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Lost your fitness mojo? Get it back and embrace movement to age well

“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do.  If you don’t move your body, your body will make you better at not moving.  If you move, your body will allow you more movement”

Ido Portal

I love this quote.  It sums up a fundamental reason why we should be moving our bodies.  To protect our bodies from disease and keep them strong and functional so we can be as fit and healthy for as long as possible. 

It would be wonderful if we had all been active since childhood, balancing out a good mix of CV, strength and flexibility exercise.   This is unrealistic. 

For so many of us exercise isn’t a continuous part of our lives.  Sometimes we may be motivated to move and throw ourselves into an exercise program (think January NY resolution time).  Sometimes we have no motivation and don’t move for months. 

This is all perfectly normal.  The key things to remember are, it’s never too late to start or restart and that even the smallest amount of movement will have a positive impact. 

It is difficult to get back into the swing of moving though, so if you’re inactive, there are some things you can do get moving again.  Don’t beat yourself up about it. It won’t help and just fuels any negative connections with exercise.

Here are my five top tips for injecting movement into your life:

1 – Focus on your intrinsic reason for exercise

How does it make you feel? Does it boost your mood? Give you more energy? Help you focus? This is proven to be more motivating and help build consistent exercise into your life than a long term goal such as weight loss or good health. If you want more energy for the day ahead, grab those running shoes and get outdoors.

2 – Find a friend – create sociable exercise

Combine a social experience with exercise! It’s much more enjoyable and keeps you accountable. It’s a win win. If you’re meeting a friend for a coffee make it a takeaway and go for a walk instead.  

3 – Find movement you enjoy

If you don’t like the gym don’t go, find an alternative.  What do you enjoy, use that as your start point.  If you want to be outdoors try running, an outdoor fitness class or even join a sports team.

4 – Reframe exercise

Any movement is exercise it doesn’t have to be formal ‘exercise’

Walking is a great place to start and being as active as possible in your daily life. You’ll have heard it before, but small things like taking the stairs instead of the lift all adds up to have a positive impact on your health. Try and fit movement into your everyday life. If you’re stuck at your desk all day why not take a movement break every hour? Stretch, grab a coffee and re charge.

5 – Start with one step forwards and build on it. It’s so important to have a realistic goal, don’t set yourself up for failure. 

Say to yourself ‘This week I will go for one walk or jog’ and build from there! Next week add a yoga class or a family game of badminton.

Creating or rediscovering your fitness mojo.

Pick one of these things and take action NOW.  Pick up a phone and arrange to meet a friend for a walk or set a timer on your phone to get up from your desk for a movement snack every 90 minutes.

Remember the quote above.  Envision a future where you are older but active, mobile and strong.  Where you can be independent, physically active and run after your grandchildren. It really is never too late to start.  Remember, every little really does help. 

Carole Dowling

Carole Dowling is the Founder of The Enjoy Movement a personal training and fitness business in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  Carole has 10+ years’ experience of working with women, breaking down barriers to exercise that have been created over lifetimes.  Her mission is to positively encourage everyone, particularly ‘exercise haters’ to enjoy and embrace moving their bodies for life and to celebrate all the wonderful physical and mental benefits that brings.

insta – @the_enjoy_movement

facebook – The Enjoy Movement 

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Get my fab new e-book

Get my new e-Book: EAT to turn BACK the clockIt's free!There’s a lot to like about getting older. But do you…

Posted by Sharon Strahan – Thrive Nutritional Therapy on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Click here to get your free guide to ageing more healthily –
EAT to turn BACK the clock:

There’s a lot to like about getting older. But do you find yourself wishing ‘if only…’ in relation to your health and wellness?

Click on the link above, enter your email and I’ll send you this fab e-book straight to your inbox.

You’ll also get my fab monthly newsletter full of news, articles, nutrition and health tips, recipes, ebooks, and handouts. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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21-day Spring Reset

Do you need a Spring Clean?
Would you like to get Healthy for Summer?

Then my 21-Day Spring Reset Plan is for you!

Spring is in the air, the nights are getting lighter but what about you?  Maybe it’s time to push the Reset Button on your health.

My 21-Day Spring Reset Plan is all about putting a spring in your step and getting you looking and feeling your best, ready for the sunshine!!

