HENRY EMBRACES THE RAIN. HENRY IS 5. BE LIKE HENRY.

henry

Our children can teach us many things. A brief moment watching my son Henry, aged 5, changed my entire day.

Henry came into my room at 7.30pm waving a sparkly piece of paper under my nose. The smell of fresh glue. I wasn’t even awake. ‘Mummy, mummy, happy Valentines!’

I got up to Saxon, aged 6, waving his piece of art, ‘Happy Valentines Mummy, this is a beast, and it’s here to save you from the dragons…’

Today is exercise day. I pulled on my workout gear. I mostly do my session straight after the school run, 2 or 3 days a week, before I am showered and ready for the day. I planned to do a youtube video today.

Breakfasts, packed lunches, boys dressed, teeth, tea…shoes on, out the door. It never went this smooth.

On arriving at the school it had started to rain. Henry had unzipped and removed the hood from his coat last time he wore it, so he pulled on my wooly hat, bright pink. Cute. As we approached the kids starting to line up, I saw other mums and Dads with their umbrellas, trying to keep their kids out of the rain, standing under any little overhang to protect themselves from the increasing downpour. I had a hood on and I pulled it up over my wooly hat, which I had put on to cover up my bed head, no time for hair in the morning! Henry stood in the middle of the courtyard. A couple of the Mums and Dads who knew him, called out, ‘Henry, you’ll get wet!’.

Henry stood still, looking up at the rain. A moment in time passed. It was like he hadn’t heard them. It was like he was seeing and feeling rain for the first time. I said nothing. I felt the gazes of other parents, seeing me allow my son to get soaking wet before he started his day at school.

Henry was embracing the rain.

It made me realize that we dislike the rain because that’s what everyone does. We learn to think that rain is bad and sun is good. Rain makes us sad. Rain makes us uncomfortable. Rain makes us angry. Rain makes us wet. Being wet from the rain is bad.

It rains a lot.

I left Henry to enjoy the rain until the bell went. Without even turning to look for me, he went to his line-up and followed the rest of the kids into the school. Again, it never went this smooth.

I watched both my boys go into the school, then left for home, thinking about my exercise session. Then, without another thought, I began to jog. ‘Be like Henry’, I thought.

Like henry, I embraced the rain. I kept on jogging, feeling the drops on my face. It didn’t take long for my body to warm up, and it was soon before I was thankful for the rain cooling me down. I started off dodging the puddles, but then accidentally I ran into a big one, the cool refreshing water soaking straight through my trainer then my socks. I appreciated it! After that I aimed at running into every puddle to get my feet wet!

Once you are wet, you just get wetter. You have to be wet, before feeling wetter is better.

Once you are fit, you just get fitter. You have to be fit before feeling fitter is better.

Thank you Henry, for teaching me to embrace the rain.

Henry enjoys the rain. Henry is 5. Be like henry.

________________________________________________________________

Rachel is a group fitness specialist and personal trainer. She mostly works with plus size clients, helping them to increase their steps and gain more balance in their life.

Confessions of a plus size runner

a-get-fit-6-13

I try to run twice a week. Try. Sometimes it’s only once. Sometimes I manage three but not very often. Do I like running? It’s a tough question really. While I am actually ‘doing it’ I guess no. It’s hard. What I do love is what it does for my body and mind. Without heart raising activity I am like a demented zombie. No, even worse than that.

I am a Mum of two very active busy boys, aged 5 and 4. Yep,  just 13 months apart in age. Call me crazy but they are adorable, which doesn’t make me any less crazy but it softens the blow a bit. Saxon, 5, started Kindergarten this year and Henry, 4, attends pre-school four mornings a week. We also have a Chinese student living with us, Tiffany. She is 15. Just writing it makes me think I am in even more crazy than I thought I was. You see, I run my own plus size fitness business in the Tricities, BC. My business is my 3rd baby and essentially needs around 30 hours a week of my time. Currently it gets nearer twenty but I am fairly focused on getting in my own workouts because without them I do not function. Period.

