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Health & Wellbeing

A Naked Mind – 42 Days Off Booze

February 4, 2018

At the beginning of the year I declared my word for 2018 as ‘intention’. Rather than a set of milestones or achievements, I decided to live each day with intention. This meant aligning my daily actions to my values by taking smaller steps to working towards what I wanted to achieve in my life as a whole rather than ticking said items off a list. It is working for me so far, but this meant changing my ways to making:

  • intentional choices about food which aligned with my tolerance for cruelty to animals,
  • intentional choices about reducing my waste and not ignoring plastic on the street,
  • doing something small to progress my Hotels With Cats Mission each day, and
  • doing something each day for my health.

One of the things I had to tackle to achieve this last point was to drastically reduce alcohol intake. I decided to aim for six months off. At the end of last year, I was in an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Call it what you will, an addiction, a dependence or a habit might be a little extreme. But again it might not be. Here is the thing, I was drinking A LOT. A bottle or so with The Ginger Hunk a few times a week, add-on a few beers each session, then weekends would be spent being even more boozy at least two of the days. I can name about five occasions when a hangover hit me like a ton of bricks and I ended up super sick and wasting an entire day. I hated this. I freaking hated myself for it. I would never get that day of my life back again. (Coming back to the intention thing, is this what I intended for my life?)

Despite this feeling of regret I would again order a case/bottle/have-just-one and then it would be gone.

The same cycle.

The same regret.

Stopping for a while until the next hangover hit me or training missed.

I was feeling sluggish, overweight, tired and anxious.

But, wasn’t it extreme to give up all together?

No. 

Couldn’t I reduce my intake without giving up for six months?

Probably not. 

Was I classified an alcoholic to need to give it up all together?

Maybe. Continue Reading…

Daily Life, Health & Wellbeing

With All Best Intentions

January 19, 2018

I started off 2018 with all the best intentions after a firstly stressful and then decadent 2017 which saw me lose 5, then gain 8kg over the course of a year. Returning from Europe in 2017 on the back of two overseas trips, gym closure, and stress eating/boozing saw me at my heaviest weight in October. I’ve put on and lost 5 kilo over the years here and there but the thing is at this point that I had reached is that I no longer felt healthy. The sight of myself in a swimsuit made me cry. I stood on the scales for the first time in a long time and realised that changes need to happen. No fad diets. No keto. No starving. Just changing my lifestyle back to what it was before the shit of the last few years which saw me reaching for food and wine as a relief.

I’m all for embracing and not beating up myself like I was in the past but here is the thing.

I was no longer healthy. 

Training was an effort. 

My knees hurt.

My ankles cracked.

I felt shaken and weak.

I could no longer fit into my “comfy” clothes.

It was time to make changes. In a forever kind of way. Over the last four months, I’ve stuck relatively to Michelle Bridges, albeit for a 3 week hiatus after Christmas and I’ve managed to drop 4.5 of the 14 or so kg I need to lose. Which I was pleased with, as Christmas is hard, and I gave myself some slack.  I’ve stuck to a swimming program and signed up for a half marathon, as well as the next round of Michelle Bridges. I’ve also gone vegan, and tooting my own horn (AND LOUD here!) but I have not had a drink in TWENTY DAYS, which is a miracle in itself.

I was starting to feel great. But, in the last two weeks, doomsday on the transformation has approached. Some issues with my inner lady workings have reared their ugly head again (sometimes it sucks being a woman), and I am booked in for some minor surgery on the 8th of February. This will set me back two weeks with my running, and I have to sit around with the feeling of a constant stitch in the meantime. Just for icing on the cake, I came down with the crustiest cold sore in the land this week.

WHY DO THEY ALWAYS FEEL BIGGER THAN THEY ARE?

So despite all the best intentions for 2018, I am on ‘hold’ for the next few weeks.

But, what I can do and I do have control over is my healthy eating, strengthening for my knee, and being bloody grateful in my mind that I can receive the best possible care here in Australia. There’s always a bright side to these things.

Are you on a health kick in 2018?

How is it going?

Better than mine?

Much love and happy weekend!

Ashleigh

Health & Wellbeing

17 Days Vegan

January 16, 2018

I’m not here to rant at you about why you should go vegan. There’s enough evidence for that if you are willing to take it in. I’m talking about my process in ‘transitioning’ and reflecting on how I have been travelling for the last (almost) three weeks with my journey to vegan, the responses from others and the changes I had to make.

Going vegan was a natural transition for me. I’ve been vegetarian, well pescatarian, since the age of 13, albeit apart from a brief red meat-eating stint for six months or so during my triathlon days. After my freediving odyssey in Bali, I became more aware about plastic in the ocean, what fish eat (gross!) and overfishing. I knew too much about it to look the other way.

