Year: 2016

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Easy like Sunday morning

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for any amount if time, I’m sure you’re aware that I’ve had chronic fatigue for 7 years.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know we all get tired, but it’s a different kind of tired (check this out to know more).  I’ve been doing pretty well for a little while now, which can lead to an over excitement and a slippery slope into doing too much.  I thought I’d been balancing everything pretty well until yesterday. I’d woken up, at a good hour for me, had breakfast and was heading on a walk with my house mate.  Immediately I felt tired, and I know this kind of tired.  We arrived home from the walk and I instantly needed a nap.  I tried to fight it but within an hour I was out.  This proceeded two more times throughout the day.  What had gone wrong? Why was this happening? I’d been doing so well and now three naps in one day. The answer is, I don’t really know what happened.  There …

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Believe. Belong. Become.

Over the last few years, as I’ve been recovering, my thinking has really shifted in terms of how I viewed my illness and my recovery.  At first I focused a lot on the physical side.  Being a trainer and general movement outdoor freak, this clearly was the answer. I was fortunate enough to have some incredible people come along side me at certain times of my recovery, who would just listen and gently suggest things, but I know overall were simply praying and waiting to see me come through it all.  Part of this, “coming through it” was to change the way I saw myself and treated myself – after all you don’t just get CFS/AF, it happens due to stress, life circumstances and more importantly the way you handle them and yourself.  I came to realise that my choices and actions had great consequences and it wasn’t that God wasn’t there with me in them, as actually he meets us where we are at and takes us to where we should be.  He wanted …

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How social issues affect your wellness more than you think

You can’t have helped but seen the utter madness ensuing around the world recently.  The Syrian civil war, subsequent refugee crisis, mass shootings, terror attacks, the great divide not only between the UK and Europe, but within UK borders, knife crime and increased racism. Go home 2016, you’re drunk!  All of this, however, probably affects you more than you think.  The one thing I haven’t been able to shake recently is how our health connects to social issues. Why? Because it all stems from the heart, it’s all about the heart. The heart is where health and wellness starts and ends, and it is where events like the former mentioned start and end. Maybe you think this is a big leap; maybe you’re offended by this… good! If we’re not offended by what is happening in the world around us and moved to a point of compassion then nothing will change. A heart that is full of pain needs healing, but this can only happen in the time said heart needs.  A heart full of pain …

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You can never take my…

.. so I’ve never seen ‘Braveheart’ (yep, I know, sorry!) but I hear there’s a quote about freedom in it. Over 18 months ago, during an early evening doze these words came to me; “Freedom is larger than anything you could ever imagine, yet more fragile than anything you’ve ever known” “Great”, I thought, “now that explains freedom to me”. So I pondered about freedom for a while. Freedom is something we all long for and desire deep down. Freedom from, well quite frankly everything. We want to feel like we can live in a way that we want to, to be able to choose what we want when we want, to be able to go anywhere at anytime, say what we want when we want and do what we want to… “if I want to hit that snooze button all day, then sit in bed and eat chocolate spread on toast I should flipping well be able to. Freedom!!! Yes!! Finally!” Is that freedom though? Would that really make me feel free? And actually …

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That’s not your identity

I wish when I was growing up someone had told me my identity was not in my floral patterned denim jacket (although to this day every time I walk into a charity shop, I have misty dream like visions of having an encounter with it), or that my identity wasn’t in the fact that I could eat and eat and not put weight on (I really wish someone had told me that, slight backfire – in more ways than one), or that my identity was not in the fact that I could run for miles and be ok with it. Identity, where do you get yours from? For years I placed my identity in my athleticism, in fact I even remember at school getting annoyed at a friend who also did particularly well in P.E.  “You’re too good at everything else, at least let me have this”. I should have realised that the end of lesson bell didn’t just signify home time. I’m all or nothing so when I started competing in triathlons and doing …

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We are our Choices

Jean-Paul Sartre had it it right when he said “We are our choices”. One of the greatest problems I come across in my job is people choosing to exercise and eat well.  It just doesnt come naturally to some people and a lot of us want all of the benefit but with no effort.  We are either a slave or a master to our choices.  You either have them under control or you don’t.  For the past 5-6 years I have not always had my choices under control and that’s no ones fault but mine.  I felt pushed and pulled to make decisions which ultimately were not healthy for me, I lived out of a place where choices had the potential to cripple me and really I was the only one stopping my choices from being healthy.  The thing with choices is that whatever we decide, we need to live with that and realise that our choices create actions which create consequences.  Sure, sometimes the consequences really can’t be seen but on the whole the …

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How’s your love muscle?

