My Journey Into Health

World Health Day has just passed.

This has inspired me to write my next blog!

I’d like to share some of my experience with health so far to inspire anyone who doesn’t realise how valuable health is!

Touching on my last blog The Importance Of Being Happy I will give a brief introduction into my journey towards a health-IER lifestyle.

– Kylie Maher

Image by Ella Olsson via Unsplash

My Journey

It’s difficult to know what to believe when there is so much misleading information and contradictory advice being publicised.

Health, by definition, is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing where illness and disease are absent.

 

There are unlimited contributing factors that have an impact on health therefore ‘Healthy’ can mean different things to different people.
Being healthy hasn’t always been a priority of mine, in fact the whole concept was completely misunderstood in my life.

I am not unhealthy but I have some unhealthy habits – like for instance knowing I have a dairy intolerance and still being addicted to cheese! I am completely unable to refuse a good hearty cheeseboard- you know the ones that look like they’ll give you a heart attack-they’re my favourite! I’m not the healthiest but I have had to learn how to make healthy choices and choose healthy alternatives,

However, those decisions did not come easily in the beginning,

My journey into health and fitness began when I moved to Australia in 2009
I was fully unaware of what healthy meant , of course I had learned the basic Food Pyramid in school but chose to ignore it as I still continued to make poor choices and eat crap! It took years of trials and tribulations to understand the basics.

That changed when I moved to Australia. Obviously living on the east coast of Sydney, surrounded by incredibly fit, semi naked humans every day, gave me the kick up the arse I needed!

I remember back to my backpacker party days when realising the only way I could stay in Australia was to study, I came home to my Share house one afternoon after a long gruelling shift in my hospitality job, I had a filthy cigarette in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other and broke the news to all of my housemates – I wanted to become a Personal Trainer – Needless to say I was laughed out of the room and understandably so I suppose, it was clear to them and myself that I was not yet ready to take my health seriously.

So I continued to drink excessively and be the binge food junkie I was for another few years. Not fully realising that what I was doing was completely detrimental to my health, there were many an occasion I woke up next to an empty Dominoes pizza box or half eaten kebab. One morning I had a sudden realisation, I was out of shape, exhausted from working ridiculous hours and being a social chameleon – burning the candle at both ends is a serious understatement!

There I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful people in the world and I looked like I was made out of a potato!
That became my first goal, I wanted to look good, I thought if I looked good, I’d feel good, but I wasn’t prepared or aware of how obsessed with food I was and how much of a mental battle that would soon become.

Image by Tyler Nix via Unsplash

Taking Action

I knew I had to do something to help myself

That morning I saw an ad on TV for a new ‘trending weight loss program’ the television was on mute but the illustrations were so convincing that they still managed to convince me to sign up (Australian Marketing & Advertising at its finest!). That instance I signed up for the program to be sent out in the mail, of course I knew that my diet was going to have to start soon as it arrived – even though I would probably push it to the ‘Monday’ so I continued to binge eat all of my favourite foods until I was going to have to delete them out of my life ‘forever ’ – the typical thought process I went through on a weekly basis.

My package arrived

A Step Counter , A Measuring Tape and The Meal Plan

So began my deluded adventures of yo-yo dieting. I needed to lose 8 kg which doesn’t seem like a lot but I am only 153 cm tall and all of my weight gathers around my torso so I wasn’t the most flattering shape and I was committed to getting it off.

The meal plans were very straightforward nothing too fancy or difficult to create but back then I was fussy and non educated on good nutrition. Of all the suggested food items, the plan I created for myself consisted of tins of tuna , grilled chicken and green veg – I ate so many tins of tuna in those six weeks, I thought I was going to turn into a can of tuna! Next came the exercise component, I knew I had to increase energy expenditure but hadn’t a clue what I was doing so I decided walking was a good place to start! I knew it was a relatively easy way to exercise and 10k steps a day seemed achievable!

So I put on my step counter and off I went. Earphones in, three tins of tuna down and briskly walked the luscious coasts of the eastern suburbs every day. I struggled with fitness at first, it had never been evident in my life, I somehow managed to ‘forget’ my sports gear for PE class every week, much to my teacher’s disgust.

I also had the excuse of being asthmatic as a kid and was advised NOT to take part in sports activities- which I’ve learned since then is NOT the solution – research has shown that a ‘structured exercise regime can improve lung function and be a key part of good asthma control’
You can find more information in the ‘reach your peak’ with the Asthma Society of Ireland.ie

I would have two weeks of the year every year of my life as far as I can remember where I suffered with constant asthma attacks , no sleep for two weeks straight for myself or my household until I started to exercise. I can safely say I have not suffered since. Obviously I didn’t do myself any favours by being a young rebellious teenager, I stupidly went the opposite direction and took up the disgusting habit of smoking.

Image by Dave McGuirk via Photoshop

Image by Fuu J via Unsplash

Breaking Free From The Filthy Habit

In 2013 I cut out the cigarettes , I read Alan Carr’s ‘easy way to quit smoking’ ( I highly recommend if you’re trying to quit- also highly recommended!) I made a promise to myself that if ever i had the craving for a ciggie, I would force myself to go for a run instead, that quickly put and end to my filthy habit and was the catalyst in creating my new healthy habit which became a new routine.

