Healthy Thinking

New Year – How to cement the changes

Posted by on 09-02-2016 in Attitude | 0 comments

New Year – How to cement the changes

How to make it stick! Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve said “Right, from now on I’m going to eat healthier”. For the first few days you’re on fire, eating like a professional underwear model. Then after a couple of weeks you go to a friend’s birthday party and the most gorgeous chocolate cake is passed around. Suddenly, your mind starts playing tricks on you saying “Well why not, I have been very good, one won’t hurt”. The first piece of cake tastes fantastic, but then before you know it, you’ve had four slices! Your mind goes into overdrive “OH NO, it’s all lost, all my hard work undone”. In a flash the healthy life is over and it’s back to square one. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced a situation similar to the example above, where such a good start is made and then it all goes to pot, I have and many people I know have. It can be hugely discouraging, and can put people off ever trying to improve their health. With many people making New Year’s resolutions, this time of year is packed with people trying (and often times failing) to make changes. So once we make the changes, how do we make them stick? Here are a few quick tips to help make the changes stick. Not all may work for you, but if one can help then it’s definitely worth the effort. – Make small, easily achievable changes that don’t make too drastic a change to your lifestyle. This infinitely increases the chances of them being sustained. Remember; try to create habits rather than going for drastic quick fixes that you’ll never keep up – Tell a few friends what you’re doing. Once you have spoken it out or written it down, your aims become public and you will be more committed to them. Your friends can also help to remind you, and become your accountability partners. – Book into regular exercise classes, games with friends or different activities. When it’s an appointment in your diary (just like the doctors for example) there is more likelyhood you will keep it. – Find ways to enjoy your new habits; don’t be afraid to try a few different things. And now you’ve made a start (no matter how small it is, it’s a start) why not arrange an event to work towards e.g. walking a local hill with friends/certain distance, and make it enjoyable! – No one is perfect. The person who thinks they are is heading for a big crash! So this last tip may seem a little crazy, but I always advise to plan in a ‘treat day’ now and again, where you can have a few foods you enjoy. This can actually help to keep us on the wagon! If you come up with any other tips you find that help make changes into habits, please let us know, sharing testimonies is one of the most powerful ways to encourage one another. Have a fantastic...

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New Year Starts – Exercise

Posted by on 26-01-2016 in Exercise | 0 comments

New Year Starts – Exercise

New Year Starts – Exercise: #TIPS on How to start, make it safe, fun & effective With many of us wanting to shed a few pounds after the Christmas break; exercise can help tremendously to get you where you want to be. Although not essential for weight loss (other factors like food and mindset are far more important), exercise is crucial for aiding with health issues like heart health, mood, joint pain, diabetes, strength, balance and many more. For a lot of people, and this is the view of so many I’ve talked to, the thought of exercise conjures up horrid images of lycra clad women and muscle bound men, strutting around a gym giving you evil looks for even stepping a foot in ‘their domain’! Firstly most gyms aren’t like that, and secondly you can get all the health benefits you want from exercise and not even step foot in one. So here are a few tips to help get you started: If you’re brand new to exercise, or haven’t done it for a while: take your time. It’s very easy to dive in head first and do too much, resulting in extreme muscle soreness, drop in confidence or even injury. And of course none of these help the feelings you associate with exercise. So start gently and build up slowly Get advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about. I remember trying to fix my own car once (and I know nothing about cars!), not only did I waste my own time and not solve the problem but I actually made it worse and ended up taking it to the garage anyway! Your body is the most complicated, amazing piece of creation you will ever own and the people who know what they’re talking about can not only get you to your goals quicker but it will be a lot safer. Quick tip on how to find a good trainer/therapist: I have found it is much more reliable to go by good recommendations from friends you trust than fancy advertising Find something you enjoy. If you hate exercising alone and you hate the gym, then don’t exercise in the gym alone! This may sound like a silly statement but I see it ALL the time. You guys are clever enough to guess how long these people’s exercising career lasts! Do you prefer exercising with friends? Then maybe find an exercise class you can all go to. Do you prefer playing a sport? Look for a local club. Do you prefer to be outside? Research and arrange outdoor activities to have a go at, or simply just start with short walks around our gorgeous countryside and coastal paths. Do you like listening to music while you exercise? Load up your music player with music you absolutely love and go for it. Monitor what you do. If you do go to the gym get a program from someone who knows what they’re doing. IF you’re walking outside, note how long you walk for and/or how far you go. Following a designed program instead of aimlessly wandering around the gym dramatically increases your results. Make sure to change it up every 4-6 weeks, otherwise your body will get used to it and your results will...

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Firm foundations – III

Posted by on 19-01-2016 in Attitude | 0 comments

Firm foundations – III

Let me show you a more excellent way… As we’ve talked about, we will always get our needs met. The foundation from which we do that however can determine the quality of our life. Instead of basing our actions in fear and insecurity, as I did, why not try grounding yourself in the most powerful tool we know of: Love. When we base our actions out of love for ourselves and others, everything changes. We become more comfortable with ourselves; we care less what other people think of us. So instead of worrying what they think of us, we can actually start to pay attention to what they are saying. What does a mother do, if she sees her child in danger? Is she caring what people think? Not at all. She will do anything to save them, no matter how it makes her look. I know many of you at this point will either think I’ve been living at a countryside health retreat for too long, or wonder how love will help me getting thinner! Give me five minutes: It is all too easy to say “don’t worry what people think” or “Just love people and don’t worry about it”. If you’ve been basing your actions in fear for 30 years, this advice alone will do very little; it may even make things worse as you’ll know what you should be doing and feel guilty you’re not doing it! Real change begins when you start to realise who you are. Who are you? You probably know that your thumbprint is unique; it’s the same for your tongue print. Due to more factors than you know, there never has been, and there never will be another you. You are unique. How does this help? Because you have been created unique, you have gifts and attributes no one else on the planet has. With these unique gifts, you can make contributions to people, businesses, projects, situations that no one else can. And I can almost guarantee you haven’t fulfilled a fraction of your potential. Who knows what you are capable of! When you start to realise this value in yourself, and very importantly, in others, it will free you up immensely. You realise you don’t need to beat yourself up or try to impress people or go on guilt trips trying to attain things you don’t need, as you already have ‘the gold’.  This gold is the unique purpose you were designed for and most importantly………….. your love. Your gifts, your talents, your achievements are all great, but without love they mean nothing. We are all either bringing love and Light into the world or the opposite, we’re just not always aware of it. So I challenge you to consciously base your actions on love and see what happens. Takeaway thoughts Do you have to do this process on your own? Absolutely not, we need each other, good friends, mentors etc. Surround yourself with a good team of people who either have what you want or are as hungry. Where do you get your love from? If you’re not sure where to get it from, start asking people, who obviously have it, where they get it...

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Firm foundations – II

Posted by on 11-01-2016 in Attitude | 0 comments

Firm foundations – II

Let me explain… As a young, cocky teenager, I would do anything to impress. Remember the quick fixes we talked about? I did them all. I would try all the gimmicks to get rid of the extra weight I was carrying, I wouldn’t think twice of hurting a friend’s feelings to look good in front of the group. Why? I was insecure as hell that’s why. Due to my insecurities, many of my actions were carried out due to fear. I was relying on being funny, slim or getting praise from friends and eating too much of the wrong foods to get my needs of significance and self-worth met. This approach caused a few issues: I felt a lot stress and anxiety as I was always worrying what people thought of me, constantly thinking about my faults. I would jump at the chance to take on those ‘quick fixes’ that would later harm either me or others. Constantly thinking about our faults can cause us to become very introspective. I have been in many conversations where I was so uncomfortable with myself, that I didn’t actually pay attention to anything the person was saying. Instead of listening to them I was worrying what they thought of my stomach! I’m sure you’ve been in conversations where you know the other person isn’t paying attention; they may be looking round the room, or avoiding eye contact and constantly adjusting their clothes. It’s not very nice is it? When that happens I find it harder to connect with that person. As a child, could it be that this immature mind-set is part of growing up. But as mentioned above, due to mass media influencing and a lack of good teaching/mentoring, many people don’t grow out of these challenges and carry them into adulthood. The results? We constantly live with worry, anxiety, stress and the vast array of consequences that come from these. Have you ever met someone that no matter how good they look, how much weight they lose or how many complements they get, they always think they look terrible?! Or someone who will put others down just to make themselves feel better? It happens all the time, in all walks of life. And I’m as guilty as anyone. Does this make you a bad person? Not really, but… Next week let me show you a more excellent...

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Firm foundations – I

Posted by on 05-01-2016 in Attitude | 0 comments

Firm foundations – I

How starting off on the right foot can change everything… a 3 part series to help really set your year If you are a regular reader of this blog, or have simply come across it from an internet search, chances are, you are interested in improving your health. Improving our health is a fascinating topic, as it’s so personal. After studying people in this area for a while, I’d like to share with you an observation. Let’s start with a question: What do you think most people’s goals are when they start an exercise program or meet a personal trainer? The majority of people initially say something along the lines of: * I want to lose weight – I’d like to tone up * I want to get a six pack – I want to build more muscle As you can see, these answers address aesthetics; how we look. Are any of these goals bad? Not at all, but many of us are going about it backwards: aesthetics first, health and mind-set second. What’s wrong with that?? When our sole aim is to improve aesthetics, it is very easy to overlook key factors. A nicely sexist and generalised example is the guy who only works on the ‘show muscles’ e.g. the arms, abs etc. By neglecting the other muscles, he will open himself up to muscle imbalances, causing bad posture (ironically taking him away from his goal of looking good, as bad posture looks ridiculous) and be susceptible to severe injuries down the line. Another example is the crash diet. It is possible to lose spectacular amounts of weight in no time at all. What it does to our insides however is not so spectacular. It appears that in general, when we chase the aesthetic first, we can miss the big picture and by hunting the quick fix, open ourselves up to long term damage. This approach may be sweet to the taste but is sour in the stomach. Why do we do this? It’s completely understandable. I’ve done it for years, and it is still a challenge. Due to mass media pushing the dream (you need to be rich, slim, good looking etc. to be happy) and a lack of good teaching/mentoring, we are constantly trying to impress people. Why do we do this? We perceive that impressing people will fulfil the inbuilt needs we all have. Our needs: Colleagues in this field have worked out that we’ve been created with certain needs. 1) Safety & Security (survival, protection of self and family, certainty) 2) Significance (your place in the group, making a contribution) 3) Self-worth (identity, purpose) These needs are part of your design and essential to your survival. And be it by constructive means (e.g. eating and exercising for health) or destructive (e.g. only exercising the ‘show muscles/binge eating junk food) you will get your needs met. May I suggest, that a major reason for many challenges we face, be they physical, emotional or mental come about by us getting our needs met through the wrong means and in the wrong order. Next week I’ll explain these needs and how you can use them to your...

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Lessons from my clients

Posted by on 29-12-2015 in Attitude | 0 comments

Lessons from my clients

A collation of some of the best daily lessons I’ve had this year I rarely forget how blessed I am to have a means of income through my passion. Every day I have the privilege to work with people who want to improve their health and explore further the amazing potential we all have. Through this amazing dynamic, although I am the “coach”, I often become the student and learn many profound things through the lives of my students. I have long learned the value of recording the blessings and lessons in my life, so below is just a few of the gems from this year. I hope you get as much value out of them as I have: “Often times the most important thing you will ever do, especially when you don’t feel like it, is just…….turn up” “One of the biggest complaints is lack of energy. But how often have you found that when a certain song comes on or you meet someone you find hilarious, suddenly you have lots of energy?! Yes, there are obviously times we just need to get more sleep, but could it be true that sometimes when we say “I’m so tired” sorting out our environment (e.g. training with someone, putting on some great music, meeting up with friends, drinking water, moving our bodies etc.) and simply stop saying it can have a massive impact… You are who surrounds you” “Starting the day with thoughts of what we do have, instead of what we don’t have creates a completely different day and a completely different you” “Whinging and moaning is a complete waste of your vital energy, and will help you with your health goals as much as a doughnut“ “If you’re not feeling 100%, tired, lethargic, mentally foggy etc., always check your basics (this order isn’t a bad one to work through) 1) Am I getting enough sleep a night? 2) Am I drinking enough water? 3) Am I eating enough vegetables and good quality protein/fat? 4) Am I moving enough? Of course there can be other factors, but these are a great place to start and you would struggle to feel good without these characters in place!” “Success always leaves clues. One of the things that sticks out again and again with people who are in great shape, is: food prep. They will consistently prepare their meals the day/week before, making sure they fuel themselves towards their goals. Does it take time? Yes. Does it take effort and the developing of a routine? Absolutely.  Is it worth it? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. What I would do, is ask the people who do it and get the rewards.” “Good ATTITUDE comes from GRATITUDE. Simples”...

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Festive Fitness

Posted by on 29-12-2015 in Exercise | 0 comments

Festive Fitness

Festive fitness – How ten minutes can keep the weight off this Christmas Celebrations and holidays are usually great times. We often get the chance to spend time with people we don’t often see, relax from our daily work and more often than not, eat lots of our favourite food! If you’re anything like me however, you may have experienced over the years that with all the good points, it is all too easy to indulge a little too much, and for our health to be put off track just a little too far. Can anything limit the damage of our indulgences?!! Exercise is superbly good for us, helping our heart and lungs stay strong, our weight in check, and it can even be a good stress reliever. But I was taught a saying that is very useful to keep in mind: “You can’t out-train a bad diet”. Meaning, even if you exercise all day, if you ate takeaways every night you wouldn’t see many inches falling off round the waist. But eating and drinking is all part of the fun isn’t it?!! Is there anything we can do?!  Be realistic with your expectations. If you are anything like I used to be; house stocked full of treats and attending more parties than Paris Hilton, you can’t expect much weight loss. With so many things on at this time of year, finding the time to exercise can also be challenging. So with this in mind here are a few ways to use exercise that can help curb the damage: Get outside whenever you can. The fresh air will make you feel better and get the blood pumping. If you know you have a big meal or night out coming, exercise just before eating. Exercise helps your body to deal better with the large sugar intake that a big meal or alcohol usually brings. If time, space or equipment is at a premium, use a few body-weight exercises performed one after another, with not much rest in between. This helps to maximise the time you do have. Below is an example of a circuit you could use. After a good warm up (a 5minute walk for example) perform as many of the exercises as you can in 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Beginner / Not so beginner! 10 Squats / Jumping squats 10 Kneeling press ups / Full press ups Walking up a hill / Running up a hill Once you have performed each exercise; that is one circuit. Build up slowly until you can perform as many circuits as possible in ten minutes. This short sharp burst of intensity, even though it is only ten minutes long has an amazing impact on your health and can really curb the damage done by our holiday excesses! With all this said I wish you all a fantastically peaceful, fun and blessed festive time. I’ll see you in the New...

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Christmas Tactics – Part Two

Posted by on 29-12-2015 in Attitude | 0 comments

Christmas Tactics – Part Two

Operation Happy & Healthy Christmas part II In part 1 of this article we looked at some of the reasons why we do the things we do at this time of year (even if we know we shouldn’t sometimes!!) In this instalment we’re going to share some practical tips that can make Christmas healthy and happy: – Control what you can control, eat as you normally do whenever you can. This way you can relax more in those ‘uncontrollable’ food situations e.g. eating at a friend’s house. – Don’t feel obliged to have an extra drink or mince pie that you don’t want just because everyone else is having one. Let your friends know you are there for their company! This will take a huge amount of pressure off you, and instead of making the host (and everyone else) uncomfortable, it will transform them completely and make them feel hugely valued. If there’s nothing healthy to eat, choose the best option. Christmas day is the perfect time to start planning your targets for next year. Why wait for New Years to set your resolutions?! “You are who surrounds you”. A great way to stay on track with your health goals over Christmas is to link up with a buddy who’s doing similar things. Time can fly sometimes over this period, so plan sessions of exercise and fun activities with family & friends, ice skating, going to a Christmas market, walking etc. Organising time for events like these can make this a magical time. If it’s not in the house you can’t eat it! Fill your house with the food you really want, not the foods that society says we ‘must have’ at this time of year. When you have done this, throw out the rest or give it to charity. There will be enough of the usual Christmas treats at everyone else’s house so there will not be a shortage! If you are out and about at other people’s houses, and really don’t want to eat or drink anything else, here are a few pointers that have really helped me and others: sit away from the treats, take one then say you’ve just eaten at home and are stuffed, or just truthfully say that food doesn’t make you feel too good afterwards! If you enjoy making your own treats there are always healthier versions. In part 3 of this series I will be sharing with you recipes of well known treats that are far healthier than their shop bought counterparts. These recipes were put together because I was sick of eating my favourite treats and feeling terrible the next day!! So with these recipes you can finally have your cake and eat it! A guilt free mince pie recipe I hear you ask??!!! Part 3 will contain exactly that and a few other crackers we’ve compiled…. Christmas. On your...

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Christmas Tactics – Part One

Posted by on 29-12-2015 in Attitude | 0 comments

Christmas Tactics – Part One

Want to REDUCE stress and INCREASE fun & fitness this Christmas?  (When everyone else is doing the opposite!!) For many people, Christmas time means one thing: the journey towards a leaner, healthier body goes out the window!  Putting on fat, clothes getting tight and health issues getting worse (heartburn, skin flare ups, arthritis etc) are very common. Also, with parties, family coming round and change of routine etc. – Christmas can also provide a real emotional challenge, which takes its toll on health. So to prove that it is possible to have a great time over Christmas without having to pay the price with your health, I’d like to share: – Practical tips on how to really enjoy Christmas without the ‘inevitable’ weight gain – The best exercises to do that take less than 15minutes and keep the weight down So why does Christmas cause this ‘inevitable’ weight gain? Around Christmas time there are many social pressures that cause us to act in ways we wouldn’t normally or even want to! I used to dread going to friend’s houses at this time because I knew I would end up eating and drinking things I didn’t really want to. So instead of enjoying the time with my friends I was worrying about all the weight I was putting on! Ridiculous isn’t it?! Then one comment from a friend changed everything. I asked him if he wanted another drink and he said no. This surprised me a little as back then I was conditioned to think you ‘had to’ drink if you were out with friends. He said he was there to enjoy my company, not to drink a lot. So I challenge you today (if you’re up for it) to take a step back this year and see the celebration for what it really is. I’m not here to tell you what to believe spiritually as that is a very personal thing, but what celebrations can be, are times when people come together and you get an opportunity to spend time with those you don’t usually get the chance to (for the super-busy this could also include some quality ‘me’ time!) Good food and drink is a fantastic part of celebrating, and on Christmas day I’ll be eating more than most of you, and why not treat yourself now and again? But don’t feel pressured to behave in a way that you don’t want too, that can result in guilt, fat gain and stress. You are in control! And if someone makes a little comment or dig about your healthy lifestyle, instead of being negatively affected by it – CELEBRATE, it shows you are making progress! Remember, the digs aren’t actually against you personally; it is a self preservation act from them, aiming to avoid the need to move out of their comfort zone. Next week: Practical tips to help enjoy Christmas without having to pile on the...

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Strengthening Posterior Part IV

Posted by on 03-12-2015 in Exercise | 0 comments

Strengthening Posterior Part IV

Bulletproof your back and boost everything else Posterior Chain IV – What it is and how strengthening it will change your life In part 1 of this series, we discussed how modern day life is affecting our posture. Bad posture weakens key parts of the body, ultimately leading to pain and grumpiness! One of these key areas is your posterior chain. Your posterior chain comprises of (amongst other muscles) your back, buttocks and hamstrings (the muscles that run down the back of your leg). These muscles play a major role in your ability to move, they literally propel you forward. So if they become weak (which we often see due to excessive sitting and sedentary behaviour), your ability to move well decreases. Also, with something that’s weak, pain is usually not too far behind. Lo and behold, back pain is all too common at the moment. In the previous articles, we’ve gone through how you can use a sled and a wheelbarrow as very effective tools to not only strengthen your posterior chain but to improve your cardio vascular conditioning. The unsung heroes Today, we’re going to go through a range of exercises called ‘accessory movements’. These movements are to your body, like vacuuming and dusting are to your house, not very glamorous but if not done, over time you will soon notice! Accessory movement: Back Extensions Back extensions work all the muscles down the back side of your body. From the small, crucial muscles that stabilise the vertebrae in your spine, to the major muscles of the hips, this exercise can strengthen them all. They may not seem as glamorous as movements like the deadlift, squat or even the sled exercises we’ve been covering in this series, but they are a crucial supplement that can really help you cover all the bases. Bodyweight back extension: Lie flat on stomach with arms by side with palms down (thumb pointing away from body) To initiate movement squeeze bum muscles together and raise shoulders off the ground keeping the chin tucked in As your shoulders leave the ground simultaneously rotate the arms so that your palms are facing away from the body and thumbs are pointing toward the ceiling To finish the movement squeeze shoulder blades together Hold this position for 10 seconds, return to start position resting for 10seconds then repeat 5 more times (or until you cannot keep correct technique)   Below, there are 2 different versions of the back extension. I’ve included these variations as your body can get used to an exercise very quickly, so it is useful to change the exercises, even a tiny bit, every now and again. 2)For those of you who have access to a gym, here is the 45degree back extension: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2VVtvpVeXE 3)This version uses a fitball. Fitballs are a very inexpensive investment and a piece of kit many people have in the house, albeit most are still in the box 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWRM3eC2GT0 All techniques are explained in detail in the...

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