2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: mental wellbeing

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong? It goes wrong so much that all you want to do is go back to bed and wait until tomorrow comes. I had one of those days around lunchtime today.

I was only trying to make lunch

It was exactly that where my downfall happened. I have been trying hard to make sure I am eating healthy foods to co-inside with the exercise and weight loss journey I am on. This means that I can spend some extra time making sure I get good foods in at lunchtime. On the menu today was some rye bread I had made yesterday, poached egg, salad with a little salad cream. I was hungry which I always am after a work morning so I tend to eat as soon as I get in. After I had set everything up I started preparing. At this point everything was fine.

Troublesome eggs!

Then came the eggs and oh boy were they troublesome today. I had cracked one into a mug as that is what I have been taught to do by Rosie and saw it safely into the pan. Then came eggs two and three. Egg two ended up in the mug and just as I was ploughing in to rescue some shell, I knocked the mug off of the work service which took with it egg three. Two eggs on the floor and none in the pan. It was quite a conundrum. One egg landed on the newly laundered rug and even worse news was one of the two troublesome eggs ended up between the surface and the cooker. The next question was how was I going to get that out of there?

The next stage with the troublesome eggs

So, you would have thought that it may have been plan sailing from there on in but no. Once the eggs were cooked, I attempted to put them on to the plate. But those slippery little things slipped right off the plate and now I have three eggs on the floor. I mean seriously three eggs on the floor!! Three! Would I end up getting any lunch today?

Lunch came, eventually!

I was about to throw the whole egg pan along with the eggs into the bin. Then I was going to jump in the car and head out to buy lunch. I didn’t. Several minutes later I was eating my healthy lunch. I mean I was starting to think all this hassle just to be eating healthy, but I got there.

The rest of the afternoon

Firstly, I had to clean up the mess which meant laundering the rug again and pulling out the oven to get that silly egg back. I was also due to go and do chores this afternoon. However, upon reflection I thought it would be wiser to sit on the couch and watch comedy on tv. This way I was out of harm’s way.  I am also considering letting Rosie cook tea again to limit my miss-adventures in the kitchen.

My point

And here is my point. Life is hard sometimes and just when you try to do an easy task in comes the curved balls. You just need to pause, take a deep breath and try to get back on track. My miss-adventure today was small in the grand scheme of things but still an important one in my book.

-Helen

Do something you love!

Do exactly that. Do that one thing that will put a smile on your face, will give you that extra spring in your step and will make you feel happy. Take some time out for you and do something nice. Now, this doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could mean running a warm bubble bath, lighting some candles and taking a long soak with a glass of wine and a (waterproof) book. It could mean going away for a spa weekend or it could mean spending time friends and family. Last weekend I did just that. Something that I love.

I haven’t been cycling for ages

This is very true. The last time I did any type of long distance on a bike was about 18 months to 2 years ago. I used to do it all the time. Almost every weekend I would be seen on a bike heading out to the Thames Tow Path, Richmond Park or over to Windsor Castle. Rosie and I met through a cycling group as well. On top of that I was doing a long of long-distance charity cycle rides. I did the Thames Bridges, London to Brighton and Pedal for Scotland to name a few. I cycled at least 4 times a week then did the strength and conditioning in the gym. Once I started working closer to home, I started cycling to and from work which could mean up to 7 days a week. For those of you who are London based sometimes cycling was the best way to get from A to B. So, as you can see, I cycled a lot.

Life got in the way

Once we had moved up to Scotland life unfortunately life got in the way, we started new jobs where the commute was much longer than 15-minute cycle. Rosie also got sick. The bikes were put at the back of the garage with a tarpaulin over them and were just “left”.

The preparation

Last Sunday after I felt like going on a cycle to see how far I could get before having to give up. I first had to get my bike out. Not an easy task as we have been using the garage as a storage area and there were hose pipes, barbecue, shelves and garden kit in front of it. I was not going to be defeated at the first hurdle. Let’s just say our garage is now re-arranged into a tidy mess now and I got to the bike. For being neglected for the last year or so it wasn’t in too bad a shape. I cleaned it up, checked and inflated the tyres, check and re-oiled it, triple checked the brakes and gave it a good once over.

