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Movement, not exercise

Movement, not exercise

LifeBite

Living a healthier life

 through better nutrition

Movement, not exercise

“Your body is the most complete and miraculous piece of gym equipment you’ll ever need.”

– toni sorenson

Do you exercise and love it, or struggle to find the will to get up and do it?

Do you feel excited to do the activity, or feel fear and anxiety?

 

Do you exercise somewhere you love and feel safe, or somewhere you feel you are constantly being watched?

Do you do it because you want to, or because you feel you should?

I feel so sad for people who don’t enjoy their exercise. Not that you have to do the traditional definition of ‘exercise’ but if you do you should at least enjoy it. All too often people moan about dragging themselves out for a run, or to the gym, or to a class that they detest. And don’t even get me started on people who say they have to do it because they had something to eat earlier that they feel they now need to burn off. Let’s just get this straight – exercise is not a punishment and you never have to earn food or burn calories. 

I like to think of it as movement, not exercise. Movement is good for you. It’ll keep you supple and keep your muscles in a good functional condition. It keeps your bones healthy and helps with circulation. It helps you regulate your energy levels and your sleep. It has a multitude of benefits throughout the body that you wouldn’t even think of.

two ballet dancers

Movement should be done for the sheer love of it. It should be something you can’t wait to do, something you do because you enjoy the way it makes you feel.

Remember when you used to jump on a trampoline as a child, or when you used to dance around your bedroom with a hairbrush as a microphone. Do you still dance around the house when music is on, or has that disappeared from your life? What about when you used to kick a football around the park, or ride your bike so far that you got lost and had to find your way home (oops! Navigation never was my strong point!). What about when you used to go to the swimming pool and splash around, just having fun? Where has the joy gone? Where has the fun movement gone? Has it been swapped out for sweaty gym classes or the dreaded spin bike?

Girl sat on golf green with club and balls

If you don’t enjoy it just don’t do it. It’s as simple as that. What is the point in half killing yourself because you think you should be doing it?

Life is too short to spend time doing things you don’t enjoy. Find a way to move that you do enjoy. It’s going to be each to their own. 

One man’s pleasure is another man’s torture, but that’s fine. The world would be a dull place if we all liked to do the same things.

Even if you really truly love the activity you have chosen you should not be uncomfortable in that space while exercising. If you are in the gym and feel like people are criticising you for example that’s not ok. The reality is they’re probably not! They’re far too busy checking out their own ‘guns’ and their abs in the mirror, but whatever the reality if you feel awkward and can’t get past that then you are not in the right space for you.

Find a friendly class where you’re welcomed with a smile when you walk through the door. Go jogging with a friend you love to catch up with. Do some YouTube videos with your partner or kids if they’re up for a giggle and a bit of movement with you. Or just do something alone if you like your own space.

Find something that you love to do, something you are excited to start, excited to go to, in a place that makes you feel joy, with people you enjoy spending time with. If the by-product of this movement just happens to be health benefits then that’s amazing, but it shouldn’t be the main reason you choose your movement.

legs wearing running shoes on the beach

It doesn’t have to be overly strenuous or make you feel like you’ve been trampled on by a herd of elephants the next day. Ideally something that gets the blood pumping and the heart rate up a little for the health benefits, but you do you and if you are finding a way to move every day that’s got to be better than spending your days on the couch.

Move in a way that makes you feel fantastic, empowered, strong, free, mentally stronger, excited. Walk, dance, run, skip, ride, play, lift, breathe, stretch, connect. Which of those words makes you feel good and like you’d find happiness doing them?

What movement do you do that makes you feel amazing? Maybe have a look at possible new opportunities locally. Is today the day you try something new?

 

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant. As always, please see a registered professional before undertaking any new exercise routines. Please continue to follow any professional advice you have been given in respect of movement and exercise. 

 

Break the cycle

Break the cycle

LifeBite

Living a healthier life through

gentle nutrition

Break the cycle

“If you always do what you always did you’ll always get what you always got.”

– many wise people!