– Kylie Maher

Sydney Marathon!

This inspired me to take my fitness journey to another level!

Not long after I had started my new found enjoyment with running, my best friend had me signed up for Sydney Marathon!

 

I had serious doubts initially for obvious reasons but especially as we didn’t have much time for preparation training! I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete it unless I began to believe in myself. No one believed I would complete it more than him, we crossed the line (almost side by side!) in 4hours 48 mins. This inspired me to take my fitness journey to another level, I joined a small quaint but not very well equipped gym to learn about form and technique where I was drawn towards group training.

It wasn’t long before I decided to up my game and join a real gym! I joined Titan Fitness , a prestigious gym on the beach in Coogee Bay, it has state of the art gym equipment, every machine you can think of and topped off with the most incredibly helpful, experienced trainers and instructors in the industry. At first I was so nervous, I would only stay hidden away downstairs in the underground HIIT classes(circuit training), I began doing 2 to 3 30 minute classes per week then after a few months of consistency I progressed to the 45 minute classes, some weeks doing 6-7 classes or more , once I began to feel fit and strong it was a massive confidence boost.

All the while up and down, obsessing about food and the continuous train wreck of ‘falling off the wagon’ then punishing myself in the gym for days and starting a new diet every Monday!

I proceeded to participate in a series of six and eight week challenges(Fun Runs & Charity Events) over the years which were absolutely incredible, they thought me about the benefits of weight training, good nutrition, discipline, they kept me eating healthy-ish and occupied by the food prep element, I had broadened my palate and raised the bar on my cooking skills, sometimes losing between 4 and 6 kg per challenge but quickly found myself piling the weight back on shortly after the challenges were complete. Once the highs of the success of doing so well had worn off, I would slowly drift back into old habits, knowing I would be able to train it off again, but would soon spiral back into unhealthy habits.

After a few more years of the nonsense, I finally made the leap and took action. I took my health into my own hands and decided it was time to really learn about the lifestyle I wanted to live. By this point I knew it was time to tame my ways and cut out most of my bad lifestyle habits – I was a social butterfly but nearly everything I did or social event attended involved an alcoholic beverage, I knew it was time to make a positive change. I was eager to learn and understand health and nutrition. It was time to start saying NO to what wasn’t serving my goals.

Image by Meghan Holmes via Unsplash

Fitness and Nutrition

I became a master trainer certified in Fitness and Nutrition in 2019

The course was highly educational and the achievement was overwhelming, sometimes I feel like the more I learn the less I know and this was barely the tip of the iceberg.

After a brief employment in the industry, where I advanced from participant in my favourite HIIT classes to being a qualified instructor and creating and coordinating routines, I arrived home to Ireland just in time for the pandemic to raise its ugly head and for the world to shut down. My life and career have taken a very different direction, that’s not to say I won’t pick it up again somewhere later down the line.

The importance of mental and physical health

Obviously its not easy for everyone to just up and leave to Australia

Or to enrol in a Fitness and Nutrition course but there is help all around us. Don’t be afraid to ask for it – the long and short of weight loss is not as difficult as we’re made to believe or we make it out to be.

Feel the fear and face it

I was petrified to join a gym but we all have to start somewhere even if it means downloading a free workout off the internet and doing 50 jumping jacks in your kitchen everyday, just start somewhere your body will thank you for it. Weight loss is simply calories in vs calories out – if you are burning more calories than you are consuming – this will lead to fat loss.

If weight loss is what you’re trying to achieve – Track your meals, I never wanted to be one for calorie counting but it has its benefits. Food is fuel , there is no good or bad food, It’s important to know what you’re putting into your body, I would recommend using apps like ‘my fitness pal’ for guidance,

Learn to make conscious decisions and enjoy everything in moderation.

Hydration: drink at least 2 litres per day, your body needs it, the benefits are endless, it keeps you fuller for longer, helps to keep cravings away, lubricates joints , helps to carry essential nutrients around the body, removes toxins, aids weight loss, keeps your skin looking fresh and healthy.

Exercise for fulfilment not punishment – I made this mistake for years- learn to appreciate what your body Can Do!

Start with the basics – Aim to complete at least the minimum amount of exercise daily – Set your target to 10k steps per day, its really not that difficult , especially when it’s one of the only valid reasons to leave the house right now!
Take up hiking / hill walking / mountain climbing – it’s incredible to get out and discover your surroundings, walk amongst nature and breathe the fresh air, It is difficult at first but when you make it to the top of that mountain the rewards are worth every step!

We’re lucky enough to live amongst the Wicklow mountains, we have discovered a new found love for hill walking, this inspired us to create a group with like minded legends to take on the challenge of the Wicklow Way once the restrictions ease.

If you are interested in starting out feel free to get in touch via email and join our hiking group we’ll be happy to meet some fresh new faces, otherwise I would recommend using apps like ‘All Trails’ to help discover trails or ‘Strava‘ to record and track your achievements or check out Wicklow Inspired on Instagram to give you an idea of some mind blowing beauty spots to explore!

