I thought I’d be happy if I lost weight…

So there it was, that pair of jeans I bought 6 months ago. They are a size 10, super stretchy, skinny and fitted, I'm pretty sure they will fit. Looking back now I remember how that felt, how my first thought was that I bet I won't even get my thighs into them let alone do them up. I had been wearing a size 14 for years, I felt comfy in them but they were no longer staying up. When I started to lose weight and to see myself looking trimmer and my clothes were feeling roomy (finally ... felt like it had taken ages but that's a story for another day) I popped into Zara and picked up a pair of jeans to motivate myself to stick to the plan. Choosing a size 12 would have been sensible but hey, you know me ... never half-hearted or half-assed ... which was my concern lol. If I got them over my thighs ... would I get them over my glutes ... and then do them up. eek ... what if they don't fit ... what if I hate the way they look ... what if ...

OK - enough with the self-doubt and negative self-talk missy ...  just put them on ...

So with a deep breath, that's what I did.

I genuinely thought that my whole life would be different if I just lost weight, I would feel better about myself, and yes that's true, I did. I would fit into my clothes, yes I'd started wearing a smaller size. I would be happy with my new figure, yes, I was happy enough although still had a way to go and being the typical overachiever I am, I felt like I needed a new challenge. A new level to reach and that didn't necessarily mean a smaller size.

So yes I'd lost weight ... goal achieved ...  what now?

Was I finally happy?

Was my life completely different?

What I didn't realise is that losing weight was just the beginning of my journey.

The start of a new adventure and something that would keep me motivated and focused on the road ahead.

So from my initial weight loss achievement, I decided to push the boundaries and compete, I became a bikini athlete and after working with a coach got onto the stage in a stupidly small bikini. I had no idea what I was doing, I was way out of my comfort zone, not only in the bikini but wearing heels, full makeup and showing off my new figure, lining up with seasoned athletes I was a fish out of the water. So I'm sure you can understand my amazement when I placed in two different competitions for two consecutive years, great fun and an incredible achievement, earning my FMC Pro Card, this year I'll be back on stage, whoop!

The point of my story today is simply this, we set goals, we work our asses off to achieve them and when we get close we seem to take our foot off the gas and accept our progress so far as 'being enough' ... feeling 'happy enough' with the result ...

Why do we settle?

Is it because we fear failure? Do we accept that 'mediocre' is good enough?

Yes, I've done better than I thought I would do, that's enough for me ... feeling lucky just to have made it so far. Do we just feel like we need a big glass of wine and a mental break?

Is accepting where we are about self-sabotage? Is it because we never really believed we could actually achieve that goal. Why is it that we are able to be focused and disciplined in the week and as soon as we see progress, we reward ourselves with a night out and end up back at square one come Monday morning.

I was thinking about this the other day and my initial reaction was its because we fear failure, when in fact I think it's likely that we fear success ...

This is because we don't know what life looks like once we've achieved our goal and for that reason, we settle, moving from outside our comfort zone to inside it. That is human nature.

I'll be happy if I lose weight.

Simply not even considering the unintended consequences of it.

Questions like this spring to mind ... what happens if I don't like how I feel? how will it affect my relationships? will my partner still find me sexy? will I still find my partner sexy? what are the things I will need to put into action once I've achieved my goal ...

What are those unintended consequences?

This dialogue is important to have as we see changes happen. Being honest and open-minded about where the road we are on is likely to take us is important to consider. This is something that I have tried and tested over the years and forms an important step we map out when we work together, the ladies on my Ultimate Body Formula Program do this at various stages throughout the program. We like to think of body transformation as a journey, not a line we cross ...

 

Find out more about the Ultimate Body Formula Program, download the Woman in Motion Cheat sheet HERE.

 

Gliding like a swan

Gliding like a swan

I came across this photo of our resident swan, don't know about you but I love watching them as they glide across the water, they are so incredibly majestic and beautiful to watch. Everything about them whispers serenity ... calm ... take time and I am reminded to stop and take in the view when I see them, I can't help but feel incredibly lucky to have these amazing creatures right here on our doorstep.

At the same time, this photo reminds me of how hard they work to make their glide look effortless, calm peaceful on top while their feet and legs work underneath. This a little like us right? Wearing a mask of calm while we live and function in organised chaos.

The biggest lesson for me is to take a breath and live in the moment, even if it is just for that moment.

This is no dress rehearsal, its life ... we are alive and living today, tomorrow a mystery and yesterday history ...

So be kind to yourself today and take the time to care for you.

Yes, that means slowing down and taking a moment to breathe, everything can wait for 10 minutes ...

