Category: Health

The power of rest and relaxation

Rest and relaxation (2)

The importance of a sofa day

I am one of those people who try to pack as much living in as I can.  The one thing I seem to struggle with is how to include rest into this life of mine.  This week I learnt a powerful lesson.

I plan my life and try to pack in as much work, play, socialising and self improvement. I laugh about the fact that I have a real job and my hobby jobs (blogging and crafting).  I know I need to rest but, there is a part of me that simply loves life. The famous line from the Dead Poet’s Society lives in my brain – Seize the day!

I landed up at the doctor this week literally shaking with fatigue.  Four days later I still hadn’t stopped and gave myself a bit of a fright when I realised that I was literally too tired to stand up.  It is scary enough that it took four days for the penny to drop.

The Doctor  kindly explained that people who are dealing with what I am dealing with, couldn’t do what I do. The word she used was comobidity (I had to google it when I got home).  Basically it means dealing with more than one disease at a time.

I suffer from a number of conditions including diabetes, arthritis and pernicious anaemia, all which contribute to my tiredness. Methotrexate treatment doesn’t help either, nor pain which makes me tired too.  There are weeks where I am in pain every day.

Using my rational mind I can understand why we need to rest, however, I find it very hard to do.  I just have this burning need to pack as much life in as I can.  This week I learnt a hard lesson.  I pushed myself until I literally stopped.

So today, a Sunday I have rested.  I wanted to share a few lessons that I have revisited some thoughts about rest that I need to remember.

  1. We all need to rest.  Don’t forget that.
  2. True rest is for the mind, the body, the spirit and emotions.
  3. It is ok to switch your phone off and take time out.
  4. A TV marathon never killed anyone
  5. Meditation is a mighty powerful form of rest
  6. If you can, prepare for your day of rest by stocking up on snack (healthy is good, but a little indulgence isn’t the ned of the world either.
  7. Drink lots of water – it gives your system a rest
  8. An early night is a good idea
  9. Listen to your body
  10. Spend a little of your rest time contemplating the good things in your life.  Your friendship circle, your beautiful home and the joy of a day where you can simply do nothing.

I am sure that my day of rest will set up for the rest of the week.  All I need to do now is remember to include rest in my schedule.  Please feel free to share, especially if you know people who forget the importance of rest and relaxation.

Kerry xx

Berry crumble – that is raw, healthy and sugar free!

 

De-constructed Berry Crumble (2)I have a very sweet tooth, and since being diagnosed as diabetic it is a constant struggle to please my sweet tooth, but also my meet my health targets.  I love playing with food, deconstructing it down to the individual elements and then rebuilding it in a healthier way.  This is my take on berry crumble, with a tiny bit of naughtiness at the end.

Even though there is no cooking you want to prepare your berries a good hour or two ahead of time.

Start with your choice of berries, I had a punnet of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.  Tumble them into a big bowl and add a chopped peeled apple.

Untitled design (8)

Depending on the quantity, add a good shake of cinnamon (approx 1 teaspoon) and the juice of a lemon. Mix gently so the berries don’t break up.  Depending on how sweet your tooth is, add some Agave syrup.  I am addicted to this cranberry version from Biona Organics.

Cover and leave to marinate.  The acid in the lemon juice will ‘sort of”cook the berries and the apples give you a gorgeous fresh tasting berry compote.

To serve simply layer up in sundae glasses (an essential ingredient for my desserts) and top with a little fat free yogurt (or coconut yogurt).  I added some sugarfree wheat free granola cereal to the top.

The final flourish if you are feeling naughty is a little grating of chocolate.  It is amazing how little chocolate you use this way, and you can still feel like you have had a treat.  Use raw chocolate for an even healthier treat.

Enjoy xx

Why trainers are hotter than high heels

trainers for fitness

I grew up thinking that girly girls don’t wear trainers.    I have had about 3 pairs of trainers in my life and I can promise you I didn’t wear the treads of any of them (until three years ago)

Anyone who has contemplated exercising will know that you might need trainers and you keep telling yourself that you can’t start exercising until you have all the right gear.  Delay, procrastinate, put off, any other words suitable?

I picked a mighty silly day to buy trainers  and it turned out really funny.  I had a hospital appointment about my hand, and didn’t realise they were going to numb it and inject steroids into it …

So picture this ….

