Let me tell you about Vanessa and Matt...


I'd never met Vanessa, until she bounded up to our table, beaming and bursting with joy about how much Intentional Health had changed her life. Then about 10 minutes later her husband Matt arrived and what he shared moved me to tears...  Vanessa recently went on a 10-session Intentional Health programme run by Helen, another of our amazing trained coaches.  

I met Vanessa in August at this years Creationfest, where she came over to tell me just how much Intentional Health has changed her life.

She went on the programme to help her lose weight, and while that part was really helpful (and impressively she has lost around three stone already), she told me that she had not expected the second part of the programme to impact, challenge and help her in quite the way it had! As she was telling me all of this, I asked her to share a quick 30-second testimony, which you can watch below:

A short while after, her husband, Matt, came along and Vanessa said: "Tell them, Matt, tell them what it was like when I came home after each Monday's session!" 

Matt, paused for a moment, before he looked carefully at me, and again at Vanessa and simply said... "changed".

He went on to tell me, whilst looking still lovingly at her, "Let me tell you something about my wife... My wife is the most loving person you will ever meet." 

He continued... "She loves me, she loves our kids, she loves God, she loves her church, her work, her family... she loves everyone.  But! She has always found it really hard to receive love". 

"Since she's been at Intentional Health, I am able to love her, as much as she deserves to be loved and she is learning to receive my love in that way, possibly for the first time - It is wonderful" 

I was so moved by what he said, I asked Matt to give a brief testimony too, and as he looked at Vanessa and told her just how precious it was for him that she was able to receive his love, tears rolled down his face...

I was crying, the camera was shaking... it was utterly beautiful! 

Sadly for the rest of us, I had pressed the wrong button and only managed to take the photo at the top of this page, rather than record a video, but it was such a moving and amazing opportunity for Matt to tell his wife, so lovingly and genuinely, something she needed to hear.

We agreed afterwards that maybe the camera not recording, was divine intervention and that it probably wasn't meant to be a publicly shared moment.

I know that it will be a moment that would not have happened without Helen delivering an Intentional Health programme in their community and one that I will remember forever!

You see, Intentional Health is different because it addresses the whole person's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing and equips us all to make intentional choices regarding our whole person health and wellbeing.

It might be relatively easy to make healthy choices in today's day and age, but we are so often misled by clever marketing and a western culture, that it is much easier not to!

The consequences are that the NHS is at breaking point, and 3 out of 4 people are dying early or suffering needlessly.

We don't think that this is right!

I had never met Vanessa or Matt before they came and told me about the impact that Intentional Health had on them, but they were exactly who Intentional Health was created for. Normal, everyday people, just like you and I.

Intentional Health has also been designed to have lasting effects way beyond the length of the programme, so it is great to hear that the ten people who met and grew in their community group, now have a strong friendship together and are still supporting each other through all sorts of other difficult life issues.

We have an exciting and ambitious plan to get Intentional Health all over the UK too. We want people just like Vanessa, who we might never meet, to be able to attend a 10 session programme, become part of a loving community and have their lives transformed!

Despite being a relatively new charity, we already have 10 church partners in 5 counties across the south of England and are a recognised Cinnamon Network Course

To be able to inspire more healthy communities, we rely on training and equipping amazing volunteers just like Helen, from the amazing community focused church partners, like Liskeard and Looe Methodist Circuit.

If you can't help in that way, you might be pleased to know you can still help by becoming an Intentional Health Angel. These are a special group of people who give small monthly donations which already make up a third of our necessary income. 

The challenge we face with fundraising is that we are not an emergency aid charity and there are SO many other worthy causes to give to.

We don't provide a bag of rice to those who are hungry, and we don't mop up after disasters.

We are a 'root cause' charity: we prevent people needing emergency care, prevent people's lives from being cut short or disabled and help people live well, understanding how loved they are. 

If you are one of our, precious Intentional Health Angels, I'd like to personally thank you! We could not do what we are doing without you, and I'm sure Vanessa and Matt would like me to pass on their sincere thanks to you too!

If you aren't yet one of our supporters, we'd love to invite you to be part of this exciting, preventative and life-transforming work today, by clicking here.

If you are or know of a local church who might want to partner with us to deliver programmes in their community, you can register interest for our next round of training in November by clicking here

And if you want to join Helen as she starts her next Intentional Health programme, starting 12-2pm  on Thursday at Liskeard Methodist Church, you can contact her directly on 07958 940263.

I'd like to finish by personally thanking Helen, Vanessa, and Matt for sharing their story with us, and letting us share their story with you!

Until next week :)



Photocredit:Ricardo Gomez Angel

Taking the first step towards a new healthy lifestyle, or indeed any goal can often be the hardest.

Once you have taken that first step you will have momentum on your side, and the fear of the unknown is quickly replaced with learning that you can do something for the first time. This early success can also encourage and motivate you to keep going.

However, there comes a point after you have started out on your new journey where you haven't quite got the essential long-term established habits in place to sustain you in your new Intentional behaviour. Although you may have come a long way, the end is still way out of sight and it is easy to wonder if you will ever make it and reach your goal.

Seth Godin refers to this as 'the dip',  and devotes a chapter of his short book to say 'If It Is Worth Doing, There’s Probably a Dip'. We know investing in our health and wellbeing is worth 'doing', and we know it is easy to give up in the moment or in the dip.

This 'dip' is the point where we are most likely to ditch the healthy eating option on the menu, put the extra treats in the shopping trolley, have just 'one more' when we know we shouldn't or miss yet another gym session. It doesn't take long before we find we've quickly reverted back to our old 'default' or 'previously learned' behaviours. For some, this is the point where you might be most tempted to give up altogether. In fact, Seth Godin goes on to say, that most people do give up at this point.

Here at Intentional Health, this is the time we see the most benefit in 'scaffolding'

We think of scaffolding as additional external support. It provides support that is outside of yourself and is most helpful when inside you may feel like giving up. It can support you through 'the dip' and is required for just enough time to prevent you from stopping altogether with the intentionally healthy plans until you can do it on your own again.

Scaffolding outside of yourself can take many forms, including things like a checklist, an App, friends, and colleagues, church family or a wider community group, including our own 10 session Intentional Health programme.

There are just 3 parallels to be aware of when looking for 'scaffolding';

  1. Just like on a building site, if you wait until you need scaffolding to arrange it, it will most likely be too late!
  2. Scaffolding doesn't actually provide physical support, it enables access to otherwise not as easily accessible parts.
  3. Scaffolding becomes ugly if you rely on it for longer than you need! (Think about a building that has been finished for a while but the scaffolding hasn't been removed)

With September being the start of a new school year for many, it's a great time to set a new goal. Just make sure you are just as intentional about having your scaffolding in place for when you need help to get you through the dip.

Later this week we will be sending out information to church leaders to join us in our next round of Intentional Health training for community-focused churches taking place end of Oct/Nov 2017. If you'd like to know more when we open registration, please fill in your name and email address below and look out for an email later this week!

Bank Holiday Creativity


Photo Credit:Helloquence

Last week we were delighted to receive an email from one of our Intentional Health Coaches.

Sarah and her team, from Redeemer Church, had just finished delivering a 10 Session Intentional Health programme to her community in Ealing, West London.

Here's what she said...

We had a brilliant time running Intentional Health this summer at Redeemer.  One of our participants Steve Page is an incredible poet and many of the sessions inspired his creative side.  He wrote a few poems and agreed that he was more than happy for me to share them with you.  
I hope they encourage you as they did me.  

This certainly did encourage us! We love creativity and we love that many of the Intentional Health sessions inspired Steve's creative side!

Big thanks to Sarah and Steve for providing today's Motivational content, I hope it inspires creativity in you too!



There's nothing magical About intentional It's the beneficial Not the permissible Don't be mindful Of the infinitesimal But watch the frequency Of every mouthful The size you choose For your morning bowl full What you put On a wholemeal bagel And then you'll find you'll Be more healthful.


Consider what to cease
With a view to increase That margin needed to keep Your essential level of peace
Maintain a healthy fringe Rather than pack each inch With no room to breathe When circumstances pinch
Protect rest on your pillow And the rest will follow Make enough space For more of your mellow

Registration for our next partner Intentional Health training for community-focused churches like Redeemer will soon be open for training in Oct/Nov 2017. If you'd like to know more when we open registration, please fill in your name and email address below.

Guest Post from Gareth!... RE-CREATION


A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, in fact nearly 30 years, I began my journey of study and enrolled in University. For some bizarre reason, this 18-year-old decided to opt for a Diploma in Recreation Studies, which led to further degrees in the whacky science of recreation and humans, over a 10 year period...

I never really knew why. Why this subject? Why these themes…which has carried me through my working years?

Don’t get me wrong I loved the fact there was a lot of learning about physical activity, health, psychology and society, and as a sporty type, I got to try out lots of things and run around a lot more.

But only in the last few years have I recognised the simplicity of the word RECREATION or better put, Re-CREATION.

And this is my passion, or calling, I love the fact that when things aren’t going well or we are on the wrong track with our health, relationships, our vocations we really do have the option of second chances, and even third chances.

Our physical bodies and our emotional minds are amazing!

Did you know humans have an inherent ability to renew or re-create? And this is so critical for our health, for our relationships, for our soul.

The word RECREATION has foundations in Latin – RECREATIO – to make new again, and in old FRENCH, to revive.

So here’s the key.

We cannot flip the RECREATIO (make new again) switch unless we are Intentional, that is making a choice to re-CREATE.

It requires some effort, but our bodies are equipped to do this, we just need to adopt an Intentional mind-set, initiate the right support and maybe learn some new skills.

Once we flip the switch, then we need to give ourselves time, time and space is the key here.

We need time to practice being Intentional, to learn and introduce new habits and healthy behaviours, and occasionally the switch will go back to type, so we will need to flick it again. And that’s ok.

And in time we will have RE-CREATED.

(Post by Gareth Dix)

Where could you invest in some recreation? this week?

Until next time,

Niky & Team.

Intentional Health has a stand at Creationfest 2017 with a chat slot in the Arts Cafe On Tuesday at 3 pm, where you can come and find out about 'Transformed Lives'.

We did it!


Just over a year ago we intentionally set out to write a blog post every week, gain a few hundred email subscribers and deliver a series of 20 webinars, largely using the content from our 10 session Intentional Health programme. This past week we completed our 20 webinars and have been consistently blogging for well over a year already!

That's all great - and we have learned an awful lot - particularly, about how it looks so easy! BUT... that's not the best bit!

The best bit for us is when you email, message or chat with us and tell us about how the content we share is helping you be more intentional about your own health and wellbeing!

You see; 3 out of 4 of us are likely to experience some form of lifestyle disease that results in disability or premature death.

We live in a culture where it is far easier to be unhealthy than healthy.

Lifestyle disease occurs because of the cumulative consequences of the simple but silent, yet often harmful, choices we make every day. We make many of these without realising and are therefore completely unaware of any long-term consequences.

That's why we can all benefit from being intentional about our health and wellbeing.

Whether you are interested in balanced diet, physical activity, or exploring thoughts and feelings, we hope our webinars give you a starting point - to help you on your journey to being more intentional about your health and wellbeing.

You can download a free worksheet with links to watch any of the replays by clicking here.

One of the areas we also need to be intentional about is making sure we rest well.

By the time this post goes out, I'll be on a family holiday in the sunshine!

I hope you take the time to rest, to watch any of the replays, to avoid lifestyle disease and do one thing to be more intentional about your health and wellbeing this week.

Til Next time, Niky & team.

The Middle Finger!

This week we continue with our handful of ideas to improve our health and wellbeing... although we might need to be a little careful today as we move along and think about our 'middle' finger!…

(just for clarity again, I'm referring to the tallest finger that stands right in the middle alongside all of our other fingers)

I’m hoping this doesn’t happen often to you, and assuming that you wouldn’t dream of doing that to anyone else either, but if someone has ever stuck their 'middle finger' up at you - how did it make you feel?

Or, have you ever noticed how…

Trying to bend our middle finger (in towards the palm of the hand whilst keeping the actual finger straight) impacts on adjacent fingers and causes them to bend too?
Or how your fists clench when you are angry?
Or if you sit with your palms facing up it is much harder to be cross with someone? 

If you’ve ever noticed any of these, you'll probably appreciate that we are affected by others, and that we ourselves are connected.

Noticing we are connected is all well and good, but what does it have to do with our health and wellbeing?

Being connected means that if we focus excessively on one aspect of our mind body or soul, it can be at the expense of another.

Taking even the healthiest of behaviours to the extreme could leave us vulnerable to becoming obsessed or addicted by the behaviour itself, or can even set us up for failure.  For example focusing excessively on eating only healthy foods, could end up compromising our ability to be flexible, cope with circumstances where we have no control, and negatively affect our sanity, or emotional wellbeing.

If your January intentions are not quite working out as you had hoped or thought, do you see it as a failure or a reason to give up? If so, why not try and be compassionate with yourself, because you’ll probably find yourself in a better position to keep going or try again if you do.

If on the other hand you live the rest of the week condemning yourself, or just giving up, you are much more likely to find yourself reverting right back to the comfort habits you were probably trying to change in the first place.

Something we use as a rule of thumb on our Intentional Health community programme, is to ask ourselves "how might we help a friend through a similar situation"?

So in referring back to our handful of ways this week - try and avoid any extreme thinking, especially the kind of exclusive “middle finger” extreme thinking that leads us to offend others!

Instead remember that we are whole person beings, designed to be in relationships, standing alongside others but each also interconnected and amazingly created, and that every part of our health and wellbeing benefits from being given a 'manicure' of grace and compassion once in a while!

If you want to take ownership and 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.

And as always, if you found this post helpful, please share it so others can benefit too!

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


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

The 'Pointy' finger!


Last week we started looking at a handful of ways to be healthy and started with the thumb.

This week we are moving on to the pointy finger!

For clarification - I’m referring to the pointy finger as the finger we use to point towards others.

It can seem like we are pointing to others when we look to them and expect them to help fix, or do something for us. It can also apply when we think it is entirely their fault that we are in this situation. And whilst there may be a degree of truth in that at times, we can easily forget that when we point, there are at least three fingers pointing back at us!

The truth is that there are often 3 versions of the same situation;

  • My version,
  • Their version
  • The truth (often a combination of bits of both of the above)

Pointing, blaming, or expecting others to do something that we are meant to be owning or taking at least part responsibility for ourselves, can result in disappointment, frustration, mixed emotions, confusion, and a genuinely poor level of health and wellbeing.

Here are some examples (taken from the new year quiz!) of when you might be pointing the finger expecting others to do something.  See if you can identify with any of these* situations and fill in your blanks…..

*Someone/something else…..

  • …..  never puts the lid back on and it makes me cross.
  • The …..  never makes it easy for me to spend more time in the garden so I never get round to planting my herbs.
  • ….. needs to make a phone call before I can…..
  • The….. washing/ironing/cleaning/cooking/phone calls/kids/….. needs doing before I can make time to …..
  • He left the….. And I couldn’t…..
  • When  …..   then I’ll be able to …..
  • The temptation to …..  is always there and I can't resist.

OK, so those are just a few scenarios that you may or may not be able to relate to, and whilst they may even be truth, it might be helpful in reducing your stresses and improving your wellbeing to look at the three fingers pointing back at us when we are pointing the finger at others or our circumstances.

Owning what's in our responsibility rather than looking to others to fix us is key to making changes, and is a critical part of our emotional health and wellbeing.

No matter how much we want other people to help us along our journey, or help us solve our problems we are never going to make any change unless we start with looking in the mirror.

Change or transformation starts only when we acknowledge the need for change. 

And that also applies to those we see who we believe need to change, but don’t see it in themselves.

You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Understanding what our responsibility is and what it is not, what is in our control and not someone elses responsibility, and then excepting that and owning that, is the key to being emotionally healthy.

Admittedly, this is hard and requires humility.

In pointing to others we need to also look at the 3 fingers pointing back to us, and be open to the fact that we might not always be right, that our way might not be the only way of thinking, or that we might even be wrong.

This is hard, requires vulnerability and not something many of us are used to or encouraged to do. However, from someone who is learning to be more open to this, I have learned it is incredibility liberating to not have to always be in control, my relationships with others improve and it’s great for my health and wellbeing.

So this week if you find yourself getting annoyed because nobody understands you, take responsibility for your part in that, and try and explain again in a different way.

Or take a moment and try and understand what it is they don't understand so you can explain it again from a different perspective if it seems really obvious to you.

Accept that whilst others can help us, it is only when we take responsibility and take the first step of our own lives that we can begin to see transformation.

God has given us all a living body and we are better in community when we have support and encouragement. But we can’t expect that to happen until after we have taken ownership.

Next time you find yourself looking to someone else, are frustrated that someone else isn’t getting it try and remember that as you point the finger at them, there are at least 3 pointing back at you!

Serenity prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

whether you believe in God or not, excepting what you can change and surrendering what you can’t,  and having wisdom to understand the difference is incredibly helpful for your emotional health well-being.

If you want to take ownership and 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 get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

And as always, if you found this post helpful, please share it so others can benefit too!

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


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