Ditch The New Year's Resolutions Before They Fail...

Yes it sounds harsh; harsh but fair I would say!

Here are some of the most common New Year's Resolutions that rarely make it until February;

•   Lose weight
•   Get fit
•   Eat healthier
•   Get out of debt
•   Be more sociable
•   Earn more money
•   Start my own business

I could go on… So why are these aims doomed to failure before they even get going? Define fit, how much weight and to what purpose, what to eat, how will I get out of debt, by when? etc… Too many people take on too much when it comes to New Year's Resolutions without really thinking how they will make these changes; it's easy to reel off a load of ambitious aims when there's a whole year ahead of us but what are we going to do each and every day to take us one step nearer to those goals? We have to know exactly what we want to achieve and then we have to plan and take action steps to make them happen.

To make real, and more importantly, sustainable changes we need to think smart - as in SMART goals;

•   Specific
•   Measurable
•   Achievable
•   Realistic
•   Timely

Although arguably one of the hardest goals to achieve, quitting something has the highest chance of succeeding - 'stop smoking right as of Jan 1st' fits all the above criteria - the trickiest bits are the Achievable and Realistic depending on the person; the habit to break, their willpower, their support network, whether they can make themselves accountable to someone. Compare that to #1 on our list - lose weight. Why do I want to lose weight in the first place, how can I lose weight safely and sustainably, how much and at what pace, by when, then what??? (There's a reason 'diets' don't work!)

If this all sounds overwhelming and too much like hard work why even bother? Well, there is an answer; a guaranteed path to success, and all you need is to put one 'anytime' resolution into practice;

"Starting right now, using SMART goals I will take small, easy and sustainable steps to constantly improve every aspect of my life - and I will do it forever!"

As a trained and certified Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, my job, (and my passion) is to help people like YOU become the best possible version of yourself. If you want to know more about making permanent improvements to all areas of your life, contact me for a FREE, no obligation one-on-one health and lifestyle consultation. For a list of my services click here and wherever you are and whatever you get up to, have a fabulous 2014 :-)

Why you should start your new health regime BEFORE Christmas

Winter has plenty to offer if you're the outdoor type and don't mind the cold, but for many people it is a time of hibernating - wrapping up lazily on the sofa with a good book, hot chocolate and some comfort food, waiting until spring to start getting in shape again. Ring any bells???

And then what happens - spring is suddenly upon us and everyone wants to get in shape for the summer; eat healthy, exercise more, unpack the summer clothes only to find out they've shrunk over the winter…So here's my take on it!

'Everyone' seems to join a new gym in the New Year - why would you? It's the worst possible time to join; it'll be crowded with uncommitted people who won't be there in a month's time, unfamiliar with the equipment, 'hogging' your favourite work station, wasting time in the showers, cluttering the change area etc. Admit it; you want to go to the gym when there are just enough people to create an atmosphere but not so many that you have to wait for or limit your time with equipment. You want it to feel like your own personal club - am I right? So don't be one of those people; go now and by January you'll feel like one of the old sweats, your workout will be so much more efficient when you have it polished and the staff will take you far more seriously - you'll get to know them and they will more likely take an interest in you and your success. The 'resolutions' crowd will come and go and you'll hardly notice them.

And as for healthy eating - why wait until the spring to change your habits, to panic diet, where your only goal is to lose enough weight to fit into your favourite summer outfit again? That's no way to live a healthy life; it involves too much sacrifice and is unsustainable - if it worked you wouldn't be doing it again and again. Summer beach bodies are earned in the winter! With all the long nights ahead isn't this the perfect time to learn some healthy food options that you actually like? Trust me, I hate to sacrifice my favourite foods - so I don't, I create them! I know what goes in them and I get to make them exactly how I like them.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the build up to Christmas is the perfect time to make the changes! Here's why;
  • Small changes make the most sustainable results so this time of year is a great excuse not to go at it too hard - think moderation. 
  • With the likelihood of lots of parties, rich Christmas foods and general excess you'll certainly get enough treats to keep you going - but what about the rest of the time? Use this time to eat as healthily as you can, all the while knowing it's only a couple of days or so until the next blowout. 
  • Take some light exercise during the day, before you go out - and then enjoy your party without the guilt.
  • If you start slowly and gently now, you'll be far more motivated and in a much better place to step it up come the end of the holidays.
So don't wait until spring to get ready for summer - start now; feel awesome, look awesome, have awesome amounts of energy - just BE awesome!