To care and to be cared for is one of our basic human drivers, something we all need to do to feel valued and happy and satisfied with our lives. As women that need to nurture usually comes naturally and today that care starts here ... with you.

So consider this ... when was the last time you bought yourself some flowers or took a coffee break at a nice cafe with just you and a fabulous view, or refreshed your lingerie drawer ... for no one else but you?

If you haven't done anything like that for a little while, then grab your diary and choose a day this week, to take yourself out to buy flowers, lingerie and a nice coffee ... yes diarise the time now and don't cancel.

#youarewelcome #selflovefirst

 

The relationship we have with ourselves is one of the most meaningful relationships we can have, we know ourselves inside and out ... come from a place of kindness and compassion and just be ...

Find out how the ladies on the Ultimate Body Formula Program learn to be kinder to themselves every day and how this 'state of being' helps them achieve their goals.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

 

Slow Down … Be Kind … and say ‘I Am Enough’!

Slow Down … Be Kind … and say ‘I Am Enough’!

Being kind to others comes as second nature to most of us right?

We easily encourage another person, compliment them, smile at them, let them know that they are doing a great job .... that they are loved and supported.

Why is it so much harder for us to be kind to ourselves?

After having a tough day we often listen to our inner critic to review what's gone wrong ... you should have ... why did you say that? ... didn't you realise that ... we feel anxious, berated and like we've failed, certainly not the way we treat others we care about.

Now consider how you would have treated a friend in this scenario. Differently? For most of us, the answer is yes. We would listen, empathise, encourage and make that person feel like we are on their side, in their corner and if asked we help them come up with a plan to move forward ... isn't this what friends do?

There is enough negativity in the world so my challenge every day is to change it! and that starts with the way I treat and think about myself and the way I talk to myself. Negative self-talk is so, well negative! I'm realising how important it is to love and treat myself the way I treat those I love and care about. In fact, being in a healthy relationship with myself is proving very important for my overall well-being. It is teaching me that kindness, love is the foundation for healing and personal growth. It provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing me to make mistakes, forgive myself, embrace my imperfections and motivate myself with kindness.

So if you are recognising negative self-talk in your behaviour, do not worry my friend, because you can learn and practise being kinder to you ...

 

Here are a few ideas you can put into practice today ...

Diarise time for you ...

Take some time to unplug from your phone, computer, social media, meetings and demands made on you by everyone in your world. Your system needs time to reboot and refocus. So allow yourself some time, could be 3 10 minute breaks where you make a cup of tea and drink it while you take in a view of a lovely painting, your garden, a bunch of flowers, listen to music, do some yoga, or guided meditation ... something other than work-related stuff that demands your energy and attention in every other waking moment.  Do something that calms your mind and brings you joy.

Listen & acknowledge how you are feeling ... then accept & appreciate yourself

Rather than deny how you are feeling, be honest and acknowledge where you are at, maybe feeling satisfied with life and totally chilled, maybe frustrated and stressed ... being kind to yourself means allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. Instead of judging your emotions or trying to numb them, you give yourself permission to experience them, without judging yourself. This goes hand in hand with self-acceptance which means that you stop trying to change yourself into something you’re not and at the same time be open to discovering the real person you are. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, we all make silly mistakes and we all fail from time to time.

None of us is perfect ...

(except for my dad - he always sings this Mac Davis Song to me when I see him - Oh lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way, can't wait to look in the mirror because I get better looking each day ... love him - lol)

By accepting yourself just the way you are, you make space for new experiences, new hopes and dreams, and you make room to become who you really are.
Take care of your body first ...

This is a little like the safety announcement on an aeroplane when we are told to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before helping anyone else ... getting good nourishing food in, enough sleep and being active daily without compromise is the best way to be kind to yourself before anyone else ... the reason is simple, without you functioning at 100% you can't help others effectively. We think we can and we try our best but this is one thing that will come back and bite you. This is one thing we need to do ... it is about raising the level of necessity and prioritising yourself.

Give thanks for your achievements, no matter how small ...

It is much easier to tell someone else how amazing they are and congratulate them on their achievements than it is to do just that to ourselves. It feels conceited and like we shouldn't need to do so, because well, they are our achievements ... the value in doing this for ourselves is in the insight and awareness it brings for continual forward motion, growth and development. So the next time you achieve something small, stop and acknowledge it and say something to yourself like ... good effort! or well done, or awesome job is done!

Make friends with your biggest critic ...

