In this edition of 5 Minutes With, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jo who has actually written a guest post on this blog before! If you’d like to check out her tips for working out at home, you can do so here. Jo also runs health & fitness blog Health Hacking, however, she is based in Wales. She also lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis which unfortunately there isn’t much information on, so, she does her best to share her knowledge and how she maintains her healthy lifestyle!
Tell us about yourself!
Hey there, I’m Jo. I’m from Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom. I’m the founder of Health Hacking, a health and lifestyle blog aimed at inspiring and empowering women to live happy and healthy lives.
The aim of the blog is to share information on a range of topics linked to health and wellbeing. I believe the secret to achieving success (whatever that might mean to you) is first by creating a happy and healthy body, everything else will follow.
As the title suggests, here in Health Hacking, we are finding new and innovative ways to live our lives to max and we hope to take our readers with us.
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What do you do to refocus your mind? . . Throwback to our summer holiday in the beautiful Croatia! I think my little one was telling me all the reasons why he loved this particular day trip! . . So, refocusing the mind. Getting away and having “us” time is so important for me. I find the longer i go without having “us” time, the closer I feel to cracking up. Life can be hard, and taking some clear breaks to refocus and recalibrate is essential. Without this you move closer to burnout and if you’re like me, this can wipe you out for days. Taking time away might not be your way of recalibrating so please share your ways below. I’d love to hear what you do. . . #recalibrate #refocus #mindfulness #mindset #womenshealth #womeninspiringwomen #croatia #travel #europe #girlboss #family #blog #blogger #healthblogger #travelblogger #girltraveler #mindsetblogger #healthhacking #travelling #travelgram #croatia_photography #plitvicelakes #familygoals #thursday #health #healthylifestyle #stressrelief #mindfulnessmeditation #wanderlust #travelgirl
How do you feel that mental health is represented in current media (where you live & worldwide) do you think it’s good enough, or needs work?
Great question! I think there is a lot more out there now which really highlights the severity of Mental Health. It’s great to see big organisations trying to lift the lid on what Mental Health can really impact and help create awareness for those that suffer.
The world we’re living in expects so much more from us these days. Our jobs require us to work longer hours, our home lives are becoming demanding and social media presents a world of frustration for those who are not comfortable with themselves or their lives. It’s great seeing campaigns specifically in place to support those suffering, but is it really enough and does it help people avoid critical points? My personal opinion.., probably not and I absolutely think more needs to be done.
What motivated you to start Health Hacking?
Health Hacking came from what felt like “the end of the world” in my life. In early 2017, I was diagnosed with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) at the age of 30. I honestly thought my life was over. The doctors and professionals around me told me that my life was now made up of a range of different daily and weekly medications along with regular visits to the hospital for blood tests. I was told that the severity of my disease would have me in a wheel chair within years and I should accept my fate, take my medication and hope for the best. The pain was excruciating and I remember being terrified. Terrified that I’d lose my independence and that I’d no longer care for my son, but that my son would inevitably start caring for me. It was not the life I wanted.
I started doing a load of research into RA and I found it was an autoimmune condition. In my search for answers I came across a guy called Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee who outwardly states how he’s bio-hacking his life and using technology and lifestyle changes to ensure he lives into his 00’ds as a healthy and happy man. Now whilst I don’t dream to live til then, I do wish grow old, happy and healthy. I started looking into how diet and lifestyle choices can impact your health and learnt some truly astonishing things. The main one being that many of the doctors and consultants I worked with suffered from old school thinking.
Changing my diet and lifestyle has meant that just over a year on and I’m now in remission, healthier than I’ve ever been and on track to creating the life of my dreams. I decided to create Health Hacking as a platform to share information and knowledge that can help people in all walks of life make informed choices about their lives and empower them to take control.
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Find a job that allows you to work from wherever. . . #workwhereyouwant #girlboss #healthandwellness #workfromwherever #mindset #girlbosslife #womenempowerment #womeninbiz #womenwhowrite #blog #blogger #mindsetblogger #healthblogger #fitnessblogger #travelblogger #health #fitness #travel #saturday #saturdayvibes #weekendvibes #weekendmood #businesswoman
Do you exercise regularly? Why/Why not?