Somehow I got myself into my car and got myself strapped in and drove around the corner to the sports store.  Didn’t realise that it is quite hard to fit a shoe on your foot with one numb hand (imagine post dentist numbness but in your hand instead of your jaw).  Added to the fact that I fairly unfit and coudln’t exactly touch my toes.

I wanted pretty trainers, the pink sparkly type ones worn by a 5 year old.  I have size 8 feet!  Not a great start.

The young man who helped me needs a medal – he had to literally put my feet into trainer after trainer all the while trying very hard to steer me towards a practical pair.  I think I tried them all on.

It was a bit like Cinderella in reverse.  One prince one ‘princess’ and hundreds of pairs of shoes.

I left the store with a great pair of shoes, notsparkly, but they have pink stripes.

My trainers first day out – complete with nice pink socks.  Apparantly my son did tell me that you have to wear a new pair of trainers in.  But I wasn’t listening or maybe it wasn’t said at all.

Now before this I had already started walking and built up some stamina – simply working in my normal shoes and boots.  So off I went on a nice circuit – the kind of walk that once you have done half there is no turning back.  Just after half way the blisters started. And continued and grew and spread.  I am quite determined, so I carried on and swung by the pharmacy to buy blister plasters on the way back.

So they don’t make blister plasters big enough for the blisters I had created. By now the exercise bug and hit and I needed another form of exercise that didn’t involve walking in trainers.

I decided the answer was a trampoline.  Don’t panic, just a mini one.

Years ago I heard that if you exercise on a mini trampoline the value of what you do is multiplied by some unbelievable factor.  I wanted one so bad, and a friend kindly gifted me one,  second hand.  I found it so useful. For about 5 years it served as a clothes hanger, laundry basket, Christmas wrapping station, and general depository for stuff.  It also tripped me up a few times on the way to the loo in the dark.

My first exercise was to unearth the trampoline and then to start jumping.  Now the exercise you do on it isn’t exactly jumping in the air, more like bouncing and dancing and generally having a laugh while watching TV or listening to music.

One small piece of advice for fabulous ladies taking up this exercise – get a good bra!!

This all happened 3 years ago.  My trainers are still in use and so is my trampoline.  I am not perfect and I don’t get exercise in every day.  I do try though and I definitely know I am fitter than I have been for many many years.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for all the comments and support.

Kerry xx

How giving up dieting changed a fat girl’s life

Untitled design (4)

I grew up thinking I was fat.  From day one really.  I don’t know why because when I look at those old faded photos with the white borders, I wasn’t.  But, I thought I was and that’s what counts.

I started dieting radically when I was 13.  I attended a slimming clinic where I was put onto a high protein diet and spent two hours a week a bit like a mental patient bandaged up with electrodes placed around my body to help burn fat.

To cut a very long story very short – I believe that crash dieting makes you fat.  I have through my life probably lost my entire body weight (not a small amount) at least twice.  I have mastered almost every diet known to man and woman.  I am an expert dieter.  I have got gold stars, stickers and even spoken as a motivator for a diet.  And yet as I crept into my forties I was fatter and unfitter than I had ever been.

Now, I know that it isn’t all’ dieting’s’ fault.  I have quite a few medical conditions including depression. Medication doesn’t help either.  I have also suffered from depression for a long time A couple of years ago I started changing my life and this is part of my journey.

Today, I am a little thinner, but a lot fitter – and fit feels good

After a three or four year period where I had just given up dieting (and surprisingly stayed the same large size rather than gaining weight), I made a decision that the time had come to ‘deal’ with it.

What made me so determined.  Are you ready? I wanted to feel sexy and feminine.  Each person will find their own motivator, but this was it for me.

My first step was to make up a mantra.

‘Nothing tastes as good as sexy feels.’

Everytime I looked at a chocolate or eyed up seconds I would repeat it in my head. I shared it with a few people and got varying responses. There were some who said they would go for the chocolate, and there were days I would agree. (and then I ate chocolate, and still do)

The next step was to get an appointment with a dietician.  The tiny lady who saved my life

Seriously!  Both that she is tiny and that she saved my life. Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia.

I have always had this idea that dieticians shouldn’t be too skinny otherwise they might make the fatties feel uncomfortable.  Well my dietician is seriously skinny – but healthy.  You can see it on her face so after my first misgivings I started to listen.