You know that judgmental voice we adopt when we berate ourselves for our actions, it sounds like a continual stream of criticism - negative self-talk - tends to push us into a state where we will do anything to silence it, we push it away, we ignore it, we end up punishing ourselves and bury our heads in the sand, when all we really need to do is listen from a distance, in a non-judgemental way and acknowledge that the voice is simply trying to protect us, to ensure we are prepared should we be faced with a repeat performance. So rather than feeling fearful, open ears and eyes, listen and see with curiosity. When you hear that self-talk and it begins to drag you down with negative thoughts, try to engage with that voice and begin a dialogue. What is driving this? What is it trying to tell you? Then be compassionate with yourself and accept your feelings. As soon as you realise that your critical voice is ultimately trying to help you and when you try to understand its underlying fears and needs, it will lose its power. Because in the end, the most effective way to approach yourself is from a place of kindness and compassion.

Tell yourself “I am enough” every day !!

Choose to believe you are enough ... put a positive perspective on just like you would a pair of glasses. These glasses bring in to focus the good stuff. Then tell yourself that you are enough at regular intervals throughout the day. Try this, on waking to say: I am enough! 3 times and boldly. Then 1/2 way through your day, ask yourself Am I enough? and check in with your mindset, follow this up with a bold I am enough statement. Then before you go to bed say - I have lived today to the full because I am enough! (even if you know there is room for improvement) Be consistent with this practise and give it a go for 7 days. Set an alarm on your phone that buzzes at specific intervals in your day to remind you to do this ...

 

The relationship we have with ourselves is one of the most meaningful relationships we can have, we know ourselves inside and out ...

Choose to come from a place of kindness and compassion and just be ...

Find out how the ladies on the Ultimate Body Formula Program learn to be kinder to themselves every day and how this state of being helps them achieve their goals.

Are you clear about your reality ?

Are you clear about your reality ?

It takes accepting where you are to move forward ...

Ever find yourself avoiding looking at yourself in the mirror?

I know what I look like, I would say.

The truth is that I had no idea, I hadn't taken a proper look at myself for years.

and ... it was only when I saw myself in photos or caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror that I was reminded how much I hated that feeling

... deflated, mediocre, brought down to reality.

Let's face it if our friends aren't honest if our partners won't say anything if we avoid trying to fit into clothes we know are too small then what chance do we have of actually getting to grips with where we are and how far away we are from the picture we have in our heads of how things are supposed to be?

 

This is why it takes a brave soul to take a hard look at their reality and while you may not like what you see,  accepting it as the place you are right now ... is the first step to learning to love yourself and seeing  yourself through eyes that are kinder, honest and will most certainly be the catalyst that moves you forward ...

Forget about being a bikini model.

... all I wanted to do was fit into my clothes

... just wanted to climb the stairs without feeling breathless

... just to walk the dogs with energy and have some left afterwards

... just keep up with the demands of my day and avoid collapsing in a heap at the end of it

These are some of the simple things we forget about because we get numb to the pain of our reality.

It was only when I got honest about where I was and clear about where I wanted to be that I found the strength and determination to change my situation.

There is a way, there is a path that will get you to where you want to be, to the point where you love your life and feel totally comfortable in your skin.

The point where you live life to the full and love everything in it ... including yourself

All you have to do is find it ...

Find out how the ladies on my Ultimate Body Formula program have learned to love themselves again ...

The three-step formula helping women use their drive for success get the body they want, feel stronger and more confident with boundless energy

Why we love WINNING …

Why we love WINNING …

Mindset Series #6

Understanding the mindset of the WINNER

Ever considered why you love winning?

Think about the thrill of victory, the satisfaction of accomplishment, the gratification of loving relationships, or even the simple pleasure of savouring a delicious treat.

These are some of the experiences that make life worth living, and there is a brain chemical primarily responsible for creating those pleasurable feelings.

Question is how do we stimulate the release of this chemical ... and does a winning mindset rely on it?

There are several schools of thought that try classify us into categories of performance or habit or goals or personality types. Telling us about our strengths and weaknesses the things we are good at and the things that need improvement. Why do we love these tests so much? and do they really tell us anything about ourselves we don't already know? I love to learn and always try to improve my mind, body, attitude, life, not entirely sure why I have this inherent drive in me but I'm sure most people do. We all want more, we all want better don't we? ... I'm no different and as a result, I love testing myself and I love feeling like I'm winning.

