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Your success will depend almost entirely on how well you can motivate yourself.

Consider: a self-motivated but otherwise average person always outperforms a genius who can’t get going.

When it comes to achieving any goal, having a propelling reason behind why you want to accomplish it is the number 1 key to of success. However, if your motivation is purely for external rewards to buy big things, validation, and recognition and success, no matter how hard you try you will never find happiness.

You will be forever running away from feelings of not good enough, unworthiness and not-enoughness rather than running towards the very best version of you.

External Motivation

External motivation is the desire to gain a reward or avoid an adverse outcome and it is driven by an outside/ external demand obligation or reward.

Here are a couple of examples of external motivation.

>You complete a 10km fun run solely because you want to beat your friends time and show you are better than him.

>You decide to start your health and fitness journey because the doctor told you should lose weight or you will have to take diabetes medication.

>You work overtime on a project with a strict deadline because your boss has told you there is a cash bonus if it’s completed on time.

So what do you think happens to the runner who beats his friend’s race time, the guy who needs to lose weight because his dr told him so or the hard worker driven by financial reward.

They succeed in their challenge, collect their prize and forget about it. Do they learn anything?

Maybe?

Do they continue with the hard work, training and push through when things are tough.

Unlikely.

Are any of these familiar?

The young woman who feels alone and desperately wants a boyfriend. Struggles with her self-esteem and feeling worthy because she believes she is fat. Spends hours on social media comparing herself to others and eventually decides to compete in a bikini competition because she sees the other girls looking amazing on the but also just how many likes and comments they get online.

Or the guy who is depressed and struggles with his self-image so he starts his own business. He thrives on getting the positive feedback and validation from others, the success and recognition. But deep down he feels empty inside because he never really believed in himself.

Using motivation to kick start 

The majority of us start a health and fitness goal start by chasing an external reward.

I want to lose 5kg, I want to fit into my size ten clothes, I want to look great at the beach.

The translates to I want more attention from the opposite sex, I don’t want to buy a new wardrobe or I am seeking validation from friends and family.

It can also mean moving away from discomfort, eg not being teased, being able to sit comfortably on a plane.

All studies show that whilst moving away from pain, chasing validation and likes is a great way to get you started validation from others burns bright and fast, but extinguishes quick.

So what is the answer?

Doing something for you.

Striving toward being the best version of yourself.

Intrinsic Motivation AKA Self-Motivation

Intrinsic motivation aka self-motivation involves engaging in a behaviour because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.

Studies show intrinsic motivation is more likely to produce long-term behaviour change, and lead to more personal fulfilment.

Intrinsic motivation is also linked with your values and having a powerful why.

When your ‘why’ is great enough, your conscious and subconscious mind will help you to align your actions in accordance with achieving your goal.

Having a powerful why will give us the determination to overcome any setbacks.

Ask yourself why do did you work out today or yesterday or last week?

Skip past the I want to look good naked and dig a little deeper.

Is it to be a better role model for your kids?

Is it to lead a long happy healthy life because you have seen so many others struggle and suffer as they age?

Is it that being able to create some space and time for yourself makes you a better wife, mum and friend?

Is that that feeling confident in your skin means you feel more able to speak up at work?

Is it that you realize you’re not living up to your potential, your letting your standards for yourself slip in all different area of your life?

Is it that you know deep down you have so much more potential to give?

Take a moment now to ponder what is your why, why do you show up, even on the days you don’t want to.  Maybe it’s not in the gym, but at home or at work or in places where you need to motivate yourself?

The secret to limitless motivation

We all have an internal drive to be the best version of us. If you want to start the ball rolling and tap into that limitless motivation I encourage you to take some time and answer these questions?

If you could imagine yourself 6 months into the future living your healthiest life what would you be doing every day?

If your weight, size or bf % wasn’t an issue what would you be doing differently than you are now?

If you could take one step towards being the best version of you right now, what would that step be?

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There has been more and more interest in the news about the prevalence and rise of Eating disorders and disordered eating.

