healthy

Government supporting preventative health care

willpower-adobe.jpeg

Although it has been a while since we last posted a blog, today’s news is something we are really excited about so had to share it! The Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has today (5th November 2018) laid out his long-term vision for the NHS and the country’s health. His plan will centre around encouraging people to take more responsibility for their own health as well as employers the responsibility for their employees.

"It's about helping them make better choices, giving them all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy"

He said on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that 4-5ths ot what happens with our health, happens outside of hospital. You can also read via the BBC News that Mr. Hancock, in an essential readjustment, stated, "In the UK, we are spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it across the UK. You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up.".

Equally, when we know that 75% of people in the UK (3 out of 4 of us) will suffer needlessly or die prematurely because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, you don’t need to be an NHS professional to know that changes need to be made in preventative community health.

The NHS ‘Five Year Forward View’ recognised a need for prevention. However Matt Hancock now highlights the need for a change of culture and method of delivering, with a substantial shift onto focus on community. This is because the NHS can only play a small part when it comes to health that is so inextricably linked to social determinants, including social isolation and poverty.

There has been a lot of talk about the need for prevention, but up until now very little has been done on a national scale due to limited resources.

Because our health is so largely impacted by making better choices, Intentional Health firmly believes the church can play a crucial role in loving their neighbours as themselves as it promotes supportive communities, provides encouragement, and loves compassionately in their local communities.

Intentional Health trains, equips and resources local church volunteers to run an inspirational10-session community programme providing facts, frameworks and friendships that encourage a step by step journey towards improved health and wellbeing.

Each session explores simple swaps and sows tiny seeds that impact areas of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and lead to healthier lifestyle habits.

People leave with a renewed sense of whole person health and wellbeing that is achievable, lasting and life-giving.

These programmes are placed-based and peer-led to ensure they are person centred, and that each person attending is able to get the most out of the programme content.

That is why today’s news is a real breath of fresh air for us at Intentional Health as it reiterates the need for whole-person healthcare which the person themselves is able to direct and effect, and is something a number of churches in the UK have been doing for a number of years. We aim to equip these amazing volunteers to do this in accordance with the NHS principles and using the tools comprised in Making Every Contact Count (MECC) guidance.

We do this because we believe...

Every Body Matters

We’d love you to join us, if you want to know more about the work of Intentional Health click 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.

[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here

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 Partner, Angel 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.

Confession time...

IMG_5996.jpg

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.

[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

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

Flu

flu-elizabeth-lies-6702.jpg

Niky is in bed with the flu. It is teaching her a valuable lesson. Sometimes you can be applying the most intentional, proactive and goal orientated approach to your personal health or any other aspect of your life...and then you get the flu!

It wasn’t forecasted, she didn’t plan for it, nor has she built the necessary scaffolding around it…. the flu just arrived and sent her to bed. She now has to stop everything and allow her body to recover.

It’s sooooo frustrating! (for those who know her, you will understand). She’s a natural rescuer, a natural helper …and now she’s the helpless one.

The lesson is … there are some things we just can't control and it’s then that we have to stop, to seek shelter and rest in faith….and allow time to heal and allow others to be there for us.

As we know, the flu can come in many shapes and sizes.

For some it’s a far more critical health problem than the flu, for others it’s a un-predicted relationship break or a change in our work or home life that came from nowhere, and for others, it can be all of the above.

It’s at that moment that you put the anchor down, seek shelter, rest and receive help from others.

Eventually, the flu will go and she will set sail again, with the new knowledge that she is fallible and there is strength in accepting fallibility.

Hopefully, service will resume as normal next week. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

photo credit :elizabeth lies


[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

Sign up for our weekly emails and FREE ebook by clicking here  

Find out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

How's your heart?

heart-cathal-mac-an-bheatha-208192.jpg

Photo Credit : Cathal Mac an Bheatha

It has begun… the emails suggesting presents, Pinterest pages and promotions for Valentine's day are flooding my inbox!

Don’t get me wrong, those who know me well, know that I’m an old romantic and love nothing more than a good rom-com (much to the delights of my husband and teenage boys who are more into action, adventure and history films!)

But as Valentine's day approaches, it got me thinking about our hearts, and how complex they are.

In fact, they are phenomenal.

Our hearts are a remarkable piece of architecture, engineering and art, all rolled into one.

