Have you ever thought,
“I just need to lose some weight, then I’ll be healthier?”
What if you were to look at it the other way around:
“If I get healthier, I will lose some weight.”
What if you woke up in the morning, refreshed from a good night’s sleep, enthusiastic about your day, feeling strong, healthy and full of energy?
…You were in great health, physically active and would eat fresh, nutritious food?
…you felt in control of your life, were in a loving relationship and had time and patience for the important people in your life?
How would that feel? What would that mean to you?
Maybe you believe this is an unrealistic expectation for you. Maybe you could only get halfway there. Wouldn’t you agree that a 50% (or any) improvement in your life would be far better than staying stuck where you are?
We all want to feel better, look better and have more energy, and when we start looking for ways to achieve this we get bombarded with amazing promises of “quick fix” diets, workouts or supplements. We hope for a simple solution, but nothing seems to work in the long run. Deep down we know there are no shortcuts. If we want long-term results, we must have a balanced diet and be physically active. So why is it so hard?
I believe there are two major reasons why we fail. We don’t succeed when:
All our basic needs aren’t met
We focus on only one “problem” area whilst neglecting other important areas in our lives
We all have basic underlying needs that need to be met for us to be functioning well. You might, for example, be a bit of a foodie. You could try and lose weight on a celery soup diet and stick it out for a week or so, but there’ll be a time where you are going to snap, pig out on “real food” and swear off celery forever. Your need for flavour and variety has not been met.
Or, you might prefer a simple routine but are currently excited about trying a vegan diet. You decide to try all the new recipes on the website, but after a little while it gets too complicated and time consuming and you turn back to sausage and mash. Your need for simplicity hasn’t been met. There are many more examples, and finding what your individual needs are is crucial to your success.
What about willpower?
In short, if you need willpower to succeed you might be doing something wrong…
Important areas to focus on
Humans are complex beings. Every area of our lives, every aspect of our being, has a follow-on effect on another. If we are stressed at work, we might turn to comfort food and/or alcohol, which in turn can affect our self-love, our relationships, and our health. If we want to make changes to improve our lives, we really need to look at all that is us. There are 3 main areas to consider:
Although we all have slightly different needs, there are some basic principles which I believe hold true for all of us. These are
Food should be as close to its natural state as possible
The less processed, the better. Food is perfectly packaged and balanced as it grows. Nature knows how to provide exactly what we need with all the essential nutrients balanced in just the right way. Once we start interfering, we tend to mess it up. When did we become so arrogant? Why do we think we know better?
When it comes to vegetables and fruits, go crazy. Try them all. Just not all at once. You may have heard people say: “Eat the colours of the rainbow.” The different colours of the plants show the different nutrients they have to offer. By eating a wide variety of different fruit and vegetables with all the different colours you will have the best chance of getting all the nutrients you need.
Local and seasonal
Although these are two different points, if you stick to local you are most likely getting seasonal as well. Nature has a wonderful way to provide us with what we need when we need it. In summer, when it’s hot, we have an abundance of delicious fruit and greens with high water content and refreshing flavours, whereas in Winter we tend to get more starchy and comforting foods.
Yes, I know, it’s more expensive. But it’s worth it. Although you pay more per kilo or per item, you end up needing less. Because organically grown foods tend to be more nutrient dense you need to eat less to be satisfied. They also taste so much better, so you will be more likely to want to eat them, rather than leaving them to rot in the bottom of the fridge. I have noticed how the supermarket vegetables, having sat in the cool rooms for so long to keep up appearances, tend to rot in no time at all when you bring them home. Their cell walls just collapse, and they go yellow and slimy. Organic produce tends to age much more gracefully, starting out with a few wrinkles, then slowly shrivelling up. They are usually still good to go in a stew at that stage and the shrivelled-up apple is now even sweeter and full of enzymes. In other words, you get your money’s worth. Getting back to point 1, if you can eliminate more processed foods, you can afford more of the good stuff.
To be happy and healthy you need to keep your body moving. In my experience, the more you move, the more you want to move. If you are not motivated or feel physically just not able to do much, set your goal to an achievable level. You should not be scared or stressed by your exercise goals. Choose an activity that you can enjoy but that still gives you a sense of achievement. Then slowly build on it. You will feel so much better, I promise!
Be kind to yourself and have some patience. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a bit longer to get there, as long as you move in the right direction.
There are many opinions on what type of exercise is most beneficial, but as far as I’m concerned, any type is better than none. There’s no point trying to kill yourself at a cycling class if you’re not going to stick to it. Trust your own judgment. I can help you develop your plan, but only you will truly know if it’s right for you.
Mindfulness & Emotions
The way you think, how you view yourself, others and your life in general, along with the corresponding emotions, have a huge impact on your wellbeing.
Stress is usually related to past or future events.
If you are completely present in the moment it is less likely that you will feel stressed.
Getting stressed about a situation does not improve it. But it almost certainly affects your health, happiness and most likely the people around you.
Mindfulness is important for our wellbeing and relationships with others.
It is something that can be learned and practiced. I will work with you to achieve a whole new level of happiness in your life!