Tag Archives: WI in Harrogate

January 2015: A Vision for 2015


If there’s one thing that January is known for, it is New Year’s Resolutions. Every year, most of us plan to improve our lives in some way – and yet by the end of the month, never mind the year, we’ve often gone back to our bad habits.

With this in mind, we invited management and life coach Zoe Whitby to join us for the first meeting of the year and help us to make sensible, sustainable changes which really can help us to make our lives better.

We began with an analysis exercise. By examining each area of our lives, from diet to finances, relationships to career, we could work out where we had the least satisfaction and therefore what we ought to address. Zoe advised us to imagine what we would view as the ideal scenario, then compare our current situation to that, to help us visualise where we were aiming to be.

Equally important was choosing the right language: many people choose to ‘give up’ something or ‘stop’ something in the new year, such as smoking or junk food. Mentally, we feel we are being deprived. Instead, if we phrase it as making a positive choice to improve our lives, we are far more likely to succeed. Doing things in small steps is also key. There is no point in trying to go from doing no exercise at all to running 10km every day. Instead, aim to introduce simple changes to your existing regime until they become routine, and build on them as you improve.

After the opening exercise, we moved on to creating vision boards. By choosing words and images from newspapers and magazines which we find striking or appealing, we were able to create a visual representation of what we want in our lives. For some of us, there was a definite theme to the overall result (cake, in my case), while for others the effect was a kind of summary of all aspects of our lives.

Vision boards

Thanks to Zoe for leading the exercise and then allowing us to make the most of some time out to focus on our own lives. It was an interesting and inspiring evening which should stay with us throughout 2015 – and perhaps beyond.

To find out more about Zoe’s work, visit her website – Z W Coaching.

April 2014: Nutrition


Our topic in April was Nutrition, and Morna Murphy from Harrogate Nutrition shared some of her top tips with us.

These days, it’s easy to set yourself up as a nutritionist or food adviser and give out advice. However, Morna told us she used to work as a scientist before her interest in food and nutrition led to a change in direction. She has a diploma in nutritional therapy and is a member of the Institute of Optimum Nutrition.

Everything Morna told us had a good scientific foundation, from the reasons why eating too much sugar can cause you to gain weight to the benefits of maintaining steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. We found out that although the latest advice is to eat seven or even ten pieces of fruit and veg every day, in fact it is better if most of these are veg because fruit contains much more sugar. Equally, drinking too much coffee can play havoc with our energy levels, so limiting our caffeine intake will help to keep everything in balance.

There were plenty of questions for Morna at the end: everything from feeding growing children to the need for dairy in our diets was covered. To finish the evening off, Morna had brought a selection of snacks which many of us believed were healthy. While some certainly were, others contained large amounts of sugar – often hidden in things like dried fruit – which would cause our blood sugar levels to rise rapidly and then fall later on. She encouraged us to check food labels when we shop, and opt for items with no more than 10% sugar, in order to maintain good energy levels throughout the day.

As young WI members, most of us have hectic lives, working hard, running around after children and dealing with our many commitments. It’s easy to fall into the trap of eating the wrong things because we don’t spend enough time planning ahead and buying the right food, and we feel the need for that sugar hit. Morna helped us to stop and think about what we’re eating and what it’s doing to our bodies, our energy and our health – and to make better choices in future.