I remember 3 things from that first consultation.

  1. Change only your lunch – nothing else.
  2. Small changes
  3. Have blood tests (including an iron test)

Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia as well as a very low iron count.

I told her my mantra – still not sure what she thought.

The journey towards health started with small changes, primarily my lunch.

She had also said that I couldn’t eat lunch with my work mate.  We had got into a routine of taking turns making a nice lunch.  Which of course normally turned into a silent competition of who can put together the nicest  spread.  Speaking honestly we also rewarded each other with food.

Bad Day = Croissant or a danish

Good Day =  Curley Wurley (a dieters chocolate)

Boring Day = Long lunch with a pudding

You get the picture…..

The first month wasn’t hard.  I changed my lunch and made sure I was eating a protein at every lunch (not the easiest thing for a vegetarian who lived on cheese), and simply kept the goodies for the evening.

When I weighed in a month later I was 9 pounds lighter!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the first step in a long journey which as led to a complete overhaul of my eating habits and of course my path to fitness.

An extra message before I sign off from this post.  Compliment your children and give them a positive body image – I don’t know why I thought I was fat as a child, but after a long while I can look at these childhood pictures and realise that I was pretty and perfect!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

My Word of the Year Idea – Balance!

Balance (2)I have always been the type of person to make new year resolutions, and to keep them as much as I can.  At th end of 2011 I decided to upgrade this and choose a word for the year.  A word to change my life, step at a time.  I am proud to say that not only have I kept this up, but I have inspired many people to choose a word a year.  This is going to be a series on my blog as I share my ups and downs and how this little idea has helped shape my life.

Four year’s ago my life was in a dark place, and a little self reflection made me realise that my life was completely out of balance.  Work consumed me,  it even defined my friendships and leisure time.  I realise now that I worked because it was easier to do this than think about the other areas of my life that were not  under my control.

My health was not good.  I knew that I needed to improve my fitness levels, and yet didn’t have sufficient motivation to do anything about it.

This was my first year with a ‘word’ and I had no idea how much it would change my life.

Before I continue, I want to ask you to close your eyes and imagine me at the end of the year, in my walking gear, having returned from a walk and having a staring competition while standing on one leg with my son.  I can’t remember who won, but it lasted for a significant amount of time.  No matter what you read below, and in the rest of the series, I have dealt with it and worked to overcome and be positive in everything.  And yes, there have been bad days and tears, but this is a positive story.

The impact of the word ‘balance’  wasn’t anything dramatic to start with, I simply thought about my word, meditated on in and started to contemplate how I could incorporate more balance into my life.  I was contemplating balance not in the physical way, but more in respect of priorities and emotions.  However, be careful what word you choose.

The first six months there were no huge changes, although I consciously started to put aside time for leisure related activities that were not work related.  I explored new friendships and rekindled old ones.  I stepped up my reading and looked for new interests and started an ongoing fascination with psychology.

My world started to rock when I started marriage counselling early in the year.  It was never really couples counselling as the counsellor quickly realised that the situation required individual counselling.  There is a lot more to tell about that, but I digress.

My doctor at the time always invited me for my birthday blood tests.  An annual reminder to check up a few things.  I have had an underactive thyroid for years and years, as well as some hormone issues, that needed monitoring.  A week later I received a call asking me to come into the surgery urgently.  I had pernicious anaemia.  I had to google the word pernicious – I hadn’t a clue what it meant.  (Not going to go into detail now, but it wasn’t good).  Two weeks later I was told that I had Diabetes.  A month after that I got Shingles in my eye.

All this added to the emotional turmoil set me more off balance than I was to start with.  I was really in a place where I felt as though I had no choices at all.  I couldn’t see a way forward, and I felt myself sinking backwards.

The doctor mentioned walking. I didn’t even own a pair of trainers!  The first day I walked, it was on Spiddal beachfront and I walked with a kind friend who encouraged me and said how well I had done – I think that this was what would now be a 5 minute walk or less!  Looking back it was the start for me.  The start of change and getting balance in my life, in all aspects of my life, including physical.

