ayurveda healing

Nourish your spirit with Ayurveda healing

To end week 1, we will focus on nourishing your spirit through Ayurveda healing. This is an ancient Indian holistic health practice and system of medicine. At it’s heart, Ayurveda has the principle of understanding your individual constitution. There are then many practices to maintain balance through appropriate diet, exercise and lifestyle choices as well as herbal medicine.

It takes many years of study to become an Ayurveda healing practitioner, however there are some simple principles that I have learnt through yoga teacher training which I will share with you today!

Ayurveda healing and the spirit

I love that Well College Global include an introduction to Ayurveda healing as part of their personal wellness course. Even for those who are not interested in yoga or Eastern philosophy, there is so much to be learned about the world and yourself through the lens of Ayurveda. It helps us to understand that we are part of something greater and that we are all unique expressions of nature. Instead of judging and critisising ourselves, we can learn to self-reflect with curiosity and live in a way that brings out our best self.

Understanding your Ayurveda healing constitution

There are three main life forces or doshas according to the Ayurveda healing system: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. All of us as individuals are made up of a combination of these forces which relate to the five basic elements and their qualities.

a) Vata consists of the elements air and ether

b)Pitta is made up of fire and water

c) Kapha is governed by the elements earth and water.

These combinations give rise to qualities such as cold, hot, dry, oily, quick, slow, sharp, dense and light which are expressed in all of nature, including us as human beings. Typically we have one or two doshas whose qualities clearly dominate our physical, mental and emotional tendencies.

I explained the doshas in more detail as well as how to identify your own constitution in the post What is your Ayurveda body type?. Learning about your true nature helps you to accept who you are and know that you are part of the beautiful tapestry of life! It eliminates comparison with others and helps you to appreciate your own strengths and make the most of them.

Adapting your lifestyle for Ayurveda healing

Once you understand your constitution, you can adapt your lifestyle to restore or maintain balance. This is empowering information as no longer will you listen to external sources telling you exactly what you need. Instead you will be able to tune into your own inner knowing. This is Ayurveda healing at it’s core!

There is simply no one true way to live that supports everyone. People can thrive on many different diets, exercise routines, work styles, family life etc. We all have different needs, personalities, preferences and once we understand these we can work with them rather than against them to increase our energy and vitality.

Understanding your constitution also helps you to observe imbalances as the difference between your natural and your current state. If there are imbalances present, this is the first step on the path to disease. Ayurveda teaches to identify imbalances and remedy through lifestyle changes to avoid more serious illness and to create a state of wellness.

Ayurveda healing practices can be used to:

  1. Maintain a healthy balance of the doshas, as per your natural constitution
  2. Correct any imbalances which could later lead to disease

To understand this, we focus on the idea that like creates like. For example, adopting a lifestyle with vata-like qualities will increase vata dosha in your system. If you naturally experience high vata, you want to make lifestyle choices which balance out this dosha by increasing the qualities of the other doshas. We always want to avoid extremes and maintain a sense of balance.

Lifestyle to support Vata dosha

Vata dominant individuals are spontaneous and creative but tend to experience cold and dryness in their body as well as a chaotic mental state. Therefore, it is best to make lifestyle choices that are warming, grounding and calming.

DIET: Consume warming and easily digestible foods including dairy, oils, salt and sugar and avoid excess raw vegetables

MOVEMENT: Keep a consistent movement routine including calming, grounding practices such as yoga, tai chi and gentle walking

ENVIRONMENT: Avoid excessively cold and dry or windy environments

MINDSET: Practice grounding meditations and body scan techniques to get out of your head and into your body

SLEEP: Focus on a relaxing evening routine to calm an erratic or anxious mind before sleep

Lifestyle to support Pitta dosha

Pitta dominant individuals are energetic and ambitious but can be quick to over heat and anger as well as experience excessive acidity in the body. Therefore, they want to make lifestyle choices which are cooling, calming and promote moderation.

DIET: Choose foods which have a bitter or (natural) sweet tastes and avoid excess spicy, oily or salty foods. Stay hydrated and avoid excess coffee.

MOVEMENT: Get plenty of movement, especially in the morning hours to burn excess energy. Strength training is great for pitta types

ENVIRONMENT: Avoid excessive hot sun or humidity and try to keep the body cool

MINDSET: Practice calming breathing techniques and avoid heated conflict or unnecessary anger

SLEEP: May need less sleep than other doshas but avoid working in the evening hours and minimise stress which can impact sleep

Lifestyle to support Kapha dosha

Kapha dominant individuals are calm, steady and reliable but can fall into the trap of laziness or stagnation. Lifestyle choices which support dynamic energy flow and a feeling of lightness are supportive

DIET: Opt for lighter foods including lot’s of vegetables and raw greens and avoid over-doing it with heavy foods and sweets as these increase kapha qualities

MOVEMENT: Move in a way that increases the flow of energy and reduces stagnation in the body e.g. cardio outdoors in the fresh air

ENVIRONMENT: Keep warm and dry, avoid overly chilly and damp environments

MINDSET: Focus on gratitude, trying new things and challenging your thoughts to avoid getting stuck in a rut

SLEEP: Try to keep a consistent sleep routine and avoid over sleeping or daily napping

Following a lifestyle adapted to your dosha as well as to the changing seasons and environment will support you in connecting your spirit and to nature.

Thank you to Well College Global, My Vinyasa Practice and the Ayurvedic Institute for inspiring this post!

Today’s challenge: Understand with your dosha and Ayurveda healing lifestyle

If you found this concept interesting, you can put it into practice by identifying your constitution. You can then make some simple changes to your lifestyle if you desire to support your being with Ayurveda healing and bring yourself into balance. I recommend taking the dosha quiz by Chopra as a starting point. Books by Vasant Lad and Sahara Rose are also great places to learn more!

If you’re interested in learning more about your constitution and which foods can support your health, I am a training Ayurvedic Nutritionist. I offer online and in person Ayurveda inspired nutrition consultations where you receive a detailed Ayurvedic assessment to identify your natural constitution and any imbalances. I then prepare a tailored program of diet, yoga and lifestyle practices to improve your health.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Move your body and be happy!

Exercise is another word that is often tainted with negative connotations. Why do most women exercise? Usually to burn calories, lose weight, tone up or compensate for over eating. Thinking about exercise in this way makes it feel like a chore or a punishment. It’s no wonder that it can be so hard to build healthy habits around working out!

As someone who has a history with chronic over-exercising and gym obsession, I prefer to use the words body movement rather than exercise. Exercise reminds me of pushing myself through intense circuits and hours of cardio all in the pursuit of weight loss. But moving your body has so many more benefits than burning calories. When done in the right way, body movement:

  • Boost your energy and vitality
  • Improves your mood
  • Helps you to get better sleep
  • Reduces your risk of chronic disease
  • Improves circulation, bone density and joint health
  • Helps you to live longer

What is the right way to exercise?

