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My 2018 journey

Just before Christmas last year I signed up with a coach to guide me on my health and wellness journey. I could have chosen a three month program, or a six month program, but I decided to go all in and I signed up for12 months! I am so glad I did!

The program was a mixture of fortnightly phone calls with my coach and daily emails from Precision Nutrition’s pro coach system. Each fortnight I was given a new ‘habit’ to follow. The food habits were:

  • Eat to 80% – harder than you think
  • Eat mindfully and slowly – even harder. I used an app to start with.
  • Eat mostly whole foods
  • Drink only calorie free beverages – also a tough one, especially with beautiful hot chocolate available
  • Eat five servings of colourful vegetables
  • Eat lean protein at each meal
  • Make smart carb choices
  • Eat healthy fats
  • Plan and prep your meals

Pretty basic stuff eh?

But the programme wasn’t just about what you put into your body, it also covered:

  • Setting good sleep habits
  • Working out a good recovery habit
  • Try to fit in 20 minutes of something that de-stressed you each day
  • And some others…

The eat to 80% full and slowly and mindfully habits stayed each week and you added and subtracted the others. Most of them I have continued with, just not to the same level as when I was in that fortnight. I didn’t always succeed with the habits, but I found that quite a few of them I was doing anyway.

 The whole premise wasn’t to achieve 100% every day, but to do a little better each day, say 1%.

I went into the program with the same mindset that I did every other weight loss program that I have tried over the years. And believe me there have been so many, anything that was a fad at the time. Some of those worked, but most of them I put the weight back on. What happened this time is I learnt to have a healthier attitude to looking after me. Also, that it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a model’s physique, that I have cellulite and quite a few of my bits wobble, a LOT! In fact, I gained more than I lost – what I mean is a healthier attitude. The scales don’t really matter now. I didn’t lose a lot ofweight, but then I didn’t gain weight either. To me that is a success.

One of the things you do at the beginning is take some photos, in your underwear – not pretty, but they give you a benchmark. You also take your measurements.  And recently one of my habits was to prepare for a photo shoot, to celebrate what I had achieved. I knew that I wasn’t going to do those in my underwear, especially as I asked a good friend to take them for me.

Yes, it is a heavy tire!

What I wanted to celebrate with the photos was how much I had gained through the year. That was my attitude to myself and some gains at the gym. I hope you like the results as much as I do. And if you would like the photographer’s details give me a shout. Here is a link to all the other photos – https://spark.adobe.com/page/FLg4P9WH744Qn/?fbclid=IwAR1HCdNtWz_e9mjMDSWAzxE2B-du29nMdCl2x2Op3lqfBsirRcePo7zolxs 

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to my coach, you know who you are. We had some difficult conversations, some enlightening conversations and you helped me through some pretty shitty times this year.

And, if you too would like a healthier better attitude to yourself and food and lose some weight, get in contact. I won’t be using the pro coach system, but I have learnt some good stuff, and gained so much more.

Love to rope climb, now I know how!

Life is not a quick fix

For the last eleven months, nearly a year, I have been working through my own health and wellbeing journey with a coach. It has been a great year of self-discovery, and I would recommend it to anyone who is wanting to get a healthier perspective on food, exercise and general well-being.

I have had some highs throughout this year, but I have also had some deep lows. If I hadn’t had my coach and others there to listen and to help me get balance, then I am sure I would have been comfort eating for the majority of the year. There were times where I was tempted by the quick fix of products. You know the ones.  Where someone has lost an astonishing amount of weigh in a short amount of time.  I was very tempted.  I discussed the pros and cons with my coach, googled the product and really gave a good amount of thought to it. What I discovered is that it was a product that you had to take forever, otherwise the weight would come back on. It was also quite expensive and was sold through a pyramid type of scheme.  What it didn’t do was cover the basics, like slow mindful eating, eating till you were 80% full and what a portion size should be.

Just in case you are wondering, portion sizes are very easy to remember when you use your hand as the guide. A serving of protein is your palm, fat is your thumb, vegetables are fist sized and carbohydrate dense foods a cupped hand. Easy isn’t it?

