We are into Week 4 of the 100 Day Challenge and this challenge is really focusing on mindset when losing weight. We are also focusing on having a healthy self-image and I wanted to share what I recently shared with my challenge participants around this.
When you try to lose weight, are you doing it from a place of judgement? Self-loathing? Resistance? Frustration? Resentment? Or are you doing it from a place of unconditional love? Self-acceptance? Compassion and kindness? Your underlying emotions and feelings about yourself when you are trying to lose weight are going to have a huge impact on your success.
Many women, when trying to lose weight have some level of unconscious self-loathing, or a belief system that they’re not worthy, or they hate their body. They go from dieting with lots of restriction, deprivation, and frustration to falling off the wagon and having no control over what they eat, not planning or paying attention to what they’re eating, neglecting themselves and their health, or complete avoidance.
Severe restriction isn’t love. And on the flipside, eating a whole block of chocolate isn’t love. It’s instant gratification. This is the wrong way. It’s not healthy. It’s not loving. And we know it’s not the right way because of the emotion that’s fueling it.
The right way is filled with LOVE. It’s in the middle of these two extremes. It’s a balance between having discipline and being in control but also loving ourselves. It’s about feeling love for yourself when losing weight….accepting yourself and your body NOW. Not when it’s thinner. You accept it now. It’s about loving your body on the inside as well as the outside. And when you love your body on the inside, you want to put healthy energizing food into it and care for it.
Think of this in terms of your children (if you’re a mum). Think of how fiercely you love them. It’s because we love them that we don’t give in to everything they want. We get our children to do lots of things they don’t want to do – brush their teeth, get up for school, eat their vegetables – but that’s what LOVE looks like. We wouldn’t let them sit down and eat a whole block of chocolate or a whole packet of biscuits. We wouldn't talk to them like we do to ourselves. Yet we forget this when it comes to how we treat ourselves. Having discipline when it comes to our health and well-being is loving and caring for ourselves. WE MUST think and talk to ourselves with the same love that we have for our own children.
So when you’re doing it the right way, you will be paying attention, with love and not judgement, to what you are eating. You’ll make conscious and present decisions. You’ll be committed and disciplined, with LOVE not punishment. You’ll be present to the challenges, when you’re feeling stressed, when emotions are coming up for you and you won’t go to the unconscious act of eating to hide the emotions. You’ll be willing to feel them and face them head on. You’ll pay attention, without judgement, to the thoughts that come up and when you hear yourself hating on yourself, you will instead gently correct yourself and say “I choose not to eat that”, or “I choose not to put that into my body”, or “I choose to fuel my body with things that give me energy”, “I choose to feel my feelings instead of turning to food and overeating”. You’ll think of what you’re doing as being amazingly healthy for your body rather than viewing it as deprivation and restriction.
Weight loss should always be fuelled with positive emotion. Of course you will feel discomfort, everybody does, but it’s discomfort with the foundation of love – and that is different to discomfort with the foundation of self-loathing and punishment. When you have an emotion, you must be willing to feel it, to be present with yourself no matter what and not use food as a means to bury those feelings.
Think about this… if you’re hating on yourself all the time – then isn’t that when you want to overeat???? If you are hating on yourself, you're not suddenly going to love yourself when you get to your goal weight. So in order to get control over turning to food to hide your emotions and overeating, you must LOVE yourself NOW.
I see so often women who go on and off the wagon, they get frustrated because they are never reaching their goals – and it’s because they are thinking of what they are doing as a temporary thing rather than committing to it as being a WAY OF LIFE. That’s when you stop falling off the wagon, that’s when you stop pressuring yourself to get results quickly, and that’s when you’ll feel more balanced.
So when the underlying feelings and emotions are that of unconditional love, kindness, compassion and acceptance... when you are patient and you recognise that the means to the end is actually more important than the end...that it’s the journey not the destination... it’s the process, not the end result... then you will know that you are doing it the right way. And that's when you will experience long term sustainable results.
My next 100 Day Transformation Challenge will kick off in January 2020, and I would love to help YOU to achieve your goals. If you would like to be part of it, then please join the waitlist here.
Being a mum is the best thing in the world, but with it comes many challenges. And one of the hardest things that I have found is the pressure we put on ourselves to be all and do all. To get everything that we need to get done in our day or our week can be overwhelming. That never ending to do list can feel suffocating at times and can even cause anxiety for some. The moment we wake up we are thinking of everything that needs to be done and feeling that stress right at the start of our day.
