Saturday, November 6, 2010

Too busy to sweat?

Let's be honest. These days everyone is busy. Our lives are choc-a-block full of work, family, extracurricular activities, social occasions, study and whatever else we fill our time with. Add pre-christmas festivities to an already over burdened schedule and somethings gotta give...usually it's the stuff that is keeping us alive...EXERCISE!

So what can you do during this crazy time to keep the exercise in your schedule but still manage to do all the other stuff that needs to be done?
  • Reduce the time, increase the intensity.  By reducing the amount of time we exercise to about 30 minutes, it is much easier to fit into our schedule.  However with a reduction in time, we need to up the ante and work a bit harder.  This doesn't mean just sitting on the bike, reading a magazine!  Give some intervals a try.  Whether it be running, bike riding, swimming, power walking or rowing a great session is: Warm up for 5 minutes.  Then perform 1 minute effort, followed by 1 minute recovery.  Repeat this 10 times.  Cool down 5 minutes.  Stretch.  The 1 minute efforts need to be at your best possible effort.  Give it a will be worth it!
  • Get the sweating out of the way early.  During spring and summer time, the mornings are glorious.  It's peaceful and a great time to fit in some exercise before the craziness of the day kicks in.  By getting your sweating out the way earlier you will be much more likely to stick to it...and feel a hell of a lot better for doing so!
  • Break up your sessions into 10 minute blocks.  If you still find that you are squeezed for time, find 3 x 10 minute blocks in your day and get moving!  These sessions should be of high intensity so you are huffing and puffing by the end of it.  Some people I know use the stairs in their work building or apartment block as their 10 minute burst.
I figure if our ex Prime Minister Johnny Howard (a pretty busy person!) can fit in his exercise everyday (remember the really unattractive green tracksuit?!) then surely we can manage our 30 minutes a day....even during the busiest time of year!

Let your health shine!

To Detox or not to Detox? That is the question...

Following on from my last blog about spring cleaning your diet, it got me thinking about the popularity of Detox.  There are many products in the market available at your local supermarket or chemist and even online.  But the question is, should we?  I’m not a fan of the detox in a box, coupled with a diet of  2 weeks of deprivation.  If we are really honest the torture of the 2 weeks of eating nothing just causes us to binge on day 15!!

Detox does have its place in a healthy lifestyle and in my opinion a gentle healthy detox between seasons is a good way to transition between different eating habits and a time to take stock of any bad habits that have been formed.  Spring is the perfect time to commence a gentle detox  as we relinquish our hold on the heavy, comfort eating of winter and retrain our palate to enjoy the delicious , healthy and light spring and summer fare.  There are several ways to detox and if you are serious about doing it, I have a guided 4 week program available.  However, making just a few changes can have a positive impact.

• Start the day with a glass of warm water and squeeze of ¼ - ½ lemon.
• Give up coffee, tea, soft drink, cordial for a few weeks. Green tea, Rooibos and other herbal teas allowed.
• Drink minimum of 2 litres of water a day. When you are exercising try to drink an extra 500ml. Gotta flush away all those toxins.
• Give up alcohol for a month (yes really!).  At the very least ensure you have 5 alcohol free days each week and no binge drinking on the other two nights.
• Give up the white flour products and discover how good you will feel without the fluctuating blood sugar levels.
• Embrace your inner domestic goddess and get cooking in the kitchen with lots of fresh produce – fruit, vegetables, salads, fish, nuts and seeds, legumes.
• Eat at least one salad every day
• Eat at least 2 pieces of fruit every day.

With a simple plan in place, a detox need not be complicated or over the top.   It can be a great way to help you boost your energy levels and get you back on track if you have let your healthier habits slide.

Michelle Skidmore
Food Therapy
0413 378 250
"Good nutrition is the basis of good health"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Exercise of the month - The basic lunge

I am often asked what exercises are best to help tone and strengthen the legs and butt, that can be done home, in the park or down the beach.

As many of my clients will know, I love the lunge!  It is a great ‘functional exercise’ as it mimics many of our daily activity behaviours such as walking and running, just in a more exaggerated fashion.  You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a bit of clear space and a ‘can do’ attitude! 

Basic static lunge
  • Stand with one foot forward and one foot back, feet hip width apart and ensure hips are facing forward
  • Raise the heel of the back foot off the ground.  Make sure your weight is evenly distributed
  • Keep your chest high and gently contract the buttock of the back leg
  • Slowly drop your body straight down towards the ground
  • On the up phase, ensure pressure is even through your two feet
  • Repeat 10-12 times each side x 2
Add this exercise to your daily routine and watch those legs get stronger and leaner!