Here are a few, fascinating facts about our hearts…

  • Our heart is made up of muscle cells that are different in structure to every other cell in the body; they don’t fatigue in the same way as the rest of our cells.
  • This is just as well because our heart beats an average of 72 times each minute.
  • This equates to over 100,000 beats every day of our lives, meaning they can beat around 3 billion times in our lifetime - hopefully without stopping, or needing a service!
  • Our heart's purpose is to serve almost every other cell in the body with blood, providing valuable nutrients and clearing away toxins.
  • Our heart is around the size of our fist when clenched, and weighs around 300 grams (the weight of a packet of biscuits).
  • Our heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of connected blood vessels each day, at a rate anywhere between 5 and 30 litres of blood per minute.

Let's put this into perspective; my car holds around 10 gallons of fuel in a full tank, and if I’m really lucky, will take me around 400 miles. To add to that, my heart can pump - in just one minute - around two-thirds of what my entire fuel tank can hold - and my car only goes 0.006 times as far, around 500 times slower!

Another lesser-known feature of the heart is that it has a special blood supply all of its own. This supply branches from the base of the main blood vessel leaving the heart, and ensures that the heart is provided with all the blood it needs to remain healthy before it serves the rest of the body. 

Our hearts are not only amazing, but they play a vital role in keeping us alive. That is why we talk about being intentional about healthy eating and staying active to prevent heart disease and keep our hearts as healthy as possible.

But as Valentine's day reminds us, our heart isn’t purely a physical structure or piece of anatomy - it is also where we associate feelings of love; including value, belonging and worth… and when we lack these feelings of love, we feel that in our heart too, and refer to 'heartache' or even 'a broken heart'.

The bible talks about the greatest love being an “agape” love. This is a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love. It is this kind of Love God asks of his followers when he says the greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves.

Whether you believe in God or read the Bible, the principle of loving others as ourselves is one I’d like to bring front and centre of our thoughts today.

To really love others from this ‘agape’ love; from a selfless place of service, sacrificial and unconditional love; we need to invest in maintaining a healthy heart of our own, or 'love ourselves well' first.

In today's culture, this is counter-intuitive. It can even be deemed selfish or arrogant. To be clear,  I’m not talking about making yourself the centre of your universe. I’m simply suggesting that by loving God (if you believe in God) and getting clear on what loving ourselves first (or self-care) might look like, we could love others in a far richer and healthier way, and for longer.

In the same way that the heart first supplies itself with just what it needs to keep healthy before it serves the rest of our body: having a healthy love for ourselves means we can really love and serve others well, without placing our own emotional needs on them too.

So as Valentine's day approaches, I wonder how your heart is, and what 'loving yourself first' might look like for you this week? Do let us know by emailing niky@intentionalhealth.uk.

Next week we will continue our heart theme and consider how we can care for our whole heart. If you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!

Sign up for our weekly emails and FREE ebook by clicking here or filling out your name and email below, to ensure you hear from us first and don’t miss a beat!… (get it!? …beat.. Heartbeat… I’ll get my coat!)


One way you can love God, yourself and your neighbours too, is by becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

[twitter style="none" source="IntenHealth" hashtag="InspireHealthCommunities"]

 

[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

The impact of a grain of rice?

Rice-julien-pianetti-147831.jpg

Photo Credit :Julien Pianetti

I heard a story last week about a grain of rice, a king and a chess board.

The king offered a reward to a man who was in his debt. The thoughtful man asked for a single grain of rice, doubled for every square on a chess board. So, 2 grains for the first square, 4 for the next, 8 for the next, 16 for the next, and so on. The king was initially insulted as this didn't seem like much of a reward - until he was later informed by his staff that to honour this reward required more than all the rice he had in the country!

I have no idea if the story is true, but it resonated with me because it emphasised the seemingly insignificant impact of something small, as well as the surprising, cumulative compound impact of consistently repeating small things.

At the start of the new year, we can tend to think about making big, new year resolutions, and for some people who prefer an all or nothing approach, that works!

If that is you, well done! and do keep going!

But as the rest of us mere mortals begin to feel the strain of big resolutions,  I would like to suggest that, instead, we think about reducing some of those big hairy audacious goals, and focusing instead on just making one or two very small and achievable changes.

Changes that are seemingly easy and sometimes seem almost too good to be true, perhaps even as insulting as the king would have thought.

If we have struggled in the past with making bigger goals, I wonder, In 2018, what would happen if we gave ourselves permission to stick at smaller, more consistent changes, whilst also putting ourselves in the way of good things?