Yes. Since I was in school, sports and exercise have played a key role in my life. When I was 17, I qualified as fitness instructor. However, the salary wasn’t great and I could be paid double if I took up a desk job. I did. I then went onto have my son and exercise just became a distant memory. However since being diagnosed with RA, I’ve ignited the motivation to get back to it. Contrary to what people say, exercising with RA is actually really good for you. It not only helps to loosen the joints but it also allows you to get rid of any frustrations for your day. Ha-ha.
I’ve found great benefits from exercising regularly including reduced stress and anxiety, better focus, better moods and more confidence.
I currently work out at least 4 times per week for about 60 minutes each time. I tend to do mostly gym work but when I can’t think of a session, I’ll jump into a class. My favourite at the minute is body combat. Probably because I’m terrible at it so I spend my entire time laughing at myself.
What are some of your favourite mid-week meals for you & your family?
We’re huge meat fans. Anything from sea bass to steak to salmon floats our boat. Recently, with the colder weather, I’ve been making my gluten free/dairy free Thai Green Curry. It literally takes about 10 minutes to prep and about 15 mins to cook. This works well for me as I lose concentration quickly when cooking. All my meals have to be quick, simple and tasty. My Thai Green Curry is no exception.
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Getting diagnosed with RA early last year was a pivotal point in my life. Not only had it come at a point where I was at my most unhappy and stressed but I was also unhealthy. The idea of being wheel chair bound or struggling to do basic tasks for the rest of my life was a life I couldn’t bare. . . So instead of letting RA become the thing that defined me, I decided to do my upmost best to avoid my impending doom. And I have. Early October this year, I was officially confirmed as being in remission. I now take no medication and I suffer no pain. . . I’m living a healthy and happy life and I’m feeling amazing. The image you see on the left was me pre-RA diagnosis. The image on the right is me now. Through all the work I’ve done, I’ve also managed to get myself fit and bring my weight down. This wasn’t even a goal for me. It just happened. . . I want to help others too. If you suffer from RA and would like to hear more about what I’ve done, visit my website today and sign up for a 1 hour consultation with me. I can’t wait to help you. Alternatively send me a message here for more information. . . #rheumatoidarthritis #rheumatoidarthritiswarrior #autoimmunewellness #fitnessblogger #rheumatoid #remission #rheumatoidarthritisremission #rheumatology #rheumatoiddisease #autoimmune #autoimmunewarrior #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #healthhacking #motivation #inspiration #girlboss #girlbosslife #diseaseprevention #autoimmunedisease #coaching #personaldevelopment #health #nutrition #blog #blogger #fitness #mindset #fitnessblogger #mindsetblogger #healthblogger
What are your favourite ways to wind down when you’re stressed/need to relax?
This might sound cliché but I love to meditate. This has only been a recent addition to my routine but I try and get at least 5 mins in my day to meditate. I love the feeling it gives me when I’m able to shut off everything around me and just focus on me.
I also enjoy a hot bath, however, it’s rare I can enjoy one without a “mum, where’s my this?”, “mum, where’s that?” conversation.
Who are five people that inspire you/follow on social media & why?
I wouldn’t say there was anyone on social media that inspires me. I say this because I think social media provides a rose coloured lens on life. Everything so pretty and perfect, giving people unrealistic lives to live up to. That being said, some accounts that I enjoy following and who help me really consider how I want Health Hacking to evolve are:
- Rhonda Patrick – https://www.instagram.com/foundmyfitness/
- Amy Meyers – https://www.instagram.com/amymyersmd/
- Ali hemsley – https://www.instagram.com/alihemsley/
- Mark hyman – https://www.instagram.com/drmarkhyman/
- Food medic – https://www.instagram.com/thefoodmedic/
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When life throws you lemons 🍋, take a moment to appreciate your surroundings. . . . This is a little field just at the back of where I live. Whenever I’m having a trying day, I walk to the fields just to remind myself of the beautiful world we live in. The air gives me time to breathe and realise that my issues or stresses aren’t as bad as they first feel. When you feel stressed, take a walk, get some fresh air. It helps! . #country #countryside #countrygirl #wales #positivevibes #landscapephotography #landscape #healthhacking #mindset #mindsetblogger #travel #travelblogger #horses #winter #autumn #winteriscoming #blog #blogger #girlboss #girlbosslife #fridaythoughts #stressrelief #anxietyrelief
You speak openly about your experience with RA on your blog – how have you found that this has helped you or others?