So, this morning is my morning to run.

I wake up to my alarm and first of all I think it’s Sunday and that I had forgotten to switch off my alarm. Must have been dreaming of it. No, it’s Thursday and it’s run day. But first I have to do the work of a Mum and get my kids ready for school and ensure the student has her lunch box filled. Henry comes in ‘Mummy mummy, can I have trains on your laptop’ his favourite thing at the moment is watching real live freight train videos on Utube. ‘Mummy, Mummy, it’s morning time, look, it’s light, get up, getup, now Mummy’. I reach out to pat Daddy’s shoulder to let him know it’s his turn to get up with the boys (it’s only 10 minute difference but boy what a difference it makes being able to actually wake up before trying to hold a conversation with a full spirited 4 year old) then I remember he is away on business. I feel my heart go heavy but then remember, YES! He is home tonight!

So, up I get…and the day begins. The fun begins. The quarrels begin. The breakfast making begins. The demands begin. The noise begins. The love grows. The stress builds. One and a quarter hours later we are all strapped in the car ready for the 1 and a half hour school run.

At 9.45am I am sat in my car alone. I breath. I think of the untidy house, the to do list, my blog, my website that is in need of updating (in fact it’s so bad it’s almost broken, it’s been on the to do list for months), I think about my boys in their classrooms, the previous couple of hours, the fact that Henry never wants to put his shoes on. or his clothes. He never wants to eat his breakfast…or brush his teeth…or anything I ask for that matter. Trains. That’s all he wants. Ever. It’s one of those things that makes him even more adorable. Then I think about Saxon and the story we made up at bedtime last night. We did giggle. The way he uses the word purple in French but only that word. Everything else in English. French Kindergarten is slowly getting through. He’s the only one in his class who refuses to utter a word in French when he is actually at school, but when he gets home he like to tells us what French words he has learnt! My mind wanders further..Hub is home this afternoon…

I start the car.

I think of everything possible to remove the unavoidable fact from my mind that its time for a run. Every excuse is pushing it’s way out, forcing me not to think about it. I am too tired. I am too busy. I don’t feel like it. It hurts. It’s hard. It’s raining. It’s windy. I don’t have my stop watch. The leaves have fell and it’s too slippery. My shoes are too tight. My shoes are too loose. I don’t have my waist pack….

One minute I am going to run…the next I am not. I have the argument in my head over and over. Do it, I say out loud. Go home, I say in my head. Do some work, you can get ahead…

I stop the car randomly on Thermal Street, not far from home. I turn off the engine, zip up my jacket and grab my phone. Get out of the car. Get out now. Before you change your mind.

And I am off. No idea where I am going but it’s just 5K. 35 minutes and I will be back to my car. That’s just over half an hour. Not long really is it. I jog gently to the end of the street and turn left onto Como Lake Avenue. I look at the long stretch ahead of me that dips up and down along with the beautiful BC mountains. If I jog to the main crossroads that has to be 2K, I will cross the street and run back down on the other side.. 4K. That will do. Better than nothing. I am warming up but my legs don’t want to go. Come on, one foot in front of the other. I have started now, so I’ll finish. Think of the hot shower on my head in 45 minutes time. It’s even less than that if I am doing just 4K.

My Nike app can’t be working. It didn’t tell me when I got to 1K. Maybe I have no signal. Never mind, I know how far it is. I am good at judging distance. I’ll just keep going. Feeling a bit warmer. Feels a bit easier now. It’s not that hard at all, I am nearly at the crossroads already. ooh bit of a hill coming. slowly does it. OK, bring it down a bit otherwise you won’t make it. Then my app says 1KM. Huh? What? that has to be wrong. It’s got to be more than that!

