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The truth is weight-loss companies, fitness and wellness companies know how to sell to our insecurities. They make us feel insecure and unworthy, and the more and more of these messages we hear, the more desperate we become to change our bodies.
The last piece of the puzzle in the dieting rollercoaster is your thoughts, beliefs and cognitions.
Thinking of a diet as only a short-term thing will ensure that after the diet is overweight will return. Even more so using diets to manage feelings of unworthiness ensure that no matter what changes in your body you will never feel satisfied internally.

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Short-term thinking

If you can’t see yourself sticking to your diet one year from now, you need to re-think your strategy. There is no point starting an 8-week shred with no plan as to what you might do after the diet is done.
Unfortunately for most people fat loss starts from a place of desperation. We are seeking short term-solutions and immediate gratification. We tell ourselves it’s worth depriving ourselves of food, socializing, energy. It will all be worth it when we get our goal. Our focus is plainly on the goal with no thought after how we might maintain these goals or go back to some sort of normal life.
For most of us, we won’t even get close to our goal because of all the reasons we mentioned before, our body is working hard to keep us in homeostasis. You are also relying solely on willpower to get you through the torture of another meal of chicken and broccoli. If you don’t like the way you eat, you won’t stick to it for long, and it’ll only be a matter of time before life happens and you ‘cheat’

 

 

The f*ck it mentality

For people who have dieted before the Fu*ck it mentality is common. Weekdays have been going well, sticking to the plan and then the weekend rolls around. A couple of wines, some nice Avo on toast and the diet is broken. From here there are two options.
Option 1 Get back on the bandwagon the next day and keep working towards your goal. Option 2 Say F*ck it and get 2 large pizzas and 1liter of coke for dinner followed by a bowl of Messina.
The next day we feel so guilty and ashamed we keep going down this path of destruction, comforting ourselves with our favourite Burger and telling ourselves we will start all over on Monday.
Don’t’ worry we have all been there. This second hit of failure now compounds into feelings of guilt and shame and the cycle starts over once again.

 

Shame & guilt

Starting our new diet from a place of shame and failure is a guaranteed failure. Because no matter what your goal is the goalposts will always be one step in front. What you are chasing is not a number on the scale but a sense of worthiness and accomplishment.
We feel unworthy and unhappy in our skin, mostly internalised from messages around us both from social media as well as the important influencers in our life.
We believe that the solution to this problem lies with weight loss, a new diet, a new commitment.
We treat our diet as a sprint, not a marathon. We believe there are only two options either fail or succeed. We decide the only way forward it to go to extremes, either FK it and blow the whole diet, or restrict even harder and more extreme.
Once the diet has been broken, again, we are with feelings of guilt, shame about willpower and discipline. We will turn to food or alcohol to numb or comfort those feelings. In the cycle will start all over again.

 

What can we do?

If you are ready and willing to change it is not about being good or bad, being on or off the bandwagon. It is about setting up your environment, your habits and your lifestyle so that these changes feel easy. Start with a mindset of compassion and health-positive behaviours. The truth is with any change, new diet, new fitness regime you can have all the strategies in the world, but it’s got to be the mindset shifts to make it stick.
It will require more than a meal plan; it will require a commitment from you to let go of your old identity and create and a new one. This stuff is not easy! If change was easy, we would all be ripped millionaires living our lives on our personal island.
So now you know why diets fail, what can you do about it?
Firstly, stop the fad diets, no more 8-week challenges, shakes, or meal replacements.
Take time and space to build and healthy relationship with food and start to think about what will work for you.
Understand your relationship with food dieting and your body and get support from a coach, dietician or nutritionist, a therapist or counsellor. Be patient and stay consistent.

Want to know more? Grab your FREE guide to Mastering your Mindset for sustainable Fat Loss here.


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You may have heard about this thing called diet culture. But what it is and who does it affect?
How do you know if you’re stuck in the Diet culture con?

What is the current diet definition?

The diet definition is currently “Diet is the sum of food consumed by a person” however in current terms this is far far from the truth. Your diet is what you eat when you eat and how you eat. Your diet is part of your identity, your value system and your cultural group.

But most importantly we all know a diet is eating as a way to lose weight.

The pervasiveness of diet culture

Look around you, pay attention to the messages we receive in advertising and all around us. The messages we receive in advertising remind us we are too fat, too old, too uncultured and too ugly to ever be worthy, happy or loveable.
These subliminal messages sell to our insecurities, selling a fake promise and a fake ideal. These promises are sleazy at best and manipulative at worst
But don’t worry if you buy this lipstick you will be happy and not only look exactly like this model on the cover, but live her perfect, happy fulfilled life.