There are several factors that take the benefits of body movement to the next level. These are:

  1. Moving outdoors, especially in natural environments
  2. Social activities e.g. a walk with a friend, a group exercise class
  3. Moving at a non-stressful pace for your body
  4. Staying present and mindful during the activity
  5. Having a SMILE on your face as you move

The most important point is that movement should feel light, joyful and a chance to enjoy being in this human bodily experience. If exercising feels stressful, anxiety-provoking or is tied to the goal of weight loss of changing your body in some way, many of the additional benefits will be lost. Basically you are selling yourself short! This is a result of conditioning around what it means to exercise and your pre-conceived notions of fitness.

That is not to say that moving your body should never be challenging. Of course, it is good to push your limits but the trick is to do it gently. It should be so subtle that it doesn’t feel like a strain. You want to support and encourage your body into better health and fitness, not beat and submit it to your will. Perhaps at first, it will take some persuasion to get yourself off the sofa and onto the yoga mat or the hiking trail. But once you’re there it should feel good!

How much movement is ideal for health?

Most experts recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise OR 75 minutes of high intensity exercise. Personally, I recommend moderate intensity exercise as you also get the added benefits of stress reduction. Too high intensity exercise can actually increase your stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which make you feel good in the moment but can cause a crash later on!

So 150 minutes per week is equivalent to 5 times 30 minutes per week – that should be achievable, right? However, over 40% of women in the UK don’t meet this recommendation. If you are one of these women then think about why? Perhaps because you have a conditioned idea of what exercise should be and it puts you off. I’ve lost count of the number of women who have told me they are too old, not fit or flexible enough to join my yoga class! Or maybe because life is already exhausting and stressful and exercise feels like another thing on the list that you don’t have time or energy for?

But as I said earlier, body movement can be many things outside of what we formally see as “exercise”. Simple activities such as walking to the shop, cleaning the house, gardening, walking the the dog, playing games with your kids all count as movement. Getting outdoors and enjoying nature through hiking, swimming, cycling or climbing are also great ways to move your body which don’t feel like formal exercise. Personally, hiking, yoga and dancing are the ways I love to move my body and they never feel like a chore.

You want to find ways to move your body that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to. That way, you will not have to rely on motivation and persuasion to get yourself moving.

What are some ways to exercise?

The two files below give some examples of how you can bring body movement into your routine. The first pdf shows low, moderate and high intensity activities and explains how you can minimise stress by keeping high intensity activities to only short bursts, whereas low intensity exercise can be kept up for longer periods of time. The second pdf shows the different types of movement (cardio, resistance training and flexibility/mobility) which each have their own benefit for your health.

Tips for creating habits around movement

As I shared in yesterday’s post about food as nourishment, habits are key to creating a healthy lifestyle. You want to make it as easy as possible for yourself to make choices that are in line with your goals. Ideally, you want exercise to be something you don’t deliberate on each time but you just do it because that’s the way you always do it. Some tips for creating body movement habits include:

  • When starting out stick to 1-3 activities and commit to them
  • Always do the activities in the same way in the same place i.e. create a routine
  • Start with a monthly schedule and stick to it i.e. make the decisions in advance
  • Involve a friend or exercise buddy to keep you motivated and accountable
  • Make sure you have the right equipment e.g. comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Have all your equipment ready to go so that preparing is not a barrier

Today’s challenge: Create a body movement plan

Now it is time to take action! Using the template below, fill in the activities you want to commit to over the next 4 weeks. You can either repeat the same schedule each week or change it throughout the month. I prefer to reduce the intensity of movement around my period (more on that in a future post!) and increase it during other times of the month so that overall there is a good balance of effort and rest.

If you are in the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group, I will be sharing some additional resources to support you in building healthy habits around moving your body. So enjoy and I will see you tomorrow when we will be moving onto to the topic of getting a good nights’ sleep!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Food as nourishment not punishment

How many times have you started a new year by vowing that this will be the year you finally succeed on that diet? Perhaps you have signed up to Weight Watchers or bought a book about the keto diet and have committed to going all in? After indulging over the festive period it is normal to want to cut back a little but this cycle of over eating and restrictive dieting can be detrimental to our overall health and wellbeing.

For some reason, as humans we seem to like extremes. We so often think in black and white, all or nothing principles. We are either eating everything in sight or we are vowing never to touch another cake or chocolate bar again. Food can be a source of punishment, either harming us through over-indulgence or equally through deprivation and restriction. But what if there is another way?

Food as nourishment

Food can also be a source of nourishment for our body, mind and spirit. Think about it – what you eat literally becomes you! Your food provides the building blocks that make up your skin, bones, hair and all of your internal organs which keep you alive. What you eat also provides the energy for you to live a rich and fulfilling life, to work, to be creative and to maintain supportive relationships. It connects you to your environment, community and your culture.

Eating a low energy or low nutrient diet is the number one way to create a life that is low in energy and nourishment. My mantra when I was recovering from chronic dieting was “RESTRICTED EATING = RESTRICTED LIFE”. On the other hand, by consistently nourishing yourself with lots of healthy foods (without necessarily eliminating “unhealthy” foods), you will have the energy and enthusiasm to create the life that you dream of. As Geneen Roth rightly said:

Trusting your body

There are so many popular opinions about what a healthy diet is that it can be overwhelming. Fans of keto or Atkins diets say that carbs are the devil and a high protein, high fat diet is the way to achieve lifelong health and weight loss. On the other hand, doctors and dieticians recommend high carb plant-based diets to over come disease and stay slim. Weight Watchers and Slimming World advise to eat whatever you like as long as you stay within your points allowance for the day.

All of these diets “work” in the sense that they can help you to lose weight or in some cases to heal health conditions. But they all have one thing in common. A lack of flexibility and the transfer of power and motivation to something external. By following a restrictive diet, you are saying that you do not trust your own body to keep you healthy and that someone else knows better. I believe the opposite that our bodies know best. It is simply our environment that can make things difficult!

You might think that your food habits are a result of willpower. Either a lack of willpower or a strong will to eat healthily. However, recent research shows that most of our choices are based not on conscious decisions, our goals and motivations but rather on habit and environmental influence. Our brains like to conserve energy and the easiest way to do that it do put simple tasks, like eating, on auto-pilot. Simply put, we eat the way we do because it’s what we are used to.

Changing your food habits

This is why changing your diet is so difficult at first. You go from preparing and eating food automatically to having to think about every decision which takes a lot of effort! You might need to learn new recipes, go shopping more often and spend more time in the kitchen. But if you manage to convert these new knowledge and skills into habits, they soon become the norm and are much easier to maintain.

When I work with clients, we follow the VISION-GOAL-ACTION protocol.

This means starting with an overall vision for your future health, setting some goals to motivate you and then deciding on simple actions that you can take daily to work towards those goals. This is a proven technique that actually works. Consistent actions, no matter how small, are what become your future positive habits that over time bring you closer to achieving your goals and becoming your vision of your healthiest self.

