I'm hanging out with a girl who loves red wine and popcorn for dinner and she's starting to influence my choices! All of a sudden I need a very large glass of red wine in my hand to get through an hour with her. Popcorn, which is actually my favorite snack food and the reason I go to the movies, seems a perfect accompaniment to the copious amount of wine this chick drinks!
The girl in question is Olivia Pope and she's a bit of a high flyer, who always looks fabulous and is the star of Scandal, a TV show I started watching when I was recently sick with the flu. I'm currently making my way through the 3rd series and in each episode, Olivia will at some point sit down on her couch with a vase-like glass of red and a bowl of popcorn, lamenting about the drama in her life (maybe Scandal is sponsored by the red wine industry, mmm!).
Of course in real life, if Olivia really drank a bottle of red each night and ate the giant bowl of popcorn she brings into the lounge, she would not look so fabulous – I mean corn is one of the most unhealthly things you can eat, it's what they use to fatten up horses before a show when they've lost too much weight and also how they fatten up most animals, quickly. Essentially, the corn kernel, through a lot of genetic modification and farming, has become a big reservoir for sugar that ramps up white fat production. No, if Olivia existed on red wine and popcorn, she would look bloated, puffy and bleary eyed with bad skin and a bit of a belly and have very little energy to take on all that she does in one episode!
But it just shows that if you hang out with people long enough, fake or fictional, it starts to make an impression and your environment can influence your mood, energy and most importantly, your habits. Just watching her drinking wine makes me crave one too!
I remember the one and only time I joined a running club, I went from running a 10km to a half marathon in 3 months. Soon they had me running a marathon and then all of sudden I was entered for my first ultra marathon! How did that happen? Well, they were so inspirational and normal, both at the same time. They convinced me – in the pub – that a half marathon was totally doable and I was ready – so I committed after……. a few beers!
The club was full of people who to me were doing amazing things and I was soaking it up and by the end of a few months, I believed I could do this too. Hanging out with them during this time of my life, got me involved in some fantastic events and took me to places in Scotland I would never have gone. I was lucky to find them when I did. It helped me give up smoking and gave me a focus and goals.
This was 15 years ago and back then, there was not a gym on every corner and Instagram and Facebook did not exist, so inspiration for anything healthy was not in abundance – not that we've ever found a gym with rows and rows of cardio equipment inspiring. My running club and hiking club, both of which I joined, helped me get outdoors and get up early on the weekends and do something healthy. I was motivated by the people I hung out with and the things they did and soon their goals became my goals too.
I'm still like that: I seek out inspirational people, and activities to keep me on track; I like to surround myself with those who are doing interesting and motivational things in the world of health and fitness. I can now do that via the internet, subscribing to certain blogs and web sites that inspire me or that I find informative and motivational, but meeting people face-to-face who are authentic and inspiring is still better than any Instagram post.
Last weekend we went to the first ever Yoga Show in Scotland (Glasgow) to get inspired, motivated etc. and we were not disappointed. There were some pretty fit, healthy folk wandering around and the clothing – don't get me started! We did a new type of yoga and were challenged via handstands, heaps of shoulder and core action and postural alignment. It made us think about a lot of things. We also cruised past an open part of the hall, surrounded by stands where folk were sitting meditating, right next to a group taking part in a free vinyasa yoga class and at the back of the room was a giant heated tent, which was was full of people doing hot yoga – apparently every class was booked out! I had a moment where I thought, 10 years ago Glasgow was not ready for this, but now, it's the norm and it was great to see all the locals packing into yoga sessions and sucking down green juices.
Another great idea we saw over the weekend was a new company, created by a couple (one half of whom is a personal trainer), who love a morning smoothie. Their new online business is called: www.loveyourblender.com. The duo have created sachets full of several superfoods, whole nuts, seeds and other tasty ingredients to pop into your blender to make a delicious and nutritious smoothie. You just add the fresh produce and each sachet tells you what else to add, so you don't have to think about it.
You can order 7 different types for each day of the week. I thought this was brilliant: firstly because I have bags of stuff lined up every morning (chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, spirulina, turmeric etc.) when I make my smoothie, which is a pain and takes up the whole kitchen counter; and finding all the stuff that actually make a smoothie taste awesome and is packed with 'super-powers', is hard! 'Loveyourblender' is one to watch and I hope they do really well. One of them took a redundancy package to concentrate on this full-time and they love it and are passionate about it. Inspiring, indeed!