I truly believe that how we start our day determines how our day turns out. Start it stressed, we tend to stay stressed and in our sympathetic nervous system which inhibits our body's ability to burn fat. It tells our body to hold onto fat. We don't want this. Learning how to manage and deal with stress plays a vital part in reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight, but its the one area that so many women neglect. We focus so hard on exercise and nutrition, and while they are important, if we are not managing how to deal with stress, it becomes very hard to get our bodies to burn fat. Where our bodies hold onto fat also tells us what hormones are at play. When we hold onto fat around our midsection, this is a sign that our body is producing cortisone, our long term stress hormone. So as you can see, learning to deal with stress is very important if we are to shift that stubborn weight.
One thing that can make a massive impact immediately is to focus on your breath. This is the only way that we can consciously switch from our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight - stress producing hormones) to our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Taking time out to slow down and breathe deeply. This can be as simple as counting as you breathe. Try counting from 1 - 6 slowly, expanding through the belly first as you breathe in and then expanding through the chest last. Then hold your breath for a count of 3. Then release slowly for a count of 8, first through your chest and then lastly through your belly. Repeat this for a total of 5 times at least, more if you can. You can use this at any time throughout your day when you are feeling anxiety and stress.
One thing that has made a massive impact on my day, my state of mind, my stress levels and being a more conscious and present parent and wife has been the practice of meditation. Now I want to say that I'm no expert on meditation but you don't have to be to practice it. When I originally started my practice, I used the app "Headspace" which gives you free 10 x 10 minute guided meditations and teaches you the basics of meditation. Since then I have always done guided meditation, and I have found some great meditation podcasts and more recently I use 1o minute guided meditation on YouTube (Great Meditation channel). I notice a huge difference on days when I don't do my meditation. I am less tolerant, more reactive and feel more overwhelmed with life. When this happens, I take time out as soon as I'm able to, and I do it.
So take 5-10 mins out of your day to make this a regular practice and you will soon see the incredible benefits that come with slowing down and connecting to your breath. I'd love you to let me know how it works out for you.
I am running a FREE 4 Week Fitness Challenge starting 9th September - The FIT in FOUR Challenge. Join me for a 4 min workout, 4 days a week over 4 weeks. It's a great kickstart to get fit or get back on track. Make sure you join up here.
I've been talking a LOT about habits in my blogs lately - and for good reason. Habits make or break you. They are the backbone of success in any area of our lives. They are obviously critical to reaching our health and fitness goals because we all know that we need healthy habits to reach them, but bad habits will derail us.
I want to talk briefly about the role our environment plays on our habits. Every habit is initiated by cues or triggers, and we are more likely to notice cues that stand out. The environments where we live and work often don't make it easy for us to perform the actions we want to because there is no obvious cue to trigger the behaviour or habit we want to implement. It's not easy to practice your guitar when it's out of sight in the closet. It's not easy to read a book when it's sitting on the bookshelf. It's not easy to take your vitamins when they are out of sight in the pantry. When the cues that spark a habit are subtle or hidden, they are easy to forget about. So to create good habits, we need to think of cues or triggers for these habits that will stand out... we need to make them obvious.
If you want to eat more fruit, do you think that keeping it in a fruit bowl on your kitchen bench would prompt you to eat it more often than if it was kept in the fridge? If you want to remember to take your medication or supplements each day do you think you would remember if it was kept next to your kettle or next to your toothbrush? If you want to drink more water, do you think filling up a few bottles each morning and placing them in common locations around the house, or on your work desk, would prompt you to drink them all? If you want to read more, do you think that placing your book on your pillow every morning when you make your bed will remind you to read before bed each night? If you want to exercise more, do you think making a recurring appointment in your diary (with an alarm) and setting out your workout clothes the night before will trigger you to exercise each day?
On the flip side, if you want to get rid of a bad habit, you want to make the cues invisible. If you are wanting to stop eating chocolate or junk food, don't have it in your fridge or pantry. If you want to stop weighing yourself, put the scales in the garage or better still, throw them out! If you want to stop craving those donuts at lunchtime, then change the route of your walk at lunch so you no longer walk past the donut shop.
If you want to make a good habit a big part of your life, then you must make the cue or trigger a big part of your environment. The most persistent behaviours usually have multiple triggers. Think of a smoker. How many different cues does a smoker have to prompt them to pull out a cigarette? Driving in the car, seeing someone else smoke, feeling stressed at work, having a drink with friends etc etc. The same strategy can be applied when trying to implement good habits. You want to sprinkle your environment with multiple triggers, thereby increasing your odds of performing that habit throughout the day. Making a good decision is easy and natural when the triggers for good habits are right in front of you.
So design your environment to influence you to perform good habits. Alter the spaces where you live and work to increase your exposure to positive triggers and reduce your exposure to negative ones.
This information is based on the AMAZING book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. I LOVE this book and live by the principles in it myself. I highly recommend reading it if you are struggling with your habits. You can buy it through Book Depository here (cheapest online price with free shipping), it's where I get ALL my books from!
