Category Archives: Goals

Focus on Fitness IV – Eating Advice

Meal Proportions

Like most of us I have heard a huge range of conflicting advice about what to eat, what time to eat, what combination to eat, how many points to eat, and the impossible “just eat healthily and exercise regularly”.

So, to be clear I am not a nutritionist, scientist or doctor, but the advice we were given on our fitness holiday earlier in May seemed sensible and quite easily applied with a little thought.

The advice was:

Start by filling just over half your plate with vegetables and salad.

  1. Add protein to a quarter of the plate.
  2. The small slice left is for carbs.
  3. Exercise some portion control.

It seems balanced, not overly restrictive, and eating more vegetables can’t be a bad thing, right? In the week we were away, I managed to follow this precisely – the amazing chef had prepared all manner of interesting and unusual salads, lots of extra vegetables to go with your meal, and served the pasta / potatoes separately so you could help yourself. I came away feeling slimmer, healthier and more vibrant. Genius.

At home, it’s been a different story. It’s taken me umpteen weeks for two things to coincide so I could include the above picture on the blog – 1) remembering to take a photo before I started eating, and 2) having followed the advice in the first place.

Even more confusingly, the trainer at the gym I have joined has a whole other philosophy towards food – the main crux of the difference being to eat carbs at lunchtime and protein for dinner, and to eat a massive breakfast, medium lunch and small dinner.

Arrrgghhhhhh…. (to be continued…)


Focus on fitness III


Tough days have alternated with easy days – which have involved hikes instead of runs, and fewer workout sessions. I seem to have done more strength and core workouts and interval sessions this week than in my whole lifetime; and they have included several of the circuit training sessions I was dreading. Fair play to the personal trainers, though, who have come up with umpteen variations of exercises each session in order to eliminate the risk of boredom.

Today I had a one to one session with the personal trainer, who assessed my strengths and weaknesses and give me a regime of pre- and post-run stretches to address my weaker areas. For the first time ever, I feel like I know what exercises I should be doing and what the purpose is.

Most of my fitness is running and walking, so one of my main points for change is to introduce a new sport or fitness type into my schedule.

My other major learning point has been about my eating habits, so will touch on that in my next post.

Focus on fitness II


This morning I’m a little achy… You can see from the picture that I did get a chance for laying by the pool, but that was by no means the main activity of the day.

As well as a consultation with a personal trainer, we went for a 6km run before breakfast, and had an introductory workout to show us some of the basic moves and stretches we’ll be using during the week. After lunch we did a combination of circuits and shuttle runs for “total body conditioning!” and then finished the day with boxercise.

The food has been delicious but healthy – lunch was an amazing array of salads with lemon chicken and dinner was a green thai turkey curry. I wonder if the chef will share her secrets?

Focus on fitness


l’m spending a week on a fitness holiday. We’re staying in a hotel that was once a monastery in the countryside of Spain.

We arrived last night and had a very healthy dinner (grilled chicken, no wine, and a fresh orange sorbet for pudding) with the rest of the group and the personal trainers.

It’s just getting light and so I am about to get up and get dressed for our first run – before breakfast!

I’m hoping that the week will give me a good amount of time to reflect on my fitness goals and identify a series of small steps I can take to establish some effective habits that will have a sustained impact.

Wish me luck!

P.S. I’m also intending to spend time relaxing by the pool!

No more studying!

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Hurrah – my exams are finally over! This post marks the end of a year of studying in my spare time, and the achievement of two qualifications that l hope will broaden my future career opportunities.

If you look back at my posts archive, you’ll see that the need to focus and prioritise studying for my assignments and exams has occupied my thoughts and needed some relentless discipline.

As well as my general tendency to start things with gusto and then lose interest after a while, I was also not the most disciplined student at university. Now that I’m older and a bit more aware, I know I could have achieved more had l been better equipped – with knowledge of how to study effectively, and some focus and determination.

And so I feel satisfied for several reasons – not only have I gained two new qualifications, but I have also proven to myself that I can focus over a sustained period. l want to carry on the mindset and tricks I learned to the next things I set my mind to.

But for now, HOORAY for no more studying.

(P.S. I didn’t really throw my books in the bin – this was staged just to get a photo for this post. If I was going to get rid of them I would, of course, recycle them!)

Re-tuning once more

20140316_211326After several working weeks with major looming deadlines, followed by a week’s holiday, and now back at still-busy work, I have once more re-tuned my spare time. I am certain that you will be as glad as me when my exams are over – at that point I won’t need to write (and you won’t need to read) any more posts about how I really need to get my head down and study.

A couple of weeks ago, I bit the bullet and booked my exams in order to concentrate the mind. They are now less than two weeks away… Wish me luck on this home straight – I will need to use all the anti-procrastination, single-tasking, single-focus techniques I’ve been trying out to carry me through.

Minimalist priorities

20140219_212007-001I have been hitting the books at least one day every weekend, and on as many evenings as I can manage, since the New Year. This has been combined with a very busy period in a new job, and together these things have taken up much of my time and my brain space.

The pile of stuff in the spare room is still calling me, begging to be listed on ebay or given to a charity shop, but I am relentlessly sticking to the view that it is not a priority. We will find out in the next month or so when our next house move is likely to happen, and this makes the pile of stuff nag even louder, as I can’t bear the thought of having to pack it all to move to the next place. But, it is still not a priority.

I’ve thought several times in the last few weeks that it’s an odd to be writing a minimalist blog, whilst telling myself that decluttering is not a priority. I also have ambitions to restart a project on my wardrobe, and my chest of drawers, and most definitely the study.

But as well as studying for my exams, we have a business to shut down before the end of the financial year. These things are more important right now than spending time clearing my stuff, so I’m keeping my minimalism focused on my spare time activities – making sure I’m doing the things that are most important.