Starting on 24th March – this is how the 21-Day Spring Reset Plan works….

  • Daily nutrition and lifestyle tips with posts and Facebook Live Q&As on digestion, hormones, sleep, being more active, stress and many more!
  • Flexible, family-friendly food plan with delicious seasonal recipes and shopping list
  • Digital book of recipes/meal plans: can be used on a smartphone, tablet or print out.
  • Support of a fabulous online Facebook group.
  • Tools to monitor your progress
  • A private 20 minute consultation with me totally free

Here’s what participants had to say about my online Nutrition and Lifestyle Programs:

  • I lost 12.5 pounds (this was the most weight lost by one person in the group)
  • My tummy issues calmed down – no more cramps
  • I am sleeping so much better now
  • My stomach is definitely flatter
  • The dark circles under my eyes have faded
  • My energy levels are better
  • I understand now what detoxification really is
  • I learned some new healthy habits I can take going forward
  • I have added a few new healthy recipes to my routine

Who is this for?

Anyone, male or female, who is interested in improving their overall health and energy and getting ready for the summer. You may be interested in nutrition but not quite ready to commit to a full nutrition programme. You may feel that you are generally healthy or have already completed a nutrition programme and need some additional support to keep you on track.

This will take you directly to book:

Join today for only £38 (+£1 booking fee) 

Early bird fee is only £31 (+£1 booking fee) until 15 March!

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Don’t be SAD

People laugh when they see me sitting in front of my light box. But SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder is really not very funny.

What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

According to the mental health charity MIND:

“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that people experience at a particular time of year or during a particular season. It is a recognised mental health disorder. Most of us are affected by the change in seasons – it is normal to feel more cheerful and energetic when the sun is shining and the days are longer, or to find that you eat more or sleep longer in winter.”

And this year SAD has hit me hard and fast. Last night I went to bed at 9 and even after 9 hours of sleep I still feel tired. This morning I also feel anxious and shaky with racing thoughts and racing heart rate. Welcome to my world when my brain biochemistry doesn’t feel like it’s firing off properly.

What can you do?

So what do I do to manage this, since total hibernation is not an option?

A light box

Different people need to sit in front of one for varying lengths of time. I find my little portable blue light box put by the laptop whilst I’m working – for say an hour a day, does help.

Keep your blood sugar balanced

The fatigue and mood swings that you might experience with SAD could mean you are reaching for the coffee, alcohol or sugary starchy foods to feel better, but that’s just a quick fix that could cause your blood sugar to spike up or shoot down ultimately making you feel worse.

A Healthy Diet

Healthy brain needs good quality protein, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and essential omega 3 fatty acids (among other things). I personally find a higher protein / fat diet with good quality carbs (i.e. not sugar) keeps me more balanced.

Supplements or Medication

You may also find you need to take extra supplements such as 5-HTP or to go on medication. Remember, you still have to function.


Even a little gentle walking at lunch time can help. Or maybe you need a more strenuous workout.  Do whatever works for you.

Adequate Sleep

and that might mean you need a little more in winter – however don’t sleep so long that you are also sacrificing other self care like exercise and good food.

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Midlife Crisis

Midlife Crisis – the Menopause

Midlife is full of surprises – and not all of them are good … If you are reading this guide then I’m guessing that you are touched in some way by symptoms of the menopause – or more accurately, the transition to menopause. Perhaps you are even horrified at the person looking back at you in the mirror. Who is this person? What the heck happened?

You are not alone. Until recently, when celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Gillian Anderson and Kirsty Walk started speaking out about their experiences, menopause was the silent shame. Yet experts reckon that 80% of women experience the symptoms of menopause.

It might be that you are really suffering or perhaps you’ve just started noticing some changes. The experience is different for every woman but often means being hot, cold, moody, tired, sleep-deprived, nervy, irritable, sad, or hairy. It can mean hot flushes, memory loss, and a seemingly immovable band of fat around the middle and thighs.

Your fluctuating hormones are the cause of all of this, but you don’t have to accept these symptoms as the way things need to be. Learning to rebalance your hormones naturally will help you take back control of your life. Given life expectancy increases, women can expect to spend at least a third of their life ‘menopausal’ so it’s really worth getting the help you need now. Despite what you might have feared, menopause is not the death of your youth or vitality, but the start of some of the best and most powerful years of your life.