Instead of giving up all alcohol, we intentionally start the day with a glass of water and have at least 2 dry days a week.

Instead of giving up food altogether, we intentionally have a piece of fruit at breakfast and limit the chocolate to one small bar over the week which we really savour and enjoy.

Instead of giving up swearing, we are intentional in seeking out one or two opportunities to be kind, to say something positive and encouraging to someone, and set up a charity swear fine box for everytime you do let something blue, or negative slip out.

Instead of planning an hour reading or meditating, we start by being intentional in sitting quietly for at least 5 minutes every day before breakfast. 

Instead of giving up the couch and declaring to run a marathon when we haven't yet run a mile, we're more intentional about going for a minimum of a 20-minute walk every day, taking the stairs or getting off the bus a stop earlier than necessary.

When we can make one or two of these, seemingly small but consistent and repeated daily choices, rather than attempt to go all out on crash diets, crash exercise plans and unachievable marathon goals, we actually make significant progress in the long term. Real, sustainable, life-changing progress.

Because we are creatures of habit, each one of these new small behaviours soon become unconscious habits; become part of who we are, the normal way for our future-self to live.

Before we know it, we could even find ourselves becoming the person who can enjoy a glass of wine without getting drunk, able to enjoy chocolate without eating to excess, become the person that can sit quietly, and who edifies and encourages others we meet along our journey. Who knows? We may even find ourselves training to run marathons!

All resulting in a healthier, happier life.


If you want some help to start you on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below.

If you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!

We'd love you to get in touch and share any resolutions, large or small, that you are making progress with!

[twitter style="none" source="IntenHealth" hashtag="InspireHealthCommunities"]

[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

When? 

tim-mossholder-2139.jpg

Photo Credit:Tim Mossholder

If, as the saying goes, twenty years ago was the best time to plant a tree, when is the best time to be intentional about your health?

Is it ...

  • when your jeans don't do up?
  • when you feel exhausted?
  • when you notice you are cranky with your family?
  • when you come out of the doctor's appointment?
  • when you get 'old'?
  • when you retire?
  • when getting out of bed every day is a struggle?
  • when the weekend/holiday/party is over?
  • when you realise you have control over your thoughts?
  • when "they" change ...?
  • or when you know you probably should but ... [fill in the blanks with relevant excuses]

The answer is probably yes to all of the above - but there is an even better time, and that time is now.

Right now.

Right now is the best time to be intentional about your health. In fact, right now is the best time to be intentional about anything.

Each time you make a choice, good or bad, there are consequences.

Every time you make a choice in the direction of good, positive or healthy things, the consequences pull you in a good direction.

These small steps all move us in the direction of progress, despite rarely seeing these consequences occur instantly, or in the moment - especially when it comes to our health and wellbeing!

But just like we can't easily see everyday germs, we know they will build up to levels that will make us sick if we don't wash our hands.

That means regularly being intentional, even in small steps like:

can all add up and make a difference.

So today's thought: Never leave your future self in charge of something as important as your health and wellbeing.

Never put off tomorrow what you can do right now.

None of us has a guaranteed tomorrow. Plus, one day, you'll find yourself enjoying the fruit and be sitting under the shade of that tree you planted 20 years ago.


PS - Don't forget, if you've been thinking 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 - now is the best time for that too! ;-) 

"Intentional..."

thought-catalog-641073-unsplash-e1536236528825.jpg

"Intentional..."

I don't know about you, but everywhere I hear people talk about making a difference, making life better and making life count, they talk about being intentional.

Here at Intentional Health we also recognise that intentionality is relatively simple - you decide on your future, today - You have a vision or a goal for your future self that is better than your current self.

It may be simple, but that doesn't mean it is always easy!

In today's live webinar, Tonya and I are exploring how setting goals can help us be more intentional.

If you want to join us for the LIVE Goal Setting webinar 10 am (BST) this morning - you can register by clicking the link below.

https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/a92d62e181

If you have a goal that you want to set - we might even be able to help you set a SMART version of that very goal, live in the chat!

You can also click on this link to register for the replay.

https://app.webinarjam.net/replay/35515/a92d62e181/0/0

If you would like to download our free Goal setting worksheet, you can click on the link below to let us know where to send it.

Free Goal Setting Worksheet

https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/232104?v=6

Why not be intentional right now about being intentional with your future self?

Til next week!

Niky & Team