I have found writing this first post both positive and negative.  I am proud to look back and look at my journey.  I am also excited to consider what lies ahead.  To follow my story, come back and visit my blog.  I hope to put up at least three posts a month about my words.  More on balance, and then change, discipline and create.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry x

7 Essentials for a Fabulicious Bathtime

 

Bath like you deserve it! (2)I sincerely believe that we have to treat ourselves.  In the past (and sometimes in the present) treats often revolve around food. Cake or chocolate in front of the TV.  I am trying to change, as I continue on my  journey to improve my health.  One of my favourite treats these days is a luxurious bath.

A bath can become a home spa with a bit of planning.  A gift to the senses that is not only extremely pleasurable, but also really good for you.  Read this post and start planning ladies, we all need some me time! Loads of  lapping steamy water to luxuriate in and more importantly a complete switch-off with no interruptions.

In the rush of everyday life it is all about a quick shower, but you cannot beat a bath for pure indulgence.  I find that an evening bath has all sorts of added benefits including the fact that it really helps me sleep – I get into bed all warm and cosy and completely relaxed.  And, I am told that sleeping helps you loose weight so double win!

Here are my 7 essentials for a fabulicious bathtime.

  1. Scented candles.  I love the flickering glow and the gorgeous scent.  Tonight I indulged inUrban Apothecary London’s Peony Rose luxury scented candle from my Mother’s day treatment Glossy Box.  I light the candle when I start running the bath and keep the door closed so that the aroma of the candle and the bath oils treat the senses.
  2. Lots of hot water – maybe it doesn’t need to be said, but I am one of those people who top up during the bath and I need to know that there is steamy water waiting for me.
  3. Oils.  I used to love a good bubble bath but I am now a convert to oils.  The lovely Elmis frangipani monoi oil from my ITWBN goody bag, a gift from the Raddison Blu in Galway.  Although this is a body oil I find a few drops in the bath along with my cheat product (almond oil that I buy from the Asian food store) makes a really special bath.  Aroma and moisturising – double benefit.
  4. Music:  mellow jazz.
  5. A good book.  Yes, I am a reader and I love reading in the bath.  It is especially fun when it is a book that I can loose myself in.
  6. A fluffy soft bath sheet.  As I am not skinny I like a towel that can wrap around me and keep me warm while I dry myself.  If the heating is on I warm it on the radiator for an extra sensual experience.
  7. Luxury body lotion.  Currently Naobay body radiance lotion from my Glossy Box again.

And then when I am super relaxed, my skin hydrated, I hop into my warm bed.  Switch the light off and know that at least tonight I will get 6 to 8 hours sleep.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your bath!

Kerry x

If we didn’t have bad days we wouldn’t appreciate good ones

If we didn't  have bad days we wouldn't (2)We all have those kind of days . The days that put everything into perspective.

I have promised myself that this will be  a positive blog, but this post is about turning a negative into a positive.  Let me explain.

I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands.  I am self injecting Methotrexate (which is one of the drugs from the chemotherapy cocktail).  It has been helping and his given me some relief from pain.  There are days however when things are not good.  Pain is severe and quite frankly it must makes me crabby.

I am definitely a glass half full kind of person, but when the pain gets really bad it is hard to concentrate, never mind think of the glass and whether it is full or empty.

Today was one of those days.  I felt myself becoming snappy, and if someone gave me a tiny bit of sympathy, I could feel tears welling up.  Not a good way to be, especially if you are trying to keep up your ‘fabulous’ and professional persona, and of course keep your invisible crown on your head!

At 4pm I gave in and reached for a painkiller.  I try very hard to steer away from them, but there comes a time, and this is my first piece of advice for dealing with those kind of days.

If you are in pain – take a painkiller.

The next piece of advice is to distract yourself.  After work I went silly shopping.  I wandered around the supermarket and bought easter eggs, and crazy dessert pizza.

The final piece of advice is not to wallow.  I was invited out by a friend and although my head was telling me to stay home and rest, my spirit said get out and live.  I had a lovely evening with good company and yummy food, and to an extent forgot about the pain.  (The pills I had taken helped a bit too).

My lovely sister called to find out how I was, and I think was a bit surprised to find me out and about.  I guess this post goes towards explaining why.

My philosophy is to embrace life, no matter what.   I embrace life, and try to be fabulous, regardless of the circumstances.

When I wake up tomorrow, the RA will still be there, and the pain might wake me up in the night.  No matter what in the morning, I will put my make-up on, position my invisible crown and find my fabuliciousness.

And when I have a good day, I will appreciate it even more!

%d bloggers like this: