The biggest source of growth comes from the challenges we face. In this post I reflect on what I learnt through the process of surgery and medical intervention.
During 2017 I faced a number of health challenges. When I found out I was due to have surgery it felt like a big deal. It was serious, it was invasive and it meant that I would have to take some time off all movement.
When the doctor gave me the news I felt a sense of dread but was surprised to feel a mix of euphoria and gratefulness too. One of my greatest fears was in front of me and yet I was still standing. What’s more, I knew deep down that I could deal with what would come next.
The week before my surgery I bowed down at my meditation altar and opened myself up to the events that were about to unfold. I knew that this surgery was a test and a challenge. A chance for me to face up to things that terrified me and to come out the other side a stronger woman.
And do you know what? I was right! Although this was one of the greatest trials in my life I came through the process stronger, wiser, more resilient and have learned so many lessons.
Many swear by their week weigh-ins but chances are, your scales are causing you more stress than you think. Find out how to ditch the scales today!
Following the seemingly obligatory Christmas binge, many people are working hard this January to shed the post-festive bulge. I too indulged somewhat over the holidays but I am enjoying getting back into the swing of my everyday routine.
A lot of my clients ask me what I think their ‘ideal’ weight is if and I can help them shed ‘X’ amount. Of course, I am happy and willing to support clients lose weight and tone up but I will never weigh them as part of the process nor will I encourage them to weigh themselves.
A few weeks ago, at the gym when I overheard a saddening conversation. A young girl aged around 9 of average height and build weighed herself on the communal scale and told her female caregiver her weight.
The ladies reply was along the lines of:
”Oh no you’ve put on weight! OK, that’s fine for now, but you have to be careful not to put on any more weight too quickly”
It disturbed me deeply that a growing girl (who was not overweight) putting on some size was a topic of discussion. I will admit I had to grit my teeth and mind my own business.
I would imagine that most women in the Western world have been concerned by the numbers displayed on a set of scales at one point or another. Most of us are able to maintain a somewhat healthy relationship with our weighing machines but for others, it can becomes a fixation with daily weigh-ins taking place.
Personally, I think that these apparatus play a very dangerous role in the lives of women often creating a yo-yo set of emotions depending on the digits displayed.
My mother didn’t keep scales in our house and so I remember my first time getting weighed quite distinctively. A doctor took my vitals and declared that I was ‘overweight’. I was flabbergasted, particularly as I was teaching four fitness classes per week and also doing my own workouts.
“Do I look overweight to you?” I asked, my temper flaring.
“Well… no” the doctor replied. “Actually you don’t, but the BMI chart says you are so I’ve got to advise you to do more exercise and to eat less”
After that, I vowed never to step on a pair of scales again and I nearly succeeded until the months before my wedding when I wanted to get as fit as possible for my big day.
Modern life is all go go go but theres something to be said for slowing things down.
Find out how to take a step back and find your edge.
There’s a lovely term within the yoga world known as ‘finding your edge’. It encapsulates the moment where you challenge your body whilst also respecting its natural limitations.
Within the modern world, there’s a tendency to feel that more equals better and that in order to be a success we must push past our maximum. We look up to world-class athletes (and more recently insta famous fitness personalities) as an ideal of physical fitness which encourages us to push ourselves as far as we can go.
Whilst it’s fantastic to feel motivated it’s also important to proceed within your limits and to respect your body. Let’s not forget that these amazing athletes often have to retire from their chosen sport at an extremely young age (in the scheme of life). These folks have spent many years going beyond their edge in order to achieve peak performance which is completely different from achieving everyday health.
This idea of ‘finding your edge’ can be transferred from physical activity to all facets of life. As inspiring as extreme high achievers may be, I personally believe aiming for record-breaking excellence on a daily basis is not a necessity. Of course, there are times where we need to work hard and up our game but this needn’t be our default mode.
Having a hobby is not only fun, it’s good for your health. Find out how to get one now!
I love to move!
I adore stretching, bending, flexing, pushing, pulling and everything in between and often experience a sense of euphoria whilst in motion.
Growing up I loved making up dance routines to All Saints and S Club 7 and you couldn’t get me off of the dance floor at the end of year disco. I studied dance at secondary school and I joined the gym at aged 17 after a few too many late junk filled nights. I started off slowly, dabbling with a bit of cardio, then weights and eventually classes.
Fast forward ten years and now I move (and help others move) for a living! My favourite types of movement are dance (of course), yoga, cycling and strength training but over the years I’ve tried my hand at (and enjoyed) boxing, rock climbing, trampoline, sports, HIIT training and much more.