So I cross the busy street and see a little trail going off into the woods. This looks interesting, let’s see where it takes me. I jog through the wood passing dog walkers, ankle biters, then when there is no one around I hear some random noises coming from the thick forest. Be just my luck if I came across a bear when I have no energy left to run. I have lived in BC for over 2 years and still not seen a bear. Finally the trail splits. hhhmmm, which way? I don’t want to go too far from the car, I’ll head right, 5 minutes later I am back on Como lake. Right by Thermal. Aghhh, that’s only 2K!!

So I head on up Como Lake the other way. Bit busy but the onlookers keep me running. Funny that, I always run faster where people can see me. I don’t want to look like a beginner. I want to look like a plus size marathon runner, or at least as though I am training for it. I can imagine the conversations in the cars. ‘Hey look at her run, good for her!’ versus ‘Awww, that looks really hard, keep going girl, at least you are trying!’

Finally my app says 3KM. Well over half way! I want to slow down but I also want 4K to come sooner. Decisions. Take it easy and take a bit longer? or push on and get it done? A driver stops at his driveway to let me pass on the pavement. I sprint by, making it look a breeze!

Off comes my jacket and I tie it around my waist. Feeling good. Really? Yes! I love running. It’s good for the soul. I am going to blog about this later. Then I lose myself in all the things I am going to write….

Red cheeked and a little sweaty, my app tells me I have hit 4KM. I am done. I can go back to the car…can’t I? May as well jog, save some time. In fact, if I just take this little street off here I can do a little more, 4.5KM would be good. That’s almost 5K.

I make it all the way to 5K. Back at my car, I stand on the side of the street to stretch. Feeling great. All done. Wow, now can I get on with my day.

10 minutes later the shower is over my head and the warm water is running down my body. The best feeling in the world ever.

Running is easy. What was all that fuss about?!

 

This blog was inspired by Body Exchange Licensor Louise Green. Here is the article link:

I’m A Plus Size Marathon Runner

Her website: http://www.louisegreen.ca/

bodyexchange.ca

 

Move, move…and move!

I bet you knew this was coming didn’t you?

Well, now here is my little bit of enjoyment. I LOVE moving (I’m not talking about moving house, I have done that too many times for it to be enjoyable). Moving is what makes my body and mind work and tick. It brightens my days, fills my evenings and helps me to live my life. To the full. There is nothing that pleases me more than having a strong set of lungs, filling them up with fresh (BC) air, while taking in glorious views of the country side.
I know not everyone feels this way. When I was much younger I hated being active. It all seemed like too much hard work to me. That was until I learned a little more about it and what it could do for me (I will admit that probably one of my biggest motivations in those days was my quest to get skinny, but that was then). However, over the years as I got fitter I did begin to realize and understand the benefits and how it had a positive impact on my well being. The other thing was that when I exercised, regardless of whether I was dieting at that time or not, I would look and feel smaller and better.
What is it that stops you becoming more active? I mean, if I asked you what your hobby was and you said ‘cleaning windows’ and then I told you that was a great way to get fitter, you’d be pleased wouldn’t you? And your windows would be clean too! Well, cleaning windows is a form of activity. It causes movement, takes usually longer than just a few minutes and does more for you than watching TV (personally, I would far rather clean windows, but neither are favourite pastime’s of mine). Watching TV may be good for relaxing with a cuppa but that needs to be done after you have fulfilled your requirement to look after yourself. Your heart and lungs and other organs, bones, muscles, skin and other body parts also need attending to and need regular maintenance.

I know, I KNOW you have heard it all before, I hear you screaming at me!
But listen, this isn’t about dieting, this isn’t about looking good (although that’s a bonus) it’s about healthy you and learning to love and respect yourself. Your nails wouldn’t fall off if you didn’t get those gel layers added every other week, your hair won’t fall out if you don’t get it cut religiously every 8 weeks. BUT there is a very high chance that if you do not do some body maintenance it will give out, possibly to something serious. Is it not worth a regular trip to the ‘moving station’? I am not just talking about a check up!
Now, as I said before, it doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, if it is too hard, that is totally counter productive. It does need to be as fun as cleaning windows though. You need to enjoy it and it’s benefits. If you live in a house with a mountain view then sell it and move somewhere where there isn’t one, so at least you have a reason to put some comfy shoes on and walk to the nearest mountain! So maybe that sounds over the top but you get my message, don’t just watch it from your window, (clean them!) get out there and live your life. What have you got to lose?