Some tips for creating healthy habits around food:

  1. Always write a shopping list and stick to it – It is much easier to use your willpower once to not buy things you don’t want to eat than it is to use it again and again to not eat the foods that are already in your cupboard

  2. Learn a few simple, tasty, healthy recipes – We all know that feeling of coming home after a long day at work and having zero motivation to cook a healthy dinner. Having go-to meals that you can prepare easily without thinking is so important for these situations

  3. Focus on what you can add to your diet – So often when trying to eat healthily we think about what to avoid but our brains are literally programmed to want what is forbidden. It is much better to focus on adding in healthy foods that trying to remove unhealthy foods!

  4. Make your meals a ritual – Mindful eating is the number one way to tune into your bodies’ intelligence. It knows what it needs and how much if you only listen. Eating meals in a peaceful, quiet environment without distractions makes mindful eating much easier

  5. Take pleasure from your food – This one should go without saying but sadly, many people think that healthy eating has to be boring and tasteless. In reality, a truly nourishing meal can be extremely satisfying and tasty one we let go of the idea that health is dry chicken breast and salad.

So what exactly is a healthy diet?

I prefer to keep things simple! There is no one-size-fits-all diet that can meet all of our needs. The amount of food, the ratio of food groups and how you should eat depends on many factors including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Metabolic health
  • Activity level
  • Body composition
  • Life stage
  • Stress
  • Climate and season

I wrote more about this in a previous post: What is the perfect diet for humans?

To put it simply, the healthiest diet is one that consists of mainly whole, unprocessed food, includes lots of fresh plant-based foods and has plenty of variety.

This definition of healthy eating is not restrictive and can be applied to many different dietary patterns. Throughout history, humans have survived and thrived on a huge variety of diets depending on which location of the world they live in. But what they all have in common is that they eat an abundance of real food which come from the earth (including animals as well as plants).

Eating with the seasons

Something that has been lost in many developed societies is eating with the seasons. Historically, humans would have had a huge variety in their diet, simply by eating what was available to them in their environment throughout the year. Nowadays, we have huge supermarkets full of preserved, processed foods and produce imported from all over the world. We are spoilt for choice and although this does give us variety, it also cuts that spiritual connection with nature that we can experience through eating a more natural diet.

I first became interested in seasonal and local eating for environment reasons. I wanted to reduce the carbon footprint of my diet by eating less foods that had been transported across the world by plane. But I soon realised that eating with the seasons also has health benefits. Eating locally-grown produce means the food is probably fresher and as seasonal foods grow abundantly, they have usually been sprayed with less chemicals to protect them. I also feel like nature knows best and perhaps in the future we will find out that the nutrients available in foods at particular times of the year offer us particular nutrients just at the moment we need them!

Why not try making a list of a few foods you would like to include in your diet each season? Experimenting with new foods and recipes each season is a fun way to connect with nature and make sure you are getting a variety of fresh foods into your diet. If you’re in the UK, you can use the calendar below to find out which produce is available locally each season. BBC also have a seasonal recipes section which is great if you are unsure where to start. If you live elsewhere, you can Google search “seasonal foods” and you should find some helpful resources.

BBC Seasonal Produce Calendar

BBC Good Food Seasonal Food by Month

The best diet is the [insert your name here] diet

Overall, when it comes to the way you eat, it is important to find what works for YOU and not listen blindly to others. The only way to do this is to experiments with different food and eating styles and pay attention to how you feel. This might sounds obvious but how many times have you eaten a meal and genuinely observed how you felt after?

Usually we only notice if there is an extreme reaction, for example if a particular food makes us feel sick or causes bloating. But what you eat affect you in so many ways including your energy levels, stamina, mental clarity, mood and even the quality of your sleep. The amount of food you eat, the combinations of foods at each meal and even the timing of your meals can impact the way you feel throughout the day.

I shared in a recent post about the different body types according to Ayurveda and how particular foods can influence individuals in different ways. For example, one person might feel energised and clear on a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables whereas another might feel freezing and lethargic. Some people need more protein and animal-based foods to support their constitution, whereas others thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many people love three-square meals a day but some feel better with smaller meals and snacks.

All of this is to say that there is no simple right answer as to what to eat to be healthy. But this should be a good thing! You can shift your perspective from following dietary rules to asking your body what it truly needs to be nourished each time you eat. Every meal is an opportunity to support your physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies as I explained in yesterday’s post. If you learn to see food as nourishment, you will no longer be trapped in the cycle of dieting and over-eating but you will naturally come to a place of balance and find peace with food.

Today’s challenge: Complete a food diary

One of the tools I use with my health coaching clients is a food diary. Not as another way to count calories and deprive yourself, but as a way to see objectively what, when, why and how you eat. Today’s challenge is for you to complete a food diary for a minimum of three days this week, using the downloadable template below to:

a) Record when and what you eat throughout the day as well as how you were feeling physically and mentally before and after eating

b) Review your whole day of eating and check for the above principles. Did you eat mostly whole foods? Was there plenty of variety in your day or week? Did you include lots of fresh plant-based foods?

Hopefully this activity will be enlightening and you will see for yourself some simple changes you can make to improve your diet. It is important to do this task without self-judgement or criticism – what you eat says nothing about who you are as a person, it is simply the food habits that you have right now.

If you are in the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group, I will be sharing some additional resources to support you in making healthy changes to your diet. So enjoy and I will see you tomorrow when we will be moving onto to the topic of movement!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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What is whole being nourishment?

Welcome to the New Year Women’s Wellness challenge! If you’re not sure what this is all about read this post first. The first week of the challenge is all about whole being nourishment. When you think of nourishment, what comes to mind? Probably it’s food and that is definitely a good place to start but it isn’t the full picture!

The layers of your being

In yoga philosophy, a human is seen as not just a physical body but as 5 layers or koshas:

  1. Anamaya kosha (physical body)
  2. Pranamaya kosha (energetic/breath body)
  3. Manomaya kosha (emotional/mental body)
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha (intellectual/wisdom body)
  5. Anandamaya kosha (spiritual/bliss body)

Image credit: https://wellness-space.net/pancha-kosha/

The physical body is the solid material that makes up you: your bones, muscles, organs, nerves etc. This is the part that you can see and touch. It is also known as the food body as it is responsible for digesting and assimilating food into energy and for your survival instincts.

The energetic body is closely tied to the physical body and it represents the flow of energy, life force or prana which animates you. It is also known as the breath body as your breath and your life force are closely connected. We can nourish this layer through correct breathing or pranayama breath control.

The emotional or mental body represents what is often called the monkey mind or the mental chatter that you experience throughout the day. This is the limbic brain which is responsible for your likes, dislikes, feelings, fears, desires etc. which are responsible for most of your actions.