The question is how many of us will actually do the work to get better, to get stronger to make the changes necessary to win? and what do we need to do to achieve those objectives? For the athlete, it's about practice, repetition, nutrition, incremental improvements over time, measured performance to the point of competition and beyond, one season after the next. The same is true for anything in life, the only difference is the extent of the measure, the level of monitoring and of course the drive to win. Now I'm not suggesting that we all need to be first at everything in life, this is about a mindset, your mindset that pushes you towards being your best. That in itself is winning, agree?

In my experience ... anything that gets measured (is focused on and will improve over time) gets done.

With this in mind, I started this year reviewing my performance for the past year and shared some of my thoughts in a blog post at the start of the year. I have planned out my year and have a really clear vision of what I want to achieve so I am super motivated to grow and improve and for the first time ever I will be measuring things that really matter to me. I have spent the last two years investing in my business by working with business coaches. Putting everything I have learned into practice has moved me forward much faster than I could ever have done on my own. I have no doubt that my investment in personal and business development will continue because that's something I feel passionate about and value in my own life. Finding the right coach at the right point in your journey is the key to your success, I can say that because for me it is true.

How am I going to make the leaps I plan to make? given my recent research into mindset ... the answer begins with a D!!

Think about the thrill of victory, the satisfaction of accomplishment, the gratification of loving relationships, or even the simple pleasure of savouring a delicious treat. These are some of the experiences that make life worth living, and dopamine is the brain chemical primarily responsible for creating those pleasurable feelings. Dopamine influences almost every aspect of life, from the ability to feel pleasure and happiness to motivation, energy, and even the power to control movement. Low dopamine levels severely diminish the physiological and cognitive responses that combine to make each day enjoyable, but there are many natural, healthy ways to boost dopamine levels and recapture the zest for life. - www.braintropic.com

So what is DOPAMINE exactly ...

In popular culture and media, dopamine is often seen as the main chemical of pleasure, but the current opinion in pharmacology is that dopamine instead confers motivational salience; in other words, dopamine signals the perceived motivational prominence (i.e., the desirability or aversiveness) of an outcome, which in turn propels the organism's behaviour toward or away from achieving that outcome. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional response, and it enables us not only to see rewards but to take action to move toward them. – Psychology Today

So we have some very interesting sounding outcomes to consider when talking about dopamine. From recapturing the zest for life to the chemical of pleasure we chase without even realising it, to regulating our emotional responses and our understanding of rewards to move towards them ... all very cool indeed!

Not only does it help us feel good but we can use this amazing chemical to boost our productivity which has to be the way forward for boosting our achievements and the cycle continues. Here are a few things you can do to boost your dopamine levels and feel amazing every day! 

Here are 7 things you can do to increase dopamine and boost productivity:

FINISH WHAT YOU BEGIN ...

Dopamine increases when we finish tasks, small or large, it doesn't really matter. Make a list of things you need to do and tick them off as you go, in fact, if you start your day with achieving one small task like making your bed, you will set yourself up for the day and want to continue on that brain-boosting path of getting stuff done.

GET ACTIVE ...

I know you know this. The benefits of physical exercise are vast, an endorphin rush after you have sweated and felt the workout is something that really helps to keep those of us who are regular exercisers doing just that, getting sweaty and working out! Stress relief, improved focus, better physical health and lasting energy that makes us more productive, this boosts our dopamine levels. Whether you are a gym goer or like to walk, run, cycle or dance, it doesn't matter, you will feel better for doing it.

BE CONSISTENT ...

This goes hand in hand with finishing what you begin, being consistent and marking these days off in a calendar to show how many days you have been successful is a great way to increase dopamine levels. Use a journal or list your objectives in your calendar, then mark off the days you do what you set out to do in your calendar and keep it consistent. Hit your goals and that feel good factor will last.

GET CREATIVE ...

Unleashing your creativity enables us to be focused or get into a flow where everything seems possible. Dopamine is the brain chemical that allows us to get into this state.  So find a creative outlet you enjoy and do it often.

GET YOUR GROOVE ON ...

Listen to music! It has an incredible effect on us, think about this, if you're feeling a bit flat or down and you put on your favourite music, before you know it you'll be dancing away and feeling a whole lot better about things. The reason for this is that listening to music has the same effect as eating our favourite foods so when you’re feeling blue, listen to music.

FEED YOUR MIND ...

I love listening to motivational speeches. If I am ever feeling a little lost or like I need to focus, especially good for me in the gym! Double dopamine boost for me ... thank you very much indeed. Here is one of my favourite speeches.

Best Motivational Speech Compilation EVER #14 - DISCIPLINE | 30-Minutes of the Best Motivation

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ULTIMATE BODY FORMULA FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE ... SEE YOURSELF THROUGH THE EYES OF A WINNER