The Expectation Hangover

Have you ever had one of those days? Just one of those really crappy days….like from the minute you open your little eyes when the alarm goes off to the minute you get back into bed?

Let me take you on a (hypothetical of course) journey of one of those crappy days …..

So lets say its Friday, your alarm goes off as per usual at 6am. Usually you can get your feet to land on the floor before your brain kicks in and tells you to just stay in bed for 5 more minutes. But its been a mighty long week and your brain has kicked in far too early, so you hit snooze a few more times before getting up. Now you are behind time, and low and behold its pouring down outside, and you have to walk the dogs before work. So off you pop and return back home, like three drowned rats. You walk in through the front door and of course the dogs decide to shake off all their excess water onto your freshly painted white walls. AARRGGHH. Ok – you can deal with that later….its Friday afterall. Then two full days of freedom. Boom.

You sort out the dogs, sort yourself out and even have time to make your hubby a spot of breakfast, don’t worry, you’ve got this. You get into work, attend your usual Friday meeting without drinking yourself into a caffeinated frenzy and head off to complete your list of tasks for today….until….it all goes wrong. Something kicks off, your work gets put on the backburner, your staff’s work gets put on the back burner, all your attention is taken up by something else. This appears to be like a domino affect, because one thing after another goes wrong. Not cool universe, not cool. Its Friday – I have an expectation to come in, get my work done, and get the hell outta there to enjoy my two days of hyggeness.

Ok, lets just breathe a little second. Put your game face on and realise your nearly there, weekend in sight. Actually don’t breathe, because you my friend have got another issue to deal with on a Friday at 4pm….which again means none, and I mean none, of your work has gotten done today and theres no immediate sight of leaving work (you getting the picture of how this hypothetical day is super crap?) Now, as you might imagine, this day may have you wanting to run for the hills, where a bucket of wine and a family size bar of chocolate awaits. But no, its Friday and you like to finish your week how you started – in the gym.

You ever hear the expression “work all that frustration out in the gym”? Well after such a day, that’s the only reasonable thing to do (or you could go get the bucket of wine and chocolate, I wouldn’t judge you). So you now have an expectation that you are going to go to the gym and give the best session of your life, because you now have a goal of getting rid of the stress of the day. What you think you need is a sweat inducing, heart rate raising, intense workout that would be feared by Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the reality is by the time you reach the gym, you’re pretty fatigued. the adrenaline of the day has now worn off and working out really actually isn’t what you feel like doing. but nonetheless – you are at the gym car park and you are going in. You end up doing an alright session, your muscles feel pretty tired and you giving yourself a pretty hard time because you didn’t give the session you expected and haven’t left feeling the way you expected.

As you have probably guessed, this is not hypothetical at all. That’s a real life scenario. Life can be stressful, end of. The reason I have told this story, is that I listened to a podcast by Mark Sisson & Christine Hassler, where she talks about her new book called The Expectation Hangover. This really struck a chord with me….because there are so many times, even in daily life, that we place certain expectations on ourselves, and when they don’t turn out or they don’t look like how we expect them too, we immediately give ourselves a super hard time….and I have a tendency to give myself a seriously hard time. Its literally an expectation hangover. Sometimes, when we set goals we need to realise that they may take a different shape and they may not always look the way we thought they might, or we may not reach them at all. As my coach always says – you showed up, that is a success. So, here are my words of wisdom for a Tuesday evening…..

Stop giving yourself a hard time.  Life is hard, don’t make it harder by placing unrealistic expectation on yourself, or becoming fixated on how that should look.  Celebrate just showing up. Celebrate reaching the smallest of goals and celebrate even harder when you reach the big goals….and if you are going to celebrate, make sure its with Prosecco.






health, well being

What on earth is Hygge?

Good morning all. Its a beautiful sunny morning here in Belfast…i think spring has officially arrived. Today I am working later, so I thought it would be an ideal time to write a blog.  first I want to share my breakfast with you, well because it was totally awesome. Homemade granola (I will get the recipe up), coconut and almond milk, homemade strawberry and coconut cream and mixed berry compote… homemade also may I add. So you can go ahead and be a mixture of jealous and impressed, I allow you. See the whole Paleo thing doesn’t look too bad now does it?!