The intelligence or wisdom body is the higher part of your mind, your conscience, which is capable of rational thinking, making decisions, holding ethical values and creativity. If you pay attention, you can observe the difference between mental chatter and directed thoughts.

Finally, the spiritual or bliss body is the part of you which is most connected to yourself and all of nature. You access this body in moments of silence or awe when you move past the usual thinking and feeling state and time seems to stand still.

Whole being nourishment

These five layers or koshas make up your whole being. Nourishment is therefore about the body but also the mind and the soul or spirit. A major source of nourishment is of course food, and we will get to that very soon. But nourishment also comes from the thoughts you think, the air you breath, your feelings, actions, relationships, work, hobbies and everything that you experience through your five senses. You can eat the healthiest diet in the world but if the other elements are missing, you will never experience true wellness.

Throughout this week, and the whole of the wellness challenge, we will be focusing on different ways to nourish your whole being. The next three days will be about nourishing your physical and energetic bodies through healthy eating, joyful movement and good quality sleep. Following that we will introduce ways to nourish the mental and spiritual bodies which we will continue to expand on throughout the challenge. It is important to do it in this order as the energy you create through nourishing the physical body will feel into the other layers!

Focus on the feeling

Rather than focusing on the numbers (e.g. calories, weight) I invite you to keep the idea of nourishment in mind as you make lifestyle changes. Focusing on feeling good rather than on a particular outcome means that your motivation comes from within rather than on something external. This makes it much easier for you to stay committed because your lifestyle becomes a way for you to stay happy and energised instead of something that you struggle to keep up with when life gets tough.

This wellness challenge is about creating sustainable, supportive habits which you actually enjoy, not about punishing your body or following strict rules. I’m sure many of you, like me, have at some point in the past dieted or pushed yourself through extreme workouts to try to lose weight or look a certain way. But how long did this last? You can only maintain will power for so long and then what happens next? Your body starts to rebel and resist and you end up back to square one.

You cut calories or your favourite foods then end up binge eating because your body is starving and deprived. You go all in with an exercise regime and then get injured or exhausted and have to take weeks off. You lose weight and then gain it all back plus some. Instead of cycling between extremes, you want to find balance by creating simple and enjoyable habits that feel sustainable. This means it has to be a lifestyle which feels nourishing for all layers of your being.

Today’s challenge: Nourishing your body(S!)

Throughout the challenge I will be offering you activities to do or questions to reflect on. This is totally optional, but if you want to get the most out of this month and feel truly refreshed and recharged, I highly recommend it! Taking action is a way to integrate things that you read, hear and learn into your being. So grab yourself a notebook or journal to get started.

Today’s simple task is for you to make five lists, one for each of the layers of your being. Or if you prefer, you can simplify it to three lists: mind, body and spirit. In each list write down the things that nourish this part of your being. Some things might appear on more than one list, for example, eating fresh food will nourish your physical and your energetic bodies.

When you are finished, take 2 coloured pens and highlight:

a) The things that are already a regular part of your life

b) The things that you want more of in your life and commit to creating space for

If you are in the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group, feel free to share a photo of your list – I will be sharing mine!

Tomorrow we will be starting with the topic of healthy eating and nourishment through food.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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women's wellness challenge 2022

New Year 2022 Women’s Wellness Challenge!

It’s that time of year again… the deep winter when we take stock of the year that has passed and start envisioning what we want to create in the year ahead. This year, I have decided to take it up a notch! From Monday, I will be commencing a Women’s Wellness Challenge here on my blog and in the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group.

The women’s wellness challenge is inspired by Well College Global Personal Wellness Coaching course which I took last summer. Over 5 weeks we will progress though 5 areas of holistic health and wellbeing:

5 weeks of women’s wellness challenge

Week 1: Nourishment

The first week of the women’s wellness challenge is all about nourishing your body, mind and spirit. You will learn how to eat in a way that supports your whole being, how to move your body in a way that creates rather than depletes your energy and vitality and how to get deeply restful and rejuvenating sleep. We will also start to dive into mental and spiritual health through the lens of positive psychology and Ayurveda.

Week 2: Connection

In week 2 of the women’s wellness challenge, you will start to build deeper connection to yourself, others and the planet we call home. Connecting with ourselves means finding inner peace and understanding who we are inside, not just our physical appearance, life circumstances and conditioning. We are social beings and so holistic wellness also includes building supportive relationships and communities that lift us up and give us purpose.

Week 3: Compassion

We can have the healthiest lifestyle in the world, but if we are thinking negative thoughts or acting unkindly towards ourselves or others, we can never experience true wellness. Therefore in week 3 of the women’s wellness challenge, we will focus on building compassion, mindfulness and strong self-care foundation. You will learn how to create change from a place of acceptance rather than criticism and punishment as well as how to let go of the past to allow deep healing.

Week 4: Wisdom

The fourth week of the women’s wellness challenge is all about wisdom. Rather than being about becoming an expert or knowing everything, wisdom is about understanding that we don’t know everything and there are many things in life we cannot control. We will go into topics such as developing patience, light-heartedness and curiosity. I will also introduce you to the basics of meditation as a tool for accepting what is and connecting with your intuition.

Week 5: Transcendence

In the final week of the women’s wellness challenge, we will move into the more spiritual realm. Don’t be put off by the word spiritual! This week we will look at areas of full-being wellness including gratitude, life purpose, love and belonging. You will also learn how to awaken your more spiritual side through the lens of cultivating prana (energy), consciousness and understanding the masculine and feminine forces at play in all of nature.

How to join the women’s wellness challenge

The women’s wellness challenge is going to be a fun and enlightening journey. I hope you enjoy following along with me! I will be posting regular blogs here throughout the month so make sure you are subscribed to receive email updates. If you would like to dive deeper, I will be sharing extra tools in the Moon Life Well Women Facebook to help you to put the information into practice and truly integrate it into your life.

So enjoy the rest of the holidays and have a great start to 2022. Thank you for being here with me throughout the epic challenger of a year that was 2021 and I wish you every health and happiness that you deserve for the year to come!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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mindset change health

Mindset change to transform your health!

Recently I posted that it is time for a reboot. To “get back on track” we need to have a good idea of what that means. So often we focus on what we DON’T want for our health. We waste time and energy complaining about things that we don’t like. Or we want to change, whether this is symptoms, disease or unhealthy habits. But how many times do we truly reflect on what we DO want for our health? To really transform our health we need a mindset change!

If you want to your goals, you have to first get clear on what you are aiming for. Then you need to take appropriate and consistent action towards that goal. What you think about becomes our reality. Therefore, if you are constantly focusing on your problems, you will only perpetuate them. Instead you need a mindset change to align with your health vision so that you can become the person you want to be.