Let your health shine!

Spring clean your health

After one of the coldest winters for many years we can all rejoice that spring has finally arrived!  It’s time to peel off those layers, venture outside and play in the sunshine. 

We often spend this time spring cleaning our houses, emptying the cupboards and getting rid of the clutter we no longer need.  Spring is also the perfect time to spring clean our health and begin new and healthy habits.  Follow these 5 quick tips for a healthier you this spring!
  • Revise your menu plans and bring them up to date with the range of fresh new spring produce hitting the shops now.
  • Now that winter is over, we can pack away the slow cooker and casserole dishes.  It is time to move on from high carbohydrate, heavy comforting winter meals.
  • Bring out the wok and experiment with different vegetables and herbs to make tasty and healthy stir fry's.
  • Have at least one salad a day, either at lunch or dinner.  Try some different lettuce leaves and add the usual suspects like tomato and cucumber but then mix it up a bit with some legumes and roasted vegetables.
  • Increase your water intake as the days get warmer.
Not only will these tips help you feel fantastic for spring, they will help you to provide your body with exactly what it needs for a healthier, more vibrant you!

Michelle Skidmore
Food Therapy
0413 378 250

Friday, August 27, 2010

Comfort Cravings

"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort" Norman Kolpas

We all have an emotional relationship with food. From the moment we are born we are driven by the innate need to survive, hence be provided with sustenance. As babies, when we cried we were fed. As toddlers, when we fell over it was soothed by a 'treat'. Even as adults we provide food as an expression of love...think Valentines Day, Easter and Christmas.

It's easy to see why so many of us have a 'not so healthy' relationship with food. Food and 'treats' are associated with all things comforting. So it's really not surprising that when we feel stressed (which happens a lot in society today) we reach for the comfort food. Developing effective strategies to deal with the stress is one aspect in managing food cravings, but sometimes our cravings may indicate an inbalance in our underlying biochemistry.

Food cravings can be driven by an underlying biochemical need within your body and your brain.  When we are stressed we often crave carbohydrates like sugar, bread and potato as these foods provide a quick source of energy that helps to increase our mood enhancing brain chemicals.  Paradoxically, if we eat too much of this kind of food, it can actually have the reverse effect and release one of our stress hormones.

Other cravings that may indicate an imbalance include:

Sugar.  A need for serotonin, the feel good brain chemical.  It could also indicate a yeast overgrowth in your gut.
Salt.  A possible need for potassium and iodine.  It could also indicate adrenal exhaustion and underactive thyroid.
Protein. May indicate a lack of an amino acid that promotes calm and relaxation.
Salad Greens.  May indicate insufficient hydration.
Chocolate and Caffeine. May indicate a deficiency in dopamine, another feel good brain chemical.
Fried fatty foods.  May indicate elevated cortisol levels and a lack of essential fatty acids.

It's easy to see why a balanced diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, protein, good fats and wholegrains will easily nourish our bodies and help us function at optimum capacity.  It will also help to reduce the cravings we do have as our bodies are receiving all the nutrition they need.  However, when you do get stressed it may be worth noting what particular things you are craving and finding out from your healthcare practitioner if you do actually have a deficiency in that area.

emit your life!

(information sourced from Jacqui Manning, Comfort Food, pg 48 Wellbeing Magazine 2009)

No hope here!

It seems that new seasons and change go hand in hand.  Just as we get 'over' a season, we too get over doing the same thing day in and day out.

Spring is an interesting time of year as it brings with it life, vitality and a sense of freshness.  New ducklings are waddling around the streets and by the water, the mulberry trees are starting to fruit and you can smell the fragrance of the flowers floating in the air.  It's all very picturesque isn't it?!

Spring is a great time of year to start something new, to give your life a bit of an overhaul and to breath some vitality and freshness into your day.  But how exactly do we do that?  I often hear people saying that they are making some changes to their health and wellness and 'hope' it all works out.  Hope?!  I can honestly say that if we 'hope' things work out and leave things up to chance then our likelihood of success with change is slim.

If we want success with change, particularly in regards to our health, we have to plan for it.  Right down to how many nuts you are going to have with your apple on Tuesday at 3pm!

But where in the world do we start?  Sometimes contemplating change, particularly if our health is compromised or we have had numerous failiures in the past, can feel like trying to climb Mt Kiliminjaro with one leg.  It can be done, but it sure aint easy!

Here are some hot tips to get you on your way...

Start with a big vision. Have a think about what you want your life to look like when you are at your best.  It could be 12 months from now or 5 years.  What do you look like and what are the things you are doing?

Why do you want this?  This is often a tricky question for people to answer, however if we get to the real reasons you want your vision (as described above) then this will be a huge motivator going forward.

What are some obstacles that could get in the way? See if you can identify what obstacles may get in the way of you achieving your 'best you'.  It could be something small or it could be something big.  It may be a physical obstacle but it may be an emotional or mental obstacle.  Whatever comes up, write it all down.  Once we have identified the obstacles we can then start to overcome them!

What are some strategies you could use to overcome the obstacles?  Get creative.  Think about some strategies you could use to get over the barriers/obstacles that will pop up whilst pursuing your vision.  Have a think about what obstacles you have come across in the past and how you overcame those. 

Identify your strengths.  By identifying your strengths you will be able to use those strengths to help come up with different strategies.

Identify your support network.  One key to making any kind of change is making sure you have the support of those around you.  Invite them to join you or at least include them by communicating what your plans are.

Get into action.  Talking and planning is one thing, but action is what makes the true difference.  Start with small steps each day knowing that each small step will get you one step closer to that overall vision.

So go on...embrace the new season with the energy and freshness that it brings.  Make the changes you have been wanting to make by planning for them and you will have success!  No hope here!

emit your life!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Unmentionables are mentioned!

Let's be honest ladies.  We all know what it's like.  After we have had our first adorable, delightful bundle of joy our bodies just aren't quite the same!  But what about when number 2, 3 or 4 comes along?  Our collagen and skin elasticity seems to be in rapid decline!  Everything is heading south for the winter without the northerly summer return!

Not only do we have the external imperfections to contend with, what about the internal imperfections?  Yes I AM talking about the unmentionable, the shocking and the plain unattractive.  I am talking about your pelvic floor!

I am seriously passionate about helping women improve their pelvic floor (kinda sounds weird doesn't it?!).  The main reason being that I have spoken to heaps of women recently, young, old, pregnant, post partum and in-between and most have some kind of pelvic floor issue.  Unfortunately there seems to be a misconception that once you have a dodgy pelvic floor due to childbirth or even injury then a 'little bit of leakage' and 'panty liners' are a normal part of life.

Well guess what?!  It doesn't have to be like that!

Dr Pauline Chiarelli is a bit of a pioneer in the area of women's health and the pelvic floor.  She states that "Leakage may be common, but it's never normal.  And, more importantly, incontinence is curable."  How many of us have been told (most often from our own mother's and grandmothers!) that it's all part of being a women, particularly if you have had children?

There are usually 3 main symptoms that indicate a bit of a break down in your pelvic floor.  They are:
  • Stress incontinence - these are the leaks that happen when you jump, lunge, cough or sneeze
  • Urgency - a really strong need to go to the toilet...right now!
  • Frequency  - the need to go to the toilet quite often, including during the night
You may have just one of these symptoms or you may have all of these symptoms.  If you do, it is time to do something about it!

The bladder and the pelvic floor are inextricably linked.  The pelvic floor controls the filling and emptying sequence of your bladder.  The job of the muscles of your pelvic floor are to stop the leaks so it's easy to see how a weak or compromised pelvic floor can lead to a bit of leakage.

The best way to put a stop to the little leaks is to start training your pelvic floor. However in order to train your pelvic floor you need to be able to find your pelvic floor!

Next time you go to the toilet, try to stop the flow of urine mid flow (please don't do this frequently as it can interfere with normal bladder function).  Take note of this inner 'drawing up' sensation as that is your pelvic floor contracting.  It is this sensation that we will be focusing on over the next couple of months in order to help you regain control over your pelvic floor!

emit your life!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Holiday Happiness

When was the last time you had a holiday?  A real holiday?  Away from the house, the cleaning, the cooking, the pressures of everyday life?  A holiday where you could just spend time with your family immediate and/or extended.  Was it recent or you can't actually remember?

Regular breaks away are what I like to call Recovery Breaks and they are a really important part of our overall wellness picture.  These breaks not only get us out of our usual environments but also creates an opportunity to reconnect and bond with those important to us.

So what constitutes a recovery break?

A recovery break can be as little as a long weekend away right up to a good few weeks away.  The purpose of the recovery break is exactly that.  To recover.  To help heal our mind, body and soul.  It is not about being a crazy tourist and trying to see everything you can in 2 days then switching to a new location.  It is about slowing down, appreciating being alive and being surrounded by those you love and care about.

A good friend of mine went on a recovery break recently.  They didn't travel very far, or anywhere fancy.  The intention was to relax, unwind and spend some quality time together as a family.  Out of their recovery break came 2 more relaxed parents, some revelations on their family's direction and the values they want to instill in their children going forward.  How cool is that?!

Yes it is easy to exude happiness and relaxation without the pressures of daily life when on a recovery break.  However don't you think we owe it to ourselves and our families to invest in that kind of recovery at least a few times per year?!

emit your life!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rest up and stress less

A large part of our daily lives are spent running around trying to do a million things at once.  No wonder our stress levels are starting to sky rocket.  Everyone suffers from stress in different ways, however our bodies physiological responses are very similar. 

When we experience stress our nervous system floods our body with adrenaline and cortisol, the 2 main stress hormones.  They spark the body ready for action.  Our heart starts to beat faster, the blood pressure rises, you become more alert, breath quicken and muscles tense up.  Your body is preparing you for the emergency ahead...whether you fight or flee from the action.

That kind of response is fine and actually quite useful in an emergency situation, however it is extremely damaging when we are exposed to that level of stress on a daily basis.  So how do we help ease the stress?

Daily movement and optimal nutrition assist us in managing our stress levels and the effect it has on our bodies, however even when these are at their best we still need to rest and allow our bodies time to heal and recover.

When talking about rest we are referring to the amount of sleep we get each night.  There have been numerous studies that have varied comments on how much sleep is ideal.  It does depend on how much activity you are doing throughout the day.  For instance, someone training for a marathon needs up to 9 hours sleep per day (H. Edmunds, Runners World, page 34).  However for the rest of us, it is estimated at between 7-9 hours for true recovery, regardless of how much exercise you are doing.  Some top sleep tips are:
  • Routine, routine, routine! Get to bed and wake up at the same time every day...yes even on weekends!  Have a well established bed time and morning routine.  This could mean a herbal tea before bed or some light reading.
  • Cut the caffeine.  Try to avoid caffeine after 2pm.  Yes this does include the dark chocolate squares for dessert!
  • Create the 'bat cave'.  Keep your bedroom as dark as possible by getting block out shades or heavy drapes.  Steer clear of too many electronic gadgets in your bedroom and avoid using them before bedtime.
  • Hydrate!  Make sure you keep your hydration levels up at around the 2litre mark each day.  Decent hydration enables a much sounder sleep.
Inadequate sleep during the week means we start to build up 'sleep debt'.  Once this starts to occur we are less able to cope with the normal 'stressors' that come with daily life.  Give the top tips a try and not only will you be sleeping better but your stress levels should start to lower as well.

emit your life!

Boost your Metabolism

Our resident Nutritionist, Michelle Skidmore of Food Therapy has some hot tips for boosting your metabolism this month.  Here's what Michelle has to say:

"As busy people, we often forget about our health.  We experience low energy levels, poor immunity, weight gain and stress resulting in a slow metabolism.  Here are a few tips that can easily be incorporated into everyday life to enhance our well being and give our sluggish metabolism a boost!"
  1. Stop dieting! Sure you will see results initially but these diets are restrictive and not sustainable.  Your metabolism slows down as your body tries to conserve energy which means any initial weightloss is regained and then some (sound familiar?!).  A healthy eating plan for life is really the only solution for long term health, well being and weight management.
  2. Eat breakfast. Kick your metabolism into gear first thing in the morning.  Choose a low GI based cereal, fresh fruit and a sprinkle of LSA or chia seeds for a balanced breakfast to set you up for the day.
  3. Eat regularly. Going for long periods without eating allows your metabolism to dip and can also affect your blood sugar levels driving you to the biscuit tin for a quick fix.  Instead aim to eat at regular intervals every 3 - 3.5 hours, 3 main meals and 2 healthy snacks with a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
  4. Balance your blood sugar levels.  The quick fix of coffee, chocolate and white flour products play havoc with your blood sugar levels causing spikes in sugar and the need for insulin.  Over time this results in insulin resistance and leads to weight gain which ironically, reduces our metabolism.  So, it's important to eat regularly and choose low GI foods in their natural state, the less processed foods the better.
  5. Iodine. Have your levels checked and if you are feeling very tired also ask your GP to review your thyroid levels.  Iodine is important for thyroid function which is responsible for maintaining your metabolism.  Iodine can be found in iodised salt, seaweed, seafood, nuts and eggs.
  6. Reduce stress. When we are stressed we produce the hormone cortisol which can trigger food cravings and tell our body to store fat which in turn reduces our metabolism.
  7. Exercise - particularly resistance training.  Increasing your muscle to fat ratio has a positive impact on increasing your metabolism.  More muscle means you will burn calories even when you are doing nothing.
Most importantly eat well, choose a variety of fruit and vegetables, lean meats, poultry and fish, low fat dairy, nuts, eggs and incorporate legumes into your daily diet.  Aim for at least 2 pieces of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables twice a day and steer clear of the white flour, sugary products.

