Career journey

Where have you been?!

Hi everyone,

As you may have gathered, it’s been a little quiet around these parts recently.  Well, there’s been a couple of good reasons for this.  In February I started my Diploma in Nutrition with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (you may remember I blogged about having to do my Science Access Course last year, if not you can catch up here).  We’re now coming to the end of semester one and despite it being amazingly full on (who knew I could find a spare 25 hours a week to study?!) I’m absolutely loving it.  Every week my head is left spinning from all the biochemistry (seriously, our bodies are amazing) but not once have I doubted whether this career change is a good idea.  The more I learn, the more I love.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I also made a significant change in my working life.  I left behind my job in the legal world and started a new job working within the realms of childhood obesity and school food – fulfilling a New Year’s resolution to find employment which aligns more to my long term career aims.  It may sound like just a job change but for me it’s been a significant shift in how I identify myself (I’ve always been the ’lawyer interested in food’) whereas I’m now learning what ‘Student Nutritional Therapist who works in food’ looks and feels like.

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I’m becoming more comfortable with these new labels (although, perhaps the lesson here is I shouldn’t be identifying myself through just my work?) and the new areas I’m working in are so fantastically complex and challenging that there’s never a dull day.  So far I’ve met some amazing people who are incredibly passionate about how we tackle the obesity health crisis facing the nation (from large scale organisations and Government through to independent women in their local community organising activities for those in need). I really do pinch myself at the moment because some days I can’t believe how things have changed (for the better) in a number of months.

Over the next few weeks you’ll notice that I’ll be updating the look of the blog, creating regular content and even adding in extra useful tools that some of you have asked me about (meal planners and other printables).  I’m really excited to be changing things up after my mini-break and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

With that in mind, my parting thought is a positive one.  I’ve realised that if you’re passionate about something and want to make a change then don’t wait.  Don’t do what I did – don’t get in your own way and stop yourself because the time is now.  It sounds cheesy but you can do anything you want to and if something is really important to you, you’ll find a way to make it a success.  And if you’re stuck about how to get started then I refer you back to my favourite quote from Amelia Earhart which is: ‘’The most effective way to do it is to do it.’ Because sometimes you just gotta do it (take it from someone who spent years talking about doing something in food/ nutrition).

I’m going to sign off by saying thanks for sticking about during the radio silence since the new year.  I’ve finally got my study schedule down pat and the job appears to be settling down so I’ll be back doing my regular blogging thing from this week on. I will be sending those of you who subscribe to receiving updates (and if you don’t –  go do it now, that way I’ll send you regular content to your inbox.  No effort required) a GDPR email this week (sorry – you’ve probably had about a million land in your inbox at the moment, but needs must) so watch out for that.

Until Wednesday,

Katie x

Sugar

The I Quit Sugar Programme – the details

Hi friends,

After enrolling on the I Quit Sugar 8 week programme at the start of the month I wasn’t sure whether I would share a weekly progress update on here (because I wasn’t sure if you’d be interested) but after an overwhelmingly positive response to my posts over on Instagram (here btw, if you don’t follow me already) plus number of people asking me a whole range of questions these past two weeks I thought each week I’d do a little wrap up of how it’s going and give you guys a space to ask me anything you want to know about the Programme.

So, as I’m moving into week three here’s some basic programme information to help you decide whether it’s for you and on Wednesday I’ll do a full run down on weeks one and two.

Continue reading “The I Quit Sugar Programme – the details”

Sugar

I’m quitting sugar (again) – the 8 week programme

Hi everyone,

How’s your week going?  This week has flown past for me – how are we on the 17th January already?  If you read my post about new year’s intentions here you’ll know that I’m all about some general healthy commitments throughout the year.

Moving every day was one of them, and I’m happy to report I’m managing to stick to that (walking and yoga, it’s all been very sedate so far.)  If you want a great little yoga challenge to ease you into the new year I can highly recommend the True series by Adriene here.  I’m half way through and it’s been so wonderful to escape to my mat every day for 30 minutes of quiet time.  Even when I’ve been tired or not in the mood to workout I’ve never regretted it once – it’s true what they say, the only workout you regret is the one you didn’t do.

Continue reading “I’m quitting sugar (again) – the 8 week programme”

Self development

New year, new you?

Happy New Year everyone.  As I write this the first week of January is over and all around me everyone is starting to get back into the swing of the 9-5.  I’m easing back in gently (this week being my first full week at work) and I have spent a lot of time since Christmas reflecting on whether to make any new year resolutions (I usually have some goals or good habits I’d like to develop) and if so, what would these look like?

Continue reading “New year, new you?”

Self development

How to have a merry mindful Christmas

Hi everyone,

I’m currently ‘out of the office’ as it’s my birthday weekend & I’ve been put on an enforced no social media ban. Whilst I take some time out the lovely Alexandra is kicking us off in the first of my new series about how to navigate the festive season without losing your head or eating everything in sight – but also still having fun (it is Christmas after all).