This might seem like an abstract statement but really it is quite straightforward. We can never truly see the world as it is. Our sensory organs take in all of the information they can. Then they filter and sort it before transmitting the data to our brains. If we were to constantly process all of this information, we would be completely overwhelmed. Instead, we see everything through the filter of our mind. That’s why mindset change is so important to any transformational journey. Our mindset IS our reality!

We program our minds to look out for certain things. Think about when you have a new car and you keep seeing that model of car everywhere. If you program your mind to look for problems, it will find them everywhere. By changing your mindset to one of success (whatever that means to you) you will see opportunities everywhere instead.

How can I create a mindset change when I feel so negative?

When you are struggling with your health, it is so hard not to focus on the symptoms you are experiencing. Trust me, I have been there! I dealt with insomnia and fatigue for several years. Nothing made my blood boil more than being told not to worry about it so much. I couldn’t understand how not to focus on something that felt so all encompassing. In truth, all of the time and energy I spent trying to figure out what was wrong with me never helped.

What finally allowed me to heal was making a simple mindset change. Of course I needed to take action too or nothing would have changed. But I shifted from trying to fix my problems to trying to create more energy that I so badly wanted. I started to focus on things that made me feel energised. Then tried my best to be patient and allow change to occur.

I stopped the daily pity parties and tried my best to appreciate the good things in my life. By this I don’t mean that every day I wrote a list of all the things I am grateful for. This can work for some people, but only if you truly feel the energy and mindset change to one of gratitude. It doesn’t have the same effect when you mechanically write things down. I decided I wanted to feel energised and happy so whenever moments like that occurred I dived into them fully. Even if it was only 1% of the day and the other 99% I felt exhausted.

Another useful tool to create a mindset change is visualisation. Our minds are such powerful tools when we harness them for good. If we let them do their own thing they can become destructive and spiral into negative thought patterns. But we do have the ability to step in and halt the monkey mind or what we call chitta vrtti in yoga. Once we are aware of this, we can use our higher mind, our intelligence to redirect our thoughts.

Visualisation through images or storytelling can be a great way to train your mind to focus on a positive future rather than getting caught up in your current struggles and fears. I love guided mediations which use a combination of visualisation and affirmation. This was one of the most useful tools for me in overcoming insomnia and also low self esteem. Using these techniques can really help to create a mindset change in the subconscious, the deepest layer of your mind.

Positive psychology

Another tool for mindset change that I learned in my women’s wellness coaching training is positive psychology. This philosophy teaches us to focus more on the good things that we have and want more of, rather than the bad. Instead of feeling helpless out of control, we feel empowered and confident that we can make change.

Positive psychology encourages us to want to “level up” and aim higher than just getting by. We do this by focusing on a mindset change to one of success. When it comes to health, this can mean aiming for a sense of overall wellbeing rather than just eliminating symptoms aka thriving rather than surviving!

“Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good in life instead of repairing the bad, and taking the lives of average people up to “great” instead of focusing solely on moving those who are struggling up to “normal” (Peterson, 2008)

These days, feeling slightly off is so common that it is normalised. Experiencing minor symptoms such as low energy, digestive upsets, sleep disturbances or anxiety has become the new normal. To the point that if you want to feel great and in peak physical condition, people might think you are aiming too high.

However, positive psychology encourages you to do just that. Set the bar high and know that it is possible for you to create this in your life. This is what I want for myself and for all of you. A body that functions the way that it should and a feeling of overall health and wellbeing. This all starts with a mindset change towards one of health and wellbeing!

Activity to focus on the positive

Here is a simple task you can try to help you create mindset change towards what you want rather than what you don’t want. Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns with the following headings:


In the left column, make a list of all of the things you want to change. For example:

  • I don’t want to feel tired
  • I don’t want to eat so many sweets
  • I don’t want to wake up during the night
  • I don’t want to feel so stressed
  • I don’t want to be overweight

Now, in the right column I want you to convert each of these statements to reflect the physical and mindset change you want to see. Such as:

  • I want to have abundant energy
  • I want to eat a nourishing diet
  • I want to sleep peacefully throughout the night
  • I want to feel calm and at ease
  • I want to maintain a healthy weight for my body

Get the idea? From here you can cross out the left column entirely or rip it out, tear it up, burn it.. whatever you need to do to symbolically let it go.

Place the right column somewhere you will see it daily and remind yourself of what you want for your health and the mindset change you need to make it a reality. Use this list to set goals to help you get to where you want to be. Then check in with existing actions to see if they align with your desires. You can even create a collage or mood board of inspiring images to represent the items on the written list if you are a more visual person.


To summarise, in order to make improvement to your health it important to start with a mindset change. First, identify what you want to change but ALSO what you want to replace it with. Focus more on what is good and how you can bring more of this into your life. Take your focus away from what is bad and you want less of. This way you will prime your brain to appreciate and seek out the positive. It will motivate you to act in a way that lifts you up and helps to to become the person you want to be!

mindset change health

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Is it time for a health reboot?

I can’t believe it is nearly the end of the year already! This year has passed so fast yet it feels like so much has happened. I can’t wait for the Christmas holidays to begin on Monday so that I can recharge and prepare for exciting new things in the new year. Like all of you, I am praying that this is the year that the pandemic will finally come to an end. It is so draining to be constantly waiting for new measures and to be missing out on the things we love. Birthday parties, face to face yoga classes and concerts all seem like a distant memory. But I am remaining optimistic!

Saying that, honestly, I am feeling quite tired and uninspired at the moment. The last few months have been very busy with work and travel and I have been slacking on some of my self-care routines. Even though I know that certain habits keep me feeling energised and happy. It can be so easy to forget or get lazy during the winter months when it starts to get cold and dark. But sometimes we just need to notice that things have started to slip and to get ourselves back on track That is when it is time for a health reboot!

Signs it is time for a health reboot

Know the feeling? Some signs that tell me it is time for a health reboot:

  • Having less energy throughout the day
  • Feeling less inspired and motivated
  • Falling into unhealthy behaviours or slacking on healthy habits
  • Spending excessive time watching TV or online
  • Generally feeling unenthusiastic and blah
  • Not bothering to make an effort with your appearance
  • Feeling more anxious or restless without reason
  • Not feeling empowered or good about yourself
  • Inner critic getting louder or moving out of it’s home in the pre-menstrual phase (for the ladies)
  • Feeling like you don’t know where you are spending your time
  • Less energy or desire to spend time with loved ones

Can you relate to any of these? Sure, we all experience these things from time to time. But if you start to notice several of these on a consistent basis, it might be time to sit down and check in with yourself. Which is what I am doing right now! Simply by noticing you aren’t feeling your best, you have already taken the first step towards getting back on track. It takes mindfulness and self-awareness to get to this point so you should be proud of yourself for that. Now is not the time for judgement or criticising yourself. Rather it is time to show yourself some love and care.

How do I do a health reboot?