There is so much we still don’t know about the disease. When talking to my consultant, he referred to it as incurable. To me, in 2018, this comment seems unbelievable. When the likes of Elon Musk are creating underground tunnels in LA, and Richard Branson is sending people to the moon, why the hell haven’t we understood how to cure this disease?
I believe that by speaking openly about how I manage my disease, what I’ve learnt and what I aspire to achieve, I can help create awareness for others. My way of living not only benefits others with RA, but anyone who suffers from an autoimmune disease or who just wants to live a happy and healthy life.
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Thanks so much to @wearefraw for these super easy to blend smoothies. . . Sometimes I’m in such a rush, I don’t have time to cut up a load of veg and fruit to make a smoothie this delicious frozen smoothie range is pre packaged and delivered straight to my door. All I need to do is add the ingredients to my blender and blend 🙌🏻. . . This one is their energise smoothie. It has strawberries, banana, pomegranate, blueberry, cacao, flax seeds and more. Really tasty. . . They also sell a cleanse and immunity smoothie pack. . . Tag someone who’d need this in their life. . . #refreshment #smoothie #energise #fresh #healthy #frozensmoothie #fraw #glutenfree #noaddedsugar #frawsome #fruit #vegetables #dairyfree #natural #nutrition #healthylifestyle #blog #energy #health #healthhacking #healthblogger #immunity #cleanse #positivevibes #weekendvibes #girlboss #femaleentrepreneur #simplelife #smoothies #smoothietime
You offer personal coaching sessions through Health Hacking – tell us some more about this & why we should sign up!
My personal coaching session at present is focused solely around those suffering from an autoimmune condition. I’ve created a “30 days to autoimmune happiness” using my 4 key pillars of focus, Food, Exercise, Supplementation and Mindset. Without each of these key pillars, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I go through, step by step, each of these pillars and how to successfully introduce them into your life simply and easily. I don’t claim that these sessions will cure anyone’s disease, but I do believe they will help transform how you feel and help you realise there is more to your body than you think. I’m so confident my clients will see great results, that I offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
With Christmas coming up, do you have any tips to stay healthy (mentally & physically) over the holidays?
Oh god! Christmas is probably the most stressful time in our family. From the family politics of who hosts the family Christmas party, to where the Christmas dinner will take place, to “Have I picked up all the presents?!” it can be such a stressful time.
My only advice to this would be to breathe. Christmas in its truest form is about spending time with those that you love. Enjoy it. In the build-up, remember that you do this every year and that the worst that can go wrong is that you miss a present or burn the turkey but in the grand scheme, these are 1st world problems. Every year, I overcook the veg, usually because I’m not concentrating and I’m too busy singing to Christmas songs while enjoying a glass of Prosecco (or two). The main thing is, I don’t stress about it. I take a breath. I breathe in and out for 1 minute, closing my eyes and then when I’m done, I get back to it – maybe that’s why it’s over cooked? Ha.
Don’t let the commercial side of Christmas spoil the real meaning for you. Family, friends and those that you love are what’s important.
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Guys my little man makes an appearance on Health Hacking today as he’s my image inspiration for my new blog. . Travelling can super stressful and we’ve had some ups and downs on our trips to @disneylandparis. I’ve shared some of my secrets to planning properly and keeping a calm and cool head so you can enjoy your Disney filled holiday. Visit Health Hacking today to read more. Link to site in bio. . Also, any Disney fans out there? . #disneyland #disneylandparis #disneytravel #disneylandtraveltips #travel #traveltips #travelblogger #travelphotography #holidays #travels #blog #health #fitness #mindset #blogger #instaphotos