MyFamilyClub is honoured to bring you our next inspirational woman Fiona Kirk Author and Nutritionist. With 15 books published and regular features in magazines and newspapers, Fiona gives us an insight into her achievements and what makes her happy.
Let’s Meet Fiona
My mission for the last 15 years since qualifying as a nutritional therapist at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London has been to guide those who are seeking a path to follow by working tirelessly to not only keep up to speed with the latest nutritional research but also to give my readers and followers a no-nonsense take on what it all really means when it comes to making decisions about what, when and how to eat to improve their health and if required, lose weight.
It’s not easy to settle into a diet that provides all the essential nutrients we need for improved (or even better, optimum) health nor is it easy to stick to it once we begin to think we may have found it – a busy schedule often gets in the way and there is invariably some sort of stress around the corner that threatens our resolve.
With 15 books on diet, health and fat loss to my name plus regular contributions to magazines, newspapers and websites my goal is to help as many people as I possibly can to make a few (always delicious, never dull) changes to their diet and see rewards not only for themselves but also for their families.
Describe a typical day for you?
The first thing I try to do every morning is get out in the fresh air for a brisk walk, a jog and sometimes even a grueling sprint but it doesn’t always happen as I have fallen into the same trap as countless others and find myself checking my inbox and that’s me into work mode (memo to self – must do better and stop allowing the inbox to dictate!) The rest of my day centres ‘loosely’ around my ‘to do’ list. If there are articles to be written for the media (to generally-tight deadlines), these take priority, if I have been invited to speak at a food or health event, I work on my presentation and if I am writing a new book (which I continually appear to be doing!), there’s research to be done and copious amounts of scribbling, scoring out, constantly changing my mind and lots more scribbling! Then there’s often some cooking to be done. I am passionate about food and would hate nothing more than to pitch out a load of unexciting meal and snack suggestions to my readers and followers so there is much time spent in the kitchen, experimenting (and of course, tasting – a chore my husband particularly relishes!)
What do you feel are your biggest achievements to date?
Probably the biggest is ‘going back to school’ at the grand old age of 43 to study nutrition. All those tutorials and lectures, lots of homework (not to mention exams!) whilst being a mother, running a home and holding down a job were onerous to say the least but after 4 years, I got there and started out on total career change and have never looked back. Another small but always important achievement for me is serving up one of my many soups (nutritional perfection in a bowl when you get it right) to family, friends and anyone who passes through my kitchen and watching their eyes light up as their taste buds tingle!
What are your ambitions in life?
At age 60 plus, personal health and wellness are important so I need to continue to concentrate on these as it certainly gets a little harder as we get older! I have been lucky enough to gather a few very dear friends around me over the years and hope to always be there to support them and continue to laugh and cry with them. And perhaps the most intrepid of my ambitions right now is to jump into my small, red Fiat 500 with my beloved road bike strapped to the back and head off to Italy for a few months (or more) to drive/cycle around as many areas of that beautiful country as possible and scribble a book or blog along the way focusing on the nutritional fabulousness of their traditional dishes – best start expanding on what little of the language I can currently master!
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
I rarely plan ahead and I almost never look back – today has always been the day that matters to me. I very much hope that in 5, 10 or even 20 years’ time I will still be scribbling furiously about diet and food and cooking and health and still be ‘having a good old rant’ about some of the daft, diet nonsense which I imagine will still be coming at us from all sides!
What’s the most effective strategy for instilling confidence in yourself?
It has taken a number of years but here’s what works for me. I say and write what I believe but am always open to constructive criticism, I am never afraid to ask advice from those I respect in my field (most experts love being consulted and there are fewer than you might think who don’t respond), I always respond to queries and comments by email, text or letter (those who are really looking for help are deeply appreciative and even those whose intention it was to ‘gun me down’ are kind of surprised when I respond in a positive way!) and I never, ever forget to admit that I may have made a mistake (we all do!)
What advice would you give to anyone launching a similar business?
Don’t even think about doing it if you are not passionate about the subject of diet and nutrition, be prepared to work endless hours to keep learning and keep up to speed with the increasing research into what, when and how we should eat to improve our health and keep our waistlines in tact and do everything you can through blogs, your website and social media to build your brand and keep it fresh, informative and exciting.
What’s in your handbag that you can’t survive without?
It can get a bit messy occasionally, but there’s always a snack or two to ensure that if I am out and about and haven’t had breakfast OR lunch is looking unlikely OR it’s mid afternoon and a meeting appears to be going on and on and on, I can delve in there and keep my blood sugar level and my energy levels topped up. I favour a large handbag so there’s usually some fresh nuts and seeds, a few mini oatcakes, a chunk of cheese, a piece of fruit, a few cherry tomatoes and sometimes a cold boiled egg, a cooked chicken drumstick, a small pot of hummus or cottage cheese and some raw vegetable sticks and for those moments when nothing but a bit of sweetness will do, a mini bar of dark chocolate. There’s nothing like a handbag snack to veer you successfully away from biscuits, cakes, pastries and caramel lattes when hunger and energy dips invade!
Finally, happiness is…
Time spent in the kitchen cooking for anyone who loves food, every moment my daughter and I can possibly find to spend together, heading out on my road bike for an hour or two to clear my busy brain (no matter the weather), a week relaxing in the sunshine with my best friend (rare but precious) and shouting at the telly when the Scottish Rugby team are giving it their all with an especially hot and spicy Bloody Mary within reach!
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