Alexandra is a qualified and accredited Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist Coach who works within a therapeutic counselling framework. She coaches her clients on a one-to-one basis to help them discover what they truly want to achieve. She has experience of working with a range of different issues, including anxiety, low self-confidence and debilitating habits. Regardless of the problem, her clients always realise their full potential and get a new energy for life to start living their dreams after working with her.

I’m so happy to have her here on the blog and I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did. Without further ado, here we go…

Continue reading “How to have a merry mindful Christmas”

Career journey

Study update – five months in

Hi everyone,

Well, we are five months in to the Science Access Course and any ideas I had about being able to provide you with a monthly study update sort of went out the window over the past few weeks.  Sorry about that, life sort of went a little crazy-busy and I wasn’t able to keep all the plates spinning.

So, we are well in to November and I’m on the final leg of the course.  Since my last study update here Biology has bitten the dust and I’m almost at the end of the Anatomy and Physiology module.  I’m just an essay, an exam and a few tests away from completing the course.  How the hell did that happen?  I’m simultaneously delighted and terrified that the course is coming to an end and that the next step will be the hardcore nutrition only studying.

With that in mind, here’s what the last few months have taught me…

Continue reading “Study update – five months in”

Self development

Gone fishing…

Hi everyone,

This week there will be a break from regular posts as I’m taking a little holiday to Lisbon. It’s much needed after a few weeks of intense Biology exams and essays.

I’ll be back next Sunday with the next post in the series of my sugar mini-masterclass.

If you can’t wait that long I’ll be posting over on my Instagram account – expect lots of food and beach photos. Until then, have a great week all.

Katie x

Favourites

(Very late) August favourites

Following on from my July Non Foodie Favourites post here I thought I’d start a series of regular monthly favourites post.  Those who know me IRL (in real life) know that when I find something I love I can’t help but talk about it.  So I wanted to extend that to this space and hopefully share with others who aren’t in my immediate friends and family but would be interested in maybe trying something new.

First up this month, you will not be surprised to learn, is a book.  I finished reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts Of Imperfection last month and started on ‘A Pukka Life’ by Sebastian Pole, the founder of Pukka Herbs.  For those who aren’t aware of the brand Sebastian and his business partner Tim Westwell founded the company in 2001 and they do a huge range of organic herbal teas and supplements.  Sebastian is a qualified herbalist and follows traditional ayurvadic practices with his clients.

Continue reading “(Very late) August favourites”

Career journey

Study update – two months in

Hi everyone,

Can you believe I’m already writing a two month study update? No, neither can I.  The time has really flown, although strangely at the same time I also don’t feel like I have done anything. Although my exam results tell a different story…

Since my last post here I’ve finished the Chemistry section of my course and have moved on to the Biology part, which I must admit is much more in my comfort zone.  I’ve always told myself ‘I’m not a ‘science’ person’ (whatever that means) and that I wasn’t good at Chemistry so imagine my surprise when the results came back in and low and behold, I scored an A*.  I know.

Continue reading “Study update – two months in”

Favourites

Non-foodie favourites – July

Hi friends,

It’s been a strange couple of weeks.  I’ve been busy with work and studying which meant that as my free time decreased I sort of lost my motivation for social media, blogging and being honest there’s not been a whole load of cooking going on either.  So in my time away I’ve been enjoying a whole host of non-foodie things that I thought I’d share with you as they’ve definitely kept me motivated and happy these past couple of weeks.

Books

With the time I’ve saved being off social media I’ve been making inroads in to some really exciting books.  First on the list has been the wonderful work of Brené Brown.  I was introduced to the magic of Brené by my good friend Siobhan and I am not over stating it when I say it has knocked my bloody socks off.  I’m currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection and for someone who thought she had her shit together, well this book has definitely turned a few ideas on their head (for the better, I hasten to add).

This book hasn’t been the easiest of reading but I’m learning a lot about myself that I know is going to help me in the long term.   I’d really recommend this to anyone who struggles with perfectionist, feelings of inadequacy or even imposter syndrome.  Studying nutrition is a huge passion for me but I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the amazing people already working in that field which makes me question whether there’s room for me.  This book has certainly been helping with the de-motivated days.  Especially a good one for those of you who aren’t in to ‘self help’ books.

In addition to Brené’s work, also on my radar has been Nourish and Glow by Amelia Freer.  I have Amelia’s first book (although not her second) and would highly recommend either of them.  Amelia is a qualified Nutritional Therapist (fun fact: Amelia trained at the same place I am studying at, and she was a big influence in my decision to undertake my change career).  What I love about her books is that she provides sensible healthy eating advice without being  dry and preachy.  She’s all about incorporating the principles of eating well every day to nourish your body so you feel the best possible version of you but without repeating the same ‘eat more veggies, eat less junk’ that we often hear over and over again.  If you want a good introduction into nutrition and the principles behind diet improvement her books are a good place to start.

Podcasts

If you’re not already in to the podcast game then you’re seriously missing out.  First off, they’re FREE.  Yep, that’s right.  Free.  Totally free entertainment.  There are so, so many I enjoy but there’s nothing like a good episode of something on the foodie/ wellbeing arena to perk me up. 

