diet

Confession time...

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Gareth and I have enjoyed watching Masterchef over the past few weeks for a bit of relaxing evening TV. We are not big TV watchers, preferring to watch films or box sets, but Masterchef has been especially welcome in these cold winter, and even snowy, evenings! We enjoy learning about new foods that we can barely pronounce, along with imaginative ways of cooking 'said' foods, and try and guess if we would like the hopeful candidate's creations.

However, I recently noticed that I was getting “the munchies” in the middle of the programme, despite having just eaten dinner, and have found it a real challenge to avoiding mindless snacking.

This urge to snack has been compounded by the creation of arguably the best flapjacks in the world, made by my son Lewi! I’ve even found myself saying that he can’t go on his games console if the flapjack tin is empty! (Oh the parenting shame!)

But I realised this week, after speaking to Mary Rose, (one of our amazing Intentional Health coaches) was that the combination of the cold dark evenings, seeing the food on the TV, and having flapjacks readily available in the house has been a perfect storm of temptation for me - to the extent that I realised recently had succumbed and eaten six, yes you read that right - six! flapjacks in one day.

I probably don't need to tell you that this is NOT an example of a healthy balanced diet!

Before you gasp too much - I already feel even more shame telling you, because Lewi & Gareth have both been reminding me that I’m meant to be setting an example of being Intentional about my health! (proof that they are learning too! ;-))

But I have chosen to be brave and confess my downfalls to you anyway because I recognise I’ve been succumbing to cravings rather than been eating from a place of genuine hunger.

Hunger is a healthy response to a biological need. It is our bodies way of letting us know we are running low on readily available fuel. It is harmful to our bodies if we ignore genuine hunger!

Cravings, on the other hand, are a response to a psychological or emotional need - I’m looking for the flapjacks to satisfy the cravings I’m getting from a combination of; the memories of how Good the flapjacks are, wanting comfort in the cold, dark evenings when I’m longing for summer, and watching and imagining tasting the Masterchef food.

Now, obviously, there is nothing wrong with watching Masterchef, and I can assure you there is nothing wrong with the little pieces of perfection that are rolled into Lewi’s flapjacks!

BUT - I know that putting myself in the way of both of these, at the same time, when I'm already cold and longing for warm summer evenings, will lead me straight into temptation. And the more I succumb to these temptations, feel bad that I've eaten more than I should and been a rubbish parent, the more likely I am to develop an unhealthy habit of comfort eating whilst watching TV!

Downward spiral here we come!

So, to counteract those cravings before they become habits, here's my plan!

  1. Confess to an accountable community! (That- by default of you reading this -is you!) You can ask me how many flapjacks I've had at any time. That is a compelling reason to not eat more flapjacks.
  2. Other than the flapjacks I’ve asked Lewi to make for the image on this blog (which I have then taken to share at our church weekend away), I am going to be restricting the number of baked goods I ask him to make, at least until after the Masterchef final!
  3. Whilst Masterchef is still on or I'm watching TV, I’m going to do the ironing, drink a glass of water, or prepare a healthier snack like some fresh fruit instead.

If you want to find out more about the difference between a hunger or craving, why not take our Hunger or Cravings Quiz - you can download a free quiz sheet here.


If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church PartnerAngel  or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us

Whole-hearted health

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As we referred to last week, our hearts are phenomenal and therefore we need to look after them.

They physically help us make sure we have years in our life, and they help us have life in our years!

Here are a few things we can do to keep our whole-hearts healthy…

Regular Physical activity

Regular physical activity helps flush any fatty deposits and prevents blockages, it also helps create muscle cells that are elastic which can expand and contract really well. In effect, every time we place our heart under a bit of controlled stress it responds by adapting to cope with the stress even better the next time. We know that our hearts can become unfit (and clogged) and this can lead to a heart episode so it is essential that we are physically active to protect the most important muscle in the body. For further health and advice about what physical activity is right for you, speak to your GP or visit the British Heart Foundation website

Eat a healthy balanced diet

Not all food is created equally!

There are foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugars, that contain very little, or none of the essential nutrients our body needs. By eating the right foods, and in the right portions, we give our hearts (and the rest of our bodies) the best chance of getting all the nutrients it needs to work efficiently, and grow and repair new cells.

Be gracious with our words

As lovely as valentines day can be for many, it can also be a huge disappointment.

The Hollywood illusions of being cherished and at the centre of someone else's universe, for a brief moment in time, rarely materialises exactly as we imagine in the real world.

The gifts or cards we spent ages picking out may not be received with the same heart that they were sent, perhaps the words came out wrong or the dinner got burnt… So how about this Valentine’s day, we let our words show a little love and grace to others.

Look in the mirror

Remember how easy it can be to point the finger at others when 'they' get it wrong? It's also good to remember that there are 3 fingers pointing back at us! This applies even more so when we are kinder to others than we might be to ourselves! This week, think about where we could speak kindness over ourselves in the same way we might speak to a friend.

Connect with others

Connecting with others is one of the NHS' five ways to wellbeing.

We weren’t meant to live in isolation! Health evidence even says that loneliness is one of the main contributors to poor health and early death in the UK. On Valentine's day, any isolation we might feel is amplified, as we imagine everyone else in their "perfect" relationships.