Once you realise it is time to hit the reset button, it is time to get back to the basics. It is a good idea to have a few simple habits that you can come back to whenever you need to reconnect with yourself and increase your energy. Choose 1-3 actions which you can take on a daily basis which you know will lift your spirit. Then take these actions consistently for a week. This will start to get the momentum going and then you can start to add in other healthy habits or spend longer on your self-care habits.

Sometimes when we don’t feel like taking action, we have to push ourselves a little out of our comfort zone in the beginning. But trust me, it gets easier. Action creates the desire to act. Overcoming the initial stagnation and inertia is always the hardest part of creating change.

Some ideas of simple actions you can take when you need a health reboot:

  • Going outside in the morning
  • Taking a walk in nature
  • Listing to uplifting music
  • Writing in a journal
  • Practicing breathwork or meditation
  • Stretching and moving
  • Singing or chanting
  • Creating art or music
  • Preparing a healthy breakfast
  • Reading an inspiring book
  • Taking time for a mindful cuppa
  • Sitting outside in the sun (even if it’s cold)

What are some things that leave you feeling energised and inspired? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Avoid this common mistake!

One of the biggest mistakes I see with my health coaching clients (and with myself sometimes) is taking on too much. We can see the huge gap between where we are right now and where we want to be and decide that we will do all of the things right now. This is not a bad thing, it is great to feel motivated to create change. However, the problem is that trying to do too much too soon can either:

a) Lead us to procrastinate against taking action

b) Cause overwhelm after a few days so we end up giving up

It is much better to start small with 1-3 easy habits and then use the extra energy that these habits create to do more when the time feels right. To start with each habit should take a maximum of 10 minutes to do. This means spending up to half an hour a day to focus on your self-care. We all have half an hour right? If you feel like you don’t have that amount of time for yourself, you need to take a look at your lifestyle and find where you can create space. Whether that is delegating some tasks, getting up earlier or reducing screen time.. there is always a way!

Commit to yourself

Once you have decided on the simple actions you will take, it is time to make a serious commitment to yourself. Many of us find it very difficult to let other people down, yet we find it so easy to break our commitments to ourselves. Why is that? I am here to tell you that you are worth it. Remember that to give to others abundantly, you have to give to yourself first. Self-care is not selfish! It is simply taking the time to build your energy and fill up your cup so that you have more energy, love and compassion to share with others.

My suggestions for creating commitment to yourself

  1. Schedule your self-care. Decide on how much time you can commit and find the space in your life where it fits. Whether it the same time daily or you change it up depending on the day. It could be first thing in the morning, when you finish work, last thing before bed or split throughout the day. Whenever it is, fit space and schedule it in. Add a reminder in your phone or your calendar if you need to. But be sure to schedule it in otherwise you will forget or it will be pushed down the priority list as soon as other things come up
  2. Write down a commitment to yourself in a journal or somewhere you will be reminded of it daily. You can add inspiring images, quotes or anything else that will motivate you and come back to your commitment each day. You can even write a written contract with yourself and sign it. anything that helps you take this seriously. It might seem silly or unnecessary. But how many times have you said you will do something only to find yourself in the same place a month or two later? I will leave you with a Chinese proverb…

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese proverb

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Staying active during the colder seasons

This month in the UK has been really lovely. I have been making the most of family time and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. It is getting colder and darker by the day though and honestly, I am looking forward to getting some sunshine when I return to Greece! Today I want to share a few photos from my active weekend and my top tips for staying active during the colder seasons.

During the colder and wetter months in the UK it can be more difficult to stay active. Even with the best intentions, chilly mornings and short days mean a little more motivation is needed. As someone who prefers to exercise outdoors, it is definitely more challenging to stay motivated during the autumn and winter. But I know that movement makes me feel so much better and so I make it a priority to get outside every day.

This weekend I went for a walk at Crosby beach with my family. It was 11°C with 37 mile an hour winds. According to the Met Office that is considered a Near Gale and it says ” Inconvenience felt when walking against the wind”. Hah! We definitely felt some inconvenience walking along the beach with sand whipping our faces and the crashing waves soaking us through..

The photos actually look quite peaceful but trust me it was pretty wild! It was a lot of fun though and my brother’s dog loved running around on the sand. There is something about the sound of the waves and breathing salty sea air that boosts your wellbeing. Unfortunately a lot of plastic had been washed up to shore which is really sad to see. Even one of the buoys had been lifted out of the sea and blown into the dunes the wind was that strong.

We were surprised that we weren’t the only ones out and about. Actually we saw lots of other families walking with their dogs and even a brave cyclist speeding along the slippery coastal path. When you live in a country like the UK, you have to be willing to brave the bad weather otherwise you can end up stuck at home for weeks at a time.

Still, it is not always easy to find the motivation to exercise during the winter, even for us Brits. So I wanted to share a few quick tips for staying motivated to exercise during the colder months:

1. Wear the right clothes

The right clothes are so important when you are exercising in the cold. Proper clothes can turn your outdoor run, walk or cycle from a hellish experience to an exhilarating one. For cold days, layer up with breathable fabrics so that you don’t feel uncomfortable if you break a sweat. Hats, gloves, waterproof coat and boots. Whatever you need to protect yourself from the cold and the rain. As the quote by Alfred Wainwright goes “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”!

2. Get an exercise buddy

It is so much easier to motivate yourself to get outside and exercise if you are with others. Having someone to talk and laugh with makes it so much more fun and makes the time pass quickly. Find an exercise buddy then make a plan and commit to it. This is something my Mum and Auntie do to keep themselves motivated to run during the colder months. It’s much harder to let others down than yourself, so use this to your advantage!

3. Remember your why

I find that reminding myself of my “why” keeps me inspired and motivated to exercise during the autumn and winter. This is a combination of short term and long term benefits of getting outside and moving my body. There has to be a reason to get you off the couch or why would you bother? For some people, knowing that exercise is good for their long term health is enough motivation. However, we are inclined to prefer short term comfort over long term benefits so this doesn’t always work.

In this case, it is important to focus on the short term why’s such as:

  • Helps me to feel more relaxed and at ease
  • Burns off excess physical energy and lessens anxiety
  • Physically I feel less stiff and more energised when I move
  • Sunlight and fresh air clear my mind and boost my mood
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Exploring new places or visiting places I love

4. Keep to an exercise schedule

Sometimes, remembering the why is not enough and you just have to get on with it. This is where sticking to a regular exercise plan throughout the colder months can help. If you habitually exercise at the same time each day or on the same days each week it takes the decision making out of it. Rather than having to decide each day what to do and when to do it, you have already committed in advance which can help you to be more consistent. Combining this with having an exercise buddy helps a lot!

5. Remember your limits

Having said all of that, I am not about pushing yourself to the extreme during the autumn and winter. It is natural to need more sleep and rest during these months, in sync with nature’s rhythms. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel less motivated and energetic when it is cold and dark outside compared to during the summer. Listen to your body and flow with your environment. If it is freezing temperatures or there is a storm outside then definitely look for other ways to move your body indoors and save the outdoor activities for the warmers seasons.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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feeling cold all the time

How to stop feeling cold all of the time!

