As a qualified beauty expert, my consultation involving thousands of clients always involved, not just skin analysis and questions but lifestyle and health state analysis as well, so I am very aware that the words ‘health’ and ‘fitness’ must be personalised, and also gauged against the expectations or needs of an individual person.
I think that nowadays the image of a ‘perfect shape’ is used too much in the media. It is important to remember, or know – if you didn’t already – that in order for them to keep their shape (which is practically unattainable for us), they can travel the world with personal chefs, PA’s that have lists of dietary requirements that are emailed to hotels and venues and handed to them at regular intervals, as well as gruelling fitness regimes with world-renowned personal trainers to keep them in that shape. It is actually part of their full time job with hours a day dedicated to it.
So, for me, in the real world, keeping healthy and fit is about working within your limitations to achieve a balance that will allow you to hopefully do the things that you enjoy, and feel good about yourself without comparing yourself to stereotypical peers and celebrities. To be healthy and fit is different at different ages and different health states, and you also may have different challenges such as mobility issues. For example, you can be extremely healthy and fit in a wheelchair and you can be unhealthy and unfit being fully able-bodied!
As we come into the New Year I, like most people, am guilty of gaining a few pounds because of the excesses of Christmas but oh – wasn’t it enjoyable? All those cakes, mince pies, chocolates, snowballs, toffees etc. etc.!!!
Part of the ageing process is realising that this thing called ‘age’ does actually catch up with you, you realise that diet and exercise is essential to just feeling comfortable in your own shell. The vanity of younger years has gone but the survival of your body, just to keep up with your lifestyle, is essential.
Over the years I have had many medical problems which I still fight, as many of you do too, which means that the body shape and weight that I had when I was younger is medically inadvisable and it is a matter of trying to keep in control of my body and fitness state as much as I can, to allow me to be fit for work, hobbies and home.
When the weight creeps on, my best friend is definitely the Vitamix. If I tell myself to go on a diet I will just eat more chocolate! So, my mind-set is that I will let myself eat whatever I want as long as I eat more fruit and veg first. A morning smoothie, often two pints of liquidised or Vitamixed fruit and veg, sometimes with some oats in or muesli, that I can use as a liquid breakfast and stops me feeling so hungry later on in the day.
We all know that when you are trying to lose weight, breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I cannot sit down to breakfast. From the minute I get up I am on the go with the farm and animals, and I always have a list of jobs and work to do that never ends – like everyone!
I find the Vitamix a complete meal in a liquid that I can carry around with me, in the stables, while getting ready for work, and then drink in the car on the way to work. It’s the perfect way to start the day more healthily. I also find it a very quick and easy way of eating more vegetables without having to peel, chop, prepare, cook and serve which takes longer than just throwing them in the Vitamix and drinking them. I don’t really follow the recipe book, although it does have some great, inspiring ideas. I just tend to go by taste and keep a lot of frozen fruit in the freezer – or if the bananas start to go brown, I peel and freeze them and save them for the Vitamix. If I am making a sweet Vitamix I might add nuts, cereals, bananas and pineapple to improve flavour. Ps: Pineapple, banana, oats, soya milk is a like a liquid Pina Colada but very healthy and delicious!
If I’m making a more vegetable-based one, I might tweak it by adding root ginger, carrots or apples to give more flavour and sweetness. I also find Vitamix really quick and easy to make a soup and then, with my rule of ‘you can eat whatever you want as long as you eat these’ each day, I find myself not feeling as hungry and my sweet tooth diminishes – as long as I can avoid the garage chocolate and crisps. It really does help to eat some food at home before you go to the supermarket or to have something in the car that you are eating before you fill up with petrol.
Exercise-wise, I maintain the fitness level that I have (which is ok but could be improved) with six horses and two dogs. When you don’t see me at work I am mucking out, riding, dog walking, fencing, etc. so I am always on the go. As I have got older, this definitely is not enough and if I wish to lose that extra bit of weight, I do need to either add a gym workout to this (yuk!) or I do the dog walk twice – two circuits round the field instead of one or 3 instead of one – time allowing.
As my knees and joints are increased in weakness due to injuries of mine, and I can feel my knees being a bit wobbly – a sign is that I can’t walk from the dressing room to the studio in my high heels, I take them off and go barefoot or Emu’s – which means I need to strengthen my knees again. I tend to do this by using the stairs at work instead of the lift and stopping for a couple of minutes between meetings and doing some exercises on the stairs with some very funny looks from co-workers!
Also, when I am dog walking I will specifically over-bend my knee and make sure they are fully locked which helps to work my weaker side. This usually results in my husband saying ‘what were you doing round the field? – you looked funny!’
I find it easier to do more exercise when I am doing something I was meant to do anyway as it’s almost impossible for me to find more time to do different exercise.