Growing up and fitting in - we've got it all wrong!

I was chatting with friends the other day and we're joking, (although not really) about how we're getting stiffer and less flexible as we get older - and none of us are that old! Then the upside of ageing comes up, how we get more self confident and care less about the opinions of others on how we look, dress and act and how life is tough, for different reasons, at any age.

So I ask the question; which category of people has it best; the most confident, the most flexible, the greatest capacity to learn, the most open minded and inquisitive? The answer of course, is babies! And then it all goes downhill from there…and although this is lighthearted, it's also very true! Although the same could be said for dogs; they don't seem to get sick, they intuitively know what is good for them and what isn't - and when was the last time you saw a stressed out dog?

We have it all wrong! My eldest sister Sue, (love her to bits) has always been the free thinking one in our family and I have to admit over the years, I've considered her to be a bit 'out there', but as I get older and wiser I'm starting to think she may have had it right all along.

At around five we go to school, and I know things have changed since my days but the basic outline is still the same; we sit quietly in rows day after day, only speaking when we're spoken to. We are asked the questions, but we're then told the answers - we learn to remember rather than think. We learn what we're told - this is right and that is wrong; there really isn't a whole lot of encouragement to question everything. So what happens to our naturally inquisitive nature? It gets quashed! I always remember my young nephew Callum in his early days questioning everything; I would constantly be 'grilled' about anything and everything when I visited, every tradesman that came to the house would be interrogated in great detail about what they were doing and why. And he would remember all of it down the last snippet of information. I remember hoping that it would never stop and he would go through life taking in everything that went on around him. I know I stopped doing it long ago; I took everything to be what it seemed on the surface. I accepted everything I was told by anyone in any kind of authority; teachers, parents, police, priests - in fact any adult. I joined the military and believed what I was told by anyone with any seniority to me. I learned who the good guys were in the world, and who the bad guys were - both of whom seemed to constantly change depending on what, I don't know? But that's what we were told so it must surely be right…mustn't it???

It wasn't until I grew older and realized that I didn't really know very much at all, but what I did know was that I wasn't the only one - everyone in life was just passing down the same information without questioning it. Someone could have made up a total lie years ago and we all believed it because 'it must be true' and to question it would mean not fitting in, being the outsider, being different.

And this is the biggest mistake of all; we shouldn't fit in, any of us. We should ALL fit out, we need to all be different, be our own outsider. How can we change things for the better if we keep on doing the same things that clearly don't work? And this isn't about anything specific; it's about everything in life; how we live, how we lead, how we build our homes, how we provide for our families, how the country is run and how we create sustainable energy. This is not me being a conspiracy theorist, this is me opening my mind. We are fed into a system based around money, debt and greed. Young people come out of university with huge debt which often takes them many years to pay off, by which time they are 'fitting in', they use their qualifications to get good, well paying jobs. But part of having these good jobs involves having the big house, the nice car and all the toys. So we now have to earn good money to just be able to sustain the lifestyle that the good job affords us. And so the circle goes round and comes round - on and on and on - until we retire after 40 plus years of working 50/60/70 hours a week to give ourselves what we are told is the good life! But what has this all cost us? We put on weight, we spend more time sick, we pile on the medications, we get stressed, we lose our health - for what? To fit in, to belong - to the consumer population. 

And this is the wealthy ones; what about the less fortunate? So many families these days are struggling to get by; both parents working two jobs just to make ends meet - those ends never will meet - as long as huge corporations can pay minimum wage in order to make more profits for the shareholders.