If you find yourself on your own perhaps take that step to find someone else to hang out with and plan something fun. Not because you need them, but because they need you just as much.

Give to others

Giving is another of the 5 ways the NHS recognise to improve health and wellbeing.

God loves a cheerful giver, and giving to others out of a selfless place improves our own health and wellbeing no end. If you aren’t sure what to give? Have a think about who you are giving to and maybe consider their love languages.

We can give the gift of time, which is, of course, one of our most precious possessions!

It is always good to give kind words, a smile and encouragement to others, and although they might not cost any money - they do require intentionality. It is also good to remember that we can never go over budget with our good, and kind words!

Speaking of money: loving that too much isn't always great for your heart, so it is good to give some of that away too. (can I just take a moment to also say thank you to those Angels, who have given financially to Intentional Health supporting our journey in tackling health poverty through the church. And thank you to those for giving to us personally too ;-)

Greatest Love...

Finally, this Valentine’s day, let us remember that we are loved, and to have a healthy love and respect for ourselves as we love others too.

Photo Credit: freestocks.org


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With summer is upon us this can only mean...

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Plenty of sunscreen and time outside! :) This weekend here in Cornwall (and the rest of the England and Wales, I believe) we have had glorious summer weather.

One of the many, many reasons I am thankful for the good weather, is that it is a great trigger and motivator for getting my teenage boys out and about enjoying the beach and moving more, and not sat still in front of the X-box! (other gaming consoles are available!)

As we continue our series of 20 webinars, tonight we are exploring some of the reasons why being physically active or moving more is SOOOO beneficial for every aspect of our health and wellbeing.

We'll also consider why we might not move as much now as we used to, and how we can think of creative ways to get more active - especially for those of us who aren't naturally super sporty!

You can join us live at 19:30 (BST), or for the replay anytime, by clicking the link below to register.

https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/0ce354108e


Then, on Wednesday evening, we'll start our next mini-series, exploring how to be more intentional about healthy eating.

This week we'll be exploring the UK's current government guidelines for what a balanced diet looks like using the Eat-well guide, before next week looking at how to read food labels, to make informed choices, how meal planning can help us stick to a healthy eating plan. We'll even be exploring alcohol and healthy drinking too.

If you'd like to join us for any part of this series- again to attend live, or access the replay later, see the full schedule below and click on the relevant links to sign up.

Balanced Diet - Wednesday 21st June 19:30 (BST) https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/0c53b443...

Reading Food Labels - Monday 26th June 10:00 (BST) https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/cdaf8758...

Meal Planning - Tuesday 27th June 19:30 (BST) https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/25c7c183...

Health & Alcohol Thursday 29th June 19:30 (BST) https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/0d2d9363...


Can you believe tonight's webinar sees us half way through our 20-webinar series?

Next Monday we'll publish the rest of the webinar series topics, dates, times and sign up information, which will continue for about another month.

After that time we will be returning to our usual blog, and are looking forward to featuring more guest posts and some amazing individual stories.

Until then, enjoy the sunshine and see you in the webinars!

Niky & Team

PS - don't forget to share this with others who you think might find these topics interesting!

Creating a habit of self control

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This week I have been really proud of my husband, Gareth. Since Christmas, he’s been on a ‘lifestyle change’ diet. He’s been focusing on being more self-controlled with his eating and drinking habits, and with his physical activity levels; and particularly be less controlled by his cravings and snacking between meals.

We recently bought him a new surfboard; he says it’s probably his last shortboard as he is getting older! So he wants to make sure he is as fit as possible to ride it well, and get the most out of it this summer.

Over the past couple of months, he has been intentional about getting enough rest, taking part in a regular physical activity routine, and avoided overeating and snacking between meals.  Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t bad most of the time; none of his behaviours are necessarily bad! But in the past, he has been tempted like many of us, to come home after a long hard day to raid the cupboards for snacks, or start with a large glass of wine and end up having half a bottle without realising!

He set himself goals and stuck them on the wall in the kitchen, and then each day he gave himself a tick on the elements he has been able to resist.

Each tick has been a little motivator for that day, but over the last six weeks or so, I’ve noticed his ability to resist temptation and be more self-controlled has increased exponentially.

Gareth has become more habitual at making healthy eating choices.

I have also noticed how this has spilt over into other areas of his life with his physical activity, and his increased work focus too!

Today, on a gloriously sunny day in Cornwall, he heads out feeling fitter and leaner as a result of the positive consequences of all his small self-controlled choices and now habits of being more self-controlled, and is off to surf his new surfboard for the first time this year! And I'm really proud of him :)

I think I can see an Intentional habit of surfing this summer being created before too long too!


We are running a series of webinars starting in a few weeks, including exploring exactly what habits are, and how best to create new ones. If you'd like to find out more then why not fill in your name and email address and you can be the first to find out more. FILL IN YOUR NAME AND EMAIL BELOW TO BE THE FIRST TO KNOW WHEN WE RELEASE THEM!


If you want to give or join in with the work of Intentional Health you can do so in 5 ways. Click on the links below for more info…

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