Why are you needing to diet?

Today I want to discuss why you may have dieted, may be trying to diet and why you feel the need to diet.

I for one really dislike the word diet except in the general sense of all food being discussed as an overall eating practice. That is: your diet should contain all food groups, or, what do you prefer to include in your daily food intake?

Not as a restrictive practice.

Not a Sacrifice for Health

When we think of diets we tend to generally think – restrictive, painful, deleting food. Maybe you associate it with adding in foods that you really dislike; and overall equate it to pretty ‘painful’ practices?

The dictionary describes Diet as the kinds of foods that a person, animal or community habitually eats. This seems fairly good to me.  We can look at what the Japanese eat, what the Mediterranean’s eat and there are positive results in both of those practices that could act as good models.

But then when we get further along in the dictionary and it reads- a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

I don’t know about you but as soon as the work restrict pops up, I want it more. It’s like being told as a kid you can’t touch that, and you automatically want to try it and see what would happen. Or maybe as soon as you think about restricting that one thing you suddenly crave it.

Therefore, today I don’t want you to think about diet in any other sense than as a practice. But I do want you to think about why you feel the need to change your eating practices.

What is your Trigger?

Did something trigger you to suddenly increase your intake? Did you become upset and then try and self sooth with food? If so what exactly set you off?  It seems to me that these would be better questions.

Once we find that trigger we can then address how to change it. Do we need to be away from certain people, circumstances? Maybe if you can’t do that you can change how you react to the trigger. Perhaps instead of turning to food, you go for a walk, read a book, call a friend……

We have talked about how to change triggers before and please feel free to check out my other vlog, or blogs.

Until we know what the trigger was though, we can’t change it, and it is then harder to make a new habit and alter our established response. However just recognizing the trigger is already growth and leading to change.

What is your Why?

The next thing I want you to think about is; why do you want to diet. Is there something internal you are doing to yourself? This is quite a common thing.

For example we look in the mirror and critique some part of ourselves. We feel imperfect and therefore the only way in our mind is to fix it with a diet. The unfortunate bit about this as feeling unhappy with how we appear and hoping a diet will fix it, we are again putting restrictions in.

If I take this out, I will feel better.

Now overall, I am doubtful if this is a successful strategy as it doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. Why do you feel less than?

When we give ourselves a negative to focus on instead of a positive, our brain only hears the negative. Let’s try it, for example:

I feel fat and I need to diet – the brain hears more I feel fat (not a great feeling)

I need to cut out chocolate, chips or cheese. The brain hears; chocolate, chips and cheese and generally we then begin to think of them. Possibly we can imagine tasting them, our mouth waters and we keep focusing on those and then we try to come up with reasons why we should eat them one more time. Maybe we will start dieting tomorrow, or Monday or New Year’s Day…… and so on.

Today’s strategy is a bit more about self-love and not self-loathing.

Let’s change the FRAME.

By this I mean instead of the criticism I want you to think about feeling more energetic, alive, vital and content. This will change your emotions. Now what makes you feel this way? Give it a moment as our conscious mind may try and interrupt here. Remember you have created some pretty unhealthy habits and practices.

You have probably developed a lot of negative self-talk about those habits, some rationales about them. And these are going to want to challenge you.

But if you keep thinking what will make you feel better, you may realise that you can still have that chocolate but not every day. Maybe it’s more fun to make it a treat once a week or once a month. After all it’s not a treat or special if we have it all the time.

Maybe you now realize that those portions are a bit big, and that equal enjoyment can be had by a smaller serving. We rarely get extra enjoyment from just increasing the quantity.

Maybe you can find a different way to reward yourself a massage, new book, a new hobby…. Whatever the reward if it can be distracting, fun, repeatable we can create new happier cravings that not only make us feel good. We can create new associations, and new habits.

We can take out the need to feel like we are denying ourselves. It will give you a different mental focus on the one hand, something to look forward to and on the other. It will help you feel healthier without all the negative flagellation. Seems like this is a better way to get healthy.

Self-love instead of restrict, deny and criticise. After all isn’t this what we try and teach our young children? Boundaries with love?

Understand the why, and chose a different behaviour. This if far healthier than a negative though and a poorly thought out reaction. This may not come automatically so the final suggestion I have is before you react in any way just pause.

Yep take a moment. This is for you and literally takes a moment. PAUSE.  How do you feel right now, how do you want to feel?

This is responding and not reacting.

So for now practice hitting that PAUSE button, and notice the power it gives you. Notice how much easier it is to self-love when we aren’t reacting to the moment, responding to an external catalyst or countering a trigger.