So what exactly is disordered eating? What things should we be looking out for and should we be worried?

Firstly I want to break a couple of myths around Eating disorders and disordered eating.

Myth 1:

Unfortunately what is often portrayed in the media is the sensationalized stick-thin young girl surrounded by feeding tubes. The truth is anorexia nervosa is actually the least commonly diagnosed, the most common Eating disorder diagnosis is binge eating.

Myth 2:

You cannot tell someone has an Eating disorder just by looking at them, or judging them on their weight. Most sufferers have normal weight and normal BMI.

Myth 3:

You can help someone overcome an Eating disorder just by forcing them to eat, or making them stop exercising. Forcing someone to stop their coping behaviours without providing them support and strategies to manage the distress will likely lead to secret behaviour or different disordered behaviours being undertaken.

If you have a client who you are worried about, or you are worried for yourself it is important they seek professional help.

 

So what is the difference between Eating disorder and Disordered eating?

Eating disorders, disordered eating and dieting all exist on a spectrum. A spectrum of behaviours and thoughts around food, exercise and our bodies.

> Negative thoughts will lead to negative behaviours.

> Positive thoughts will lead to positive behaviours.

Whilst people will argue that changing your diet, exercising more and looking after your self are all health-positive behaviours, it is the underlying negative thoughts about one’s self that pushes these behaviours into excessive, rigid and controlling behaviour patterns.

Thoughts and behaviours down the negative end are often referred to as a disturbed pattern or disordered pattern or abnormal pattern which is where the term disordered eating comes from.

 

Can you have an eating disorder without having disordered eating?

No, To have an Eating disorder you must have disordered eating habits, behaviours around food and exercise which impact on your physical and mental health.

To be diagnosed with an Eating disorder means your behaviours need to be severe enough to meet the criteria under the DSM5. A diagnosis is usually given by a clinical psychologist or registered doctor. You can still have extremely distressing disordered eating behaviours it is just that it hasn’t been diagnosed yet.

 

So is it really that bad if I have some weird habits around food?

Some people will have disordered eating habits their whole life and accept it as normal and not feel the need to change or seek help.

Other people may have disordered eating habits like over-exercising or undereating that only pop up in times of stress.

And others will only have a few noticeable behaviours but are consumed with thoughts and fears around food, socialising and dieting. Only you can answer the degree which it is affecting you.

 

What are Eating disorder behaviours?

Extreme intake restriction

Bingeing and purging

Obsessive exercising/ compensating

Disturbed thoughts and feelings about one’s body

Avoidance of social situations where food is involved

 

What are disorder eating behaviours?

Chronic restrained/under eating;

eg: consistently eating in a 500 calorie deficit for many months or years

Compulsive eating/ secret eating

eg: feeling as if you HAVE to eat a bar of chocolate and are unable to stop

Cigid calorie and macro counting

eg: prepping food every single day to ensure macros are not over or under

yo-yo dieting/ diet hopping

eg: jumping from paleo to keto to Atkins

Excessive exercise

eg: training for hours on end or during injury

Eating only one type of food

eg: eating only ‘green’ food or food that is ‘clean’

Eliminating whole food groups (protein/carbs/fats)

eg: cutting out all carbs

Bingeing (subjective or binge)

eg: excessive eating in one sitting

Avoiding social occasions around food or eating in front of others

eg: bringing food in a Tupperware container to Christmas dinner

Compensatory behaviours

eg: Laxatives, water loading and fat burner/supplements

 

Here is an example of what sort of behaviours might show up

 

You might be eating out at a restaurant with friends. If someone is sitting down the healthy end, they can choose to eat and steak AND a desert because that is in alignment with their hunger cues, and they have no feelings of guilt about breaking a diet or cheating.

Compared to someone who is impaired and is so unable to choose a meal of the menu due to fears and thoughts and feelings around food that they have pre-prepared their own meal in a Tupperware box.

 

I think I have disordered eating should I be worried?

