Cravings are really frustrating! I totally understand, I’m a woman with hormones too.  Getting on to the right kind of diet to help eliminate cravings is the first step. The diet I’ve found most beneficial to do this is the Ketogenic Diet. I’ll shamelessly promote my book here and give you the link. 

The ketogenic diet can blunt cravings and keep you from feeling hungry. But what do you do when you’re feeling low? You know those days when the voice in your head is just downright nasty. That Gremlin  which tells you “whats the point of bothering”, ” chocolate will make you feel better”.  We all have one of those pesky critters and you can’t get rid of your gremlin. What we can do is get better at not listening to all of his advice (sorry guys, not wanting to be sexist here, your gremlin may well be female.)

Breaking Patterns

We often end up doing these loops of behaviour such as, feel bad,  imagine getting chocolate to feel better, and go and get chocolate. The more times we do that pattern, the harder it seems to break. What is needed is a wedge in the pattern.

If you find yourself in a similar loop try this next time you are feeling low. Be aware that the craving has entered your mind.  Straight away think Stop, Stop and imagine a big Stop sign. This is your cue to realise that you are needing some comfort.  Remember food can’t actually comfort you, only you can do that.

Take some deep breaths and imagine in your mind how you want to be.  See yourself as slim, in control, happy and enjoying life. Then do something else, go for a walk, make a cup of herbal tea anything but give in to the craving.

This will take practice, and willingness to experiment. It is worth every effort though!

 

In contrast to my other post discussing ‘sometimes you got to push yourself’ this ones about knowing when to take your foot off the accelerator. We can lead such busy, frantic lives and if not careful can race headlong into a state of fatigue or worse, burn-out.

It’s really about knowing yourself well enough to notice the tell-tell signs of that slippery slope. Those signs could be, excessive caffeine consumption, eating excess carbs/chocolate, getting cranky and irritable, tired but wired at night, intense cravings for food, elevated heart rate and feelings of overwhelm or not being able to cope.

Ideally you would observe the beginning of those signs and start managing yourself straight away, this takes some practice to do. If you realise you’re heading towards a crash, then be kind to yourself, make you a priority and spend time in a recovery phase.
A recovery phase could simply be, plotting up on the sofa with some good films or book and putting everything else on hold for a least a couple of days or so. Often, we can feel guilty for having a break, especially when there is so much to do. However, it is far safer to take a little time out then to risk the consequences of trying to recuperate from burn-out.

If you’re unsure whether or not you need a break or if you do in fact need to push yourself into action, ask your inner coach. Sit down and be really quiet, put your hand on your heart and ask yourself “what do I really need right now?” Putting your hand on your heart may sound a bit airy fairy to some but,  it is a way to quickly connect with ourselves and our inner wisdom. Something I learnt from attending Tony Robins events, and it works!

Sometimes, you just got to push yourself and be relentless. Let me give you an example I’ve been up since 5am, got to work on the computer straight away. I didn’t feel like it but remembered what it is I want to achieve. When you just don’t feel like it, remind yourself what it is you want, and then do it, no letting yourself off the hook.

I went to the gym and pushed through a tough workout. Listening to my inner coach and using encouraging language to myself. You see you have the voice of a coach and critic inside you. Let the coach be heard and ignore the voice of the critic. Sure, that’s easy to say and I know I get caught up in my critic’s voice at times too. But if you spend too long listening to the critic, time will pass by and you’ll stay stuck.

If your critic tells you “you’ll never lose weight”, “It’s not a good time to start a fitness plan” or “you can always start the diet next Monday” then you’ll stay stuck if you listen to this. Instead be determined, this is your life, live it on your terms. What do you want? You can achieve it, you can lose weight, get fitter, healthier, find a new job or whatever it is you want to do. Find your inner coach as you have one too,  listen to what is possible and go take action.

  • Is your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and feel healthy?
  • Have you wanted to lose weight now for some time?
  • Do you feel like you’ve been stuck in a weight loss loop, going around and around yet never getting to your desired weight?

The truth is, losing weight is tough. That’s a fact. But, you don’t have to be constantly frustrated with dieting. You can take control, using a step-by-step programme, with a little helping hand from an experienced weight loss strategist.

