PhotoGrid_1499706493364Hi! I’m Alexa but people call me Ally and my maiden last name means ‘the cat’. I’m thirty something years awesome and live in beautiful Cape Town. I love Jesus, fitness, food, the outdoors and living life. I also have a talent for finding a bargain. The aim of this blog is to make being healthy easy and affordable. I’ll also share some of my experiences of doing cool things with very little money – bawlin’ on a budget. I’ve got recipes, life hacks, reviews and tips. Every now and again I have a more serious rant. I hope to help you live your best life!

You can follow me on twitter @alexalechat and instagram @AllyCatWellness and check out our Facebook page Ally Cat Wellness too.

Three important things you need to know…

1) In 2015 I was diagnosed with a sadly all-too-common thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an auto-immune dysfunction that causes your body to destroy your own thyroid tissue. The list of symptoms is long but mine included inexplicable and chronic fatigue, thinning hair and nails, a constantly unsettled gut, uncharacteristic social anxiety and an inability to lose weight in spite of a fit lifestyle. You can read more of my Hashimoto’s story in later posts. As a result, all of my recipes are gluten and dairy free, low in sugar and generally healthy. I also like to find activities and venues that support a healthy lifestyle. This won’t just help you if you’ve got health problems. I think everyone can do with more ideas on how to be healthy and not feel deprived.

2) I was never a sporty kid. I dabbled at basketball in primary school but when the self-esteem wobbles of adolescence kicked in I decided throwing and catching a ball left far too much room for error and that was the end of that. I actively avoided any and all school sport at high school (quite skillfully I might add). What I was fully engulfed by from age five was dance. I attended ballet classes throughout school and ended up continuing to dance at university. I identified myself as a dancer and as ‘bad’ at sports. Cut to age 25 when I was no longer dancing as intensely and wanted to lose weight. I picked up a twelve week ‘learn to run programme’ and the next thing I knew I was a runner. After completing the Two Oceans I felt like the bucket list had been satiated and I started looking for something new. Enter the dumbbell. I started with a rather pathetic squat up and down a wall with a Pilates ball behind my back and now I can squat with 80kgs on my shoulders. The gym has possibly been the greatest journey of self-discovery for me. The ‘not-sporty’, delicate dancer learnt that she could out run, push, pull and lift some guys and the more I do it, the stronger I get. As it stands my regular activities are now at road and trail running, cycling, hiking, competitive Latin and ballroom, ballet and five days a week of picking heavy things up only to put them down again. It is quite remarka12341225_10153272430770060_8042769965194760926_nble that the girl who would volunteer to do admin instead of run at sports day is living this life. It came down to a new-found self-belief. I thought I could – and I think you can! Read my tips on starting fitness from scratch in another post.

3) The final and most important bit of my story is my walk with God. I was fortunate to be taught about Jesus from very young and chose to follow Him as a child. The young adult years were a bit rocky but God, through His grace brought me to where I am – sinful and in need of Him but subservient to His rule over my life. I would be a very different person without Jesus; selfish, anxious and materialistic. My relationship with Jesus helps me live better in this life and ultimately, get to the next. If you’re a Christian reading this I hope you will be encouraged. If you are not, that’s great, I hope that my experience might get you to think about where you stand and maybe do a little digging into what this Christianity thing is all about. Here’s a good place to start: John 10:9.