Healthier, happier and full of energy... result!

When she realised the effect food was having on her health and wellbeing, Jen O’Callaghan knew she wanted to help others too, and so began her journey to becoming a nutritional therapist. Now the Ballincollig woman runs her own business and is also part of Kathryn Thomas’s Pure Results team. LIZ O’BRIEN talks to both ladies ahead of their upcoming bootcamp in Cork
Healthier, happier and full of energy... result!

ADVICE: Jen O’Callaghan, nutritional therapist from Ballincollig.

WHETHER you want to fit into that old pair of jeans you love, or get on the road to a healthier lifestyle, Cork nutritional therapist Jen O’Callaghan can help.

Jen is TV presenter Kathryn Thomas’s right-hand woman when it comes to giving nutritional advice to her Pure Results Bootcamp clients. She and her husband Niall run their own business in Ballincollig, called EveryDay Nutrition, Fitness, Wellbeing.

Like everyone, Jen has had her own personal struggles, but over time she’s learned that health and nutrition have played a big part in how she felt and how she’s coped with life’s challenges. She knew that when she ate well she felt well, her mood would improve and her energy increase.

“When I started to see just how much of an effect food can have on people, I knew I wanted to do more and help more people,” Jen said.

And so she did.

While working in the public service, she decided to do a Nutrition Course with the College of Naturopathic Medicine — and it opened her eyes to a whole new world. She had found her ‘calling’ and so she left her permanent pensionable job of 13 years and decided to become a nutritional therapist.

“A scary move but an exciting adventure which I am thrilled about,” she said.

In her early 20s, Jen suffered digestive problems — belching, bloating, discomfort — and lacked energy. In her college years she was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia and had to adjust her diet.

When she was 30, she was in a car crash and afterwards she suffered constant pain and tiredness which became debilitating — she used to wear a back brace for support and to help lessen her tiredness.

“After my first year in nutrition, where I was really on the path of healing internally and externally, I didn’t have to wear the back brace any more. I felt the inflammation in my body was starting to come down.

“As I have changed my eating habits and my daily habits, I feel so much healthier, happier and have increased energy.”

Jen and her husband Niall have gone through fertility issues together; and while she was working full-time and undergoing her nutrition course, her mum had become terminally ill.

She uses her own experience to help others going through similar issues in their lives, and that’s one of the reasons Kathryn knew Jen was the right fit for her Pure Results team.

“I didn’t want a team of perfect human specimens, I wanted a really honest team who’ve gone on their own journey, like myself and like my clients,” said Kathryn.

A HELPING HAND: The Pure Results Bootcamp team.
A HELPING HAND: The Pure Results Bootcamp team.

When assembling her team, Kathryn wanted supportive, honest people who her clients could relate to. Niall had successfully interviewed for a Personal Trainer job with Pure Results and when he knew Kathryn was looking for a nutritionist he put her in touch with his wife.

The pair met, and Kathryn says they “got on like a house on fire”.

“Jen is so passionate and so knowledgeable and she has her own story,” said Kathryn.

Being the nutritionist for Pure Results means Jen liaises with the chef to create healthy meal plans for clients taking part in the one-day or week long bootcamps; she also has one-on-one consultations with the clients to help them create better nutritional plans to suit their needs. People find it hard to change habits and then maintain them. If you work with someone like a Nutritional Therapist they can teach you the ‘why?’

“I think knowing what your motivator is is really important — is it for long term health, or to fit into those jeans? Once you have the why, it’s helping people understand (what) the right foods are to help them get to their goal and show them how easy it can be achieved.”

When dealing with clients at Pure Results, Bootcamp Jen is amazed at how most ‘wake up’ after a matter of days. After introducing small changes to their diets their ‘brain fog’ suddenly lifts and they begin to see the benefits of good nutrition.

For more information see http://www.everydaynfw.com

JEN’S TOP TIPS FOR SUMMER:

ENJOY SUMMER FRUITS AND VEGGIES: This is a great time to get adventurous with salads. Including a mix of in-season colourful veggies in your meals gives your body an extra nutrient kick

DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST: Eating a breakfast with protein, carbs, and healthy fat kicks your metabolism into high gear and provides energy for the day.

DRINK GREEN TEA INSTEAD OF SWEET TEA: Green tea has a natural component that helps speed up your metabolism.

HYDRATE OFTEN: Hot summer days make you more susceptible to dehydration. Start your day by drinking two glasses of water. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated throughout the day.

WATCH OUT FOR HIDDEN SUGARS: Names such as glucose, sucrose, corn sweetener, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar and dextrose. It’s hidden in salad dressing, breakfast cereals, ketchup and flavoured yogurts.

Kathryn Thomas. Picture: Norman Mccloskey
Kathryn Thomas. Picture: Norman Mccloskey

PUT YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

KATHRYN Thomas is bringing her Pure Results “One Day Detox” to Cork next month. And she cannot wait.

She has a special affinity to Cork, because it was in Inish Beg Estate in west Cork that she hosted her first bootcamp.

This time Kathryn and the gang are heading to a different location, on Sunday, June 11, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island — they like to mix it up to keep clients interested.

The one-day event is for all levels of fitness and is especially good for anyone wanting to make a change.

“Our approach to starting out at the gym can be very Irish,” Kathryn said.

‘‘People can sometimes be intimidated to go into a gym and start and I think a lot of the time it’s very Irish — in the same way that sometimes you clean the house before the cleaner arrives, people say ‘Oh, I’ll lose half a stone because I don’t want to wobble in the door!

“You know you put it off for three weeks before you start dealing with yourself because you want to lose weight — I just think that’s so wrong.

“I think you just need to get in and get started and you need to realise that you are going to be outside your comfort zone and that’s OK! Actually, being outside your comfort zone is the best thing for a lot of people.”

About 85% of Kathryn’s clients are women and while some use Pure Results Bootcamp to get away on a fit holiday, about 75% want to lose weight.

“So the majority of people are nervous, they maybe haven’t done any exercise in years, they don’t know if they’ll be able to keep up with all the classes, so I reassure everybody that we designed this program primarily with those people in mind,” she explained.

“It’s not a military bootcamp style, there’s nobody going to be screaming at you, there’s nobody who’s going to say, ‘Drop down and give me 20!’”

The one day Cork event aims to give people a taster of what an all-inclusive bootcamp retreat entails — a mix of high intensity classes — circuit training, boxercise, kettlebells — as well as nutritional workshops, cooking demonstrations, yoga, mindfulness and tips to stay fit and healthy.

“What I wanted to do was combine activity with education, so we put a massive focus on the three pillars which are ‘fitness, nutrition and wellbeing’ and that’s both mental and emotional wellbeing, and we look at why people eat at the wrong time, why people fall down and what you can do to overcome those cravings.”

The detox kicks off with a welcome breakfast, a morning disco and a meet and greet with Kathryn and her team. There are lots of classes to choose from, feel-good activities and goody bags full of health and beauty gifts.

“Our last event was a huge success and the feedback was just brilliant,” Kathryn said.

“The day gives clients the chance to see what our program and fitness retreats are all about and it gets people out doing something different and fun — the craic is always mighty.’

For tickets and information see www.eventbrite, or search goo.gl/3e54oU.

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