Today I want to talk about the concept of Hygge….pronouced Hooga (not higgie as it was introduced to me). The first time I heard about this hygge thing was when we met my brother and law and a friend of my husbands for coffee in Belfast city centre. It is a place called Established Coffee company, which is a cafe which prides itself in producing quality coffee and a cool, calm space for people to enjoy it in.  as we sat having coffee and chatted, my husbands friend remarked how “hygge” this was. Mickey Joe gave an explanation of what he felt hygge was, but all I heard was something about candles, and well I was sold to the idea..  Me being me, well I like anything a little out there, so I decided to do a little more research into what this hygge meant….

In essence, hygge is a Danish concept which compasses  enjoying the good things in life with good people, or you can experience hygge on your own also.  its about experiencing that warm and fuzzy feeling when doing an activity that is really and truly enjoyable, and provides a calming effect on your soul. Sounds airy fairy, I know, but its honestly a concept o think we should all adapt. The Danes are apparently (statistically) the happiest people in the world, even though they pay the highest taxes – so how can that be?! Well the Danish people adapt this hygge concept into their every day life. Often at the office, they have pastries and candles lit, to give an ambient working environment, which I guess boosts productivity…. this is read from The Little Book of Hygge, you should totally check it out. You will have a sudden urge to light candles everywhere.

Here are a few examples of Hygge activities in my life, that will maybe give you a better explanation of what it is…

  • A rainy Sunday afternoon, cuddled up on the sofa with hubby and dogs, candles lit, wood burning stove glowing, watching a rom com and falling into a lovely snooze
  • Saturday morning breakfast with hubby, in a nice cafe, eating good food, and yes, more tea (obviously)
  • Every Sunday seans family (a few aunts, uncles, his mum and dad, cousins) meet up in one of our houses, eat freshly warmed pastries, drink lots of tea and put the world to rights
  • A summers day, going for a walk with the dogs and smelling freshly cut grass
  • A 6:30am walk (yes you read that time right)… the world is still mostly asleep, roads are quiet… just you, two Labradors and the chirping birds. The light can be beautiful that time of the morning
  • Going for a coffee with my closest friends and chatting for hours
  • Time spent with my sisters, eating lunch or baking or making pancakes for brunch
  • A bubble bath with my favourite molten brown products, candles everywhere and a glass of wine, a long hot soak in a bubble bath can do wonders for your mood

All the things I have mentioned, all give me that warm and fuzzy feeling, a silent sense of contentment if you will. My husband cracks up because I light so many candles around the house, but for me, it makes me feel relaxed and at ease. But why include this in a blog supposedly about health, Paleo and IBS. Well let me tell you…

You can exercise til the cows come home, you can diet until your blue in the face, but the reality of it is, if you don’t get some sort of contentment in your life, all that stuff I have mentioned in previous blogs doesn’t matter. In order to manage my IBS, I need to keep my stress levels low, because believe it or not IBS is affected by stress. I feel like by introducing the concept of hygge into my life, its made me actively seek ways to keep my stress to a low, and to actually appreciate those little areas of contentment in our life.  I feel in this modern day society, so much is expected of us, to be a good wife, to be a good mother, to hold down a successful job, to be fit and healthy and strong, whilst also being a good homemaker, and quite frankly its exhausting (btw I am purely speaking on behalf on the female population at this point, quite frankly I have no idea what you men face.. you are an alien concept I am still figuring out).

So whilst diet and exercise are totally important in your life and definitely go a long way to improving your mental wellbeing (due to the fact it gives you focus and drive), but its also important to have hygglelig moments in your life.

So go, go take a hygglelig moment… run a bath, bake a cake, go for a coffee with friends, go buy ten thousand candles and light them all at one time. Chase that warm and fuzzy feeling that afterwards you will say “ah that was really nice”.

For me, right now, writing this blog for you guys whilst looking out at a lovely spring day with the dogs basking in the sunlight streaming through the windows is my hygge moment.







health, paleo, well being

You lift weights?

Good morning all, its 08:33am and I am sitting in my kitchen looking out on another rainy Belfast day…. but all is well as I am having my favourite breakfast – roast beef, spinach, nuts and a coconut and cashew cream, and of course… tea.  I actually made a whole teapot of tea for myself and Sean this morning.  Delightful.

So in this blog I am going to chat about exercise.  In order to control my IBS, its not just about eating right and cutting out the grains and processed food that give my poor little gut a hard time, its actually about also treating your body right and exercise is a big part of that for me.  Sometimes when my IBS flares up, I will take an extra long walk to try and settle it down, as the movement really seems to help. When the cramps start and your belly balloons out, I had kinda programmed myself just to go put on my pj’s and get a hot water bottle and curl up in a ball and let it takes it course. Looking back at it now, that wasn’t the right thing to do…. now I drink a peppermint tea and head out for a walk to soothe it.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes if your feeling extra sorry for yourself, a hot water bottle and curling up with the dogs is a lovely option that I enjoy taking.

So I am actually writing this blog because a good friend of mine, Kristy McFall, asked me what I do in the gym. After reading my last blog, she had a few questions –

  1. Do you eat regularly through the day – 100% yes I do.  I don’t have set times for eating, I eat when I am hungry. Some days that’s every few hours or what feels like every few minutes, some days its only 2 or 3 times, especially over the weekend when you aren’t in a routine. My body will dictate to me when I eat, and I don’t force it. I am currently reading the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and he states that our hunter gatherer friends of a time past, eat when they were hungry and ate until the were full – and that seemed to work out not too bad for them!
  2. What do you do in the gym? – short answer… whatever Fionn tells me to do. This is fact. I have very little knowledge of exercises and what exercise to do for what muscle. I told you before that the gym I Previously went to, I literally spent half an hour on the treadmill and another half an hour fixing my hair after the treadmill and then went home, pretending I did a great workout.   The fact of the matter is, I need someone who knows what they are doing, and I have blindly followed Fionn’s instruction for the last 8 months (thank god it has worked out or I would feel pretty dumb)

When I think of a gym, I think of lots of machinery (treadmills, bikes, rowing machines, Stairmaster – the very thing created by the devil himself) and a weights section – that’s were the men hang out and look at their muscles in the mirror whilst making weird grunting sounds. That is not the appropriate area for us Lycra clad women. This was genuinely my perception of a gym. Now, since going to Zenith Strength and Mobility in Belfast, that perception has been blown out of the water. There are no treadmills, no Stairmaster (thank the baby Jesus), and even better – no mirrors. Just wall to wall kettlebells, weights, bands and all sorts of simple contraptions that I haven’t worked out yet.

What I am trying to say is, as a woman, theres no reason that weight lifting (I’m not talking Arnie style) and strength work can’t be for us. We aren’t gonna get bulky, we are gonna get lean and quite frankly, nice and defined. So don’t be afraid of the kettlebells or weights. Go find someone who knows what they are doing, get some sort of programme to follow and swing that kettlebell like theres no tomorrow, and don’t look at yourself in the mirror whilst working out, if your doing it right you are not looking pretty, so I figure looking at yourself in a mirror at that point is quite frankly damaging to your self confidence.

I promised Kristy I would write up what one of my workouts looked like, but unfortunately sometimes I don’t know, cus Fionn likes to keep me on my toes and change it up in order to get the best results. I don’t argue with him, he’s the expert. But for talks sake here we go:

ALWAYS warm up…..I always do some sort of flow and mobility workout, usually:

  • Pumps
  • Zenith (arm/shoulder stretches)
  • Cat/Camel
  • Glute bridges
  • Get up… this usually accounts for 5-10 minutes of the 1 hour session

Then comes the weights…..

–  Hip Thrusts – usually 10 reps, then 1 minute break then 10 again, for 10 sets (anything up to 60kg). Like I said Fionn changes it up, so it might be a lighter weight but more reps

  • Plank/push up plank/side plank – up to 30 seconds
  • Press with an 8 or 10 kg (lifting it above head)
  • Rows
  • Bat wings (8 or 10 kg)
  • Weighted negs (tried 20kg and it felt soooo heavy)
  • Flex arm hold for 30-35 seconds
  • Lat pull-down
  • Prowler
  • Air bike (my arch enemy, I really hate that thing)

Our sessions never really run over the hour, and thank the lord, because after 1 hour, you really are done for! I am currently trying to work towards doing a chin up, so wish me luck with that!

Tonight is a gym night, so looking forward to my Hump Day Work Out!

If anyone has any questions, just ask! I ask More than happy to chat!


FYI – coconuts are still awesome.  My coconut and cashew cream this morning was a triumph. Happy Wednesday y’all.


Finding Paleo

Good morning all, I am up bright and breezy on this wet and cold Friday morning. So what else would there be to be than blog eh?! I wanted to do this last night, but truth be told I was too busy relaxing, tanning and having a glass of wine to think about blogging.

So here we go with the Paleo Diet Blog –

When Fionnbharr mentioned doing the Paleo Diet all those months ago, my little face lit up with delight.  I had never heard of the Paleo Diet before, but lets face it, anything with ‘diet’ in the title was good for me. I was on a weight loss mission and diets are exactly the thing we link to weight loss. The only thing is, now 7 months in, I don’t see if as a ‘diet’ anymore, I see it as a lifestyle. I don’t want to loose any more fat – its now my goal to get stronger and fitter. But I am still going to be Paleo, because for me – it just makes sense. It is a way of life and a way of life I enjoy.  So from here on in, I will refer to it as the ‘Paleo lifestyle’.

I am not going to go too deep into it, because its 7:30am and I havent had enough caffiene yet to allow my brain to function at that level. On a basic level, it is taking you back to the hunter gatherer days when you ran around with your club and hunted good meat, ate vegetables and foraged for meat and nuts to keep you going. It is a diet before argiculture crept in, before mass production of grains and other bulky/carby foods to sustain a whole nation. For me, looking into the Paleo life – it made logical sense. It seems pretty insane at the beginning that I, Deborah Mashed Potato Rice, would give up the delicious creamy bowl of potatoes that I so adore.  But jeeeez did my body thank me for it.

In short, eat good quality meat (which we are so lucky in Ireland to have the standards of meat we have), lots of fresh veggies, good fatty foods such as avocados, cook in healthier oils such as coconut oil, eat nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes are a must have carb source and drink plenty of water. The no-no’s of it all are legumes (which means no peanuts – I know what you are thinking, peanuts are a nut, it says it right there in the title….well no my friend, you are wrong, they are actually a legume). Grains, refined sugars, white potatoes, dairy and refined vegetable oils. I am sure the list could go on.

Now, lets be realisitic. I am not Paleo all of the time….there are going to be times in life when Paleo just doesnt cut it. When I give me food diary to my PT, I still get big circles rounds things, so I am still learning. The thing is, I am an adult and I make adult choices – and lets be serious, you gotta live life and eat the cake.  BUT, what I have learned over time is to take control and responsibility over my body, to make smart choices and allow myself treats and not feel guilty over it, because lets face it, 99% I make great choices and I work hard at the gym.  That is a part of life.

I feel that it has been an amazing journey for me and it has allieviated so many of my IBS issues.  I still keep a food dairy and when my IBS flares up, I can pinpoint what has caused it.  Honestly, I feel like I have had to erase everything I thought I knew about ‘healthy foods’ and re-write it all, because so often we are mis-fed information about what we should and should not eat….lets face it, my doctor couldn’t even give me sound advice over my diet.

Listen, I know for every Paleo lover out there, theres gonna be 10 Paleo haters, and thats cool…or people that just do not understand my lifestyle and eating habits. If I had a pound for everytime I heard ‘steak for breakfast, are you mad?!?!’, ‘is all you eat rabbit food?’ or ‘thats weird!’, I wouldn’t be getting up at 6am every morning to go to work, I would be sitting on a beach somewhere drinking pina colada’s.

So, I know that is a little basic insight into Paleo lifestyle, but if you wanna try it go ahead, if you want to think I am insane, go ahead with that too. All I know is that Paleo worked for me, my body has seriously been given a much needed break from the cramps and balloon like stomach. If you want to know more about it, drop me a line, I like to chat…Or use Google.

For anyone wanting to know what a Paleo day might look like, here is a real life example taken from my food diary:

8am: Paleo Flatbread,  (found in the recipe section), bacon, spinach, nuts and peppermint tea 

11:30am: celery sticks with coconut and almond butter (meridian brand)

1pm: Chicken salad – plenty of leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, grated carrot, then 2 pieces of 85% dark chocolate to kill that sweet treat craving 

Training with Fionnbharr @ 5pm

7:30pm: steak, homemade mushy peas, fried onions, sweet potato wedges

Herbal or decaf tea.  

So there we have it, a real life example of a Paleo day, and if you ask me – that aint too shabby


Peace out,

Coconut Ricey