up making excuses for not finding the time to exercise. If you set aside time each week, maybe three or four times, to workout then you’ll know you’ve made the time for it. I find it sometimes helps to make an actual weekly workout plan.

4. Start small and build up. Something that can often set people back when they are starting to get into exercise is aiming too high and giving up quickly when they fall short. Fitness experts often recommend that you make yourself a fitness goal, or series of goals, which will give you something to work towards.

5. Reward yourself. Exercising should be fun but even when you have found a workout you enjoy doing there are sometimes days, and even weeks, when you just don’t really feel like working out. If you have given yourself a goal to aim for then it can be really great to plan a reward to give yourself if you reach your goal. Whether it is to workout weekly for a month, to lose a couple of pounds or to increase the time you can run for by five minutes, give yourself a little treat like a new piece of workout gear each time you complete a goal and you’ll definitely feel more positive!

So here are my five main tips for beginners starting to build up their exercise. Everyone has to start from somewhere and hopefully these tips have helped to show you that fitness is for everyone and it isn’t difficult to start working out!

Do you agree with my tips?
Do you have any advice for people looking to starting exercising?

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Currently…

Reading…

I have just started reading Marlowe’s Edward II and so far so good. Despite being a lover of Shakespeare, I have only read one play by this particular contemporary of his – Doctor Faustus so I’m looking forward to getting into a bit more Marlowe. I bought a copy of the complete plays so I’m planning on reading another one in the Christmas holidays (yes I plan my reading this far ahead!). I finished Moby Dick at the beginning of the week and I also read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas earlier, both for my American lit class. I’d definitely recommend both to anyone looking for something to read, the latter is unlike any other book I’ve read and it is really interesting to learn a little more about the history of slavery in the US.

Listening to… 

Lately I’ve been listening to a singer I only just found called Mindy Gledhill. She just has a lovely, sweet voice and her songs just make me smile, I’m pretty sure some people would find her a little irritating but I really like her voice! Favourite songs are California and Whole Wide World.

Watching…

Of course anyone who follows me on Instagram (loveliveandlearn) or Twitter (@I_LoveLiveLearn) will already know that I absolutely adore The Great British Bake Off which I watch every week and drool over. I’m also watching a lot of beauty youtubers at the moment, my current most watched are probably Fleur De Force, Tanya Burr, and Lily Pebbles. These gorgeous women are part of the reason I have a ridiculously long beauty wishlist!

Eating…

A lot. My appetite has been through the roof lately, I think it’s because for the last few days I’ve been cycling a lot more than usual. I cycled 10 miles on Wednesday and about 6 miles on Thursday which is obviously not a lot for proper cyclists but when you have my knees it’s pretty far! So I’ve been eating quite a bit of wholemeal toast with honey or butter and marmite in the afternoons which is something I ate after school for years so it brings me comfort.

Loving…

Burgundy. Bordeaux. Oxblood. Wine. Deep red-y purples. I love this sort of colour, it seems to be hugely popular this year but I’ve always loved it because my ballet school’s leotard uniform was maroon. It’s such a perfect autumnal colour and it is the colour my nails are currently painted (Essie’s Bahama mama for those of you who are interested).

Dreaming of…

Christmas. I can’t help it, it’s less than twelve weeks away now and it’s just my absolute favourite time of the year. I’ve already started present shopping… Apart from that I’m also dreaming of seeing Tom which will be a reality tomorrow! I’m going to stay with him over Saturday night and I’m so excited as we haven’t seen each other in two weeks now, I’m sure it’ll be a lovely weekend 🙂

 

 

Thursday lunch with my mother, I went for a field mushroom Welsh rarebit, a side of cabbage, apple, and raisin slaw, and then a huge slice of apple cake. Delicious!

I hope you have all had a fantastic week and enjoy your weekend 🙂

What are your currently-s?
Are you looking forward to anything special?

What I Ate Wednesday No.44 – Busy Day.

As I am exhausted today, I thought it would be fun to join in with this week’s WIAW with the fabulous Jenn and recap my day so that I don’t have to think too hard 😉

Today was a reasonably early start so that I could bounce into uni for my seminar on the Romantics at 9am. I started off the day with my typical breakfast, snapped quickly on my phone:

Weetabix soaked in milk and then topped with blueberries, lots of cinnamon and a little drizzle of honey. Delicious.

