Pie advice for Christmas

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For info, this is a Mr Kipling but I intend to try many more brands before January rolls around

Do you know how many calories there are in a mince pie? I don’t. And I don’t want to; it’s not going to affect whether or not I eat one.

At this time of year we are even more conscious of ‘bad’ foods than usual and it makes me sad. If you want the pie/wine/chocolate, in my opinion, you should just have it. But make sure you genuinely do want it. If you’re just stuffing your face because it’s there and you can, where’s the enjoyment in that? Equally, where’s the enjoyment in denying yourself if you really want it?

Sure, fitness, BMI, cholesterol levels etc are important, but so is mental and emotional wellbeing. Equally as important, actually. And by counting the calories of everything you eat or drink this season, you’re bringing stress into the equation. If you’re someone who struggles with their weight, with emotional eating or you have a tendency to obsess over healthy foods, counting the calories in every extra treat you have this season is going to make matters even worse. I suggest, if you’re worried about over-indulging, ask yourself this: ‘Will I get proper enjoyment from this?’ (or, ‘Is it worth it?’ if that’s more the way you think). If the answer is yes, then go for it! Life is too short to overthink things. If you feel like you’re maybe just eating and drinking things because they are there, perhaps it’s a good time to take a break.

It can be so simple really; listen to your body – if you’re honest, you know what it feels like when you’re overdoing things, so back off a bit and you’ll feel better. And if you’re really worried about putting on weight, factor in an extra run, walk or other workout, just for good measure.

Let’s not ruin the awesome relationship we have with that mince pie by over-analysing it; it’s there to make you happy, that’s all. Stop worrying about food, be kind to yourself and have fun!

Dealing with setbacks

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My humorous. Not where it’s meant to be.

Nobody’s invincible. We all know that, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on a roll, training is going well, you’re in good health and you have goals that you really can reach, if you just carry on. So when the rug is pulled from under you, what do you do? A few weeks ago, I had just completed an ultra marathon and was heading into training for a road marathon when I fell on a bouncy castle (yes, I know, I’m 40 – my mum has already mentioned this) and dislocated my shoulder.

 

So it’s all change. Ten days in a sling, four weeks with no high-impact or weight-bearing exercise. Sixteen weeks recovery with physio. It would be easy to get down about this. And at times I have been, but the thing that’s most surprising is that it’s actually not that bad. Sure, I had to drop out of the marathon, and not being allowed to drive has been a pain but, overall, I’ve realised that it’s ok.

First obvious problem is training. I was worried I would lose fitness, lose all the hard work I’d put in. But all that hard work is in fact still paying off – if you have incorporated fitness and training into your everyday life, it takes quite a while to lose. And I’m lucky, I’m a PT, so I have devised a couple of zero-impact, cardio and resistance workouts that I’m confident will keep me going while I wait to get stronger.

Second problem is work. I can’t demo new moves, I can’t drive to see clients. After a disastrous morning where I insisted I could walk from client to client with a kettlebell, yoga mat and bag all hanging off one shoulder (the good one), I realised I could ask for help. This can be really difficult, even when people outright offer, when you’re used to doing everything yourself. But the relief when you do and (in my case) don’t have to try to figure out a new non-weights routine for your client, don’t have to get cover for teaching a class… the relief. Look at it this way, if someone you cared about needed help; nothing crazy, just a lift in the car or lending something for a few days, you absolutely would do it! You wouldn’t even think twice about it. Take the help when it’s offered. Ask when you need it.

I guess I’m just advocating positive thinking and positive action. Not a new concept, but certainly a good one. And maybe that marathon would have been a boring one anyway.

 

Flu season

IMG_1921I’ve just crawled out of bed after days of flu and feel like I really need to go for a run. But then I made the bed and that wiped me out, so I guess a run is out. If you’re seeing results from your training and have something to aim for, it can be hard to take a step back when you feel a bit under the weather, but it’s important not to overdo it and end up bed ridden. If you’re not sure whether to train, one way to figure it out is to use the ‘neck check’. This basically means that if your symptoms are above the neck (head aches, runny nose, sore throat) you’re good to go – you’ll be able to exercise moderately and still be ok. If it’s below the neck (chesty cough, aches and pains in your body) then it’s a no.

And when you’re better, take it easy – a fantastic option for those recovering from illness is Pilates. Your heart rate stays steady, your body is challenged, but you can push yourself less if necessary, and you’re staying in one spot, so won’t find yourself out in the park or pool, wishing you were at home in bed. I can’t recommend Harri Angell’s Pilates for Runners enough – it has beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises and you can get back on track with as little as 15 minutes a day, at home on the living room rug – what’s not to like?