More than just weight loss

I’ve spent 7 years now working with people to become slimmer, healthier and happier. The reason I’m passionate about this area of health improvement is seeing how losing weight can transform someone’s life. You can gain higher levels of energy, confidence, youthfulness and even more importantly, freedom from being stuck.

I also know first-hand how frustrating it is to be constantly yo-yo dieting, training hard and getting nowhere but burnt out from the efforts. I thought I’d never be able to break the habit of comfort eating. I was constantly hungry, counting down the time when I would allow myself the next meal or snack. Monitoring my calories in versus calories out and never managing to keep on top of that equation. For a short time, it seemed to have an effect but would generally lead to a binge which ruined the small gains I had made. This felt like a self-imposed prison that I was trapped in.

I searched high and low for the answers thinking there must be something wrong with me. Was I just hopelessly weak-willed or was my metabolism broken? What I learnt was that neither was the case. However, I found that I did need to regulate the hormones which govern weight-loss, primarily insulin and cortisol. Trying to lose weight by just cutting calories and training harder, doesn’t work long-term.

If you are in a similar cycle don’t worry, it can be broken. And when you do break those habitual patterns by regulating your hormones, you achieve more than weight loss alone. You gain freedom from food.

There is no magic diet, supplement or fitness programme. You still have to show up and implement what I will teach you to do. It is however, simpler when you have a structured plan to follow and someone supportive to be accountable to.

For a weight loss plan to be successful it needs to encompass what you put into your body (food and drinks), what you do with your body (exercise, sleep, relaxation) and what you do with your mind.

New Year: New You

The New Year: New You (NY:NU) is a 5-week online programme which encompasses all these elements.

The first week is all about getting you ready for the following weeks, so you don’t have to change anything immediately. Every week thereafter will be themed with a handout and worksheet to help you optimise what you eat, your lifestyle and mindset.

You will have access to an app where your workouts can be found. In each workout is a video for you to watch of the exercise so you know what to do. If you haven’t got a gym membership, don’t worry, I can send you a programme to do at home.  I will also train you personally in my private gym if you opt for the added personal training package.

You’ll have access to me personally on WhatsApp to ask questions, keep accountability, send pictures of foodstuffs to check they’re ok and get any feedback on the worksheets you’ll be completing.

This is what makes this programme unique. Most online programmes are an automated system where you’ll never get a chance to talk to speak to the person who’s organised the course. Whereas I’ll be available to help and support you every step of the way.

What’s more, the skills you learn from this programme can be applied to any other goal you want to achieve in your life. So, what are you waiting for?

Get in touch,  email me today to arrange your free no-obligation courtesy call.

This is a great way to kickstart your weight loss.

  • Online programme with virtual support – £140
  • Online programme with virtual support + 2 personal training sessions a week for 5 weeks – £440
  • If you need additional support you can also have a one-to-one coaching session  – £65

 

The information provided here is about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how to use a light box more optimally to get the most benefit.

To begin with there are a few questions to determine further if indeed what you are experiencing is related to the seasonal change.
As the seasons change do you…

• Feel down or depressed?
• Have less energy than usual?
• Feel less productive or creative?
• Need more sleep?
• Have less control over your appetite?

If you answered yes to these questions it may be indicative of SAD. This is especially the case if you have noticed the same pattern occurring in the winter and then feeling the opposite in the summer for 3 consecutive years.
Interestingly enough SAD is not a recent phenomenon; it was reported by Hippocrates circa in 400BC of people experiencing seasonal depressions.

And it makes complete sense why. During the winter months the amount of lux which is a unit of illumination intensity is only around 4,000 lux on a grey winter day. If much of your day is spent inside you may only be getting around 500 lux. Contrast this to the summer months when we have bright sunshine where you would be getting around 50,000 to 1000,000 lux (1).

Some of the characteristics of winter SAD are increased sleep time, depression, decreased libido, lethargy, increased appetite, weight and cravings for carbohydrates.

If you find yourself cravings carbs during the winter months there may be a good reason. Your body is looking for ways to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is often thought of as our feel-good neurotransmitter. Thus the carb cravings could be a way of self-medicating to feel better (2).

One of the most effective ways to improve the depressive symptoms of SAD is the use of light therapy (1, 2).

