Sometimes I wonder if the business of living one’s best life is reserved for the under 10s. My children have it good. Great, in fact. While they seem to enjoy seemingly boundless levels of energy, decent diets and an array of healthy, fun activities, I’m left feeling constantly lethargic, with little time for myself, somehow managing to wake up more knackered than I was when I went to sleep. Anyone else?

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

A good reason not to exercise rarely evades me. In fact, I’ve quite the catalogue which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  1. The weather: I live in Galway where it rains up to 90% more than it does on the east coast. (It’s true – I just googled it.)
  2. Time limitations: I’m currently a full-time stay-at-home parent, a job to which The Organisation of Working Time Act does not apply. I’m therefore afforded none of the following; rest periods; reasonable working hours; annual leave.
  3. Irregular sleep: 7.5 years of interrupted sleep and counting.
  4. Energy deficit: refer to #2 & #3 above.
  5. Recent unfortunate injury: Broken bones. Enough said. Poor me.
Add a genuine love for food – ALL of the food – to my predilection for procrastination and you’re left with an almost forty-year-old in dire need of a reality check. Enter Healthcoach from laya healthcare. 

IN THE ZONE

The timing was impeccable, really.

I’ve long since learned not to bother with new year’s resolutions, but there’s unarguably no better time to make some lifestyle adjustments. While Christmas involved much delicious bending and breaking of rules and routine, like most, I’m over the indulgence, the laziness and the obstinate jean buttons that just won’t close. The residual signs of the excesses of the season serve as a natural motivator.

Also, the bones have healed. Time’s up.

If I learned anything from being incapacitated for six long weeks, it’s this: people depend on me. I’m needed by my family. I need a full compliment of functioning limbs. I need to have energy and drive. I need health.

WHAT IS HEALTHCOACH BY LAYA HEALTHCARE?

Healthcoach is a new health and wellbeing benefit that provides personalised health programmes to laya healthcare customers at no additional cost. It’s supported by Ireland’s largest team of qualified Healthcoaches and wellness professionals and encompasses all aspects of fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing.
Healthcoach Laya Healthcare

Here’s the gist:

  • First, you’ll complete an online insights questionnaire about your lifestyle, your habits, your goals and what you perceive to be the barriers to success.
  • You’ll have a face-to-face meeting with your designated, altogether unintimidating, qualified Healthcoach, who’ll gently put an end to your denial. A series of non-diagnostic health assessments including blood pressure, body composition, lung function and fitness tests will provide you and your Healthcoach with an overall picture of your health.
  • With these insights, your Healthcoach will tailor a personalised health programme specially designed to help and support you achieve your goal, whether it’s losing weight, getting fit, or improving your mental wellbeing.
  • Via a dedicated app, you’ll access your plan, which incorporates fitness challenges and videos, meal plans, recipes and goal-specific podcasts, articles and resources. Healthcoach continuously monitors and tracks members’ performance, while providing mentoring, motivation and rewards along the way.

MY MEETING

Suffice it to say that while I’m not hugely unhealthy, my health coach, Chris, plated up some home truths along with stats and figures that were hard to ignore.
Healthcoach Laya Healthcare

Does size matter?

For me, personally it doesn’t. Not anymore. Or at least not to the extent that it once did.

My body has been good to me. It’s grown, carried and delivered three people. Evidence of the toll taken by the business of baby making will probably always exist and truthfully I’m OK with that. I’m less concerned with numbers on the scales or my dress size and more concerned with feeling happy and being comfortable in my own skin. And perhaps my clothes! Chris understood that.

What I’m mostly after is some reassurance that I’m not at risk of developing a myriad of undesirable ailments and conditions. The test results suggested that without making some changes, I could be.

MY GOALS

They’re simple but achievable with some small changes, a more mindful attitude to food and a more active lifestyle:

  • To have more energy.
  • To get more sleep.
  • To make more time for me.
  • To slowly increase my fitness level.
  • To reduce my body fat percentage and visceral fat levels and increase muscle mass.
  • To increase my hydration levels.

THE WAY FORWARD

But I Won’t Do That

Deprivation and excessive restriction do not spark joy, nor do they make for sustainable changes. ‘Dieting’ is not something I’m interested in, because for me, historically, it hasn’t delivered long term results. There’s got to be balance. There can be no banning of food groups. Or chocolate. Or red wine. Moderation is where it’s at!

In the interest of keeping my goals SMART, I hereby declare my unwillingness to engage in any of the following forms of extreme behaviour:

1)  Giving up sugar completely. That means no agave nectar, no coconut sugar, no date paste. Less sugar? Fine. No sugar? Nope. A life without the occasional Crunchie is a life half lived.
2) Giving up alcohol. Just, no.
3) Making multiple meals so that my kids and husband eat standard carbs while their mother nibbles on bulgur wheat and alfalfa sprouts. Not feasible, not time-effective and not the right message to send to my kids.
4) Spinning. I tried it once. I cried a little.

Nutrition

Using the Healthcoach app, I now have access to meal plans and recipes that I’ll use to inspire mealtimes with the family. I’ll begin by making some simple changes to our family’s diet, including switching to wholegrain bread and choosing brown rice and pasta over white. I’ll make an effort to snack healthily mid-morning and mid-afternoon to stave off cravings, I’ll try and up my fruit and veg intake, eat more fish and I’ll aim for two litres of water a day. Nothing too dramatic and nothing we probably shouldn’t all be already doing. I’ll be sharing some of my recipes and meal plans from the Healthcoach app on Instagram over the coming weeks.
Healthcoach Laya Healthcare

Fitness

My programme has taken my lower limb injury into account and we’re starting easy with low-intensity 15 minute stretching and dumbbell exercises. The app provides me with video tutorials. In addition, I’m going to amp up my exercise levels (currently at zero) to three half-hour walks or swims weekly, for now, and I’ll see how the dodgy leg responds. I’ve also committed to actually charging my Fitbit and I’ve set a daily target of 12,500 steps. All entirely doable.

Mental Wellbeing

The app gives me access to online education tools, tutorials, podcasts and articles in areas like mindfulness, stress management, budgeting for better health, sleep, and loads more. Handy advice from experts at my fingertips. Perfect!
Healthcoach Laya Healthcare
I’ve chosen to focus specifically on sleep for the moment and I’m making the following small changes: setting a bedtime alarm on my phone so that I’m encouraged to go to bed at the same time every night; leaving my phone downstairs so I’m less likely to attempt to complete Twitter before I close my eyes; cutting out caffeinated drinks and reducing sugar intake in the evening. I currently get less than 7 hours’ sleep, often interrupted by my bed-hopping offspring. I’m aiming for an average of 7.5 hours per night. If my kids play ball!
Healthcoach Laya Healthcare
Chris Griffin, Galway Healthcoach, putting the fear of God in me. No, not really. But kind of.

I’ll pop back next month with a blog update. In the meantime, if you’re interested in following along or finding out more about the specifics of my personal plan, you can keep up to date on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re an existing laya healthcare customer or you want to find out more about the Healthcoach service, check out layahealthcare/healthcoach.

If you’ve any questions about my programme, feel free to get in touch or drop a comment below. If you’ve taken healthier steps in the right direction and you’d like to share your tips in the comments, I’d LOVE if you did! I’ll take all the inspiration I can get!

In the hope of making a better stab at living my best life, I'm making some small changes with the help of Heathcoach by Laya Healthcare. (AD) #healthcoach #healthyliving htttps://shinnersandthebrood.com


Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with laya healthcare. To find out more about what this means and how I work with brands, check out my disclosure page. 

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42 Comments

  1. Ah Sinead ,you’re only brilliant. I really enjoyed your honesty, honestly! You made me laugh and think ! Perhaps I should try and get that bit more healthier too, it can’t be that hard, can it ??? Looking forward to your updates — you can and will do this ,gammy leg or no gammy leg x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Ha, Geraldine! I’m hoping it won’t be that hard. Also hoping that the gammy leg doesn’t let me down! I have faith though! 🙂 Thanks for the motivation! 😉

    • Sinéad Reply

      It’s like they’re there, just WAITING to be used! 😉

  2. Phew, I was afraid you’d be all preachy but this is a breath of fresh air. Cling to the crunchie and the vino and get out in that air! Looking forward to reading the updates and being inspired

    • Sinéad Reply

      Preachy? Moi? I’d want to get something right first, wha? 😉 Thanks for the lovely comment. x Clinging with dear life.

  3. Oh Sinead, I’ve got all the excuses too but like yourself I’ve come to realise I can’t carry on making them forever. I agree small changes are definitely the way to go. I look forward to seeing how you get on xx

  4. Fantastic Sinead, go you!! The little changes can make a real difference. (Then I go and ruin them all with big handfuls of crisps or peanuts before dinner)
    Looking forward to following how you get on x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Hah. Same as that. Not no more, Laura. NOT. NO. MORE. 🙂

    • Sinéad Reply

      Thanks Emma. I’m committed to the changes so I’m hoping to start feeling more energetic and healthier all round!