The longer someone stays in a disordered pattern of eating and a negative headspace around food, exercise, your body, the higher the chance of developing an Eating disorder.

Challenging these thoughts and behaviours will most often involve the support of a professional trained in these areas to break the cycle. Unfortunately, a lot of people I see try to manage the behaviours by being stricter, more rigid, or swapping the behaviour for something else. Without digging deeper under the surface as to why they are struggling in the first place.

Without recognizing the beliefs and thoughts that are driving these behaviours they can often resurface down the track with even more severity.

 

Where should I go for help?

The first step is to speak with a GP for a full health check, there are a number of health risks of disordered eating. From there you can get a referral to a psychologist who specialises in working with Eating disorders.

Most states have an Eating disorder service and the The butterfly foundation have a national support helpline.

 

 

 


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Every day as a Personal Trainer I hear more or less the same questions just asked in different ways.  I have the same conversations about fat loss, getting stronger about sets and reps and of course getting abs.

Here are the three most common questions I get as a personal trainer:

Will I get bulky?

This question is 100% from females, so guys read on.

For female’s, it is very hard to grow muscle naturally through exercise and nutrition as we have different hormones to men. If you’re just starting out to strength training and are absolutely going all out it in your training the top end of muscle gain over 1 year would be 4-5 kgs.

Most of us would be looking at about 2kgs in the first year if you are training regularly and consistently.

With your training is likely to be some body composition changes as in losing fat, and so your weight may actually be the same but you will have more muscle and less fat.

Getting bulky muscles will take a matter of years and dedicated training The bodybuilders you see looking swole have put years of dedication into their training, nutrition and lifestyle to achieve that look. Certainly, some of us are genetically blessed to put on muscle more readily or to have a body shape where muscle mass can appear unevenly distributed. If this is the case then have a look at your programming and individualise it to suit your needs.

How much Cardio should I do?

The second part of this question, spoken or unspoken is How much cardio should I do to burn fat?

The majority of people prioritize vast amounts of cardio and conditioning while starving themselves to see fat loss results.

Whilst this may work in the short run, to continue seeing results more cardio is needed and calories are reduced further. There becomes a point where there is nowhere left to reduce and progress stalls and then often weight returns.

This training can often lead an undesirable physique., where a person can be quite lean looking but still carry fit in trouble spots and have little muscle tone.

Proper amounts of cardio and conditioning work are healthy and fine to do. But they do not build shape and tone as strength training does. The majority of us are in the gym to tone up, create shape and sculpt some muscle which is where the weights come in.

While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, strength training has what is known as high EPOC or This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.

Lifting weights also burn calories during the workout, whilst maybe not at quite the same rate as cardio, however, weights also have the benefit of EPOC ( Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Lifting weight burns calories after exercise due to muscle break down and repairing and EPOC. Lifting weights can burn calories for up to 38 hours after exercise due to muscle break down and repair.

Any movement will burn calories, walking, swimming, bike riding, however, some will burn at a higher rate than others.

What’s the best exercise to get abs

I am yet to meet someone in the gym who doesn’t list one of their goals to get abs. Unfortunately, most gym goers are not going to achieve this, due to misinformation and a lack of a clear goal as to how to get there. Getting abs is 99% nutrition,  what you are eating outside of the gym is going to have a far greater impact than the exercises you are doing on the gym floor.

To get abs you need to be visibly lean enough to see the abdominal muscles underneath. To get lean enough you need to be consistently in a calorie deficit for long enough for your body fat to drop to around 6 – 9% for guys and 12 – 15% for females. To get this result it is likely you will need to sacrifice some socializing, cut out alcohol and prep your food in advance to ensure you are getting the correct calorie intake. This requires dedication, commitment and proper planning.

When people tell me they are in the gym to do “ab day” or “core finisher” I always ask why? Core and structural abdominal exercises are great, they help with your posture, your balance and all sorts of daily life functions like walking, lifting and twisting.

Doing 100 crunches is probably going to hurt your back more than anything else.