Whenever I’ve had a particularly stressful day the worst thing I can do for myself is come home and sit down on the sofa. Whatever negative emotion I’m experiencing will sit in my body like a pile of rocks unless I physically do something to shake it out. Whenever I get out and move I feel a million times better and for that twenty minutes, 1/2 hour, hour … real life is suspended and the pattern of movement is all that matters.
In today’s world, we are constantly busy working and moving from one ‘important’ task to the next. I believe having a hobby that creates an unbridled sense of joy is an imperative part of our contemporary human existence.
Having a hobby is not only fun, it’s good for your health. Partaking in an activity that you enjoy and absorbs your mind can decrease stress and anxiety levels. Research carried out by Annals of Behavioural Medicine has shown that those who participate in leisure activities feel 34% less stressed than those who don’t. What’s more, many report feeling happier and calmer hours after participating in their chosen pastime.
So, how do we find a hobby? Check out my easy to follow tips below:
Why is it that some people make you feel absolutely great and yet others make you feel the exact opposite?
We all know negative people…the individuals who simply exude bad vibes and make everyone around them feel low, lethargic and dejected. I like to refer to these people as Dementors; the characters present in the Harry Potter series.
“They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself… soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.“- J.K. Rowling
Some may think this is a strong description but I do not take Ms Rowling’s words lightly! Of course, we all have down days but sadly, there are folks who spend their time sucking the joy and happiness out of their physical environment.
Have a think about everyone you know. Think of your family, friends, colleagues and your wider circle. Who do you love being around? Who makes you feel good and why?
Have you thought of someone?
If you have, I bet you have a massive smile on your face right now. I can think of those type of people in a heartbeat, the ones that can make me beam on a down day and are simply a pleasure to be around.
Now, think of someone who is the exact opposite. Who do you have in life that makes you feel low just by being in their presence? Do you have a neighbour that gives you shivers but you don’t know why or a friend who simply cannot bring herself to be happy for you when you receive a new promotion?
Fear can keep us from doing what we desire. Fight the fear and get things done!
Fear is a b****d (pardon my French!), it really is. It keeps us hostage, it grips our heart like a vice and holds us back from doing things that we truly want to do. We’ve all had those moments of sheer panic when adrenaline courses through our veins causing our pulse to race, our stomach to turn and sweat to pour from our skin.
Now, I’m not a complete fear-ist. I understand (and fully appreciate) the biological necessity of fear. It’s our fear filled fight or flight response which protects us in times of legitimate danger and stops us from being injured.
However, the type of fear I’m talking about is that unwelcome-guest-at -the -party kind of fear. The fear that rears its ugly head in the most obscure and often the most non-life threatening scenarios imaginable.
I remember having the mother of all panic attacks before starting my first post-graduate job. I called my mum in the middle of the night, heart pounding and frightened out of my life. Was I in any real danger? Of course not, but the panic and fear I felt in that moment were all too real. My body reacted furiously and the next morning I awoke with a fully fledged chest infection and covered in hives.
With the explosion of social media more and more people are taking their workouts online. But, is this a good thing?
The fitness game has changed! Gone are the solo woodland runs. Now, it’s all about integrated fitness apps and GPS running trackers. Our fitness regimes are more social than ever and now our workouts can be shared with hundreds of people in the click of a button.
Along with this sudden techno-fitness phenomenon came the inevitable amalgamation of fitness and social media. Initially, I loved this new development. It brought me closer to some of my favourite fitness professionals and gave me loads of new ideas for my classes and indeed my own workouts. In addition, I loved the idea that these pages could inspire people to take up sporting activities they may have otherwise not tried.
Sadly, over the years these images and videos have become less genuine and much more of a masquerade. Gone are the days of a shaky camera set up to film a good old-fashioned sweaty workout. Cue pictures of perfectly made up #postgymselfies and perfectly positioned #leanandcleanmeals. The arena in which I find it most difficult to stomach is within the discipline of Yoga, a complex and extensive spiritual practice which thanks to modern media has been simplified to sexualized images of slim super bendy women doing super bendy poses in exotic locations.
I worry that in contrast to earlier years this staged imagery is no longer inspiring people but isolating them if they are not as skinny/bendy/ripped as the depictions we see. I myself have had moments of low self-esteem looking at these pages. Should I look like them, post like them, work out like them, be like them? Of course, the answer is always no..I should be nothing other than myself. But, when you’re bombarded with unrealistic and inaccurate images of health doubt does start to creep in. Continue reading “Does Fitness Belong On Facebook?”