But being healthy isn’t just about the food we put into our bodies, it is also about our mindset and attitude. And sometimes that is the hardest thing to control. I am sure you all know that what we think is what we are. I covered some of this in earlier posts, but to recap briefly. If you are telling yourself that you are amazing, then you are. On the flip side if you are telling yourself negative things, then of course it’s not going to be a good day. Flip that coin over and start thinking positively. It’s a very hard thing to do if you are in a downward spiral, but worth it for your own wellbeing.

If you love yourself, then you are more likely to make the right choices, including what food to fuel your body. For me, I have discovered that dairy is not my friend, neither is a lot of alcohol. Sometimes I fall off the wagon, but now I don’t beat myself up about it. I just acknowledge that my choices may not have been the best for me and move on.

I was speaking to a good friend yesterday and we were discussing how some diets and the people running them can be very negative, but that when you have someone in your camp wanting you to do well there is only room for positive speaking.  What I mean by this is, if you are finding things challenging, you don’t beat yourself up, look for the wins, be they small or big. What did you do well in the last day, week, month? Find those small wins and celebrate them. Don’t dwell on the number on the scale or something that can’t be undone. Move on.

As I am nearly finished my year with my coach and I am over halfway through my coaching certificate with Precision Nutrition, I am now looking forward to helping others achieve their goals. If you are looking for someone to help you, let me know and we can have a chat.

Tigger and life

A very simple plot

I started a new job a few weeks ago with the Department of Conservation (https://www.doc.govt.nz) and yesterday I travelled to Auckland and back to help a manager. Their office is based on North Head, near Devonport. It has the most amazing views of Auckland city and the surrounding Hauraki Gulf Islands.

Hauraki Gulf Islands

(the red X is approximately where North Head is)

I couldn’t help but say how beautiful it was to those I was meeting with. The answer from the people I was with was, ‘oh yeah, I suppose we forget how beautiful it is’. This made me think about how often we take things for granted. What a beautiful country we live in. The amazing flora and fauna that we have. The wonderful friends and family that we have. The ability to move our bodies and eat and drink yummy things.

Anyway, I spent most of the day travelling to and from Auckland. My hubby dropped me off in the car, I caught a flight, then the Skybus and lastly the ferry from downtown Auckland to Devonport. Then did all that in reverse after my meeting. Had a slightly extended stay in Auckland due to flight disrupts around the county, but I did make it home to Wellington. One of the lucky ones to get to where I wanted to go. In Wellington there were quite a number of people waiting for flights. I bumped into an old friend and his wife who had been waiting since 8am for their flight to go to Auckland and then on to Brisbane. Not sure if they managed to get there or not, but that’s nature upsetting the plans of humans.

Then this morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and stumbled upon this https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/watch-iceland-christmas-ad-banned/ and it hit home how much humans have disrupted the lives of many beautiful creatures. Have a watch and make sure you share it. I hope that it will make you rethink the creature comforts that we have and what we are taking from nature and it can’t defend itself. Very sobering.

So, anyway where was I going with all that? Good question, what started this post was a quote from a book that I picked up in Auckland airport. It is from Eric Idle’s, Sortabiography titled ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. The quote is:

‘Life has a very simple plot,

First you’re here

And then you’re not’

Made me stop and think, and also made me want to buy the book. Which while on the aircraft I laughed out loud while reading. I think I got some funny looks, but you know life is far to short too care about what other people think. And you know, I hope I made them smile.

Make the most of the ‘First you’re here’ bit. Do something each day that scares the pants off you. Apparently, that is good for you and will help you live longer. I suppose that depends on how much you scare yourself? I myself don’t want to get to the ‘and then you’re not’, with any regrets. Or wishes that I had done more, seen more, and loved more.

Get out there, explore and make the most of everyday I say!

View from North Head

View from North Head to Auckland City.

 

Firsts

As we get older there are less chances to do something for the first time. And the thought of doing something new can be quite scary, for anybody. It is a bit of the unknown and not wanting to be seen as an idiot. But you know, sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and give it a go. As my mum and probably yours always said “there is no such word as can’t!”

Thoughts

It’s about turning that ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’. Changing your mindset from a negative to a positive. If you think you can’t do something, then you have already told your brain that you can’t. If it’s an exercise thing, the muscles on the whole can likely do it, if you have been putting in the hard work and practice. And if it is about going to an event where you are not sure you will know people or starting a new job that is scaring you then brace yourself – look in the mirror and give yourself a good talking to. More on that below.

