Happy 2015! I hope you had a lovely Christmas break. I thoroughly enjoyed myself gorging on my homemade Peppermint Bark, Keogh’s Turkey & Stuffing crisps and copious amount of mulled wine. By the end of December my body had had enough and my skin started to show the effects of too much sugar and wine on my system – lots of spots as if I was a teenager again! (I’m 31 – a fact I still find very hard to believe!)
I am all for a few well-intentioned resolutions to ring in the New Year, but my problem with a lot of them is that January, the bleakest of months, just feels like the worst time to give up all the enjoyable foods we love or to take up a new exercise plan.
Back in May of 2013, I joined a running group for 8 weeks and by the end of June I was able to run for 30 minutes straight without stopping, which was about 4.5 km. I was thrilled with myself and kept it going for another 6 or 7 months until an old hip injury flared up and I had to stop to let my hip heal. But I had fallen in love with running.
My point here is that April or May is the perfect time to take up such an activity, as the long bright evenings are ideal for running, whereas you couldn’t have paid me to take up running in the bleak mid winter!! However now that I know I can do it, there’s nothing stopping me from getting back out there and regaining that level of fitness – except my own will power. I’ve always been a walker (I don’t drive), so I found that I actually loved running and it was very therapeutic for me, as you can go into a kind of meditative state. But it’s not for everyone, as I have many friends who’ve tried it and just couldn’t enjoy it. So find something you actually enjoy doing and you’re much more likely to keep with it.
So I have decided that I will return to running this year and I’m looking forward to getting up to running 5k later this year. I’m not really that interested in running a 5k race as a goal – instead I just really want to be able to incorporate it into my weekly routine and feel the benefits of it day to day – like increased fitness, increased muscle tone, improved sleep, improved mood, all of which are invaluable.
As for New Year’s diet resolutions, I know I have to be more disciplined because I have about 2 stone that I want to lose this year, and the biggest obstacle in my way is my diet. Up until the age of 25 I was one of those girls who could pretty much eat what they wanted. I am quite tall (5’9″) and was always what you might call slim. But that all changed at 25 when I began to pile on the weight and feel very drained all the time.
Eventually after 2 years of feeling like crap, I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid, but it was another 2 years before I got the treatment correct, and so at 29 I found myself about 2 and a half stone heavier than at 25. For someone who had never ever struggled with weight growing up, I still find this hard to accept. I took my fast metabolism for granted. I was never a dieter and just generally ate well during the week and indulged on weekends. I loved my food and never ever had a bad relationship with it and never had to watch my weight.
Now at the age of 31, I have to accept that if I want to lose the 2 and half stone (I’d settle for 2 stone) I will just have to get really disciplined about what I eat. Watch the portions, eat at the right times, and keep the treats to a minimum. I am already very conscious of eating real food, and hardly ever eat processed foods, but portions will have to be looked at much more carefully. When I took up the running I lost about 10 pounds, which has crept back on in the past year since I stopped running. So while I won’t be living on salads – because January is not the time for salads – I will be eating more fruits and vegetables, less fat and sugar, and hopefully feeling the difference!
Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Or are you waiting until the Spring to overhaul your life? Let me know in the comments?
Need some cosy but healthy food for those bleak January mornings? Try my Apple & Cinnamon Porridge to warm you up!