Otherwise, my 100 Day Challenge is very focused on creating and sustaining healthy habits in order to reach your goals and I use the principles from Atomic Habits in this Challenge. Run only twice a year, this challenge works on both MIND and BODY. For more information, please click here.
Mornings can be stressful for a lot of people. Rushing around to get out the door, thinking about what you have to get done for the day, and if you have kids to get ready, it's even more stressful!
How you start your day usually determines how your day turns out. Start it stressed and you'll tend to stay stressed. Stay relaxed and you will tend to be calmer and relaxed throughout your day.
It's no secret that many of the happiest, successful people start their day with a "daily ritual" of healthy habits for both mind and body. What are your morning habits? Do you get woken by your kids and start your day in a rush? No judgement to you if you do! That's how most people do, and I used to.
I used to be someone who woke only when I absolutely had to, hit the snooze button 2-3 times before getting out of bed, and then I rushed around to get ready. I found I was constantly rushing and stressing. This was how I started my day my whole life up until recently.
Fast forward to now... I start my day getting up before the rest of my family (at 5am). I don't wake up and rush around. I take the time to practice habits that will set me up for success and happiness throughout my day. I'm not saying that you have to get up at 5am like I do, but rising a little earlier than you normally do, to have some quiet time to work on YOU, will have a huge positive impact on your day.
Here's what my daily health rituals look like (most of these are in the morning, but some of them I prefer to do at night):
First thing after waking, I am rehydrating with a BIG glass of water! Sometimes I will put a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar in it or some fresh lemon. Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways that we can stay healthy. Water is so beneficial but it's so overlooked and many people are dehydrated. When we are dehydrated, we feel more tired, we eat more and this impacts maintaining a healthy body weight. Our skin can't detox, our cells get congested, our blood thickens causing strain on our heart and we can get constipated. Clearly lots of very good reasons why we should be drinking more water!
2. Meditation (10 mins - am)
I'm not about to tell you that you SHOULD meditate, however it is very beneficial to at least spend some time on some deep breathing each morning. I'm not someone who finds it easy to meditate - I'll admit that - I have things constantly running around in my head like most people, but the process of concentrating on my breathing really helps me to start my day in a calm state. You don't even have to know how to meditate on your own in silence. To be honest, I've never done that. I've always used guided meditation apps or videos - and at the moment I use 10 minute guided meditation YouTube videos (I subscribe to Great Meditation and find there's some great ones on this channel). But if you're brand new to meditation and want to learn how, then start with the Head Space app.
3. Affirmations (5 mins - am)
I have used affirmations for quite a few years now, on and off. The reason I am now consistent with them is because I get up earlier to do them. On the odd occasion when my son wakes early and interrupts my daily morning ritual (this morning was one of those occasions), then I also have a short bedtime ritual where I can do my affirmations again. Affirmations are a powerful way to shift your thinking and your mindset to a more positive one, and to remind yourself of your goals. We become what we think, so changing our self-talk is critical if we are to reach our goals.
4. Visualisation (5 mins -am)
I have talked about the power of visualisation in a previous blog, so I won't go into too much detail here about how it has impacted me personally, but I believe this is the most powerful tool in reaching your goals and something that everyone should make time for. There is a well-known quote by the famous Earl Nightingale: "Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion, will one day become a reality". Visualisation allows us, in our mind, to act as the person we want to be, living the life we want to live. The idea is to imagine it so clearly, and to feel emotion with it, so that in our every day life we begin to act as that person and attract opportunities to us. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it! It's worked for me on several occasions in my own life. If you want to read about it in more detail, you can visit my visualisation blog here.
5. Exercise (20-30 mins -am)
I do a lot more exercise now and most days it's more than once. I find doing some form of exercise first thing in the morning before my family wake uptakes the pressure off if I have a day where I can't get it done through the day. I have been doing Yoga every morning lately, but sometimes I will do some form of exercise that also gets the heart rate right up and makes me sweat!
6. Healthy Wholefood Breakfast and Supplementation (am)
My go-to breakfast at the moment is a homemade overnight oats in a jar which I make the night before whilst in the kitchen making dinner or clearing up. Sometimes I will make 2 days worth. I love that I can just go into the fridge, take off the lid and eat it out of the jar! I pack it with loads of healthy grains, nuts, seeds and then top it with some kind of fruit. I also take a whole food supplement made from high quality fruit, vegetable and berry powders. I'm a firm believer in supplementation because, despite our best efforts, it's really hard to eat the required servings every single day, as well as the variety, and unfortunately a lot of our commercially grown produce is not what it used to be and lacks nutrition. I've taken these for the last 5 years and they are the only supplement I take as they provide me all my essential vitamins and minerals, plus they give me the energy I need to get through my day (and any other mums out will know that any little bit helps!)