If you have asked your trainer this question, googled it, or dreamt about it. Don’t worry you are not alone.

I have no doubt I will keep getting asked and keep answering these three questions for many years to come.

 

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


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Our eating habits are not black and white, nor are they linear they sit on a spectrum from a healthy relationship with food and normal eating patterns all the way to the other end of the spectrum for diagnosed eating disorders.

The good news is we are slowly starting to talk about the impact of disordered eating, the bad news is from my experience working as an eating disorder counsellor it is much much more prevalent than we think.

Binge eating falls under the spectrum of disordered or disturbed eating patterns.

A binge is defined by two things

1: a caloric intake which is far greater than normal eating
2: where someone feels out of control or unable to stop themselves whilst eating

 

Subjective binge

Is when someone feels like they have binged, but it may be only a larger meal than their usual restricted intake. An example of this is someone who is dieting down for comp and eats twice as much as they normally would, but the amount of food eaten is quite small. You may also hear someone say they have “binged on chocolate” and whilst the amount is only 2 squares, it is the feeling of being out of control that is a worry for most people.

Recurring binges can lead to disordered eating habits as well as guilt, shame and discomfort. For someone struggling consistently with episodes of Binge eating is can turn into a full-blown Eating disorder.

Why do we Binge?

I often hear clients and trainers talking about their “binge” over the weekend, or looking forward to a cheat meal, or “day off”.
Patterns and behaviours that restrict food, all or nothing thinking, distorted beliefs about food and emotional eating patterns can all lead to someone binge eating.

Restriction of food

The more time we spend in a calorie deficit the more our body will try to resist and reset. When we are dieting our body’s “self-defence” system will set off a number of different hormonal responses, which started well back in the Caveman days of feast and famine. These responses include increased Ghrelin, increased appetite, increased thoughts and pre-occupation about food. These drivers and cues are physiologically driven and we often believe that we should be using our willpower alone to fight these urges. The truth is we are fighting our own bodies defence system, and this is a fight we will rarely win.

If you are dieting be aware that these physical cues and triggers are normal and have plans in place to manage them. For your peace of mind be aware of the overwhelming urge to eat and to overeat comes from a physiological driver and is not a test of your will power.

All or nothing thinking

The second we are told we can’t have something, what happens? We want it more and more. So the restrictive cutting out whole food groups crash diet are really just setting us up for failure. We are told no dairy, sugar or alcohol. And so when we inevitably slip off the bandwagon because LIFE HAPPENS this then triggers dietary disinhibition. Or the basically the F-it thoughts. Any of these familiar?

  • Well I have ruined it anyway might as well keep going
  • This might be my last chance to eat this deliciousness, I am going to go for it
  • I am going to break the rules, no one tells me what to do, screw this diet
  • I’ve been so good, I deserve this!

What usually follows is not just a cookie or two but a packet of the cookie, then the ice-cream and the whole pantry. The more regular this happens the more likely it is to turn into a pattern of binge eating.

Our unconscious thoughts about food

Food and diet is now part of our culture and our identity. If we are a health nut we have no problems dropping $12 on an organic maca tea smoothie. If we are a vegetarian we will get excited about the latest plant food restaurant. If we are paleo we will proudly sip our bulletproof coffee and tell everyone about it.
We all have a relationship with food and our diet which stems way back to the messages we heard growing up and the actions and behaviours we saw around us. These conversations form our beliefs about food, diets and health.

Maybe you heard conversations where people were judged on their gluttony or poor food choices. Perhaps you grew up only eating homegrown and organic fruit and vegetables and avoiding all sugars because it was better for the environment and sugar is toxic. Possibly every time something good happened the family was rewarded by going out for ice cream.
Any of these beliefs about food could set someone up for a pattern to overeat, secretly eat or binge eat. Black and white thinking about food being good or bad, distorted beliefs about food, identity and health can all lead to behaviours that result in a binge.