My seminar was pretty interesting, the professor is a lovely guy but a little difficult to judge sometimes – he can be a little difficult when you are trying to give him the answer he wants, he’ll keep trying to coax it out of us even when heaps of people have tried to answer!

I had to leave my seminar 5 minutes early because I had to dash off and cycle across town to my physio appointment. Lottie, my physiotherapist, is absolutely lovely and despite being about 7 months pregnant she still got onto her hands and knees to show me some stretches. We went through some core exercises to help my lower back too and it was very helpful.

Back home for lunch, leftover over time:

Spicy aubergine and tomato with noodles. It was really fiery and a lovely lunch to re-energise me after my busy morning. I ate lunch whilst watching one of my favourites – River Cottage 🙂

After lunch it was time for some work, I’m currently reading Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II and finding it really interesting. I’m also working my way through heaps of essays from the Romantic and Victorian periods, some make for long reading but I’m learning so much, it’s great to be back at uni. Speaking of uni, this afternoon I was off out (again!) to attend the first session of the university’s choir. It was fun but… I’m not sure, it’s not the kind of singing I’m used to! I’m going to try it for a couple of weeks and see how i feel.

The final part to my busy day was an evening trip to the gym. I’m pleased with myself for dragging myself out of the comfort of my bedroom and I just got a 12 month membership so I’m committing myself to going regularly!

Dinner was full of fantastic protein:

Chicken stir-fry sugar snaps and chilli 🙂

Now I’m off to watch the Great British Bake Off so I shall say goodnight, hope you all had a lovely day!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?
Are you busy at the moment? Do you like being busy?

Autumn Goals.

Today has been an absolutely lovely lovely day. My first day off this week, I had lots of plans and high hopes which all materialised. Isn’t it great when a plan comes together?

I started my day with a strength training session – my first in weeks! It felt good to feel some soreness in my upper body, my weights definitely felt heavier than they used to when I was lifting more regularly haha.

Lunch was the best bit of the day, I met my lovely friend, Ellie, in town. In fact, we went to my favourite cafe which was a brilliant choice. We chatted for several hours and enjoyed some delicious food. Such a nice way to spend a few hours in the middle of my day 🙂

I went for a roasted butternut squash and five grain salad along with a caramel latte. Delicious!

We also decided to share a sweet treat:

This beauty is a macedamia nut, cranberry and white chocolate blondie. It was really good.

Then, after a wander around the shops with Ellie, I came back home, met my dad, got changed, jumped on my bike and went to the gym. I did 10 minutes on the stationary bike, 15 minutes of HIIT on the cross trainer and then a 5 minute cool-down on the stationary bike again. I am seriously on a role here!

Tonight I’ve been in my pyjamas, tucked up in bed since 8pm which is bliss. I watched The Great British Bake Off which has inspired me to bake tomorrow and I’ve been catching up on lots of lovely blogs.

A perfect day off.

*****

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for several months then you will know that I have often written posts on monthly goals. It’ll be no surprise to you that I like having goals almost as much as I like writing lists. They focus me and they give me such a wonderful sense of achievement when I succeed with them. Although I really enjoy writing up and trying to complete monthly goals I thought that, as I was starting again at a new uni and I’m going to be really busy, it would make more sense for my light right now to write goals for the whole season of Autumn. Therefore my aim is to have completed them by the end of November.

The goals I give myself always reflect what is happening with my life at the time. I feel that dividing them into themes is the best way of making them realistic and achievable. I don’t want to stretch myself harder than is possible with the goals, if they are completely unrealistic then they won’t get ticked off and that doesn’t serve a purpose, but I do want to push myself and use them to motivate myself to do well!

WORK

Start reading. I have a huuuge reading list for my first semester (which starts in three weeks!!) and I really want to get off to a strong start having read some of the books for each of my module. Most of them have arrived which is a relief, and there are some really beautiful copies. I’ve started with Moby Dick which I’m really enjoying and then I’m moving on to Great Expectations.

Set up a good work environment. My arrangement at home couldn’t be much better for inducing a work environment separate from my bedroom. My mum and I are sharing the study so I can have all of my uni things and work in there, then keep my bedroom as a sanctuary for relaxing in. I want to set up my desk before I start the semester and then keep my study space organised and clutter-free so that I can work easily.

