I had a great time on Sunday at Leeds Skyride with my husband and boys, my 6 year old was a real champion giving it his all going up the hard hill of the course; especially when he doesn't have gears on his bike. We had such a great time and it was a real fun family day out, lots of families and some professionals made it look easy!... it wasn't
Welcome another guest Blogger this week, like me another Christine and not originally from Garforth, but loving living here
Living Well in Garforth
Hello, my name is Christine. I moved to Garforth with my husband James two and a half years ago from Vancouver, Canada. Now, with about a month to go before we have our first baby, I reflect on how to live well with my growing family in my new home.
I've always been interested in health, although I haven’t always been that healthy myself.
A keen interest in high school Biology lead me to getting a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Physiology at university. I originally planned on going on to medical school (as most of my graduating class did), however for several reasons I ultimately decided to become a nurse instead (a decision I don’t regret).
Ironically, as I was learning about health and illness, by the time I was 22 years old my weight crept up to an uncomfortable 165lbs (11.8st) due to a combination of poor food habits growing up, inactivity, stress, and unhappiness. I wasn't in a good place, but didn't recognise it at the time.
Luckily, several good influences came into my life and I learned to swap bad habits for good. Change was gradual, but by the time I turned 30 I was 140lbs (10st), and much more happy in my own skin.
Now I’m 31 years old and find myself reflecting on the changes in my life and how I want my kids to be healthier growing up than I was. Not only my kids, but others around me as well. I'm not perfect, but I've learned a lot over the years and want to share some thoughts and ideas on how to keep happy and healthy.
Undoubtedly, where you live has a massive impact on how healthy you are. One of the good influences I mentioned above was moving from the suburbs to the heart of Vancouver. I was surrounded by people being active and took up running along the endless expanse of beautiful pedestrian seawall that wrapped around the city. There was a health food store or yoga studio on every other corner and climbing a mountain was a more popular weekend activity than going to the pub.
It’s not as obvious in Garforth, but once you scratch the surface you find that there are lots of things to keep us healthy and well in our local community. Garforth may not have the same spectacular beauty as Vancouver, but ultimately we’re just as healthy here (and happier, but save that for another time!)
Here’s a few tips on what I do to keep well with what’s on our doorstep…
We’re fortunate to be surrounded by countryside and farms; it’s actually much easier here to buy fresh, good-quality, locally grown food than in Vancouver! We get fresh local milk delivered to our door (a novelty for me at first) and organic veggies and ethically-raised, organic meat from Swillington Farm. The rest of the produce we eat is easy to get from local shops – I try to visit Chris’s Fruit and Veg and the Greengrocer when I can.
The key for me is starting the day off right with a good, filling breakfast. I haven’t always eaten breakfast regularly (I would sometimes start a 12-hour nursing shift on an empty stomach) and by 10.00am I would stuff my face with sugar-filled rubbish like mochas and muffins. The rest of the day would often be downhill from there.
Now, I try to start the day with a hot cup of lemon water before I move onto my coffee (so I at least start the day hydrated) and a breakfast with plenty of fibre and protein – think porridge with fruit, overnight oats with chia seeds, or a healthy smoothie packed with fruit (no added sugar). I often add a bit of protein powder to my breakfasts because it keeps me full longer and I need the extra protein to build this baby!
When I worked as a nurse in Canada I was on my feet so much I didn't have to go to the gym or watch my diet too carefully to maintain my weight – my how that changed when I moved to the UK and got an office job! With a bit more attention to my diet and 3-4 high-intensity sessions at the gym each week, I was back on track. I also started cycling again last summer and we’re lucky to have so many beautiful trails on our doorstep – down the Lines to St Aiden’s Park, over to Temple Newsam, and through Parlington Woods towards Aberford are just a few.
Now, as the late stages of pregnancy are slowing me down, I'm still staying as active as I can by walking and going to Aqua natal classes at Garforth Holiday Inn with Bumps and Babes and pregnancy yoga at Yoga Hero (not quite local but recommended all the same). I'm reminded that consistent and gentle exercise with a good diet has been enough to keep healthy, and both are easily attainable with what’s available around us.
Eat the darn brownie Or the cake. Or the pizza. Or the fill-in-the-blank delicious treat you can never give up. Just eat the darn brownie less often, and make sure it’s worth it by choosing quality over quantity. And boy, are we spoilt for choice when it comes to quality around here… How lucky are we to have Dumouchel on our doorstep? Also, Pride & Produce and Cielo Café stock delicious treats (to only name a few) – I’m sure I’ll be visiting more often when I’m on maternity leave wandering around Garforth with baby.
I could probably be 10lbs lighter and extremely fit looking if I gave up on my indulgences, but I’m a healthy weight and have plenty of energy to do the things I enjoy (especially considering I’m almost 9 months pregnant) so I’m not too worried about those last 10lbs.
I’m not perfect; there’s no such thing. But there is such a thing as happy, and I’m happy in my new home.
Since I’m still a relative newbie to the area, I’d love to hear what sorts of things you do to keep healthy and well in our community. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @garforthkitchen – I’ll be sharing my thoughts and ideas there too!
A great blog , I look forward to and I hope you do too, reading more from Christine - Give her a follow, she has some great hints and tips on her pages too
The Start of the Summer holidays starts here; well for most. Here' to fun, time spent with family, laughter, sunshine, holidays a few glasses of Prosecco and juggling work for 6 weeks
#uselocal and teach your children over the holidays, the importance of shopping local, it will be up to them one day
Until next week................
My name is Christine Thom, I came to live in Garforth 20 years ago; you may have seen me around ?