Emotional eating patterns

We ALL have a relationship with food. Food is joy, food is comfort and food is company.
The fastest way to change your mood is to grab a sugary treat. So if you are feeling low or sad food is the first thing we turn to. It is however only a short-term solution for what may be a deeper issue, and a way to avoid negative thoughts and feelings. Quite quickly this pattern can develop into
– negative thoughts and feelings – comfort eat- feelings of guilt and shame – comfort eat to avoid these negative emotions-

The challenge here is being aware of the triggers and emotions that drive emotional eating and create new strategies and habits to create healthier habits rather than turning to Ben and Jerrys every time you have a bad day.

Understanding why Binges occur is the first step to being able to develop coping strategies and alternative habits to manage a binge episode.

If you are struggling with your relationship with food feel free to join my supportive FB community we chat about building a healthy relationship with food, our bodies and fitness.


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Self-love and body positivity are all the current rage in marketing and #inspo. I applaud everyone who posts their bikinis pics feeling all jazzed and confident with the tag #bodypositive. But for most people this concept is unrealistic and these images feel completely fake and contribute to those feelings of unworthiness.

 

A client said to me, I saw this post on Instagram that said you just have to put on a bikini and love your body and that’s all there was to it.

“that’s just never going to happen”.

And she is 100% right that is really unrealistic for most people and in fact  just gives them one more thing to feel like they should be doing but are failing at.

If you have had a chequered relationship with your body, with food or fitness just loving yourself is not going to be a quick or easy task,

To say to your body I am going to forget the years of torture and torment I put you through and instead just say, I love you just the way you are, it’s not going to work.

 

So my suggestion is to lets completely tone it down, forget about loving our body and instead focus on something we all should be working towards and able to achieve.

Let’s start with practising kindness towards our body and our self, respecting our body and accepting our body.

I think respect and acceptance are what most people can work towards and most people should be working towards rather than the fluffy feel good self-love.

 

So, I’ve got four tips for you; how to literally like your body.

 

TIP #1

 

Change the self-talk

 

When you notice you are having these same negative dialogue with yourself;

Saying “I don’t like this about myself, I hate this about myself”

“Oh, this feels Yuck. I hate my belly, I hate my arms, I hate my legs”,

Notice it and stop it.

Nothing good will come from body shaming and hating yourself.

Repeating that internal dialogue is only going to just re-emphasize the thoughts and the negative thoughts that you have about your body.

 

As soon as you notice this negative story creeping in break the cycle by:

1: saying something kind about your self

2:Stating out loud one part of your body you like

3:Stopping and start an activity that is pleasure able and kind to yourself; brush your hair, paint your nails, pick out a nice outfit.

 

Begin by paying attention and practicing  awareness where we go down that shame spiral,  so that you can bring these thoughts back to a place of kindness.

 

TIP #2

 

Don’t join in body hate.

I notice so often then when we get into groups it is common to create a group bond by talking down to ourselves.  Spending time with friends where negative conversations about bodies constantly come up can normalize body dissatisfaction and body hate.

If you receive a compliment it is expected the response is downplayed,  and deflected to something which puts a negative spin on it.

I love your new haircut!

Ohhhh I only got a fringe to hide my wrinkles.

When you notice that you’re having these sort of conversations both with friends or family ask yourself

Is this a positive conversation?

Is this a productive conversation?

Is this something that’s going to make me feel better or worse afterwards?

 

Knowing that if the answer is no do not be afraid to speak up, change the topic.

 

TIP #3

The comparison trap.

When you are spending time with friends, also when you are spending time on social media and alone. Think about how much time you spend looking at other people’s bodies, comparing yourself to other people’s bodies, commenting on other people’s bodies, and around people who constantly comment and critique on other people’s bodies.

How many hours of the day are given to these kinds of thoughts, this headspace and this negativity?

When we spend time comparing ourselves with someone else, it’s only going to lead to more negative feeling for ourselves. Start with culling your social media, unfollow anyone who makes you feel negative towards your body or yourself.