In the health and fitness industry

The health and fitness industry push fear of fat and that fitness can only come in one shape or size. Fitness is often shown as only one size, one look, one aesthetic.
We are encouraged to believe that our bodies need to be shrunk, calories need to be burnt and we need to earn our food.

Do you notice that there are the times of the year when health and fitness advertising really ramp up?
There are the New years, New you, Summer’ is coming bikini body, and finally, summer bodies are made in winter. What we will start to see more of is shame-based advertising, before and after’s and an increase in short-term solutions.

The health, fitness and wellness industry is growing at a rapid rate and with it grows the message that we should forever be on a diet and always be trying to be smaller.

The diet industry

Diets, fad diets, crash diets have been sold and re-sold in pretty packaging over and over again.
A friend said to me the other day, isn’t Keto just Atkins rebranded. The diet industry is worth 60 billion US annually studies show that within 5 years most dieters re-gain weight up to 115% of the weight they lost.

Crash dieting is not sustainable long term, your body will reject the reduced caloric intake and instead try to hold onto every bit of food you have ingested as fat. The body is smart, if it thinks you are starving it, it will go into starvation mode to ensure you don’t die. Therefore the willpower and punishment you are putting yourself through may result in nothing or even worse weight gain.

It is not us who is broken but the dieting industry,

The tides are turning and now it uncool to diet. The language has changed from dieting, diets and weight loss to health, clean eating and wellness.

In 2016 Weight watchers basically went bankrupt because they failed to keep up with consumers who got sick of being told they are not enough. Now weight watchers have re-launched with a sparkly new wording and packaging but underneath it’s the same old counting calories.

The weight loss industry has now rebranded as the ‘wellness industry’ with a focus on clean eating and avoiding devils like sugar and gluten.

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5 signs you may actually be trapped in diet culture

 

1. You focus on restriction or elimination. You are encouraged to cut out certain foods, reduce portion sizes, moderate and modify your daily intake. You may be recording everything you eat for review or eliminating foods at certain times, no carbs at night, only reduced fat dairy.

2. It’s short-term, you couldn’t see yourself doing it for the rest of your life. If you really loved chocolate are you not going to eat chocolate forever. It’s not sustainable, you are always thinking about the future when you can get back to eating what you really want to.

3. Diet culture It pits one food group against another. Fat is great and carbs are the devil. Sugar is the devil and clean foods are the only way forward. Carbs are evil.

4. It forces you to think about food all the time. At every meal, you are in a state of anxiety as you are weighing up the options and asking the waiter to put everything on the side. Food is no longer enjoyable. Food is stressful and anxiety provoking.

5. It uses terms like – lifestyle overhaul, results driven, transform your body, beach body, new you, challenge, detox.

 

So if you are going to jump off the bandwagon and ditch diet culture then what?

So maybe you are fianlly done with the diet bandwagon, the weight gain and weight loss and wieght gain. The food anxiety, the fear of fat and the obsession of every.single.bite.

The first step is to recognize the pervasiveness of dieting and diet culture. It is in our daily lives every single day and every single second. Some people are able to completely let go of these pressures and fear of gaining weight and find solitude with where the body sits when we stop dieting. Other’s very understandably are unable to find peace.

Here are some important strategies you can take to make an informed decision about your health and fitness.

  1. Learn more about intuitive eating, is a type of eating that supports you to pay attention to your internal cues. It is about reducing mindless eating and pay attention to your hunger signals and eating until your full. It can be challenging to being with but there are a number of books and groups which offer support around this.
  2. Understand the serious impacts of dieting on our bodies. Weight cycling increases the likelihood of weight gain post dieting. Dieting is the number one indicator of the development of an eating disorder. Disordered eating habits can lead to anxiety, OCD and depression. All of these consequences need to be weighed up when deciding the next path to take with your health.
  3.  Celebrate body diversity. Fill your social media with men and women of all shapes and sizes and recognize that beauty comes in all shapes and forms, not just one size.

And finally find a coach, therapist, mentor, group to work with and guide you through the process of celebration of your body and your own unique worthiness.

 

Are you part of my Inner Circle? Join my FB Group For the Love of Fitness for the all the best bits of Fitness,Nutrition and Mindset

 


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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?

Dont forget to subscribe to get my lastest news in your inbox!


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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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We are surrounded by images of bodies every day, and we know that these images can impact and distort the feelings we have about our bodies and create feelings of unworthiness and dissatisfaction. But what about the messages we received from the ones closest to use, how do they show up?

On a daily basis, we are seeing up to 600 advertisements a day and 1000’s of images of bodies on social media. This forms in our mind a picture and messages about how we should look, what we should wear and what our bodies should look like.