Thankfully we now have the internet so there is no right and wrong answer anymore; all the information in the world, right and wrong, is just a click away. Some true, some not true, but at least now we have the choice. We get to read both sides of every story, every argument, which can only be a good thing. We can make our own informed decisions, we get to question everything and make our own minds up. No longer is there any justification to the phrase; "Don't believe what you read on the internet!" You'll read plenty of information that at first seems wrong because it's not what you've been led to believe, it goes against everything you've ever been told. But is it wrong? Maybe, maybe not… We need to start thinking for ourselves; question where the information is coming from. Just because it comes from a reputable source - why is that source reputable? Who sets to gain from this information? Are there political or commercial interests at stake here? If it's just the opinion of a 'nobody' does that make it any less worthy of your time and consideration?

So is there an answer to all this ranting? I believe we should all learn how to live from babies and dogs; they both seem to have it right - we clearly don't. And parents, next time you need an answer to one of life's troubling questions, just try asking your kids. You have nothing to lose and you may just be surprised by their open-mindedness...

Healthy Sweet Treats Party Food Recipe Round-up

I had such fun rounding up my favourite savory recipes for our finger foods party collection, but everything in balance, right?! We all need a little sweet to compliment that savory fix!

Sweet treats don't have to be bad for you. Nor are they necessarily 'cheat' items. When you're preparing these at home you're in control of the ingredients - choose high quality dark chocolate and organic ingredients when you can. The big difference between these treats and something you'd buy from the store in the lack of processed rubbish and refined sugars. Still consume in moderation but make sure you ENJOY them (because feeling guilty just makes you miserable - and then you'll want to eat more to console yourself!)

So here they are....my round up of 12 delectable desserts and sweet treats for your seasonal party!

Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters from Lexie's Kitchen
Fruit Kabobs from Taste of Home
Dates stuffed with Nut Butter from Healthy Tipping Point

Almond Coconut Chocolate Bites from Free People Blog
Grinch Kabobs from Nourishing Minimalism
Candy Apple Wedges from An Edible Mosaic

Tahini Fudge Squares from {never}homemaker
Yogurt Drop treats from She is Red
Coconut Macaroons from A Tasty Love Story

And just in case you missed it...Check out 20 Healthy Savory Finger Foods recipe round-up 

Healthy Party Food Recipe Round-up!

Yes, it's that time of year again; work parties, long lunches, family gatherings, friends popping round etc as everyone enjoys the atmosphere that is the lead up to Christmas. But along with this comes… the bloating, the tightened waistband, the excess pounds sneaking on our midriffs. It's always the same; as much as we try and eat healthily at meal times, it's the snacking, the party foods that does it every time.

We all know the best options - chopped veg and pieces of fruit dipped in a healthy hummus, but despite our best intentions we just can't resist the chicken fingers, the meatballs, the chocolates… or can we…?

To save you the hard work I've put together an awesome list of my favourite healthy finger foods; some are my own creations, but most I've collected from around the web. All are delicious and for the most part healthy.

For extra tips on all aspects of staying healthy at Christmas see my older post here - now go out and enjoy everything the season has to offer :-)

Here are 20 Healthy Finger Food Recipes and ideas for your next seasonal party!;

Zucchini Pizza Bites from Inspired Dreamer
Thai Turkey Meatballs from You Say Tomato
Masala Chicken Fingers from Better Together BC

Healthy Mozzarella Sticks from Every College Girl
Mediterranean Cucumber Cups from The Three Little Piglets
Sun-dried Tomato Hummus from Veggiestyle with Daphne
Devilled Eggs from me!

Parmesan Chia Seed Crackers from Chocolate and Dumbbells
Bruschetta from Daniela
Stuffed Peppadew Peppers from Carolina Girl Cooks
Omelette Cupcakes from Hungry Healthy Happy

Stuffed Dates with Goats Cheese & Pistachios from Noshing with the Nolands
Black Olive Penguins from Foodie with Family
Crispy Quinoa Bites from The Healthy Apple
Dolmades from Melbourne Seasonal Eater

Stuffed Mushrooms from AB petite
Cucumber with Smoked Salmon from Amazing Sandwiches

Check out part 2 of my Healthy Party Finger Foods - I have rounded up 12 awesome sweet treats recipes for your sweet tooth pleasure!

Caprese Salad on a Stick recipe

Caprese Salad has got to be my favourite salad. Love that fresh, fresh taste of the mozzarella and fresh juicy tomatoes. And everything tastes better with balsamic vinegar, no?! This variation is perfect for entertaining - no mess, no plates, just grab a stick and pop it right in your mouth. Then repeat. Frequently!!


Cherry Tomatoes
Bocconcini Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar
Cocktail Sticks

Simply stick 1 cherry tomato, 1 mini bocconcini cheese and a basil leaf onto each cocktail stick. Arrange on your serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

To make the Balsamic Reduction
Add 1/2 cup of Balsamic Vinegar to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat so the liquid will simmer until thickened. Watch and stir occasionally - once it starts thickening it goes quickly!

Health(ier) Devilled Eggs

Possibly my all time favourite 'party' food. But they get a bad rap for not being healthy. I think eggs are perfectly healthy and it's easy to trade out the traditional mayonnaise filling for greek yogurt (but really we're only talking a smidgeon of mayo per egg anyway so I wouldn't sweat it too much!!) But for these I did skip the mayo bringing you a healthier version;

  • 6 Hard boiled Eggs
  • Curry Power
  • 2 Tbsp Greek Yogurt
  • Paprika
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper
Cut all the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Add to the yolks the Yogurt, Curry Power and Salt & Pepper and mix to a paste. If it's too dry add a little more yogurt to get a paste. Carefully spoon the mixture back into the Egg Whites. Arrange on your serving plate and sprinkle with paprika and a sprig of parsley.

Curse you Coach Recap and Reminder...

Ok, for those who haven't started my December 'Curse your Coach' challenge for whatever reason, I just wanted to let you know it's never too late to start - like NOW people!!! It is nearly Christmas after all and who doesn't like to go into the holiday period feeling good about themselves - in every way :-)

Here is the link to the original rules of the game with the daily challenges and cringe-worthy jokes you may have missed so far below - extra points for the person who catches up all in one day - and there will be a prize for the funniest/most interesting/whacky contribution...

Day 1 - Pick someone you don’t know from my Facebook friends and send them a message introducing yourself and telling them how you know me!

Two blondes walk into a building……….you’d think at least one of them would have seen it.

Day 2 - Easy physical intro – 50 squats. If you can do 50 then do 100, if you can do 100 then do 150…..

Phone answering machine message -”…If you want to buy marijuana, press the hash key…”

Day 3 - Eat 8 portions of veg and 2 of fruit today!

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn’t find any.

Day 4 - Your legs should be aching from two days ago – do the same squats again!

I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn’t reach the meat off the top shelf. He said, “No, the steaks are too high.”

Day - Compliment a total stranger!

My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.

For all the up coming days, keep an eye on my Facebook page. Each challenge gets posted the day before so there should be no excuses wherever you are in the world…

Have fun and enjoy the challenge :-)

Fresh air experience

This time of year might just be one of my favourites; I love the summer heat and the colours of spring and autumn but there's something about the first snow outing of the season. Fortunately I live in a lake valley surrounded by mountains which means we get much milder weather at lake level while we have deep thick snowy conditions up on the high ground.

And so it was this weekend that a bunch of us, and of course our dogs, headed to the hills for our first snowshoe hike/fumble… There's a ski resort just about 45 minutes from here and just 2 kms short of that there is a smaller area with Nordic skiing, snowmobile routes and plenty of trails to snowshoe and let the dogs go mad together. Ours being a Vizsla with no undercoat and very little body fat was the only one to wear a fleece coat; at 20 months she's still too young to know when she's cold and would quite happily freeze to death as long as she was having fun!