My current favourite is the Butter Your Life podcast.  Kari is a lawyer turned wellbeing investigator who has been reviewing health and wellbeing topics ranging from the importance of sleep to why bread and cake should be part of your life.  I love that the podcasts cover topics I’m interested in but in a credible and accessible way.  There’s no advocating of faddy diets or pushing certain products, just interesting conversations with genuinely knowledgeable people who are specialists in their area.  I can usually be found listening to these on the commute or first thing in the morning whilst I’m getting ready to leave for work.

Other podcasts of note this month have included the BBC Food Programme (I highly recommend the recent episode on Tumeric, as there’s such an interesting discussion going on about whether the claims about it being the miracle anti-cancer spice have any scientific basis), The Badass Women’s Hour (seriously good topical chat from three inspiring women that will get you thinking) and The Guilty Feminist Podcast (exploring feminism in an accessible and realistic way.  It’s worth it for the ‘I’m a feminist BUT’ section at the start alone).

Blogs

Being off my own social media channels recently has given me an opportunity to catch up on some of my favourite blogs and vlogs.  Now, I should be totally transparent and say that one of my triggers for feeling shit about myself is when I spend too much time comparing myself to others on social media but I found that by focusing on only a couple of bloggers within the health and wellbeing sector who differ to me and focus not just fitness or not just nutrition but a balanced approach to wellness has helped me to feel excited and energised with minimal ‘I’m a loser’ feeling.

In particular this month I’ve been enjoying The Food Medic from Dr Hazel Wallace who is a junior doctor and qualified personal trainer with a special interest in nutrition. Trust me when I say that Hazel knows her stuff.  Her site is packed with useful information and she’s done a great de-bunking article here about the recent scares over coconut oil that you may have read about in the media.  I recently bought her book and can highly recommend it if you want a comprehensive mix of nutrition, recipes and fitness.  I’ve already tried out her tandoori chickpea and courgette burgers and her summery feta, mint, tomato and lentil salad which have both been cheap, quick to make and really tasty.  No Instagram pics of these though because well, I ate them all too quickly.

I’ve also been enjoying catching up with Zanna Van Dijk’s blog and vlogs recently.  Zanna is a qualified personal trainer and has started to branch in to mindfulness and conscious living in addition to her fitness posts.  Zanna recently launched the ‘Conscious Living Crew’ Facebook Group which I’ve joined where currently there’s about 2000 of us sharing tips and tricks for more ethical and sustainable living.  It’s a really supportive group that I highly recommend.  I’ve not been a particularly active member of the group as yet but there’s been so many interesting discussions that a quick dip in now and again has brightened the day.

In addition to the Facebook Group I’ve been watching Zanna’s vlogs which has massively cheered me up as she has such a sunny, down to earth style it makes you feel like you’re catching up with a mate rather than it being another impossible standard to compare myself to.  I’ve met Zanna in real life and she is exactly as she appears in her vlogs – genuine and warm.

Exercise

I’m not the best at exercising consistently but when I do I never regret it.  One of the most enjoyable things I’ve found I’ve managed to stick consistently to is a regular yoga practice.  I’ve not managed to get out to classes as much as I would have liked (and haven’t really had the motivation) but the routines on the Yoga with Adriene channel has been great because I can practice them at anytime, anywhere and without any pressure.

I’ve also been enjoying the odd HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session again.  I’ve had a pretty sore back the past few weeks so, so I’m not going to punish myself for another thing I haven’t managed to do yet.  Baby steps and all that but i have managed the odd Body Coach work out.

Meditation

If I’m bad at committing to regular exercise then I’m worse at a regular meditation practice.  In the past I have tried to use various meditations on youtube and via the Headspace App but it didn’t seem to click for me. I’ve recently discovered the Insight Timer App (free) and it’s changed my life for the better.  I know the idea of meditation puts some people off but please don’t dismiss it.  Even finding even 5 minutes a day to quiet your mind can make you feel loads better.  And there are a myriad of health benefits to mediation including improving your mood and reducing stress levels.  There have even been claims that it can improve the connections in the brain.  you can read about it here and make up your own mind but personally I’ve found it a real help during this busy period.


I’ve been turning to the app for guided meditations once a day, usually when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and it genuinely has made a difference.  I’m much calmer and less anxious immediately after the session but I’m also feeling much better in myself throughout the whole week.  Meditation and mindfulness really is for everyone and there will be a way you can fit some form of it in to your day, you just need to find what works for you.

And that’s it.  A few simple things I’m enjoying this month and not a veg box in sight! Service as usual will resume shortly so bear with me.  I’ve a couple of highly exciting chemistry exams and an essay to submit by Friday and then I’m all yours guys.

Thanks for reading.  I’m always looking for new books, podcasts or blogger recommendations so please do leave any suggestions in the comments below and let me know if there is anything you think I need to try.  Catch you on Wednesday…