Light boxes have shown to be more effective than the typical antidepressants often used for SAD.

Historically light therapy has been used as early back as the second century when sunlight was directed towards the eyes by the Greco-Roman physicians in the treatment of depression and lethargy.

There are a few potential side effects from using light therapy such as; headaches, eyestrain, mild nausea and feeling edgy. These should go in time or if they are particularly problematic the time using the light box can be reduced.

How to use a 10,000 lux light box

Use a light box (10,000 lux) for 30 minutes in the morning ideally after awakening. If you do not notice an improvement in your symptoms then increase the time to 45 minutes (1).

To get the most use out of your light box you need to be sitting next to it so your head is almost touching the light to get the full amount of lux (around 12-18 inches away). Your eyes must be open but do not stare at the light (1). You can eat or do other things as long as you keep the closeness to the light.

The other advantage to doing this is, you could use the time to make plans, read a book, journal, listen to some positive messages on a C.D or anything else that would interest you.

It will probably mean making an alteration to your schedule to fit this in. Why not invest the half hour a day for something which is free to do, that may make a difference in the way you feel?

References

1. Lam RW, Levitt AJ. Evidence-Based Management of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Clinician Resource Package. Clinical Neuroscience. 2002.
2. Sher L. Seasonal Affective Disorder and Seasonality : A Review. Jefferson J Psychiatry. :3–11.

Have you ever noticed uncontrollable food cravings and hunger when you’ve been deprived of a good night’s sleep?

Lack of sleep can really jeopardise your weight loss efforts, here are a few tips that may help.

16 ways to help if you can’t sleep

  • Have your last meal at least 3 hours before you go to bed
  • If you find yourself having to get up to go to the bathroom in the night try not drinking for 2-3 hours before your bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol completely is preferable, if you do happen to indulge have it at least three hours before you want to sleep
  • Avoid caffeine; remember caffeine is also in tea, green tea etc. Some people are more sensitive then others, if you feel you can’t sleep due to caffeine sensitivity then stop drinking anything containing caffeine in the early afternoon, or at least 6 hours before you go to bed.
  • Get into a routine, your body is happiest when it is in a consistent schedule of going to bed at the same time and awakening at the same time (even on weekends) Really it is preferable to be in bed by 10pm and certainly asleep before 11pm to give your body a chance to release toxins as well as cleanse and repair.

If you can’t sleep because you’re stressed

  • Keep a pad by your bed and dump down everything that’s troubling you or that you feel you need to do. This is a way of clearing the mind so it can rest too
  • Try listening to relaxation or guided imagery CD.s to lure you into a deep sleep
  • Try taking a hot bath to relax you before you go to bed

You can’t sleep unless your bedroom is a haven for rest

  • Leave your bed for sleeping, watching T.V, and working on the lap top etc it creates too much stimulation for the brain. If you can do those activities in a separate room. Or at least turn everything off in plenty of time before you want to sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is not too hot and not too cold around 60-70 degrees F/15.5-21 degrees Celsius
  • Have a completely dark room to sleep in or use an eye mask
  • Have a well ventilated room
  • Stop working at least 2 hours before you go to bed
  • If you still can’t sleep then try getting up and doing a relaxing activity instead of just lying there getting frustrated.
  • Schedule your sleep into your routine and set aside 8 hours, think of this as giving your body what it needs to ensure you can be ultra productive the next day

The more you give your body the healing/rest time it needs the lower your stress levels will be and the more energy you will have throughout the day.  When you can’t sleep it creates a sleep debt which sleeping in on the weekends just isn’t enough to do the trick. The best way is to go to bed an hour earlier each night; it’s worth missing an hour in the evening to get all the potential extra energy you could have during the day.

Resilience: to be able to recover quickly from set backs

(Definition from the Encarta Dictionary)

Many of us are lacking in our abilities to spring back from our day-today lives. An indication this is happening if you find yourself experiencing any of the below:
•    Overeating
•    Feeling run-down
•    Getting every bug going
•    Having to haul yourself around
•    Everything feeling like an effort
•    Weight gain
•    Fatigue
•    Fed-Up
•    No desire to exercise

There are many reasons why your resilience may be under powered such as; an underlying infection, past or current medications, unhealthy food choices, negative lifestyle habits, lack of sleep, sub-optimal thyroid function, stress (real or imagined) and poor gut health.
I know only too well how it feels to be burnt out, fatigued and unhappy with my weight gain. I also know that life doesn’t have to be that way. Sure we will all have times when our workload stacks up and life seems to get in the way of taking any time for ourselves. It is in these times though that having robustness is crucial to prevent overeating and continual tiredness to set in.