The logistics of getting 7 people, 6 dogs and 3 vehicles to the same place at the same time was like herding cats so by the time those who needed to hire shoes had them and we were all ready to go it was already well into the afternoon. And being a cloudy day, we only had a couple of hours till dusk but it was plenty of time for our first foray together. It did help that we knew where we were going so we managed to get deep into the forest before turning round to come back. It would have been nice to have done a loop but unfortunately there are maps of the area's trails and although we were following 'blazes' on the trees, we had no way of knowing how far each trail would go - I think we need a full day, a GPS and a picnic to figure out some loops of our own.

Exercise - check!
Fresh air - check!
Quality social time - check!
Self care - check! 

Next trip is planned to be a night hike with all of us carrying a backpack of food, dry firewood and maybe just a small warming tipple or three...

Curse your Coach Challenge!

Christmas is just around the corner and with it comes holidays, family gatherings and parties and most towns light up with the atmosphere of it all. But with all this can come stress, over indulgence, weight gain and a general feeling of 'falling off the wagon.'

So to combat the downsides of this time of year without losing any of the enjoyment I have put together a total health challenge for mind, body and spirit. I guarantee if you stick with it, you'll go into the Christmas holidays feeling better than you have for a long time!

The first challenge is to be performed on Monday Dec 2nd but will be posted on Facebook at 12:00 PST/20:00 GMT the day before to give everyone a chance to take part. The rest of the challenge will run in this vein for a total of 21 days in order for you to become the best possible version of yourself in time for Christmas and there will be a prize for the person who gets most involved and shows the best ‘spirit’. As Facebook seems to have its own agenda of who sees what, liking my page is not enough. To get all the tasks you will have to do the following; hover your curser over the word ‘Liked’ where a drop down menu will appear – click on ‘Settings’. Then click on ‘All updates’; that way you won't miss a post. Alternatively you can just go to my page everyday but let's face it, you won't remember will you… :P

How it works
  • Each contender will start with 10 ‘Free Pass’ points in order to have a ‘cheat day’ or to skip certain challenges. 
  • Extra passes will be given for inspiring or imaginative actions/photos – add comments and/or photos to each FB post. 
  • Each day I will post a cringe worthy joke – if you can beat it – one extra free pass. 
  • I will also post clues to obtain extra passes here on my blog so you will need to keep checking in - subscribe to my blog, (up on the top left!) and you'll get all updates by email. 
  • FIVE extra passes will be given to anyone who brings an accountability partner who likes my InSpiral Coaching Facebook page and joins in the challenge.
The rules (or guidelines…)
Of course there are general rules as well as each day's challenge :-) And they are as follows;
  • Everyone must increase their physical activity level for the 21 days. If you don’t ‘workout’ at all try to add in a couple of days a week. If you’re a 3 day a week person, up it to 5. If you’re already on 5 days, increase it to 7 – it’s only for 21 days so quit your whining!
  • No alcohol for 21 days!
  • No fast food for 21 days!
  • No eating out for 21 days - one Christmas party is allowed free! 
  • No candy or chocolate for 21 days – small advent calendars are excluded.
  • Start each day with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into a glass of room temp water – first thing; it’s an awesome liver cleanser and starts the day on a healthy high! For an even better cleanse, add a dash of apple cider vinegar if you can! Smile as you drink it - you look so much better when you smile :-)
  • Each 'cheat' will cost you one ‘Free Pass’
These are the rules but the judge, (me!) is just as likely to be open to bribes. i.e. I'd rather see some good use of a vivid imagination/warped sense of humour here - with photo evidence where possible… ;-)

That’s it – for now…;-) (Remember you have 10 free passes; use them wisely and be honest – you keep score!) Good luck and have fun