7. Green Juice
Such an amazing way to amp up your greens each day! I always feel so clean after having this and it definitely sets me up for success in making healthier food choices throughout my day. Highly recommend it! I keep mine simple. Most of them time it includes: spinach, kale, celery, lemon, ginger, coconut water, frozen pineapple/mango, cucumber. Yum!
8. Gratitude/Journalling (5-10 mins - pm)
This is part of my nightly ritual. I love to also have some time for me in the evening. I don't watch much TV at all these days. I much prefer to get into bed early, read a book and do some journalling. Journalling has never come particularly easy to me, so I don't spend a lot of time doing it. If you feel like me, then aim to do less. You don't want it to be a long process that it feels like a chore (unless you love journaling of course!). I usually try to write at least 3 things that I am grateful for from my day. This alone has had a profound impact on my attitude each day. I find myself being more mindful of the good things that happen in my day and the good things in my life and really helps me to stay positive.
9. Reading (20-30 mins pm)
I never used to be a reader but now this is definitely a highlight of my day and I would much rather lie in bed and read a book than sit in front of TV. I am always reading some kind of personal development book. Tony Robbins says "If you are not growing, you are dying". I believe that we constantly need to expand our knowledge and continually strive to work on ourselves so that we live up to our full potential and live the life that we truly desire. Growth and personal development is a huge value of mine and a passion! Reading at night in bed also helps me to wind down and fall asleep quicker. Oh, and I don't read digital books! I find there is something so enjoyable about an actual book with pages!
10. Prepare for my day
I have found this really helpful recently, because I'm one of those people who goes to bed thinking about that to-do list that needs to be completed tomorrow. By writing down a short list before bed (usually when I close my laptop each night) of the most important things that I need to do the next day, it really helps me in being able to get to sleep without those thoughts racing around in my head.
So there you have it! Most of these I would never get done if I didn't get up earlier than my family, so I'd like to try to convince you to perhaps get up just a bit earlier and try to give one or two of these a go. Creating new habits is not about going all out and starting 10 new habits at once. Think of how you could implement one or two each day for a month and then work on another 1-2. I'd love to hear how you go!
If you are wanting some help and guidance on creating healthier habits like these, plus help with your exercise and nutrition, then you might like to check out my 100 Day Challenge which kicks off on Saturday 24th August. Through this challenge, I help my members to not only kick start their health with exercise and better eating, but also to implement habits that benefit both mind and body so that they are able to reach their health goals. You can check out more information here and join a very special pre-sale on Tuesday 13th August.
Why does it feel so easy to repeat bad habits and so feel SO hard to form good habits? I've been doing a lot of research lately on habits, and I'm reading a fascinating book on habits called "Atomic Habits" by James Clear, and I want to share with you some gold advice from one of the chapters.
Changing our habits is essential if we are to reach our health and fitness goals. But so many people have a real struggle with this. Despite our best intentions, bad habits such as eating junk food, procrastinating, watching too much television etc can feel impossible to break.
In his book, James Clear talks about how one of the mistakes we make when trying to break bad habits or implement good ones, is that we try to change the wrong thing. He explains that there are 3 layers of behaviour change.
Layer 1 - Changing your outcomes: This is related to your results eg. losing weight, winning a race, quitting smoking. This is about what you get.
Layer 2 - Changing your process: This is about changing your systems eg. implementing a new gym routine, developing a meditation practice, decluttering your workspace for better workflow. This is about what you do.
Layer 3 - Changing your identity: This level is about changing your beliefs eg. your self-image, your judgements about yourself and others, your worldview. This is about what you believe.
All levels of change are important, but most people begin the process of habit change by working from Layers 1-2-3, by focusing firstly on what they want to achieve, which leads to outcome-based habits. The most effective way to implement habits is by working from Layers 3-2-1 and building identity-based habits.
He gives the example of two people who are trying to quit smoking. When both are offered a cigarette, the first person says "no thanks, I'm trying to quit". This second person however says "No thanks, I'm not a smoker". See the difference? The first person still believes deep down that they are a smoker, whereas the second person no longer identifies as someone who smokes.
If our behaviour is incongruent with our identity it will not last. You may want more money, but if your identity is of someone who spends, then you'll continue to be pulled toward spending rather than saving. You might want to lose weight, but if you prioritise feeling comfortable, then you'll be drawn to relaxing rather than working out. So we need to change WHO we are, the underlying beliefs that led to our past behaviour, so that we can successfully change our habits.