Sometimes feeling cold is a natural response to the environment you are living in. But what about if you are feeling cold all of the time, even if you are in a relatively warm climate? Feeling cold all of the time, especially feeling cold in your hands, feet and nose is a sign that your metabolism is not functioning as well as it could be. If you are feeling chilly, chances are you are not feeling your best either. Probably you feel tired, low in stamina and moody. Maybe you have dry skin and hair or slow growing, brittle nails.

Your metabolism is all of the processes that convert the food you eat and the air you breathe into energy. This is the life force, or prana, which fuels your activities in the world. This includes physical activity and growth but also mental processing and creativity. Your metabolism also generates heat in your body, helping your enzymes to function optimally and killing off harmful bacteria. Ideally, you want your basal body temperature, that is your temperature upon waking (before eating, drinking or moving) to be above 36.6°C (97.8°F).

If you are feeling cold all of the time, your basal temperature may be below this ideal. To learn about how to test how well your metabolism is functioning, from the comfort of your own home, check out my previous post. There I describe two simple tests that can indicate if your metabolism is sluggish. If your tests suggest a low metabolism or if you are feeling cold all the time and want to know how you can warm up and boost your energy, keep reading!

Stop feeling cold all of the time – Eat enough calories!

If you are feeling cold all of the time, the first thing you want to check is that you are eating enough calories. Unfortunately, as Western societies, we are obsessed with weight loss and dieting. These days, everywhere you look you see low calorie foods advertised as the way to ultimate health and happiness. It is true that we have a problem with obesity, however the story is not as simple as cut calories and eat less to lose weight. Our bodies are smarter than that!

If you do not eat enough calories over a long period, you are likely to be feeling cold all the time (1). Probably you have heard of “starvation mode” when your body goes into energy saving mode? Another word for this is metabolic adaptation and it means exactly what it says on the tin. It is a functional state in which your metabolic processes are slowed down in order to conserve energy in a perceived famine.

When food is scarce, your body’s number one priority is to survive. It doesn’t care if you feel cold and tired or if your hair isn’t as luscious as it usually be. Neither does it care about reproduction as it deems the current environment unsafe or inadequate to support a family. Therefore, you might also experience a lower libido or a complete loss of interest in sex. All of these can be a sign that you are not eating enough calories.

How many calories should I eat to stop feeling cold all of the time?

But what is enough calories? That really depends on your unique physiology. But I can guarantee that if you are following a 1200 or 1500 calorie diet as a grown woman, you are not eating enough calories. If you are on a low calorie diet and feeling cold all of the time, working towards increasing your calories to an amount which supports a healthy metabolism should be your number one goal.

A good place to start is to use a Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator this this one to estimate your calorie needs. For example, to maintain my current weight, I need a minimum of 1500 calories per day if I am completely sedentary and nearly 2400 calories per day if I exercise to an athletic level. And I am a petite woman (158cm and 54kg). If you are taller or heavier than me, your calorie needs will be even higher than this.

maintenance calories calculator

Many women are working out intensely several times per week and trying to get by on less than 2000 calories per day. If this is you, no wonder you are feeling chilly! If you are doing this and still not losing weight (if you are above a healthy weight range for your height) then it is a big red flag that your metabolism needs some support before weight loss will be possible.

Stop feeling cold all of the time – Eat a pro-metabolic diet

Nutrients to improve metabolism and energy

The second part to the nutritional equation to increase your body heat is ensuring you are also eating the right foods. If you are eating enough calories and still feeling cold all of the time, it might be that you are not eating a pro-metabolic diet. A diet which supports your metabolism is nutrient dense and includes vitamins and minerals which act as co-factors in your bodies’ energy generation processes, i.e. your metabolism.

Some of the common nutrient deficiencies that can lead to you feeling cold all of the time include iron and vitamin B12 (2). Lacking in these nutrients, can cause anemia which is a reduction in red blood cells. As red blood cells carry oxygen around your body which is needed to generate energy, anemia can lead to feeling cold all the time. Other nutrient deficiencies which can lead to feeling cold include vitamins A and D, selenium, iodine, zinc and calcium which are all necessary for a healthy thyroid function (3)(4).

Foods that are high in these nutrients include animal products, in particular red meat, eggs and seafood. So perhaps your “healthy” vegan or vegetarian diet could be responsible for you feeling cold all the time. Vegetarian metabolism supporting foods include dairy, coconut, root vegetables and fresh fruit which provide healthy carbohydrates and saturated fats to support your metabolism and energy generation processes.

Foods which can lead to feeling cold all of the time

On the other hand some nutritious foods that can lead to you feeling cold include cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli and cauliflower. These contain compounds called goitregens which can impact your thyroid function when consumed excessively. Similarly, foods high in poly-unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils can inhibit energy production (note that hibernating animals eat these foods before going to sleep for the winter).

This is not to say you should avoid these foods altogether, I am not about restriction or extremes here. However, if you are consuming tonnes of these foods or if they make up the majority of your diet, it could explain why you are feeling cold. Consider reading my previous post on foods to support your metabolism and work on adding some of these foods into your daily diet. If you need support with this, I offer 1-2-1 nutrition and holistic health coaching.

Balance your water consumption

My final point on nutrition to keep you feeling toasty and warm is an important one! I won’t go into too much detail here as I have written another post on exactly thing topic. But to summarise, if you are feeling cold all of the time it is possible that your water-food balance is off. I know we are told to drink more water to be healthy and yes some people could definitely benefit from some extra hydration.

However, this obsession with drinking litres and litres of water in a day has gone too far. It is simply common sense that if you are drowning yourself in cold water every day, or even hot water in the form of tea and coffee, it is not going to support a high functioning metabolism. Of course, you don’t want to experience dehydration either. But over consuming water just adds unecessary workload onto your kidneys and your body in general. If you are peeing every hour and your urine is clear, this is a sign you are over-doing t on the water front.

In order to warm up your body, you want to “Eat for Heat”. That is to balance the amount of minerals (salts) you consume in your diet with the amount of water that you drink. A good balance should lead to a warm body, high energy, good sleep and calm mood. An imbalance can lead to feeling chilly, tired, anxious and difficulty sleeping.

Metabolism supporting exercise

Another common mistake people make is believing exercise will increase their metabolism. Ok, this is partly true. But it depends entirely on what type of exercise you do. Chronic cardio such as intense running, swimming or cycling for hours on end will not increase your metabolism. Yes you heard me right. Over-exercise is one of the main reasons for feeling cold all of the time. It causes stress in your body and decreases your basal metabolic rate. Lower metabolism = less heat generated at rest.

Cardio exercise burns calories whilst you are moving therefore can increase the total amount of energy you burn in a day. However, this type of exercise trains your body to do more with less energy i.e. causes metabolic adaptation. This means that you might feel warm and energised during the activity but after wards you can feel tired and cold all of the time. Sound familiar?