It’s groundhog day. You shower, avoid the mirror, get dressed as quickly as you can so that no-one catches a glimpse, wearing the same clothes that make you feel terrible, that are either too small because ‘one day they’ll fit’ or too big so that they cover the ‘multitude of sins’. 

You diet, grab the food you thing you should have, not the food that you actually want to eat. You don’t eat certain food because it’s ‘bad for you’ and you eat something else because it’s ‘good for you’. You pack a lunch that people around will approve of, so that they don’t give you the look that says ‘that is why you look like that’ or so that they’ll praise you for your consistent efforts. But you don’t enjoy it, and you are certainly not satisfied. It’s ok though because this diet will work. Loads of people have said so!

You exercise, you step count so much that you’re jogging on the spot in the living room at 10pm just to get the recommended amount done. You break your back to get to the gym in the morning or to that spin class you detest, and once you’ve done doing the things that are oh so painful you still aren’t doing the things that would be fun. The swimming, the sunbathing in a bikini, the trip to the theme park and going on the rides, the games in the park with the kids. But it’s ok isn’t it, because you’ll look and feel fabulous for all of this and then one day will do those things. But you don’t…… and you’re not…… yet?

Deep down are you happy? Deep down are you enjoying life, or just putting that brave face on for the benefit of others? Are you hungry for something more exciting on your plate, or even just something that has some flavour. Do you want to just for once not give a damn what your Fitbit says and sit on your backside on the sofa? Don’t you want to be comfortable in those clothes of yours? Don’t you want to love yourself, or even just like yourself a little bit?

Stop, just stop. I know all of those feelings. I understand all of those actions you’re taking. I have felt that pain and anguish and despair that you feel. And that’s why I can tell you with hand on heart that now is the time to break the cycle.

There is a famous saying that goes something like this – ‘If you always do what you always did you’ll always get what you always got’.

How true those words are.

All that dieting doesn’t work. Temporarily you’ll lose a bit of weight but you will put it back on, and possibly more, when you stop. You never get to that ‘ideal weight’ target that you have set for yourself because that goal keeps shifting. ‘Just a little bit more’. Free yourself. What if you didn’t follow a diet plan? What if you ate the food that you love? What if you ate what your body was telling you it needed and wanted? Your body is amazing. You can trust it to do that with a little bit of work. What if you don’t have a target weight to get to? What if you just learnt how to be happy with yourself in the wonderful shape and size that you are right now?

Exercise is good for you, sure, but are you exercising because of the health benefits or for your weight to change? Are you enjoying it? Is it a chore? If you love the gym then by all means carry on. There’s lots of satisfaction and health benefits to be found there, but I know it’s not for everyone. Exercise shouldn’t be an activity that you are dreading before you’ve even begun. Choose movement. Go for walks on a sunny day along a river bank. Go for a bike ride to explore new places. Try some fun new classes if you’re happy in that setting. Have a look around YouTube for some short exercise videos that you can try. You never know what you might find a new love for.

Give your body a break and instead of criticising it how about you take a little bit of time each day to praise it for the wonderful things it does for you? How amazing is it that your legs carry you around wherever you need to go. How incredible is it that behind that bit of weight around your middle that you are so unhappy with a baby once grew. How insane is the amount of weight that those arms and hands can lift. And how wonderful is it to use those hands to touch another human, to hug, to hold hands. See, there are some reasons to love parts of your body, regardless of the shape or size of them. 

This takes time. You can’t instantly love every part of yourself, but wouldn’t it be nice to just start to not dislike it? A little bit of kindness to yourself each day and it will come.

Wear the clothes that make you feel good and to hell with everyone else’s opinions. If you want to wear skin tight and skimpy then you go for it. You want to wear loose and light and airy for a summer day then go for it. Whatever you wear make sure it fits, feels comfortable, and essentially that you genuinely like it. Time to get rid of the clothes that don’t serve you well.

You also may not be able to do all of these things at once. One at a time is fine. Whatever you do though, break the cycle. Make that change. Make yourself happy.