Energy in, energy out.

For the purpose of this section I am going to use the word energy. In our previous life, we measured energy using the word calories. I have never liked the use of the ‘C’ word, personally.

I feel this is one of the most important parts of my message.

There is a scientific fact. Energy in, energy out. Whatever the food or drink is, it has an energy value. If you don’t move enough to get rid of it, you’ll gain weight. Fact. This is not a dieting fact or rule, it is a scientific fact that we may not like but cannot change.

I hear you saying “Well, isn’t that just going back to the old diet message again?’

No. We are becoming aware of the true facts and not being fooled or tricked by the media and diet industry. We have to move to make us healthy. If we want to find our natural healthier body weight and reduce our size we need to expend more energy than we consume. Fact.
Lean muscle burns energy. The more we have the more effective our bodies are at burning. How do we gain more muscle? Doing weight bearing activity. If you haven’t moved much lately don’t worry, I’m not about to get you weight lifting! Your own body weight is fine to use as resistance.
We must start to give our bodies exactly what they need…and often.

No diet message here whatsoever.

I do hear people say “I really do hate exercise”. Then don’t do ‘exercise’. Find something you love that gets you moving. Make small changes and grow from there. There is a common thought that exercise is a temporary fix. Get active for life! Give yourself and your body the opportunity to get used to it, make it a challenge you love and stop resenting the thing that keeps you alive, in far more ways than you could possibly imagine. Activity is for life, not just for Christmas! Whatever your size, you can increase your fitness levels.

Take responsibility for yourself and do it for your health.

 

…and don’t forget to clean the windows regularly 🙂

 

