At the beginning of the year I, like I am sure many others did, made a decision to make some simple changes for a healthier life. Over the last year my health has suffered for a couple of reasons that I won’t bore you with 🙂 But the outcome was quite a few extra pounds and high blood pressure. Part of the problem is that I am a workaholic and perfectionist and the hours spent at my desk were getting longer and longer – what is a weekend? My days were fuelled by caffeine and quick and easy meals courtesy of Waitrose and Marks & Spencers. I mean their food is so good why cook yourself? Which is crazy because not only do I love to cook, but I also find it therapeutic too – my Mum always used to say she knew when I needed to unwind because I would be found in the kitchen baking. Liz joining me has helped, because not only does she insist we have a healthy lunch she has taken some of the workload away from me and makes me drink water throughout the day too. I am sure that many of you can relate to some or all of this.
So that was a good start, but I still needed to address the lack of exercise and the extra pounds and of course the clothes that no longer fit! I knew that I needed to be in the right frame of mind and that I didn’t want to follow a “diet” as such. One evening I stumbled across Tom Kerridge’s TV programme and was staggered to hear that he had lost 12 stone! Thankfully I didn’t need to lose anything like that, but I really enjoyed watching the meals he was creating and hastily ordered his book.
I absolutely love the book and the recipes and for me, an added benefit that you need to spend some time cooking the meals from scratch. This benefited me in two ways. Firstly some of the dishes contain a lot of ingredients, what this means is that they are so full of flavour that there is absolutely no “hardship” in eating them. In fact my husband loves the South Indian Fish Curry so much that we have been eating it on a regular basis. The second benefit is that I have to leave my desk at a sensible time to cook an evening meal and I am really enjoying the process.
The next issue was the exercise. We have started walking after lunch to help prevent that 3 o’clock slump and it is great for brainstorming sessions too. I watched a TV programme recently about weight loss and it tested whether walking 10,000 steps per day was any better than 3 ten minutes bursts of fast walking. They discovered that the people who had been tasked with walking 10,000 steps found it too hard to fit into their daily routine and most had failed to achieve the goal. Whereas those who did 3 bursts of fast, 10 minute walking found it easy to achieve and were therefore gaining more benefit. They also discovered that the original idea of the 10,000 steps wasn’t something that had been determined through research, but was actually a marketing ploy to sell an early version of a step monitor. Bursts of 10 minutes works so much better for me because I will commit to it. With our workload it just isn’t possible to build in enough time to do 10,000 steps. I will let you know how it works out.
Today as I write this I am 11 pounds down and feeling motivated and more energetic than I have for a long time. Plus I haven’t really felt like I am dieting. The one food item that I have cut out completely is bread. I know if I start eating it I will crave it, but being in the right frame of mind meant that I simply stopped and haven’t really been tempted. I only eat potatoes if we have a Sunday roast – it’s not a roast without – I have steamed vegetables instead. Breakfast consists of Porridge, often with fruit. Lunch is home made soup (less salt and whizzed up in minutes in my Nutri Bullet) and evening meals are from Tom Kerridge’s book.
The final part of the plan is about reducing stress and having time out. It seems crazy that I, as someone who has what most people would think is a dream job, get stressed. I do realise how lucky I am and I do absolutely love what I do. But I also know that I need to spend less hours at my desk. Since both girls are now away at University we have arranged regular visits to them, or for them to come home and I have set myself a rule of not working those weekends. As I mentioned, I am leaving my desk a little earlier in the evening in order to cook. But as my husband is often late home there is still the temptation to just get one more thing done.
However, one great reason to get away from my desk is to “play” in my wardrobe. I have always loved putting outfits together and really do enjoy working out new ideas and outfits to try out. I know there are people who will say that spending time like this is fluff and/or materialism. But having worked with so many women over the years, I know that it is actually about confidence and expressing who you are and that is far from being fluff. I want to be able to feel confident when I leave the house and I want that for my clients and readers too. As the weight is coming off I am finding things that I had grown out of and want to create new outfits and update them for this year.
Finally, a few other small changes I have incorporated include buying flowers every week (see my recent post on flower arranging) having either relaxing candles or invigorating ones burning depending on what’s needed. Morning showers with a gorgeous Body Scrub followed by scented shower gel to get me started on the right foot. And one small but really impactful change, most mornings I wake up naturally rather than with an alarm. After years of getting up at 6am to get the girls to school, it is such an indulgence to sleep until I am ready to wakeup. It is amazing how the body regulates itself and I tend to wake up at roughly the same time most mornings, without being forced awake by a demanding alarm.
I will keep you updated with my progress over the coming months. If you have any tips about anything I have covered here please leave me a comment below.
Have you planned your own changes for this year? If you feel your confidence needs a boost and your look or wardrobe need a transformation we would love to help. Check out our services or treat yourself to our new course, The Style Guide, which aims to put the real you into your wardrobe. Over the weeks of the course it provides downloadable tips sheets, exercises and work sheets that you customise to create your own personalised Style Guide, that will transform your wardrobe and boost your confidence.
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