Be prepared to have this conversation with your friends or family that when they are either criticizing someone else’s body or comparing themselves to someone else, it is going to be creating negative feelings for both of you.

Try instead, “let’s see how long we can go without making a negative comment about our appearance or someone else’s body.

So, having a conversation about what? Things are like could we talk about or just about how we can possibly let go of that comparison of “she looks like this, I wish I looked like that” sort of thing.

 

TIP #4

Do something for yourself and your body that you have never done before.

Something completely different that might be fun, might be crazy, it might be something which you would love to try but you’re too scared to.

Maybe try rock climbing; it could be going for a long walk with some beautiful scenery, it could be jumping out of a plane or it could be signing up for your first 5km fun run.

Putting your attention to something that your body can do rather than what it looks like is something that can really kind of perhaps open up your eyes and create space for more positive thoughts about your body to come in.


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One thing I know for sure is we are completely overwhelmed and confused about all the nutrition info out there. We get our information from health and fitness magazines, from personal trainers, from Instagram, documentaries and from the chick who sits next to us in the office.

With the influx of information, it is no wonder we are all completely confused baffled, but marketing companies are paying big bucks to keep you that way.

Supplements, pills and detoxes are all part of a regular ‘healthy’ diet even though none of them has been shown to work. My cupboard is full of green powders, multi-vitamins and fat burning supplements that have no evidence of any health benefits, and are a waste of money. I could have bought myself a nice holiday with all that money down the toilet, literally.

First let me in on a secret, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nutrition does not have to be confusing or overwhelming, in fact, the simpler it is, the more likely it will be to work.

There is no secret to belly fat, no berry that has cured cancer, and no special shake that will give you the body of your dreams.

 

Clickbait & superfoods

Journalists are faced with new challenges to make food interesting, trendy and exciting. There are only so many different ways you can encourage people to drink more water and so the click-bait titles are part of the job description

“I drank 3 litres of water every day for a month and here’s what happened”

“The personal trainers shocking secret to lose belly-fat”

Don’t worry I would click on them too, only to be disappointed about a fluffy article about nothing.

In fact, food marketing is a multi-million dollar industry, with seasonal trends being researched and invested. Just like the clothing industry already knows what you are wearing next season as does the food industry know what’s the next superfood.

“Forecasting which health foods will make that leap from a fad to staple has become a big business, particularly as more consumers prioritize nutrition.”

Spinach was the new lettuce.

Then kale was cool.

New celery is the new Kale.

How do we know what is real and what is false?

Understand that superfoods are just a marketing scam, there will always be a new superfood which is more expensive than the alternative.

By pricing them high it feeds into the belief that we are eating healthier as we are spending more money. This could not be further from the truth.

The benefits are minimal at best, and all the is happening is your wallet is taking a beating.

So super-foods, if you like the taste go ahead and buy it, but you don’t need it in your diet and you are just as well off saving your money.

 

Evaluating research

Do your research, don’t grab something just because someone has recommended it, be a trainer or health professional. Start with Google in both the positive and the negative, not just information to support the claim.

benefits of celery juice

Negatives of celery juice

does celery juice actually work

See if you can find the research study that this information study came from.

Unfortunately, many people present information and claim it as fact when it may not be evidence-based.

 

So how do we know what information is reliable?

These questions can help us evaluate the credibility of information:

  • Is this written by a qualified and registered health professional (e.g. GP, dietitian, psychologist)?
  • Is the author free of commercial interests (i.e. they are not trying to sell you a product, service, or a story)?
  • Does the article include reliable evidence to back up its claims (i.e. several large research studies conducted rather than anecdotal stories or one-off studies)?
  • Is enough information provided for you to check the background research for yourself (i.e., research citations)?
  • Was there a research study done? How long was the study? How many people were studied? The more information the better.

By keeping your eyes open for facts and not sensationalized information you can save your worries and your wallet.

If you are feeling confused an overwhelmed about nutrtion I have great news, I have created a brand new online course