  5. I could really do with taking a leaf out of your book. I’m finding January hard in terms of diet and exercise and know all too well the excuses you’ve mentioned. Maybe next month haha x

  6. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve been dodging the exercise for a while now. Pregnancy, and now just sheer tiredness have been my excuses. It sounds like you have the best attitude towards making changes, and the app sounds like a great way to hold you accountable and motivate you to achieve your goals. Best of luck with getting there – I have no doubt you will!

    • Sinéad Reply

      Pregnancy and new mum tiredness are entirely valid excuses, Katy! Hope all’s going well your end!

  7. Most of the time I just don’t have the time or energy to go out and exercise so I’m trying at home things as well x

    • Sinéad Reply

      I think having something to do at home in winter is a good idea. Sometimes even the thoughts of driving to the gym would put me off!

  8. Great to read your honesty! I’m on a health kick to lose a bit for my wedding in a few short months, but a lot of the time it’s so demotivating or I just don’t have the energy. I’ve started to workout at home which has helped a lot and I feel more willing to commit to that!

    Victoria | http://www.spokenreveries.co.uk

    • Sinéad Reply

      Wedding! Yay! Exciting! I’m sure that’ll be a super motivator! Good luck to you! x

  9. This app looks amazing!! I need it in my life. I spent the whole of last year exercising loads and then I just lost my motivation. This sounds perfect for helping me find my motivaiton again. I also feel like I am running on empty constantly and anything that can help with that would be amazing x

    • Sinéad Reply

      You were on FIRE last year, Emma! You’ve a lot on your plate at the moment though! When the time is write you’ll be back in the zone!

  10. I love your personality in your writing, and that you’re ‘keeping it real’! Your goals are so achievable because you’ve been realistic with them, and having the help of the Laya Healthcare system is fabulous. I think it’s great that you get a real person too, that’s got to help with accountability and nothing beats the ‘human touch’. Did I just say that?! Embarrassing!

    • Sinéad Reply

      It definitely helps. Hard ignore someone in front of you not sugar-coating any of the harsh realities! Thanks so much for the kind words too! xx

  11. This looks amazing! Such a funny post, but best of all I love that you are keeping everything realistic and achievable – otherwise what’s the point? I’m generally quite good at exercising, but I’ve lost my flow lately. I love that this includes targets on looking after yourself too – I need to be better at just dropping everything and going to sleep! xx

    • Sinéad Reply

      I sort of think that if I start with sleep and me, then everything else will be easier!

  12. This looks really good and you seem to have a very good attitude towards your own body and what you want to achieve. I’d particulalry like the meal plans and ideas as I find i lack inspiration and the nutty banana on toast sounds good. All he best. Mich x

    • Sinéad Reply

      That’s the biggest breakfast hit for sure! The cinnamon is a game changer! 😉

  13. Haha not having enough time is an excuse I use as well but I am definitely working on being more active. I like that healthcoach has personalised health programmes to laya healthcare customers at no additional cost.

  14. I absolutely refuse to cook multiple meals too! Often I will adapt, e.g. serving the kids theirs before wilting in the spinach at the end for my husband and me, or sprinkling chilli on individual plates for the grownups rather than seasoning the whole pot with it, but other than that everyone gets the same.

  15. I have to say I’ll just make any excuse not actually put any effort in when I comes to working out. And like you said if I keep up I’ll never change. Good luck your venture

  16. It could have been me writing this, tireder than when I went to bed, not willing to give up sugar or alcohol… 😀 Love that you can concentrate on other aspects of your health such as gaining more sleep, rather than just losing weight. It’s also really nice that it’s tailored to you, and you get to meet someone face to face…

  17. Sounds like I’m pretty much in the same place as you were before you started this! We recently had a lecture at work about wellbeing and it’s made me come to the same conclusions. I am interested to see how this works for you and the tips along the way. I think you may have inspired me to do something similar but I would be scared of that initial meeting!!

  18. I have used all those excuses and more, it’s time to change with a health coach, I especially love the idea of a 1:1 interview

  19. I think we all try and avoid exericise – it’s been different for me since I started teaching kid’s yoga. You’re awesome – go you…..

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