Friday, 14 March 2014

Health & Fitness & Cardiff

Before I start, I'm not even going to pretend to be some sort of health and fitness guru. I'm not. I drink a lot of wine, I eat (for the most part) whatever I want, and I can't remember the last time I actually went to a gym.

But that said, I'm a pretty healthy person, and I feel that since I've been back in Cardiff, I've got a lot, lot healthier than I was when I lived in Devon, so I thought I'd share!

To begin with, in Devon I used to have no choice but to drive to work- there's no way in hell I ever could have walked/ run/ cycled a 100-mile-round-trip commute. No sir. We had a team biscuit tin that was constantly topped up, morning meetings almost always involved pastries, I took cake to work on a regular basis, I worked opposite a Waitrose so could pop in and get snacks basically whenever I wanted, and the list goes on.

I wasn't unhealthy, don't get me wrong- but I certainly didn't lead the healthiest lifestyle I could have. I got my five-a-day basically every day, but I also probably ate five portions of biscuits, cake, bread, and chocolate a day too. Yum.

Now I'm in Cardiff, I haven't really got any choice but to lead a healthier lifestyle. I live a mere two miles from work, and to be honest, I think it would take me just as long to drive to work as it does to walk. The parking at my workplace is also incredibly limited, and I feel it's unfair (and unnecessary) for me to drive in and take up a space which could be used by someone who travels in from much further afield. So five days a week, I'm walking at least four miles a day- and that's not including my lunchtime stroll around the park, or any trips to the shops, walks to the lake, or trips to see friends either.

I also have carried on playing korfball in Cardiff, once a week for two hours. OK, a lot of the time I act like a bit of a pansy and I whinge and moan about being made to run around in the cold for two hours on a Thursday night, but realistically it is good for me, and it's so much fun I tend to forget that I'm exercising- which can only be a good thing. 
I made the mistake around Christmas of telling J that I wanted to run the Cardiff half marathon in October- and now he's holding me to this. Oops. But as a result, I'm currently running 5km at least once a week, and I'm planning on stepping this up soon to at least twice a week, and hopefully a bit further- because let's be honest, if I can only run 5km, I'm going to die if I'm forced to run four times that. Yeesh.

I am pretty lucky in that realistically, I don't really have to think about what I eat. But to be honest, that's partly because the things I enjoy eating are actually pretty healthy- I have very little interest in eating a big Chinese meal, I can't remember the last time I got a takeaway, and while I often snack on biscuits and cake, I also love eating fruit.

I kind of live by the mentality that if I eat my five-a-day, I can basically eat whatever else I want to that day- which works, because I'm filling up on the good stuff and therefore wanting to eat less of the bad stuff. I tend to be a real creature of habit, and I've basically eaten the same breakfast, lunch, and snacks for about six weeks now- which I'm sure some people would find incredibly boring, but for some reason I just don't. For me, a typical day would look something like this:

Breakfast (7:30am): A glass of orange juice (1), porridge with a banana (2), honey, seeds, dried fruit, and walnuts
Snack 1 (around 11:30am): Some sort of soft fruit (3) - normally berries, pineapple, or grapes
Lunch (1:45pm): Homemade soup (4)- this week was butternut and red pepper
Snack 2 (walking home): an apple (5)
Supper (around 7:30pm): veggie chilli and rice/ chicken with roasted veg, spinach and quinoa/ salmon-y pasta/ a baked potato with beans and cheese/ fish pie with broccoli/ lasagna and salad/ stir fry/ etc etc (6)

I also drink a LOT of water and tea. Because tea makes me happy. I definitely also snack through boredom, eat biscuits, eat pudding, and and and. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I'm not saying this is how anyone should eat- I just find this sort of thing interesting, okay?!

So yeah! Since being in Cardiff, my general fitness level has massively increased- I can walk two miles home, get in, change quickly, and go out for a 3.5 mile run without getting even slightly out of breath now, which eight weeks ago would have been unheard of. My skin is way better, and I feel much brighter than I did- but I still have days when I feel chubby, I hate my stomach, I still eat entirely the wrong things far too often, I eat out with J a fair amount, I drink a reasonable amount of wine. And I haven't lost any weight, but I guess that's okay- I'm not really trying to, after all.

What I'm saying here is- be healthy, be active, do what you want, eat what you want, and this is just an update on my general health and fitness. Fingers crossed, this will motivate me to actually continue this way! Even if this weekend has, like all the best weekends, been planned entirely around food. Yes please!

OH. And on a similar vein-I bloody loved Hannah's post on foodie fads the other day- what is wrong with my milk coming from a cow? I don't drink much of it, and it's way easier to get hold of. Kale chips are gross. And I can't really taste the difference between peanut and almond butter.


  1. That's a really good attitude to have about food and exercise. Like you, I'm not a health and fitness expert but I do think that there's a lot to be said for a sensible balance between the two. If you can enjoy your exercise and enjoy the things you eat and drink then that has got to count for a lot.

    Most of us are never going to be able to completely dedicate ourselves to a 100% healthy athlete's diet (I'm pretty certain they don't feature cakes or scones or beer or...) and it's refreshing to be reminded that it's actually okay to enjoy what we eat and drink, as long as we get a good balance of exercise to go with it.

    Thanks for an interesting read (and for the link to the korfball post, I've not heard of that before; it looks interesting).

  2. This is definitely a great attitude to health and fitness! I used to weight 19 and a half stone before working hard to make a change and dropping 5 dress sizes. Losing so much weight taught me lots, the most important being that "diets" never work .. you need cake and pudding to feel happy but at the same time you have to stay active and make sensible decisions to stay healthy! I also walk to and from work every day and try and stay reasonably healthy during the week so I can enjoy myself more at weekends :) x

  3. Glad you're getting to be healthier A. It definitely isn't about losing weight, and more about things like your skin, like you said. You're beautiful. Yay!!

    Although I disagree - dairy disagrees with me, kale chips are a gorgeous alternative to salty snacking and almond butter is very smooth and creamy :p.



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