These images are actually a representation of only 5% of the population with the average woman being a size 14 – 16. They promote feelings of dissatisfaction and unworthiness, mainly so you will go and buy whatever product that is being promoted.

But for some people these images don’t really seem to stick, they float by and slide off like Teflon, and for others, every image of a woman exposed is triggering.

It may have something to do with what they were exposed to as a young child, the messages from family, friends and their world around them.

The messages we receive when we are children are what shape our world view. They help us form part of our identity and our beliefs about the world, ourselves and others. The messages are mostly part of our subconscious thinking and our brain likes to make things easy, so we look for information that supports our world view, rather than challenges it.

This is great because we don’t have to process 1000’s of thoughts every day, however it can create somewhat of a mental filter where we look for information that supports our belief and dismiss information that challenges it. These beliefs are so subliminal it can be hard to unpack out where they are coming from.

Take a moment to stop and reflect what are the messages that we have about our bodies and where have they come from.

 

What is the first memory you can think of that was a message about your masculinity or femininity?

Was it a comment about being a pretty little girl? Or a big and tough boy?

Were you told that is a girl’s toy, or that only boys wear blue?

 

This sort of comment could have come from anyone, a family member, an uncle, grandma, grandpa, parents, sister, and teachers. When we are growing our own identity these role models create a lot of influence in our lives. We take their opinions seriously and take them on as our own.

 

 

What did you hear being spoken about bodies, your own and others?

Did family members shame or judge others fain gaining?

Was weight loss celebrate and commented on?

Were people commented on based on their hair colour, skin colour, height?

Do you remember messages about what a real woman should look like:

Not too big, not too curvy, not too small?

 

And what about comments about real men:

Tall dark and handsome, strong and fit, sporty, not too fat and not too skinny?

When I reflect back to my childhood these are some of the comments, conversations and messages that I can remember. These are some of the messages I remember.

 

It’s ok to be big as long as someone else is bigger than you

Fat people = lazy =lazy = bad

Girls should look after themselves, do their hair and make themselves look nice

Women should keep small, nothing worse than a large angry woman.

Men should be men and do manly things (whatever that means)

 

 

Maybe your mom told you when you’re a kid that you’re “always going to be this short and fat, it’s your genes”

Or your dad told you when you’re a kid that you aren’t going to be popular if you didn’t “grow your hair and wear makeup”

 

And when you received those messages from the ones you care about around you how did you fit in the picture? Did it make you wish you were someone else in a different body? Or did it make you feel tall and proud because you fit just nicely into that ideal?

Now I wonder just how often does this message show up for you in your life now?

 

Is this part of the way you see the world?

 

Is it something that pops up for you now and then, makes you feel shame, hollow inside or not enough. These are the sort of messages that we get told, that we internalize, that live in our unconscious mind.

As adults, we can fall into the old traps of reliving the feelings we felt comfortable in as a child.  Forever dieting and trying to be smaller because we were told women should keep themselves petite to be appealing for the opposite sex.

Feeling guilty when we don’t work out because real men are strong, capable and handy.

These messages are insidious. It is not until you can see them and recognize the impact they have on lives that we can let the possibility for change come in. We can recognize these messages as not necessarily our own, but ones we have inherited. It is then that we allow space for a new view, a new way of thinking,  a new filter to our world view.

 

Ask yourself why these statements could be TRUE rather than finding evidence to dismiss them.

What if you could be irresistible to the opposite sex just as you are?

What if you could be a strong and capable man just as you are?

What if you could be perfectly happy within in yourself, but also capable of change and growth into something more?

Is there a possibility you could see things differently, a possibility for seeing the world in a different light?

 

The first step you can take is just being aware of those messages. The inner dialogue that runs inside your head and makes you feel small or worthless.

Recognize how they are holding you back.

Start being able to challenge these thoughts with your own messages, your own feelings and thoughts about your body, about your self and about others.

Ask yourself what do YOU think, and when YOU answer listen in carefully.


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Is this really the best we can do?

This week I have had a number of people speak with me in private about how fitness has completely ruined their relationship with food and their body.

This saddens me, but also makes me very angry.

What makes me more upset is these clients could have been better supported so that the negative thoughts and behaviours that were consuming them were stopped before they got any worse.

What makes me angry is some of these disordered eating behaviours come directly from highly restrictive meal plans, weight-based 8-week challenges and exercise prescribed to “burn calories”

From my work in the field as an eating disorder counsellor, I know that the negative thoughts that can pop up in 8 weeks, can take a LIFE TIME to repair, to bring someone back to a place of neutrality around food and fitness.