"Good nutrition is the basis of good health"
Michelle Skidmore

Revitalise with a daily run!

Running is one of the best, if not the best way to improve your body.  It helps to improve the health of our heart and lungs, helps us to shed unwanted body weight, strengthens our bones and our immune systems and even improves our intelligence!

So how do we get out of bed and get going on these cool mornings?

One of the best things to do is to sign up for a race.  It doesn't have to be a marathon or half marathon (actually I would advise against those distances if you have been running less than 1 year!), just something short like a 4km or 5km fun run.  By signing up to a race it will help to make it official and give you a goal to start working towards.

The next thing you need to do is to make sure you have some proper shoes.  It is important to get a shoe that fits your foot comfortably and gives you support in the areas where you need it.  From personal experience, a proper shoe is worth it's weight in gold!.  So, instead of heading down to your local Kmart, go and see someone at your nearest running shop.  Many of them have simplified gait analysis and 'shoe fit' techniques that will help to determine what kind of shoe will be the best fit for you.

On of the most important things to do when training for any event is to work to a plan and work to your capacity.  Just because your mate might be able to run sub 5 minute kms, doesn't mean you should be able to as well....not yet anyway!  Get some guidance from a running coach or a trainer who has a background in running.  A lot of great runners started out just walking and jogging through their programs.  Just know that if you stick at it, you will improve and your body will thank you for it forever!

Get out there, get running and watch your body improve!

emit your life!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's never too late.....

Just under 2 weeks ago, some of the Peninsula Prima Donna's team participated in the Central Coast Bay to Bay fun run.  Although not quite the City to Surf, the track is 12 km and attracts competitors of all ages.

It was the very first running event for the Peninsula Prima Donna's so nerves were pumping.  The nerves weren't the only thing pumping....we had to keep moving as it was a tad cold that morning!

As the starting gun went off, the 'herd' of runners headed off across Spike Milligan Bridge.  What an amazing site!  There were young runners, middle aged runners, mums with prams and dads with prams.  People with dogs and people just out for a bit of a walk.  Some participants had been training for months and others whose training involved walking to the starting line!

As the race continued, I was consistently amazed at the number of 'older' runners out there, men and women.  The runners that fit in the 60 plus age group, even the 70 plus age group.  These people are an absolute inspiration to me.  One lady in particular was doing her 'soft shoe shuffle' all the way.  Her pace was consistent and she was over taking some of the younger runners who had gone out too early and run out of steam.  I felt compelled to tell this lovely lady what an 'inspiration' she was.  I told her that I hope I am doing the exact same thing when I am her age.  You know what she said?  "It is comments like that that make doing something like this so worthwhile." Wow.  I still get goose bumps when I think about it.

The Peninsula Prima Donna's finished in 85 minutes, well under the target of 90 minutes.  An absolutely awesome effort.  Many of the older runners came through not long after us, some before and many were simply happy to finish.  What an achievement for all!

I have recently had the privilege of working with a lot of clients in their 'golden years'.  They are consistently a source of inspiration to me as they have readily embraced the idea that it really is NEVER too late to invest in your health.  Whether it be exercise, nutrition or general lifestyle changes they have all been willing to 'give it a go'.

So for all of you out there who think you are 'past it' and that there is no hope for you to get your health back....think about the lovely 'soft shoe shuffle' lady and what she achieved at over 70 years of age.  Such an inspiration!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Healthy modeling...

