It sometimes seems as though nature is against us honouring our new year's resolutions. You promise to get out and about and take some exercise in the fresh air, only for the weather to turn colder, and the skies to turn greyer. You pledge to save your pennies hard, but with the arrival of January and the necessity of playing catch-up following the expenses of an extravagant Christmas, it begins to seem impossible. Or, as in this case, I'm eager to get my teeth back into blogging - but despite having a new camera to play with and a fully-functioning computer keyboard, the darkness of the weekend seems determined to stand in my way! I'm quite certain I'm not the only one to be encountering this problem, and goodness knows, it has got to be one of the biggest pet peeves among bloggers. But, it has to be said, today really outdid itself in the darkness stakes.
But while I may have to wait until tomorrow for a second attempt at well-lit photos, that doesn't mean that post-writing itself can't get underway, and today I wanted to share with you the secret weapon I am brandishing as we stride into the new year.
I knew that I wanted 2015 to be the year I focussed on my health, and after many false starts across the past twelve months, this time, I wanted things to be different. While my intention to eat well and exercise has long been on the agenda, lack of time and organisation have been two major hindrances on my path to perfection. I use the term very loosely, by the way, as I personally believe perfection to be almost perpetually unattainable. But that doesn't mean that we can't strive to be our very best in every way that we can, and for me, amongst other things, that means getting to a the point of eating well for 95% of the time, and stick to a regular exercise schedule. No more two-week-long bursts of motivation - this time, it all has to stick.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I tend to be a bit on the stressy side. I'm a worrier by nature, and have suffered from anxiety in the past, so for me, making changes is not just about getting fit, but also looking after my general wellbeing. I have been meaning to incorporate yoga, pilates and meditation into my lifestyle for as long as I can remember,
With these goals in mind, I wandered the aisles of Waterstones on New Year's Eve in search of inspiration, when eventually, I stumbled upon a book called Nourish: Mind, body and Soul, written by Amber Rose, Sadie Frost and Holly Davidson. It's one of those rare books that contains everything you are looking for, all in one place, and with each of the authors taking charge of a section of the book, they've got all aspects of my lifestyle plan covered.
Amber writes the first section, beginning by talking about super-foods and offering up a number of inspired recipes for health-boosting smoothies and juices (an easy way to suck me in, as I personally drink a greens-based smoothie every day, and am always on the lookout for ways to add that extra bit of oomph). There are also sections on breakfasts, soups and salads, mains and desserts, and if you are a fan of foodie blogs such as Deliciously Ella and Oh She Glows, as I am, then this will be right up your street. There is an emphasis on clean eating, with nutritious ingredients such as eggs, kale, quinoa, avocado and sweet potato (all foods that I include in my own diet very regularly) popping up repeatedly in a variety of contexts.
The second part of the book, written by Sadie Frost, is entitled 'Superwoman', and initially focuses on breathing and meditation, before moving on to yoga and the relationship of all of these with - and their influence on - our emotions. Later on, she discusses how best to organise your day in order to maximise your positive output, and how to establish an energising routine to add structure to your life.
The next bit is one I think most of you will probably love - a chapter on health and beauty. If you love mixing up DIY face masks and the like from the contents of your fridge and your kitchen cupboards, then look no further! The section also touches on vitamins and minerals, body brushing and reflexology before finally drawing to a close. Very thorough, I'm sure you'll agree, but that's what I like in a book.
Holly is responsible for the final section of the book, which is aptly entitled 'Fit-woman' - Holly is a personal trainer, so there are no prizes for guessing what she is bringing into the mix. But she doesn't just bombard you with impossible-looking exercise routines and insist that you spring into action - she prepares you for the task beforehand by discussing how to alter your mindset for the better and replace negative habits with positive ones. She encourages positive self-image, offering up pointers on how to get around the obstacles (and excuses) that stand in your way. She finishes off with a four-week exercise plan, complete with healthy snack recommendations to nibble alongside it, and if you're not feeling inspired and motivated by this point in the book then frankly, there's no hope!
For me, this was just the book I needed to set me off back onto the right track in time for the beginning of 2015, and despite still only being three days into the year, I'm doing pretty well so far! I'm a natural lover of healthy eating, but that doesn't mean I'm not partial to cake and chocolate, and I tend to reach for it if I'm feeling a little bit under the weather. With this in mind, I have spent this evening baking up a batch of sweet potato and avocado chocolate brownies with all-natural, healthy ingredients (let me know if you want the recipe - they taste much nicer than they sound!) so I will have those on standby should the mood suddenly strike!
Fitness-wise, I was never the sporty type at school, but I have grown to enjoy a variety of types of exercise over the past few years - and this year, I aim to establish a more sustainable routine, rather than leaping in head first and doing too much, only to reach burn-out a couple of short weeks later.
If you're looking for a bit of health inspiration yourself then this one is a must-read. Do let me know in the comments if you've found a similar alternative, or if you're planning on taking a new approach to health and fitness this year - I'd love to hear what tactics you're employing!