It's the most wonderful time of the year!
What? Not Christmas already?! I hear you cry in horror!
No! Calm down, panique pas! I'm sure Father Christmas is nowhere near organized with this year’s booty yet! No, I'm talking about the most wonderful time of the year for me, which if you know me, has always been autumn!
Early this morning, I was out training a client in the fresh September air, wishing I had a slightly warmer jacket on and willing the sun to wake up a little faster. Once finished, I decided to check out a different potential spot for training another new client when I came across my first conker laying on the ground. It was all shiny and new having been freshly released from its silky bed. That can only mean one thing; autumn is upon us! I always collect the first conker I find as a token that my favourite season has arrived. It went straight in my backpack to come home with me. There it will rest in my little Paris apartment in pride of place on our bits and bobs dresser, slowly shriveling for the next couple of months until winter arrives and it gets (somewhat sadly) replaced by Christmas decorations.
The trees are starting to shed their leaves in Paris already probably due to the relatively mild summer we’ve been having since the heat wave thankfully left us alone in early July. They laid crisp on the ground as I crunched my way over them jogging across Jardin des Tuileries and I felt all excited with childish contentment that we rarely get to feel in busy, serious adult lives.
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been in love with Autumn. I’d walk back to school after the long summer holidays, book bag and lunch box in hand, to find the trees surrounding the school grounds shedding bright yellow and red leaves. They would fall, tumbling lightly to form big, soft piles of warm colours just waiting to be kicked and waded through. Their vibrancy and ability to change so naturally over time had me enamoured. We'd go into assembly and sit crossed-legged singing 'Autumn days' (you know the one... #when the grass is jewelled#), trying to read the handwritten lyrics scribbled in fluorescent green pen off of the projector screen while Mrs Marshall banged away enthusiastically on the piano. Swaying happily and bumping each other playfully, we'd take great joy in singing louder than our neighbour with each chorus until we reached the final line and, in no particular key, a crescendo of kentish voices screeched 'To say a great big thank you, I mustn't forgeeeeet!' The sound rang out proudly around the hall and rattled the fogged up window panes. Ah, those were the days! Apart from being great fun, I always remember thinking how beautifully the lyrics described Autumn and made that magical feeling I had for it come to life.
It's still a great song that reminds us to count our blessings and appreciate day to day life and nature doing it's natural thing.
Back 'À Paris' in the year 2017, it’s still mild, but not too hot, I know I can soon break out my favourite hats and light scarves from my 'winter wardrobe', and there’s a soft wind gently blowing the remains of summer away. The clocks haven’t been turned back so we still have our evenings to enjoy before winter rouses and takes a hold. The wind tickling the trees always reminds me of my favourite Enid Blyton story book, ‘The Enchanted Wood’ where the author describes the magic, rustling sounds as the trees whispering ‘a wisha wisha wisha’ to one another. There’s an energy in the air that makes me feel, somehow, more alive.
So while many people will be mourning the loss of summer sun, holidays and the sad return to a proper work routine you’ll most probably find me still grinning away happily to myself as we sail, inevitably, into this new segment of the year.
If, after a summer of indulgence, you’re starting to get back to normal daily life and regretting that all inclusive holiday buffet or endless evening rosé sessions, get in touch! My time slots are filling up rather quickly with people who want to get back on the fitness wagon and make the rest of the year count and you can too. There’s never a better time than today to take control of your health and fitness and, although the weather is turning, you won’t believe the pride and contentment you’ll feel after you get out in the fresh air and move your body. Maybe you’ll even join my Autumn fan club!
Hop on over to my contact page and tell me your goals and aspirations and realize that there is still time yet to raise yourself up this 2017!
Something I think we all struggle with in day to day life is snacking or mindless eating. Here in France, snacking or 'grignotage' is something that just isn't really done. The French eat richer, larger lunches which helps keep the hunger at bay and they just don't seem to feel the need to snack. The French government even advise against snacking on TV food adverts and the supermarkets don't offer endless options of snacking material.
If however you are a big snacker and have been for sometime, I want to share with you a little technique I use to avoid dipping in and out of the fridge....
I am often working from home for at least part of the day and like anyone I get bored easily. My mind wanders and I want a break and a change of sensation from what I'm doing and so off course I thinking about having a little something to eat. However, I don't want my waist line expanding so I challenge my mindfulness by asking myself these questions before reaching for a snack.
1. Am I really hungry?
An obvious one and yet probably one you don't remember to ask yourself at the time because your mind gets so excited by the idea of having a yummy treat. However, you are NOT the cookie monster ('Me want cookie now!') You are an intelligent human being, yes, you are, so stop and ask yourself if you are REALLY hungry? If you are great! Go for it, but if it's not dinner time try to pick something healthy like a piece of fruit, nuts, seeds or chopped up veg.
2. Do I need it?
If the idea of fruit or veg as a snack is disheartening then the next question you need to ask yourself is, do I need it? Does your body need more fuel right now? Sometimes I'll go, as many of us do, and open the fridge 'just for a look', to check the fridge gremlins haven't emptied it out behind my back. Nope, everythings still there, phew! But that inevitably leads to eating. Especially after dinner, I'll start to take out a yogurt or something sweet but then I stop myself and ask 'Do I really need it?' I take a second to feel how full my stomach is. If I feel full I close the fridge.