Rachel xox

Foxy’s take on sugar

During my switch from dieting and comfort eating to eating normally, I did a fair amount of reading up on why we reach for certain foods. ie, why can’t carrots sooth me the way cookies and ice-cream do? I was absolutely amazed by what I found. It may not come as a surprise for you like it did to me but I never thought it was possible to be addicted to food. Well, you know you see TV documentaries about those extreme cases where people became so overweight they couldn’t leave the house for example. I thought that there was something wrong with these people, as in, they had some special disease that made them eat too much (I am sure there are for a few but that’s not my point). The fact is these people were addicted to food, in the same way we are. Just more extreme. Like an alcoholic, some can’t get through the morning without a drink while others only drink in the evening, in fact some alcoholics lead a relatively normal life in terms of going to work, looking after the children etc, but when they have done their day and they are no longer going about the things that keep their focus away from their emotions, they turn to their addiction and swallow the feelings down with drink. Well, this a similar thing. Now obviously we need to food to survive, so it is quite difficult to pin down just what’s right and wrong when it comes to emotional eating.
There is now some evidence that the same biological processes that cause us to become addicted to drugs and alcohol can cause us to show addictive behavior towards food. But not all kinds (I mean, do you know anyone who is addicted to carrots?). These foods generally tend to be sugar (I mean the kind you put in a cup of tea or on your cereal) fat (yeah the bad kind) and white flour (the stuff we mostly use in baking cookies). Salt is another one. Foods containing a combination of these are responsible for giving our brains a hit, literally, your body’s primary pleasure center becomes stimulated and bam, we’re hooked and coming back for more. When we go back for more our brains reward center also gets a hit…leading to ‘give me more’.
So, the food industry have us hooked on processed foods and keep on offering us more tasty combinations, which we buy willingly to feed our addiction. They make the food so available that we just cannot resist. Ten freshly baked doughnuts for $1 or twelve delicious cookies for $1.50. Who could resist? The more we buy, the more we eat and then the more we want so back to the Supermarket for more. Then we continue in that vicious cycle until we become overweight, unhappy, unhealthy and have no motivation to do something about it. I’m weak, I’ll be this size forever, may as well just eat what I enjoy and have some happiness in life…
When I stopped emotional eating something interesting happened. Well, first of all I was so seriously angry with the food industry (yeah even more than I was with the diet people). I refused to give them any more of my pennies unless I was to get something decent in return. I broke the cycle and stopped craving these highly processed foods. I ate when I was hungry, enjoyed every bite, stopped when I was full then didn’t require food until my next meal, and I didn’t reach for that until I felt true hunger. I discovered that it wasn’t the meals that were causing my weight gain or lack of weight loss, it was the sugar and processed food.
I also discovered than when I really did want to have cake or something sweet, I enjoyed it, guilt free, having made the choice to eat it. My sugar levels were constant now and my body and mind could deal with a one off sugar peak and would come back down to normal soon after. I am more tuned in now so that if I have a week or so where I have been celebrating a lot or have had more sugary things than is normal for me now, I feel the very slight urge to fall back into my old ways. Luckily, when I get as far as heading for the famous cupboard (do you have a cupboard that you head for when the going gets tough? You know, the one where all the white sugar is kept?!), I deal with the urge in the same manner as I learned during my breakthrough, grab a glass of water with ice and think about what it is I am feeling, recognize it’s either addiction trying to creep back in or I have a strong emotion going on that needs to be confronted or recognized. Before I know it, within a few hours or at worst a day or two I am back to feeling balanced again.
White refined sugar is as bad as fat. It makes us gain weight. In fact in some cases it is worse. Some healthy fats are needed to help our bodies function well and our digestive system and metabolism work. Refined sugar is not. Don’t be misled by “fat free”. It doesn’t mean it’s sugar free and the truth is if sugar is not burned away it turns to fat, so essentially it’s the same as processed (or bad) fats.
As a general rule of thumb when I go food shopping nowadays I stick to the outside of the supermarket. It generally tends to be the middle isles where all the processed food is. I have found this really helpful. It keeps me away from most foods that are labelled low fat or diet foods. I don’t need them. The food industry can keep them.
So, to put it bluntly, get off the cookies and other processed foods, stay off them and your mind and body won’t need them, you’ll be sure to lose weight naturally and be a healthier you.

 

The why, the what, the how.

We have become a more overweight and obese nation for many reasons, here are some we can give some thought to:

  • A large number of convenience foods have become the norm and are readily available
  • Technology has provided us with many jobs that involve long periods of time sitting at a desk
  • Technology providing us with more hobbies and time spent sitting down with electronics, even our children are doing this more
  • Transit technology provides us with little need to walk
  • The availability of take away.
  • The normalization of a mid morning, afternoon snack
  • Snacking in front of the TV.
  • Watching a movie at home has become an everyday occurrence…and so has the popcorn or snacks
  • Celebration has become a reason to eat, as much as to celebrate!
  • Less time on our hands for cooking and preparing.
  • Portion sizes have become larger
  • Less time on our hands for exercising
  • Dieting. We usually end up even more overweight than before