If you want to get my free eBook “7 Secrets to a Healthy, Happy Menopause” and learn more about the menopause and what you can to do make things easier, then click HERE

And if you need some help and personal guidance, I warmly invite you to book a free female hormone health check with me During our call, you can tell me about your experience and we can work out the best next steps for you.

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Gut Feeling

World Digestive Health Day

If you’ve got tummy troubles, you may be interested to know that it’s World Digestive Health Day today. But what if you don’t? It might be hard to believe, but the state of your gut affects EVERY aspect of your health, from weight loss and immunity to mood and skin health. Furthermore, if you’re trying to get pregnant, you need to know this, too, to safeguard your baby’s future.

There are a myriad of symptoms and conditions that are linked to digestive issues. Much of the problems arise from dysbiosis, which is where the levels of bacteria in the gut are out of balance. That might mean there are too many ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut or simply insufficient numbers of the protective, ‘good’ bacteria.

Ten Reasons To Take Care Of Your Gut

Hold that concept in mind while I run you through ten reasons you’ll want to take care of your gut – even if you don’t experience symptoms of digestive distress.

1. Hormone Balance

If you have any conditions linked to too much oestrogen, like endometriosis or fibroids, you should know that if you have dysbiosis, instead of getting rid of it, the body is likely to keep recirculating oestrogen tagged for detoxification. The more oestrogen in your system, the worse your gynae symptoms are likely to be.

In fact, if there is any hormone imbalance of any kind, the gut is a key piece of the jigsaw if you are looking for a solution. It’s worth noting, too, that if your gut is not good, menopause symptoms will be evil!

2. Obesity

An imbalanced gut is bad news if you’re trying to lose weight. Oestrogen is an obesogen, which means it can make you gain weight. If your gut bacteria are out of balance, you could absorb 15% more calories from your food.

3. Cravings

There’s also a growing amount of research that suggests your gut bacteria actually influence food cravings and metabolism, too.

4. Immunity

Listen up if you’re that person who is always ill or gets everything worse than everyone else. About 75% of your immunity is governed by your gut. If your digestive system is healthy, chances are you will be generally healthier, too.

5. Skin

Not happy with your skin? Eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne are just a few skin issues linked to poor gut health. Much of this is down to permeability of the gut (sometimes called ‘leaky gut’).  This is when your digestive tract is damaged and things that shouldn’t normally pass through are now able to, like bad bacteria, gluten proteins and other undigested food particles, causing widespread inflammation and a huge array of heath problems.

6. Allergies and Intolerances

Additionally, this is true for hay fever and food intolerance, too, for very similar reasons.

7. Mood

The state of your digestive system is important for regulating your mood and for your mental health. The gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’. That’s because, embedded in your intestinal wall are 500 million neurons that make up your enteric nervous system (ENS). Your ENS plays an important role in the production of 30 different neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters, like serotonin, are chemicals responsible for regulating mood. At the very extreme end of the spectrum, an imbalance of bacteria in the gut has also been shown to be a factor in autism, ADHD and other brain conditions, such as epilepsy.

8. Autoimmunity

If you have any kind of autoimmune disease you will want to get your gut sorted out because, where you have one of these conditions, the door is open to any of the others. There are over 200 autoimmune conditions, but some of the most common include Hashimoto’s disease (underactive thyroid), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus, pernicious anaemia, and so on.  There are a number of potential causes of autoimmune disease,  but “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability is considered a front-runner.

9. Bad Breath

Bad breath is typically linked to dysbiosis or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Candida, a yeast in the gut, is linked to athlete’s foot and thrush. Additionally, candida has a giant list of other possible symptoms. These include mysterious aches and pains, that feeling of being hung over when you’re not, depression, fatigue, anxiety and brain fog as well as a host of tummy issues.

10. Fertility

If baby making is on your mind, you need to know that the little person you grow will get your gut immunity. If you have a healthy and balanced gut environment, then they will too. As the mother, you are the gate keeper to your child’s health. That’s because, in pregnancy, you set your baby’s inflammatory set point. If your gut flora is out of balance, there’s a 15% increased risk of gestational diabetes and also a higher risk for group B strep.