Don't go putting more food in your body when you've just eaten for no reason, that's how the calories add up and the pounds pile on. Put the kettle on, have a tea and see if you still feel you want something to eat in 20 minutes. It's scientifically proven that if you wait 20 minutes after a craving first pops into your head, it will more than likely disappear and stop you from spontaneously snacking.
It's worth a try, right?
3. Am I just bored?
Boredom is a cheeky little chimp and often disguises himself as hunger to get you to notice him. Don't let him fool you! When I'm feeling bored but can't escape what I'm doing I change it up by asking myself the following....
3. Would a liquid snack suffice?
We all know that we should be drinking approximately 2 litres of water a day. That can sometimes seem unachievable. However, often when we think we are hungry we can in fact be thirsty. So instead of grabbing food I ask myself firstly 'Am I bored?' and if the answer is yes I ask myself 'would a drink suffice?'. I love having a range of different drinks during the day and love feeling like I am hydrating my body and suppressing my inner hunger/boredom monster at the same time, so I will often stop and charge myself up with one of the following:
-Herbal Tea (I love camomile or verbena for a moment of calm)
-Fizzy Water (So much more interesting than regular water!)
-Espresso (Not so hydrating but very satisfying and low in calories)
-A small fresh juice (Not from concentrate)
Just getting up and boiling the kettle or pouring a drink is sometimes enough time for your brain to have a little rest and regain control. Whilst writing this blog I've drunk a fresh sangria orange juice and an espresso but no snacks ;)
4. Do I just need a break?
If you've been working at your computer for a long time it can get dull and maybe you just need a break. Look at how you schedule your morning. Could you make room for a break where you can go for a walk, do another chore or even a short workout? Even a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness will help you rebalance and break the habit of automatically reaching for food as an escape.
Of course the best method to stop snacking is to not have snacks in the house in the first place but this isn't always possible when you don't live alone. I never buy crisps or chocolate bars because I just know that I am going to hear them calling me from the cupboard. My advice is give yourself a fighting chance to begin with and stock a minimal amount processed snack food!
Listen to your body, concentrate on physically feeling how full your stomach feels inside of you and learn to be more mindful about what your body(or brain) is really asking for. Don't forget that YOU are the boss of YOUR own body and you decide what goes into it, how healthy it is and what size it stays at. Take responsibility for yourself and the voice in your head which tells you you're hungry- it's not always telling the truth!
Summer is Coming! And I've found the perfect spot to train you guys. Get ready to feel inspired by nature in the city!
Yes. It. Is! It may not feel like it this week in Paris but summer is indeed on it's way! I'm gearing up for a lot of outdoor sessions with clients in Paris and plan on taking full advantage of the beautiful parks, riverside and city in general. I love working outside as every landscape provides an abundance of unique and natural training equipment.
I went for a run the other day and came across the most beautiful park. Maybe you know it? It's called Parc André Citröen. I have been living in the 15ème for nearly 6 months now and have to say I was almost embarrassed to not have come across this park or even know of it's existence until now! Still better late than never! And, in my defence, I haven't done a huge amount of running over winter due to an ankle injury in November.
I thought I'd mix it up and take a different route for my run. I usually run down by the river for the ever-changing scenery and ease of route. I hate running on the streets where you can't switch off as you constantly need to dodge tourists and cross roads. However, my ankle is still healing and a bit stiff so I didn't want to run too far in one direction but to do a small loop, up to the river and back around to my house. I turned the corner and came across these simply stunning views and it literally stopped me in my tracks. You don't imagine such nature and beauty in the middle of such a densely populated city.
It has a beautiful wide open grassy area, landscaped flowering gardens, quiet spaces of tranquility, cool wooded sections and stunning water features all surrounded by these huge glass buildings making it seem even more beautiful. There are even bench sun loungers which I'm sure will be hard to come by as we move towards the summer months and a balloon that you can pay to go up in which I assume has an amazing view at the top. I ran past couples lazing in the sun, people admiring the flowering gardens and students propped up studying against the building walls.
I ran round and round and ended up doing a spot of interval training. Not on purpose but I just had to keep stopping and taking photos of all the stunning different views as i discovered them. Then off I'd go again! There were circuits, hills to sprint up and plenty of solid edges for booty work. I couldn't help but start mentally planning programmes for clients and testing out exercises on my new free equipment! Ever the opportunist! I even found a shady spot of solitude to stretch in feeling like I was in my own private, secret garden. I finished off with a juice at the park café which also serves delicious fresh salads and sandwiches and left with spring in my heart.
I am nothing short of in love with the place and plan to spend many a lazy summer afternoon sprawled out on the grass or working up a sweat training you guys in the sunshine. You will LOVE it!
So if this blog and my photos inspire you and this sounds like the kind of place you'd like to train all summer I invite you to start booking your sessions today to avoid disappointment- I am only one person after all!