If you are noticing any of these behaviours in yourself and recognizing that these behaviours are making you feel unhappy and worthless please re-consider.

Let me tell you if this is you, there is a better way, and you do not need to feel like this every day.

 

Weighing yourself daily and your mood being dictated by the number on the scale

Spending hours obsessing over calories or macros

Feeling guilty or avoiding social situations totally due to your food fears

Spending alot of time in front of the mirror analysing your body and body fat

Feeling guilty about missing a training session since you don’t have a chance to burn calories

Being distracted and not able to sleep because you are so hungry

 

So what can we do? Here are my suggested steps in the right direction.

Training facilities and trainers need to have a though screening and intake process assessing someone’s relationship with food particularly if they are going to be giving any sort of nutrition advice

Trainers need to understand the warning signs when people are starting to develop negative thinking patterns around their food and body. And secondly, they need to be ok to speak with their clients to ask them to take a step back or speak with someone who can help them.

We all need to understand that there is no “look” to someone who is struggling with their relationship with food. You cannot tell how healthy someone is just by looking at someone.

If this post brought up any challenging feelings for you, feel free to reach out to me

If you are a fit-pro who wants to level up your knowledge on building a healthy body image, join the Movement subscribe here or join the MindBodyPeace FB group.


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Are you a high achiever on the brink of collapse?

In my field of work as a counsellor and personal trainer, I am fascinated by high achievers, by A types, the seemingly successful, driven and ambitious men and women. I speak with them on a professional level, I listen to them speak on podcasts and at conferences, I have dated them, and in recent times I can admit becoming one of them.   They exist in many different environments, in fitness, in business, in competition, and politics or even in family life.

 

The one thing I have learnt in many conversations and my own personal relationships and experience’s is that this badge of achieving, which is carried with pride, can also become a troublesome and heavy burden to carry.

 Your identity becomes wrapped in the pursuit of more

I’ve noticed when these behaviours: drive and commitment, the relentless pursuit of gaols, the stop at nothing attitude become part of someone’s identity is when difficulties begin. The identity of being a high achiever, competitor or perhaps being the smartest or most successful becomes all consuming.

 

We know the types, corporate high achievers whose relationships take a back seat and consequently are completely falling apart.  Or the bodybuilders who are addicted to steroids because what they see in the mirror is never good enough.  And finally, the weekend warriors who punish and drive themselves relentlessly through injury and illness who never rest.

 

I can see where they are stuck, completely backed into a corner where they feel they have an image to uphold, that they need to show up with the air of success and having it all together. Slowly but surely this corner becomes one of high stress, high anxiety, and holding it together becomes impossible.

 

No matter how hard they go or how successful they are, it will never be enough.

 

On the outside all looks fine, the mask they show the world is happy and smiling.  Their social media stream looks picture perfect but behind the smile, the feelings of being overwhelmed and shame persist. These striving behaviours have become an identity and creating change feels impossible.

 

A 2-dimensional identity

This complete engross in a 2-dimensional identity of success makes admitting there may be a problem, talking about vulnerability and asking for help incredibly difficult.

Soon embarrassment and shame grow, and along with destructive ways of coping.

 

What if I stopped, what would others think of me?

What if I asked for help, would I be seen as weak?

How can I even begin to show up differently when so many others are relying on me?

 

Slowly but surely standards start to slip because perfect is impossible to maintain. Deep seeded fears bubble up and accumulate.  Overflow starts to happen and slowly but surely the walls begin to tumble and things start to get messy.

To stop listening to that voice that tells you every day you are not enough.  To stop chasing that validation and success that you will never find.

It takes awareness to recognize there is a problem, but courage to take action.

Receiving help

When the dust has settled and it comes time to receive help it can be harder still because the old way of bash, crash, push and grind is no longer working. After all, these methods of operating created this difficulty in the first place.

There is no greater strength than reaching out, than taking that first step, than wanting things to be different and having the courage to act on those thoughts.

Change takes time to readjust, to allow space for a new identity, to allow space for thoughts, feelings and difficult emotions, not just a 6 week turn around, but months or perhaps years.

It takes time for new pieces of the puzzle to be added to the sense of self, to shift the thinking from black and white to shades of grey.

To let go of the old way of functioning and embrace the new.

Learning to stop takes time.

Learning to lean into kindness and compassion for self can be hard. Once you start that journey of unpacking, unpeeling the layers and seeing yourself in different light things will start to shift. Your priorities, your values may change.

You don’t need to wait for the walls to come tumbling down, you can start to make changes now.

If any of the above resonates with you contact me today and learn more about my lifestyle coaching and personal training.


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Do you struggle with your weight, body image and self-esteem?

Are you on a mission to lose that last 5kgs?