I have been doing CrossFit for about five and a half years now and it has taken me a long time to feel confident to do box jumps. Some of it is because I have seen quite a few of my friends connect their shins on the box and scar themselves. Some have had to have stiches – let me tell you, it is not a pretty sight. Enough to put anyone off. And the some of it has been me telling myself that I can’t do it.

 I have progressed from stepping up on the boxes and then I have been dragging out plates to jump on and slowly increasing the height until I knew that they were close to, if not, the same height as the boxes we jump on (50cm).  I was given some shin guards for a present (by the Crossfit crew) in January and so I thought I better ‘man up’ so to speak and jump on the box. I had plenty of encouragement from my Crossfit family. And guess what ‘I can’ do it. I have now completed a couple of workouts doing box jumps. I have to say I am quite proud of myself.

My next challenge or first is going to be a pull up without a big rubber band – I am getting close to achieving this, the bands I use are slowly getting smaller. One day I’m going to get there. I have changed my thought pattern to say I can do it, and I have worked on the progression to get there.

So the other scary firsts are the ones where you have to turn up, i.e. the events, first days at a new job or just when you need to put your big girls pants on and face the world. How do you progress towards those? It’s not quite as tangible as the Crossfit stuff. But there are still things you can do. One is to try some self-affirmations. Stand in front of the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes. Find something you like about yourself. Tell yourself how good you look. Use words like – I’m proud of myself. I believe in myself. I am confident. I deserve the best and only good things are coming my way.

I am worthy

I have done the above and it was really hard the first few times. I made myself cry as it was really hard to believe what I was saying. But after a while it feels right. And you can face another day of firsts.

Go on give it a try, you have nothing to lose! Even better, write the affirmations on post it notes and put them on the mirrors around your home. Each time you look into the mirror, repeat the affirmation/s.

 

Friends

Last week I wrote about the nine best things that are free. Which, if you didn’t read that post are: hugs, smiles, friends, family, kisses, sleep, laughter, good memories and love! This post is all about friends and how much I value them, their company, their thoughts, their hugs (another freebie) and their love (yet another of the freebies).

I have been going through my own road works lately and I have made a conscious effort to make sure I connect in with my friends. This is because I know that I have a tendency to internalise when going through issues. Sometimes this is because I don’t think they want to know or that they will care. And sometimes I don’t want people to know that I’m not perfect. Silly eh? But believe me, when I say that a problem shared is a problem halved. And sometimes just putting your internal thoughts into actual words, then what you are going through is not really that bad. Well, sometimes they are, but you can get a little perspective around the issue by talking out loud. Your friend can also just be there to listen and give you a hug, and sometimes a tissue. Or even better a very stiff gin and tonic.

Some friends stay in your life for a very long time and know practically everything about your life. The ups the downs the in betweens and they are still there. You don’t always catch up every week or month, but both of you know that if required, you would be there for each other at the drop of a hat. Other friends are in your life for a short while and afterwards you understand that they were in your life for that time, due to something one of you is going through and they or you are their guiding angel for that time.

Some people you meet and instantly know that you are going to be friends for a long time. You don’t need to know everything they have gone through to bring them into your life, you are just there for one another and instinctively know that it will be a great friendship. Even better when you discover that your respective hubbies like each other too. Much easier to organise catch up times then.

I have made one such friend recently (while in the middle of the road works) and she has been amazing, and some have said like my twin. Scary for all of those that know both of us. I look forward to getting to know her and her family better and sharing and making stories together. It is my turn now to be her guardian angel as she goes through some roadworks.

Make sure to treasure your friends. Reach out and check in if you haven’t spoken to some of them recently. Tell them how much you value them, their personality, their hugs, their non-judgement (in most cases) and that you are there if they need you.

And don’t forget that a problem shared is a problem halved or at least some sense made out of it.

Friends

The best things in life are free….

This saying couldn’t be truer. Over the last three weeks I have been a volunteer dresser backstage at World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW) and I have done this role for 13 years. I dress a model, who wears the most remarkable garments and I am part of an amazing show. You have to see it to believe it, something crossed between Cirque du Soleil and an art/fashion show. Very hard to describe.