We all have the chance to make a stand for our happiness and take charge of our health. Sometimes illness makes this difficult or even impossible to regain full health. The point however, is – to be at the best level you can be for your circumstances. If you are still breathing and not yet fully engaged in enhancing your health there is hope for you to make some improvements.

Once you develop greater resilience by enhancing your exercise routine and optimising your nutrition you will find you can live your life with more ease, happiness and fun.

Weight loss will become easier as you are not fighting hormones driving you to overeat. You will find a greater bonding with yourself, as you are taking care of what really matters in life which is you!

If you have resilience you will weather life’s knocks and bounce back. You will be more able to take on projects/ workload and have better relationships with others.

 “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

No I haven’t gone mad..erm ok, madder than usual. Gremlins is a term some of us coaches use, to describe the nagging internal voice that tells you, “why bother, you’ll never be able to do that”, “you’re not good enough”, “go on another biscuit won’t hurt, you can start the diet tomorrow”.  Any of this sound familiar?

We all have our own personal Gremlin, or maybe a few of them.  I think I have a whole Gremlin networking federation in my head at times. Rest assured though, your Gremlin, maddening as he is has your best interest at heart.  Your Gremlin doesn’t like change.  He wants you to stay safe in your comfort zone, he doesn’t like challenge. As soon as you start thinking about changing something, he may start telling you very convincingly all the reasons why that would be an unpleasant thing to do.

The thing is comfort zones are only comfortable for a short while, everything we want most in life is just outside, in that slightly more uncomfortable area.  It doesn’t stay uncomfortable for long though, and often it’s never as hard as we may have imagined it to be.

Feel the fear and do it anyway or  “sometimes you just have to jump, and build your wings on the way down”. By getting out of our comfort zones we grow more as a person.  Every time we make the plunge for what we want we become stronger to the  Gremlin chatter.

Arguing with your Gremlin is futile as arguments are a big energy drain.  So how do you tackle this slippery character? Sometimes he can be very convincing, so much so you end up believing what he says.  “We are the only thing that ever stops us achieving any thing in life, there is nothing outside that stops us, only our Gremlin excuses that we adopt as our own”. Sure it’s not always easy but the more we overcome our Gremlin excuses the more our world changes.

Typical Gremlin excuses are

I haven’t the time

I can’t afford it

It will be difficult

It will take a long time

I’m not strong enough

I’m too big, tall, short, old etc

I’m just not that kind of person to do….

I’m not good enough/not worthy/un-lovable etc

Have the cake you deserve a treat, you can start the diet Monday

5 ways to tackle your Gremlin

1.     One way is just to create a bit of space and recognise your Gremlin is agitated.  Listen to him, even write it down, he wants his say, let him have it. Now what is it you want to do? If you follow his advice will it help you or hinder you towards your goal?

2.     Note your Gremlins advice, thank him for sharing then tell yourself out loud in the mirror,  “I am going to do – – – – – –  as this something I want and I am choosing to do for myself”. You will be more fulfilled, happier and feel like you have achieved something worthwhile than if you listen to your Gremlin.

3.     Tell yourself the voice is just your Gremlin it’s not who you are. You are not your Gremlin. Stay present and observe these thoughts, do your best not to get sucked into his chatter. Visualise your Gremlin, give him/her a name, this can then create a silly image in your mind which will lessen the effect of the negative words.

4.     Listen to your Gremlin, then close your eyes and focus on your breath. Noticing your  breath will give you something to concentrate on as oppose to the Gremlin chatter. Bring all your attention to your breath in and breath out. Put your hand on your heart, and connect with that deeper part of you. Ask yourself, what is it that you really want?

5.     Get really determined, know you are always have choice.  You are master of your destiny, you can decide what to do.  Choose to ignore his advice and instead go for it!

If you want to read more about Gremlins check out a book by Rick Carson called ‘Taming your Gremlin