Chances are you are one of the many millions in Australia who has a personal trainer helping you on that journey. I am here to ask you to stop for just one second before you spend another cent on Personal training and ask what is it you REALLY need right now.

You might be thinking but isn’t she a personal trainer, is she trying to go out of business? What I want to see is people succeed, to make long-term sustainable changes and to let go of the fears that are holding them back.

So much of what happens when we start to make change is the messages in our head change, the way we speak to ourselves shifts and we start to believe in ourselves and our abilities. Yes, that can certainly happen on the gym floor, but more likely it is happening during the 23 hours outside of the gym.

Want to change your fitness and health from the outside? Go see a personal trainer. Want to make a long-lasting sustainable change from the inside out, book in to see a counsellor.

Change must come from within first

Clients generally seek the services of a personal trainer when they are feeling at their lowest. They seek the guidance of someone they believe can support them to make the change towards feeling better.

Clients come in to begin their fitness journey often in crisis. They may be experiencing anxiety, depression, struggling with addictions, a relationship crisis or have gone through trauma or even grief.

These are some very serious and complex issues not to be taken lightly.
They may have gotten to the point where they can’t look at themselves in the mirror, are filled with guilt, shame, self-loathing and self-hatred.

They may have experienced an accident or injury which has totally changed their world perception where they no longer feel in control of their body.  Or work in a stressful and overwhelming environment where their cortisol levels are so high they are running on fumes.

Experiencing any of the aforementioned events often lead to an unhealthy coping mechanism such as over or undereating, substance abuse, shopping or gambling addictions.

These people are incredibly vulnerable and in need of help and support. So they turn to the most socially acceptable form of “help” available. These are not the people walking through the doors of a rehab facility, these are the people walking into the gym.

Society dictates that seeing a GP is fine if you’re sick, going to the physiotherapist is cool if you have aches or pains, and going to the dentist is important for your oral health, but going to a counsellor if your head is filled with negative thoughts and you’re mentally all over the place?
No. No way. Line drawn. Only crazy people go to see a counsellor.

lifestyle coaching

The Mind-Body connection

It makes sense if you don’t like your body go see a body change expert, but it seems that society is blind to the connection between mind and body.

Our current society tells them that if they can change externally and what they see in the mirror that this will lead to happiness, satisfaction in life and relationships, leading to long-term success.
Sure you can change your behaviours, change what you see in the mirror but will it change what’s going on in your head?

For some these steps will be just enough to get the ball rolling, to engage someone’s self-determination and self-efficacy. For others, it may lead to a path of yo-yo dieting, disordered eating or over exercise.

Using food and exercise and unhealthy coping mechanisms, plus other distractions keep the real worries pushed down and out of sight.  Society sells this idea that looking like a size 6 will bring happiness, success and help one find the partner of their dreams.

In reality though, one needs only to read about some stories of women who made their ideal weight and felt absolutely miserable like Taryn Brumfitt, Neghar Fonooni, Nia Shanks to name a few.

Happiness can’t be bought and doesn’t come from a number on the scale.

Where fitness lets us down

A colleague commented to me the other day 80% of what we do in this job is counselling. As a career changer coming from a career as a counsellor to now working in fitness I always believed this concept to be true. Now after working in the industry, I have now seen and experienced it firsthand.

The fitness industry is poorly equipped to deal with the deep level of emotions that clients present. It is still 70 – 80 % male, fresh out of school, or career changers who have their own personal journey of physical transformation.

The current certificate 3 and 4 have one module on the psychology of change but doesn’t address what drives people to the gym in the first place. It is unrealistic to expect these new trainers to be able to adequately support clients with complex life problems. It is no wonder the industry is in disrepair and has garnered such a bad name for itself.
Clients go see a personal trainer expecting their weight to change and with that they will instantly become happier more successful and love themselves.

Adding to the problem, trainers graduate expecting to be able to help someone to get fitter and healthier by just directing clients to the exercise program and healthy nutrition and following the simple steps set out for them.

What happens when clients don’t follow the plan, self-sabotage, life gets in the way or completely fall off the wagon in a big way.

Changing your whole lifestyle is actually quite hard, and maintaining it is even harder.

Body Image Coaching

What do you really need right now?

If you are a fitness client and can recognize some of the above scenarios stop and take stock of where you’re at. Take a hard look at your situation, what is it you need right now? Is it emotional support, someone to talk to, to work through these feelings of unworthiness?

Great, don’t fire your P.T, book yourself in for a Mental Health Care plan and get a counsellor alongside for support.
Is losing weight something you are doing to heal old wounds, or because you had a difficult relationship with your body, or with food growing up?