9 reasons why you should work out at home

Ok so you may think you don’t have the space for it but hey, you’re only one body. You’ll be surprised how little space you actually need. Here are some answers for those ‘ other’ excuses;
  1. It’s not expensive. All you need is a mat, a few dumbbells and a good workout DVD. Two of my favourites right now are P90X and Supreme 90
  2. It takes less time. There’s no driving out to the gym when your time is limited; less time getting ‘there’ means more time working out! Workout first thing instead of sitting drinking that third coffee and you’ll find that getting up 30 mins earlier can mean as much as an hour working out and still leaving for work at the same time!
  3. It’s not weather dependent. You can’t be stranded due to snow, floods, hurricanes etc.
  4. You don’t need fancy/clean workout gear. Just throw on something loose and comfortable. Not showered or ‘done your hair’ yet? No problem.
  5. It’s not intimidating. There’s nobody there but you!
  6. You don’t need a baby/dog sitter!
  7. You can do it any time day or night. Nothing on TV, partner’s working late, can’t sleep – get up and ‘hit it’!
  8. Your warm up can be a walk in the fresh air, playing with the dog or kids or even just a jog up and down the stairs.
  9. The money you save by not taking out the gym membership you never use means you may be able to afford a workout plan and the occasional visit from a personal trainer – worth their weight in gold!
Now what’s your excuse??!!

Cooking with Mushrooms Recipe Round-up

Mushrooms seem to be one of those foods that people either love or hate, but did you know it is believed that there are more than 15,000 different varieties in the world. A mere 1% of known types will kill you and 25% are perfectly healthy and/or tasty to eat. Once you know the benefits of this awesome fungi you may want to start experimenting with recipes.

Some of the incredible benefits of Mushrooms include;
  • Eating just 1/2 cup daily can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by anywhere from 60 - 75%. 
  • White mushrooms have also been found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer 
  • They are great for our immune system and are highly antibiotic - penicillin comes from a form of fungus itself
  • They produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, just like humans so when we consume them we're getting an extra dose of Vitamin D ourselves
  • They are high in Vitamin B which is needed to turn carbs into fuel.
  • Mushrooms are anti-inflammatory, are high in antioxidants and they also help to stabilize blood sugar.
They are however, very good at absorbing their surroundings and what they are grown in and as we absorb what we eat, organic mushrooms really are better for us than non organic - I hate to use the term 'conventional' for non organic as it has implications of normalcy and natural.

So on the assumption that we're highly unlikely to stumble across the poisonous 1% in our day to day lives, it really does seem to be true why they say - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger…  

Mushroom Barley Soup by Ceri from Sweet Potato Chronicles
Mushroom Bourguignon by Nicole from Arctic Garden Studio  
Mushroom Risotto by Anna from Your Healthy Place
Chilli Jam Mushrooms from My Foodbook

Wild Mushroom Salad from Kitchen Daily
Portabellas with Peanut Sauce by Ashley from {never} homemaker
Mushroom & Asparagus Pizza by Alissa from 33 Shades of Green
Lightened up Crockpot Beef Stroganoff by Heather from Shrinking Kitchen

Mushroom Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto by Kiersten from Oh My Veggies
Savoury Spinach Mushroom Quiches by Abby from Manila Spoon
Barley, Sausage, Spinach & Mushroom by Lindsey from The Healthy Hausfrau

Guilt-free treat formula

These days I'm constantly aware of the balance between eating clean and enjoying treats. I certainly enjoy a sweet treat to snack on after my dinner. But something delicious, indulgent and chocolatey doesn't have to be bad!

I've been having fun with various versions of these little treat balls - you can adapt to suit your preferences and what's in your pantry. I've developed a bit of a formula for making these;
  • I always start with a 'base' - dates are great - nice and sticky and big (physically - for volume y'know!)
  • Then I add some nuts or seeds (or both!) - Almonds, Cashews, Sunflower seeds are all favs for me
  • Then I add more fruit - like cherries, cranberries, apricots or raisins
  • Then I'll add something that's gonna add some bulk to this - shredded coconut or oats are great
  • Finally some flavour - cocoa powder is pretty much a given, but also there are some awesome organic extracts like peppermint, almond, vanilla and orange - don't stop at one - I love the mint chocolate combination
This was my recipe (this time) for Chocolate Cherry treats!
  • My base: 8 medjool dates pitted
  • My nuts/seeds: 1/4 cup almonds
  • My extra fruit: 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries
  • My Bulk: 2 Tbsp Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • My flavour: 2 Tbsp Cocoa powder & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • I added a teaspoon of maple syrup to help bind it together and since this version ended up pretty sticky I rolled them in cocoa powder to finish them off!
Sometimes the mixture is a little stickier, sometimes a little drier but anything goes (and if all else fails and it doesn't hold together in balls then just grab a spoon and eat it out of the bowl - just watch out for portion control!)