Have a day off. Have a week off. In fact, get rid of all of that pressure once and for all. Today is the start of something new, but this time something good! 

Follow the LifeBite social media accounts for constant bits of motivation and tips. You’re not alone in this.

Benefits of meal planning

Benefits of meal planning

LifeBite

Living a healthier life through

better nutrition

The benefits of meal planning for your week ahead

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.”

– Brian tracey

There are so many quotes around planning and the motivation and success that can come from it, and that is because it is undeniable that planning ahead does encourage higher levels of success than just muddling through. 

This is true of all areas of life, and in many industries. Businesses aren’t successful because they played each day by ear – they had plans. Your family holidays are definitely better for planning when you are going, how you will get there, and where you will stay. Of course people do just get up and go and see where it takes them (brave brave people!), but on the whole people plan.

Now put that same theory towards your eating habits. Are you better off seeing how you feel in the moment and having something in the fridge that will satisfy your level of hunger, or what you fancy there and then? Come dinner time are you going to be able to rustle up a satisfying meal for the family if you haven’t planned ahead, or are you just hoping that you picked up enough random items at the supermarket to be able to cobble together a cooked meal?

Are you seeing the benefits of planning yet?

I’d like you to try something ready for your next big food shop. Get out your favourite notebook, a spreadsheet, a chalkboard, a Pinterest board (see the previous post about Pinterest planning), the family calendar, whatever takes your fancy, and work out what you are going to eat for the week.

You can just plan out your evening meals, so that you know what they will be and then see what you fancy for breakfast and lunch each day, or go the whole hog and plan it all. The option you choose depends on you and your personality. 

Do you need a full on routine and need to know all of your meals are planned, or are you better having planned but still having some flexibility, and so the evening meal planning is best for you?

There are a few reasons why it’s a good idea. Firstly, it’s motivating. If you are trying to improve the variety in your diet, eat more fresh food, lose weight, gain weight, or improve your regularity of meals then planning is super motivating. It gives you the starting blocks to build on and a plan that you can start to follow.

It helps you to shop smarter. You can buy just what you need, reducing food waste and maybe cutting back on the spending too. 

When you know what you want to eat for the week you can form a shopping list, so when you get to the supermarket you can just pick up the items that you need rather than hunting around for options that you may be able to use. Doesn’t that sound less stressful? I really don’t enjoy food shopping so I like to have a list, get in, get what I need, and get out! Don’t forget, you can use online supermarket shopping to plan out your basket and check your costs as you plan, so there will be no nasty surprises when you get to the shops.

It helps you to evaluate your own diet (if that’s what you are hoping to do). It’ll help you to spot patterns, see what you are eating overall, see where you might want to make some changes. Do you think you could use it as a way to plan in some more fruit and veg, or some more wholefoods, so that you can get more fibre in your diet?

 

Meal planning also takes away some of the stress of deciding what to eat each day. If you work full time for example, and need to feed the family at the end of a long day, then having a plan can help with this.

Maybe you could plan ahead and be prepared enough to pop the slow cooker on in the morning, or even just have some veg peeled and chopped ready to cook.

 

Make meal planning a nice time too. Grab a coffee in the morning, or a tall cold drink in the evening if that is better for you. Find a space you like to sit in and look through some recipes. Get online, or check out one of the free magazines that your local supermarket offers you. Recipes are everywhere. Enjoy the satisfaction of having lots of lovely meals planned for the week ahead.

 Just some ideas. There will be other ways to plan your week, but I hope that’s got the brain ticking and got you inspired. Now where’s that pen and paper………?

 

Diets don’t start on a monday

Diets don’t start on a monday

LifeBite

Living a healthier life through

better nutrition

Diets don’t start on a Monday!

“If I must start somewhere, right here and now is the best place imaginable.”

– richelle e. goodrich

 ‘I’ll start again Monday’? You’ve been dieting, fallen off the bandwagon, and now you’re looking for that fresh start. Monday, that’s a good day to start, isn’t it? 