Focus on how much healthier you feel, and what different choices you make around your weight loss, fitness or wellbeing decisions. After all we are one of the few species that have this capability, why not use it more regularly. Imagine the outcome.

2019, what are your Health Goals?

2019, what are your Health Goals?

5 Ways to succeed in your weight loss journey this year.

Every year we make a new resolution or re-ignite an old one that kind of fell by the way the previous year, with some justification, excuse, or rationale. According to U.S News 2017, 80% of New Year’s resolutions will fail.

How about this year we keep it simple with just 5 easy steps to keep that weight loss on target, our health improving and our energy increasing?

I have broken it down to 5 easy steps to help keep you on track and if some of you take that literally so much the better!

  1. What is your Weight Loss Goal?

Now I don’t mean exactly how much weight do you want to lose as that is a goal, but 95% of the clients I have seen that have had success found that the use of a figure alone was not enough.

No, what I really mean is, why do you want to lose that 5, 10 or 20 kg?

Discerning the real reason will give you a far more exciting goal. Perhaps it is to have a baby, run an event, or reduce the amount of medication you are on. These goals are far more compelling for our future well being and therefore more likely to be a trigger to re-motivate us when we fall of the ‘health wagon’.

Let’s face it there are times when watching what you eat can become tedious, or doing that extra day of exercise could be justified in being put off. For these reasons we need something more exciting to focus on than just a figure on the scales. If this goal is emotive; that is when we think of it we get a tingle of emotion, preferably a positive one. It will motivate us far better than just a few 100 grams off on the scales which can feel somewhat disheartening.

Hence we need to choose a goal that provides some excitement. Be it for a better life or more exhilarating outcome and see how much easier it is to stick to.

2.  What 2 things each day will lead you closer to that goal?

So now you have a goal. I know people say ‘do one thing each day to get closer’ but it seems common sense to me that if we simply double that, the probability of success will be higher.

The other aspect of doing 2 things a day to help you lose weight, is that you have a back up. If you are tired, and you may not feel like a high intensity day, but you do a longer walk, you still have the good food practices to support you. The more we do these 2 things the quicker the habit to healthier living is re-enforced. Maybe your 2 things are to cook a healthy meal ahead of time for each day of the week, and do 10,000 steps. Perhaps it is to increase your coloured vegies at each meal and do 10 push-ups a day. Perhaps you could even increase by 2 each day, then by the end of the week you could be doing 20-24!

Once we reinforce a habit it establishes a neural pathway that will help make the new habits more sustainable. Just like we may have followed a particular route to visit a friend and then they put in new freeway and it’s all a bit awkward to navigate. You may get off at the wrong exit a few times, but after a while it becomes easier and you don’t even have to think about it, you can probably turn off google maps and enjoy not having to focus on not getting lost.

By making a new habit quicker we get to enjoy the results quicker and this will become a positive feedback loop! Out health will improve faster, we will feel fitter sooner and just want more and more of those good sensations.

3.  What gets measured gets monitored.

If you can measure your 2 things the probability of achieving your goal is higher. The more likely you are to lose the weight, drop the blood pressure, have more energy and better moods.

If we take an example from above; it is not hard to measure cooking 7 meals for a week, and walking 10K steps.  Or counting how many vegetables you ate in a day and increasing your squats by 10 per day so that by the weeks end you can do 70 and maybe the next week start off on a push up increment.  Maybe you note your moods each day. Whatever 2 things you choose if you can measure them you know you have succeeded and this serves as our own positive reinforcement, reward and brings us closer to our initial goal.

I remember when I had to shift an unwanted 14 kg. My 2 things were to just walk a bit further or do pilates every second day (even at home in front of the TV) and I gave up sugar. The second was quite hard at times, as our whole family come from a sugar craving race. But I would focus on how I wanted to feel, and how being heavy was just making everything more difficult.

4.  Plan, Plan, Plan

This is part of the above, it’s no use saying I am going to food prep for a week or eat 9 vegies a day and a protein at each meal if all that is in the cupboard is white bread and cereal, or crackers and cheese.  You are not going to go to the gym, or walk if your runners have holes and you’re your feet hurt. So to achieve our goals it is ideal to sit down at the end of the week and plan your next week. This way you can review what you enjoyed, and what was successful the previous week, and more importantly associate the emotions with each as these ultimately provide the most motivation.

If you discovered that you really still hate brussel sprouts (I could be projecting my tastes here) then putting them back on the menu is not going to be enticing, but if you substitute if for a seasonal vegetable, it will be tasty and probably cheaper; win: win.