Image by Kylie Maher

Sea Swimmimg

I cannot promote this enough

It is unbelievably healing

Of course it is a mental battle at first but once you overcome that fear (and get your shoulders under) its really not that bad!

We’re not strong swimmers, We’re not saying to go and do lengths of the beach or swim across the Atlantic ocean, just a quick dip , get acquainted with the water and see where that takes you!
The buzz down at The Cove, Greystones in the mornings is something special, get involved, sunrise swims are without a doubt something that must be experienced!

The Preparation

Getting into the right mindset

The Plunge

Probably the toughest part

“Image by [Niall Mehan] via [seastudio.ie].”

The Moment

Allow your body to embrace the cold

The Benefits

Feel Good Throughout The Day

Image Sources

Sunrise Over Greystones – Image by Kate Donnelly via Instagram

The Preparation – “Image by N/A via Twitter” if anyone knows who owns this please let us know.

The Moment – Image by Niall Meehan via Sea Studio

The Plunge – “Image by Jacub Gomez via Pexels

The Benefits – Image by Ashley Whitlatch via Unsplash

Image by Olena Sergienko via Unsplash

Motivation is Key

Routine has gone out the window this last year but Covid Era is coming to end

At some point the world is going to have to go back to some sort of normality. Its time to start to get life back on track. One way to do this is to take control of sleep patterns. Sufficient sleep is critical for recovery and positive mental health. We are designed to sleep in the dark, no more late nights and late mornings, wasting half the day, its time make the shift towards a positive lifestyle.

Motivation is key – Unfortunately motivation is not going to fall out of the sky, you must rely on yourself, motivation will wear off on occasion. If you struggle with motivation, find a coach or a trainer to work with you or team up with a buddy – when you train with a friend you can keep each other accountable and keep your sessions interesting.

Letting Go Of Old Habits

This last year has been extremely tough for us all, Covid has completely disrupted everything.

All our plans were wiped out, motivation plummeted, it was mentally challenging to stay on top of health and fitness, even with the experience I was exposed to in the short duration in the industry, writing programmes and classes I still got bored of training at home alone. It did however, give me time to get creative and forced me to take time for myself and teach me how to use time wisely and create new and exciting ways to stay fit. There are many free workouts you can find online but even I signed up for a training programme to keep me accountable.

Let go of old habits If they are not serving you.

  • Create Healthy habits, don’t be afraid to look for new hobbies and create a fresh circle of buddies.
  • Slow down- take time for yourself- meditate – journal – reflect .
  • Be Patient- Trust the Process- sure 6/8 week challenges are helpful but unless you learn about discipline and consistency, you will only find yourself going round in circles as I did!
  • Stop Procrastinating – Set your intentions for who you want to become and Go Get It!

Set Goals – write down your whys. Dig deep here, get to how know what and how much it really means to you and what are the costs if you don’t make changes?? How important is making those changes to you and those around you?

Then create your plan of attack

  • Set your alarm to train in the morning
  • Wake up and Go!
  • Don’t press snooze.
  • Don’t turn over- Get up and GO get it!!

After a few times it will get easier, this will become a habit and eventually a routine, Show up for yourself and keep showing up!

Sadly, just over 3 in ten adults in Ireland are sufficiently active.

Don’t be a statistic. Physical activity, apart from the endless benefits for your body and mind, also reduces the risk of illness and disease, leading to a more fulfilling life!

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash

2020 A New Journey

Into Plant Medicine

Also the birth of BE KIND INDUSTRIES, Having known Mark for over 20 years now and having shared somewhat similar experiences in our past, sharing the same outlook on life and our passion to help people create positive change, inspired us to start our new journey together to help share our message, everyone deserves to Be Well and get the most out of life!

We have many exciting projects and products in store, the CBD vape range are our first products to market but if the vaping is not your thing, hold tight we have a range of exciting flavoured tinctures coming soon and plenty of surprises up our sleeve!

CBD has been my saviour

I have always had quite a strong head on my shoulders, remaining optimistic and looking for the positives in everything I do. But this year my world spiralled out of my control, Among other things, lockdown really toyed with my mental health and took my mind to places I’ve never been before where I was extremely uncomfortable. CBD removed the anxiety around the problems I faced and helped me remain calm and clear headed.

Luckily I am surrounded by incredibly inspiring people and I’ve managed once again to pick myself up and start another new chapter.

Image by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

It’s never too late to turn your life around and take life back into your own hands.

I’m not the healthiest person in the world , sure my body is not perfect but I’ve learned how to love my body as it is and appreciate what it can do! I have learned what works for me – still would do anything to be a regular back at my favourite all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ joint – it’s all about balance but following the basic guidelines helps!

As I mentioned previously, Healthy means different things to different people, do what works for you but make subtle changes that will have a positive impact on your life, Improve your mind, body and spirit- you deserve it.

Being healthy is about identifying your needs, what works for you and finding balance.

Learn, keep learning, keep an open mind and Believe in Yourself.

Remember real medicine is found in the earth not in a lab

Good things are coming, follow our journey.

The truth is in the experience

Thank you for reading 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *