Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Your thoughts will shape YOU


Too many of us focus on the negative things we want to change:

"I'm fed up of being overweight!"
"I hate my bingo wings!"
"I'm sick of always feeling tired!"
"Why can't I get a flat stomach?!"
"I wish I didn't have to diet!"

And so it goes on....

Negativity breeds more negativity. The more you think about the bad things you want to change, the more they envelop your mind and take over, leaving you feeling depressed, dejected and downright fed up!

Instead you need to think with positivity. Grind negativity into the ground and kick it where it hurts! Let positive energy fill your body. Turn that frown upside down and give it a lift in the right direction - SMILE.

Tell yourself that you'll only focus on the GOOD, not the BAD. Turn those negative thoughts around. Act and think as if you already have what you want.

"I have an amazing flat tummy that looks great in a bikini!"
"My legs look great in my 'skinny jeans'!"
"I love how my shoulders look in my new strapless dress!"
"I feel great! I look great! I am great!"

As you say those positive phrases to yourself in your head right now they should lift you and make you smile.

Chances are, the negative thoughts are still in control, and you're frowning to yourself, telling yourself that you DON'T have that fab tummy, you DON'T have great legs, you DON'T have shoulders to die for....

STOP! Try again. Visualise yourself with the results YOU want. Not the results you "wish you could have if only..."

Visualise the results you WANT and the results you WILL HAVE. Forget everything else.

If you aren't happy with your body, believe whole-heartedly that were you are now is simply a place designed for you to see how much improvement you can bring with focus and positive energy.

Picture YOU in your ideal body - it doesn't have to be catwalk-thin or glam. Your body is feminine, in your eyes you look great - doesn't matter what others think, comparing you to the 'ideal'. They know NOTHING about your body. Let them worry about their own.

The more you can picture how you WANT to look, the more you will find the WAY to make it happen. Just like deciding you want a new car or a new house, if you want it with a PASSION, you will find a way to get the money together, to sell your old car/house. NOTHING will stand in the way of your DREAM and your GOAL.

SERIOUSLY - write down how you want to look and feel - NO JOKE.

Write it down and read it daily. Know, feel, sense and see how you want to be.

With such positive thought and concentration YOU will achieve your goals and look GREAT!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A New York Burger Please!


48 hours and counting... my trip to New York to see my girlfriend! Can't wait!

It's been 3 months since we saw each other and now I'm counting down the hours until I get there. I've been thinking about it for weeks, planning what we can do, where we can go and the sights we'll get to see together.

Don't you find that the most exciting part about a holiday is the lead up to it? That's when you can imagine everything being perfect, getting plenty of rest, eating great food and getting away from work for a while. The problem is we wish it away too soon, and before we know it, we're back to reality. Oh well, that's life!

Anyway, knowing what New York is like, with the temptation of big burgers, fries, milkshakes and big breakfast waffles, I've been extra good with my eating for the past couple of weeks - more so than usual!

I've been eating plenty of protein with every meal and lots of vegetables, to keep me feeling full, but more importantly, keep me away from sugar. Sugar is the number one reason people gain weight and find it hard to lose it again. Sugar keeps you in a state of perpetual hunger, and nothing can feed that hunger except more of the same -SUGAR! So, by eating protein and vegetables at EVERY meal, I'm staying nice and lean and I'm off the sugar-craving circuit.

The reason? Well, besides feeling better, sleeping better and LOOKING better, I know that New York will be a time for relaxation, eating, drinking and picking foods that I wouldn't normally eat, like the burgers, the fries, the muffins and all those heavy, carby foods that tend to make us all BLOAT.

By eating very healthily before a trip like this, you can avoid many of the excess pounds you might put on during your travels, and INSTANTLY feel the effects of bad foods when you do eat them, like bad moods, tiredness, fluctuating energy levels and gas!

Eating well before a trip will make you think twice about forever overindulging on your holiday.

To ensure you get good quality carbs in your diet before a trip, so that you don't go stir crazy trying to be 'carb free' (not good for ANY of us!), ensure you have oats for breakfast, mixed with nuts and fruit.

That should keep you going until lunchtime, with a small protein snack mid morning like hummus and strips of red pepper, or a rice cake topped with organic cottage cheese.

From then on during the day, your body should cope well with meat or fish and plenty of vegetables at each meal. Steering clear of fizzy drinks and sugar filled snacks will leave you feeling more alert and looking slimmer the longer you can forgo the urge.

So next time you're due to take a trip, make sure you 'pack' your body with goodness before you leave, so that it copes better with any overindulgence coming your way!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Skipping exercise wastes time...


As I sat in the dentist's chair for over an HOUR yesterday, having a crown fitted, I started to think about the time I was spending (wasting) sat there, because of things that I should or shouldn't have done.

In my case I think bad brushing technique and 10 years without a visit to the dentist could have been the root cause of my predicament! It definitely wasn't a diet high in sugar...

If I spent as much time looking after my teeth as I do my body, I would have a pearly white set of gnashers right now!

We all have things we should spend more time focusing on in life, but somehow we never quite get round to doing. One of the biggest ones is staying on top of our health and fitness.

More people than ever waste time sat in doctors surgeries, waiting to see the doctor who will give them the 'cure' for their ailments in the shape of pills and prescriptions, more often than not because they've let themselves get run down and ill.

We waste time sat in the car at supermarkets, crawling around the car park, looking for that space right by the door, when if we were actually prepared to park further away and walk, we'd be in the shop in a flash.

Many people trawl up and down the aisles too, hunting out the bargains, looking for all the 2-for-1 deals, randomly throwing unhealthy foods and drink into the trolley, when if they had a set plan of what to buy and what to avoid, they'd be out and home in half the time.

Then there's the time you spend propped up in bed, having to take time off work because you've been working long hours, not looking after yourself, and picked up the latest bug to do the rounds,

Or maybe the time you spend visiting the chiropractor, to get your back regularly cracked or your neck adjusted. All time you could be putting to better by eating well and exercising a bit more than you do right now, to then free up your time to relax.

Skipping exercise because you 'don't have the time or energy' is actually a false economy.

If you add up all the time you spend running around as a result of not staying healthy, you probably find you waste more time than if you just took care of yourself in the long run!

So, let me put it to you now: exercise actually saves you time!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Do your exercise efforts leave you needing CPR??

"I knew I shouldn't have overdone that last hotel room circuit!"

While I expect you to push yourself harder over time and continue striving to get fitter and do more, I’m not about to ask you to go so far as needing traditional medical CPR!

By ‘CPR’ I mean being Consistent, Persistent and Resistant.

For fitness and fat loss success you need a good mix of all 3.

Be 'Consistent'

To be consistent with your exercise and healthy lifestyle you need to workout regularly and effectively, ensuring that the exercise you are doing is both constructive and designed to get you to where you want to be as quickly and safely as possible.

If you repeat a routine enough times your body will get used to it and it will no longer work, but the more you can adjust any number of variables like weight, time, reps and rest period, the longer you can continue to get pleasing results.

Working out every once in a while will NOT help you reach your goals.

Be 'Persistent'

Keep striving for your goals – that dress fitting, those arms toning up, that beach holiday look, keeping with your neighbour, friend or relative... whatever it is, get to it and don’t stop until you achieve it! Along the way look for every small bit of evidence that what you are doing is working and that that effort is more than worthwhile. Look for improved recovery, quicker times, being less out of breath, feeling better, clothes fitting looser, belts tightening further, positive comments, less reliance on medications, less illness, more energy, finishing your workout without needing hours to recover.... Whatever it is you notice, write it DOWN, so that next week when you feel defeated you remember the PLUS points.

Be 'Resistant'

While you want to work hard to reach your goals and put in enough effort with your exercise programme, you also need to know when to back off, when to rest, how much rest to get, and when to recognise the signs of stress.

The time you give yourself to relax, switch off and sleep is just as important, if not more important sometimes as the physical exercise side of things. Recovery time doesn’t just mean sitting down with your feet up. It also includes the food you eat and the drink you consume – both alcoholic and sugar sweetened.

Doing too much, by which I mean excess exercise, going out, having late nights, not getting enough sleep, working long hours and running around as a ‘stress-head’ will only cause you to burn out, feel more tired and in turn more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle that a lot of people find hard to break.

So, avoid the real-term CPR by adhering to these guidelines, and instead give yourself CPR of the positive kind.

Your body, your mind and your wobbly bits will be very grateful!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Your ability to 'walk'


If any of you watched the London Marathon last weekend, you would have no doubt been humbled by the efforts of British soldier, Major Phil Packer, who completed the event, despite being told in 2008 that he would never walk again.

While serving in Iraq, Major Packer was injured by a rocket attack, and lost the use of both of his legs. After doctors had told him he would never walk again, he set out to prove them wrong, and after undergoing months of strenuous physical therapy, Major Packer got back on his feet with the aid of a pair of crutches, and vowed to walk the entire 26.2 mile length of the London Marathon to raise money for 'Help for Heroes'.

The incredible determination he showed on Sunday to get round the course and complete those miles was inspirational to all who saw him. Last year he attempted the course for the first time and it took him a gruelling 13 days to complete the course and cross the finishing line, at a pace of 2 miles a day.

Last Sunday, the Major beat his previous time, like all other able-bodied marathon veterans aim to do, but Phil Packer crossed the line in just 25 hours and 55 minutes - shaving 12 days off his previous effort!

So the next time you think to yourself that getting fit, losing some weight, being more active and eating more healthily is just too much like hard work, think about the Major. Here is a guy who, with great strength in adversity has set a goal, worked hard to achieve it and surpassed his previous efforts.

After his terrible accident he didn't sit there, complaining that he couldn't do anything about his situation. Even while recovering in his hospital bed in Basra in 2008, he decided that he would put his misfortune to good use and raise a lot of money for other diasbled servicemen.

You have more hope and determination than you allow yourself credit for.

If you can set your sights on a goal that you want enough, you will find the strength and determination to reach out and grab it.

If you really want to lose pounds and look healthier you will do it. If you want to clean up your diet and feel better you have the power to do so. NOTHING can hold you back when you want something enough.

Major Packer got to his feet and walked 26 miles on crutches. Some sedentary people don't walk that distance in a year!

So next time you feel down about your lack of results, the fact that your weight hasn't budged this week or that you didn't have the time to exercise, think of inspirational people like Phil.

Follow his example:

Set yourself a long-term goal - Phil's was to get to his feet and walk again, something the doctor's had questioned. Your's might be to run the marathon, climb a mountain, walk without feeling breathless, look great at a wedding, fit into your favourite dress or look younger than you have done in years.

Set yourself some smaller goals to achieve along the way - Phil's would have been to get out of his hospital bed, then to walk across the room unaided, followed by walking 100 metres - all steps towards completing the bigger goal of the marathon. Your's might be too cut out coffee, do 2 more push ups each workout, go walking at the weekend, play with the kids outside more often, lose 2 pounds before Sunday...

Find the support to help you achieve these - Major Packer said: “I’ve walked 52,400 steps and somebody has walked with me every step of the way, be it a dinner lady, a London taxi driver or a Metropolitan Police officer.”

He had support along the way which would have made him more determined, more focused and more likely to achieve the goal that he had set himself. Tell your friends and family what you want to achieve physically. Ask for their help and support as you work towards your goal. Don't let them steer you off course or inadvertently scupper your efforts.

This story of Major Packer has humbled me, inspired me, and touched my emotions.

I hope that it touches you in a way that spurs you on to make change in yourself and set the required goals to achieve this.

This quote from the Major sums it all up for me:

"My injury is not a disability to me any more. It’s all about what I can do, not about what I can’t do. That feeling is very strong."

The same rings true for all of us - focus on what you can do, and do something to make that change!

Don't always look for the excuses for why you can't, haven't, shouldn't, unfortunately and nearly.