Ok so maybe you need to do some internal work with a therapist before embarking on a weight loss journey. It doesn’t mean stop exercising, just put the focus on movement and other benefits of exercise over any weight loss goals.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations for your trainer, talk to them about what is going on and be open to accepting help from someone else.

If you are a trainer, learn, read and talk with experts in the field. Understand psychology, what makes people do the things they do. Don’t just say “they didn’t do what I told them to”a then fire your client.

Understand why people are not willing to give up their dysfunctional coping mechanism: alcohol, comfort foods, cigarettes, these are their tools to cope and to feel a sense of control. Learn how to help people develop healthier coping strategies and how to support them through change.

Build a network of health professionals you can refer to and know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to say “I think you need more specialised support than I can offer you”.  Don’t try and counsel your clients if you don’t have the skills and experience to deal with it because you will end up burnt out and overwhelmed.

If you want a personal trainer who has helped 100’s of people make change as a counsellor and focuses on health from the inside out,  you can learn more about my personal training and lifestyle coaching here.

 

 


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Clients often come to me and say they have read about this latest study in a fitness magazine, or another trainer has told them that they are not going to get the results they are seeking if they keep training the same way.

The article tells them they are making huge mistakes and they are unlikely to see much progress if they see any progress at all. This creates fear, confusion and anxiety for clients. Worrying that they are doing the wrong thing, that they are wasting their valuable time investing in the wrong training methodology. They get mad at themselves or mad at the trainer for clearly steering them in the wrong direction when there is certainly a better way.

These fitness myths lead to clients programming hopping, quitting something if they don’t see results fast enough and lots of confusion around exercise. This, in turn, makes it feel like exercise is hard work and needs a lot of energy and concentration and they are likely to quit as it feels too hard. As a trainer that is certainly frustrating and saddening to see clients quitting before they are able to start to see the rewards and benefits of exercise.

The gyms want to see you in there, paying money, chasing an elusive feeling of not good enough, working harder and harder until it becomes overwhelming and you quit.

Here are a couple of myths floating around that you may have heard one twice or too many times to count.

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1. That more time in the gym equates better results.

 

I’m sure you have seen the hashtags and messages implying that if you’re not smashing yourself 7 days a week at the gym your efforts are pitiful. People bragging about 3-hour sessions or double sessions on social media. More is certainly not better, double the time does not mean double the results.

There is a sweet spot in your training which is about enough exertion, effort and enough rest. The real magic of your training in the gym happens when you are resting and sleeping, that is the time when your muscles grow and recover stronger for the next day. Additional hours in the gym above that sweet spot are going to have very limited results.

Doing this consistently will lead to injuries, burn out, and completely screw up your relationship with fitness and yourself. Unless you are an athlete we don’t need to be doing 7 days a week, double sessions or 4 hours in the gym. A realistic aim is to work towards 2 -3 sessions of resistance exercise a week and increase activity outside of the gym.

 

2. Your results are solely coming from your workouts

Say you spend 1 hour a day at the gym, 4 days a week that is only 6.7% of the hours in your week. The time you spend in the gym may contribute to your results in the following ways.

  • Increased metabolism after working out
  • Boosted mood and endorphins
  • Muscle repair and recovery requiring more fuel throughout the day
  • Increased focus, motivation and alertness
  • More likely to make healthier food choices later in the day

Time spent in the gym can also have a negative effect if we don’t plan properly or tell ourselves the hard work is all done

  • Increased your appetite  cravings more likely to binge eat after a big cardio workout
  • Move less during the day as they are more tired or sore
  • More likely to overeat if they have told themselves they have done their workout for the day

Most of the physical results come from NEAT and nutrition. NEAT is Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, basically, any effort that comes from outside of the gym, running for the bus, moving boxes at work, or every time you go from sitting to standing. Increasing your daily activity by walking from the train, moving more at the office, investing in a standing desk, spending time outdoors on the weekends are easy ways to increase NEAT and get more movement outside of the gym,  and will have a bigger impact on your health and fitness than the 4 hours in the gym.

 

3. You must be smashed at the end of a workout for it to be beneficial

A workout does not need to leave you sweating, gasping and half dead to be beneficial. Unfortunately with the latest focus on HR monitors and calories burnt a workout is now a competition of who pushed themselves the hardest and with the most intensity. This also creates an intensity mindset which says working out is all or nothing.

Even if you know your body needs to rest and stretch you go to the gym and smash yourself because you don’t “burn or sweat” from a solid stretch session. This kind of thinking also takes the focus away from the numerous other benefits of exercise, including improved mood and reduced stress.(Read more here)

It also leads to more likelihood of injury, overtraining, and an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Anxiety can be created when a workout feels like it wasn’t hard enough and going back for a second session isn’t going to give you the best results, as mentioned above. An ideal training week looks like a mix of intensity’s, some cardio and some resistance training as well as planned rest and recovery session.

