Spring is here! Don't you just love seeing everything starting to 'wake up'? From the blossom in the trees, to breathing in warmer air - I feel like I am waking up too. I start migrating towards the light; I am up earlier looking for the sunrise. An attraction similar to that of the plants, I guess; buds and leaves breaking through to absorb more light.
Living with M.E has taught me an important lesson about agency and self-ownership. In an age where tangible goals seem increasingly elusive, it's no surprise so-called 'millennials' are focussing their energy on achieving balance, purpose and freedom in life and work.
I've reduced my intake dramatically in recent years, but reading articles about some bird who quit sugar and lost a load of weight and now has glowing skin and sleeps like a baby, makes me want to reach for the nearest bag of sugar and gorge myself silly out of protest.
Do you ever get a moment of peace? Or is your head constantly swimming with to do lists, appointments, deadlines and data? I've put together my top ten tips to help bring a bit of peace back into your life and to basically help you to just chill the heck out!
Did you know that we start to lose muscle mass from the age of 40 - slowly to start with but this accelerates over time at a rate of approximately eight percent per decade? Muscle loss - the silent ageing factor - is one of the most underrated health issues after 40.
The ability for This Girl Can fans to be able to self-identify with those they could see towering above them on the billboards or on their TV screens was what encouraged them to get out and find the best way for them to get active.
Getting or even staying fit is hard, there's no doubt about it. It's that difficulty that makes it all worthwhile. Achieving your own fitness battle is as much a physical tussle, as it is a mental one. We live and die by our beliefs. If you believe you can do it, you're right. If you believe you can't, you're also right. Which would you rather be?
It's time to pull on our big boy/girl pants and admit the truth - sugar addiction is not the reason we're overweight or unhealthy, WE ARE THE REASON. There, I've said it and while I know it's not what you want to read, it's time we stopped pussyfooting around with excuses to make ourselves feel better.
Given all of this, maintaining a sound mind in the Big Smoke has got to be about finding things that are readily at your disposal and using them to minimise stress - to help you manage the mental health minefield of London from within. Here are some easy, city-centric suggestions:
It's possible to eat healthy foods, even with a jam-packed schedule and through the holidays. It just requires a little bit of pre-planning to ensure success. You'll feel better, have more energy, and your waistline will thank you too.
Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom.
Not that long ago, the only choice when it came to nut butters was smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Now the preserves shelves in health food shops are offering a choice of almond, cashew and brazil alternatives - but what are the health benefits?
During the Christmas season, I was busy throwing myself in to drinking and eating to excess like the rest of the nation when I had a this nagging feeling of self-disapproval (and it was nothing to do with the fact I'd just eaten a whole Terry's Chocolate Orange in secret whilst steaming my clothes for work the next day).
When it comes to weight-loss we are always looking to spotlight a particular food group as the hero or villain. We talked about fats for years - they were DEFINITELY the reason behind our obesity crisis and so we were sold low-fat, sugary, processed apologies for food to make us all slim and healthy. Oooops! Well, that certainly didn't work.
Working out seems like it's the only thing to do if you want to build muscle and get a ripped physique, but what a lot of people don't realise is that exercise is just a small part of the process, and that the bulk of the work comes down to your nutrition!
You're not the only one thinking about extending your Dry January to a Dry February and maybe even a Dry March (although it might not feel like it sometimes, taking a break from alcohol for an extended period of time is becoming increasingly popular.)