Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Getting fit and healthy

Ha, well there's a title I didn't think I'd ever see myself writing!
Don't worry, I haven't given up on the cake baking. That just wouldn't be me, and I'm still a firm believer that a little of what you fancy - substitute cake/chocolate here - does you no harm at all. Moderation is the key.
Trouble was that I realised I was indulging a little too much. I was using the excuse that I needed extra calories as I'm breast feeding as a reason to eat a bag of mini eggs in one sitting. And while this hasn't really done me any harm in the short term, I realised I should probably try and clean up my snacking habits a bit.
That's where my downfall was. We eat healthy home cooked meals every night. One plus side of cooking for allergies is that you can't eat processed food and so need to cook from scratch. But in between meals I was reaching for the biscuit jar a little too often. But hey, those of you who have breast fed know how hungry you get, right? Ravenously so at times, and a handful of chocolate digestives fits the bill just nicely!
A little over a month ago I came across the green smoothie challenge at simplegreensmoothies.com. They challenge you to drink a green smoothie every day for 30 days. It sounded like just what I needed to kick start the new healthy me. I read the site a little more and they claimed that by drinking a daily green smoothie your cravings for sweet things would go down. I was a little less convinced by that! Still, I wanted to give it a go and that week I added a couple of bags of spinach to my shopping list, as well as a pile of extra fruits.
Now I'll admit, it's not the most attractive looking thing once it's all mushed up in the blender, and I did get some looks of horror from the boys and my beloved, and it does smell a little bit like fresh grass - stick with me here - but it tastes delicious!
I was an instant convert, easily drinking my one smoothie a day, and this Thursday my 30 days are up!
Plus, they were right. I didn't want to eat that junk between meals any more.
Simplegreensmoothies.com is full of inspiring green smoothie recipes and beautiful coloured photographs of them but my favourite one is one I came up with using the formula they give below...


If you've never tried a green smoothie before then try this one: 1 cup spinach, 1 cup water, 1 mango, 2 oranges. It's like a bright and sunshiny morning.
Moving on from the smoothies, I decided to add a little extra excercise into my life too. I've always considered looking after the boys and everything that running a busy household involves as enough excercise for me. Then on top of that there's the walking involved in taking the boys to school and back. It must add up!
But then one day Calum (11) came home from school on a day when he has running club, and asked if I would go out running with him as he wanted to run more than just once a week at club. On top of that, both he and David are working on their fitness at rugby too.
I didn't outwardly laugh when Calum suggested it but inwardly, well, I've spent my whole life avoiding running. It just wasn't me. But then I thought, why not? I might hate it or I might love it and it's worth a shot.
So, I downloaded a couch to 5k app, and we began our training schedule at the weekend.
At the moment this picture sums up my fledgling running...


...but you've got to start somewhere.


I'm using the NHS couch to 5k podcasts. In the first week you run for 60 seconds then walk for 90 seconds and repeat this 8 times, with a 5 minute walk at the start and end. Calum and David (8) are my running buddies, Ally (4) comes along on his scooter (although he sometimes puts it up on the pram and runs along) and Fraser is pushed along in the pram. I'm not sure if the pram is making it easier for me or harder. It's nice to have something to lean on but it's also tougher on the hills!


We've decided to take a running selfie after we complete each session and this was our very first one.



I like to think that I'll stick with the programme. I know it's going to get tougher but it's good having the boys keen to get involved. James (14) also wants to start running but he thinks our pace is a bit slow for him and he might join in later.


You only run 3 days a week, with a rest day in between each run day. On my rest days I've been doing Zumba - which I love! I haven't been going to classes, but bought the game for the Wii on eBay. And I always close the curtains before having a go! Again, Calum, David & Ally love to join in and I often end up doing it with Fraser in the baby sling.


I hardly know myself any more!





  1. The green smoothie actually looks pretty good to me. You have made me get my inspiration back up; after a trip to Phoenix over Easter, and then I was a little under the weather, and then came Mother's Day, I have had far too many indulgences. I laughed at your Mini Egg scenario, because that is exactly what I have been eating the last couple of days, saying to myself "I will just finish this little bag, and then I will get back to my healthy eating" haha; and I agree what you said about the chocolate digestive biscuits; I love them. I sometimes wish I didn't enjoy food; but I really do. I had been doing fairly well, and am planning to get myself back to my Trim Healthy Mama diet later in the week… just have to plan for it. Love your walking inspiration. I love that your boys want you to walk with them. Your program sounds really good. It gives you an aim and direction; I might look into that and see if Steve will do something like that with me. He can't walk as much or as long these days, because of his leg (from the horse accident), but that suits me okay, because I don't have a lot of "go power" myself. Have a great week Kirsteen. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. We sound very similar! There are actually quite a few couch to 5k apps you can download for free. The one I use isn't an app but downloadable podcasts. I really like them because someone talks you through what to do and encourages you and there is music to help you keep pace with both walking and running. And the running pace is not at all fast!! If you google nhs couch to 5k it should come up.

  2. I would recommend getting a fitbit too. It tracks how many steps you do, you can download an app to your phone, it sends you inspirational messages and if any of your friends have one, you can compete against them. Everyone is supposed to do 10,000 steps a day (which equates to 5 miles). I am a very active person, always on my feet for the entire day, and was surprised how many days it was hard to make the 10,000 step goal, even on the days I went to the gym. Two years ago, I gave up processed sugar. It was the best decision of my life because if you don't eat it, you don't crave it. I felt so much better. Then this Easter, in a moment of weakness, I ate a few Cadbury mini eggs. Huge mistake. I now crave sugar again. So I think I will try your smoothies to see if that takes the edge off. Good luck with your new regime.

    1. I've heard of fitbits before but they are a bit out of my price range just now!

      When you gave up processed sugar what did you use in it's place? Did you use any natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup? I've thought about trying to give it up but I know I would need sweetness from something!

  3. I'm not really sure why I decided two Easters ago to give up sugar. Maybe it was after realizing how many mini cadbury eggs I had eaten over the weeks leading up to Easter. They are definitely my weakness. I just did it cold turkey. I ate nothing sweet unless it came in the foods naturally (fruits, OJ, stuff like that that). I don't like maple syrup and only take honey if I have a sore throat so never thought of taking that if I did have a craving (but good idea if you like both of those things). My biggest craving for sweets was always in the morning. After a week, I stopped craving it. I felt better and even though I didn't feel I needed to lose weight, I lost about 15 lbs. No more strong cravings in the mornings or urge to eat sweets when really hungry. I ate almonds, raspberries and craisins for snacks. I regret eating those cadbury eggs a few weeks ago. Sugar really is an addictive substance, especially for women I think.


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