Your behaviours usually reflect your identity. They are an indication of the type of person you believe that you are, whether that's at a conscious or a subconscious level. Research has shown that once a person believes in a particular aspect of their identity, they are more likely to act in alignment with that belief. So a person who sees themselves as an "active and healthy person" doesn't have to convince themselves to exercise. It's part of who they are. When your behaviour and identity are aligned, you are simply acting like the type of person you already believe yourself to be, so it's not difficult.
Conversely, this can work against you too. Once you have adopted an identity, we can sometimes feel an allegiance to it which impacts our ability to change. Many people have repeated certain stories to themselves for years and it's easy to accept them as fact. You might even feel a resistance toward certain actions because "it's not who I am". Do any of these sound familiar?
We all want to behave consistently with our beliefs so we find ways to avoid contradicting ourselves. Good habits may make sense to us, but if they conflict with our identity, then we will fail to put them into action.
James Clear says that THIS - identity conflict - is the biggest barrier to positive change at any level.
Whatever your identity is right now, you only believe it because you have proof of it. And the more evidence you have for a belief, the stronger your belief in it.
So how can we change our identity? This is not a situation where we can suddenly decide to be someone new. We need to change bit by bit, day by day, habit by habit. Every action that you take toward your new identity is a vote for the type of person that you want to become. It's not through one single action, but as those actions build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. So we need to change what we do. Each new habit gives you the belief that you can actually accomplish what you want. When the votes continue to mount along with the evidence, the story you tell yourself begins to change. However, every time that you choose to perform a habit that is against the belief you are working towards, it's a vote for that identity too, but you don't have to be perfect. You don't need a unanimous vote, you just need a majority vote. Your goal is to win most of the time.
So, we need new evidence! If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you keep casting the same votes, you're going to get the same results you've always had. Here is the two step process that James Clear presents:
1. Decide the type of person you want to be
2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.
Don't think of the outcome or the goal when trying to decide who you want to be. If you want to lose weight, then ask yourself "who is the type of person I need to become to get those results?" You might then decide to be a "HEALTHY, ACTIVE PERSON". Once you understand who you want to be, then continually ask yourself throughout your day "Is this what a healthy person would do?" Use that question as a guide. Would a healthy person take the lift or the stairs? Would a healthy person order a salad or a burger? If you act like a healthy person for long enough, you will become one.
So identity change is at the CORE of habit change. The first step is NOT what or how, but WHO. You need to know what you want to be. You have the power to change your beliefs about yourself. You have a choice in every moment.
Building better habits is not about the end goal, it's about WHO you become. Your habits help you become the person you want to be. Quite literally, YOU ARE YOUR HABITS.
I highly recommend "Atomic Habits" if you are looking to change your habits. You can grab yourself a copy here.
Need more help with your mindset and habits? My 100 Day Challenge starts on Saturday 24th August and we focus a lot on mindset and habits (as well as the standard exercise and nutrition) to help you succeed in reaching your goals. You can find out more about it and register to be part of a special 24 hour pre-sale on Tuesday 13th August, by clicking here.
Five words that I have NEVER uttered in my life until recently...
"I AM A MORNING PERSON"
Do you consider yourself to be a morning person? Most people would probably say no. And I have vehemently told myself that I was NOT a morning person my whole life.
Until I read a book recently that is changing my life called "The Miracle Morning". This book is all about having a daily morning practice of personal development. The author, Hal Elrod, started this practice himself after hitting the lowest time in his life (depression and financial ruin), and having a breakthrough moment when he came across a quote of Jim Rohn's - "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development". So he researched the daily habits of the worlds most successful people and he found that there were 6 common habits amongst them all (meditation, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading, journalling). Since implementing these in his life, he's gone on to run an ultramarathon (after being told he'd never walk again from a head on collision with a drunk driver in his early 20's), survive a rare form of cancer and build a hugely successful business helping others. He's probably the most inspirational person I've come across.
My husband actually got the book out on loan from the library. At the time, I was still suffering from sleep deprivation from being a new mum. I was also running my own business from home and struggling! Struggling to not only get everything that I needed to get done in my day, but struggling to find ANY time for myself! Before becoming a mum, I used to practice yoga, meditation, visualisation, affirmations regularly, and I desperately wanted to get back to doing some of those things again. I was finding it hard just to find time to exercise! As a result, I was worn out, grumpy, unfocused and unhappy.
Deep down I knew that the only way that I was going to get more time in my day was to get up earlier. But it scared me! Seriously - it TERRIFIED me! I was so caught up in my story that I was not a morning person. My son was still waking during the night, so I told myself that as soon as he started sleeping right through, I would start my Miracle Morning. And guess what? He started sleeping through... and I still procrastinated! Why was this so hard for me??? I knew I had a fear of failing.