 

4. If your sweatier your burning more calories

The more you sweat, the harder you worked, the more calories you burn. You see this with the hot studios now, trying to trick you into thinking you burned a bucket load. It gives you the perception of working harder but has no overall effect on the energy used in your workout.

Instead, sweat is just your body trying to cool your skin and regulate your internal body temperature, and it depends on you, different people will sweat different amounts. So if you are using sweatiness as a guide to how much fat you burned, try to tune in to your internal cues instead.

 

EATING DISORDER COUNSELLOR

 

5. Fasted cardio is the cure for stubborn fat

The idea behind fasted cardio is that by burning energy first thing in the morning you can target specific body fat stores. Research does show this to may be true during your workout, however, it is the overall daily energy intake and usage which makes the most impact.

  • Are you are doing fasted cardio are you then going home and eating everything in the cupboard because you are starving?
  • Are your workouts sluggish and tired because you don’t have the energy?
  • Are you finding a massive afternoon crash when you run out of fuel?
  • And is this going to be something you can commit to long term?

For most of us, it is really going to make so little difference to your overall health that it is not worth worrying about. What is more helpful is to think about moving more in your daily life and focusing on eating nutritious whole foods.

6. You can spot target fat

I feel like this myth has come from the late night infomercials where the product promises to lose centimetres from your waist merely by hooking up some fancy electrodes that guarantee to lose 5cms in 5 mins per day. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

There is no such thing as targeting a certain area to whittle away the fat. If you are losing fat your body will take fat deposits from certain areas based on your genetics. 20 minutes on the elliptical bike will not slim my thighs, neither will a full day of tricep work tone your arms.

Working with resistance exercise may change the shape of your muscle which may, in turn, lead to more shape in your arms or legs.

 

Personal training

 

7. The only way to improve your fitness is to go to the gym

I understand that a lot of people hate and dread exercise, the mention they feel sore the next day, it feels uncomfortable when you first start and its just something they don’t enjoy. This makes it twice as hard to get motivated, to stick with it when life gets tough, and to maintain it as a priority for your own health and wellbeing.

If you hate going to the gym, just go there because you feel you have to, or feel it’s the only way to maintain your weight, you don’t have to. Instead, find something you do enjoy and do as much of it as you can.

Pick up an old hobby you practised as a child

Learn a new skill such as dancing or horse riding

Join a team sport and find a fun community

Spend more time outside and walking before and after work or join a walking group.

Start yoga, all the benefits of flexibility and body awareness plus will help to reduce your cortisol- (stress levels) which have a huge impact on your sleep, digestion and overall health.

Let go of the idea that exercise has to be in the gym and has to be a punish.

 

You may have fallen for one or all of these myths at some time in your fitness journey. Thats ok, me too! If you want to learn to let go of the confusion and overwhelm and just focus on being the best version of yourself, I can help.

I have done all the hard work to sift through the BS and find maintainable and sustainable strategies for your fitness and health. Want to know more join our FB group For the LOVE of Fitness.


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My relationship with fitness and has changed and evolved over time. It has been positive and negative, there have been false starts and restarts. I am not an athlete or a competitor, I am just someone who loves movement, loves the positive and transformative effects exercise can have, and I have now made my love of fitness my career.

Where it all started

Nearly ten years ago fitness to me seemed like something others were doing, it was like some secret club that I would never have a chance to be a part of. I was an outsider looking in. I was never sporty growing up, I participated in trampolining for a number of years and enjoyed that, but I was gangly and uncoordinated and generally hated exercise, especially running. I remember being told a number of times how un-sporty and awful I was at exercise and those comments stuck.

When I first start trying to get healthy and fit I quit and joined the same gym 3 times in a year. At that time I was studying at Uni and worked in bars and nightclubs from late night to 6 am, leaving work as the sun was coming up. My diet was made up of Jagerbombs and cup of soup, I did not drink water, not even a single glass, instead, I drank coffee and coke all day long. I spent most of my weekends asleep or hungover.

Back then my lifestyle was making me miserable, depressed, unmotivated and lonely. I was in an unhealthy relationship, in a dead-end job, and felt isolated and alone and alcohol was no longer enough to push those feelings away. There was no sudden epiphany, I didn’t experience any trauma or loss, I just slowly started realizing that the only person who was responsible for making a change in my life was me.

Instead of blaming everyone around me, I started to shift my mindset to make my health a priority. It became something I valued, rather than something I ignored. I made myself a priority and stopped putting myself last. These shifts took time,  tiny steps day by day and many stumbles along the way.