On the night of Mother's Day I have been doing a bit of personal reflection. I remember a sign my mum used to have in her kitchen that read "A mother holds her children's hands for a little while but holds their hearts forever". How true is that?

Our little ones are only little for such a short period of time. Before we know it they are off to parties with friends, have part-time jobs and don't really want to be seen too much with's a bit 'uncool' isn't it?!

However, I know that even when I went through those times, the words of my mum and the things she taught me were (and still are) in my mind but also in my heart. Even now, with mum having been gone for almost 10 years, those early days with her were so crucial to the values that I maintain to this day.

So it brings me to question, what kind of healthy behaviours and values are we instilling in our children? Are we setting them up for a lifetime of fantastic health? Or are we showing them that because life is so busy and so stressful we cannot afford the time to eat well, exercise and invest time in our health?

In times when it is so easy to become overwhelmed with the acute busyness of 'life' it is too easy to take the 'drive through' option, the 'supermarket snack pack' option or the 'pie shop drop'. How many children now accept this is part of their daily routine?

Tell me, how many of you out there think "That's OK, they won't eat like this when they get older. It is just because we are really busy." What makes us think that when the children get older their habits will magically change? If we are continually modeling this kind of behaviour today, all it says to our kids is that this kind of behaviour is OK...for life!

I know that most of us try so hard to do a great job at parenting. We take the kids to activities, parties, schools, playgroup and preschool. We read them stories, play soccer, build cubby houses and give them magic kisses when they are hurt or sad. We sacrifice a lot for our children and rightly so as we made the decision to become parents. However, we don't need to sacrifice our values around our health. It is the values that we model today, tomorrow and next week that will have the greatest impact on the future health of our children.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mum's out there!

emit your life!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's really important?

Wow time gets away doesn't it?! Yet again I have managed to let the blogging slip, not something that I am proud of, but need to admit to. Funny how it is not only the blogging that has slipped through the cracks in my life at the moment.

Over the past few weeks I have been consistently making mistakes and forgetting things. Why? Because I am a 'yes' person and over committed. Very plain and simple isn't it? And definately not something to be proud of.

Normally this lack of attention to detail and forgetfulness is something that would bother me quite a lot. Not to say that it doesn't, as it does, but just not as much as it used to.

Why? Because I am responsible for the decisions in my life. I have the power, the right, the ability and the option to simply say 'No' to any additional projects or commitments and invest time in the really 'important' things in life.

How easy is it for us to say "Sure, I can do that!" and start bargaining or negotitating with ourselves to figure out a way to do whatever it is we have just committed to? And what is it that gets neglected in this process? Well the 'important' things in life of course....for me that includes family, health, stress levels and overall wellbeing. Now how important are they in the grand scheme of things?!

So how do we put a stop to this cycle? We start practising that dreaded word. The word that all 1 year olds pick up so quickly. Two simple letters N-O. We then acknowledge that we can't do everything and that priorities need to be set. These priorities need to focus on the 'important' things first, rather than the urgent tasks. If we focus on the important things first then the other 'urgent' stuff will come. If we invest in ourselves, our families, our health and wellbeing first and foremost then we will be much better prepared to deal with the more 'urgent' tasks in our lives.

Don't know about you but I need to get prioritising! And NO.....I can't help you with yours!

emit your life!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A rocky road well travelled...

It had been a few hours since I had eaten lunch and I was hungry. As I walked aimlessly through the aisles one of my favorite organic shops I spied it. A beautiful chocolaty brown bar flecked with fluffy pink and white marshmallow, glistening and calling me from the shelf. I moved closer and tempted fate by picking it up. It said 'Gluten Free' Rocky Road. My justification was that surely it couldn't be as bad as 'normal' Rocky Road? I mean yes it had dairy (for those of you who don't know...dairy is my nemesis!) and sugar and fat but it was gluten free...that had to count for something right?!

Standing in the middle of the aisle, the justification continued. I was telling myself all kinds of things. I have eaten so well this week....I have trained at least 4 times....I really deserve a 'treat'!! Before I knew it I was in the car in the carpark ripping open my 'treat'.

Ravenous, I took a huge bite and as that first wave of sugar, fat and chocolaty goodness hit me I was in heaven. SO GOOD! Greedily, I took another bite and before I had even swallowed that mouthful the feeling started. The feeling of....GUILT.