Phew! I just got done an interval and weights training session which I haven’t done in a very, very long time. It felt so good to get the old love muscle working, to get that blood pumping through my veins.  It also happened to be the start of Lent last week.  You know, that time of year when it seems that everyone gives up chocolate or cake, or chocolate cake, or alcohol – depending on how dry January went – for 40 days but no one knows why.  It also happened to be Valentines Day on Sunday.  It seems to me that last week was love muscle week.  That’s right, your old ticker, the old ‘strawberry’, the old “your heart is the size of a fist so fight with it”. Our hearts are muscles which need to be tested in many different ways to grow.  Just like any other muscle your heart needs working, perhaps even more so than others. Hearts are synonymous with love but how many of us actually look after and take note …

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HIIT for beginners

HIIT is a term which has recently been flying around the fitness industry like a kid in a sweet store (which is interesting as HIIT is supposed to shift the sweets – the effect of them that is). HIIT stands for ‘high intensity interval training’.  It means putting in all your effort, a harder amount of work, everything you’ve got for a short interval followed by a rest period or a low intensity interval.  This type of training burns fat and in a shorter amount of time – so no lack of time excuses here – and if that weren’t enough it also produces ‘afterburn’ in your muscles.  Once your workout is through your muscles will still keep burning calories.  So not only do you burn more fat, and in less time, you then continue to burn fat afterwards.  Essentially HIIT gives you the best bang for your buck. Give these HIIT sessions a go:                                         …

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I’ve got my Tight Pants on

In my room I’ve got my favourite pair of jeans hanging up, nope not in the cupboard, but hanging from a shelf. They don’t fit me anymore. Sure I haven’t tried them on in a while but the last I did I couldn’t pull them over my legs. I distinctly remember when I thought the washing machine was shrinking them, turns out it was just my legs growing, in the wrong direction. I’ve kept them as a reminder, and goal, of where I used to be and where I’d like to get back to. One fitness tip which people always suggest for weight loss is keeping old clothes. If you get rid of all your old clothes you won’t remember, or realise, how much weight you have put on. Makes sense right?! In a way it’s like a frog in boiling water, if a frog is placed in boiling water it jumps out. If I try and put these old jeans on I just won’t fit. If a frog is placed in cold water which …

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Sugar: The good, the bad and the ugly

As a kid there was no downside, nothing negative about sugar; it was only good in my eyes. I was the ‘Candy Queen’ (for those non-Brits the ‘Candy King’ is a pick ‘n’ mix sweet station at the cinema. Now I’ve explained you can see the level of humour we’ll reach). I could comfortably finish the biggest bag of pick ‘n’ mix during a film, or otherwise, with seemingly zero consequences. A bag of marshmallows – annihilated. A giant Toblerone – not a problem. Re-sealable chocolate bags – why would you do that?! A dessert, or anything sweet, was obviously to be consumed. Sugar to me was a friend; a warm comforting friend. I stayed active, running a lot, cycling, playing football and competing in athletics, so all that sugar got burned off. That was, until the teenage years, when hormones kicked in and I was less active – this was when ‘the sugar hit the fan’. I had multiple diabetes tests and episodes of passing out (all linked, I now believe, to too much …

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Today I punched my health choices in the face

Exercise and I have had a tumultuous relationship, one which started young and continues to this day. It’s like a bad relationship or phone contract you just can’t let go off. You know what I mean, we’ve all been there. This, for me, is exercise. “Exercise if you kick my butt one more time I’m out, it’s over. No more jumping HIIT sessions, or weights which I can’t even hold, no more moves which should only be done on a twister mat and if I hear one more thing about crossfit and its acronyms I’ll take its AMRAP and show it what I really think” Why is it that something which is so good for us causes us to go through pain? It’s so much effort and quite frankly I’d rather have Netflix judge me again for how I spend my time than have exercise make me throw up again, physically or metaphorically. Why is it then that exercise can create so many benefits and happiness for us, in the long run (no pun intended), …