The first steps

I quit my job and I started a new incredibly stressful job in Child Protection where I was bullied and overworked. Fitness became somewhere I could go to manage my stress, anxiety, and frustration from work, an outlet to clear my head and manage my emotions. I was being made to feel small at work and was still in a crappy relationship. The gym was the only place where I felt no longer small, but powerful.

During this time my relationship with fitness and my body changed, fitness became something that I was getting better at, my body became something which I could see changing and transforming. Seeing progress became addictive and as a beginner, I was seeing massive improvements from each session. I still remember how proud I was when I nailed my first push up and pull up.

Movement was my therapy

Shortly after this, I was involved in a fairly major trauma, which sent me to intensive care for a week and required major surgery. I left hospital completely losing all the muscle and strength I had gained from my hard work in the gym over the last few years. I was a tiny shell of myself both physically and mentally.

During this time fitness became a form of recovery from the trauma. I rehabbed my broken body and found strength in being able to move, being able to lift things, and noticing the function and strength return to my body. Lifting become my therapy. The voice in my head was there every day telling me I am good enough, I am stronger than yesterday and I am unbreakable.

 Somewhere I got lost

Along this journey that voiced changed, it planted seeds of doubt in my mind. The ex-partner who told me I needed to hit the gym because my butt jiggled, the trainer who told me I could get on stage if I was just a little leaner, the male co-workers who made comments about my body and my training. Those voices and these negative feelings and beliefs from my past that were usually only outside of the gym had now started to creep in.

The relationship I had with others and with myself had become unhappy and destructive. That same voice was there telling me I am not lean enough never good enough, never perfect enough. This is where my love of fitness and health had now become obsessive, restrictive and punishing. Where I was always pushing myself, never giving myself enough rest or recovery and struggling with feelings of inadequacy.

On the outside I was fine, I looked great and didn’t even recognize what was going on whilst I was living in that crazy obsessive bubble. The problem was I was surrounded by people who deep down felt exactly the same way, I was taking advice from others who also felt small inside and out of control.

So much of this was me and my own insecurities, however I was also surrounded by the brainwashing that comes from the fitness industry a focus on aesthetics, leanness,  perfection, and pressure to look and behave a certain way.  Food shaming, body shaming, and orthorexia are rife in the fitness industry, punishment and suffering are celebrated.  Only now I can reflect back on it and see just how much it screwed me up mentally.

Slowly things began to change

Things all really changed for me in January 2017. After an epic fail in a new job in my social work career I made an impulsive decision to go to Nepal, with the intention of going trekking. I had done little to no research and figured I would work it out when I get there.

I ended up spending 30 days worth of hiking through mountains at altitude, in the peak of the winter, with barely any other tourists in sight. I went in and around the Himalayan mountains, up to Everest base camp and some even higher and more picturesque spots. My favourite moment was at a peak at Kalar Pattar which is the highest part of the Himalayas that you can climb without special climbing equipment. I scrambled up there nearly whilst everyone else was knackered in the hut and just enjoyed the view, peace and achievement.

It was an amazing experience, and I started to reflect on all my body could do, not what my body looks like. All the hours in the gym were now paying off to let me achieve with ease these impressive and uncomfortably long days of hiking and climbing at altitude.

And slowly and surely that voice that was there many years ago came back,  telling me I am strong, I am powerful, I am unbreakable. I remembered the power and the strength of my mind which created feelings of power and resilience, rather than insecurity and doubt.

Where I am at now

While I was there in the freezing mountains I knew that I was not the only one going through this, but that everyone around me was. I was in the majority, not the minority.  I knew that this is the important stuff we should be talking about, sharing and being open with, not hiding behind and feeling suffocated by these thoughts and feelings.

I can look back now and recognize that there were a lot of things in fitness that I didn’t do very well and a lot of things I did that kind of ruined my body. I recognize there are also a lot of things that probably I pushed on to other people too, I have to own that.

I’m at the point now where the bubble has popped,  and once you see some of the BS that goes around,  you can never unsee it. I am here to point out BS when I see it if it helps someone from stopping going through experiences I did.

I have a very healthy relationship with my body, food, and exercise and the things I love in the gym. Feeling strong and powerful are also the things I now enjoy doing outside of the gym. I love exploring in nature going on adventures in the outdoors and I still push my body and challenge myself to be the best version of myself in a way that is kind and from a place of compassion.

If you can relate to any of these feelings, you are not alone.

I am lucky enough that I get to help others who may be stuck in those feelings of insecurity and never enough. I work with women and men to build a healthy relationship with their body, food and self.