So I committed myself to the 30 Day Transformation Challenge that Hal recommends in his book, and used his free resources to ensure my success. I got myself a lovely accountability partner (through the Miracle Morning Facebook community group, all the way across the other side of the world in Sardinia) and I started.... on a Thursday, not a Monday! I just had to DO it! So I nervously (but somewhat excitedly) set my alarm for 5am.
Fast forward and it's now been 41 days since the day that I decided to break free from my limiting story of not being a morning person. Did I succeed in doing this every day? No. I was sick halfway through my challenge and took 3 mornings off getting up at 5am. But you know what? I was so freaking PROUD of myself!!! This wasn't about perfection for me. It's about the journey and who I become in the process.
AND I have continued to do this after the 30 days was over. Yes getting up in the depths of winter when its still dark for 3 hours after I get up is tough, but I have worked on my mindset. I go to bed COMMITTING that I am getting up earlier because I do not buy into the limiting belief that my life will somehow be better if I sleep for longer. I read affirmations before bed to get me in the right frame of mind, I get myself organised so that I know exactly what I will do when I wake. I have my "snooze proof strategy" in place.
I LOVE my Miracle Mornings! How I start my day determines my life, because my day is my life. Every morning, I have blissful quiet time all to myself!! I get to practice meditation again, affirmations, visualisation, yoga - all the things that have been missing in my life. I am a happier, calmer person. I am more focused and productive. I make healthier food choices.
So I ask you now to consider..... what are the stories that YOU have created about yourself? Do any of these sound familiar?
"I don't like exercise", "I'll always be a big person", "I love my food too much", "I'm not a runner", "I can never commit to anything", "I always fail", "I'm too busy".
How long have you bought into these stories? Are they serving you or hindering you?
ANYONE can break free from their stories by simply working on their mindset. Our stories are simply that - just STORIES we make up and hold onto. And sometimes we hold onto these our whole life, as I have done, but when we break free from them we feel LIBERATED!
"I AM A MORNING PERSON!!!"
So if it's your stories that have created your present reality, and you change your stories, then doesn't it make sense that your reality will also change?
We can create a new story and a new reality. We don't have to settle for our present reality - we can create a new one whenever we choose. We all have that ability because, for better or for worse, our thoughts influence our lives. And holding onto stories that don't serve us will only keep us "stuck" in our present reality.
If you have limiting stories that are holding you back from leading a healthy lifestyle, then my 100 Day Transformation Challenge can really help you! We focus on both mind and body to help you to overcome your stories so that you can implement healthy habits and stick to them long term. To find out more, please click here.
Carbs are very misunderstood. A lot of people think that in order to lose weight we need to eliminate them. But not all carbs are created equal! So it's important to understand the role that carbohydrates play in our diet, know the difference between healthy and unhealthy carbs and make sure that we are choosing the right ones.
Carbs are actually important to consume because they are the bodies primary energy source, meaning that when we expend energy throughout the day, our body draws this energy mostly from our carbohydrate stores (glycogen) in our body (the liver and muscles).
Carbs are found in some form in every food except for meat. In fact, all foods generally have a combination of carbs, fat and protein, just in different ratios.
Carbs come in the form of simple carbs and complex carbs. Let's break down the difference.
Simple carbs (the unhealthy carbs, often called sugars) come in various different kinds (glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose and lactose) and are found in all processed foods, juice/fizzy drinks, white pasta/bread/flour, biscuits/cakes/pastries, sugary breakfast cereals. We get an instant energy hit with simple carbs.
Complex carbs (the healthy carbs) include the polysaccarides starch and cellulose, which are found in fruits and vegetables (particularly the skin), nuts, seeds, beans, wholegrains such as oats, brown rice and wholegrain bread/pasta/flour. We get a slow release of energy with complex carbs.
Here is a quick explanation about how they are broken down in the body.
Every time we eat simple carbs, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete the hormone insulin. The job of insulin is to stabilise blood sugar levels - so it searches for all excess sugar in the blood and stores it in the liver and muscles as glycogen. It does this to protect us because too much sugar can lead to kidney damage, blindness and amputation. The problem is that our bodies can only store enough glycogen for one active day. So, once our stores have filled up, any extra sugar floating around in the blood is converted into fat. Once the sugar is safely stored away, our insulin levels drop back to normal. This happens every time that we eat. If we eat a lot of sugar in one meal, our blood sugar levels spike and our pancreas release a rush of insulin to mop it all up. When the insulin finishes doing that, we get a sudden drop in blood sugar which in turn triggers our hunger hormones, we feel hungry again and we also feel flat and lacking energy. So our body starts craving food even though we don't need it - and what do we crave? Yep, sugar. It's a vicious cycle.