Anyway, there are many reasons why I keep going back year after year (and I have been heard to say by many that ‘this year is my last year!’) but mostly it is the lovely group of ladies that I dress with and dress. We don’t catch up all that often, but once show time comes around we like to have a wine or gin after the occasional show and catch up on what has happened I the past 12 months. Although I only see these ladies for the WOW season, I still consider them friends. We share good memories, have a laugh, a hug and enjoy what we do backstage.

Best things in life are free

Then this meme showed up on my Facebook feed and it reminded me of how lucky we all are to have these free things in our life. A bit like my gratitude post, it made me pause and reflect, that we don’t need money or things, we really only need these nine things. It also reminded me of how much I value my sleep.

A friend of mine is going through some roadworks at the moment and is struggling to sleep, this doesn’t help with the everyday stuff that comes up and it would be hard for her or anyone to be able to value the other eight best things due to the lack of sleep.

How often are you going through some roadworks but forget to reach out to your friends and family for help? Is it because you don’t want to be seen as a failure or unable to cope with life? Or are you caught up with your issues and internalise stuff instead? Don’t forget the value of family or friends they are there as they love you and are your support group and cheer leaders. It may be hard to fess up that things aren’t going well, but as the saying goes and problem shared is a problem halved.

Do you ever notice that when you smile at someone they can’t help but smile back? What we don’t know is what has happened in their day and that maybe that smile you shared made an impact on their day – something else free to share.

Last week in New Zealand we had mental health awareness week, and there was a lot in the media about looking after yourself and making sure you ask one another ‘are you okay?’. This is a wee reminder that this shouldn’t just happen one week of the year, we should be regularly asking each other this, and genuinely listening to the answer we get. You never know you may just help someone.

Just remember the nine free things in life – hugs, smiles, friends, family, kisses, sleep, laughter, good memories and love!

Food for thought

My sister shared a short video (3:30) with me this morning and it resonated with me, so of course now I must share it with you.

In essence, the video is about whole foods and how if we are eating good nutritious food then there is no need for medicines. It also mentions that so many of us leave it till it is too late to look after ourselves. For instance, you get really sick and then you realise that what you are fuelling your precious body with is not actually doing it any good. Watch it here  https://www.facebook.com/100006565819164/videos/2280339332194905/

How many of us know where our food comes from? Sadly, there are many children in the world that cannot recognise and name vegetables. How is your food processed? What is its nutritional value? Is it good for you? Do you suffer from reflux? Bloating, lots of burping and flatulence? Do you know what foods cause you to feel that way? Is it time to figure it out for your good health? It has taken me 50 years, but I know that diary is not good for me. If I eat dairy, then my body tries to fight it. Then I have to start the process again of getting and feeling better.

There are many different ways to work out what is good and not good for you, you could follow a FODMAP diet. This effectively eliminates any food that could potentially be causing issues for you, then you slowly reintroduce one food at a time to see if there are any reactions.

However, the best place to start would be to eliminate any processed foods. Not sure what those are? Anything that has a label and you don’t recognise as a whole food. Would your grandmother recognise it? When shopping stick mainly to the outside of the supermarket. This is where the vegetables and meat are normally located.

A little bit about labels – did you know that they can be up to 25% wrong? They are a best guess estimate in most cases. So, if you are concerned about calorie counting, this is not a good place to start. Again, whole foods are best, they don’t require a label.

Your body is an amazing machine (and you only get one – there are no replacement parts quite the same), but like other machines it requires the right fuel to provide energy throughout the day. Are you fuelling yours on high octane, diesel or something a little dodgy?

In my bookcase I have a great book called ‘Prescription for nutritional healing’. It’s a huge book, which covers every known condition that can happen within and on our bodies. And it suggests the whole foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs that can help heal that condition. It also suggests what you shouldn’t have if you have that condition.

For instance, under flatulence it suggests, eating four to five meals per day instead of three big meals. To eat slowly and mindfully, in a relaxed setting. Keep a food journal to determine what foods or combination of foods cause the gas. Choose less-processed, whole foods. Pretty simple eh? These recommendations are the same as in my new text book, so it must be the right things to do.

So, till next week… keep eating good whole foods and if you need any help in working out what is nutritionally good or not for you I am happy to help.

Food for thought