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How Healthy Are You?

by Jessica Amey

I have swayed between various degrees of healthiness in my life, at points taking it to complete extremes.

When I was 19 and first moved in with Mr C we spent our Friday nights in the pub drinking way too much alcohol which would lead to us spending the rest of the weekend in bed stuffing our faces with stodgy crappy food. In the week we did that thing where you just stay in and eat lots of fatty food and within a year I had put on nearly three stone!

I think I was in denial about how big I had got for a while but when it did hit me I realised where I had been going wrong and changed my diet in a pretty drastic way.

I cut out dairy and sugar, stopped drinking beer and the weight all came off again.

I then spent a few years trying to find a calorie intake that would keep my weight stable. At a stressful time in my life I did end up getting ridiculously obsessed with calorie counting and weight loss. I basically lived on soup, raw carrots and sweetcorn and become obsessed with writing all my calories down over and over again. I basically had nothing better to focus on and thankfully getting pregnant changed all of that!

I finally reached a stage where I had more important things to think about than what I had eaten that day. Breastfeeding was a great time as I could literally eat anything I wanted (cake after breakfast, lunch and dinner!) and luckily since I stopped six months ago I seem to be maintaining my pre-pregnancy weight but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am particularly healthy.

Benenden recently carried out a health report which looked at the lifestyles of 4000 people in the UK comparing factors such as sleep, portions of fruit and vegetables eaten, water consumption, cardio exercise per week, muscle workouts per week, alcohol consumed per week, cigarettes smoked per day and finally Body Mass Index (BMI).

They have put together those findings to give an idea of how Mr and Mrs Average compare against the recommendations we are given.

So how did I compare?!

Well for sleep I do okay and meet the 7-8 hour guideline, unless I stay up too late watching telly or the kids are ill and wake up. But on an average night I sleep from about 10.30pm to 7.30am which means I am getting more than enough, yet I still feel exhausted all the time?!!

For portions of fruit and vegetables eaten I don’t do so well. The recommendation is five a day but I probably equal with the UK average and eat around 3.5. This is mainly due to cost, I love fruit and veg but trying to feed a family of four the recommended amount would cost a small fortune, a punnet of strawberries is barely enough to count as a portion when split between four people and we all know how expensive they are. I do buy things like dried apricots for the kids but to be honest when I have a choice between those and biscuits I usually end up going for the biscuit.

My water consumption isn’t great either. I do try and always have a glass of water near me when I’m at home but if I’m out then I don’t drink much at all. My drink of choice is however water and I don’t drink juice or squash so although I’m not sure if I meet the 1.6 litre guideline, I hope I’m not too far off.

Exercise is definitely the area I need to improve on. At the moment I’m not sure if I do any proper cardio let alone 150 mins a week!! I actually decided the other day to join the gym when I get back from holiday. I’m not sure how I will fit it in but I know it’s important, more so that trying to earn money so I will have to find a way. I really wish we had a gym near us that had a creche as then I could go in the morning when I have the most motivation.

This follows on into me not doing the two muscle workouts suggested a week, unless you count holding an 18 month old for long periods!

I do fine with alcohol consumption. I don’t drink everyday and when I do I only have one or two glasses so I’m under the guidelines for that.

I don’t smoke so that’s fine.

And my BMI is around 19 so that’s in the healthy range.

I know the two areas I need to improve on are trying to eat a healthier diet. I just find eating and cooking such a drag, I know that is a real first world problem and I try to remind myself of that when I’m getting stressed trying to think of what to cook but life would be so much cheaper and easier if they could just invent an injection to give you all your nutrition. I waste so much time going to the supermarket, cooking and cleaning and it’s time I could spend doing far more beneficial things!

I just wish I enjoyed cooking more, things like this pesto were so easy to make yet I still end up going for the jarred options most days.


One day I will hire a chef!!

The other area is exercise, I’m really unfit and that’s not good. It’s hard when you look after two young children all the time because you feel exhausted yet you aren’t ever doing any proper exercise. I just wish I liked exercising as much as I liked blogging!

How do you compare to Mr and Mrs Average?!

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