Over 2017 I gradually stopped eating fish out of cans, and then reduced my fish intake, with the odd crustacean here and there. I no longer felt good about eating fish.

The Christmas holidays saw me reflect on my goals and living intentionally each day making choices based on what I value. This was my word for 2018, “intention”. With this in mind could I really continue to turn a blind eye to dairy and eggs with how I felt about eating animals? The answer was no. I valued the animals more. I’ve firmly believed that chickens are the worst treated animal out of the whole entire cosmos, so why did I think that eating eggs was somehow less bad than eating chicken? Continue Reading…

Daily Life, Musings of sorts, Travel & Wanderlust

Things I am grateful for – the returning home edition

May 26, 2015

The first week of my holiday I spent in Boracay, which was very beautiful (but at times felt like a shopping mall). The second week I went to El Nido in Palawan, which was probably one of the most remote and amazing places I have traveled to in my life.

We got there by taking a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa, then after a six hour journey we arrived into El Nido town, at a row of dusty shop fronts, restaurants and dive shops. The nearest ATM was a three hour bus ride away.

Last breakfast @hibiscus garden inn before venturing to El Nido

Last breakfast – Hibiscus garden inn before El Nido

From El Nido town we spent two days on a boat in Bacuit Bay with Palawan Divers. Two glorious days, where we saw no other humans and had no internet access. Nothing but us, the crew and tales of the sea. I have never felt further from anywhere before, except for maybe when I traveled to the Thai Islands and Cambodia for the first time 14 years ago.

It was an amazing, uplifting, thought provoking and interesting experience, which made me fall in love with travel again.

(Real travel, the kind that fills your soul and makes you want to quit your job.)

El Nido Town - the main drag

El Nido Town

Once again I am home, with all this ‘stuff’ surrounding me again, wondering why I need it all. Books, clothes, make up. A cupboard full of extra laundry stuff and shampoo. Sneakers (ones that can get dirty), bikes we don’t use. A pantry full of food. A drawer full of cling wrap (several different kinds I might add).

There are some things though, after my week in El Nido that I would like to say that I am truly grateful for.

1. Drinking water

If you live in El Nido you are part of the 544 million people in Asia that do not have access to safe drinking water. There are taps and there is water, but you can’t drink it, unless you want to get a stomach bug pronto. This is part of a global sanitation crisis. 

You can buy it in bottles but this only adds to another environmental issue – a million water bottles, a lack of environmental awareness or local facilities to recycle.

2. Electricity – all the time, anytime  

When in town in El Nido town and you hear a big clunk, then the electricity turns off. That is the sound of the generator stopping. And who knows when it will come back on. Apparently to this day, there are 1.6 Billion people in the world without a flow of regular electricity, if at all.

3. Medical care 

Whilst travelling in paradise, the rule is don’t get sick in paradise. Sadly for me, this was the trip of the allergies. A series of infections before leaving Australia probably left me susceptible to such things. The Ginger Hunk had an upset stomach for a week. I got covered in bites (which our traveling companion self diagnosed via Google as Seabather’s eruption), a reaction to jellyfish and sea anemones. I then got infected Lymph nodes under my right armpit. They were the size of golf balls and very sore. I asked my dive instructor what he thought it might be. He said he wasn’t sure, but that his Filipino wife had a similar thing, and used ‘local leaves’ to get rid of it.  “Is there a doctor?”, I ask. “Yes, but no good.”  I take my chances on a pharmacy. She says one word I understand, “antibiotic.” I traveled with some in my bag, so I took them, hoping the golf ball under my arm would disappear. It eventually did, a little, and after seeing my GP on return yesterday I am now thankfully on the good stuff.

Seabather's rash

My seabather’s eruption

“What happens when women in El Nido have babies?” I asked one day. They learn to hold on during the six-hour bus trip back to Puerto Princesa, or ‘it just happens here‘ my dive instructor tells me. I didn’t want to ask any more. (Good thing you can get things laminated there though, always handy.)

Lamination, always a priority

Lamination, always a priority in paradise!

4. My bed 

There is nothing at all in the world quite like the feel of your own bed. The linen, the feel of the cushions, the room temperature, the duvet pressure. I feel into a heap last night and slept for 13 whole hours.

And I woke up today thinking I shall never complain about the little things again. (And that I want to travel more.)

Any places you have traveled lately that reminded you of how lucky you are to be at home?

What were they? 

Photo above by James Mills - going to work with Dad means riding the Trike in El Nido!

 

 

Health & Wellbeing

My First Time

June 26, 2014

SPOILER ALERT: This is a post for the LADIES.

(I also shamelessly promote my friend.)

And I talk about a DIRTY word:  PERIODS (not losing my virginity if you thought that is what this post was about).  BUT STAY HERE AND KEEP ON READING! PLEASE! 

Continue Reading…