What to do next

I wonder how many of those points resonated with you? Help is at hand if any of these are the case. Maybe you already know that I offer 1:1 nutritional therapy sessions where we can work together on sorting out any of the above. And I offer a free 30 minute call to discuss whether nutritional therapy is right for you.  Book your free call here:

I just want to leave you with one final thought now you know what you know about how gut affects everything about your health… If you’re in the cinema and you see smoke, you don’t wait till you spot the fire…


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BBQ Time!

Barbecue Recipes

As soon as the sun comes out our thoughts naturally turn to eating – and cooking – outdoors. Summer is synonymous with good old-fashioned back garden barbecuing in the company of friends and family. Barbecuing has come a long way, and it’s now not good enough to throw a few boring bangers on the grill. There’s no better way to eat well in the summertime than to combine deliciously marinated cuts of meat, fish or veggies with a variety of eye-catching salads.

If you’re a guest at a barbecue party, that doesn’t have to mean the end of all good healthy eating intentions. There’s no reason you can’t take your own food to a party. Make enough for sharing, and the host will probably thank you for it. Remember that this way of eating is both nutritious AND delicious. Don’t feel you need to explain to anyone who will listen about why you had to bring your own food. They probably haven’t even noticed! Here are my favourite summer barbecue recipes that are guaranteed to steal the show. And proof indeed that eating healthily is anything but boring!

If you’d love 15 delicious & healthy BBQ recipes, then please click HERE

PS it’s not just meat… there are some lovely veg and salads too.


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Food Allergies and Intolerances

Many people are clear that a nut allergy can be a very dangerous thing resulting, on occasion, in death. But, outside of this, food allergy isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be. As it is Food Allergy Awareness Week on the 13th of this month, I want to give you the lowdown on food allergy and intolerance, and what to do if you suspect there are foods that don’t agree with you.


To start, let’s get clear what a FOOD ALLERGY is …

A true food allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system to a particular food. This can range from a mild reaction to one that is severe and life-threatening (anaphylaxis). The body produces IgE antibodies in response to a food, drink or other substance the body mistakenly thinks is attacking it. The issue can be restricted to one area (your digestive system, skin and so on) or the whole body, where the immune system triggers widespread inflammation and swelling – anaphylaxis – which can be deadly. The reaction is often immediate.

If you have a food allergy, you will need to avoid the food forever. That’s because part of the immune system works on the basis of memory. In exactly the same way your body remembers its response to, say, the polio vaccination you were given as a child (and can prepare its attack should it come into contact with polio again), it remembers its response to nuts, dairy, or whatever.

If you think you have a food allergy, you can often get tested free of charge via your GP. Private tests are also available.

One clinical pearl I’m going to share with you is that, if you’re struggling with the symptoms of a true allergy (itchy eyes, swelling and the like), yet testing reveals no problem foods, the answer might be in the gut. Parasites also cause the body to produce high levels of IgE antibodies; however, these are not often considered by conventional medicine as a potential cause of allergy-like symptoms.


An intolerance is something very different, producing low grade inflammation through the body and symptoms that are far ranging, but altogether less dramatic.

These can include the following:

  • Weight that won’t shift
  • Bloating
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Coughs (frequent)
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy or overly waxy ears
  • Stomach ache
  • Irritable bowel
  • Hives
  • Fatigue

Although the symptoms might seem less dramatic, it really is worth dealing with food intolerances , especially if you’ve had niggly issues for years. This is because low grade inflammation is created through the body if your system doesn’t like something you are repeatedly feeding it. Consequently, this will almost certainly lead to worse stuff in the future because that’s the way these things work. ALL chronic disease is caused by inflammation of one sort or another.

You can do your own elimination diet.  Cut out foods you suspect you might have a problem with for a period of time, then reintroduce them and see what happens.  This can be time consuming if you are not entirely sure which foods might be problematic. A couple of drops of blood from finger prick blood test is all you need to get a reliable reading of what your body is objecting to. Ask me for details if you experience any of the symptoms I listed above.



In case you’re wondering, if you have a food intolerance, you don’t have to remove the food forever.   It’s important to know that it’s not enough to just take the food out and not do anything about it.

If you find you have a food intolerance, this is your body telling you your gut needs some TLC to restore, rebalance and heal. Without this vital step, you’re likely to end up (over time) with more intolerances and more symptoms.