It’s true that we all have different bodies and some of us are genetically more susceptible to being overweight, however, can we really say hand on heart that we do everything we can to ensure our body is working as efficiently as possible? So, if our Mum or Dad was overweight and so was their parents, rather than just assume we have been handed down the ‘fat gene’, we should at least try to overcome our weight problem. A little like going to the doctor with depression, we would hope that the doctor would send us for counselling to try and get to the bottom of the problem before handing out meds. Likewise, before we brand ourselves with being permanently overweight, lets take a look to ensure we are doing all we can to make our body and metabolism perform well.
This is not the typical list you may find in diet rules, ie drink green tea or coffee, swallow # grams a day of some food or plant extract, etc, I’m not saying these don’t have some proof, I’m saying in order to get healthy we need to look at total health. Remember we have left dieting rules behind us.
Keep hydrated. I always used to think this was a dieting rule just to get us to believe the diet worked after losing LBS of fluid in the first weeks until finally during my training I learned there was something in this. This isn’t a dieting rule. We need water for life. As we go about our every day stuff we use a lot of water whether we exercise or not. If we don’t make it up our bodies will not function so well. Lets give it every chance possible! Make your water more interesting buy adding ice, flavours such as ginger, mint, lime, lemons. Green tea is good if you don’t like flavourless water and it’s as good as water. When you drink your water try to visualize goodness, health and total body health. It’s going to fuel your organs. It’s true that other drinks go towards your body’s requirement of fluids but water is best.
Eat well. As the saying goes, we get out what we put in. Treat your body with love. Spend some time seeking healthy foods you love (if you are a dieter take the focus off low fat, think healthy). Get some nice recipe books or use the internet for free ones, look for what you really fancy trying, take a cooking course, (get a personal chef in to cook for you if you are rich!) whatever it takes, enjoy your food and eat when you are hungry. If a whole recipe has a couple of tablespoons of fresh cream, add it (you don’t have to add the whole tub!) One of the things I found when I stopped dieting was how much I enjoyed nice recipes. This in itself gave me the motivation to try new things and make the effort to cook. I soon learned than the main reason I hated cooking and preparing meals was because I had spent so many years looking for tasty recipes without fat. The truth is we are tuned to like the taste of fat and whilst some recipes simply don’t need it, when something is in a recipe it is there because that’s what makes it nice. You don’t have to eat butter chicken, pizza or burger and chips for dinner every night, who would want to? Simply follow recipes you like and vary your food as much as possible. Many recipes books have a good balance of nutrients. Very few tell you to tip the olive oil bottle up all over the pan! A little oil goes a long way. Just be aware. By the time you have shared the recipe between the rest of the family you’ll only get a little. The most important thing is you are enjoying your food. Besides you’ll enjoy burning it off later!
Move. Move and Move. I bet you knew this was coming didn’t you? My strongest and most important message. We cannot reach our fitness goals without being active. You do not have to slog away on the treadmill at the gym or stand at the back of a class gasping for air wondering when it will be over and when it will finally get easier. There is so much information out there about different ways to get stronger, fitter and leaner. No excuses. If you want to reach your goals you have to get moving.
I LOVE moving. Moving is what makes my body and mind work and tick. It brightens my days, fills my evenings and helps me to live my life. To the full. There is nothing that pleases me more than having a strong set of lungs, filling them up with fresh (BC) air, while taking in glorious views of the country side.

I know not everyone feels this way. When I was much younger I hated being active. It all seemed like too much hard work to me. That was until I learned a little more about it and what it could do for me. I will admit that probably one of my biggest motivations in those days was my quest to get ‘skinny’. However, over the years as I got fitter I did begin to realize and understand the benefits and how it had a positive impact on my well being. The other part was that when I exercised, regardless of whether I was dieting at that time or not, I would look and feel smaller and better.

Finally, if you are having trouble finding fun exercise, then join us at one of our Body Exchange locations in BC. If you don’t live in BC, then either move or open one. Simples. For more information visit http://www.bodyexchange.ca

 

Seriously, it’s time to Stop Dieting and Start living.

5 tips to Stop Dieting Start Living!

Stop dieting. Easier said than done.

I have been hearing lots of chatter from my clients about dieting, weighing and restriction. This really saddens me as I want to do my best to remove all diets, once and for all, in all my clients. That is my goal.

I spent almost 30 years of my life dieting. Funnily enough my weight still sits about 20 lbs above what would be considered a healthy weight in the diet world, however, it also sits around 20 lbs less than my heaviest weight ever. I am happier today and more comfortable in my own skin than I have been in my entire life. I used to have a clothes crisis almost every day, trying to squeeze into clothes that I loved. When I was getting ready for a night out I would often fall in a heap of tears on top of a heap of clothes that probably looked wonderful on me (well my husband said they did, I had other ideas). In fact this happened even when I was at my ‘skinniest’, but because my confidence was so low I couldn’t see how beautiful I looked, so then I would eat to comfort myself and gain weight and that made me more miserable.