2 great Clean Eating techniques

Eating clean at every meal, every day is at best, extremely tough, and impossible for most people; hence the 80/20 theory which means eating clean for 80% of the time and letting go for the other 20%. Some people even manage 90/10 but let’s not mention that. There is however, another method less talked about and this may well suit people who like a little more structure in their lives – the ‘cheat day’. 

In the same way that shocking your body with new exercises and new workout routines has been proven to have great results than simply repeat the same thing over and over, the ‘cheat day’ theory works in the same fashion. Rather than letting your body get too comfortable with constant goodness, you shock it, and therefore your metabolism into action now and again. One method is the 3-1-2-1 plan where you eat clean for 3 days, have a cheat day, eat clean for 2 days, have a cheat day, It sounds like good sense to me although I would however add, just be careful how much you cheat ;-)

So how about you? Would you be better eating clean today if you knew that in a few days time you had a cheat day? or would you rather have your 80/20???

Stop being such an achiever...

We've all seen those social media posts showing pictures of incredibly toned athletes, dripping in sweat and having just thrashed themselves to within an inch of their lives. The caption tells us or at least  implies, that this is the only standard to aim for, that the only acceptable way is to work hard - constantly. Or the picture showing the epitome of health on some sun kissed island, nibbling on the lightest salad and sipping on a green 'power' smoothie…

So what effect does this have on most 'normal' people? I'll tell you what message I receive; it tells me I'm not good enough and unless I devote 25 hours a day, 8 days a week to my health, I'll never be good enough - and I'm one of those annoyingly naturally slim people who genuinely enjoys eating healthily and doesn't have too much trouble motivating myself to workout. I can only imagine how less 'fortunate' normal human beings must be feeling!

You know what? If you don't look like that now, the chances are you never will - accept it, in fact most of those models don't look like that either. Or at least not until photoshop was invented.

So let's not concentrate on changing our lifestyle to one which we can't realistically sustain; all we need to do is change our way of thinking… Never mind what others want us to do or think we should achieve, what do we want to achieve, what do we really want our goals to be? Do we want to reach for the skies or do we just want to make small sustainable changes to continually improve our health day by day?

So if you don't workout today it's not because you're lazy, it's because your body needs a rest day and you owe it to yourself to enjoy that rest - your mind needs a day off as well as your body. Heck, maybe it needs a rest week or even rest month. In ten years time what you did or didn't do today won't make a blind bit of difference to your overall condition. Get back on it when you're good and ready.

And if you indulged in that bad lunch at work or snacked on crap all day - so what! You're not treating your body with a lack of respect; you're challenging it. In the same way it's good to shake up our exercise with different routines to shock our muscles, I believe it's also good to catch our digestive system out from time to time. Isn't that what we do with inoculations - we give our immune system a bit of whatever the particular disease is so it can learn to fight it? (The same works for eating local raw honey by the way - subjecting ourselves to the pollen in the honey helps us become immune to that pollen and so avoiding many seasonal allergies.

One of my least favourite 'motivational' quotes is; "What did you do today to take you one step closer to your goals?" As if we have to be moving forward everyday. Actually, I did nothing today that took me closer to my goals! Know the feeling, that you wasted your day? Maybe your brain needed a time out, to empty itself of pressure, to let new ideas in. If anything is full of pressure it makes sense that nothing else can get in. So if you're really not feeling motivated; switch off, go veg in front of the TV, go potter in the garage or garden, whatever takes your fancy. You're only wasting your day if you waste your day thinking about how much you're wasting day…

So what's the answer? Do your best, whatever your best happens to be right now; not yesterday, not tomorrow but right here right now! !) It's what you do most of the time that counts, not what you do occasionally. Go waste your day, and enjoy it :-)
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