Please do get in touch if you are wondering whether you have an allergy or intolerance. I can help by offering a variety of testing options to help get to the bottom of the problem, and my gut health programmes can help bring your body back into balance:


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What’s all the fuss about?

Many children are fussy eaters. Although it is entirely normal, it can be frustrating and hard to handle – particularly when there’s always at least one mother whose angelic offspring eats everything and still asks for second helpings of broccoli.

What you need to know is that, most of the time, fussy eating isn’t about food, and it’s (usually) not about you either. It’s about children wanting to be independent.

If you’re graced with a fussy eater in the family, I’d like to share some tips on how to handle it.

First, a word about fussy eating…

Children frequently object to the shape, colour or texture (and sometimes all of them) of particular foods.

You might also find they will like something perfectly well one day, but dislike it the next, refuse new foods, and eat more or less from day to day. It might drive you insane, but this is all part of a child’s development. It’s a way of exploring their environment and asserting their independence. And – as a side issue – it’s also because their appetites go up and down, depending on how much they’re growing and how active they are.

It WILL get better, I promise. Fussy eating is generally something that children grow out of. Their palates change as they get older and they don’t need to exert quite the same level of control over their environment and, very gradually, something resembling normal family eating can resume …


 How to make mealtimes better

Your child’s willingness to try food will depend partly on the eating environment. There will be times when you want to tear your hair out. This will have the opposite effect of what you are hoping to achieve. Try these steps for a low-stress mealtime.

  • Make mealtimes happy, regular and social occasions. Don’t worry about mess made on tables or drinks spilled on the floor.
  • Never force your child to try a food.
  • Have realistic expectations. Ask your child to lick a piece of food, and work up to trying a mouthful over time. Don’t forget to praise your child for every small effort, like trying a new food.
  • If your child is fussing, ignore it as much as you can. Giving attention to fussy eating can encourage your child to keep behaving this way.
  • Make healthy foods fun – whenever you have the time. Cut sandwiches into interesting shapes, or let your child help prepare some of the meal.
  • Turn the TV off, so family members can talk to each other instead.
  • Set a time limit of about 20 minutes for meals. Anything that goes on too long isn’t fun. If your child hasn’t eaten the food in this time, take it away – but don’t offer your child more food until the next planned meal or snack time.
  • Put a small amount of any new food on the plate with familiar food your child already likes – a piece of broccoli alongside some mashed potato. Encourage your child to touch, smell or take a lick of the new food.
  • Make the food attractive. Offer your child a variety of different colours, shapes and sizes and let your child choose what they eat from the plate.
  • Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Keep offering foods that have been refused before. It can take 10 to 15 times before they even try a taste of a food they previously refused. Frustrating? Yes! Consider that you are training them for the future.

Sometimes your child will refuse food just because this gets an interesting reaction from you. If children refuse to eat a food, it doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike it – after all, they might not have even tasted it yet. They might just be putting on a show of independence to see what you’ll do. Be prepared and consider what your response will be  – this scenario will occur!

Consider this: children learn by testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. It’s all part of their social, intellectual and emotional development.

How to introduce new foods to fussy eaters

  • When possible, look for opportunities for your child to share meals and snacks with other children – they might be more willing to try a food if other children are eating it.
  • Serve your child the same meal the family is eating, but in a portion size your child will eat. Sometimes children need to take their cue from parents ­ – play the game of vocalizing how yummy the food is.
  • Don’t let your child fill up on drinks, snacks or treat foods before introducing new foods. They are more likely to try the food if they’re hungry and there isn’t a better option around the corner.

Punishments & rewards

Punishing your child for refusing to try new foods can turn new foods into a negative thing. If your child refuses to eat it, you can offer it to them again another time.

It’s tempting to offer your child food treats just so he ‘eats something’ – for example ‘If you eat your vegetables, you can have a biscuit’. But this can make your child more interested in treats than healthy food. Of course, you have to decide on your house rules, but this sends the message that eating healthy food is a chore.

It’s easy to worry, if your child refuses food, whether they are actually eating what they need to grow and thrive. If your child has enough energy to play and learn, they are probably eating enough. If your child eats an incredibly limited range or foods or refuses entire food groups for a prolonged period of time, it might be worth booking to see your GP or health visitor.