That’s proof that dieting does not make you: a) Skinny or b) Happy. Lets break down those two words.

SKINNY. If you become ‘skinny’ through dieting and restriction a number of things happen that you may be unaware of. Severe restriction leads to the loss of lean muscle. To try and keep it simple we need lean muscle to burn calories, the more lean muscle we have the more effective we are at burning calories. Yes, muscle burns calories. Also, it’s worth knowing that in order to increase muscle we need to take part in strength training at least twice a week, trust me, we need to hold onto it! If you restrict yourself to get skinny there is over a 90% chance you will gain the weight back on and maybe even more. How many years have you been dieting? How long is it taking you to get your ‘goal’ weight? Is it working? Whether you have been there and come back or whether you are still struggling to get to that goal, the end result is most probably the same. I am sure you will agree that dieting for many years without the result of being skinny doesn’t make you happy. Right? Constant dieting without the long term required results can lead us to severe disappointment, unhappiness, self hate, self blame, feelings of failure, depression, anxiety, loss of libido, loss of confidence, relationship problems (with food and loved ones), lack of energy, anger, frustration, misery.

HAPPY. The word speaks for itself. We become so obsessed about being skinny we often actually forget about wonderful aspects of life, the things that actually make us smile, laugh and enjoy…and it’s much more simple than you think. When I stopped the insanity of dieting it changed my life completely. It didn’t happen overnight, it took time but I enjoyed the journey far more than any diet. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just give up on myself, in fact quite the opposite. I found I had so much more time for everything else in my life.

How to find balance.

I always understood that there was a choice of 3 things in life. Dieting to get skinny, not dieting and getting fat and the 3rd was to become one of those kind of ‘paleo’ or super health conscience people who only ever ate organic rabbit food mixed with, um, no milk or dairy (you don’t need to cut anything from your diet unless you have a food intolerance or allergy) It doesn’t have to be this way, in fact, in my opinion life isn’t like this. We must find balance. Balance is the key to life. It is the key to happiness. It is the key to everything.

1. Grab yourself a notebook and journal. It is the most powerful tool to get you happy.

2. Stop dieting, counting and totting up calories.

3. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full.

4. Think 80/20.

5. Find enjoyable activities that involve movement (Of course my Body Exchange classes come under this heading! I couldn’t write a blog without a little marketing now, could I?).

If you would like to get happy using the above 5 things as the backbone of your life then congratulations, read on.

You will be happy….and so will I!

1. Journalling

When I started to use a journal a number of things happened. I had a much better view of my food intake, I started to see the good things I was eating that gave my body what it needed. I could also see the foods I was eating that weren’t actually doing my body any good and needed to be limited. The other thing I found was that when I started to be honest with myself I gained a lot of self respect and confidence in my food choices. The biggest thing though, was that I really didn’t want to see only bad things on my food list!

All you need to do is simply write down everything you eat, then beside each food (and drink) a ‘Y’ for yes and ‘N’ for no in bold letters (Was this good for me or not?). You will soon get to see how often you are being good to yourself. Don’t try to do it all overnight, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day! As dieters we tend to use ‘all or nothing thinking’ (ALL the time or not AT ALL!). We need to work on that. Balance is the opposite of all or nothing thinking. Do not ever write calories in your journal. I am not saying we shouldn’t be aware of them (we’ll talk about that later) but forget those little numbers when it comes to journalling. Your journal is your little friend and it doesn’t do counting, that’s what a calculator is for and we don’t need to be a mathematician to find balance in our life.  Enjoy your new anti-diet. The freedom you will feel is immense. You may panic at first but soon you’ll get the hang of it and this will lead you to true anti-diet happiness if you follow the other 4 rules of balance too.

