Love Your Body!

Love Your Body!

 

………If only it was that bloody easy!! I’ll be honest with you, this is definitely the most difficult thing that I have struggled with over the last couple of years. When I first started on this journey, I was happy (due to my pre-conditioned way of thinking) to stockpile so called “clean eating” recipes and practice cooking them. I was happy to head to the local health food store (heads up Archie Browns!) and invest in exotic ingredients with mysterious names that I’d never heard of before. I was happy to search for a form of exercise that excited me and encouraged me to move my body for pleasure (although the search still continues to a certain degree!) I was happy and prepared to do these things because in theory, they were no different to the preparations I used to make when starting any new “diet”.

But then things got a bit deeper. I finally acknowledged the fact that the time had come where the biggest obstacle I had to tackle was not my bingo wings or my wobbly thighs, but my mind. The demons who had occupied my head and the majority of my conscious thoughts for most of my life. The demons that were always telling me that I was disgusting, hideous, sickening, not good enough, too fat for that dress, too fat to sit on the beach in a swimming costume, too fat to go on holiday to a tropical destination, too fat to audition for various singing gigs (yes, I am a frustrated singer!), too fat to learn to surf….. you get the general gist. The demons who had encouraged me to put my life on hold until I finally achieved the perfect size 10.

And then a year or so ago, I had a moment of clarity. I FINALLY realised that:

  1. So far, despite 30 years of dieting experience I have NEVER managed to achieve the perfect size 10 , so lets face it, my chances for the future aren’t looking great!
  2. Even if I was to manage to starve myself into a size 10 (a la meal replacement shakes) then the effort it would take to maintain such a figure until the day I die, would be nothing short of life-long mental and physical torture…….not really my preferred way of living!
  3. Why do I need to be a bloody size 10? Who has brainwashed me into believing that this is by far the best and only acceptable body size. Oh and while we’re on it, it’s not just about the dress size; you need also to refer to the very specific body shape pre-requisites ie. Totally flat tummy, toned lightly muscular arms with absolutely no hint of excess flesh, pert, round bum with just the right amount of wobble, exposed, graceful collar bones, the much sought after thigh gap, slim ankles and feet …..Yes, ankles and feet…… I’ve thought about it that hard……..I could continue………

Once these questions occurred to me, I couldn’t escape them. They took up residence in my head alongside the demons and it felt as thought they were arguing with each other (just like the characters in Inside Out!) until I slowly but surely began to break free of the shackles………the shackles of the media who constantly perpetuate the myth of the perfect female body; the shackles of clothes manufacturers with their ridiculous, arbitrary women’s clothing sizes which vary dramatically from shop to shop; the shackles of the GPs who tell us that we can only be healthy if we fit into the correct, ludicrous BMI band that our height predetermines for us; the shackles of the insidious diet industry with has brainwashed pretty much every woman I know so that we refer to food not as gorgeous, mouthwatering or bland, but instead as “good”, “bad” or “naughty”……….. I mean, seriously……WTF??!?!

So, I have put a lot of time, effort and work into improving my relationship with my body and altering my mind-set. And in fact, while my diet has changed for the better, I think that my biggest shifts have been psychological rather than physical. I have done a lot of soul searching, a lot of reading, and I have listened to a lot of fabulous people talk about the issues that I have struggled with and how best to overcome them. I could regurgitate their main points for you, but instead I thought it would be more helpful if I were to share what I feel are the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way. Things that I wish someone had told me at the start:

  • Understand that you are most definitely not the only person who feels this way!!! There’s loads of help out there if you search for it (although obviously Happilicious.co.uk is THE place to be!) And the thing to bear in mind about this is that if so many other people are wasting their energy on focussing on the negatives of their own bodies, they sure as hell aren’t focussing on yours, right???!!! Just pause and think for a minute….Imagine what fabulous things we could achieve if we channelled all of that negative energy in a more positive direction…….
  • This is something you will need to work at. It will not suddenly fall into place because you’ve read one body positive article. Throw yourself into it. Let it consume you. Let it take the place of all of your obsessive calorie counting and weighing! Read everything you can get your hands on; join Facebook groups; sign up to mailing lists; listen to podcasts. Study it. Live it. Focus on it. You wouldn’t expect to suddenly develop a monstrous 6 pack after one visit to the gym and learning to love and accept your body is exactly the same. It takes time, effort and practice. It is most certainly a journey. A bloody fabulous and very worthwhile one!!
  • Don’t give up when you have a set back. This is certainly one that I have had to come to terms with……Every now and then, I get dressed, look in the mirror and have a bit of a breakdown because I don’t like what I see! We’ve all been there right? But here’s the thing I’ve come to realise, It happens to me now every 3 or 4 months……..It used to happen nearly every day!!! How’s that for progress? And I bet even Kate Moss has her moments where she doesn’t like what she sees in the mirror – we all have our off days!
  • Listen to the way you talk to yourself. Ask yourself how you would feel if you heard someone talking to your mum/best friend/daughter in the same way? If you’re anything like me, you’d be outraged. So don’t do it! Focus on changing your inner script. Be nice to yourself. Use positive affirmations. It will feel really odd at first, but I promise you, it works. Remember: Our thoughts create our reality.
  • Understand that loving and accepting yourself doesn’t mean that you’ll suddenly feel compelled to enter Miss Baywatch Bikini 2016…… (Although, if you do, crack on and best of luck to you, I’m sure you’ll rock!!!) And neither does it mean that you have to stop striving to make you feel like the best version of you. On the contrary, once you have accepted where you are, right now, you can then figure out all of the marvellous things you can do to make yourself feel even better. Self love is fuelled by self care, and that comes in many wonderful guises.

Do you know what? As soon as I started writing this list, I realised that I could probably just keep on going! Honestly, I cannot over-emphasise the power of working on your relationship with your body. I urge you to give it a try! If you want any tips or guidance, I’d be happy to help. Just leave a comment in the box below.

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Find your tribe!

Find your tribe!

*UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE*

So, a couple of weeks ago when I wrote a post about my exercise woes?? Well, almost immediately after I published it, this link  popped up on my Facebook feed….. A 12 week group, for ladies who have never run before or who want to get back into running after a long break. And guess what, there’s course running in Truro and it started last week!!!! Errrrr, helllllloooo!!! Is it me you’re looking for?!

Needless to say, I immediately accepted this as a sign from the universe and signed up there and then. Even better news is that when I mentioned it to my friend Julie (my ex-Zumba buddy) she said she’d come too! Wa-hey!!! My chances of chickening out were diminishing daily because A) I’d found a wing man and b) I’d paid for the whole course up front!

So, last Thursday, in the pouring down rain, I donned my running gear and headed out to the first session.

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How did I find it? Well, it felt good to be back out pushing myself and some internal brownie points were definitely earned, but I still found the running part (of which there were only short intervals) pretty tough. And the whole experience was marred by yet another of my post exercise migraines. These are something that I’ve been struggling with on and off for about the last 7 years and I’ve tried (and will keep trying) all manner of things to stop them happening. But as much as a I hate to admit it, they really do colour my judgement when it comes to pushing myself during exercise and for someone who is spending a great deal of time and effort on “listening to my body”, it feels as though they’re throwing me a pretty loud message! But I just can’t seem to accept that my body is telling me not to do cardio exercise. That would just be ridiculous, right?!

Anyway…… back to the running club! The lady who lead the group (Teresa) was fab. Really calm and encouraging and keen to tell us that she used to hate running and is now a total convert. She is a personal trainer and ex-paramedic so I felt we were in good hands, and it was also great that she was able to offer really helpful advice about our individual running techniques. There were only three of us in the group, which, although great in one way, also highlighted the fact that I was by far the slowest one there…..Some things will never change! And it’s also made me realise that although I will definitely stick with this group until the end of the course, I really do prefer to run on my own rather than with other people. I am 100%  a headphones in, head down and get on with it kinda gal!

However, the good exercise karma doesn’t end there….. My friend Ellie (she of open water swimming fame) sent me a Whatsapp message last Saturday morning to ask if I’d be interested in going to see a personal trainer with her!!! Hell yes! Even better, this lady is all about great nutrition and body positivity and sounds right up my street. How good is that?! The only slight hitch is that the trainer is currently in the States and doesn’t get back until the end of the month, but as soon as she’s back, we’re good to go!

I’ve taken a couple of things from these developments. Firstly, it feels good to be heading in a far more positive direction with exercise (despite the migraine issues) but mainly, I am amazed at the power that has come from writing things down and sharing them with other people! I knew that I needed to up my exercise and I knew that I needed support to do it, but look what happened as soon as I shared those aims out loud! Now I’ve read this stuff umpteen times over the last few years, you know, how writing down your goals actually makes it far more likely that you’ll achieve them, but I have to be honest, I’ve always taken it with a pinch of salt. However, in the last few months, due to my increased journaling, goal setting and of course, blogging, there have been a number of occasions when it really, truly has worked. Amazing!

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The other thing that has struck me, is how important it is to surround yourself with supportive people who share at least some of your goals. Gathering a tribe of friends and family who understand your aims and don’t deride or undermine your efforts is hugely important. I’m lucky that most of my best mates and my husband all “get” what I’m doing, but I’ve also been lucky enough to find some amazingly supportive ladies in some of the online groups I’ve been involved with. Now I know this may sound a little bit weird, talking about a group of people I’ve met on ‘tinterweb, not face to face, but it’s true, I feel as though I’ve found myself a little cyber tribe to be a part of and its lovely!

Some ladies are from the Green Goddess Academy that I took part in earlier this year, others are from the Wholeheartedly Healthy Mindset Makeover Group, and there’s yet another group for all of the Brits studying the Health Coach Training with IIN. Each group has a slightly different feel to it and I certainly feel able to bare my soul in some more than others, but each is undoubtedly playing a big role in my ongoing transformation. Whether I want to ask a question about making gorgeous, sugar free sweet treats, or let off steam about how tough I’m struggling to stay positive, or even about how best to prepare for a 10K (something that a group of us Green Goddesses are planning on doing together later in the year),  I know that at the other side of a Facebook group are some gorgeous new friends who are always on hand to offer support, advice and words of wisdom. It has been a huge revelation to me, especially as someone who doesn’t make close friends particularly easily (I’m blaming the fact that I’m an only child) and who usually feels embarrassed at having to ask for help!

And what has made it different to the “Group therapy” offered by local slimming clubs is that there is no element of competition. There is no weekly weigh in or slimmer of the week. There is no one person who is doing better than all the rest. Instead, there is a group of people who are all trying to improve their minds and and bodies in a way that suits them. A group of friends who are all embarking on a new journey and who are able to discuss without judgement, the road that they are going to take. And like all of the best friendship groups, if you stray off the path at any point, you aren’t judged or mocked, but instead welcomed back with open arms and words of encouragement.

So I suppose that what I’m saying is, if you are trying to change your diet and exercise regime, it can be hugely beneficial to find yourself a team of cheerleaders. Friends who are willing to help you out when the going gets tough and who are also keen to walk alongside you and hold your hand whenever possible.

Good friends, even if only in cyber space, definitely make the world a better place!

Too fat to be a health coach?

Too fat to be a health coach?

Arghhhh! The wobbles are surfacing. And I don’t just mean the ones on my thighs!!

I have a problem. My old friend self doubt has been knocking at the door again. I’m finding it really difficult when someone asks what I’m doing at the moment. Initially I get really excited and enthusiastic to tell them about my course but then I get The Fear. The Fear and The Shame. Because here’s the thing, I don’t look like a health coach. Now I know that in the first instance that may sound a bit daft, a bit like saying that I don’t look like a teacher. Or that the fella who delivers our milk doesn’t look like a milkman. But honestly, as soon as you utter the words Health Coach, they undoubtedly conjure up very specific visions. Here we go, give it a try. Close your eyes and think “Health Coach”. Who or what do you see? Here’s what I see when I do it……. Some gorgeous 20-something with long lithe legs, a light tan, clear skin, no make up (ie natural beauty), a flat tummy with slight hint of a six pack. Looks ace in yoga gear, long unprocessed hair that does not need to be dried, straightened or in any other way wrestled into shape. The type of person who can go camping and step out of their tent in PJs first thing in the morning radiating gloriousness and health before they’ve even cleaned their teeth………… Can you see her? Can you picture my health coach vision? And does she look like yours????

Well, the crux of my current self confidence issue is that I am NONE of the above. Like, not even close. If I had spent some time being asked to describe someone who looked the complete opposite to me, then I would probably have come up with the same list. For starters, I’m a size 16 make-up-aholic, with short bleached hair and ruddy welsh skin!! Hmmmm, not quite the scandi-esque vision I conjured earlier eh?! Put bluntly, I’m really worried that people (future clients?) wont take me seriously. They won’t believe that I have the correct (visible) credentials to allow me to tout myself as a “Health Coach”.

So how am I going to deal with it? Well, I’m giving it a LOT of thought at the minute and its going a little like this………

I’m fat. I know I’m fat. I don’t know how much I weigh as I stopped weighing myself a long time ago when I realised that my fruitless obsession with weighing numerous times a day was doing me no favours whatsoever. However, as I mentioned earlier, I do know that I currently wear a size 16. Now I know that for many people that is a hideous thought which would send them hurtling headlong towards the nearest weight watchers meeting, but as someone who has also been a size 22, a size 16 doesn’t feel too horrendous. I know it’s too big for my 5.5” frame. I know that my GP would be eager to advise me on how to get myself out of the obese (or maybe even morbidly obese) category on the BMI chart and as I mentioned in this post I would happily accept a problem free miracle which would suddenly shrink me to a size 10/12! But I have to be realistic about a few things.

First and foremost is the fact that my poor old body has been stuck in a perpetual cycle of binge/starve for 30 of its nearly 40 years. This has undoubtedly had some impact on my metabolism and the way in which my body responds to the food which I put in it. I am learning to deal with this day by day. I am researching and educating myself on how to heal myself from this cycle of all or nothing. I am easing my body out of a damaging cycle and into a healthier sense of stability. But guess what? its taken 30 years to get to this state so it’s safe to assume that it’s not something my body is suddenly going to snap out of as soon as I throw a couple of green smoothies down my neck! It’s going to take time, reflection and continued work and perseverance. The complete opposite, in fact to what I’d conditioned myself to search for in a weight loss regime. Once I dedicated myself to a new plan, I wanted the weight gone, like yesterday! Well I’ve come to accept that that’s not how this stuff works anymore; and as a result, I feel that I’m putting myself in a good position from which to help others who have struggled with the same long battle against themselves. Who better to coach you through a problem than someone who has actually been there themselves?!

Secondly, with all of this experience of dieting behind me, I am now finally learning to take both positives and negatives from my past history. In effect, I am finally appreciating the fact that my fat (and struggles) with it, might well have taught me a few things. It has taught me that my focus has got to be health rather than skinny-ness. To be perfectly honest with you, this is a relatively new concept for me. When I used to diet, it was all about improving the way I looked. I wanted to lose weight because I wanted to look hot in my jeans! Well here’s the thing…..Maybe because both my mum and my husband have developed heart problems this year, I’m now improving my diet because I want to be healthy. I want to look after my heart. I want to be able to keep up with my kids for a long time yet. I don’t want to be put on long term daily medication just in order to counteract issues that could have been avoided with a better diet and more rigorous self care. I want to live for as long as I possibly can. I love my life. I want lots more of it! And I want to help others to do the same thing. I am finally moving beyond the superficial. Maybe that’s why all of my previous attempts have ultimately ended in failure (massive weight re-gain!) I wasn’t doing it for the RIGHT REASON……and now I feel that I am. Will my body respond to this shift positively? I really hope and believe that it will.

I am a work in progress. I am walking the walk. I can fully relate to others who have struggled with long term weight issues. I truly do understand all of the mental, emotional  and physical struggles. And I hope that given a lot of work and the right training I will be equipped to help others effect such a huge, fundamental shift in their lives too. Who better to coach you through a problem than someone who has actually been there themselves?!

Too fat to be a health coach? Not on your nelly!!

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Some awesome inspirational women!

Some awesome inspirational women!

When I embarked on the journey towards diet free, healthy eating, positive living that I’m still on at the minute, I started casting around on the wonderful world of ‘tinterweb for people that I hoped could help and inspire me. And boy, did I find some beauties! And as I feel that they have helped me so much and continue to help me right now, I thought I’d tell you a bit about some of them so you can check them out too.

Laura Agar Wilson – Laura runs a website called “Wholeheartedly Healthy” and she also completed the IIN Health Coach Training that I’m just embarking on. She has a gorgeous and really informative website filled with great tips and recipes. She also runs a number of on line programmes, one of which (Mindset Makeover Course) I’ve followed myself and really felt a great benefit from it. I think that the thing I like best about Laura is that she is not afraid to show the real her – warts and all! She has a toddler and often posts about the difficulties that she encounters when trying to balance her healthy living/health coaching business/busy life of being a mum. She talks openly about things that do and don’t work for her and I for one, really appreciate that. It can be so easy to be sucked into the instagram filtered version of life where everything looks perfect all of the time and end up feeling that your own life somehow doesn’t measure up. But Laura’s not like that, and that’s one of the reasons why I love her! Plus, when I was looking for a health Coaching course to sign up to, she was happy to spend some time on the phone chatting it through with me and gave me some great advice. She’s ace!

Sophie and Audrey Boss (Beyond Chocolate) – I can’t for the life of me remember how I discovered Sophie and Audrey Boss, but it is fair to say that their books (Beyond Chocolate and Beyond Temptation) were pretty life changing. I can honestly say they were the first people who brought me into contact with the anti-diet, trust-in-yourself, listen-to-your-body notion and on reading their books (and attending one of their day courses in Bristol) it was as though the scales finally started to fall from my eyes! I Sometimes struggle slightly with the vehemence of their anti-diet message as I worry that the way I eat (mainly plant based, limited refined sugar etc) would be classed by them as “too diety”. However, the main positive I took from their material was their insistence that everyone should “Be your own guru” and this fabulous phrase is something I stick to and remind myself of frequently. So hey, if it works for me, then I guess I am totally being my own guru!

Jessamyn Stanley – Oh. My. Goodness. At the minute, this lady really is lighting up my life! Yoga…… Yoga, yoga, yoga. It was always something that I desperately wanted to be involved with. I wanted the lithe toned limbs and the zen like post yoga glow. But whenever I attempted it, I ended up feeling fat, stiff and smothered by my own boobs. Rather than floating home from class in a state of calm and contentment, I would inevitably trudged back home sweaty, deflated and with a crick in my neck! I came to the conclusion that yoga just wasn’t for me. I would never be able to do it “with my build”. And then I discovered Jessamyn Stanley. A gorgeous woman with a belly and ass and boobs that do not get in the way of her being a truly inspirational bendy wendy! I recently bought one of her yoga series on CodyApp and I’ve been using it to practice at home and it is making me feel ACE! I am working hard while listening to someone who lets me know what I should do if my belly gets in the way and lets me pause if I need to adjust my leggings! Seriously, if you’ve ever thought that yoga isn’t for you, just go and find Jessamyn. She’ll sort you right out!

Julie Creffield– I’m sure that, by now, you’ve all heard of Julie. I started reading her “Fat Girls Guide to Running” blog back in the days when I was doing a great deal of thinking about running and I fell in love with her inspirational but bullshit free writing. She was undoubtedly one of the people who encouraged me to get up off the sofa and start moving. She’s since gone stellar, with slots on day time TV and even a range of running kit for larger ladies, emblazoned with slogans such as  “too fat to run

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Dana Falsetti– Dana is another yogi (get me using the technical terms!) from the codyapp studio and I actually bought her series before the Jessamyn one…. However, looking at it now, I’m putting her on hold and focussing on Jessamyn first, because for me, Dana is a little too advanced right now. However the general feeling I get from her is the same…..I will not let my wobbly bits stand in the way of my yoga

Adriene– How could anyone not love Adriene? She is the youtube yoga guru that anyone can turn to. She is nothing like Jessamyn or Dana in terms of body shape, but it feels a bit like wrapping yourself in a big cwtch (Welsh for hug!) of calm and positivity when you watch her videos! She is just lovely and encouraging and chilled out and constantly encourages you to “Find what feels good” which in my book, can only be a good thing!

Lauren Laverne – Not a health coach, yogi or body positive campaigner, but a BBC Radio 6 music DJ, co-founder of The Pool, and all round brilliantly fabulous lady, who I have a massive girl crush on! I listen to her show every morning while I’m studying and writing my blog and I love her. She would definitely be an honourory member of my Very Special Girl Gang which obviously also includes all of the amazing women above. And Claudia Winkleman. And Caitlin Moran. And Sali Hughes. And Marianne Keyes…………. Everyone does that, right??! Ok, I’m going to stop now!

I hope that you feel inspired to go and check out some of these awesome ladies, and if there’s anyone you feel I’ve left out, then please let me know in the comments below. I am ALWAYS on the look out for new inspiration!!!!

Dealing with a blip in the road

Dealing with a blip in the road

 

Evening! I wasn’t planning on writing this post this evening but my mind has been whirring for the last few days, so please humour me.

For a whole host of reasons which I won’t bore you with, in the last year I have sort of accidentally decided to quit teaching, and am now focussing all of my attention on retraining to be a health coach (just in case I hadn’t mentioned it!) As a result of this, instead of teaching, I’m now able to spend my days writing, studying, food shopping and cooking, logging Fitbit steps and getting down and bendy with Jessamyn Stanley. Oh and maybe sneaking in the odd coffee with friends! I really, honestly do appreciate how lucky I am and try really hard to never take it for granted.

But every now and then, the routine has to change, and the last week has been one of those times. To start with, the kids  have broken up from school. Now while I love getting the chance to spend extra time with them, it definitely means I have less time to dedicate to my usual pursuits. This has been a particular bummer this week, as it happened to coincide with the grand kick off of my long awaited IIN course. So far I have managed to fit study in after bed time, and at one point I even sat listening to a lecture on my iphone while they had their swimming lesson (Go me!) I’ve managed to complete the first module, buuuuuut I definitely haven’t been able to immerse myself as fully in it as I’d hoped.

Slightly more unsettling has been this weekend’s disruption to my food routine. As it’s been Easter weekend, we left Cornwall to visit my family in Wales and my green eating, meat dodging, reduced sugar menu had to be totally abandoned for a few days. Instead, what I’ve eaten this weekend, has been a pretty standard version of my former, non-diet-plan menu……Cheese and potato pie and sausages, Chinese takeaway and of course, the obligatory chocolate egg (or two). Now, the old me would have had a “slip” like this and it would have sent me over the edge into complete lack of self controls-ville. My fuck it switch would have been well and truly flipped. And while I must admit that my gremlin is still sitting on my shoulder screaming “Hahaha, its all gone to shit!” I know deep down that its all going to be ok.

So what’s changed? Well for starters, I’m not sticking to a plan that the rebellious part of me feels duty bound to buck against, and as a result I’m actually really looking forward to getting back to the food that I know makes me feel good. Because, when I really listen to my body I know that the food I’ve been eating this weekend hasn’t made me feel great. There have been no dramatic tummy issues or skin breakouts, but I’ve definitely been feeling more sluggish, and my positivity and general demeanour has taken a bit of a kicking and I’m utterly convinced that its mainly down to my change in diet.

But the crux of the matter is that for me,  its no longer a case of having to cut out the “treats” and  get “back on track”.  Instead, I have finally come to realise that crap food is absolutely NOT a treat. The treat is the good stuff that I can fill up on and which makes me feel ace. This has been a monumental eye opener and is a huge part of the dramatic shift that’s occurred following a lot of soul searching and self reflection over the last few months.

I honestly believe that if we really want to get to grips with body love, then we desperately need to work on our mental connection to food, rather than just pinning our hopes on the old, outdated restricted calories in/calories out model which aids short term weight loss but has been proven to have a pretty abysmal long term success rate.

I have also come to realise that it’s really important to appreciate that there’s no point beating myself up about a blip in the the road, because ultimately I’m just doing the best I can do at this particular moment in time. We’re so quick to criticise ourselves for not being perfect all of the time. If you’re anything like the old me (ok, and maybe still occasionally, the new me!) the language I use(d) when talking to myself is just hideous. I would never, ever dream of talking to a friend, or God forbid, one of my children the way in which I regularly used to talk to my own reflection. I mean, how can you possibly hope to feel positive, confident and happy when your internal monologue is so downright abusive?? When you really stop and think about it, it’s heart breaking.

It is so, so easy to get stuck in a negative loop of self hate where we attack ourselves for not being “good enough”, but its high time we gave ourselves a break. Sometimes life is bloody hard and doesn’t always go according to plan. And at those times, we muddle on doing the best we can within the given set of circumstances. And they are the times when its even more important to be kind, gentle and loving to ourselves. It’s really not as difficult as you might think. It takes a bit of practice but it’s well worth it, I promise!

“A Holistic Health Coach, you say?”…….Part 2

“A Holistic Health Coach, you say?”…….Part 2

So, if you read my last post, you’d have seen that my first foray into the world of nutritionists sent me running for the hills. Well. Not the hills exactly. More towards the next VLCD (very low calorie diet)…….Which is essentially, a lot of water and 3 (maybe 4) chemical filled ‘shakes’ per day which add up to around 800 calories and sweet F.A in the form of actual good-for-your-body-nutrition. In fact, (as an aside) it’s even worse than that, because do you know what happens? It exacerbates the yo-yo effect. As you stick to the massively reduced calories, your metabolism slows in order to cope with the lack of food and so when you start eating normally again, ooops, helllloooo crazy fast weight gain! So you get a lot fatter in a very short space of time, your physical, psychological and emotional health take a battering, because you are so obviously a big fat failure, and so you end up in a worse state than you were in when you began! Honestly, they are the work of the devil!!!!

I know, I still haven’t properly explained the shizz about becoming a health coach. Well, in my rather extensive personal research of the diet industry, I have come to realise that there are undoubtedly some really really very bad ones (see above!) and some not so bad ones, but the two big things that they all seem to have in common is that they don’t actually teach you how to ensure good nutrition; and they make you believe that you have to commit yourself to them before you can begin to really enjoy your life!

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You join up and they send you home with a pre-formed plan. And they promise that if you stick slavishly to this plan, you will lose weight and your life will finally begin. But guess what? LIFE IS HAPPENING NOW! Seriously. Right now! Quick, go out there and grab it with both hands. You deserve it. JUST AS YOU ARE. Not when you are 2 stone thinner, or fitting into a size 12. NOW. Right this very minute. It’s yours for the taking and do you know what, with each diet bandwagon you jump on, with each hour you waste fretting about the size of your hips in front of the mirror, you are wasting precious minutes and hours and days and weeks of it!!!!!!  Don’t let the dieting industry convince you that you have to plough all of your time, effort and hard earned cash into their pockets before you are allowed to go out there and grab your own life by the bollocks!!! Phew, glad I got that out. It’s probably a theme that I’m going to return to a few more times as we get to know each other. Its something I feel really quite passionate about (in case you hadn’t guessed!)

The other problem with these diets is that they don’t equip you with the knowledge and confidence that you need to be able to listen to your own body and to actually nourish it with the foods it needs. They make you believe that you have to stick to the list of foods that they provide (which in many cases are often not particularly nutritious!) and that if you deviate from the path, even slightly, then the plan no longer “works”. Heaven forbid if you want to go out for a meal and a few drinks with your nearest and dearest, or if you’ve got an invite to a fabulous wedding………. Na-hah…..Where on earth is your WILLPOWER???!

So what happens? You rock up to the wedding with the best of intentions (I’ll just have one glass of champagne for the toasts; I’ll just choose a green salad from the buffet and I will DEFINITELY stay away from the bread basket; I WILL NOT. I REPEAT. WILL NOT EAT DESSERT!!!) But then you start to relax and have a nice time with friends you haven’t seen for months, the one glass of champagne turns into several, the nibbles and hog roast look too damn fine to ignore and the profiteroles…….? Say no more!! You wake up the next morning feeling hungover, guilty and full of remorse for stacking the plan. And then your “fuck it” gremlin shimmies into the limelight and the rest of the weekend/week/month is a total write off. You all know what I’m talking about, right?!

Now if I’m totally honest, this is something that I have only recently fully got to grips with myself but hell, its been a total revelation. I really feel that following a lot of reading, soul searching, and online obsessing over some Health Coaching legends (step forward Laura Agar Wilson!) I have finally reached a stage in my life where I am able to really tune in to my body and then nourish it with blinkin’ gorgeous, and ridiculously healthy foods. And do you know what? It feels insanely wonderful! I feel free. Don’t get me wrong, I am still overweight, but I see myself very much as a joyful work in progress……. I’ve been able to kick the vast majority of my cravings to the curb; I’m feeling light, vibrant and full of energy and perhaps the best bit is that I’m doing it all on my own terms. If we decide to go out to Pizza Express with the kids on a Friday night, I go and I damn well enjoy it. I have what I want (which is usually wine and a proper pizza, none of your leggera nonsense) and I savour every bite. Then the next morning, do you know what happens? Amazingly, my “Fuck it” gremlin seems to have taken a back seat in favour of my inner Green Goddess! These days she Downward Dogs her way into the front of my psyche and I suddenly realise that my body is asking for a bloody lovely green smoothie and some avocado toast, not a greasy fry up and a can of full fat coke!!!!! I know….. Who’d have thought it?!

And what I’ve really realised is that I want to help other people feel like this. I want to give them the map and the key that they need to escape and run far away from the diet trap. I want to be a support that they can turn to when they get a little confused or start questioning themselves. I want to be able to provide good nutritional advice and help with meal planning or prep that they may initially find a little daunting. I want to be the person that I’d imagined the nutritionist would be for me all those years ago. My only regret is that it’s taken me such a long time to reach this point. I want to make sure that other people don’t have to wait until they are very nearly 40 before they feel that they can go out and grab their own life by the balls!!!!

So here I go. IIN Holistic Health Coach Course is where its at for the next 12 months!

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