For anyone that has ever travelled frequently for work you will understand just how difficult it is to stay fit and healthy.
That’s not to say we don’t try. I use to travel pretty much weekly at one point for business. New hotel each week, working all day, staying at the office late because there was no reason to rush off back to the confines of my often bland hotel room, eating room service, going out to restaurants where only high-calorific meals appeal or, towards the end of the week when you simply can’t bring yourself to eat yet another meal out, you head off to the local supermarket in search of a pre-packed sandwich and other snacks to while the evening away.
I have even booked into hotels with full fitness centres – gyms and swimming pools – available but still after a full day at work I often just could not be bothered.
In my heart I knew I just wasn’t interested. My mind wasn’t focused. I lacked energy. I lacked motivation and there was no-one around me to give me a good kick up the backside when I needed it.
Sounds like a bunch of excuses I know, but it wasn’t until I was taken ill that I really thought about my health at all. Up until that point all I actually cared about was progressing in my then precious career.
I travelled more, worked longer hours, and would strive to be the first to understand new technologies whilst still trying to keep up to date with the day-to-day happening in the financial world – my world.
Looking back now, I still don’t know how I managed it and perhaps that is way one day my body just simply stopped. It caved; said it wasn’t prepared to continue on this path for the next 20-odd years of my working life. The scary thing is however, that it has actually taken a further few years to realise that my body was telling me I needed a complete overhaul, not just a change of career (which has also since happened).
After being rushed into hospital and doctors telling me they thought I had had a stroke, you would think I would stop and think; consider that my lifestyle and the pressures of work have caused my stress levels to raise and in effect landed me in the emergency room.
Thankfully, the diagnosis was slightly less severe. After several weeks of tests, scans and doctors appointments I was told that the reason for my attack was not as they had previous thought a stroke, but instead it was something that does resemble a stroke in all but it’s after affects – they identified that I suffered with hemiplegic migraines.
While this doesn’t sound life threatening or even that debilitating in actual fact after suffering my first extremely frightening, severe attack my whole world crashed down around me and my career as I knew it pretty much ended.
Fast-forward a few years and now I see it in a more positive way. I have been released from my hamster wheel that probably would have led to a heart attack or stroke and thrown into a world where I travel the world, free to go wherever and do whatever we want. Sometimes in life you just need a little push.
However with our new lifestyle come other issues; new health concerns that we intend to address in 2018.
The world of travel writing does tend to cause us to over-indulge on a frequent basis. We might head out to a new restaurant opening or when travelling to a different city or country we overindulge in unusual foods, all in the name of research for our readers of course.
The problem is, to begin with you don’t see the effects of this and then when you start to notice, you justify it by saying that when you return home you will eat healthier and do more exercise. However, our problem is we land from one trip and pretty much head out somewhere else, therefore not allowing ourselves time to build better habits for a healthy lifestyle.
So, with a new year comes a new us. We have said that even when travelling our aim is to eat better and burn more calories than we have done these past few years. That doesn’t mean we are going to stop trying new foods, it just means we need to make more sensible choices to counteract an occasional splurge.
Neither of us however are nutritionists or fitness experts, with all of the opposing views currently out there is terms of diets people should undertake it is difficult to know how we should undergo our transformation and therefore we have decided to combine modern technology and basic common sense in the hope that this will help us to achieve our goals.
How We Are Going to Create a Healthy Lifestyle
#1 Using Cookbooks and Online Recipes
OK, so nothing revolutionary here. We have started the New Year with a goal of cooking fresh food, using fresh ingredients using less salt and sugar.
Nothing ground breaking I know, but since living in Italy we have realised just how many processed foods are available when we head back to the UK. Our supermarkets in Italy have smaller freezer sections, have few microwave meals and have larger fresh food sections. The biggest problem however, is that we need to learn to eat in season again. In England, we can get butternut squash, pumpkins, leeks and strawberries all-year-around; in Italy you only eat what is in season.
Hence the need for the cookbooks! We need to get more create with our foods so that they are not bland and boring.
This is our number one problem – if we are bored with foods, we tend to return to things we know that are higher in fat, sugars, salts and of course calories.
#2 The Couch to 5K App
I mentioned before that I use to book into hotels with fitness centres, so why did I never use them. The simple answer is I hate exercising in the gym and I am really bad at running. We will go out for a run and Paul will leave me trailing half a mile behind him within minutes. For someone that use to actively dance and play basketball each week I honestly do not know when I became so unfit.
This is why I intend to introduce the C25K app into my daily routine.
I have always been told to start small and build on an idea and this is the app that allows me to do that. I am not saying I want to run a marathon, in fact, I honestly don’t think I could, but I would like to be able to run 5-10km without hyperventilating.
The idea of the C25K app is that it builds you up to be able to run further, starting with a mixture of short-sharp running bursts followed by stretches of fast-paced walking. The idea is that in just nine weeks you can go from having a pretty sedentary lifestyle to being more active and because it is built up in stages to help you achieve rather than trying to force yourself to do something you know you will never succeed at and hence then giving up.
The C25K app enables you to challenge yourself to move your fitness forward.
How many times have we heard that a health mindset will lead to a healthy lifestyle?
Meditation is believed to help low anxiety levels and reduce stress, improve sleep and help clear your mind so that you can reflect on what is important to you.
I think that people have this idea of meditation that involves sitting crossed legged, hands positioned to reflect a certain symbol whilst you slowly make a low-humming OM noise. Whilst, this may well help you to meditate the actual idea behind the practice actually focuses on your breathing which technically means you could do it sitting down, standing up, while lying in bed – basically anywhere.
I struggle to sleep at night and therefore have started to meditate for ten minutes each evening before getting into bed which has resulted in a much better night’s sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help with mental agility, physical health and also puts you in a better mood, all the things we need in order to improve our overall lifestyle.
It’s important to remember that small things can result in making a big difference and so whilst these three things may not seem that effective on their own, I truly believe that mixing them together could result in us leading a more active, less stressful and healthy life. We just need to create a new habit for ourselves that revolves around a healthy lifestyle rather than one of convenience.
Do you have any suggestions on how we can further improve our lifestyle in 2018? Perhaps you have overhauled your life and feel that you have the answers to creating a sustainable, happy life and would like to share those tips with us.
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