Off I go

I had decided that I would go along the Forth and Clyde Canal Tow Path. I had been along parts of it before but had never done a full stretch of it. Today was the day. I started at Croy and joined the path at Auchinstarry Marina. It took a good few kilometres to get my legs into the rhythm of it all again and remember to keep my posture in the correct position as well. It took me even longer to figure out the gear system. But as the kilometres passed on, I became more comfortable and as the say I was back in the saddle (so to speak).

Before I knew it

I was at the Falkirk Wheel and had a decision to make. One way would take me to the Kelpies and the other way could take me to Linlithgow and Edinburgh. I decided on the Kelpies. Once I had got there, I thought about taking the train back home but my legs were enjoying the cycling, so I ended up cycling all the way home.

I was tired and hungry

Rosie and I have a saying: a good exercise session is where you are falling back through the front door tired, hungry but happy. And that is exactly what I did. I had cycled for around the 4-hour mark (including breaks) and I had clocked up an impressive 53 kilometres. For someone who hasn’t done that distance in a year or two I thought it was a great start.

Do something you love!

And this is my point. Go out and do what you love. Put a smile on your face, put a spring into your step and be happy.

Challenge update

We are in week 3 of the challenge. Last week I got 1063 minutes of exercise. This week is a bit of a struggle though as I have a lot of things to do which leave a lot less time for exercise. At present I am 338 minutes in. This means I have 662 minutes left (11 hours) and 4 days to do it in. I will give it my best shot but at present I think I will fall short. Time will tell, I guess.

-Helen

Exercise

BMI

Last week’s blog was about BMI and the parameters surrounding it. From the comments I have heard from you all I can safely say that it is making a lot of you unhappy. You feel you put in the effort of eating correctly and getting lots of exercise but then a number lets you down. I will wait and see if the powers that be will change this, although I doubt that they will.

Carrying on from BMI

Carrying on from the BMI post, I want to look more at exercise and how easy it is to get it in. As I said last week the numbers for exercise according to the NHS website are as follows:

Inactive – less than 30 minutes exercise a week
Moderately active – between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise a week
Active – between 60 and 150 minutes of exercise a week

Remember that this for a week. A whole week which is 7 days which is 168 hours and finally 10080 minutes. So, you can see why 30 minutes of exercise is a very achievable figure as the bare minimum. The 60 minutes is beginning to push boundaries, but it is the 150 minutes which really starts to push things. However, in my opinion I would suggest adding two more layers to the chart.

Very active – between 150 and 300 minutes of exercise a week
Extremely active – between 300 and 500 minutes of exercise a week
(Challengers – 1000 minutes and beyond)

Let’s give the people who are constantly moving a category and a pat on the back to say well done, lets carry on being active.

The new categories

The new categories seem like a lot of minutes but let me break it down for you, so it seems easy. To get 300 minutes it would work out as follows:

30 minutes of walking 4 days a week = 120 minutes
60 minutes of walking 2 days a week = 120 minutes
90 minutes of walking 1 day a week = 90 minutes
Grand total = 330 minutes per week

It’s as easy as that.

If you happen to have access to a home gym or sports centre, then take out that 60 minutes of walking and add in a 60-minute class.

The 500 minutes is slightly trickier as it involves more time however, if you do have time then it can be achieved.

30 minutes of walking 5 days a week = 150
2 x 45-minute spin class = 90 minutes
2 x 60-minute pump class = 120 minutes
1 x high intensity class = 30 minutes
Gardening over the week = 120 minutes
Grand total = 510 minutes

Activities of daily living

Let me break this down even further into activities of daily living. This is as follows:

  • Walking to the bus stop/gym/corner shop
  • Parking at the other end of the supermarket when going in to buy one item
  • Walking up the stairs at work or in a department store
  • Sitting down and standing up during an advert break on television or getting up to make a cup of tea every hour
  • Vacuuming your house from top to toe
  • Getting up at work and walking over to a colleague’s desk rather than phone them

There are many more too.

I understand we are all busy day in and day out but even small changes like the above can help us all keep active.

Challenge update

Last week I said I was going to challenge myself in getting 1000 minutes of exercise each week of July. I am pleased to say that last week I got 1042. Now, I thought that 1000 minutes would be easy and that it would be plain sailing but even I have had some pitfalls. I got one of those 24-hour buggy things and managed to pull a muscle in my leg. This meant that my Saturday was completely wiped out and my Sunday I had to go easy. The main issue I had was fitting it all in. Now I am lucky that during Tuesday and Wednesday at work my participation in the classes counted however, that still leaves 5 days of the week where I had to put in the effort.

How I got to 1042

I got to my minutes by doing various classes. I did spin, Zumba, circuits and weights to name a few. After the classes I would pop into the gym and walk on the treadmill, go on the cross trainer, cycle or have a weights session. I also walked more than normal and then spent some of the time gardening.

This week

This week has got off to a rocky start as I am still nursing that pulled muscle, so Monday was a quiet exercise day, but I was back full force on Tuesday. At present I am 349 minutes into the week.

Just get active

Do just that. You don’t have to get to my challenge of 1000 minutes in a week but challenge yourself personally and aim for an extra hour or two. Start from there and see what happens. Believe me when I say your mind, mental health, physical health and general wellbeing will all thank you. Plus, along the way you may lose weight, tone up those muscles, improve your posture, speak to people at the gym and make friends, hang out with your favourite person and so on.

-Helen

Yoga

I believe most of us have our own views of what yoga may be and that is absolutely fine. When I first tried yoga a long time ago, it had this secrecy to it. I almost felt I had to pass some kind of test to get accepted. Certainly, the other yogis seemed to be from another planet, managing to do all these weird and wonderful poses (asanas). I did not understand much at the time, but I knew I liked how it made me feel afterwards. The feeling of leaving the yoga class was a great boost. I had a clear head, a loose body, great posture and you walk like you own the world. It makes me feel great and ready to take on the world.

New to yoga

If you are new to yoga and wonder what it is all about, then I will describe it. You attend a class with a certified instructor who leads from the front. They will show you exactly what to do while providing you with different levels of difficulties, from beginner to advanced. Breathing, and at the right time, is very important in each asana. Again the instructor will tell you exactly how to breathe and when. The class starts with a warmup, then the asanas, then relaxation at the end. Depending on which kind of yoga class, there are other elements too, but this is a great place to start. Some classes focus more on the spiritual side too, however that is not my cup of tea.

Yoga versus Pilates

The main difference between the two is that yoga focuses on the spiritual side. My personal opinion is that yoga makes you more flexible due to how you work your body compared to Pilates. They are both very good and have great benefits.

Yoga teacher training

I completed my yoga teacher training in 2017, 200 hours in total. One of the highlights was the practical at the end, where we had to teach asanas to a class. Helen, the other Spud, came along as my volunteer. She took part in most classes that day so spent 6.5 hours being taught yoga. She reminds me of as often as she can about this. Now Helen likes anything that is fast, such as spinning, circuit training and boxing. Yoga is a lot of things, but I would not describe it as fast. So, it really took a lot of effort on her part to remain serious and do what she was taught. She is usually the one giggling as she can’t get into the asanas. She did a great job and admitted to feeling a lot more flexible afterwards. This lasted about 2 days and apart from a few fun days out she has not one any yoga since.

We are all different

What works for me might work for you, but then it might not. I consider myself a yogi. However, if you were to ask others, they might think that I am not a “true” yogi. I say this as I do not embrace everything that is associated with yoga. I have simply picked out the pieces that work for me. Which is really important to do with everything in life.

Stress-buster

Taking part in a yoga class relaxes me. It relaxes my poor brain, as well as my body. To me, I can really measure the benefits from doing yoga, both mentally and physically. At the moment I have some niggling in my wrists, so I adjust the asanas accordingly. It doesn’t stop me though.

Your decision

I am not here to tell you what to do. If you have not tried yoga before I hope this post makes you feel a little more at ease. I would encourage you to try a class. If you are anywhere near me in Scotland and want a session, please get in touch.

-Rosita

NB. 2 Spuds is based in the Glasgow area.

Weekend Me Time!

This is supposed to be the time where we unwind from the week, catch up on the chores and generally get ready for the next week ahead. Unfortunately, at weekends we sometimes forget to give ourselves me time. The time we need to digest what has happened in the previous week and mentally prepare for what awaits us at our desks come the next workday morning. At weekends we spend the time tidying the house, washing the dishes, making food for the week, doing the laundry, making sure the work shirts are ironed and so on. As I have said we forget to take me time.

We forget

We forget that on the weekends our alarms do not have to go off at that crazy hour to get up for work. We forget that we can spend an extra hour in bed watching tv or having that extra cup of coffee while we look at the news or funny online videos. We can also forget to do the more fun things like, going to your favourite class at the gym, going to the cinema, meeting friends for dinner or hanging out in your pyjamas all day and eating chocolate. As I say we need to reward ourselves sometimes with the me time. That time that says well done for working that stressful week.

Time well spent

Now me time can last anywhere from an hour right through to the full weekend. It doesn’t matter how much time we put on me time just take some. Have a bubble bath with a glass of wine, stay up on Saturday night to watch one more episode on Netflix, read a book on the couch wrapped in a blanket and I am sure there are many other suggestions too.

Yesterday evening

I spent time yesterday evening trying to construct a bench for outside. It was one of those ones with loads of screws, lots of different parts and instructions which made no sense even when I did hold them the right way up. It wasn’t a sunny evening, but it was dry and warm. Now from a week which has been continually rainy and grey it made for a pleasant evening. The downside was that none of the screws seemed to fit in any of the holes they were supposed to. However, several hours later, a few swear words here and there and that one screw that seemed to be left over I finished the bench. Dinner had been and gone, it was almost dark, but I had finished the bench. It was an achievement. It will give Rosie somewhere to sit with her coffee when she needs her me time in the garden.

The main point

Here is my point, I could have waited to do the bench until there was more time, I could have waited until a better time of day and I could have waited until after dinner. But here is the main element of this blog. I love constructing things. Whether that is a bookshelf from Ikea, a tv cabinet from Argos or a garden bench for somewhere that I cannot remember. It was my me time and as I am writing this sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket watching tv it makes it all worthwhile.

Me time

However, you spent your me time just make sure it is your time. Time for you and only you.

– Helen

Personal training

I thought it was a good idea to bring in personal training to the body image theme we have been running for the last couple of weeks. People visit a personal trainer for all sorts of reasons but one of the main ones is because they would like to change how they look. They may like to tone a particular area of the body; they may want a swimsuit body ready for the summer or they may want to lose weight. These are all areas that I have helped people with in my work as a trainer.

What is a personal trainer?

Someone once asked me what I did for a living. I responded that I was a personal trainer, working in a mainstream gym as well as peoples houses. They summed it up as someone who comes to you, puts you through h*ll, makes you sweaty and get out of breath, gets paid and tries to make you feel better. Now this is a good conclusion. We are the ones who make you work hard so that you can achieve your goal. I have a few rules as a trainer when I work with a client and that is one of them. You work hard in our sessions, but I am also expecting you to work hard if you are not in a session. This way you achieve your goal. If you are expecting to come to the gym for one session a week and expect great results, then unfortunately it is not going to help you.

How does a personal trainer help you?

We start by having a consultation. This is where we will chat to you and find out how we can help you. This is also where we will find out if there are any barriers to fitness. In terms of barriers I mean money issues, medical issues, family commitments, work commitments and so on. These are barriers that may make it harder to achieve your goal or could stop the goal in its tracks. However, I find if you want to make a change and achieve the goal badly enough then the barriers will be hard, but you will find a way. After the consultation phase we start to put you through your paces. I will teach you exercises to help you on the road so you can gain your potential. I will also check your posture and alignment to make sure you are looking after your body. What a personal trainer can also do is go through a healthy eating plan with you and make recommendations on how to achieve one. We usually do this through a food diary which you keep. And here is one of the secrets about personal training. We tailor all sessions to meet your needs, no one else, just you.

Do I need to be fit to visit a personal trainer?

This is a question I get quite a lot as a trainer. Do I need to be fit to work with you? With me personally the short answer is no. I work with people who have never exercised right through to someone who exercises several times a week. As I say one of my rules is you work hard. I can guide you through exercise, help you with nutrition, check your posture, make you’re your alignment is good, support and motivate you along the way. But at the end of the day it is up to you how much effort you put in. The question you need to ask yourself is, are you ready?

What do I need to look like to visit a personal trainer?

You can look however you want to look. You can be toned. You can have muscles. You can be overweight. You can turn up in the t-shirt you dug out of your cupboard forty years after your college won a sports match. You can wear brand new trainers. You can come in with make-up on. You can come in straight from work with your hair all messy. My point is as a personal trainer I do not mind how you turn up. Just turn up and be willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

Lifestyle change

As I have mentioned in a previous blog it is a lifestyle change that you need and not a quick fix. To eat correctly, exercise and then see results you may need to change several elements in your life. What I mean is this: If you are eating healthy during the week but at the weekend having two bottles of wine, then this is not going to help you. You need to sustain a change. If you go out for a 5km walk on Sunday afternoon only and again expect your cardio to improve again I am afraid it will not help. However, if you eat healthy during the week and the weekend, have two glasses of wine at the weekend, walk 5km every day, go to the gym and workout then yes you are going to feel better, but you are also committing to a lifestyle change. A change where you are going to see parts of the body getting toned, a summer body peeking through and weight getting lost. All I can say is trust me on this one, I have a lot of experience in lifestyle changes and a lot of negatives to say about quick fixes.

At the end of the day it is your call.

What would you like to achieve?

Body Image

It is a hot topic at the minute with this being Mental Health Awareness Week. The Mental Health Foundation only yesterday announced that it had done a piece of research on it. According to the report 4,500 UK adults were asked, and about a third of them were anxious about their body image. Another 1 in 8 were experiencing suicidal thoughts about it. (BBC News website)

The very thought of the words body image can make someone jump out of their skin. It will have people running to the mirror and asking why me? Someone may read this blog and think I have tried every diet but why am I still big or why can’t I put muscle on or I wish I could lose that baby weight and so on. Here’s the secret: there is no magic formula. The truth is your body belongs to you. You oversee it. It is unique. 

Your body can tell a story

It is very true; your body can tell a story. It is the life of you. So, the story of me is as follows. I have a small scar across the bridge of my nose from where I decided to nosedive into a table at the age of 2.  I also have 3 keyhole scars on my abdomen from 18 months ago where a cyst on my ovary bust, caused a right issue and had me in emergency surgery to sort it out.  I have facial tics which depending on my stress levels can be very visible. My left hand holds two rings, my engagement ring and my wedding ring. I recently cut my hair really short and got myself an ear piercing.  My toes are webbed (no I still can’t swim well), I have fat around my belly which due to a medical condition makes it hard to shift but I keep trying. I wear glasses, I had teeth braces as a kid and for a female I am taller than average. I work hard at the gym doing my own workouts so I stay strong. I also love nothing more than running around in jeans and a t-shirt. There you go, a small version of my story.

The other side of the story

People have mocked me in the past, bullied me, people have said why can’t I lose weight, why were my teeth like a bunny’s and why couldn’t I dress more feminine. Some of those words hurt, I had to listen while people said these things but did I pay attention? The short answer is no. It has taken me a while to realise that I am who I am. Some people will like me, and some will not. However, at the end of the day I cannot please everyone with the way my body looks. The only person who needs to be happy with it is me and I am more than happy with my body image. 

The media

I personally think the media has a lot to answer for. As a personal trainer I often get a person coming to me for their consultation, showing me pictures of someone on Instagram or other social media. It comes with those famous words; I want to look like this. Now bringing in a picture gives me a good idea of how you would like to look and what exercises to give you to get you there. However, most people want the easy fix. Now correct me if I am wrong but that message is usually not one that social media portrays. People want that internet body which will happen overnight whilst still being able to eat fast food and binge-watching telly. I have to disappoint these people and say that it could take up to a year to get that way. What I offer is good nutrition, at least 3 days in the gym, scaling down the fast food, limiting the alcohol and a lot of hard work. After the initial shock wears off that it will take a lot longer they sigh and say I will try it. The people who have stayed with me as a trainer have lost weight, toned their muscles, changed their diet to a healthier version and so on. But here is my point: it is a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. And at the end of the day they are much happier. 

You

So, here is the bottom line in my opinion. If you are happy with your body image don’t let anyone take that away from you. Show off your scars proudly and let them tell their story. If you are not happy with your body image, then take a small step today into making a lifestyle change and keep going. Once you catch the nutrition and exercise bug I can guarantee you will find your happy somewhere along the way.

-Helen

We are live!

We’ve only gone and done it. We are extremely happy and proud to be launching 2 Spuds in a Pod, looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. And here’s the marketing bit. We are live through our website, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Short and sweet. Grab a cup of tea and take a look around.

Now let me take you back to late 2017 where the reason we started of 2 Spuds began. We didn’t know at that point what we were getting into or how it would shape 2018. It has been an interesting journey to say the least.

I had gone down to London to visit Rosie and we had just finished dinner. Now usually I leave a cup full of juice post meal to last me into the evening. We cleared up from dinner, had finished the washing up and were just sitting chatting. I reached for my juice to find an empty glass. I asked Rosie is she had drunk my juice and the next thing I knew was Rosie starting crying. Not little tears but big tears, struggling to talk and breathe crying. I thought it was an extreme reaction for just drinking my juice but here we were. After calming Rosie down, we started chatting about what was going on. Rosie was saying that she had been crying walking down the street, crying on the bus to work, crying at work, crying at the supermarket picking up milk and the list went on. For no rhyme or reason, she would just have a meltdown. I wasn’t too sure what to do at this point except for keep Rosie calm and try to get her a GP appointment for the next day.

This was an extreme reaction to such a simple question, so we urge anyone in the same situation not to panic, take a deep breath and seek help. Send us an email or reply to a thread on the blog. 2 Spuds will try and help you out as best we can. Of course, you can go straight to your GP as well. It is a frightening thing to go through but there is help out there for you. More importantly you are not alone.


The next few months saw us at various GP appointments, being referred to the mental health service, psychologists, mindfulness CD’s, reading many articles and so on. Rosie was diagnosed with Depressive Illness. Let me explain, imagine your brain like a fuse board. When we can cope with life, we oversee how many switches we have on and we can tell which switch to switch for each situation we are faced with. In Rosie’s case all the switches were on, and one day the fuse box under so much strain just blew and shut down. Through our blogs Rosie will take you through what it was to feel like to be at some of the darkest points she has ever felt, and I will take you through some of the situations I dealt with whilst looking after her. 

We will also give you ideas, advice, practical tips and so on for how to keep yourself active, how to eat well, how to seek help, how to help someone who is having a mental health crisis and so on. If you need help urgently, please visit our support page where you will find a list of people who can help. In particular, Samaritans who you can call anytime.

As I said during 2018, we went through a lot. At some point we mentioned that it would be a nice idea to write down what we had been through and how we could help other people in a similar situation. We then got thinking about what else we could do to help people out. This is where we are today. I urge you to look at our page called “What we offer” which will give you an idea of what we do. We are hoping to create a safe space for people on the site where people like to bring their tea and biscuits and feel they are not alone in any physical or mental health crisis.

Now excuse us while we go for a sit down, before more hard work begins as we push 2 Spuds in a Pod out to various people and get this idea flying.

– Helen & Rosie

[#mentalhealth #happiness #youarenotalone #physicalwellbeing #mentalwellbeing]

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