Many Life Changes…

A lot has happened over the last few weeks, relating to work and fitness. I’m about to leave my current job, mainly, because I’ve lost some of my passion for social media and require a change with some new challenges. My only regret is that I wasn’t proactive earlier because I’ve felt this way for a few months. Things change, and you need to change with them. There are opportunities out there! Do you ever feel like this?

Also this month, I’ve decided to join a class aimed at gaining fitness and losing weight. Many people seem to have gone off the fitness trail and I’m one of them! A class meeting is being held twice a week, with a weigh in once a week. My start has been slow due to a weak ankle and now a bad back. Injuries are unusual for me, because I train to avoid them. So frustrating.

Because of all of the recent changes above, I will be writing some blogs about diet, fitness and well being. I am not an expert, but like to read articles about health/fitness, run (shuffle), exercise and write about my experiences. Also, I’m very normal and prone to overeating and drinking one or two beers. So you can take my ideas with a pinch of salt or try them out and read any attached links if you wish.

So what is the plan? I’m actually going to exercise most days, but start slowly. To be honest, food intake is more important because I’ve lost the plot lately. Hasn’t everyone? My calorie intake will be about 1200 calories with the occasional cheat meal. All food will be recorded. Luckily, healthy food attracts me even more than junk food. Cooking from scratch, whatever that means, comes naturally to me. Also, recently, I’ve devised some recipes which will fill me up,hopefully, without making me fat. (Blog post coming up.)

Although I run occasionally, I will do less of this and focus more on strength training and attend the weight loss class twice a week. Walking is also a favourite of mine, so I’ll do more prancing about the countryside with the borrowed dog, Oscar.

Really enjoyed the first weight loss class. Blaring music and lots of movement, but several exercise options given, in case you aren’t fully fit. Great stuff.

So the plan is..

  • Focus on new opportunities (there is a plan!)
  • Aim to become healthier
  • More outside activities
  • New hobbies
  • Read about health, fitness, etc.

Are you going to join me? Let’s hope it won’t be too arduous. 😏

 

 

How boosting energy will make you run for your life… Part 2

Part 2 – Suggestions on Energy and Motivation…

The vital point is to have enough sleep, as discussed in the previous blog. The other important point is to get lots of exercise. It is ironic how this seems to energise me. Often if I feel sleepy, a walk will help cure any sluggishness.

Upbeat music often cheers me up and procures some enthusiasm for the day ahead. Even on a Monday! Often, if I’m feeling tired, I will put some lively music on and it helps wake me up. Also, if I’m going on a run, music facilitates a good energy boost. Whether it lasts is another matter but, it certainly improves my performance. Sometimes, I may just put some music on and sing along and or dance, which can be embarrassing when someone comes home and catches you, as recently happened to me. Oh well, who cares? 

Sometimes a mental boost such a doing a crossword or catching up on emails help too. In fact, writing this blog often inspires and interests me as I can research and read about topics that fascinate me and hopefully, you as well. BBC Radio 4, or any animated radio show or podcast, is a good first thing, as it helps you think about current affairs and gives perspective to your own life.

Although this seems counterintuitive, often tackling a task can motivate and give energy. Sometimes, I set an alarm on my mobile for 40 minutes and do a blast of cleaning. A boring job, but it does feel great when it is done. The same with gardening. As you watch the grass and weeds grow it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but recently I spent a day cleaning, then weeding and mowing the lawn and felt quite accomplished afterwards.

This leads to my next point, and that is to get close to nature! Go on a walk in the countryside and enjoy the fresh air and discover new surroundings. Going with family or friends is fun, but I find walking alone (with Oscar the borrowed dog) helps me relax as I explore woodlands and countryside trails. I’ve managed to find my way back home, as well without getting lost lately, and as I have a dreadful sense of direction, this is a miracle, I can tell you. 

Reading helps because it makes you think about something different. It can help you discover new interests too. Often, I find Pinterest or even YouTube is great for this as well.

Although, having mentioned social media, recently I have taken a step back from it, as I am finding the content quite benile and without depth. Unfortunately, this is due to the UK election, but I’m beginning to lose interest in Facebook, etc. I think you get more depth of content from books, documentaries and so on. Turn off any devices long before bedtime because the light stops you from sleeping.

Lastly, mindfulness and meditation are said to be good for wellbeing and energy. Ha hah something I need to try!

Let me know, in the comments, below, if you have any ideas 💡 that work for you.

Thank you for reading my musings about how to get more energy and sleep.

Sum up:

Sleep enough

Exercise

Music

Sing and or Dance!

Mental boost like a crossword

Listen to a podcast

Time yourself and clean

Gardening

Borrow a dog and go for a walk

Read a book

Mindfulness

Meditate

 

 

#Juneathon, update plus a lunch recipe…

Ingredients for the stir fry…

The above means you are supposed to exercise every single day and blog, tweet of FB about it. Nowadays, however, most people just tweet or comment on FB rather than blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to blog about my progress, until now, but have been doing the exercise which is my main aim.

Day 1 – 3 Gym
Day 4 – Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)
Day 5 – Short walk
Day 6 – Gym
Day 7 – Gym
Day 8 – A long walk

Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)

Also, I’ve written two posts about sleep and energy as I seem to be lacking on both counts at the moment.  These posts are out this weekend, so I hope you enjoy them.

Last weekend, I decided you use up the oldish veg and do a stir fry for lunch.  Here is the recipe…

Impromptu Veggie Stir Fry

Left over veg – I used cabbage and leeks

Onions

Chopped garlic

Mushrooms

Seasoning, including herbs

Smoked Mackerel

Hoisin sauce (about tablespoon)

Sesame oil

3 Eggs, beaten

Fry in sesame oil, the onions, garlic, mushrooms, seasoning and add the beaten eggs to form an omelette. Remove the omelette from the pan and cook the vegetables and add the sauce. When cooked, serve up with the chopped omelette and add the smoked mackerel. Lovely.

A great lunch, which was exceedingly tasty.

Veggie Stir Fry

Exercise can be contagious – new study finds..

During my Easter run, I decided to make countryside runs a habit. This is because I find them enjoyable, insightful and, most importantly uplifting. When I was young, and struggling to run half a mile, I would have laughed at this. Now instead of clubbing to the sounds of Donna Summer, I run with her dulcet sounds, as I pound the roads of the English countryside. Times have changed. The last thing I expected to be doing, is running.

One thing I’ve noticed is, if I’m honest, I prefer to run alone. In fact, any exercise really needs to be done alone. If you are in the gym, chatting, you are not working hard enough. Ok, I can’t work out and chat because I’m too puffed out haha.

Maybe I will participate in the park run again and enter into the competitive side of running. This element is possibly the best way to improve as you are competing against your own time as well as everybody else.

A recent study indicates that if you run with others you will run slightly faster (0.3 km). Running as part of a group will slightly improve your time. However, women tend to be influenced by other women. This may be because you may expect a man to run faster so you do not feel compelled to compete. I tend to expect males to pass me.

Scientists have found that a runner’s peers influence him or her to run more. Not all influence is equal and individuals are more likely to be influenced by less active ones. Men are influenced by both men and women. Yes, I can imagine!

So, perhaps I should join the local running club. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-exercise-contagious-friends-20170418-story.html

Flowers, blossom, bored cows plus reasons to walk…

Last week, I went on another country walk with the local walking group. This was to encourage me to get some exercise, enjoy a guided countryside jaunt and be sociable (shock/horror). Unfortunately, I had to pass my friend’s house and was fearful her dog, little Oscar, may spot me as I walked passed. Think I got away with it! He wasn’t invited on the walk because I thought it may prove too exacting. I was right. It was exacting for me. As we strolled through the woods, the chap leading the walk said we were going to do a circular walk around the village. We live in a large village.

As we confidently strolled up the hills it was easy to succumb to the temptation of slowing down but since going to the gym I tend to climb faster than my walking pace.  Well, you want to get there, don’t you?

Unfortunately, this meant waiting for the leader’s wife. Couldn’t help wondering why her husband, the leader, didn’t pick an easier route bearing in mind his wife’s state of health. Anyway, two hours in, I was thinking we were nearly home and then arrived at the local private posh school, located among fields and trees and realised, to my horror, that we had at least a mile or so to go. Everybody slowed down, which in my view, makes it tiring. I ended up chatting sympathetically to the leader’s wife as she struggled up the umpteenth hill. Tried to take her mind of it by talking about her son and his family. Guess it helped a bit and luckily the others stopped to wait while they chatted to a dog walker and an impatient dog who kept yapping and obviously wanted to get on. The dog owner extolled the virtues of keeping a dog on a lead even in woodland but I thought he was bonkers. Oscar would hate it and loves to chase everything in sight with absolutely no success.

Anyway, it was, despite wondering if the walk was ever going to end, quite uplifting. The sun was out, as were the first signs of spring with the odd bluebell in bloom, about six weeks ahead of time. We stopped to photograph the lambs, bored, sleepy cows, blossom and wild flowers. Felt quite healthy by the time I arrived home, which is always a good thing and I’m pleased to see that there are plenty of benefits to walking (see below) but I drink and eat too much as well. Don’t we all?

The walk was quite arduous and six miles long. The leader’s wife looked quite worn out by the end of it so I hope her husband made her a cup of tea when home. We enjoyed tea, although I would have stopped for a beer if there had been a pub on the way home. I didn’t get an invitation to go out for one that evening either, as we were so worn out.

Why I walk

To be active, lose weight and become healthier *lives in hope*

The walk needs to be fast and it is a fun challenge to stride quickly up hills

Great to see heritage trails, woodlands, animals, wild plants orchards, etc

Helps the 10,000 steps a day target

 

A study found the following benefits of walking which had sound enough reasons, particularly the last one…

“We may never avoid becoming completely old, but we may delay the time we become old. We may look younger when we’re 70 and may live into our nineties. Exercise buys you three to seven additional years of life. It is an antidepressant, it improves cognitive function, and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia.” (1)

Research indicates if you walk for two minutes every hour, you may increase lifespan by 33 per cent! You should walk 10,000 steps everyday according to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Enjoy walking and enjoy the grumpy dogs, bored cows and beautiful countryside too.

(1) Source: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/09/11/daily-walk-benefits.aspx

What is intentional living?

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What does intentional living mean? It is about finding meaning in what you do with your life and embracing the moment, isn’t it?

One of my aims for this year is to meet new people. It is simple to drift through life and not do anything challenging and trust me, meeting and speaking to people I don’t know, is as challenging as it gets.  It is easy to socialise with a handful of friends and talk about the same things. So I thought I might like to change this.

On Saturday, I met up with a walking group for not only their monthly walk, but a pub lunch too. We met at an agreed place and then drove to the pub to park the cars.  As soon as I arrived, I immediately felt at home with the other people. They were friendly, engaging and interested.

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We had a lovely walk around the English countryside and happily admired various views, talked about all sorts of things including jobs, village affairs, fraud, nutrition, health, theatre and of course, walking.

I must say, they were an extremely friendly bunch of people and I was glad I spent my morning with them. It goes to show that if you make an effort to go out and about, it pays off. I enjoyed the walk, but more importantly, enjoyed discussing and debating different issues. Of course, I enjoyed a pint and a steak in the pub too. Fantastic.

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The Game Changer? Setting Life Aims – Becoming Lighter Series (6)

Another way to keep up the momentum is doing a month long challenge. Start at the beginning of each month with something you want to achieve. Either do the aim every day, possibly at the same time, or do it daily or often (every other day) but keep adding to the challenge and see if you can reach the last day of the month.

Here are some ideas…

Play the Minimalism game. On the 1st of the month, declutter one thing, on the 2nd, two things, 3rd, three things and so on. See how far you can get. I got to about the 20th and then it all started to unravel and I just got rid of what I could.  The house is clearer though, so was pleased with the result.