"Complex carbohydrates" on the other hand contain fibre and resistant starch, which takes some work for the body to break down, so the natural sugar contained in these foods is slowly released into the blood, not spiking blood sugar levels and therefore keeping insulin levels stable. Fibre and resistant starch are also important because they feed our gut bacteria. Our gut contains trillions of tiny microbes (good bacteria) that play an essential role role not only in the health of our digestive system, but also our immune system and even our mood.
Eating lots of simple carbs or sugars will cause us to put on weight! Particularly around your middle. Sugar is just not good for us. And the truth is that we are eating way too much of it these days, it's one of the reasons why we have such high global obesity rates as well as diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver disease and heart disease.
So always opt for complex carbohydrates. You will feel full more quickly and for longer, you will be less tired and sluggish and you will reduce your waistline in the process and improve your gut health. Winning!
If you need a kickstart with healthy eating and workouts, then download my FREE 5 Day Meal Plan and Workout Program for some inspiration! You can get it here.
Are you leading such a busy life that you find it hard to fit in exercise? Did you know that as little as 4 minutes of exercise a day can have a huge benefit on your cardiovascular fitness and burn lots of fat? Now you have no excuses! Everybody can find 4 minutes in their day. So what is this 4 minute workout that I’m talking about? Well, it’s not 4 minutes of easy exercise, let me make that clear from the outset.
It’s called TABATA training. It’s a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which was created by Japanese Professor Izumi Tabata. It’s been shown to increase your aerobic capacity (VO2max), anaerobic capacity, boost your resting metabolic rate, and burn a lot more calories than long steady state exercise. And the great thing is that it can be done anywhere. It's the workout for busy people, and I like to call it my "no excuses workout".
Tabata training protocol is based on 20 seconds of high intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeated 8 times = 4 minutes. The trick to getting all the benefits of Tabata is to work as hard as you possibly can for the 20 second period (so that your heart is pounding, breathing is heavy and your body is burning). So you need to choose an exercise which will keep you safe but enable you to train at this level of intensity. So if you are new to exercise, this could be done at the gym on an upright bike, rowing machine, cross trainer or treadmill. If you are an exercise enthusiast already, you chould choose jumping squats, burpees, jumping lunges, skipping, running up stairs – anything that you know will get your heart rate right up.
If you are new to Tabata or any form of HIIT, I’m not going to lie to you - it’s going to hurt like hell and it will feel like you are going to die at the end of it! But that is how you need to feel to get the results - and it's only 4 mins - you can do anything for 4 mins right?
The great thing about Tabata/HIIT is that your body burns LOTS of calories for up to 24 hours AFTER your workout. This is because your body gets itself into an oxygen debt (meaning that your body can’t deliver oxygen quickly enough to the working muscles because of the heart rate zone you are training in), so it uses LOTS of energy after you finish exercising to try to make up for the oxygen debt during your exercise. So while you’re sitting back at your desk at work, relish the fact that your body is happily burning fat! Pretty cool huh?
Here are a few things to make sure before you start:
So there you have it – easy huh? If only it were!! Give it a go and let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear.
Check out my online fitness community for LOTS of Tabata style workout videos. For only $15NZD per month, you'll have access to hundreds of short, sharp workouts which are all 15 mins or less and all based on the Tabata style of training. Click here for more info.
Or download my FREE 5 Day Workout and Meal Plan programme here!
You try to eat well, you workout, but you still don't feel and look the way that you want to. You are frustrated. You continually try new and different things, hoping this will be the one that works. The thing is, you can know exactly what to do, and you can do it - exercise, eat healthy, get sufficient sleep - for a short period of time, but you still end up struggling! Sound familiar?
It's really quite simple - if you are not consistent, you won't make progress.
And in most cases, all it comes down to is just being ACCOUNTABLE - to something or someone - for your workouts and nutrition.
Accountability works in keeping you consistent because you have to report back what you're doing (or not doing), when it comes to exercise and your nutrition. Most of us find it easier to meet the expectations of others than we do meeting our own expectations.
NO ONE feels motivated to exercise and eat healthy 100% of the time (even elite athletes), which is why accountability is more important than personal motivation. If we have someone who is checking up on us, that's usually enough of a prod to get going, even if we don't feel motivated in that moment.
So, how do you get accountability?
BE ACCOUNTABLE TO SOMEONE
It's a lot easier to stay consistent when you know that you have someone who is checking up on you. So who can you choose to be accountable to? It has to be someone who has the ability to keep you on track. Someone who will call you on your excuses. The person you choose needs to be able to give you some tough love - and let you know when you are letting yourself down and give you that kick up the butt that you need. On the flip side, they also need to be someone who will raise you up and praise you when you are consistent and accomplish those wins.
This might be a family member or close friend. Be clear with them about what you expect and make sure they are happy (and committed) to doing this.