At the end of the day, it's down to YOU to search inside yourself and release that inner strength to succeed.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Do you know your FATS?


Do you know your fats? I’m talking about the different fats found in your food?

So many people are still under the illusion that all higher fat foods are bad for you, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Fewer than half of us Brits know that the "better" fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) can help reduce the risk of heart disease and keep us healthy. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that fat is ‘bad’, but some fats are actually better than others.

OK, so there are 4 different types of fats. In order, from good to bad, they are:

Polyunsaturated
Monounsaturated
Saturated
Trans


All fats, regardless of their health benefits, have the same number of calories: 9 calories per gram.

Considering that proteins and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, we still need to eat fat in moderation.

So we all need to be careful how much fat we eat for good health, but cutting out fat altogether, and following the ‘low fat diet’ for fat loss is ridiculous!
We ALL need a certain level of fat in our diets to maintain good health AND weight control.

Monounsaturated
and polyunsaturated fats can lower your LDL – or "bad" cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease. They also raise your HDL – ‘Good’ Cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats can be found in vegetable oils like olive and canola oils; and many nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts and sesame seeds. Peanut butter and avocados are also good sources of monounsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fats can be found in oils like soybean and corn oils and in many nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds. Fatty fish like salmon and trout are also good sources of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6, essential fats that your body needs but can't produce.

Saturated fats are hard fats found mainly in animal products such as red meat, butter and full-fat cheeses, and can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts, because they raise your LDL - 'bad' cholesterol - and can block up the arteries to the heart. Too much harmful cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of coronary heart disease, the biggest killer in the UK.

Finally, there are the 'Trans’ Fats, which are FAKES! They have a plastic-like construction that are modified and designed to allow ‘fresh’ food to last longer. They’re found in almost all processed foods including margarines, biscuits, cakes and pies.
Again, these raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.

So, when eating different foods, keep an eye on the fats you’re consuming. Eat more of the poly and mono kinds, go easy on the Saturated, and avoid, AT ALL COST, the Trans type!

Put simply:


Eat a good mix of nuts, seeds, avocado, organic peanut butter, olive oil and fresh fish.
Go easy on red meats, butter and cheese.
Avoid / cut out margarines, processed foods, baked foods and pastries, biscuits, cakes and pies.

JUST REMEMBER – Fat CAN be good for you, but with 9 calories per gram, they can still add up over the course of a day or week, so watch your calories and enjoy fat!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

"All energy is borrowed. Someday we must give it back"


Amidst all the action, 3D effects and looking like Woody Allen in my 3D glasses, the one thing that stood out for me from the film Avatar was this line:

"All energy is borrowed. Someday we must give it back"

Ignoring the stupid Gung-Ho subplot, this film made me think about life, and the world that we live in.

There are so many things wrong with our planet - the violence, illness, disease, cruelty, not to mention the natural disasters that we can't avoid...

On the planet of Pandora, where Avatar is set, life is idyllic.

Everyone co-exists without violence, greed, jealousy or selfishness.

YES, I know it's only a movie, but the quote rings so true for our society in the 21st Century:

Obesity, too many people on benefits, not enough exercise, poor diets, too much sitting around, low immune systems, mindless violence, class-divides and disease and illness that could be avoided.

We are all given ENERGY. Not all of us choose to use it wisely.

One day our energy will be GONE - FOREVER.

That time will come sooner than you think, so will you look back on your life and wish you'd done more with it, been a bit more active, travelled more, taken better of your body and your health, or spent more time interacting and talking to your friends and family, instead of sitting in front of the TV or the computer?

In the film, Jake Scully, a man who has lost his legs in the real world, gets a second chance to be active when he gains the use of his avatar's virtual body. He runs, he jumps, he is enthralled with his new found freedom and athleticism.

If you were given the chance to live your life again, would you do things differently?

The sad truth is that most people won't regret their inactivity until the ability to be active is taken away from them.

Appreciate your energy today, and take advantage of the fact that your body is so much more than a vehicle for eating, drinking and sitting down 'relaxing'...