A new week, weekend eating and drinking is done, you’re feeling ready. Monday arrives. Where is that motivation? Weren’t you going to start that diet today?

We’ve all been there, many times, which just goes to show that if starting on a Monday was the way forward it would work and we wouldn’t have to keep restarting on Mondays.

I’d like you to try a new mindset. You’re done dieting. Dieting involves restriction and guilt, both things we don’t want to associate with food. What you are going to do is eat in a more nutritious way instead. When you eat you’re going to choose more nutritious foods. You’re going to put a lovely mixture of food groups on your plate or in your lunch box. Some healthy wholegrain carbs, lots of lovely colourful fresh fruit and veg, some lean protein and some dairy or other healthy fats.

As you are making it, think how great that food is going to taste, how it will make you feel, how much energy you’ll have, and how much longer you’ll feel satisfied for. Doesn’t eating a meal like this feel so good? Isn’t it better than that food you usually grab because it is easy, but knowing you’ll beat yourself up for it later?

Start this TODAY. Start this NOW. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. You can’t change that. It doesn’t even matter what happened earlier today, because that’s been and gone. What you can change are the choices you make from now on. What is the point in waiting until Monday? You’ll just add to your guilt and by the time Monday comes you’ll feel worse than you do now.

So start NOW. Make your next meal a meal of great nutritious choices and feel good about it.

Pinterest for meal planning

Pinterest for meal planning

LifeBite

Living a healthier life through

better nutrition

How to use Pinterest for meal planning

“I cook and I really believe in the family dinner, I think that’s a nice time to bring the family together.”

– Gwyneth Paltrow

Deciding what to feed the family every day is tough. It often feels like a thankless task and you end up sticking to the same faithful meals you have always made because sometimes that’s just easier. 

If you know the family will like it and won’t moan you’ll keep on making it. Isn’t it getting boring though? Wouldn’t you like some new meals in your life, and meals that everyone is happy to try? Here’s an idea for you to put a bit of life into your meal planning for the week, and get the family involved.

Pinterest is one of those sites where I could lose hours of my life if I’m not careful, but it’s great for getting ideas together in one space, and finding new ideas. There are so many recipes on there, and here’s where you can use Pinterest to help you refresh your meals and step away from the same old same old.

First, why not create some boards for meal ideas.

Boards are like folders where you can save groups of ideas. 

They are personal to you, and you can call them whatever you want. My own Pinterest account has boards such as ‘Slow cooker recipes’, ‘veggie ideas’, ‘packed lunches’ and even the very fabulous ‘pies’ board. They are really easy to set up, and then as you scroll through posts you can add meals you like the look of, saved for trying when you are ready.

Searching for ideas is simple too – give it a go. Search just the word ‘chicken‘, or try ‘quick dinner ideas‘ (in fact, just click those words – I’ve already searched them for you). You’ll be amazed at how much is there to inspire you.

I like the idea of going one step further and get the family involved. Set up a board and share it with your family members. You could call it something like ‘Dinner this week’ and then add the meals you decide you would like to cook for the week so that everyone knows what will be on the table, or you could ask everyone to add one or two meal ideas each and share the planning. You might find they are really keen to contribute, which then takes some of the pressure off you.

Thank you so much to my friend Lyndsey of Lyndsey Smith Photography for this idea. I shamelessly pinched it and absolutely love it!

Once you’re confident and in the swing of things you could contribute your own recipes. If you find a recipe on a website that you want to save you can also pin that directly into your Pinterest board to link back to. You could add your family favourites, or recipes that you create. It’ll store it somewhere safe for future, and it’s fun to see how many people pin your ideas to their own boards. There is the option to keep your boards secret, so if you just want somewhere to store recipes but don’t want to save them, that’s fine too.

If you find an account that you love you can choose to follow them, just like you can on Instagram. Go ahead, set up your Pinterest account and have a look at some accounts and ideas that you like the look of.

Be warned though, before you know it you’ll have your recipe boards plus a heap of ideas for the house….. and shoes…….. and hair…….. and holidays…….. and the garden……….

References and Links:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/