Choosing a "buddy" is also a great way of being accountable to someone who is also on the same path as you, so long as you are both willing to not take the "easy path" and buy each others excuses, but instead give each other the extra push that you both need on days where the motivation is not there. This is especially important if you are both feeling unmotivated at the same time!
COMMIT TO SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOU
Try committing to something bigger than YOU, but also something that will be fun. One of the easiest ways is to set up a contest with some friends. Who can do the most consecutive days of exercise? Who can cook the most healthy meals at home consecutively? Who can go the most days without drinking alcohol? You might even like to put some money on the table for the contest? Make sure it's not about results (i.e. losing the most weight or measurements), but rather it's about the DOING. Focus on what you can DO, rather than achieve, because that's what you have immediate control over.
You might even like to raise money for a worthy cause and get family and friends to sponsor you. Even better, do it with a group of friends and all help each other? You could create a "Give a Little" page where your contacts can support you on your journey and contribute to your cause.
MAKE YOUR COMMITMENTS REALISTIC AND ACHIEVEABLE
It's human nature to overpromise and under-deliver to ourselves. So one of the easiest ways to stay consistent is to simply to do the opposite and commit to less to begin with. Under-promise and over-deliver. Review the commitments you are about to make to yourself, and then ask: "On a scale of 1-10, how sure am I that could do this every day for the next 30 days?" If your gut feeling is anything less than a 9 or 10, you need to make that commitment a bit easier.
This doesn't mean of course that on some days or weeks when you're feeling great you can't do more. Your daily accomplishments can be big, but keep your commitments relatively small if you think that you will not be able to stick to it.
So if you think that committing to 30 days of consecutive exercise will be too tough for you, commit to just 4 days to start with. Actually accomplishing anything over and above this is awesome! But if you tick off all 4 days, then that's awesome - you've accomplished what you committed to.
Doing this means that you turn potential disappointment into a pleasant surprise - and seeing those wins stack up will keep you consistent and focused.
If you've had good results before by being consistent with healthy eating and exercise over 30 days, then imagine what you could achieve by being consistent over 6 months? What about 1 year?
So go grab an accountability buddy, commit to something bigger, make your commitments realistic - and let's see what you can achieve!
P.S. If you'd like a kick-start with healthy eating and exercise, then download my FREE 5 Day Workout and Meal Plan programme here.
Not getting enough sleep can significantly affect your weight. Yes, diet and exercise are very important, but too many people overlook the importance of sleep when it comes to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight.
Many people are just not getting enough sleep. Individual sleep requirements vary but most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you get anything less than this on a regular basis, you might find that it's very difficult to achieve your weight loss goals.
Have you found that your appetite increases when you are sleep deprived? More and more study findings are showing that people who are sleep deprived report having increased appetite. Portion size increases as does snacking - and you are far more likely to choose energy dense, high carbohydrate foods.
The impact that sleep deprivation has on hormones is massive. It affects two important hunger hormones - ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger in the brain, and leptin suppresses appetite and signals the brain that you are full. Studies show when you are sleep deprived your ghrelin levels increase and your leptin levels decrease. Also your stress hormone cortisol is higher when you do not get adequate sleep. Cortisol signals to your body to conserve energy to fuel your body during the day. This means your body will hold onto fat rather than burn it. Researchers have also found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14 day period, the weight they lost from fat decreased by a whopping 55% even though their caloric intake remained the same!
Lack of sleep also causes your cells to become insulin resistant. Insulin is responsible for moving sugar from your bloodstream into the cells to use for energy. When your cells are more insulin resistant, you have more sugar in your bloodstream, and the body produces more insulin! Excess insulin causes you to become hungrier and tells the body to store more calories as fat. Studies have shown that only a few days of insufficient sleep can cause insulin resistance which is a precursor to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.
Think about when you are sleep deprived - it's a lot harder to resist temptations and make healthy food choices isn't it? This is because lack of sleep dulls activity in the frontal lobe of your brain, which is responsible for making decisions and self-control. It's a bit like being drunk - you don't have the mental clarity to make good decisions. The reward centres of your brain are also revved up - and they look for something to make you feel good. This explains why you find it easier to resist cravings and temptation when you have had sufficient sleep, and why you have trouble saying no to that second piece of cake when you are sleep deprived.
So, it's good to know all of this, but what can you do to get more and/or better sleep? Here are some tips:
So all in all, getting quality and sufficient sleep is critical to your health (and your waistline). Establishing healthy sleep habits (just like diet and exercise), can help your body to maintain a healthy weight. Don't let this be the missing factor in achieving your goals! Get to work on your sleep habits NOW.
If you need a kick-start into exercise and healthy eating - then please download my FREE 5 Day Workout and Meal Plan Guide here.