Stay on top of things. I can imagine that, as I am going into my second year, the work will pile up quickly. Last year, because I became quite ill near the beginning and spent so much time completely debilitated by fatigue, I really struggled to keep up with my work and I don’t want that to happen again this semester. My aim is to do my work as soon as it is set (wherever possible) and to start assignments early so that I can spread them out and stay ahead.

HEALTH

Get back into a fitness routine and plan workouts weekly. Since joining the gym just over a week ago I’ve been trying to up my workouts and I’ve already started to feel more alive because of it. It’s great to be exercising again and I’m really feeling positive about it! I want to be at the gym 3-4 times a week and to be strength training about 3 times a week with some stretching sessions thrown in. To try to keep this going I’m going to make an effort to plan my workouts each week and keep motivated.

Eat cleanly 90% of the time. On the whole, I eat a pretty healthy diet, however I do fall down occasionally when it comes to sweet things. I crave sugar a lot – it mostly stems from the artificial boost of energy sugary foods give me which I used (wrongly) when I was really struggling to get through the day at uni last year. I want to cut this sort of snacking out completely and just eat clean, healthy food. Of course I will treat myself when I really fancy it, I believe balance is important.

LIFE

Cook and bake more often. Pretty self-explanatory really. I love creating food, be that delicious nutritious meals or fabulous cakes, so I want to do it more often! I have lots of great cookbooks so I’m planning on making dinner for the family as often as I can, maybe once a week, and on baking something new and exciting each week 🙂

Make my summer scrapbook. Again, obvious. I can’t wait to put all of my photos and the things I collected from this summer together.

Join societies/clubs at uni and find an opportunity to volunteer. I’m looking forward to making the most of extra curricular opportunities at uni, especially if I can find somewhere to sing and it would be lovely to try something new too. I also want to set up some voluntary work at a local primary school as experience in case I decide to do a PGCE after my undergraduate studies.

So, here you have a mammoth post on my goals! I hope you enjoyed reading them and maybe even felt inspired to make some of your own Autumn goals…

What’s your Saturday been like?
Have you got any goals for the month/for Autumn?

Guess What?

Guess what…

I joined a gym today!!

For now I’ve only signed up for a month’s membership as I don’t know what the gym at my new uni will be like but this gym is just lovely. I’m not a fan of huge, industrial-like gyms as I find them a little intimidating but this one is pretty small so suits me well. It has massive windows along one wall which overlooks the river so whilst you’re sweating away inside you can enjoy a beautiful and relaxing view. Bliss.

Another positive is that it has really nice changing rooms – good facilities, spotlessly clean, and sleek-looking. Plus they give you fluffy white towels to use.

The pool looks really inviting too so I will have to try that out sometime. There is also a jacuzzi, a sauna and a steam room which I reckon would be a lovely way to unwind after a hard workout.

Anyway as you might be able to tell, I’m pretty excited to be able to use a gym again! I’m planning to try to get there 4-5 times a week, barring any particularly difficult weeks energy wise. I’m going to take it easy to start, gradually building it back up to a level which actually feels like it does something to my fitness level (and even waist line!).

Today I took it fairly easy with 10 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 15 minutes on the stationary bike, and then a 10 minute stretch and weights session. 35 minutes in total and I have to say it felt pretty good. I might try to go back tomorrow!

 

Today’s lunch: bulgur wheat, rocket, cherry tomatoes, radish, cucumber and sun-dried tomato chicken pieces. Pretty tasty and so easy to prep each evening before bed.

Right, so here’s my little update for you today, I’m sorry my posting and commenting has been so sporadic lately – I’m constantly exhausted from work and when I get home in the evening all I want to do is read, watch cooking shows and sleep! I’ll try to be a little more present for the rest of the week.

What’s your exercise routine like at the moment?
Do you go to a gym or workout at home?
How many times a week do you workout? 

Practice Makes Perfect.

The phrase “practice makes perfect” is usually applied to scenarios where someone is learning something or training in some way but here I mean it in a slightly different sense.

As those of you who read my blog know, I have been battling chronic pain and chronic fatigue for several years now and it is an ongoing fight. (If you are new to my blog and want to know about this then I suggest you read this post to learn a little more!)