Maybe 10K steps is not achievable b/c you have to be in an office this week. Perhaps then it’s time to ramp up the push-ups/squats/lunges or invest in a trainer to help build muscle and cardio fitness.

The better you’re planning the easier the week flows. Most of my clients have their own training times so that it just becomes part of their week and their new norm. A few minutes each week of planning ahead can make your changes seem more natural and therefore workable.

5.  Accountable:

For those of you with really big goals. How are you going to make yourself accountable? It is too easy to make an excuse even to a training buddy. What is your deal breaker?

If you are the sort of person that needs others to keep you on target then a trainer may be needed. Some of my clients join the FitBit challenges, have a group competition and this drives them a bit harder. We can all see who met their goals. Even though our goals for exercise or weightloss may vary, we are able to cheer each other on with every win.

Each of us is different, some people find being accountable for specific things  make showing up easier. One lady I know always has a training team  at 6am. She won’t let them down no-matter what the weather because they have planned an event to compete in. Others don’t want to miss their training session knowing the trainer is waiting just for them, and they will be charged for last minute cancellations.

What is your accountability deal breaker: For me it’s knowing how I will feel at the end of the day and how tolerant or intolerant I will be with my family. If I plan my day and do the exercise I know I will cope better with moody kids and be less stressed and able to deal with their issues or moods as they arise. I also find I have more energy to do all the tasks that come with running a business and four kids, as neither of these fall happily between 9-5.

You can be accountable to yourself or others it doesn’t matter as long as it is something that you can’t talk yourself out of easily. So short of having gastro, what would prevent you from carrying out your health goals daily for 2019?

How Are Your Emotions Affecting Your Health?

How Are Your Emotions Affecting Your Health?


Do you occasionally have that empty sensation inside that you crave to fill. Or maybe you have a fear that a particularly unpleasant feeling will return.

You know when you have had one of ‘those days’ and feel like someone has just beaten you with a 4×2 each time you turned around. And you are left feeling despondent, flat, angry or maybe even depressed and anxious.

*Work; some politics took place and someone else took the credit for you achievement.

*Home; kids venting on you, cupboard empty or dinner burnt.

*Finances; credit card bill came in and is unexpectedly high.

*Partner; decides that you didn’t really mean what you were trying to convey and argument ensues.

Sometimes to combat these concerns we try and change an emotion with food. This may not always be a conscious feeling just a driving uncertainty and a desire to eat.

If we have had a particular reaction to an emotional experience and that internal sensation caused us to eat then next time we have a similar feeling, the probability of responding the same way will be higher.


Here is the funny thing about our minds. It always hears what we say. So if our internal dialogue says I don’t want to feel empty, our mind will go in search of how to fill us up. However our mind doesn’t know if we are being literal or metaphorical, it just hears that you feel empty.

If you then put a fear of feeling empty into that self-talk, now you have created an even stronger emotional link and a more prolific need for the mind to help fill that void.

This is how many clients come to me. They tell me I don’t eat junk food all that often, but I do have snacks as I don’t like to feel empty. Usually this empty isn’t a feeling of hunger as much as an emotional reaction to something.


The other thing our mind does is that it always want to make us feel safe. Therefore when we get that empty feeling, be it hunger, loneliness, apathy or anxiety our mind will try and give us a help out.

So now we know that our mind our mind wants what is best for us, but the way of achieving it may not be the best for our health.


The reason we now turn to food is because we have a habit, it is familiar, it has become our go to, and therefore it is easier. No thought involved really. Instant albeit short lived relief. This worked before we had momentary reprieve so why not do it again.

Let’s face it none of us like feeling sad, anxious or any of those negative other emotions that pop up. We go in search of some sort help. But imagine if that help was a healthy option that you could access just as quickly but without the guilt or feelings of bloatedness afterwards.

So if our mind responds to what we tell it, it wants to keep us safe, and hears our words then with practice and a few techniques we can change how we react and then create a new way of responding.

One I personally like to use when my emotions are ramping up is to think of first of all how I like to feel when I am on top of everything. By focusing on that I start to change how I search for the next step. Then I remind myself of how I felt when I took an unhealthy route and make that even more unpleasant in my mind. The final step is to remind myself of a healthy choice I did instead. This replaces the thoughts of sitting, moping, or eating high sugary or fatty ‘rubbish’, and makes me more motivated to go and do that more productive practice.

These process didn’t happen overnight, and when I work with clients we often have to do different techniques, but there are options for everyone, and with practice you just get better and quicker at them. Way quicker than even reading this blog.




The 4 M’s to help enhance your weight loss and wellbeing.


Often with the clients I see, the story is pretty similar (after we cut to the chase), their motivation is at an all-time low.