Stop Dieting

I know, sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Here comes the balance word again. Stop dieting does not mean give up on yourself. In fact, quite the opposite. We are now in the anti-diet world of thinking. We need to swap that for ‘be kind to yourself” world of thinking. Many of us dieters are very knowledgeable and know much about what’s healthy and what’s not, we need to put that into practise. If you feel you need more help on this buy yourself some books on healthy eating. Buy regular recipe books instead of diet ones. Find out what foods you love that have some healthy and nutrient rich ingredients. If you have never really enjoyed cooking for yourself and your family it may be worth joining a cooking class. Your family will thank you for it and so will you!

Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full

Learn to understand the signs your body makes. If you have been dieting for some time chances are this basic process has probably lost it’s way. We all have it, we are all capable of understanding our bodies own cues, for some of us it just takes a little practise. I find this really tough! If you have to wonder if you are hungry then you are not! If you ‘can’t tell’ then you are not hungry! Your body will tell you if it has gone too long without food. It’s a feeling in your tummy, not in your mouth. Spend a few seconds getting in tune with how you feel every time you reach for food, you will get to know the difference between eating for hunger and eating for other reasons (we will talk later about those). If this is something you struggle with perhaps try putting it in your journal next to the food you ate on a scale of 1-10. Simply write the number next to your Y or N, 1 being not hungry at all and 10 being extremely hungry. When you start following your body’s own cue’s to hunger, something else happens. We gain a huge level of self respect at having read and followed our body’s own cue’s. It’s a win win. Stopping ourselves from finishing what’s on the plate when we are full is quite a task too. I know! The best way to know when you are full is to ask yourself if you are still hungry as you go. When the answer is no, stop. I find dishing up only half my dinner helps. I can go back for more if I wish (and if I don’t, I have some to save for another meal!). Eat slowly and be in tune with your body. Put a 2nd number in your journal to indicate how satisfied you were at the end if your meal.

Here is a quick journal example:

Ham and cucumber sandwich on whole grain bread Y 7 6. So I considered this a healthy food and was relatively hungry (7). I wasn’t completely stuffed but felt comfortably full afterwards (6).

80/20

Balance is the key to happiness. Think healthy 80% of the time and 20% of the time blow caution to the wind and enjoy life. If you can follow this mantra in your head then go ahead, fabulous. If you are still in need of a little control then use your notes in your journal. Simply count up how many ‘Y’ and ‘N’s’ you have written in your journal. You should have roughly 8 Y’s to 2 N’s. If you have too many N’s it means you have been enjoying yourself, give yourself a pat on the back and tell yourself to try and reduce the N’s over the following days. If you have all Y’s then, again, a pat on the back is due, then have yourself an enjoyable day! Note these are rough estimates, following the signs your body makes is far more important than counting ANYTHING.

Move!

During my time as a fitness instructor I heard many excuses for not exercising.

-I hate exercise
-I work full time
-I don’t have time for exercise
-My doctor says I shouldn’t exercise
-I’m too tired
-It’s too hot
-It’s too cold
-I’m too busy
-My dog died
…and so on.
Don’t do activity you don’t enjoy. 

Find something you do enjoy and put all that energy you used to use on dieting into moving. Do some research and find out what will benefit you the most for you and your body. (Join my Body Exchange program, we have so much fun. oops, a little advertizing slipped in again) Start slowly. It should be a little challenging 3 or 4 days a week but does not have to be hard.

If you went along to your doctor with a bad back and after examination he gave you a prescription for physiotherapy, would you leave your GP saying I don’t have time for that? No, of course not, because you need your back to be mended right? Well think of activity in the same way. It is providing your body with the prescription it needs to stay fit and healthy. This is not about skinny you any more, these are not another set of diet rules, this is healthy you. The you that you will learn to love. You must give your body some love and this is how we do it.

How many times have you eaten something mindlessly and then said ‘I wish I hadn’t have eaten that’? Well that’s good thing about exercise, If you find some you enjoy I promise you that you will never come away after and say to yourself ‘I wish I hadn’t have done that’.

Move, move and move.

So there it is, 5 tips to Stop Dieting Start Living!

 

Please feel free to bombard me with your questions!