Excessive cardio is also a stress on the body. To maximise oxygenation levels in your cells and therefore energy and heat production, you want to minimise stress to within your bodies acceptable range. This does not mean eliminating all physical activity but rather operating within your capabilities and choosing metabolically supporting activities. Generally this would look like low impact cardio such as walking, easy cycling or dancing combined with resistance training to build muscle. This could either be weights but also body weight activities like yoga and pilates (5).

Reduce stress through proper breathing

As I mentioned, exercise can lead to feeling cold by causing stress in the body. When you are chronically stressed, your body becomes tense and stiff. This reduces circulation (blood flow) around your body and can lead to you feeling cold, especially in your hands and feet. Moving and stretching your body can help to relieve some of this tension but why not also focus on reducing your stress? You always want to ask yourself whether what is stressing you is worth losing your wellbeing over and act accordingly.

Another way stress can leave you feeling chilly is by changing the way you breathe. When when we are stressed, we tend to breathe much shallower and also more quickly. Set a timer for 60 seconds and count how many times you breathe (in and out is one cycle of breath). A healthy breathing range is around 10-15 breaths per minute. Anything above this is mild hyperventilation which can be a sign that you are stressed.

Also note which part of your body moves most as your breathe. Ideally you want your belly to rise and fall as your diaphragm moves. Stressed breathing is more likely to expand the top of the chest in the area around your collar bones. Breathing in this way reduces the amount of oxygen which reaches your cells.

As I mentioned earlier, more oxygen means more energy and heat generation. But it is not as simple as just breathing more deeply or quickly to increase your oxygen intake. Actually, deep slow breaths can definitely help to calm down your nervous system and relax your body. This is a good thing! But to get even more benefits from your breath, you can use specific breathwork (pranayama) techniques. These include retaining the breath at specific points in the cycle to expand your breath and life force.


So there you have it, my top tips on how to feel nice and toasty if you have been feeling cold all of the time. Let me know if you try out any of these tips and if you experience positive results. Remember, try out my home assessment of metabolic function to get an insight into your current state of metabolic health. Check out the other posts linked below for more on the topic of feeling cold and metabolism.


(1) https://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k1122.abstract
(2) https://www.who.int/health-topics/anaemia
(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20172476/
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921055/
(5) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S053155651730503X

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

  • Please like this post and share to support my business
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hiking mam tor

An active weekend hiking in the Peak District

Today is just a fun post to share some photos from my hike this weekend. For me, hiking is one of the best ways to stay active. It is the perfect way to move your body whilst also relaxing at the same time. You get out in the fresh air, get away from screens and social media and have chance to connect with nature. It is challenging but you don’t feel like you are over stressing your body (as long as you keep yourself well fueled that is). I just love it!

I am back in the UK this month visiting my family and friends after a whole year in Athens. One of the things I missed the most was the British countryside so I am making the effort to go out hiking and enjoy nature while I am here. Of course Greece has plenty of opportunities for hiking too and this winter I plan to make the most of it! But it is a much more rough and mountainous country compared to the UK. The scenery is completely different and there is much less of that rolling green hillside that we have here in Britain.

This weekend I went to the Peak District to enjoy the good(ish) weather and spend time outdoors. I don’t have a car since I left the UK so I needed to go somewhere with good public transport links. Plus, I was meeting a friend from Nottingham so the Peak District is the perfect middle ground. I took the train from St Helens to Edale via Manchester which took about 2 hours. I love travelling by train because it’s the perfect opportunity to just switch off and relax. I usually have a good book or podcast at the ready but this time I just enjoyed watching out of the window.

The Hope Valley trans-pennine line from Manchester to Sheffield is one of the prettiest railway routes in the UK. Not only does it join two of my favourite cities in the UK, but it also passes through all of these little villages and beautiful scenery in between. I didn’t take any photos from the train as I was completely absorbed but here is a map of the route.

hiking peak district hope valley line
By Rcsprinter123 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84826001

I arrived at Edale train station and waited in the Penny Pot Cafe which is a favourite spot for hikers and visitors to the village. The walking route we chose started and ended from the cafe so it was the perfect meeting spot and just 1 minute walk from the station. We didn’t come prepared with OS maps and navigating equipment but there are plenty of easy to follow routes in this area. I actually took the free hikers guide from the cafe and we followed route 2 which is about 5 miles at a moderate level.

We started by heading out of Edale and climbed up towards Mam Tor. It is a slow and steady climb but you end up quite high pretty quickly! Instead of climbing right up to the tor and walking along the ridge, we took a circular route instead. We walked down the lime stone way and into the village of Castleton. On the way we were supposed to see two caverns but we took an accidental detour and ended up missing them completely!

After a treacherous half walk half slide down a steep bank, we made it into Castleton. This is another picturesque village founded in 1086! It is known for it’s history, especially Peveril Castle, and is a designated conservation area. I really like the cute cottage style houses and winding streets selling souvenirs and crystals. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink as it is a central point for hikers in the area.

We stopped for some food in a traditional pub called The Castle. They do really tasty roast dinners but I thought it wasn’t the best idea in the middle of a hike as I’d be ready to fall asleep afterwards. So instead I enjoyed a “fish finger butty” which for anyone not from the north UK is a sandwich with battered fish inside. Basically a fish and chips sandwich! I always have a big appetite when I am hiking, a combination of the fresh air and hard work I think.

It was getting late by the time we finished our food and we still had an hour to go till the end of the walk. We thought the hardest climb was over but we were very wrong. The climb back up to Mam Tor from Castleton is pretty steep. Even though there is a good path which angles up the side of the ridge it can be quite challenging if you’re not used to hiking. The view makes it all worthwhile though. You have spectacular views of the countryside and the village below. I was even happy to see Hope cement works which is a bit of an eye sore in the natural landscape.

The end of the route was downhill and then flat along a paved path so it was an easy end to the day. We passed farms and saw lots of sheep grazing in the field, I wanted a selfie but unfortunately they had other ideas. I ended up missing my train by 5 minutes and had to wait nearly an hour for the next one. Luckily the cafe was still open so I enjoyed a hot lemon and ginger tea and chatted to the workers who were super friendly! I love how relaxed and happy people always seem to be in the countryside. It just shows what the stressed out city lifestyle does to us.

I am so glad to be able to move my body in fun ways rather than feeling like I have to kill myself at the gym to look a certain way. Even hiking is more enjoyable for me now as I make sure to eat plenty of snacks on the way and fuel my body. Years ago, I would see hiking as as a way to burn calories and I would try to eat as little as possible which always left me feeling moody and exhausted. Now I feel fit and strong and I hike because I love it, not as a way to lose weight. Hopefully I will have chance to visit the Peak District again while I am here or maybe the Lake District for more hiking adventures!

Over to you…

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