They may be in a crappy situation, have been in one, feel like they are heading towards one and have that kinaesthetic of “I just can’t” or “I don’t want too”, “I have no motivation, no purpose, no incentive” and “why bother”.

If this occurs as a one off (we all have those days) it’s not a big deal. If this happens over and over and we find it more and more challenging to move then we need to reignite our motivation.

Hit the start button!


This is a fun word as it works on a couple of levels.

First of all it’s just a matter of simply starting. We are probably not going to win that 10km. But just starting to move a bit more, has the effect of activating some of those feel good hormones. We then do a bit more, we feel a bit better and soon we establish new neural pathways, options, choices and behaviours.

Dr. Joe Dispenza an expert on rewiring our neural pathways consistently reminds us that neurones that fire together wire together. He has done numerous studies and shown that this can even cure diseases. So how about just starting with a few small actions each day and creating new habits.

If we can create disease with stress, anxiety and negative action it goes to say that we can create health and wellbeing by upping our movement and positive action. We then generate energy in the realm of possibility.

As we increase our movement our momentum can increase in other ways. First of all we want to do more moving, and feel even better. Chances are we then will address our diet. Hello babe our momentum is increasing …..


“So which moves?” I get asked.

“I hate running”

“If you ask me to do a burpee I am leaving”

“My legs/elbows/knees joints hurt I can’t possibly exercise”

My reply will vary but the summation is ‘horses for courses’ if you have joint pain, maybe swimming, kick boarding or walking in the warm pool is an option.

If you hate running, but like cardio try High Intensity Interval Training. Works well if you are time poor too.

Need to give the metabolism a boost? Time to add in resistance.

Find something enjoyable and the likelihood of repeating it increases dramatically.

There is always an option. See your physio or medical professional if you need to. On the wards when I was nursing, sometimes really simple moves were all we could commence with but doing nothing wasn’t an option.

Any good PT will have an ideas for you. But ‘I can’t’ won’t cut it. That momentum won’t fire without starting.

Need more motivation google some of the amazing stories of what severely challenged people have been able to achieve amazing results? They had to overcome physical and emotional challenges too.


Sometimes our mental blocks are a bit too profound to start moving. It is perfectly OK to outsource then. No I don’t mean get someone else to jump on the spin bike for you slam out a 100 crunches and spring a few box jumps. Rather, find a coach or mentor to help you re-wire your thinking and facilitate new behaviours so you can continue to feel good.

This could be in the form of a training buddy that makes you accountable to show up and train. Or it could look a bit more professional. Whichever way you choose your mentor the objective mindset is that they are not your crutch but a catalyst to help you start your new healthier life. Help you think differently, move differently and craft new improved choices.

After all we want to be independent, no blame game, just our own accountability.


Unconscious Habits

Unconscious habits

Who is controlling your Health?

I put it to you that much of what we do around our health and wellbeing we do without even realizing it.

If we inspect the meaning of doing things unconsciously it reflects the process of our mind that we do without even knowing. These processes we do automatically, without introspection and when we do them often enough they become a habit, and we establish a neural pathway.

Now so many things we do without much thought or effort, and this is ok.  After all it enables us to communicate, look after ourselves, and protect us from burns, cold, drive without re-learning every rule or gear.

Our unconscious habits

But what happens when our habits are sabotaging our health?

What happens when our habits wreak havoc on our wellbeing?

These automatic responses that maybe we developed to show love, cope with stress, anxiety, depression that involve food, being sedentary, shutting down emotionally now are destroying lives.

If our coping mechanism to dealing with life’s turmoils is to turn to food then all that really results is a gain in weight, blood pressure and more threatening illnesses.

Self Esteem

How many times have I had clients come to me for muffin stress eating, of trying to reduce boredom with chocolate, chip cravings, or a doughnut addiction?  These food are eaten without much thought being given to them.  This then becomes a habit, a response where suddenly we find our face in the pantry and chomping away on food that offers no nutritional value, little emotional solace and even less companionship.

If we do this often enough, we establish a neural pathway which then becomes our go-to behaviour.

What if we re-wire our neural pathways and alter these habits with healthier alternatives to respond?

Re-Wire your Responses

Instead of eating find a new habit.

Discover a more appealing future version of you that is so exciting that the food doesn’t come up on our radar. Our new healthier, motivated, excited version enjoys food but doesn’t need it as a distraction.

This new you is in control, not reliant on anyone else.  Feels great, and makes choices rather than responses. This version of you can clearly picture how they want to be.  It may seem a challenge at first, but we didn’t develop unhealthy, automatic unhealthy responses in a day either.