Now I am sure there are a lot of you out there who are empathising (and probably laughing!) at my incident. You know the feeling....that overwhelming sensation of guilt and the self berating that accompanies it. "Damn it, I shouldn't have eaten that. I am so hopeless" or "Why did I do that? I was going so well and now I have ruined everything, may as well blow it well and truly and eat the WHOLE thing!" Sound familiar?!

Well I could have wallowed in this guilt and self berating behaviour for the rest of the afternoon, however the wellness coach within me decided otherwise! Yes, I had eaten half of the rocky road and yes I felt guilty. However that is where I let it stop. I acknowledged my feelings around the situation and accepted this experience as merely an obstacle in my path to optimum wellness. If I am to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future what can I do about these obstacles?

Let's face it, we would be living in fairy land if we thought there would be no obstacles and our path to optimum wellness would be smooth. It's the obstacles or bumps that challenge us, help us learn and most of all help us develop great strategies to overcome similar obstacles in the future. So here are a couple of my HOT TIPS (or strategies!) for this kind of obstacle:

1. Go shopping on a full stomach - simple but very important. If we are full, our blood sugars are stable so we won't be looking for sugary, salty, nutrient deplete food to snack on.

2. Ask yourself the question "Is this rocky road (or whatever your 'thing' is) REALLY going to assist in nourishing my body and lead me to my vision of optimal wellness?"

3. If you STILL feel like having the rocky road (or whatever your 'thing' is) then just HAVE it. Try to go for a smaller size or halve the amount with a friend. We all know too well that deprivation of our perceived 'joys' in life leads to binging. Eat it, savour it and most of all enjoy it! Recognise the situation as an obstacle and see if you can develop a better strategy for next time.

With Easter just round the corner I am not sure what obstacles may crop up to challenge me! What ever the case I will be well prepared with some strategies to overcome the matter how big!

EMIT your life!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bridging the Gap

So just how big is the gap between where you want your life to be and where it is at this moment?

Small? Large? Humongous?! If it is that's ok! No need to freak out! When first asked that question it often evokes a sense of helplessness as we have an immediate inclination to jump to the HOW of the question. HOW are we going to bridge that gap when it seems so huge?!! So before we jump on the HOW bandwagon lets take a few steps back and focus on WHY we want to bridge the gap in the first place.

So, WHY do you want this vision? WHY do you want to change the way you are living at the moment? In my Wellness Coaching practice this kind of question is really powerful and what I like to call a great 'revealer'. It highlights our values and what we are passionate about in life. As soon as we have identified your values, it makes the path to success (yes you will succeed!!) so much easier as we are aligning everything with these values. A very powerful motivator!

Part of my wellness vision is to have a strong relationship with Jimmy based on communication, love, laughter, respect, belief and integrity (I don't ask for much do I?!!). WHY do I want that? Because communication, love, laughter, respect, belief and integrity are some of my key values in life. Not forgetting the importance of role modeling to my children. I really believe it is important for them to be constantly exposed to and part of a relationship based on these values.

When I read this part of my vision each day it stirs up a lot of different emotions. Excitement, fear, nervousness and courage....kind of all mixed in together. I get excited as I know it is possible, I get fearful of potentially failing, I get nervous as I know there is a bit of work involved but I also feel courageous as I know deep down that we CAN do it and create an extraordinary relationship!

So I encourage you all to figure out the WHY. Why do you want it? Once we have that, the first stones in your path to wellness success have been laid!

EMIT your life!!
Rhiannon xx

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A time for you!

Well it has certainly been a little longer than the anticipated 1 week between blogs! Many things have been happening on the home front and the work front, but not too much on the social front! This is not a good thing because as women, we need other women around!

From primitive times women have formed communities. We have an inborn desire to group together and share the load of physical work and child care. It has only been since the industrial and technological eras that women have disbanded this natural need and want for community. However, I feel there is change in the air.

In my local area, I often see large communities of women at parks, play centres and swimming pools. Even I seek out my 'community' every Friday (obviously not so frequently lately!). It is a time to enjoy being with others who share similar situations, to express emotion without being judged and to gain insightful tips and tricks from those who have done it before! Why would we not want to be part of such a fabulous gathering?

In my last blog I asked you all to have a think about a vision for your life. In other words, "Who would you be if you were at your best?" Or to put it differently again "What would your life look like if YOU were at your best?" Now, being a Wellness Specialist, I work on these issues personally and professionally regularly, however even I have neglected one part of my vision for my best life. It is that of spending time and connecting with MY community. It is something I have sub consciously let slip and have noticeably missed, particularly the last few weeks. It is something that I have valued but I didn't realise how much until it was actually missing from my life.

This kind of thing can happen in all areas of our lives, particularly with our wellness. We get so consumed with 'surviving' by making sure everything is done and everyone is happy that we forget we are supposed to be 'living' as well. We forget about the things that used to be in our lives and gave us fulfillment. We then get angry, upset, even depressed and wonder why we don't do these things any more.

Well gorgeous gals the time is nigh! Start to put together your vision for your best life EVER. Write it down this time and include on it all of the wonderful things that you used to do and want to do that give you fulfillment. Even give it a date, say 5 years from now. You could start is by saying "My wellness vision for 2015 is...." Then write down all the wonderful things you will be doing for yourself and in your life by that time.

The next question you need to ask yourself is "How big is the gap between where you are now and where you want to be?" Sometimes asking this question may open a can of worms and the vision may seem insurmountable, however don't despair!! We will get there. With the support of YOUR community, it's amazing the things you can achieve!

Until next post.....!

EMIT your life!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Hunter and The Gatherer - a primitive tale?

Let me tell you a short story.....

"The Hunter goes fishing. The Hunter catches 4 big fish. The Hunter comes home and shows The Gatherer and The Children 4 big fish. The Gatherer and The Children are impressed at The Hunter's catch. The Hunter stands tall and proud at his ability to provide for his family. The Gatherer collects the tubers, leaves, nuts and seeds to eat along with The Hunter's catch. The Hunter cooks the catch on an open fire. As The Gatherer and The Children are enjoying their food, The Hunter once again revels in his ability to provide for his family. The Hunter and The Children go to bed satisfied, stomach and egos replete. The Gatherer stays awake in order to tidy after the catch and prepare for the new day."

Now you have probably guessed that this is not a 'real' take on primitive life! In fact it is a situation that occurred at our house on the weekend. The main difference being that The Hunter (aka Jimmy) didn't use an open fire to cook the fish, he used the oven and the fish was very nicely seasoned with lemon, chilli and parsley!!

The similarity of our weekend experience to that of primitive times does encourage me to reflect on the roles that men and women play within our families and broader lives. Have we really evolved that much since primitive times?

In most cases the man goes out to work to provide for the family while the woman stays at home to look after the children and everything associated with the house, particularly while the children are very young. It is important for the woman to feel that she is a successful mother, wife, lover, friend, cleaner and cook (have I missed anything?!). However, often whilst trying to achieve in all of these areas, the woman can lose sight of exactly 'WHO' she is and what is important to her as an individual.

Often within my work I see so many women who give everything to their families and even friends. I can't tell you how many times I have heard "As long as everybody is happy, I will be happy!" So I ask you it really your responsibility to make sure that everybody is happy? What about you as a person? Who would YOU be at your absolute best?

It can sometimes be a challenge and a little bit confronting asking these questions as a woman because a lot of our lives are focused on other people, it's The Gatherer within us all. However, I ask you to sit down and really have a think about the questions above, particularly "Who would you be at your best?" and then write down the answer, you may be pleasantly surprised by what comes out!

Enjoy the exploration my fellow gatherers.....till next week when there will be more!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Small steps

Well how easy was that?!

I have been ummm-ing and aaaaaghh-ing over whether or not to start a blog over the last few months. Why? Numerous reasons actually....what exactly would I write about? Do I have enough knowledge to write about the things that I am passionate about at least once a week? What would people think of my posts? And the lists goes on.

Have you ever experienced a situation like that? You give yourself every reason NOT to do things but never enough reasons as to why you SHOULD do things! It's interesting when we dig down and have a look at the REAL reason behind our decisions....or indecision in my case.

So what was my REAL reason for not pursuing the blog a little sooner? Fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of exposure, fear of what it may create, fear of what people think. Isn't it amazing how much we let fear get in the way of what we really want?

So here I am, words on the page, totally exposed for all to see. And guess what?! it feels great! There is still a slight niggle but overall I feel I have recognised the fear so now the only way is up! (That reminds me of a song...The Only way is up, baby, for you and me now!...must be an 80's tune!)

I am not saying that all fear conquering will be as easy as what I have described but sometimes making the small steps in dealing with our fear issues in life help to make the larger ones a whole lot easier.'s to the first of many blogs and to making the small steps in conquering our fears!!

Have a great day and be your best!