At the moment I’ve been seeing the Pain Clinic and the physio and we have had many discussions about where my future lies, what I can do to keep fighting and making progress, and how I can work on making myself better and living as normally as possible. I am not going to lie, I feel that my chronic condition has really held me back over the past year, with my health deteriorating so much in the first term of my first year at uni the year did not go how I expected or planned.

Being on holiday and back at home has made me all the more determined to get better. In September Tom is starting his first full-time job and will be moving to London and I want to be able to visit him easily and do lots of fun things. In October I start classes at my new university and I want to be able to throw myself into my course and into extra-curricular activities. I have plans to volunteer at a primary school and maybe with a charity, I want to have the energy for that. I am going to join the local gym and I want to be able to go regularly for proper workouts.

I know, that’s a lot of ‘I wants’. But the thing is for the past year, longer really, I’ve just been settling. Settling for things which aren’t as I planned, settling for something less than I hoped for, settling for a life I wasn’t 100% happy and fulfilled by.

Whilst I know that I will probably have to live with chronic pain and fatigue for the rest of my life, that doesn’t mean they have to completely dictate my life and it’s within my power to live life to the full as much as possible. I don’t want to spend my life regularly relying on people to help me with things, having to constantly make compromises and not being able to do the things I love.

I am not in denial. I know how difficult this is going to be and I know that there will be days and even sometimes weeks when I struggle and feel awful but I don’t have to constantly live as though I am an invalid.

With chronic conditions there are always periods of remission followed by periods of relapse, it’s just the way things are. I just want the remission to be the more significant part of my life. I want to feel healthy and able-bodied, I want to be happy with myself.

This is where the practice comes in.

Recovery and remission is not instant. It doesn’t just suddenly all clear up. Although some of it is just down to your body working better, a lot of it is down to the individual. Healthy living is so important for combating chronic fatigue and exercise really helps with the pain too. Equally your mental attitude can make an enormous difference to how you feel physically.

If I were to give into the pain and exhaustion, to just let my family, friends and Tom do everything for me, if I didn’t push myself to work, to study and to pursue my hobbies, I have absolutely no doubt that I would be worse and this is something my pain consultant wholeheartedly agrees with. It isn’t easy, you have to work past the lower levels of tiredness and aching. But it’s so worth it to be able to live the life you enjoy.

So I will practice pushing myself in a healthy way; not going to extreme to the point that my energy levels drop below around 20% or my pain levels rise above 8/10, but merely gradually doing more.

I will have goals to work towards, building up my physical ability and my day-to-day energy levels. I will make life worth living. I will live the way I love to be, I will make the most of all of the wonderful positive things I have and I will be healthy and happy.

will beat this.

Picnic.

Hey everyone 🙂

Still enjoying the weather? I know I am. It feels like a complete novelty after two months of solid rain so I am absolutely making the most of it!

As I mentioned in my last post I am working this week and so far it’s been great fun. The children are all lovely this week and with the weather this gorgeous we get to spend a great deal of time outside. It’s quite a satisfying job as I love helping the children to create things and develop their artistic ability, teaching in any capacity is such fulfilling work.

With the sunshine and the high temperatures we’ve been eating outside a lot recently. Yesterday evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner outside in the garden which was so relaxing – this truly feels like a summer holiday now!

Then this evening two of my lovely friends from my old sixth form came over for a nice long catch up. We put together a delicious picnic and went for a picnic in the nearby park. It was fantastic to be able to meet up and chat for a few hours and we had some lovely food!

I made one of my favourite pasta salads and we ate it with crisps, sausage rolls, grapes, and cupcakes – the perfect picnic.

Baiba and Ellie both looking lovely 🙂 It’s so nice to be able to just pick up where we left off and chat as if no time has passed, those are definitely the best kind of friendships!

I have another physio appointment tomorrow morning before work so I will let you all know how it goes. Having now been off uni for almost two months I’m already feeling a lot better, all the walking I’ve been doing has definitely strengthened me and helped with the pain, plus the resting has really lessened my fatigue. Fingers crossed things are looking up!

Are you a fan of picnics? Favourite picnic food?
Do you have any plans for the rest of the week?

How do you like to spend hot summer evenings?