Do an exercise challenge. On day 1 do one press-up. Easy, but by day 28, (28 press-ups) not so easy.

During previous years, I’ve done the exercise every day challenge. You do something every day and then blog or tweet about it. Starts off ok, but towards the end my enthusiasm did run out and it became arduous. However,  when you look back over the month, you get a feeling of accomplishment. I did London walks, country walks, gym, and running. Also, if you take photos along the way, it makes the challenge interesting.

Talking about taking photos, how about the photography challenge? You are given an option each day and you have to take a photo such as door, shade, night.  Then post the daily pic. on social media.

Hope the above gives another perspective on planning your aims. Thanks for reading and I hope my pearls of wisdom prove useful. Have fun!

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Supporting Your Aims – Becoming Lighter Series (5)

Now you’ve decided on your aims, planned them and finding ways of pursuing them the next stage is all about how you can support yourself and the aims. You could reveal your aims to family, friends or even colleagues. This suits some, but not others and it depends on what the aim is. For me, it encourages motivation, but suggest divulging aims only to trusted peers, especially if it is a tough aim.

Reminding yourself about the benefits of the aim. List the benefits in a journal and read it when you are struggling. This may reinforce some positive thinking and encourage you to be proactive and continue with the process. Well, we can hope can’t we?

It is always wise to think about the good aspects of what you are doing. If you don’t feel like exercising then remember how you feel afterwards. Same with cleaning, decluttering or cooking a fancy meal. Pocket the emotion. Oooooh must take some of this advice as I’m struggling with going to the gym during the cold, dark weather.

To sum up…

Discuss your life aims with trusted peers

Remind yourself of the benefits of the aims

Write a to do list or journal

Pocket the good feeling you acquire after achieving new aims

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Being Proactive with your Life Aims… Becoming Lighter Series – (3)

You can help the process by aligning the environment with your goals. For example, I have set up a place of work in a room in order to help encourage me to write. Ever hopeful! This has helped as I can pop in there and write, edit or research my blog, as and when I wish. Another example, is putting a kettlebell in the lounge, so I can pick it up and do some exercises after breakfast. This is fine as long as I don’t break something!

Try to foster a specific task with another daily activity. Well it works for me. For example, have a splendid cup of freshly brewed coffee, relax (old pastime) then do a few squats with equipment (new pastime).

Don’t panic if a planned task doesn’t happen just carry on and focus on next time. Evaluate and continue.

To sum up…

– Think about where you want to pursue your aims

– How you want to do the aim

– Devise a specific place or object to trigger the pastime

– Put equipment in a place where you propose to do the task to encourage the new activity

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Planning Your Aims… Becoming Lighter Series – (2)

So continuing with the Becoming Lighter series, if you want to read my thoughts on this subject don’t forget to follow and thank you for reading my blog. Check out previous posts too!

We have brainstormed aims and eliminated some aims and decided what goals or aims we intend to implement. Focus on one aim at a time and break it down into smaller elements.  This enables what psychologists call “implementation intentions”. Also, it is a good idea to find value in each task.

For example, I’ve decided to write my blog after having the late afternoon cuppa. I’ve attached the task to having a cup of tea and a possible snack during the late or early part of the evening. Mark Manson mentions habits in his paper (as below) and writes about how psychologists indicate that willpower can be trained like a muscle as it is about integrating good habits into daily life. Personally, I find it helps to combine it with something you want to do at a specific time of the day. This can help habit formation. Doesn’t always work because life gets in the way, but most days a cuppa (habit) and blog writing or researching (new habit) is beginning to happen. Same with visiting the gym. Which for me, is best done before work, if I can face getting out of bed, or straight after work, before I return home, eat and chill out.

To sum up…

– Focus on one aim

– Break it down into sub aims

– Form a new aim with your usual routine (new habit/old habit)

– Be positive

– Source: Mark Manson’s paper ‘The Guide to Habits’ (download if put ‘habits’ in search on this site)

Thanks for reading.

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